Author Topic: Thoughts on quitting job and pursuing FIRE on a one-income household (no kids)?  (Read 2870 times)

Slicey

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Hey all,

Iíve been a lurker on the forums and blog for a while, but Iíve been battling a huge dilemma, so Iíve finally made an account and decided to post to get some Mustachian opinions on the financial aspect of this decision. Sorry for the long post ahead!

Iím currently 24 living with my boyfriend, 25, and we both have been working engineering jobs since graduating less than two years ago. Weíve never really been spendy people and were always keen on saving money, but it wasnít until about a year ago that we discovered the idea of FIRE, and since then, weíve been working on reducing our burn rate and striving towards early retirement and financial independence. I currently make 60k annually, and my boyfriend is at around 110k including bonuses. My net worth is currently 100k (around 23k in savings, 4k in taxable, the rest in tax-advantaged/retirement accounts). His is around 200k (around 20k in savings, 90k in taxable, and the rest in tax-advantaged accounts). We are renters and are debt-free.

The problem: Iíve been extremely stressed and miserable with the jobs Iíve worked in. Iíve already had three very different engineering roles at three different companies in my extremely short career thus far, hoping each time Iíll find something better if I try out a different job, but Iím quickly devolving into a more and more stressed and depressed state. I decided to stomach through and pursue a traditional 9-5 engineering career because it would be stable, and my parents would not permit me to study anything outside of engineering during college. I have been getting some side projects started, but being worn down daily from the job and the 2-2.5 hour daily commute I feel is holding me back from giving my all into my side projects or trying side businesses. It doesnít help that Iíve become a neurotic workaholic between spending 11 hours a day with my job + commute, using all evenings and weekends on my side projects, and then only getting 5 hours a day of sleep on weekdays.

After watching my mental and physical health decline, my boyfriend has been urging me to quit my job after we get married later this year and I get on his health insurance (weíre not very interested in a wedding, so minimal costs there). Iíve been desperately wanting to quit as well, but my risk-averse, Type A-personality self is direly warning me not to. The thought of quitting and losing the income is freaking me out, but at the same time, the thought of continuing to go this direction completely freaks me out too. The plan would be for me to take a few months off to recover and work on my health, then jump back into working on my side projects and trying out other hustles until I figure out where I want to take my career next (probably trying to work on my own business or doing some sort of self-employment). My boyfriend wants to start a side hustle down the line after he is finished with his online classes, so I would ideally be able to help out with his side business pursuits as well. Obviously, there are no guarantees with trying to start your own business or figuring out a self-employment gig, and I figure it may take a few years before I make any consistent, quantifiable income, so we would consider it a one-income household for a while.

Our combined monthly burn rate varies between $2,500 and $2,800 in a high cost of living area, but Iím guessing it would be on the lower end if I no longer work a normal day job, as Iíve been wanting to do more at-home cooking and work on trimming other parts of our spending. I know weíre probably going to be able to pay the bills just fine, and we wouldnít be homeless anytime soon living on his income alone, but I know itís going to put a huge drag on our savings rate with $60k less in income per year. Weíre not anywhere near 4% rule levels/FI with a combined $300k in net worth. I feel like weíre making good progress at our current rate, so I originally was thinking I would stick out this 9-5 engineering thing for several years until weíre closer to FI. But I donít know how much longer I can take it. At the same time, Iíd feel like itíd be a huge cop-out after only working for two years and a huge financial mistake in our journey of working towards FIRE. In the case that something does happen to my boyfriend or his job, I know I may need to go back to a 9-5 job, but I fear that if Iím not in a regular job for years, I will no longer be very marketable, especially with only two years of work experience on my resume (across three different very short engineering gigs). Should I stick it out for a couple more years to build more savings and not screw up my career after only two years of work experience?

I know the Moustachian community is generally risk-averse, as am I, but I donít know if Iím just needlessly freaking out about how this would affect our financial prospects and pursuit of FIRE. Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

happy

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If you have a nervous breakdown you won't be marketable either. I think BF is correct...quit once you are married. Take some time to heal, play defence for your household (lower costs), and work on your side hustles.

You haven't failed, you have a degree, and an engineering degree no less. The skills you have learnt will be invaluable for life.  Take some time and even consider career coaching to figure out what sort of work would suit you better. There is no shame in saying you tried, and it wasn't for me..

use2betrix

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What are your side hustles? How much are you making off them? Your work hours sound like a breeze compared to what Iím used to, and I also work in similar environments.

Unless your side hustles are bringing in major value, Iíd stop them and see how it is having every night and weekend free to enjoy what you want. You might find that having all that time on nights and weekends really gives you a chance to unwind.

If they are actually bringing in major value (most peoples side hustles I wouldnít find to be worthwhile cost vs benefit) then quit your job and continue on your profitable side hustles.

Slicey

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If you have a nervous breakdown you won't be marketable either. I think BF is correct...quit once you are married. Take some time to heal, play defence for your household (lower costs), and work on your side hustles.

You haven't failed, you have a degree, and an engineering degree no less. The skills you have learnt will be invaluable for life.  Take some time and even consider career coaching to figure out what sort of work would suit you better. There is no shame in saying you tried, and it wasn't for me..

Thanks for the encouraging words. Hopefully the specialized experience I've gained from my engineering degree and jobs can come to be of use elsewhere.

What are your side hustles? How much are you making off them? Your work hours sound like a breeze compared to what Iím used to, and I also work in similar environments.

