Re-evaluating the rat race

This guest post from Joe is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes.

Over the last year, some of my friends have left their day jobs to become a full-time bloggers. Their stories are inspirational, but their choice isn't for everybody. For instance, I'm still working at my full time job. It's tough to walk away from a good paycheck with great benefits in this economy.

I'm an engineer at a big tech corporation, and my salary is just into six figures. If I quit my full-time job to become self-employed, I would have to take a huge pay cut. Still, the idea is tempting.

Writing on the Wall

First, let me share why I will have to leave my high-paying job at some point.

I've worked in this field for over 15 years now, and the thrill is gone. It was a great challenge in the beginning, but my enthusiasm has been tapering off year by year. I find that I don't care about the latest release of the doodad version 5.70 and I doubt customers really care much either.

Lately, the corporate culture is wearing me out as well. I'm in a relatively senior position, and every year the management pushes me to do more and more. Every year, I have to work harder to earn the same pay. Over the past five years, my annual raise has usually just enough to beat back inflation. It's plain to see that the lack of motivation and the constantly increasing expectations will collide in the future.

Blogging for Bucks?

Can people really make money blogging? Of course. Look at J.D. here, for example. Crystal, at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, left her job and is making much more money now on her own. There are plenty of successful bloggers who are working for themselves and living a comfortable life.

But the more relevant question is: Can I, a regular Joe, make money blogging? I've been blogging for about a year-and-a-half and fortunately I find that the answer is “ye”s for me too. I don't make a lot of money at this point, but I can earn about $1,000/month online on the average. This is great as side income, but it's no way to earn a living. It's 90% less than I make from my full-time job. And if I quit my day job, I'd lose all my benefits as well. Can I take a 90% pay cut and maintain the same lifestyle?

Fortunately, I've been saving and investing a large portion of my income for many years, and I have a plan to cope with the 90% pay cut.

  • I'm investing in dividend stocks and the yield income is approaching $500/month.
  • I also invested in rental properties and plan to have about $1000/month of rental income.

Combining these two sources of income with my online income should bring in about $2,500/month. This is still a huge 75% pay cut, but $2,500/month is much more doable than $1,000/month.

I'm also exploring other sources of income such as peer-to-peer lending and freelancing. Fortunately, my wife likes her job and will continue to work full time. Her salary combined with $2,500/month would enable me to quit my job and still maintain our lifestyle. I can also jump on her health insurance plan.

Living Below Our Means

How is it possible to take such a big pay cut and still maintain the same lifestyle? That's because we've been living below our means for many years now.

We share one car, bring lunch to work, search for free entertainment, and more. The big problem I can see is that I won't be able to add as much to my retirement saving if and when I take this pay cut. I've been maxing out my 401(k) contribution for over 10 years, though, and I'm fine with not contributing for a few years. Once I earn more money again, I could restart contributions to the retirement funds.

The Bottom Line

So my answer is yes, I can walk away from a six-figure paycheck. It took a lot of preparations and it wasn't easy, but I'm very confident that I can make it work.

Some people will question my choice, but no job is really secure these days. It's better to be prepared for a big pay cut than to be surprised when it happens. If the HR folks hand me a pink slip tomorrow, it won't be the end of the world.

More about...Side Hustles, Career

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Ru
Ru
8 years ago

You are an engineer, yes? So you spent years training to get where you are, and after more than 15 years you say you’re sick of field. Why not look for something else engineering based? It’s a huge field. If the senior responsibility is burning you out, you could always look for a job with less pressure (different company or maybe even for a non-profit) which would probably give you a pay cut but earn you more than blogging. What happens if blogging stops paying one day? The internet is a fickle place. People’s tastes change, and sites can’t always… Read more »

indio
indio
8 years ago
Reply to  Ru

I don’t presume to know what is right for, but walking away from a potentially lucrative career, where your skills can be obsolete very quickly, is a difficult decision. I’d recommend asking for a raise and an opportunity to work in a different area, before you walked away. If you were leaving because you wanted to go back to school to learn CSS programming and leverage that along the way with a blog, I’d say go for it. JD worked in a box company, that is very different from what you do, so not a good comparison. Also, JD cashed… Read more »

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  indio

I’ve been saving and investing for over 15 years and I do have a big nest egg to fall back on. Making money online is not just about blogging. There will always be new ways to make money online. Bloggers who are making money online are ahead of the curve and hopefully can stay ahead of the curve no matter how online advertising changes.

Meghan
Meghan
8 years ago

@Joe, I am a bit confused by your article. On the one hand you seem to be ambivalent about leaving your day job (i.e. “I’m an engineer at a big tech corporation, and my salary is just into six figures. If I quit my full-time job to become self-employed, I would have to take a huge pay cut. Still, the idea is tempting.”). But the other hand it seems like you have already made up your mind (hence the blog title “Retire by 40”) and are not interested in considering other options such as consulting, freelancing, or switching to another… Read more »

KLL
KLL
8 years ago
Reply to  indio

There’s also the game of looking for another job that would probably pay more. You can either take the other job, or use it as leverage to get a bigger raise and/or less on your plate. It’s sad, but this is how corporate America works.
(Years ago when I got a job offer that included a salary of about 50% more — my boss offered to match it to keep me. I was leaving for reasons beyond salary (although that didn’t hurt!), so I didn’t take it, but the offer was there.)

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago
Reply to  Ru

I don’t understand either. You say: “I’ve worked in this field for over 15 years now, and the thrill is gone. It was a great challenge in the beginning, but my enthusiasm has been tapering off year by year. I find that I don’t care about the latest release of the doodad version 5.70 and I doubt customers really care much either.” Just because you don’t want to work on the next version of “doodad” doesn’t mean you have to leave the entire field. You can go work for a different company in the same field on a more interesting… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

Yeah, I didn’t realize this was the “retire by 40” guy when I first read the article this morning. From the blog it always seemed like his main reason for wanting to retire was to be a stay-at-home-dad, which is a very different motivation than what’s talked about here.

Anne
Anne
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

This is what I hate about many of the bloggers I see around. They aren’t honest about their perspective or their lives. Instead, they just write the article they know will get published and get as many hits as they can muster. And yet, bloggers don’t have the detached objectivity you see in good journalism. These days, so many bloggers seem to be either content monkeys or scheming to get rich quickly doing as little as possible (and hopefully from the nicest location or while their kid naps for 20 minutes). I see it more in the mother blogger world,… Read more »

Foghorn O'Kalashnikov
Foghorn O'Kalashnikov
8 years ago

And there are options beyond corporations, big or small. A friend of mine left our high-paying, high-stress field to be a college lecturer in the same area. The pay is a lot less, but substantially more than a blogger! And there are many fringe benefits like summers off, a pension and educational opportunities. Another went from the technical work we do to managing our business development team and loves the change in focus and reduced hours. I’ve never read this fellow’s blog, per Nicole’s comment below he may have family aspirations, but for anyone else hating your current job doesn’t… Read more »

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago

Thanks for the suggestion Tyler. To be truthful, I’m tired of the engineering field in general. My expertise is very niche and the field has a huge moat. I can’t start a company in this field. I can become a consultant or contractor, but then I will still have to work for the big guys. I know a few of my co-workers who left and it is very difficult to even get contracting jobs in this field. I’ll have to move to the Bay area to even get a chance at working for a small company.

