Author Topic: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?  (Read 6168 times)

Abe Froman

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Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« on: July 31, 2017, 12:25:30 PM »
Been reading a lot about the gap year / serial mini-retirements and it has me really thinking hard about taking a year to focus on me and the family - whether traveling or not. How many out there in MMM-land have done this sort of thing - where you are on the edge of FI and jumped - so to speak - to rediscover your family?

Perhaps this says something about where my head is - with respect to our family relationships - and also a little about where my head is with respect to work.

A little background -->
Home I am 42 and my DW is 40, with 2 boys. We have right around 23x-24x of a best guess annual spend - which would put us near the 4% SWR milestone. DW is a SAHM and even with that - we feel that with kids activities (Scouts, Soccer here, Basketball there) there doesn't seem to be a lot of dedicated family time. Kids go great in school - all As, but bored as all get out and hate school. Wonder if travel-schooling / home-schooling might perk their spirits more.

Work is ok, not great. Same company for 15 years. Little to no raises in last couple years but still over $140K/year for last 8 - 9 years. Biggest issue might be that I am bored. Sometimes its hectic, but most of that is me I think. Now that I am real close to the FI number - work has gotten *better* in that I don't care anymore. I am still respectful and outwardly positive - but on the inside I feel grey - like a closer to home position maybe doing manual labor at half the salary might be better. Uninspired. Meh.

What did inspire me was the 1.5 week family trip the family took out west, just the two boys the wife and me. It was great - no schedules  - we could go and leave and do things as we wanted. No buzzing or dings from electronic things. We hiked - cooked outdoors, got tired - went to bed early - and woke up early. Best - we just enjoyed each other.

And I want more of that.

What worries me is giving up 6 months or a year - and having a challenge getting back in the work force.
It feels like a bigger precipice when I have a family in tow that I am responsible for. But again - that is the reason I am thinking of doing it too.

Has anyone been on that edge, and took the jump?
What was good - bad? How did you prepare - or is there any preparing?

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2017, 12:33:48 PM »
At 23-24X expenses you are in a great place to give FIRE a test run, I would strongly consider thinking of ways to permanently lower expenses by 5-10% so that you can live off of your 4% SWR rate.

I would also urge you to consider not going back to work full time, but instead finding ways to monetize your hobbies or skills in a way that gives you freedom and a little side income.

If you have 90%+ of your current spending saved up, filling the remaining 10% and even creating a buffer should take very minimal effort.

Heck you could probably make $3-5k/yr each just travel/bank account hacking. That should provide you with free travel and some spending $$.

How sure are you of your projected expenses though?

Laura33

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2017, 12:44:40 PM »
No personal experience, just encouragement to go for it!  I always thought about doing something like that, but for a number of reasons (all of which were valid at the time), we never did.  Now my DD is in HS, and it "feels" too late -- she's got the nose to the grindstone and staring at college and interested in jobs and friends and all of that.  Part of me is fantasizing about maybe doing it in 2 more years, after she goes to college and before DS starts HS -- but even that wouldn't be the same, because it would just be the 3 of us, not all 4.

OTOH, if you're at 23-24x, why not buckle down for another year to get to 25x and then pull the plug entirely?  You can't be more than a year away if you're already that close.  Spend the next year planning your trip and nailing down the finances!

Tl;dr:  weigh the risk of not being able to find a new job against the risk of delaying so long you never get to go.

J Boogie

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2017, 12:53:13 PM »
Little to no raises in last couple years but still over $140K/year for last 8 - 9 years.

Dude, you're the sausage king of Chicago.  You should be making at least twice that.

GenXbiker

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2017, 01:45:09 PM »
What worries me is giving up 6 months or a year - and having a challenge getting back in the work force.
I'm a little older and am at 73x bare bones right now, but closer to 43x what I expect for a more likely and practical FIRE budget.  I considered taking a summer or longer off before myself, but while I wasn't concerned about finding another position later on in my technical field, I highly doubt I could have gotten paid as much as I was being paid on my current job, even if I was to move to a HCOL area, which would cut into my savings rate going forward, plus I would have lost the benefits I built up over the years such as vacation, retirement vesting (of company match), bonuses, etc. not to mention being the top dog in my position.  So I decided to just keep working a few years longer while I have it good at my current job so that I could FIRE later on with little chance that I would "need" to work again.  If you're willing to settle for a big drop in pay when you re-enter the job market, go for your gap year.  Just think through all the angles and enjoy!
« Last Edit: July 31, 2017, 01:46:58 PM by GenXbiker »

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2017, 01:54:52 PM »
What worries me is giving up 6 months or a year - and having a challenge getting back in the work force.
I'm a little older and am at 73x bare bones right now, but closer to 43x what I expect for a more likely and practical FIRE budget.  I considered taking a summer or longer off before myself, but while I wasn't concerned about finding another position later on in my technical field, I highly doubt I could have gotten paid as much as I was being paid on my current job, even if I was to move to a HCOL area, which would cut into my savings rate going forward, plus I would have lost the benefits I built up over the years such as vacation, retirement vesting (of company match), bonuses, etc. not to mention being the top dog in my position.  So I decided to just keep working a few years longer while I have it good at my current job so that I could FIRE later on with little chance that I would "need" to work again.  If you're willing to settle for a big drop in pay when you re-enter the job market, go for your gap year.  Just think through all the angles and enjoy!

