Large pay cut for better quality of life

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Topic Author
jtking44
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Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by jtking44 »

I am considering leaving a job that pays $340k/year and relocating for a job that pays $120k/year. I would be grateful for a sanity check from this community.

Background
- DW and I are 34, kids are 4 and 3

Current annual income
- Him: $340k. I have been in this job for several years (with some significant raises since first starting) and could probably stay for a couple more years before up-or-out policy likely necessitates finding something else and taking a pay cut.
- Her: $70k

Annual income from new job
- Him: $120k
- Her: $60k (DW would likely be able to keep job and work remotely at slightly reduced effort or find similar work in new location)

Combined finances
- Cash: $290k
- 401ks: $528k
- Brokerage: $165k
- Roth IRAs: $149k
- 529: $50k
- Home equity: $135k
- Own 2 cars, approximate value $20k, which we plan to keep for several years
- Brokerage, 401ks, Roth IRAs, and 529s are approximately 95% equity (total stock market with a slight small cap tilt). I am comfortable with that allocation.

Current monthly expenses
- Mortgage: $2400
- Preschool: $2400 (this may drop to $1200 in 1 year when one child starts school)
- Other: $2000 (approximately)

Other information
- Current job is very stressful and taking a toll on my health. Other job would be a fantastic experience that would likely set me up for much more higher paying work in a couple of years if I was interested in making another switch. The other job is a rare opportunity that does not come up very often. Relocation expenses would probably not be covered.
- DW and I want to relocate to the location of the new job. Much higher quality of life in the new location. DW is supportive of me taking a large pay cut.
- The new location has a similar cost of living. We are thinking about buying a $700k home in the new location and putting down around $200k to get a conforming loan. We would also be comfortable renting although it can be hard to find rentals in the location we like.

I am strongly inclined to take the other job. I think it would be a great experience that would likely help me get higher paying work in a couple years if I wanted. DW and I are ready for a change and really like the new location. The only concern I have is taking such a large pay cut, although I think we would still be on track to meet our financial goals (saving for a comfortable retirement and putting kids through college).
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market timer
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by market timer »

You are far ahead of where you need to be financially. Even if you take an earnings hit, you'll still be on the path to financial independence and work-optional by age 40. Might as well start to figure out what you will do now that money is not an issue. I'd go for it.
Mike Scott
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by Mike Scott »

It sounds as if you like all the various pieces of it and $180k income per year is hardly living in poverty. I would rent rather than buy until you know it's going to work out long term.
Minty
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by Minty »

Your health is extremely important, including your mental health and day-to-day enjoyment of life. Do your due diligence about the new institution, but if it is stable and reasonable, I would say go for it. I faced a similar choice almost 30 years ago, took a 70% pay cut, and it has worked out very well, including financially. Good luck!
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gr7070
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by gr7070 »

I took a 33% pay cut a number of years ago and haven't gone back - even though the old jobs weren't health-affecting levels of stress.

Money's not that important, especially so when you'll have more than enough.

That future mortgage sounds high for your future income.

Live the life you and your family want. Sounds like y'all know what that is already.
SevenBridgesRoad
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by SevenBridgesRoad »

“ Current job is very stressful and taking a toll on my health.“

Life is short. Too short to keep a job that is damaging your health. You are fortunate to have a better alternative. Go for the new job.
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WoodSpinner
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by WoodSpinner »

OP,

As an unofficial anything :D , you have my blessing....

It’s clear from your post what you and your wife want to do. There is plenty of time to save and grow your experience and job opportunities.

FWIW, I did something similar and was very pleased with my decision some 30 years later. Enjoy8ng my journey through life is something I really Value.

WoodSpinner
wackerdr
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by wackerdr »

jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 am I am considering leaving a job that pays $340k/year and relocating for a job that pays $120k/year. I would be grateful for a sanity check from this community.

