Author Topic: Big life switch  (Read 4474 times)

familyFIguy

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Big life switch
« on: November 15, 2016, 01:39:59 PM »
Hey there everyone,

Long time listener - first time caller.

I have a dilemma that I could really use some advice on. Being a Mustachian, "work until you are 60 something, retire old, and die" is not really the direction I want to head in so I thought this group would be the best place to find some tailored, financially-sound life advice.

Where Iím coming from:
My wife and I bought our house outside of Seattle (45 min. commute by bus each way) about 2 years ago. My wife is a stay at home mom, taking care of our two toddlers. I have a pretty well-paying job (90k incl. 401k) that allows me to work four, ten-hour shifts per week, instead of the usual five eights. I work in financial services and am topped out in my current position. There isn't really a place for me to move up, I'm not excited about the industry, and the work is so boring that it's driving me crazy.

To compensate for the boredom over the past few years, I started and ran a successful photography company. I shuttered it eventually as I realized that there wasnít a solid financial future in it. I also formed a RE investment partnership with two buddies to seek out and invest in cashflowing rental properties. Weíve put in a number of offers over the last 6 months but havenít pulled the trigger on any yet.

Where I am now:
Iím obsessed with financial independence but am having a tough time getting ahead. We were saving between 30% and 65% of my net take home pay, but recently had to put 7.5k into a new roof for our house, and we put 5k into a startup chocolate company that we are trying to get off of the ground (churchstreetchocolate.com).

Our current net worth is about 140k including our house with 14k cash in the bank.

Advice I need:
I want to get out of my job as itís boring and isnít going anywhere. Iím in the process of signing up for a school to become a Data Scientist which would start in January. The school costs 14k and would mean about 5 months of no additional income. I am applying for a 3.24% HELOC on our house to finance it. However, mean starting salary is 111k in our area!

Also, just found out kiddo #3 is on the way!

So, do I:
a)   Stay at job even though itís driving me nuts, hope that the crazy expenses stop, and focus on the chocolate company?

b)   Do the school Jan-Mar even though it will soak up all of our cash, my wife will be pregnant, and weíre trying to start the chocolate company?

c)   Stay at my job, focus on the chocolate company for the next 4 months, go to school May-July, and have a baby in the middle of my last month of class?

d)   Other?

HUGE THANKS IN ADVANCE!

robartsd

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2016, 02:39:32 PM »
Saving 30-65% of net pay on 90k gross income is pretty good for a family of four; of course there still may be places where you could optimize your expenses. Crazy expenses like starting up businesses should be entirely up to you. Crazy expenses like replacing a roof come up sometimes, but it's the everyday expenses that really eat at our ability to save.

If you think Data Scientist would be a good career move for you, I'd say it would be better to start working towards that sooner rather than later. The schooling for this career change would take a specific time frame, you'd find your new job then be able to return focus of your time outside your primary job hours to the side-hustle of your choice. Of course there is the risk that you don't like the job any better than what you are currently doing (but at least you'd be making more money).

On the other hand, if you really feel the chocolate business can develop into something that you and your wife can use to support your family it could be worth pursuing that 100% as your way out from your current job. Staying at your current job for now would also likely also provide more flexibility to take time off when your baby comes than you would have in a job you just started.

I'd avoid option c) as it divides your focus and having a baby due near the end of a course sounds like setting yourself up for complications.

Remember that you can change your mind latter. If you choose the chocolate business now and it becomes clear that it's not going to meet your needs, you can choose to pursue something else.

shuffler

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2016, 07:46:52 PM »
I started and ran a successful photography company. I shuttered it eventually ...
Maybe you could start an auto shop, and then put the brakes on it.
Or start a MVNO, and then call it off.
Or start a shipping company, and then pack it in.
Or start a paper-crane business, and then allow it to fold.

;^)

Rubic

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2016, 07:48:22 AM »
My first thought is that you have way too many things going on all at
once:
  • Photography business (closed)
  • Current boring job
  • Long commute
  • Stay at home spouse
  • Two toddlers, third child on the way
  • Data Science school
  • RE investment partnership
  • Chocolate startup company
  • Mortgage and house repairs and possible HELOC

I'm including the photography business because it was
recently in your life.  You have way too many potential
stress points and need to come up with a plan to reduce
them, including finding some time to take care of yourself
and your spouse physically (fitness, diet) and emotionally.

The Current Boring Job is adding 2 stress points (boring
plus long commute), but it's the only thing currently
stable in your life -- with the exception, presumably -- of
your relationship with your spouse.  More importantly, it's the
only source of stable income for your family.  You owe it to your
spouse and your children to provide them with some stability,
even if it requires personal sacrifice.

Your current job may be boring, but you've got two upsides:
  • Your daily commute is by bus.
  • You work only 4 days out of the week.
Data Science school will add risks to your family.  There
is some potential financial upside, but there's also no
guarantee your won't evenutally get bored with that career
too.