What is the point of trading your healthiest years for more money when you are at a 2.5-3% withdrawal rate?

GenXbiker

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2017, 08:50:46 PM »
What worries me is giving up 6 months or a year - and having a challenge getting back in the work force.
I'm a little older and am at 73x bare bones right now, but closer to 43x what I expect for a more likely and practical FIRE budget.  I considered taking a summer or longer off before myself, but while I wasn't concerned about finding another position later on in my technical field, I highly doubt I could have gotten paid as much as I was being paid on my current job, even if I was to move to a HCOL area, which would cut into my savings rate going forward, plus I would have lost the benefits I built up over the years such as vacation, retirement vesting (of company match), bonuses, etc. not to mention being the top dog in my position.  So I decided to just keep working a few years longer while I have it good at my current job so that I could FIRE later on with little chance that I would "need" to work again.  If you're willing to settle for a big drop in pay when you re-enter the job market, go for your gap year.  Just think through all the angles and enjoy!

What is the point of trading your healthiest years for more money when you are at a 2.5-3% withdrawal rate?

I don't consider the years I've worked to have been "traded" because I didn't give them up just for money.  I enjoyed them, and I wasn't working 24/7, and I actually enjoy my job a lot of time as well.  If I was working 60 hr/wk and hated my job, that would be a different story. I only work about 40 hr/wk and have weekends off, not to mention a nice amount of benefit time, while saving over $50,000/yr in recent years.

I actually plan to go with a 4% WR.  If I had gone with a 4% WR with 25x FIRE expenses a few years ago, that would have given me about $500/mo extra over bare bones, which I could certainly have lived on, but that's a tighter budget than I wanted to have in FIRE.  By continuing to work, save, and let my stash grow the last few years, a 4% WR rate today would give me a cushion of about $2000/mo over bare bones spending.  My early FIRE timeline is 22 months from now, and if I save an expected $90,000+ in the next 22 months, that will add another $300/mo to my cushion at FIRE on top of any investment gains, so $2300/mo total cushion, not to mention a boost of about $100/mo in SS benefit (around $1400/mo SS total) a decade later in year 2017 dollars.  On top of savings, by avoiding draw down, that's $3500/mo (4% WR) = $77,000 that stays in my stash as well because I won't be drawing down for 22 months.

The cushion will give me more options during FIRE as to what I can do to enjoy retirement without being restricted by funds.  For example, I plan to do more extensive traveling which I've been putting off for years.  Another use of a nice cushion would be for relocating.  I'm in a LCOL area now, so some areas I am interested in would actually increase my monthly expenses considerably despite downsizing.  I don't know that I'll do it, but I want to keep the option available.  And once I FIRE from my enjoyable decent paying job, I don't want to ever have to work again in the future at a much lower pay rate just because I come up short due to higher expenses, and a nice cushion helps avoid that.  It's much easier for me to build up that cushion now than try to make up for a lack of one later on.

Another advantage of having a nice cushion has to do with investment growth in order to maintain a 4% WR, primarily with expectations of growth in the next several years when you consider things like high CAPE and "sequence of returns risk," which are covered extensively in other threads here.  In a bear market, I will have more flexibility to cut down my WR considerably while still covering my necessary expenses.

Edit: For further clarification, the multipliers and WR % are only in relationship to my investable stash including retirement accounts - it excludes my emergency fund and home, which is paid for.  The $90,000+ expected savings over the next 22 months refers to actual income saved from my job including employer retirement fund match, not dividends, gains, etc.  So those would be on top of the savings, plus that's an additional 22 months that I'm not drawing down at $3500/mo (4% WR), which keeps $77,000 in the stash during this time on top of savings and potential gains.  If you discount unknown investment gains/dividends from the calculation, the savings and lack of draw down alone ($90,000 + $77,000)  is $167,000 stash differential in 22 months vs. retiring and beginning a 4% WR today.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2017, 07:34:08 AM by GenXbiker »

Abe Froman

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2017, 07:10:02 AM »
@2Birds -- I really like your thoughts - particularly trying to work hobbies/skills into a part time side hustle, or hustle for that matter. That would be ideal. Problem is drinking beer, playing golf and poker, with occassional binging on 'Game of Thrones' and 'GLOW' doesn't pay that well - (yet).  Seriously though - I have been softly thinking of this I think for years - and I really don't believe I have any hobbies that fire me up.