Unless your side hustles are bringing in major value, Iíd stop them and see how it is having every night and weekend free to enjoy what you want. You might find that having all that time on nights and weekends really gives you a chance to unwind.

If they are actually bringing in major value (most peoples side hustles I wouldnít find to be worthwhile cost vs benefit) then quit your job and continue on your profitable side hustles.

Blogging, I haven't been monetizing yet but I hope to get the ball rolling on that. It started as more of a passion project born out of a writing hobby.

The stress is less-so in the lack of free time. My hatred for the job is what's draining. I feel like a standard engineering job isn't for me, and ultimately I forced myself into it after succumbing to my parent's pressure of becoming their model offspring, instead of pursuing something I actually wanted to do.

I also have been devolving into a state of poor mental health, so maybe that's what making these things that are not supposed to be hard seem monumentally difficult to me.

secondcor521

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If I were you, I'd get married, quit the job, and go back to school to get a degree (second bachelor's or master's) in a field that you actually want to work in.  Then if you want to or need to work at that point you can figure that out then.

You may need to eventually stand up to your parents, but I understand where you're coming from, especially if you are from a cultural background where that kind of deference is given to parents and their career wishes for their kids.

liquidcheese

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Tough call, I had similar feelings a few years out of college.  A close friend/coworker at the time talked me out of it by giving me the advice "that every job has stress, just different types.  you don't think McDonald workers aren't stressed?" That was 10 years ago and I now have 2 kids and a SAHW. But I'm less than 5 years away from the finish line now and enough F you money that the stress has lifted.  F you money is the key. If you can hang on 5 years and continue focusing on a huge savings rate, you and your future husband are going to be set to do whatever you guys want in your 30s and beyond.

beer-man

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Iím sorry you are going through this right now but I can sort of relate. Wife and I both were in toxic work cultures when we first got married. She quit to be a stay at home mom, looking back I wish she would have stuck it out another year or two just for our net worthís sake. We were mid 20ís back then and those early years savings really make the biggest difference. If she would have worked a year longer or we would have been more frugal....we would have been much closer to FI than we are now.
 As bad as it seemed in the midst of it...itís   just a blip on the radar now. Bigger dramas and tragedies than our work issues have come and gone over the years. Good luck, in the end I think that for your age you are already ahead of 99% of the population in net worth at your age.. congrats 


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beer-man

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I re-read your post and missed that your boyfriend makes $110k and you two have at the highest a $2800 month burn rate. With your net worth already at 300k you could easily dump that high stress job and kick back to a more relaxed job and still have a high savings rate.
 I urge you to look up the coast FI calculator and see where you are at. With your high net worth at such a young age you two could already have enough saved that you could back off your savings rate and still be able to retire at a relatively younger age


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okits

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If I were you, I'd get married, quit the job, and go back to school to get a degree (second bachelor's or master's) in a field that you actually want to work in.

This.  Your family becomes very economically vulnerable, relying on one livable income while nowhere near FI (and if youíve job hopped around three positions in two years Iím going to guess you donít have much of a professional reputation or network built up, so you canít rely on that if you want to re-enter your field after a few years).

Find work you can do sustainably, with a healthy body and mind.  Focus on what you want, not your parentsí approval.  I think you need to be employed/employable until you are much closer to FIRE. 

Geographer

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I urge you to look up the coast FI calculator and see where you are at.

Where is this? I'd like to check that out too!

Freedomin5

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Such a tough decision!

I get that you hate your job and are burnt out. At the same time, Iíve heard too many horror stories of women who are now in their 30s and 40s who quit work in their 20s to follow their husbands and take care the household, and then life happens and they get divorced or their husband loses his job, etc. And now theyíre stuck with a beautiful degree but barely any job experience, and because theyíve been out of the workforce for so long, theyíre not super employable.

Iím not saying you should stay in a job you hate. I *am* saying that you should have a Plan B in case life happens. You at least need a way to support yourself if anything were to happen to your bf/fiancť/husband.

Slicey

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Thanks everyone for taking the time to read this and provide your input! I really appreciate it.

If I were you, I'd get married, quit the job, and go back to school to get a degree (second bachelor's or master's) in a field that you actually want to work in.  Then if you want to or need to work at that point you can figure that out then.

You may need to eventually stand up to your parents, but I understand where you're coming from, especially if you are from a cultural background where that kind of deference is given to parents and their career wishes for their kids.

If I were you, I'd get married, quit the job, and go back to school to get a degree (second bachelor's or master's) in a field that you actually want to work in.

This.  Your family becomes very economically vulnerable, relying on one livable income while nowhere near FI (and if you’ve job hopped around three positions in two years I’m going to guess you don’t have much of a professional reputation or network built up, so you can’t rely on that if you want to re-enter your field after a few years).

Find work you can do sustainably, with a healthy body and mind.  Focus on what you want, not your parents’ approval.  I think you need to be employed/employable until you are much closer to FIRE.

Yes, my parents are Chinese immigrants who highly value stability, prestige, and career achievement. I already have their vehement disapproval on this subject, but I think I can live with their disapproval at this point in my life. I know they want what's best for me, but engineering is all they know.

I have briefly considered going back to school but worry about the insane cost of an American education. My modest amount of student debt incurred from my engineering degree was paid off quickly, but that was after a substantial amount of scholarships and assistance from my parents.

I'm thinking if I end up deciding on a different career (I'm guessing not with an engineering-level salary though), I may be able to get some starting experience by doing relevant volunteer work to get something on my resume and to try to get my foot in the door. At this point we've been thinking that I could give an online business a shot, especially with the relatively low start-up costs.

