Overcoming The “One More Year” Syndrome To Do Something New

Idyllic House On Lake Lucerne, SwitzerlandI faced a number of fears upon graduating from college: 1) Getting stuck in a terrible job, 2) Not making enough to comfortably support a family of four, 3) Not being able to financially help my parents if they needed assistance, 4) Not leading a fulfilling life, and 5) Never realizing my potential… to name a few. You could say I feared failure the most. Over time, my fear of failure was replaced with the fear of regret.

After ten years of working on Wall St., I started feeling comfortably numb in a job that paid a lucrative salary. Although my interest in the financial services business began to wane towards the end, I kept telling myself that all I had to do was gut it out for one more year to bank another six figure bonus. I discussed the “one more year” syndrome with a number of close colleagues and they all admitted to suffering the same plight. Why do something else when very little else pays as much?

Originally, I had planned to work for 18 years until age 40 and then call it quits. Instead, I only lasted for 13 years right before the age of 35 before going off on my own. Giving up a multiple six figure income in one’s 30s sounds ludicrous, I know. But you have to understand that I had been living way below my means since graduation so I’ve never really experienced what it’s like to live a multiple six figure lifestyle. I didn’t anticipate such a collapse in the financial markets nor did I anticipate the X Factor of online growth. Besides, happiness tops out at $200,000 anyway.

The only monster expense I had post college was for a 20% downpayment on my current house eight years ago. My main rental that was purchased 10 years ago was from stock market funny money, so that didn’t count. 70% of my income for the last five years was saved, providing no utility except for financial comfort. I realized one day that I’ve been content for a very long time already but wasn’t really aware.

HOW TO OVERCOME THE “ONE MORE YEAR” DISEASE

If I worked for five more years I probably could have saved another $1 million dollars or so in cash. The $1 million would be a nice extra cushion in retirement. I could replace Moose with something new that contains fresh airbags and Bluetooth. I could perhaps feel more comfortable paying for business class plane tickets a couple times a year instead of always slumming it in coach. But other than a new car and more pleasant travel, there’s nothing more I want. A children’s education fund is set up, I own my primary residence, 13 year old Moose still rolls fine, I don’t need more clothes, and my travel fund can comfortably take me anywhere for six weeks a year. An extra $1 million dollars wouldn’t make a lick of difference to my lifestyle, but slaving away in a structurally declining industry would make life worse.

The main thing I lacked was time. What’s the use of having money if you can’t spend it? While we are students we have all the time in the world but no money. While we work, we have money but not enough time. As a result of this paradox, in 2009 I got to thinking about how to manufacture both time and enough money to lead my current lifestyle. After three years of experimentation and a lot of analysis, I finally pulled the rip chord in 2012.

I’d like to share with you some thoughts on how I finally eliminated “one more year” from my mind. I know many of you are having the same concerns as I did for so many years.

1) Have a plan with a specific date. Once you come up with your plan and run the pro forma numbers on how much you need to sustain a lifestyle you enjoy, continue running different scenarios to see how long it will take to get there. Then proceed to select a year, a month, and perhaps even a day to take off on your own. The process is the same thing with managing your 401(k) retirement funds for a more financially secure retirement.

When I started in 2009, I knew there was potential to generate income online, but I wasn’t focused on that aspect for the first year at all. All I wanted to do was write and connect with our great community. Only in 2010 did I start getting excited about the potential of one day working for myself. I set a 12 month target to earn a subsistence level wage. My 24 month target was then to earn 1.5X the US per capita income. I never waited for my 36 month target because by 2012 I had figured out how to get laid off and received all my deferred compensation, vacation days, health care, and a nice severance package after 11 years of working at one firm. The total severance package gave me literally a six year runway to reach my ultimate goal of generating the same amount of money with absolute freedom.

2) Use the regret minimization framework. Jeff Bezos of Amazon said it best when he was interviewed about why he decided to quit his Wall St. job mid-year, forsaking a juicy year end bonus to start Amazon. Jeff projected himself to age 80 and wanted to minimize the number of regrets in his life. He knew that when he was 80, he wouldn’t regret trying his hand at entrepreneurship. Even if he failed, he wouldn’t regret the effort in participating in “this thing called the Internet.” But he felt the one thing that would haunt him forever was if he didn’t try. After putting the pieces together in his framework, his decision to leave became very simple.

