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Old 10-30-2012, 12:09 PM   #21
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I'm 34 and I completely understand the temptation to go have some adventures.

It's a temptation I have chosen to resist, because it seems the grass is always greener.... Also, a good paying job with reasonable hours is a pretty great gig, and hard to replace when you get back from your travels.

So the idea you propose sounds financially risky to me, but that doesn't mean it's the wrong choice for you.

I've decided to hunker down and find happiness in my work while we save for ER. Keep us posted on what you decide.

SIS
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:02 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MooreBonds View Post
It is a perfectly valid plan....but a combination of the random unknown expenses (health insurance being one of just many) PLUS the more important aspect of slaving away at any old job to barely pay the bills for 40 hours a week for X additional years, just makes me wonder why they don't simply keep working at a much higher paying job for just a few more years and THEN be totally free at 35 or 38 or 40?
When I was about 28 I had a job I liked but also had dreams of doing other things in life that did not include working 9-5. I figured out that if we could stick it out until 40 my wife and I could retire (minimally). I figured by teh time I was 40 I would start slowing down physically and would not be able to do some of the things I wanted to. We came up with a plan, lived modestly, though not extremely frugally by any stretch, and we saved as much as we could.

By age 36 I had an opportunity to return to school for a PhD that I never had any interest in when I went to school the first time. We had just finished paying off our mortgage and were pretty much on-plan otherwise. I quit my job to get the PhD knowing our plan would be set back a few years. After 3 years I returned to work in the same job, same company, but more responsibility (and with the PhD). That choice set our plan back about 5 years but I think it was worth it. We could have retired a few years ago but instead decided to make a major property purchase, knowing that would delay things a bit as well. We are now on track to retire when I am 50 for a total slip of about 10 years. We could probably do it now but my wife's pension makes it much better to wait the extra 3 years.

I definitely don't feel at all that waiting was a bad choice or that I can't do the things I could have at 40 (or even 28). I'm in much better shape now physically. I actually want to do some of the things you mentioned, or at least similar, like hiking the full Pacific Crest Trail, and I feel like I will now have the time and resources to do it without worrying about having to go back to work later. I know that at 28 it seems like you need to get away now in order to be able to do all those physical things, and maybe there is a ticking clock at some level, but if you stay fit while building up your finances for a few years I think you will be glad for it.

Also, you seem to have only started working in April. Guess what, you're still the new guy. You probably need to put in more time before you have the experience to be given greater responsibility that challenges you. Since you need to stay in the job for 5 years to be vested, I say do that and give it a fair shake. Go ahead and plan to leave in April 2017 but also work hard to become good at what you do and advance between now and then. Take vacations to quench the adventure thirst. I suspect that after a few years you will rethink your plan and decide to stick it out just a few more years so that you can really retire without having to plan to work again.

Good luck
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:08 PM   #23
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I know two people who had good paying jobs, that they were very good at, but it wasn't making them happy... One took a year off to travel, discovered his passion for hand crafted sausage - and now owns and runs a very successful farm-to-table restaurant. A far cry from being an engineer.

Another was a database analyst for an insurance company... He transitioned to part time while he opened/grew a bar... then added a restaurant.... then bought another bar/restaurant. He gave up his day job when he found it wasn't make as big a dent in his income.

Both love what they're doing now.

My brother started out life as an architect, then became a rock climbing bum... and ended his life as an IT type. I think he enjoyed living in a tent in Yosemite far more than either the architecture or IT gigs.

I read somewhere that most folks with have 3 different careers over their worklife. I guess I'm an oddball since I'm still an enginerd after almost 30 years... but my sister started out doing logistics, then taught elementary school, and is now getting her credential to teach high school math. Nothing says you can't find different work.
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:15 PM   #24
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I say go for it, and when I say "it," I mean an undefined period of funemployment. You'll not have enough for ER. If you are healthy (I see already you are young) I would seek out a high deductible indemnity health insurance plan. Actually, scratch that, the freshly available subsidized health insurance will probably work for you. If you plan on accessing your 401K, beware of penalties. Maybe try a Roth IRA for some of those savings so your contributions will be accessible.

