Monthly Financial Snapshot: April 2019

There have been a few changes this month.

For starters, I quit my job [cue gasps of shock and amazement].

By most typical measures, I had an excellent job situation: great salary and good benefits at a historically stable industry and company. However, over the last year or so, I had become increasingly pessimistic about the long-term viability of my industry, and had witnessed gradually worsening work conditions as a result of short-sighted cost-cutting and mismanagement. I also realized that I was no longer learning much of anything new, and if I wanted to change roles into a new position at my company, the skills I would learn in that role would be almost completely useless outside of my company and/or the industry. To me, this is an unacceptable position as it overly concentrates my career capital into a single company/industry. If economic conditions were to significantly decline for my company / industry (more than they already have), I could find myself in a position where the quality of my work environment could drastically decline with little to no warning. Due to the unique nature of my industry, it would be fairly difficult to transition into another company or industry in a short period of time, as many of the knowledge, skills, and processes I have done in my career are not readily transferable to other industries. In this situation I would likely not be alone in attempting to make this change, meaning that I would likely be simultaneously competing with my coworkers and counterparts across the country in making such a transition, which would make the hiring process harder for all.

All in all, I realized that my medium-term (1-5 years) career stability was at an unacceptable risk level, and that I needed to take action in order to mitigate this risk. As a result, I decided to leave my job so that I can take time to travel, assess my life’s direction, learn new skills and refresh my old ones, and attempt to change industries in order to gain more experience and long-term career sustainability, at least until I reach FI in about 4 years, give or take.

To that end, I also left my apartment and most of my possessions in the US and am now in Japan for the foreseeable future (my visa waiver is good through late July, and I intend to stay here until that expires). Why Japan? I lived in Tokyo for two years during graduate school on a shoestring budget (about $1400 / month), so I am familiar with how to live here cheaply. Tokyo is one of the world’s great (if not the greatest) cities, with world-class transportation, safety, food, nature, culture, and customer service. I also have a friend network here, which means that I will not be socially isolated while I’m here, and might have some connections for job opportunities should I decide to work in Japan long-term.

As such, my life will be somewhat unpredictable over the next few months, and will probably involve a lot of changes, hopefully for the best. I’ll continue to document things here, but my spending patterns will be drastically different than in the past 4 years.

Speaking of spending, here’s my spending for April. There might be a few small things that I forgot to keep track of during my move, but it’s mostly irrelevant to the bigger picture of my spending.

Rent$0.00No more rent!
Internet$56.92Last internet payment
Cell Phone$31.113 weeks of cell phone while I'm in Japan
Natural Gas$49.54Second-to-last nat gas payment. Not sure why it spiked so high.
Electricity$23.93Second-to-last electricity payment
Water$34.18Second-to-last water payment
Groceries$118.47Lower than average. Spent my final weeks using up leftover food.
Car Insurance$120.89Car is in storage for the indefinite future, so half-price insurance!
Gasoline$47.42Below average, since I stopped commuting for the second half of the month.
Car Expenses$117.75Car registration and tire swap
Health$8.81Heavily subsidized, high-deductible health plans through my work. Includes health and dental.
Other$16.05Mail forwarding
Necessary$625.07Below average!
Restaurants$161.21Restaurant meals in Japan
Entertainment$23.32Art museum in Japan
Shopping$209.10Shopping before I left for Japan
Travel/Parking$1,203.15CC fees, travel insurance, flight taxes and fees, hotel night
Gifts/Donations$12.67Gift for a friend
Software/Games$15.17Domain name renewal
Business$0.00Nothing this month.
Other$0.00Nothing this month.
Discretionary$1,624.62Above average
Total Expenses$2,249.69About average
Gross Income$7,474.39Final paychecks from my job
401(k) Match$115.05Final 401k match
Taxes$372.12Final taxes from payroll
Net Income$7,217.32Slightly below average.
Savings$4,967.63Slightly below average.
Savings Rate68.83%Slightly below average.
Net Worth$303,912.01Surpassed 300k in my final month at work! Hopefully this won't decline too much over the next few months as I travel.

Projected time to FI (assuming 6% growth and 4% withdrawal rate): 3 years, 10 months.

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