The Journey Home Is Bittersweet

Me leaving Michigan in 2009

Me leaving Michigan in 2009

This coming Monday, May 12, I turn 32 years old.

But Monday is a special day for me for another reason altogether. It begins my final week of employment at the car dealership I’ve been working almost non-stop at for more than four years now. And with that comes the great possibility of a permanent sabbatical from this line of work – one I’ve been involved in for the past eight years. Early retirement before I retire early?

A Break From Wage Slavery

I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had. I’ve been able to make an above-average salary, even though I haven’t yet graduated college. And while I’ve worked incredibly hard to overcome past mistakes and put myself in the position to where these opportunities were placed in front of me, I’m extremely blessed nonetheless. It’s been the work and the money I’ve earned off of it that has led me to the position I’m in now – one where I have a six-figure portfolio throwing off hundreds of dollars per month in passive dividend income.

It’s all still quite amazing to me.

However, I recently found myself at a fork in the road. And I decided to go straight.

This year has been tumultuous for me. I took a pay cut at work after a new co-worker was brought on in my sales team. Furthermore, the benchmarks I’m expected to exceed on a regular basis were raised fairly significantly. Falling pay and rising benchmarks are obviously disappointing after putting in 50-hour workweeks for years on end, but such is life. When confronted with such situations I find it important to have perspective, but also stay firm on valuing your time.

But these changes have simply exacerbated frustrations I’ve already been harboring. And so it sped along an idea that’s been building over the last year about moving from full-time work at a job I truly don’t enjoy to writing more on a full-time basis, if just to give it a shot for a while to see what happens. Due to this move, I anticipate a more robust lifestyle filled with much less stress, but also much less pay. As such, the journey to financial independence is likely to be slowed significantly; however, the journey will also be much more scenic and enjoyable. And I guess at this point in the road, that’s a trade-off I’m willing to make. At least for the time being.

However, this post is more than just a rant on work and a declaration of freedom from it. (But that is certainly something I’m in a celebratory mood about!)

This is also about a journey back home.

A Journey Within A Journey

I moved from my home in Michigan down to Florida back in 2009 for a number of reasons. I wanted to start fresh and get my act together. After allowing myself to build a negative net worth and finding myself worth less at 27 years old than I was as a baby, I realized that changes had to be made. I targeted Florida as the location that could surely change my fortunes for a number of reasons:

  • The warm climate would brighten my spirits, literally. I have self-diagnosed myself as suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – which is a severe form of “winter blues”. I felt the sunshine and palm trees could boost my mood and also provide for plenty of free activities outside like world-class beaches, which would make it easy to have fun on the cheap. I also knew it would be easier to get by without a car in a warmer climate. I once tried to get around Michigan without a car during the winter, and believe me it sucked! It turned out I was right on this one as I got around town fine for years by bus, bike, and scooter.
  • The lack of state income taxes was also a big factor. I felt I could keep more of my hard-earned money if I wasn’t sending 4.35% (now 4.25%) of it to the state government. Florida’s tax structure is very attractive for retirees as well because dividend income isn’t taxed either, and this is probably a good reason why you have such a concentrated retiree population down here.
  • And the general economy in Michigan back in 2009 was absolutely horrid. We were at the epicenter of the Great Recession as the U.S. auto manufacturers were crumbling all around us. The dealership I was working at at the time started letting people go, and I was one of them. It was a scary time, and after doing thorough research I felt I could not only land a job in Florida, but also make considerably more money.

And this all worked out better than I could have imagined. I started my journey to financial independence at the beginning of 2010, and have been rolling ever since.

But life has a funny way of poking you every once in a while when a change is due, and just the same as it happened in 2009, it’s happening again.

Family Is Everything

I have three sisters. They’re all younger than me, and we’re all very close to one another. In fact, my whole family is pretty much comprised of my parents (my aunt and uncle) and my sisters. So I have a pretty tight-knit family. And since we went through so much together after being adopted and taken away from a bona fide crack house in the middle of Detroit, there’s a certain bond there.

When I moved away we were all much younger, and time passing has a way of reminding us how much older we’re all getting. Since moving down here my oldest sister bought a house that her and her husband occupy. I’ve only been able to muster one visit there, unfortunately. My other sister has since married and moved into a house of her own. On top of that, she’s pregnant and expecting her first child in August – which will be my first niece! So I’m obviously very excited. And my youngest sister is currently completely renovating a total fixer-upper that her and her boyfriend bought on the cheap just a couple months ago. And there’s also my parents. They’re still relatively young, but they’re also getting older by the day. I don’t want to find myself one day financially independent, but with the realization that I missed out on all of the time when they were able to get around and spend time with me.

In addition to all of this, my best friend has also had two children since I’ve moved away. And it pains me to not really be a part of their lives at all, as I look at them as nephews. I’ve visited Michigan as much as humanly possible in the past five years to spend time with loved ones and my friend, but a week here or a couple days there go by fast.

So there’s a lot of changes happening up north that I’m not really a part of. And as time has passed it seems I’m less and less a part of these family events. Such is life, and I knew that going into all of this. And I’ve had no regrets about it. Up until now.

Although I have no desire to have children of my own, I definitely don’t want to be a distant uncle. And when I found out my little sister was pregnant on Thanksgiving the ol’ gears in my head started churning. And it become apparent to me that if I wanted to continue having no regrets that I needed to consider the possibility that moving back home was the right thing to do.

Moving In Different Directions

Over the course of 2014 it has become more and more clear to me that moving home was really part of a bigger picture for me, as pieces started to fall into place like a puzzle within my life.

Of course, the troubles at work cemented the idea that leaving the stressful life of a full-time-and-then-some service advisor made absolute sense. And the success I’ve gratefully received since the end of last year here on the blog made this idea realistic, and I knew that with more time I could increase my writing output in terms of quality and even quantity. And this is something I’m really looking forward to trying.

However, there’s still the life I have here in Florida. There’s certainly more than just the job. I have a family of my own – of sorts. I met my girlfriend the day after I moved to Sarasota, as I was relaxing by the community pool that was located within the apartment complex we both lived at at the time. It was a chance meeting with a woman much older than myself and we both felt a connection right away. Not long after that we were dating, and we’ve been together ever since. That was almost five years ago!

But life brings about changes, and sometimes these changes push people closer. Other times they push people apart. Now, I wouldn’t say that we’ve grown apart, but I would say we’ve grown in different directions. When I first met my partner I had some ideas in my head about what I wanted to do, but I wasn’t sure how to set out and do what was necessary. And I was still living a fairly “normal” life at the time. I had a car, lived in a fairly nice apartment, and while I was moving towards frugality, I certainly wasn’t the frugalist you see today that tracks every penny. So you can see I’ve changed quite a bit in the last five years.

I’ll admit this isn’t really fair to her, and she’s been extremely supportive and wonderful about it. And while she shares none of my passion or vision for financial independence, she knows that it’s important to me and applauds my efforts. I’ve made concessions along the way in likewise fashion, and we’ve found common ground in our relationship. But I can’t seem to shake this nagging feeling that my changes have been weighing on our relationship heavily, and there’s a certain level of guilt and disappointment that resides in my body because of this.

And so we’ve had some discussions over the past month involving all of the changes over the past few years, the changes occurring with my family up in Michigan, my increasing displeasure with work, and my ambitions regarding writing more and becoming even more extreme in my ways. These discussions have led to the revelation that the only thing that makes sense is to move back to Michigan and spend more time with my family. Unfortunately, my partner has a life of her own here in Florida, including a son still in school. So while I can up and move to Michigan, she cannot. And even if she could it would probably be a pretty hard sell.

Where does that leave us? 

I’m not totally sure.

What Is A Successful Relationship?

It should be noted at this point that I don’t view the ultimate barometer of a successful relationship as time spent with one another. While I commend those who spend 30 or 40 wonderful and lovely years with a partner and make it through all of the ups and downs that naturally come with such long-term relationships, I don’t think this is the ultimate form of relationship success.

I think no matter how long you’re with someone, if you learned from each other, loved one another fully and faithfully, laughed together, had fun as often as possible, grew as individuals, supported each other, and found yourself a better person at the end of the relationship than you did at the beginning, then that’s a successful relationship, regardless of the amount of time the relationship lasted. I’ve made my feelings known on this, and my partner agrees. It doesn’t make things any easier, but in the end there’s a level of support and understanding because we love each other.

Will we find ourselves back together again in the future? It’s hard to say, but I remain hopeful. At the same time, I also know that I’m holding my girlfriend back at times. She doesn’t fully believe in the concept of delayed gratification, nor does she dislike her job. She works in an industry she loves, and has no plans to retire early. As such, she often tries to make the most of the todays, and worries less about the tomorrows. We are different people in many ways, but we’ve instead made the most of what we have in common and have had a most wonderful relationship. And I consider myself lucky indeed to be a part of her life.

Excited, But Scared

I won’t lie to you all. I’m honestly a bit frightened about the future. I’m a highly analytical individual, and I tend to think and rethink every situation to the nth degree. My path is changing in such a way that isn’t totally logical, and that scares me. I know without a doubt in my mind that the path I was on would have secured me my financial freedom by the time I was 40, if not sooner. But life throws you curve balls sometimes. The key is to respond appropriately so you can knock that pitch out of the park. And this is my attempt at doing so.

I’ve been completely and wholly committed to my approach, and it feels so strange to me to divert now. It almost seems as if I was on this long highway. And while the trip was tiring and overwhelming at times, I could see the destination. I had the map in front of me, and the progress was clear. I could easily look back at any time and see the miles I had already traveled with great pride.

But now I’m exiting this highway for a completely different road. The destination is the same, but the new path is full of curves and bumps I’m not used to. But where I feel fear and doubt, I also feel a sense of excitement I haven’t felt in a while. My work was becoming unbearable, and going through the motions, while easy and without much effort or thought, dulls my senses. But no more. I am alive now, and I feel more inspired and motivated than ever. Whether or not this choice to leave the familiar for the unknown improves my life remains to be seen. But I’m excited to become the artist that I feel I was meant to be, while also having more time for family, managing investments, living life, exercising, and becoming more efficient and frugal. I’m also looking forward to four seasons once again, although winter is pretty harsh up in Michigan. Overall, I’m energized by the thought of spending more time with family, and seeing if I can still succeed under totally different circumstances.

The Trial Begins In Early June

The first weekend in June is when I undertake the 1,200 mile trip north to Michigan. I’ll be packing only what I can fit in my car, as I own very little other than that. I’ll be moving in with the sister that’s pregnant as she has an extra room and this will allow me to be as close to my new niece as possible. I’ll be paying pretty close to market rate rent, as she lives in a very affordable small town in Michigan where homes can be routinely purchased for $50k or so. The extra rent money will help her out a little and the cheap rent will help me flex my frugal muscles and see exactly what’s possible.

After a few months and the excitement of being back near family wears off we’ll see where things stand. And I promise to update you readers as we go along. I’m leaving things open for myself. While I plan to stay near family for the indefinite future, I’m also not opposed to coming back to Florida, and neither is my girlfriend (at least right now). Florida has a lot to offer, and it’s been a wonderful home to me for the past five years (although the older population can be overwhelming at times). I’ll never forget my time down here, and I’ll probably come back at some point in my life either way. But right now I miss so much of my former home. In the end, life is nothing more than a collection of memories. And every memory I don’t create with my family now is a moment I’ll never have.

After a few months of relaxing and getting my energy levels back to normal after working almost non-stop for the last five years I’m going to take a good look at where I’m at. How much am I earning from my writing? How much am I spending? Am I still on track for financial independence by 40? Being able to earn a living from writing is one thing, but I still want to be able to save and invest just like I do now. So I’ll have to assess my position as I go, and around September or so we’ll see the results start to play out.

Financial Independence Is Still The Name Of The Game

So I hope you all continue to stick with me. I remain committed as ever to financial independence, and if anything you’ll see new levels of frugality from me. Because my income will be reduced dramatically, I’m going to take every expense ever more seriously, and I’m anxious to see just how much I’ve learned over the years.

My ultimate goal of financial independence by 40 years old is still what I’m aiming for. I don’t view blogging for a living as financial independence, because being dependent on income from any source that requires active work in exchange for money, no matter how enjoyable, means you’re not completely free. And while I hope to continue writing long after I can pay my way in life solely via passive income, it’s out of passion and a desire to inspire, not because of the income it may or may not provide.

What do you think? Is this a good move? Think I’m making a mistake? Will I most likely succeed or fail?

Thanks for reading.

Comments

  1. says

    Wow! Good for you…wish you the best of luck! I’ve been following you for a little while now and I know that you have a bunch of followers (including me) our there who are routing for your to succeed. Whether it is in Florida or Michigan, we wish you nothing but success!

    As many have said so well in the past, life is not only about money but also about happiness. From my outside view, it certainly seems that coming back home to Michigan, and your sister and niece, is where your true happiness lies!

    Wishing you the best DM!

    • says

      AFFJ,

      Thanks so much. Very, very kind of you. :)

      I hope this change actually improves this blog immensely, because I should have quite a bit more time for it. I’m really proud of the community here, and I honestly feel like we’re all family. So I’m just glad to be a part of it all. More time here and less time at a car dealership is a move I just had to make right now. And we’ll see how things go. If I have to back to work of some sort after a few months then so be it. But I’ll have no regrets.

      And this move is definitely about happiness. I truly love living in Florida. There’s so much beauty here. But I feel so distant from most of the people in this world who truly love me. And it’s been a drain on me as time has passed. A new generation of family coming around has only exacerbated those feelings of distance and loneliness. I’m very excited to go home once again and see what changes await me. :)

      I wish you all the best as well, and I’m super optimistic about all of this. It’s scary, but sometimes scary is good. It was certainly scary moving down here back in 2009 and that turned out great.

      Thanks for the support!

      Best wishes.

      • says

        Oh man, it seems like you starting to break free. Based on your blog income stats and your dividend income stats, you can afford to not have a job…ever…

        Of course, blog income is fickle, so unfortunately you might have to find something to pay the bills and provide you with capital to invest..

        Good luck in your journey!

        Dividend Growth Investor

        • says

          DGI,

          Thanks, man. Your support from the very beginning has been instrumental for me in continuing and doing all I’ve done. So thank you for that. :)

          And blog income can indeed be fickle, so it’ll be interesting to see how things go. For me, it’s always about diversification. So the more income sources I can manage the better. So that means not only 50 or so companies paying me, but also as many different advertising/affiliate services as possible, plus as many freelance opportunities as possible. The more I can diversify my income the less likely it is I’ll fail if one income source doesn’t work out.

          Appreciate the well wishes. And I believe you’re aiming for 2017, so you’re not too far behind total freedom. You’re going to certainly beat me to financial independence, so you’ll have to tell me how it is. :)

          Best regards!

  2. KM says

    Wow, big changes are afoot. I had a feeling that this was coming…..it sounds like you have reached the point at which other desires (to be close to family) outweigh the certainty of the pathway you’re on. That was precisely what I was eluded to in my comment on your previous article.

    I happen to be 27 tomorrow also (12th May). Seems like the 12th May was a good day to be born. My 28th year on this planet looks to be very promising, even if it half lives up to it’s promise it could be spectacular. Your 33rd seems like it is going to be an amazing, discover more of yourself transitional one. One filled with great promise also.

    I can wish nothing but luck.

    KM

    • says

      KM,

      I was enjoying the certainty and the familiarity, but life should be more than familiar. And familiar can lull you into a sleep where you never really awaken. And I’m the kind of person that enjoys new experiences and challenges.

      It’s bittersweet because my partner of the last five years can’t be apart of it, but I also know that we are moving in different directions. And sometimes that happens in life. We still love each other and we still have a lot of fun, but I feel like I’m holding her back from enjoying the now in the way she wants to enjoy it. And moving to Michigan is just not in the cards for her anyway.

      And it’s awesome we share a birthday. Happy early birthday to you! Turning 27 was wonderful for me, because that was the year I finally started getting in gear. I moved to Florida a month after turning 27, and then six months after that I opened my Scottrade account. Then in March I got serious. It’s been wonderful ever since!

      Thanks for the support. It’s really appreciated, especially during a time of changes like this.

      Best regards!

  3. says

    Jason,

    Wow man. You made the move for the exact reasons I did. I’m really excited for you. Prepare for an emotional roller coaster, but keep in mind that you made the right decision. I hope we can become better friends now. I say either you come here or I come there this summer. What do you say?

    • says

      Kraig,

      I can imagine my emotions are going to be a little wild here. I know you went through that, and you’re still kind of dealing with that. It’s scary for sure, but also exciting. I wish things could be a bit different between my girlfriend and I, but we’ll see how it goes. She believes that once it starts getting cold up there that I’ll want to move back to Florida. Haha!