Background
- DW and I are 34, kids are 4 and 3

Current annual income
- Him: $340k. I have been in this job for several years (with some significant raises since first starting) and could probably stay for a couple more years before up-or-out policy likely necessitates finding something else and taking a pay cut.
- Her: $70k

Annual income from new job
- Him: $120k
- Her: $60k (DW would likely be able to keep job and work remotely at slightly reduced effort or find similar work in new location)

Combined finances
- Cash: $290k
- 401ks: $528k
- Brokerage: $165k
- Roth IRAs: $149k
- 529: $50k
- Home equity: $135k
- Own 2 cars, approximate value $20k, which we plan to keep for several years
- Brokerage, 401ks, Roth IRAs, and 529s are approximately 95% equity (total stock market with a slight small cap tilt). I am comfortable with that allocation.

Current monthly expenses
- Mortgage: $2400
- Preschool: $2400 (this may drop to $1200 in 1 year when one child starts school)
- Other: $2000 (approximately)

Other information
- Current job is very stressful and taking a toll on my health. Other job would be a fantastic experience that would likely set me up for much more higher paying work in a couple of years if I was interested in making another switch. The other job is a rare opportunity that does not come up very often. Relocation expenses would probably not be covered.
- DW and I want to relocate to the location of the new job. Much higher quality of life in the new location. DW is supportive of me taking a large pay cut.
- The new location has a similar cost of living. We are thinking about buying a $700k home in the new location and putting down around $200k to get a conforming loan. We would also be comfortable renting although it can be hard to find rentals in the location we like.

I am strongly inclined to take the other job. I think it would be a great experience that would likely help me get higher paying work in a couple years if I wanted. DW and I are ready for a change and really like the new location. The only concern I have is taking such a large pay cut, although I think we would still be on track to meet our financial goals (saving for a comfortable retirement and putting kids through college).
60% pay cut is emotionally hard to digest for many, even though it may not make a difference, objectively.
People do 2 year MBA programs , but the motivation and outcomes are much more certain. When they do those programs, people take significant hits on income and opportunity costs.
The impact of your decision is also something similar. Seems you are nearly there , mentally. Your wife fully supporting is a big deal. Go for it.
PoppyA
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by PoppyA »

I am all for making quality of life decisions. Definitely.

I do caution you to think about the downside & how you will handle it. What if you make this move and find a hostile workplace? Or find yourself in some other negative position. Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know. Just be prepared.
wickywack
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by wickywack »

If you had the $120K job today in a location you liked, would you consider giving it up for the $340K high stress job in a location you liked less?
regularguy455
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by regularguy455 »

You are not crazy to consider taking a big pay cut for quality of life. We only have one life and at some point, what does the extra money get you? A nicer car? A bigger house? What is enough? If you know the answer to that, it will give you more confidence making this decision.
Isabelle77
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by Isabelle77 »

We just did this. My husband took a 30% pay cut to leave a terrible job and move to a place we prefer. It’s been about 3 months now, we don’t regret a thing.
EddyB
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by EddyB »

jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 am
I am strongly inclined to take the other job. I think it would be a great experience that would likely help me get higher paying work in a couple years if I wanted. DW and I are ready for a change and really like the new location. The only concern I have is taking such a large pay cut, although I think we would still be on track to meet our financial goals (saving for a comfortable retirement and putting kids through college).
I would only add caution not to jump on this opportunity too quickly, before testing whether you may already be able to get a job one more step up the ladder in the new location (or another area that suits you). And, if your current job includes a year-end bonus as part of the comp, think about whether there’s a way to put off the start of the new one.
youngcd12
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by youngcd12 »

I'd go for it. You'll have enough regardless, especially if you have room to grow from 120K at the new job in the future. You won't know unless you try, but you do know that your mental health is suffering at the current job.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by Sandtrap »

1 you have already decided
2 monthly expenses are high
3 interim health care coverage???
4 do you have an exit strategy ???
5 if you lost the new job for some reason ... then what???
6 what if you delay for a few years???

