My husband and I are both pushing 50; we’ve been working since we were 15. We’ve ridden many an economic roller coaster, and in Michigan’s kaleidoscope market, several specialty ones (layoff, unemployment, soaring prices). Have we dreamed about ditching the 9-5, or more accurately 9-10? Sure.
My husband has worked nights and second shift for the majority of our 25 year marriage. He works six and seven days a week. There are times when he works 30 days at a stretch (8-10 hours daily). Have we talked about ending all that fun, jumping the next tramp steamer out and seeing the world? You bet.
But practically speaking, we have kids in college, one in middle school and another in Louisiana getting married soon. Mortgages, medical bills, utilities don’t take holidays. In a way, I did quit working to pursue a dream back in 1996. I left my teaching job to homeschool our four kids. Those 10 years were tight; we survived, but with nothing to spare.
But still we dream. How much would it cost to put legs under that dream? The house is the biggest expense. We can live on beans and rice (and red wine) in our travels, but we’re not ready to sell the house. Neither do we want to lease it; renters aren’t famous for keeping things up. If one of our children took over utility payments and lived in the home while we were gone, that would be ideal. We would then need about $670 a month to make mortgage, insurance and taxes.
In order to hitch our star to that Europe-bound banana boat, we would probably need an additional $2,000 a month for living expenses. That includes transportation (walking as much as possible) and lodging (staying in hostels and monastery guest houses). Part of our plans involve volunteering in Catholic missions which often provide simple lodging and fare. We’re all about treading lightly and living simply so that works perfectly for us.
The loss of health insurance would be another consideration, although that coverage is getting more expensive with fewer benefits. Our out-of-pocket was about $6,000 last year, so adding that to the mortgage, living expenses and extra funds to help our children as needed (about $3,000). I project we’d need $40,000 for a year.
I maintain and earn on several blogs and writing sites; with those it’s only a matter of “have-laptop; will travel.” If I continued to earn from those, that would cover living expenses while abroad. Is it feasible to think quitting? With paring down and sacrifice, yes.