I firmly believe that we will regret more the things we don’t do than the things we do end up doing. One of my favorite ex-colleagues was the receptionist. We shot the shit every day for a few minutes during lunch time. At 54, he told me his biggest regret was not going after his dreams of dealing in Japanese memorabilia. He’s now stuck in this dead end job with not much money to show for. One day I came to work and he was gone. Start imagining the worst case scenario and either get acclimated or make moves to avoid such a scenario.

3) Test out living on less. Despite having around 18 years worth of living expenses saved by age 33, I was STILL nervous about losing my income of 13 years. I distinctly remember sitting with a group of folks in a hot tub in Tahoe back in 2010 asking everybody their savings number before they went on their own. The average came out to just two years. As a result, I did some careful calculations of my passive income generation ability and typed it up in a post entitled, “Achieving Financial Freedom One Income Slice At A Time.” Until this post, I actually did not know how much passive income was being generated from my rental properties, CD accounts, and dividend stocks because everything was always just reinvested. Although I spend more than my passive income production, I found comfort knowing that I wasn’t going to starve if I was an absolute failure online.

Before taking the leap, I suggest everybody try and live on 50% less income than normal for three months and see how you do. Another good exercise if you are married is for both of you to live of your spouse’s income and draw down your savings if necessary to see how it feels to go in reverse. You won’t know the pain of living off savings until you actualy do it, so don’t cheat. Really cut down your extraneous expenses such as eating out, going on vacation, driving on the weekends, and buying wants you don’t need. I’m pretty sure everybody has fat to cut from their budget.

4) Calculate your upside. Everybody just thinks about the downside if they leave their jobs. Mine was roughly $1 million in cash over the next five years. Once I knew my downside, it was much easier to calculate my potential upside. To save a similar amount, I’d have to generate $300,000-$500,000 a year depending on how much I save and how much revenue I can shield from taxes. The figure sounds like a lot until I realized there’s another way to cover a $1 million dollar loss.

If you create a viable business you will inevitably have others who will want to pay a multiple for your income stream. If I am able to generate $250,000 in annual operating profit and someone pays me a 6X multiple, I should be able to bank $1 million after taxes. There have been numerous multi-million dollar blog sales in the personal finance space over the years, and I have the confidence and the knowledge to join the crew in time if I want to exit. I’m very bullish on blogging because of the proliferation of the internet. Consumers no longer want to read the news, they want to participate in the news and interact.

5) Remind yourself that you aren’t getting any younger. Death is a finality. There is no rewind button in life! My 20s flew by and now my 30s are going by even faster. Pretty soon I’ll be 40 years old and gray hair will start popping up everywhere. Life speed accelerates because every year we live is a greater portion of the time we have left. I think about death and the brevity of life every time I hear some celebrity die too soon. James Gandolfini of The Sopranos dying at age 51 is the latest example.

If you knew you were going to die at 50, I’m absolutely sure you would treat life differently. If you are older than 50 and knew you were to die in 10 years, I’m sure some of your most stubborn habits would change. Although somewhat morbid, I have a mental note of dying at age 60 which helps spur me to stop being so lazy and continuously try new things. If I live past 60, then great! If I die at 60, then that’s what I’ve been expecting all along.

DON’T GET CAUGHT UP WITH THE MONEY

Making a lot of money is nice, but having a lot of time to do what you want is even nicer. Some of my happiest moments were as a broke college student or a young grunt working craptastic jobs. Now that I’ve worked for myself for the past 12 months, there’s no way I’m going to regret not having worked five more years on Wall St even if I stop making a single dollar tomorrow. The experience of trying to create a location independent business has been exhilarating!

I don’t recommend anybody take a blind leap of faith. If you don’t thoroughly test your business model through multiple difficult scenarios there’s a good chance you will fail. Again, it took me three years since I launched this site to finally say goodbye to Corporate America. Even after I said goodbye, a part of me longed to go back due to the camaraderie and the comfort of a steady paycheck.

Stress test your income streams. Be absolutely analytical and face the reality that your net worth may stall or even decline for a while. Even if you fail, you can always go back to work or live in your parent’s basement to replenish funds. After the third year of “one more year” in your mind, it’s time to get off the pot and make your move.