There is a inner motivation cycle: “Have to do”, “Gotta Do”, “Wanna Do”, “Have to .....”, etc.
That works in micro and macro cycles of 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years, etc

Where are you in this “cycle”??

j🌺
Last edited by Sandtrap on Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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senex
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by senex »

Joining the chorus: once you're above a certain level of money, time & health are more scarce/valuable/irreplaceable than money. Optimize your scarce resource.
Topic Author
jtking44
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by jtking44 »

Thank you very much for the responses -- I appreciate the wisdom of this community!
redmaw
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by redmaw »

What's the point of making more money if your life is worse off for it?

This may soften the blow:

Current combined income is 410k- 40k (two maxed 401ks) - 7k (either hsa, or health insurance) = call it 350k - 24k standard deduction - 325k taxable. That going to be right at the 32% bracket, which is 66k in taxes -4k for the kids 62k. 410-62 = 348k net of fed taxes. Now lets use the new number ad the same assumptions 180k - 40k -7k = 133k - 24k deduction - 109k taxable = 15.6k in taxes - 4k for the kids - 11.6k in taxes due. 180-11.6 = 168.4k net of fed taxes. The tax difference of almost $55k about a quarter of the income difference. Plus payroll taxes (i would guess around 5k savings), plus state and local taxes (no idea maybe 0-20k difference). I would guess in the end you would take home maybe 150k-170k less, sounds a lot better than the 230k.

Of course that analysis is without knowing anything about your actual tax situation, and may not account for tax credit phase outs, AMT, or other issue i am unfamiliar with since I don't make 400k. I would hazard a guess that any of those effects would make the tax comparison even more favorable for the new job.
VoiceOfReason
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by VoiceOfReason »

This a classic dilemma. It's satisfaction now vs. financial freedom later.

There is a huge delta between current trajectory today vs what it would be if you took the new job and moved. I suggest you calculate the impact out to your desired retirement year. Determine what the delta actually would be while using very realistic figures for each path. I would then convert that dollar amount time.

If your goal is FIRE, ask yourself if living in that preferred location is worth working an additional X number of years.
UnitaryExecutive
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by UnitaryExecutive »

What's the upside in salary, skills, and experience of the other position? Do the best thing for yourself in the long term. You can always go back to the more stressful job, but you are giving up the compounding of the extra salary going entirely to savings / investment.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by JoeRetire »

jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 amI am strongly inclined to take the other job.
In my experience, folks who post questions like this are really looking for reasons that support a decision they have already made to themselves.

So enjoy the new job. I'm sure it will work out fine.

In the event that it didn't, could you go back to the previous job or one like it? If so, then you have absolutely nothing to lose.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
oldfort
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by oldfort »

jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 am I am considering leaving a job that pays $340k/year and relocating for a job that pays $120k/year. I would be grateful for a sanity check from this community.
My initial reaction is you would be crazy to take the pay cut. A lot of the people making $120k/year would give anything to be in your shoes making $340k/year.

Caveat: I don't know what taking a toll on your health means. Are you doing back breaking manual labor? Being exposed to dangerous chemicals? A physician dealing with COVID patients?
The Stone Wall
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by The Stone Wall »

I'm supportive of the move particularly if it means you will be able to enjoy the children more. I am hesitant on the $700k house idea. You should look for a house in the $350K range or less if you are not going to rent. Your spending rate needs to go down just as much as your income reduction (if not more).
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Watty
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by Watty »

jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 am Current job is very stressful and taking a toll on my health. Other job would be a fantastic experience that would likely set me up for much more higher paying work in a couple of years if I was interested in making another switch. The other job is a rare opportunity that does not come up very often.
I got this far and it was clear that taking it would be fine as long as your spouse agrees.

It isn't like you would be quitting your job to try to make pottery for a living. I know someone that actually did that. :oops:

Be sure to look at your income numbers in after tax dollars, the difference in your take home pay will be a lot less.

Be sure to consider the quality of the schools in the different areas.

jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 am We would also be comfortable renting although it can be hard to find rentals in the location we like.
Hard is not impossible. You should really rent for a year if at all possible. That will not only give you a chance to make sure that the new job is working out but it will also allow you to learn the new city better and give you more of a chance to hunt for a new house once you know the local housing market. In addition to single family homes also consider renting a large apartment or townhouses.

