Author Topic: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult  (Read 5314 times)

Nyan Cat

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Age: 25
  • Location: Ten-nur-sae
Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« on: June 28, 2015, 06:43:46 AM »
Hello everyoneÖ
Short version: My finances are great for a college student, but Iím bored and need something to do, especially now that I'm trying to move out. Iím a closet MMM and ERE fan boy.

Long version: I am an engineering major graduating in December, but Iím trying to move out by next week due to some family disagreements (helicopter parents). Since finding this blog exactly one year ago and being able to turn my head but not move my body, I had a couple of concerns for my future after ďawakeningĒ from Platoís Cave. My financial situation for a college student is awesome, but I want to keep it that way.

Assets
$13,500 in savings (basically every allowance I have ever earned; currently stuck in bonds til Jan 2016)
$2,500 from my grandparents intended for college, but I didn't need it; also stuck in bonds
$1000-$2000 of mostly new textbooks that I intend to sell as soon as Iím allowed
$500 in an MTurk account that should be in my bank account already, but isnít yet because of procrastination and fear of the unknown
Total: $17,500-$18,500

Liabilities

Absolutely none; not even a girlfriend; not even friends, for that matter

Projected Income
Current: about 10 hours/week of physics tutoring with my university at $7.50/hr before tax ($65/week) AND
Hopefully an engineering internship position that pays $15/hr before tax at 40 hours a week; would probably last six weeks and start next Monday, but Iíll talk with them tomorrow ($480/week)
Total: $2180/month (per four weeks; until my position ends with the start of fall term)

In fall: a new tutoring position (still with the university) at 10 hours/week but $8.50/hr before tax ($70/week) AND
20 hours/week of additional tutoring/food service/other minimum wage ($125/week)
30 hours total a week shouldnít be too much, even given my current major. Since it seems Iíve already mastered ďthe art of not working at workĒ (forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/the-art-of-not-working-at-work/) with my college classes, I was still bored out of my mind in the spring doing only 10 hours a week of MTurk with 17 credits.
Total: $780/month (per four weeks)

Projected Expenses

Groceries-$21/week for 21 meals (using Mustacheís grocery rule)
Rent-$100/week (I will definitely live with a roommate)
Utilities-$20/week (dummy number; Iím not sure how to estimate this)
Transportation-$25/week (good for a daily 10-mile round trip; I do not bike yet, but I challenge myself to travel exclusively by bike by the end of September; until then, itís sadly not zero)
Everything else-close to $0
Total: $664/month (per four weeks)

Also, almost all of my college expenses are complete. I have scholarships that will pay for about 90% of my in-state public tuition (the bill or refund, depending on how much classes cost, comes in late July), my final textbooks are ordered, and my parking tag for fall is right next to me. Some expenses remain like the fee for the FE exam and getting a cap and gown, but they should be easily eradicated by my savings.

So, Iíve assembled a few questionsÖ

1. In the near future, I will probably purchase a car, and my parents are selling their 2007 Impala with about 65,000 miles for $4800 (even have proof in an e-mail), even though the Blue Book Value for trade in is about $6000. Itís in great condition except for some cosmetic damage on the back (oops; my bad). My parents will bill me for the cost to fix the damage if I donít purchase the Impala. Iíve heard several people brag about getting much cheaper cars that still ran well for years, but I am definitely not a mechanic.

Is the Impala a bargain or will I more likely find better deals elsewhere (Craigslist, eBay, used car lots)? Or should I buy the Impala and then promptly trade it in for a profit to buy something else?

2. I went through Mustache-withdrawal after I finished reading the majority of the blog (and ERE, and Livingafi, and Afford Anything, and Cheap RV Living, and Theme Park Review, andÖ). So, rather than refresh the home pages of these websites fifty times a day, hoping for a new post, I wrote a fifty-three page mini-book in Microsoft Word synthesizing what Iíd learned (Iím just occasionally editing it now) on my computer. Where should I self-publish it?  If you'd like to see it, I can send you the document. I trust you.

I think back in October, David Downie announced his book Radical Immediate Retirement on Jacobís website without really having a prior presence on the site (and the comments were still really nice and receptive, too). Iíve considered advertising my book, but I really donít want to seem like an obnoxious sell-out. Iíve seen other folks online (especially on YouTube) get blasted for indiscriminately advertising their own work. How should I advertise, if at all?

Related, should I tie the book in with the Mr. Money Mustache name even though that might be considered name dropping? While I wrote the book primarily because I got tired of Mustache wanting to write a book and never following through, it could just as easily stand alone without referring to him at all.