Tough call, I had similar feelings a few years out of college.  A close friend/coworker at the time talked me out of it by giving me the advice "that every job has stress, just different types.  you don't think McDonald workers aren't stressed?" That was 10 years ago and I now have 2 kids and a SAHW. But I'm less than 5 years away from the finish line now and enough F you money that the stress has lifted.  F you money is the key. If you can hang on 5 years and continue focusing on a huge savings rate, you and your future husband are going to be set to do whatever you guys want in your 30s and beyond.

Yup, definitely a big part of my hesitation. I worry that the $60k loss in income, especially early on in our lives when saving and investing has the most impact, will really prolong our FI outlook, and I don't want to hold my boyfriend back from his own post-FI aspirations.

I’m sorry you are going through this right now but I can sort of relate. Wife and I both were in toxic work cultures when we first got married. She quit to be a stay at home mom, looking back I wish she would have stuck it out another year or two just for our net worth’s sake. We were mid 20’s back then and those early years savings really make the biggest difference. If she would have worked a year longer or we would have been more frugal....we would have been much closer to FI than we are now.
 As bad as it seemed in the midst of it...it’s   just a blip on the radar now. Bigger dramas and tragedies than our work issues have come and gone over the years. Good luck, in the end I think that for your age you are already ahead of 99% of the population in net worth at your age.. congrats 


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I re-read your post and missed that your boyfriend makes $110k and you two have at the highest a $2800 month burn rate. With your net worth already at 300k you could easily dump that high stress job and kick back to a more relaxed job and still have a high savings rate.
 I urge you to look up the coast FI calculator and see where you are at. With your high net worth at such a young age you two could already have enough saved that you could back off your savings rate and still be able to retire at a relatively younger age


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Thanks for sharing your story. I do keep wondering about what I would think of my decision 10-20 years down the line if I were to make the leap.

Forgot to mention that the salaries I listed are pre-tax. After federal and FICA tax, assuming we'd be filing married on a $110k income, the take-home would be more like $91k per year (we live in the U.S.). Assuming our current burn rate, it's not a bad savings rate I suppose - I just worry about how it will prolong our FIRE outlook since my boyfriend has his own interests and aspirations he'd want to pursue once we reach the FI point.

Such a tough decision!

I get that you hate your job and are burnt out. At the same time, I’ve heard too many horror stories of women who are now in their 30s and 40s who quit work in their 20s to follow their husbands and take care the household, and then life happens and they get divorced or their husband loses his job, etc. And now they’re stuck with a beautiful degree but barely any job experience, and because they’ve been out of the workforce for so long, they’re not super employable.

I’m not saying you should stay in a job you hate. I *am* saying that you should have a Plan B in case life happens. You at least need a way to support yourself if anything were to happen to your bf/fiancť/husband.

Definitely understand that concern. I can't see myself being a stay-at-home housewife, but after a bit of recovery time, I'm hoping I can work on getting something figured out, either on the self-employment/business front or with a different career.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2019, 01:16:42 AM by Slicey »

Freedomin5

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Hello! Fellow daughter of first generation Chinese immigrant parents here. Now Iím wondering why youíre just an engineer and not a medical doctor. ;P

Just joking.

Youíre still young, so as long as you have some ideas on how to support yourself, now is the time to explore. And take it from someone who initially went into programming and business (management track at a top school with scholarship) because parents and ďauntiesĒ said that was the safest career path, you eventually have to choose a path that makes you happy. And honestly, you can basically make money in any career path. I eventually switched to an arts path, and now make more than most of my programmer/business analyst friends, with more job stability and more flexibility. The parents/aunties now just accept me and generally leave me alone. But the first few years were hard. You have no idea how many times I heard, ďBut you canít make ANY money in [chosen field]! What kind of job would you even get?!Ē That continued even after I got my doctorate. ďWho would pay you to do this? You probably canít charge much because youíre so young.Ē

Slicey

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Hello! Fellow daughter of first generation Chinese immigrant parents here. Now I’m wondering why you’re just an engineer and not a medical doctor. ;P

Just joking.

You’re still young, so as long as you have some ideas on how to support yourself, now is the time to explore. And take it from someone who initially went into programming and business (management track at a top school with scholarship) because parents and “aunties” said that was the safest career path, you eventually have to choose a path that makes you happy. And honestly, you can basically make money in any career path. I eventually switched to an arts path, and now make more than most of my programmer/business analyst friends, with more job stability and more flexibility. The parents/aunties now just accept me and generally leave me alone. But the first few years were hard. You have no idea how many times I heard, “But you can’t make ANY money in [chosen field]! What kind of job would you even get?!” That continued even after I got my doctorate. “Who would pay you to do this? You probably can’t charge much because you’re so young.”

LOL Med school is too expensive! So my parents weren't too sad about that part.

I'm curious if you can divulge how you got into an arts career and made the switch. I originally was interested in writing/journalism/media but my parents talked me out of it because of the job prospects and my mom was once a poor fledgling journalist before she ditched that career. Now I feel it's too late to give that path a try because I only have very specific science/engineering-oriented credentials, and the workforce supply vs. demand doesn't appear to be like what it is in the tech/engineering fields. :(
« Last Edit: April 14, 2019, 02:04:18 AM by Slicey »

SKL-HOU

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Blogging probably wonít bring you much income considering how many people are already doing this unless you have a unique idea.
You have an engineering degree. You should be able to get into another field like finance, project management, etc with a degree in engineering. Have you looked into anything else? Or is the problem you have is with working a traditional job rather than an engineering job?

chasesfish

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Whew, lots of thoughts on this.

