Author Topic: Case Study: Can I start coasting?  (Read 4027 times)

Sunflower

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Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« on: November 08, 2019, 12:21:06 PM »
[TL/DR] Iíve been planning to Ďcoastí into FI for a while, but now that itís a real possibility, Iím having OMY syndrome. Help me figure out whether I can quit in 2020?

Life Situation: Mid-30ís MFJ, no kids (yet?). HCOL city near family and friends that we are committed to staying in at least 2-3 more years

Assets:
Retirement accounts: $287K
Roth: $112K
HSA: $25K
Taxable: $380K
Cash: $95K (we were saving for a downpayment but are redirecting $5K/month into investments until it gets down to $50k)
Total Assets: $899K (roughly $35K/year using 4% rule assuming all cash gets invested)
(Estimated Assets if I quit in Janí20 ~$935K or $37K/year)

Liabilities: None

Expenses:
                                Current   Spouse 1 Quits!
Gross Income 1           $13,900   
Gross Income 2            $8,833     $8,833
      
Taxes 1                       $4,200   
Taxes 2                       $2,253     $2,000
Healthcare 1                $70   
Healthcare 2                $145          $195
Retirement/HSA 1        $1760   
Retirement/HSA 2        $868         $1003
Direct to Roth1            $500   
Direct to Roth2             $700         $0
Take Home 1               $7,370     $0
Take Home 2               $4,867     $5,635
Total Take Home       $12,237   $5,635
      
Rent                            $2,550    $2,550
Phone                         $50            $50
Internet                       $45           $45
Gas                             $500        $250
Utilities                       $60           $60
Groceries                    $400        $300
Restaurants                 $325         $200
Work Lunches              $75           $25
Household Goods         $60           $60
Grooming                     $90           $30
Life Expenses               $250         $250
Fun Money                  $400         $150
Travel/Fun                   $350          $100
Car/Rent Insurance     $210           $210
Car Repairs                 $100           $100
Healthcare OOP           $300          $300
Gifts/Donations          $200          $75
Total Spend             $5,965        $4,755
Saved                       $6,272        $880

*Income/taxes/retirement don't include a couple 3-paycheck months or bonus from job 1 that all have gone straight to savings

Additional relevant info:
We just signed a 1-year lease so rent and current location/commute is non-negotiable. Obviously itís on the table in the future if we both want to quit and seriously downsize our life. Iíve also kept the Ďfutureí budget pretty padded because the goal is to keep a similar lifestyle but we know how to be a lot more frugal if needed.

My plan has always been to quit around this time since my spouse has a stable job and planned* to work Ďforeverí. Iím good at my job but I donít love it and I have a soul-killing commute.

I think itís highly likely that I will make some money in the future. Iíd like to take a month or two off and use that time to figure out whatís next. One possibility is joining a non-profit or start-up whoís mission inspires me. Itís also possible that Iíd be able to get some part-time consulting with companies Iíve worked for previously. Finally, Iím not opposed to a Ďbaristaí job to bring in a little extra spending money as needed.

*The main wrench in my plan is that spouse is also feeling burnt out and starting to talk about scaling back or quitting. The soonest he would quit is 2-3 years from now.

Question:
So, what say you all? Can I quit? Should I?
The rational, analytical side of my brain says this is the perfect time to quit and figure out what I want to do while my spouse is still making an income. Then, if heís still feeling burnt out in a couple years, he can take some time off when Iím probably back to making money.

The irrational, fear-driven part of my brain says ďthereís a recession coming and your portfolio will drop by 50%!Ē ďYouíll never make money again!Ē ďYou donít even own a house!Ē ďYou might have a kid soon and thatís expensive!Ē "Why would you want to give up your amazing income to do something 'fun'? So many people wish they were making what you are!"
« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 12:42:13 PM by Sunflower »

diapasoun

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2019, 01:00:30 PM »
How committed is your spouse to working longer, and how committed are they to frugality? Currently, your spouse's takehome can cover your expenses, and if they continue working for a long time you'll be able to continue building your assets to a point where they cover your expenses long term. However, if your spouse quits or downshifts significantly in a few years, the takehome won't be able to cover them, and you would be drawing down assets that do not cover your long-term expenses (unless those expenses go down a lot).

I personally would probably not quit unless I was rock-solid certain that spouse was going to keep working until you jointly hit your FIRE number. A few years out of the job market is not nothing; people act like they'll easily pick up some job making a good chunk of change, but it can be hard to get back in and the decision to leave should be considered very carefully.

Freedomin5

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2019, 04:10:27 PM »
Youíre in a great place financially. My take is that you can definitely quit if you want. Your spouse makes more than enough to cover expenses, so even if you quit, your stash would continue to grow. If your portfolio loses 50% of its value, then cut out the fat and shovel all the extra money into the market because ďstocks are on sale!Ē

You also donít have to jump right into FIRE. There may be ways to dip a toe in. Is there any way to go part-time at your job? That will give you a cash cushion and allow you to continue padding your stash. If your spouse quits in 2-3 years though, your stash likely wonít be large enough to maintain your current lifestyle or your 1-person-FIREd lifestyle.

If both of you were to FIRE, what would your estimated monthly expenses be? How much of a stash would you need to have saved to generate that amount of income each month?

If also encourage you to start looking at the start ups and nonprofits you may want to join. Maybe cut back on your job and start volunteering there to build those connections. You want to be retiring to something, not retiring from something. You donít have to work full time for the nonprofit immediately after you quit your job, but you do at least want to start exploring whatís out there. That will help to calm some of those irrational thoughts of being nonproductive and never making money again. You could also start looking for a lower stress job closer to home.

TLDR: Your stash is large enough to give you lots of flexibility, even though you and your spouse may not be able to jump into full fat FIRE right at this moment. Donít feel like you need to be stuck in your current high paying job.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2019, 04:16:54 PM by Freedomin5 »

blingwrx

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2019, 10:26:57 PM »
Your plan looks good for you to quit since one person is still bringing home enough income for you to coast and giving you both health coverage. So you should definitely be good to go on the first part of your plan.

The 2nd part with you both quitting I would say is not yet ready. You both need to do more planning and figure out your future plans first before you can budget for the loss of both incomes. I would say thereís no time to waste if youíre both in your mid 30s and do want kids. It can be a lot harder and more complicated to have kids after 40.

So Iíd talk to your spouse and figure out all future plans first then youíd be able to estimate a budget And figure out if you need to cut more fat or move to a LCOL area to make your FIRE budget work. Kids, where you plan to live in the future and Health insurance are likely to be your biggest expenses.

six-car-habit

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2019, 12:29:45 AM »
 **** " ďYou donít even own a house!Ē ďYou might have a kid soon and thatís expensive!"  ****

You mention the above quotes as coming from the irrational, fear-driven part of your brain.  I'm not sure they are irrational ,or based on fear either.  They are both things you should have sorted out and decided before pulling the plug.
----If you had stated "No kids and no house for us, ever. Pets only and forever renters ! " - maybe you could plan without considering them. But they both seem like open ended possiblities, and you should plan/discuss accordingly.  You may find as you are home by yourself many hours, that you can hear your "biological clock" ticking loudly in your head..., and you want a backyard for that future child.

