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34 year old woman seeking career transition in 5 years
Old 10-15-2018, 11:00 AM   #1
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34 year old woman seeking career transition in 5 years

Hi all, I'm working towards slowing the pace of my life when I turn 40. I'm currently a 34 year old government employee living just outside of Baltimore, MD and I have about 210k saved between my TSP and a Roth IRA. I know this will not be enough for me to live off of (or even easily access) so I'm interested in pursuing part time employment rather than fully "retiring" at 40. My husband is a bit older than me at 46 years old and is about to retire from the military next year. His pension is sizeable and much appreciated however over half of it will go to child support for the next 13 years unless we can do something to change that. I will write another post asking for help on this. It's a long story.

My husband is not exactly a believer in the FIRE movement so I know the odds are not in my favor at the moment but I'm hoping that more exposure to this will help convince him that it is possible. We live below our means currently so that's a step in the right direction and I know we are very lucky to have access to great inexpensive health insurance and a pension that increases with inflation every year. We have a lot going our way, I'm just trying to get him to see it.
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Old 10-15-2018, 01:30 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard, AprM! Lots of good info and helpful, knowledgeable forum members here.

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Old 10-15-2018, 01:53 PM   #3
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Welcome, welcome, and thrice welcome!

Congratulations on being much younger and much further along than I.

At age 40 my provision for retirement was approximately two half-empty boxes of Kleenex and a jar of mustard. You have over $200k more than that and at an earlier age. Good work!

I don't really detect a question in your post, so I'll offer a few completely gratuitous comments that you are free to disregard entirely... which might be a wise decision, seeing as how you have already demonstrated a precocious understanding of FIRE.

Since I'm closing in on The Big Six-Oh, and winding out what I hope will be my final year of labor, I come here a couple of times during the day to breathe the air of freedom before sinking back into the mire of serfdom. If I can read a little and write a little about NOT having to labor, I draw fresh resolve that carries me through till happy hour.

My first observation is that you mention living below your means. But I'll speculate that you are talking about your current means, where you are fully employed and DH is drawing active duty pay instead of his military pension. If you retire - even partially - at 40, those means are likely to change. Especially if child support will consume the best part of his pension for 13 years! Make sure you review your expected costs carefully and compare them to the means you expect to have in semi-retirement.

Now, you're probably bursting to tell me "But DH isn't planning to retire any time soon! He'll roll off the active duty roster, sure, but he's going to get a full time civilian job. We'll have plenty of means!"

I'm not going to doubt your sincerity for a moment. I'm simply going to suggest that our perspectives evolve, and DH may or may not be content to commute to some civilian w*rkplace while his DW stays home to run, e.g., a online jewelry design business for only 3 or 4 hours a day.

That brings us to my second suggestion: make absolutely-without-a-doubt-no-room-for-error certain you and hubby are both on board with whatever your 5 year plan is! You don't want to solve one problem (career transition) by creating a worse one (marital discord).

Third: Do you have an idea for what sort of "part time employment" would interest you? If so, consider a road test of that kind of w*rk to see if it really satisfies the way you hope it will. It would be ideal if you could maneuver your way into your goal role prior to quitting your day j*b. It's always better to make decisions based on data than on hunches.

Other than that, I have nothing to say except "Delighted to have you on the forum. I look forward with lively anticipation to reading your future posts."
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Old 10-15-2018, 02:07 PM   #4
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I would challenge DH, as I challenge my DW to "pretend" what life would be like without a job, a career or work for pay. If that honestly does not sounds like fun to them, fine. My DW is adamant that we will not reach my FIRE goal, but I could only imagine if both of us thought like this. I am constantly tweaking and revising this plan, increasing contributions, tightening the budget (slack) and thinking creatively on how we spend our time (using less money). My wife absolutely has been a better saver until I discovered FIRE. It took me 10 years of investing to catch her balances, but this year I finally passed her up.



I have many more wants than her, and we have a good balance in that she is pretty good about LBYM, and I am pretty good with investing. Paired together, it's like the perfect harmony. She focuses on the short term (spending less on groceries, buying cheaper seats to concerts, traveling cheaper) and I focus on the mechanics of investing (when to increase contributions, what investments to buy at which broker, in what account, and of course the long term planning where I bury my head in dreaded spreadsheets). But I know I have rubbed off on her, and she has rubbed off on me. It is a journey of epic proportions, a reward so grand not all can achieve, but it takes disciplined collaboration.
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Old 10-15-2018, 02:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Mdlerth View Post
"My first observation is that you mention living below your means. But I'll speculate that you are talking about your current means, where you are fully employed and DH is drawing active duty pay instead of his military pension. If you retire - even partially - at 40, those means are likely to change. Especially if child support will consume the best part of his pension for 13 years! Make sure you review your expected costs carefully and compare them to the means you expect to have in semi-retirement.

