Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
Topic Author
cnblure
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:45 pm

Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by cnblure »

Hello,

I am interested in getting an International MBA. I am burnt out in my current career (pharmacist (not retail)) and feel that this would be a great way to make a career transition closer to my interests and make a positive change in my life. The thought of attending this program and the opportunities that could come after excites me. I also like that this provides opportunity to work internationally. I lived overseas from age 3-14 and had a great experience.

The program is 22 months. The total tuition is $44,000. It takes $1,500 a month to maintain my current lifestyle. So let's say completing this program would cost me $80,000. It would take me about a year of saving in addition to what I have now to fully pay for this without needing loans (while still maxing out my 401k and HSA). I currently live in a paid off home less than 20 minutes away from the top ranked program in the country.

Currently I'm 29 and make approximately $120,000 gross annually. Career wise I do think I can stick with it another year to save up. But I don't think I can make it another 5. I am debt free and have maxed out 401k and HSA since beginning my career.

I guess my I'm having trouble weighing the pros and cons without my personal bias getting in the way. Could the return from this degree be worth the cost plus almost two years of income? Or am I crazy? Any input is much appreciated. Thanks.
runner3081
Posts: 3676
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:22 pm

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by runner3081 »

Where does FIRE come into this?

Also, how much will your income go up after the program?
renue74
Posts: 1873
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:24 pm

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by renue74 »

Do your due diligence. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

Before pulling the trigger on an almost $50K expense to change careers, could you possibly find international work w/o an MBA?

My wife switched careers in her mid-30s. She became a school teacher. (Math teacher, high school) . She continued her education and got 2 master's degrees...knowing that the state would pay her more to teach with the degrees and she has recently gotten an administration position because of the 2nd master's degree.

Maybe interview the MBA students who recently graduated from the program you want to go into?

Find pharma people who have switched careers and see their path?

The pursuit of a degree is a way out and a choice. But explore all possible ways out.

I'm not going to touch the FIRE comment because bogleheads will pile on that. :?
adamthesmythe
Posts: 3847
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:47 pm

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by adamthesmythe »

I few thoughts

I have a hard time (as a retired person who worked until a normal retirement age) understanding how one can be burned out at 29. Bored, yes.

At the age of 29, pursuing additional education in an area that will make you employable makes good sense. After all, you are setting yourself up for presumably higher salary and a better job for the remainder of your working life.

In my career I did my very best to avoid anything having to do with management. There are those who enjoy it. Make sure you are one of them before signing on to a program.

Usually the FIRE crowd is more about reducing expenses for a longer and frugal retirement. Is that really what you want? Why not go after a job you enjoy?
Charon
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu May 03, 2018 12:08 pm

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by Charon »

Are you burned out in your career or in your current job? I too am puzzled how one could be burned out in a career that you've had for, what, 3 or 4 years? (Presumably 4 years of pharmacy school after your bachelors?) You've presumably spent longer training to be a pharmacist than practicing as one?

Getting into a career you enjoy more is very important, much more important than retiring early. Just do enough research that you're highly confident this is what will actually happen. Your track record doesn't seem great with such choices.
miamivice
Posts: 2251
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:46 am

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by miamivice »

I am also confused about the FIRE bit. If the OP is close to being ready to retire (probably not at age 29), then it is not purposeful to pursue more schooling.
Nowizard
Posts: 3059
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by Nowizard »

You might want to read an article from Ken Fischer of the investment firm on FIRE. It is important to find your "passion," but important to consider other things as well. Research shows that FIRE is not a slam dunk in terms of positivity with some reasonably elaborate preparation that goes beyond being bored or burned out.

Tim
chevca
Posts: 3473
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:22 am

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by chevca »

I think OP is saying they hope to FIRE someday years from now, and this going to school again along with the career transition would delay that some. Would that be worth it?

I don't think we can really answer that for you, OP. It sounds like your young and single? If you don't want to stick with your current career long term, want to work internationally, and going back to school would get you into a line of work you would enjoy, go for it.
LFS1234
Posts: 234
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2019 4:13 am

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by LFS1234 »

cnblure wrote: Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:34 am Hello,

I am interested in getting an International MBA. I am burnt out in my current career (pharmacist (not retail)) and feel that this would be a great way to make a career transition closer to my interests and make a positive change in my life. The thought of attending this program and the opportunities that could come after excites me. I also like that this provides opportunity to work internationally. I lived overseas from age 3-14 and had a great experience.