 Other things i would question-
 - $100 dollar drop in groceries to $300 total [ well we consider toiletries, shampoo, soap, vitamins, laundry detergent ,etc as groceries - not strictly food , maybe that is your 'household goods at $60/mo ?]  - seems rather low for 2 persons. Especially if you are also dropping $50 from the work lunches, and $125 from the restaurant category. Who is going without meals in the future ?
  - $250 drop in fun money [ won't you have more time to spend on hobbies ? ]  - maybe you really really love your library ? I'm not sure how this category gets lowered 62%.....
 - $ 250 drop in travel money .  Now with all this extra time on yuor hands you'll do Less travelling ?  Huh ?
 - $125 drop in gifts / donations ? - I guess if spouse #1 has been spending $125 a month on work gifts/ work baby showers, work retirement cake, etc....

feelingroovy

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2019, 08:54:36 AM »
I think you would really benefit from not thinking of FIRE as a dichotomy between your current job and no work.

You mentioned a few great sounding alternatives. Consulting, part time job, job that would inspire you.

You can afford any of these.

You can also afford just taking six months or a year off to get over any burn out to decide what you want to do next.

Your spouse can afford to do the same.

I think of FI as a continuum, not an event. It's only if you insist on never working again while living off your assets that you're not there yet.

And while I get the appeal of the most efficient route to the event, sometimes the journey is a lot more enjoyable if you stop to enjoy things along the way.

You and your spouse could come up with some really exciting plans to create more sustainable job options over the next 5 years or so while your investments grow. I say congratulations, enjoy your pivot.

waltworks

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2019, 09:08:47 AM »
As long as your spouse is ok with it, you should quit now, forget next year. Soul-crushing commute? F that. You're financially fine.

-W

GoCubsGo

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2019, 09:41:59 AM »
A few thoughts:

I would figure out the kid situation first as that will likely color future decisions.  If you have a child you may want to stay close to family longer once the baby is born (plus the added child expenses). You may also get the urge to buy a house after the baby is born (schools, neighborhood, back yard, etc).  Mortgage, taxes, insurance, home repairs, capital expenditures budget for house will potentially put you higher than $2,500 a month you are currently paying (run those numbers as many people underestimate home ownership costs).   

Let's assume the addition of kid (s), house add to your budget and you spend $5,500 month ($66K/year).  You'd need $1.65 million for both of you to retire.  If he works a couple more years you'll get closer to that number but still be a ways off. 

Would it be possible to find a closer job as that commute is probably making you miserable. 

If you want to quit now and husband wants to quit in a couple years, I don't think you'd able to get your stache big enough to handle a 50 year retirement.  Add in a market drop between now and three years from now and you'll be even further away.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2019, 12:19:09 PM »
Hmmm, I donít think youíre there yet or even close. My concern is the last part where you write about your husband, who said he wants to work forever initially, is now admitting burnout and wanting to maybe work 2-3 years. What happens when he sees how your life is not working? He might really want out and you all have around $60k/yr in expenses but a stache covering $37k.

I would project a 3rd scenario. You both work 5 more years. What would your stache be like then, and what will your expenses be when you both stop working? I think 5 years is reasonable because that will answer the baby question. If you have one, youíll need to factor that in and that might impact who works longer or how big the stache neds to be. If you donít have one, youíre probably fine after 5 years. I get the commute sucks for you, any possibility of work from home days, or working 4 days a week and adjusting your salary? If you donít ask, you donít get. I wouldnít give up the money youíre making when youíre so close to having it all without compromise. 5 years will come very quickly.

Sunflower

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2019, 06:56:44 PM »
Thanks for all the responses so far! They've definitely given me things to think about. Interestingly, I'm seeing two types of responses that match up with the internal conflict I'm feeling!

I'll try to respond to specific people below but I'm feeling like there are three options clarifying in my mind:
1. Get a similar job closer to home. Deal with the boredom but at least don't have a commute. Stick it out for ~3 more years and then retire for reals. This is maybe the best option if we are also having a kid but makes me dread the next few years.
2. Quit and relax for 1-2 months but with the goal of pursuing something new within the next year that has a high(ish) salary and allows us to start saving significantly again. This sounds like the most fun but also the most scary? What if I don't figure out what I want to do, or can't find a way to make money doing it?
3. Quit and find something part time/passion project-like that is low paying but that I could do for a long time. We could hypothetically both quit our 'career jobs' but find some way to pull in $15K/year each to supplement the current stash. This would cover the shortfall from the 4% rule but we'd have to be willing to do it forever since it would begin drawing down investments.

Am I missing anything here?

Some specific responses below:
How committed is your spouse to working longer, and how committed are they to frugality?
He's very committed to frugality...if anything I'm the spendy person in the relationship! He's in academia and very passionate about his field, the problem is that academia is so broken and it's wearing on him. He'll definitely stick around for 2-3 years but is also starting to question whether he'll stay or go at that point. He may very well stay, or move into industry, or do something else adjacent. I honestly can't imagine him not working.

----If you had stated "No kids and no house for us, ever. Pets only and forever renters ! " - maybe you could plan without considering them. But they both seem like open ended possiblities, and you should plan/discuss accordingly.  You may find as you are home by yourself many hours, that you can hear your "biological clock" ticking loudly in your head..., and you want a backyard for that future child.

 Other things i would question-
 - $100 dollar drop in groceries to $300 total [ well we consider toiletries, shampoo, soap, vitamins, laundry detergent ,etc as groceries - not strictly food , maybe that is your 'household goods at $60/mo ?]  - seems rather low for 2 persons. Especially if you are also dropping $50 from the work lunches, and $125 from the restaurant category. Who is going without meals in the future ?
  - $250 drop in fun money [ won't you have more time to spend on hobbies ? ]  - maybe you really really love your library ? I'm not sure how this category gets lowered 62%.....
 - $ 250 drop in travel money .  Now with all this extra time on yuor hands you'll do Less travelling ?  Huh ?
 - $125 drop in gifts / donations ? - I guess if spouse #1 has been spending $125 a month on work gifts/ work baby showers, work retirement cake, etc....

We're probably happy being renters forever, it's just that it goes against what we 'should' want. The kids question is actively being worked through so we'll see where that ends up.

- The drop in groceries is actually close to what we've been spending the past few months. Choosing less meats, less prepared snacks, and less alcohol can really bring down the food budget! Most of my 'lunch' money is actually going to happy hour drinks with coworkers when I'm trying to avoid traffic since we pack lunches 95% of the time. Spouse has some work lunches that can't be avoided but they are cheap.
- I do love the library - been there twice this week :-D (But your point is well taken)
- For traveling, we mostly do local travel and love hiking destinations but don't want to deal with camping when we only have 2 days plus driving so we normally stay in a hotel. If I wasn't working, the idea is that I'd be able to pack up the car, do the grocery shopping in advance, etc.
- For gifts/donations I'd probably reduce our monthly automatic donations but not drop them completely. My family goes all out at xmas so we budget for that all year but we're trying to get that down since it's not spending in line with our values.