Justin R
Justin R
8 years ago
Reply to  Ru

Solid first post Joe! Definitely understand where you’re coming from, modern corporate culture has a tendency to wear us all thin. However, blogging is not the best or only way to make money online. In is much harder to test ideas and get off the ground running than other methods and it is FAR LESS PROFITABLE unless you have a huge following. In the last year I discovered a coach that teaches you how to live the real “4 hour workweek.” I highly recommend you check him out, here is my success story: http://www.freedombusinessblog.com/justin_success_story subscribe to his free e-mail list… Read more »

dkyr
dkyr
8 years ago

I’m in a similar situation so i can understand the feeling of letting go…

One comment on the numbers though: the dividend + rental income are already there and are on top of the six-figure salary so the drop is still 90% and not 75% 🙁

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago

I agree with Ru’s suggestion to consider other engineering-based occupations as well. Maybe he’d consider adding “consultant” to his existing streams of income?

A career coach I interviewed once told me that a lot of people confuse disliking their work environment with disliking their actual job. Sometimes it’s a change of scene, not a change of career, than makes the difference.

Best of luck to Joe! Not that he needs it — he sounds pretty money-savvy to me 🙂

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

My company is actually one of the best technology company out there. They are always on the “best companies to work for” list and there are many fringe benefit. I think I’m just tired of working a corporate job and want to work for myself.
Thanks!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago

I wasn’t suggesting you work for another company 😉 I’m just saying there’s a difference between giving up the corporate lifestyle and giving up engineering.

I suggested consulting because I know people who hated the corporate life and are much happier working on contract (i.e. employed for several months working on a specific project) or as a consultant. They have more control and autonomy, but they’re still working in their field and keeping current. Sometimes they’ll work for a as long as a year or two, and sometimes they’ll take months-long breaks.

If engineering isn’t for you, that’s another story.

SB @ One cent at a time
SB @ One cent at a time
8 years ago

When’s the last time you switched job or department Joe? I think you should at least try for a year switching to a different boss and different colleagues, then see. Human thoughts change randomly often.

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago

I switched job a couple of years ago and I like this current position even less. I think I’m ready to move on to different challenges. Engineering is not fun anymore.

KittyWrestler
KittyWrestler
8 years ago

I did exactly what you wanted to do Joe. I worked for IBM for 10 years. Got so tired and burned out, I thought I hated the entire engineering field or the corporation. So I quit and started blogging full time. I only lasted one year. Not because of money, but lack of social aspect of life. I felt isolated, not respected cuz I am technically “joblsess”. The lack of routine and not able to tell if it’s Monday or Sunday wasn’t as fun as it sounded either. So I went back to the engineering field, but for a completely… Read more »

KittyWrestler
KittyWrestler
8 years ago
Reply to  KittyWrestler

I also want to add that unless you are prepared to handle the emotional aspect of not having a paycheck coming in every month. It can get very stressful. When I took a year off from corporate world, I blogged, sold stuff on eBay and did a few other random things. Not knowing exactly I would have was a culture shock to me. And I didn’t mentally prepare for it. But, I think it will take a person to walk down this journey to truly understand the pros and cons of both worlds. I walked both, so I could make… Read more »

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  KittyWrestler

Thanks for sharing your experience. That’s really helpful for me. I’m pretty sure I’ll have to take at least a year off and experience self employment. If I don’t last, I’ll find another job. I don’t think it’ll be the end of the world. It’s great that you found what’s right for you. Do you think you would have found it if you didn’t take the year off?
Come by my blog and say hello.

Jen
Jen
8 years ago

Clearly this reader is a smart person and has found success at work and in personal finance.

But even more clearly, this person reads too many blogs that talk about making a living from blogging.

There are so many ways to leave your job – new employer, contractor, consultant, small business, etc. that may have more potential than blogging. I am glad you are planning well financially but would recommend more thorough planning occupationally. Blogging can be a part of many careers without being all of it.

Good luck!

Chase
Chase
8 years ago
Reply to  Jen

I agree.

Yes this story was interesting, but I think blogging about blogging should be kept to an absolute minimum.

Ramona
Ramona
8 years ago

Yep, I get this feeling. As senior management, you’re squeezed on both sides – everything your team does wrong constitutes a lack of training on your part, conversely upper management is never accountable, so that’s your fault as well. It’s exhausting to say the least. As others have suggested, a change of company, or a lessor position might instill a return of some of that joy. You did work hard to get here, so give it a bit more, and see if a change can’t shake things up. I like the backup plan you’re generating, with the blogging and dividends.… Read more »

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai
8 years ago
Reply to  Ramona

One of the best things about MMM is that he made money in his investments during the biggest downturn in our lives. I’d love to learn how he did it. He should be a hedge fund manager!

Audrey
Audrey
8 years ago
Reply to  Ramona

My father was laid off from his company a few years ago, but he was rehired in a different department of the same company. His original job he had been a manager and frequently had to travel to Europe for meetings. His new job was a lower level job, and he had to take a pay cut. However, it was probably the best thing that could have happened. He could spend more time with the family and working on his hobbies, and he hated dealing with personnel problems and “being the boss”.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago

Ayayay, another “I quit life and return to the womb” post. Couple of things: 1) “Look at JD”. Look at the other 1/2 million bloggers who don’t make a cent also. 2) Crystal is not making money from the blog per se, she’s making the big bucks from providing business services to blogs. Different animal. Read the article you yourself linked, and the comments. 2) You may be suffering from a bit of depression. Why not talk to a professional just to discard the possibility of physical or philosophical causes for the “grey” feeling? Srsly. Bad food causes depression. And… Read more »

Laura
Laura
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Other than perhaps the last two paragraphs, total +1 to this reply. “Quit your job and become a blogger” seems like the trendy thing to do, but I agree that it looks more and more like a bubble to me. The advice for Joe to look at alternative careers where he could use his valuable expertise is excellent.

Kiernan
Kiernan
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Agreed. Nothing against Joe, who clearly wants a change and has put a lot of thought into it, but I’d love to see a post about a career change that doesn’t involve blogging. And maybe involves redefining their role vs. chucking it all. This is kind of what I did, when I kept my 6-figure job but negotiated a 4-day workweek from home vs. the standard 9-5 commute. But I guess that’s kind of a boring story since I just told it in a sentence 🙂

Anne
Anne
8 years ago
Reply to  Kiernan

That is NOT boring. I’d love to hear about it. Details please. Where do you work? Who paid to set up the new/home office. How does it work? Why you wanted this? Do you have children or other life challanges or did you just want more time for yourself? How do you motivate yourself? Do you work in work clothes or in pjs? Do you get up at the regular time you would have or earlier or sleep in? How do you do 5 days of work in 4 days or are you allowed to do less? Is everyone in… Read more »

LC
LC
8 years ago
Reply to  Kiernan

Kiernan,

I would love to hear all about this story! Same questions that Anne asks. Sounds very interesting and relevant to me.

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  LC

I second that!

