133 comments

Quitting a Cash Cow Job

A new season begins in the Mustache household

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!

 

  • slowitdown October 1, 2012, 6:18 am

    For those of us still stuck in the mindset of the 9-5 work til 65, this sounds both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time!

    Reply
  • Grant October 1, 2012, 6:19 am

    “But that would require an extremely Mustachian society…”

    Do you think that true mustachianism could exist if society as a whole were more mustachianistic? Surely there is a need for a percentage of society to be nonmustachian for the benefit of others like us? (How else would we be able to buy 10 year old second hand cars with 100k kms on them, or pick up barely used bicycles from Craig’s list or similar for a pittance?)

    Reply
    • Emily October 1, 2012, 8:00 am

      In response to Grant – I think if society as a whole were more mustachianistic, mustachianism would still exist, it would just be different. True, it would be harder to buy well working newish used items, but would be easier to find people who fix/make bicycles and were willing to barter for them instead of sell them, for example. More bartering for skills, less need for cash and new items. It’s an interesting idea. Sure, the non-mustachians make it easier, but a more mustachian society would probably be more interesting.

      Reply
    • James October 1, 2012, 8:08 am

      Yes, it could exist. Mustachianism isn’t about exploiting the system, it’s about a way of life. In a different society, even a mustachian one, you would apply these same principles to your decision making. Yes, the outcome might be different, FI might come later or earlier, consumer goods might be newer or older or less or more, but the principles would remain.

      Reply
      • Mr. Money Mustache October 1, 2012, 8:54 am

        Nice little side discussion here! Another point about a Mustachian society – goods would be entirely different. For example, cars would be built to last several decades, the models would not change every four years, all the parts would be modular and interchangeable so you could upgrade them without ditching the whole car, etc.

        In my view, we’d consume less disposable stuff, instead focusing our “consumption” in different areas – innovation, better energy and ecosystem technology, music, art, leisure.. basically all the stuff seen in your standard Star Trek Utopia planet (minus any hidden evil dictators or computerized satellites controlling minds from above).

        It’s all about making people Want to spend their money and effort on different things. I don’t think it can be imposed from above, but I do think that a culture can change its wants over time.

        Reply
        • Tyler Karaszewski October 1, 2012, 10:00 am

          But the mustachian lifestyle requires piggybacking on a society with a growth-based economy. The mustachian ideal itself doesn’t aspire to perpetual 7% year-over-year growth, and in a mustachian society, nobody would own rental property because nobody would want to rent it.

          You’d lose your ability to retire early if there wasn’t constant stock market growth and and large supply of renters.

          Reply
          • lurker October 1, 2012, 10:28 am

            Mustachianism would evolve. as it exists now it would have to change…read a few posts up my friend. If we use up the planet’s resources we will need to evolve quite rapidly…

            Reply
          • Jason October 1, 2012, 10:43 am

            Look up the Venus Project

            Reply
          • Stephen October 1, 2012, 10:56 am

            Retirement might go away, but working hours would decrease. Mustachianism and ERE are about more than retirement. They’re about sensible living.

            Reply
          • Freeyourchains October 1, 2012, 11:09 am

            In a mustachian society, if you dropped and borke your reuseable glass, the next day you would repair some robots at the machine for an hour or so, then take a glass as your output.
            You would actually enjoy seeing this factory for an hour, have fun knowing how robotics works, and fall in love with it’s efficiency during that hour of work and visitation out of need.

            Growth and advancement will be plentiful in the minds of passionate volunteers of their Time for a couple hours a day.

            It would be like taking a class of college students/working adults in laser theory, and going down into the basement for a laser demonstration and applications approach, rather then being paid to be in a cubicle all day.

            I rather have the incentive of passion compared to the incentive of more money for advancement and technological/ societal growth.

            Reply
            • Doug October 1, 2012, 11:20 am

              A mustachian society would be more sensible and civilized, a sharp contrast to the one which we live in now which required endless growth and ever increasing consumption to function. It would be one where increased productivity would be turned into a shorter work week, or more vacation time, or both. A lot less energy and resources would be consumed, a lot less would be wasted, and good functional stuff wouldn’t be thrown in the garbage because it’s out of style. It would be a healthier society also, because of far fewer stress related illnesses from less of a rat race.

              Reply
        • uma October 12, 2012, 2:17 pm

          This sounds like this book I’ve been reading recently: “how much is enough money and the good life” by Sidelsky. It’s written by 2 economists and tries to look at this exact problem and the solutions.

          Reply
    • Marcia October 1, 2012, 6:13 pm

      I think it would just be more like life decades ago. Maybe without early retirement at the end.

      Wen I was a kid, we were pretty poor, living in the country. We hung laundry to dry, had small, old cars, and a garden. We always had hand me downs passed among siblings and cousins. We traded work on each others homes, rarely vacationed unless it was camping, and got together at grandpas camp every Sunday to cook burgers and dogs over the fire.

      We did these things because that’s what you did. You couldn’t afford anything else and we didn’t have a credit card.

      I do feel some nostalgia for the close family ties, but not enough to move back to my small town. So I try to build it here, little by little. Babysitting friends kids, taking dinners when people have new babies, trading hand me downs.

      Reply
      • Jen October 1, 2012, 7:23 pm

        Yep, sounds like my childhood too :)
        Also remember as a teenager re-sewing some old clothes by hand to create some new, fashionable outfits. My dream back then was to have a simple sewing machine, so I could do it in minutes instead of hours.

        Funny, back then I also dreamed about earning a lot of money and getting away from that kind of life. Now that I am earning that money, I am saving it so I can have the life I once had :)

        Reply
  • Lance @ Money Life and More October 1, 2012, 6:19 am

    Sometimes it takes an event like that to push you to do what you really want to so. It sounds like it worked out well for Mrs. MMM! I am sure she will find plenty of new activities to fill her time as it sounds like you live in a very busy household!

    Reply
  • Sarah October 1, 2012, 6:24 am

    Congratulations to your wife! I’m glad she’s doing what she really wants to do with her time now.

    I am REALLY looking forward to your article on health insurance and cutting medical costs. Our out of pocket expenses for health care and health insurance are our second highest expenses every year.

    Reply
  • Nick October 1, 2012, 6:26 am

    Congrats on the new life chapter! I look forward to the cell phone and insurance articles.

    The second-to-last paragraph hit home. As a fellow cautious dude, I find myself avoiding risk and adventure to maintain high short term comfort. However, I often grow the most from adventure–those times I’m not sure I made the “right” decision. Those are the moments that bring much needed life long perspective.

    Reply
    • Heath October 1, 2012, 3:25 pm

      That paragraph resonated with me as well. I often find that my happiest times are the ones that I didn’t really have everything planned out. Exploration out of our comfort zones is fantastic for our health :-)

      Reply
  • Dan October 1, 2012, 6:36 am

    I’m an unqualified expert at quitting jobs. In fact, I’m quitting one today. One of the best things about being an independent contractor (other than being your own boss… and the money) is getting to quit jobs so often.