I get the commute sucks for you, any possibility of work from home days, or working 4 days a week and adjusting your salary? If you donít ask, you donít get. I wouldnít give up the money youíre making when youíre so close to having it all without compromise. 5 years will come very quickly.
I already work from home one day a week but it's not enough. There's no way to go part time in my role, or to work remotely more often. I'd rather look for something closer to home that pays less than try and force myself to stick out another year (let alone 5!). I'm so burned out right now though, that everything I see posted that I'm qualified for sounds terrible and boring.

@feelingroovy and @waltworks - thanks for the encouragement!

feelingroovy

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2019, 07:42:57 AM »
Those aren't your only options.

I think you've boxed yourself into a corner of unappealing choices.

Think of it this way: your expenses are $6k/month. You have enough investments and you're young enough  that you could just let compounding do it's thing and still end up with more money than you know what to do with.

So all you need to do is to cover expenses for the medium term until the compounding magic gets you to full FI. But like MMM you may find that if you pivot to something you love doing, you will earn more than you need to.

Continuing on under burn out should not be considered an option. That does serious damage.

The option of letting your spouse cover expenses until FI is not an option any more since he is also feeling burnt out. However, it sounds to me like his relationship with his job is more positive. Could he continue for one year? 5 years?

If he just bought you one year off to figure out what to do next, that would go a long way. Your goal in that year is to recover and explore your options. I did this many years ago under burn out and was surprised by how many options presented themselves that I had never thought of.

The key is you will need to eventually be making $60/yr take-home after a few years to relieve him of his academic job. Let's say you figure out a consulting gig for only $30k (after taxes). For him to get out of his academic job, he just has to do the same.

This stuff is hard because it's scary. But you have a bigger net than you realize. Don't let FI get in the way of enjoying your life.

In this interview is the concept of the Radical Sabbatical. I think you'll find it helpful. https://affordanything.com/192-the-latte-factor-with-author-david-bach/

Lady Stash

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2019, 11:54:12 AM »
Other things i would question-
 - $100 dollar drop in groceries to $300 total [ well we consider toiletries, shampoo, soap, vitamins, laundry detergent ,etc as groceries - not strictly food , maybe that is your 'household goods at $60/mo ?]  - seems rather low for 2 persons. Especially if you are also dropping $50 from the work lunches, and $125 from the restaurant category. Who is going without meals in the future ?
  - $250 drop in fun money [ won't you have more time to spend on hobbies ? ]  - maybe you really really love your library ? I'm not sure how this category gets lowered 62%.....
 - $ 250 drop in travel money .  Now with all this extra time on yuor hands you'll do Less travelling ?  Huh ?
 - $125 drop in gifts / donations ? - I guess if spouse #1 has been spending $125 a month on work gifts/ work baby showers, work retirement cake, etc....

I had the same thought on the budget changes.  When I cut back my work hours or take a few weeks off I want more money for hobbies/travel/activities/entrtainment.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2019, 12:11:04 PM »
Itís not very clear what you want to do with your life when you FIRE. How do you know that you wonít find a $15k job to be ďterrible and boringĒ? Or being a stay at home parent?  Do you have a definite plan of what you want to be doing?

Personally Iíd find the $15k option to be the scariest because it isnít easy to find that type of work doing work at a level that doesnít drive you crazy. I canít imagine going from my salary currently to making $15k working in a cafe, dealing with all of that and worried that I have to keep that job just to over my part of expenses. Donít romanticize that life or how it will impact your sense of self. It still feels like you wonít be FI if youíre both relying on menial jobs to supplement your life. Did you both study so much, work so hard for that?

Iím still in the stick it out for 5 years. Youíre not in prison, your life isnít hell. There are lots of ways for you to give work just the energy it needs and use the rest of your life and energy for non-work things. You have a golden ticket in your hand that you earned. Yes, thereís a bit of sacrifice, sure. But itís not 30 more years like most people, itís 5 max and then there absolutely no stress or worry after that. MMM has a great story himself, but remember thatís after 10 years, and they both kept working and then he was earning $400k/year with this blog. Heís financially set and doesnít have to work another day. You and your husband will be locked in to working to keep things going for much longer than 5 years.

Iím actually in the same boat as you, I make very good money and I could quite now and get a lower paying job but then I would be stuck dealing with the bullshit that comes with those jobs. Iím looking at 6 more years to ensure I never have to work again. I think, damn that seems long, I want out now! And then I slap myself and remind myself how very lucky I am to even have this option of escape in 6 years. And Iím a lot older than you. Youíll be out before I even started my journey. Work is boring. So? Itís just work, it doesnít have to define you or your life. Just use it as a tool to get you what you want more of.

waltworks

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2019, 01:42:35 PM »
Personally Iíd find the $15k option to be the scariest because it isnít easy to find that type of work doing work at a level that doesnít drive you crazy. I canít imagine going from my salary currently to making $15k working in a cafe, dealing with all of that and worried that I have to keep that job just to over my part of expenses. Donít romanticize that life or how it will impact your sense of self. It still feels like you wonít be FI if youíre both relying on menial jobs to supplement your life. Did you both study so much, work so hard for that?

Somewhat off topic, but I think this is an interesting perspective - and almost diametrically opposed to mine. Just using myself as an example, I pay myself around $100 an hour (self employed) doing something I really like to do that requires lots of specialized skill and education. But if I didn't like my job, or I ran out of work to do, there are tons of jobs I'd be happy to do if I just needed to make $1000/mo or so.

I volunteer at our local food pantry, for example - stocking shelves, helping elderly people find what they need/carrying their groceries for them, checking people in and advising on simple food/cooking concepts. It's a "waste" of my education and "menial" to be sorting and stacking canned vegetables and carrying bags of groceries - but it's very satisfying and I look forward to it every week. The other volunteers and employees are super nice folks, and there are a ton of interesting and talkative people who get food there. The pantry is always looking for paid workers (because they can only afford to pay $11 an hour, and the health department requires them to have an actual employee on site at all times) so if I wanted to I could pick up a couple days a week of "menial" work and be all set.

I can think of a bunch of other easy "menial" jobs I'd be happy to do (ie lifeguard, trail building/maintenance crew, front desk person at a local spa or hotel, taking rich people's dogs for hikes, mountain bike coach, etc, etc). And if you don't like the particular job? Guess what... you quit and try another one.

-W

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2019, 05:11:12 PM »
Personally Iíd find the $15k option to be the scariest because it isnít easy to find that type of work doing work at a level that doesnít drive you crazy. I canít imagine going from my salary currently to making $15k working in a cafe, dealing with all of that and worried that I have to keep that job just to over my part of expenses. Donít romanticize that life or how it will impact your sense of self. It still feels like you wonít be FI if youíre both relying on menial jobs to supplement your life. Did you both study so much, work so hard for that?