Cara
Cara
8 years ago
Reply to  Kiernan

I did something similar: I negotiated a part-time arrangement where I could work three days a week and have more time for writing fiction. Fiction writers tend to be more realistic than many bloggers about how much money they can make from their writing. Every single author I’ve contacted, including a few NYT bestselling authors, told me, “Don’t quit the day job.”

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Maybe he’s got a million bucks saved up in the bank already and can do whatever the heck he wants after 15 years of work? How long have you been working, and how much have you saved?

mike crosby
mike crosby
8 years ago

I agree.

Plus there’s nothing like working out at your local butt sniffer’s club while the missus is at work. Get lucky and Ms Perky Noobs can always stop by for lunch.

I do this frequently myself. Oops, gotta go, wifey just read…

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

making money> Crystal is making over $35k/year from her main blog. She is making a lot more with her advertising service. depression> Yes, I’ve had bouts of depression before and have learned to recognize it. Taking pills is just a temporary fix and I don’t want to do that again. rental properties> It’s not easy, but there are many landlords out there. I’ve been a landlord for over 5 years and it’s not fun, but I can handle it. engineering> My field has a big moat and the only thing I can do is consultant/contract work for the big guys.… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago

i wouldn’t suggest pills–the best cure for depression is GO KILL A BIG FRIKKIN DRAGON.

living with no challenge or purpose except existence will just make you sadder. the world needs capable people, dammit! take you paycut if you must, but go somewhere where you’re needed and you can make a difference in other people’s lives.

of course this is your own individual life and you can do what you want with it, no need to receive anyone’s permission– i just need to voice my disagreement with the ideology that the ultimate goal of life is finding comfort.

Sharon
Sharon
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

What kind of medical training do you boys have? What are your qualifications for telling people not to take antidepressants? Or that “bad food” causes depression?

Clearly, none. Please do not give medical advice to people who might be naive enough to listen to you. You are wrong, wrong, wrong. But your carelessness in comments can cause some very real damage.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I didn’t give medical advice, I said go see a professional, he said “I don’t need pills” and okay, I’ve battled depression all my life and I know pills don’t cure meaninglessness– which was my point with the dragon-killing advice. But yeah I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV either. If he’s depressed he needs to see a pro– or pros.

20's Finances
20's Finances
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Concerning your point about #6 – real estate… That is failing to consider that lots of people make money from being a landlord even after hiring a property manager to handle the day-to-day items. If you take a look at Joe’s blog, you will realize that he is already doing it. You also seem to fail to realize the potential for earning money from a blog. A blog is just like any other online source of information and offers many advantages to news or corporate websites. Just because you don’t click on the ads, 1) doesn’t mean that no one… Read more »

Crystal Stemberger
Crystal Stemberger
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Just to put this out there, I do make around $36k a year from my main blog, another $20k or more a year from the rest of my blogs, and then about $100k or more a year from my blog ad business. And I only started blogging in February 2010 – my ad business started in April 2011. So I think making enough money through blogging to live on is very doable if that is what Joe is striving for. I know it annoys people to read about how to make money online, but I am not sure why. I… Read more »

LC
LC
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

This x 100 million. El Nerdo, you just outlined every one of the objections I had in my mind as I read this post. I would like the 10 minutes I spent reading this back now.

KittyWrestler
KittyWrestler
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Anyone who thinks rental property is a bad idea never really understood it nor did it for a while to know how to do it. It’s one of the best way to generate wealth as well as income. So if you think all the slumlords end up in court, you are so dead wrong!!! I have been a landlord for the past 20 years. Not a single time I ended up in court. There is work. But it’s truly the 4 hour per month work. But it takes a lot more time to learn the business right to minimize the… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago

PS- here’s a little Nietzsche for your breakfast. —— Alas! There comes the time when man will no longer give birth to any star. Alas! There comes the time of the most despicable man, who can no longer despise himself. Lo! I show you the Last Man. “What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?” — so asks the Last Man, and blinks. The earth has become small, and on it hops the Last Man, who makes everything small. His species is ineradicable as the flea; the Last Man lives longest. “We have discovered happiness”… Read more »

Catherine
Catherine
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

El Nerdo, I love you!

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Catherine

Ha ha, I think you love Nietzsche, which is great because Nietzsche is awesome! I merely quoted.

MeToo
MeToo
8 years ago
Reply to  Catherine

Me too!

gpjones
gpjones
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

El Nerdo,

Catherine beat me to it! I love you too. I always look forward to your comments. 😉

Anne
Anne
8 years ago
Reply to  gpjones

So true. It is sad that you’re ten times as interesting as any blogger out there right now. That includes the great JD Roth.

KS
KS
8 years ago
Reply to  Anne

Funny, I was just thinking, “Wish Nerdo would blog”.

sol
sol
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I always look forward to your comments- your presence on GRS keeps me (and many other readers, i’m sure!) coming back for more refreshing, entertaining, and enlightening material. Thanks so much!

TP
TP
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

El Nerdo, What community college did you go to?

Poor Student
Poor Student
8 years ago

I do not think I would give up such a high paying job to venture into such uncertain waters.

You seem to be really unhappy with your current job so find a different job. We probably all wish we could stay home and write for a living. Because there are so many people like you it is a very competitive environment.

I want to wish you good luck because what you want to do is tough and many people will think it is crazy. But if everyone could do it it would not be so great.

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai
8 years ago
Reply to  Poor Student

Let us know when you’ve on from being a “poor student” and making six figures for over a decade. Perspectives change.

sarah
sarah
8 years ago

What was the point of writing this article? You want to share your thoughts, but anyone else who shares theirs gets a nasty reply from you. I don’t think you’ll be a wildly successful professional blogger by insulting the people who take the time to read your writing.

Sara
Sara
8 years ago
Reply to  Poor Student

“We probably all wish we could stay home and write for a living.”

Actually, I think probably a lot of us don’t have this wish. This may be why stories about career folks wanting to leave their jobs in order to be bloggers are not resonating with several of the readers.

Poor Student
Poor Student
8 years ago
Reply to  Sara

Okay, better put would have been we all would like to be able to make enough money from home.
I myself probably wouldn’t enjoy writing for a living either, but I would really like to not have to go to work and instead be able to make money without leaving the house.

Anne
Anne
8 years ago
Reply to  Sara

Ummm actually staying home and writing a blog sounds like my idea of hell on earth. Especially one where I talk about myself all day.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago

Let me point out that I will happily run non-blog-related stories about career changes. I don’t intentionally share just blog-related articles like this. But that’s what you readers give me. Message received, though, that you’re tired of them.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

J.D, it’s not “we” the readers because you’ve set up the incentives in a way that’s not attractive for “the readers” in general. Readers stories aren’t paid. The benefit of posting a “reader story” is free publicity. So few civilians except for the naturally exhibitionist will want to send you a story. So guess who is going to send them? Other bloggers of course, looking to drive traffic to their sites (you yourself did this once upon a time, yes?). Another group is people looking to promote their online business (airline mile hackers for example). And so on. It becomes… Read more »

Chasa
Chasa
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

+1 on this El Nerdo. My goal is to find a lucrative job I love, and I expect to find it within a corporate 8 – 6 type scenario. I’d love to hear more about Kiernan who made his lucrative probably corporate job more enjoyable for him.

