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Reached $250,000, but I'm exhausted
Old 11-11-2012, 03:57 AM   #1
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Reached $250,000, but I'm exhausted

Hello All,

Well I'm turning 26 and I finally reached the quarter-million mark for net worth (it has a nice ring to it!) and it feels great. Though depending on how the market does on any given month it dips a bit below or above that. Shouldn't be too long before it hits $300,000.

I'm happy that I've done it entirely on my own and I'm saving as aggressively as I possibly can. The LBYM is a lifestyle that I've always done well with since we were not a well-to-do family growing up. My yearly expenses are somewhere around $17,000 / yr.

Problem is that I feel completely exhausted already. My j*b just keeps asking more and more and more of me, basically wanting me to be a life-less robot. Made even harder by the fact that I had a relationship end badly which has had me completely drained emotionally this entire year which was in turn affecting everything else in my life including my health and my w*rk. (And oh my goodness have my expenses ballooned this year from dealing with an unhealthy relationship!!!)

Thankfully that part of it is behind me and I'm back to my old self. But I think I am losing my aspirations to continue this j*b much further. Despite the fact that it pays very well, I've simply been making too many sacrifices for a very long time now. Not to mention this j*b is very hard on the body.

I keep hearing that there is this thing called a "personal life" (I think that is what it is commonly referred to) and apparently it's important to have one of these things?? That's a bit of an exaggeration but not far from the truth.

Point is: I want out. I've known from very early on that I wanted to retire early but the need to get out of the rat race and focusing more on friends/family and simply doing the things i enjoy is becoming very strong. I used to aspire to accumulating several $$ millions and having a lush lifestyle. Now I don't think I care or see the sacrifice as worth it for the BMW or for the 4 bedroom house with a pool.

Lately i'm finding myself more in line with ERE mentality than ER. I've been fantasizing about getting out as soon as possible. Asking myself what is the fastest possible way to generate ~$25,000 yearly passive income from interest on my savings? How little can I scrape by on? Can I find a way to be content with $15,000 /yr?

If I could reach $500,000 and get 5% return that's $25,000 (though that's before taxes). With this j*b I could probably reach it in ~3 more years. But I don't think I'm going to be able to last that long.

So now I think the illustration of my future is starting to resemble doing this j*b for 1 (maybe 2) more years, then perhaps getting a much, much simpler routine day j*b that is much less demanding that simply pays my expenses, as flat out retirement is not going to be possible without significantly more capital.

My interest in finance makes me envision myself w*rking at a bank, maybe even just a bank teller.

Am I crazy? Sorry for the long post.
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:07 AM   #2
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PolarisTLX, congratulations on your achievement so far. You're young, so keep your options open. Financial independence gives you flexibility and as you accumulate more you may find something you really want to do.
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:15 AM   #3
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No, but please read MichaelB's above post again. I agree with it 100%.
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Originally Posted by PolarisTLX View Post
Am I crazy? Sorry for the long post.
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:59 AM   #4
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PolarisTLX, I've been where you are. You've had a lot of stress this year, and it's making you want to jump ship. I can also remember trying to figure out if I could make it on 250k in assets, 500k in assets, 1 million in assets. In the meantime, I hung on. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I really didn't need to work, so I retired. [I'm working again, part time, teaching at the college level - for fun.]

My advice?
1. Take a vacation where you can get the j*b and your bad relationship and everything else out of your life.
2. You mentioned that your job is physically demanding, so this might not apply. Find an exercise hobby that involves OTHER PEOPLE. For example, a running club. Not only will you feel better, but when runners are doing their daily routine with each other, they usually talk to each other, and that taking helps to get the stress out.
3.Get back on the horse - try to find another relationship, even if it is causal or just friends. Your bummed, in a funk, and it will help you get out of that.

It may be that none of these work, and you really do need a substantial change in your life. Different, less stressful job, different location, whatever. But hearing your post brings back similar thoughts I had or more than one occasion, that I was able to work through.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:03 AM   #5
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My goal has always been something more towards ERE, so I have a pretty good grasp on the situation.

Relying on 5% would be quite risky, since you would need 5% real, not nominal, which is more than some predict stocks can return without taking excessive risks. It goes without saying this also breaks the 4% rule pretty badly, especially for an ERE, since that rule of thumb is only designed for someone at a traditional retirement age.

If you want to spend $15k/year, since your situation is close to mine, I can ballpark what you will need in nominal dollars, ~$750,000 in assets, if you want to completely stop. But, this will have ERE lifestyle constraints that most others would find quite uncomfortable. The big ones are, you will have to live in a low cost of living area, you will need a very understanding spouse if you ever want one, you will have to forgo children, you will have to restrict travel to backpacking/seeing family, you will have to completely learn to cook for yourself, eating out needs to be rare, and you need to not have an expensive car/boat.