1) We did it.  My wife went to school for a veterinary medicine degree, graduated at 25 yrs old, and struggled with the career.  Seven years in she left her job and hasn't worked since.  She played great defense and was willing to move and support me.  It helped that "moving" was part of a promotion and moved me from a role that capped out in the low to mid 100s to a role that I made $310,000 at the end.   We didn't make up her salary overnight, it took 2-3 years for my income to grow in the new role to replace hers.

2) I think you're too early to "Coast FI" and just play defense.   I think the "Coast FI" number is between $500,000 and $600,000 by thirty.   (I actually recommended this question to a reader on my blog) I don't necessarily think you need to be in the same job though.  Take some time off after you get married and review your options.  There are other jobs out there, they don't all have to be high stress. 

A few other thoughts:
- My job satisfaction or dissatisfaction had a lot to do with leadership.  Same for my wife, she worked for two erratic small business owners.  Carefully pick the person you're going to work for in the next role.

- Blogging is a really tough way to make money, regardless of what one or two prominent bloggers say (who happen to make most of their money convincing others that blogs do make money).   I have a brain for business and have kept a hobby blog for 18 months.  I'm $500 in the hole and have spent a couple hundred hours writing and I don't know if I'll ever try to monetize it.  I did it because I've enjoyed answering questions and eventually I write the same thing over and over and its nice to have a couple thousand word answer I can direct people to (like Coast FI!).  I'm still only around 70% of the pageviews needed to interest the main advertiser and I have to hit that number for three months before applying.  There's so many little things you *should* buy.  If you're serious about doing this as a business, make sure you have 50 posts written and before you start paying money.   That'll cover the first six months of content scheduled out while you build the infrastructure.  You have to really like writing.

freya

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OP, the salient points in your post is that you have equivalent training to your boyfriend and are only one year younger, but you are making $50K less than he is and haven't been able to find a stable job.   These are huge red flags that you need to be a completely different line of work.

If you're interested in journalism, your engineering background could serve you well.  For example, you could aim for becoming a science editor at a publisher or academic journal.  Your boyfriend's advice sounds like a good plan, but what to do after that is up to you.   Don't rule out the possibility of going back to school for a journalism degree.  Or consider an internship if an entry level job doesn't appeal.

A friend of mine was in a similar situation - her Chinese parents insisted that she go to medical school.  On the day she graduated, she told her parents she hadn't applied for residencies and had no desire to go into medicine.  And that she was living with a non-Asian boyfriend.  It took a lot of courage for her to do this, and as expected her parents were furious, wouldn't talk to her for several months, and threatened to disown her.  Meanwhile, she decided to intern at a local law firm.  After some time, her parents started talking to her again, and then pressured her to go to law school.  She ended up going to Harvard and specializing in patent law.  She's now very happy and successful in that career, is a partner in the law firm that she interned at before law school, and all is well with the boyfriend (now husband) and her parents.

Moral is:  do what you want to do, and the jobs will materialize AND your parents will be fine even if they're disapppointed at first.  You have already seen that jobs don't happen if you're in the wrong career, even if it's one that's supposedly very job-friendly.

« Last Edit: April 14, 2019, 06:57:23 AM by freya »

beer-man

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90k take home, 30-36k burn rate leaves you with a phenomenal savings rate. Even if you to work part time somewhere you could contribute financially and be in a less stressed state.
 When my wife decided to stay home with the kids we set a goal to pay down a certain amount of debt before we entertained it. Maybe you can have a predefined $ target where you pull the trigger. 300k saved at your age is incredible and you and your boyfriend should be proud of that feat.
 Also consider that if you are married with take home of 90k you will pay considerably less federal taxes


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freya

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90k take home, 30-36k burn rate leaves you with a phenomenal savings rate. Even if you to work part time somewhere you could contribute financially and be in a less stressed state.
 When my wife decided to stay home with the kids we set a goal to pay down a certain amount of debt before we entertained it. Maybe you can have a predefined $ target where you pull the trigger. 300k saved at your age is incredible and you and your boyfriend should be proud of that feat.
 Also consider that if you are married with take home of 90k you will pay considerably less federal taxes


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All true, but I think it's not healthy for the OP to be completely financial dependent on her boyfriend/fiance.  She should still develop a career direction that is sustainable, and can take her through life no matter what happens.

Slicey

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Blogging probably won’t bring you much income considering how many people are already doing this unless you have a unique idea.
You have an engineering degree. You should be able to get into another field like finance, project management, etc with a degree in engineering. Have you looked into anything else? Or is the problem you have is with working a traditional job rather than an engineering job?

Unsure, it's hard to separate the two components in my brain. Maybe it's a mixture of both? I feel like part of it is that it's hard to find work that is meaningful to me in normal corporate jobs, which is subsequently contributing to my dwindling motivation. I was thinking delving into something more self-directed would allow me to have at least some control over that aspect of it.

Whew, lots of thoughts on this.

1) We did it.  My wife went to school for a veterinary medicine degree, graduated at 25 yrs old, and struggled with the career.  Seven years in she left her job and hasn't worked since.  She played great defense and was willing to move and support me.  It helped that "moving" was part of a promotion and moved me from a role that capped out in the low to mid 100s to a role that I made $310,000 at the end.   We didn't make up her salary overnight, it took 2-3 years for my income to grow in the new role to replace hers.

