Author Topic: To make a partially mustachian career change now or wait to go full beard?  (Read 7897 times)

dizzean

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Hi guys,

I am new to the mustachian way, I started back in August on Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and then found this blog/forum.  I have already paid off 2 smaller student loans!

My wife and I are currently transitioning to a more mustachian way of life.

Right now we own 2 cars, one we purchased in September, a 1994 Honda Civic with 96k miles for %2200, it's not fancy but it gets to point a and b and has heat.  Our other car however is from a previous stage in our life, we bought it in April of 2010, it's a 2011 Ford Fiesta with about 34k miles on it, we owe $7500 on it and it's worth about 9k right now.

I currently work 15 miles from home but I want to shave that down to a bikeable/public trans distance.  So my dilemma comes here: do I stay where I am making 40k a year (in a job I enjoy and am salaried) and driving 30 miles a day and owning 2 cars,  do I take a contract job that would let me take the local train making $24 an hour (this would theoretically allow be to sell the Fiesta as I live 6 blocks from the train station in my city and it drops me off 2 miles from the new job), or do I wait until I can find a job close enough to bike to?

I work in IT so I am able to find new work relatively easily.  If I take the train it will cost me $113 a month and right now I think I spend about $100 a month in gas to commute.

I have recently taken up biking, and I really enjoy it, I would probably bike the 2 miles from the train stop to the new job.

Any advice?

I plan on posting my over all monthly budget here shortly to get some more advice on where we can cut some costs.

the fixer

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Re: To make a partially mustachian career change now or wait to go full beard?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2013, 03:40:17 PM »
I think having a job you enjoy trumps all other concerns, especially if you're like me and have a really hard time finding one.

Have you considered biking to your current job? 15 miles is far but it's doable 2-3 times per week. I'd guess it would take you ~1h15m each way, but you'll get in amazing shape pretty quick. I've done similar before.

You should definitely sell the Fiesta and buy a more efficient commuter car, though.

dizzean

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Re: To make a partially mustachian career change now or wait to go full beard?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2013, 03:51:17 PM »
It ends up being a 20 mile bike ride which I know would be do-able a few days a week but I really want to just cut out the 2nd car all together which this other job (or a new one even closer to home) would allow me to do.

We've been married 3 years and actually only had 1 car for the first 2 years and it was awesome!

icefr

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Re: To make a partially mustachian career change now or wait to go full beard?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2013, 04:09:59 PM »
You should definitely sell the Fiesta and buy a more efficient commuter car, though.

Why is the Fiesta not that efficient? I have one and I've been averaging 33 mpg even though most of my driving lately has been city, not highway, and I get closer to 40 mpg when I'm just driving on the highway.

dizzean

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Re: To make a partially mustachian career change now or wait to go full beard?
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2013, 04:13:55 PM »
You should definitely sell the Fiesta and buy a more efficient commuter car, though.

Why is the Fiesta not that efficient? I have one and I've been averaging 33 mpg even though most of my driving lately has been city, not highway, and I get closer to 40 mpg when I'm just driving on the highway.

Because I'm making payments on it, all debt should be avoided!

dizzean

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Re: To make a partially mustachian career change now or wait to go full beard?
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2013, 07:38:34 PM »
They offered me the job..now I need to actually make a decision!

Dee18

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Re: To make a partially mustachian career change now or wait to go full beard?
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2013, 08:12:22 PM »
Work the job you like!

Tyler

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Re: To make a partially mustachian career change now or wait to go full beard?
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2013, 08:13:22 PM »
Option A: Spend $1200/yr in transportation to make $40k/yr.
Option B: Spend $1356/yr in transportation to make $48k/yr.

The transportation costs are probably about the same when you add in car maintenance for Option A.  So I wouldn't let that distract you.  To me it just comes down to whether the security (and benefits?) of a salaried position is worth more than the extra money from the contract gig.  That's a decision only you can make.  Personally, in a fairly close situation like this I'd go with whatever job I like more.

dizzean

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Re: To make a partially mustachian career change now or wait to go full beard?
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2013, 06:05:50 AM »
Option A: Spend $1200/yr in transportation to make $40k/yr.
Option B: Spend $1356/yr in transportation to make $48k/yr.

The transportation costs are probably about the same when you add in car maintenance for Option A.  So I wouldn't let that distract you.  To me it just comes down to whether the security (and benefits?) of a salaried position is worth more than the extra money from the contract gig.  That's a decision only you can make.  Personally, in a fairly close situation like this I'd go with whatever job I like more.

I would also get to sell my Fiesta and save ~ $200 a month in costs on the car payment/insurance.

dizzean

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They also offered to pay $40 a month towards my train commuting cost AND a $1,000 signing bonus.

This job would at a total of 1 hour to my commute everyday though,  I currently drive 30 mins to and from but taking the train/biking would require me to be at about 1 hour to and from.

RoseRelish

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An hour-long commute is soul-sucking. I'd stay with your 30-minute drive. It's amazing how even a half hour can keep you sane.

anastrophe

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An hour-long commute is soul-sucking. I'd stay with your 30-minute drive. It's amazing how even a half hour can keep you sane.

But an hour on the train is not the same as a half hour in a car. On the train you can have productive work time that you can't in a car.

20 mile commute on a bike is pretty long, but if you enjoy it, you'll get in great shape.