That said, there is still a fair amount of room in the budget for other things, like a sizable grocery budget, and $3-5k/yr you can put into hobbies, or you could squeeze your budget so you can live in a higher COL area if you have extremely inexpensive hobbies.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:13 AM   #6
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Problem is that I feel completely exhausted already. My j*b just keeps asking more and more and more of me, basically wanting me to be a life-less robot. Made even harder by the fact that I had a relationship end badly which has had me completely drained emotionally this entire year which was in turn affecting everything else in my life including my health and my w*rk. (And oh my goodness have my expenses ballooned this year from dealing with an unhealthy relationship!!!)

Thankfully that part of it is behind me and I'm back to my old self. But I think I am losing my aspirations to continue this j*b much further. Despite the fact that it pays very well, I've simply been making too many sacrifices for a very long time now. Not to mention this j*b is very hard on the body.
You'll be happier and more successful in a j*b you enjoy. So don't stay somewhere that makes you miserable, you only get one chance at life......unless you are a Hindu. But make sure it's the j*b that's the real issue and not other things in your life.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:45 AM   #7
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You have a huge nest egg already for such a young age. I'm several years older and don't yet have 250K. You should be quite proud of that accomplishment.

So what to do? To retire super early -- as in before 40 -- you need an even larger cushion. Don't plan to withdraw 5%, 4%, or maybe even 3%. If you want to retire in your 30s plan on withdrawing 2.5% or 2.75%, max. In other words if you want to retire in your early 30s with $25,000/yr income (which I think it still living a bit on the edge) you should aim for at least $900K. Even at your savings rate, you have a ways to go.

My advice -- look for a major career change. Look for something that makes you happy. Sure, a job is still a job, and if you're like me you won't truly be happy until you are entirely out of the rate race and your days belong to no one but yourself. But not all jobs are created equal, and I'm sure that in the meantime you can find something that doesn't wear on you quite like your current job does. I made a similar career/life choice 4 years ago and couldn't be happier with the decision.

Remember, you already have $250k socked away. You can afford to take a serious hit on the salary, and that nut will continue to grow. Heck, even if you stopped saving entirely, your nest egg will continue to grow and you'll still be well ahead of your counterparts in 30 years' time.

Take the plunge, drop your current job, and try something different for a while. You've earned it.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:56 AM   #8
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It's been a tough year for you. The first thing I would do is contact your confidential employee assistance program, assuming your workplace has one. You may have burnout, and you need strategies to help you say no to unreasonable demands. The second thing I would do is take a vacation, preferably with some friends, or even spend some time with family. There is a real need to "sharpen the saw" once in a while. If you are not feeling more positive after these steps, see your doctor and make sure you are not depressed or suffering from anxiety. From personal experience in high stress jobs, these steps really do help, and will give you the time for reflection that may lead to a job change. ERE is a bit drastic!
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:32 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by PolarisTLX View Post
Problem is that I feel completely exhausted already. My j*b just keeps asking more and more and more of me, basically wanting me to be a life-less robot. Made even harder by the fact that I had a relationship end badly which has had me completely drained emotionally this entire year which was in turn affecting everything else in my life including my health and my w*rk. (And oh my goodness have my expenses ballooned this year from dealing with an unhealthy relationship!!!)
I can certainly related to your situation on a variety of levels...back when I was 26, my stash was in the low $200s, I had an ultra-low lifestyle, high-stress but financially-rewarding j*b (working w/ my father, brother, and brother-in-law), AND had the mother of all bad relationships end badly.

Even more stress resulted in me leaving the family business a few years later, and I wound up in my first 'real' j*b workplace (without family being involved) that everyone else gets to enjoy on a daily basis.

Boy, was I in for a surprise!

The phrase "the grass is not always greener" definitely applies to workplace settings. There are a handful of places that are truly awesome - but don't delude yourself into thinking 'ANYTHING must be better than this'. True, the exact sources of stress may not be the same, but every workplace has a variety of coworkers that don't pull their own weight, tell you one thing but never remember telling you it later on, and all around make you lose incentive to bust your ass.

I had never really taken vacations in the past, and I don't know if that is what you need to pull you out of the funk....but it would be good to help take a little bit of time (whether just weekends or a week off) to simply relax and forget about all of that crap in the past. Focus on that awesome nest egg, and things to divert new investments into. Try some hobbies like others have suggested.

