I don’t think of myself as a stressy person in general. I take some things seriously but usually don’t stress too much. Anyway, on 8/22/2016 my wife and I made a number of decisions (read about it at The Mission if you haven’t). On that day we decided first and foremost to get serious about retiring ASAP. We went on to decide that we would need 80k a year and $2.5 million in total to feel comfortable. Large numbers to be sure. We’re about a million away from that and will be working for years to get there.
What this change from gooey, fuzzy, roundabout numbers to CONCRETE NUMBERS did was to allow calculation and change in mindset. I could pull out my trusty protractor (Excel Spreadsheet), and determine given certain assumptions that we will be able to turn in our resignations on 2/22/2021. To be clear, my spreadsheet isn’t that exact, it wasn’t some random date, and it only conveniently hit 4.5 years. The reason was that it is the first Monday after our bonuses will be paid out. Not thrilling bonuses as bonuses go but enough to be valuable when you’re about to retire for the next 40+ years.
Setting the date was amazing! It didn’t matter that it was 4.5 years away.
For the previous 3 years I had stressed about the stagnation of my career. I was used to moving up fairly routinely. Work hard get raises, when it was time to move on there seemed to be good options. For a while I’ve felt trapped though. At first it was the recession…. best just to sit tight and be happy to have a job I told myself. Then eventually I was laid off and then hired back to where I started from a short time later. In a new role but the same sticky tar pit.
I tend to look at jobs as 3-4 year increments. Maybe its my generation but I think its more about my industry (financial) and just the way the world work these days. There is no loyalty to employees, personally I’ve been laid off twice. My largest raises come from leaving for greener pastures. The employer actions I’ve seen over the years have shown me that large companies not only lack loyalty but also common sense when it comes to top talent. I don’t pretend to be top talent by the way. I am decent at my job and rock at times, but I’m not talking about me…. I was talking about top talent =)
But I digress, the point is that when you see jobs as 3-4 year increments and then look back at our goal…. What a 4 year increment now means to me is the timeframe until we can retire. When you think about it that way, raises and promotions seem much less relevant. Maximizing net worth accumulation is all that matters.
I appreciate more than in a long time that I do make a decent living, working reasonable hours, with decent people. When you feel trapped you tend to forget the good that you have. Setting that goal made this all abundantly obvious. There is no reason to worry about quitting for a title promotion. The continuity of 401k plan match, healthcare, and “bonus” could even out weigh a small boost in salary. Not to mention that I don’t currently travel, I’m home every night with my ladies.
There is certainly still stress, but its not the same. We have decisions to make around where we will live and what we will do, but those are options. Unless you’re trying to choose from the War and Peace length menu at Cheese Cake Factory, options are a good thing.
Does anyone out there love their job or just working for a living? Let me hear about it in the comments below.