“One More Year” Syndrome

Well the Chinese Covid virus has caused a lot of issues in people’s work lives, mine included. My company was holding to a “everyone has to be vaccinated by Nov 18th” mandate, and stated that anyone not vaccinated might be subject to termination. I’m not an anit-vaxxer (I got my shingles vaccine earlier this year) but I do have some concerns with the RNA based vaccines coming out, primarily based on my military history with government vaccines and “Gulf War Syndrome” with some of my comrades.  We are hoping to get the Nova-vax when it comes out, hopefully in 4th Qtr 2021 or 1st Qtr 2022.

So what does this have to do with “One More Year” Syndrome? This is something folks in the FIRE community have talked about before. Physician On Fire notes that “To be afflicted with OMY syndrome is to continue working for “one more year” even though you’ve reached your financial goals, and no longer need the paycheck to make ends meet.” Many of us fall into this after we’ve reached our FI goals.

My company reached out to me with a proposal that I shift positions to a project engineer role, where I could work from home full time. It would not be a cut in pay, but it would decrease my bonus from 15% to 10%. I was a little surprised, because I didn’t think I was contributing that much, and wasn’t valued. As I’ve noted before, we have already hit our FI goal, so I wasn’t really sweating the Nov 18th date. Now with their offer, I have the potential of working “one more year” and further setting us up for our independence. So what do I do?

Benefits:

  • An extra 18+ months of salary & Investments (if I retire on my new date of July 2023)
  • Don’t have to begin drawing down our investments to live on
  • Continue to work at a job I find interesting (for the most part)
  • Continue to maintain medical benefits, as opposed to having to go on Cobra or the ACA marketplace
  • Can continue to develop my post-retirement interests, plans and bucket list

Minuses:

  • Still only have 3 weeks of vacation, so my free time is still severely restricted. No thru hike of the Appalachian trail in 2022!
  • Starting to develop my “side hustle” of TKD woodworking. Looking at other potential work (handyman, etc) that would have to be put on the backburner if I go in that direction
  • My mother is in her mid-80s and if she has medical issues, I’d have to request leave, as opposed to just having time to go visit whenever she needed it

Its an interesting question, and its one of the key benefits of FI, that you can actually compare and make a decision. I would hate to be in my late 50’s and still have to depend on work to make ends meet. All the hard work and saving for the past 20 years has put us in a great position.

I hope all of you either have or will be able to get this level of flexibility as you continue on your FI journey.

Mr. 39 Months

2 thoughts on ““One More Year” Syndrome”

  1. I stayed one more year two years in a row. I don’t regret it because while I had the money I wasn’t quite ready to retire. Then when I left I was good and ready and already had my retirement side gig signed and sealed. Assuming you are enjoying life now it simply doesn’t matter which choice you make. If life is still good while you are working then there is no reason to quit. Retirement is great too but I can’t say its hugely better than my work life, that was mostly fun too. It is better being retired but its just a matter of nuance, its not a night and day difference like it would have been if work was bad. Now, if work is feeling like a chore and you get the Sunday scaries then run for the door now!

    1. I agree with your points. The key is having the time to do some of the things I want to do, before my age (and my wife’s age) precludes us from doing it. Always the same, trading money for time….

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