Recommended Actions Before Breaking Free

* Manage Your Finances In One Place: The best thing you can do to grow your net worth is to get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 28 different accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to track my finances. Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see how my stock accounts are doing, how my net worth is progressing, and where my spending is going. Their 401K Fee Analyzer tool is saving me over $1,000 a year in fees I had no idea I was paying. There is no better free platform out there that is helping me manage my money as I live a free life post Corporate America. The entire sign-up process takes less than a minute.

* Check Your Credit Score: Check your credit score at least once a year given the risk of identity theft as well as the importance of having a good credit score if you ever are in need of a loan. For over a year, I thought I had a 790ish credit score and was fine, until my mortgage refinance bank on day 80 of my refinance told me they could not go through due to a $8 late payment by my tenants from two years ago. My credit score was hit by 110 points to 680 and I could not get the lowest rate. I had to spend an extra 10 days fixing my score by contacting the utility company to write a “Clear Credit Letter” to get the bank to follow through. Check your credit score for free at GoFreeCredit.com and protect yourself. The last thing you want to do during your new journey is unknowingly have poor credit that may short circuit your new ventures.

* Negotiate A Severance Package: Never quit your job, get laid off instead. Negotiating a severance enabled me to receive six years worth of living expenses from a company I dedicated 11 years of my life to. If I had quit, I wouldn’t get any severance, deferred compensation, medical benefits, job assistance training or unemployment benefits. I believe so strongly in never quitting that I spent a couple years to write a 100-page book entitled, “How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye.” I’m absolutely certain this book will help you recognize your rights as an employee and break free from the corporate grind to do something you truly want to do.

Photo: A idyllic lakeside house on Lake Lucerne, Switzerland, 2013. 

Regards,

Sam

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. says

    I think really imagining the worst-case scenario is an incredibly powerful motivator for change. Without really thinking about it, it’s easy to be overcome by fear. Not fear of anything specific, just generic fear without any real base. If you can get past that and truly think about what would happen if you make a change and fail, it’s often the case that it might not be so bad. Maybe you have savings that can get you through a rough patch. Maybe you have friends or relatives that could help out. Maybe your lifestyle could easily be downgraded to accommodate. The point is that if you don’t actually map it out, you’ll just let vague fear rule your decisions and you’ll never take the leap for something that might truly change your life for the better.

  2. nbsdmp says

    Sam, so what if you could have banked $1M in 1 year instead of 5, would you have plugged away for 1 more? I think everybody has a number that makes it worth while…but I love your point about diminishing returns since it won’t affect your chosen level of lifestyle (other than further lowering your withdraw %).

    • says

      If I could bank $1 million in one year, I would do it since it would be more than I ever made before. And I’d continue to do the one more year until my net worth reset to a comfortable level again where I knew I would be happy to live off the passive income. It only takes several months to get used to any type of bonus, windfall, or gain.

      I don’t think I would do two more years of one more year at $1 million. $200K is the max annual income where happiness increases no further. I strongly believe this, and I would long for freedom.

      • Geek says

        “It only takes several months to get used to any type of bonus, windfall, or gain. ”

        It took a few months of adjustment to get rid of a 2nd salary’s worth of hedonic adaptation. It’s much faster to get used to more than less.

      • nbsdmp says

        There in lies the rub…whatever your particular # is almost everybody would do it for one more year. Then when you think about damn…instead of a 3% withdraw rate, if I just worked 2 more years I could get to a 2%, or geez, I could just pay cash for an amazing home right on the water, or have a paid for vacation home in Vail, or, or, or…Trick is I think being happy with what you’ve got. I tend to agree that after $200k/yr there is not much more…I’m more along the lines of $300k because I like cool toys.

      • nbsdmp says

        yeah, but $1.7 after taxes is north of $1mil…my point is everything is for sale including our time. Trick is sell your time doing something you truly enjoy…if you didn’t like doing this blog, essentially all you did was trade a hi paying job for lower paying job with less hours and time restrictions. 30′s and 40′s is too young to do nothing productive with your time, but having a business like your blog (& mine company) allows you to run a lot of your life experiences through it pre-tax. There are huge advantages to doing your own thing to make the risk of no big paycheck worth it.