I golf - occassionally (maybe once every 6 weeks) - mostly through work - which comes with its own expectations to "be on."
I do some weekly sailing at the cheapo club (<$75 for the year), which is fun, but not fun enough to make me want to go buy a boat.
No philatelic love.
Not into phrenology.

At times I think I am jealous of the guys who have their trains in the basement, their wood shops in the garage, their pet projects they drop themselves into when looking for a mental escape. What a wonderful place to go to when you need (like Happy Gilmore's Happy Place). Still trying to find mine. Wonder if trying various classes at the local Community College would help (Diesel engine repair, intro to cybersecurity, scrapbooking, establishing your own salted cured meats emporium (check)).

There may be a need to treat this like dating ... try on a few hobbies/activities - or a lot of them - and see what sticks or fits. So now during my long commute into work where I am managing all the fineries of casing selection for cured dryed sausages,  I have found a new podcast - Side Hustle School. These 10 minute clips are quick windows into real life side hustles people are doing. Neat ideas in there.

As for accuracy on projected expenses - I am not sure. And that is a failing on my end. hangs head in shame I need to sit for a weekend with the wife's CC bill, our monthly expenses, our yearlies, and see where we are. I may very well be able to find that $3-$5K there.

@Laura33 -- thank you for the encouragement. Hearing from others that did or didn't  - and their reasons for doing so- - really helps. BUT - you keyed in on something which is probably what I will do ---> sit with the Mrs and decide on the details of the travel plan. Pick a date. Pick a location or path. And then fill in the details - so that we can back into what needs to be saved and by when. Publicly doing that in the household - with thermometer charts and kids helping in saving - will likely do wonders. Documenting it I feel might be more than 50% of the effort. It makes it real - kind of.

@GenXbiker -- at first blush if I might say that if I were sitting at 43X - I would take a gap year immediately, with lower or no pay after that gap year being very little risk. BUT....easier said than done. I can sense that even those with 8 figures staches the decision to jump can be hard irrespective of the size of your stache (stash?). Perhaps its not the $$$ amount that brings more relief in jumping off the edge - but the evidence or confidence one has to be able to pick up another job when needed (resume/skill capability).

Wonder if I am channelling Doom --> https://livingafi.com/

GenXbiker

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2017, 07:58:45 AM »

@GenXbiker -- at first blush if I might say that if I were sitting at 43X - I would take a gap year immediately, with lower or no pay after that gap year being very little risk. BUT....easier said than done. I can sense that even those with 8 figures staches the decision to jump can be hard irrespective of the size of your stache (stash?). Perhaps its not the $$$ amount that brings more relief in jumping off the edge - but the evidence or confidence one has to be able to pick up another job when needed (resume/skill capability).
When it came to a gap year, the concern of later returning to the workforce and maintaining my previous savings rate at another job that I like was enough to derail me on the idea.  If my company said they would take me back at the same pay, I probably would have taken the gap year.

When it comes to FIRE, I look at that very differently.  Whether I can pick up another job during FIRE isn't a concern of mine as I have built up a stash that it shouldn't be necessary to ever work again, and if I choose some work in FIRE, my income won't be nearly as much of a concern.  In fact, if I ever work in FIRE, I suspect it will be part time and temporary.

I wonder how I would feel today if I had taken the gap year (or summer) several years back, where I would be, and what my stash would today be if I had taken that path.  With my stash being what it is now and FIRE as soon as 22 months, I'm glad I didn't go that route back then as I think it would have most likely delayed my FIRE plans.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2017, 08:10:39 AM »
Can you contract/work as a consultant? At the savings rates you are talking about it would be very easy for you to cover a years costs without working anywhere near full time.  Realistically with the kids in school and the big activity/sports schedule longer trips may not happen even if you took a full year off. Lots of week plus summer  trips are very realistic.

Personally I am not FI/RE but reached the point were work doesn't really matter, the 'stache needs a while to grow to FI/RE, but in the mean time, we are set up that I need about 1100 hours a year to live on and cover the business costs. When work is interesting there can be a lot more hours and we've shortened that time to FI/RE.  Other times we travel more.  Its not really the full MMM path since, well, I do have to work at least 11000 hours for the next 10 years.  (and its funny because I am still not fully adjusted to jamming hours into the early years just increases the tax bill...)  As I remain employed by my company, I have no gaps on my resume...