If you forgo Data Science school, the Chocolate startup company
may actually make sense, assuming it has low capital requirements.
You're a finance guy, so you should be able to readily judge if
the endeavor makes sense.  It gives you something to channel your
creative energy.  It's also a way for you to stay engaged with
your wife on a daily basis.  If it's successful, your children
can also get involved.

I'm aware that nobody has all the knowledge of what's best for
for another Mustachian, but given the facts you've provided, this
is my advice, for what it's worth.

Best wishes for you and your family.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2016, 08:57:59 AM by Rubic »

familyFIguy

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2016, 09:05:23 AM »
I started and ran a successful photography company. I shuttered it eventually ...
Maybe you could start an auto shop, and then put the brakes on it.
Or start a MVNO, and then call it off.
Or start a shipping company, and then pack it in.
Or start a paper-crane business, and then allow it to fold.

;^)

I'm so glad this happened :)

familyFIguy

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2016, 09:13:30 AM »

I'd avoid option c) as it divides your focus and having a baby due near the end of a course sounds like setting yourself up for complications.


Thanks for the feedback. This part was particularly helpful, and your advice makes a lot of sense. Definitely appreciate the help!

wanderin1

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2016, 09:48:52 AM »
I started and ran a successful photography company. I shuttered it eventually ...
Maybe you could start an auto shop, and then put the brakes on it.
Or start a MVNO, and then call it off.
Or start a shipping company, and then pack it in.
Or start a paper-crane business, and then allow it to fold.

;^)

And let's hope he doesn't start the chocolate business, only to have it melt down.

jjandjab

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2016, 10:38:37 AM »
With the baby on the way, I would absolutely continue to chug along at your current job, as I assume you get health insurance. Not to bring up the worst case, but you do NOT want to be in school without any health care coverage without knowing all is well with the new child. And I am sure COBRA would really eat into your 14k reserve, which is not much when it comes to paying premiums.

Can you tele-commute with your job at least one or two of the four days, which might allow you to be rested and work on the chocolate business at the same time?

Can you do school while still working at your job - i.e. weekends and online classwork?

Personally - with a relatively small amount of capital at your disposal and more expenses headed your way with child #3 - I would stay out of the Real estate game for now unless something that is just so amazing crops up. You again don't want to get into a flip or something that can eat up your cash quickly. And what seems like a good idea with a few friends can go bad real quick unless you know they have lots of experience.

You can tell I'm more towards the conservative side of personal finance. But seriously, tough it out for the next year, continue to save and work on your side business and maybe do the school at the same time. Perhaps even make sure there is not another option at your company for better work or more pay

By this time next year you should know if the chocolate thing is for real, how the family is doing as it grows and whether you really want to go change careers.

spolicas

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2016, 10:52:07 AM »
Interesting dilemma. If I were you, I'd focus on your current job as it is the only thing providing you income at this point and you are the sole provider for your family. As you already know from having other children, it is expensive! Once things settle down with your newest addition, can you take that Data Scientist class next year? Have you done research on the job availability in your area? Are you sure you won't be bored after a few months of being a Data Scientist?

Good luck!


nexus

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2016, 11:26:14 AM »
Data science is a great field! I agree 110% with the other posters here. You've got a lot on your plate and you need to narrow your focus. I don't know (or missed the part) about your monthly expenses, but I'm not sure how long that $14k would last you if you needed to live off it & pay for tuition with it.

My advice.
1. Buckle down, stay in your current boring job.
1a. Save enough to get you through at least 6 months of living expenses. 12 would be better. 5 months for school, then another 3 months to find a job (or was it Jan-Mar classes, then 2 months to find a job?).
1b. Finding a job can be faster if you work through a staffing agency, but there are pros and cons to that (limited benefits, but weekly pay). Factor in - I assume- you have no 'experience' in data science and more often than not, folks won't give you the time of day.
2. How long have you been thinking of Data Science? Was this a recent impulse?
3. After baby #3 is born and you've got more cash saved to live off of and your expenses have leveled out again, revisit the idea of going back to school.
4. Who the heck is going to run the chocolate business? You'll be working full time, school full time, or some hybrid of the two. Your wife will be raising three kids...Who's making the candy, doing the marketing, shipping orders, running the store(?), ordering supplies, and doing all of the accounting?!
5. Does your current employer have a data/analytics team? Can you express interest in transferring to that department? Does your company offer tuition assistance? If they'll foot the bill, you may only be able to afford 1-2 classes at a time but it may be a safer way to venture down that road. If you go all-in and dislike the classes, you're out $14k. If your company fronts the bill for 1-2 classes and you're not feeling it, that may be a safer way to go. Heck, they may even start cross-training you once you start the classes. You'll get better experience learning on the job than in a classroom anyway.

