My Last Day of Work… (January 20, 2015)

by FI Fighter on January 20, 2015

in Work Update

Today was my last day of work… No, not quite what you had in mind there, I’m guessing, but close… 😉

Starting tomorrow, I will begin my leave of absence away from work to focus on my health. As I mentioned before in previous posts, I’ve decided to stop running the race… My body is breaking down, so it’s about time I addressed this very important concern.

Sure, I could probably force myself to “suck it up” and grind out the remainder of this year… but at what cost? Making lots of money is great, of course, and investing it is even more fun!!

But if I lose my health in the process, then it will all be for NOTHING!

I’m getting older, so I should also be getting smarter. Enough is enough… I’ve finally decided to shut things down and take an extended break. Health is my number one priority for 2015. I’ve realized, I can always make more money later… jeopardizing my health is no longer an option for me.

As it pertains to early FI, where do we stand now? Well, at this moment in time, I honestly don’t feel like I’m quite there yet. Even though the monthly cash flow is currently sitting at ~$2,700/month, I’m too much of a realist to allow myself to think that I have enough to get by long-term with that… With rental properties (and only seven units, in my case!), the fluctuations from month-to-month are simply too volatile for comfort. A prolonged vacancy or large repair bill would easily wipe me out! Again, these concerns are the reasons why I’m so insistent on stashing lots of cash ($100,000+) prior to calling it quits.

Initially, I wanted to use 2015 to hoard more cash and perhaps acquire a few more cash flow generating assets. Unfortunately, now that I’ve decided to take some extended time off, I’m going to have to scrap that plan entirely.

And one thing I’ve realized on the early FI journey is that you simply can’t plan for everything in life… I’ve spent the last 3 years obsessing over all the details of early FI… You could even describe me as OCD… and all of this has taken a toll…

Sometimes, you just gotta let life happen… I don’t have all the answers right now, so I’m not going to pretend that I do. I just know that I need some rest to recharge the batteries, so that’s what I intend to do. You may have a million questions to ask me… and I have a million unanswered questions as well…

  • Will I get paid during my leave of absence?
  • Will I have health care coverage during my time off?
  • How much time off will I be taking?
  • Do I have enough emergency fund to get through this rough patch?
  • How will this delay my early FI plans?
  • Will I return to work after this hiatus?
  • How many more years will I work in corporate engineering?

I just don’t know… All I can do is focus on things one day at a time. I will learn more in the upcoming weeks and months. And I will be sure to keep readers in the loop with everything that is happening with me.

I could be out for a month… or two… or six… Who knows, I might not even go back to work…

I wish I had all the answers. I wish I could say I knew what I was doing. I wish it could just be smooth sailing to early FI and forever after that.

All I know is that I need a break… I’m exhausted… And I believe my body has earned the right to one.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

1 LeighNo Gravatar January 20, 2015 at 9:27 pm

Congratulations! I got the letter for COBRA on Saturday. If I was to stay on my former employer’s plan, I would have to pay ~$500/month for the privilege. Thankfully, my coverage will last through the end of January and then I have travel health insurance for while we’re out of the US. My new health insurance will kick in once I start the new job and if anything goes wrong within the intervening days, I’ll either pay cash or pay for COBRA, depending on which is cheaper. You should be able to find a decent ACA plan if you can’t keep your employer’s plan.

You only had ~$9,300 in cash at your last net worth update in December, plus ~$22,900 in your brokerage account. That will last you for a “short” 16 months at your current spending rate if it’s really only $2k/month. Plus you have the ~$2,700/month on a good month cash flow from your rentals. You don’t have a lot of runway, but your cash flow will probably break even most months.

I think you’ll be fine, but I would also worry in your situation. We both seem to like worrying though 😀

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2 FI FighterNo Gravatar January 20, 2015 at 9:37 pm

Leigh,

Thanks for that information! I’m still in the preliminary stages of gathering info, but it’s good to know what alternative are out there…

Ideally, I’ll be able to go on paid leave and still get coverage with my existing health plan…

In regards to spending, those net worth numbers are somewhat misleading… I do have additional emergency fund accounts which I don’t account for in those reports… So, luckily I do have a much larger buffer than that 🙂

Still, you’re probably right, and I wouldn’t last long on my own without finding another source of income…

Also, in addition to the emergency fund, I am working on another cash out refi which will hopefully free up another $100k+…

The current situation isn’t ideal, of course, but I do have some options and things that I am working on… both for now and early FI…

I’m both aggressive and still very conservative 🙂

Have fun on your trip!!