BTDretire

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2017, 08:58:42 AM »
You say you are at 23x to 24x, but you don't say what that amount is.
If I have two kids and had to live on $25,000 a year, I would be trying
to raise my income, to get pretty close to the median US income.
 The usual talk around here is $1,000,000 NW and $40,000 income.
That's all nice, and loads of people living on $40,000 and less, but
I don't think you are doing that now.
 If you are making more than $140,000, (I'd be slow to leave that)
and saving $50,000, that leaves $90,000 minus taxes, so you are probably
spending $70,000.
 Why not trim that to $40,000 spending for a couple years and see if it really
is the way you want to live. I suspect it's not, or you would be doing it.
 On the other hand, I might be wrong and you have 23x to 24x of $2,000,000
and you have it all figured out.
 Quitting work may cut some expenses, but not working and and traveling
gives you more time to spend additional money.
Just my 4 cents of contrarian advice.

homestead neohio

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2017, 09:16:20 AM »
I have two 10 year old sons and a wife I don't get to spend enough time with.  I haven't done it yet, but am taking the opportunity make the leap when I get laid off in early 2018.  The severance will be a little boost at the end, and all told we'll be sitting at 22x expenses when I stop receiving any money from my employer. 

I feel like you, sick of the job, money was good and I was respected in my role and good at it, but life is passing by.  I thought about this quite a bit and I plan to never go back to maximizing income in a job I don't enjoy or that doesn't completely align with what I value and want to support with my life energy.  I would rather work 5 more years at a low-paying job I enjoy that just covers my low expenses than find another soul-crushing cube job.  I'm done being concerned about a gap in employment history and re-entering the work force at low pay.  I can get paid to do things I want to do!  It doesn't matter if the pay is low, I've saved a LOT of money for a LONG time already!  I'm staying open to lots of opportunities to use skills I've been building in my off time.  I already have some offers from people I like and respect who'd like me to work with them.  =) 

I encourage you to look very hard at spending, and set a goal for monthly spending for the rest of the year.  Try it out and see how it feels. Spend some time together with your wife daydreaming what life would be like in a gap year.  You'll either decide to wait or pick a date and stick to it.  Take the leap if you are ready to leave this career behind.  Keep the plan flexible.  It is not a failure if you have to get some kind of job to cover a small percentage of your expenses or you have to cut back on some expenditures. 

We are going to take off at least one year and probably two.  Mrs. Homestead already homeschools (though we are now getting involved in a local non-traditional school) so we're planning a 4-6 week trip cross country to kick things off.  I'd like to get the house and homestead in good shape and running smoothly.  Right now I'm doing everything before or after work and on weekends which makes for outdoor work in bad weather and some long days.  I'd like to minimize possessions and sell stuff that is cluttering up my life and get some money for the things of value.  I'd like to go on a lot more hikes, fishing trips, learn new skills, and have a lot more game nights with the kids.  We make a point of doing these things, but they are always squeezed in around working hours and it will be nice to have the freedom of doing these things when we want.  Picturing living this way was a strong motivator to reduce expenses.

TheAnonOne

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2017, 09:19:04 AM »
You say you are at 23x to 24x, but you don't say what that amount is.
If I have two kids and had to live on $25,000 a year, I would be trying
to raise my income, to get pretty close to the median US income.
 The usual talk around here is $1,000,000 NW and $40,000 income.
That's all nice, and loads of people living on $40,000 and less, but
I don't think you are doing that now.
 If you are making more than $140,000, (I'd be slow to leave that)
and saving $50,000, that leaves $90,000 minus taxes, so you are probably
spending $70,000.
 Why not trim that to $40,000 spending for a couple years and see if it really
is the way you want to live. I suspect it's not, or you would be doing it.
 On the other hand, I might be wrong and you have 23x to 24x of $2,000,000
and you have it all figured out.
 Quitting work may cut some expenses, but not working and and traveling
gives you more time to spend additional money.
Just my 4 cents of contrarian advice.

Why are you trying to basically tell the OP "No, your wrong on your XXX number!"?

If they say they are at 23X why do we assume they are lying, wrong, or simply uninformed?

If they are truly at 23X, the math is way in their favor for success. Yes, "SLIGHTLY" light, but in reality a 5-7% SWR would work for MOST people here because MOST of us will make more money. I don't know if I have ever seen anyone say that they will NEVER earn another dollar.

Take 2 years! 3 YEARS! Get a part time job after that, enjoy life! You already won.

Dicey

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2017, 09:45:52 AM »
In my working days, I dreamed of taking a sabbatical pre-FIRE. I never did it, out of concerns for health care costs (pre-ACA) and fear of ever finding a job again. More specifically, fear of ever having to go back to the grind after tasting freedom. I waited until full FIRE, and I'm glad I did, BUT...