Somewhat off topic, but I think this is an interesting perspective - and almost diametrically opposed to mine. Just using myself as an example, I pay myself around $100 an hour (self employed) doing something I really like to do that requires lots of specialized skill and education. But if I didn't like my job, or I ran out of work to do, there are tons of jobs I'd be happy to do if I just needed to make $1000/mo or so.

I volunteer at our local food pantry, for example - stocking shelves, helping elderly people find what they need/carrying their groceries for them, checking people in and advising on simple food/cooking concepts. It's a "waste" of my education and "menial" to be sorting and stacking canned vegetables and carrying bags of groceries - but it's very satisfying and I look forward to it every week. The other volunteers and employees are super nice folks, and there are a ton of interesting and talkative people who get food there. The pantry is always looking for paid workers (because they can only afford to pay $11 an hour, and the health department requires them to have an actual employee on site at all times) so if I wanted to I could pick up a couple days a week of "menial" work and be all set.

I can think of a bunch of other easy "menial" jobs I'd be happy to do (ie lifeguard, trail building/maintenance crew, front desk person at a local spa or hotel, taking rich people's dogs for hikes, mountain bike coach, etc, etc). And if you don't like the particular job? Guess what... you quit and try another one.

-W

That all makes sense to me and of course people can find meaning and happiness in work that is at a different level. If I remember, youíre a bit older and that work, pace and such probably has less relevance than for someone in their 30s and 40s. Also, youíre doing it for pocket change, not because you have to in order to sustain your expenses.

Sunflower

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2019, 05:53:40 PM »

This stuff is hard because it's scary. But you have a bigger net than you realize. Don't let FI get in the way of enjoying your life.

In this interview is the concept of the Radical Sabbatical. I think you'll find it helpful. https://affordanything.com/192-the-latte-factor-with-author-david-bach/

Thanks, I'll check out the interview! It is really scary! Most of the time I believe I can make $30K/year without trying very hard and likely much more, but when I start getting serious about quitting, all the fears creep back in.  I should put together a list of actual options and start exploring them as a first step. Logically, I know I could do this in my first weeks off, but I might as well start now if it will help me pull the trigger, right? (I already have a couple ideas listed below actually, but I'm not sure how much they would bring in)

@waltworks  and @MrThatsDifferent, thanks for the interesting discussion, I think it's totally on topic.

I do think I could find some consulting gigs to supplement income, but tit would be full-time on a project for 2-3 months at a time the way my field is structured. Assuming the economy doesn't tank and the funds dry up. It's definitely a possibility but ideally I'd do something similar to @waltworks and have a steady drip of work that brings in money. A couple of the things I do 'for fun' right now are volunteer tutoring and VITA (tax prep assistance). I'm pretty sure I could monetize either of those to bring in a little money during tax season or throughout the year but not at $100/hr! Another option I've been thinking about is small business accounting/quick books which I'd have to learn but I have some (free) options to do so working with real companies.

@MrThatsDifferent in terms of what I'm retiring to: If I had more time, I'd like to get back into playing an instrument and join a string quartet/chamber group. I'd like to increase the hours that I volunteer with current groups and expand that to a couple other organizations. I'd like to rent a small plot in a community garden to grow veggies during the summer. I'd like to sit outside and read more books. At some point (now or in the future), I'd like to find some small companies that are doing amazing things, and help them succeed and grow.

I've really tried to incorporate more of my 'ideal future' into my current life over the last year and it's been going ok. The volunteer activities are definitely helping to 'feed my soul' even though it's hard to fit them in with my schedule. Realistically I'm out of the house from 7am-6pm every day, with 3 hours of that on the road so I can't fit it more than 1-2 evening activities a week and still spend any quality time with my spouse.

Sunflower

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2019, 06:04:11 PM »
MMM has a great story himself, but remember thatís after 10 years, and they both kept working and then he was earning $400k/year with this blog. Heís financially set and doesnít have to work another day. You and your husband will be locked in to working to keep things going for much longer than 5 years.

I wanted to respond to this to, but forgot. This is actually the main reason I'm considering quitting now, before FI.

I've read multiple stories of people who have achieved FI, and then gone on to make more money than they know what to do with. I'm not a 'retire to a van and live off the grid  for $10k/year enjoying nature' kind of person, but I'm definitely a 'happiest when doing something interesting and helping people' kind of person and I feel like that can lead to money in random places. I know I could do any job for another 5 years, but I have this nagging feeling that I'm wasting five years of my life that I could be using to explore a million different interesting things.

However, @diapasoun's point earlier that people assume they can just get back into the workforce whenever I feel like it is a really valid concern. 

norajean

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2019, 06:05:42 PM »
If you can hold expenses at $60k/yr (real) then you would need to save about $2 million to last for a long retirement. Could be 60 years retired if you are mid 30s. I would work a bit more to increase savings and reduce years of retirement.

waltworks

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2019, 06:33:51 PM »
That all makes sense to me and of course people can find meaning and happiness in work that is at a different level. If I remember, youíre a bit older and that work, pace and such probably has less relevance than for someone in their 30s and 40s. Also, youíre doing it for pocket change, not because you have to in order to sustain your expenses.

LOL. I just turned 43.

-W

Freedomin5

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #19 on: November 10, 2019, 07:39:59 PM »
Quote
Did you both study so much, work so hard for that?

This is what all the people in the rat race told me. "You didn't spend several years in graduate school getting a doctorate to waste it on a menial job making minimum wage."   "You should keep working forever earning tons of money because you can."    "Otherwise, you're just wasting your degree."

It's all fear-mongering and BS. While I'm currently still earning a lot of money with my skills, when I FIRE, I'm using my skills and my education on social justice projects where I earn a lot less than minimum wage but can travel to areas where the people can really use my skills/expertise but can't afford to pay me for it. Our pay will be enough to cover our living expenses, and our stash can grow untouched until we're ready to "retire" and completely stop earning any income.

The OP has FU money right now. While they may not be able to both drop everything and spend the rest of their days sitting on their front porch twiddling their thumbs, they have options. They don't need to feel stuck in a dissatisfying, soul-sucking job.

six-car-habit

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2019, 01:06:35 AM »
 Thanks for responding to my points - you seem to have reasonable answers for the things i thought as potential budget issues. Good Luck in your endeavours!

Laura33

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2019, 10:43:05 AM »
Quote
Did you both study so much, work so hard for that?

This is what all the people in the rat race told me. "You didn't spend several years in graduate school getting a doctorate to waste it on a menial job making minimum wage."   "You should keep working forever earning tons of money because you can."    "Otherwise, you're just wasting your degree."

It's all fear-mongering and BS. While I'm currently still earning a lot of money with my skills, when I FIRE, I'm using my skills and my education on social justice projects where I earn a lot less than minimum wage but can travel to areas where the people can really use my skills/expertise but can't afford to pay me for it. Our pay will be enough to cover our living expenses, and our stash can grow untouched until we're ready to "retire" and completely stop earning any income.