    EDIT: I also looking forward to the insurance article: I’ve had an individual health insurance plan for a number of years now and will be interested to see what MMM has to say about it. The big drawback is that the rates go up significantly on an annual basis so you generally just keep increasing your deductible to keep your premiums sane. Most people would be amazed though that the starting premiums are not more than they currently pay for a group plan.

    Reply
  • Jennifer October 1, 2012, 6:52 am

    Congrats!

    I am most looking forward to your health insurance article. My husband and I are covered by one- our deductible is 10K. I have tried looking for insurance on our own, but when I look at our current company and shop their high-deductible plans I get 50+ results and I have no idea how to compare them. It’s overwhelming! We are young (27) but still seem to have unusual medical conditions crop up every couple of years that require treatment that is usually expensive and unavoidable. Just this past Saturday we spent several hours in the ER (after visiting an urgent care center earlier that told us if your symptoms return, you must go to the ER immediately). We just know that the first 10K in the HSA/savings is not really “ours” and hope that we don’t have any major medical conditions that start at the end of this year and carry over into next year when the deductible resets.

    Reply
  • CgK October 1, 2012, 6:59 am

    Congrats on closing one door and opening another, Mrs.MM!
    I myselft woke up early today, excited and anxious because when I go in to work this morning, I’m quitting my well-paid job with excellent benefits. I work in a huge global corp in which I could continue to do well. But I feel like I’m dying each and every day I go in. I find myself embroiled in minor league but ugly politics, which every corporate cog knows about. I’m worked to death because the company assumes I’m a slave to my salary and won’t quit. And, I sometimes behave like a complete amoral jerk when I’m under stress or feeling the ubiquitous fear in my company.
    I have money saved, and can take a few months to consider my next move. It’s really a scary leap, as I’m not normally a risk-taker. But this is a better choice than dying as an overworked, amoral jerk, corporate cog. MMM, I’ll keep reading, and will love to see what you have to say about health insurance–I’m leaving a “cadillac” plan for high-deductible.

    Reply
    • Q_Train October 1, 2012, 10:44 am

      Good luck CgK. I made a similar decision to leave a large nameless software company for the same set of reasons – overwork, stress, the mindless fear of coworkers and management, inability of people to push back because they didn’t have F-You money. In combination, these attributes formed a poisonous environment that was slowly leeching away the life of employees.

      It worked out for me. I took a 20% pay cut to work at an educational institution doing the same type work, but at least 30% less of it. I’m also no longer doing things that I disapprove of, like trying to sell products that I don’t believe in, or being forced to tell customers that yes, upgrading really is in their best interest.

      Net effect: Hourly pay increase, and much happier day-to-day. Might even go to heaven now.

      It’ll work out for you too. I’m sure of it.

      Reply
      • BadassCPA October 3, 2012, 12:20 pm

        That’s how I’ve been judging things lately. It’s not how much your salary is, but how much you make per hour. I left my job for one that pays only $5k less, but I’m working ~38 hours instead of 50+. I am MUCH happier, especially since I have a newborn to spend time with.

        My wife is a schoolteacher, so even though I make much more annually her per-hour rate is almost equivalent due to 6-hour days and many more days off.

        Reply
    • ultrarunner October 1, 2012, 11:40 am

      Congrats on getting out! I did the same about a month ago. I actually switched to a part-time job from home, but otherwise our stories are very similar. Almost identical.

      At first you think it’s a crazy move, but it doesn’t take long to realize how great of a move it really was! Welcome to what some friends and I have taken to calling the PLT! (Pro Leisure Tour)

      Reply
    • SusieQ October 1, 2012, 6:13 pm

      GOOD FOR YOU!! My brother did the same thing – had a great job with the third largest electric utility in the country, but his boss, who was a slave to the job, expected everyone else to be, also. And he was truly a jerk. So my brother ended up taking medical leave for his mental health, then decided to quit. He took a lower paying job, in a totally different area, and I have to say, he’s a lot happier than he was. They always lived well below their means, so they had the money stashed away and it wasn’t really a big deal for them. He added years to his life, and his health improved – – as did his relationship with his family (which he didn’t see all that much since he was working all the time!). So best of luck to you – it will all work out.

      Reply
  • Jeff October 1, 2012, 7:09 am

    I’m imagining you’re looking at something like PureTalk USA for a cell phone plan. It’s too bad we can’t buy insurance across state lines. That would be a benefit to everyone. What a mess. Healthcare is needlessly expensive. If everyone adopted high deductible plans, costs would plummet. Thanks, MMM.

    Reply
    • Jamesqf October 1, 2012, 12:28 pm

      Well, no. MEDICAL care is expensive. Health care – exercise, a sensible diet, maybe a few vitamins and a daily aspirin – is pretty cheap.

      Reply
      • Fuzz October 2, 2012, 7:18 pm

        Well said, Jamesqf M.D.

        Reply
        • Rob October 5, 2012, 1:12 pm

          Except not all illness can be traced to poor lifestyle.

          Reply
  • Dogs or Dollars October 1, 2012, 7:36 am

    Congrats MMM!

    And thank you for acknowledging the feelings of doubt and inevitably questions that come along with leaving a cash cow. That’s where I find myself. In a society where so many would be happy, thrilled, fortunate beyond their wildest dreams to have my particular brand of Corporate Servitude, its extremely difficult not to feel like an ungrateful buffoon for wanting to get the heck out of dodge. An idiotic ungrateful buffoon even.

    Reply
  • Mia October 1, 2012, 7:37 am

    I am also looking forward to Health Insurance article. We are on HDHP I think already 6 or 7 years and also have HSA accounts attached to it that have significant amounts in them. Of cause we are not retired yet and all that provided through employer, still learned A LOT over years while managing injured knee, broken anckle, second degree hand burn plus a lot of other smaller things and still barely making above our deductibles. I am big advocate of HDHP+HSA set up – it gives people opportunity to really become smart healthcare shoppers. And that is on top of allowing to shelter some money from taxes that could be used later for retirement.

    Reply
    • Mr. Everyday Dollar October 1, 2012, 7:57 am

      I’m still in a 9-5 so I have company sponsored healthcare.

      But when I retire early I will be going with the HDHP+HSA for a few reasons. By using an HDHP I can put money into the HSA to cover the deductible, if needed. This makes more sense than to pay the deductible straight out of your pocket because money that you put into your HSA is:

      1. Tax deductible! For singles, the maximum HSA contribution for 2012 is $3,100. For someone in the 25% tax bracket this reduces taxes by $750!

      2. Grows tax free from year to year.

      3. Can be invested just like with an IRA! If you want you can invest your HSA dollars in stocks, bonds, mutual funds and CDs. This is awesome.

      The other nice thing about an HSA is that if you decide to switch health plans you can keep the same HSA.