Your kids are at a good age to do this, so that's a huge consideration. I believe it is literally a coin toss. You have the luxury of having no wrong answer. If your wife and kids are fully on board, do it.

homestead neohio

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2017, 11:15:22 AM »
I believe it is literally a coin toss.

I just like Dicey saying it is a coin toss.  That is all.

Abe Froman

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2017, 12:02:41 PM »
@Anon -- I get what BTDretire was referring to - there is a larger effect of adverse events upon on a smaller stash than would be a larger one. So if I had $600K stache and a $23K annual spend for 4 (which is real frickin tight in my estimation) - it might be worth it to raise the income to weather some of those future risks. 

BUT BTDretire is correct - I am not hitting a $40K annual spend. I am in the $70K region - again - need to inspect this better. I am socking around $42000 between 401K max, IRAs x2, HSA max, Contrib to 529s. To shed more light - I (read: We) am/are sitting (with a healthy Trump Bump) around $1.64M not counting the Meat Palace (house). HealthCare costs weigh heavy on me... and some of that (and some 529-ing) keep me believeing I need to work longer. 

@trollwithamustache -- we do use and have a lot of consultants around our work now. I think I could try it - but whereas I am a generalist in the work I do everyday - I would need to figure out specific slices to consult with. Issue is I am in Operations, making sure the plates are spinning - and that is hard to do on a consultancy PT basis. I might troll (no pun intended) company owner who likes entertaining new entrpreneurial ideas - and maybe  I can convince him to PT fund me to run some of his ideas to fruition. Mmmmmm .... u got me thinking.....

@homestead -- Oh boy - do you have a journal? I'd be following you! So many questions.... Do you mind me asking what line of work you are in? A MegaCorp type situation? And how do you know you are being laid off in early 2018? Is this a good or bad thing?  In that case - I might find it good that the decision is being made for you. I do not expect going back to work a failure - I am not really concerned with that so much...I do think to keep my mind sane I will want some sort of regular PT job that includes interaction with others, and that PT work at some point should do enough $$$ wise for us to either supplement or completely cover a $70K annual spend - if that sustains.

In any event - I am so intrigued by your trip - hopefully you can share some of the ups and downs of both your planning and execution of that trip.

Quote
I'd like to go on a lot more hikes, fishing trips, learn new skills, and have a lot more game nights with the kids.  We make a point of doing these things, but they are always squeezed in around working hours and it will be nice to have the freedom of doing these things when we want.

^
^
 this is it exactly.

Just yesterday I took time to teach my oldest how to fix the punctured innertube on his bike. Here are your tools, this is what to do - you do it while I watch.

And thinking in bed last night - yeah I want more of that.
And... secretly .... I think that by maybe doing these things ... I might not mess them up too much, they'll turn out OK and they might think I am/will be/was a good dad.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2017, 12:43:01 PM »
Abe - Don't sell yourself short. Good generalists can make great consultants... sometimes they need a specialist to do a specific thing, sometimes they just have a problem they can't define that they want to go away and really need a decent generalist.

I market myself as a specialist in 2 phase  steam flow. (and I am, I swear I have a pile of degrees and licenses to impress you with!)  I've spent a big chunk of the last couple years running seismic upgrades for an oil refinery because I have some general skills on how the place works, how they do projects ect..  I am there to just guide the civil/structural guys towards solutions that are doable at the facility and make sure the construction guys understand these new/different things the seismic structural engineer wants.  I guess its called project management but in practice its been too much fun and I've learned too much to give it such a stuffy title. 

This Seismic thing was a program of work. They had a pile of money for engineering, a pile for construction, 5 years to do the work per the regulations requiring it, they know they had to do it, they didn't have anyone to do it, it was too much work for a part time assignment to an overworked company dude, it wasn't enough work for a full time position.... and here I am. Since I am trusted as a good generalist, its looking like a chunk of next year will be spent reviewing work from a big engineering firm for a series of projects next year.

Its very doable once you figure out the right angle in your industry.  Also good Ops guys tend to do fewer impractical things than many consultants, and the employers you want to work for will appreciate this.

Mr. Green

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2017, 02:03:27 PM »
What worries me is giving up 6 months or a year - and having a challenge getting back in the work force.
I'm a little older and am at 73x bare bones right now, but closer to 43x what I expect for a more likely and practical FIRE budget.  I considered taking a summer or longer off before myself, but while I wasn't concerned about finding another position later on in my technical field, I highly doubt I could have gotten paid as much as I was being paid on my current job, even if I was to move to a HCOL area, which would cut into my savings rate going forward, plus I would have lost the benefits I built up over the years such as vacation, retirement vesting (of company match), bonuses, etc. not to mention being the top dog in my position.  So I decided to just keep working a few years longer while I have it good at my current job so that I could FIRE later on with little chance that I would "need" to work again.  If you're willing to settle for a big drop in pay when you re-enter the job market, go for your gap year.  Just think through all the angles and enjoy!
At 43x expenses there is NO chance you'll ever work again. The game is already over. You won. I mean there's always the possibility the country/economy ceases to exist as you know it but no amount of money solves that. Hopefully you know that and are just doing your own thing now.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2017, 02:09:10 PM by Mr. Green »

homestead neohio

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #18 on: August 01, 2017, 02:07:12 PM »
I want to hear more about this meat palace.