Vanessa
Vanessa
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Free Money Finance runs reader profiles all the time, and I’ve rarely seen a blogger profile, if ever. They usually prefer to remain anonymous as well, so no one is getting click backs to their business. I don’t feel like this site is overrun with blogging posts. I think everyone is just so sensitive to it that they notice it every time one is posted.

I agree that interviews by JD would be a good thing though, but I would like to see stories from people in all stages of finance, not just the successful ones.

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

April could probably do some excellent interviews– she’s got a great journalistic style.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
8 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

You all realize this is my concept for book #2, right? Interviews with folks from all walks of life about what does and does not work with their finances… This is what I’ve been kicking around with my agent. Publishers don’t really think there’s a market. I think they’re wrong.

Barb
Barb
8 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

Ill add that while I realize this blog is Get Rich Slowly, I would love to see articles about people who have left their jobs, settled for less and are happy that way, interspersed with the”make more money blogs”. those people are “sucessful” even if they make less money than they did when working.

Crystal Stemberger
Crystal Stemberger
8 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

FMF Reader Profiles have bloggers too. I know because I was one. He just doesn’t link to us in the profile. So if Joe wasn’t linked to, would this bug you less?

Adam
Adam
8 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

“Publishers don’t really think there’s a market. I think they’re wrong.”

Screw what publishers think, JD. Self-publish using Amazon. Here’s a great article on self-publishing. It’s long and has a lot of back patting by the authors, but I think it will be well worth your time.

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2011/03/ebooks-and-self-publishing-dialog.html

David
David
8 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

@J.D.

Why do you need a publisher? Couldn’t you hire an editor and self-publish via e-book (PDF, nook, kindle)? Your profit margin would be much much higher and cost to your audience could also be lower.

You have the good fortune to have a built-in audience, which has worked very well for many bloggers. Maybe even after you post some good e-book numbers the dinosaur publishers will consider running a print edition, if seeing your book in B&N really tickles you.

Vanessa
Vanessa
8 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

@ Crystal,

Not sure where I said I was bugged by anything. I mentioned FMF to point out that it’s not just blogger-types who share their stories. Maybe there are bloggers in his profiles, but they aren’t the majority.

Barb
Barb
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I’m going to agree with El Nerdo on this. And frankly, it doesnt even have to be about getting rich. alternative lifestyle and alternative income methods abound. In my personal circle, I know people who make a living buying and reselling, working online in virtual jobs, being landlords, having small businesses (errand business, power washing business). I also know people whove negotiated their jobs or just downsized a bit to be more comfortable. I dont object to this person quitting his job perse….. Although, I would need to ask two questions. In a highly technical field, once he’s gone, he’s… Read more »

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

“Do some journalistic legwork…”

YES!! Bravo! There’s a whole world out there that this increasingly insular blog neglects.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I sometimes consider writing articles and submitting them to J.D., but the last time I did that I spent at least a full day writing and rewriting my post, and mostly what I got out f it was a lot of abuse in the comments. I understand why that happened, but still, what would the best case outcome for me have been? Nothing particularly lucrative. Also the kind of posts I’d like to do often require original research, which makes them exceptionally time consuming. These are things like driving to work at 60 vs 70 mph for two weeks each,… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

I *do* have a blog, but not monetized (the whole having to care about advertising etc. is a PITA, and Maggie, like many academic bloggers, has some moral qualms that can’t be overcome by the current projected income if we were to monetize… we re-evaluate from time to time). It’s a hobby so we do what we want and don’t do what we don’t feel like doing. I get paid ~$500/article when I do free-lance– these are generally highly researched lengthy 3-5 page jobbers. It’s really hard for me to put that amount of effort into something unpaid. And whenever… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago

Yes guys, I said $100 as opposed to nothing, but I understand the different incentives would motivate different readers– $500 for Nicole, research money for Tyler, etc.

My point is that “free publicity” will only work with a narrow population. How can GRS get actual civilian readers to send their stories requires more thought. But yes. Please more ideas.

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I totally agree. As someone who’s ‘been there, done that’ when it comes to online business and blogging, I too am looking for business or career ideas that doesn’t involve relying on people to click on links all day. El Nerdo is right: for every JDs, Babautas and Rowses out there, there are thousands of people like me who barely made enough to pay for the domain name. The reality is that’s the risk you take in any business, but the rewards are worth it if you make it. It may take a few falls before you/I finally get it.… Read more »

Barb
Barb
8 years ago
Reply to  Carla

Gee, I just went back to school at sixty to get a degree…………never thought about blogging it per se, although it creeps in from time to time

Carla
Carla
8 years ago
Reply to  Carla

Barb, I think a blog for non-traditional students is a great idea. Topics such as financing /paying for it, supporting a household while going to school, how to keep up academically, etc.

KS
KS
8 years ago
Reply to  Carla

As a college professor, I think having the perspective of a returning student would be great. Study skills, balancing work, getting the most out of your classes, resources on campus…the list goes on. Such a blog would be motivation to many people who feel “too old” and “too stupid” to go back which is of course silly.

mike crosby
mike crosby
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I too would love this. I’ve tried finding it on the internet, but I don’t think there’s anything like that.

And your ideas would be different than what GRS is suppose to be about.

I’d love to just read stories of successful (boring) people and how they made it in life.

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago
Reply to  mike crosby

Wandering Scientist: http://www.wandering-scientist.com/2012/03/blog-carnival-on-work-life-logistics.html

and Femomhist: http://femomhist.blogspot.com/2012/03/iwd-how-to-do-it-all-one-womans.html

have a bunch of links this week… primarily about women who have made it, and what their day-to-day routines are like.

Anon
Anon
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

Or how about postings from people where things didn’t work out as planned? My father quit his engineering job in 1974 to “follow his passion”. Today, in his mid-70s, he is back working in the profession he hated just to make ends meet.

Looking back, would he do it all again? I don’t know because I’ve never asked him. It certainly would be an interesting case study!

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

JD, thanks for hosting my guest post. 🙂
Blogging will always be just a part time thing for me. I’ll be doing other things too. There are many opportunities for an independent career in Portland.

Barb
Barb
8 years ago
Reply to  J.D. Roth

Crystal, all any of us are saying (I think) is that if you want to leave the rat race, there are a million choices to make. Blogging is not for everyone. Blogging for money is not for everyone. I dont get offended by making money online ideas-I think that they appeal to a niche, especially stay at home t ypes with kids. But there are many, many alternatives to a “real job”, from using your skills as a consultant onward. I know someone who makes a living (now part time but building all the time) as an amazon bookseller. Aother… Read more »

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

For all the bloggers who successfully have rental property, there are CNN Money stories about people losing tons of money by trying to make rental income (not to mention bloggers climbing out of rental property related debt!). My husband is starting to pick up engineering consulting jobs (first one this summer) to help with a career change. Additionally, there aren’t many engineers willing to do management, so you should be able to double your salary if you’re willing to move (though if you have to physically move rather than just change companies, it may not be worth it given your… Read more »

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  Nicole

The problem is people didn’t do their homework and couldn’t cash flow their properties. People expects to make money when they sell properties, but when the market turned down, they are stuck with it. If your properties have positive cash flow with rents, then it’s much easier to make it work.