Is the work at the new job substantially different from your current job (opportunities for promotion, variety, etc)?

the fixer

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You should definitely sell the Fiesta and buy a more efficient commuter car, though.

Why is the Fiesta not that efficient? I have one and I've been averaging 33 mpg even though most of my driving lately has been city, not highway, and I get closer to 40 mpg when I'm just driving on the highway.

Oops, sorry I can't keep track of these new Fords anymore, all the names begin with "F" and sound the same. I thought the Fiesta was a "crossover" SUV...

dizzean

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An hour-long commute is soul-sucking. I'd stay with your 30-minute drive. It's amazing how even a half hour can keep you sane.

But an hour on the train is not the same as a half hour in a car. On the train you can have productive work time that you can't in a car.

20 mile commute on a bike is pretty long, but if you enjoy it, you'll get in great shape.

Is the work at the new job substantially different from your current job (opportunities for promotion, variety, etc)?

It would actually be like 30 mins on a train and then 15-20 mins of bike riding  or bus as the train gets me 2 miles from the job. This new job is actually only a 20 mile bike ride as well, so as far as biking to work 100% of the way, it's a wash at either place.

I think this job will have a bit more monotony in it but more room to grow as it is a very large company.

Fetlock

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Have you tried making the actual commute yet? I'd do it at least once before making the decision, myself.

dizzean

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Have you tried making the actual commute yet? I'd do it at least once before making the decision, myself.

I have not done this specific commute (I can't as I need to accept this job tomorrow if I take it) but I know what to expect, a 20 min train ride and a 15 min bike ride almost seems better to me than driving for 30 mins.

RoseRelish

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I have not done this specific commute (I can't as I need to accept this job tomorrow if I take it) but I know what to expect, a 20 min train ride and a 15 min bike ride almost seems better to me than driving for 30 mins.

If the train is on a schedule (not continuously running like a subway), the drive would be better because you'd get control/freedom of your commute. Being tied to a train schedule is not a good way to live...

Good luck with your decision!

dizzean

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I have not done this specific commute (I can't as I need to accept this job tomorrow if I take it) but I know what to expect, a 20 min train ride and a 15 min bike ride almost seems better to me than driving for 30 mins.

If the train is on a schedule (not continuously running like a subway), the drive would be better because you'd get control/freedom of your commute. Being tied to a train schedule is not a good way to live...

Good luck with your decision!

Yeah it just runs every 20ish mins for 2 hours in the morning 6am to 8am and evening 4pm to 6pm

JohnGalt

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Are you taking into account all costs associated with going contract?

-Will you be paying the employer portion of taxes?
-Will you actually get full time hours?

What about moving closer to the job you enjoy?

dizzean

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Are you taking into account all costs associated with going contract?

-Will you be paying the employer portion of taxes?
-Will you actually get full time hours?

What about moving closer to the job you enjoy?

It's taxed like a normal job and the hours will be 40, contracting is a fairly standard practice in IT Help Desk roles such as this. I contracted for a year before I got the position I'm in now.

As for moving closer to the job I enjoy, that is certainly a possibility I've been considering..it's fairly expensive to live around here and right now I enjoy a $680 house payment living where I am (that is mortagage, tax and ins all together).

rue

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I would stick out the salaried job until you have an emergency fund and at least 12 months of expenses under your belt.  Then consider the more high risk option.  The salaried job sounds secure while the new one might not be as secure is that correct?

dan

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OP, what decision did you make?

dizzean

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OP, what decision did you make?

Sorry I didn't provide follow up!

I ended up staying, my friend who got me the job just got a promotion to be my supervisor.

So I ended up staying because he knows how hard I work here and I feel like he is "looking out" for me so to say.  Also, there is a position opening up here in the next 3 or 4 months to become a Jr. Systems Engineer that I anticipate would pay 60k+.  I will have to "learn Linux" in those 4 months, so I have a hefty task in front of me, but I think it's doable.

WageSlave

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Option A: Spend $1200/yr in transportation to make $40k/yr.
Option B: Spend $1356/yr in transportation to make $48k/yr.

I know you've already made the decision, but I'd recommend reading Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) for some ideas on how you might better quantify decisions like this.  One of the biggest takeaways from this book, for me, was the concept of your "true" wage.  The idea is that your salary or advertised pay is at best a rough approximation of what you really make per hour.  You have to factor in the whole "job ecosystem" of costs: commute (public transportation ticket, gas, car maintenance, parking, whatever), uniform, supplies, and any other non-reimbursable expenses that are a direct result of the position you hold.  In other words, ask yourself, "Would I incur this cost if I didn't have this job?"  Also, don't forget to subtract out taxes.

Then you have to divide by the total number of hours you spend on the job: not just time at work, but commute time as well (and obviously unpaid overtime).  Consider two jobs that are otherwise equal, but one is literally right next door to where you live, and the other is an hour drive away.  Your "true" wage is significantly lower with the latter job because it costs you an extra two hours per day (bigger denominator when you do the division).

This is why bike commuting is so spectacularly efficient: maintenance costs are virtually zero.  Also, you could argue that you don't have to discount that time when computing your true wage if you consider it exercise that you'd do either way.

At the end of the day, this isn't a perfect guide for which job you should pick; but it is a useful tool.  It comes with that familiar disclaimer, all things being equal---and they rarely are.  If the environment of one position is just miserable, it's not worth any amount of extra pay to take the job.  But those are soft/qualitative factors, that are pretty much impossible to put into a framework like this.