Feel free to read my journal (link in my signature below each post), it answers some of your questions and provides lots of other information you can skip if you don't care about it, including raising food.  Last year I made 50 lbs of my own sausage and 50 lbs of ground pork from pigs I raised!  You have way more money and way higher expenses than I do, but I'm in a LCOL area.  I'm on the razor's edge and I'm ok with that, even enjoying it.  I don't hate all work, I work harder at home on a "day off" when I don't have to be working than I do at work.  I know there will be work in my future, let's make it fun and useful for something other than making lots of money for other people!

Just yesterday I took time to teach my oldest how to fix the punctured innertube on his bike. Here are your tools, this is what to do - you do it while I watch.

And thinking in bed last night - yeah I want more of that.
And... secretly .... I think that by maybe doing these things ... I might not mess them up too much, they'll turn out OK and they might think I am/will be/was a good dad.

I find the good dads are concerned about whether or not they are being good dads while all the dadding is going on.  Sounds like you are doing just fine, but you have the opportunity to step it up to overdrive by not choosing money you may never need over time with your family.  Time to get creative and find ways to make it happen.  I'm on that journey, too.

There seems to be a normal progression from "dad as person who meets needs" to "dad as superhero" to "dad as ruiner of my life" to "dad as a good person who, while flawed, did his best to do what he thought was best".  My sons are in phase II, trying to do the road trip and some years off before the phase III sets in when they are too cool to hang with me and Mrs. Homestead.

GenXbiker

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #19 on: August 01, 2017, 10:16:44 PM »
What worries me is giving up 6 months or a year - and having a challenge getting back in the work force.
I'm a little older and am at 73x bare bones right now, but closer to 43x what I expect for a more likely and practical FIRE budget.  I considered taking a summer or longer off before myself, but while I wasn't concerned about finding another position later on in my technical field, I highly doubt I could have gotten paid as much as I was being paid on my current job, even if I was to move to a HCOL area, which would cut into my savings rate going forward, plus I would have lost the benefits I built up over the years such as vacation, retirement vesting (of company match), bonuses, etc. not to mention being the top dog in my position.  So I decided to just keep working a few years longer while I have it good at my current job so that I could FIRE later on with little chance that I would "need" to work again.  If you're willing to settle for a big drop in pay when you re-enter the job market, go for your gap year.  Just think through all the angles and enjoy!
At 43x expenses there is NO chance you'll ever work again. The game is already over. You won. I mean there's always the possibility the country/economy ceases to exist as you know it but no amount of money solves that. Hopefully you know that and are just doing your own thing now.
Correct.  As long as I keep my expenses as calculated for that 43x, I'm beyond FI.  And as mentioned in a different post in this thread, that also allows me an extra $500/mo beyond FIRE bare bones, which actually exceeds what I've been spending above pre-FIRE bare bones in recent years.  So that's very do-able if I don't move, limit myself to low cost traveling, and continue my mustachian ways similarly to what I have during these working years.  However, when I FIRE (target 22 months), I would like to do much more traveling and may later relocate to a different area, so that $500/mo cushion from my 43x calculation could come up short.  A 4% WR in 22 months should give me $2300/mo above my FIRE bare bones budget.  This will give me more options in FIRE for traveling, relocating, or whatever else might come up, as well as more flexibility to scale back in a bear market.

Trifele

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2017, 03:25:47 AM »
Go for it Abe! We went about halfway down this path last year (DH FIREd and is homeschooling our two kids).  I will be FIREing in 2019 at the latest, when kids are 13 and 16.  It feels a little late, and I wish we could have done it sooner, but we'll have good two years together before college starts for our oldest.  We are hitting the road as soon as I FIRE for a big family trip -- 5-6 months hopefully. 

If your kids are bored and you are looking for more family time, homeschooling could be just what you want.  It simultaneously "right sizes" the education to the kid, and also unlocks all kinds of new family freedoms.  I say give it a whirl -- there are all kinds of resources out there, and it isn't a one-way street.  If you try it and it doesn't work for you or the kids, they can always go back to school.   