Nicole
Nicole
8 years ago

Last I checked you hadn’t gotten positive cash flow yet, but I guess that’s changed?

Sharon
Sharon
8 years ago

Joe, you have to keep in mind that a single meth lab in your property can destroy your entire net worth in one swoop. If the chemicals get into groundwater, which can happen, the EPA lets you pay to clean it up. You also get to pay to remove all contaminated soil and ship it to a hazardous-waste landfill. You are, of course, free to find your former renter and sue in court to be reimbursed.

Can you insure against that? If not, you need to take steps to avoid this problem.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago
Reply to  Sharon

I would bet that you are 100 times more likely to die in a car accident or have a heart attack than you are to have a renter contaminate the groundwater via meth production and be forced to pay for its cleanup. The idea that fringe cases like this are something to worry about in particular is laughable. On the other hand, my father in law mortgaged his primary residence during the housing money to purchase cheap rental properties in other states. When the housing market collapsed so did rent prices in these cheap markets and he ended up losing… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago
Reply to  Sharon

Clarification: by “all three properties” I mean two rental properties and his primary residence. He rents a small apartment now.

jim
jim
8 years ago
Reply to  Sharon

A meth lab usually costs $5000 to $10000 to clean up. Of course theres cases when its much worse but those would be very rare. Thats still a huge expense but hopefully that kind of bill won’t ruin Joe financially. In any case meth labs are quite rare.

Broken furnaces, renters that skip out without paying, torn up carpets, leaking roofs, renters who get arrested, busted water pipes are all lots more common things for a landlord to be worried about.

Sharon
Sharon
8 years ago
Reply to  Sharon

If you think meth labs are rare, I strongly suggest that you call your local police department and ask them. And it isn’t unheard of for the entire house to have to be razed and parked in a hazardous waste landfill. In addition, you pretty much can’t sell the place afterwards and trying to rent it is hard as well. You MUST advertise that it was a meth house or apartment afterwards, even after cleanup. If you choose to ignore that law and moral responsibility, and someone’s health is affected, you are now legally liable for all damages. I’m pretty… Read more »

kevin
kevin
8 years ago

Best of luck. I’m not sure if your job is causing you lots stress or if you are just starting to find it boring. In my case, I worked a job for 15 years that was very stressful. On more than one occasion I suffered from severe anxiety and depression. A little over 2 years ago I was able to find a job in the same field, but one that has much better hours and is MUCH less stressful. It’s not thrilling – in fact it’s a repetitive cubicle job. And I feel like I’m unbelievably fortunate to have it.… Read more »

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  kevin

Thanks for the suggestion. I already limited my hours and that is causing some problems with performance. It’s been tough the past few years because it’s an employer market and they expects more performance for the same pay.
My company is one of the best companies to work for. They are on every list out there. I should try working for a smaller company as you suggested, but in this area, there are not many companies. I’ll have to move to try other work environment.

jim
jim
8 years ago

You can always look for internal transfers to other positions. If its a big enough company the work environment can vary drastically from one division to another. My friend and I work at the same company and he used to go through 70 hour a week with slave driver managers and I have a pretty nice 40 hour schedule. Same company, different divisions.

Financial Samurai
Financial Samurai
8 years ago

Joe,

I hope you do it. I’ve read several of these posts from you now over the months, so it is time. Take the leap of faith. No more talking about it! Let’s go! 🙂

S

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago

I’m working on it. 🙂

Anne
Anne
8 years ago

Maybe you should have waited and written this article after you actually did it and had something to contribute.

Nick
Nick
8 years ago

Love the analysis, Joe. A few more rental properties and the decision may be pretty easy. I, too, would probably take a 50% paycut (initially) to work from a laptop wherever I want (and for only myself) and have a management company run a few rental properties for me.

Fortunately I’m in no rush, loving my day gig (even though it kicks my butt relatively often…) and slowly building up an online community and passive rental income.

Great guest post!

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  Nick

If you love your day job, you should stick with it. I like my job at the beginning and that’s one reason why it’s taking so long for me to leave.

20's Finances
20's Finances
8 years ago

Joe, Thanks for your post – I really appreciate the value of living below your means that you display. Many people earning 6 figures would spend all of their money on thrills, but by saving it for the future, you are actually demonstrating that you don’t have to be tied to your corporate job or high salary. I feel like many people convince themselves that money is the most valuable thing in the world even if they are unhappy. Thanks for being a voice of reason that money does not equal happiness. There’s more to life than earning a lot… Read more »

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  20's Finances

Thanks for comment Corey. Making more money is great when you like your job. If you’re stuck in a job you don’t like because of the money, then it’s time to rethink that lifestyle. It’s no fun going through life being miserable.

Amy
Amy
8 years ago

My story is nowhere near as dramatic as Joe’s or JD’s, but still shares some points. Twenty+ years ago I was a high-level programmer-analyst making good money (if not in their league!) on a track that would have directly led to far more. I was also miserable with my life and unable to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I now make less than a third of what I did when I left, and far less than what I would have been making by now had I stayed. I also would have been eligible for full retirement next year, had… Read more »

Barbara
Barbara
8 years ago
Reply to  Amy

I’m with Amy. I left a high stress, higher paying job for one that suits my lifestyle better and I couldn’t be happier. I still make a decent salary at about $60K a year and have vested in a defined benefit retirement plan. More importantly, I really like my job and don’t dread working. I have no doubt that I will be able (and eager) to work years longer since I have a job that fits me and my life so well. Like Amy, I don’t have a new car but my 8 year old car only has 105,000 miles… Read more »

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  Amy

Thanks for the encouraging comment Amy.
I think the key here is – I also would have been eligible for full retirement next year, had I lived that long.
I agree completely. The stress at this company will definitely reduce my life span. I’d rather live a longer more happy life than one with more expensive stuffs.

Amy
Amy
8 years ago

You’re right. I wish I had realized that myself sooner. I had become clinically depressed. I woke up tired, went to work, then came home and went back to bed. Repeat next day. I did go on medication, and as soon as I came out of the black fog I realized what was pulling me down. I resigned shortly thereafter. Money is useless without joy. It took time to develop the confidence to follow my heart when everyone around me was loudly telling me what an idiot I was being. Somewhere along the line that changed. Now people see me… Read more »

Jojo
Jojo
6 years ago

Awesome, Joe. Just found your blog yesterday and it’s interesting to see your journey prior to the retirement. I’m ‘slightly’ older than you – 46, and retiring in a month! Hubby already did so 4 months ago. I’m quite impressed with your courage even after reading all the discouraging comments. And makes me realize a few things to make our goals come true: – pick the right spouse. this could make or break you – pick the right friends, who are supportive of your goals. Sadly, sometimes you need to acquire new friends in the process We just started planning… Read more »

mike crosby
mike crosby
8 years ago
Reply to  Amy

Amy, wow. I’d like to read your story.

