Author Topic: Should I quit?  (Read 7912 times)

mmmline12

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Should I quit?
« on: October 26, 2014, 06:56:36 PM »
First, I understand that there are so many personal factors involved in decisions like this that it's almost silly to ask for advice. Nevertheless, I'm hoping to get some outside perspective.

Here's my story:

I'm 33. My wife is 34. We have a 10 month old baby boy.

We live and work abroad. We moved abroad for my wife's work. I work remotely from home for a US company. We both work in tech. I've held my position for 10 years. My entire package amounts to about $145k/year. Unless we move back to the city in which my company is based, and we won't be doing that, that's about what my earning potential is in my position. My wife earns about $250k/year and has opportunity to earn a fair amount more in coming years.

My wife is currently very happy in her job. I am not. I'm a combination of stressed out, burnt out, overwhelmed and bored.

I am very interested in the MMM lifestyle. I've been reading Jacob's ERE and MMM from the very beginning. My wife is on board in some respects, but really, in the end, she'd like to be able to spend $100k/year or more. She understands all of the tradeoffs intellectually, but for various reasons, wrong or right, would prefer to be "rich". That said, she might able to be brought around eventually.

Our net worth is about $750k. About $500k in taxable accounts and $250k in retirement accounts. If we keep doing what we're doing we're on track to hit $1 million (which has the been the number we've had in mind and been working toward for years now) in about a year and a half.

I'd love to quit my job, take some time off, get in shape, regroup, do some things I've always wanted to do, etc., and then maybe start thinking about starting my own business and provide an exit strategy for my wife. (I have no idea at the moment what kind of business I'd start.) My wife is in full support and encourages me to do it daily. "Just quit!" But it feels ridiculously indulgent, what with her continuing to work and us just having a baby.

The reasons I haven't pulled the trigger involves things like fear of lost earnings, fear of letting people down, fear of not being able to start my own successful business, fear of not providing for family. The usual fear based stuff.

I'm an INTJ and very practically minded, so even if it "feels" as if it's the right decision I can come up with good reasons why I should just put my head down and carry on - grin and bear it - at least for another couple years.

If you were in my shoes, what would you do?

Thanks to everyone in advance for your thoughts, and let me know if you have any questions.


Exflyboy

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2014, 07:05:22 PM »
well the bottom line is this..

If you can get away with spending $40k a year or less then $1M stash will do it.. Not including the house of course if you don't intend to sell it.

If your Wife insists she needs $100k then that means you need $2.5M plus the house.

If you can compromise than you will need something in between.

You have a VERY healthy income between you, so if you can't stand your job look for something else, although I'd have to say there arn't too many jobs at $145k or above unless they happen to be in high COL areas.

Hard to say what I would do.. I certainly wouldn't quit.. but sure look for another job, why not.

Frank

surfhb

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2014, 07:31:06 PM »
Heck yeah you should.    You have no consumer debt right?  Car payments?   Student loans? Get those gone then quit

With an infant you'll be busy.   How do you raise the child now both working FT?

You're still saving well over %50 of your income so by the time the kids are bigger you'll be set.   You're a very fortunate man my friend!! :)

To put it in perspective, with your wife's salary I would only have to work 3 years in her position to be able to retire.....pretty impressive !     I congratulate you and your wife for you're hard work

Out of curiosity, what type of business do you want to start
« Last Edit: October 26, 2014, 07:47:37 PM by surfhb »

mmmline12

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2014, 08:16:33 PM »
So one vote no, and one vote yes.

Exflyboy:

We don't own a home. We've always rented.

Yes, I'm afraid we'll probably need something in between, or close to the $2.5 million mark to make everyone happy. So while we're still relatively young, she's making a good earning herself, and me starting a business could really pay off in the end, it's difficult to walk away from the (more or less) sure thing I have. My entire income is going straight to Vanguard each paycheck. It's tough to say goodbye to that.

surfhb:

No consumer debt. (Never had any.) No student loan debt. (Paid it off - $50k.) No car payments. We paid cash for the one we have (7 year old hatchback).

Baby's been in full-time childcare since 6 months old, after my wife's maternity leave ended. It's very expensive where we live - $110/day. If I were to quit, childcare would probably still continue. While I love the little guy, and while I understand this sounds a little terrible, quitting to become a stay-at-home dad isn't what I'm interested in. It would be about first taking some time for myself. Like most people, I really haven't had a break since I left for college at 18. And then it would be about spending all my time trying to get a business off the ground. Both of these things would be very difficult with a toddler running around. And besides, he seems to love the daycare, and we appreciate the social benefits he receives there. But still, the cost!