2) I think you're too early to "Coast FI" and just play defense.   I think the "Coast FI" number is between $500,000 and $600,000 by thirty.   (I actually recommended this question to a reader on my blog) I don't necessarily think you need to be in the same job though.  Take some time off after you get married and review your options.  There are other jobs out there, they don't all have to be high stress. 

A few other thoughts:
- My job satisfaction or dissatisfaction had a lot to do with leadership.  Same for my wife, she worked for two erratic small business owners.  Carefully pick the person you're going to work for in the next role.

- Blogging is a really tough way to make money, regardless of what one or two prominent bloggers say (who happen to make most of their money convincing others that blogs do make money).   I have a brain for business and have kept a hobby blog for 18 months.  I'm $500 in the hole and have spent a couple hundred hours writing and I don't know if I'll ever try to monetize it.  I did it because I've enjoyed answering questions and eventually I write the same thing over and over and its nice to have a couple thousand word answer I can direct people to (like Coast FI!).  I'm still only around 70% of the pageviews needed to interest the main advertiser and I have to hit that number for three months before applying.  There's so many little things you *should* buy.  If you're serious about doing this as a business, make sure you have 50 posts written and before you start paying money.   That'll cover the first six months of content scheduled out while you build the infrastructure.  You have to really like writing.

Thanks for sharing your story and the detailed answer! It's great that things worked out well for you and your wife. The mobility aspect could help, since I believe my boyfriend has a lot more potential career trajectory than I do.

I do think taking some time off will help me clear my mind and reflect on where I need to go next. I'm worried about how long of a gap I can take before it becomes a big negative on a resume, especially after having only worked for two years (and job hopping at that).

I actually liked the management I worked under in 2 out of the 3 jobs, and in my first job after college, I met a lot of managers who I developed a good relationship with. I've had a chance to work in both small and large companies.

Thanks for the insights - that's helpful to hear your perspective on blog monetizing. I'll definitely keep those in mind.

OP, the salient points in your post is that you have equivalent training to your boyfriend and are only one year younger, but you are making $50K less than he is and haven't been able to find a stable job.   These are huge red flags that you need to be a completely different line of work.

If you're interested in journalism, your engineering background could serve you well.  For example, you could aim for becoming a science editor at a publisher or academic journal.  Your boyfriend's advice sounds like a good plan, but what to do after that is up to you.   Don't rule out the possibility of going back to school for a journalism degree.  Or consider an internship if an entry level job doesn't appeal.

A friend of mine was in a similar situation - her Chinese parents insisted that she go to medical school.  On the day she graduated, she told her parents she hadn't applied for residencies and had no desire to go into medicine.  And that she was living with a non-Asian boyfriend.  It took a lot of courage for her to do this, and as expected her parents were furious, wouldn't talk to her for several months, and threatened to disown her.  Meanwhile, she decided to intern at a local law firm.  After some time, her parents started talking to her again, and then pressured her to go to law school.  She ended up going to Harvard and specializing in patent law.  She's now very happy and successful in that career, is a partner in the law firm that she interned at before law school, and all is well with the boyfriend (now husband) and her parents.

Moral is:  do what you want to do, and the jobs will materialize AND your parents will be fine even if they're disapppointed at first.  You have already seen that jobs don't happen if you're in the wrong career, even if it's one that's supposedly very job-friendly.

A few things contributed to the salary gap - he has a master's degree and got a pay boost, and I took a big pay cut to take a job with a very small company I thought would align much better culturally and provide more meaningful work. But with that being said, I don't think my job trajectory is going to go anywhere if my motivation to continue in engineering work continues to dwindle.

The internship suggestion might be a good idea. Would paying for another degree be a financially bad move though?

Thanks so much for your input and advice!

90k take home, 30-36k burn rate leaves you with a phenomenal savings rate. Even if you to work part time somewhere you could contribute financially and be in a less stressed state.
 When my wife decided to stay home with the kids we set a goal to pay down a certain amount of debt before we entertained it. Maybe you can have a predefined $ target where you pull the trigger. 300k saved at your age is incredible and you and your boyfriend should be proud of that feat.
 Also consider that if you are married with take home of 90k you will pay considerably less federal taxes


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Thanks for the encouragement! Setting a predefined target is a good suggestion. We do need to nail down some more numbers and see how this would affect our financial outlook, but we're fortunate that we're in a relatively good financial position in our mid-twenties. 91k is assuming the tax rate for filing married - he does pay a lot more now filing single.

90k take home, 30-36k burn rate leaves you with a phenomenal savings rate. Even if you to work part time somewhere you could contribute financially and be in a less stressed state.
 When my wife decided to stay home with the kids we set a goal to pay down a certain amount of debt before we entertained it. Maybe you can have a predefined $ target where you pull the trigger. 300k saved at your age is incredible and you and your boyfriend should be proud of that feat.
 Also consider that if you are married with take home of 90k you will pay considerably less federal taxes


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All true, but I think it's not healthy for the OP to be completely financial dependent on her boyfriend/fiance.  She should still develop a career direction that is sustainable, and can take her through life no matter what happens.

Definitely will keep this in mind. I do want to contribute to the household income either way, enough to at least cover my part of the living expenses - I just need to figure out a way to do so.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2019, 03:21:36 PM by Slicey »

freya

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The internship suggestion might be a good idea. Would paying for another degree be a financially bad move though?

If you figure out a career trajectory that appeals to you, and it requires another degree, then so be it.  There are ways to manage it without going broke, like going part time with evening courses and opting for public schools.   I wouldn't do it as a method of career-finding though.