      Reply
      • TOM October 1, 2012, 12:09 pm

        Paycheck-based HSA contributions also get to hide from FICA tax and state tax (usually, where applicable), so way better than just the 25% tax savings

        Reply
    • James October 1, 2012, 8:16 am

      I agree, my current employer has a HDHP+HSA which works very well for us. The huge bonus is that we will hopefully build up the HSA over time.

      Reply
    • cptacek October 1, 2012, 9:06 am

      How does the PPACA impact HDHP and HSAs?

      Reply
      • Mia October 1, 2012, 11:20 am

        It does not, all in compliance as far as I can tell.

        Reply
        • Ren October 1, 2012, 2:19 pm

          The PPACA impacts to HSAs that I recall are:

          * The penalty for non-health withdrawals is increased from 10% to 20% (not including taxes). I think this only applies over a certain income level, but I don’t remember what it is.

          * Items that used to count, such as over-the-counter medications, no longer do. This is the same for tax deductibility and for reimbursement accounts.

          Reply
          • MoneyOCD October 1, 2012, 5:50 pm

            Yes those 2 are true but both not really related to HDHP itself that allows HSA to exist. Concern was that HDHP + HSA will not meet qualifications to be sold on exchanges – that did not happened. So far so good.

            Reply
        • cptacek October 1, 2012, 8:54 pm

          Are all provisions enacted yet?

          Reply
          • Karawynn @ Pocketmint October 2, 2012, 4:31 pm

            All provisions of the PPACA? No, not even close. Some have; most of the big ones kick in January 2014. And there are a few stragglers, the last one coming in 2020.

            But the two that Ren mentioned, above, are already in effect.

            Reply
  • john October 1, 2012, 8:13 am

    i’ll second (or third or fourth) the request for the health insurance article. hopefully there’s a focus on obviously the HDHP but i have no knowledge about the HSA’s and the fact that they’re tax deductible…..

    it’d be worth the price of admission to this website… oh it’s free? MMM you ARE a good dude, seriously. this (for me) is a life changing website, thanks very sincerely!

    Reply
  • The Stoic October 1, 2012, 8:28 am

    I can relate to wanting to leave a nice cash cow job, I did the same thing back in May. I’ve never second guessed my decision. I’m happy and excited about the direction my life is taking.

    Fear of change is only one side of the equation. I think due to our nature it is the side we often focus on at the expense of failing to see the good that can come. As investment psychology has shown us, we tend to experience a loss far greater than a gain. I think that is true for a perceived loss as well. They seem equally real.

    Have a great first day of funemployment Mrs. Money Mustache!!

    Reply
  • John October 1, 2012, 8:32 am

    MMM, I’m a big fan of the attitude that you make your own job rather than blindly take a pre-existing one and I’m happy for Mrs. MM to have cut the cord! But you make one offhand comment that I think merits clarification: that (paraphrasing) simply because the business pays certain expenses, they are tax-deductible. In fact, they are only tax-deductible to the extent that they are used *for business purposes*.

    As the IRS explains, “Generally, you cannot deduct personal, living, or family expenses. However, if you have an expense for something that is used partly for business and partly for personal purposes, divide the total cost between the business and personal parts. You can deduct the business part.” ( http://www.irs.gov/publications/p535/ch01.html#en_US_2011_publink1000208623 )

    You might well have elected to gloss over this subtlety, but I wouldn’t want your readers to think that self-employment (as awesome as it can be!) is a talisman that magically makes everyday expenses tax-deductible.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 1, 2012, 9:07 am

      You’re right John – your personal expenses are not tax-deductible even if you have a business. But in my case, almost everything I do is business, because my idea of pleasure is working!

      For example, I use a computer quite a bit. But while I enjoy almost every minute of it, very little of it is “personal” use – I’m working on this blog! So it’s 90-100% deductible. Similarly, I wouldn’t have a cell phone with data access – except for the purpose of running the blog.

      Even some of my travel is for the blog, like a weekend in Denver earlier this month. It was fun, but it was business.

      I also love making things out of wood and metal. People even pay my business to do this for them! So I need to buy some very fun tools, and they are bought by the business. That business also needs a cell phone, a computer, and internet access.

      Of course, I can’t deduct my groceries, property taxes, or personal travel. But there is a certain exciting privilege about being able to deduct things that you use for work which happen to be fun to use anyway.

      Reply
      • Jeff October 1, 2012, 9:13 am

        If you have home office(s), you can deduct your property taxes!

        Reply
        • Dan October 1, 2012, 4:02 pm

          It is safer to deduct your property taxes on your itemized deductions. (assuming you itemize, which probably almost every working mustachian does) You can however deduct a proportional amount of utilities, insurance, maintenance for the amount of square footage of the office.

          The IRS requires the office space to be used solely for the purpose of business and when they say solely they mean pretty much mean no personal use what so ever. Ultimately if you go through all of these gyrations you are not actually getting a very big deduction (especially if your utilities and maintenance are low.) and it is not worth the IRS exposure.

          Reply
      • BNL October 1, 2012, 9:23 am

        MMM – Any good books you’d recommend on taxes & LLC’s that fit well with your lifestyle?

        Reply
  • Another Reader October 1, 2012, 8:37 am

    I’m looking forward to the updated health insurance article as well. Sadly, it looks like HDHP’s and HSA’s are largely going away under the new healthcare law. The nanny state HMO’s offered by my pension system, which are subsidized, are all going up approximately 10 percent for 2013. Paying $7,500 out of pocket for a substandard HMO plan is ridiculous. Can’t wait to see the “choices” for 2014.

    HDHP’s are just insurance as it was 40 or 50 years, before the unions negotiated preventative care into their health plans. You went to the doctor, you paid the doctor. You needed a shot, you paid. Health insurance was for catastrophic events. In the last 40 or 50 years, an entirely new system, employing hundreds of thousands of people and costing many billions of dollars has evolved. Is health care any better for this? I don’t see it. And every day you have less and less control over your health care decisions.

    As an aside, I predict Mrs. MM will be taking up paid employment sooner rather than later. Perhaps something part time and irregular, such as going back to real estate sales. The work ethic I see ingrained in her is just too strong.

    Reply
    • mike October 1, 2012, 9:11 am

      The glaring omission here is chronic illness, which wasn’t much of a problem in the good old days of yore that you seem to so admire. We’re not on an hdhp simply because our minimum annual outlays would max the deductible every year. So not worth it for us.

      Reply
      • Jeff October 1, 2012, 9:17 am

        Maybe it’s not optimal for you, but for the majority of healthy Americans it would be a good deal for them. And the result would be that they scrutinize the things they pay for, since it directly affects how much they pay. That scrutiny on a broad scale would reintroduce competition into the marketplace, which lower everyone’s costs (yours included).