I have done a corporate cross country job relocation during a merger where I needed to fly into a city I did not know and buy a house. It worked out OK but I am sure that I could have found a better house or a better price if I had more time to house hunt. The reason I bought right away is the company paid relocation costs were only available for a limited time and I had a kid in school and I did not want him to have to change schools twice.

One big question is what sort of house you can get for $700K. In some place like NYC or the Bay Area that might not get you much but in many areas you could get an acceptable house for a lot less even if you might want to eventually get a better house in a few years.

Having a large mortgage could lead to a lot of stress about money. If I was in your situation I would use a lot of the home equity, cash, and your brokerage account to buy a house for cash or just a small mortgage, but you can decide that after you have rented for a year.

One of the tradeoffs of taking a pay cut is that you will need to live a somewhat reduced lifestyle or using your savings to buy your next house. Wanting to keep the money invested and to buy a $700K is is sort like the old saying, "Wanting to have your cake and eat it too."
dts_12
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by dts_12 »

oldfort wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:46 pm
jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 am I am considering leaving a job that pays $340k/year and relocating for a job that pays $120k/year. I would be grateful for a sanity check from this community.
My initial reaction is you would be crazy to take the pay cut. A lot of the people making $120k/year would give anything to be in your shoes making $340k/year.

Caveat: I don't know what taking a toll on your health means. Are you doing back breaking manual labor? Being exposed to dangerous chemicals? A physician dealing with COVID patients?
Maybe I don't really have a handle on the world of incomes, but I can't believe the number of $300k+ people in this forum.
tashnewbie
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by tashnewbie »

JoeRetire wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:40 pm
jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 amI am strongly inclined to take the other job.
In my experience, folks who post questions like this are really looking for reasons that support a decision they have already made to themselves.

So enjoy the new job. I'm sure it will work out fine.

In the event that it didn't, could you go back to the previous job or one like it? If so, then you have absolutely nothing to lose.
+1.

You have ~$1.2 million in your portfolio, including the cash. Assuming "normal/average" rate of growth, you'll easily have $2+ million within 10 years. At that point, depending on your expenses, you may be able to stop working for money and pursue other goals.

I definitely agree with others that it'd be worth renting in the new area for at least 1 year, to get a sense of the area and a better idea of where you'd want to live.

Good luck!
jarjarM
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by jarjarM »

tashnewbie wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:54 pm
JoeRetire wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:40 pm
jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 amI am strongly inclined to take the other job.
In my experience, folks who post questions like this are really looking for reasons that support a decision they have already made to themselves.

So enjoy the new job. I'm sure it will work out fine.

In the event that it didn't, could you go back to the previous job or one like it? If so, then you have absolutely nothing to lose.
+1.

You have ~$1.2 million in your portfolio, including the cash. Assuming "normal/average" rate of growth, you'll easily have $2+ million within 10 years. At that point, depending on your expenses, you may be able to stop working for money and pursue other goals.

I definitely agree with others that it'd be worth renting in the new area for at least 1 year, to get a sense of the area and a better idea of where you'd want to live.

Good luck!
+2, you're ahead of most financially, enjoy life-work balance and watching your kids grow up. We too are pondering the same thing.
matti
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by matti »

I have no experience with a situation such as yours, but it remind me of some advice my dad gave me when I was a kid. My parents were in fairly deep, paying a mortgage and raising three kids, and money was tight. I suspect my dad would've loved an opportunity to take a new job that he actually enjoyed, but I don't think he ever had that opportunity (as far as I know). So, he continued to go to a job he hated. I watched him get up every morning, knowing he was going to a job he hated. And I watched him come home from work every day, bitching about everything at work. This strained my mom and dad's marriage because my dad was already strung out. He even started smoking again. He quit drinking before I was born (thanks to AA) and I'm surprised he didn't go back to drinking.

