Welcome back everybody and I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year’s holiday! I took some time off and am back and ready to go, woohoo! There have been so many bloggers posting 2016 wrap-ups and 2017 goals I’ve just been enjoying reading them while I took a break from our blog over the holidays. In this post, we’ll discuss the state of the SSC household, what we plan to do the same and what our new plan is in 2017. Next week, we’ll be back to discussing numbers with our 2016 wrap-up and financial changes for 2017. With so much stuff to cover, we just couldn’t fit it all into one post! Well, not one post that wasn’t 4000 words long, lol.
2016: Lifestyle Change starting to come to Fruition
Mrs. SSC taking a teaching job was a big driver for starting to enact our Lifestyle Change. While not having an extra six figures to throw into savings was definitely felt, the tradeoff with her increased happiness, along with the improved schedule changes that rippled across our family more than made up for it in my opinion. I mean, we’re looking for a Fully Funded Lifestyle Change (FFLC), not necessarily to bail out of all work forever. Granted, we’re targeting a number to allow for us to “not work forever” but we’re both too mentally active for that to really happen.
Like the current O&G industry, the teaching market for geologists and geophysicists is pretty slim. There were no real job postings this year, and who knows what may come up next year? In all reality, Mrs. SSC finding a job outside of Houston is more of a longshot than something we’re banking on. However, if she were to find something starting as soon as Fall 2018, I’m on board with taking it and moving. Like most things, those options are so far out of our control, that we’ll just play a wait and see with it.
Another minor detail is the uncertainty surrounding healthcare. Yes, I’m sure that will be played out well before 2019 but we will most likely need to make adjustments to our numbers based on the new pricing and availability of plans. This is another reason that we’re hopeful that Mrs. SSC can continue teaching because that would come along with some sort of healthcare, as opposed to whatever will be on the market at that point. Aye yi, yi…
What is our “new” plan?
That leads to the question of “what are our plans?” Mrs. SSC really likes teaching and could see her doing this for quite a while longer. She did land a sweet/near perfect gig where she’s getting back to doing research, taking on new grad students and in one semester has already significantly broadened her sphere of influence academically. So, if 2019 rolls around and we’re still in Houston, the next question for us is, how long do we stay here? There’s no upward movement of Mrs. SSC’s salary at all unless she were to get a tenure track position. That would be enough to cover expenses and not dip into savings if I switched to Stay at Home Dad mode. However, that is another option that is out of our control. Given that, with her current salary, our expenses would pretty much be covered, except for the mortgage. So, we’d be needing about $24k/yr to buffer things, and honestly, it would be pretty tight.
Our FFLC options are 1) I keep working, because why not? I like my job, our schedule is nice, and it would help buffer our savings. 2) We both quit working and say “adios to all this concrete”. 3) Some hybrid of that where I negotiate a 3 day work week part time schedule and Mrs. SSC keeps teaching. Only time will tell.
How long would we be willing to stay in Houston?
I’m not sure really. We have a near perfect setup in regards to parks, schools, and overall neighborhood amenities. The main “negative” is weather. I think our tolerances of what is acceptable for weather differ between Mrs. SSC and myself. Yes, I’d love 4 seasons, and some snow occasionally, but I am now accustomed to the Gulf Coast weather. However, I think Mrs. SSC is over it. Like yesterday when I was taking down our Christmas lights in my shorts and flip flops, I was thinking, “Yeah, this is pretty nice.” Later that day, when a “cold front” blew thru and the temps dropped to the low 50’s I said, “Oh, it’s gotten a little chilly out.” Mrs. SSC remarked, “It should be COLD, not chilly. It’s January!” So, I think she may crack before me. (Mrs. SSC sidenote – I HAVE cracked!!)
Where to go?
That’s still the great unknown. We’ve got a 2 week trip planned to MT and ID this summer to finally check that area out, and I’m really looking forward to that. We still haven’t ruled out the East Coast (NC/VA/TN area), although Mrs. SSC still really wants to live out West for at least a little bit. Needless to say, we have some good vacation spots lined up over the next few years to see different parts of the country and try to find our next town to live in. That would be barring Mrs. SSC getting a teaching job somewhere which would mean we move to wherever that place is, lol. I’m good with that option too.
A Lot of Uncertainty
Because of all of the uncertainty with our FFLC plans and the like we’ve decided our only 2017 goal is to be more present and start working on becoming the people we envision ourselves as when we do hit FI and enact our Lifestyle Change. Take more vacations, do more fun stuff with the kids on the weekends, and generally enjoy life and be present now, not necessarily just looking ahead to “future SSC family a few years from now.”
We don’t plan to stop saving, or stop tracking our spending, I mean, that’s what got us to this point as it is. Since our FFLC timeline is still relatively unchanged, there aren’t many changes to our 2017 plans. I’d like to quote Dory, and say we’re going to “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”, but I think we need a change from “just keeping swimming”. We plan to stop swimming and relax a little. You might think that we’ll start sinking if we relax, but if you stop swimming, don’t panic, and just relax, you float.
This year, we float. We strive to be more present, have more adventures with the kids, and everything else, stays the same.
What about you? Any changes to your 2017 plans or is everything pretty much staying the same?