Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Moving

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Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Moving

Post by Random Poster » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:36 am

I need some advice and wisdom.

Long story short:

I have been incredibly lucky over the past few years. I had a cushy expat job assignment, where I was able to save lots of money. I didn't overly enjoy the job, but I loved the city in which we lived and that made things tolerable. I have now been repatriated to the US, to a place where I don't want to be and doing a job that I don't really want to be doing.

I'm 37. My wife is 34. We have roughly $975K in a taxable investment account (mostly Total Stock Market and Total International Market), $500K in tax deferred accounts (all in bonds), and $415K in US cash. We probably have around $20K in cash in various small accounts (some of which is in foreign currency), but I don't really count any of that right now in our net worth. We don't own anything other than a car, furniture, and assorted household goods.

All of our furniture and household goods are currently packed in moving crates and are en route to our current location. We are currently living in temporary housing, waiting for our (proposed) apartment in our new location to be released from construction, which is scheduled to occur in mid-May.

If I leave my employer before the end of one year from the date that I entered the US, I have to pay back certain relocation costs, although I have no idea what those specific costs are or their amount (they do not include the moving of our goods back to the US, nor our personal costs involved in returning to the US; they would, however, include a relocation bonus that I have yet to receive and probably our temporary housing costs). That said, by the end of May, I should net around $30K from various RSU grants that I am due to receive. Using some rough math, I figure that if I stayed around to May (and stayed in temporary housing and never moved into our apartment here), I would net out around $20K or so from the stock ($30K less $10K--which is just a guess--from the repayment of the relocation costs).

What I want to do:

Quite frankly, I want to quit my job and leave. Perhaps move to Montana (Bozeman, quite likely), although I have absolutely no job prospects there (I'm a lawyer, but am not licensed to practice in Montana and, in any event, would like to leave the law altogether). Or maybe drive around the US for a few months and try to figure some stuff out and see if there is anywhere else my wife and I would like to live besides Bozeman.

My thoughts:

I figure that if we were to leave, now is the time to do it. All of our stuff has been professionally packed, crated, and palletized. We can leave it in climate controlled storage in our current location for around $250 a month until we figure out what we want to do, and then have the movers ship it to us (at our cost, of course, although I don't know what that would run).

However, if I can stay at my job for 14 months, I have figured that we would roughly be able to save around $165K (from salary, next year's anticipated bonus, and RSU grants). Nothing guaranteed, of course, but if the market stayed level, that would make the value of the taxable account around $1.14M.

My concerns:

Is it stupid to quit my job and take off? Probably, but I'm just not particularly happy with my situation and the thought of being here for 14 months (which ties to the date when some RSUs vest) is just plain depressing and gives me anxiety (or something).

I figure that we have enough money to make things last for a while, but do we really? I don't want to touch the cash, because that is (mentally) set aside for us to buy a house at some point--but would we really buy a house? Our expenses (including lots of expensive vacations) in our expat assignment location (which had a much higher cost of living than the US) averaged $4,719.48 a month, but if you take out housing costs, they were $2,719. If you just took our local expenses (and backed out the vacation costs, which were funded in US dollars), the monthly expenses drop to $3,652.03 (or $1652.03 without housing). I figure the $975K in the taxable account could support a 2.75% withdrawal rate for a while, providing for around $26K a year, or $2,166 a month. Of course, that withdrawal rate only works if we don't have to pay for housing (which we would have to pay for, unless we just bought a place outright, which I'm quite leery of), and we would have to pay for health insurance and some other things that we don't really pay for now, so we would obviously need to dip into the cash holdings (or increase the withdrawal rate, which I am absolutely opposed to doing) and so I'm a little worried about the money.

I don't have any job prospects in Montana, or elsewhere. I have a very well paying (in my view) job now, and I would be unlikely to get another job that pays anywhere near what I currently earn. So once I leave, that income stream gets shut off and is likely never to return again at that same level.

I have no idea what it is that I really want to do. I'd love to have a house with a yard so that I could garden---I toy with the idea of growing vegetables for a food bank, but that's probably not particularly realistic. I don't want to just sit at home all day, but I don't know what I would do either.

I feel like I need to make a (or some) decision(s) soon, and I've never done well with short time deadlines, which just compounds the pressure and anxiety.

What should I do?

Stick around until the end of May to collect the RSUs and walk away? Sign an apartment lease in our new location and stay with the current job for 14 months and then leave? Do something else?

