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.
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.
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.