    • nbsdmp says

      Already have enough, but I still truly enjoy what I do. (I’m sure the day will come when that changes) I equate it to telling Steve Jobs should have stayed retired since he had more than enough for 10 lifetimes, but if he had, Apple probably would not even exist today let alone be one of the largest market cap stocks on the planet. I’m by no means comparing myself to him, but sometimes work can be fun and your passion…tough part is finding that work/life balance.

        • nbsdmp says

          I work on future car programs & get to see and help shape all the new stuff 2 years before the public gets to see it. I’m a car junkie so its pretty cool stuff, last week I’m walking the GM line building the first C7 Corvettes & hanging out in downtown Nashville, today I’m working on the new Mercedes program, tomorrow quoting a project for Tesla out in your neck of the woods. I’ve evolved my role into a sort of working retirement so now its only a 40 hour week…& on the lake by 5 pm surfing. Plenty of time for hanging with friends and family (sometimes too much)…if it was 100 hours a week and tons of travel, no thanks I’ll pass the torch and happily retire. All I’m saying is your blog is work no different than my “job”, if you get to write off your travel expenses and experiences because it is part of your job and you love it, that’s awesome and what people should aspire to do…when you sell your blog for $5M its a huge score and worth every minute you put into it. (I assume you misread my Steve Jobs analogy, I just used that because it’s a local company/person to SF…probably should have used Henry Ford or something, ha!)

          • says

            Mate, if you can make big bucks in the car industry after all it’s been through, the Detroit bankruptcy, and the bailouts, more power to you. This is why people should not fret. America is great so do not fear taking chances!

            I love me a nice car as well. Too bad I don’t like paying for it :)

    • nbsdmp says

      If you are doing something you love and are passionate about it, you can get rich doing almost anything. Actually just like in Real Estate, the time to make money and set yourself up for success is when there is blood in the streets and everybody thinks the sky is falling, the whole bail out of the financial system and GM and Chrysler was an opportunity. Zig when everybody else is Zagging! Btw, go ahead and get that new ride, there is some great stuff out there right now…if you can hold on a couple more years the industry is really raising the bar again from even today, good times!

  3. says

    You have done the wisest of things: value your time, freedom, and life experiences above money.

    Few do this, either because the concept is foreign, or their entire happiness is wrapped up in “stuff”, because it’s the environment they come from.

    The theme of your message is one that should be shared with all, and hopefully the proliferation of internet communities such as this will expedite that.

    Much of what you posted reminded me of pieces I’ve read that centered around the regrets of the dying. It’s never too late to change, but don’t wait ’till tomorrow, because how many of those do you have left?

  4. says

    Such a timely post for me, Sam. Thanks. We’re contemplating a big change and have been for awhile. It’s amazing how you justify “one more year”. Well, when we get that credit card paid off. When we fix up the bathroom, we’ll get more for the house. Etc, etc. There’s always a reason. The tipping point is when you truly, to your core, accept your mortality. When you finally get your arms around life being finite. It sounds all fuzzy and “out there”, but that’s when you finally break down the barriers.

  5. says

    I admire anyone who hasn’t experienced the “one more year” syndrome. Frankly, I have to will myself not to put in my two weeks notice several times a month. It isn’t because I have a terrible manager or work for an awful company, mostly I’m impatient. I have an idea of what I’d like to do next and it bothers me to stay put and feel inactive instead of just quitting and going for my goal. Your point about testing a business model while you’re still in a stable job really resonated with me though. I need to be set up for success the best I can before I leave a stable paycheck. Great post, Sam.

    • says

      Definitely try and do both the day job and your side project for several years first. Don’t let the impatience come over you too soon, as it’s a lot about numbers in the beginning.

      In total, I think I suffered the “one more year” syndrome for three years. Years 11-13 in my career, which coincided with the start of FS in 2009.

  6. says

    Hey Sam!

    I’m absolutely stuck in the “one more year syndrome”! Three years ago, we thought that once we would reach $X/month with our company, I would leave and start working full time on our project. I’ve been making this amount for a while and still asking myself for “one more year” to grab another bonus, to grab another year with benefits, to grabe another year of bi-weekly paychecks.

    It is true that we will mostly regret things we didn’t do when getting older. I know how my life will be if I continue working in the financial industry for the next 30 years. I also know that I will kick myself if I wake-up at 51 and still working in a bank without having tried the “online life style”.