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3 A Frugal Family's JourneyNo Gravatar January 20, 2015 at 9:50 pm

Good to hear you are not willing to sacrifice health for wealth. I think I may be equally OCD when it comes to details about early FI. But thankfully, I’ve discovered that it is essential to take some time off now and then to just live and simply reflect upon where you are and what you have accomplished. We budget and plan for several vacations a year. I also try to take a mental health day every now and then to help keep the stress levels at bay.

Hope you get your health back to where you want it to be. Best Wishes! AFFJ

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4 FI FighterNo Gravatar January 22, 2015 at 9:09 pm

AFFJ,

Vacations definitely help, and I’ve been trying to plan 2-3 each year. It does free up the mind and keep stress in check.

Thanks for the support!

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5 Financial SamuraiNo Gravatar January 20, 2015 at 9:58 pm

Exciting adventure and unexpected no? Didn’t you just get the latest job?

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6 FI FighterNo Gravatar January 22, 2015 at 9:14 pm

Sam,

Yup, just got the job and it’s already wreaking havoc on me… ;(

I’m just burned out and need a break….

Take care!

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7 Income SurferNo Gravatar January 21, 2015 at 3:45 am

Sounds like a smart move buddy. I did something similar in 2013, and it turned out great. Email if you want the whole story, but suffice it to say that after two or three weeks I was healthier….happier…..and living a more fulfilling life.

Looking forward to following you in this journey too. Take care!
-Bryan

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8 FI FighterNo Gravatar January 22, 2015 at 9:16 pm

Bryan,

Yeah, I’ll have to touch base with you as I would love to hear how you did it. Glad it turned out to be a wonderful decision for your own situation.

I’m all for living a more fulfilling life… Wealth isn’t everything, as I’m witnessing first hand… I’ll gladly give some of that up for better health.

All the best!

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9 My Dividend PipelineNo Gravatar January 21, 2015 at 6:13 am

FI Fighter,

Congrats on being able to leave the workforce. Are you satified with your current level of real estate holdings? You may have some difficulty acquiring more properties in the future without some time of W-2 income.

I look forward to making the same move sometime during the next 3-4 years.

MDP

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10 FI FighterNo Gravatar January 26, 2015 at 3:41 pm

MDP,

In regards to real estate, I am satisfied with the number of holdings. In the future, I can always buy more dividend stocks to supplement passive income.

I don’t have enough passive income to live comfortably in the Bay Area, but that will be a work in progress I’m sure… I do plan on earning income in the future, so hopefully I find a way to keep growing the income stream.

Cheers!

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11 ElroyNo Gravatar January 21, 2015 at 6:44 am

I’d be skeptical they would pay you and/or cover your health insurance. Don’t forget, you have 60 days to retroactively do COBRA. So, you can risk the 60 days and if something happens in that window, you can go back and pay for the insurance. Not sure, however, how it works with ACA […]

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12 Rat Race QuitterNo Gravatar January 21, 2015 at 8:52 am

How about you take this opportunity to test out your “living overseas” plan? It might be a very effective dry run to test your income versus expenses by spending your leave basking in some tropical sun and enjoying a very nice currency exchange rate.

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13 FI FighterNo Gravatar January 26, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Rat Race Quitter,

Yes, that’s definitely something on my mind, living overseas.

I have some things to tidy up first, but I may start that plan sooner than later… Maybe even this year.

The tropical sun would be what the doctor ordered!

All the best!

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14 DoneByFortyNo Gravatar January 21, 2015 at 9:35 am

Brave decision, and likely the right one. Nothing wrong with making health a priority.

I’m sure you’ll be on the fast track to making money and acquiring assets in no time. Take care.

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15 free2retire30No Gravatar January 21, 2015 at 10:59 am

I think you are definitely making the right decision here. Your finances may not be ideal right now, but bad health might jeopardize your finances even more. Who knows, maybe you’ll find another source of income while on your break! Good luck with everything!

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16 TawcanNo Gravatar January 21, 2015 at 11:18 am

Sounds like the good decision. Your health is very important. Take this as an opportunity to test the water on how close you might be to FI.

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17 Even StevenNo Gravatar January 21, 2015 at 11:40 am

Maybe your retirement will come in mini-retirements instead of the full blow not working ever, you never know.