Any and all advice, thoughts, and wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

edge
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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by edge » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:43 am

Seems stupid. The things you mention you want to do you can do with a job and being just about anywhere. Sounds like you need to take a vacation or a brief leave to recharge.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by mlipps » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:46 am

What do you think your annual expenses would be in Bozeman? I don't think it's the stupidest idea ever, but I'm not nearly as risk adverse as most Bogleheads seem to be. Life is too short to waste it being miserable & you have substantial resources considering your age.

If you weren't a lawyer, what would you do?

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by sscritic » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:49 am

I don't agree that it is stupid, but you do need to think hard about it.

Scenario: You lost your job tomorrow. Do you have emergency fund to carry you through? Yes, $1 million in taxable is good for a few months. What would you do with no job?

That is really what you considering, self losing your job aka job suicide.

And your wife says? That could be the key.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by dickenjb » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:56 am

I read in the WSJ that 50% of expats leave their employer within one year of repatriation.

Seems a lot of folks chafe under the bureaucracy of corporate HQ after the autonomy they had in an outpost.

I was part of the 50% that did not leave.

Your plans do not seem well thought out. I agree with the post that says take a long vacation and think things through. I can see leaving a job for another job, maybe in a different field, but just quitting at your age seems wrong to me.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by letsgobobby » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:00 am

Your skills must be special enough to be useful to another company. Can you call a few headhunters and see what's out there? Maybe land a new, more attractive job starting in, say, September, giving you a long summer vacation? At this point you could accept something much less lucrative, but hopefully much more enjoyable.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by mhc » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:07 am

I would give it some time to re-acclimate to the US. I think it takes a couple of years. I once lived overseas for two years. It took a while to get use to the US again.

If you still do not like your situation, can you change locations with your current job?

I was in Bozeman last summer. Seemed like a great city. It was our favorite one in Montana. Your not going to grow vegetables outside year round there.

I would not leave the job until you have visited Bozeman in January or February.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by gerrym51 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:10 am

Quit-and take your chances. you can kick yourself 10 years from now.!

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Hayden
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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by Hayden » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:11 am

Can you renegotiate your current job to work fewer hours? Maybe cut back to 3 or 4 days a week? To me, the best approach would be to figure out what you want to do while you still have this job.

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BL
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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by BL » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:12 am

You will find yourself more employable if you have a job. Why not use this time in a job search and traveling to different parts of the country to find what you like? You can still leave your stuff in storage and live minimally for a year or so if desired. You may be experiencing a bit of culture shock that will change in time. It is much better to go towards a job than to run from a job. Give yourself some time to get adjusted back here while looking around and thinking about what you really want to do. It is fine to move to a lower paying job if that is what you want to do, and are satisfied with the results.

What does your wife think? Do you have children?

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by fabdog » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:13 am

I was overseas for 7 years in 3 countries. It was quite a change coming back to the US as we landed in a different location than the one we left (and didn't like the location at all). My advice would be to stick it out for the year, take some vacation, and make plans to transition next year. You may find the new job works out, it may not.

But I wouldn't make a significant life changing decision that can really impact your future earning potential in the first year back. Our informal rule with expats coming to us was don't go back home for the first 6 months. Coming back to the US you should look at as another assignment.

Mike

sscritic
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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by sscritic » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:18 am

Forget the US; get a job where you were.
I loved the city in which we lived
This might have been easier before you came back, but it still might be doable. My niece moved to Ireland to go to school 15 years ago. She is still there, and she is just about to get her citizenship (dual citizenship is allowed).

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by bottlecap » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:19 am

It's stupid to do it without a more specific plan. There is no way you can live without touching cash or selling investments. Cash spends quickly when there is no income coming in.

I'd also try to figure out why you're not happy. If you had a stressful job you hated,or if the job wasn't challenging and you wanted a challenge, then I would understand. But you propose to leave a cushy, high-paying job and your alternative is gardening in Montana with no income? It seems a drastic change without much justification. Don't get me wrong, being relatively happy is worth a good bit, but from what you're describing, something doesn't compute.

JT

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:19 am

dickenjb wrote:I read in the WSJ that 50% of expats leave their employer within one year of repatriation.

Seems a lot of folks chafe under the bureaucracy of corporate HQ after the autonomy they had in an outpost.

I was part of the 50% that did not leave.