      And maybe we could meet up this summer. I’ll definitely be closer now. I just mapped out the journey, and it looks like it’s a 10-11 hour drive. Not too bad at all. I have a car and everything now, so I’m more mobile. I’m really looking forward to a Midwestern summer. I haven’t had one in years! :)

      Talk to you soon.

      Cheers!

  4. JP says

    Admirable choice. Since you will be no doubt assisting in the raising of a child, and claim to be analytical/logical, I highly suggest you take 40ish minutes to watch this video on Peaceful Parenting. The man interviewed, Stefan Molyneaux, has hours of downloadable content on this subject as well as many others. Enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXMKRJyedmg Even if your assistance is minimal, you can pass the video and/or ideas on to your sister. Enjoy this chapter in your life!

    -JP

    • says

      JP,

      Thanks for the video there!

      I honestly don’t know how involved I’m going to be, but I’m excited for either a small or large role. I’ve never really spent any time around a baby before, but it should be fun. My sister is so excited to be a mom that she can hardly take it. We all knew she was going to be the first one of us to have a child, and it came true. I’m not interested in having children, but strangely enough I’m totally stoked to be an uncle. :)

      I’ll pass along the video to my sister too. She can add it to her enormous collection of resources.

      Appreciate the support. Change isn’t always a good thing, but I think it is in this case.

      Take care!

  5. Under House Arrest says

    you are making the right decision leaving Florida for home. While I am all for the investing of ones future freedom.
    You can’t buy back the time you have lost either.

    you’ve done very well for yourself and you should be proud.
    You have created a nice portfolio that will only continue to grow.
    Now it’s time to go back home and be with family and create memories that will last a lifetime.

    Good luck.
    -UHA

    • says

      UHA,

      Thanks.

      I agree with what you’re saying. I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished thus far, but at the same time I would regret continuing to pursue my independence so far away from the people I’d love to share it with. I think I can combine my journey with more time with family in a way that’s beneficial for everyone. The journey will certainly be slower, but if it’s more enjoyable then I’m okay with that!

      Thanks so much for the support. Money can always be made and lost, but memories last a lifetime.

      Best wishes.

  6. says

    Wow DM,

    Big move, and I have to say, I’m really excited for you!

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog this year, it was one of the reasons I started one myself, and from a selfish reader standpoint, you’re Blog has just gotten VERY INTERESTING. You’re taking a very bold move, which makes a lot of sense to me (and I’m sure to many others), but it’s one thing knowing what the ‘right’ thing to do is and doing it.

    You made a another very bold move in 2009. I’m sure that wasn’t an easy one either. You probably felt a good mix of trepidation and excitement back then and how did that work out for you……. Pretty damn well I would suggest! :-)
    I think the experience of moving down to Florida back in 2009, will really help you this time around. You are going into the unknown from an employment and relationship standpoint (each one on their own represents a challenge/adjustment), but the great news is you have your wonderful family relationships to help support you during this transition! I have no doubt it will all work out wonderfully.

    You also have all of these new exciting things coming into your life – A new human being that you’re related to, a new place to call home, and a new form of self-employment. I wish all the very best in each one of these.

    There are very few definitive’s in life, and if your now new life back home doesn’t work out after 6-12 months, what’s stopping you from trying something else? Going back to Florida? Going somewhere else? I think you’re taking the most sensible approach and ‘trying’ something else rather than going through the motions of life unhappy, like many, if not most, people do.

    Moving your life to a new location, and all the changes that brings is very exciting. As readers of your Blog, we’ll be able to experience some of this with you as I have no doubt you’re going to be documenting the whole thing. I’m sure this will inspire many people to consider taking a similar move and it undoubtedly make for excellent reading.

    I wish you all the luck in the world with your move. I fully understand and support your judgement, and I can’t wait to hear all about it! :-)

    All the best
    Huw

    • says

      Huw,

      Thanks so much!

      And this will definitely provide for interesting reading material. If I ever end up writing a book someday, this will make for an exciting chapter! :)

      And you’re absolutely right. I meant to talk about this in the post, but I can always go back to this lifestyle. I can always find work at a car dealership, I can always move back to Florida, and I can always go back to running through the motions. In that regard, I have little to lose. The only thing that I may be losing in all of this is my relationship with my girlfriend and her son, but we have promised to always remain friends, no matter what. I think we both agree that we are growing in different directions, and sometimes that happens in life. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

      I really appreciate the support. Life has a way of poking you in the gut sometimes, and I was feeling that poke for far too long now. I kept waking up and asking myself if I was enjoying myself. And for a number of months now I haven’t been able to say yes. As well, there has been this really interesting dynamic in that everything in my personal life relating to the blog, investments, and family is all overwhelmingly exciting and positive, and all of the feedback at work has been really negative. I just couldn’t put up with that negativity any longer. I don’t mind working my ass of, but I have been frustrated by the lack of empathy. Such is corporate life.

      We’ll see how all of this goes. I’ve taken this whole decision very seriously, and it has been something in the works for months now. So it’s not spontaneous, but that doesn’t make it any less scary/exciting. It would have been easy to just stick with the familiar, but I would have regretted it. Attaining financial independence by 40 is still realistic for me, but I hope to enjoy the journey a little more with people I care deeply about.

      Appreciate you stopping by very much. And I hope all is well on your side of the pond. :)

      Best regards.

  7. says

    Hi DM,

    Good move/bad move is irrelevant. It’s life. It’s just each one of us moving down our own path. Twists and turns aside and those nasty curve balls every now and then you just have to follow what is in your mind and body. Clearly, there was a tugging within you to go back to MI. This was an unavoidable feeling that eventually caused you to act. Each of us makes his/her own way. You can’t think if the move is good or bad… just move. A human being is very adaptable and responsive to any situation they are placed in. You want to write… write… you want a FT or PT job go for it. Be with your family, move to another state… nothing has to change for you… your goal/aim is still the same. FI, happiness and a good life. Good luck in MI. Days roll on and one day you’ll ask yourself, “How did I get here?” and the answer will be a series of decisions that got you to where you are today.

    • says

      DivHut,

      Great stuff right there. As humans, we’re extremely adaptable. I think I’m even more adaptable than most because I haven’t bought into the handcuffs that society places on you – the mortgage, expensive car, job that provides the high salary to compensate for the lifestyle inflation, etc. In addition, I don’t have a family of my own with a wife and children. So all of this makes it easy for me to respond swiftly when a major change comes my way. It is neither good or bad as you say, but just a lifestyle I have chosen. I guess I’m light on my feet.

      And my goal is absolutely still the same. I plan on changing nothing as far as the long game goes. Rather, the road to get there has changed a little bit as priorities have shifted. I’m very excited to see how I respond in a totally different situation/climate, and it will make for some good reading! :)

      Hope all is well with you. Thanks for stopping by!!

      Take care.

    • says

      Jose,

      Appreciate the wishes of luck. :)

      And it will be an interesting detour. Having more time now with the destination still so far ahead was something I hadn’t anticipated. I’m super excited for that. Although, I’ll probably end up spending more time with writing than I ever did as a service advisor. However, it’ll be much, much more enjoyable time spent. The worst-case scenario just means I have to go back to what I was doing before, which is usually the best-case scenario for everyone else.

      Cheers!

  8. says

    Hi Jason,

    wow, that is kind of a change you are describing above. What can I say? I am impressed and I am wishing you all the luck and fortune you need to keep on your journey! Moreover I am happy to follow you reading about each and every step you share on your website.

    I am crossing fingers!

    Cheers,

    Mr. Humblebrag aka dividend junkie

    • says

      Mr. Humblebrag,

      I’m crossing my fingers too! :)

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read a rather long post. And I appreciate the well wishes. The support I’ve received here from readers has been immense, and so very, very kind.

      And I’m a dividend junkie as well!

      Take care.

  9. says

    Jason,

    Congratulations on making the hard decision. Now it’s time to buckle down and weather the storm. Making a change like this is one of the most difficult things a person can endure which is not necessarily a bad thing. During the most difficult times we learn the most about ourselves, which forces personal growth. I am confident from what I can discern about your personality that you will find success in whatever you put your mind to. You’ve flown from the nest before and it’s always easier to do it the second time.

    This article definitely makes me miss home and my youngest niece which I have not yet met. I too feel the pangs from missing out on my entire family and friends who almost all stayed in Montana where I grew up. It seems that every move I have made from the day I turned 18 has taken me one step further away from them all. I think that you are doing the right thing returning to spend some time with your relatives and hope that you are able to continue achieving success. I look forward to hearing about the new frugal lifestyle and wish you the very best of luck. Safe travels sir.

    -Dividendasaur

    • says

      Dividendasaur,

      I know what you mean about missing family. And it’s funny in that I’ve always been the same way. It seems every idea or vision I’ve ever had in life involves me being pushed away from the people I love. When I was 21 and inherited money I strongly contemplated backpacking through SE Asia for like a decade, and I was *this* close to doing so. Being so far from loved ones changed my mind on that, but it’s funny how many of the things I eventually want to do in my life means putting great distances between me and the people I care most about.

      Anyway, I hope one day you find yourself in a similar situation to me where you can somehow combine the best of both worlds. I never thought I’d be able to do it, and maybe it won’t work. But I know that I’m the type of person that will give it my absolute best shot, and in the end that’s all we can ask for.

      Cheers!

  10. Brian Mota says

    Hey DM,
    My oppinion is that you are making a great decision by moving back to Michigan. You wont have to deal with that stressful car sales job. And you will have more time to live life to the fullest. After all, we only live once so we have to make the most of it. Your articles are truly inspiring, so please keep writing and keeping us up to date. Any plans on a part time job to makeup for a loss of income? Or will you be recieving more online income to pay for expenses such as health care? Best of luck and drive safe my friend.
    Brian

    • says

      Brian,

      Thanks. And I’m very much looking forward to eliminating a major source of stress in my life via the job at the dealership. It’s a dog eat dog world there, that’s for sure!

      And it’s exactly because we only live once that I’m doing everything I’m doing. Trying to attain financial independence and living with purpose is a cornerstone of my life strategy, and it’s really all about having time for people I care about. It’s been kind of comical in that it took moving 1,200 miles away from family to start down this path of getting more time to spend with them, but such is life sometimes. The great thing is that everything I’ve learned and accomplished can be taken with me back to Michigan where I can continue my craft and walk the path.

      As far as a part-time job goes, we’ll see. I’m definitely not opposed to it, because I still want to have capital to invest with every single month. I honestly don’t think I’m going to make enough from writing and current dividends to both fund my lifestyle and continue to have a high savings rate, but I’m going to give it my best effort. But if it’s necessary to get a part-time job where I can make an extra $1k or so per month so that I can continue to invest then I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m going to relax and spend time with family for the first few months, and then after that I’ll reassess my position.

      Appreciate the support! Thanks for stopping by.

      Best wishes.

  11. Chuck in Ontario says

    Jason,

    Good on you!!! Imagine if you had NOT followed the path of frugality and dividend investing!!!! Today you would not have the option to do what you have outlined.

    Wishing you all the very best!!!!

    Chuck in Ontario

    • says

      Chuck,

      That’s exactly it, my friend. The entirety of my journey up until today is what has led me to where I’m at now, and has opened up all of these options for me. And that’s the lesson: Frugality and dividend growth investing are so powerful. I talk all the time about this, but sometimes even hyperbole is not enough. I’ve only been at it for four years now and already my life has changed dramatically. I’m just so happy the me of four years ago had the vision and made the necessary changes. He was a different guy than the person I am today, but I’m grateful he existed.

      Hope all is well in Canada. And I’m sure you guys are looking forward to a great summer after this brutal winter. I’m personally quite excited for my first full Midwestern summer in many years now. And fall too. I love donuts and cider, the smell, the colors, the fairs and festivals, and the cool breeze at night. I’m smiling just thinking about it!

      Take care.

  12. says

    Whoa man! Big change indeed. Imagine making this move without the cushion your frugality has set aside for you. You would be hustling trying to find a job, any job and could get stuck in something you hate.

    I hope the writing takes off. I started my own little blog because I stumbled across yours one day. You definitely have a knack for it.

    I’ll be tuned in for this next chapter of your life. Good luck!

    • says

      DivSaver,

      Thanks! The power of frugality and diversifying income cannot be overstated. I’ve written before that this is all about flexibility and options in life, and the fact that I have this opportunity to exercise this really exciting option is just proof that this strategy works. For me, life is so much more than a 9-5 till 65 grind. I see so much beauty in everything, and sometimes empathy overwhelms me. I know that I’m not cut out for a traditional life, and I’m so happy about that!

      And I’m so glad you decided to start your own blog. I find it extremely rewarding. Sharing and commiserating as a community has helped me focus so much. If nothing else, it keeps you on track for your goals!

      Thanks for tuning in. I’m very excited for not only the changes, but also the direction the blog is going to go in. I have so many ideas and just no time to write about them, so this is going to be really fantastic.

      Cheers.

  13. says

    Jason:
    It has been apparent from your past comments that you were being pulled in multiple directions. You have clearly been missing your family and have grown consistently less satisfied with a job that has kept you away from them for extended periods. It seems like something had to give, and it has.

    In the early nineties I left an employer after almost 17 years, so I could take another job. My former job was stressful and like yours, was 50 hours a week. During the interviews for the new job, I was told repeatedly that I would be “at will” and that the environment was such that I could be let go at any time. Still, it was 40 hours, less stress and better benefits, though with a small cut in pay….so I took the job. I thought it was a risky move on my part, always wondering if my position would be axed. I was wrong.

    It turns out that a few years after I left my previous employer, they fired or demoted every single person in the company that held my position (there was about 40 of us). It’s now almost 22 years later and I’m still at my “new” job. Last November, I became eligible to retire with a secure pension. I guess the moral of the story is that one never knows how these things will turn out.

    You’re making a gutsy move. Kudos to you for doing it. Sounds like you are doing what you need to do though. I wish you well. Your efforts thus far toward financial independence have been impressive. I have no reason to believe that you won’t succeed. Perhaps some hiccups along the way, but that’s life I guess.

    Tell you what. If you are so inclined, once you get settled back here in Michigan, give me a bump. Perhaps we could meet over beverages and some of the deep dish pizza that you have mentioned in the past. I’ll buy and you can give me some hot stock tips.

    • says

      Steve,

      Wow, that was a gutsy play on your part too and I’m so glad to hear it worked out well for you. You never know what’s going to happen in life sometimes. We can plan and quantify plans and events, but sometimes you just have to go with your gut. Really happy that new job worked out so much better for you.

      And I’m at the point now to where I really can’t lose. If writing doesn’t work out, then it was a nice vacation for a few months and I can always go back to full-time work. Maybe writing and part-time work will provide me the necessary income to have more time and continue to invest, etc. It’s all hard to say. But if I do go back to work, it will be with the intention of working less hours and enjoying it more. And if that’s my worst-case scenario, then I’ll gladly take it!

      And I’d be honored to share a pizza! I met a reader once at a local McDonald’s and we had a great time and talked for hours. Really fun stuff. He offered to take me out to eat anywhere in town, but I picked MCD because I’m a shareholder (as well a shareholder in KO), and the food is cheap and tasty. He found it quite appropriate for me. :)

      Anyway, thanks so much for the support. Sounds like taking the leap is just necessary sometimes. It worked out very well for you, and I’m hoping it works out well for me too.

      Best wishes!

  14. says

    Jason, I think you’re making a great move and I’m more than a bit jealous to be honest. I wish I had the cajones to do this but I can’t give up the Golden Handcuffs just yet (~3 more years). Anyway I just wanted to wish you luck and I look forward to your upcoming posts this summer. Few things inspire me more than watching a winner curb stomp adversity.

    • says

      wes,

      Curb stomping is something I’m looking forward too! :)

      And three years will go by like a blink of an eye. Of course, because time goes by so fast is exactly why I’m making this move now. I could have easily tried to hang on another five years, and I may very well have been FI by then. But that’s five less years with my family. My parents won’t be around forever, and while five years doesn’t sound like a long time, it really is. That’s more than the entirety of high school. That’s more than a Presidential term. Sometimes I’m guilty of trivializing time in that manner, and I’m trying to change that. This is my first effort in doing so.

      But if you have a plan and three years gets you there, then go for it. I wish you nothing but the best!! :)

      Really appreciate the support. I hope to continue providing inspiration around here!

      Best regards.

  15. Eric74310 says

    Hi Jason,

    Woow, what a big change !

