BH Career advice

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
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6teen
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:37 pm

BH Career advice

Post by 6teen » Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:57 pm

Hello all,

I am struggling with a decision that I have seen others on this forum consider and am looking for a little advice.

I am a professional earning a high income (in my view anyway)- like a few hundred thousand a year. My wife makes about 70K. We have zero debt and own a house with no mortgage. We have no children. We have a little over a million in a taxable account (approximately 35% bond index, 13% international stock index, 42% US stock index and 10% vanguard money market). We also have about 550K in retirement (45% us stock index, 15% international stock index, 40% bond index) and another 150K in a savings account.

I am totally, completely burnt out. I am debating whether to keep working in my current profession until I have enough to do no work at all if I don't want to or quit and move on to something with much lower pay (like really low pay) that I enjoy. If I were to make a change, my wife would like to, as well (to some lower paying or volunteer type deal). Our annual spending this year to date is about 35K, but that does not include health insurance for my wife and me (both of us are early/mid forties). Right now that is paid 100% through my employer. About 13K of spending this year is fancy vacations. This is pretty typical spending for the last five years. I have tracked my spending over that timeframe in detail.

Am I in any shape to punch out? Completely? To some low pay gig? Given these finances, how broad are my options?

I am just looking for perspective from the folks on this forum who, on the whole, I consider pretty reasonable and conservative. I don't want to ask this on any of the FIRE forums, because I am sure of the answers that I would get and don't share their viewpoints on a lot of things.

DVMResident
Posts: 1259
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:15 pm

Re: BH Career advice

Post by DVMResident » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:29 pm

Age?
Projected SS and pension?

Traveler
Posts: 653
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:07 pm

Re: BH Career advice

Post by Traveler » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:32 pm

Run some scenarios through firecalc and see what it says. I would probably work a few more years in your current roles, live frugally and then call it quits.

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market timer
Posts: 5969
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:42 am

Re: BH Career advice

Post by market timer » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:34 pm

Absolutely. With $1.7mm in investments and a paid off house, you can easily fund your $35K/year living expenses on a 2% withdrawal rate. Go find something you enjoy doing.

Nissanzx1
Posts: 348
Joined: Wed Jul 18, 2018 11:13 pm

Re: BH Career advice

Post by Nissanzx1 » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:32 pm

I think it's time for a new gig. You have done great work. You have more than 95% of the people in this country will ever achieve.

I wouldn't necessarily just accept that whatever you do after this gig has to be for very little money. Please at least consider and believe that there is something out there that you enjoy and that can pay a great salary.

Good Luck!

mega317
Posts: 2557
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:55 am

Re: BH Career advice

Post by mega317 » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:57 pm

6teen wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:57 pm
I am totally, completely burnt out.
If this is true, then IMO nothing else you typed matters. You have to get out for your health and happiness.

I think you're a little tight to just call it quits altogether (and do you want to be feeling tight when you're young and healthy and retired, second guessing every expense on every vacation?). But if you can just match your expenses for a while, and merely waiting tables should get you close, then you're better off. If you have something in mind that will be more interesting to you then you're golden almost no matter what it pays. Benefits would of course be a huge bonus too.

youdiditr2
Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:07 pm

Re: BH Career advice

Post by youdiditr2 » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:04 pm

I would just take a year off and start over again. I wouldn't take a low paying gig and think it's less stress because those low paying gig are probably more stressful than the high paying gig. Managers treat you like crap since you're easily replaceable and flexible hours = on demand.

I thought about quitting and taking a low paying gig, then I remember how much those low paying gigs were when I was a teenager and I always get called in on my day off because someone was too drunk or went back to prison so they couldn't come to their minimum wage job.

btenny
Posts: 4615
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:47 pm

Re: BH Career advice

Post by btenny » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:11 pm

Maybe. Your expenses do not include health insurance costs. So if you add $14k for insurance you need around $50k or 3%. But I think you will not be able or willing to live this cheaply forever. So figure out what you and your wife would get for SS if you quit work now or wait for a 2-3 years.
Then do some spending forecasts that show SS and see the numbers.

Good luck.

HEDGEFUNDIE
Posts: 1220
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:06 pm

Re: BH Career advice

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:19 pm

mega317 wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:57 pm
6teen wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:57 pm
I am totally, completely burnt out.
If this is true, then IMO nothing else you typed matters. You have to get out for your health and happiness.
+1.

What is your line of work? Maybe some of us here can help you think through more sustainable career paths.

psychoslowmatic
Posts: 167
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:34 pm

Re: BH Career advice

Post by psychoslowmatic » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:34 pm

Does 35k spending mean over the last year or just from 1/1/18 to today? The second is how you’ve phrased it, which would make annual spend about 57.5k plus 15k for health insurance.

You’ve got to address the burn out. I’d try a 2 week vacation soon and see if that help you tolerate work afterwards. If not, try offloading the worst parts before making an employment change.

FoolMeOnce
Posts: 351
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 11:16 am

Re: BH Career advice

Post by FoolMeOnce » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:33 pm

It might be early to completely punch out, considering you may spend more in retirement travel than you currently do, and you'll need to cover healthcare for a couple decades. But if you can find something that brings you joy, health insurance, and a modest salary, you can cover your expenses and let that nest egg grow for a while and continue adding to your eventual SS benefit.