        Reply
        • mike October 1, 2012, 9:47 am

          I have zero objections to hdhp’s and I think they’re great. I wish we could take advantage of them. No, I was objecting to the commenter above taking a position that we should all have them, the idea being that we would somehow be magically transported back to the good old days when men were men, boys were boys and you paid for your doctors’ visit with cash. Or fresh eggs or whatever. I’ll also go ahead and object to the rather patronizing assumptions you seem to make in your response. I AM one of the millions of healthy Americans, and I’ll go out on a limb and claim that in the healthy department I’m kicking 95% of peoples’ a$$es. I said “we”, not “I”. And be careful, in one day you can go from being “healthy” in the eyes of health insurers, to being a hideously expensive basket case.

          Reply
          • Another Reader October 1, 2012, 11:19 am

            The treatment for chronic diseases that could be treated in the 1950’s and 60’s cost substantially less because the fees and charges were not loaded with overhead and the apportioned cost recovery they are today. Heck, most of the fees and charges that appear on the bill these days did not exist or were simply lumped together as a single item.

            You wrote a check, and because you had a direct, long term relationship with your doctor, it was accepted. You never interacted with an insurance company, unless you ended up in the hospital with a heart attack or something else equally serious.

            So called health care “reform” simply hands more of the system we have today over to the insurance companies. Competition is supposed to lower costs, but the same folks will control the system. Lower costs will likely result in cuts in real care and less personal autonomy, instead of controlling mis-allocated resources.

            Your family member with the chronic illness will continue to be an insurance pariah. It will be interesting to see the pricing, given that coverage has to be offered. You may find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having to explain to the IRS that you could not find a policy that did not cost 8 percent or less of your MAGI and you should not be penalized for not having insurance.

            Reply
            • mike October 1, 2012, 11:51 am

              I’m skeptical that you can explain it all away with mystery line item billing elements. The quality and cost of care has gone up considerably. Many of the chronic illnesses we diagnose / treat these days were either undiagnosable or untreatable in the old days.

              Reply
    • JR October 1, 2012, 12:16 pm

      “HDHP’s are just insurance as it was 40 or 50 years, before the unions negotiated preventative care into their health plans. ”

      Health plans were originally offered by companies to attract talent due to government mandated pay controls during WWII.

      Reply
  • Debt Free Teen October 1, 2012, 8:42 am

    Looking forward to the insurance post. I was wondering how that worked because my parents have always worked and had insurance through an employer but I want to do things differently!

    Reply
  • Holly@ClubThrifty October 1, 2012, 8:44 am

    I agree that I am very interested to hear about your high deductible health plan on the wonderful open market.

    I have been there myself and it truly sucks! Let me just say that I hope you guys don’t want to have any more kids. Your plan doesn’t cover it and getting a plan that does is a nightmare. We were paying over $1000 a month for our maternity plan on the open market when we finally got a group plan at work. Even after paying $1000 per month, we still had a $2500 PER PERSON deductible and other various unexplainable expenses like co-insurance, etc.

    I hope you have better luck!

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 1, 2012, 9:09 am

      Nope, no more kids for us! I do agree with you and recommend having a fairly Cadillac-esque medical insurance plan if you are planning to give birth in a US hospital – that shit is EXPENSIVE here.

      Reply
      • Jeff October 1, 2012, 9:19 am

        We had a cadillac plan for the first kid, but they’re getting rid of that soon. We’re talking about doing a destination birth for the second one. Managua, Nicaragua has first rate hospitals at a fraction of the what you’d pay in the US.

        Reply
        • JR October 1, 2012, 12:22 pm

          Why not just have an in home birth with a certified midwife? Hospitals are for sick people.

          Reply
          • Mr. Risky Startup October 1, 2012, 8:36 pm

            My wife was home-birth bound from the day we decided to have our first child (we live in Canada so money was not an issue). I was opposed, but since it was not me who had to do the pushing, my wife got her way. I am a convert now! It was amazingly simple and peaceful process, two licensed and trained midwives took care of everything, and best of all – after it was all done, we were still in our own bed, in our own house, our own bathroom. When all visitors left, we were a little family – no doctors to tell us what to do, when we can leave… IT WAS AWESOME!

            (By the way, my wife was 37 when we had our first son, so home birth is not just for young people).

            P.S. I feel bad for all the American friends of ours – I was shocked to discover that in the US they still only give 12 weeks unpaid (for most people) to have a child. Friend of ours had twins, she was bed-ridden for 12 weeks before the birth, so she had to go back to work couple of days after babies were born. INHUMANE!!! Canada could do even better, but 12 months off with 65% of pay is pretty great compared to US.

            Reply
      • Marcia October 1, 2012, 6:22 pm

        No kidding. I chose to be double covered by both of our employers when I found out I was pregnant, just before open enrollment.

        It means I don’t think I’ve paid more than a couple hundred bucks. I’m not sure how much the birth cost. In 2006, it was around $8000-9000. This time, it was probably closer to $12,000. Being an experienced mom, I only stayed one night, which helped. Nurses kept waking me every four hours anyway, on top of the baby’s nursing schedule.

        Reply
      • Karawynn @ Pocketmint October 2, 2012, 4:45 pm

        This is one of the great things about Obamacare (PPACA): maternity coverage is *required* for individual and small group plans starting January 2014. You won’t need a rider or a ‘Cadillac’ plan after that.

        Reply
    • Mr. Frugal Toque October 1, 2012, 11:23 am

      The comments in this article are driving me nuts and this seems as good a place as any to put a comment.
      Is everything in the United States about the fact that you guys don’t have universal health care?
      I mean, shit, here we have an article about joyously retiring from the daily grind and the comments are 90% “Tell me about your health care plan!”, “Pre-existing condition!” and “Deductible!”
      I’m not dissing you guys individually for being concerned about your health. I totally get how bone marrow deep emotions can go when it comes to life and death. I take great pains to safeguard my health, too. If I lived in your country, it would probably be at the fore of my thoughts, too.
      But, well, fuck, why do you have to pay to have a goddamned baby? How can a society look at a woman in labour or a newborn child still wet behind the ears and think “Quick, get their credit cards!”
      It just drives me crazy that everything has to keep coming back to this one issue, over and over again when instead people could just all take care of each other and find other things to worry about.
      Bah.

      Reply
      • TheHeadHunter October 1, 2012, 11:40 am

        Yeah! Doctors should deliver babies for free! Oh, and Hospitals should provide the facilities for free too! That would mean that everyone working there would have to be volunteers, so Yeah, they shouldn’t get paid either!

        You are right though, Babies should never be paid for with Credit Cards… b\c then they could get reposessed if you didn’t pay your bills. So either deliver the babies for Free or Pay Cash for your babies.

        Otherwise, the terrorists win.

        Reply
        • Grant October 1, 2012, 11:48 am

          I don’t think you understand the term “universal health care”.

          Reply
        • JJ October 1, 2012, 2:39 pm

          The fact that someone so clearly intelligent and articulate can’t see how healthcare could possibly be paid for without pulling out the credit card every time you go to hospital shows just how deep the issue is in the US… Taxes aren’t just for defence spending in most other countries.