Type of business? I've got a few ideas, all internet-based. I'm also interested in learning more about owning/operating rental properties. I have no experience with that, however.

Thank you for your thoughts.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2014, 08:20:32 PM by mmmline12 »

retired?

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2014, 08:40:07 PM »
what does your wife think?  I might have missed that.

And, what is INTJ?

Seems to me that you could do it.  That is an incredible income.  I think that, if you plan to return to the U.S. then you could explain having taken the time off.  Young child, overseas, etc.

btw - do you work from home or in an overseas office?  It might be good to take a deep breath and perhaps 4-6 weeks off and then keep on trucking.  i.e. Perhaps it is a temporary feeling of being overwhelmed or unhappy.

mozar

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2014, 08:40:53 PM »
If it was two years from now, what do you want to be looking back on? Two years of utter misery or taking a risk? It takes about five years to get established in something from scratch. Do you have your own start up funds ready to go? As an introvert I can tell you that introversion is very positive for starting a business, because introverts have good listening skills, and are perceptive.

My story is that I started a business once. It was very successful for two years and I realized I was burnt out because running a start up takes so many hours. So I just do full time regular job now. Can you start your business part time while you are working to see if its viable? It doesn't have to be either/or.

surfhb

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2014, 09:06:09 PM »
I'd say quit. I can give two good reasons

(1) There is no need to continue being miserable if you don't have to be. Your wife wants you to quit, and she earns enough money, so why not? There is no strictly financial reason that you have to keep working.

(2) You can always go back to work in 1-3 years if nothing works out. You are still young and your skills and contacts are not going to disappear. If you find the need to go back to work in the same field within the next 5 years that shouldn't be a problem.

The main concern I would have is: How will this affect your marriage?

(1) Are both you and your wife totally comfortable with the idea of her carrying the sole burden of financially supporting the family?

(2) Are there agreed expectations of how your contributions to the family should change once you quit? (e.g. would you do more of the house work than before or take charge of certain things that your wife is currently doing)

(3) Would you or your wife feel that you're not "carrying your weight" and contributing to the functioning of the family unit if you didn't have a steady paycheck?

If these questions were addressed then I would consider myself very lucky and quit immediately.

In many ways you've hit the jackpot: being able to early retire while still having security of the income stream tied to a large paycheck coming in. Many people would like to have that option. I would recommend that you take advantage of it (while being properly appreciative to your spouse of course).

This is interesting.   On point #1,  would you be asking that if the gender tables were turned?   

To the OP:   I was figuring you would become a FT dad.    Are you sure your wife supports all this?   I mean, were all stressed, burned out and bored with our jobs.  :).   Btw....I haven't had a break either since I was 18 and I'm 45 :)  Personally I would not be comfortable with this situation but that's just me.   Hope you can cook because your wife deserves 3or 4 course meals when she gets home. Lol

What happens if you become the same person with your own business?   
« Last Edit: October 26, 2014, 09:24:28 PM by surfhb »

mmmline12

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2014, 09:20:30 PM »
retired?:

My wife is supportive.

INTJ refers to a personality type.

I work from home. I've gotten used to it, and would prefer to never have to go into an office again. Hence either continuing doing what I'm doing, or starting my own thing that allows me to define how the business operates.

mozar:

Two years from now? It's tough to say. If I took the risk and quit, it could be two years of feeling like a deadbeat, being unable to get a business going, and disappointment. Or it could be the best decision I ever make for myself and my family. Staying, on the other hand, is the enemy I know, and things could improve.

Some of the funds we have, and money we are currently earning and saving, could be used for the start up. We haven't defined what we'd be comfortable investing. Whatever the case, it would likely be a bootstrapping venture for some time.

I'm not sure I have the bandwidth to do both my full-time job and get something else going on the side, but yes, that's a possibility.

rweba:

Great questions/insights.

How will it affect the marriage? My wife and I have discussed this at length. Long story short, while it is one of my concerns, I think we could make it work. On the flip side, one of the reasons I'm considering quitting is that with my current work I'm often on edge, unhappy, no fun to be around, and on my worst days maybe bordering on something like depression. Our marriage is solid but I can imagine a few more years of this taking its toll on both of us.

Thanks again.

surfhb:

Yeah, the fact that we're all stressed, burned out and bored with our jobs is one of the arguments I have for NOT quitting. It's not like mine is a unique case in that regard. The question is whether I'm in a position to do something about it, and whether it's a smart move or not.

Oh, I'm sure I'd end up picking up some of the housework slack, including cooking meals. But I tend to do that already since I work from home.