ToTheMoon

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2017, 04:25:19 AM »
PTF - I will add comments at a more civilized hour when I am on my computer, not phone. :)

BTDretire

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #22 on: August 02, 2017, 06:37:02 PM »
@Anon -- I get what BTDretire was referring to - there is a larger effect of adverse events upon on a smaller stash than would be a larger one. So if I had $600K stache and a $23K annual spend for 4 (which is real frickin tight in my estimation) - it might be worth it to raise the income to weather some of those future risks. 

BUT BTDretire is correct - I am not hitting a $40K annual spend. I am in the $70K region - again - need to inspect this better. I am socking around $42000 between 401K max, IRAs x2, HSA max, Contrib to 529s. To shed more light - I (read: We) am/are sitting (with a healthy Trump Bump) around $1.64M not counting the Meat Palace (house). HealthCare costs weigh heavy on me... and some of that (and some 529-ing) keep me believeing I need to work longer. 

@trollwithamustache -- we do use and have a lot of consultants around our work now. I think I could try it - but whereas I am a generalist in the work I do everyday - I would need to figure out specific slices to consult with. Issue is I am in Operations, making sure the plates are spinning - and that is hard to do on a consultancy PT basis. I might troll (no pun intended) company owner who likes entertaining new entrpreneurial ideas - and maybe  I can convince him to PT fund me to run some of his ideas to fruition. Mmmmmm .... u got me thinking.....

@homestead -- Oh boy - do you have a journal? I'd be following you! So many questions.... Do you mind me asking what line of work you are in? A MegaCorp type situation? And how do you know you are being laid off in early 2018? Is this a good or bad thing?  In that case - I might find it good that the decision is being made for you. I do not expect going back to work a failure - I am not really concerned with that so much...I do think to keep my mind sane I will want some sort of regular PT job that includes interaction with others, and that PT work at some point should do enough $$$ wise for us to either supplement or completely cover a $70K annual spend - if that sustains.

In any event - I am so intrigued by your trip - hopefully you can share some of the ups and downs of both your planning and execution of that trip.

Quote
I'd like to go on a lot more hikes, fishing trips, learn new skills, and have a lot more game nights with the kids.  We make a point of doing these things, but they are always squeezed in around working hours and it will be nice to have the freedom of doing these things when we want.

^
^
 this is it exactly.

Just yesterday I took time to teach my oldest how to fix the punctured innertube on his bike. Here are your tools, this is what to do - you do it while I watch.

And thinking in bed last night - yeah I want more of that.
And... secretly .... I think that by maybe doing these things ... I might not mess them up too much, they'll turn out OK and they might think I am/will be/was a good dad.
  You didn't really say it, so I can't tell if you really are shooting to live on $40k or that was just the number
you used as an example. But if you want to live on $40k, you need to cut 43% off you spending, That's a lot,
on the other hand your NW will generate more than that.

 Re: teaching the oldest to repair a tire, I did that with my son. But there is so much I didn't teach him that I regret now. I grew up learning how to build and repair everything, I think it was lack of money, but my dad would fix everything and I learned just by being exposed. He did all repairs on the house, car, water pump,
I remember helping him dig a drywell after a few washer overflows. I watched him lay the blocks in the hole for      The point is, I have a lot of common repair knowledge that I didn't pass down to my son. And I do regret it.
  I don't think you need to quit your job to teach these things, my dad didn't. It was just part of growing up that you helped dad. When my son was growing up he spent time with his friends, but he also spent a lot of time playing video games, and I didn't make him stop to help me. My mistake, I know realize what I was doing was preventing him from learning the things I learned from my dad. Giving him the time instead to play video games was not the best choice.
 I do encourage you to spend the time with your kids

Blonde Lawyer

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #23 on: August 03, 2017, 06:12:23 PM »
Have you considered talking to your employer about a sabbatical? I know a few people who have been allowed to do that.  One hiked the Appalachian trail with his family and home schooled along the way.  He's back at his law firm now.  They held his position so long as he blogged about the trip -- assuming marketing for the firm.

Abe Froman

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2017, 07:04:53 AM »
@BTD - no not shooting for $40K. That was just an example. I am shooting for $72ish - maybe a touch more. I think for us $72K-ish allows us to be comfortable, do the usual gym, lots of organics, occassional out to eat, and tons of late fees to the local library (sons are voracious readers and impeccable at losing books).
DW and I are (generally) on the same page (although like with everyone that fluctuates form time to time) WRT screen time for kids. During school year - no TV and no tech time (no gizmos, tablets, etc) on school nights. Friday night is our family movie night - something off of Netflix or flick from library. During summer - like now - we relax that a little, but beautiful days and evenings outside trump whining over Minecraft.