    I was sure you will not keep your job few years, but didn’t expect you will stop it so quickly. It’s hard for us to tell you if it is a good move or a mistake. May be it’s too hard to save 50% for 10 years and we should save 80% but for 5 years ?

    But I think you have considered your situation honestly and your risks are low. You’ll come back to Michigan with honor: a strong portfolio and a nice blog. Your bees are still working and the readers will not leave you soon, we can say that now you are already half retired.
    You have to find how to earn money with a job or activity you like. Maybe blogger, journalist, writer… ? Let’s try and if it’s not working, you can go back to corporate job. It will be even more interesting to follow you now.

    So relax and enjoy !

    Eric

    • says

      Eric,

      Thanks, man. The risks are definitely low. My worst-case scenario of going back to corporate work is most people’s best-case scenario. And I don’t mean that in a condescending way, but rather just to say that taking a leap sometimes is less risky than you might think.

      As far as savings rates go, if I knew I was going to back like this I would have been even tighter. I don’t think I could have improved my savings rates significantly looking back, but I think a little bit here and there might have made a small difference for me. However, if I’m able to go back to Michigan and still save, say, 30% or 40% of my income then I’ll consider it all a wild success. At this point, saving 50% this year is probably not going to happen, but, again, if I come anywhere close while only working full-time halfway through the year then I’ll be mighty happy.

      And like you said, the worker bees are still out there buzzing and sending me cash. So I already have a part-time job income when I return to Michigan with no extra work on my part! :)

      So we’ll see how things go. I’m definitely going to try and enjoy it more than ever. I hope I can make a living writing, but if not then I’ll do something fun and make a little change.

      Cheers!

  16. Chris says

    DM,

    Good for you! Half the battle is realizing that you aren’t happy, or could be happier, and making the effort to change the current situation. Add the fact that you are recognizing the importance of family, I couldn’t think of a more noble reason to move back home. It also sounds like you found a good, understanding person in Florida that talks and listens, much like you…. The only situation/experience that I’ve that’s similar to you, is when I got laid off in IT, and decided to do a career change into being an auto mechanic. I went to a local community college for Toyota factory training, and was a mechanic in a dealership for 2 years. The fact that you are/were a service writer, put a smile on my face, remembering the good (and bad) times at Toyota. I eventually went back into IT for a variety of reasons (too long for this comment).

    That said, I have no regrets, and only offer some advice…… You are making some huge changes, BUT, you can always fall back as a service writer at a dealership back in Michigan. You don’t have to go at it 50 hours a week; maybe cut it back to 25-30 (if allowed). This could be a nice blend/transition into writing full time. This could lessen the financial blow as you transition. Having a done a pretty crazy career change (1 years after marrying my wife, and during the birth of our first son), I have no regrets. Kudos to you for realizing what you have, and what could be better; but most important, DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I’ve only been a reader of your blog for a couple of months, but I realize there’s a great person behind this website. Good Luck with the move back home in June. I’ll be checking in…. – Chiris

    • says

      Chris,

      Hey, glad to hear from someone who has a little experience at the car dealership level. It’s always a crazy scene, huh? I’ve never worked around Toyotas, but I’m sure it’s very similar to my experience. Although, glad to hear you went back to IT!! :)

      And you’re right, I can always fall back to full-time work, if necessary. It won’t be my first choice, but I’m certainly open to it. I wouldn’t be able to work part-time as a service advisor, but that’s okay. To be honest, if I never work at a car dealership again I’d be perfectly okay with that. We’ll see how things go with writing, and I’m excited for that. But if I do have to go back to a traditional job then I’m hoping I can do something financially related. Most jobs in finance require degrees and experience, but there might be something out there that pops up. Having the time to chase things down is important, and most people are looking for the first available job that pays the most. However, I’ll be flying under the radar looking at different, interesting opportunities as they possibly pop up.

      And glad to hear you did something about your own situation over there. It’s difficult to recognize that a change must be made, but damn near impossible to actually take action. People get comfortable with familiarity, and I can understand that. I guess I’m just wired differently. I find myself questioning things all the time. And I started to really question whether I was happy with what I was doing. After too many mornings of saying no, I realized a change had to be made. I knew I missed my family and I knew my job was stressing me out.

      The unknown is scary, but sometimes it’s in these challenges that we find out what we’re made of.

      Appreciate the support and the readership!!

      Take care.

  17. says

    Jason, as an active reader of your blog for the last few years, I feel as though I know you as a friend from afar :) That said, as I read this entry I am 100% positive that you are doing the right thing for yourself. You have put in the hard work of toiling at a job that doesn’t bring much joy and have had the discipline to save as much as you can along the way. This earns you the option to choose your next adventure and go faithfully toward what brings you joy. Although it is admirable to work and save, it doesn’t always make us happy as individuals. You can only sell you soul for so long until the price become unbearable and the universe begins to push you in new directions. Currently, I am being pushed by the universe as well and thinking about taking a leap of faith, such as yourself. Your blog entry allows me to find inspiration and strength in knowing that there can be other paths beyond, toil–saving–and watching the portfolio grow. Your new endeavors may not be as financially fruitful in the immediate future, but they will bring you much more enjoyment along the way. You are still very young at 32, but life has a way of moving very quickly in your 30s and making those close to you age, as you alluded to. This move will truly provide you time to process and live life’s deeper experiences, beyond work and savings. I know you are not giving up on savings and I commend that, however you may find that the savings game becomes less urgent as you enjoy your daily life more:) Wishing you all the best!

    • says

      Nicki,

      I couldn’t agree more with what you’re saying here, and your comment really speaks to the message I was trying to convey in the post. While working hard and saving is commendable, and a hallmark of my strategy, it is not all there is to life. In the end, it’s all about being happy. Now, I’ve found great happiness and solace in living frugally and saving, and I don’t plan on giving up either. Quite the contrary, I plan on living more frugally than ever because of the reduced income. However, we must also live life to the fullest on the way. I’ve said before that financial independence is a journey and a destination, and I believe that. But if you’re not having fun then you need to really take a step back and think about that. And that’s what I did here. I was no longer having fun, and it was all just a big chore to me. Work become intolerable and borderline ridiculous, and living so far away from family took on new meaning for me when I found out a new baby was coming along. And just like in 2009, I realized changes had to be made.

      They say time flies by, and it certainly does. I’m extremely grateful for everything I’ve been able to accomplish. But I’m excited to take all of those lessons learned and apply them in a totally new fashion as I enter the unknown. We’ll see how I do. :)

      Thanks again for stopping by. Appreciate the well wishes, and I wish you the best as well as you decide whether to take a leap yourself. I hope you found some inspiration in what I’m doing. Because believe me, it wasn’t an easy decision. It’s not easy to give up the high savings rate and the portfolio growth, but in the end it’s all about being happy. And all the money in the world won’t buy me the time I could have now with loved ones. It will buy more future time once I’m financially independent, but who’s to say I’m giving any of it up? Combining the best of both worlds – enjoyment now, with more time later – is ultimately the balance that we’re all trying to achieve. Best of luck with finding your balance!

      Best regards.

  18. says

    Good luck DM! I am in the process of doing something different myself, but after reading your article I realized it really isn’t that much change at all!

    Congratulations on your niece! My brother just had a little girl and I have a few nephews. The best thing about being an Uncle is you can rile the children up and then send them home =)

    Take care!

    • says

      ILG,

      Thanks so much. And congrats on all of the success you’ve found thus far too. I hope the new house is treating you very well!

      And you’re exactly right about the benefits of being an uncle. I plan on being the uncle that totally spoils them. So I’m going be the foil to my more “toe the line” sister. :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Take care.

  19. Jim says

    Great move, Jason.

    I’ve been a reader of yours almost from the beginning. The reason you have such potential as a writer is because of your emotional maturity. That maturity shows in the responsible way you’ve taken hold of your financial life. It also shows in the openness and honesty, the way you have balanced your own needs against your girl friend’s, in sorting all this out. She sounds like a great person. So do you.

    When you’ve been through a tough childhood with siblings you’re more than brothers and sisters with them. I’ve been there. There are ways in which you are each other’s parents due to the support you’ve given them and been given by them, at least if you’re lucky enough to have such support in an otherwise unlucky childhood. Your reaction to being an expectant uncle is understandable. You may feel not just like an uncle but also a grandfather to that baby girl. You’re wise to give yourself the opportunity to make the most of the connection with her.

    I’m a writer, too, and have published books. I think you’ve already got most of the raw material for a terrific book in what you’ve written on this blog for the past four years. It doesn’t have to be a forgettable e-book but the memorable kind of hardbound you say you’d like to write. Do you know how to write a book proposal? There are probably on-line guides for this and, when I was young, there were also books on how to write a book proposal, probably still available in your local library. Then it’s a matter of finding a good agent who can shop your book proposal around among publishers.

    On the other hand, you might want to save the book for the future. Either way, I hope you’ll keep on with this wonderful blog. Some might call it a diary but that’s not right because you have readers right now. It’s a brand new form of autobiography, written not by looking back but by writing openly and honestly about your life in the very moment it is being lived. Keep up the openness and honesty, and your online readers — and income — are sure to grow.

    Safe travels,

    Jim

    • says

      Jim,

      Thanks for the the really thoughtful passage there. And I really appreciate that coming from an established writer like yourself. Means a lot to me, so thank you! :)

      And I haven’t looked into a book proposal at all yet. I thought about just writing and self-publishing, but getting an agent is probably the right way to do it. And I wouldn’t want to just put an e-book together, but rather a serious work that I could put my hands on. I’m just a bit old-fashioned, I suppose.

      And as far as this being a journal, I feel the same exact way. It’s like an autobiography, but modern technology allows us to tell the story as it’s happening. And I think that’s what I really love about this platform. Instead of writing a book long after the events have occurred, this is a way to tell the story as it’s happening with all of the victories, setbacks, and emotions playing out live and in color. Anyway, I just find it fascinating to share my journey while also getting a peek inside others’ lives.

      I’m excited for the next chapter. I’m no longer going to be the distant brother/uncle/son/friend in Florida who’s chasing a crazy dream. Choosing family over what would certainly be more money makes for an interesting story line, but it makes for an even more interesting life.

      Thanks for sharing. Really appreciated!

      Best wishes.

  20. Brian says

    An expression I heard many years ago seems appropriate. There are three kinds of dreamers in life. Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen & those who wonder what happened. Despite a rocky start in life, you defined yourself as a dreamer with a goal. A goal of short term pain for long term gain, and by saving and investing you are buying yourself the freedom to live where you want, with whom you want, and fill your days with experiences that are important to you. You have chosen to do that once again, and substituting snow for palm trees and writing instead of working at a car dealership, you have just turned the page and started a new chapter in this book called life. You don’t know what chapter of this book you are on, or how it ends, and that is the beauty of it. I have written you a few times after I sold my home in Canada, took a deep breath & moved to Puerto Vallarta. It was not because I was not happy, but rather because I was, and I wanted to experience life in new and different ways, a certainly have no regrets. You have your dreams in life, we all do. My message to you is never let a challenge stop a dream. Best of luck.

    • says

      Brian,

      Good to hear from you again. And glad to hear things are still rocking along for you in PV! :)

      And thanks for the message there. I’m definitely a dreamer. The young me used to dream without any goal, and therefore I often found myself broke and confused. These days the dreamer in me is still there, but grounded with long-term goals. As such, I’ve done well because I’m such a passionate person. My big dreams allow me the type of willpower necessary to overcome difficulties and stick to a plan. I think it’s great to be a dreamer. But it’s even better when you have concrete, actionable goals to go along with those dreams.

      Congrats to you for dreaming, and making that dream come true as a result of a solid plan. It’s not often that you find that in life. Enjoy it!! :)

      Take care.

  21. john says

    Congratulations on making the leap.
    With all the changes in play I reckon that few would have the gumption to follow a similar path.
    Thanks for sharing your inspiring story with us all.

    All the best to you Jason in your new path ahead.

    john

    • says

      john,

      Thanks so much. I really do appreciate the support. You readers are all fantastic, and I’m grateful to have you guys stopping by. Really means a lot to me!

      And although I have gumption, it makes it easy when I’m not tied down by a mortgage or a family. So I’m a bit more flexible than most. Not necessarily good or bad, but I’m freer. Just a lifestyle I’ve chosen to live for the time being, and that may change in the future.

      Best wishes!

  22. says

    Wow Jason! congrats! I am so happy to read that you finally decided to leave the job you dislike! It will be great for you to be close to your family as well. I am sure everything will work out for you! I strongly believe your job was the biggest hold back and now when you will cut it off you will be surprise how fast your life will move into directions you want! Plus if you start doing more jobs you like, you might change your mind about retiring by 40, relax and enjoy your life more! And more abundance will find you! Good luck on your new journey!

    • says

      Happy,

      Absolutely! This change was a long time coming, and everything came together at the right time for me. Life has a funny way of speaking to you sometimes, and it’s important to listen. I’m greatly looking forward to new and exciting challenges!

      And you’re right in that not only will the journey change, but maybe the end goal will at some point too. If I really enjoy my new life the urgency will likely diminish. While I continue to plan on achieving financial independence by 40, it’ll be fun to see how these changes alter my perspective.

      Best regards!

  23. The Faithful says

    Jason,

    I’ve always found your blog truly inspiring, not only from a personal finance/frugality perspective but also in light of your good nature and genuineness. I’m a bit younger at 26 and I find myself struggling with these same questions: do I move back home to family? Do I continue on with my stressful job that feels a bit too selfish at times? What truly matters to me in life? In any case, I wish you the best. I’m from Chicago so I know how hard (and cold) it will be to head back. Keep your head up and embrace the “curve balls” that come your way.

    As was mentioned above I think taking a part-time job to keep up your savings rate might be a good idea. Perhaps you can use this opportunity to find a job that’s more meaningful – maybe as an investment advisor or a personal trainer? I personally believe that the more you help people in your day-to-day job the happier you will be, just my .02. Anyway, I hope you find the happiness you’re seeking in this case; we’ll all be here to support you on your journey.

    Best regards,

    The Dividend Mantra Faithful

    • says

      The Faithful,

      Thanks for the kind words there. Very sweet of you.

      And I know your struggle all to well. It’s something I’ve been dealing with for years, but for much of that time work was tolerable, I was very happy, the savings were humming along, and everything just seemed right. When I first moved here, my sisters were all still kids. Two still lived at home, and one was a newlywed. But five years changes things awfully fast, and now they’re all homeowners and starting families of their own. It came time to ask myself whether I wanted to be a real part of their lives or not. Because I damn sure can’t be 1,200 miles away. And it will be difficult moving back, especially with the weather. I get depressed when the gray skies come and everything outside dies. The snow sucks, but I can deal with it. It’s mainly the death. Even when it’s cold in Florida the fact that nature is still alive has a way of perking you up. Anyway, I’m older and wiser now, and I think I’m better equipped to deal with it. But we’ll see. I could very well be wrong about that.

      And I hear you on the part-time job. That’s probably where things are going to go. As I mentioned in a previous comment, I personally doubt that I will make enough via writing and dividends to not only fund my lifestyle, but also have enough left over to invest. So at that point it will be figuring out what kind of job I do, how many hours I work, how much money should I try to make, etc. And I think a personal trainer could probably work. There’s not much money in that, but the hours seem pretty flexible and I won’t need to worry much about money. Plus it would keep me in great shape. One thing I am not is a hypocrite, so if I’m not in peak shape then I can’t go out and motivate others. Although, I’d prefer to do something in finance. It just might be difficult because most jobs require degrees and experience. Plus I’m sure there are issues with that industry just like the one I’m leaving – dogma, politics, quotas, useless/endless meetings, management hierarchy, etc.

      Anyway, thanks so much for your readership and time. I really appreciate the support and the comment. I hope to not let you or anyone else down. :)

      Cheers.

  24. says

    DM,

    I think it is great that you are moving back closer to your family. I think it may provide the emotional support you need to really ramp up your early retirement dreams.

    You mentioned that you are exiting the freeway for a different road. While I realize that your desire along with many others is to leave the freeway for a slow winding country road free of stress and responsibility, I recommend if only for a little while to enter a different road called the Autobahn. This road unfortunately is the complete opposite of your intended destination! An average income with average pay is like the freeway most people are on. If you commit to a more stressful, more time consuming, and most importantly a higher paying job if only for a little while, you can probably reach FI and stay there within 3 years as opposed to 8. This is just my opinion and I truly understand what your endgame goals are as mine are identical. With your family close to you and the additional encouragement you no doubt will receive, I suggest one last surge into the super fast lane to help catapult you to your destination.

