Hello there! Thought I missed a post this week and failed on one of my goals so soon huh? Wrong!
Ok, to be fair, I came this close *holds up thumb and index finger a minute distance apart* to not posting this week, it sure was a busy one.
I took Monday off for my first trip of the year as I went down with my significant other to meet her parents (ahhh!) in the Raleigh/Durham area. The rest of the week was insanely busy at work with 3 big monthly/quarterly meetings, as well as my year end performance review. Mix that in with some car troubles and a tough personal matter and it was a very stressful week!
Luckily I scrounged together enough time to pull through in the end.
This post isn’t completely personal finance or FI related, more based on a few things that have been on my mind lately, but hopefully you can still gain some value from my jumbled thoughts.
Raleigh/Durham – Good FIRE Spot?
People in the FIRE space are always looking out for the “perfect” place to both live and work on the way to FI, or live post-FI. And why not!? That’s what this space is for after all.
One thing I noticed during my weekend trip here is how nice of a place it is, and how it checks off several boxes that I’m personally looking for in a location.
For one, it’s relatively cheaply priced compared to other big, growing cities. Plus, its still has not gotten to the point where so many people know about it and move there to drive up home prices to the extreme. Check!
Secondly, it’s far enough south where it does not get too cold during the winter. It also has many trails around, and is a few hours from the coast, as well as mountains, both pluses in my book.
It seems like a relatively young area, with 3 major colleges nearby, and many companies moving to the area which should spur further growth.
This seems like it could be a great place to live both on the journey to FI, and even post-FI!
Alas, I’m too far away from FI to put any serious thought into post-FI life, but hey, if I’m looking for a move out of HCOL DC in the near future, this area has potential!
My year end performance review was this week, as mentioned above. My company gives out yearly merit raises to everyone, based on how your manager rates your performance over the past year.
A 3% raise is pretty much the standard (and what I project in my FI date spreadsheet), though if you do really well and get the highest review, there is the potential for more.
Last year I got about a 5% raise for performance that exceeded expectations. I was thinking I would perhaps maybe get around the same amount this year.
I was extremely happy and shocked when my boss revealed that they were giving me an almost 10% raise this year!! This bumps my salary from $83K to just over $91K.
My boss wanted to give me the raise as well as a promotion, but HR stepped in and put their foot down on that stating I did not have the “year’s necessary” to justify one… Have to love big corporations with all their policies, right?? The big raise was their way of saying you deserved it, but we can’t give it to you now…
Well, this leaves the promotion discussion open for later this year, which I will surely be bringing up again, but in the meantime I’m certainly going to enjoy the much bigger than average raise!
Stay the Course? Or Veer to a New Path?
Raising income is a surefire way to speed up your path to FI, and it’s something I’ve been intensely focused on since discovering the movement.
But at what cost does it come with?
I look back on this past year since taking this new position and I see A LOT of time spent at work. Too much if you ask me. It seems like it’s paid off with the big raise, and (hopefully) upcoming promotion, but has it?
I leave for work around 730am, and often don’t get back home until 730pm. Sure, walking to work has made my commute more bearable a few days per week, but the long car commutes on the other days are a complete time suck, money pit, and environmental liability.
It’s got me thinking, should I be on the lookout for a different path? Maybe one without any commute?
There are many jobs in the finance space that can be done completely remotely and truly be a 9-5 job. This could save hours of my time. Time I could be enjoying with my significant other, or relaxing, or working on a side hustle or entrepreneurial endeavor to give me even more freedom. There are many possibilities.
The catch is that these remote jobs likely don’t pay as much, and the opportunity to increase income via promotions would be limited. I would think there is also less job security in these roles (who would a company fire first in tough times? If the work is comparable, the employee in the office every day or the remote worker no one ever sees?)
Should I look for a lower paying remote job to give me this time back, and enjoy the present more (effectively pushing out my FI date) instead of continuing on this more rapid pace to FI?
It’s a tough question to answer given my near and long term plans/goals, but one that has me thinking hard about it nonetheless.
Rental Property or Lower Housing Costs?
I have a big goal to purchase a rental property this year, which is why I’ve got a much larger store of cash on hand than I usually would have.
One thought that has crossed my mind recently is to purchase a property in the DC area that I could live in instead of a rental property in a different city.
What I would be targeting is a property that lowers my current housing costs (rent), while still being able to produce a (barely) positive cash flow should I move out of the area in the next couple years and rent it out.
Unfortunately there are not many places in the DC area that would fit this bill, though I have spotted a couple 1 BR condos a little further out, near a metro line that could potentially work out if I put 20% down (a large cash amount considering the condos were $175K-$225K).
My significant other and I have been discussing potentially moving in together later this year when our leases end, and this could be a good option instead of renting a place out.
I know there are risks that come with condo’s, and they do not appreciate nearly as much as regular housing, and have HOA fees, but I think this could be a good long term asset should I find one that could cash flow if I move. The DC area is booming, and it feels like there are more and more companies and people moving here every day (hello Amazon HQ2).
This is just a thought, and something I’d love to discuss more with people so let me know if you have strong opinions either way on this!
Other Posts I Enjoyed this Week
If you didn’t gain any useful information from my thoughts and rumblings above, you may enjoy and get something from some other posts I’ve read in the past week or two.
These are all from bloggers I’ve followed for a while, so be sure to check out their other posts too if you can relate to them!
Cubert at Abandoned Cubicle is always writing about interesting topics, and though he is much further along the FI path than me, this one is along the same vein of thought that I had with my own raise I just received.
Angela at Tread Lightly, Retire Early is one of my favorite bloggers. Besides how awesome and great of a person she is, she also is one of the most transparent with her family life in the PNW. In her monthly updates she tracks out how she’s doing with her goals, as well as showing where and how she chooses to spend and save her money.
I always love reading Kevin at Financial Panther’s side hustle reports. Many of his side hustles are things that anyone can do, and it’s crazy to see how much per month you can make! Plus he was the inspiration behind my own electric scooter charging side hustle 🙂
Penny comes up with some awesomely creative ideas to get through a no spend weekend with her family. It just goes to show how many things you can do for free and still have a good time!
Hopefully you enjoyed this kind of post (and if you did, let me know and I can do it again sometime!)
In the meantime, I’ll be back to a more standard type of post next week 🙂