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Getting burned out...
Old 06-01-2011, 08:38 PM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Boston
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Getting burned out...

I've been working "for the man" since age 21 or so. Also have dabbled successfully with my own part time business (web dev / software consulting.)

Basically I'm getting burned out with the corporate life.

My stats:
Age 35
No wife or kids
Retirement savings: 375k, mostly mutual funds.
Non-retirement savings: 325k (around 130k of that is in cash, rest is stocks and mutual funds)
I have no debt. I own my house outright, meaning it is fully paid off. I bought in 2001 before all the craziness with housing, so I lucked out there.

Current living expenses are under 40k a year.

Currently income is 150k a year (full time job plus side ventures.)
Full time job gets me roughly 110k, side ventures roughly 40k.

I'm pretty good with saving money. However, this approach is getting tiring.

I'd like to ditch my full time job and GTFO of corporate life without damaging my long term prospects for retirement.

Any advice?
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:11 PM   #2
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Two software dev jobs at once... been there, done that It does burn you out fast when you're working full time then heading home to work some more.

Seems like it's either worth dumping the part time gig or, if the corp side is what's killing you, pick up more on the side work. Combined with that, you can grow the side work if you want. And, you won't have any resume gaps if you want to jump back in.

Also consider if a change of work venue might be more interesting. Doing the same thing at the same company gets old fast.
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:32 PM   #3
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I should mention, I'm your age (well, 33), and in software dev.

I did the megacorp thing. Money was good (just a hair more than you're at now). I also did a lot of side work. I eventually burned out. Well, not completely, I've been there and know what that's like, but I was tired and unmotivated and just ready to rage quit.

I went to a local subsidiary of a different megacorp and was able to work with friends (mass move to the new company) to put together a really awesome, solid team. A year into that, I bailed on the side work for a while (I wasn't making as much as you, only did it now and then, maybe $20k /year). If it wasn't for an opportunity to move back home, I'd still be at that job.

I now work from home for a very small company (I'm half of the dev team). The hours are flexible, the work is fun, but the employment risk is likely higher (they had to lay off a lot of dead weight before they could get to me at the megacorps). But, I'm feeling ok because I managed to put away an ok nest egg while at megacorp burning out (not as big as yours though, big congrats on that!)

Anyway, just some stories to mull over. Just remember that you're in a field that does enjoy a lot of flexibility if you pursue it.
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:52 PM   #4
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What is your goal for retirement income? 700k is not enough to throw off 40k a year, but it's getting substantial enough that it will continue to grow on it's own to that point. On the other hand, if you are wanting to spend 100k a year, you have a lot more to accumulate.

If your goal is a modest lifestyle, you could look for a job you like, you hardly care about the pay, it just has to be above 40k. You let your nest egg keep growing on it's own and when it's big enough you have the option to retire.

Or you tough it out for just a few more years while saving at your crazy high rate and retire soon.

Or you just take a sabbatical. Take a few months leave and when you are refreshed come back and see if you can get into work again. I'd be careful with this option, because you might find it very hard to go back to work, and you will need to if you've burned through much of your nestegg.
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:26 PM   #5
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If you can put your $325k of after-tax savings into a bond fund which generates 4% per year, you would get $13k in investment income, about 1/3 of your current living expenses. Then you would need about $27k in your side business for the rest although you should have a cushion to cover you incase of unforeseen events.

Are you sure your living expenses would not increase because of the need to purchase individual health insurance? My post-ER budget had an increase in HI, a decrease in taxes, and the elimination of commutation expenses.

You should be more concerned about getting through the next 25 years until you can safely tap into your retirement account without penalty (although there is that 72f thing others have mentioned). Then get to age 65 when other reinforcements (SS, pension, if you have one, and don't forget about Medicare eligibility) come into play. This has been my game plan since I retired in 2008 at age 45. I also experienced my first case of burnout at age 35 but worked another 10 years, the last 7 of them part-time.
Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

"I want my money working for me instead of me working for my money!"
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:59 AM   #6
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I too was generally like you when i was 35. single software developer, etc.. Others have already described the issues as I would. Like them, i suggest you need to tough it out. You really don't have enough yet (firecalc, etc.. should lead you to that conclusion). On occasion, people suggest going into something more "mellow" in these situations. I must admit, I have toyed with that concept periodically and always came to the conclusion that whatever failings my software dev. gig had , when I looked at it in the cold light of day, it was still always way better in terms of both pay and mental satisfaction than the alternatives I came up with. I'd stick with it and keep an eye out for a better dev. gig if one presents itself.
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Old 06-02-2011, 03:15 AM   #7
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You need to cut back on the side work, only do the side work, or take a short break. You are almost there, but don't let yourself burn out on the last stretch. Killing yourself is not necessary at all.
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Old 06-02-2011, 05:37 PM   #8
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I have been a software developer for years. I had my own company with programmers, I was then an IT director, then an hourly consultant around y2k, later worked for meg-a-corp for a few years and finally working at a small distribution company previously as a FT employee and now as a PT employee for the past 5 years. I have made it to semi-retirement. When this job ends I retire, however, I am 59 and have what I need.

Working 2 jobs for any long period of time really will wear you down. It gets harder as you get older.

I think that you need to decide on a path with megacorp or perhaps growing your small business a bit so you will have more income but not be tied down to the 9 to 5 hours. Don't forget about health insurance if you choose this route.

Perhaps a vacation from everything is in order to clear your mind and think about things.
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Old 06-02-2011, 07:02 PM   #9
Confused about dryer sheets
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I actually just changed jobs about 5 months ago. I'm going to cut back on the side work (basically, finish my current projects, not take new ones) and see how it goes.

I'll reassess things at the end of the year and see if the corporate life is any better.

If not, I'll probably decide to do my own thing...
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Old 06-02-2011, 07:13 PM   #10
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Make sure you have a good umbrella policy. You have a lot to lose.
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:49 PM   #11
Confused about dryer sheets
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Hi,I'm knew here and just a quick glance of your financial layout makes me realize I need to keep pounding away.One thing you might check out is another web site ERE or early retirment .com .Jacob the blogger has managed to retire early and live frugal I know you acustomed to 40K lifestyle please check out his blog It is really eye opening.I by no means have adopted his methods and I must be living on around the same expenses as you but not saving as much as you.
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Old 06-03-2011, 07:43 AM   #12
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If you can lower your living expenses to 20-25k a year, including health insurance, you may have enough. People certainly live comfortably at that consumption level.

I did a full time job (web software pm) plus after hours consulting for a little over a year. I stopped the consulting to get more balance. Unfortunately, I found my life outside of work had atrophied so much, I ended up spending the free time working harder at my full time job and kept burning out anyway.

I switched companies after a particularly crazy stretch. I now work from home and put in around 40 hours a week. It's taken about 9 months for my life to fully recover and re-balance. It turns out with the extra time, I am able to control my expenses better and am saving more than ever.

What would you like to do with your free time?
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Old 06-03-2011, 10:38 PM   #13
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I've been accused of being simple, but isn't your income from the side ventures equal to your living expenses? Why not "retire" from the corporate world and just dabble in your side venture? Leave all that money sitting there growing for a while until you're ready to really retire. Maybe even grow that venture a little and be the master of your own destiny while you sock away money for a while.
Retired July 4th, 2010 at age 43
Trout Bum, Writer, Full-Time Dad and Husband

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