If you're interested in an internship, you might want to look into it now as the summer spots are advertising.  They may provide health insurance too.

Freedomin5

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Hello! Fellow daughter of first generation Chinese immigrant parents here. Now Iím wondering why youíre just an engineer and not a medical doctor. ;P

Just joking.

Youíre still young, so as long as you have some ideas on how to support yourself, now is the time to explore. And take it from someone who initially went into programming and business (management track at a top school with scholarship) because parents and ďauntiesĒ said that was the safest career path, you eventually have to choose a path that makes you happy. And honestly, you can basically make money in any career path. I eventually switched to an arts path, and now make more than most of my programmer/business analyst friends, with more job stability and more flexibility. The parents/aunties now just accept me and generally leave me alone. But the first few years were hard. You have no idea how many times I heard, ďBut you canít make ANY money in [chosen field]! What kind of job would you even get?!Ē That continued even after I got my doctorate. ďWho would pay you to do this? You probably canít charge much because youíre so young.Ē

LOL Med school is too expensive! So my parents weren't too sad about that part.

I'm curious if you can divulge how you got into an arts career and made the switch. I originally was interested in writing/journalism/media but my parents talked me out of it because of the job prospects and my mom was once a poor fledgling journalist before she ditched that career. Now I feel it's too late to give that path a try because I only have very specific science/engineering-oriented credentials, and the workforce supply vs. demand doesn't appear to be like what it is in the tech/engineering fields. :(

PM'd you.

kristof

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My net worth is currently 100k (around 23k in savings)
Iíve been extremely stressed and miserable
2-2.5 hour daily commute
Our combined monthly burn rate varies between $2,500 and $2,800

I would quit, yesterday. The price tag for mental health is orders of magnitude higher than any of the numbers here.

Sounds like at $1,250/month you have more than a year and a half of expenses in straight cash savings even if you don't earn a cent.

If health insurance is a concern, can't you just get married now? You can always have the wedding later (although sounds like you might not even want one).

coffeefueled

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I think you should look for a happy medium between the life you're living now and not working. Of course you are burnt out if you're commuting >2 hours a day, working more than full time, and trying to start a side business at the same time. Nothing is getting your best, including you. Can you find a position closer to home with a more normal schedule? Have you looked in related fields? It doesn't have to be an all or nothing solution. I suggest finding a job that gives you some breathing room then reassess.

You mentioned work in the corporate world not being meaningful. I hear this from a lot of people I know who are a few years into their career. You can choose to view life in completely the opposite way - the most meaningful things in my life are outside work. Work allows me to save enough to plan to retire early and fill my time with even more things I do find fulfilling. I don't hate my job by any means, but it isn't what defines how I see myself or my place in life. I'd give some consideration to finding a job you're content with that has enough work life balance to focus on meaning in the rest of your life instead.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 09:55:01 AM by coffeefueled »

Prairie Stash

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2 former engineers who quit to travel the world. FIREcracker talks a lot about her burnout. Now they pursue their dreams of writing, in particular they just published a childrens novel (sound familiar?)

I'm quitting soon for my health. I don't want to be that story of the guy who stayed on and had a heart attack at his desk at 45.

You have a combined NW of $300k. You need about $850,000 to FIRE (high end). if you quit today, you'll hit that in 10 years or so. IMoney should basically double in 1o years in the market; $300k=$600k in a decade. You would need to save roughly $20k/year (assuming some growth). This is what COAST FIRE looks like, a decade of relaxed savings. Heck, in 20 years your current savings will allow you to retire, thats true COASTing.

Of course, if you have kids or increase spending it changes all the estimates. But never underestimate the powerful advantage oyou've achieved by already having so much saved at such a young age. Your savings alone is enough to retire at 65, without saving a dime more. At this point you're just trying to speed up the timeline; which is the balance between full time and coasting.

honeybbq

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I'll add:

You've jumped from being dependent on your parents in college to being dependent on you boyfriend if you pursue this. While it might work, it might not. You are young, you aren't even married yet. I think blogging could be a hustle but not really a career. Make sure you can take care of yourself if you and your boyfriend don't work, or something happens to him. Now is the time to figure out what you really want to do. You still have to earn your piece IMO, you aren't quite there yet.


Slicey

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Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to read the long post and respond! It's really helpful to hear everyone's perspectives and ideas. :)

My net worth is currently 100k (around 23k in savings)
Iíve been extremely stressed and miserable
2-2.5 hour daily commute
Our combined monthly burn rate varies between $2,500 and $2,800

I would quit, yesterday. The price tag for mental health is orders of magnitude higher than any of the numbers here.

Sounds like at $1,250/month you have more than a year and a half of expenses in straight cash savings even if you don't earn a cent.

If health insurance is a concern, can't you just get married now? You can always have the wedding later (although sounds like you might not even want one).

We don't have a hard timeline for marriage (we don't particularly want a wedding), so the health insurance is less of a concern. The short-term outlook is less concerning than the long-term effects of the decreased income early in our lives.

I think you should look for a happy medium between the life you're living now and not working. Of course you are burnt our if you're commuting >2 hours a day, working more than full time, and trying to start a side business at the same time. Nothing is getting your best, including you. Can you find a position closer to home with a more normal schedule? Have you looked in related fields? It doesn't have to be an all or nothing solution. I suggest finding a job that gives you some breathing room then reassess.