Your plans do not seem well thought out. I agree with the post that says take a long vacation and think things through. I can see leaving a job for another job, maybe in a different field, but just quitting at your age seems wrong to me.
I agree. You need to take a long vacation and think about this rationally. The economy is not as good as they are saying it is......living on 26K is far more different than living on 300K. You'd better sit down and talk about this ALOT with your wife. And take that vacation!!!
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:21 am

gerrym51 wrote:Quit-and take your chances. you can kick yourself 10 years from now.!
Yes, quit, so gerrym51 can take your job! :twisted:
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by SC Hoosier » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:23 am

edge wrote:Seems stupid. The things you mention you want to do you can do with a job and being just about anywhere. Sounds like you need to take a vacation or a brief leave to recharge.
+1

There have been times in my life when things were going well and I got irritated about things that weren't really important. Then I usually took drastic action only to regret it later. Then I looked back at where I was and thought "Why did you screw that up?!"

I'm not saying this is what is happening to you, but I don't see anything in what you've written here that sounds all that bad. I would ask for a leave of absence. Three months maybe. It doesn't take long to get bored and feel like you need to be productive again.

I'm sure that there are some things you can discover about your current location that are enjoyable.
I live in No Payment Land. It is wonderful, and I'd love for you to live here too.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by sunnyday » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:25 am

14 months is too long of a time to wait it out. It'll probably be more than 2% of your remaining life. I would take a long vacation to see if that helps recharge your batteries. If you return and you're still dreading your job, I think you should quit. You have an amazing chance to experience life, don't let that slip by because you're concerned about a slight hit to your net worth.

This forum is very risk-adverse and extremely financially conservative so of course most answers will be to play it safe. I think you should also post the question on a travel forum to get more of a complete perspective.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by jeff1949 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:27 am

I would muddle through the next 14 months and see how you feel at that time. Fourteen months is really not a very long time in the grand scheme of things and that amount of time will start to get you acclimated to your return to the US.

Good luck!

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by KyleAAA » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:34 am

If it were me, I'd probably finish out the 14 months and reevaluate then. Perhaps a few weeks on beach would change your outlook?

That said, you have the resources to live pretty much indefinitely without working if you don't mind a living a frugal lifestyle. That $400k ought to get you a nice house in Montana and living on $30k per year is very doable if you don't have a house payment. Between you and the spouse, you could easily earn enough working part-time to supplement your income to a reasonable middle-class level, even if it's just working at Starbucks (more for the insurance than anything else). Not much risk here, in my view.

You're likely fine either way from a financial standpoint.
Last edited by KyleAAA on Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by lululu » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:36 am

jeff1949 wrote:I would muddle through the next 14 months and see how you feel at that time. Fourteen months is really not a very long time in the grand scheme of things and that amount of time will start to get you acclimated to your return to the US.

Good luck!
There's a huge culture shock getting used to the U.S. again, unless you've been in some place like Canada. Stick it out for a year, do nothing permanent like buy a house, take time to look around and take some short trips, so you can decide what you want longer term.

If you can, ask for 2-3 weeks off now to decompress and adjust.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by 3504PIR » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:36 am

I'll echo some things that have already been said with my own experience. It takes some time to adjust to being back in the U.S. How long does it take? That depends on a few things including how long you were gone and how much you liked it there and what you are moving back to (location and job).

I've moved back to the U.S. 5 times in my life and each time it was different. Sometimes harder and sometimes easier. Montana might work and it might not. What I would do and have done in the past is put a plan in motion to improve my situation either in the U.S. or overseas on my terms. I would keep my job but begin to look to improve my situation over the next 1-2 years into a situation that I set up that I have an above average chance of happiness. Set out a timeline to include where you'd like to go, who you'd like to work for and when you needed to seriously start to send out resumes for serious consideration based on when you're available. That could be now or it could be in a year. It could include sending out resumes or it could just be developing a plan to walk away completely.

The first four times I want overseas I didn't come back to the U.S. until I was moving back. This time I've come back consistantly and have been at my current employer for 5.5 years. I'm not sure when I'm moving back this time, but probably within the next 4-5 years. My overall plan is to live split based (as a retiree) and I work now to make that a reality (along with paying for my daughter to go to college in 3 years). I'm on track and will have the assets for her schooling and both residences and living expenses in 4.5 years.

Bottom line, make a plan that makes you happy and figure out how to make that happen on your terms.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by Abe » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:38 am

You are young. You have plenty of time to do what you want versus what you don't want to do.
You are not 100% happy where you are, but that is typical, most people aren't. If it were me, I would stay where you are and keep socking it away. This will give you more options later. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Slow and steady wins the race.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by Random Poster » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:49 am

I appreciate all of the comments provided. To answer a few specific queries:
mlipps wrote:If you weren't a lawyer, what would you do?
Honestly, I have no idea. I'm troubled by poverty and would like to work towards reducing it. I find geology to be interesting, but I don't have any training in the field. I enjoy helping people anonymously, but that isn't much of a career path.