Now, you're probably bursting to tell me "But DH isn't planning to retire any time soon! He'll roll off the active duty roster, sure, but he's going to get a full time civilian job. We'll have plenty of means!"

I'm not going to doubt your sincerity for a moment. I'm simply going to suggest that our perspectives evolve, and DH may or may not be content to commute to some civilian w*rkplace while his DW stays home to run, e.g., a online jewelry design business for only 3 or 4 hours a day.

That brings us to my second suggestion: make absolutely-without-a-doubt-no-room-for-error certain you and hubby are both on board with whatever your 5 year plan is! You don't want to solve one problem (career transition) by creating a worse one (marital discord).

Third: Do you have an idea for what sort of "part time employment" would interest you? If so, consider a road test of that kind of w*rk to see if it really satisfies the way you hope it will. It would be ideal if there's a way you could maneuver your way into your goal role prior to quitting your day j*b. It's always better to make decisions based on data than on hunches.

Other than that, I have nothing to say except "Delighted to have you on the forum. I look forward with lively anticipation to reading your future posts."
Thank you for the feedback! I appreciate the perspective. I am actually the opposite for DH's retirement. I would like him to at least take a few months off to see what he really wants to do. We're currently putting 50% of our take home pay towards savings, an IRA, and paying off debt (which will be gone next summer- I know debt is bad) so I'm fairly confident that we can live within our means when it comes time for DH to leave active duty. I expect to be the main breadwinner for a little bit to ensure that he doesn't feel obligated to jump at the first opportunity presented to him. He was very aware of my financial intentions before we got married and although he swears he is on board I fear that he is not fully committed due to his young children and the uncertainty in their upbringing. They're 4 year old twins and a lot can change over the years. Right now, their mother is insisting on private religious schools and is not easy to work with.

I wish I knew what my part time job would be! I had been considering something somewhat mindless that offered health insurance prior to meeting DH. I was thinking of going back into banking as a teller 3-4 days a week. However, I may be able to maneuver my government job into a part time endeavor which would put more income into play than I really expected to earn. Either way, I am not closing any doors and am really looking forward to what life has in store for us in the coming months with regards to opportunities and experiences!
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Old 10-15-2018, 02:34 PM   #6
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Welcome! It's awesome that you have $210K socked away towards retirement (which at 4% withdrawal rate = $700 monthly if you were able to tap it tax and penalty-free now). You have ~8 months to pay off your debt...does that include all debt (car loans, mortgage, credit cards, and college loans)? Your husband's child support will really eat into your income. At 40, do you really want to go part time, when doing so might double the number of years you have to work, especially, with an older husband?
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Old 10-15-2018, 05:09 PM   #7
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You have ~8 months to pay off your debt...does that include all debt (car loans, mortgage, credit cards, and college loans)? Your husband's child support will really eat into your income. At 40, do you really want to go part time, when doing so might double the number of years you have to work, especially, with an older husband?
We will be debt free except for the mortgage. In my ideal world I would have the mortgage paid for when I start working part time but I’m not sure if that is realistic. It really depends on what DH decides to do after retirement. The reason I want to work part time at 40 is to spend more time with him. There are a lot of variables that can and will change our near term prospects.
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Old 10-15-2018, 05:23 PM   #8
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As one who had to pay child support, I have few observations
To get child support reduced requires a change of circumstances, such as disability, unemployment, or in your husband's case retirement.
Also, the wife's income is factored in,not directly, but to mitigate the effect of child support payments.
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Old 10-15-2018, 05:48 PM   #9
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As one who had to pay child support, I have few observations
To get child support reduced requires a change of circumstances, such as disability, unemployment, or in your husband's case retirement.
Also, the wife's income is factored in,not directly, but to mitigate the effect of child support payments.
Thanks for this. We’re hiring an attorney to handle this as our situation is unique and we don’t want to fumble any of the proceedings. In a nutshell we’re going to have the support reassessed to reflect the actual visitation schedule that has occurred for the past 2 years and also to adjust the “visitation” to better accomodate the kids’ school schedule. And the modification will occur while DH is still active duty so his income will be higher. He feels morally obligated to have the support show his earning potential, not his choice to take it easy after retirement. As his other half, I’m ok with this. Regardless of what his/our income is his ex makes more money than us so the support amount should decrease.
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