The OP has FU money right now. While they may not be able to both drop everything and spend the rest of their days sitting on their front porch twiddling their thumbs, they have options. They don't need to feel stuck in a dissatisfying, soul-sucking job.

To start with, ITA with this.  But I think there are also reasonable concerns about whether the OP in particular would be happy on a Barista FIRE path.  OP mentioned a fear of massive boredom just with dropping back to a nearby professional job, because it wouldn't be as exciting as the current one -- so why, then, would it be reasonable to think that an even less-mentally-engaging hourly job stocking shelves or serving coffee would somehow be something s/he could happily do for years to come? 

This is truly a "know yourself" question.  There is not a damn thing wrong with jumping off the professional track if you find something that is interesting and provides whatever amount of cash you need.  OTOH, if you're a type-A hard-charger, you don't want to let your burnout bullshit you into fantasizing about how wonderful it would be if you only had to work 40 hrs/wk at Walmart stocking shelves to cover your nut.*  Maybe your fears are irrational.  But maybe they won't go away because they are rational concerns that you haven't addressed to your own satisfaction, because you just so badly want to find some way to quit.

Also consider your spouse's thoughts and talk more with him.  FWIW, my DH and I have both, at times, gotten over rough patches at work because we knew we could afford to quit because the other's income could cover our needs.  The one time my income dropped dramatically and couldn't cover our needs coincided with the job DH was least happy with, and I don't think that's a coincidence: he had just come out of a facility shutdown before this job, and told me later that he really felt the pressure of knowing the family needed him to keep this job, and that made life much more stressful.  He says the best gift I have given him since I got back into a better job is the knowledge that he has permission to walk out at any time.

None of this is to say you shouldn't quit, btw!  You totally have FU money, you are close to FI, and if you and/or your spouse find a way between you to either cut costs or cover your overage, you have many, many ways to get there.  Honestly, from what you've written, the 2-3 month full-time consulting gig may be an excellent option for you, if it lets you feel really charged up and engaged for a while, but then gives you plenty of downtime after to rest and pursue hobbies and other interests.  Or not.  The key is to try to really think through and be realistic about the good and bad things that come with each choice, so that you can better tell when your fears are rational vs. when you are acting too rashly and should slow down and think a little more. 

*I am currently really, really bored at work and last week found myself fantasizing about quitting so I could strip and refinish all the woodwork in the entryway.  Really?  I hate that shit -- I can putter forever in the kitchen, but not doing house projects/chores; hours and hours and hours running a heat gun and dental pick is just a version of death to me.  Luckily, I stopped myself and realized that was more like a sign I need to shake some things up at work vs. continuing to coast with my current boredom.  Still not sure what the answer is going to be -- but it won't involve heat guns.

scantee

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2019, 12:40:07 PM »
I'm biased towards coasting as being a better option for more FIREers than full retirement, so grain of salt and all that. Particularly for people who retire very young (less than 40) because most young retirees end up earning money after "retirement" and they have a long runaway for their base to grow until traditional retirement age. Coasting is a real window into people's true risk tolerance. Many of the same people who are super confident in saying that you should invest instead of paying down your mortgage get super skittish about the idea of coasting even though the same assumptions support both!

With that, yes, you are ready to coast, as long as you can continue to cover your expenses with earned income. With your $900k stash, adding your planned $12k, with 6% growth, you'll have more than $3MM in 20 years (in 30 years you would have more than $6MM!). Add nothing every year and you'll have a bit less than $3MM ($5MM in 30 years). Worst case scenario, you add nothing and have anemic 3% growth and you'll still end up with around $2MM at traditional retirement age. Do you think those amounts will be enough for you when you approach traditional early retirement age? Seems like an absolute ton of money to me, certainly enough to pursue option #2 from your list, the option that seems most appealing to you.

Start planning for that option now so that once you make the switch you aren't blindsides by any unexpected financial and emotional repercussions of upending your daily life. Part of that planning should involve eventually earning enough income to cover all of your household expenses so that at some point your partner also gets a stint of no work whatsoever. If you get that luxury now (and you should get that luxury) they should get it at some point too.



MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2019, 10:24:05 PM »
That all makes sense to me and of course people can find meaning and happiness in work that is at a different level. If I remember, youíre a bit older and that work, pace and such probably has less relevance than for someone in their 30s and 40s. Also, youíre doing it for pocket change, not because you have to in order to sustain your expenses.

LOL. I just turned 43.

-W

Apologies then, I must have you confused with someone else. ;-)

MoseyingAlong

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2019, 10:59:38 PM »
That all makes sense to me and of course people can find meaning and happiness in work that is at a different level. If I remember, youíre a bit older and that work, pace and such probably has less relevance than for someone in their 30s and 40s. Also, youíre doing it for pocket change, not because you have to in order to sustain your expenses.

LOL. I just turned 43.

-W

Apologies then, I must have you confused with someone else. ;-)

This cracks me up. I also thought walkworks was older, maybe 15-20 years older.

marty998

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2019, 12:26:25 AM »
Things I did not expect to hear @Laura33 say.


I am currently really, really bored at work and last week found myself fantasizing about quitting so I could strip


(sorry, couldn't resist!)

Laura33

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2019, 09:37:12 AM »
Things I did not expect to hear @Laura33 say.


I am currently really, really bored at work and last week found myself fantasizing about quitting so I could strip


(sorry, couldn't resist!)

LOL! 

ice1717

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2019, 10:05:27 AM »
Quote
Did you both study so much, work so hard for that?

This is what all the people in the rat race told me. "You didn't spend several years in graduate school getting a doctorate to waste it on a menial job making minimum wage."   "You should keep working forever earning tons of money because you can."    "Otherwise, you're just wasting your degree."

It's all fear-mongering and BS. While I'm currently still earning a lot of money with my skills, when I FIRE, I'm using my skills and my education on social justice projects where I earn a lot less than minimum wage but can travel to areas where the people can really use my skills/expertise but can't afford to pay me for it. Our pay will be enough to cover our living expenses, and our stash can grow untouched until we're ready to "retire" and completely stop earning any income.

The OP has FU money right now. While they may not be able to both drop everything and spend the rest of their days sitting on their front porch twiddling their thumbs, they have options. They don't need to feel stuck in a dissatisfying, soul-sucking job.

To start with, ITA with this.  But I think there are also reasonable concerns about whether the OP in particular would be happy on a Barista FIRE path.  OP mentioned a fear of massive boredom just with dropping back to a nearby professional job, because it wouldn't be as exciting as the current one -- so why, then, would it be reasonable to think that an even less-mentally-engaging hourly job stocking shelves or serving coffee would somehow be something s/he could happily do for years to come? 

This is truly a "know yourself" question.  There is not a damn thing wrong with jumping off the professional track if you find something that is interesting and provides whatever amount of cash you need.  OTOH, if you're a type-A hard-charger, you don't want to let your burnout bullshit you into fantasizing about how wonderful it would be if you only had to work 40 hrs/wk at Walmart stocking shelves to cover your nut.*  Maybe your fears are irrational.  But maybe they won't go away because they are rational concerns that you haven't addressed to your own satisfaction, because you just so badly want to find some way to quit.