My dad simply told me "don't stick with a job you hate; it's just worth it." He didn't want me to end up like him. Very simple advice, but I still vividly remember this.
supalong52
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by supalong52 »

You only get one life. I walked away from a guarantee to make partner at my firm ~$850K. Now working part time for about a quarter of that. No regrets.
oldfort
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by oldfort »

dts_12 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:50 pm
oldfort wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:46 pm
jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 am I am considering leaving a job that pays $340k/year and relocating for a job that pays $120k/year. I would be grateful for a sanity check from this community.
My initial reaction is you would be crazy to take the pay cut. A lot of the people making $120k/year would give anything to be in your shoes making $340k/year.

Caveat: I don't know what taking a toll on your health means. Are you doing back breaking manual labor? Being exposed to dangerous chemicals? A physician dealing with COVID patients?
Maybe I don't really have a handle on the world of incomes, but I can't believe the number of $300k+ people in this forum.
The income distribution on this forum is highly atypical. It makes some sense when you consider the people most concerned about investing are those with a lot of money to invest. Sometimes, it leads to bizarre situations, such as when posters start arguing over whether $450k is middle class. Back to the OP, why would anyone voluntarily take a two-thirds pay-cut with two young kids and a spouse who may want to cut back their hours?
burritoLover
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by burritoLover »

Always pick the money. You'll enjoy retirement more.

Most stress is self-induced - try to be more Zen about things.

And don't ask a forum of strangers about quality of life choices. :wink:
"Your money is like a bar of soap. The more you handle it, the less you’ll have." - Gene Fama
JS-Elcano
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by JS-Elcano »

dts_12 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:50 pm Maybe I don't really have a handle on the world of incomes, but I can't believe the number of $300k+ people in this forum.
In their mid-30 :shock: It's mind-boggling to me too :beer
tim1999
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by tim1999 »

dts_12 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:50 pm
Maybe I don't really have a handle on the world of incomes, but I can't believe the number of $300k+ people in this forum.
Me neither, especially how many of them are in their 30s with 7-figure portfolios already. Are there that many FANG software engineer types out there?

I've actually reduced my reading/participation on this forum in recent months because I just can't relate to many of the newer posters.
stoptothink
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by stoptothink »

tim1999 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:03 pm
dts_12 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:50 pm
Maybe I don't really have a handle on the world of incomes, but I can't believe the number of $300k+ people in this forum.
Me neither, especially how many of them are in their 30s with 7-figure portfolios already. Are there that many FANG software engineer types out there?

I've actually reduced my reading/participation on this forum in recent months because I just can't relate to many of the newer posters.
This board isn't the real world (when it comes to income, wealth), or remotely close. $340k/yr at 34 puts someone well into the 99th percentile for income/age. Here, it's just normal.
JSDNJ
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by JSDNJ »

What field is the stressful job in?

I'd probably take the pay cut. but that's a tough one as it is significant. Only you and the family can decide.
matti
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by matti »

dts_12 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:50 pm
oldfort wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:46 pm
jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 am I am considering leaving a job that pays $340k/year and relocating for a job that pays $120k/year. I would be grateful for a sanity check from this community.
My initial reaction is you would be crazy to take the pay cut. A lot of the people making $120k/year would give anything to be in your shoes making $340k/year.

Caveat: I don't know what taking a toll on your health means. Are you doing back breaking manual labor? Being exposed to dangerous chemicals? A physician dealing with COVID patients?
Maybe I don't really have a handle on the world of incomes, but I can't believe the number of $300k+ people in this forum.
lol, and I feel I'm doing pretty good at 70k/year!
tashnewbie
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by tashnewbie »

tim1999 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:03 pm
dts_12 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:50 pm
Maybe I don't really have a handle on the world of incomes, but I can't believe the number of $300k+ people in this forum.
Me neither, especially how many of them are in their 30s with 7-figure portfolios already. Are there that many FANG software engineer types out there?