    I don’t know what your career plans are for the rest of the year, but if you go back to another car dealership, I highly encourage you go to work in the sales department instead of service. Your hours would most likely increase at first, but I truly believe you could routinely save double what your are currently saving.

    I look forward to you watching your journey.

    MDP

    • says

      MDP,

      Hmm, that’s an interesting proposition. I’m not totally opposed to it, but I’d have to find a job that paid extremely well to make it worth it. And it’s not that I doubt myself, but rather the economy in Michigan still isn’t that great (one of the highest unemployment rates in the U.S.) and I lack the education and experience for any of the higher paying industries up there. Finance and engineering would be two ways to go, for instance, but I’d either have to know someone or go back to school. And going back to school would slow me WAY down, so I don’t think that’s realistic.

      But if I found the right opportunity at the right pay I would definitely be interested. And I’m not quite sure about sales. It depends on where you work and how long you stay at it. But I made more than many of the salespeople at my dealership. Of course, that’s anecdotal, but I haven’t run into many salespeople that are making six figures. We had a few superstars in our dealership making that kind of money, but it wasn’t commonplace. You also had some making less than $50k. It all depends. And their hours were similar to mine. They worked about the same number of hours, but just at different times. They typically came in later, but left later. And Saturdays (a full day!) are mandatory. So that kind of sucks too.

      Appreciate the idea here. If the right situation presents itself I’d be very open to it. But it would have to be just right. I think I could probably go back to being a service advisor in Michigan and make around $60k or so at the right dealership, but a big part of me wants to avoid that at all costs. I honestly think if I could make it writing then that’s what I would do. And I wouldn’t need much. But if I can’t make enough to pay my bills and continue to maintain a high savings rate then I’ll go back to work to make it so.

      Either way, it’s going to be fun and interesting. I’m excited to see how it goes! :)

      Thanks for stopping by. And keep up the great work over there. Your pipeline is pumping some serious passive income!

      Best wishes.

  25. says

    Sorry to hear that your world is changing so drastically. It seems that everyone goes through a few “resets” in their life and its what you make of those opportunities that really counts. It sounds like you have analyzed this from all the angles and are taking the approach that makes the most sense for you. Good luck.

    I look forward to reading more of your articles and comments though. You are certainly wise beyond your age.

    • says

      Tom,

      Thanks for the very kind words there. I don’t know if it’s wise, or just a brain that never stops working! :)

      And I think every five years a new adventure is good. Maybe in another five years I’ll go through another “reset” and do something else. Life can only be lived once, so it’s important to make the most of it.

      Appreciate you stopping by. Hope you stay in touch!!

      Best regards.

  26. Zol says

    Awesome news Jason! It’s very sad your partner can’t come with you, i’m sure that’s a very difficult decision you two had to make. But it sounds like you thought this out very carefully. Sometimes you gotta follow your instinct even when it leads you down an unknown road.

    I’m mildly curious, how’d the boss take it? *evil grin*

    • says

      Zol,

      It is sad that she can’t come along. It’s understandable, but that doesn’t make it any easier. We’re both very upset about it, but we’ve talked about it at length and we’ve both come to the conclusion that we’re doing what’s best for our futures. Life can be weird sometimes.

      My boss was surprised only by my plans to not work in the auto industry any more. He found a replacement quite quickly. But when you’re advertising a robotic job for robots, a replacement should be quite easy to find.

      A robot I am not! Even a well-paid one.

      Cheers.

  27. Chicago81 says

    I agree with your decision, 100%. From your prior posts, it sounds like you have been an outstanding employee for them, working 50+ hours a week and doing a superb job. And the thanks you got, was a cut in compensation, with the expectation of working the same amount of time. I think you’re absolutely correct to leave them in the dust!

    I wish you all the success in the world, and I know you find another opportunity (probably even better), because it is clear to me that you are hard working and driven to be successful. I sincerely hope that you are able to find a fantastic opportunity in the near future, and you will look back (on the shenanigans your employer is pulling) and be very grateful that they pushed you in this direction!

    • Zol says

      I have nothing else to say other than well put. It’s weird, i don’t normally follow blogs with such fervor but Jason’s journey has been so eloquently laid out that i can’t help but relate.

    • says

      Chicago81,

      Thanks, man. I’d like to think I’ve been a very reliable and hard working employee. I always think of it this way: Who else would want to work as hard as the guy trying to make enough money to retire by 40? If anyone is motivated, it’s me. But it’s a dog eat dog world, and I understand that. However, just because it’s understandable doesn’t mean I have to take it. As such, I’ve decided to move on and see what else is out there in the world. For many, their job and all of the office politics are the center of the universe. For me, it’s just one small building on a very large planet.

      Thanks for the well wishes. And I also hope a fantastic opportunity opens up at some later date. In the meantime, I plan on working as hard as ever, but rather for myself. :)

      Cheers.

  28. Dividend Phred says

    Jason,
    Long time reader, first time responder. Let me be the first “dividend collector” from Michigan to welcome you home. I am what you would call a late bloomer in dividend investing, since real retirement is only 5 – 7 years away. Your blog is not only inspirational and informational, it’s fun. Our last winter here was brutal and never ending…finally we have Florida winter weather. When you get back, check out DTE (The old Detroit Edison), this was one of the stocks all our grandfathers invested in, and Ma Bell. Good luck on your journey, and keep up the good writing.

    • says

      Dividend Phred,

      Thanks for the kind welcome! And it’ll be nice coming back home. :)

      And nothing wrong with being a late bloomer. Better late than never, and if my journey proves anything it’s that great progress can be attained in a short period of time. I’ve been at it for a little more than four years, and look at how my life has changed!

      And I took a look at Michigan’s weather patterns going back decades. It looks like this past winter only comes around every five years or so. So I told my family they had to suffer through this one so I could move back and hopefully (keep my fingers crossed) see more timid winters, at least for the next few years. :)

      And I’ll take a look at those stocks. I’m not often a big fan of utilities because of the lower growth rates, but we’ll see what DTE has to offer!

      Take care.

  29. Monty says

    You are making a good call imo. There are about 8 billion people in the world that don’t work for that car dealership and they are doing just fine. Imagine how great it will feel not to have to show up at that office any longer! I would run screaming for joy in the parking lot! You really need to take 3-6 months to low cost travel as well. You have mentioned the travel bug before, so do it now while you can. Go to Guatemala, Honduras, Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal, Argentina, Brazil, Chille and Costa Rica while you can! Look forward to reading in the future.

    • says

      Monty,

      Haha! Sounds like there are about 8 billion smart people in the world. :)

      And I thought about traveling now, but the baby is due in August and I want to be there for the birth. However, after that I’ll be pretty free. For now, I’m going to concentrate on family and writing, but we’ll see what the future brings after the shine of being home wears off. Either way, I’m so excited for what the future may bring. Traveling is definitely still on my mind. If I could find a partner to travel with, though, that would be even better!

      Best wishes.

  30. says

    Wow what a decision! you should really have the will power to do this, carry on with what you think is right for your heart and mind, you will succeed.
    Dividend Mom

    • says

      dividendmom,

      Thanks! It certainly wasn’t a decision I took lightly, but in the end I felt with everything in my being that this was the right course of action. I’m scared, but excited. We’ll see how well I do with a totally new situation. :)

      Cheers.

  31. local Joe says

    Jason,

    Best wishes on your big changes. Yes, can feel scary to make big changes, but so what? If it is the right choice, feel the fear and do it anyway.

    I can’t say whether it is the right thing for you. Only you can say. If it is the right thing, then let nothing stop you.

    I made big changes to move from East Coast to West Coast 23 years ago. At first I felt isolated, but soon enough made friends, etc. Fly East for things with relatives when appropriate. But I did what was right for me. (And I reserve the right to change my mind!)

    • says

      local Joe,

      Hey, we all must do what feels right at the time. Sometimes decisions will work out fantastically, and other times mistakes are made. However, this is all part of life. We learn from both the good and the bad, and the learning process continues until we are dead.

      I’m looking forward to the changes because it means I’m growing as a person, and now I get to share that growth with people I care about.

      And congratulations for choosing the right path. Sounds like you’re very happy with your situation. But even if it didn’t work out you could have always moved back. Life isn’t linear. :)

      Best wishes!

  32. says

    DM, Congrats on making the decision. I know it can be difficult. There must be something in the air, because I’ve decided to pursue another career as well and have been pondering this move since late 2013.

    I look forward to continuing to read your work and wish you the best in MI.

    Liam

    • says

      Liam,

      Congrats to you for taking a leap there. I hope the new career works out fantastically for you. Very exciting times for both of us! :)

      Sometimes we need these changes to wake us up and keep things fresh. I sometimes feel like I’m sleepwalking if I’m not challenged enough. And while I was performing very well at work, I felt like there was more out there. And now I get to see just how much more there really is.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Best wishes.

      • Monty says

        I know exactly how you feel. I feel like a friggin robot. In 1 year and 6 months I will be vested for a pretty substantial pension, that I will be eligible for when I turn 60. This is why I’m hanging in there? Problem is not having a meltdown before I reach my goal! I still have a daughter that is going to be a senior. I don’t care what my wife says in 1.5 I’m traveling!

        I actually thought about quitting last week. I’m still debating quitting tommorrow. lol

        • says

          Monty,

          I know EXACTLY how you feel. Every Sunday night that would roll around I’d think about quitting. I’d be doing laundry and all of the sudden this overwhelming sense of sadness would hit me as I realized the weekend was ending and my freedom was quickly escaping. But then I’d look at everything I was doing and how much progress I was making and just kept marching on. This Sunday feels so much better because I know it will be the last one like this, at least for quite a while.

          At least you have the pension keeping you around. And that’s really nice. We get no such things at dealerships, so my golden handcuffs were non-existent. And I guess that’s a blessing in disguise!

          Hang tough, my friend. You’ll regret not having that pension down the road if you give up now.

          Best wishes.

  33. says

    Hey Dividend Mantra,

    Very inspiring post.

    Early retirement before you retire? I love it! All possible due to your dividends and online income. Also, make the best of that road trip, stretch it out, enjoy the sites, take it all in. Perhaps some readers on your blog will even let you crash at their place. If you’re ever in Montreal, stop on by.

    While on the road you can sit back and think, damn right I have this portfolio worth $160K that pays me dividends while I drive, kick ass!

    I say take the entire summer off, live frugally and live off your dividends and blogging income for the summer.

    However, have you thought about taking on a part-time job in the fall to supplement your income. For example, if you can live on $1000-1200 a month; then working part-time (waiting tables, convenience store, etc.) and earning $200-300 a week (2-3 days) would mostly cover your expenses. Your dividends and online income could then be added to your freedom fund. Working 2-3 days a week would still provide you with ample time to write/blog and to spend time with family and it would also allow you to contribute to your freedom fund.

    Is this a good move? Only time will tell but I can assure you are about to experience an exciting summer and nothing is more important than family.

    You may be delaying financial independence but you will be experience immediate freedom. You’ll definitely miss your gf, that’ll be difficult to reconcile.

    $25000 dividends

    • says

      $25000,

      Yes! The dividend income is literally paying me to drive. Better than being a truck driver because I’m going somewhere I want to be while also taking the roads I want to take. My little part-time worker continues to work even while I take a break. Exactly why I want to move from the working class to the investor class. And now I get to try self-employment for a little while. :)

      And you read my mind there. I plan on taking the summer off, if only because there is so much going on. My oldest sister is having a big 30th birthday bash on the beach, and I want to be there for that. The other is expecting, as I talked about. And then my youngest is renovating her house, so I’d like to help out a little here and there with that too. But after the new baby comes and I’ve relaxed enough it’ll be time to get serious with what’s next. And working part-time for extra money to invest sounds like the perfect way to compliment my dividend and online income. It will allow me a nice balance between having enough time for everyone while still keeping to the plan via investing regularly. My Freedom Fund looks good here, but I’m anxious to continue investing and building it. I’m not done yet!

      Thanks for the thoughts there. I’m very excited for this summer. My parents have a 25th anniversary coming, and my sisters have so much going on. I’m looking forward to being a part of all of that, and no longer being this absentee family member that only sees everyone a few weeks (or less) per year.

      And immediate freedom will be nice; however, I still have high hopes that ultimate salvation by 40 is still possible. We’ll see how it goes!

      Best regards.

  34. Ravi says

    Thanks for the very deep and personal post. You are most definitely putting out content that is very different from most other places online.

    It’s definitely not a mistake to try moving back near family. If nothing else, seeing your niece/nephew(s) in their early years will be some memories you will never forget, and even if it pushes back FI by 10 years, it will be something you will never regret.

    Being close to loved ones, life/career permitting, is priceless.

    I struggle with this on a regular basis. I know I’m building my career, and my parents fully support it. At some point I’d like to try out a 3rd/4th/10th new city, perhaps a new country, but some part of me will always want to be closer to my family.

    I think after a certain point, no amount of career success or exciting adventures will be enough to outweigh being able to spend time with our friends/family.

    I can’t say whether you will “succeed or fail”, but I will say that you won’t have any regrets. Perhaps that’s the only worthwhile guarantee in life?

    • says

      Ravi,

      I’m with you. Being close to loved ones is priceless. I’m giving up sure money to move up to an unknown future, but I know deep in my heart that my family is worth it. And who knows, this may actually better my finances over the long haul. But even if it doesn’t I’ll have no regrets about it.

      And if I have no regrets as I lay on my deathbed I’ll consider my life well lived. :)

      And I hear you on travel and living in new cities. I have a desire to travel abroad, and am very interested in SE Asia. In addition, I’d love to live in cool and upcoming cities like Portland, Seattle, Austin, and Denver. But they’re all far from my family. We never know where life will take us, and perhaps down the road I’ll be on a path that will take me in those directions. But for now I’m happy to be closer to family.

      Cheers!

  35. Debbie M says

    There are infinite ways your life can go–only one of them will be the best, by definition. All of them will have some advantages and some disadvantages. This does seem like one of the good ways. I think going to Florida was a good decision. And coming back to Michigan will give you more data to see what you like best.

    Trying to make a living as a writer sounds like a good thing to try. And it’s something interesting to put on your resume (put the real start date, by the way) to explain your lack of corporate employment if you later find yourself in the position of looking again.

    Social media makes it a lot easier to be away from loved ones than it used to be (though some things are not the same as being together in person of course).

    Just keep paying attention to how you’re doing. Pay attention to whether writing ends up becoming a chore instead of a joy. You’re in the position now where you can accept a low-paying but fun or at least low-stress corporate job to pay the bills if writing doesn’t work out for some reason.

    I don’t think you’ll be losing readers, at least not more than you’re gaining, any time soon.

    • says

      Debbie M,

      Social media and tools like Skype definitely make it easier to stay in touch. Unfortunately, my parents can be pretty old-school. My aunt barely likes using her cell phone, so video chatting is out of the question.

      And while I’m excited to write more, I definitely don’t want it to become a chore. If I feel it’s going that way and I’m being robbed of the joy then I’ll just scale back and go back to traditional work. I definitely don’t want this new path to change how I feel about writing, because this has been an incredible outlet for me.

      And thanks for sticking it out with me. I hope to spend more time than ever around here and explore the possibilities. :)

      Best wishes!

  36. Jarmo says

    Hi DM

    Big changes coming. Best of luck! I’m sure you will find your way to meet your goals.

    Happiness does indeed come before FI. I’m sure you will reach that too even if it takes somewhat longer.

    I can confirm that dark winters do little good to one’s mood. Helsinki, Finland is starting to get sunny again and I’m feeling more energised already!

    Happy birthday Jason! I’m turning 35 on May 12 also.

    Regards

    Jarmo

    • says

      Jarmo,

      Happy birthday to you as well! We Taurus’s have to stick together. :)

      Glad to hear a little sunshine is headed your way after a long winter. I imagine Finland has similar weather patterns to Michigan. And I know winter up there can be pretty brutal at times. I’m not looking forward to that aspect, but if I’m working less than I’ll have to spend less time outside when the weather is unkind. So that might work out pretty well. We’ll see!

      Thanks for the continued support.

      Take care.

  37. Mike Schneider says

    Come on back home! Home is where the heart is! Everything else is just details, and they can be worked out!

    Mike…

    • says

      Mike,

      That’s kind of what my family was saying. They wanted to make sure that I was doing what was right for me, and they frequently told me to be sure of this. However, they also said that things will work out no matter what, and that’s how I feel about it.

      Cheers!