Also consider your spouse's thoughts and talk more with him.  FWIW, my DH and I have both, at times, gotten over rough patches at work because we knew we could afford to quit because the other's income could cover our needs.  The one time my income dropped dramatically and couldn't cover our needs coincided with the job DH was least happy with, and I don't think that's a coincidence: he had just come out of a facility shutdown before this job, and told me later that he really felt the pressure of knowing the family needed him to keep this job, and that made life much more stressful.  He says the best gift I have given him since I got back into a better job is the knowledge that he has permission to walk out at any time.

None of this is to say you shouldn't quit, btw!  You totally have FU money, you are close to FI, and if you and/or your spouse find a way between you to either cut costs or cover your overage, you have many, many ways to get there.  Honestly, from what you've written, the 2-3 month full-time consulting gig may be an excellent option for you, if it lets you feel really charged up and engaged for a while, but then gives you plenty of downtime after to rest and pursue hobbies and other interests.  Or not.  The key is to try to really think through and be realistic about the good and bad things that come with each choice, so that you can better tell when your fears are rational vs. when you are acting too rashly and should slow down and think a little more. 

*I am currently really, really bored at work and last week found myself fantasizing about quitting so I could strip and refinish all the woodwork in the entryway.  Really?  I hate that shit -- I can putter forever in the kitchen, but not doing house projects/chores; hours and hours and hours running a heat gun and dental pick is just a version of death to me.  Luckily, I stopped myself and realized that was more like a sign I need to shake some things up at work vs. continuing to coast with my current boredom.  Still not sure what the answer is going to be -- but it won't involve heat guns.

Great points to consider here.  One summer my co-workers and I watched a road crew working on the roads in the city where our office is located.  We constantly talked about how nice it would be to have a job where went home and never thought about work again.  This sounded like a great plan to me - work a few years making $100k+ and then barista fire.  Until a relative did it...

My relative retired in his mid-50s and was pumped to tell everyone about his new job working at a popular store "as a retirement gig just to cover medical insurance" related to a hobby he enjoys.  Meanwhile he. is. miserable.  He works odd retail hours, most of the folks he works with aren't overly "professional", management's skills leave a lot to be desired, customers don't treat him with the level of respect he is used to, etc. At the end of the day I think he would have been better off working for 2-3 more years making $120k vs. 10 more years making $30k at a "low stress" retirement gig. 

Working a few hours here or there because you want to, for a cause that means something to you, is great.  Needing +/- $30k just to get by makes it much more stressful and harder to drop if it isn't working out. 

legalstache

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2019, 12:13:48 PM »

Great points to consider here.  One summer my co-workers and I watched a road crew working on the roads in the city where our office is located.  We constantly talked about how nice it would be to have a job where went home and never thought about work again.  This sounded like a great plan to me - work a few years making $100k+ and then barista fire.  Until a relative did it...

My relative retired in his mid-50s and was pumped to tell everyone about his new job working at a popular store "as a retirement gig just to cover medical insurance" related to a hobby he enjoys.  Meanwhile he. is. miserable.  He works odd retail hours, most of the folks he works with aren't overly "professional", management's skills leave a lot to be desired, customers don't treat him with the level of respect he is used to, etc. At the end of the day I think he would have been better off working for 2-3 more years making $120k vs. 10 more years making $30k at a "low stress" retirement gig. 

Working a few hours here or there because you want to, for a cause that means something to you, is great.  Needing +/- $30k just to get by makes it much more stressful and harder to drop if it isn't working out.

Thanks for sharing this anecdote. Like others here, I get sucked into the fantasy of a "chill," "low stress" barista-fire type job but need to be slapped back to the reality that low pay does not equal low stress, better work environment, etc. In fact, for a lot of us, it's probably the opposite.

diapasoun

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #29 on: November 14, 2019, 12:20:38 PM »
Thanks for sharing this anecdote. Like others here, I get sucked into the fantasy of a "chill," "low stress" barista-fire type job but need to be slapped back to the reality that low pay does not equal low stress, better work environment, etc. In fact, for a lot of us, it's probably the opposite.

Yes! Retail work -- which is what most people think of when they think of barista FIRE -- is really, really stressful work. Customers and bosses alike treat you like crap, some of your co-workers are also guaranteed to treat you like crap, you work weird hours and get yanked around, you usually don't get benefits... it's frequently not easy, fun, or low-stress at all.

waltworks

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2019, 12:25:26 PM »
Thanks for sharing this anecdote. Like others here, I get sucked into the fantasy of a "chill," "low stress" barista-fire type job but need to be slapped back to the reality that low pay does not equal low stress, better work environment, etc. In fact, for a lot of us, it's probably the opposite.

Yes! Retail work -- which is what most people think of when they think of barista FIRE -- is really, really stressful work. Customers and bosses alike treat you like crap, some of your co-workers are also guaranteed to treat you like crap, you work weird hours and get yanked around, you usually don't get benefits... it's frequently not easy, fun, or low-stress at all.

I think people just aren't creative enough about this. There is SO much to do outside of retail.
-Tutor/mentor
-Lifeguard
-Coach/trainer
-Construction/trades - you don't need to be a licensed plumber to be a plumber's assistant, and you'll learn a ton at the same time
-Childcare/mom's helper
-Elder care/grandma's helper
-Driving the school bus (I can't stand the sitting in one place aspect and hate driving, but it's a sweet gig if you tolerate that stuff, actually)

etc, etc, etc.

FWIW, I've at one point or another done most of these jobs. Not everyone will like every one of them, of course, but you don't have to wait tables and get harassed by drunk old men, or stock shelves until you get tendonitis, or whatever horrible thing you're imagining.

And again, don't like the boss/job? You can quit as spectacularly as you'd like! It's not a career.

-W
« Last Edit: November 14, 2019, 12:32:01 PM by waltworks »

kendallf

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2019, 12:37:39 PM »

And again, don't like the boss/job? You can quit as spectacularly as you'd like! It's not a career.

-W

I can imagine a second career where I start annoying jobs **just so I can quit spectacularly.**  Bring in an 80s boom box, John Cusack style, wear a mullet wig, and play "Take This Job and Shove It"... memorize the lines from "Office Space" and see how many days I can last... it'd be awesome!


legalstache

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2019, 12:38:11 PM »
I think people just aren't creative enough about this. There is SO much to do outside of retail.
-Tutor/mentor
-Lifeguard
-Coach/trainer
-Construction/trades - you don't need to be a licensed plumber to be a plumber's assistant, and you'll learn a ton at the same time
-Childcare/mom's helper
-Elder care/grandma's helper
-Driving the school bus (I can't stand the sitting in one place aspect and hate driving, but it's a sweet gig if you tolerate that stuff, actually)

etc, etc, etc.

FWIW, I've at one point or another done most of these jobs. Not everyone will like every one of them, of course, but you don't have to wait tables and get harassed by drunk old men, or stock shelves until you get tendonitis, or whatever horrible thing you're imagining.