Also, maybe just say the hell with it and quit now? 5 years is going to be a long time to do something that is not fulfilling, and then also, you'll be "old." I'm 32 and for some reason that seems way older than 4 years older than you. But I have a husband and 2 daughters to support, so considering what you propose is nearly out of the question for me, regardless of age. That's another thing. You can't predict what will happen in the next 4.5 years, you might not be in such an independent position in 2016...

I like my job fine, but I find fulfillment with my family and the stuff we do when I'm not at work. Prior to having a family I tried to find fulfillment with career, and it never worked. I ended up working for 7 different companies in my 10 year career. The most recent 3 years have been with the same company, which is really not that long, but is a record for me. And I'm pretty sure I owe the duration to the fact that I find my family so fulfilling. My job is just a means to an end, and that is fine with me.
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:39 PM   #25
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I remember reading an article stating that many younger folks today decide to take a break in their 20s or 30s to figure out what they want out of life. While I find the idea intriguing, I also find it risky. DW and I decided to reach financial independence ASAP. Chilling for a few years while delaying our FI goal seemed down right dangerous to us. Especially nowadays when many careers seem to peak in one's early 40's.
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:55 PM   #26
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Wow! You all have really come out of the woodwork to offer up some great thoughts, and I really appreciate it. This type of community is invaluable as this isn’t the type of stuff I’m comfortable talking about with folks at work, or even the friends with whom I have mindless fun.

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I think it's important to do some world travel when you are young.
I couldn’t agree more. I’ve actually been lucky up until now and have been able to travel extensively including a semester in England – Europe, Central America and Africa. I definitely want to keep it up.

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Well, what you post can be done.... but is that the life you want to live

I suspect your right that I’d have to work pretty hard and long at jobs that pay less than what I’m currently pulling in. One of the things I’ve thought about doing is going up to Alaska and getting seasonal fishing work, but maybe that’s just the romantic in me… Also, it’s extremely helpful to hear examples of folks who go that route (like the ski bums you mentioned) and end up sort of just having that. That’s not really what I want.


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I would suggest that you let your dislike of the work environment motivate your simple living/high savings lifestyle that will lead to early retirememt.

I'm starting to sway in this direction. Fact is I'm not sure that I like to work, period. Maybe this job (decent pay, good retirement, good work life, and good vaca) is actually a good fit for what I'm looking for. The work life and retirement benefits were actually huge factors when I decided to join this company.

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My take is, jobs generally suck and you can't do nearly as much awesome fun stuff if you have to be somewhere responsible for stuff during the daytime hours. But they typically pay well enough to live a decent life and also enough to allow you to save a large proportion of what you make.
Haha well put! I know several people that are in jobs that they're truly passionate about, though, and thought "Why can't I have that?" But, again, my passions don't pay well.


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Originally Posted by ShortInSeattle View Post
I'm 34 and I completely understand the temptation to go have some adventures.

It's a temptation I have chosen to resist, because it seems the grass is always greener.... Also, a good paying job with reasonable hours is a pretty great gig, and hard to replace when you get back from your travels.

So the idea you propose sounds financially risky to me, but that doesn't mean it's the wrong choice for you.

I've decided to hunker down and find happiness in my work while we save for ER. Keep us posted on what you decide.

SIS
Really appreciated this, thanks. Granted I've still got a lot of time ahead of me and stuff to think through, but this whole thread has made me more appreciative of what I have. I could certainly make a career where I'm at, live comfortably, probably retire early, and have time outside to pursue passions (and eventually spend with my family )


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Originally Posted by DoingHomework View Post
...I definitely don't feel at all that waiting was a bad choice or that I can't do the things I could have at 40 (or even 28). I'm in much better shape now physically. I actually want to do some of the things you mentioned, or at least similar, like hiking the full Pacific Crest Trail, and I feel like I will now have the time and resources to do it without worrying about having to go back to work later. I know that at 28 it seems like you need to get away now in order to be able to do all those physical things, and maybe there is a ticking clock at some level, but if you stay fit while building up your finances for a few years I think you will be glad for it.

