Quitting a Cash Cow Job
Mrs. Money Mustache has done it again – she just retired from another cushy part-time job. The dress code was pajamas, the working environment was a sunny second-floor office in our house, and health insurance, internet access, and cell phone with data access were covered by the company. She even had regular food deliveries during her short and irregular work days, cooked up by Mr. Money Mustache himself.
For the past few years, she has had varied responsibilities in a business owned by her family: snipping through the red tape of hiring and paying high-tech consultants working in many different states, administering the company’s health-insurance plan, and finding and fixing financial and accounting errors throughout the company. It was a role she was very good at, which is why the company enticed her to stay so long. But the work was almost perfectly out of alignment with her natural interests, meaning every day was a source of background stress and dissatisfaction. Still she soldiered on, out of a desire to help her family with their cherished business, and because, hey, who could complain about a job with flexible hours that you can do from home – extra money is nice even if you don’t need it, isn’t it?
Over the past few years, she has made halfhearted attempts to shed this job, by training other people take over parts of her work. Work hours would drop, salary would be reduced accordingly.. But she kept getting pulled back in due to her own excessive competence. But finally, due to her desire to leave and a shrinking consultant base in general, this year the company decided to officially close down its small US operation (the main Canadian branch will remain). She will be entirely free, since there will be no problems left to solve!
This has been exciting and motivating for the MMM family. Mrs. MM will no longer have the slight but constant nagging that she should be getting something done on the computer, which has tended to lead to entire days being spent in front of the thing. She is excited to be forced out into the real world, to plan every day according to what really should be done.
We also had to solve a few practical considerations in the wake of this job’s disappearance, including these:
- We signed up for a new high-deductible health insurance plan on at our own expense. It comes out to $239/month for the family, and it will get its own article very soon, since it is already leading to some learning about saving money on medical costs when you’re paying out of your own pocket.
- We are ditching the expensive AT&T family mobile phone plan (two iPhones with data), keeping the phones, and activating them on a plan that will cover our needs for closer to $10 per person per month (another article on that shall be written as well).
- And we cut our internet bill in half by sharing the connection with a friend using a long-range wifi antenna.
- Since we still have other business interests (carpentry, real estate, this blog, small bits of creative consulting, and other stuff), we still maintain a company of our own (it’s an LLC). This company will take over the job of paying for our health insurance, phones, internet, and some other computer, travel, and photography niceties, meaning that they will be tax-deductible expenses.. one of the joys of self employment.
Another interesting consideration that came out of this is unemployment insurance. Since the company is shutting down, Mrs. MM is really being laid off rather than quitting, which technically makes her eligible for unemployment insurance. So we could be receiving $513 per week for six months or more according to the Colorado unemployment benefits calculator.
But, as you might have guessed, she won’t be applying. The obvious reason is that she is choosing to retire voluntarily and won’t be looking for more work. Thus, going on the dole would be violating the rules of the program.
Plus there’s another reason: After handling her own company’s unemployment insurance paperwork for years, we know how the system works: Employers pay insurance premiums into a pool according to how many past claims have been made by that company, and that industry in general. If more people claim it, employer premiums go up over time – the money does not simply come from nowhere. So if we claim for unemployment insurance, we’re taking money out of the pockets of a pool of future employers. Not exactly my idea of a social good.
In an ideal world, there would be much less need for unemployment insurance, except in the cases like sudden injury or disability. Each new entrant to the workforce would start by saving as much of their paychecks as possible, never voluntarily going into debt or financial obligations that require a steady stream of income. But that would require an extremely Mustachian society, which will take us at least a few more years to create. We’ll be patient for now.
The most significant part of this latest retirement, will be the life lessons and adventures that come out of it. Among other things, Mrs. M. is looking forward to new activities including:
- becoming a part-time instructor at the crossfit gym she frequents
- following a weekly schedule which includes time for gardening and hiking
- considering new business ideas in the areas that really interest her (and maybe partnering up with me on some of them)
- writing her own blog articles like this one instead of me having to write one about her
Every time I’ve resigned from a job, I have always questioned my wisdom, as I was giving up pay and benefits that many would be envious of, and entering into an unknown situation. But in each case, it has led to a better life as I have been forced to do new things, step out of my comfort zone, and generally live life closer to the way it was meant to be lived. As a dude who is generally too cautious by nature, any added adventure provides a definite boost to my existence.
Today is her first day of Funemployment. And thus, I am excited for Mrs. Money Mustache as she blasts into this next stage of her life. Congratulations to another early retiree!
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