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18 Kathy @ Rental RealitiesNo Gravatar January 21, 2015 at 1:57 pm

Does that mean more blog posts or less? 😉

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19 Dividend MantraNo Gravatar January 21, 2015 at 2:22 pm

FI Fighter,

Wow. That’s unexpected, though certainly deserved. I know you just took this new job on, so I’m not sure how that’s going to go over with the employer. But I wish you much luck! 🙂

As you know, I quit my job in the auto industry last year to focus on more time and pursue my passion in writing. I can only say that I have ZERO regrets. One of the best decisions of my life. Maybe you can look into some type of freelance/self-employment? Nothing wrong with semi-FI where you cover a good chunk of your expenses via passive income and work on things that matter to you on your own schedule. Then the breakneck speed isn’t necessary anymore. I’m certainly happy to take a more relaxed approach where the pace is much slower. I liken it to getting off the freeway and driving down a back country road. Find your road!

Best of luck, brother.

Cheers.

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20 FI FighterNo Gravatar January 26, 2015 at 3:34 pm

DM,

Your decision to leave behind the 9-5 and pursue writing full time has been an inspiration to many, myself included.

I have definitely considered the thought of writing/freelancing for income post-FI or in pretirement.

At this point, I just want to relax and unwind. I’m sure I’ll cross that bridge at the appropriate time, and could use your guidance.

Glad the decision has worked out wonderfully for you and you have zero regrets.

Take care!

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21 Midwestern LandlordNo Gravatar January 21, 2015 at 3:35 pm

FI Fighter,
It looks to me like you can easily retire right now permanently. You have the income and reserves in place (along with 401K funds). This is plenty of capital to get through a rough spot as long as you are keeping your personal monthly nut at a reasonable figure. I became financially independent at the end of 2013 via rental properties. It definitely beats going into the office every week. Also, regarding health insurance, you should be able to get a pretty good deal through the ACA as your income would be much lower moving forward.

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22 FI FighterNo Gravatar January 26, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Midwestern Landlord,

Yes, early FI might be possible for me right now if I decided to move to a cheaper location… Probably don’t have enough to survive in the Bay Area, as it is super expensive here.

There are still a few things I need to tidy up before calling it quits, and I’m sure I’ll be updating more in the near future with all those details.

Thanks for the tip on health insurance. I need to look into that.

Cheers!

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23 SundeepNo Gravatar January 22, 2015 at 9:22 am

FI Fighter,

Bummed that your health took that much of a beating from your breakneck pace trying to reach FI so quickly, but glad you’ve realized it sooner than later and can take some well deserved time off to recharge. Being a younger guy I’m sure you’ll be back to normal in no time.

I also feel you might be closer to permanent FI than you realize and maybe you’ll be able to figure that out as well as you’re recuperating.

In the meantime I like the recommendation above to try a mini retirement overseas for a couple months if your finances allow it. Who knows what could happen then.

Regardless, but of luck with your health and journey. I hope you’ll keep is updated when you can.

S

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24 FI FighterNo Gravatar January 26, 2015 at 3:46 pm

Sundeep,

Thanks for the support!

Yeah, I’ll need to rethink early FI after I recuperate a little… It may or may not be possible, I haven’t put too much thought into my next plans.

For now, I’m just trying to rest up.

Yes, going overseas is definitely an option and something I know will happen soon enough.

All the best!

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25 MaxNo Gravatar January 26, 2015 at 8:44 pm

Wow, this is both exciting and scary for you I’m sure.

I have a good friend who is a lawyer making $90k/year but still has a lot of loans, at the end of the day she wasn’t happy and so she decided to quit her job and just gave 2 weeks notice, I’m guessing she has some savings and plans to mostly wing it. I’m super proud of her but also a little worried for her as she figures out her next steps.

Best of luck – I’ve been considering a similar move for myself for a while, I’m not quite ready and don’t think it’d be fair for the families that depend on my services, volunteers, and co-workers – but after I finish up the next few months’ projects I could consider it myself. Although, like you I worry a lot so will probably continue saving up until I have a little bit better of a buffer.

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26 Justin @ Root of GoodNo Gravatar January 29, 2015 at 7:40 am

Sounds like a prudent decision. Congrats on making the hard, but smart choice.

You can afford it, so why not focus on yourself for a while? I look at my own early retirement in the same light. Maybe I’ll be working again in 2 years, but today and tomorrow and next week are “me time”.

Enjoy the time off!

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27 FelipeNo Gravatar February 5, 2015 at 11:21 pm

Smart decision to take a break, sounds well earned and needed.

My friend’s son was burning out running his business 60-100hour weeks. He was getting chest pains and doctors were recommending heart surgery or time away from work. He took a month off and never needed the surgery. The effects stress can have on us.

I hope you feel better. Enjoy getting some sun and exercise in the local mountains/parks, especially the time away from work!

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