          Reply
        • Mr. Risky Startup October 2, 2012, 12:34 pm

          Seriously? Fun fact is that Canadian “government” health care is actually very capitalistic. Friend of mine is a surgeon who owns his own business. He treats everyone, and only difference is that there is only one payer – government uses tax revenues to pay for his services. Few years back, last time I checked, he made $660K,

          Because we all buy as one, and we are all insured, everything is more efficient. That is why seniors from US flood our drug stores to buy american-made medicine at 1/4 of the cost. Our government buys for 35 million people, so they get a good deal. And, admin costs are under 3%.

          For every $ you pay, 30 cents goes to profits and marketing, probably another few cents goes to legal costs, enforcement etc. Imagine if you were buying an American made car, which in Canada is sold for half a price – how would you feel?

          Not very mustachian way to spend money if you ask me!

          Reply
      • Grant (a different one) October 1, 2012, 11:46 am

        Well said! I have reading the comments think “what a screwed up place the good ol’ U.S.ofA. Is”!

        Reply
      • Jamie October 1, 2012, 11:49 am

        When you start shopping for your own insurance and it turns out its more than your mortgage payment, I’d say It might be in the forefront of a persons mind. So take a pill and chill out Mr Frugal Toque.

        Reply
        • Mrs. Money Mustache October 1, 2012, 12:27 pm

          I think he’s got a great point. Everyone in the US complains about healthcare coverage and premiums, yet many people don’t support Universal Healthcare. It’s mind-boggling to me.

          Having moved from Canada to the US, that was one of the stark differences between the 2 countries. Premiums, co-pays, pre-existing conditions, coverage, deductibles, out-of-pocket max, etc… these were all new terms for me and the whole thing is extremely confusing. Many people don’t understand their own coverage and don’t do the math to figure out what plans make the most sense.

          So, I can certainly understand Mr. Frugal Toque’s perspective. Personally, I’d rather just pay as I go, but given the cost of a potential catastrophic accident, it may not be financially prudent.

          Reply
          • Holly@ClubThrifty October 1, 2012, 12:58 pm

            I wholeheartedly support Universal Healthcare!

            Reply
          • Jamie October 1, 2012, 4:46 pm

            There are stark differences between Canadas healthcare system and ours. What many people do not take into account are the amount of people that get coverage or need coverage (depending on what country you live in). If you look at the stark population desparity you would see the US has many more people to deal with and thats why this issue become such a central focus for the US. As challenging and sometimes downright nasty the healthcare debate can be, I will still stick with the continued experiment of the States. I live in WI and we have dealt with our own issues here as of late. But from a financial perspective, we are stonger because of changes we made here.

            Reply
            • Deano October 1, 2012, 7:45 pm

              Jamie, the huge population of the US is an argument FOR UHC…there are massive economies of scale to be had.

              Reply
          • Marcia October 1, 2012, 6:25 pm

            Every time our open enrollment comes, people ask for,my opinion, cuz I’m always doing the math. It gets more confusing every year.

            Reply
          • Liz October 1, 2012, 8:22 pm

            Maybe in Colorado, they don’t support universal health care, but in New York most of us do!

            Reply
          • Mr. Risky Startup October 2, 2012, 8:10 am

            Watching commercials on US TV advertising hospitals and drugs still shocks me (15 years after I moved from Europe to Canada).

            Choice of medicine and treatment should be left to doctors. Some stupid 12-dollar per hour administrator in a for-profit insurance company should not be deciding who lives and who dies (or goes bankrupt). When you are sick and in need of medical attention, LAST THING you should have to worry about is money, eligibility, approvals etc.

            My US wife told me that her mother had to call into the insurance company before any procedure was done – when she broke her arm as a child, when she had pneumonia… Are you fucking kidding me???? Mother has to call insurance company instead of caring for her child? Doctors have to wait until insurance company approves which cast and drugs can be administered? And then you have to worry about co-pays and other BS??? How can anyone actually defend that system is beyond me. Maybe undetected brain damage? You should see a doctor. Oh wait, it would be too expensive to actually use your paid health care insurance so you don’t bother going until it is too late and damage is irreversible.

            Wake up America! You are living in the 18 century when it comes to health care. You are driving a Ford Crown Victoria while rest of the world is driving a Ferrari. And 50% of you apparently have convinced yourself that Ford Crown Victoria is better than Ferrari. Get in a Ferrari once and you will know the difference!

            My US born wife was brain-washed when it comes to US healthcare, but then she moved to Canada and within couple of years she realized how dumb and blind she has been about it. Now she is a biggest preacher for universal healthcare in the universe.

            Reply
            • Holly@ClubThrifty October 2, 2012, 9:10 am

              I had back surgery in my early 20’s and we had to get every medicine that was administered approved by my health insurance. With one medicine in particular, my health insurance wouldn’t approve it until I tried the cheaper version first.

              Why is my health insurance making decisions on which medicines I should be taking? Shouldn’t my doctor be making that decision?

              That is what baffles me about people’s opposition to Universal Healthcare. They are severely opposed to our government being involved in healthcare at all, yet seem to be okay with for profit insurance making decisions.

              I know lots of people who are in favor of Universal healthcare but unfortunately we are held captive by those who are in fear and would rather use our expensive and outdated for profit healthcare system. I constantly hear things like “I don’t want to have to pay for other’s healthcare!” and “Universal healthcare is socialism.”

              Guess what- we are all paying for each other’s healthcare whether we want to or not.

              Last year my family insurance plan cost about 10K. We are all very healthy and I went to the doctor once, my two kids each went twice, and my husband didn’t go. We paid in 10K and they paid out $325. $9675 in profit yet they still raised our rates 11%. Why? To cover the cost of other’s healthcare and overall rising costs.

              Learn to accept that reality and Universal Healthcare starts making a lot more sense.

              Reply
              • Mr. Risky Startup October 2, 2012, 9:31 am

                Ironically, they use the millions of dollars from the money Americans pay into health insurance plans to lobby Congress to keep the money flowing into their coffers while people are dying from preventable diseases.

                Just look at the life expectancy for countries with Universal Healthcare versus US and you don’t need any other stat.

                You pay twice as much to cover only some people, yet you are less healthy and you live shorter lives in the US.

                P.S. I should mention that even Canadian system leaves a lot to be desired too. I have been calling my MP’s asking them to raise my taxes to deal with the issue of delays in ER’s. However, America is the richest country in the world so it should model its system after those in France and Sweden, which in my view are by far the best (I lived in Europe so I have some knowledge of the systems there).

            • Jamesqf October 2, 2012, 11:29 am

              “Choice of medicine and treatment should be left to doctors.”

              If it is, many doctors will opt for the more expensive treatment, even if it gives the same result, because they get a cut of the treatment cost.