Yes, I could end up being the same sometimes miserable person with my own business as I am now. This is another argument against quitting - that the problem is with my outlook, that I simply need to be grateful, reframe things, and so forth. That it's about how I see things rather than how they appear to be. Maybe that's right. I don't know.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2014, 09:22:31 PM by mmmline12 »

mm1970

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2014, 09:28:42 PM »
Hmmm...can you cut your hours?

My first thought is damn, what industry are you in, because I'm 10 years older and make less, and in tech.  Sheesh.

Anyway, I'm risk averse, when I was feeling overwhelmed (when I had my 2 kids), I switched to part time for 1.5 years with #1 and 1 year with #2.  I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

When I was working PT I was still using FT childcare.  So I worked 6 hours a day but had 8 hours of childcare.  Commute time was an hour (did drop off and pick up) and used lunch break to work out.

May be a way to ease yourself into the idea.

mmmline12

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2014, 09:45:07 PM »
mm1970:

I've considered that too. It might be a possibility.

Yes, we're really fortunate, and I don't want to unnecessarily squander it.

Malaysia41

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2014, 10:10:51 PM »
$110 a day for child care are you freaking kidding me?  $550 a week?  Nearly $30k per year? 

I'm like you in many ways: living overseas, was working a tech job from home with similar income (but not FT - I was 32 hrs a week), and hating it. 

Unlike you, a motivation for lowering my hours initially was to spend more time with my kid.  That factored into my decision to leave my job too.  Given what you've said, I'm wondering why you have a child. But perhaps that's too personal a thing to ask about.

I recently FIREd and I have to say that so far it's a mixed bag.   If you are miserable now, there's no guarantee you'll be emitting rays of happy sunshine if you leave your job.  I recommend coming up with a solid plan for what you'll do once you quit.  Obviously give yourself some time off to be lazy, but then get to work. 

While I'm able to enjoy whole days of doing nothing in particular, I feel pretty lousy if I'm not making progress toward a goal.  So, what I do is make myself 'work' 3 hours a day on a book - this must include writing 700 words.  Right now I'm writing on your journal totally procrastinating and feel kinda shitty for it, so I'll wrap up now.   

Best of luck! 

urbanista

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2014, 11:04:46 PM »
$110 a day for child care are you freaking kidding me?  $550 a week?  Nearly $30k per year?   

This is Australia, baby :)) (ooops, have I just revealed a secret?)

Anyway, that's what a foreigner would pay in Australia for child care. Locals pay the same less $7500 annual rebate per child.

If it is Australia, I can see how your wife would want to spend $100K a year while living here. We spend about $40K. Add rent ($30K) and child care ($30K) and you have arrived at $100K.

mmmline12

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2014, 11:06:53 PM »
Malaysia41:

We've been doing 4 days a week instead of 5, and the center is closed for 4 weeks a year, so it works out to about $21k/year. If you're a resident a good chunk of that is covered by the state (er, the tax payers), but not for us.

We wanted to have a child for the same reasons most people do. I'll just add that I don't believe both parents need to want to be with the child 24/7 in order to want to have one. And I can guarantee that many people that think they want to be with their children all of the time change their minds quickly once they try it! In any case, one of our goals is to be able to spend more time with the little one, especially once he's a bit older. Long summer RV trips and European vacations are in the plans...

I'm not interested in sitting around doing nothing either. I'd go out of my mind. I'd keep my self busy and productive, no doubt.

scrubbyfish

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2014, 11:36:47 PM »
I say quit :)    In a heartbeat! So much money, wife's support of the decision, your emotional state, yep.

If I took the risk and quit, it could be two years of feeling like a deadbeat, being unable to get a business going, and disappointment.

Even if you don't create a successful business within two years -and most people don't- that wouldn't mean you'd been a deadbeat. It would mean you spent two years learning, practicing, testing the waters, finding out (more of) what you're good at and what your weaknesses are (and where you would, thus, need to hire support). Those are all excellent explorations/foundations for future business success.

I would propose the reframe is not about getting happy in your job if it's no longer a fit, but rather in regards to what becoming an entrepreneur is and involves. It's not always instant or early cash flow. The potential benefits are not only financial, but those of joy, learning, growing, and subsequently landing somewhere happier than you were in the Job-Job you left.

