Author Topic: Halfway There and Confused  (Read 3777 times)

Mustcho

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Halfway There and Confused
« on: March 16, 2019, 02:42:09 PM »
Hello fellow Mustachians,

I haven't been around in awhile. I've been pushing through at work and saving more than ever.

I'm looking for your help on options I may not have thought of. My wife and I have reached a decent number and are realizing I will never hit my FI target because I loath my job. We have saved up enough to meet our basic needs (rent and food) at a 4 percent withdrawal rate but nothing else. Also our rent will double when we have children.

I above all else value my freedom, many of you can relate I'm sure. I feel as though I've sacraficed 6 years of my life and am not willing to do another 5. I have had fun in between but am required to do nights and it's taking its toll on me.

Houses are incredible expensive in Canada, even on Vancouver Island and these are the options I'm batting around:

1. Buy a house cash and try to find a job I enjoy more. Running the numbers it will be about 800 a month to run a household even when its paid off.
2. Roll the dice  and allow our nest egg to grow, making ends meet, while not making any withdrawals
3. Seriously roll the dice and take on a mortgage trying to make ends meet without any withdrawals

Thoughts, opinions, advice?

On a side note if anyone is curious what I've been doing in Canada I'd be happy to share, just PM me
« Last Edit: March 16, 2019, 07:08:28 PM by Mustcho »

Murse

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2019, 05:37:36 PM »
To give any kind of good advice we would need an idea of expenses, income, and expected income if you switched jobs. Also, when do you plan on having children?

Freedomin5

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2019, 05:55:17 PM »
A couple things...

1. You sound like you have FU money, but are not FI yet. So that gives you freedom to move to a different job that may give you a better work environment/work life balance. Or you may be able to drop down to part-time so you can still fund your lifestyle while not feeling like you are sacrificing too much to work.

2. Before purchasing a property, Have you run the numbers through a rent vs. own calculator? Iíve heard the prices in the Vancouver area has dropped in the past year, but you need to run numbers and calculate whether prices make it financially better to own than to rent.

3. If you only have enough to cover rent and food, that is incredibly tight. I would say for now, you should try to find a job you enjoy more, let your nest egg grow and donít make any withdrawals.

Mustcho

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2019, 07:06:53 PM »
Here are our mandatory expenses:

Rent - 850 (although a house to ourselves would be more like 2000)
Food - 1000
Car Insurance - 90
Fuel - 80
Cell phones x2 - 130
Fun - Varies a lot depending on if we go on vacation or what we do. We've been tracking our expenses religiously for a few years and our Total Average Spending is 4000 a month on a long term basis

My income is roughly 10k a month and my wife's is 5k net. If I leave my job I'm not sure how long it would take to have another income, my skills are not transferable to a new career and I would require retraining. My wife's would stay roughly 5k net.

We would like to have a child in the next couple of years, but no sooner than a year.

1. We do have FU money, at least 10 years worth of expenses, that's what motivates me to find something I enjoy. We are both under 30 so there's lots of time to make mistakes.

2. I have the numbers through the Rent VS Buy Calculators and it's hard to make sense of buying unless we live there for a long time which would be the plan.

3. We would definitely need to continue to work with the amount we have saved so far... We're trying to figure out our best Plan of Attack

Thank you guys for any input :)

Frankies Girl

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2019, 07:20:10 PM »
you have "saved" enough to cover rent and food...

are you INVESTING the savings, or are they sitting in a savings account collecting jackshit in piddly interest? Because a 4% withdraw rate is based on you having the bulk of your net worth in the market, working its ass off so your ass can start taking it easy.

The concept that you need to flip the switch on:
People have to work to earn money to live.

What MMMers and Bogleheads and all the other smarties learned:
Invest your money, so you can eventually stop working and have your money do the work for you!