    My wife and I had given a lots of thoughts abou that and this is why she is starting her daycare at home. This income is enough to support 40% of our lifestyle. This leaves the other 60% to me. Right now, I’m covering 100% of our lifestyle, so we should be able to keep both income and save about 40% of our lifestyle each month. This money is going toward debt payments. Once all my consumer debts are paid off, I can decrease my monthly budget by 20-30% and probably be able to quit without worries.

    Thx for this inspirational post!

    • says

      No problem Mike. I wish your wife’s business the best.

      I’ve truly enjoyed all your posts on building your online business over the past 4-5 years. I couldn’t imagine it possible to make so much, but you helped me and your readers show the way, so thank you for that.

      I wouldn’t fear your debt. It’s manageable and most of it is your mortgage debt anyway. Embrace debt to your advantage.

      You’ll know it’s time to take the leap. Maybe eradicate the car loan and personal loans first at a target date one year from now. A target date provides so much motivation, it’s hard to fail!

      • says

        Definitely, setting a date is what is missing in my plan. And it is definitely the most important part! anyway, worst comes to worst, I’ll have to waste 40K from my retirement account and I’ll go back working in the financial industry… not the end of the world either!

    • says

      It sounds like a good plan. Best of luck with the daycare.
      I was stuck in the one year syndrome for a while too. The problem is if you don’t pull the plug, then it keeps getting more and more difficult.
      Another thing the help is to give yourself a time limit. I think most people say they’ll give it a go for one or two years. Then go back to work if they couldn’t make it work.

  7. says

    Living on less and having lots of time to do what I want are definitely goals that I wish I could aim for, but having kids to raise certainly prevents me from doing so. However, I am positive that in time I will be able to do what I want while earning income passively.

  8. B says

    Thank you for sharing! Like so many others, I too suffer from the “one more year syndrome”, but for slightly different reasons. I know my passive income covers the basics (but not the luxuries). But if I leave a job now at this fantastic firm (where all my classmates wish they were), I’ll probably never be able to return to the same firm or one of equal prestige and salary (there are plenty of smart people out there lining up for great jobs). And while I make plenty now, I would make ~10Xs as much 10 years from now on the current trajectory and based on what partners who are at that level make. Even if you really, really want to be an entrepreneur, how do you walk away from a clear path to success and risk it all?

    • says

      If you can make 10x in 10 years, then I would say it’s practically impossible to leave unless you were absolutely miserable.

      I don’t know of many occupations that provide that type of upside, and mine was capped and declining due to government regulation in finance.

      I would suggest working your side business until you can generate survival level income. Then constantly reassess every quarter or six months to see how you are doing and whether you are happy with your current state. If not, do things that head towards your desired lifestyle and never stop.

      • B says

        Very true, but the partners at my firm making 7 figures are not enjoying quality time in Switzerland right now. In fact, they really take vacation and work most nights and weekends. I doubt all of them are miserable, but I’d bet that the vast majority of them would envy your position.

        I like the idea of growing the side business to sustain the lifestyle I want – then when it does, take the leap.

        • says

          Yeah, it’s a no brainer to do both and work until you can no longer stand it. Hopefully things balance out and you are doing things true to your heart.

          Switzerland was tame compared to Mallorca…. oh boy, the stories I can tell which I won’t due to a respect for privacy!

  9. Andy says

    Sam, I love your blog and the amazing amount of value you pack into your posts.

    I’m curious about which other industries or industry subsets you see as being at the top of the list for structural decline. Also, which do you see as the most attractive for structural growth?

    Thanks!

    • says

      Howdy Andy, good to have you.

      Areas of growth include mobile internet, internet in general, healthcare, milking the government, and emerging markets such as China and India.

      Financial services, law, medicine, union jobs are all in decline. What field are you in?

      • Andy says

        I have been in financial services for the last six years–a business banker for a publicly-traded regional bank in the Northwest. I am compensated very well versus the very reasonable cost of living here, and I have had a strong career trajectory. Moreover, I live in a fantastic place for my wife and me to raise our two beautiful kids. We are currently investing about 40% of net income, and I hope to boost that percentage steadily.

