My wife and I are both feeling sick of the full-time employment lifestyle.
My wife recently applied for, and subsequently was hired for, a different position within her company. The new role includes a modest salary increase, but the biggest perk is that it should require about half of the travel that her current role does.
My wife was thrilled to get the new job, and was all smiles after hearing the news. But after further reflection she told me that what she really wants to do is move into a lifestyle where she can work part-time, discretionary assignments. I told her I feel the same way, and have felt that way for a number of years.
Our plan since paying off the mortgage in 2011 has been to maximize our saving and investing for the next few years so that we can stop working at some point in the not-too-distant future. But as logical as this plan looks on paper and sounds in conversation, the implementation of the plan in real life is pretty dull. By comparison, paying off the mortgage was exciting. Really. Paying off the mortgage was like planning and executing an attack on the Death Star. Saving and investing is like rebuilding the Death Star.
At a glance we are doing
very well financially. We have no debts, and own our house free and
clear. We have over $500K in savings and investments, of which $100K is
at our full and immediate disposal (that is, not tied up in retirement
accounts). We also have no children or other dependents to worry about
supporting -- and no plans to add any in the future.
However, to get where we really want to be will require us to continue working full-time for another five to ten years. This sounds like drudgery to me. My wife tells me that at any point during her workday she can always think of a million other things she would rather be doing, and I completely agree.
We've attempted to come up with a different way to achieve the same end goal, but so far we haven't managed any better ideas. We could of course change our goals by downsizing quite a bit (selling our house and living very differently than we would ultimately like), but that doesn't seem like the right long-term choice. That would be sacrificing our ultimate dream in exchange for some temporary relief from the day-to-day grind. We could also move to part-time work now, but that would require spending more years in the workforce, and the nature of part-time work is more ephemeral as well -- employers seem to look to cut part-time workers first, so it might be tough to count on that for a decade or more.
For now we continue to wage internal battles with ourselves, wherein our logical sides (which tell us to stay the course) face off against our more emotional/impulsive sides (which want us to abruptly leave work and embark on a six-month journey by foot). So far the logical side is winning out -- but with each passing day, the temptation to leave it all behind grows.