Separately, do you have a specific reason to keep such a large bond position in taxable while having equities in your retirement accounts? If not, read about Tax-efficient Fund Placement.

6teen
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:37 pm

Re: BH Career advice

Post by 6teen » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:43 pm

Thanks for all the replies. I will fill in a few more details since they are relevant to some of the comments made:

First, I am an attorney practicing in the area of criminal defense. I own a firm that employs a number of lawyers.

As for what I may get in to next, I have some other business ideas unrelated to law. I think I can use my experience starting and running a successful business. However, my experience has been that when starting a business, the pay is low. Alternatively, I contemplate getting a job. However, when considering a 'low pay' job, I am not thinking about working as a server or some low skill, minimum wage job. I have skills and experience that I think I can use to get a more substantial job. I don't have anything specific in mind. I feel a strong connection to nature and am very ecologically minded- I might like to work in a role that is in line with those sentiments.

With respect to my spending, the numbers I originally posted were year to date. I expect my spending to come in at around 45K for the year- not including health insurance.

Also, if I leave my current role, I do not plan to do nothing. I don't think I have enough yet to do that and I don't really think I want to. However, if my wife and I can support our lifestyle and get benefits, I can just let our nest egg grow and then start accessing it later and living off of it at that time. For example, if between the two of us we make 50K per year and I let that nest egg grow for five years at even 5%, that would be around 1.3 million, plus the cash I have on hand. Also, our 550K in retirement can just grow for the next twenty years before dipping into that. I am not mentioning this as our plan, but just as an example. If we can make enough combined to support our lifestyle, which seems pretty easy, then our money can just grow so that we can live off of it later- just ideas, I suppose. The alternative may be to just grinding until I have enough to do nothing and then I have nothing but options.

Thanks again for the insights, I appreciate it very much.

Thegame14
Posts: 450
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 11:53 am

Re: BH Career advice

Post by Thegame14 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 12:49 pm

If I was you, I would try to take a week long vacation and try to be offline, from work, as much as possible to try to recharge. Id try to stick it out another year or two at your rough figures that would have you earning another $500K after expenses, but before taxes. I would use that time to pay off all debt, start a side hustle or hobby and then transition from the full time role to the side hustle/hobby that you enjoy, plus this would give you a much bigger cushion.

Also I would think knowing the end is near and starting your side hustle/hobby would at least give you piece of mind that the end is near and you are starting the next phase.

Also if you own the company, can you sell it? I assume it would have a hefty sales price if you earn that much from it.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:06 pm

Re: BH Career advice

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:12 pm

If you own your firm and you have several lawyers employed, Why can’t you take a step back and let your employees drive the cases? You can still be available half time for guidance and strategy.

Beach
Posts: 148
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:48 pm

Re: BH Career advice

Post by Beach » Tue Aug 21, 2018 4:11 pm

Agreed...can you take a step back in the business? Maybe sell off part of the business but stay in as a minority owner?

Dottie57
Posts: 4790
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm

Re: BH Career advice

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:25 pm

youdiditr2 wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:04 pm
I would just take a year off and start over again. I wouldn't take a low paying gig and think it's less stress because those low paying gig are probably more stressful than the high paying gig. Managers treat you like crap since you're easily replaceable and flexible hours = on demand.

I thought about quitting and taking a low paying gig, then I remember how much those low paying gigs were when I was a teenager and I always get called in on my day off because someone was too drunk or went back to prison so they couldn't come to their minimum wage job.
Agree. Or ask for unpaid time off/leave of absence.

HEDGEFUNDIE
Posts: 1220
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:06 pm

Re: BH Career advice

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:53 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:25 pm
youdiditr2 wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:04 pm
I would just take a year off and start over again. I wouldn't take a low paying gig and think it's less stress because those low paying gig are probably more stressful than the high paying gig. Managers treat you like crap since you're easily replaceable and flexible hours = on demand.

I thought about quitting and taking a low paying gig, then I remember how much those low paying gigs were when I was a teenager and I always get called in on my day off because someone was too drunk or went back to prison so they couldn't come to their minimum wage job.
Agree. Or ask for unpaid time off/leave of absence.
He owns his firm, he would be asking himself!

Dottie57
Posts: 4790
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm

Re: BH Career advice

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:23 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:53 pm
Dottie57 wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:25 pm
youdiditr2 wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:04 pm
I would just take a year off and start over again. I wouldn't take a low paying gig and think it's less stress because those low paying gig are probably more stressful than the high paying gig. Managers treat you like crap since you're easily replaceable and flexible hours = on demand.

I thought about quitting and taking a low paying gig, then I remember how much those low paying gigs were when I was a teenager and I always get called in on my day off because someone was too drunk or went back to prison so they couldn't come to their minimum wage job.
Agree. Or ask for unpaid time off/leave of absence.
He owns his firm, he would be asking himself!
Oops- been a long day.

MandyT
Posts: 204
Joined: Sat Feb 13, 2016 2:29 pm

Re: BH Career advice

Post by MandyT » Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:14 pm

This is a very naive response because I don't know how transferrable your particular knowledge base is. But I wonder if you could get a job as an attorney for a nonprofit that aims to protect the environment. Maybe working for what you consider to be the "good guys" would revitalize your relationship with law. I expect that there would be a pay cut, but it would probably be good for keeping your skills sharp if you change direction again in the future.

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