              Take kidney stones, for example. Most can be treated either with pain medication and allowing them to pass naturally, at a cost of a few hundred dollars, or with lithotripsy at about $15K. If your doctor’s practice has just invested in a shiny new lithotripter (or has a relationship with a center), want to guess which is going to be recommended?

              Reply
              • SomeYoungGuy October 2, 2012, 12:08 pm

                There are some terrible assumptions made in this thread. I would love the world if America were to stay free (my Dad had an awesome hip replacement and dental implants. Living like a 40 y.o. at 70. My wife had reconstructive surgery on her knee for 200 USD. Minimally invasive, minimum recovery. Sure, I have to have a job to get coverage, but I’m happy for the outcome. If it goes universal, I will also consider ER like alll these socialist societies, because it is much easier. Not trying to start an arguement, but what we value most should not be my expense, if I know how to avoid paying for it.

              • Mr. Risky Startup October 2, 2012, 12:38 pm

                That is dark view of medical profession. Most doctors I know are amazing professionals who have one interest in mind – health of their patients. They HATE being told by insurance companies what they can do.

                In Canada, they get paid for their work and results. They have no incentive to “sell” more expensive options.

      • mike October 1, 2012, 11:54 am

        Hah, tell me about it. Hey, if it gets crazy enough we may become Canadians. Is it appropriate to add ‘eh’ after “God save the Queen”?

        Reply
      • Lindsey October 1, 2012, 12:20 pm

        My life is a perfect example of why we fixate on health insurance whenever we look at changing jobs or retiring early. Husband: cancer at 28. 18 months of chemo. 5 surgeries. Over 6 months in intensive care total. Wife: At 30, cardiac birth defect goes into overdrive. Open heart surgery. 62 emergency room admissions in one year. Brother dies of the same defect. Had to purchase a defribulator for our home. On 5 medicines for the rest of my life, with a total expense of $3,000 per month just for these meds.

        Our entire lives since then, in terms of employer choices, have revolved around the fact that we had two freakish illnesses that had nothing to do with our lifestyles. It was just bad luck.

        We had health insurance and still ended up with over $300,000 of illness related bills (like hotel costs to stay in Seattle for months, since it was the only place that had a hospital with the expertise to do this type of open heart surgery. Insurance won’t cover it, but you have to do it.)

        It is easy to cavalier when you are blessed with good health, but there are very good reasons why some of us obsess endlessly about health insurance. Count your blessings.

        Reply
        • Mr. Frugal Toque October 1, 2012, 12:29 pm

          Lindsey,
          I do count my blessings. Believe me. That’s why I wrote what I wrote.
          I want you to understand that I am not being cavalier about health care. As I said, I would be obsessing over it too if I were in your shoes.
          What makes me crazy is how wrong it is for people to end up in this situation. Every life event has everyone wondering “what are you going to do about healthcare?”
          Having a baby? Health insurance
          Getting a new job? Health insurance.
          Moving? Health insurance.
          Retiring? Better get good insurance.
          It just keeps coming up again and again, no matter what subject we’re discussing and I find it really, really sad that everyone is forced to focus on it so much.

          Reply
        • Mrs. Money Mustache October 1, 2012, 12:33 pm

          I think his point was that we, in the United States, should strongly support Universal Healthcare so that we don’t have to worry about this kind of stuff so much.

          I’m not sure how much your healthcare costs would have been in Canada, but your bill might have been as low as $0.

          Reply
          • Ryan October 1, 2012, 5:22 pm

            My problem with universal healthcare is that the major issue and concern for people is how expensive health care has gotten, not how they pay for it (directly vs taxes). Socializing it doesn’t fix that problem, it just adds in government inefficiencies on top of it, which I imagine is just going to make it worse, both because the government has their hands in it, and also because costs will be more hidden and can go up without people noticing as easily.

            I would rather we fix whatever caused health care to get so expensive so quickly in the first place, and make other changes like not being big-business driven. If we had a working system, I would have less of a problem handing it over to the government. I just don’t see the federal government getting a hold of it and doing anything but hide the problems.

            Reply
            • Deano October 1, 2012, 7:50 pm

              Ryan, the government has inefficiencies for sure, but UHC is by far cheaper than the US system. Socializing does fix the expense problem…economies of scale and removing the need for profit lower the expense. The US has per capita healthcare spending more than double that of Canada. Inefficiencies? Let’s compare the billing departments of major hospitals in the US and Canada (or Australia or UK!). Who has more employees?

              Bottom line, it’s easier to be “mustachian” in Canada….no worries about medical bills.

              Healthcare discussion done.

              Reply
              • Rob October 5, 2012, 1:41 pm

                Just a note but if you want a model for good universal healthcare Europe is a better model to study, the main problem is that private healthcare for all intents and purposes is banned. If you can’t get treatment here you have to fork out big bucks south of the border.

                In Europe you have both public and private plans

            • The money pinch October 1, 2012, 8:06 pm

              The problem with for-profit healthcare is: there is no price too high when your life is on the line.

              When you buy shoes, if it’s too pricey you walk. When you are on the stretcher, you have no choice, and no opportunity to cross-shop or haggle.

              Add onto that the fact that the whole system is composed of actors whose mission is extracting the most profit possible, and you get extravagant prices and only lip-service to care.

              On the other hand, in a socialized system, the structure is non-profit and (ideally) transparent. Concrete, beds, people and meds are still costs, but you skip the profit margin.

              Reply
          • G.E. Miller October 1, 2012, 8:24 pm

            @ Mrs. MMM – Agree 100%. So, the question becomes:
            1. Why is it that half the population is opposed? Is it just that the right wing has convinced their half that anything government related is bad, and hence, government-run health care is bad? (despite the fact that health care expenses are far cheaper in every country that has it)
            2. How do we change the perception that universal health care is bad? Reason doesn’t seem to be working.

            Reply
            • Mr. Frugal Toque October 2, 2012, 6:39 am

              The population appears to think that government run health care will be more expensive, which it isn’t. Canada insures its entire population for less cost per-capita than the U.S. In fact, we pay slightly more than HALF what the U.S. does, because we cut out the profit motive.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_total_health_expenditure_%28PPP%29_per_capita

              The population is also concerned, despite the lower cost, higher longevity and lower infant mortality, that government run health care will somehow be less efficient or more miserly.

              I don’t know how to convince people otherwise. It’s hard enough just teaching them to spend less money than they make.

              Reply
              • Rob October 5, 2012, 1:45 pm

                Interesting is Obamacare was based on the conservative idea of allowing the free market to lower costs, not quite sure why he choose that over a single payer plan and why conservatives oppose it is beyond me

            • PFgal October 5, 2012, 7:41 pm

              I would argue that the problem isn’t simply that many Americans are against universal healthcare. A big problem is that legislators are the ones making the decisions, and they all have platinum healthcare packages. If they had what the rest of us had (and the salaries the rest of us have to pay for it) then my guess is that we’d already have universal healthcare. But with the people who do the voting receiving the best care in the country, why should they worry?