Fill that mind with distractions to show you there is more to life than your career....but also realize that there WILL be plenty of other 'surprises' if/when you jump ship to a different j*b, only to find that you might have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. Perhaps you do need to make a change - but don't make the change because you're leaving something, make the change because you want to go TO something else (because if you are only leaving to get away, you very well could find out the new problems in a new j*b can be frustrating in ways you never imagined, and long for that high compensation job again that at least will grow the stash much quicker).
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:45 AM   #10
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Polaris, I feel (felt?) your pain, although not until I hit my late 30s (I am 40 now), at which time I suffered more and more burnout and wanted to reclaim my personal life. That is when I reached the $250k mark (in 1998) and became debt-free, greatly reducing my annual expenses to about the level yours are (just under $20k).

I was able to pursue a part-time work arrangement in 2001 which enabled me to reclaim my personal life and ease (but not eliminate) the burnout from working full-time. After 7 years of that, along with continued savings, I was able to ER fully back in 2008.

Could a part-time working arrangement work for you?
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:57 AM   #11
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Polaris -

Congrats on the $1/4M at such a young age.

If your j*b sucks that badly, I'd recommend another line of work. You're young w/no baggage- you could use some of your $$ to retrain and pursue another career.

If you follow the ERE page, you'll note that Jacob L. Fisker went back to work- likely b/c he was bored and/or sick of living in a van down by the river.
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:27 PM   #12
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I should know this, but what does ERE stand for?

I agree with the comments so far. At 26 you are very young. Have you though about starting a new career?
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:30 PM   #13
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I should know this, but what does ERE stand for?
Extreme ER.

Polaris: hang in there. My suggestion would be to try something like a leave or long vacation before you pull the plug. if it "poisons" your workplace relationship or perception of effort, then you can always quit later anyway. My bet is it won't damage it. You'll find understanding and even a lot of "boy, I know what you are talking about."

I was ready to bag it in 2000, but instead told the boss I need to take 4 solid weeks without email or any contact. I had the time banked, but the culture was "Oh let's kill ourselves. Watch me fall on this sword! I have vacation and I'm going to let it expire! Aren't I a great worker?"

Enough already! Told the boss I needed that big chunk. I not only got it, I got loads of people -- including the boss -- saying they wish they had the courage to do that too.

It didn't hurt me. I actually started making more money after that, and still took no-contact, no-email vacations every year from then on!
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:34 PM   #14
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Hello All,

Well I'm turning 26 and I finally reached the quarter-million mark for net worth (it has a nice ring to it!) and it feels great. Though depending on how the market does on any given month it dips a bit below or above that. Shouldn't be too long before it hits $300,000.

I'm happy that I've done it entirely on my own and I'm saving as aggressively as I possibly can. The LBYM is a lifestyle that I've always done well with since we were not a well-to-do family growing up. My yearly expenses are somewhere around $17,000 / yr.

Problem is that I feel completely exhausted already. My j*b just keeps asking more and more and more of me, basically wanting me to be a life-less robot. Made even harder by the fact that I had a relationship end badly which has had me completely drained emotionally this entire year which was in turn affecting everything else in my life including my health and my w*rk. (And oh my goodness have my expenses ballooned this year from dealing with an unhealthy relationship!!!)

Thankfully that part of it is behind me and I'm back to my old self. But I think I am losing my aspirations to continue this j*b much further. Despite the fact that it pays very well, I've simply been making too many sacrifices for a very long time now. Not to mention this j*b is very hard on the body.

I keep hearing that there is this thing called a "personal life" (I think that is what it is commonly referred to) and apparently it's important to have one of these things?? That's a bit of an exaggeration but not far from the truth.

Point is: I want out. I've known from very early on that I wanted to retire early but the need to get out of the rat race and focusing more on friends/family and simply doing the things i enjoy is becoming very strong. I used to aspire to accumulating several $$ millions and having a lush lifestyle. Now I don't think I care or see the sacrifice as worth it for the BMW or for the 4 bedroom house with a pool.

Lately i'm finding myself more in line with ERE mentality than ER. I've been fantasizing about getting out as soon as possible. Asking myself what is the fastest possible way to generate ~$25,000 yearly passive income from interest on my savings? How little can I scrape by on? Can I find a way to be content with $15,000 /yr?

If I could reach $500,000 and get 5% return that's $25,000 (though that's before taxes). With this j*b I could probably reach it in ~3 more years. But I don't think I'm going to be able to last that long.

So now I think the illustration of my future is starting to resemble doing this j*b for 1 (maybe 2) more years, then perhaps getting a much, much simpler routine day j*b that is much less demanding that simply pays my expenses, as flat out retirement is not going to be possible without significantly more capital.

My interest in finance makes me envision myself w*rking at a bank, maybe even just a bank teller.

