When employment becomes optionalPosted: May 19, 2014
We have reached the point in our FI journey that my small part-time income is optional. This initially excited me quite a bit, to the point I began fantasizing about quitting and having weekends off for the first time in 8.5 years. So, I turned in my notice, right?
It’s when work becomes optional that you get to really examine your priorities. What you value. What you want from life.
On the one hand, I would absolutely get more time with my wife and kids. That is a major pro for quitting now.
On the other hand, we’d be back to living close to the edge. We live very simply and continue to remove clutter and unnecessary expense from our lives, but without my contribution – that would be everything. Justifying basic travel like a half-hour drive to a state park would become difficult, let alone the dream of taking the goblins on road trips to national parks and whatnot.
Knowing that I don’t need my job anymore is empowering, but money is a tool. Right now I want enough of that tool to speed our journey to FI and provide cushion for a more enjoyable life without being wasteful or overly damaging to the environment. Not to mention it seems really silly to “retire” (even to being a SAHD) when our net worth still remains negative.
Like knowing whether to finally pull the plug and declare FI/early retirement though, at each step of the journey we can ask “what is enough for the time together to outweigh the money?” As we accomplish each sub-goal, we’ll step back and examine.
- Pay off same-as-cash home improvement loan before interest accrues
- Retire my graduate loans (~$300/month cash flow gained)
- Replace two ageing cars with a single, more efficient, car.
- Retire PMI on mortgage ($80/month, lowers effective APR on mortgage)
- Retire Alchemist’s graduate loans (~$340/month)
- Retire all outstanding debt
- Reach halfway point to FIRE, when a PT job can sustain our core living expenses without drawing on assets.
At this point, I’m guessing this will happen somewhere between steps 2-5. Our tentative FIRE date will be right as our youngest goblin turns 19. I’d much rather have more time with them while they are kids, delaying FIRE a few years if necessary.
I thought about enlisting the MMM community by doing a case study, but for now I’ve answered the question myself: not yet. It’s exactly what I would have advised a stranger if I were reading their case study.