And again, don't like the boss/job? You can quit as spectacularly as you'd like! It's not a career.

-W

I agree with you that there are barista-fire type jobs out there that may actually work out better than one's current job. I think you have to be really careful about what you're getting into, though.

And @ice1717 , the first part of your story (about the road crew) reminded me of Peter in Office Space quitting his job to work construction. I sometimes wonder how that ended up working out for him...

Sunflower

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2019, 01:14:45 PM »
@Laura33 I've always loved the advice you give others and was secretly hoping you would weigh in here! But, I've got to admit that I was feeling pretty defensive when I first read it. Definitely food for thought, and I have a lot of time for thinking each day on my commute!

To start with, ITA with this.  But I think there are also reasonable concerns about whether the OP in particular would be happy on a Barista FIRE path.  OP mentioned a fear of massive boredom just with dropping back to a nearby professional job, because it wouldn't be as exciting as the current one -- so why, then, would it be reasonable to think that an even less-mentally-engaging hourly job stocking shelves or serving coffee would somehow be something s/he could happily do for years to come? 

This is truly a "know yourself" question.  There is not a damn thing wrong with jumping off the professional track if you find something that is interesting and provides whatever amount of cash you need.  OTOH, if you're a type-A hard-charger, you don't want to let your burnout bullshit you into fantasizing about how wonderful it would be if you only had to work 40 hrs/wk at Walmart stocking shelves to cover your nut.*  Maybe your fears are irrational.  But maybe they won't go away because they are rational concerns that you haven't addressed to your own satisfaction, because you just so badly want to find some way to quit.

I seem to get bored when I have a good understanding of the job/field. That's not to say I can't stick with something, just that I'm happiest when thrown into something totally new on a regular basis. I have a science Ph.D but have risen the corporate ranks in marketing. Once I've understood how each of those worlds work (high quality science research, fortune 500 business units in two completely different industries) I get very little satisfaction out of the day. Meanwhile, everyone around me things I'm happy because I'm usually really good at what I do. I keep getting promoted ahead of the 'normal' schedule and my bosses are always shocked when I leave a company.

The life that @waltworks @scantee and @Freedomin5 describe is what I've been fantasizing about for a while. I guess I'm at the point where I need to take some actual steps towards figuring out what that looks like for me. (aka sh** or get off the pot!) There are only 19 more working days at my company this year and if I stick it out, then I get a bonus, so there's no reason to quit today.

Action I'm currently taking:
- Picked up "Refuse to Choose" and "I could do anything, if I only knew what it was" from the library
- Spending at least 20 minutes each day journaling about the ideas in the books. I especially like the various 'life models' in refuse to choose and am trying to really put myself in those situations to see which feels the best. Do I really want to work on 3-4 different things each day? Do I want to continue the serial career exploration that I've been doing so far?

Next steps:
- Make a list of 'barista FIRE' jobs that interest me
- Get real data on these options. Things like: How much are tutoring companies paying/hour and how many hours could I get on a regular basis? How much are private tutors charging and how does that compare with a company rate after self-employment taxes? What additional certification would I need to get a job preparing taxes, when do those companies hire, and what do they pay?
- Set up a meeting with my contact for short term workforce support in my industry to get a better feel of what's possible
- Set a goal for avg monthly income by the end of 2020 and end of 2021 (so spouse can quit then if he still wants to)
- Set a quit date. This may be two dates. First date is "definitely consider quitting even if it's scary" and will probably be in Feb. after some stocks vest. The second would be a "why are you still at your job?! Put in your notice today!" date. Maybe in April?

I also wanted to mention - this is an open and frequent topic of conversation with spouse. Considering FIRE for himself is such a new possibility that he's not ready to make any decisions about what he wants. He needs to stay where he is for another 2-3 years for a few different reasons, so right now we're just talking about how to make that bearable. He's not new to the concept or math of FIRE though since we've been discussing it for years.

Laura33

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2019, 02:08:48 PM »
@Sunflower -- so sorry that my post got your back up!  If it helps, I wrote because I recognize the same thing in myself.  My primary goal for my career has been to not be bored;* I am only happy when my brain is working, when I am figuring out new things.  The world is like a puzzle, and I need to understand how the pieces fit together so it all makes sense.  Once I do, I get a nice "click" of satisfaction/completion.  But soon after the boredom sets in! 

So it really, really wasn't a criticism -- it was the sum of a lot of personal reflection that I have done, which revealed a serious "grass is always greener" blindspot in the way I viewed the various opportunities in front of me.  Because I really don't want you to quit for some low-stress, part-time "dream" job and then discover that you're staggeringly bored.  OTOH, I also don't want you to suck it up at your current job just because money.  Sounds like you're doing the right thing -- do your research, make your best guess, adjust as needed.

*Well, ok, secondary -- first was not to be poor.

Freedomin5

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #35 on: November 15, 2019, 03:15:00 PM »
A lot of people think coast FIRE or barista FIRE involved working a job where your brain is not challenged. In my mind, coast FIRE is working a job where your compensation just covers your living expenses, with minimal additions to savings.

As someone who also gets bored easily, coast FIRE for me means using my skills as a subject matter expert (where Iím currently being compensate ~$300k per year) and bringing those skills to a nonprofit organization whose mission I believe in, but who can only cover my room and board. I can choose 1-2 year project-based work without worrying about lining up the next job to keep a steady income. I can dabble in new fields and new environments and new projects. Iím guessing my brain will be MORE challenged during coast FIRE than now, when Iím in a stable job in a stable company.

Sunflower

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #36 on: November 15, 2019, 05:09:20 PM »
@Laura33 , no need to apologize! I totally get when you're coming from and was feeling defensive because some things rang true. That's definitely the best kind of advice!

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #37 on: November 20, 2019, 11:59:48 PM »
That all makes sense to me and of course people can find meaning and happiness in work that is at a different level. If I remember, youíre a bit older and that work, pace and such probably has less relevance than for someone in their 30s and 40s. Also, youíre doing it for pocket change, not because you have to in order to sustain your expenses.

LOL. I just turned 43.

-W

HA!  @waltworks , I enjoy your posts, especially about real estate.  Yet I too had you pegged as an old man.  Sorry!  Haha.  Guess you just have that hint of wisdom in your posts.  (That and you're terse!)  Couldn't help but chime in. 

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #38 on: November 21, 2019, 12:03:42 AM »

And again, don't like the boss/job? You can quit as spectacularly as you'd like! It's not a career.

-W

I can imagine a second career where I start annoying jobs **just so I can quit spectacularly.**  Bring in an 80s boom box, John Cusack style, wear a mullet wig, and play "Take This Job and Shove It"... memorize the lines from "Office Space" and see how many days I can last... it'd be awesome!

And...I just added a goal to my bucket list.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #39 on: November 21, 2019, 12:43:03 AM »
Sounds like you're well on your way to your next move.  On that note, I have been where you are and am gloriously happy to have come out the other side--and that those days are over with.  Kudos to you on seeing the need for a change.