The program is 22 months. The total tuition is $44,000. It takes $1,500 a month to maintain my current lifestyle. So let's say completing this program would cost me $80,000. It would take me about a year of saving in addition to what I have now to fully pay for this without needing loans (while still maxing out my 401k and HSA). I currently live in a paid off home less than 20 minutes away from the top ranked program in the country.

Currently I'm 29 and make approximately $120,000 gross annually. Career wise I do think I can stick with it another year to save up. But I don't think I can make it another 5. I am debt free and have maxed out 401k and HSA since beginning my career.

I guess my I'm having trouble weighing the pros and cons without my personal bias getting in the way. Could the return from this degree be worth the cost plus almost two years of income? Or am I crazy? Any input is much appreciated. Thanks.
Imagine yourself at 70 and looking back on the previous four decades of your life. Your option today relates to what you are going to do with the first two years of those four decades. You can either pursue that degree and then spend 38 years doing whatever it is you're going to be doing; alternatively, not pursue the degree and spend all 40 years doing whatever it is you're going to be doing.

What is the difference between 38 years and 40 years? Negligible.

I faced a similar decision when I was your age, and posing the above question to myself is what clinched my decision to go ahead with the graduate degree.

I think you have little to lose, and a lot to gain, in pursuing this degree. It will shake things up, broaden your horizons, give you new skill sets, and enable you to meet a lot of people you otherwise wouldn't have met. It is not always that you will have the freedom to pursue something like this. Obligations to family and others, financial limitations, and many other impediments come and go during various points in life.
User avatar
BolderBoy
Posts: 5062
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:16 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by BolderBoy »

cnblure wrote: Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:34 amI am burnt out in my current career (pharmacist (not retail))...

Currently I'm 29...

Any input is much appreciated.
Um, you're 29 and burned out? Can you amplify on that a bit, please?
"Never underestimate one's capacity to overestimate one's abilities" - The Dunning-Kruger Effect
ohai
Posts: 1327
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:10 pm

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by ohai »

OP, be realistic. It does not sound like you are anywhere near "financial independence". You're barely making $100k, not $1000k and have insubstantial savings. Your decision will make the difference between being able to retire in something like 30 years or 34 years from today, not 0 years vs. 5 years Your stakes are lower in that regard. If your current career is just a so so opportunity, then it is easier to decide to do something else with your life. Your question is not at all "FIRE" vs school. It is what to do with the next 30 years of your working life.

However, that doesn't mean that an "international MBA" is a good idea. Outside of maybe 3-5 programs, it will probably be a bad idea from a financial and career perspective, especially if you intend to return to the US later.
Cyanide123
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun May 05, 2019 9:14 am

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by Cyanide123 »

ohai wrote: Tue Jun 18, 2019 11:01 am

However, that doesn't mean that an "international MBA" is a good idea. Outside of maybe 3-5 programs, it will probably be a bad idea from a financial and career perspective, especially if you intend to return to the US later.
Agreed with above post. An MBA is usually only valuable when you get it from a handful of brand name prestigious schools. Otherwise there is a surplus of people with MBA degrees, most of whom do not make what you are already making with your pharmacy degree.
cherijoh
Posts: 6591
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:49 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by cherijoh »

cnblure wrote: Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:34 am I am interested in getting an International MBA.... I also like that this provides opportunity to work internationally. I lived overseas from age 3-14 and had a great experience.
I think you may have an unrealistic and romanticized view of what this degree would do for you.

Have you checked into the employment and educational background of students applying for this program? Most of the people I know who have an MBA followed one of two paths: (1) undergraduate business degree followed by an MBA (to become more employable) or (2) a degree in something else that leads to employment then doing an MBA at night to improve their prospects of landing a management role in their current company or industry.

Many of the straight-to-MBA crowd get hired into management consulting which has an extremely high burn out rate and a horrible work-life balance. Do you really want to go from the frying pan into the fire? I have done some periodic international business travel for a former employer and it hard on you. And I never had to go back to my hotel room and work for several hours to prepare for the next days meetings like you would as a management consultant. (A good friend of mine took this on for several years before she burned out).

