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Pursue the dream or stick with the golden handcuffs?
Old 01-18-2017, 10:29 AM   #1
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Pursue the dream or stick with the golden handcuffs?

I'm a long time reader of the forum but first time poster. Thanks to everyone for your posts over the years.

My situation: I'm a health professional in my late 30s and I make a very good living and also have a very good work/life balance. It's almost embarrassing compared to most of my friends. I work about 30hrs a week and if the avg household income is 60k I make about 7x that amount. Combined with a nice but not super luxurious lifestyle we save well into the 6 figures every year.

If I keep plugging along, we'll be completely financially independent by my mid forties. Also, my wife has a career she loves and doesn't plan to give that up.

My challenge is that I have an entrepreneurial spirit and I'd love to start some online companies. I already have done this in my spare time and have built up a bit of a following and currently make around $50k a year from this side project. I'd love to do it full time and I think it could be very successful.

So the challenge is giving up the very lucrative profession which has become more of a job than a passion, when it pays so well and puts our family in such a great position in only 8 years. Would it be irresponsible to give that up for something that is more of a risk?

My current plan is to keep plugging away and build up my side business until it's at a point that I'm completely comfortable devoting myself to it full time. I guess I'm just not that big of a risk taker, although I think things would work out fine if I went for it now. Any thoughts?

Oh, currently we're doing fairly well on the retirement savings for our age. About $800k in retirement accounts between my wife and I and another $400k invested in taxable accounts. Also around $500k in home equity and $800k in business assets. "Number" for FI is $4M
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Old 01-18-2017, 11:07 AM   #2
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I like your current plan to keep the job but continue expanding the side business.

Your "number" seems a bit high but OTOH, you don't state what you intend to spend.

Just curious what the $800k in business assets is... real estate? side business inventory? value of your practice?
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Old 01-18-2017, 11:35 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. The business asset is the value of my practice after subtracting the debt. We could certainly get by with less, that number is to protect against unforeseen events or a market crash. I'd rather have too much than too little. Also we have 2 young kids and live in an expensive area so the $$ goes fast even with an average lifestyle.
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Old 01-18-2017, 10:15 PM   #4
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My current plan is to keep plugging away and build up my side business until it's at a point that I'm completely comfortable devoting myself to it full time. I guess I'm just not that big of a risk taker, although I think things would work out fine if I went for it now. Any thoughts?
I like this plan. You say you'll be pretty much financially independent in 8 years. If I were you, I think I'd keep working the lucrative 30 hr/wk main career and use your available free time and energy to work on the side-gig you are more passionate about. If you scale back now on your main career, your "passion" becomes a "must do--can't fail" enterprise. Won't it be a lot more fun, and won't you be able to try even more new things, if you wait and have your retirement "made" before taking a big risk? You've undoubtedly either sacrificed a lot to get where you are, or you've been incredibly lucky. Neither of these is something to take for granted. Get the retirement made, then feed your passion. If it goes great, you can take more risks with "the house's money" and shoot for the moon.
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Old 01-19-2017, 05:57 AM   #5
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I like this plan. You say you'll be pretty much financially independent in 8 years. If I were you, I think I'd keep working the lucrative 30 hr/wk main career and use your available free time and energy to work on the side-gig you are more passionate about. If you scale back now on your main career, your "passion" becomes a "must do--can't fail" enterprise. Won't it be a lot more fun, and won't you be able to try even more new things, if you wait and have your retirement "made" before taking a big risk?
+1 You are on a great path. Stay in your comfort zone, especially since it is such a slam dunk. It looks like you can have your cake and eat it too without taking a big risk.
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Old 01-19-2017, 08:32 AM   #6
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Agree with others. Stick with your current path and keep hammering away at the side business.

At the moment your side business is making $50k/year. I def wouldnt give up a job that makes $400k and only requires you to work around 30 hours a week. Once the side business gets bigger and starts bringing in more money then think about hanging up the healthcare job.
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Old 01-19-2017, 09:17 AM   #7
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Good feedback, thanks everyone.

One good thing I have going for me is a bit of flexibility. As the side business grows, I could have the option of bringing in a partner to the practice and I could reduce my hours even further as I devote more time to the passion business if it takes off. And then gradually phase out and transition.

It's funny though, we imagine what might make us happy, but once we get there it might feel different than what we expected. For me, a new challenge is always fun and I think that's why my current profession has become more of just a job. I've already built a great practice and achieved a level of proficiency that doesn't leave me stretching to grow on a daily basis. And that's why I can't just see myself continuing on the same path for another 20 years.
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Old 01-19-2017, 09:35 AM   #8
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If you're doing so well on your main job, keep on with it. Some sideline jobs are best done part time.