But I find the practice of law to be draining, the demands of my "clients" to be incessant and unrealistic, and my job seldom allows me any control over my own schedule, so a job/career that didn't have those attributes (or, at least, minimized them) would be ideal.
sscritic wrote:And your wife says? That could be the key.
She is supportive of any decision that I make. That said, she would prefer for us to stick it out for 14 months in order to save some more money. To her credit, however, she has acknowledged that it is easy for her to say "you should work longer," when she isn't the one who has to do the working.
dickenjb wrote:I can see leaving a job for another job, maybe in a different field, but just quitting at your age seems wrong to me.
I don't envision quitting work forever. At some point, I would have to have some type of paid employment. The problem, however, is I have no idea what that employment would be, or when it would be. Clearly, there are some holes in my semi-baked idea.
mhc wrote:I would not leave the job until you have visited Bozeman in January or February.
We lived in Canada previously and visited Bozeman several times during the winter. The cold and snow do not bother us.
Hayden wrote:Can you renegotiate your current job to work fewer hours? Maybe cut back to 3 or 4 days a week?
Unfortunately, that does not appear to be a possibility.
BL wrote:What does your wife think? Do you have children?
She is supportive of any decision that I make. That said, she would prefer for us to stick it out for 14 months in order to save some more money. To her credit, however, she has acknowledged that it is easy for her to say "you should work longer," when she isn't the one who has to do the working.

We do not have any kids.
sscritic wrote:Forget the US; get a job where you were.
I loved the city in which we lived
This might have been easier before you came back, but it still might be doable.
We loved Canada. We came very close to applying for permanent residency, but tax and investment issues got in the way and caused us not to go through with the application. As I read the rules for our specific program, we have 1 year from the date we left to apply for permanent residency (if we elected to do so), but the tax and investment headaches would still be an issue. Plus, getting a job in Canada seemed to be a lot more difficult than it needs to be, as many employers and licensing bodies didn't seem to give much credence to US credentials. And, of course, the cost of living in Canada is much higher than it is (or can be) in the US, so that is an issue as well.
Grt2bOutdoors wrote:You need to take a long vacation and think about this rationally. The economy is not as good as they are saying it is......living on 26K is far more different than living on 300K. You'd better sit down and talk about this ALOT with your wife. And take that vacation!!!
Okay...perhaps my job isn't as cushy as some might think. Salary is in the high $180K's; with RSUs and bonuses it is around $250K.
SC Hoosier wrote:I'm not saying this is what is happening to you, but I don't see anything in what you've written here that sounds all that bad. I would ask for a leave of absence. Three months maybe. It doesn't take long to get bored and feel like you need to be productive again.
Unfortunately, taking a leave of absence is not an option. Simply asking for 2 weeks off for vacation is pushing it.
lululu wrote:There's a huge culture shock getting used to the U.S. again, unless you've been in some place like Canada.
There has not been any culture shock issues, other than marveling at the vast array of variety that is available at the grocery store.

--

Everyone has given me much to think about and consider, and I greatly appreciate it.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by rob » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:18 am

For whatever it's worth I would probably....
- Stay in dead end job to get the 165 and avoid the payback.
- Cut don hours and travel to various places so you get an idea of where you want to move while waiting out that time.
- Leave the stuff in storage and stay in long stay apt for the next year (or if you can get bits of stuff out of storage just get the bare min out - that's likly not doable cause it would be all mixed and packaged up).
- Keep in mind that RSU's are likely worthless since they will have a vesting schedule that might be longer than your target :-) If you can influence how much of the bonus is RSU vs cash that ould help (have done that in the past) :-)
| Rob | Its a dangerous business going out your front door. - J.R.R.Tolkien

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by tractorguy » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:20 am

+1 on figuring out what you want to do before you quit.

I've known a few people who've had successful mid life career changes and all of them set a goal and then did what was necessary (additional schooling, apprenticeships, etc) to move towards it. The people I know who jumped from place to place without a goal ended their working life locked into jobs they didn't like because they had to do something to pay the bills.

Its much, much easier to get into school or find another job with a continuous employment history. I can say from my own experience as a hiring manager that gaps in the record set off all sorts of alarm bells that frequently cause the resume to be rejected before an interview.