              Of course, another big issue is the politicization of the whole issue. “Romneycare” was praised in Republican circles. The Republicans LOVED it. Then Obama decided to implement a similar version on a national level and suddenly the Democrats were all for it and the Republicans felt the need to block it simply because they didn’t want to let the Democrats look good.

              The next election will be very telling. We will soon be seeing major changes in our healthcare system, and the election will decide in which direction we’ll be going.

              Reply
  • Joe @ Retire By 40 October 1, 2012, 9:02 am

    Mrs. MM,
    Congratulation on your new found freedom! I’m a bit behind on forming an LLC, but now that you gave some benefits, I’ll get on it right away.
    $2xx isn’t bad for health care for the entire family. I’m looking forward to that post.

    Reply
  • Jamie October 1, 2012, 9:06 am

    Very happy for Mrs MM! I fired my employer a month ago and last Friday was my last day. No real prospects yet, but its nice being able to say FU to a toxic work enviroment, due to having a stash to cover many months of ever shrinking debt. I am curious about the health ins. I put myself and 16yr old daughter on a plan which runs $279 a month here in Wisconsin. My wife is still on her own plan. How high is your deductible? Mine is $2500 per person.

    Reply
  • Jesse October 1, 2012, 9:17 am

    I’d be interested to see how you structured your LLC in such a way that you can route personal “niceties” through the company. Tax benefits of running one’s life as a personal business (I do sporadic consulting part-time outside of my job) is something I suppose I just don’t “get”, so perhaps a higher-level blog would be useful?

    Reply
  • Diana October 1, 2012, 9:28 am

    Add me to the list of people looking for your future post on Healthcare! Hubby & I are about 5 years from FI, probably sooner than that if I could have some “peace” regarding healthcare. It’s that big question mark in our plan that scares me. While we are generally healthy, we both have some medical issues that have triggered some amazingly huge bills in the past, so I’ve shyed away from HDHP for that reason.

    Reply
  • TK October 1, 2012, 9:52 am

    So just went to ehealthinsurance to get an idea and the cheapest rate was $900/month and a high ($10k) deductible plan wasn’t available. So I said lets see if I lived in Longmont, CO – turns out rates appear to be half the cost and there were high deductible plans available to boot so even cheaper (but with risk) from there. Even with insurance location matters.

    Reply
  • mike October 1, 2012, 10:10 am

    I’m curious, has anyone here had the experience of being on an hdhp and suddenly getting hit with a chronic illness that will cost tens of thousands annually to treat? Can you even switch to a standard plan at that point or are you just SOL?

    Reply
    • TOM October 1, 2012, 12:23 pm

      I think there are a few important consideration for HDHPs, such as
      1. You might get some free stuff – immunizations, preventative check-ups, well-baby visits
      2. You still get discounts before paying off your deductible, Ex: The hospital would charge someone $1000 for an x-ray, but they’ll charge your insurance $900, or LabCorp may charge $10 for a glucose test but your insurance negotiates it down to $2.
      3. There is coinsurance once you hit the deductible! My family plan through the employer has a $3k deductible but has the same rates and network coverage as the PPO.

      I haven’t ever bought insurance on the open market, but I thought if you could prove you haven’t been uninsured for a recent period of time, it is easier to switch plans. Actually the biggest hassle of having an HDHP + HSA is that the HSA provider might charge you a fee for not being hooked to a HDHP. That happened to me once.

      Reply
    • Lindsey October 1, 2012, 12:24 pm

      Not only are you SOL, you may not be welcome at some workplaces. Nine years after he beat cancer, my husband was told that this small non profit wnated to hire him, but if they did their insurance rates would skyrocket. SO, either he could take the job and sign a paper that he did not want health insurnance or they could not hire him. He ended up taking a job with the state, only for the health coverage.

      Reply
  • Adrienne October 1, 2012, 10:34 am

    Just want to reply to some of the comments on high deductible health plans not being a good idea if you have lots of expenses. It depends on the insurance company but where I live (with only 1 option for self-employeed) the high deductible plans cover 100% of expenses after you reach your deductilbe. “Regular” plans charge you 10% after you reach your deductible. Which one is the better choice depends. You have to really run the numbers for your specific situation.

    Reply
  • Tara October 1, 2012, 11:11 am

    I am facing giving up my cash cow job next year and it is causing me tons of agony… I feel scared and uncertain. Even though we’ve been planning and saving for this for 5 years it is extremely difficult to let go. Fortunately my move will be back home to Canada where I will have very little in the way of health care insurance worries, so there’s at least that… but giving up that paycheck is terrifying, since I have no passive income and will have to get another job, hopefully sooner rather than later.

    Reply
  • Paul October 1, 2012, 11:25 am

    Congrats! I am also looking forward to giving up my cash cow job sometime in the near future.

    Reply
  • AB @ Aspiring Blogger October 1, 2012, 12:07 pm

    Congrats Mrs. MM!!!
    I can’t wait until I’m in the position to quit my job, but the thought of giving up all the relatively easy money scares me! I think once I’ve built up my side income enough that worry will decrease…I just hope that day is soon!
    AB

    Reply
  • Joy October 1, 2012, 12:58 pm

    Yes! I for one am looking forward to reading some
    of Mrs. MMM’s thoughts. :)

    Please MMM don’t take it personal. I enjoy your writing.
    I just think being a woman gives it more value. LOL! :)

    OK, I am teasing MMM. But, it will be nice to hear from her
    a little more. Congratulations!

    Reply
  • Grant(meaname) October 1, 2012, 1:22 pm

    Not to break the “don’t comment if you can’t add anything new” rule, but: Congrats, Mrs. MM! Enjoy your retirement!

    Reply
  • Rich October 1, 2012, 1:30 pm

    Could you give us a hint about what you’re planning to do for your cell phones? I know full-blown articles can take a while, but I’m sitting here NOW with my iPhone 4 on AT&T trying to talk myself out of signing a new 2-yr agreement with Verizon and upgrading to the iPhone 5! I’m not seeing any good, cheap options for me to use this GSM/AT&T iPhone 4 that include decent cell phone coverage where I live. So I’m really interested to hear what you’ve found!

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 1, 2012, 2:16 pm

      Sure Rich – don’t renew that contract! We had AT&T unlock the iphones so that they would work properly with new SIMMs from AirVoice wireless. Still waiting on the second unlock and the second simm card in the mail, then need to do some testing before I can recommend it to users.

      That’s the short-term solution. In the longer term, I’m in Beta Wave “M” for Republic Wireless, which should open up in a few months. That’ll require a new phone but it comes with unlimited voice/data for $20/month. So the family strategy would be MMM gets the unlimited phone and we use that while traveling as a family, Mrs MM gets the pay as you go plan since she has lower usage.

      Reply
      • Rich October 1, 2012, 3:17 pm

        Thanks! I didn’t know about all these AT&T MVNO’s until now. Now I’m learning about AirVoice, Pure Talk, etc!