  38. Greg says

    Your journey is taking a significant turn that was not altogether unanticipated. The signs were apparent in your writing, especially in relation to how you referred to your job. But, a sense of something greater to come was also embedded in your words. You’ve become what you’ve written about: a dividend growth stock. You’ve decided not to become a commodity. You have something of value to offer your community. Your voice and experience become your “yield” and you have a lot of “growth” to develop and share. You will have to generate your investing capital from that, but that’s the creative and interesting part of the journey you can share.

    Happy Birthday, Jason! Thank-you for the gift you share with us through this blog and your writing.

    • says

      Greg,

      Thanks for the really great analogy there!

      And I think we all grow over time, and provide lessons that can be learned from. I hope to continue growing as a person and spreading inspiration for as long as possible. I’ll certainly make my mistakes along the way, but those are where the best lessons are learned sometimes. :)

      And thanks so much for the support and kind words. I truly appreciate it. The community here is truly wonderful, and I’m blessed to be a part of it!

      Best wishes.

  39. says

    Wow, you made a big step in your life. I know missing family and friends is painful.

    I have been reading your blog posts for a while. I will continue to follow you, and want to see your success stories.I wish you all the best from the bottom of my heart.

    By the way, Happy Birthday to you Jason.

    • says

      S Arun,

      Thanks for the birthday wishes! Thirty-two is still young, but I’m starting to see just how fast time passes by.

      And thank you for the readership and support. I wish all the same to you and everyone else. I’m here to inspire, and in that inspiration I hope it leads to greater success in all aspects of your life.

      To our success!

      Best regards.

  40. says

    Wow, Jason! it looks like a semi-retirement before full retirement. I fully support your decision of following your passion and where your heart and family is.

    You will be travelling a path that’s more exciting than the drudgery of 9-5 job. It could re-energize the battery and provide fresh motivation.

    I’ve followed your FI journey along with interest, excitement and anticipation with passive dividend income rolling every month :) and I’m sure they will keep growing. Also, you can try to work on online gigs as another source of part-time income and possibly try as part time virtual assistant.

    All the best in future journey.

    PIM

    • says

      PIM,

      Drudgery is a good word for the 9-5. At least, that’s how I feel about the version I’ve been exposed to thus far in my life. I don’t think every job is like that, but I imagine the great majority are. Finding a needle in a haystack can be quite difficult, but in the meantime I’m looking forward to just concentrating on writing and investing – such will be my needle for a little while. :)

      I’ve never heard of a personal assistant before. I’ll have to look into that! And I hope that I can make my living via writing here and in other places as well. I think I’ll have to work part-time as well, but I’m perfectly okay with that. Dropping down from 50 hours per week to 20 or so will have an immediate impact on my quality of life!

      Appreciate the support. And keep up the great work with your investments and passive income over there.

      Cheers.

  41. KeithX says

    Wow. Funny, in some ways you are doing things that I’ve already done. I moved to FL after my parents died, but ended up moving back to MI after 3 and a half years. One big difference is that I met my wife in FL and she came up here with me. We have been married 31 years this month, and it has been a challenge for her since she left all of her family back in FL. It has been a priority for her to get down for a week or two at least once a year (I go when I can get away from work). Still, it’s tough on days like today (Mother’s Day) when the best that she can do is a phone call. (Okay, I’ve tried, but her parents will not use Skype or any other internet communication that would allow video.) I really understand missing MI, the change of seasons, family, etc. On the other hand, now I miss FL. Maybe that’s why there are so many snow birds, eh?

    Good luck, Jason. Things are definitely better up here now than they were when you left. The auto industry is still in decline long term, I’m afraid, but at least people are working. I pray that you land on your feet and that the time spent with family is the best. Who knows, maybe we will run into each other one day soon. That would be cool. :)

    • says

      KeithX,

      It looks like we’ve indeed traveled down very similar paths. And I’m glad yours has led you to the success you’ve found!

      And I never thought I’d say that I miss the seasons! I always enjoyed summer, and I thought that Florida would be a permanent summer (which it is). But I miss the change. I guess sometimes you need the cold to appreciate the warm. Of course, we’ll see if I change my tune once January rolls around. :)

      And I was looking at some stats recently, and it looks like Michigan has bounced back a bit. The economy in West Michigan specifically is much better than it was five years ago. However, parts of Metro Detroit are doing better as well.

      And we may very well run into each other some day if I’m in that area of Michigan. I’m going to be staying in Durand, which is a small town between Lansing and Flint, but who knows where the future will take me.

      Best wishes!

  42. says

    DM,

    Quite a remarkable change that you are about to embark on. You know I happened to realize something along the way of my own journey recently. That is that it doesn’t really matter if the ultimate journey to your destination is delayed by a couple of years. If you are having a blast along the way, you won’t notice the additional time pass by. Best of luck my friend. I’m cheering you on here from afar.

    Integrator.

    • says

      Integrator,

      Thanks so much for that wisdom. I agree with what you’re saying. Although I’m still aiming for FI by 40, if I’m having a lot of fun along the way then I suppose it won’t matter if I hit it at 43 or 44 or whenever. I’m still going to be giving it my best shot, however! I can do no less. :)

      It’ll be nice to spend more time with family along the way, though. Spending all day at airports and on planes just to see everyone for a few days and then turn around and go home was really irritating.

      Thanks for the well wishes. I really do appreciate it. I hope all is well with your journey, and that you’re making the most of it!

      Take care.

  43. Frank NY says

    Hi Jason,

    I can sort of relate to your relationship. I am more of a delayed gratification person in my married and my wife likes to enjoy life now. Balance is key. Too much extreme in one direction is not good and can have an negative effect.

    I really enjoy your blog. I encourage you to write more. I wish you could write a stock wish list or give your opinion when a company your invested in releases a report. If you ever create a premium side to your website, count me in. I wouldn’t mind paying a monthly or annual fee for your content. If you ever write a book – ebooks are pretty easy to publish – I would definitely buy one.

    I hope everything works out for you. You can’t go wrong if you follow your heart.

    Frank.

    • says

      Frank,

      You made a great point there in regards to balance. I’m going to miss that. My girlfriend has done a wonderful job at keeping me balanced over the last five years. I can let my extreme side sometimes get the best of me, and she is often the voice of reason. She reminds me of my aunt in that regard. My aunt will often try to temper my sometimes misguided enthusiasm. I’m an emotional guy, and sometimes I can let my passion for certain things get carried away. And I’ve never been as passionate about anything in life as I am about reaching financial independence.

      And thanks for the encouragement. If you’re looking for more writing, then stick around. I’m going to have a lot more time here, and I hope to produce more content than ever. I’d love to get to the day when I could even potentially produce one new article per day, while still keeping the quality high. That would be fantastic, but that would also require significant time. We’ll see. I’d love to mix it up where you get something different every day on topics of frugality, general personal finance, stock picks, dividends, etc. I have so many ideas (my drafts are now 100 articles deep), but so little time!

      I’ve never thought about a premium side to the site, but I might do something like that someday. I would only do it, however, if the tools and/or content for members was worth the cost.

      Appreciate all the support. Hope all is well with your journey!

      Best regards.

  44. says

    DM – Wow, one of your best post ever! I really enjoyed it… your thoughts and thinking process is showing perspective which is what life is all about. Thank you very much for sharing it with us.

    This is no easy decision and like many here I don’t believe there is a good or bad way, fallowing what you feel is your best way. It’s your life, make the best of how you see it.

    It will be very interesting to read your progression, the new ideas and choices that will come about. Very inspiring for your age ;) It is up to each of us to grab the meaning we want to make of it!

    Stil… I am curious to know what your girlfriend decided about the present rent, will she move into a smaller place, keep the place for herself or take a roomate… after all her rent will double in june or are you going to send her money for some time?

    Also, will you consider making some changes in your portfolio like selling the lower yield for higher ones or even think about MLP and REIT to provide better income?

    I am sure you read the last article from Chuck about diversification… very informative.

    You know… trying to “run” (less time for you now) to get to a point (retiring at 40) by working and saving big or jogging (more time for you now) and letting your capital grow until it reach more by itself the point of retirement is different and the same! In both case you get to retirement and also get to enjoy time (in one case more after and in the other a lot all the time). I am in the second group… practice makes perfect.

    Good luck and all the best :)

    • says

      Grox’s Stocks,

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the post. I took some time with this one, and after reading it through again I still left out a lot of information I meant to include. Often these posts are all written in one shot, and they’re kind of a stream of consciousness. And then I end up forgetting things. :)

      That’s a great question about what my girlfriend is going to do. So we talked about that, and she’s going to stay here. I purchased much of the major furniture, and she’s going to keep all of that. Our lease ends in August. I’m going to pay my half of the rent for June and July. And then I offered to pay all of the rent by myself for August as a token of my appreciation for her, and that will give her a nice little break before she’s paying everything by herself. She is financially okay to stay here, but I’ll still be worried about her.

      As far as dividend income goes I plan on making no changes there. I don’t want to chase yield simply because my present circumstances have changed a bit. If necessary, I’ll go out and get a part-time job. But I don’t want to reduce the overall quality and asset mix of my portfolio to compensate for the reduction in income. If anything, I actually think my portfolio has a need for some lower yield/higher growth plays like V, DIS, SBUX, COST, BDX, WFM, NKE, etc. In addition, there’s a few blue chips that I don’t own yet that I’d like to: CL, ADP, UL, GIS, and NSRGY. And I’m getting to the point where I have to be very selective about new positions. Much over 50 positions becomes a bit unruly for one retail investor, in my opinion. I actually trimmed my exposure to one position late last week and quickly established a position in another company soon thereafter. However, even knowing I was quitting work and moving I didn’t chase yield. I stuck to looking at the fundamentals, valuation, qualitative aspects, and potential growth profile. I’ll be discussing those transactions very soon! :)

      And jogging vs. running is a great way to put it. I was definitely running before, and I’m now downshifting to a comfortable jog. Maybe it takes longer to get to the finish line, but I won’t be out of breath when I get there. And I’m not opposed to running again in the future, once I get some energy back. But in the meanwhile, I’m interested in taking in the sights and enjoying the company of people I love and haven’t spent much time with over the last few years.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Cheers.

  45. Sysjonas says

    Go Jason, go! I’ve enjoyed your journey since you started your blog and you’ve aquired all the skills you need to be successful. Enjoy your life man, every minute of it. Please keep us informed about your emotions you are experiencing. Recovering from leaving wage work, reconnections with family and friends, community experiences, etc. Watch out for the SAD this next winter, you’ll know what you need to do to help you through it, just listen to what your body needs!

    Proud to be a reader Jason, enjoy the changes.

    • says

      Sysjonas,

      Thanks for the sweet comment. Very kind of you.

      And I’ll definitely pay attention to how I do with the winter. I know I’m not alone there, and Vitamin D can help quite a bit. And I’ll try to get as much light as possible.

      I promise to keep you guys updated on what it’s like to go from chasing after financial independence with 100% energy as a wage slave to moving at a slower pace while writing more and spending more time with friends and family. It’ll be a really interesting and unique change, and I’m sure my perspective on everything is going to change a bit. I’m excited to see how I do at it.

      While you’re proud to be a reader, I’m proud to have you as a reader. Thanks so much. This community is wonderful, and I consider it a gift to be able to write and give back. The fact that people appreciate what I have to say means the world to me. Really.

      Best wishes!

  46. says

    Michigan summers are the best!

    Wow bold move. I’m thinking a part time job will give you some stability and peace of mind. Might make some friends too.

    Well I wish you the best, and I will click on some of your ads in support of what you’re doing. Take care

    • says

      CI,

      Michigan summers are pretty great, aren’t they? I’m really looking forward to hitting the ground running up there just as summer is starting. Should make it easy to adapt. :)

      And I think you’re right in regards to a part-time job. I’m going to concentrate on writing for the next few months and try to take the content here to the next level, but if the income doesn’t work out then a part-time job will be the next logical step. It’ll also keep me engaged with people and possibly build some new relationships. Never a bad thing!

      And thanks for the support. You’ve been stopping by for years now, and I really appreciate that. And congrats to you on all of your success. You’ve built a powerhouse of a portfolio, and your dividend income is impressive.

      Cheers!

  47. Justin says

    I recently made an 1100 mile road trip, and only found myself with enough stuff to fill up the trunk of my car (and one bag in the backseat.) Having very few things makes moving a lot easier.

    My advice, don’t try to do it in one day. The map software will tell you 12 hours, but it will take quite a bit more due to needing to eat, use the restroom, traffic and construction, and general breaks so you can keep your awareness up and not drive into a ditch. It’s cheaper to do it in a day, but it is not worth it.

    • says

      Justin,

      Road trips are fun. I haven’t been on one since I moved here back in 2009. I actually made that trip in 18 hours flat by stopping only for gas and food, and generally combining those stops into one. I also drove pretty fast! :)

      I might take it a little slower this time, but I doubt I’ll stay anywhere overnight. I’ll take a nap if necessary, as I’m in no rush. Definitely don’t want to end up in a ditch!

      Take care.

  48. says

    Jason,
    I’ve followed your blog for over 6 months now and this is my first comment. I want to commend you for taking the leap! A great boss once told me (I’m only 28 but I’ve had some great mentors thus far) “You’ll miss 100% of the shots you never take”. Above all else, you will be able to look back and say that you followed your heart with your decision and that means more than being right or wrong. I am currently in the process of making a big decision myself but not on the magnitude of yours. Feel free to email me and I can tell you more about it if you are interested. Best of luck in your future endeavors and I will continue to follow your blog.

    • says

      jeremy,

      Thanks for commenting for the first time! I hope it’s the first of many. :)

      Ahh, the old Wayne Gretzky quote. That’s great stuff there. And I completely agree with it. You have to take chances in life. Look before you leap, but don’t lose the courage to jump off the ledge when necessary. I’m jumping here knowing that I can always climb back to the ledge if I fail. And that’s wonderful to know.

      I wish you the best of luck with your big decision as well. I hope you have the courage to make the right choice, even if it seems the more difficult choice. For me it would be easier to stay in Florida, but it wouldn’t be the right thing to do.

      Cheers!

  49. Spoonman says

    Oh my gosh! I blink and major news is in the works!

    Congratulations!!!!!!!!! Three cheers! Woot!

    I apologize for not responding sooner, I was busy with Mother’s Day stuff.

    This is HUGE. You are flexing your muscles as someone who has established alternative forms of income. There is more than plenty of merit in the decision you are making! In the near term, your passive income won’t grow as fast, but it will continue to do so due to organic dividend income growth. I think that in the long term you will be able get back in the game by kicking your writing into a higher gear.

    I can very much relate to the anxiety you are feeling right now because as you well know my wife and I will take the plunge soon (two months after you, as a matter of fact). This is entirely normal! I have no doubt that you will be able to kick ass when you settle down in Michigan because you will be able fully flex your frugal muscles. If you weren’t feeling any anxiety I’d be be worried =).

    I almost feel like climbing to the roof our apartment complex and yelling “DM is Free!!!”. You may not be entirely free in the sense that you’ve been aiming for, but you are far more free than the average Joe out there who is 100% dependent on their 9-5 job. What you’ve built here since 2010 is something truly awesome and has allowed you to outmaneuver a bad job.

    Btw, my brother will be having a boy this June, so you and I are both on a similar boat! I can also relate in other ways: I lived in Florida for six years (finished my high school degree in Miami and got my Bachelor’s degree at FSU), and I also lived in Michigan for 4 months back in 2000. The’re both fine states with their pros and cons.

    I wish you the best of luck with this new chapter in your life. This amazing move that you are making is giving my wife and I lots of excitement and hope, you’ve sort of recharged our batteries!

    Yeehaw!!!

    • says

      Spoonman,

      Thanks, man! Big news indeed. I’m super excited. :)

      There was a lot of hesitation on my part because I haven’t really attained financial independence, and that’s really what I’m aiming for. But whereas before I felt like I was on this mission and the money was providing me the fuel, lately I’ve felt like a sell out for some reason. I think that transition started to occur as things became more and more difficult at work. I went from a position where I was okay dealing with the usual BS at work to a mood where it became unbearable for me. And I knew I could no longer go in for just the money when I was that unhappy. It’s just not in me.

      And I’m very, very excited for you guys as well. You two are going to be far more free than me because your passive income is going to be funding your lifestyle, and that’s truly incredible. I’m so happy for you!

      Since your brother is having a baby (congrats!) I wonder how that affects your plans? I know you’ve mentioned a few times a desire to travel, but also to stay put in the Pacific NW. Does being near family factor into that? I know for me that it does. I’ve often thought about traveling through SE Asia, but the thought of being so far away from everyone kind of bums me out. I guess I would have to be with the right partner to make that work, while also being able to come back to the U.S. here and there. But that’s all far off in the future for me anyhow.