And no one needs to buy a house. Your rent/mortgage absolutely should not double if you pop out a few kids. Kids are small. They take up very little room. In fact you can even store multiple kids IN THE SAME ROOM!! And they won't die or grow up disadvantaged!! Lots and lots of kids grow up well adjusted and happy in small apartments with lots of family crowded in. If you're basically decent parents, them sharing a room or not having a dedicated game room isn't going to scar them for life.

You know what kids really need? Food, shelter, some comfortable clothing, education/guidance, and loving caregivers. The rest of that stuff that you seem to think you have to have? Nope. Sure buy them toys, get them silly things, do silly things with them... but stop thinking you have to go buy a 2 thousand sq ft fancy house with a play room and individual sleep/study/drool areas.

So first, are you sure you're doing the whole saving INVESTING thing right? Should post a real case study to see if you are on the right track or need some help getting there on schedule if not sooner.

And second, stop buying into the kids need ALL THE THINGS OR YOU ARE A TERRIBLE PARENT trope. Doubling your housing expenses because a kid or two comes along is just... wow. Which do you think is really more important - a big ol fancy house for your kids that means you're gonna be working for EVAH to pay it off and never see those kids, or a nice little 2-3 bed apartment/small house/condo and early retirement so you get to actually spend lots of your free time with those same kids?



ETA: just saw your basic expenses. Holy fuck you spend 1k on food? You spend 4k a month for two people? I'm FIREd with two adults living on half that and we spend maybe 300/month for food and we live like freaking kings. You really need a hard look at your expenses and do some rethinking about how and what you spend on. 130/mo for CELL PHONES?!?!! That is just... wow. Dude, you're just setting your money on fire and seriously should do a real budget breakdown in the case study section. There's going to be so much fat in your budget I'll bet you could easily cut a third and not even miss it if you were willing to spend a weekend or two making a few calls and changing up some things.

Mustcho

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2019, 07:39:10 PM »
We are completely invested in VUN and VCN. I've been following this path for about 6 years.

The reason our rent would double is that right now we live with roommates to save money. The Cost of living is very high where we are and even a 1 bedroom apartment in a undesirable location (homeless people breaking in to stay warm in the winter, I know because I lived in one) is 1400. With a child we will need two bedrooms eventually and they are about 1800. Honestly it's insane I've looked at prices in of homes to buy in the US and what you get here in Alberta for 600K CAD you can get for 200K USD in a similar town. The only reason we are here is work opportunities.

We do spend a little extra on food because we enjoy it but even when we go as cheap as we can it's about 700 a month. The extra 300 is worth it for us.

And the explanation for 4k is that we travel, usually on the cheap but plane tickets add up when you're in northern Alberta.

You're right I should do a case study. I have everything plugged into YNAB which will make things easy. I imagine there is some fat but life is expensive here. When I head south of the border even groceries are a fraction of the price. For instance the value pack of chicken breast we bought tonight was 18.99/KG (8.6/Lb), thighs are even more! Which makes no sense.

Our savings rate is about 70% :) I thought that was pretty good

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2019, 12:10:06 AM »
A)You have tens years worth of expenses saved. 
B)You have a wife that makes enough to maintain a positive savings rate.
C)Your expenses could easily be cut
D)Your current job makes you miserable

...and you are asking permission to switch careers to something you like? 

Dude!! People switch jobs with a negative net worth and negative cash flow all of the time. The only question is if your wife is OK with this.

Edit: Another question may be what the FIRE community is doing wrong if people think it's OK to be miserable to reach FI (an imaginary line in the sand) before they can exercise agency over their lives.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2019, 12:12:51 AM by Classical_Liberal »

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2019, 04:11:21 AM »
It doesnít sound like thereís any need for you to be miserable. Get a better job!

Freedomin5

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2019, 06:17:24 AM »
Ohhh...youíre in northern Alberta. Yeah, everything is a lot more expensive up there, possibly even more expensive than in a HCOL city like Vancouver or Toronto. The good thing is if you find a job you like in different part of the country, your expenses will probably be halved!

Malcat

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2019, 06:19:29 AM »
Housing is your biggest concern but the only reason you are in that location is for job purposes and you hate your job...