If you are imagining getting a plum ex-pat assignment as an employee, you likely would have several barriers. First you would need to get hired as a new-MBA to an international company that offered ex-pat assignments. The bigger the difference between your current job and the new company, the more difficult the transition. Assuming you do get hired, you would need to prove your worth to the company before they would consider you for an overseas assignment. And of course the employee who is offered an ex-pat assignment has little to no say in where they get assigned.

If I were you, I'd try and figure out what you don't like about your current job and see whether you could leverage your current degree into something that wouldn't lead to burn out.
[/quote]
Jack FFR1846
Posts: 12811
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

With an International MBA, what is the name of a job you would then be qualified to do?

Is there a college near you with night classes where you could start out part time while still working? At a younger age than you, I went back to college full time, quitting my job. But before doing so, I took lots of night courses while working and going back for an engineering degree, knew exactly what kinds of jobs I would be qualified to do.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid
Topic Author
cnblure
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2016 9:45 pm

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by cnblure »

Burned out refers to me no longer being able to cope with how my job effects my personal life. I am one of only 2 people that staff where I work. We are on call 24/7 every day after we close. My work cannot be done from a computer and I am required to go on site. I have been on call every other day and have worked every other weekend and holiday for the past 5 years. On the days where I am not on call, I have to go to sleep pretty early in order to go into work and start at 01:30 the next day. Call outs from when we close in the afternoon until 02:00 are common and semi frequent. And so I feel like I can never really do or commit to anything unless it's my weekend off. I don't expect my work situation to change anytime soon, and it is pretty hard to change practice settings in pharmacy unless you want to work in community pharmacy. Maybe burnout is not the right phrase?

I would say my goal is to be financially independent. The job I have now is probably the way for me to get there the fastest, but I don't think it would be a fun or enjoyable 10-15ish more years. I feel like the job opportunities I could pursue after completing this program would offer a better quality and more fun life for me. By putting FIRE in the title, my intention was to ask if taking this money and time in order to shift careers is worth the amount of time it might prolong my journey.

Thanks for all the replies. For some context, I am 1/3 of the way to having 30x my annual expenses saved up. Definitely a lot to consider.
Charon
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu May 03, 2018 12:08 pm

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by Charon »

cnblure wrote: Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:46 pm my intention was to ask if taking this money and time in order to shift careers is worth the amount of time it might prolong my journey.
We can't answer that for you, since it's a very personal question (and even for you, involves a lot of conjecture). As other posters have pointed out, you do need to make sure that you're making reasonable projections about your job prospects after this new degree, but once you've done that... it's entirely your decision. I would recommend that you also ask yourself why you're not considering community pharmacy work, if it would solve the crazy hours and on-call issues? I suspect you'd make less money, but you have room to take a pay cut and still live well. Your "journey" is life itself - may as well enjoy it.

I spent my 20s pursuing a PhD and making barely enough to live on, so I'm generally in the camp of "pursue your passion, and finances be damned". But there is a caveat here that had I "failed" in my career (not gotten a tenure-track job at a university), I would have made way more money as I'd have gone off into data science or aerospace engineering. Look up success rates of those with international MBAs at the programs you're considering, and ask yourself what you'd do if things didn't work out.
miamivice
Posts: 2251
Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 11:46 am

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by miamivice »

cnblure wrote: Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:46 pm I would say my goal is to be financially independent. The job I have now is probably the way for me to get there the fastest, but I don't think it would be a fun or enjoyable 10-15ish more years. I feel like the job opportunities I could pursue after completing this program would offer a better quality and more fun life for me. By putting FIRE in the title, my intention was to ask if taking this money and time in order to shift careers is worth the amount of time it might prolong my journey.
The fastest way to become financially independent is to get married to a woman and NOT have kids. Seriously, DINKs make a ton of money and can spend very little. The speed at which that strategy will get you to FIRE is an order of magnitude more important that this decision.

