Time Off – The Benefits of being Financially Secure

Time off

It is official. I have left my day job and have 2 months off before starting my next day job thanks to being financially secure. As many of you know, the Tubb’s Fire has led to many changes in my life over the past year. We had many decisions to make and now, 13 months out, are putting those plans into effect. The biggest of these decisions was to move back to my home state of Tennessee.

This was not an easy decision. Having moved our family cross-country just 2.5 years ago, neither my wife or I am looking forward to actually moving. Luckily, due to the loss of our stuff in the fire (silver lining?) and my journey on moderatism and buying nothing, we have a lot less stuff to move. There are many positives to moving again which I outlined here, but briefly, these include proximity to family, the cost of living, and an improvement in my job. I was fortunate enough to find a job and will be starting in January.

Which leads me to today’s post.

The benefits of being financially secure.

We had been working towards financial security since my first year out as an attending. We made consistent progress towards paying off our debt and building our nest egg. Even before the fire, we had a hefty positive net worth. The fire was a catalyst, growing our net worth even more over the last year (here is to being well insured for catastrophes!). Over the last 13 months, we went from financially doing well to being financially secure.

Being financially secure is different than being financially independent. I could not stop working for the rest of my life. I do not have enough passive income or investments to replace what we currently spend as a household. Thus I am not financially independent.

I do, however, have enough money to where I can take a few months off and do not worry about running out of money. This is new for me. This is freeing. When I switched jobs two and a half years ago, we were doing fine, but I was not comfortable enough to take more than 2 weeks off in between jobs. In my mind, it was irresponsible due to the debt we owed. Sure I could afford it, but I would not be making progress towards our goals.

Now, however, everything is different.

Being financially secure is freeing

How is being financially secure truly freeing? Here are some ways:

  • I do think about our finances, but I am not stressed about our finances.
  • I am able to buy quality over quantity. I have not been buying much this year, but when I do buy something I will spend a little more and buy a higher quality item.
  • By being financially secure and debt free, I can start to focus on investments instead of just paying off debt. I started and have grown my taxable account this year. When we had a drop in the stock market this past month, I took the chance and did my first ever tax loss harvesting. I felt like I was had entered a new level in the personal finance game.
  • I am able to take 2 months off between jobs.
Hobiton…or the Shire?

Time off

I am able to take 2 months off. Halleluja. I was thinking about it and I do not think I have had 2 months off since 6th or 7th grade. Somewhere in middle school, I had started volunteering at The Cumberland Science Museum (it’s changed since I worked there and now even has a new name) in my summers and weekends. Since then I have worked consistently through both school years and summers.

I have held quite an array of jobs. In no particular order I worked:

  • At the Gap, Express, and Staples as a stock boy and retailer.
  • Stuffed envelopes in a mail room.
  • As a server at the Macaroni Grill.
  • Tattooed rats and placed them in containers to receive cell phone radiation. I even worked on rats with heart failure.
  • As a babysitter one summer for 7 different boys.
  • I was an RA at my university.

Even with all of those jobs, I am sure there are some I am missing. The point is, I never took more than 1-2 weeks off in between jobs. So for the first time since I was in middle school, I am taking off 2 months. I may be missing out on 2 months of salary, but that is okay and it is worth it.

What am I doing with this time?

Well, I am sitting in Cambridge, New Zealand on the second day of our trip. We will be here until Thanksgiving seeing both islands. After that, I am going to take the month of December to be with my son, my wife, and take some time to write, read, and relax. Then come 2019, we will be living a new life, in a new town, with a new job. I am excited and grateful.

I guess the point of this article is that we never know what life brings. Planning to be financially secure and even better, financially independent, will allow us to take full advantage of the opportunities life brings you. So get on it!

 

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Also published on Medium.

DadsDollarsDebts

I am a Dad and Doctor trying to make sure I am living life in the best way possible. Whether it is having my finances together, being a great parent, or balancing my home life with work, I am here to kick a$$ and help you do the same.

21 thoughts on “Time Off – The Benefits of being Financially Secure

  • December 5, 2018 at 7:38 pm
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    Enjoy New Zealand! We plan to spend some quality time there after we take advantage of our fortunate position of financial freedom as soon as next year.

    Did you binge-watch Flight of the Conchords to prepare for your trip? (we have)

    Cheers!
    -PoF

    Reply
    • December 5, 2018 at 7:42 pm
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      No binge watching though I have a fair recollection from my youth if watching them! Taking 2 months off has been incredible and definitely recommend it to anyone able to do it.

      Reply
  • November 30, 2018 at 6:16 pm
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    I have been to New Zeeland 🙂 nice place.