3. I am having a major crisis of faith in engineering before Iíve even started.

Iím starting the FI journey so early and so raw that Iíll likely zing out of the work force in five years or less if I follow Jacobís strategies (and he took five years to get to a 3% withdrawal rate, at normal wages, and started before completely figuring everything out). That will put me at age 25 (I graduated high school two years early). Iím starting to wonder what the point of going into engineering is if Iíd essentially be doing it for free (because Iíd be FI or because of side income) shortly after getting my PE. I found meaning in my classes at the beginning of college when I thought I needed waaaaaaay more money than I really did and hadnít yet seen the Dilbertisms of the workplace. But the novelty has long worn off now that lifeís greatest secrets have been spoiled. I know Iíll get some real world engineering experience soon, but my bar is set very low.

On the plus side, my tutoring side job rocks, and I could definitely see myself doing that for a living. Or even, heaven forbid, writing. So, why would engineering still be my first career choice when Mustache claims that tutoring and writing can also earn $50k/year ? My expenses should be so low that I could support myself solely with side gigs if I wanted to. Even if I got bored of one, itís no trouble to switch to something else or work with several at the same time, which I believe is difficult to manage with an engineering position.

Like everyone else my age, I have a lot of anxiety about what Iím going to do with my life. If I continue optimizing expenses, my ďfun incomeĒ could outpace my spending soon, which is like the back door to FIRE. What do I do with this rather nice problem to have?

Iím currently meeting with a counselor at the university to work through #3 specificallyÖand the resulting disagreements with my parents (if youíre reading this Dr. Doom, thanks for your article on counseling), but it would be very interesting to hear the perspectives of people who are more aware of the other way.

I have more, but I've already talked far longer than I should. Thanks in advance for any and all feedback, advice, and face punches. Heck, thanks for simply reading this far. If you would like any additional clarifications, please ask away. Iíve wanted to post this for months and I'm glad that Iím finally doing it. Over to you guys.

MonkeyJenga

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8928
  • Location: the woods
Re: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2015, 07:12:14 AM »
I'm not going to address what you specifically asked about, partly because I know nothing about cars, self-publishing, and engineering, partly because I think you'll be in a great financial position regardless, but mostly because my main concern is the below quote:

Quote
Liabilities
Absolutely none; not even a girlfriend; not even friends, for that matter

I suggest focusing on developing some interpersonal relationships. Thinking of a girlfriend and friends as liabilities, even as a joke, could lead to a very lonely, miserly life.

Ok, one comment on #2: do not tie in the MMM brand without consulting with the man behind the brand first.

johnny847

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3190
    • My Blog
Re: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2015, 07:27:21 AM »
I'm not going to address what you specifically asked about, partly because I know nothing about cars, self-publishing, and engineering, partly because I think you'll be in a great financial position regardless, but mostly because my main concern is the below quote:

Quote
Liabilities
Absolutely none; not even a girlfriend; not even friends, for that matter

I suggest focusing on developing some interpersonal relationships. Thinking of a girlfriend and friends as liabilities, even as a joke, could lead to a very lonely, miserly life.
I agree
Not having friends is a liability, not the other we way around.

former player

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6668
  • Location: Avalon
Re: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2015, 07:55:52 AM »
19 years old and in such a hurry: you are making me feel old.  Just a few tips -

1).  If the book is not all your original work, you are going to run into copyright/plagiarism issues.  Be very, very careful of these - a reputation for plagiarism could haunt you for a long time in this internet age.

2) What's the MPG on the car?  If it's OK, then a well-maintained car for that price looks good.  You are obviously intelligent and science-minded: making the effort to learn a bit about car mechanics and keeping a car well-maintained would be a big mustachian win for you for as long as the internal combustion engine is the main means of transport in your country.

3.  Don't knock work too much until you have tried it.  MMM and Jacob, and nearly all of us posters here are 20 or more years older and more cynical than you.  But although we extol the pleasures of not working, we have not necessarily wasted the time we have spent at work: we have learnt a lot about the world and about other people, have gained skills and insider experiences which you can't get in any other way, have met our best friends and our spouses, and have travelled the world at someone else's expense.  Oh, and accumulated a stash as well.  Use your counselling sessions to work out what of these you value and could get from being employed, and then look at the various options for different jobs and different employers which will provide them.  There's a great big world out there for you to connect to, and having a job is a great way to connect to it - even if you are at the same time looking to retire at 30 like MMM.