        While there are a lot of positives, the idea of working in a structurally declining industry does not hold too much appeal. Your mention of that issue resonated with my recent thought process. Thanks for your insight!

        Andy

  10. says

    We’re in the “5 more years” camp at the moment, but it doesn’t feel like such a bad place to be considering our jobs are pretty good and we are still planning what we want to be able to do when we chuck them for good. =)

    • says

      Ahhh, I had the “five more years” plan too. I said it after my first five years to get 10 years of work under my belt, but then my enthusiasm began to fade after the crisis. How many years have you guys been working now?

  11. Brian says

    Really great post- each time I read something like this I get closer and closer to wanting to make the leap.

    What happened to your receptionist friend? Was he let go, or did he pass away?

    • says

      He was unfortunately retrenched as Wall St went through countless headcount reductions from 2008-2011. I reached out to him recently and he’s not doing that great unfortunately.

      • says

        Oh thank dog… I thought he killed himself. You said “One day I came to work and he was gone. Start imagining the worst case scenario and either get acclimated or make moves to avoid such a scenario.” That would be the worst case scenario.

  12. says

    I think the “one more ____” syndrome can apply to a whole bunch life scenarios. I think fear of the unknown and not having a clear path to achieve whatever your goal might be causes us to move the goalposts on ourselves. It’s hard to take that leap into the unknown, but a lot of the time that’s exactly why it’s worth it.

    • says

      I think we give the worst case scenario too much credit perhaps due to the media and seeing people on the streets. The reality is that if we are decently educated with normal social skills I don’t think there’s only a small chance we’ll starve living in America.

  13. says

    Lots of food for thought in this article. It took me quite a long time to read it through because I kept pausing to reflect.

    Unfortunately, after just recently beating a massive amount of debt and then adding a kid to the equation not long afterward, my wife and I are nowhere close to experiencing the “one more year syndrome.” It’s seemingly more like “30 more years syndrome” for us!

    • says

      Congrats on crushing your debt and your kid! A family definitely is a motivating factor to keep on going. Maybe in 10 years or so you’ll feel a little differently, who knows. Only time will tell. How long have you been at the corporate game now?

      • says

        In about 2 weeks, I’ll have been playing the “game” for 10 years. I can honestly say if I woke up tomorrow morning and never had to do the corporate gig another day in my life that I wouldn’t miss a thing (not even the one thing you lament leaving behind: the camaraderie).

        Fret not though, I stand no chance of breaking your record of 13 years!!

        • says

          Congrats on almost 10 years!

          My record of 13 years has been broken many times before, so no sweat. I have blogging friends who quit to live in a trailer, or in the middle of nowhere on $30k a year. Good on then. It’s not for me.

  14. says

    One more year has a different meaning to me. If you want more time, you must think you are not ready or afraid to change. Both are natural feelings, but can be overcome with some planning.

    I never felt that way, but I approached my goal of financial freedom differently. My goal was financial freedom not a business. The financial freedom encouraged me to start a business. I never thought about quitting as much as independence. The result may be the same, but I think I approached it differently.

    • says

      Can you elaborate on your different approach as I’m not quite grasping the meaning of your comment.

      Do you continue to by a high school teacher in your 60s bc you love it so much and don’t really care about the income and pension?

      Thx

      • says

        My goal was financial independence not retirement! I was more interested in doing what I enjoyed versus what I had to do. Continuing working was not a problem unless it prevented me from doing what I enjoyed. Another year did not yield more money because my investments bridged that.

        My career post financial independence is doing the things I enjoy, but the income allows me to keep saving and letting my investments grow. My grand plan now is having multiple income streams in retirement. The IRAs (401K & 403B), Roth IRAs, brokerage accounts, Social Security and pension meet that goal. Part of the pension benefits is lifetime medical. I did not go into teaching for the benefits, but it is a nice perk.

  15. says

    Sam,

    You read my recent posts, I pulled the plug too. No, I’m not financially independent, but I am fine for a while, without having to worry about my net worth dipping.

    I was in the same boat with the one more year syndrome. I actually told myself that just a few months ago. I said, “I just need to do this for one more year (until my 30th birthday), and then I’ll pull the plug. At that point, I’ll have enough money to make the jump.

    But, then I thought about how short life is. I thought about the regrets I may have if I never get to do this. I just finally said, “my reasons for waiting just don’t hold water”. And they don’t.