Also, you seem to have only started working in April. Guess what, you're still the new guy. You probably need to put in more time before you have the experience to be given greater responsibility that challenges you. Since you need to stay in the job for 5 years to be vested, I say do that and give it a fair shake. Go ahead and plan to leave in April 2017 but also work hard to become good at what you do and advance between now and then. Take vacations to quench the adventure thirst. I suspect that after a few years you will rethink your plan and decide to stick it out just a few more years so that you can really retire without having to plan to work again.

Good luck
Really helpful, thanks! Also, I am 100% determined to maintain and further my fitness, much like you. I'm currently in to CrossFit and look forward to building out my own garage gym once I purchase a home! I know a lot of people that have moved up the career ladder pretty quickly, but their singular focus on professional success has been detrimental to their health. Doesn't happen to everyone, but it's certainly a lot harder to stay healthy when you don't have good balance.

Also, I'm sure the work will get more challenging and interesting, and it helps to remind myself that from time to time, as I can get caught up in the 'current'.

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I say go for it, and when I say "it," I mean an undefined period of funemployment....

Also, maybe just say the hell with it and quit now? 5 years is going to be a long time to do something that is not fulfilling, and then also, you'll be "old."...

...And I'm pretty sure I owe the duration to the fact that I find my family so fulfilling. My job is just a means to an end, and that is fine with me.
So I'm inclined to stick around and build up some strong savings/retirement because in the past I haven't made that a focus, and I now regret it. I'm sure that I'll eventually have a family and would like to have a solid foundation to provide with, or at least not be in a position where I feel myself needing to claw back financially. Perhaps I'll end up following the same path as you and having a decent job and finding fulfillment elsewhere.



** **

All, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and insights! It's helped to broaden my perspective a lot. My thought is right now that I'm pretty lucky to have a job that's 'ok' interesting but should get more so, and that provides space outside to explore passions. As an add-on, my brother is in the adoption process right now and I could be an uncle any week! So sticking around the Boston area wouldn't be the WORST thing

-Denefi
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Old 10-30-2012, 03:55 PM   #27
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I'm still trying to decide what I want iout of life too. And I'm long past the 20s or 30s target population for a mini-crisis.

When someone figures out what is the best way to lead your life, please let the rest of us know.
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Old 10-30-2012, 04:01 PM   #28
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I'm still trying to decide what I want iout of life too. And I'm long past the 20s or 30s target population for a mini-crisis.

When someone figures out what is the best way to lead your life, please let the rest of us know.

Haha I would like to hear that as well. My running joke is that I'll know when I retire what I've decided on as a career.
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Old 10-30-2012, 06:20 PM   #29
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Sounds like you have made up your mind already. You have one life. Do what feels right to you. Good luck, denefi.

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What do folks think?

Denefi
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:02 PM   #30
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I am currently weighing whether or not it is realistic to duck out of the corporate world once I hit the 5 year mark in April 2017 and start traveling in a financially sustainable way (e.g., teach English abroad, work at a national park in the US, work as a deck hand on a ship sailing across the ocean...).
Denefi
I would tend to agree with the advice some have given to first try to relocate in your current field to a place that you think you might like better (Austin, Denver, etc), and then continue to research your options from there. I'm quite familiar with seasonal work in the National Parks, and I can tell you that it's a tough life......even if you could land that kind of job (which is not easy these days), you won't make much money and the work at that low level is not all that exciting (think cleaning outhouses, pulling invasive weeds, and that kind of thing). I do understand your desire to find a job that is more in line with your interests, and at your age, I'd say now is the time to search for that job. But, if I were in your shoes I'd first line up a job (probably in your current field) at your desired location, and then do your job search/research from there. There are probably lots of other jobs out there (other than the ones you've mentioned above) that you would find more fulfilling than your current job, and that would pay a lot better than the ones you've mentioned also.
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:32 PM   #31
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Talk about working in a national park, in my RV treks, I have stayed in a few campgrounds that used full-time RV'ers as camp hosts. In some camps, they did not have to do the heavy lifting like cleaning toilets and only had to greet and log in campers. But I understand that they did not get paid, and the compensation was just for the free stay, often with water/electricity/sewer hookups to their RV, but not always. But they cannot venture very far from the campground because they work 8 hours/day for 4 days, with 3 days off. It's still a job! And in many smaller CGs, there was only one host couple, but I did not ask if they had to be there solidly throughout the summer or not.

