Author Topic: Moving back to CA from WI with possible career change.  (Read 2201 times)


  • Stubble
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Moving back to CA from WI with possible career change.
« on: December 20, 2015, 01:15:23 PM »
Life Situation:

41, Just divorced. Filing Single, 0 dependents, WI. 

Just moved to WI after living in CA for 20 years.  Been in WI for 1 year.

Gross Salary/Wages: $76,000/yr base.  $83,600 with shift differential. More with overtime.

Pre-tax deductions:

14% pretax contributions to 401K.
HSA:  Just starting in 2016 (only company option starting 2016).
FSA: No.
IRA: No.

Personal Investments/Emergency fund: 

$19,300.00. Dividend stocks.
In Fidelity account - Dividend stocks paying approximately $520.00/yr after taxes.

$30,000.00. High Yield Savings.
High yield savings (Capital One 360) .75% APR currently.  Approximately $180.00/yr after taxes.

Other Ordinary Income: None.

Qualified Dividends & Long Term Capital Gains: Stated above.

Rental Income, Actual Expenses, and Depreciation: None.

Adjusted Gross Income: Approximately $69,000.00

Taxes: Calculated with above figures.

Current expenses:  Monthly.

Rent: $815.00
Car: $360.00
Food: $500.00
Car Insurance: $57.00
Gas: $75.00
Cellphone: $90.00
Target: $130.00

Total: $2027

Expected ER expenses: I'm not necessarily looking to retire early.  Unknown right now.

Assets: $287,500.00 

401K: $234,000 85% stocks, 15% bonds

High Yield savings: $30,000 

Dividend stocks: $19,300

Checking: $4,200

Pension available at 65.  $1,650 monthly if I quit my job today.  Not inflation adjusted so this would be roughly cut in half when I started using it at 65 years old.

Credit score:  815+.

U.S Marine:  Honorable discharge in Dec. 1998. Attained rank of Sergeant (E-5) fixing avionics/electrical systems on helicopters.

BA Economics, Cum Laude, 2008 from Cal. State Long Beach.

21 Yearís experience fixing electrical systems and avionics on helicopters/corporate airplanes. 5 yrs.  in the Marines and 16 continuous at same corporate jet manufacturer.

Liabilities: $13,000.00 

2014 Toyota Corolla car payment: $360.00/month @ 1.79% APR: $13,000 left on loan.  I plan on paying this off quickly going forward. But am keeping my cash handy for a possible move back to CA.   

Specific Question(s):

I want to move back to CA.  I am thinking of making a career change into some kind of finance using my economics degree (but not sales).  This would mean taking a pay cut.  I am excellent with living below my means and have figured that if I make approximately $52,000 per year in Orange County CA I could live like I want to and still save money, but far less than I am saving with my current career.

With my current retirement asset base I would be fine as long as I donít touch it until retirement, and add to it prudently going forward.   

I am just grinding away at my job now and donít like it too much.  And I didnít expect to dislike WI as much as I do. No offense to people from WI but I guess I didn't realize how much I liked living in CA.   

Transferring back to CA with my company is possible but I am being blocked by a previous manager.
But there are other managers that do want me back working for them.  If I was patient I could get back to my previous job/location. 

I am under contract to stay with my company for 2 yrs. (one year left on contract) due to them paying for my relocation to WI from CA.
If I stayed out the final year of my contract here in WI (which could happen anyway just due to the process of waiting, interviewing, moving back) I would have the above asset base plus another roughly $20,000 cash in my high yield savings. And I could pay off my car then leaving me with roughly $50,000 cash, and $20,000 in dividend stocks depending on future market changes.

Does anyone have any advice pertaining to a career change into some kind of finance (not sales) at age 41 with my above education and experience?

Any advice and life experiences you are willing to share is very much appreciated.

Thanks all!  :-) 
« Last Edit: December 20, 2015, 04:20:27 PM by alex753 »


  • Bristles
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Re: Moving back to CA from WI with possible career change.
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2015, 08:04:51 AM »
Do you want to stay with your current company?  Can you transfer into an entry-level position in finance with the current company, or are you more or less locked into your current skill set?

Is there any way to get some part-time experience in finance while you serve your final year in WI?

I recently relocated back to the place I've wanted to live for 20 years, at no small financial cost.  I can say with authority that there is more to life than money.  If I were you I would put in the time required to fulfill your contract, then move back to CA as soon as feasible.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Moving back to CA from WI with possible career change.
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2015, 10:10:16 AM »
I feel you - I miss CA too....Northern CA though.  You couldn't make me touch Southern CA with a 10 foot pole!

I think you should give it another year in WI to finish out your contract and get yourself back on more stable ground.  You have had one crazy year, with a recent divorce, moving and new job environment.  It's like all the big ones at once.... you need to give yourself some time to adjust.  Also, it is hard to meet "single" people at 41, so you might be feeling like you don't have enough friends/activities.  Are there any volunteer groups/activities you could sign up for?

I too wanted to move back to CA after the first year here in the Midwest.  I hadn't met "good" friends like I had in CA, the people were different, and the weather in the Winter stunk.  We stuck it out though, and now after 10 years in the Midwest, we are SO MUCH FURTHER ALONG towards retirement/in life than we ever would have been in CA.  I still think the people are different, but I've met other transplants I consider good friends.

Plan a vacation to CA or anywhere warm in late February - that will give you something to look forward to all dreary Winter.  When you get back from said vacation, Winter will be "almost" over.  I trick myself this way every year, and I consider the extra cost of the vacation well worth the savings I achieve every year by living in the Midwest the rest of the year. 

I still have family that I visit back in CA.  When I look at what they are living in for 3X the price of my home and schools that are 3X worse, I remember why I am here.  You never have time to enjoy the weather in CA anyway because you are always working just to stay afloat!  Would you be able to save as much living solo in Orange County?  I highly doubt that.

Your financial picture looks solid, although I'd still argue you shouldn't have gotten the Corolla.... :-)