    It’s incredibly scary right now. I don’t have an income that supports me. But, I do have confidence, passion to do valuable things for others, and a strong internal motivation as I work to replace my income through entrepreneurship.

    I’d love to touch base, Sam. Hit me up one of these days. I’d love to learn from you.

    Best regards,

    • says

      Best of luck to you Kraig! You have more guts than me to pull the plug before you turned 30.

      Confidence and belief you can make it is certainly a must. It doesn’t seem like you ever lived an expensive lifestyle, so covering your expenses should be relatively easier. I’m looking forward to following your journey. My main advice is to simply try and generate as much traffic as possible. Write like you’ve never written before and hustle until you can no longer.

      Good luck! It’s worth it!

  16. says

    The “One More Year” Syndrome is one of the worst forms of procrastination. It is really sad to see people in jobs that they hate, but here is what I wonder… can everyone have financial freedom? Can we all avoid the “One More Year” Syndrome? Can I live off passive income without relying upon people who are unhappy in their jobs?

    • says

      It’s not necessarily about retiring early to live off passive income. It’s more about just doing something else with your life or moving on in a relationship.

      Choose to unglue ourselves from mediocrity.

  17. RayRay says

    I’ve been in the corporate game for 6 years now currently working for a fairly small firm in the financial services industry. I’ve been the top performer in my firm for the past 3 years.

    Our firm recently signed an agreement to be purchased by a larger firm. Through my access to data, I’ve learned that 3 slightly more senior people in my firm who only joined about 2 years ago will be cashing in about 10 times more chips than me once the transaction closes.

    I’ve been focused on trying to create my own path for the past 2 years and this turn of events has lit a massive fire under me. No longer will I sit around and work my butt off while more senior, mediocre players gain all the rewards in this “good ‘ole boy” system.

    I’ve set a goal for myself to have my own path prepared and embark on that path within 3 years. I am currently 29 years old, so beginning my own journey at age 32 seems like a good plan – it will leave me plenty of years to accomplish my dreams.

    Lately I’ve done a lot of soul searching on what I really need to be happy. Perhaps this is what has most led me believe that I can do my own thing quite early in life. It’s much easier to create a $100k per year path than to create a $500k per year path. Thankfully, I live in a fairly low cost of living area and being happy with $100k or so will be pretty easy.

    Here we go….3 year count down.

    • says

      I think it is GREAT you have a 3 year countdown. Now plan your ways to get to where you want to be. $500K isn’t as straightforward anymore in financial services due to commission compression and regulation. But maybe $250,000 still is as that is the base salary for Director levels at many firms.

      Good luck, and join the FS Forum if you want to trade thoughts on career. It’s always good to have a support group.

  18. says

    Masterful post. Lots of great info to digest! I know there are many people like your secretary example that one day didn’t show up, and sometimes I hear stories even in my small hometown of depression getting the best of people…

    Posts like this create something to aspire to for many. I thank you for that.

    • says

      Thanks Chuck. Sooner or later everybody experiences the one more year syndrome. At some point, I encourage folks to just go for it after three years of one more year. Every single scenario has been played out by that time and regret will be omnipresent if nothing does change.

  19. greg says

    Thanks for writing this. Hearing more opinions on such things are actually quite helpful in avoiding an existential crisis in a few years on my end. Keep it coming!

  20. says

    Sometimes I think how great it would be to quit my job but I know I’m not ready yet. And when the time comes I’m sure it will be harder than it seems. I’m saving as much money as I can now to make it easier to walk away from a regular paycheck when the time is right.

  21. Josh Howell says

    The single most important thing anyone can do for their financial future is to start saving as soon as they start working. Even saving a very small amount from each paycheck in your 20s makes a huge difference over the course of a career. Waiting just five or ten years could mean you will have to save twice as much to accumulate the same amount. I began saving and investing when I was 21 years old, even though it was just $25 per month to start. If I had of waited until I could afford to save, I wouldn’t have my house or my million dollar dream.

  22. says

    I see myself having one more year syndrome but will be switching gigs in a couple of months. I suspect after making one transition I might be more comfortable stopping. I am leaving the only job I’ve had after grad school and am loyal to a fault. So switching now may help me flex that “enough is enough” muscle.

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