If the side business grows, hire someone to run it for you--not necessarily taking them in as a partner. After all, doing all the work is not best. You need to exploit the labors of others to really be successful.
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Old 01-22-2017, 12:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by acorncollector View Post
I'm a long time reader of the forum but first time poster. Thanks to everyone for your posts over the years.

My situation: I'm a health professional in my late 30s and I make a very good living and also have a very good work/life balance. It's almost embarrassing compared to most of my friends. I work about 30hrs a week and if the avg household income is 60k I make about 7x that amount. Combined with a nice but not super luxurious lifestyle we save well into the 6 figures every year.

If I keep plugging along, we'll be completely financially independent by my mid forties. Also, my wife has a career she loves and doesn't plan to give that up.

My challenge is that I have an entrepreneurial spirit and I'd love to start some online companies. I already have done this in my spare time and have built up a bit of a following and currently make around $50k a year from this side project. I'd love to do it full time and I think it could be very successful.

So the challenge is giving up the very lucrative profession which has become more of a job than a passion, when it pays so well and puts our family in such a great position in only 8 years. Would it be irresponsible to give that up for something that is more of a risk?

My current plan is to keep plugging away and build up my side business until it's at a point that I'm completely comfortable devoting myself to it full time. I guess I'm just not that big of a risk taker, although I think things would work out fine if I went for it now. Any thoughts?

Oh, currently we're doing fairly well on the retirement savings for our age. About $800k in retirement accounts between my wife and I and another $400k invested in taxable accounts. Also around $500k in home equity and $800k in business assets. "Number" for FI is $4M

I was in the same boat as you and went back for my MBA and almost switched careers into Finance as I always wanted to be in investment banking.. Only difference is I own the company and have been doing it so long I wanted to do something different. I work 35 hours and make about 550K.
However, I quickly realize that what I had was like HITTING THE LOTTERY / Golden goose. Working 40 hour or under and making this kind of money is hard to duplicate.

Do this as long as you're going to enjoy it. Use the money from your job to hire people to help you on your side business. This is cheaper than retiring early from your golden goose. Think of even 1 year at your 420K salary. You can hire someone for 70-80 K and really rock and roll with the man power and maybe do both. This may get you both goals but either way, you have a great Bird in hand, DO NOT let it go (unless you are miserable)... Just my 2 cents.. I'm 41 now and had the same thoughts at 33 and ultimately so happy that I didn't go through with it. I still want to retire at 50 because there is so much I want to do and still pursue side projects/passions (started RE Investing seriously 2.5 years ago).
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Old 01-22-2017, 04:44 PM   #10
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Medical professional..a whole lot can happen there in the next 10 years,and from your point of view it might not be good. Just keep plugging along and make hay while the sun shines.
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Old 01-22-2017, 05:33 PM   #11
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Medical professional..a whole lot can happen there in the next 10 years,and from your point of view it might not be good. Just keep plugging along and make hay while the sun shines.
Agree - in 10 years things are going to look very different in HC - there will be winners and losers, but "what is what" is hard to predict
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Old 01-22-2017, 05:46 PM   #12
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Stay the course for now, especially with 2 young children. Doesn't mean you have to keep at it for 8 years, but reassess every year or two. You might not need 4M, but given your ages and your kids that's not stupid-cautious, especially 8 years from now.
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Old 01-23-2017, 09:00 AM   #13
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I'd say +1 on the diverting some of your income to investment in the online business - put aside maybe 100k or so?

Worst case it's gone and you're still saving lots, best case business takes off more and now you have two lucrative things going.

Making $230 an hour (30 hrs x 50 weeks = 1.500 yearly hours) on your own terms is a very rare thing, adding double digit % to your reserves also makes it worthwhile in relative terms for the next few years.

Once you drop below adding 5% to your reserves or so each year I'd consider optimizing for fun, not money. Until then keep going, especially given the relatively low emotional cost
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:02 PM   #14
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Another vote, keep doing what you are doing as you are seriously raking it in...

You don't want to be like the lady in the video in this thread who gave up a $200K job to fail at her own business when she tried to expand it bigger:

http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...ml#post1828537
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:21 PM   #15
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Your earnings are way out of the league I was playing in.

Toss a coin to decide what you will regret most: plugging along or tossing your dream.
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:38 PM   #16
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Working 30hrs per week and making $420,000 /yr + wife working.... you ARE living the Dream..
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