I don't get it.

Why don't you take your excellent 'stache, move somewhere with much lower housing/lifestyle costs, work enough to cover expenses, possibly even part time, focus on raising kids, and let your 'stache grow by itself for a decade.

If you have a pile of money and you are contemplating plans that make you miserable, then you are doing it wrong.

Take some time to challenge the "givens" of your situation. You literally have endless options available to you because you have a solid financial situation.

MayDay

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2019, 06:31:24 AM »
Does your wife want to keep working?

If so, moving sounds like a no brainier. Move, she keeps making 5k, you find a job doing whatever and bring in, let's say 3k, and your expenses are way lower.

If she wants to quit too, I'd say you should both stick it out for a couple more years, then move and both quit.

If you can't/won't move then it sounds like you need to either keep working or figure out how to further reduce expenses, or delay baby.

ElleFiji

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2019, 07:46:24 AM »
Houses and condos Re crazy cheap in wi nipeg. And if you survi e northern Alberta you won't die of cold.

Mustcho

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2019, 11:35:39 AM »
Thank you all for the support and advice :) It has just been the two of us making all these decisions with little guidance, we're struggling to know how to position ourselves in the best way. From all of your replies it seems like we should just stop making such a big deal out of it!

"Spend less than you earn, invest the difference"

It doesnít sound like thereís any need for you to be miserable. Get a better job!

Housing is your biggest concern but the only reason you are in that location is for job purposes and you hate your job...

I don't get it.

Why don't you take your excellent 'stache, move somewhere with much lower housing/lifestyle costs, work enough to cover expenses, possibly even part time, focus on raising kids, and let your 'stache grow by itself for a decade.

If you have a pile of money and you are contemplating plans that make you miserable, then you are doing it wrong.

Take some time to challenge the "givens" of your situation. You literally have endless options available to you because you have a solid financial situation.

I also don't get it! The first few years we're great and then I would have a good couple months a bad couple months and now I struggle every couple weeks. Sometimes I wonder if that's just life, we all have to work, maybe I just like working less than most? More of a rhetorical question, I know no one can answer that for me.

To explain my job a little bit. I make ~195K a year and work ~2100 hours. The shift is 14 days on, 14 days off, 14 nights on, 14 days off, 12 hour days. Some days we work so hard we don't stop for lunch, other days we may only put in 4 hours of work. It can be labour intensive but for the most part it's reasonable. 14 nights is really the killer, shift work will be the end of me.

 I'm trying to move on but it's a case of me having no formal education (so I'll need retraining) and golden handcuffs! We are saving ~11K a month. We are currently stuck here at least until November due to my wife's job and then she's ready to leave.


Does your wife want to keep working?

If so, moving sounds like a no brainier. Move, she keeps making 5k, you find a job doing whatever and bring in, let's say 3k, and your expenses are way lower.

If she wants to quit too, I'd say you should both stick it out for a couple more years, then move and both quit.

If you can't/won't move then it sounds like you need to either keep working or figure out how to further reduce expenses, or delay baby.

She loves her job and thinks she will work at least in a part time capacity for the rest of her life. That makes our decision easier.

Do you think it's best to allow the stache to grow vs buying a house? The only Pro I see to buying a house is security. Once it's paid for in cash we will have a cheap place to live for the rest of our lives, if there is a suite we will have a small income as well.

damyst

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2019, 01:36:21 AM »
Edit: Another question may be what the FIRE community is doing wrong if people think it's OK to be miserable to reach FI (an imaginary line in the sand) before they can exercise agency over their lives.

Amen!!!!

I see this so often in the forums, I have to deduce that people had read the Shockingly Simple Math article and then proceeded to ignore everything else that MMM had ever published.

The 4% SWR idea is a useful hook, but a terrible life blueprint. Life neither starts nor ends at FIRE.

