There are SO many questions (both in real life and from online people) that are swirling about what the heck I’m gonna do once I quit my job in New Haven. It’s about 2 months from go-time, so things are getting real. A lot of people are curious what I’m doing next. I hope this post answers some of that.
While I’m sure no two people would approach things the same way, I hope this gives you some idea of the types of things you need to think about, too.
Why are you quitting your job?
The simple answer is that my girlfriend is finishing grad school at Yale in May, and we’re both itching to get out of New Haven. Even if we wanted to stay, there’s pretty limited opportunity for jobs. New Haven is an alright place, but I wouldn’t really recommend it as a place to live if you have the choice of anywhere.
Are you going to get another job?
If the right opportunity comes along, I’ll definitely jump on it. In case it doesn’t, I’ve saved almost half of my income from my job every month for several months now so that I can have savings to live off for several months. I estimate that I have about 5-6 months of living expenses (assuming no income) earmarked for this life change. At the same time, I have some income and I’ll be working to increase how much I make.
If you’re not getting a job, how will you make money?
I’ll be honest: I don’t have that entirely figured out yet. My SEO consulting is starting to gain more traction (got a new client last week), but it’s still not close to replacing my full-time job income. I do earn some money from this blog, and I’ve dabbled in freelance writing as well. I’d certainly consider working in a part-time capacity for someone if it allows me to both learn and stay location independent.
This whole thing sounds scary! Aren’t you afraid?
Honestly, not so much. I subscribe to the “what’s the worst that can happen?” mentality in cases like these. I don’t see too many awful scenarios that are realistic. I could go broke, but I doubt I’ll end up homeless or starving. I could move in with family or friends if I got really desperate (although I’d have to be pretty desperate for that to happen).
Being broke at 26 years old isn’t the worst position to be in (and many Americans are already far, far worse off). I’m not saying I want that to happen, but I’m not afraid if it does.
How will you make a down payment on a house?
Hah! Sorry to laugh, but I don’t plan to buy a house for some time. Here’t the short list why:
- I have no idea where I want to settle down yet
- I value mobility.
- I have no desire to have a mortgage payment
- I like the life of a renter and not having to worry about random surprise costs like repairs.
What about health insurance?
I haven’t chosen a plan yet, but I’ll probably opt for a high-deductible plan. Based on some quick research and recommendations, it will cost around $200 a month. I’m sure there’s almost no benefits to this type of plan unless I’m severely sick or injured, but are there many more affordable choices in America? Healthcare kinda sucks in the U.S. Aside from that, I have no health problems, and I only rarely visit the doctor.
I thought about COBRA from my current employer, but I’m guessing it will be too expensive for it to be worthwhile. I’ll be sure to check on what the cost would be for me before turning it down.
How will you save for a wedding?
This is the total cop-out answer, but I still hate the idea of spending $20,000 on a wedding. Realistically speaking, it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to afford anything close to that anytime soon. A fancy wedding just isn’t one of my priorities right now.
How are you planning to invest for retirement?
I’m not, for right now at least. I outlined how I’m not investing in the stock market right now (although I did max out my Roth IRA for 2011 if that calms your nerves a little). I’d like to continue to make at least some sort of regular contribution for retirement, but I have to put that temporarily on the backburner. I’ll revisit this once I’m earning some sort of a livable income and not relying primarily on savings.
Where will you live?
I’m not sure yet. There are many options on the table, like NYC or Portland. My fantasy is to be a little bit of a nomad (that’s the whole point of this location independent thing for me, after all). It will almost certainly be a large city that isn’t San Francisco. Ideally it would be ultra bike-friendly.
Do you have any clue what you’re doing?!? Sounds like you’re ruining your life!
I appreciate your concern, but no, I can’t say I have a well-laid out plan for myself. But I’m okay with that. While I am a planner at heart, I enjoy changing things up and not having life be so predictable.