This said, I would also propose that you would have some responsibilities such as:

-legitimately working full-time on entrepreneurship OR filling in some of the gap hours cooking and cleaning for your family
-being super responsible with your guys' family income, to counter some of the effects of stepping out of a Job-Job
-supporting your wife's freedom to spend the higher amounts she feels the need to (i.e., being mindful not to reign her stated needs in just because you opted out of a Job)
-maintaining some work-life balance, i.e., making sure you are about as available to your wife and child as you are currently (i.e., don't drown yourself in entrepreneurship at the risk of the relationships); this can feel tricky in entrepreneurship but it's important
-testing the waters (your skills, your endurance, etc) with a low-cost start-up rather than a high-cost one (there are books on the former)
-being willing to call it if something's not working, and move on to another project OR another Job-Job

That kind of thing. So, not just throwing caution to the wind and experimenting mindlessly, for example. (I don't think you would do that, lol.)

I always hope that people in a position to be free will take it! Dreams, happiness, self-actualization, contributions not necessarily attached to financial rewards, etc.

mmmline12

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2014, 11:52:27 PM »
scrubbyfish:

Thank you (and everyone else!) for taking the time to write up such a thoughtful response to an anonymous, wannabe Mustachian. Great advice. Really appreciated. Cheers.

frugal_c

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2014, 08:20:41 PM »
If I was in your shoes I would stick it out for the $1M mark.  I am a sucker for large even numbers.   Not saying that's what you should do, but if I was that close that is how I would play it.

I don't know exactly what you have in mind for a business but my experience is that a 6-figure salary is easier & less stressful than a comparable low capital investment business.  Of course you are kind of stuck at that salary range while in theory you can grow the business to multiples of that 6-figure salary.  I just find there is less stress with a salary job, and my job definitely does have stress.  Again, just my opinion.

So my basic thinking is that I would want the money set aside first and then I would quit.   You don't really need to, your wife makes more than enough that you could quit tomorrow but you just never know what will happen.   I would just feel more comfortable and would enjoy my "retirement" more knowing that I don't have to go back if I don't want to.

Schaefer Light

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2014, 02:03:22 PM »
If my wife made $250k per year, I'd walk into my boss's office and quit right now ;).  And I'd be on the golf course in about 15 minutes.  Of course, it helps that my wife and I are okay with a $40k per year budget.

BlueHouse

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2014, 07:36:25 PM »
I think you should wait until you have a pretty good idea of what you want to do next. Being at home with nothing to do for an extended period can lead to depression. And then if you hit some arbitrary time limit when you feel you should have had the next step figured out already can lead to more stress.
So I would try to figure out some of the unknowns before I quit.

Best of luck to you.

Zamboni

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2014, 07:54:21 PM »
What is the maximum amount of time off you can take from your job right now?  Can you 6-8 weeks off, then decide?

Child care is also not an all or nothing proposition, usually, even at the nicer places.  You don't have to be a full time SAHD to enjoy a day or two more a week just hanging out with the little guy for boy time.  Something to think about. 

mmmline12

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2014, 01:17:24 AM »
Thanks for all the added comments and advice.

My wife and are still trying to decide what we want to do. I'll update this thread when we've come to some kind of conclusion and know which direction we're going to take. Thanks again.

markbrynn

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Re: Should I quit?
« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2014, 06:29:51 AM »
I think a discussion of retirement goals is in order. If OP "retires" (quits job) now and wife works for about 10 years, then they can probably get to 2.5 million and everyone is happy (assuming reasonable appreciation of the current 750k and additional savings each year). If wife is happy to work that long, then you only need to figure out what you're going to do in those 10 years.

Personally, I think a lot of people on these forums get very uptight about who's working and who's not in a relationship. If the overall harmony of the family is improved by OP quitting his job and doing whatever (including wife's happiness), then what does it matter who is earning how much and for how long.

[Note: I don't say this idly either. My wife has not worked for several years (and was also not a SAHM until recently). We decided that, given all the various parameters of our life, it would be better for her not to work. She was stressed at her previous job. My job pays well. She could put extra effort into household issues, but she could also just enjoy life. Why not? I love her and we're on our way to ER. I would rather delay that a bit than have my wife be stressed out every day.]

For OP, I think the biggest issue is this dynamic with his wife. Not everybody is happy to work while their partner plays. In addition, the reverse from the old fashioned 'man provides/woman keeps the house' should not be underestimated. We might all be liberated and equal-minded, but we are not immune to the pressures of family, friends, etc.

So, my belief: if both parties are fully on board and are comfortable dealing with awkward questions, then go for it. As mentioned above, I wouldn't even worry about this business you're talking about starting. That's just society talking in your ear about your need to be productive and contribute. If you (collectively) have enough money, then find something to do that makes all of you happier, not something that might make you more money.