I've actually reduced my reading/participation on this forum in recent months because I just can't relate to many of the newer posters.
I definitely can't relate to what seems like a lot of folks on this forum who make $200k+/year. When I start reading posts and they have that level of income or 7-figure assets, I just slide right on out of the conversation...above my pay grade!
as9
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by as9 »

tim1999 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:03 pm
dts_12 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:50 pm
Maybe I don't really have a handle on the world of incomes, but I can't believe the number of $300k+ people in this forum.
Me neither, especially how many of them are in their 30s with 7-figure portfolios already. Are there that many FANG software engineer types out there?

I've actually reduced my reading/participation on this forum in recent months because I just can't relate to many of the newer posters.
Must be a few hundred thousand just in FAANG+M alone with almost all of them making north of $200k (and some much more). Add in a lot of other big tech companies and you have a decent sized pool of people that are young with high incomes and probably more likely to find their way to a place like this. That's before we get to the doctors, lawyers, etc.
jarjarM
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by jarjarM »

stoptothink wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:09 pm
tim1999 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 3:03 pm
dts_12 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 1:50 pm
Maybe I don't really have a handle on the world of incomes, but I can't believe the number of $300k+ people in this forum.
Me neither, especially how many of them are in their 30s with 7-figure portfolios already. Are there that many FANG software engineer types out there?

I've actually reduced my reading/participation on this forum in recent months because I just can't relate to many of the newer posters.
This board isn't the real world (when it comes to income, wealth), or remotely close. $340k/yr at 34 puts someone well into the 99th percentile for income/age. Here, it's just normal.
The compensation inflation in FAANG also affected tons of tech companies around the valley and beyond. It's now pretty normal to see $4-500k for 5+ yr experience in tech (mainly in BA/Seattle but also elsewhere). And this isn't just limited to dev, sales/PM/marketing/finance all are seeing significant increase in RSU grants as well. That couple with a 10+ year bull market (didn't count march draw down since SP500 is already back at ATH), we'll be seeing more of these type of posts. Reminds me of the go-go 90s... :sharebeer
hnd
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by hnd »

i left the supply side of commercial construction as a 25 yr old. the company had a ton of room to grow, i was making good money IMO for a fresh out of college but after 2 years of this job and being successful at this job, the stress of meeting non-meetable deadlines and getting screamed at by job superintendents and project managers was just leaving me stressed and unpleasant to be around.

a friend came to me with a job offer. a start up. they weren't even sure how they were going to even be able to pay me. but in the end my wife was like we'll make due. i had just built a residual base at the old job. was making 50k but everything pointed to the next year potentially doubling that. But i left. I made 30k the first year. But the 2nd year i made 40, and the 3rd year i was back at 50 and i'm in a great monetary position now and in a position I enjoy. I don't regret it for a moment.
EnjoyIt
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by EnjoyIt »

jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 am I am considering leaving a job that pays $340k/year and relocating for a job that pays $120k/year. I would be grateful for a sanity check from this community.

Background
- DW and I are 34, kids are 4 and 3

Current annual income
- Him: $340k. I have been in this job for several years (with some significant raises since first starting) and could probably stay for a couple more years before up-or-out policy likely necessitates finding something else and taking a pay cut.
- Her: $70k

Annual income from new job
- Him: $120k
- Her: $60k (DW would likely be able to keep job and work remotely at slightly reduced effort or find similar work in new location)

Combined finances
- Cash: $290k
- 401ks: $528k
- Brokerage: $165k
- Roth IRAs: $149k
- 529: $50k
- Home equity: $135k
- Own 2 cars, approximate value $20k, which we plan to keep for several years
- Brokerage, 401ks, Roth IRAs, and 529s are approximately 95% equity (total stock market with a slight small cap tilt). I am comfortable with that allocation.

