Change Careers -- slower path to retirement

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
justdreaming
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:19 am

Change Careers -- slower path to retirement

Post by justdreaming » Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:39 am

We currently save around 55% of our after tax income. We could probably comfortably retire within 7-8 years, at ages 50 and 46, if we stay on our current path. Our retirement savings/taxable investments are at around 45% of goal amount, and our college savings are at around 1/3 of goal amount assuming we will cover 100% of 4 year private college (college is 10 & 12 years away). But I’m questioning whether I can last that long in my current job and whether the stress is worth it.

I’ve been considering changing careers to one that would allow me to be home for my kids much more, but would likely bring in a little over 1/4 of my current income. I’d need to get Masters degree/certification in the field, which I estimate would cost around $20,000-25,000. Is it crazy to consider this option? I think I might really enjoy the new career and would last in it at least 10-15 years. It would allow me to be home with kids after school and summers. Assuming my spouse keeps his current job, we’d still be able to save in 401ks and for college, just not nearly as much. So we’d mostly be relying on market returns to get to our goal. However, if the new career enabled me to work longer, then our target amount for retirement would go down. Among other things, I’ve been budgeting $750,000 to cover health care for the early retirement years given that we’d have 19 years before we both were at Medicare eligibility age) (using the 4% rule, assuming $30,000 in annual health care expenditures), but if we maintained employer-sponsored health care for longer, we would need less.

My current thinking is to build up savings at least 2-3 more years for extra security (considering time off work needed to get new degree and risk of finding new job), then consider taking the plunge. If anyone has done something similar, and has any words of warning or encouragement, I’d love to hear it.

Beehave
Posts: 285
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:46 pm

Re: Change Careers -- slower path to retirement

Post by Beehave » Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:50 pm

There is value in being around for your children. There is value in working in a lower stress environment. There is no need to fully fund four years of private college education. There is value to working longer engaged in employment you enjoy and is rewarding than shorter in soul-crushing stress.

Without knowing details, I'd say go for it. Get re-educated and change to a longer-lasting career. But look before you leap. Are your expectations about the cost of the new credential realistic? After obtaining the master's degree, will you need to do internships at no or low-pay before being able to pull a salary and get benefits? Is the job market (where you reside) steady such that it is very reasonable to expect to get work after graduation?
Will schoolwork be pleasurable and not equally or more stressful than your current employment?

Best wishes. For what it's worth, I was aged-out of my highly-stressful corporate field. I now am retired, but want to work (and also to do my best to contribute to society in the best way I am able), so I teach at adjunct-level in a community college. The pay is abysmal (and no benefits), but I enjoy my work and my engagement with the community. There are always frustrations in any job, but my situation is in some ways similar to OP's and can report that yes -- going from high-stress to much, much lower-stress work is very nice if you can afford it.

Beehave
Posts: 285
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2017 12:46 pm

Re: Change Careers -- slower path to retirement

Post by Beehave » Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:54 pm

Dear OP - - I just saw, after posting, that your post was from April and it is now almost July. In case you see this, perhaps you'll send a quick follow up regarding what you chose to do. I'm curious and I hope things are working out well for you!

Post Reply