Giro

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2016, 11:48:44 AM »
You are asking if it's okay to quit your job and go to school?  You are the ONLY breadwinner in the family and you have a spouse and two kids.

uh.....NO. 

$14k is not enough FU money with a pregnant wife and 2 small children.

Part time school while working full time.  Discuss the chocolate business with wife to see if she wants to take that on at least part time while you are in school. 

good luck.

AZDude

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2016, 02:49:09 PM »
You are all over the map. I totally understand that. Been there plenty of times. Not sure what you want, just sure its not what you have.

School for Data Scientist will be there. You just started the chocolate company so focus on that. Pregnancy + school + toddlers + full time job + start-up = GOING COMPLETELY INSANE.

Things will tough with just a baby, a job, and a start-up project. Give the company time to either pan out or flame out. Give your family time to adjust to a new LO.

Will your job pay for your school to be a DS? DS is not exactly all that different from the finance sector, so are you just chasing a bigger paycheck, or is this something you would actually want to do for the next ~15 years?

mskyle

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2016, 02:57:38 PM »
Yeah, you are really all over the place here! I don't think quitting your job and going to data science school is a great idea for you (and, FWIW, I quit my job and went to a tech bootcamp a few years ago and it worked out great for me - but I had no kids, no spouse, and no other business endeavors). Here's the thing: anything this place can teach you in three-four months (I'm assuming that's the length of the actual program) you can learn on your own in under a year or even much faster on the job if you can convince someone to give you a chance. I'm serious.

What about just looking for another job? One you like better? Or one that lets you do more data analytics stuff *now*? Or one that frees up some time for your other projects? Even if you took a pay cut, that would still be more efficient, money-wise, than taking five months off and paying for this program.

familyFIguy

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2019, 09:27:10 AM »
Hey everyone!

I just wanted to post a quick follow-up in case anyone still looks at this thread.

So I did wind up quitting my job and going to school for Data Science.

I spent the summer before school with my family, and my daughter was born at that time. It was great to be home full-time then which made the first few months of her life so much breezier for my wife, my kids and myself! It was absolutely wonderful! I also used the time to knock down our old, rotting deck and build a new one which is something that I had never done before.

School lasted 3 months, full-time. The program itself was incredible and the people were amazing! By doing school full-time I learned a massive amount very quickly, and went on the job hunt before the program was even over. I also applied for and received a scholarship and a referral bonus which lowered the tuition considerably.

I landed a job 2 months after school ended at a consulting firm, and I've been working with them at Microsoft ever since! Working at Microsoft has been a massive shift for the better for my family! I'm afforded tons of time to work from home (I'm currently typing this while I can hear my kids in the other room), not to mention a 63% pay increase! The work is much more enjoyable and the field is one in which I can continue to learn and grown! Because I can work remotely now, we are actually going to go traveling for two months later this year with our kiddos!

All in all, the decision to quit my job and go to school was a tough one. I was very nervous about it -- particularly because of the instability that it would cause for our family. However, now that I have done it, I have to say it was easily one of the best decisions I have ever made for my family and career and the risk wasn't nearly as significant as I thought it was!

Rubic

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2019, 02:15:08 PM »
Wow, almost 2.5 years ago since your original post.  Way to go and
thanks for the update!

calimom

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2019, 06:04:56 PM »
What a great update! Congratulations to you and your family. You're crushing it.

fuzzy math

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2019, 09:15:13 PM »
What 3 month program did you do?

RecoveringCarClown

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2019, 10:46:49 PM »
What about chocolate co?
What about RE investment with friends?
We need the rest of the story!!

familyFIguy

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2019, 01:58:29 PM »
Thanks all! A few more details:

What 3 month program did you do?
Galvanize's Data Science Immersive program: https://www.galvanize.com/data-science

What about chocolate co?
What about RE investment with friends?
We need the rest of the story!!
Chocolate co: Our company did really well! My wife was the CEO and did most of the production. We wound up selling primarily in a number of stores in our area, a sizable grocery chain, and across the country and in Canada during one of our holiday seasons. It was lots of fun, but with three kids at home, and it not being *super* profitable, we decided to pull the plug. We've wound it down and are selling it now.
Investment with friends: This one never really got off the ground. Seattle RE market is bonkers and for our calculations, we just couldn't make the return that we wanted.

SaucyAussie

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2019, 02:39:49 PM »
Congrats!

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2019, 01:46:31 PM »
So the Chocolate business melted down?

stashing_it

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Re: Big life switch
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2019, 11:47:12 PM »
Thanks all! A few more details:

What 3 month program did you do?
Galvanize's Data Science Immersive program: https://www.galvanize.com/data-science


I know a woman who did that program, it would have been in mid 2017 I think.   She liked it and got a job doing some consultant data science work afterwards.

I'm glad it worked out for you