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Sabbatical or Permanent Lifestyle change
Old 03-09-2008, 09:09 PM   #1
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Sabbatical or Permanent Lifestyle change

My wife and I live in a relatively big city in Canada with our 1 year old and another on the way. We're in our 30s and have schooled hard and worked hard the last 15 years and we've built up a fair sized nest-egg but the big city is an expensive and fast paced place. We could handle the fast pace as yuppies, but now with children we want to slow things way down and focus on family first. We've been entertaining checking our of the big-city lifestyle and moving to a smaller town (~15000) where life is slower and hopefully more community oriented. We would likely be able to sell out high-valued house and buy a similar house in the small town for half as much. The monies left over combined with our nest-egg would give us an annual cash flow of ~$18000 (dividend income only - we don't like bonds). Not a lot of money but we won't go hungry. We expect to pick up other jobs or careers but ones that are more laid-back than the high stress careers we currently have, or have only one of us work, and continue to build up our portfolio so that when the kids are teens and are more expensive, our cashflow should also be significantly more. We'd essentially be deriving income from our portfolio rather that contributing to it which would take a major mental shift for us as we currently save about 50% of our take-home pay.

Has anyone else here done such a thing before? We're a bit nervous we'll regret it, but we're equally worried about regretting not doing it in 20 years. If it doesn't work out or within the first few years we don't like it, we can always come crawling back to our current careers (both my wifes and my skillsets are in very high demand and short supply)

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Old 03-09-2008, 10:29 PM   #2
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Check out Retire on Less than You Think, Fred Brock for some analysis of that kind of scenario.
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Old 03-10-2008, 02:27 PM   #3
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Haven't done it, but a couple of thoughts:

Have you done some thinking on career planning in terms of comparing the types of jobs likely to be available in a small town with the types of work you're likely to be happy doing? Let's say one of you gets hired as, for example, receptionist for the local doctor, and learns the hard way that you don't like dealing with people all day.

Have you thought through the housing situation thoroughly? I realize this is a tough question when you have a second child on the way and don't yet know what having a larger family will be like. But I find people do more "keeping up with the Joneses" with their houses in the city than in a small town. The house you find acceptable in the city may seem excessive by small town standards. If your kids grow up with their peers in smaller houses, they may view those as the norm. Maybe you can be perfectly happy in a smaller/older house than you have now and save even more $.

Best of luck whatever you decide to do!
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Old 03-11-2008, 02:00 PM   #4
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My cousin did something like this. He and his family moved to a small city (~200k population) with a significant cut in pay (not sure how much) to enjoy the lifestyle and 5 minute commute. He is very happy with the decision.

One of my neighbors, however, did the same thing a few years ago, hated it, and moved back to the city.

Good luck.
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Old 03-11-2008, 03:18 PM   #5
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We have just started doing this, except that we are going to live on the 18 k and not work at all. DH left his high stress job in Jan. and loves being home (well, except for when we are arguing ) We have a 4 and 7 year old. I think it'll be invaluable to have dad around for them. We also homeschool, so everyone is free. We love it, though there are adjustments and stricter adherence to the budget. But we were savers like y'all and are very frugal. We both have advanced degrees, but family life has become more important than anything. We don't want regrets after the kids are grown, and there's no way to change anything. We should be able to go back to work if someone HAS to. I also want to dedicate some time to writing, so maybe something will come up that way, too.

We are also in the process of choosing a smaller town to move to, and will cash out of our house. We want to buy acreage and build a natural home out of cob or strawbale or SIPS or some hybrid. We want a cheap house so we can continue to live our lives dedicated to our family without working. But first we have to get those dang house projects finished. which is why I'm sitting here rather than preping my walls for painting

Retirement is different for a young family. There's so much to do anyway.

Also we've been planning this for about ten years through many iterations. We considered two part time jobs, one part time job, not working for about 10 years, to now not working hopefully forever (pension at 60, 20 years from now). We are simple living people and that has helped tremendously with unplugging from this consumeristic society and living the life we want. Good luck to you.
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Old 03-11-2008, 03:24 PM   #6
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Just a question for those who are thinking about doing this: what about leaving friends/family behind? I'm also in my 30's, and my wife and I are about to have our first kid. The thought of picking up and moving someplace else and having to start all over sounds like a huge hassle. Not trying to discourage anyone, just bringing up another viewpoint. We've got a lot of friends where we live, and if we were going to move I'd hate the thought of leaving them behind.
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Old 03-11-2008, 04:01 PM   #7
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I hate the thought of leaving behind our friends, but the reality is that we don't see that many people on a regular basis because everyone is busy. We see a few homeschooling friends the most and will miss them, as well as one or two other friends and family members. Last weekend we visited an area we like. We went to a homeschooling group and several churches. We really loved the homeschooling group. I believe we will make friends through things like that and taking an active part in the community.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:21 PM   #8
Confused about dryer sheets
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My wife and I are generally happy, optimistic people. We believe we can be happy just about anywhere. At present, most of our friends are also our co-workers - we are generally either at work or at home recouperating. We moved to this city to find ourselves 12 years ago and live some 3500 km from our families - our plans are to move to within a 2-3 hour drive to our families but not too close as we prefer to be independent and both our families can be a little overwhelming at times. And our friends, well don't get me wrong, we both work with good people and both enjoy our work a lot, but the pace can sometimes be at breakneck speed. Hence the sabbatical. I recognize the challenge may not be there at a workplace with less technical work, but sometimes I wish I could turn my brain off when I get home (no blackberry but I'm technically on call all the time). Given the right atmosphere, I'd probably be happy slinging coffee for awhile. Yes, we'd be leaving friends but when we move to our current city we made friends quickly as we are both friendly and somewhat outgoing - my wife moreso than me, but I'm no social cripple. I appreciate the feedback and I am especially interested in hearing more from enfp - perhaps more as the future unfolds for you.

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Old 03-12-2008, 09:16 AM   #9
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don't forget to read books like "Your money or Your Life" by Joe Dominguez and vicki Robin. It really helps you see what you are giving up for work. I wish you luck. It's stressful but challenging to go against the grain, so your challenges will come in other ways than a high powered stressful job.
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Old 03-12-2008, 03:14 PM   #10
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I'll assume that you are leaving Edmonton or more likely Calgary and heading to Sask. or Man. You've already won the home appreciation lottery if you've been in Alta for 15 yrs. Sask is in its own boom and I saw yesterday that Man. is supposed to lead the country in growth (percentage wise) in 08. Alberta's real estate rocket has cooled a bit now and it would seem that those other provinces are set to rise now. My advice...git while the gittin's good!

As far as your new lifestyle goes....That's entirely about you.
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Old 03-12-2008, 05:58 PM   #11
Confused about dryer sheets
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Grizz,
You might be on to something.

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