Am I crazy? Sorry for the long post.
Hey man, you are not crazy, but I may be. I started humping it at about 24 and figured I would work till I saved 1 million. Sounds great. Hit that mark at about 39. Heck make it two million. Hit that mark by 43. What the heck, still young, keep on trucking, hit three, now at over four million and still have a few more years to hit fifty years old. Out of shape , ticked off at the world and what the hell is a "personal life" I am a pretty wealthy dude, don't owe anything and have no kids leaching off me. I don't know when I will quite working. This "tax the rich to death" attitude may make me quite earlier. My friend, learn from my mistakes, don't bust your butt enough to wreck your health, balance is hard, but I wish you all the luck in the world.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:59 PM   #15
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Hey man, you are not crazy, but I may be. I started humping it at about 24 and figured I would work till I saved 1 million. Sounds great. Hit that mark at about 39. Heck make it two million. Hit that mark by 43. What the heck, still young, keep on trucking, hit three, now at over four million and still have a few more years to hit fifty years old. Out of shape , ticked off at the world and what the hell is a "personal life" I am a pretty wealthy dude, don't owe anything and have no kids leaching off me. I don't know when I will quite working. This "tax the rich to death" attitude may make me quite earlier. My friend, learn from my mistakes, don't bust your butt enough to wreck your health, balance is hard, but I wish you all the luck in the world.
I am less wealthy and a bit younger but could have written this exact post with minor changes. I am very glad to have the financial cushion; but, I am still seeking some balance in my life.

Here's hoping the OP finds that balance soon.
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Old 11-11-2012, 05:14 PM   #16
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Exhausted at 26? Really? It was a tough 8 years or less?? Give me a break.
Let me know when you actually get some working years in.
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:14 PM   #17
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Exhausted and burnt out at 26? Serously? It's kinda tempting to throw in some generational generalisations here but I'll take you at face value.

You have made great progress to accumulate $250K but you have a lot of life ahead of you - both in terms of time and the possibilties of life. You could live for another seven decades and even on an ERE type budget and lifestyle it would be overly optimistic to expect that your nest egg will last that long even if you don't have to adjust to major changes like marriage, children, accident, illness etc etc.

If you rule out ERE, your options would appear to be:

(i) take a short career break - if you go this route, make sure you have something to show on your CV other than "unemployed" when you start looking for a job. Post grad studies, a photographic exhibition, an intensive language course....whatever. You need something to explain the gap in empoyment

(ii) look for something less stressful - but don't quit your current job until you have signed up for the new one. It's easier to get a job if you already have one. I found that even the process of looking for another job and doing a few interviews helped reduce the stress

(iii) suck it up with your current high paying job - it pays well and you will achieve FI sooner but you need to develop some outlets for the stress. Exercise, social activities, bug collecting....whatever rocks your boat.

It's the classic ER conundrum - work harder in a high stress job so you can FIRE sooner or step down a notch or two but have to delay FIREing for a period of time that can be measured in years. FWIW, I opted for the former - I stuck with a job that carries high levels of stress and very long working hours so that I could FIRE before I turn 50. If I'd gone for an easier job, I'd be working for a lot longer. I simply liked the idea of being completely FI as soon as possible - at that point so many more possibilities open up.

Eight months to go ..... sigh.....
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:37 PM   #18
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Agree with the vacation idea. Take a break, decompress, and reassess. You must have drive to have accumulated that nest egg pretty quick, & 26 is (generally) too early for someone with drive to successfully ERE. Find something you are passionate about- maybe even a new project/j@b at the same employer?
Good luck, & congrats on that early nest egg!
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:47 PM   #19
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Agree with the vacation idea. Take a break, decompress, and reassess. You must have drive to have accumulated that nest egg pretty quick, & 26 is (generally) too early for someone with drive to successfully ERE. Find something you are passionate about- maybe even a new project/j@b at the same employer?
Good luck, & congrats on that early nest egg!
Polaris mentioned bank teller.

Really? Tellers make nothing, deal with rude and crazy people, and are on the line for every possible mistake they make.

So, I'm agreeing with you EPhoosier, but just warning Polaris that a I doubt tellering is something they'd find passion for. All the tellers I knew moved on as quick as possible (to something like loan origination, for example, even if they had to get more education).
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:41 PM   #20
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I had a similar feeling at age 25. In my case it came from working at a job that I hated but that netted me six figures. The work environment was unsustainable, but every time I thought about quitting, I'd talk myself into sucking it up for the money.

I eventually quit and took a scary pay cut to do more pleasant work. Not teller work though, a job with growth potential. So I eventually worked my way back up to six figures, this time in a field that is much more enjoyable!

Sounds like a career change might be in order. But I'd look for something that still has potential. You have a lot of years left,and it is unlikely you'll be able to give up work forever.

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