You mentioned work in the corporate world not being meaningful. I hear this from a lot of people I know who are a few years into their career. You can choose to view life in completely the opposite way - the most meaningful things in my life are outside work. Work allows me to save enough to plan to retire early and fill my time with even more things I do find fulfilling. I don't hate my job by any means, but it isn't want defines how I see myself of my place in life. I'd give some consideration to finding a job you're content with that has enough work life balance to focus on meaning in the rest of your life instead.

The 11 hours includes the commute, so it's more like 8.5-9 hours a day of being at work. This is my first job with a long commute. My previous jobs only had a 20-30 minute commute each way, and I was still feeling pretty miserable. My previous job was actually extremely slow and non-stressful, but I hated the work itself and the overwhelming stench of big company corporate Kool Aid. That one might've actually been my least-favorite job thus far.

https://www.millennial-revolution.com/start-here/
2 former engineers who quit to travel the world. FIREcracker talks a lot about her burnout. Now they pursue their dreams of writing, in particular they just published a childrens novel (sound familiar?)

I'm quitting soon for my health. I don't want to be that story of the guy who stayed on and had a heart attack at his desk at 45.

You have a combined NW of $300k. You need about $850,000 to FIRE (high end). if you quit today, you'll hit that in 10 years or so. IMoney should basically double in 1o years in the market; $300k=$600k in a decade. You would need to save roughly $20k/year (assuming some growth). This is what COAST FIRE looks like, a decade of relaxed savings. Heck, in 20 years your current savings will allow you to retire, thats true COASTing.

Of course, if you have kids or increase spending it changes all the estimates. But never underestimate the powerful advantage oyou've achieved by already having so much saved at such a young age. Your savings alone is enough to retire at 65, without saving a dime more. At this point you're just trying to speed up the timeline; which is the balance between full time and coasting.

Thanks for the link - I did see one of their interviews a while ago but never knew they had a blog. :D

I definitely need to run the numbers and play around with them to see how the timeline shifts around with different savings rates. I haven't given much thought to the COAST FIRE perspective much in the past.

I'll add:

You've jumped from being dependent on your parents in college to being dependent on you boyfriend if you pursue this. While it might work, it might not. You are young, you aren't even married yet. I think blogging could be a hustle but not really a career. Make sure you can take care of yourself if you and your boyfriend don't work, or something happens to him. Now is the time to figure out what you really want to do. You still have to earn your piece IMO, you aren't quite there yet.

The plan we were thinking was for me to try some other part-time gigs after a few-month break. Any thoughts on trying to figure out another career on the side while still working?

beer-man

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Warning: there will always be a long line of scorned women who will jump in threads like this and warn of the perils of being dependent on someone else based solely on their personal experience. Take it with a grain salt please.


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Freedomin5

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Warning: there will always be a long line of scorned women who will jump in threads like this and warn of the perils of being dependent on someone else based solely on their personal experience. Take it with a grain salt please.


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There is also a long line of smart, capable, independent, professional women with good careers who have been happily married to one person for many years who will recognize themselves in this OP and who will jump in threads like this to warn of the perils of being dependent on someone else based solely on their personal experience. Take it with a grain of salt, please.

Prairie Stash

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Thanks for the link - I did see one of their interviews a while ago but never knew they had a blog. :D

I definitely need to run the numbers and play around with them to see how the timeline shifts around with different savings rates. I haven't given much thought to the COAST FIRE perspective much in the past.
Coast FIRE appeals to me as well. I'm doing a bare bones FIRE, with the backup plan of doing some consulting or becoming a barista (I love the smell of coffee, it fills my soul with joy). Since I'm on the cusp, with 2 kids, I needed backup plans.

Weirdly, once you hit 50% of your goal the SR stops mattering as much. Compound interest will take you from 50% to 100% in 10 years, so you just need to coast for a decade. You're not quite at 50%, but the principle is still there; you can either save more or wait longer but eventually you will achieve FIRE if you have a decent stash.

When you're a year from FIRE, SR barely matters. the market starts doing more than my savings.

honeybbq

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Warning: there will always be a long line of scorned women who will jump in threads like this and warn of the perils of being dependent on someone else based solely on their personal experience. Take it with a grain salt please.


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There is also a long line of smart, capable, independent, professional women with good careers who have been happily married to one person for many years who will recognize themselves in this OP and who will jump in threads like this to warn of the perils of being dependent on someone else based solely on their personal experience. Take it with a grain of salt, please.

Thank you.

Though I haven't personally experienced it, I've seen it. We see it here, we see it in our friends, our parents.

OP, what makes you tick and what do you like to do? It sounds like you really haven't found your calling. I'd skip the side gig temporarily and figure out what you want to do with your life. Or try side gigs that you think might turn into something you'd like to do. Or volunteer for awhile?

Slicey

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Thanks for the link - I did see one of their interviews a while ago but never knew they had a blog. :D

I definitely need to run the numbers and play around with them to see how the timeline shifts around with different savings rates. I haven't given much thought to the COAST FIRE perspective much in the past.
Coast FIRE appeals to me as well. I'm doing a bare bones FIRE, with the backup plan of doing some consulting or becoming a barista (I love the smell of coffee, it fills my soul with joy). Since I'm on the cusp, with 2 kids, I needed backup plans.

Weirdly, once you hit 50% of your goal the SR stops mattering as much. Compound interest will take you from 50% to 100% in 10 years, so you just need to coast for a decade. You're not quite at 50%, but the principle is still there; you can either save more or wait longer but eventually you will achieve FIRE if you have a decent stash.

When you're a year from FIRE, SR barely matters. the market starts doing more than my savings.

