Lifestyle

Eight months of my sabbatical to test Coast FI

Back in the Fall of 2020, I made the decision to take a sabbatical to test out Coast FI starting at the end of January 2021.

The plan is to try out my ideal FI schedule now, which includes 10 to 20 hours of passion work, even though we have not reached our full FI number yet. The income generated through my passion work would thus allow me to cover my share of our average yearly family spending while allowing my investments to compound and hit my individual FI# sometime in my early 40s.

Since my last update, Second & Third Months of my Sabbatical to test Coast FI , quite a lot has happened. It ended up leading to what I called a Guiltless Summer where I reflected on semi-retirement rather than Coast FI. Events of the last few months have also left me with a renewed sense of why making the most of the freedom acquired along the journey to FI is incredibly important. 

Silhouette of woman looking at sun over mountains with words Sabbatical to test coast fi 8 months

Previous Updates

In order to immortalize these first few months into this sabbatical and share my experience with you, I’ll be doing monthly occasional updates on how this experiment unfolds. 

Here are the previous updates:

First Month of my Sabbatical to test Coast FI

Second & Third Months of my Sabbatical to test Coast FI

Guiltless Summer

Instead of doing week by week updates, as it’s been so long since my previous recap, I’ll simply go higher level in this one, digging into the most significant events of these past months. 

Difficult news:

The week following my Second & Third Months of my Sabbatical to test Coast FI post, we received devastating news that an extended family member had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Doctors were giving her a few weeks to live but thankfully treatment extended that time a bit to give her a few quality months with her loved one. 

She ended up passing away only four short months later. I did a quick Twitter thread on the subject here: https://twitter.com/ModMillionaires/status/1439930590460006409

I won’t add much more details on this person as this is not my story. Yet I wanted to write a few words on it’s impact on me. 

Watching a young person that we know and that was close to us in age receive this diagnosis was very difficult. It still doesn’t feel quite real, neither did it feel real the last time Mr.Mod and I spoke with her. It just feels like a bad dream.

While I don’t think that anything I write will do justice to the emotions I’ve felt and continue to feel about all of this, here’s what this experience has left me with. It has solidified my belief that we have to continuously question the way we are spending our days because we never know what may come the next day. 

This likely had a big impact on how, during the summer, I ended up working a lot less than planned and feeling good about generating less revenue for the year.

A New School Year

As I covered how summer unfolded for me in my Guiltless Summer post, this brings us to the beginning of a new school year. This time it was the first for our youngest who began kindergarten while our oldest started first grade. 

Last year, I remember feeling overwhelmed with all the preparation to get our son ready for school. This time around, it was very different. I did not have the obligations of a 9 to 5 to work around while doing the shopping and preparing all the material. The pandemic measures seemed somewhat clearer despite how short notice it was for them to announce what they would put into place.

Perhaps not having the background stress of work helped me process the information on all of that better and have the space to self-regulate. Overall, it felt like the preparation was quite smooth!

While I didn’t feel that tired the first week of school and pretty happy with my energy level to deal with all the emotional support my kids needed to adjust to the new routine, it didn’t take long for all of us to get run down by some back to school colds. 

I’ve been so thankful for the flexibility I’ve had thanks to this sabbatical but really… how are working parents managing all of this? What about the parents that work in health care or the education system? These are really tough times and I cannot wait for the vaccine to be available for kids and hopefully for the case numbers to stop climbing. 

Decision time:

When I began this sabbatical back in January, I told myself that I would wait until the month of October to make my decision with regards to returning to work. Low and behold, we are already in the second week of October and time feels like it has flown by.

Looking back on the past 8 months, I’ve felt more energized by the work I do than I have ever felt in my life. I truly want to help my clients shed their financial anxiety and create plans to secure their financial future. Having more time to dedicate my attention to this goal has been invaluable and led me to enjoy this work even more than when I was doing it as a side-hustle. I also feel like I have a lot more content that I want to create to serve this purpose. 

As such, after hours and hours of reflection, looking at my numbers, projections and discussing the plans for our family’s future with Mr.Mod, I have made the decision to officially resign from my 9 to 5. I’ll be moving into a semi-retired lifestyle!

My plan is to continue creating educational financial content and carry-on with financial coaching on a part-time basis through Modest Millionaires. Summers will be a period when I put my content creation mostly on pause in order to spend more time with the kids while they are off from school. When we can, we will also pursue some slow travel. That’s what I am seeing for myself at least for the next several years. My projections are showing that I will likely hit my FI number sometime in my early forties which feels more than fine with me!

I’m announcing it now as I have officially notified my supervisor at work, yet this will certainly require a post on it’s own. In the meantime, I would love to know if you have any questions for me about this decision! Let me know in the comments or join my newsletter to send me a quick reply with your questions.

Conclusion

There you have it, the sabbatical will be turning into a semi-retirement! These last several months have been insightful both through painful events and through joyful ones, all along with the usual daily things that demand my attention, which feel like a good representation of life. You can feel deep sorrow while experimenting the best that life can give you with all the regular day to day routines and parts of life. 

Having pursued financial independence over the last several years has been the best thing I have done. It now allows me to be more involved in deciding what I do with what life throws at me and gives me more freedom in how I want my day to day to look. I’m feeling really motivated and happy with my decision. I’m excited for what comes next and want to thank you all for following along my journey! 

Do you have any questions on my decision to leave my 9 to 5 and move into semi-retirement?

4 thoughts on “Eight months of my sabbatical to test Coast FI

  1. Wow congrats on making the big decision! So sorry to hear about your family member. It just really reinforces that life is too short!! Question: how did you split up your FI number from Mr. Mod’s? We’re going through something similar as big sibling will be going into kindergarten next year. It’s so hard to justify childcare costs for the baby + after school care of big sibling (I mean 12pm dismissal time!? How do full time working parents do it!?!)

    1. Thank you so much! Indeed, life is too short and it’s been a big lesson in all this balancing the present and reaching our long term goals – kind of a cautious FOMO approach if you will.

      Great question, which I might turn into a post some day :). We have always approached our finances in a separate and joint way. Our investments are all individual except for the kid’s education funds which we both contribute to. So our individual income goes into our individual accounts from which we can cover the statements from both of our individual credit cards which we use for costs that aren’t “family” related – these are pretty rare to be honest but we like to keep that option open. Yet we still share or rather communicate the details of what we spend on there to each other.

      Then, we have a couple of joint credit cards (this varies from 1 to a few depending on if we are chasing some CC rewards) for which we split up the statements evenly and pay in full every month. Finally, we have a joint checking account where we each contribute a set amount each month for the home, food & kids costs that come out of there. Based on this, we each individually can calculate what our desired FI # is to cover these costs and what we project out our future cost of living to be.

      I hope this answers your question! I feel for you with big sibling’s entry into kindergarten and ughhhh on the 12pm dismissal time. So hard to juggle it all, it is ridiculous!

  2. I pulled the plug with traditional work when my oldest was in elementary school due to family issues. I went back to learn how to do something very part time and contract work. Now my oldest is in high school and my youngest in junior high. Time flies. It never ceases to amaze me how much my time at home was spend transporting them, track meets and sports etc and often ask how other parents did it. We FI’d this year. But for a couple of years he will remain working before following in the part time work as well. Congrats on making it work for you all!

    1. Thanks Sheryl! Congrats on reaching FI this year and on finding a balance on the journey towards FI that worked for your family. So true how time flies and how much time is spend managing the logistics of a family!

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