Author Topic: Short road or scenic route to FI?  (Read 4523 times)

BCherie

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Short road or scenic route to FI?
« on: June 25, 2014, 08:00:41 PM »
I'm fairly new to this community, but have always had a fairly frugal mindset.  MMM showed me how close I am to FI... But now I'm wondering if a longer road might be more desirable.

Married, 2 kids under 3, 2 income family.  High income + low expenses = about 5 years to FI.  Better yet, we both actually like our jobs.

Great, right?  But, we both work more than we'd like, which means our kids spend more waking hours at daycare than with us.  We are frazzled and tired.  We don't work like ibankers (or plenty of NYC'ers), but MMM has shown us all we are missing out on as wage slaves & we are anxious to make a change.

So, we could both quit tomorrow & get lower pace, lower paid jobs - but we would probably cut our pay by 35-50%, while tripling our path to FI.  (And we likely could not reconsider & return to high paying work.). My question is more philosophical than practical: should I pay for future freedom with current long hours at work, or should I prioritize the here & now - on the income side, not through wasteful spending - knowing it will cost me additional years in the cube? 

Looking forward to Mustachian thoughts.  Don't feel like I cam discuss this with anyone IRL.

Rezdent

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Re: Short road or scenic route to FI?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2014, 08:39:00 PM »
Some coworkers of mine who are higher performers have been able to negotiate different hours so that they and their spouses can alternate more kid-time.  They get to stay in the game and see more of their kids.Is there any possibility of one or both of you being able to negotiate at the current job?  Maybe not TODAY but within the next year?

MDM

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Re: Short road or scenic route to FI?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2014, 08:43:41 PM »
What about not working as many hours at your current jobs?  Similar to Rezdent's idea (and that is a viable path), but the suggestion here is "just do it".

By your "high income" statement, I'm inferring that you have followed the traditional "work harder, get better ratings, get more pay" path, work more than 40 hr/week, etc.  Nothing wrong with that - except if it is now not what you want.

You might have to accept lower ratings, and lower rates of pay increase, but just working a 40 hour week could give you more of what you want.  If you are planning to leave in 5 years anyway, so what if you fall off the track to CEO?

BCherie

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Re: Short road or scenic route to FI?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2014, 08:45:27 PM »
Yes, that's a possibility - but would likely involve a minimum 25% pay cut, so would still involve some sacrafice of the FI game plan.  Maybe its worth it?  (I do see my kids 3-4 hrs per day, not counting night waking, so I know have it ok for a working stiff.... But I could use some more sleep!)

BCherie

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Re: Short road or scenic route to FI?
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2014, 08:48:03 PM »
@MDM, we often say we are gonna do that... And then suddenly we are working into the wee hours again! Maybe just need some accountability to stay the course & not return to 60+ hour weeks.

MDM

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Re: Short road or scenic route to FI?
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2014, 09:59:29 PM »
@MDM, we often say we are gonna do that... And then suddenly we are working into the wee hours again! Maybe just need some accountability to stay the course & not return to 60+ hour weeks.
In the OP you note "we both work more than we'd like".  Here's where it gets tough: in the end, you do what you want to do.  So...do you actually want to work less, or is that merely the "socially acceptable" thing to say while your actions speak otherwise?

If you both really do want to change, you have a built-in support network: each other.  Make a plan (e.g., "leave the laptop/business phone/etc. at work"; bedtime is 10:30PM; etc.) and help each other stick to it.  Again, in the end you will do what you want to do (aka "actions speak louder than words").