Amy
Amy
8 years ago
Reply to  mike crosby

Thanks, Mike, that’s flattering. I’ve debated trying to do that at times, but I keep finding that I am still too busy living my life to stop and write about it. I have been very fortunate; I have been able to follow many opportunities over the years. My path is in many ways very chaotic: many major life changes, career changes and two marriages along the way, but I wouldn’t give any of it up. I have been a horse trainer, (mainframe) computer programmer/analyst, electrician, network administrator/online help developer, VP of a television production company, and professional quilter (I still… Read more »

Allan Williams
Allan Williams
8 years ago

I did the same thing you are contemplating in 1990. I went from drilling oil wells to being a stockbroker. Most with whom I worked could not believe that I could make the transition….they couldn’t do it so how could I. The same was true when I jumped from being a landscaper to drilling oil wells. The buzz was…howdidhedodat?? So I am predicating what I am going to say by saying that I am a person who has been blessed with the ability to do just about anything I decide to do. So the one thing I have learned is… Read more »

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  Allan Williams

Thanks for your inspiring comment Allen. Those are some career jumps. I’ll keep contributing to my retirement fund as long as I can. Even if I make less money, I’ll contribute less.
We’ve been living on one paycheck for over a year now and saving/investing the rest. We are still relatively young and can take some chances. I think if I wait 5 more years, I won’t be able to take those chances anymore.

Money Infant
Money Infant
8 years ago

I think you are about where I was circa 2010…it took me another year to finally say enough was enough and make the jump. Granted I wasn’t making a 6 figure salary, but I don’t think it would have made a difference. And your 6 figure salary where you live would probably be comparable to my $60k in semi-rural PA. You could leave your company for another engineering job and yeah it would probably gain you another 3-5 years before you were in the same funk again. Sometimes you need to strike out on your own. The freedom and responsibility… Read more »

Sara
Sara
8 years ago

I do think that the internet personal finance blog is over-saturated. However, if someone enjoys writing I would imagine there are other lucrative topics. There are so many ways to plan a semi-retired income. Even as I am preparing for my new career, I keep my eyes open to other possibilities. Consulting and/or writing comes to mind. I would imagine that someone trained as an engineer could find a speciality niche that would provide some income. And there are practical skills than can provide income as well. A guy sharpens knives at our local farmer’s market about once a month… Read more »

Edward Antrobus
Edward Antrobus
8 years ago

My father-in-law retired two years ago because it was easier than finding a new job. They can easily afford their lifestyle on my mother-in-law’s salary and still have plenty of money to spoil the grandchildren. Personally I don’t see myself ever retiring as long as I’m physically able to work. That said, I support Joe’s decision. If you can afford to live without the salary and the thought of not having a “day job” doesn’t form a pit in your stomach, why not? You’re happy and there’s a job opening for somebody else. Win-Win. As far as the argument that… Read more »

average guy
average guy
8 years ago

Great discussion. It seems to me that Joe already made up his mind, and is already moving towards his goal of leaving the engineering world. Some of the reasons he presented seems somewhat contrived, but the reasons don’t really matter when one’s heart is set on a new direction. One can only hope he has looked at all the risks and all the potential downsides and is prepared for it all. (I do agree to a previous poster that the blogging world seems in an oversaturated bubble. Too many bloggers writing, and all the bloggers are reading each other’s blogs,… Read more »

jim
jim
8 years ago

Whoa – you’ve got a kid? How are you going to save for his/her college? What happens when your wife gets burned out or resentful that you get to spend the day at home with your child while she has to be the main breadwinner? I totally get the burn out. I’ve been a trial attorney for over 25 years. I’m sick of it and I’m sick of the office politics but I am forcing myself to hang in there another 10 years or so to finish paying our kids’ college, pay off the house and completely fund our retirement.… Read more »

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  jim

Jim, you job sounds really stressful. Hope you can handle 10 more years with minimal side effects. I’m pretty sure I can’t stick it out another 15 years. I’ll go nuts and my health will not hold up. Yes, we do have a kid. We are contributing to the 529 now, but will probably have to cut back with the income reduction. He can always get a loan if needed. Hopefully, in 18 years the rental income will cover his tuition. Or else we’ll sell some of the rentals. As for the Mrs. We’ll see, but I’m pretty sure I’ll… Read more »

Jim
Jim
8 years ago

Joe, I get the whole “health concern” – that I really, really do understand. However, the older you get, the harder it is to keep on top of your game – job-wise. And giving your son a debt-free education is one helluva gift. I never had that and neither did my spouse. We’re giving that to all of our kids. I understand the wanting to be a HUGE part of your child’s life ’cause their little for such a short time. However, financial security is huge. My spouse and I worked flex hours to ensure we were with our kids… Read more »

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  Jim

Jim, I really appreciate your comment here. I know it will be almost impossible to get back into the field. My co-workers who left are having a very difficult time finding employment.
Giving a lucrative salary is kind of crazy in this economy…

Andrew
Andrew
8 years ago

If and when and after you make the jump, there will be much more time to reflect and plan other moves. Consulting, writing, landlording, whatever… And a lot more time spent @ home with the kiddo. That, you can’t get back.

Jacq
Jacq
8 years ago

I think it’s worthwhile to consider a trial year or 6 months as a blogging / working sabbatical. See if you really like it that much when it becomes your main job rather than diversion from your job. The occasions where anything is really “too late” are pretty rare, moreso since (I believe?) you’re under 40 y.o. You might find (as I did when I was self-employed) that you don’t really make a very good boss to yourself. You might realize how much you miss working with others in real life. You might learn how to set better boundaries in… Read more »

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  Jacq

That’s a good suggestion. I took 3 months off last year and I had a great time. A year off will be a much better indicator.

Jacq
Jacq
8 years ago

Joe, 3 months is still “vacation mode” – wait until you realize that this is your new LIFE and it can become same old, same old pretty darn fast. I was thinking about this some more and I’d do whatever I could to try to pull back but keep some job security. When we’re under stress, most people tend to have “all or nothing” thinking – that whole “take this job and shove it” mentality. The best plans are often “AND” kind of plans though. Try to have your cake and eat it too. I’ve been where you are and… Read more »

Joe
Joe
8 years ago

The “doodads” you speak of matter to somebody – if they created 0 value, your employer wouldn’t be making any money from them. There’s got to be more constructive ways to rectify the divergence between your career expectations and your current job’s demands. Even if you needed to leave your current job and its safety net, there are ways that you wouldn’t need to throw away 15 years of work and presumably time/$$$ of college. In the end it’s a free choice, but the free market will pay you according to the value generated. Note that your blogging salary is… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  Joe

I wanted to re-thumbs-up this, now that I read it again.

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  Joe

You are right and I’m sure you have one of these doo-dads at home. 😉
How much money do you really need though. People change careers all the time. I don’t think I am throwing away 15 years of work and experiences. It got me where I wanted to be and it’s a stepping stone.

PawPrint
PawPrint
8 years ago

Just want to say good luck with whatever you decide. It sounds like you’re putting a lot of thought into your plan.

yourPFpro
yourPFpro
8 years ago

I have a great solution for you! Start taking it easy at work. Think of it as just a paycheck. Slowly build up your blog while doing the bare minimum at work. You won’t get promoted, you won’t get big bonuses, you won’t get large raises, but you won’t get fired.

If you get laid off, take 2 years of Obama money and go to Thailand and do whatever middle aged men do there.. 🙂 Have fun!

