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

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.

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5 years ago

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… Read more »

A Frugal Family's Journey

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… Read more »

Financial Samurai
5 years ago

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

Income Surfer
5 years ago

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!

My Dividend Pipeline
5 years ago

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.


5 years ago

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 […]

Rat Race Quitter
5 years ago

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.

5 years ago

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.

5 years ago

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!

5 years ago

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.

Even Steven
5 years ago

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

Kathy @ Rental Realities

Does that mean more blog posts or less? 😉

Dividend Mantra
5 years ago

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… Read more »

Midwestern Landlord
Midwestern Landlord
5 years ago

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.

5 years ago

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… Read more »

5 years ago

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… Read more »

Justin @ Root of Good
5 years ago

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!

5 years ago

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!