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Turning 40, and ready to make a change
Old 09-10-2008, 01:49 PM   #1
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Turning 40, and ready to make a change

Next October (2009) marks both my 40th birthday and my 20th year as a software consultant. I have decided (for no particular reason, perhaps, other than a fondness for nice even numbers) that is a good date to leave consulting and have a go at what *I* consider early retirement--others would call it working for myself.

My next performance review comes up next month, at which point I will be essentially giving my employer 12 months notice.

I am still working out the details of what I will be doing long term; right now I am focusing on finishing up some useful bits of software that I've had hanging around, writing some articles that I always wanted to write, and basically spending more time doing things I like that others might find valuable. And I am reading reading reading (and saving saving saving) to make sure that I'm ready when the time comes.

I am particularly interested in health insurance issues at this point, and working through the HSA information (a lot of it seems be circa 2006, so I'm trying to make sure it is still relevant).

Thanks to everyone for what appears to be a truly invaluable resource! I am very much looking forward to digging in and getting started.
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Old 09-10-2008, 01:56 PM   #2
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If I were you, I would not give my employer 12 months' notice. One month is plenty.
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Old 09-10-2008, 01:56 PM   #3
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Welcome, it sounds like you are in a good position to start a new direction in your life. There ares some good threads in the Health and Early retirement section on HSAs and other insurance options. Good browsing to be had there.
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Old 09-10-2008, 02:12 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum! I echo bdk's comments about your employer. At 40 years old, there is a good chance they will take a different view of what you view as one year's notice- (as just prolonging your immediate resignation.) When you give notice, you are telling your employer you have made a concious decision to leave the organization. Your role in the company changes that day. Just an observation from a guy who hires and fires...

Hope you enjoy it here on FIRE. There are a lot of smart people here with good ideas, insight and advice to share. I'm not one of them.

All the Best,
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Old 09-10-2008, 04:22 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum! I echo bdk's comments about your employer. At 40 years old, there is a good chance they will take a different view of what you view as one year's notice- (as just prolonging your immediate resignation.) When you give notice, you are telling your employer you have made a concious decision to leave the organization. Your role in the company changes that day.
Just piling on. I would definitely NOT give a year's notice, you may find that they decide you're "expendable" sooner than you'd counted on.

Good luck!
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Old 09-10-2008, 08:00 PM   #6
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I quit my job with a major war-profiteer back in Jan 07. They were jacking up the employee contribution to medical insurance by so much for 2007 that (remarkably) I'm really not paying much more now than I was while enslaved. Back then, the cost-to-employee increases were so outrageous that I wondered whether they were trying to turn their medical plan into a profit center. Either that, or they were just trying to get rid of me

The only thing I would do differently in the 1.5 years since I bailed was to be more market-oriented from the get-go. I spent too much time having fun developing new technologies w/o a market and not enough time producing something salable. Of course, back in Jan 07 I didn't anticipate the U.S. economy being flushed down the ceramic convenience. Anyway, no permanent damage done - the stuff I've developed may be useful someday.

Good luck, and welcome to the entrepreneurial lifestyle.
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:18 PM   #7
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Another vote for NOT telling your employer your plans so far in advance. For one thing it's possible something might change between now and then and you might want to revise your timetable. For another, as soon as you tell your employer you are leaving, they ought to be looking for a replacement. Should they find one early, you've already declared yourself to be a short timer and they may have no reservations about pushing you out asap to make room for your replacement.
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:30 PM   #8
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I quit my job with a major war-profiteer back in Jan 07. They were jacking up the employee contribution to medical insurance by so much for 2007 that (remarkably) I'm really not paying much more now than I was while enslaved. Back then, the cost-to-employee increases were so outrageous that I wondered whether they were trying to turn their medical plan into a profit center. Either that, or they were just trying to get rid of me

The only thing I would do differently in the 1.5 years since I bailed was to be more market-oriented from the get-go. I spent too much time having fun developing new technologies w/o a market and not enough time producing something salable. Of course, back in Jan 07 I didn't anticipate the U.S. economy being flushed down the ceramic convenience. Anyway, no permanent damage done - the stuff I've developed may be useful someday.

Good luck, and welcome to the entrepreneurial lifestyle.
There are industries in Florida? I must have been hanging out at city-data a bit too often. According to the folks over there, there's nothing but strip joints, hicks, drifters, and crap pay, so I suggested that the strippers pay the hicks to beat the drifters for lose change to improve the economy. The solution bombed like Hillary's healthcare reform.
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:47 PM   #9
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Welcome to the board starkos. Congratulations on making the commitment to "RE" in 12 months. As others have already said though - unless you walk on water and are irreplacable at your job, don't give your employer a 12 month notice. No good deed goes unpunished afterall.
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Old 09-10-2008, 11:54 PM   #10
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If I were you, I would not give my employer 12 months' notice. One month is plenty.
Ditto -
they know I "can" go, but they don't know when/if I "will" go - and that gives me a tactical advantage!

It's when they know you "can't" go when they really have you over a barrel.
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Old 09-11-2008, 03:33 AM   #11
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Welcome Starkos. I echo what has already been said...don't give so much notice...unless you are contractually bound to give that much. I am contractually bound to give 9 months notice, as is megacorp bound to give me that much notice. However, I am pretty well aware that if I give notice, I will most likely be cleaning out my desk and office that afternoon...with pay in lieu of notice from the company. Therefore, I will not be giving notice until and unless I am ready to walk away that afternoon if the situation calls for it. That's just the way life at my megacorp usually works. Just a word to the wise...YMMV.