Its also much, much easier to figure out what you want to do when you're sitting in an office with easy access to your professional network and peers with similar backgrounds than it would be as a barrista in Bozeman.
Lorne

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by sesq » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:35 am

I'd give yourself the year to decide and in that year be more assertive with your employer to set hours that are fair to you.

What's the worst that happens, they fire you?

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by snowman » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:38 am

This is a very personal matter, there is no right answer. As I predicted, most people responded with “this is stupid to even consider; why walk away from so much money? Take a vacation, recharge, than go back to the grind, keep increasing your net worth…”

I was where you are now some years ago, but with much, much less money and 2 small kids. When I asked similar questions of my friends and relatives, I got those same answers – “this is just stupid! Why would you walk away from all this?”

Because I am a big believer in living a happy life. And I was not happy. And no amount of money, pension, bonuses etc. would make me more happy. I made the change, and I will be forever grateful that I found the courage to do it, and that I did not listen to naysayers (I have to say that my wife was my biggest supporter). I have been living happy life ever since. It seems to me you are at the same crossroad, and there will always be “just one more year for this” and “another year for that”. Always.

With the amount of money you have saved, it’s a no brainer to me. You are not happy doing what you are doing, and you are not going to be any happier 5-10 years down the road continuing doing it. You need to quit, with a plan for second career. Realize that you will make substantially less money for the rest of your working life, and accept it. That’s your tradeoff for being happy.

I am very familiar with Bozeman; I also tend to my own garden, and I ski, hike, and bike any time I want. I love being outdoors, and these activities are very easy on my wallet. I can tell you with all honesty I absolutely do not miss chasing money and promotions in a corporation! I make just enough money from part-time consulting to sustain our family financially, so we can live happy life according to our values. So if you are anything like me, all I can say is – you can do it, and you will be happy.

Now for the second career plan. Write down your strengths, talents and such. Anything you would be happy doing, at least for some time, that people would be willing to pay for. You will not make money by tending the garden, but you could be ski instructor, math tutor, river guide, fishing guide, landscape consultant, etc. Between you and your wife, it will be easy to make some money part time, and travel in between. If you go to Montana now, rent first, be flexible, see how the life shakes up. After a year or two, you will have better idea where your heart leads both of you, and at that time maybe you can buy a small house with enough space to garden. BTW, there are some great places for you to settle anywhere in the Rocky Mountain region, for less money than in Bozeman, so travel first before you buy a house.

BTW, a friend of mine, about your age, also an attorney, left his profession several years ago, totally burned out not just from only 2 weeks of vacation, but mainly from the profession itself. He wanted “to do some good in the world, unlike what he was doing daily at his job”, something like that. He moved from Raleigh to Michigan UP, rents small apartment, kayaks and offers kayaking lessons, is a math tutor, writes for “books for dummies” and ACT/SAT test books, and travels in between. He is immensely happy person now. I just wanted to say that, so that you don’t think I am some sort of anomaly. You might be surprised how many former business people you will meet as river guides and ski instructors in this beautiful region. As another poster noted, this is a very conservative forum, so take that into consideration.

I wish you good luck whatever you decide to do! If you have specific questions, feel free to ask.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by magneto » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:45 am

Was also in a well paid job I didn't like, and was about to go back to a previous liked job at much lower pay. With good advice from one colleague in particular decided to stay in the unliked high pay job, and save like crazy for early retirement. Strangely over the years the unliked job became more interesting, promoted through the ranks, as inevitably older colleagues retired.
Take your time. Some really good advice given in above posts. Wish I had such advice when making the decision.
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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by IPer » Thu Apr 24, 2014 10:57 am

Hi, this is only my opinion but it sounds like you are not quite there yet. Being not quite there may provide you some space to think and consider things during that 14 months, however, you are surely under the gun for time and head space so that might not actually happen. I would consider living light, keeping most if not all of your belongings in storage (to remind you to evaluate where you are and where you want to be), and research hard your possibilities. Also, there are many places in the world you have probably not experienced and not having children yet gives you a great flexibility to decide in this area without worry (my opinion it is best not to move children too often). A year or so goes by very quickly and you are at the age where you need to be working even though the pace might be a little too much at this time, there are things you can do to reduce stress (yoga, meditation, exercise). I wish you well figuring it out.
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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by busterk » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:02 am

sscritic wrote:And your wife says? That could be the key.