CB
CB
8 years ago
Reply to  yourPFpro

Obama money? Is that unemployment? Only paid if one is actively seeking work after having lost a job for another reason than being fired, and discontinued if one is out-of-town. What do many foreign male tourist do in Thailand? Participate in the sex trade, which is highly exploitive of young Thai women and the Thai culture in general (spoken as someone who has Thai relatives). This is a legacy of the U.S. military’s Vietnam era R&R in Thailand and has had a huge social costs for poor families and women in general. The sexual disease and frequent heart attacks among… Read more »

krantcents
krantcents
8 years ago

Life is a matter of choices and multiple streams of income. I like the idea of including as many sources of income as possible. If you are unhappy at this company, investigate another. Build up your rental property, dividends and blog income. Nothing is assured in life, so do it all.

Rosa
Rosa
8 years ago

For everyone saying someone shouldn’t quit a job they dislike & find stressful, while I’m very sympathetic re need to stay current, worry about future income, etc., I think people are missing one consideration – health. It doesn’t sound like Joe’s situation is utterly desperate, but how does anyone know? My husband left a full time position at my urging after the stress of a truly nightmare job landed him in the hospital multiple times. Yes, we have less money now. I am working, at a decent but not exceptionally lucrative job. He’s been slowly building a career in a… Read more »

Anne
Anne
8 years ago
Reply to  Rosa

Rosa – your story seems more interesting. I have nothing against Joe leaving his job and starting out in a new field. He may need a change. He may love a change. If he can find success and happiness, that’s great. If he doesn’t, he’ll find a way to survive. I just think there is something else about this article that is rubbing people (like me) the wrong way. It may be the way it is written, which is a bad sign for Joe and his potential career as a writer. There are so many stories that are popping up… Read more »

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  Rosa

Health is one huge consideration for me. I didn’t talk about it much, but quite a few people in my group passed away. I can’t blame it all on stress, but I know my health is deteriorating as long as I stay in this stressful position. I’d rather be a bit poorer and be around for the family than 6 feet under.
Thanks for sharing.

Peach
Peach
8 years ago

That’s such an important consideration. Good health isn’t guaranteed and it’s a priority to spend time with our loved ones. Sounds like you’ve thought this through and saved money for it. I may have missed it, but have you set a timeline?

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  Peach

I’ll be 40 in 2013, but I might pull the trigger this year…

Jojo
Jojo
6 years ago
Reply to  Rosa

I’m with you – I’m quite surprised with so many negative comments on Joe. The guy is contemplating (and obviously made it happen now) a better life for him and his family by being healthy and happy. Two important factors in life that everyone should consider. There is nothing wrong about making income in a non-traditional way. Two years ago, when we started renting out our home as a part of our strategy to retire, some of my husband’s friends actually went awol on us. They also started making accusation behind our back that I caused financial strain on my… Read more »

Economically Humble
Economically Humble
8 years ago

Ahem, its easy to walk away from a solid income when you have plenty in the bank. 😉

sixfigures
sixfigures
8 years ago

I walked away from a six figure job last year, with a similar mindset, sizeable savings, and a sense that I wanted to do something somewhere else that was more fulfilling, or work for myself. Like many people lucky enough to keep my job in the years after 2008, I was working flat out. However, my experience was quite difficult: 1) I thought it would be simple to shop my skills on the open market, having worked for 15 years and always been successful in my former companies, but the reality is that this is a highly competitive economy, a… Read more »

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  sixfigures

That’s good constructive advice.
We’ve been banking all my paycheck for over a year now and at this point don’t need it to survive. You are right that building wealth is much easier with the 6 figures paycheck.

KittyWrestler
KittyWrestler
8 years ago

And it’s also much easier for you to walk away from you job knowing that you don’t ever have to work the rest of life. I think you are on the path already. You just need a few more years to build substential wealth to get to that point. Using myself as an example, I did the same thing you did. Walked away from 6 figure job, but only finding that it was quite hard and not a single mean to build more wealth anymore. I came back to the corporate world. Put much emphasis on building my divident paying… Read more »

Ben
Ben
8 years ago

Congratulations on your plans! I have been in a similar situation two years back. My issue was that I was completely burned out from working 60+ hours weeks. I went through the same thought patterns / plans as you did. However, looking back I figured that I did not need a new profession, I needed an extended time-out. I worked for ~2 years on my side-projects while working 1-2 days a week as contractor for my old employer to pay the bills. I just returned beginning 2012 to full time in my ‘old’ job, which does not look old to… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
8 years ago

I’ve got to agree with El Nerdo. Reading the original post, and his responses to the flood of perfectly reasonable alternative suggestions, it’s clear to me that the OP has already made up his mind and is rationalizing away anything that could possibly dissuade him from it. He feels he’s worked hard enough, and now he wants to kick back and relax for the rest of his life and let his wife carry the load from here on out. Not something I could do, but hey, it’s his life. If he’s comfortable with it, then as JD always says, “Do… Read more »

Jessica
Jessica
8 years ago

I have a Masters and had 8 years of experience in my field and I had enough. I planned for 3 years, transitioned to part time for 1 year (32 hours per week was part time for me), and then I resigned. We already lived well below our means. Best decision I have ever made (other than marrying my husband and having my children).

Erika
Erika
8 years ago

Hi! Kudos to you for being so financially responsible that you find yourself blessed enough to have the option to leave your 9-5. Now my 2 cents…lol…have you ever considered weaning out of a full time “regular job” by taking on a part time “regular job” before taking the plunge? For example, part time teaching at local school/college, the local coffee house, bookstore, landscape management, some contract engineering-type work, or whatever sort of part time employment looks fun and interesting (opportunity to explore new territory!). This could perhaps help you to adjust to your new lowered salary and see if… Read more »

Parenting and Money
Parenting and Money
8 years ago

Joe, good luck with your plans. I also work in IT so I can relate with your work life. I don’t think you’re giving up on life at all. In fact, I think it’s the opposite. It’s much easier to stay within the comforts of your current job than taking a risk to do something else. Specially if you’re going to walk way from a good paying career. Lots of parents reduce their hours or opt to stay at home to take care of kids. Other people like yourself choose to build their own business. Whatever the reasons may be… Read more »

Sharon
Sharon
8 years ago

The difference between young parents who do that and Joe is the word “young.” Age discrimination is so severe, Joe will likely be unable to get another job later.

I generally make my decisions in a way that give me the most options later. In this case, Joe, a sabbatical will give you options that quitting and walking away won’t.

Cujo
Cujo
8 years ago

Congrats, I guess, modulo my agreement with most of the complaints above. I just wanted to chime in, as the sole earner in the family, not all of us have this luxury.