        I still may end up upgrading & renewing, since my work will pay for it… but I’m glad to know my options!

        Reply
      • Ren October 1, 2012, 3:24 pm

        I just got two AirVoice Wireless SIMs for my two old iPhones for my kids to use with the $10/month plan, but I haven’t switched them from their Tracfone’s yet as they still have minutes to use on those.

        Reply
      • TheHeadHunter October 2, 2012, 10:05 am

        I’m eagerly awaiting your post on Cell Phones. I spend way too much for 1 and I don’t even have a data plan. Hell, I rarely even talk on it, I just text.

        Reply
      • Beach Bum October 2, 2012, 3:59 pm

        For any Canadian readers, best deal i found for mobile up here was PetroCanada Mobility (Prepaid). $100 for 440 local minutes good for 365 days. Unlimited incoming text, $0.10 outgoing text, voicemail, call display, and can enable unlimited data for $8 for 31 days when needed. Good enough since I don’t spend much time on the phone….

        Anyone find a better deal?

        Reply
        • Lisa in Toronto October 6, 2012, 7:21 am

          Thanks for the tip, BB. I’m with Wind, which works for me ($45 a month but unlimited data, which is great.) But the deal you mentioned might be great for my dad.

          Reply
      • LauraNM October 6, 2012, 1:55 pm

        I discovered your blog about a month ago and have been slowly reading through it. One change it has given me the fortitude to do is to consider letting go of my grandfathered unlimited data plan with AT&T.

        In place if it, I am looking at going with Ting – a plan where you only pay for what you actually use. I’m currently testing how the Sprint network operates in my very rural area. If all goes well, I’ll be telling AT&T syanora!

        Congratulations to your wife, btw. :)

        Reply
  • Chad October 1, 2012, 6:50 pm

    Wait, I just looked at Republic Wireless and they say it’s going to be $19 a month, not $20 a month. What gives, MMM? I thought you valued your dollar! Zing!

    Reply
  • JJ October 1, 2012, 7:41 pm

    As they say in Oz, good onya Mrs MM for leaving your job in the rear view, and good onya for not taking unemployment benefits! I see how quickly Mr MM turns ideas and concepts into action. Always having work on your mind or having time-driven commitments, even if it is part time, is a huge drag on energy and creativity so I’m sure you will have a blast now that the shackles are off!

    Reply
  • jet October 1, 2012, 8:24 pm

    That sounds great!! I am hanging out til Nov so I can downgrade my mobile plan (currently locked into a contract) if I can get something that is $10 a month I would be exceedingly impressed :/ I may have to give up on rural area mobile coverage to get so cheap, but I bet there are ways around that as there are with everything!

    Reply
  • Mr. Risky Startup October 1, 2012, 8:27 pm

    My wife retired when our son was born, but then decided to work from home a few hours per week even though it was insignificant monetarily – she wanted something to give her mental break – doing something different for a couple of hours every couple of days (talking to adults instead of children as she puts it).

    Best part of getting off the consumerist bandwagon was just that – being able to afford to cut the hours and chose what you want to do.

    Reply
  • Eschewing Debt October 2, 2012, 9:39 am

    Congratulations to Mrs. MM! What an exciting time, I am sure!

    Reply
    • Mrs. Money Mustache October 2, 2012, 9:41 am

      Thank you!! It is an exciting time and hopefully some fun and unexpected things will start happening. :)

      Reply
  • G.E. Miller October 2, 2012, 10:23 am

    MMM’s – do you anticipate, with this development, a return to Canada, where the health care is as cheap as the fresh air?

    I’ve considered moving to Canada just for that purpose.

    Hmmm…… maybe that’s what will eventually motivate our country to go universal. We’ll lose our best and brightest to other countries who offer cheaper health care. And we’ll be less competitive in business.

    Reply
  • Kisser Of Sinners October 2, 2012, 2:30 pm

    Thanks for not collecting the unemployment, not everyone is so honest…

    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-10-02/almost-2-400-millionaires-pocketed-unemployment-benefits

    Reply
  • Beach Bum October 2, 2012, 4:07 pm

    Speaking of quitting a cash cow job, has anyone had experience walking away from stock option plans? I would lose the equivalent of 1/2 a years salary (at todays price) if i resigned today. I would appreciate any comments, that’s a large chunk of cash to give up….

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 2, 2012, 4:41 pm

      Hey, that’s about how much my stock options were worth when I quit too! I thought I’d miss them, but I didn’t.

      It all depends on how well set you already are. Do you have 25 times your annual spending set aside in investments? That’s a great start. Do you think you might earn money sometime later in your life? Even better.

      Reply
      • Beach Bum October 2, 2012, 6:45 pm

        Spreadsheet is showing 4% in early 2015. I have not put anything in for potential employment income after that point is reached. I’m going to add that in, it will be interesting to see what the result is.

        Reply
    • Jen October 2, 2012, 9:00 pm

      I’d say it depends how long until you can take those options – if it is several months away, why waste 1/2 year salary. If you have to stick with the company for 3 more years for that, why bother.

      Reply
  • Mr Mark October 2, 2012, 8:21 pm

    Best congratulations to Mrs MM

    Always wonderful to read real good news. We raised a glass to you (both) tonight.

    Keep it up!

    Reply
  • Glenn October 6, 2012, 3:08 pm

    I look forward to the article on HDHP as well. After doing some research on the impact of PPACA, it appears that we may see fewer companies offering them.

    http://obamacarewatcher.org/articles/347

    While this link appears to be somewhat biased, it does point out the 80% rule. It would be great if you could touch on this in your upcoming article.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 6, 2012, 4:06 pm

      It does sound like the Affordable Care Act is discouraging high-deductible plans.

      On the other hand, note that the cost of health care plans will be heavily subsidized for people in sub-$100,000 families (the “400% of poverty rule”). So on a net basis, most early retirees will end up with much more coverage (lower deductibles), for slightly more monthly payment. In other words, it is tilting the balance more towards how things work in countries with public healthcare.

      People who have full-time jobs with employer health coverage would be less affected by this rule, since from my understanding, most jobs don’t provide their employees with $10,000 deductible health insurance plans.

      Reply
  • Tanner October 17, 2012, 6:16 pm

    I hope you post your article about your HDHP soon. My Work open enrollment ends Nov 12 I think I can get a more affordable plan on my own rather than going through work my work…we have horrible benefits if you have a family (Cheapest Plan is $400 per mo for a HDHP) but great if you are single (Free for $500 deductible Plan). I need to do more research and talk with our doctor about it.

    Maybe I should use the forums but know how to have a baby cheaply with no maternity coverage?

    Reply
  • Prob8 January 11, 2013, 7:22 pm

    Belated congrats Mrs. MM! It would be nice to get an update on how you are spending your days. I am trying to gain spousal support for an early retirement and plan to have her read the MMM blog from start to finish if possible. I think having the female perspective from time to time will be very helpful!

    Reply

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