Good luck.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28430
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2015, 08:05:58 AM »
So much of your post is mind-blowingly ahead of your age. And some of it is quite raw.

The biggest missing thing, for me, is your "why."  Why are you doing this? What are you looking for? What does your ideal day look like as a 22 year-old? 27 year-old?  34 year-old? 53 year-old?
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

Learner

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 92
  • Location: Kingston, Ontario
Re: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2015, 08:20:47 AM »
Only thing to note really is on the tutoring side - have you considered advertising independently on Craigslist or similar (I use Kijiji here)?  Lower bound on the going rate here is $20/hr (for independent work), about 2x min wage. 

Also agreed with the above regarding friends - people are social creatures, even introverts.  Without some relationships, you will probably have a hard life.  Work provides some of this interaction.  Hobbies and meet ups are another good source.

11ducks

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 575
  • Location: Duckville, Australia
Re: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2015, 07:21:46 PM »
I'm not going to address what you specifically asked about, partly because I know nothing about cars, self-publishing, and engineering, partly because I think you'll be in a great financial position regardless, but mostly because my main concern is the below quote:

Quote
Liabilities
Absolutely none; not even a girlfriend; not even friends, for that matter

I suggest focusing on developing some interpersonal relationships. Thinking of a girlfriend and friends as liabilities, even as a joke, could lead to a very lonely, miserly life.

Ok, one comment on #2: do not tie in the MMM brand without consulting with the man behind the brand first.

This is what I noticed too! Pretty sad.

From what you've said, it seems your decision to move out is fairly sudden, and being based on recent disagreements. I would argue your most sensible course of action is to apologise (where needed), swallow your pride and stay at home until you graduate. This will allow you to save up a stash, and spend more time looking for the perfect post-school living situation.   

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28430
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2015, 07:50:38 PM »
Probably enough people have jumped on that one comment that may have been a joke (even a poor one).  No need to pile on any more.
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

mxt0133

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1551
  • Location: San Francisco
Re: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2015, 12:26:04 AM »
I'll reiterate what other have said about some of the values of working for the "man."  I can see how reading this forum and others about early retirement lead one to get the impression that work is the same as prison with golden handcuffs but not all jobs are like that.  For me I liked my old jobs for the most part when I was younger.  I had no clue what I wanted to do and a company was willing to hire me as an intern that didn't know shit to basically learn on the job.  I made friends that I would never have be able to make because my social circle at the time only consisted of college and old high school friends.  I was able to travel for work conferences which I was able to use as scouting trips for future personal trips.

So can a job totally suck sure it can, but it can totally rock as well.  For the most part it falls somewhere in between.  Unless you are burning to do something else like most artists feel about their form of art, then a job for someone out of college that doesn't know too much about the world, isn't the worst thing I can think of.  I would recommend you to talk to people in the industry.  Ask your professors if they know someone willing to talk to you about the industry as a possible mentor or just a one time conversation.  It will give you a better idea on what you can really expect instead of forming this dreaded picture of you being in Dilbert cartoon.

You're young you will grow and you attitudes will change.  I wouldn't make any drastic life decisions so quick.

former player

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6668
  • Location: Avalon
Re: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2015, 01:04:51 AM »
From what you've said, it seems your decision to move out is fairly sudden, and being based on recent disagreements. I would argue your most sensible course of action is to apologise (where needed), swallow your pride and stay at home until you graduate. This will allow you to save up a stash, and spend more time looking for the perfect post-school living situation.
Although staying at home would probably be cheaper, I'm not convinced it is necessarily best.  19 years old is a fine age to start leaving home.  And a semester of college provides a great environment in which to start the move away from home - its a start to looking after yourself which is coupled with familiar surroundings and organised daytime activities.  It's possibly the best way to step away from a protective home into the big wide world, and works for college students all over the world.

I have no idea whether apologies and swallowing pride is required at all: I would hope not.  As long a relationship of some sort can be maintained (a complete break in a family is a sad thing, and moving out may even be what saves this from happening), I see nothing wrong with OP moving out with head held high.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3054
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2015, 04:39:36 AM »
The title seems more like an aspirational affirmation than a realization. That's fine, but get a job with your engineering degree. Engineering jobs are excellent jobs.

marty998

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7280
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Re: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2015, 05:19:38 AM »
$7.50 an hour tutoring university physics?

Fuck me. People over your side of the ocean are paying tens of thousands for their degrees and you earn $7.50 an hour for tutoring them. Where does all the money that they pay go?