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BL
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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by BL » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:04 am

I also think you would benefit from doing volunteer work; do something you are passionate about (or just what you find). Whether it is at a school (maybe you could convince your boss that it would be to the company's advantage), legal aid, soup kitchen, sing or play an instrument, AARP/TCE or VITA free tax assistance for elderly, poor, or handicapped, whatever. Sometimes it is important to look outside ourselves, and also to see how real people live and survive.

The suggested stress reduction also sounds good. Don't be a couch potato! Get out in the country on weekends, locate farmer's markets, hike, etc.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by SnapShots » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:22 am

You're getting lots of good advice. Your burned out, bored and feel like you've got a lot of money. However, it is not a lot of money at 37 with no future career plans. You're use to spending money and it will be very! difficult to suddenly change that pattern and you'll easily go through all that cash in a short period of time.

It's fairly simple, you need to change your thinking and not jump for the frying pan into the fire ... as the ol' sayin' goes.

I'll echo another poster: Don't move some where until you have tried it out for an extended period of time; good months and the bad months.

We have a second home in a gorgeous location and thought about moving there. After retiring and spending an extended amount of time in the area, we found we don't really like the local people. It's not the locals are bad people .... it's just not a good fit for us. A great vacation and get away place ... but not a good permanent home.
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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by diasurfer » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:43 am

Like geology and Montana huh? Work for 14 more months to add to nest egg and keep wife happy. During this time, apply to graduate schools in Montana in geology or even archaeology and make sure you let them know you'll be paying your own way so don't need a teaching or research assistantship. Enroll as a non-degree seeking student in a local U and take some undergrad courses ASAP if they tell you that would help your chances. Live semi-frugally in a house you buy in Bozeman while you study geology. Graduate and continue to live off your investment income plus the meager income you will have as a professional dinosaur bone digger in Montana. Sounds fun to me. You've got a big pile and money at a young age and can do whatever you want if you are willing to live without luxury cars and expensive vacations.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by Hawkeye5 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:48 am

I'm with Snowman. No amount of money is worth your happiness.

Leave, travel around and give some serious thought to what it is that you really want to accomplish with your life. You're young and still have time to find that true calling that will make your life a joy to you and others.

I'm going to suggest two books you should read right away: The Joy of Not Working and How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free both by Ernie Zelinski.
Last edited by Hawkeye5 on Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by kbrinaldi » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:51 am

snowman wrote:This is a very personal matter, there is no right answer. As I predicted, most people responded with “this is stupid to even consider; why walk away from so much money? Take a vacation, recharge, than go back to the grind, keep increasing your net worth…”

I was where you are now some years ago, but with much, much less money and 2 small kids. When I asked similar questions of my friends and relatives, I got those same answers – “this is just stupid! Why would you walk away from all this?”

Because I am a big believer in living a happy life. And I was not happy. And no amount of money, pension, bonuses etc. would make me more happy. I made the change, and I will be forever grateful that I found the courage to do it, and that I did not listen to naysayers (I have to say that my wife was my biggest supporter). I have been living happy life ever since. It seems to me you are at the same crossroad, and there will always be “just one more year for this” and “another year for that”. Always.

With the amount of money you have saved, it’s a no brainer to me. You are not happy doing what you are doing, and you are not going to be any happier 5-10 years down the road continuing doing it. You need to quit, with a plan for second career. Realize that you will make substantially less money for the rest of your working life, and accept it. That’s your tradeoff for being happy.

I am very familiar with Bozeman; I also tend to my own garden, and I ski, hike, and bike any time I want. I love being outdoors, and these activities are very easy on my wallet. I can tell you with all honesty I absolutely do not miss chasing money and promotions in a corporation! I make just enough money from part-time consulting to sustain our family financially, so we can live happy life according to our values. So if you are anything like me, all I can say is – you can do it, and you will be happy.

Now for the second career plan. Write down your strengths, talents and such. Anything you would be happy doing, at least for some time, that people would be willing to pay for. You will not make money by tending the garden, but you could be ski instructor, math tutor, river guide, fishing guide, landscape consultant, etc. Between you and your wife, it will be easy to make some money part time, and travel in between. If you go to Montana now, rent first, be flexible, see how the life shakes up. After a year or two, you will have better idea where your heart leads both of you, and at that time maybe you can buy a small house with enough space to garden. BTW, there are some great places for you to settle anywhere in the Rocky Mountain region, for less money than in Bozeman, so travel first before you buy a house.

