Bombshell: I’ve just got off the phone with my boss and I’ll be work-free until Christmas at the earliest and I’ve got mixed feelings about all this.
Is this the end of my career? Am I on the scrapheap or failed middle aged career casualties?
On the other hand, have I’ve managed to not go out with a bang but peak at the right time. My family’s financial future is secure and I am in a position of not needing to work to cover our spending. Ok, our current spend at around £4,000 a month will mean we could run out of money at some point but we are better off than 90+% of the population. Also the Lady is still employed and I’m a kept man / stay at home dad. But there are still questions to answer around how I spend the next few months and the future in general. This is less early retirement and more early expirment!
My, my, hey, hey
For the Neil Young fans out there is it better to burn out or to fade away? The sentiment of that song is something I’ve maybe judged wrong – after all Neil is still going strong in his 70s. Is it better to burn out or to fade away? Advice for anyone looking to retire early is very simple but can’t actually tell you what you should do. Is it worth pushing yourself to the limits to end up burnt out? How hard should you prioritise your career over your family, friends, health, soul?
So, I have a few qualms about the situation I find myself in. Just to sum things up; we are comfortably off, the Lady is in work the the kids are in nursery and love it. My job is dead right now and if LinkedIn is anything to go by, it’s very bad out there for my profession (engineering). If new work came in the next few months that would be useful but there is no guarantee and a significant risk that nothing will come up
I’ve grown used to having money come into the bank account each month and with that gone, I need to balance things so that we don’t run out. That’s on a day to day basis, but if my future earnings are going to be closer to zero for the next maybe 5 years, is ok and am I ok with that? It’s hard to know.
Ltd company implications
From a company perspective, I’ve not earned enough money this company tax year to pay for an ongoing director’s salary or ongoing company expenses. I can of course pump money into the company to cover these, but it would be good to know that I’ll get money again in the future to pay off.
I get to take the kids to/from nursery and spend more time with them. I can also pop out for lunch with the Lady or chat more during the day. I am also around a lot more so I can help keep the house nice and I am also a wonderful cook – so Michelin star standard meals are on offer every evening. My work has impacted family life negatively in the past and I’m not keen to repeat.
I’ve spend the best part of 20 years in my technical profession and it seems a bit foolhardy to give up on it. Then again, I’ve avoided doing further work like an MBA because I’ve thought that it was a waste of time becoming a business administrator. However, maybe I could put some energy into learning. I’ve got an interest in sustainability and it’s something that might even have a job at the end of it in a few years. This time off could be a chance to learn, study, grow.
It might seem a bit naïve to say this but it’s great not having a job. I feel less stressed than ever and happy. Stress is a killer but so is being overweight – so maybe I can get into shape a bit more? This is something which I can do myself, it won’t eat into family time (if the kids are in nursery and the Lady working then I can easily exercise).
I’m not the only person not working right now and there are lots of people in much worse positions than me. However, I’ve made the general fact be known that I’m not working 9-5 to family and they’ve not been very supportive of the position. There’s a dignity in the suffering we all have to do for work – take away the misery and there is no joy in life. Personally, I don’t agree with this but try pointing out that you can be perfectly happy and idle (as recommended by Bertrand Russell)
Hobbies and Projects
I’ve been busy selling some things on eBay and that’s a fun way to make a bit of money and practice some selling skills. I’ve managed to buy stuff in charity shops and turn it over for a profit. I have also got my lurcrative side hustle which is pulling in £2000 a month on average – so I could almost call that my job. It also gives me the chance to listen to audiobooks, read more – I can’t complain about that.
Why not just pull the plug entirely and retire early?
Well, would you in my position? Let’s say your family spending is half covered by your spouses earnings and fully covered by dividends and side hustles – other than that you have your pension money sorted but the 20 year gap is only covered by about 10 years of money now (based on current family spending). So, you could live for a few years in blissful peace and only really need to worry about money from age 48-58. Would you quit now?
Luckily, I don’t need to make the choice as I am not working at the moment and don’t have anything to quit from. The situation in a year’s time if I was working again will be a very different question. In the meantime, I’m enjoying life and my family is happy and I’m happy too.
I am a bit concerned about opportunity cost – is there something I’m missing out on that I could be doing right now that I’m not? People with less time on their hands than me have achieved a lot more and this could just be the perfect opportunity to grow, reinvent myself and do something different in life. That’s