Your work situation isn't good for long term. Those hours are crazy and being on call is tough. I doubt that every other person with a pharmacy degree does that, but perhaps they do. I am not familiar with the profession. I would definitely try to find a pharmacy job with hours that work for you.
User avatar
unclescrooge
Posts: 5415
Joined: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by unclescrooge »

cnblure wrote: Tue Jun 18, 2019 12:46 pm Burned out refers to me no longer being able to cope with how my job effects my personal life. I am one of only 2 people that staff where I work. We are on call 24/7 every day after we close. My work cannot be done from a computer and I am required to go on site. I have been on call every other day and have worked every other weekend and holiday for the past 5 years. On the days where I am not on call, I have to go to sleep pretty early in order to go into work and start at 01:30 the next day. Call outs from when we close in the afternoon until 02:00 are common and semi frequent. And so I feel like I can never really do or commit to anything unless it's my weekend off. I don't expect my work situation to change anytime soon, and it is pretty hard to change practice settings in pharmacy unless you want to work in community pharmacy. Maybe burnout is not the right phrase?

I would say my goal is to be financially independent. The job I have now is probably the way for me to get there the fastest, but I don't think it would be a fun or enjoyable 10-15ish more years. I feel like the job opportunities I could pursue after completing this program would offer a better quality and more fun life for me. By putting FIRE in the title, my intention was to ask if taking this money and time in order to shift careers is worth the amount of time it might prolong my journey.

Thanks for all the replies. For some context, I am 1/3 of the way to having 30x my annual expenses saved up. Definitely a lot to consider.
Quit. You're basically bring paid $60k but working 2 jobs.

Get another job with normal hours. See how it pans out for 6 months and report back to us.

I agree with others, switchng careers with something like international business MBA will have limited prospects.
a5ehren
Posts: 76
Joined: Fri May 26, 2017 7:48 am

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by a5ehren »

+1 to "try another job in your profession".

Stopping your life for 2 years and spending 80K just to get out of a bad job is a bit drastic when you can almost certainly get a raise and better hours by hopping to another position that you're already qualified for.
User avatar
Sandtrap
Posts: 11882
Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii No Ka Oi , N. Arizona

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by Sandtrap »

cnblure wrote: Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:34 am Hello,

I am interested in getting an International MBA. I am burnt out in my current career (pharmacist (not retail)) and feel that this would be a great way to make a career transition closer to my interests and make a positive change in my life. The thought of attending this program and the opportunities that could come after excites me. I also like that this provides opportunity to work internationally. I lived overseas from age 3-14 and had a great experience.

The program is 22 months. The total tuition is $44,000. It takes $1,500 a month to maintain my current lifestyle. So let's say completing this program would cost me $80,000. It would take me about a year of saving in addition to what I have now to fully pay for this without needing loans (while still maxing out my 401k and HSA). I currently live in a paid off home less than 20 minutes away from the top ranked program in the country.

Currently I'm 29 and make approximately $120,000 gross annually. Career wise I do think I can stick with it another year to save up. But I don't think I can make it another 5. I am debt free and have maxed out 401k and HSA since beginning my career.

I guess my I'm having trouble weighing the pros and cons without my personal bias getting in the way. Could the return from this degree be worth the cost plus almost two years of income? Or am I crazy? Any input is much appreciated. Thanks.
Congratulations on your successes~!

Thoughts:
1 This is a great time and stage of life to switch to what interests you. The fact that you are passionate about it is wonderful. Not many have the chance and have to "settle".

2 Is this a full commitment or work part time and go to school part time (at least at first)?

3 What occupations are you interested in that need this degree?

4 What are the job opportunities in your area for someone with this degree?

5 What will be your source of income while you are attending school? What about medical insurance?

6 Once having the new degree, and if job opportunites are not very good at that time, would you consider going back to pharmacy?

7 Do you have a backup plan?
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
Shallowpockets
Posts: 1716
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:26 am

Re: Posponing FIRE to go back to School

Post by Shallowpockets »

OP - as others said. Get yourself another job in the same profession. We are now at record level of employment. Surely there are pharmacist jobs out there. Have you looked? You need a change of pace. No one should be in the position you are, working those long or irregular, or on call hours.
How hard could it be for a pharmacist to get another job in this day and age in the medial business?
Do you think any of us have not done this? You should at least try it. Seems like you researched the MBA. You could use that time and thought to look around for another job.
Post Reply