Time to Switch Gears?

As you might have noticed it has been more than a year since my last post. Why? Because I have been trying to just enjoy my life now, to live in the moment, and overall I have been doing a better job at this. Although I am on the path to FIRE I can’t postpone happiness. Which is what brings my to today’s post. Is it time to switch gears?

Last month my husband and I attended our first local FIRE group meetup. I have read loads of posts over the years, chatted online through FIRE forums, but until this meeting we have never met any other FIRE individuals in person. And let me just say it was great to talk with other like-minded folks!

We all gave a little introduction about ourselves since we were not the only new ones to the group and when it was my turn I gave a summary of our FIRE status (not numbers, just that we own real estate, have been on the path for almost 5 years, etc) and what we do for work. My answer to the work question has been prefaced with “I hate my job” for a least few months now. I haven’t been happy for a few years not but more recently it has become a strong feeling to the point where I say I hate my job. Others in the group looked at me like I was crazy. We were all there discussing FIRE because we are looking for an alternative life, often trying to escape jobs, so why would anyone in their right mind stay in a job they hate, even if they haven’t reached their FIRE goal? Their expressions said it all.

I think this moment was when my mind started to change. I don’t need to grind things out at this job for the next 2 plus years in hopes of hitting our FIRE goal. I can get out early! We may not have reached our goal but I still have a lot of freedom to make a change.

I mulled this idea over in my head over the next week to let it sink in and think of what could be next. My husband and I headed out for our vacation the following week and had some time to chat when we had some quite time alone on the beach (a very reasonably priced vaca on the beach with family that only put us out $533 for an entire week). Yes, discussing FIRE goals, dreams, etc while sitting on the beach watching the waves…we are pretty lucky. Anyways, I mentioned the idea of quitting in March, regardless of where we are at with our goal and he is in FULL support. He knows I am miserable and thinks it is a great idea. Why March you might ask? First, my year end bonus doesn’t usually hit until March so I want to wait until I get that first as it should be good this year. Second, I do earn a little bit of commissions in addition to my salary and my biggest checks are usually in January and February. So I just have to grind it out for 8 more months. I think I can do that. At least some days I think I can.

What will be next? Well that is the big question. The one part of my job that I do like involves some sales, which is where my commission come from. Once I leave this job I can start my own business and see how things go with that (I wish I could start it earlier to get some momentum but I can’t). The biggest problem will be developing leads on my own so I think it could take a couple of years before I have any meaningful income. As of right now my plan would be to start that business and work it for a little while to see how things are going. If needed I can get a part time job to earn a little money on the side. It wouldn’t have to be anything fancy, just something to bring in a little money.

Next Steps: We scheduled a meeting with our accountant this week to discuss how this whole plan changes things tax-wise and to see how screwed we will be when it comes to health insurance (my guess is pretty screwed). Since my husband is self-employed I have been the one getting us health benefits. Once I leave we are going to be left to the options our on state’s exchange. I have run estimates on cost and it is not going to be pretty. For a high (I mean really high) deductible plan it is going to cost us around $12,000 per year. That is a lot of money. I am not even sure if I would make that much in my first year working on my own. And if something happens that could mean an additional $12,000 out of pocket. Eek! I am pretty sure we won’t qualify for subsidies but that is one thing we will discuss with our accountant.

We also threw around the idea of buying another investment property. We already have 3 units rented and haven’t focused on buying another as it would put us beyond the point of being able to handle things on our own. If I wasn’t working full time I could manage all of the properties. I am still not sold on this idea as we don’t have enough in cash so we would need to sell some investments but it is an idea.

There is still plenty of time before March, assuming I make it that far because 4th quarter could be miserable at work, but I think having that much time to get things in order will be good. I am a Type A planner and like to have my ducks in a row. Being short of our full FIRE goal is going to make me nervous so hopefully we can set things up in a way to ease my worry. If all works out well, by this time next year I will have a great boss (me!) with a lot of flexibility. Yes I will need to work but if the sun is shinning I don’t have to be tied to my desk. This is exciting!