Rather than hanging on until they can reach some arbitrary milestone, what people should do is work every day to move their life forward, on multiple fronts. Sometimes that means increasing your income, or cutting your spending. Sometimes it means decreasing your income, or increasing your spending, in order to benefit your health and wellbeing. Sometimes it means working on your social circle or hobbies, even though you're tired from your job and just want to zone out for the evening.

Move shit around. Move yourself. Try things. Dream big. Embrace any setbacks and failures and just keep moving forward.

Malcat

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2019, 04:17:37 AM »
Thank you all for the support and advice :) It has just been the two of us making all these decisions with little guidance, we're struggling to know how to position ourselves in the best way. From all of your replies it seems like we should just stop making such a big deal out of it!

None of us really have guidance. This whole community is people trying to forge their own paths in life. If you want guidance, find yourself a good psychologist. I'm not even joking. You sound miserable and you have huge life decisions to make, having some help working through your own psychological barriers is probably a good idea.


"Spend less than you earn, invest the difference"

It doesnít sound like thereís any need for you to be miserable. Get a better job!

Housing is your biggest concern but the only reason you are in that location is for job purposes and you hate your job...

I don't get it.

Why don't you take your excellent 'stache, move somewhere with much lower housing/lifestyle costs, work enough to cover expenses, possibly even part time, focus on raising kids, and let your 'stache grow by itself for a decade.

If you have a pile of money and you are contemplating plans that make you miserable, then you are doing it wrong.

Take some time to challenge the "givens" of your situation. You literally have endless options available to you because you have a solid financial situation.

I also don't get it! The first few years we're great and then I would have a good couple months a bad couple months and now I struggle every couple weeks. Sometimes I wonder if that's just life, we all have to work, maybe I just like working less than most? More of a rhetorical question, I know no one can answer that for me.

It's not a rhetorical question. It's literally the entire reason we're all here. Most jobs aren't all that enjoyable as they are. Most of us who love our work have found creative ways to work DIFFERENTLY than most people in our industries: part time, work from home, etc, etc.

And don't give me the "well in my industry you can't" line, because who says you are stuck in one job in one industry? I work in two completely different industries because I hated the way my career was in one, so I changed what I did. MMM left engineering and built houses and became a writer.

If you don't like your work, do different work.

Have you ever considered that you dislike working your job more than others and more than you used to because you have so much money saved that you actually don't need the money as much?


To explain my job a little bit. I make ~195K a year and work ~2100 hours. The shift is 14 days on, 14 days off, 14 nights on, 14 days off, 12 hour days. Some days we work so hard we don't stop for lunch, other days we may only put in 4 hours of work. It can be labour intensive but for the most part it's reasonable. 14 nights is really the killer, shift work will be the end of me.

Yep. I have family in your type of world. It's brutal. It's not normal to enjoy a job with those hours. Some people do, but it's rare. Being well paid often means having to take shit like unpleasant hours. Would people be willing to work like that without the high paychecks???

Life is a series of trade offs. Sometimes the money is worth the trade and sometimes it isn't. Also, sometimes it starts off worth it and then things change. Just because you decided to work this job doesn't mean you are obligated to keep working this job until you have a set FIRE number that you *set for yourself*.

You are the only person forcing you to stay in that job. It's a choice you are making, not an obligation.


 I'm trying to move on but it's a case of me having no formal education (so I'll need retraining) and golden handcuffs! We are saving ~11K a month. We are currently stuck here at least until November due to my wife's job and then she's ready to leave.

Golden handcuffs are in your imagination.
1: You get to decide for yourself how important a salary is to you
2: Your job isn't guaranteed

It's not golden handcuffs, it's a firehose of cash. How long you stand in front of the firehose getting blasted is up to you.


Does your wife want to keep working?

If so, moving sounds like a no brainier. Move, she keeps making 5k, you find a job doing whatever and bring in, let's say 3k, and your expenses are way lower.

If she wants to quit too, I'd say you should both stick it out for a couple more years, then move and both quit.

If you can't/won't move then it sounds like you need to either keep working or figure out how to further reduce expenses, or delay baby.