Come to Australia. A casual university tutor in physics, maths, chemistry, engineering will earn $40 an hour as a minimum, rising to $75 an hour for evening classes.

At least we know where our money goes that we pay for degrees (to the pockets of academics). What excuse do the American colleges have?

melluvia

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 19
Re: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2015, 06:40:37 AM »
I moved out of my parents house and in with roommates in college too. Best decision I've ever made. (I know what you mean about helicopter parents). A lot all decisions can be about money, and some change your mind frame in a way that will allow you to make more in the long run. If you like tutoring so much, but you have an engineering degree can you look into teaching or an education oriented path? I would say at least give an engineering job a try. It will be good experience so that if down the road you need to go back for some reason you'll have some time under you, and some (hopefully good) references. As for synthesizing information from MMM into a book, you have to be careful. You have to truly make it your own or maybe make it specific to a certain population (college students/recent grads?) If you like writing have you thought about starting your own blog first? That's often how writers build the fanbase to which they launch their ebooks. Also get some friends! Join a club or ask someone out. You need meaningful relationships to truly be happy. Good roommates will help you meet new people too. Good luck!

asiljoy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 408
Re: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2015, 07:21:15 AM »
SLOW DOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWN.

Seriously.

As someone who has been there, burn out is a thing. When I was your age (oye, am I really old enough to say stuff like that??), I took a similar route and burned out in a spectacular fashion and not just because I was working too hard, which I was. In high school, I skipped my junior and senior year to take PSEO classes and graduated with an AA at the same time as my diploma, which meant I could finish my BA when I was a sophomore even having to take extra classes to fill out a double major and start my masters the following year(I did it at this pace to save money. PSEO classes were free and anything about 13 credits at my 4 year were free too). By the time that came around, all the hoop jumping that comes with college, the lack of a social life, and seeing behind the curtain at the life of a grad student just made it all seem... blah. I flamed out. Nothing seemed interesting anymore and I didn't follow through with that plan.

But I had several more years of intense schooling a head of me... you seem like you're almost at the golden ticket? My suggestion would be to take a deep breath and stop thinking 367 steps ahead (it's hard, I get it, I do that too). Take the time to think of 10 positive things about your internship/about what you've learned in school. Go into it with an open mind and accept that some of it's going to be boring; the bottom rung always is. But take advantage of the connections you'll gain in your internship. Take older co-workers / manager/ anyone who'll say yes out to coffee and pick their brains, learn their stories; ask them what they love or what they'd do different. Since you're an intern, this is actually probably something they're expecting or at least be more open to than if you were just a pure colleague. This kind of information is gold and it'll give you better insight into if Engineering is for you than just your impressions of one internship.


HairyUpperLip

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 896
Re: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2015, 07:25:25 AM »
What does helicopter parents mean?

Anatidae V

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7653
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Fourecks
  • Nullus Anxietas
Re: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2015, 07:27:19 AM »
$7.50 an hour tutoring university physics?

Fuck me. People over your side of the ocean are paying tens of thousands for their degrees and you earn $7.50 an hour for tutoring them. Where does all the money that they pay go?

Come to Australia. A casual university tutor in physics, maths, chemistry, engineering will earn $40 an hour as a minimum, rising to $75 an hour for evening classes.

At least we know where our money goes that we pay for degrees (to the pockets of academics). What excuse do the American colleges have?
While the tutoring rate paid by uni's is better here, it's closer to $20/hr. The $40/hr is for finding your own people to tutor. It shouldn't be too hard, is there a communal area you can put up posters?

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8202
  • Location: United States
Re: Reader Case Study - So now I'm an Adult
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2015, 07:42:21 AM »
$7.50 an hour tutoring university physics?

Fuck me. People over your side of the ocean are paying tens of thousands for their degrees and you earn $7.50 an hour for tutoring them. Where does all the money that they pay go?

Come to Australia. A casual university tutor in physics, maths, chemistry, engineering will earn $40 an hour as a minimum, rising to $75 an hour for evening classes.


That stood out as crazy to me. You are getting screwed.  High level tutors when I was in college made $50-$75 an hour (the services charged $100-$150 for private tutoring, or $20 per hour for "class tutoring" with like 20 other people.)

Heck- even something like Princeton Review for test prep tutoring makes $30 an hour (and this was 2002), and all you need to qualify for that was decent test scores and the ability to recite their pre-planned lessons (no creativity allowed).  Get out of this cheap ass physics tutoring and get somewhere that will pay you better!