I can finally exit a career path I no longer am interested in. In fact I tried, but don’t want to burn bridges and looking to make a smooth exit. I committed to myself, if I didn’t find my work enjoyable I would have to make a switch. I reached that point.
Time is Money
Up until a few months ago I have focused on a single trajectory. I wanted to make as much money as possible by selling an hour of my time. I never considered the opportunity cost of my time. After our second child was born, I began to question this path.
After our first positions out of college, my income has gone up 5 times. My spouse, almost 10 times. We have completely focused on maximizing earnings while living well below our means. In fact, we plan on saving almost 60% of our income while transitioning to a single income. This strategy has paid off and we are in a fantastic position all while still in our mid-thirties.
Lately we have been evaluating our priorities given the value of time. How much stuff is enough? How do we want to raise our young children? What example are we setting?
We are financially secure but very time poor. We have little time for interests outside of work. How did we get here?
We were raised in very similar backgrounds from hard working middle class families. Both families implanted the desire to get great jobs and increase earnings to achieve maximum happiness. However, the same families that guided our behavior never actually followed this path. They were always focused on family first.
From the beginning of my career, I knew our lifestyle would be unsustainable for the duration of the typical forty year career. I have been secretly planning for this moment for the last 14 years. That is, how to get wealthy and follow a life on our terms. After a lengthy conversation, we decided that I will leave the workforce and pursue early retirement while spending much more time with our small children. There are two primary reasons I am leaving instead of her. First, I truly believe my spouse will be able to significantly out earn me in the short and long term. Second, she is truly passionate about her job, I am not.
We are on the cusp of being completely financially independent. However, there are risks to completely make the leap together right now. Just like being an extremely conservative investor, we are very careful in making this total transformation to financial independence and shedding the corporate handcuffs. Healthcare, paying for college and leaving behind a legacy for our family are all things we desire. In the years to come, I believe both of us will make the leap.
The Turning Point
I’ll be honest, I found myself trying to convince my wife to buy a million dollar house in the suburbs of Atlanta. Co-workers and friends have already done this. I know we make much more then them, so we should be as comfortable, right?
A million dollar house can buy a lot here compared to other major cities. Who doesn’t want a few manicured acres, affluent neighbors and 7000+ square feet of living space. It may need to be completely renovated, but we could do that over time. It would be the dream entertaining space. Plus it has a climate controlled 900 bottle wine cellar already. I always wanted one of those.
We can easily afford it with our large net worth and super-sized incomes. Not to mention the housing prices continue to rise due to many major corporations moving to the area, so we can consider it an investment.
This is flawed logic that is so easy to succumb to, and I almost did. I reconsidered. Is this worth the sacrifice of me continuing work a job I have grown bored of? Who is going to maintain all that space? I barely can keep up with our house that is half the size.
But the real question is, why is 7000 square feet the normal size house in this school district?
Money is Time
My financial and lifestyle turning point has arrived. I will leave a 15 year career at the prime of my earning power with highly desired experience with a booming technology in corporate America and retiring before the age of 40.
Accumulation of wealth driven by hard work and sacrifice has provided us with time. Time for one of us to leave the corporate world without jeopardizing our future plans for early retirement.
Our money invested in business provides us with cash returns to invest in other businesses. We are seeing total returns far greater than my salary alone could provide, all at little to no taxes. This wealth is now doing most of the heavy lifting and has bought us time. It wasn’t easy to get here. Just a few years ago, I thought we would never get here.
As I negotiate my exit from the workforce, I continue to day dream about our future lifestyle.