      Thanks for all the support. It means the world to me. I wasn’t sure how some people would take the news because I feel like I’m slowing the speed down a bit, but I think that might make it much more interesting for everyone who follows my journey. It’ll definitely make for an interesting contrast to go from working a ton and making a decent income to working much less and not being able to save so much. I’m hopeful it inspires people in new and different ways, because you guys inspire me all the time!

      Best wishes.

      • Spoonman says

        I can understand how you might feel like a sell out, but you should not feel that way because no one ever said that the journey to full FI has to be completely contiguous with no breaks or changes in between. I very much admire this move you are making because it takes some balls to actually pull off. The accumulation stage can wait because you need to place higher priority on your sanity.

        Being close to (or far from) family does figure into our plans, but it’s not a dominant factor. In our first year we will benefit from having a bit of solitude so we can focus on making our new budget work. Eventually we plan to spend six months to a year living in the same town as some of our family members precisely to enjoy spending time with them and their kids.

        For now you should just enjoy this new chapter in your life and all the potential opportunities in front of you. Eventually you can find another job and continue the accumulation stage.

        Again, best of luck with your journey!

        • says

          Spoonman,

          Thanks for your perspective there. And you’re right: the marathon to FI doesn’t have to be without the occasional break for water. Ultimately, I’m hopeful that this move allows me to not only have more time, but also write more than ever which would allow me to stay in the accumulation phase. But we’ll see. That might be asking for too much, in which case I can always diversify my income via a part-time job or something else and not even miss a beat.

          And six months per year near family sounds like a great compromise which would allow you time with loved ones, while also freeing the rest of the year for adventures! I might eventually go that route to where I live in Michigan 6-7 months per year, then set off for somewhere warmer when winter sets in. I’d be an extremely young snowbird! :)

          Thanks for stopping back by and adding that.

          Best of luck with your journey as well. I do hope to hear more about it once you cast off!

          Take care.

  50. says

    I’ve been following along for a while now and just wanted to wish you good luck on the upcoming changes. I have no doubts that everything will work out. Judging by the amount of comments and wishes in this post there will be a lot of people rooting for you!

    • says

      insourcelife,

      The support here has been truly amazing. It surprises me all the time. This is a fantastic community. Oftentimes you see people get jealous and try to bring people down, whereas our community fully supports and encourages each other. It’s just phenomenal, and I’m glad to be a part of it.

      Thank you for the ongoing support. I hope all is well in your journey too!

      Take care.

  51. says

    Sounds to me like things are just starting to get very interesting. I can’t wait to see how it all works out for you Jason. I think you’ve made an ideal choice. Perhaps in a few years I will follow suit! You’ll be in my prayers man.

    • says

      Mike,

      Things are definitely getting interesting. My previous path was clearly laid out and I was completely comfortable. I’m now going out into the unknown, but sometimes it’s necessary to shake things up to find the best version of yourself. And as someone who’s always looking to improve, this really intrigues me.

      Thank so much for the kind words and support. And I certainly hope you’re able to take your own leap into the unknown when the time is right! :)

      Cheers.

  52. says

    Those are some bold steps to be taking and if I were in your position I would probably do the same. Having a new generation of family is a strange and wonderful feeling. You may not feel directly responsible for the shaping of those lives, but you can influence them, and it will feel great.

    I look forward to hearing of the changes that are ahead for you.

    • says

      Zee,

      I definitely want to be there for this new human being coming into the world. I would feel guilty and regret it forever if I wasn’t a part of her life. In addition, I want to be a much greater part of my whole family. I often speak so highly of my family, and I really admire my parents for taking me and my three sisters in when we were young and had nowhere else to go. So it does bother me often to be so far away. But that’s all changing now, and I’m very happy right now.

      Thanks for stopping by. And I hope all is well with you!

      Take care.

  53. says

    Hey Jason,

    Best of luck on the move! I think without a day job you’ll become VERY motivated to make this blog as best as you can. It was much easier to grow FS once I left my day job in 2012, and I haven’t looked back.

    Hope the SAD doesn’t affect you as much during the winter. And if it does, maybe you can go back to Florida for that season.

    Sam

    • says

      Sam,

      Hey, thanks for stopping by! I appreciate the support. I know you’re a pretty busy guy, so that means a lot to me that you took the time to offer up your support! :)

      And I think you’re right. I’m already thinking about everything I can do here, and I haven’t even stopped working yet. I have so much enthusiasm and passion for this, it’s almost boiling over. I’m very excited! And if I’m not able to make a living writing then I can always go back to some type of regular work. Dealerships aren’t going out of business anytime soon, and there’s also always part-time gigs.

      And I think down the road it would be nice to be able to get out of Michigan for a week or two during the winter to perk myself up. I don’t think it will be a problem for the next couple years or so, but that might strike me again later down the road. I’m planning on being cognizant of it and adapting as necessary.

      Thanks again!

      Best wishes.

  54. Tara says

    Hi Jason,
    I’ve been lurking since I read about you last year in USA Today. I don’t read your blog every day but I try to catch up a couple of times a month. I’m so happy I checked today. This post brought tears to my eyes (when you described what a successful relationship is), as well as lots of nods of affirmation and feelings of inspiration. I could feel your ennui with your job when you took your recent staycation. I’m leaving my job, too, at the end of this month and moving across the country, back to where I went to grad school. I don’t have a job lined up, and I’m not sure I’ll stay in my field and profession of academia. (The ‘good,’ tenure-track jobs are dwindling.) I don’t have a job lined up, and I have many questions about how what I’ll do, how I’ll support myself, will I be okay without my professional identity anymore, etc.

    So, your excitement as well as uncertainty about your move really resonate with me. I’m glad you’re moving and pursuing writing full-time, for all the personal and professional reasons you mention, and I know that you’ll succeed. This post, both in content and writing, is terrific. Thank you.

    Tara

    • says

      Tara,

      Aww, thanks for the very sweet words there. I’m glad this post resonated with you in that way. The words came from deep inside of me, and I still feel like I left out a lot. But this means a lot to me because it’s my life on these pages, so I’m so happy to be able to share it with an audience that appreciates it and “gets me”.

      Congrats to you on your big move!! That’s fantastic. It sounds like we are in very similar places with shared feelings. But if there’s anything I know it’s this: Things always have a way of working themselves out. Smart, passionate, hard working people always end up okay, and I’m confident you’ll be perfectly fine. You’ll look back on your courageous moment with pride. :)

      And I’m glad you’re taking a leap with me. It’s scary, but exciting. But the great thing is that failure for us isn’t really failure at all. There is always going to be food on the table, a roof over your head, and an opportunity of some type. But the potential rewards of taking that leap are huge, so I wish you the best of luck!

      Best regards.

  55. Tyler in Thailand says

    The Internet sure is a funny thing. I’ve never met you in person, yet after following your blog for the last couple of years, I feel like you’re an old friend. This post hit my email yesterday, and after I read the first couple of paragraphs, I shouted to my wife in the next room, “He’s doing it! Jason’s quitting his job and moving back to Michigan.” She immediately came in and we read your post together. What great news! We’re truly happy that you’re in a position to make the decision that will bring you the most happiness. Many people couldn’t make that choice even if they wanted to because they haven’t worked as hard as you to put themselves in the right position.

    My job requires that we travel a lot, which means we also spend the bulk of our time away from our extended family in the States. We often feel the same pressures you describe of wanting to be financially independent, but also wanting to be near our loved ones. I hope we can one day pull the trigger as you have done, walk away from wage slavery, and pursue happiness independent of where a job stipulates that we live.

    Until then, we’ll keep following along as you continue your journey. If you ever feel the itch to come visit Thailand, the invitation to have you in our home still stands.

    Best wishes on the change, brother.

    • says

      Tyler,

      Thanks, man. I feel like you’re a good friend too! And I’m glad you and your wife read the post together. :)

      I really appreciate all the kind words and the support over the years. You’ve been really kind to me, and I appreciate that. And hard work has gotten me to this point, so I’m so glad I can kind of cash in that past hard work for a small version of freedom now. Success is where hard work and luck meet, and I’ve certainly had my fair share of luck, but I’ve also worked from morning to night almost every single day for years now. And the fact that this is all coming together now is so exciting!

      And I do hope one day you can find your own version of freedom, no matter what it pays and what it looks like. Although, I’d say there are worse places to be than in Thailand. But I can understand your desire to be closer to family, as that would certainly weigh on me if I lived halfway across the world.

      And I’d love to visit you guys over there one day. It’s incredible to make friends from all over the world, and I really appreciate the offer. I do hope to take you up on it one day while you’re still over there. But if you attain freedom beforehand and are wherever you really want to be then I’ll be even happier!

      Cheers.

  56. says

    I hope that making so many changes all at once does not stress you out, my friend. Continue to stick with your goals. Remember that without goals you are prone to simply becoming a tool of those who do have goals. Wishing you a Happy Birthday and best of luck with your impending changes.

    • says

      S.B.,

      Haha! Thanks for that. I think the old me would have been totally stressed out, but I’ve worked so hard over the last few years to put myself in this position, so the excitement overwhelms my anxiety. Of course, we’ll see once I’m up in Michigan and my daily routine is totally flipped upside down. Then again, I hate routine, so this could be really good.

      I appreciate the support. Thanks for stopping by!

      Cheers.

  57. says

    DM,

    Happy Bday! I just turned 28 myself on May 9. Also ironically I submitted a new availability at work earlier today asking for less hrs after working 40 hrs a week for 4 Years and only being Part time still. I am afraid of lost income and trying to pay for school and find a condo or something to live in, but think it is best for my overall health until I am offered a better deal because as you mentioned it has become unbearable. It’s still kind of tough economically here in Michigan. Can’t wait to here how it goes when you are back here and able to enjoy uninterrupted time with your family.

    I’ve been considering moving to FL and family is probably the only thing that is keeping me from already doing so. I would at the very least like to have enough at a reasonable age to have a place here and Florida or some warm more thriving state.

    • says

      SWAN,

      Hey, happy belated birthday! :)

      And congrats on you choosing TIME over MONEY. That’s such a basic fundamental concept, yet so many people completely miss it. Look, I’m an enthusiastic capitalist, but at the same time I am that way because that’s the system we’re in. If I could have my own time without the passive income to fund it then that’s what I would do. But if you can easily live on less than you do now and make less money then I say go for it! Life is short.

      And I hear you on the move to FL. From one Michigander to another, I feel you. It’s tough up there economically speaking, as well as climate-wise. And Florida has been so much easier. It’s easier to get around, easier to save money, easier to get a job and make money. But family, to me, is everything. And now that I’ve had some success I feel it’s time to get back to my roots. I would only say that no matter what you do just make sure there are no regrets. I can honestly say I have none, and that makes me very happy.

      Best wishes!

  58. says

    DM,

    What a daring step to take. I applaud and respect the way you take control of your own life and hapiness, even if it means making the not so easy choices. It takes courage and determination, and I look forward to your new adventures!

    Best,

    DW

    • says

      DW,

      Thanks for the support. I really appreciate it!

      And while it takes courage to do the things I’m doing, the support of you readers and my family makes it a hell of a lot easier. :)

      I hope all is well with your journey as well. To our success!

      Cheers.

  59. austere says

    Happy Birthday. May you have a blessed, enriching year.

    This takes guts, Jason. To me– a third world citizen—it does seem like you’re taking on too many changes at the same time. Well, I wouldn’t – but that’s me, over cautious and extra prudent, tweaking things bit by bit. As you people say—your mileage may vary… I admire your maturity with the decisions you’ve reached.

    So—this takes guts, and damn good that you have your priorities in order, and you’ve begun moving to get working on them. All the best with the move, and all the best with your personal life.

    Mira from Mumbai

    • says

      Mira,

      Thank you so much for the well wishes. And I hope you have a wonderful year as well!

      And there’s nothing wrong with being cautious. Reward generally befalls those who take risks, but being cautious makes it hard to fail. That being said, we all have to find our comfort zone. Every once in a while I feel the need to take a leap, because sometimes I think life is too short not too. Adventures are fun, and this is just one more adventure in the journey we call life. I would only say to make sure you have no regrets. If your cautious nature makes you happy and you have no regrets then that’s the right path to take. :)

      Appreciate you stopping by from Mumbai! It’s wonderful to have readers from India. :)

      Take care.

  60. says

    Hello DM

    Your posting was a stunning read and I could feel in your choice of words the internal debate you have been having with yourself.

    As the saying goes ‘there is nothing to fear but fear itself’. You have built yourself through application and sheer hard work an opportunity to take a different direction. Life is always a trade-off problem and we all make (in hindsight) sub-optimal decisions. However the bravery to make a decision and go against the grain, after much soul searching and thought, is always the right one. Freedom, even if to push a rock up a hill like Sisyphus makes a person happy. As Camus said “one must imagine Sisyphus happy” as “The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.”

    I too jumped off a more conventional path around a year ago. Even though i built up savings and had no debt the lack of a regular wage is always noticeable. However the freedom and the feeling of building my own future destiny hugely outweigh this. I may or may not nominally earn as much money as i did via the conventional employment route. First this is not important and, second, by stretching myself intellectually, having a flexibility which suits my family and learning new/different skills i become a richer person in so many other ways. And funnily enough passion, enthusiasm, application and spirit are personality traits that tend to be positively correlated with earning potential too…even before the more important family and related factors are thought about.

    Good luck with everything.

    Chris Bailey

    • says

      Chris Bailey,

      Great comment there. I appreciate your insight and perspective.

      Yes, sometimes it’s in the challenges themselves that we find the reward. Struggling can make the light at the end of the tunnel much more vivid.

      And I’m so happy to hear your feedback after going through a similar transition. It’s fantastic to know that while the loss of regular, reliable income has an impact, the benefits of creating value for yourself and living life on your terms far outweighs this drawback. Cheers to you for having the courage necessary to jump ship and swim on your own. :)

      Best wishes!

  61. says

    Wow jason, lots happening in the next month. Thanks for being so honest in your post, im sure non of these decisions were made easily or lightly .

    Good luck with the move and drive back home, and enjoy being with your niece, they grow up real fast (i hope your door is sound proof btw….).

    Is your goal to live off of the income you make on this blog/ your dividends?

    Looking forward to keeping up with your journey.

    Brian

    • says

      Brian,

      Thanks for the support! I laid it all out there in this post, and the encouragement from this community is so wonderful. I’m so happy to not only spend more time around family, but also be able to spend more time around this community!

      My goal is to live entirely off of the income I can make writing, and then also be able to generate extra revenue over and above what I need for expenses so that I can combine those savings with my dividend income to still make regular equity purchases. Basically, what I’m hoping is that I can still do what I’m doing now: Live frugally, make more than my expenses, save the difference and combine that excess cash flow with dividend income and buy stocks every month. However, it’ll all be on a smaller scale. So instead of saving, say, $2k or so in a month, I might only save $800 or so. But I have a feeling I’ll be lucky to be able to even get by while writing, and being able to save on top of this is unlikely. In which case I’ll simply go out and get a part-time job, or worst-case scenario I’ll get a full-time job again. I’m going to give it three or so months and see where it goes. Either way, I’m excited to see how it goes!

      And you’ve got a great looking site over there yourself. Keep up the great work. :)

      Best regards.

  62. Manefla says

    Happy Birthday Man!! Guts move, have a happy and long live!!

    As a fellow commenter once said here: “So es ist gut, so es ist rech, niemandes Herr, niemandes Knecht”.

    • says

      Manefla,

      Thanks so much! I’m one year older and, hopefully, wiser. Most importantly, I’m closer than ever to freedom. :)

      Appreciate the ongoing support. You’ve been stopping by for years now, and that means a lot to me.

      I hope all is well for you!!

      Cheers.

  63. says

    DM: I’ve been a lurker lately, but I felt compelled to comment on this post. I appreciate this honest and upfront appraisal of your life situation. It takes a lot of guts to say “this is not how I want to be living life” and to actually decide to do something about it. As you mention, you’ll be taking a different road in life than originally planned, but the destination (financial independence) remains unchanged.

    I hope everything goes well with your move back to Michigan, as well as the subsequent life adjustment. I look forward to seeing how you adapt to your new situation and the revised progress you make toward financial independence. I think I speak for all of your blog readers when I say that we’re rooting for you!

    Take care,

    DGM

    • says

      DGM,

      Hey! So good to see you around here. I know you’re busy with work and everything, so I appreciate you stopping by. I do hope to see you blogging more regularly again someday, as I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on investments.