BTW, a friend of mine, about your age, also an attorney, left his profession several years ago, totally burned out not just from only 2 weeks of vacation, but mainly from the profession itself. He wanted “to do some good in the world, unlike what he was doing daily at his job”, something like that. He moved from Raleigh to Michigan UP, rents small apartment, kayaks and offers kayaking lessons, is a math tutor, writes for “books for dummies” and ACT/SAT test books, and travels in between. He is immensely happy person now. I just wanted to say that, so that you don’t think I am some sort of anomaly. You might be surprised how many former business people you will meet as river guides and ski instructors in this beautiful region. As another poster noted, this is a very conservative forum, so take that into consideration.

I wish you good luck whatever you decide to do! If you have specific questions, feel free to ask.
Wow, I can not thank you enough for sharing snowman. Your stories struck a chord with me. I am also in a similar position as Random Poster, however not as extreme. Hopefully my input can also help Random Poster or some other reader out there.

I have made and saved quite a lot for my age (late 20's), however I work in an industry that is, in my opinion, in the gray area of ethics. This factor along with the high stress situation, no further upward mobility, no one that I work directly with that I can trust, no direction for personal growth and an offer to join another company is making me seriously consider to leave. The offer, although in the same industry, will most likely be less but it will be a much less stressful position with people I can actually trust. After saving a bit more, I hope to leave the industry and take the path your friend has taken. (Wow, after writing that out, I think I further convinced myself as well...)

So my recommendation is that while you may be able to afford to quit for awhile, you could take a more moderate approach and see what other options are out there. There are many consulting lawyers or lawyers who only work on projects they themselves bring in to a firm. Try networking and hitting up some headhunters/recruiters.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by SC Hoosier » Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:00 pm

Maybe pick a town you like, hang out your shingle and take the cases you want. Be your own boss. Set your hours. Make good money while you are at work. Enjoy yourself when you aren't.

Brainstorming.

Hoosier
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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by Dave55 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:03 pm

SC Hoosier wrote:Maybe pick a town you like, hang out your shingle and take the cases you want. Be your own boss. Set your hours. Make good money while you are at work. Enjoy yourself when you aren't.

Brainstorming.

Hoosier
+1 Excellent advice

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:15 pm

Geology huh? Colorado School of Mines. But then, you'd likely get a job with an E&P company and that means more travel, sometimes lots of it and away from Bozeman. Or, apply to get admitted in Montana, then try and get a job in county government - pay may not be that great, but quality of life may be much better than it is now. Don't count RSU and bonuses - they aren't guaranteed as much as your weekly paycheck is (unless your let go early). The plus is you have no kids, if you had kids....I'd say you are nuts!.
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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by supersharpie » Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:30 pm

OP - If you live frugally you have enough money to sustain you and your wife for the rest of your lives. Most people would be thrilled to be given the opportunity to live off $2,000,000 for 40 to 60 years.

Travel, find a place you dig; buy an affordable there and spend the next few decades traveling the world. That's what I would do if I had your resources. You only live once and could be be diagnosed with terminal cancer tomorrow.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by Christine_NM » Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:21 pm

SC Hoosier wrote:Maybe pick a town you like, hang out your shingle and take the cases you want. Be your own boss. Set your hours. Make good money while you are at work. Enjoy yourself when you aren't.

Brainstorming.

Hoosier
This reminds me of Durango, Colorado, where orthopods go to work halftime/ski halftime in season.

OP - make sure you have a definite, acceptable position lined up before you quit, and a Plan B in case the new position falls through ("sorry, we made a mistake and we won't be needing you to work for us after all" should be factored into changing to junior status in new company). If you don't want to bother making adequate preparations then maybe your current job is tolerable for 14 months.
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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by montanagirl » Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:53 pm

Dave55 wrote:
SC Hoosier wrote:Maybe pick a town you like, hang out your shingle and take the cases you want. Be your own boss. Set your hours. Make good money while you are at work. Enjoy yourself when you aren't.

Brainstorming.

Hoosier
+1 Excellent advice
He will need to take the bar exam in MT...dang few exceptions to the rule.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by Clearly_Irrational » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:01 pm

You have a hefty cash pile saved up and it sounds like your living expenses would likely be less than $50k a year. You certainly could stop working now and do quite a number of different things. The real question is, should you?

Unless you're on the verge of going postal I'd recommend sticking it out and using that time to figure out what you want to do next. At your age your current portfolio (excluding tax deferred accounts and minus your penalties for leaving) would only support a $34k lifestyle so you're not really ready to retire. If you're going to have to keep working it makes sense to ensure that you remain employed at a decent rate which just leaping off the cliff won't do.