@BlondeLawyer - I like love this idea, but wonder if just by asking - you are telegraphing your non-commitment to The Empire. Anyways I *surreptitiously* pitched it to the HR lady (whom I am friendly with) casually during a work celebration function, in the form of a question. Went something like this...

So I heard of a friend doing this at his company ... would MediumCorp allow for a sabbatical ? Like 3 months or so? . The words in response were "oh, yeah, I don't know. We can look into that." The tone was an unclear mix of (a) oh - that's nice - in one ear out the other and (b) how do I hide the fact that I know it will be a cold day in hell if that ever gets OK-ed. And a little Harumph.

But you did remind me of someone else's idea hidden on these forums of going to the company and asking to swap 3 weeks of paid vacation for 6 weeks of 1/2 pay.

mtn

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2017, 08:48:49 AM »
Abe, mind me asking where you work and live? And information on this sailing club?

(PM me if you want--I'm in the Western suburbs)

acroy

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2017, 09:15:59 AM »
Following. I am in a similar boat: about 21x annual expenses, though most of it is tied up in 401k etc.

I've not seriously considered jumping to FI due to 1) I am actually rather enjoying SWAMI 2) fear of the unknown....

I'm handy at many things but no real passion which would keep me fired up and jumping out of bed at 6am every day.

Good luck! look forward to what you do :)

gerardc

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #27 on: August 06, 2017, 08:50:04 PM »
Super thread, keep it going!

Quitting work may cut some expenses, but not working and and traveling
gives you more time to spend additional money.
I've heard that a few times before, and I'm curious how it actually works out in practice. I can see you'd be going out more, but there's also a ton of space for free activities, and also money saving activities (e.g. biking to a further location for a better price).


I feel like you, sick of the job, money was good and I was respected in my role and good at it, but life is passing by.  I thought about this quite a bit and I plan to never go back to maximizing income in a job I don't enjoy or that doesn't completely align with what I value and want to support with my life energy.  I would rather work 5 more years at a low-paying job I enjoy that just covers my low expenses than find another soul-crushing cube job.  I'm done being concerned about a gap in employment history and re-entering the work force at low pay.  I can get paid to do things I want to do!  It doesn't matter if the pay is low, I've saved a LOT of money for a LONG time already!  I'm staying open to lots of opportunities to use skills I've been building in my off time.  I already have some offers from people I like and respect who'd like me to work with them.  =) 
I was thinking the same but now that I think about it, it does sound like the "grass is greener" syndrome. Specifically, why would a low-paying job be more enjoyable? It may have some perks, but it probably has a lot of drawbacks you're not seeing, too...

homestead neohio

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Re: Gap year for my 7, 5 and 40 year old?
« Reply #28 on: August 07, 2017, 08:58:38 AM »
I feel like you, sick of the job, money was good and I was respected in my role and good at it, but life is passing by.  I thought about this quite a bit and I plan to never go back to maximizing income in a job I don't enjoy or that doesn't completely align with what I value and want to support with my life energy.  I would rather work 5 more years at a low-paying job I enjoy that just covers my low expenses than find another soul-crushing cube job.  I'm done being concerned about a gap in employment history and re-entering the work force at low pay.  I can get paid to do things I want to do!  It doesn't matter if the pay is low, I've saved a LOT of money for a LONG time already!  I'm staying open to lots of opportunities to use skills I've been building in my off time.  I already have some offers from people I like and respect who'd like me to work with them.  =) 
I was thinking the same but now that I think about it, it does sound like the "grass is greener" syndrome. Specifically, why would a low-paying job be more enjoyable? It may have some perks, but it probably has a lot of drawbacks you're not seeing, too...

The attraction is the work I'd enjoy, not that the pay is low.  My situation is such that the work I enjoy happens to not pay much.  Some opportunities I'd like to do whether I'm getting paid or not.  So I'd be getting some low pay to cover low expenses instead of dipping into the stash.

There may be some "grass is greener" going on, sure.  But I'm not picking a future career, either.  I'll be working to learn skills I want to learn.  Most of these skills can be learned in a few years, and I can probably be proficient in a single year.  While I know I enjoy gardening, I don't know if I'd like farming full-time.  So if I work for a year for an organic farmer I already know and like who needs some help, and I find I don't like it, I can stop.  I will have learned a lot about veggie production, livestock rotation, cover cropping, composting, etc.  I will also have learned I don't like farming full-time.  If I stop farming, I can learn orchard management, do environmental education, or learn natural building techniques (roundwood framing, cob, strawbale, etc).  These are the things I'm excited about, but substitute your own passions here.   I can learn these skills on my own time with books and personal projects I fund, but that is less efficient, more failure-prone, and costs more.  When moving into these lines of work, other enterprises and their customers fund the projects and pay me income while I do it.