Rough Seas

Took Monday Off But Now I’m Back

So, there was no post yesterday, not because I’m lazy but because there was a lot going on. Not that I’m not lazy, but I just wasn’t yesterday. You understand.

As most of you know, I’m going through a rough patch in my life and having to sort of take a step back to examine where I’m headed. That means I had a big decision to make between two job offers, both of which were a cut in terms of pay but one allowed me to keep working from home. Unfortunately, that’s the job that came with the biggest cut.

That being said, I went with it.

Just the facts, ma'am.After comparing each point of both jobs in an Excel spreadsheet and weighing the pros and cons, trying to ignore the ease of just working from home as a factor and paying more attention to the pure facts, the answer became clear.

Clear, that is, assuming I work steadily to create a decent side business. As that’s been my intention for a long time coming anyway, it really made sense and is just the fire I need to get going with it. Even if that means starting small.

And actually, the offer isn’t as bad as it was previously. After some more back-and-forth, I was able to decrease the damage from around 38% down to about 35%. That means I’ll be able to take more advantage of my upcoming 401(k). It also means there’s less of a gap to bridge in terms of side income earnings. The amount isn’t laughable, but every bit I can shave off the distance helps.

Good Listening

In other news, Mad Fientist released his new podcast recently, which I listened to almost immediately. I’m listening to it again right now, in fact. So good. In this episode, he rapped about financial independence, early retirement and geographic arbitrage with Ed Mills from The Millionaire Educator. I don’t know if it was the fact that I was just out of Fientist podcasts for a while or if it was just a particularly interesting episode, but I found this episode the most inspiring by far. Ed Mills apparently started out 40k in the hole after going to grad school, then got to zero net worth at 35.

In other words, he started on his FI journey at 35. It took him a few years after that — I think when he was 37 or 38 — to hit the $100k mark, and then it just kept going up from there. The kicker, though, is that he and his wife did this as teachers.

Did you hear that? Teachers.

So many of us are ahead of the game in this respect. I know a couple of people in our community who are in their early 20s who have hit $100k net worth. To think that someone in their late 30s could hit that number, but then just consistently hit goal after goal is such a great example to the rest of us. One, that someone could do that in such a short time (I think he and his wife achieved FI within 15 years), and two, that he and his wife were on the same page for so long to the point where they achieved what we’re all after. And they did it all as teachers.

Just … wow.

The Library

Don't Touch My CakeAnother thing I’m excited about is learning about my local library’s collection of audio books. For a long while before I cut back on some unnecessary expenses in my life, I was paying $14.95/month or about $180/year for Audible. It’s a great service, but just unnecessary for me. So I put it on pause to make it easier to use up the credits that are just sitting there without accruing more in the meantime. Then I come to find out that my local library has a very similar service and it’s all free!

So now I can have my cake and eat it too.

Oh, and did you know that there’s this other service the library offers? It’s sort of like Netflix but offline. Apparently you can borrow actual books from this place, and as long as you don’t keep them too long, you don’t have to pay anything. I know, I know. I was blown away by it too.

Just keep that between me and you. We don’t want everyone to find out.

Rough Seas Ahead

Let me just say, today has been interesting.

So has the past month, for that matter. See, I’m currently a contractor and it was recently made very clear to me that I either join up as an employee or start looking for work elsewhere.

Of course, it was put in much nicer terms. I don’t work with monsters, after all. They value me as a team member and want to keep me on board. Had that not been the case, I suspect I would have been cut out a lot sooner. Luckily, I’m somewhat of a workaholic and the kind of work I do is in high demand for the time being. The only problem, dear friends, is that going from contract to salary is … tough. Rarely do you get the chance to do a straight contract-rate to salary conversion. In my experience, there’s always a cut. Always a price to pay for being a permanent member of the team with raises and the like.

So how much of a cut? Well, in my case, it’s about 38%. You might be familiar with that amount as most of what I save every month.


So I’m dealing with that at present.

Plus, I have another offer on the table that would mean commuting about 50 miles each way, but it’s for $15,000 more. I’ve done the math a number of different ways and even with tax deductions, traveling that distance would quickly beat that $15k bump into submission. In other words — it would work out to be about the same because I would spend a lot more on automobile-related expenses. Plus, there’s that whole opportunity cost of being in traffic for 2-4 hours every day. Yeah, the more I talk about that offer, the less desirable it sounds.

There are more perks to keeping the job I have now, of course. For example, I get to work from home every single day, which means I get to see my family. Every day. On top of that, I’ve been meaning to start a business for a long time and just haven’t gotten going. Keeping this job would mean there would be a certain … urgency … to that pursuit that wasn’t there before. I’d like to work that in my favor. There are parts of my brain sorting out the details right now (time to get some excellent sleep), but I now have an obvious challenge placed before me: earn the difference with a side business or bust.

It’s strange what times like these will do to your confidence and extremely important to reflect in order to turn emergencies like these into opportunities.

I mean, I’m not out of a job. By the time this change goes into effect, I will have fully funded my Emergency Fund and started investing. Things aren’t that bad. I’m just really bummed that I won’t get that big monthly infusion into my various retirement-focused accounts. The story I want this blog to reflect is that of someone who learned the error of their consumer ways a bit later, but not too late. Someone who faced successes despite bumps, setbacks and rough seas. Someone who doesn’t lie and pretend things are always happy.

I honestly hope that’s what you all take away from this.

For now, I’ve got a lot of thinking to do. A lot of talking to do with my wife. We have to make sure our expenses will be covered. Maybe this is the catalyst we needed to down-size the home (and mortgage payments with it) in an effort to live more simply.

Of course, I’ll keep you posted on where this takes me.

Wish me luck!