Over the last week or so Mrs. SSC has come up with FFLC (Fully Funded Lifestyle Change) version 3.0. I think it’s 3.0, but it’s probably more like version 12.0. This is focused more on how we see our Lifestyle Change and less on whether or not it’s truly Early Retirement. Version 1.0 was that we both quit at the same time and move out West, or to the East Coast and become full-time stay at home parents. Version 2.0 was that Mrs. SSC would continue teaching and I would quit and become a full-time stay at home parent, but we’d still be moving out of Texas, and definitely Houston. So what’s different with version 3.0?
Well, with the lack of jobs anywhere in the U.S. for Mrs. SSC to apply to, and the fact that she loves her current gig where she is now; this version of our Lifestyle Change has us staying in Texas, but moving out to Hill Country. Yep, there’s still no snow, still no snowboarding, but I’d be able to be a stay at home dad, she’d be able to continue teaching and we could live in a drier more hilly part of Texas. Again, we’d be Changing our Lifestyle, not necessarily focused as much on “just not working”. What’s driving this new change and where did it come from so quickly? In short, we’re making our own future and not waiting for it to happen to us.
It’s Time to Plan – For Real
We realized we’re only about 2 years away from hitting our FI number, and we haven’t done much planning for that Lifestyle Change at all. Okay, quit laughing, we’ve been planning, but except for saying we have LOADS of places we’re interested in, we haven’t been doing any REAL planning for it. Over the last 2 years Mrs. SSC – let’s just change that to Prof SSC from here on out, has been scouring job sites looking for a teaching gig. In that time, there have been exactly 3 jobs come available to which she applied to. She got rejected by 2 of them, and the other is her current teaching assignment. She has taken to it like a duck to water and loves her new job. Interacting with students, helping them do research, doing her own research, bringing in research projects from outside companies. I mean she’s gone above and beyond what they expected of her in just her first year and is loving it.
But I Don’t Want to Retire…
In fact she loves it so much she doesn’t want to quit. I personally find it ironic that she was the biggest driver for our initial FIRE (Financial Independence/Retire Early) push and now she could work until she’s 60 and be perfectly content. How does this fit with our Lifestyle Change model? In fact, there has already been a pretty big Lifestyle Change in our house since Prof SSC took her current teaching role. But we’re looking for a major Lifestyle Change, not just keeping the status quo. If opportunities aren’t coming to us, we’re making our own, damnit.
What is the New Lifestyle Change Plan?
We decided that we are going to look for some property, in the Hill Country, near a lake, with good views, and good schools. If we stay within 3 hrs of Houston, Prof SSC can commute once a week, spend 2 nights and then come home. I can hear your questions right now though, “Wait, so the Lifestyle Change means Prof SSC is gone 3 days a week? How is that a change for the better?”
Well, better for us is: less humid, topography outdoors, nearby outdoor activities, and a lot more free time to spend with the kids. With the grandparents now only 1.5 hrs away, we could even see them more often as we could do daytrips there or they could come see us more too. Because she’s a teacher she only would make that commute for 26 weeks, assuming her current schedule stays the same and she doesn’t switch to research faculty and only teach one semester, which is a distinct possibility. The rest of the time, she’d be home and hanging out with us. I know as a professor, there would be more “work from home” but she’d still be able to keep a good work life balance, especially if the quality of home life is better.
Differences From our Original Plan
Remember though, this is a slow plan, with a lot of time to change our minds. If we find a lot that we like, then we can research home plans (already well under way) to make a more efficient use of our square footage than our current house (inefficient McMansion anyone?). We can get a builder, and build it while I’m still working fulltime so that we can pay it off as we go.
Our original plan had us buying a home outright and no mortgage, so no changes there. Because there’s no deadline for building it, we shouldn’t feel rushed or stressed about that aspect. Also, we have the money to cover it ebcause that’s part of our original plan as well. Once it’s built, then we can focus on moving our stuff, and selling our Houston house. As our 5 yr old says, “Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy”.
The biggest change to our original plan is that instead of living off of our investments solely, and needing $50-$55k/yr from them, we’d only need ~$10-$15k from our investments, and whatever we use for travel. The rest can still grow. Woohoo! That’s a YUGE buffer from our original plan. Wins for everyone?
What do you think of this new plan? Are we out to lunch with our assumptions? Do you think we’re “rushing into” our new Lifestyle Change plan? I’d love to hear your thoughts!