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Old 09-11-2008, 06:59 AM   #12
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Thanks for the encouragement and advice. I would agree that giving notice this early is a bad idea in most situations. Mine is a bit different though: very small company, good personal history with the founder before I even joined the company, good camaraderie throughout. My co-workers are more likely to help me find opportunities than to take it personally. It is actually a great place to work; too bad that their business is consulting. So I'm comfortable with my decision to give notice so early.

I really want to commit. I've wanted to this before, but something always came up--I always let something come up. I slacked, I switched projects, I let the scope creep. Then I find myself in a two hour long status meeting wonder "why am I still here?"

So I am really giving notice for my own benefit, rather than my employer's. I am making a commitment that will be hard to back out of in order to keep my eye on the ball. I've written the number of days left in big letters on my home office whiteboard and I update it every morning. It has also helped my wife realize that *this time* I mean it.

And now I had better get back to it, eh?
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:10 AM   #13
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Starkos,
Just curious, when working for yourself, do you envision still working a full ~40 hour week, or will you drastically cut back on the amount of hours you work? Not that it matters, as long as you enjoy it more than your current job, I'm just curious.
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:19 AM   #14
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Starkos,
Just curious, when working for yourself, do you envision still working a full ~40 hour week, or will you drastically cut back on the amount of hours you work? Not that it matters, as long as you enjoy it more than your current job, I'm just curious.
If I could get it down to just 40 that would be cool, but I'm expecting more. But then, right now I'm working 40 hours for someone else, and then coming home and trying to squeeze in a couple of hours for my own projects. So a straight 40 hour week would free up a lot of time for me. I'm not sure I would know what to do with myself. I'd probably need a project.
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Old 09-11-2008, 05:09 PM   #15
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...right now I'm working 40 hours for someone else, and then coming home and trying to squeeze in a couple of hours for my own projects.
I used to war-monger all day, come home, fix dinner, go to bed about 7 pm, wake up at midnight, work on my own stuff until 4 am, go back to sleep until 5:30 am, work out for an hour, and then head back to the war-mongers to do it all over again. I used to describe myself as 'high-energy'; other folks would probably use 'mentally ill' Only geeks can comprehend how this way of living could be at all attractive or desirable. If you can find some engaging projects, you'll probably enjoy your new lifestyle.
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:56 PM   #16
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I've been in software too, 20+ years, similar good small company (now medium company) environment. With some trepidation, I gave my boss a 9 months notice/ "thinking about it" at my last performance review. I realized it was risky, but the results have been generally beneficial: more of what I want to do, and less of what I don't. I also feel it clears the way for my eventual departure, highly likely next year.

But I realize from the comments here, that you'd better have a very good understanding of company politics and your place in things, before broaching the topic.

Let me ditto whoever said to find a market before you start building products, at least if your desire is to make any money at it. I've made this mistake too many times in the past, getting fascinated by some technology idea for which there was no commercial demand. I'm promising myself the next time I make the leap I'll test-market every idea before I invest time or money in it!
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Old 09-12-2008, 06:12 AM   #17
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With some trepidation, I gave my boss a 9 months notice/ "thinking about it" at my last performance review. I realized it was risky, but the results have been generally beneficial: more of what I want to do, and less of what I don't.
My plan exactly, hopefully my review will go as well as yours (it should)!
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Just a quick follow-up...
Old 10-08-2008, 09:46 AM   #18
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Just a quick follow-up...

After mulling things over, I've decided to take the advice given in this thread to heart and not give such early notice, although I'm not sure if this is prudence or a cop-out. I don't think it would have been as dire as suggested by some here, who are working in very different situations. Rather, I'm having a hard time seeing a real upside to giving the notice. The only real benefit to doing so is that it draws a hard line in the sand, making it (more) difficult to back out of the commitment. By not giving notice, it is now all on me to make that date stick. But then, it also gives me more flexibility as the date gets closer, and it avoid negative repercussions of being a "short-timer" on my current job. So I decided that I'm not going to give notice. But to maintain my good conscience I'm not going to sneak around it either, should the topic come up.

Just an update, in case someone stumbles across this thread in the future. Now back to work!
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Old 10-09-2008, 10:27 AM   #19
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The logic is obvious... you give notice, and your employer will look for your replacement. If he finds one, you will be terminated early. So don't be a nice guy to your employer - you must assume he will NEVER be so nice to you.

Second option... take some clients with you. If you have trusted clients you work with, you can let them know you will be leaving. If they want to keep you on their job, they will follow you. Borderline unethical, but you are the brain they want to keep.

Third option... retire on the job. I know you are a very conscientious worker that comes in on time, plus works late. Use your sick leave, use a little of your employers time to work on your projects. What's the worst that can happen? You get fired.

Fourth option... move to a foreign country where everything about health care is cheap. I retired to Indonesia 8 years ago - and have never paid more than a $100 for anything related to health. That includes a case of hepatitis, acutely sprained ankle, full set of blood tests and a few other trips to the doctor AND dentist.

Fifth option... move all your assets out of the US. This requires a little time, but right now I look like an absolute pauper to anyone in the US, including the US government. If you really need high powered health care, just come back as a homeless person. Live on food stamps and disability insurance. Keep your good credit in the US and you will have a $20K credit card limit - just in case you need it. Foreign bank accounts are great these days. Just tell you clients to wire the money to your foreign bank. They have no information to file a 1099, so it will be tax free income.

Lots of tricks my friend.
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