I agree completely with @Laura33 here--that was my impression as well: this is a "know yourself" situation.  And you're probably young enough that you're still figuring all of that out.

Here are the three most helpful things I did--which put me on a track for success:
  • First, I watched this TED talk (as well as dozens of others I won't share), which led me to this book, which set me on a completely new path.  I literally can't recommend it enough for exactly where you are at today.  It'll help you figure out where to go if you put the time into the exercises, and it'll help you get there.  I learned an immense amount about myself, and I say this as someone who's self-aware and also thought I knew myself well, only to walk away saying "wow, that should have been obvious."  My favorite--and possibly most telling--exercise was to list out all emotionally significant events and accomplishments in my life, since I was a kid.  Then you look back at it--and the insights were invaluable in helping me find direction.
  • I put all of what I learned together and began making a plan, researching new opportunities, and reaching out to people.  You're a natural at that, from the sound of it, so you'll be fine on that.  Things really fell into place once I did the legwork/research (the book above, some other books, and the next bullet, below) and began taking action steps.
  • I did extensive aptitude testing (per recommendation of several friends and colleagues).  That was invaluable as well.  It told me a lot about myself and also confirmed many things about myself.  I learned that you can have interests that are completely separate from and different than your actual aptitudes.  (Sounds like you may be in that boat, too: you like the things you started off studying/doing, but then find that your aptitudes require you to do other things or you feel like something is missing.)  My spouse and I both did the testing and both loved it.  It's spendy (at around $800), but invaluable: if it informed one more career decision in a good way, which it now has, it would be well worth it.  It has been.  We tested with Johnson O'Connor Foundation, which has offices nationwide.  It takes more than a full day but it is an investment in yourself.  It has helped me figure out whether a variety of paths make more sense for me personally, especially when combined with all of the things that I learned through the book above.

Aptitude-wise, it sounds like you may be someone who needs some degree of change in either topics or tasks to keep you engaged.  I have a friend that way: she loves doing something entirely different each day. 

Finally, some random perspective/observations from someone who has been there:

First, work is hard.  It just is.  Your dream job will also have hurdles, and it'll also be annoying at times.  I say this not AT ALL to diminish your frustration with your current job: I completely agree it sounds like time for you to prepare to move on.  I say it because some of us type-A folks, like me, can lean towards searching for too much fulfillment from work.  And it'll always disappoint some on that end.  I now find as much or more satisfaction in things I do outside of my job.  With that said, though, I also love what I do far more than any other role I've had (save maybe one?), so I'm not at all saying you can't find a far, far better situation--you can!  You're made uniquely and for a particular purpose.  But you want to plan.  And, in my case, I found my stress and burnout immediately improved once I set a target end date, even though it was much farther out: I knew my timeline, and I was focused upon working on the next thing rather than stewing in the current thing. 

Second, as others noted, get your spouse on the same page.  You may not have as much runway because you need to figure that piece out, and that piece may be in flux.  It'll probably be fine, but you have maximum options now, so make the best of them.  Plan to do something productive soon-ish so that your spouse can leap as needed.  This is important, and you can only account for it on the front end.

Third: I burned out, left a job, started in one direction, and then did a 180 and started a business.  I was self-employed while figuring out the next stage.  (Which is why I've had time to watch every TED talk on this general topic and read a library's worth of books on it.)  I loved doing a start-up, but I wouldn't recommend that path at all: the wild jump into it.  I was OK with it and it was still less-than-ideal, even with a great financial setup at the time.  And that's despite the fact that I'm more wired for that kind of thing.  Far better to suck it up now and figure out a solid, excites-you-at-night plan for your next steps. 

Fourth, don't underestimate the impact of a long-term employment gap when/if you decide to leap to another job.  You'll very likely be fine, but, like @Laura33, I have been in a spot where one spouse moved at a time that was less than ideal in retrospect, and it caused a lot of interim stress that, in retrospect, wasn't necessary had we just planned a little better.  Oops!  It all worked out though.  I have also watched several friends leap out due to burnout, take a long time away (e.g. travel for a year), and then really struggle when coming back with little to no plan and a lot of hurdles with finding new opportunities.  Grit through some pain to make yourself a very good plan and find places to land before you leave--even if you do (and I hope you do!) schedule a large sabbatical in there because EVERYONE needs rest. 

Finally, a few things to consider: do you plan to have kids?  You didn't say.  A house?  Houses can explode your cost of living.  I'm frugal, we're cheap, and we still are...but I never would have believed how much housing adds to cost, or can add, and often does add.  And you are around folks who generally have more resources and live spendier lifestyles, which in turn encourages more spending, even if you're NOT a keep-up-with-the-Joneses type.  I almost fell over laughing after we moved here and I realized that one neighbor after another bought the same power washer, then saw, etc.  It's strange, but it's a thing.  At any rate, those two things could knock you out of coasting immediately and make you really wish you could go back and make the big bucks a while longer.  So keep doing what you're doing and bank it while you can: it'll only make life easier for future you, and future you may have drastically different plans. 

Kids also radically alter your plans.  Child care is expensive.  And incompatible with normal jobs.  Plus, kids bring along a lot of other expenses that your current spend doesn't account for.  (Child care, education, health insurance, medical costs, you name it...I love em', but they do come with costs!  And don't get me started on dentists!)

For those reasons, you're in the best possible position in life to work and save right now; you're in the sweet spot.  You'll really see that if/when you have kids, a house, etc., and then it'll be too late.  C'est la vie. 

On a happy note: I really, really, really encourage you to check out the book above and go do aptitude testing.  Those will both give you some strong direction, I think.  They did for me, at least.  And my spouse.  And her sister.  And everyone else I know who has really gone through those steps. 

So best of luck to you--that's enough of this wall of text--and may God be with you on your next step!!!  It will get better. 

waltworks

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Re: Case Study: Can I start coasting?
« Reply #40 on: November 21, 2019, 09:16:35 AM »
That all makes sense to me and of course people can find meaning and happiness in work that is at a different level. If I remember, youíre a bit older and that work, pace and such probably has less relevance than for someone in their 30s and 40s. Also, youíre doing it for pocket change, not because you have to in order to sustain your expenses.

LOL. I just turned 43.

-W

HA!  @waltworks , I enjoy your posts, especially about real estate.  Yet I too had you pegged as an old man.  Sorry!  Haha.  Guess you just have that hint of wisdom in your posts.  (That and you're terse!)  Couldn't help but chime in.

I think it might be the name. I know one other Walter under the age of 80 (and he's 5). I can't recall ever meeting one that wasn't at least as old as my grandparents. That name wasn't a thing for my generation, I guess. The only Walt most people can think of is Walt Disney (or occasionally, Walter Cronkite or Walter Payton).

I say that because I get the same thing IRL sometimes. I'll show up to a PTA meeting or something to present some thing about kids working with tools more or what have you, and people are shocked that I'm a parent of elementary age kids, presumably because they read my name on the meeting schedule and assumed I was 80.

-W