Current monthly expenses
- Mortgage: $2400
- Preschool: $2400 (this may drop to $1200 in 1 year when one child starts school)
- Other: $2000 (approximately)

Other information
- Current job is very stressful and taking a toll on my health. Other job would be a fantastic experience that would likely set me up for much more higher paying work in a couple of years if I was interested in making another switch. The other job is a rare opportunity that does not come up very often. Relocation expenses would probably not be covered.
- DW and I want to relocate to the location of the new job. Much higher quality of life in the new location. DW is supportive of me taking a large pay cut.
- The new location has a similar cost of living. We are thinking about buying a $700k home in the new location and putting down around $200k to get a conforming loan. We would also be comfortable renting although it can be hard to find rentals in the location we like.

I am strongly inclined to take the other job. I think it would be a great experience that would likely help me get higher paying work in a couple years if I wanted. DW and I are ready for a change and really like the new location. The only concern I have is taking such a large pay cut, although I think we would still be on track to meet our financial goals (saving for a comfortable retirement and putting kids through college).
I'm trying to get a grasp on your expenses. Do I have that right outside of preschool and mortgage you spend $2k/month? That includes home repairs, utilities, food, entertainment, insurance, etc? If that is the case that means you spend $24k/ year and all you need to retire is $600k, a paid of mortgage and kids out of daycare which you are for ahead of and therefor you can do whatever you want with your life as long as it does not involve significant lifestyle creep.

I too am curious why in the world would you choose to buy a $700k house? That is a lot of house if outside of the northeast of West coast region. I would definitely recommend renting for 1 year to make sure the decision is sound. Sucks buying a $700k house and then having to sell it the following year paying $42K to the real estate agents? Though again, I would not be buying a $700k home in your shoes. Bigger isn't always better.

Have you considered early retirement? Have you considered sticking it out for another 1-3 years and thereafter buy a house in a location you want to live and never have to work for money ever again?
A time to EVALUATE your jitters: | https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=79939&start=400#p5275418
lionroar22
Posts: 88
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by lionroar22 »

jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 am Current job is very stressful and taking a toll on my health. Other job would be a fantastic experience that would likely set me up for much more higher paying work in a couple of years if I was interested in making another switch. The other job is a rare opportunity that does not come up very often. Relocation expenses would probably not be covered.
It all comes down to weighing the burden of the stress vs. the burden of the financial hit. A "fantastic experience" + "higher pay down the road" + "rare opportunity" are for sure positives which could improve your present situation and allow you to financially recoup later what you're giving up now. Only you and your spouse can truly make that decision based on what you value, as you have/will get conflicting opinions here.

FWIW, my spouse and I were in a similar situation. Organization changes made jobs we always enjoyed (hers much more than mine) much less enjoyable. The biggest decision was "could we afford it". We had very good incomes and owned our home outright.

Leaving our jobs was not a "smart" option without transferring/retiring. Once we decided we could swing it financially, she found a transfer, I retired, and off we went. BTW, she was 38, I was 54, no kids, no debt. I had a pension, and we had a comfortable portfolio.

This was 7 years ago. Since then, she has received promotions/pay raises/bonuses she never would have received at her old job. She worked some days from home when she started, eventually working 100% from home (nothing to do with Covid). We are about to pay off the mortgage, continue to prudently save, and our portfolio has thrived. It all worked out great for us, better than expected, but even without the right place/right time stuff, we had a plan we were confident was the right plan for us.
jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 am Much higher quality of life in the new location.
So long as you can afford to do it, that factor is priceless IMHO. :wink:
jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 am The only concern I have is taking such a large pay cut, although I think we would still be on track to meet our financial goals (saving for a comfortable retirement and putting kids through college).
A logical concern anyone should have. Finance-wise you appear to be on the right track. Good luck with whatever you decide! :beer
rich126
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by rich126 »

If you haven't gotten used to living off the $340K then hopefully it won't matter much, although I'm sure you'll think about it. Now if your lifestyle revolves about that salary it will be more painful.

I've gone up/down/same over the years. It is always nice to have more but as I get older I'd rather be happy and not stuck in a demanding (time wise) job.