      I’m really excited about all of this. It takes courage for sure to turn down certain income that is much more than I’ll be looking at back in Michigan, but at the same time I live by my words. I value time much more than money, and this is me not being a hypocrite. I’ve always been one to put my money where my mouth is, and now I’m putting my actions where my words are.

      Success in this venture isn’t guaranteed, but I’m ready to work hard and give it my best shot. At the very least, I’m going to have a lot of fun. :)

      Best wishes!

  64. says

    www! Great big news! I’ll continue to folclore You and come later for another response. Now I’ll haver to digest this wonderful post.

    Cheers!

  65. Chad says

    Happy Birthday. And good luck with all the upcoming changes.

    About 5 and a half years ago I faced a similar situation. I took a lower paying job with much less stress and a very short commute. While this derailed my early retirement at 45, I have not been happier with my decision. I’m at a job I love with little stress, not a ton of hours, and I really enjoy all my co workers and boss. Just last week, I was offered a job with a raise of 20k. The extra hours, stress, and longer commute made it an easy decision to say no.

    In a few years I believe that you’ll look back on this decision and know that you made the right decision. Working a few more years with much less stress is worth it. I know I made the right decision.

    • says

      Chad,

      Man, that’s so fantastic to hear. Those are the stories I really love to hear. And maybe you weren’t able to completely retire by 45, but if you’re enjoying your life much more now than you’ve accomplished something really great. In the end, it’s all about being happy in life. And while I still plan on attaining FI by 40, I won’t mind if I don’t get there if it means the delay is due to me having more fun along the way and enjoying the company of loved ones.

      Congrats to you for taking that leap, and I’m proud to hear you turned down that $20k raise! More money will certainly not automatically improve your life, and more likely would have immediately led to a reduction in quality of life. Good on you for realizing you already have “enough”. That’s difficult for most people.

      Cheers!

  66. Lila says

    You said there was negativity at work, I’m wondering if your blog and quest for FI put a damper on things at work.

    I have found that in the corporate world bosses don’t want to hear that you don’t like your job or industry, even if the job or industry is undesirable.

    • says

      There may be some truth to that, Lila. Hard to say. Even worse, some employers don’t like it when their employees show that they are financially successful. My former employer was like that. Way back when, we had a manager who was well liked and respected. A hard worker who had things running very well. He won the lottery, and would receive about $900K a year for 20 years. Two days after people found out that he won, the company fired him without reason or explanation. Go figure.

      • Lila says

        Happy Birthday Jason!

        Steve, oh man that is just cold. Why can’t people be happy for each other? At least your boss had his winnings to fall back on and at least Jason has his safety cushion. But yes I’ve experienced toxic workplaces as well, and eventually I moved on from them.

      • says

        Steve,

        That’s a horrible story there. Not sure how that happened, but that’s appalling. What a shame!

        However, sounds like that former manager is way better off now. And with that kind of income I would have quit way before they had a chance to fire me! :)

        Cheers.

        • says

          Jason:
          Yes…. horrible indeed, but that’s the type of environment it was. Good performance was basically ignored. Minor performance issues were hyped and harped upon endlessly. The best description I could come up with was management by fear. They always wanted you to think that you were close to being fired, etc.

          I came to believe that this was their way of keeping control of their employees. Take a guess at what you can’t do to someone who has annual lottery income that is 15 times the salary you are paying. You can’t scare them. The guy told me that he still wanted to work because he liked his job. He didn’t need to be threatened. The day after he told me that, they fired him. I’m fairly confident that it was because he won all that money and could no longer be threatened effectively. Pretty sad, really.

          Leaving that company was one of the best things I ever did. And I agree with you. Once I had a confirmed winning ticket, I might have given them the courtesy of a phone call…. maybe. I sure as hell would never have gone back to work.

    • says

      Lila,

      That’s a great question there.

      I’m surely biased, but I honestly don’t believe my quest for financial independence caused my issues at work. Rather, it was less pay and increased expectations simultaneously occurring, which made an already tenuous situation unbearable for me. Endless meetings about customer satisfaction surveys and how we suck as a team is a real buzzkill, let me tell you. And then to be told you’re making less money on top of it created doubt about whether I was in the right situation. Of course, this all came after I found out my little sister was pregnant and everything else going on up in Michigan, so it just seemed that everything was telling me that the time to move on was at hand. Looking back on it, I don’t even know how I had any doubts. Every day that passes increases my confidence about this decision.

      And management has known about my personal situation for a long time now, so I honestly don’t think I was pushed out. It’s just a dog eat dog world, and I was a dog. Now I’m back to being Jason, and I’m pretty happy about it. :)

      Take care!

      • Lila says

        Hi, thanks for writing back. I gotcha. Yes, it doesn’t sound like a motivating work environment to me either. I think its so sweet that you are moving back home to be with family. Not all families are close, it seems that your family is close and I hope you cherish that, I think you already do though. Have a nice weekend. :D

  67. Aspenhawk says

    Happy Birthday, Jason !

    You take another road, cause you had no other choice. Those are things of life. I am glad you have a wonderful family giving you a roof.

    Of course, you probably were sitting on a boat, rowing right, while your companion was rowing left, I suppose.

    Keep on your good work !

    • says

      Aspenhawk,

      Yeah, it looks like we were rowing in different directions. It’s a shame, but she’s a wonderful woman and I hope she will do me the honor of remaining a friend.

      And I feel good about this new path. I struggled with the decision for months now, but after finally making my choice I couldn’t feel better about it. I know in my heart it’s the right thing to do.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Take care.

  68. Wade says

    I like this big bold step for you Jason.

    Last September I left my 19 year job with large software company. At 43 it just wasn’t worth the money. I now work from home working in the same product.

    I make less money, but am much more flexible and the stress is dialed down quite a bit.

    I continue to look for alternate sources of income to pay the bills without working for “the man”. So far I continue to work for “the man”, but I could envision that changing at some point here.

    Good luck on your journey.

    • says

      Wade,

      That’s fantastic! Working from home is the ultimate dream, right? Not quite financially independent, but damn close. That’s fantastic that you not only had the courage to take that leap, but that you also ended up better off for it on the other side. I can only hope I’ll be so lucky!

      You’ve clearly discovered that money isn’t everything, and that stress reduction is priceless. I’m looking forward to following a very similar path to yourself where I make less, but enjoy more.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Best regards.

  69. says

    Way to OWN life, brotha! Scary and exciting indeed, but MAN are you feeling alive right now, right?? I love when people make big decisions like this – especially with no certainty as to how it’s going to turn out. I’ve rarely heard people saying they wish they could take it back after a big move like this, so hopefully you’ll be much happier and stronger once set into action too.

    You need anything at all, you just shout man! I got your back.

    • says

      J$,

      I’m feeling VERY alive right now. I’ve never felt better, to be quite honest. The time is right for a move like this, and I’m anxious to get the ball rolling. I don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but I’m going to enjoy finding out. :)

      Appreciate the support very, very much. Means a lot coming from someone as successful as yourself. Like I’ve said before, I can only hope to follow in your very large footsteps!

      Best wishes.

  70. Kipp says

    Congrats on the big move! I hope all works out well for you when you come back here to Michigan! I know you are on the other side of the state and have a lot happening with the family, but if you ever come by GR let me know! I have to say, if your goal is to be with family even a move to the other side of the state is not ideal. When I lived in Big Rapids, even though my family was 45 minutes away and the wife’s about 1 hour and 15 min away it is a bit of a distance to really stay in touch. Now that we are just north of GR everyone is within about 25-30 minutes away and allows us to be closer. Not just a couple of weekends a month visiting, but random weeknights and most weekends.

    For example in less than a 2-week span, we had one of my wife’s sisters come over twice, had her other sister and husband come over and babysat their 3-month old, had my wife’s parents randomly stop by with our niece, visited my parents twice, and going to my brother’s tomorrow. This is the kind of personal experiences you get to have being near family, but it starts to erode when getting to distances of 1 hour to 1 and 1/2. Keep that in mind when you are looking at opportunities in Michigan.

    • says

      Kipp,

      Thanks so much!!

      I appreciate your thoughts on GR. I personally only find two cities in Michigan as being attractive places to live in: Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids. And of the two, I prefer GR because it’s so much cheaper. Unfortunately, it’s far from family. My family is between Lansing and Flint, so GR is a solid two hour drive. So while I’d love to live there, I think it’s probably unrealistic. At least for right now. I’ll more likely take your advice and stay very close to family, even if the city isn’t optimal. After all, spending more time with everyone is exactly why I’m moving back in the first place. Furthermore, it’s not about the place, but the people you’re enjoying it with. GR is a great town, but not so all alone.

      Glad to hear you are closer to family than ever. That’s really what life is all about, right?

      Thanks for the reminder to stay on track. :)

      Cheers.

  71. says

    Happy Happy Birthday!!! What a present you’ve given yourself!!!

    I can especially relate to missing family and really admire your decision. I’m the only one who left home and every day I wonder if I’m doing the right thing while I think of all that I’m missing out on.

    It’s inspiring to me that you’ve been able to completely turn your life around and are semi retiring only 4 years into your journey. The plan is working and working well :) I imagine you’ll quickly be able to add and increase online income now that you’ll be able to write full time, and that’s not really work at all since you love doing it. This is a fantastic opportunity to run with the success your blog and writing have seen lately and could hopefully be much bigger than even you are anticipating.

    I don’t envy the pain you must feel leaving your girlfriend and son, however, I’m happy that she is so supportive and understanding of you needing to do this for yourself. It sounds like you have a life long friend there. Thank you for always being so open and sharing your life with us readers, I’m not sure I could ever put into words how inspirational your journey has been for me personally. This is a monumental life choice you’ve made for yourself and I can’t wait to follow along and see your progression from here.

    Have fun this last week of work and smile, because you’re almost out of there!

    All my best,
    Ryan

    • says

      Ryan,

      It’s the best birthday gift ever! :)

      I feel your pain in being far from family. I’m also the only one who left. Two of my three sisters live within ten miles of my parents, and then less than 10 miles from each other. Talk about a close family. So I obviously feel a little weird when everyone is close by and I’m 1,200 miles away. There’s guilt there, but all along I knew it was right to be down here. Lately, my attitude towards that has changed. Once I realized I was no longer in the right place I felt it important to take action. It’s bittersweet to be sure, but everything in life has trade-offs.

      And my girlfriend has been amazing through all of this. She’s been incredibly supportive since the beginning, even though she doesn’t really share my passion. And I can only hope that she remains a lifelong friend, because I’ll be much better off for it. And I’m not completely abandoning hope that we may try things again in the future when/if the right situation presents itself. You never know…

      I’m so glad you’ve found some inspiration in what I’m doing. If anything, this should show you that one doesn’t need to wait until 65 to claim freedom. While I’m not financially independent yet, the fact that I even have this type of option in front of me really speaks to the power of regular savings and investing. Only four years in and I can actually say “no” to a job paying me $50k/year. That’s powerful stuff!

      I wish you the best of luck in your continued journey. You’re off to a fantastic start, my friend.

      Take care!

  72. EdG says

    Happy Birthday!.

    As far as FI goes I think getting a good start really helped you. You wokred hard to beuild a nice portfoli and with growing dividends and compounding things should get easier even with set backs with other income.

    Good luck with things. I think taking a break from the 50 hr work weeks will help you recharge.

    • says

      EdG,

      Thanks for the support. I also think the break from the long weeks will give me a chance to recharge my batteries and focus more than ever on writing and investing. I’m anxious to see what’s possible! :)

      And I agree that the quick start helped immensely. I definitely don’t regret getting ultra frugal there for a couple years, and I’m actually looking forward to getting back to some really cheap months.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Best wishes.

  73. says

    Hey Mantra,

    Haven’t commented in a while but I’ve never stopped reading your blog. Happy birthday and best of luck with your move and current life change! I’ve been through many relationships myself and never saw it from the point of view you put in this post (about how even if my exes and I have broken up, they can still be viewed as successful relationships). This is very insightful and looking back all of my relationships have been successful because of what I’ve learned about myself.

    Thanks for your continued inspiration. Oh and one more thing because I may never have a blog of my own (although I do want to begin one) so I don’t know when I’ll be able to write this, but I love how even as your blog has grown tremendously you have always responded to each and every comment posted. It shows how much your readers mean to you and in turn, it shows how much your blog means to all of us :)

    Thanks,
    Mike

    • says

      Mike,

      Hey, thanks for stopping by! Long time, no talk. Glad to hear you’re still reading. :)

      And I’m glad you see your past relationships in a different light. I’m not saying I’m totally correct in my view, but I think that people are generally pessimistic when it comes to breaking up, as if every relationship that ends is a failure. I try to glean something from every relationship, and love should never be regretted.

      As far as responding to everyone, that’s where I truly enjoy myself. For me, I’m most happy when I’m communicating with you guys. This community is so wonderful and supportive, and we’re all learning and growing together. No matter how big this blog gets I hope to continue responding to everyone. I truly appreciate every one, and this is a way I show that appreciation.

      Thanks for the support. And this blog would be nothing without you guys. :)

      Best regards!

  74. Matt says

    Wow definitely not a post I expected to read any time soon. Lots of giant changes. Please keep writing about them and growing the blog, you’re an inspiration to so many of us

    Happy Birthday!

    • says

      Matt,

      Thank you! I plan to write my heart out over the next few months, so I hope you enjoy it.

      I hope to continue to reciprocate the inspiration, because you guys continue to motivate and inspire me. :)

      Take care.

  75. says

    Happy Birthday, Jason!
    WOW, you warned us that change was coming, and man you didn’t disappoint us. I know this was a tough decision for you (not quitting your job, but leaving the GF), but things have a way of working out for the better. One of my happiest times in life was when my fiancee and I were laid off from our jobs just three months before getting married. But, things worked out. We didn’t stress about losing our jobs and how we would make ends meet. Life slowed down for both of us while we were collecting unemployment. We both found jobs about two weeks before getting married, and believe it or not, I’m still working at that same job 28 years later (and still married to the same woman!).

    Your blog has inspired me to start thinking about breaking the golden handcuffs for myself, get out of the rat race and enjoy my freedom with my family. I’ve started conversations with my 25 year old son about FI and the importance of starting to plan for retirement early by sending your articles to him.

    Don’t ever give up your dreams to write and to motivate others. This is your God given gift.

    Regards,
    Luckydog17

    • says

      Luckydog17,

      Thank you so much for that. And I’m so happy you’ve been spreading the message like that. Means a lot to me that you have that kind of confidence in me. I hope your son gets something out of it, even if it’s not something he acts on right away. It might just simmer in the mind for a little while until action is taken later down the road. :)

      And glad to hear everything worked out for you and your wife. That’s a hell of a story! If you have love, you have everything. And while it was indeed difficult to be honest about the different direction I was moving in, I still have the love of my family and friends, as well as you guys here. And I plan on remaining friends at the very least with my girlfriend because she’s an amazing woman and I would be lucky to have her in my life in some capacity.

      Appreciate the support. I hope to continue doing this for many years to come. I consider myself so blessed that I found a passion and people actually appreciate it. It’s a dream come true for me, so thank you for allowing me that.

      Best wishes.

  76. Dan says

    Bold move! But I think an excellent one that will really give you a good barometer of where you’re at in your journey. I couldn’t do it! But I wish you all the best.

    • says

      Dan,

      Bold is good sometimes. And you’re absolutely right. This change will give me a very good idea as to where I’m at. I might not make it, but at least I’ll see exactly how close I am. And that might be worth the price of admission. :)

      Appreciate the support!

      Best regards.

  77. Steve says

    Jason,

    I discovered your blog about a month ago after becoming interested in dividend stocks. Since then, your relentless pursuit to achieve financial independence with dividend growth stocks has inspired me. Going forward, I plan to pursue a similar investing strategy by investing in high quality companies that will hopefully generate enough passive income to break free from the daily grind!

    Only those in the car biz would truly understand what 8 years of writin’ service feels like: Long hours, pay cuts, no appreciation and the unsettling feeling of how CSI affects your paycheck month-to-month! It’s not very reassuring when you work for a company that portrays its employees as disposable, not indispensible.

    From what I can tell, your blog has come a long way in 3 years and has even more potential. Your passion for writing coupled with consistent content quality points towards a promising future.

    Anyways, I’m here for the long haul and will continue to follow your journey!

    Steve from Virginia

    • says

      Steve,

      Glad you discovered the blog and you’ve found some inspiration here in what I’m doing. I believe my journey proves that big changes are possible in a relatively short period of time if you consistently save and invest your excess cash in high-quality stocks. I hope to continue down this path and see how close to FI I can get by 40.