The above low compensation may be OK for retirees who have other incomes, and do not have to pay for health insurance, and are not as physically active as a young person. I did not see young people doing this work.
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Old 10-30-2012, 09:59 PM   #32
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Hi all,

I am currently weighing whether or not it is realistic to duck out of the corporate world once I hit the 5 year mark in April 2017 and start traveling in a financially sustainable way (e.g., teach English abroad, work at a national park in the US, work as a deck hand on a ship sailing across the ocean...).
Maybe before you get too deep into this fantasy of ship's crew you should head down to the waterfront and get a look at today's seamen. Not sure it would be an ideal gig for a nice college educated boy like you.

Ha
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Old 10-31-2012, 04:45 AM   #33
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Some good read:
"Your money or your life" by Vicky Robin/Dominguez
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:58 AM   #34
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So I'm inclined to stick around and build up some strong savings/retirement because in the past I haven't made that a focus, and I now regret it. I'm sure that I'll eventually have a family and would like to have a solid foundation to provide with, or at least not be in a position where I feel myself needing to claw back financially. Perhaps I'll end up following the same path as you and having a decent job and finding fulfillment elsewhere.
That's the key. At some point in a few years, maybe 5 when you get vested, you will look back and say "wow I have a few hundred thousand dollars". Having a little wealth will give you peace of mind and options that most of your peers won't have. I doubt you will reflect back and say "I wish I never accumulated all this wealth".
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:21 PM   #35
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I will admit it is nice to go off into a bit of an unknown with a cushion under you. DH and I planned on a long honeymoon, and we weren't sure what jobs we'd have when we returned. I'd already saved up a good bit, retirement and otherwise. So I said, "hey, worst case scenario, at the end of our honeymoon, we'll be on a beach with 150K in the bank. I can live with that!" We both ended up returning to jobs, but it was a nice thought.

And there was a year I was at a job and wasn't eligible for a match for the 1st year, so declined to contribute to the 401K altogether. Am very sorry about that now, as I know I would have not missed the income.

So I get it.
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:00 PM   #36
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Some good read:
"Your money or your life" by Vicky Robin/Dominguez
There are many books on retirement and finances but this one by Joe Dominguez and Vicky Robin really gets at the core of where money (and how much money) fits into your life.

Look online for the workbook that goes along with Your Money Or Your Life. The workbook really drives the points home. If you can't find the workbook, send me a PM and I'll provide a PDF copy.
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:47 PM   #37
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There are many books on retirement and finances but this one by Joe Dominguez and Vicky Robin really gets at the core of where money (and how much money) fits into your life.

Look online for the workbook that goes along with Your Money Or Your Life. The workbook really drives the points home. If you can't find the workbook, send me a PM and I'll provide a PDF copy.
Perhaps along with these one should read how Joe's life turned out. To me at least, not exactly an excellent path.

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Old 11-01-2012, 05:17 AM   #38
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Joe died of cancer at a relatively young age -- is that what you are referring to? Other than that unfortunate and untimely end, I don't see a lot of difference between his lifestyle and that lived by many members of this forum.

Joe Dominguez, 58, Championed A Simple and Frugal Life Style - NYTimes.com

His co-author/partner Vicki Robin is apparently still alive, well, and living a full frugal life.
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:18 AM   #39
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regarding Your Money or Your Life- I agree this is a great read. I don't follow the "program" completely, but it is a good foundation in principle.

Good thing Joe became financially independent so early so he could enjoy his remaining years!
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:44 AM   #40
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I never heard of Joe Dominguez and his book until I came to this forum. I guess that was because I did not aspire to retire early until a few years ago. I still wanted to accumulate more money, as I still liked to work.

Anyway, Joe was said to retire in 1969 at the age of 31 with $100K. That is equivalent to $631K today. A lot less than many people in this forum would consider sufficient, but he did have some money. He died in 1997. I am curious to know how his stash held up during his retirement years.
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