Good luck!

boarder42

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Re: Short road or scenic route to FI?
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2014, 02:58:52 AM »
If you're five years from FI. More than likely taking a 20% pay cut will only add 1-3 years to retirement. You take off Mondays your wife Fridays. And now you reduce daycare expense by 40% and you spend more time with your kids as well as some alone time with them. If my wife and I ever have kids this is the path we would likely take

shotgunwilly

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Re: Short road or scenic route to FI?
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2014, 07:52:09 AM »
If you're five years from FI. More than likely taking a 20% pay cut will only add 1-3 years to retirement. You take off Mondays your wife Fridays. And now you reduce daycare expense by 40% and you spend more time with your kids as well as some alone time with them. If my wife and I ever have kids this is the path we would likely take

This is a really good idea.  Daycare is expensive, and although you may cut 20% of your salaries by one taking a monday off, and one a friday, the savings in daycare will help offset that.  PLUS you get more quality time with the kiddos.  This seems like the path that I would choose if you could work it out with your employer.

Of course, this is assuming you only work monday-friday...

Allen

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Re: Short road or scenic route to FI?
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2014, 03:53:21 PM »
Start working 40 hours at your current job.

yes, I know everyone expects you to work 60+, yes I know everyone else you work with works 60+.

Do 40 anyway.

You may find, it's OK and no one cares and you regain some work/life balance and keep the high income.  Win/Win

You may find, it's not OK and you get in trouble.  This will take awhile before you are fired or something, and you get more money. Then get a new job.  Lose/Win.  You would still be employable at the lower rates.

You could potentially not sacrifice anything; that is worth the risk in my humble opinion.  I'm making the presumption the work/life balance is more important than the early FI, so if you decide that, try to hang onto the high income as long as you can while still restoring work/life balance.  Maybe you can have it all.

mozar

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Re: Short road or scenic route to FI?
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2014, 05:00:39 PM »
I vote for waiting 5 years. Children get more fun as they get older. It's easier to find quality daycare then guide them through adolescence. Maybe cut working hard to 3 years, them move to a low COL area.

Malaysia41

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Re: Short road or scenic route to FI?
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2014, 05:10:22 PM »
Start working 40 hours at your current job.

yes, I know everyone expects you to work 60+, yes I know everyone else you work with works 60+.

Do 40 anyway.

You may find, it's OK and no one cares and you regain some work/life balance and keep the high income.  Win/Win

You may find, it's not OK and you get in trouble.  This will take awhile before you are fired or something, and you get more money. Then get a new job.  Lose/Win.  You would still be employable at the lower rates.

You could potentially not sacrifice anything; that is worth the risk in my humble opinion.  I'm making the presumption the work/life balance is more important than the early FI, so if you decide that, try to hang onto the high income as long as you can while still restoring work/life balance.  Maybe you can have it all.

+1

You will find you get more respect the more you say no to projects because you are already at full-bandwidth (40 hrs per week).  I reduced my hours years ago to 32 hours/wk and it was a great excuse for saying no to projects outside of my area of responsibility.  It probably hurt my career path but who cares?  I got to spend time with my son after school and am FI now.   

YoungInvestor

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Re: Short road or scenic route to FI?
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2014, 05:35:57 PM »
Cutting your net salary by 50% may not make the road as long as you may think. Particularly as you might cut daycare costs and your investment income should be the same regardless of what you do.

BCherie

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Re: Short road or scenic route to FI?
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2014, 07:25:35 AM »
These are all really good thoughts.  Thanks, guys!  Unfortunately, going 80% (ie 4 day schedule) would be a 35% paycut.  Doesn't foreclose the possibility, just saying.  Also, no way to save on day care.  Ours is heavily subsidized - we probably pay 40% of what most people pay (and 25% or less compared to a nanny).  Still a good thought on the balance front. 

It sounds like most of yall would be inclined to defer FI slightly in favor of a better lifestyle.  Surprising to me in this crowd, but worth hearing.

Also appreciate the point about bring honest with myself about what I want.  Step 1 is to find a way to slow down (without leaving the job) and make it stick.  Yes, I enjoy my job and could do it around the clock - but its impacting my health & happiness, so regardless of whether I "want" to burn the midnight oil, it needs to stop.

Thanks everyone!