      And I’m glad you know what it’s like working in the car business. Writing service sounds easy enough, and I figured it would be a cake walk when I first started. I was rudely awakened shortly after starting. Eight years in and I’m worn out! The hours are long, and management can be unruly. However, I find the CSI as the biggest issue at all. It gives the worst clients the most power. I’m not saying I have all the answers, but the system as it stands could be vastly improved.

      Appreciate the support for what I’m doing here. I really want to make this a wonderful place to inspire others out there to change their lives. And I hope that my newfound free time will allow me to amplify my efforts.

      Best wishes!

  78. says

    Congrats, in a way, of leaving your job. I know all to well what some work environments can do to people. Just 2 years ago, I decided I wanted out of my job I had at the current time. So, the next day I went online to WestJet and Air Canada and booked a one-way ticket from Nova Scotia to western Canada to fly out in 3 months time before I told anyone. I told my parents that “I am doing this and I don’t care how hard it is. My job there was no future and every worker was treated like dirt.” . It all worked out as I left my job 3 weeks before I moved out here and had a job 3 weeks after arriving here.

    I can picture you writing a book really soon and travelling to businesses where their owners pay you to talk about investing to their employees.

    • says

      IP,

      Hey, that’s so fantastic to hear. Glad you took action when you were unhappy. All to often we’re complacent, because we crave security. But I think security is overrated, and I also believe we tend to overestimate just how secure our situations are. It’s exactly because of this that I want to diversify my income so heavily. Congrats to you for choosing life over a false sense of security. :)

      And thanks for the wonderful image! I’d LOVE to be in a situation where I can travel around and spread the message, changing people live’s in the process. I do hope to write a book one day which would cover many aspects of investing, dividends, life, the pursuit of happiness, and how they all influence each other.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Cheers.

  79. says

    Awesome post Jason, scary? Yes :) Exciting? For sure! If you don’t try, you just don’t know – i’m with you on just having a go. At the end of the day, a change creates other opportunities just like the journey you took in florida – just got to keep focused but importantly relax and enjoy yourself aswell :) Best of luck. I’ll be on and off over the coming months. My blogging has been super slack the last 3 weeks as i’ve had too many other commitments going on but hopefully can find a bit of time soon to catch up. cheers T

    • says

      Tales,

      Sometimes scary is exciting, and I guess that’s how I feel right now. It’s the fear inside of me that is promoting this sense of excitement, and I’m really looking forward to new challenges and opportunities so I can grow as a person.

      And best of luck slowing things down a bit so you can blog a bit more. I know I’m looking forward to that. :)

      Take care.

  80. says

    Happy Birthday Jason and congratulations on your courageous step away from the rat race!

    I’m psyched for your progress and to follow these changes in your life. I have also been contemplating a step away from the 60hr workweek grind. Good for you for choosing family first and not having to look back and regret missing out on those precious memories. Also, selfishly I’m excited to see you have free time available to blast out more content on your blog.

    • says

      NWS,

      Hey, long time no talk! I just popped in to see how you were doing. Congrats on all of the success, and the new milestone ($400k!!). That’s fantastic stuff. However, I also hope you get some more time for yourself. I know the grind all to well, and your body will tell you when it’s time. Although changes with my family pushed me over the edge, I was already feeling quite burned out anyway. My body was telling me it was near the end.

      Best of luck finding your balance. :)

      Cheers.

  81. says

    Hi Jason,

    Nobody ever does badly by turning their passion into their life’s work. Do that and things will fall into place. Best of luck and am looking forward to reading your upcoming articles.

    FI

  82. Per says

    Wow, great post! Major changes! I think you have done the right move here and i dont think you ever will regret following your heart! I wish you the best of luck and I will support you all the way!

    Oh, and Happy Birthday!

    Greatings from Sweden

    • says

      Per,

      Thanks for stopping by from Sweden! It still amazes me to have readers from all over the world. Hope all is well over there. :)

      And thanks for the support. Every day that passes makes me feel better and better about my decision. I’m truly excited to take on these new challenges and see how I do. It’s good to push yourself.

      Best wishes!

  83. Ron says

    DM,

    Congrats! Great decision. Happy Birthday!

    I’ve never been diagnosed with SAD by a professional but I believe I suffer from it too. I’m only 27 but I feel like cold weather seems to get harsher every year as I get older. As soon as warmer weather comes out, I am completely different. My mood and energy gets much, much better. I’d love to see you write about how the cold weather plays out on you.

    Look forward to reading about your new journey.

    • says

      Ron,

      Thanks so much! Freedom from the rat race, at least for a while, is the greatest birthday gift ever. :)

      And I’ll definitely update you on how the cold weather affects me, as it’s been many years since I’ve been around it. I’m hopeful that being cognizant of my mood and surroundings helps, so we’ll see how that goes. I know exactly how you feel about your spirit brightening along with the days, but I’m going to try focusing on the reasons I’m coming back instead of the weather. At least, I’m going to give it my best shot!

      Best regards.

  84. margaret says

    Happy Birthday Jason. I think of where I was when I was 32….I think you have made a great decision. Family trumps everything and you will no longer miss the memories…you will be creating them. As you go further into your writing career, I hope you don’t forget the Seeking Alpha community! Best wishes, Margaret

    • says

      Margaret,

      Family is everything. I really believe that. I feel bad that I had to move so far away to find myself, but now that I have I want to share that with loved ones.

      And as far as Seeking Alpha goes, if anything I want to write there even more. I’m hoping that’s one of the opportunities I can jump on with more time. I quite enjoy the SA community, and I’m hopeful I can contribute more than ever.

      Thanks for the support. :)

      Cheers!

  85. says

    Hello Jason,
    Thanks for sharing this very moving post about changes in your life. Having made a major life change during my 40’s, I know that such moves are both exciting and scary all at the same time. To be honest, it took several years before I felt comfortable with moving to a new destination (Oregon) and founding a new company. Now as I look back (age 77), I realize it was a major turning point in my life that brought a great deal of satisfaction. I met a wonderful woman around the same time and we are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary next year. So…one never knows what’s ahead.

    I love your blog and even at this age it has motivated me into purchasing dividend paying stocks for our 80’s and 90’s and pass them on to our grandchildren. Never too late! I wish you the very best on your journey northwards to a better life. And, having said that, I remember a quote from Robert Redford in the film Spygame, “don’t forget to save something for retirement in a warmer climate.” As much as I love Oregon, it sure is wonderful to spend several months each year in the sun and warmth of the Arizona desert from January through April.

    • says

      davidmichael,

      That’s great stuff! Taking the leap and landing on your feet is a wonderful feeling. And what is failure? How bad can one fail in modern day America? There’s always going to be a roof over your head and food in your belly if you’re even moderately intelligent. If you’re hard working and have a good head on your shoulders you’re likely going to only see the benefits by taking risks and trying new things. I guess I used to be afraid to fail, but no longer. I’m excited to take on new challenges and grow! :)

      And it’s definitely never too late to start. Congrats for starting your own snowball! Your ramp is obviously shorter than mine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get build something tremendous over there for your legacy. That’s great stuff!

      Thanks for sharing.

      Best regards.

  86. says

    DM~ yet another great post. I completely understand the stress one can endure from having a job. Over the years I have pushed myself to be successful in a retail environment, working for the same company for 8 years, and now oversee 330 employees. Going in everyday never knowing what to expect makes things really frustrating at times. This has always been a great source of motivation for me to eliminate debt and remain active in my finances.

    I really look forward to reading future posts and seeing where your journey takes you. No matter where you go great opportunities will be available to you.

    • says

      Investing Early,

      I know exactly what you mean. Stress and frustration can be huge sources of motivation, and they certainly propelled my journey.

      And I’m really looking forward to sharing everything with you readers. Life is a journey where we’re constantly learning, growing, sharing, and improving. And to be able to share that is a true pleasure. I’m really lucky!

      Hope all is well with the real estate and everything else. :)

      Best wishes!

  87. John Galt says

    Good luck with the transition, DM!
    Fellow Michigander here – Farmington resident (western Detroit suburbs). What small town are you moving to?

    • says

      John Galt,

      Wow, Farmington! I’m very familiar with that area, and lived in Novi for a short time many years ago.

      I’m moving to Durand, which is between Lansing and Flint. Not my ideal town, but my family is in the area. I actually really like two cities in Michigan: Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids. Unfortunately, both are a good drive from family. Especially Grand Rapids. But it’s also a really cheap area there, which is nice. You can buy nice homes for under $60k, and rent at nearby apartments are $400 or so. I’m going to be renting a room for $150, so this will be the perfect opportunity for me to live extremely frugally and see what’s possible with writing! :)

      Best regards.

  88. Brotherbryan says

    Long time lurker and reader. I love your “real guy” perspective and honesty in your blog. You inspired me to actually estabnlish an account and start investing. I am a Michigander and live in the GR area. If you ever want to grab a beer let me know. I know you are taking a break from the car business, but if you ever feel drawn back in, I know some of the major delaerships in West Michigan. I’m in Lansing quite a bit too. Again, please know you inspire those of us who read your blog. Consider me a friend.

    • says

      Brotherbryan,

      Thanks so much! I’m glad you appreciate my approach. I truly believe if I can do it, then anyone can. There’s nothing particularly difficult about building wealth. It just requires lots of patience and persistence.

      And I do like the GR area up there. I think Ann Arbor and GR both are really livable cities because they have great infrastructure, access to public transportation (albeit limited), affordable housing (much more so in GR), access to highways and airports, friendly biking culture (more so in AA), great dining, culture, museums, sports, etc. However, neither is very close to my family, so that kind of bums me out. On the other hand, my family lives in an extremely affordable area of Michigan, so there’s that.

      I don’t know if I’ll ever feel drawn back in to the car business, but would only do so if I needed the money. I never really enjoyed it, but what little bit of pleasure I derived from it was completely drained over the last year or so. I would be incredibly grateful if I never had to go back to it again, but I also never want to say never. The money was great, and it has its moments.

      Appreciate the support! And although I don’t drink, I would love to meet up sometime. Maybe we can get a Michigander Meetup going sometime! :)

      Cheers.

  89. says

    Hey Jason!

    WOW! What an adventure you are beginning! Good for you for setting yourself up thru hard work and having the guts to invest in your future and stepping off the into the unknown!

    Really you couldn’t be in a better place? You are young, you have your health, you will be near the ones you love, you have a dry roof over your head with most of your basic needs covered while you engage in something you love. Feeling the satisfaction of helping others is the icing on the cake. Following your passions can only bring more happiness….and of course the money will follow.

    You deserve it…enjoy the ride Jason!

    • says

      Chris,

      Thanks so much for that! And you’re right: My risk is really pretty minimal when you think about it. How much can I possibly fail? My worst-case scenario is going back to what I was doing before, so there really is no downside at all. And the upside potential is huge. I’m just so excited to write more and see where things go. I think that if I was able to write this much with a 50-hour job taking up most of my time, I should be able to put something really great together with all my time to myself. I can’t wait! :)

      Appreciate the support!!

      Best regards.

  90. Sam says

    I haven’t check your blog in awhile, but today I thought I check in. What a coincident! In a couple of hours, I will be submitting my resignation letter. I have been working at this nonprofit organization for about 20 years and more than six of those years at the helm. Although I have enjoyed working there, the work stress has taken a told on me. Reading your blog, I can identify what you are going through. I am going through similar things. I also want to retire early an I am about two years away from achieving that, but I couldn’t not work any longer. I have decided to take a break to take care of myself, but I do share your fear of not having any income. My family expenses is low and the mortgage is already paid off. I am excited about whats ahead of me. Thank you for writing this blog. I hope you will continue to write and keep all of us update. Good luck on your new adventure!

    • says

      Sam,

      Wow! I’m really happy for you. I know how you feel with the simultaneous feelings of excitement and trepidation. It can be a little overwhelming at first. I know my head was spinning when I first realized what I was doing.

      But you’ll be so much better off for it. Whereas people scream YOLO before going skydiving or buying a new car, it’s the realization that I’m slowly dying that pushes me to be a better person and enjoy more of my time now. I want to have the best life possible, with no regrets. And I was slowly starting to regret going in every morning.

      I’m excited for both of us, taking this leap into the unknown. I hope you make the most of your newfound freedom! Enjoy it. :)

      Best regards.

  91. Nick says

    I’ve been away for a few days, and only just read this, Wow! big changes eh? Good luck in whatever you do.

    • says

      Nick,

      Thanks so much! I really appreciate it.

      I’m very excited about what’s next, and I’m hopeful I’ll have a lot more time to write and keep in touch with everyone. Sometimes life tells you when a change is necessary, and I was listening this time around.

      Hope all is well with you!

      Best wishes.

  92. says

    Thanks for sharing your story. I hope that your new path goes well for you. So cool that you are psyched to become an uncle. My son is around your age and recently became one too, and I became a grandma. Babies are awesome ~ Enjoy!

  93. says

    Jason!

    You’re realizing my dream! Ahah!

    Except that I live up north in Quebec, Canada… Here it’s winter almost 8 months per year and I just can’t stand it anymore… I would love to quit my day job and live by the sea… You really want to go back to the blistering cold of Detroit?? The snow, the cold wind, grey sky…

    Ahh living from your passive income and have all that free time to write and play with kids and enjoy your family and friends. You’re gonna love it man. And, by what I have learned from you by reading your posts, you clearly deserves it!

    I’m sure everything will turn out well. Your blog is addictive and I’m pretty sure that a book will be for sale on your blog pretty soon! ;)

    I wish you all the best and I hope to be there soon too… I still have a long way to go but who knows?!

    • says

      Allan,

      Believe me, I’m living my dream as well. It’s really amazing, brother.

      And I hear you on living in Quebec. I’m not really looking forward to living in a cold climate again, but that’s where my family’s at and to be honest, sometimes you need the cold to appreciate the warm? I don’t know if that makes sense, but sometimes I find myself taking the warm weather for granted because it’s the same everyday. Whereas in Michigan, a nice day is something to be treasured. I remember planning whole weekends around the weather. Down here in Florida, it’s just another Saturday. However, I’m definitely not looking forward to months on end of cold, gray, and snow.

      Thanks for the kind words and the support. It’s really, really appreciated. I couldn’t do this without you guys, because the blog is what’s even making this dream somewhat realistic. I don’t know if it’s going to work, but even being able to write a lot more and work part-time for investment income would be fantastic.

      And don’t worry…it all comes faster than you might think. You just have to stay consistent and stick to your plan. Every day is an opportunity to save more, invest more, learn, and grow as a person. You’ll get there!

      Best wishes.

  94. Peter Carvalho says

    HI Jason,

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    Go ahead with a positive mind, a positive attitude and with confidence in your abilities to overcome whatever life throws at you.

    Believe you will succeed and work for and towards it and you certainly will.

    Will pray that you succeed,in whatever you do.

    Cheers and God Bless.

    • says

      Peter,

      Absolutely. It’s all about having no regrets. And if I were to pass up this opportunity to spend more time with my family and write more, I’d regret it.

      Thank you so much for the support and encouragement. I’m really grateful to have wonderful readers like yourself. I go out into this new world with optimism, enthusiasm, and an open mind.

      I hope all is well with you too. And may you also succeed on whatever path you may find yourself on. :)

      Stay in touch!

      Best regards.

  95. says

    Hey DM,

    I’m very happy for you! It takes a lot of courage to do what you did and I’m sure the uncertainty is scary but the positives dramatically outweigh the negatives. The opportunity of being close to your family is amazing, and I’m sure you will be a much happier person not doing a job that you didn’t particularly enjoy. And that’s what it’s all about: being happy. After all that’s the ultimate return, that’s why we invest in the first place.

    I have been through a headwind recently and this post really got my attention. I wish you the greatest of success in this move and will be here supporting your writing as an avid reader of your blog!

    Best Wishes,
    Dividend Venture

    • says

      DividendVenture,

      Hey, so glad to hear your girlfriend found a better job and is now even earning more income! That’s fantastic. I always say that whenever one door closes, a bigger and better door usually opens not long after. Every day is an opportunity and a gift. So happy things worked out well for you guys. I know that it’s stressful to go through a major change like that – especially when it was forced on you. But you guys came out looking pretty good on the other end. Congrats! :)

      And you’re right: Life is all about being happy. That’s really all we can hope for in the short journey we’re all given. Although I wasn’t happy at all working at a dealership for so many hours, I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity. It was the income I made there that provided much of the fuel for my portfolio, so I’ll never regret working there. But now it’s time to look forward to new opportunities and experiences. :)

      Thanks again for the support!

      Best wishes.

Join The Discussion!