    Greeting from Sweden

    Reply
  • November 19, 2018 at 12:58 pm
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    I too worked a ton of different jobs when I was younger. I worked for Nextel, Cingular Wireless, among other places. But it helped open my eyes to the working world and gave me valuable experience that I use to this day. It also gave me the motivation to pursue FI/RE.

    Thanks,
    Miriam

    Reply
    • November 19, 2018 at 3:30 pm
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      Nice. That is very motivating. My goal was never to switch through jobs but life and circumstances sometimes dictate it. It dies give a new perspective on things.

      Reply
  • November 14, 2018 at 10:36 am
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    That’s a big decision to move back after 2.5yrs. I’m curious if you’d be willing to share the reasoning. Was it work-related, house-related, both? Potentially your experience can provide some lessons for other doctors out there, myself included.

    Reply
    • November 14, 2018 at 3:52 pm
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      Happy to share. I did post recently on going from Good to Great. It outlines some of my thoughts process, but in reality all of those things you mentioned, work, house and family, were factors.

      Reply
      • November 21, 2018 at 3:46 am
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        Ah, totally missed that, great read. I’ve actually gone thru a life-crisis as well, so to speak, that has made me re-evaluate my life like you have, and motivated me to move back home closer to family (to a HCOL area unfortunately).

        Reply
        • November 21, 2018 at 8:14 am
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          Nothing will make you rethink life as a life crisis. I know others rethinking life this year with the recurrence of wild fires and the smoke that is lingering in our area. There is something satisfying about living in a lower cost of living area, though Nashville is currently booming

          Reply
  • November 13, 2018 at 9:24 am
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    I’m glad you’re able to take the time to travel and spend time with your son and wife. Being financially secure and spending the time with loved ones is liberating indeed.

    I hope you have fun in New Zealand. It looks like a wonderful place. Definitely on one of my “to-go” places for the future.

    While you’ve been in New Zealand, big parts of northern California and southern California are experiencing devastating fires again. The Camp Fire in Paradise, California has been the deadliest in state history. You will definitely not miss these fires when you leave California and set new roots in a new home.

    Reply
    • November 13, 2018 at 9:49 am
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      Thanks for the kind words. It has been hard to watch the news of the fires even from a distance. My son’s school has been closed because of smoke/air quality since Friday and we are thinking of all the people who are now suffering.

      Reply
  • November 12, 2018 at 6:54 pm
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    I’m so happy for you! There can always be good found in change, and as I recently blogged about myself, I’m all for the mini-sabbaticals! Enjoy your time off!

    Reply
  • November 9, 2018 at 8:29 am
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    New Zealand sounds wonderful. Enjoy the Springtime in the Southern Hemisphere, I look forward to meeting you in TN in 2019! The closing chapter in a very difficult year for you, glad you’re getting some well earned downtime.

    Reply
  • November 9, 2018 at 8:04 am
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    Wonderful and inspiring for me. Also I want to visit the Shire!

    Reply
    • November 9, 2018 at 8:08 am
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      It was neat to see but definitely.not cost effective. Luckily kids under 8 are free!

      Reply
  • November 9, 2018 at 7:27 am
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    Having financial security really gives us more options. I took three months off between residency and my job as an attending. We had only been living on half of our income during residency, so we had money to take a long break. Many residents only take a weekend off during this transition. I loved that break. We were able to move, get settled in our new home, rest, study for boards, and visit some family. I’m glad to hear you are taking advantage of your transition.

    Dr. Cory S. Fawcett
    Prescription for Financial Success

    Reply
    • November 9, 2018 at 7:35 am
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      I wish I had been smart enough to live on half in residency. I was living on 150 percent and moonlighting to supplement it. Not smart and definitely stressful.

      Reply
  • November 9, 2018 at 4:02 am
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    It is wonderful to hear that you are able to take extended time off between jobs. A lot of people could not swallow taking a hit to their finances for that long and thus feel rushed into starting the next job and finishing moving which can magnify the pains of an already stressful transition.

    You are doing it right and glad you have the finances to make it possible. Financial freedom does not have to mean you don’t have to work a day in your life anymore. Instead financial freedom allows you to do what you are doing and making a much smoother transition from one locale to the next.

    You have certainly taken a lot of lemons recently and have truly created lemonade from it. Your journey can serve as a blueprint for someone who may one day find themselves in a catastrophic situation like losing everything in a fire.

    Congratulations on the next stage in your life.

    Reply
    • November 9, 2018 at 7:37 am
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      Thanks XRayVsn. You have seen through the truth. Honestly I could have taken 3 months off but felt it was irresponsible from a financial standpoint. Maybe one day that won’t be the case. Here’s to hard lemonade!

      Reply

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