She loves her job and thinks she will work at least in a part time capacity for the rest of her life. That makes our decision easier.

Do you think it's best to allow the stache to grow vs buying a house? The only Pro I see to buying a house is security. Once it's paid for in cash we will have a cheap place to live for the rest of our lives, if there is a suite we will have a small income as well.

it's a lot less secure to overpay for a house where you are now than to have a giant 'stache of cash and move somewhere less expensive. Remember, there's HUGE opportunity cost to buying a house in cash, especially an expensive house, especially before you've finished accumulating the wealth you are aiming for. [/i]

You are absolutely right, no one can answer any of your questions for you, and it is psychologically very difficult in our society to walk away from a very high income.

However, you have to remember that all of the "normal" pressures that you have grown up with are pressures that drive most people to be miserable, in huge debt, get divorced, and work until their senior years.

I know it seems counter intuitive, but although Mustachianism seems to be all about money, it's actually not. It's all about being happy and NOT being a slave to money.

It's all about not wasting money, but more importantly it's about not wasting your life.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2019, 04:37:37 AM by Malkynn »

happy

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2019, 04:29:26 AM »
Night shift work can be bad for your health increasing the risk of a number of issues. From what I understand some folk tolerate it better than others. Do some googling around health issues associated with night shift work and steps to minimise them. See if that helps. But really I am just posting to say if you feel the night shifts are a killer, they probably really are effecting you: you are not just being a wuss.

I'm guessing you have little opportunity to change your shifts or work your job around to suit you more ie stop the nights? If you could do that, that might keep you at it longer. But otherwise start to take steps to move into something less injurious...

Mustcho

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2019, 10:29:16 AM »
I'm going for it, tomorrow will be my last day with my company. I have no plan or idea what I'm going to do!

It's kind of exciting in a sick way :)

robartsd

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2019, 12:17:01 PM »
I'm going for it, tomorrow will be my last day with my company. I have no plan or idea what I'm going to do!

It's kind of exciting in a sick way :)
As long as your wife is OK with this plan. Go for it. I would have suggested either this - freeing you up to work on your family's next transition while your wife fulfills her work obligation through November - or continuing with your wife through November stashing away more so that both of you feel comfortable taking time off starting in November planing your family's next transition together.

Possible transitions (choose one or more):
- Education for a new career (formal or self trained)
- Relocate to lower cost area
- Take on less lucrative work that has better life balance
- Plan to be SAHP while spouse works to support family

Your savings gives your a position of strength to make this decision. As long as the two of you figure out together how your family will move forward, you are very likely to increase in happiness.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2019, 06:36:16 PM »
Shift work sucks, and is REALLY HARD especially if you're older.  Before I pulled the plug, I would ask if I could work 'just days' before totally pulling the plug.  Best of luck to you both in any case!

Mustcho

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2019, 06:17:27 AM »
As long as your wife is OK with this plan. Go for it. I would have suggested either this - freeing you up to work on your family's next transition while your wife fulfills her work obligation through November

Possible transitions (choose one or more):
- Education for a new career (formal or self trained)
- Relocate to lower cost area
- Take on less lucrative work that has better life balance
- Plan to be SAHP while spouse works to support family


She's been encouraging me, I think she's more excited that I am!

100% I have been thinking about options and education is probably my path. I'm barely 30 which makes me feel like I have time.

Also with what I have saved my swr is about 2K a month and I invested in a business awhile ago that technically makes me 1500 a month but we continue to reinvest so I don't really count that. Although come the new year we will begin to take profits.

Shift work sucks, and is REALLY HARD especially if you're older.  Before I pulled the plug, I would ask if I could work 'just days' before totally pulling the plug.  Best of luck to you both in any case!

It's awful! They won't let me do only day. Not a chance! Plus I have to stay in camp and would like to be with my family more 🙂

Fuzz

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2019, 05:59:04 PM »
Making some guesses: $195K/year + shift work + no formal training + N. Alberta + under thirty = oilfield?