WorkSaveLive
WorkSaveLive
8 years ago

Joe, We’ve had some exchanges at our blogs and I love the fact that you’re going to pursue something you love. You are going to do great and I wish you all the best! It’s so important to find balance in life and enjoy what you do. I was in a very similar situation as you are and I will never regret the decision I made to take a $70,000 pay cut. Sure, a lot of these comments are negative (as were many on my post to pursue my dream job), but it just goes to speak as to what… Read more »

Bella
Bella
8 years ago

I think I would have liked this article if Joe were leaving his job to do ANYTHING but blogging. I agree with Nerdo – free reader stories are only incentive to those who ‘get paid’ otherwise – through advertising for their blog or business, or just cause theyr’e egomaniacs.
Tyler (and the other gal who negotiated a shorter work week from home) hit the nail on the head, there is a lot to write about – but the people who are most interesting – unfortunatly are busy living their lives instead of writing about it.

frugalportland
frugalportland
8 years ago

I’m so excited to see where this goes for you! A few of my friends are engineers too and they feel trapped since they know it would be really challenging to make as much money doing ANYTHING else, and so they stay miserable. More than comfortable, but miserable.

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  frugalportland

Some of my engineers friends enjoy their job and that’s great for them. I also know some that hate working at this company, but they keep coming to work everyday. It’s not easy to let go of a good paying job.

Sherry
Sherry
8 years ago

I do agree with some of the comments that are a little wary of this article. However, they doesn’t like his job, he doesn’t like his job. He isn’t saying blogging is the only thing – and clarified in the comments it isn’t the only thing he is going to do. He already has the income from rentals coming in, already has a nest egg saved, yadda, yadda, yadda. I get sick of the whole I am gunna chuck my day job to blog too sometimes. But in reality, that isn’t what his article was entirely about. Joe – I… Read more »

Anne
Anne
8 years ago
Reply to  Sherry

Hey, if he wants to quit, quit. My partner sees applicants all the time who would love to move into a decent engineering job. Retire by forty by all means. Make room on that ladder people who want to work.

celyg
celyg
8 years ago

What stuck out to me is that nowhere did I read “I love blogging and this is what excites me!” — it feels like blogging is going to be just as boring down the line. Maybe the benefits of not being corporate will alleviate that, but it’s still a job.

Anne
Anne
8 years ago
Reply to  celyg

Maybe you just hit the nail on the head! Maybe that’s what got under my skin.

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  celyg

You caught that! 🙂
I like blogging, but it is just part time work. I will be a stay at home dad when I leave my full time job. How about this – I love staying home and raising the kid. cheers! 😉

bobj
bobj
8 years ago

Hate my job.. Love my paycheck.
was going to leave..but my accountant said instead of retiring, it would be better to keep working and have one hellva time spending the money I make and stop funding retirement (that way the retirement funds keep building)
..the plan seems to be working, however I feel your pain.

Rita
Rita
8 years ago

I understand all the comments. They are well thought out and all possibilities. I also am on the senior end of things. There comes a time in your position where not much if anything is new anymore. I’ve been shoved around like I’m a youngster without experience and treated with much disrespect. Because they wanted me out. You look at the possible years you have left to live and find that living frugally looks good in comparison to what you do each day. It is dog eat dog out there. I have retired and live much more frugally than most… Read more »

Peach
Peach
8 years ago
Reply to  Rita

So many people are going through something similar, Rita. I agree frugality is the way to go. I used to hear about janitors and waitresses who saved thousands by living thrifty lifetimes but I think most of us are trying to adapt to a changing workplace, job loss and lower income. You are not alone. it helps that everywhere I turn, others are sharing their tips on making it in this economy. Hope to hear more from you in future about how you’re doing!

Farm Mom
Farm Mom
8 years ago

I was 30 when I “retired” from the cube farm. My situation was very similar; it was so hard to leave the big paycheck. But totally worth it to live out my values, my dream and dedicate my life to my family. I am very blessed and grateful that my husband has a steady job to provide for our family. I won’t kid you, though. We’ve had to make some major adjustments and cutbacks because we are living on less than half of what we were used to and we faced some major (huge) unexpected expenses. It hasn’t been easy.… Read more »

Jim
Jim
8 years ago

Joe,
Just so you know, when I said what happens if/when your wife becomes resentful that you’re staying home with the kid while she’s at work, I wasn’t insinuating that you wouldn’t be contributing enough, and therefore, she’d be resentful. I am talking about real life experiences, where the mom will on some level resent not being home with her baby – regardless of the amount of your contribution. Just a heads up.

Joe @ Retire By 40
Joe @ Retire By 40
8 years ago
Reply to  Jim

Jim, we are a bit late to the parenting game and just had a kid. thanks for the heads up.
I haven’t thought much about mom resenting spending less time with the kid.
If that happens, then I’ll have to figure something out.
The Mrs. is a workaholic type and she can’t be a stay at home mom. Perhaps if she want to spend more time with the kid, she can reduce to part time and I can pick up a part time job.

Peach
Peach
8 years ago

I’d like to say that the mean-spirited comments and petty criticism in some of these posts is frustrating. I started reading this blog a few months ago and overall, the stories have been interesting and I’ve been able to contribute my thoughts and pick up several pointers. This is the second email where there’s been a lot of snarky comments and nasty remarks and for those of us who work all day and have limited time to spend online, it takes toooo much time to wade thru all the negativity to get to the truly helpful responses. I’m NOT an… Read more »

Jim
Jim
8 years ago
Reply to  Peach

Peach, Mean-spirited, snarky, sniping comments? I’m not seeing them. I suspect your dealing with a loved one who’s coping with a life-threatening illness is stressing you out – bad! Been there, done that, am still doing that. Dad with Parkinson’s – worse yet, Mom with Alzheimer’s. Lash out at the world if need be – better yet, go get a deep tissue massage. But don’t project your anger onto people who are honestly trying to help another human being. There’s not nasty stuff going on here that I can see. Just honest, hopeful advice. Sorry you’re going thru whatever it… Read more »

Peach
Peach
8 years ago
Reply to  Jim

The fact that my post, directed at no one in particular, inspired such a rant from you is a case in point. You’re wasting your time attacking me just because I hit a nerve with you. Just try to be a nicer person online, and treat people the way you’d want to be treated. Wishing you the best. My sympathies for what you’re going through.

Jim
Jim
8 years ago
Reply to  Peach

Oh honey,
Please do try dealing with this world intellectually and rationally. YOUR feelings really aren’t going to cut it. Seriously, you need to grow up and get over yourself.

Miesha Brazington
Miesha Brazington
8 years ago

Everything is “in the cloud” I trust you are being funny, but in case you do not know, NOTHING is stored “in” the cloud. Again at Sterling Forest NY there are tons of IBM servers storing cloud data for a wide variety of firms. I have seen then, nicely labeled. Ann Taylor, etc. So these are not “in” a cloud but in a (GASP) IBM DATA CENTER!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG. So, the list DOES apply, doesn’t it?

Nathaniell
Nathaniell
6 years ago

I really enjoyed this article and am sorry to see such negative comments from the crowd. But I’ve seen the same thing happen on my own blog. Who knows? I guess the anonymity of the internet brings out the claws and fangs that most folks hide on a daily basis.

I think it’s awesome what you’re doing, and I’ve got similar plans myself. Do your best to take the criticism in stride and stick to your plan.

Nathaniell

Pierre
Pierre
4 years ago

Hey Joe,

I think it takes a lot of courage to do what you did. I just stumbled upon this article and since it is a couple of years old, I am wondering how you are doing so far.

I plan to do the same thing, I want to walk away from my 9 to 5 job, this is my life and I don´t want to waste it, working for somebody else who does not really appreciate my work.

Cheers,

Pierre

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