Talk to your wife, explore some different career choices, use your vacation time, do a lot of thinking and reading, possibly ask at work if you can take a sabbatical (the worst they can do is say no). Once you've mapped out a plan, that's the time to move on to greener pastures.

Make sure to consider how to leverage your existing experience, for example you could:

1) Go to work for a non-profit that needs lawyers, it may pay a lot less but provide more job satisfaction
2) Go back to school, get your PhD and become a law professor
3) Write a book based on your legal knowledge & experience
4) Switch roles within the law, so if you're a defense attorney consider becoming a prosecutor, or possibly look into becoming a judge
5) Look into what it would take to open your own practice, control over your work can be very empowering even if it requires more effort
6) Maybe you just need to change companies, see if you can find one with a better culture
7) Consider government work, either as a lawyer or possibly running for office
8) Go back and get a second degree that compliments your existing one, biotech or electronics for example and become a specialist

If you decide to get out of law altogether just be aware it's going to be quite hard to get the same level of compensation.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by gerrym51 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:04 pm

obamacare will pay your insurance if you can control your income.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by sambb » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:17 pm

You sound burned out to me.
I have seen this before in law, business, and medicine.
Good money and good job but the hours are tough and it isn't as satisfying as you would like.

And, I have seen it end poorly when that person leaves a job for "satisfaction", and ends up in a much lower paying job where the person deals with a lower level of education of those around, and more draconian rules, etc.

I don't think your current job is healthy, but i think you have to question if you would be happy leaving it as well. I know of a colleague that used to dream of running a coffee shop. They left their super nice job, and opened up a coffee shop, and found it to be not so fun, and lost a ton of money, and had to deal with customers and employees that they didn't like. They were used to dealing with people in advanced degrees, not a 20 year old minimum wage earner.

I have seen the same with someone who left a professional career to start a restaurant.

Find out if you are happy. If you aren't then measure out just how unhappy you are. If you are really really really unhappy, then consider another job. But understand that your next job may be worse than what you are doing now. Just because you think it will be better, does not guarantee that it will be better. You obviously are valued and have a skill set that is worthy of a good salary.

Take caution, you are in a good position financially right now. Make really sure that you want to give that up. Start out by downsizing your home and your cars and stop eating out, and education or no nice vacations for your family. Are you happy with those changes? If so, then you might do well with a low paying job.

Id stay put and consider looking for other job opportunities. Change gradual. Drastic change often has drastic consequences - good and bad.
Last edited by sambb on Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:20 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by MathWizard » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:18 pm

At 37 what are you going to do with the rest of your life?

If it were me, I'd starting looking for a different job rather than just quitting.
Getting a job while you are still employed is easier. Contact a headhunter and
see what they have to say, and let them do the job screening for you.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by greg24 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:20 pm

Use the 14 months to figure out why you want to leave. Where you want to move to. Moving back to the foreign city? Strategic trips to Bozeman, or other US locales that interest you? Also use the time to figure out what it would take to be certified or join the bar or whatever its called in Montana.

There are plenty of jobs that could leverage your law degree without practicing law. Figure out a couple avenues that interest you.

It seems like you don't have a real concrete reason for this change. After 14 months, if its still really driving you, then make the leap.

Good luck.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by sunnyday » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:21 pm

gerrym51 wrote:obamacare will pay your insurance if you can control your income.
How can you get health insurance for free in all 50 states through ACA if you have a low income? :confused

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by Buckeye » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:37 pm

I had a friend who quit a stable engineering job in Ohio in his late 20's back in the 1980's. After quitting he spent about two years traveling and working odd jobs. He spent roughly a year in Montana and eventually made his way to Alaska. Shortly thereafter he re-entered the engineering profession, found his wife, had one kid....and has been living very happily ever since.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by diasurfer » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:48 pm

My stepdad is an attorney. He stopped working for several years (10?) while he and my mom moved to a rocky mountain state. Eventually he went back to the home state, and takes a few select cases here and there to keep himself busy and add to the nest egg. "Early retirement" has a flexible meaning ... it doesn't have to be forever and doesn't mean you'll never do any paid work again.

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Re: Tell Me I'm Stupid To Consider Quitting My Job and Movin

Post by kaudrey » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:53 pm

Now that you are back in the states, can your wife work? Let her be the breadwinner for a while, while you figure out what you want to do next with your career.

P.S. This is coming from a woman who is the main breadwinner of our house.

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