First Month of Freedom
Today is the beginning of May 2019; one month since leaving my job as nurse faculty for a Midwestern University, where I had taught nurse practitioner students for the past 7 years. While we had been preparing for the past year to leave our jobs (Mr. Sunshine left his a year ago – see this post here), it was still very scary. As nursing faculty I had a contract with a guaranteed salary and benefits. But, given the unhappiness, anxiety and stress that went along with those financial incentives I finally resigned one month ago, on April fools day – doesn’t that seem fitting :).
So what has the past month held for us? Initially it was very nerve wrecking to jump off the cliff of early retirement, and then I realized that we really were not retiring. We are reorganizing our priorities. Both of us continue to earn money and remained active in our professions.
Mr. Sunshine stopped working as a mechanic for Ford last year (June 2018). He has since built a local reputation for being a reasonable priced mechanic capable of fixing nearly any thing (cars, trucks, bicycles, etc.). He works his side hustle “making old cars great again” as time permits between our travels and time with family. He is very skilled at repairing and bulletproofing Ford Diesel Trucks, and recently completed a frame swap on a Jeep.
As a nurse practitioner, along side my prior faculty career teaching NP students, I have upheld a small clinical practice with patients in a local nursing home. This brings in a small amount of monthly income and allows me to maintain my clinical skill set while providing close management of these complex clinical patients. It also provides me with great personal satisfaction and purpose. This provides great benefit for both my patients and me.
Additionally, I am enrolled in a nursing PhD program and continuing to pursue this degree. I am nearing the end of my coursework and will begin my qualification exam soon. I have decided to continue with this path, as I may desire to return to the faculty role in the future. I really did like my job, just not my Dean. I also really enjoyed teaching NP students; it was the culture (change) in my University that finally led to my resignation.
Now we are selfishly employed, setting our own schedules and doing what we value most – helping others. In fact, as I write this blog as we venture home from a 10-day camping trip in the Rocky Mountains. Originally, I had planned to fly to Denver for a quick 2 day conference. Freedom from schedules set by others (traditional work) gave us the option to drive to Denver and camp in the Rocky Mountains for a week. This would never have been possible if we were tied to traditional employment. In the long run, this option was less costly and much more fun.
Health Insurance – Our health insurance through the marketplace became effective May 1. 2019 – we now have better health insurance than we had while I was employed at the University. $650 out of pocket max, no office visit co-pays and prescription coverage for two fiftyish adults at the cost of $78 per month. This is definitely a sunshine win. I will write more about this when I actually use the insurance. I have one prescription due to be filled in just a few days so stay tuned. Until then you can read a bit more about the health insurance market place in my prior blog here.
This month we transferred my health care savings account from the University plan to Fidelity. This process has been a big pain in the butt. I started the process 2 weeks ago and it has still yet to be completed. The University plan just yesterday mailed a paper check to Fidelity. Oh, and they charged us $10 to do this too. Really?!? Vanguard does not offer H.S.A. accounts, or we would have invested there.
Net worth – Our net worth grew by $12,233 in our first month of financial independence. Much of this is due to an upswing in our investments, but some is due to a large tax refund from 2018 taxes.
Income – Our income for the month includes $1200 from our side hustles and a tax refund of $3543 because we seriously over paid. This has been remedied and next year we hope to break even, paying no federal taxes at all.
Expenses – This was a typical month except for property taxes $2000 (an increase of $30 from last year due to loss of our mortgage exemption – we paid off our home in 2018). I like to pay the entire year at once. We also paid state income tax of $300 and spent $1000 on our trip to Denver. Total spending for the month of April was $4400. Not bad when you consider the $2300 we paid in property taxes for the year.
Bottom Line – our net worth increased by ~$12,000 in the first month of quitting my job. I know that this trend will likely not continue every month. Eventually the economy will be receding, but it is great to experience such positive growth in my first month out the door. Overall, it has been a successful month with plenty of blue skies and rainbows.