Yup, I think doing a sensitivity analysis on the COAST FIRE outlook will help me weigh the impacts for the decision. Good luck on your FIRE journey!

Warning: there will always be a long line of scorned women who will jump in threads like this and warn of the perils of being dependent on someone else based solely on their personal experience. Take it with a grain salt please.


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There is also a long line of smart, capable, independent, professional women with good careers who have been happily married to one person for many years who will recognize themselves in this OP and who will jump in threads like this to warn of the perils of being dependent on someone else based solely on their personal experience. Take it with a grain of salt, please.

Thank you.

Though I haven't personally experienced it, I've seen it. We see it here, we see it in our friends, our parents.

OP, what makes you tick and what do you like to do? It sounds like you really haven't found your calling. I'd skip the side gig temporarily and figure out what you want to do with your life. Or try side gigs that you think might turn into something you'd like to do. Or volunteer for awhile?

I do have some ideas on what I might want to do - not particularly lucrative ideas, but I think it may be worth a shot. I was thinking of trying to get some volunteer gigs at first to get some experience. I've been poking around looking at some organizations I could potentially apply for volunteer positions with.

Finances_With_Purpose

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https://www.millennial-revolution.com/start-here/
2 former engineers who quit to travel the world. FIREcracker talks a lot about her burnout. Now they pursue their dreams of writing, in particular they just published a childrens novel (sound familiar?)

I'm quitting soon for my health. I don't want to be that story of the guy who stayed on and had a heart attack at his desk at 45.

You have a combined NW of $300k. You need about $850,000 to FIRE (high end). if you quit today, you'll hit that in 10 years or so. IMoney should basically double in 1o years in the market; $300k=$600k in a decade. You would need to save roughly $20k/year (assuming some growth). This is what COAST FIRE looks like, a decade of relaxed savings. Heck, in 20 years your current savings will allow you to retire, thats true COASTing.

Of course, if you have kids or increase spending it changes all the estimates. But never underestimate the powerful advantage oyou've achieved by already having so much saved at such a young age. Your savings alone is enough to retire at 65, without saving a dime more. At this point you're just trying to speed up the timeline; which is the balance between full time and coasting.

Unless you want to, you know, have kids or something.  At which point the savings get really challenging.  Etc. 

Finances_With_Purpose

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OK, OP.  First off, I've been where you are: dissatisfied and unsure of what to do after tough jobs.  I didn't take the leap at one point.  And then at another point, I took that fated leap. 

I can't believe you haven't gotten this yet, but here goes: first, strongly consider what you want to do next.  It's as motivating to find the next thing; you already have all the motivation in the world pushing you out of where you are.  So this should be quicker and easier for you than for most.

I have a book for you.  It was life-changing for me, and helped me find a far better and healthier path.  Here

The book even covers finances to help you move ahead, and it's mustachian in nature.  (Summary: make a budget and then remove your income in parts until it's down to where your desired positions would pay, and see if that works for you/what that's like.) 

I commend it as a set of life-coach sessions all in one, but available for the cost of a library check-out.  Do the exercises. 

That may give you something to reach for, rather than just something to run from. 

And if that's not enough, try aptitude testing.  I did Johnson O'Connor Foundation's testing and it was fantastic at giving insights into what types of jobs might be a good fit.  I highly recommend that as well.  It's more costly, but can give you direction about various career moves and options throughout life, so I found it well worth it - even for a single job transition question. 

And if that's still not enough, here's another book that also helped me.  (I did a LOT of job-related reading in a transition year, if you can't tell...and now I can point folks to the few resources that helped the most.) 

So in sum, think hard about what's next rather than leaping into...nothing.  That can be a rough jump even if you're married, since most of us are wired to work in some form, and income sure is nice--and will never be easier to get for you than right now, at your life stage.

Slicey

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OK, OP.  First off, I've been where you are: dissatisfied and unsure of what to do after tough jobs.  I didn't take the leap at one point.  And then at another point, I took that fated leap. 

I can't believe you haven't gotten this yet, but here goes: first, strongly consider what you want to do next.  It's as motivating to find the next thing; you already have all the motivation in the world pushing you out of where you are.  So this should be quicker and easier for you than for most.

I have a book for you.  It was life-changing for me, and helped me find a far better and healthier path.  Here

The book even covers finances to help you move ahead, and it's mustachian in nature.  (Summary: make a budget and then remove your income in parts until it's down to where your desired positions would pay, and see if that works for you/what that's like.) 

I commend it as a set of life-coach sessions all in one, but available for the cost of a library check-out.  Do the exercises. 

That may give you something to reach for, rather than just something to run from. 

And if that's not enough, try aptitude testing.  I did Johnson O'Connor Foundation's testing and it was fantastic at giving insights into what types of jobs might be a good fit.  I highly recommend that as well.  It's more costly, but can give you direction about various career moves and options throughout life, so I found it well worth it - even for a single job transition question. 

And if that's still not enough, here's another book that also helped me.  (I did a LOT of job-related reading in a transition year, if you can't tell...and now I can point folks to the few resources that helped the most.) 

So in sum, think hard about what's next rather than leaping into...nothing.  That can be a rough jump even if you're married, since most of us are wired to work in some form, and income sure is nice--and will never be easier to get for you than right now, at your life stage.

Thanks Finances_With_Purpose! I do have an idea of some things I'd want to do (including some goals too personal for me to want to divulge on here), but I'm still hazy about how I'd go about getting there. Thanks for the book recommendation - I grabbed a copy of the audiobook and will be working through it.