Big Changes in the Brewing FIRE World!

I’ve been coy about our situation over the past few months, but finally I’ve got some announcements to make. Big changes are afoot.

We’re Moving to Virginia

After debating the merits of leaving the Northeast for the past 10 years, and especially in the last two years, we finally pulled the trigger. We’re heading south after Thanksgiving.

I will write a dedicated post on how we made our decision, because I researched the shit out of this move. But to summarize, we’re chasing warmer weather, lower taxes, and the more relaxed vibe of a growing southern city (Richmond).

Right now we’re working out the details of the move, acquiring housing, and setting up daycare after we arrive. It’s been pretty hectic. Oh, and selling our house, too.

We Sold Our House in 48 Hours

Much of the work over the past few months was in preparation to sell our house. We repainted most of the interior, including a room full of wood paneling we lovingly call “The Brown Room.” We also repainted all of the interior doors, and replaced the hardware.

The Brown Room

Outside, we made some improvements to the landscaping, cut down some dying trees, and updated the exterior by repainting the front door and removing some ugly shutters.

By shear luck, we listed our house in the middle of a pandemic that has (surprisingly) caused a strong seller’s market. When doing some research on comparable sales, I noticed that the inventory for a 4 bedroom house in our town was nearly nonexistent.

The Not-So-Brown Room

We got some professional pictures taken, and listed the house on the low end of the range we would accept. By pricing the house aggressively, the initial demand was overwhelming. We had 30 showings in a 48 hour period, and received 8 offers in that time span.

We accepted an offer that was $25,000 over our asking price. Assuming there’s no problem with the assessment, we made out really well.

My Wife Landed a Better Job

In order to move, Mrs. BF would first have to find a new job in Richmond. As a Physician Assistant, her services are in pretty high demand, and her compensation is pretty good too. However, landing a new job multiple states away during a pandemic turned out to be challenging.

Initially, she was targeting one employer, a large hospital system in the area. She interviewed for a couple roles, but neither were a great fit, so we bided our time from June to August.

Finally, she decided to expand the list of potential employers. Almost immediately, she had an interview, and an offer. Her new position comes with a 25% pay increase, and a $15,000 sign-on / relocation bonus. Also, she’ll only be working 3 days a week on average. Win/win/win!

I (Almost) Quit My Job

One of our main goals associated with this move was lifestyle change. We are trying to strike a balance between career and kids, and get back more of our time. Accordingly, I had always planned on quitting my job when we moved, and giving Coast FIRE a try.

So two weeks ago, I walked into my boss’s office, told him I was moving to VA and, thus, quitting my job. The only problem: he rejected my resignation.

As a research chemist who spends much of my time on the bench, working remotely is not a possibility. Therefore, I expected a relocation would be the end of the road. However, the company was blindsided by my announcement, and didn’t want to lose the 15+ years of experience I’ve accumulated. Also, they have a need for someone with technical expertise in our Marketing group.

Therefore, they’ve asked me to stay on in a transitional/temporary capacity. Basically, I will be working from home in Virginia and supporting R&D / Marketing functions for the next few months. We’ll re-evaluate at some point, and figure out if there is a permanent fit for me.

No, I didn’t retire, as I had planned. But this new WFH arrangement will give me the flexibility I really wanted. I’m willing to give it a try for the time being. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll just quit again.

Lessons From a Transitional Period

I’m very much in the middle of the proverbial storm right now, so it’s hard to gain any real perspective on the situation. But there are few lessons that can be gained from our experience.

Sometimes You Just Have to Jump

We sat on this decision for years. And we easily could have never made the move. It hasn’t been easy, and I’m sure there’ll be some rough patches ahead, but right now I’m just relieved that we finally did it. I won’t have to live with the analysis paralysis and the potential regret anymore.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

Leading up to “Quitting Day,” I played out the scenarios over and over in my head. I fully expected management to just nod and accept my resignation. They don’t really have a history of compassion. So I was understandably surprised when they asked me to reconsider.

Why don’t they want me to leave? Because I have provided value over my career. They would prefer I stay on in a different role, rather than lose my experience. Maybe I could have worked out a more favorable arrangement sooner, if I had fully realized my value.

One more thing. To be completely honest, none of this would have happened if we weren’t pursuing financial independence. There’s no way in hell I would have the balls to quit my job if I didn’t feel really good about our financial position. FI has given me the confidence to know that I can seek out better opportunities without worrying about the “what if” scenarios.

In the coming weeks, I plan to write more about the process we went through to arrive at our current situation. I’ll talk more about Coast FI, Geoarbitrage, and shaking things up during a pandemic.

How do I feel right now? A little bit nervous, but otherwise I feel great. The coming weeks and months will be a real adventure, but I’m excited to embrace the next stage.

10 thoughts on “Big Changes in the Brewing FIRE World!”

  1. wow that really is some magnum sized news. congratulations. i think you should have left the kid’s play cabin up for the staging of the house. in reality the place looks great all freshened up. no wonder is sold so quickly. it’s pretty tempting to cash out of ours right now while there are no big houses available.

    sounds like a pretty good initial deal with your employer trying to keep you on. i suppose you can just keep getting paid and see how it goes and if it’s not wrecking you life you get money. sometimes i think these employers have no idea how people feel about their jobs if they just come and perform without constant complaining.

    Reply
    • We left some of our bizarre taxidermy up, and we got some comments on that. People don’t always appreciate dead animals strewn around the house. It’s definitely a good time to sell your house, but it’s probably not a great time to buy a house, so it all evens out I suppose.

      I’m going to ride out my ‘transitional’ employment, and see how it goes. I can’t really lose either way.

      Reply
  2. Congrats! All this is awesome news. As someone who recently left the giant city life for a less congested, more tranquil place to live, I can tell you you’re going to love it (and the warmer weather)!

    Looks like everything in the scenario worked out incredibly great and that’s so awesome. Sure, it may be a lil bumpy until you’re settled, but it’s going to be amazing once you do!

    Enjoy!

    Reply
    • Thanks! I’m definitely looking forward to spring arriving in March, rather than May or later, as it often does up here in the Northeast. Yes, we’re pleasantly surprised with how well everything has gone regarding jobs, house, etc… so far, so good.

      Reply
  3. Great update! I’m really enjoying following your journey. I recently negotiated going part time at my law firm (20 to 25 work hours per week- not billable hours, fellow lawyers know this is a big difference), so I can take care of my new baby and help my first grader with remote learning. I’ve been there since the law firm started, and they didn’t want to lose me. So thankful for the financial stability our FI journey has given us!

    Reply
    • Thanks for following! That’s awesome, sounds like you’re able to find the right balance of work and family. Had we stayed up here in CT, I was going to request a similar situation, maybe 3 days a week at ~60% of my salary. It’s great to hear about people taking advantage of the optionality that FI affords.

      Reply
  4. Congrats! With so much happening with you and your family I’m a little surprised you still have the mental bandwidth to write about it! An inter-state move, selling home, new job(s), with two young ones – whew.

    Real glad that you’re taking these steps. All the best.

    Reply
    • Thank you! Telling you that I’m a bit overwhelmed right now would be the understatement of the century. Working through the details of my ‘temporary/transitional job’ has been really stressful, and negotiating on the house sale isn’t helping. I really hope things slow down in a month or so!

      Reply

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