I was just talking to a friend about happiness and that maybe it is best to take a step back and appreciate what I have and stop trying to do more because I'm not happy. I see others who are making a lot less (not by choice) and yet they are happy and have a good family, etc. It isn't easy to change habits. My friend is from Peru and he is married to a lady from Europe and they just have a different perspective on things.

Good luck.
Broken Man 1999
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

I will add my voice to those encouraging your move.

Your whole family will probably notice how much fun Dad is since he was relieved of so much stress. Not saying you brought your stress home, but removing it might make the family dynamics much better.

Better health to you!

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain
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danwhite77
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by danwhite77 »

I just did this about a year ago with numbers very comparable to your own. Assets a little higher but age higher as well. I will tell you that for me it's been one of the three best decisions I've made in my life. Best of luck to you.
"While some mutual fund founders chose to make billions, he chose to make a difference." - Dedication to Jack Bogle in 'The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing'.
slyfox1357
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by slyfox1357 »

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Elsebet
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by Elsebet »

Not as drastic as yours but I recently took a about a 28-38k (depending on bonus) pay cut to take a job back in my home state. The lower COL and less expected hours (37.5/week) makes the pay cut much less drastic. My new company's health insurance is also better so I pay less out of pocket. Make sure to take all these things into consideration and don't just focus on the pay cut number by itself.
"...the man who adapts himself to his slender means and makes himself wealthy on a little sum, is the truly rich man..." ~Seneca
adestefan
Posts: 132
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by adestefan »

slyfox1357 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 6:14 pm
jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 am
Current monthly expenses
- Mortgage: $2400
- Preschool: $2400 (this may drop to $1200 in 1 year when one child starts school)
- Other: $2000 (approximately)
These numbers seem strange. First the $1200/month you think you save, a portion (a lot) of that simply moves to the 'Other' bucket, it doesn't disappear. Second, $2000/month for 'Other' seems VERY low given your household income. Another 'hmmm' moment is no breakout of these expenses.
Why’s that seem so strange? While my household income isn’t as high as the OP, we’ve held our expenses to around same level for the past 5 years as our income has risen substantially over that same time. Lifestyle inflation does not need to happen with wage increases.

The same for the day care costs. When my oldest moved from a $1200 a month preschool to public school 4 years ago I was able to save a substantial amount of that money each month. There was really nothing that changes significantly in your child’s life at that point. Yes she does a few new activities, but it’s less than $1200 for the year.
stoptothink
Posts: 8704
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by stoptothink »

adestefan wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 6:28 pm
slyfox1357 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 6:14 pm
jtking44 wrote: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:45 am
Current monthly expenses
- Mortgage: $2400
- Preschool: $2400 (this may drop to $1200 in 1 year when one child starts school)
- Other: $2000 (approximately)
These numbers seem strange. First the $1200/month you think you save, a portion (a lot) of that simply moves to the 'Other' bucket, it doesn't disappear. Second, $2000/month for 'Other' seems VERY low given your household income. Another 'hmmm' moment is no breakout of these expenses.
Why’s that seem so strange? While my household income isn’t as high as the OP, we’ve held our expenses to around same level for the past 5 years as our income has risen substantially over that same time. Lifestyle inflation does not need to happen with wage increases.

The same for the day care costs. When my oldest moved from a $1200 a month preschool to public school 4 years ago I was able to save a substantial amount of that money each month. There was really nothing that changes significantly in your child’s life at that point. Yes she does a few new activities, but it’s less than $1200 for the year.
+1 our income isn't as high (but it is $200k+) and with a family of 4 our "other" is well <$1k/month.
Normchad
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Re: Large pay cut for better quality of life

Post by Normchad »

I’d recommend one of you try to make your best faith argument for keeping the current job. Then hash it out, and if the new job still seems the right choice, go for it.

I think in life, we only truly regret the things we didn’t do, and the chances we didn’t take. How bad would it eat you up if you didn’t do this?

Make a list though of what you could do with all that extra money if you stayed put would an extra year staying out setup your kids up for debt free college? Would it enable you to retire five years earlier? Ten years?
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