I dunno, man. Contrarian viewpoint here.

You might think about your career a bit like a pro athlete. You're not going to have that earning potential forever. You're saving 11K/month. That is SO much money. Yes, you could go to a LCOL place, but there is zero chance of replacing that income in a LCOL town. The only people making 200K/year in a place where a house sells for 200K own small businesses or are doctors and lawyers (and a lot of doctors and lawyers are not making that kind of money).

Your problem is that you're unhappy and you think that changing your job will fix that. Maybe. Maybe changing your job won't fix that. Wherever you go, there you are. Or something. Try therapy/stop drinking/exercise/change your diet/fly somewhere warm every 14 days/I have no idea. Mostly kidding. I don't know you or what you should do. But on this forum you'll get a lot of quit your job encouragement. And maybe that's what you're looking for. But good god if your goal is FI, then you can get there in really quick with that firehose of money.

There are all kinds of things that affect your happiness, right? And sometimes it's not just the job. And if you can figure out a way to be happy with that job for another 3 or 5 or 10 years, you will have so much money in the bank. You're young. But if it is the job that's making you miserable, and you're sure it's the job, then yeah, I guess life is short and ditch it.

One question: do you like your co-workers? Generally, if you like the people you work with, then most jobs are okay. If you like your co-workers and hate the work, then it's either you or the job.

FatFI2025

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2019, 09:26:50 PM »
Making some guesses: $195K/year + shift work + no formal training + N. Alberta + under thirty = oilfield?

I dunno, man. Contrarian viewpoint here.

You might think about your career a bit like a pro athlete. You're not going to have that earning potential forever. You're saving 11K/month. That is SO much money. Yes, you could go to a LCOL place, but there is zero chance of replacing that income in a LCOL town. The only people making 200K/year in a place where a house sells for 200K own small businesses or are doctors and lawyers (and a lot of doctors and lawyers are not making that kind of money).

Your problem is that you're unhappy and you think that changing your job will fix that. Maybe. Maybe changing your job won't fix that. Wherever you go, there you are. Or something. Try therapy/stop drinking/exercise/change your diet/fly somewhere warm every 14 days/I have no idea. Mostly kidding. I don't know you or what you should do. But on this forum you'll get a lot of quit your job encouragement. And maybe that's what you're looking for. But good god if your goal is FI, then you can get there in really quick with that firehose of money.

There are all kinds of things that affect your happiness, right? And sometimes it's not just the job. And if you can figure out a way to be happy with that job for another 3 or 5 or 10 years, you will have so much money in the bank. You're young. But if it is the job that's making you miserable, and you're sure it's the job, then yeah, I guess life is short and ditch it.

One question: do you like your co-workers? Generally, if you like the people you work with, then most jobs are okay. If you like your co-workers and hate the work, then it's either you or the job.

Wise words. Quit your $195K job so you can retrain to be miserable at a $40K job? I guess I just hate the obligation of working more than the average mustachian because every time I think about a big downshift, I run the numbers to see how far it would push out my FIRE date...NOPE!

I agree with @Fuzz that the source of OP's unhappiness may not really be the job. He might not find happiness after retraining and finding another lower-paying job. Then it will compound his unhappiness that he's still bummed and far less wealthy than he would've been. It's definitely a risk that we should recognize.

Dee18

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Re: Halfway There and Confused
« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2019, 06:56:18 AM »
Research on shift work has shown how terribly detrimental to oneís health having to work nights, and to switch shifts, can be.  I think you should get a job without shift work, even if it pays substantially less.  But do not buy a house until you have a satisfactory job.  Your original post seems to suggest you think owning a house will decrease your financial needs.  That is not necessarily true, as many posts on MMM explain. There are so many additional costs with home ownership, especially first time home ownership, that add up.  And money invested in a home obviously canít be invested in other money earning possibilities. Find a job you donít loathe in a place you like before buying a house.  I agree with those suggesting a case study would get you the most helpful advice.