Author Topic: Sabbaticals on your way to FIRE  (Read 2508 times)

Regulatorr

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Sabbaticals on your way to FIRE
« on: August 04, 2016, 07:14:16 PM »
I spent my all of my 20s in school. Six months before my 30th birthday got my PhD in a hard science and started my first job in industry. I was very fortunate to have found MMM and the FIRE movement right around that time, so my wife and I have tried as best we can to avoid too much lifestyle inflation.  We are doing pretty well, making about 110k combined, but even with our current savings rate, I estimate ~15 years at the very earliest that we could FIRE. That's assuming we live like we are living right at this moment (kids may be in our future, along with a house to fit them in), but I guess this also assumes no pay increases, which I dont want to absolutely count on.

I was listening to this podcast the other day and the subject was about taking extended breaks from work.

http://wheretheressmoke.libsyn.com/plunge-into-nothing-breaks

The man the host interviewed advocated for 4 years working with 1 year sabbaticals on a 5 year cycle. This got me really excited because this approach offers some relief from work while still in the accumulation phase. I am actually loving my job and couldnt be happier with the location at the moment, but 10+  years of intense school and now work has left me with a strong desire to just get away from it all and just take a BREAK.

Has anyone considered or implemented this technique before as a compromise to the all-in nature of standard FIRE? I've been thinking that 8-10 years in my field (while im still enjoying it) would give me solid enough experience that taking a 1 year sabbatical wouldnt be a problem to a future employer in addition to saving enough money that I wouldnt have to stress about it until I found my next source of income. After that Id probably want to be on the 4-1 schedule. Until im totaly FIREd. I am also a very curious and optimistic person and have been thinking about all the new skills and people I could meet on a 1 year sabbatical that would lead me down a whole new road/career in life.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2016, 07:15:52 PM by Regulatorr »

arebelspy

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Re: Sabbaticals on your way to FIRE
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2016, 09:01:29 AM »
There have been quite a few discussions on this idea on the forums, if you do a search.

If I had to do it over again, we'd be taking more breaks, and shift into a semi-ER earlier.

As far as your plan, you should be able to FIRE in 15 years, and you say you'll work 8-9, then want a break every 5.  It seems reasonable to take a break after about a decade, when you're 2/3 of the way to FIRE.  At that point you can reevaluate options (semi-ER, new field, back to the same, etc.)  Downshifting to part time work at that point to let the FIRE stache grow untouched until it hits full FIRE without any more contributions is a pretty sweet deal, IMO.

More money gives you more options.  Hopefully you're in a field/job you enjoy, so the decade will be of work you enjoy, rather than loathe.

Either way, you can get the bulk of your ER savings done here in your 30s, and look at next steps when you're ready to cross that bridge.  I probably wouldn't be planning for a sabbatical 5-10 years out, as it will make work seem like a slog in the meantime, personally.

Good luck!
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Metric Mouse

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Re: Sabbaticals on your way to FIRE
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2016, 10:09:00 AM »
Lots of discussion on this topic.  I personally worked straight through to FIRE, but can't see how breaks would be a bad thing.  The math usually works out, and if you use those breaks to job hop and increase income, it would probably work even better.

And kids and a house have little impact on FIRE, if on keeps their expectations and expenses in check.

forummm

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Re: Sabbaticals on your way to FIRE
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2016, 06:48:36 PM »
I'm thinking about taking one. I would only do it for about 3 months though. If I take a new job in the next couple months (somewhat likely) I won't have the chance. But if I stick with my current gig, I'll ask for the 3 months just to help me move towards a better attitude. I'm pretty sick of everything. I might have only another year or to before I quit for good.


FLBiker

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Re: Sabbaticals on your way to FIRE
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2016, 01:31:06 PM »
Downshifting to part time work at that point to let the FIRE stache grow untouched until it hits full FIRE without any more contributions is a pretty sweet deal, IMO.

I'm thinking about this.  We've got ~$500K, with a goal of $1.2M.  Once DW is back at work (next fall) I figure we'll be in pretty good shape after a couple more years.

Re: OP, I'm definitely pro not "overworking" on the way to FIRE.  I spent my 20s living overseas (working ~25 hours a week) and going to grad school.  I didn't start working 40 hours a week until I was 30.  Personally, that worked out for me -- being tied down to a job was more palatable in my 30s, as I was settling down in other ways too -- got married, bought a house, had a kid.

And I like the gap year idea but, personally, I don't think it would work for me, unless I was using it to transition to PT work.  Because I was at my current employer during a time of great change, I've been able to create a role for myself that is somewhat unique in my field.  If I left and had to find another job, I don't think I could find anything quite like it.  So my plan is to return to teaching at some point in the next few years (getting more time off in exchange for less money) at which point taking a year off would be much more feasible.

Christiana

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Re: Sabbaticals on your way to FIRE
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2016, 04:23:36 PM »
There is more than one way to do a sabbatical. The primary elements are (1) taking a break from striving to "get ahead", (2) thinking about where you have been and where you are going next, and (3) resting, which could be either inactivity or a change in activity. It is possible to fit these things around a day job. Also, some employers are willing to consider changing an employee's work assignments for a period of time.