Planning for the hazy “someday” of the future is tough. It's like peering into the mists of a foggy morning. Shapes are indistinct and intimidating until you get close enough to recognize the giant shadow is an oak tree.
I'm peering into the foggy future, but I can't make out what those looming shapes are.
People keep asking me what my next few years are going to look like, and I honestly have no idea.
So many things could change. There are just too many variables to have a plan and actually stick with it. And it's not just one facet of my life….. it's every part of it possible.
As many of you know, I'm single. Now that I don't have a definite end date to this job, I'd like to find a partner. It gets pretty tricky, though. I'm living such a drastically different lifestyle from my male peers that finding a compatible partner is not going to be easy. Fortunately, I'm willing to wait for the right guy instead of settling for whoever shows interest first.
I met a guy through a networking event for young professionals. We hit it off and exchanged numbers. I thought I had hit the jackpot. He was attractive, had a great job, funny, owned his own house with a roommate to cut the costs, drove the same car as me until it died and was replaced with a newer hatchback, great cook with food from Aldi and more.
After getting some rather confusing and conflicting signals from him, we had a talk one night (at 1 am aided by a lot of alcohol). He said he liked me, got along well with me, and could see us working out.
BUT. (there's always a but).
He firmly believes I'm going to fail at this early retirement thing. I'll admit, it stung a little, but it's also something a lot of older and wiser people have told me. Because of that conviction (which he refused to get my input on at all), we were dead in the water.
The thing that bothered me the most was him judging my past and extrapolating it into the future. I do things differently as a single lady than I do as someone who's in a relationship. I sleep with my baby blanket and a big pillow when I'm single. Do I do that in a relationship? Nope. I'm making plans AS A SINGLE LADY to try my best to get an expat assignment for work. Would I still go after that with a partner's career to keep in mind? Probably not, unless said partner wants to go with me and can make it work with their career.
What this guy doesn't understand is that my plans now as a single 26 year old can and probably will change. The actions I'm taking now- maxing out my retirement accounts, buying rental properties- will give us flexibility in the future. Quit my job and try to make a living as an artist? Sure, we have savings. Have a kid and want me to stay home with them? Done, we're living off one income anyways.
I wish I could change my plans to accommodate possible future changes, but since I can't predict the future I'm sticking to the plans I'm making now. I'm working off the information I have available to me right now. For the next guy, I will have to emphasize my plans are my own and I'm open to ideas.
Another guy I went on a date with could not fathom me wanting to travel. He was more than happy with his house, patch of land, and his great career. I knew we weren't going to be compatible when I mentioned I went to Ecuador by myself and his face paled at the idea. We didn't talk much after that which didn't bother me nearly as much as the first guy. Sadly, around this area (and probably much of the US) his idea of normal is much more normalized than mine.
Speaking of normal……. it's normal for people to have careers, and to discuss with their manager where they want their career to go in the future.
Of course I can hardly do things the normal way. That's just not me!
Unlike about every other FIRE blogger I know, my immediate manager knows of my FI plans.
Now, I didn't just trumpet my plans to my manager the moment I started. Nope. My current manager started out as my friend and coworker. We're still friends (we do play on the same softball team, after all)- we just have the added complication that he got promoted to team lead…. after I told him about my plans.
While not necessarily the outcome I would've chosen originally, I think it will actually work out well.
It helps my manager is younger than many of the managers around here, and thus more open to the message I'm getting across. He told me he and his wife have tentative plans to retire in their 50's, but hearing my plan for 30's blew his mind!
I've made it very clear to him how much I enjoy this job, that I don't have any plans on leaving any time soon, and that he will know what my next move is before I make it. I'm actually not upset at all, as he's already been helpful brainstorming some ideas for the future with me.
That leads to the problem though…. what is my plan for the future?
In a typical one-on-one, I'd get help crafting my internal resume to look attractive to assist me getting my next position, or a job that will help boost me to the next level.
I have an idea what I want my next position to be, and where I want it to be. I could probably even make it happen seeing as I know the whole chain of command all the way up to the top.
I really, really, really want an expat assignment. Somewhere like Thailand, Singapore, New Zealand or anywhere in Europe. One perk of working for a global organization.
However, expat assignments are hard to come by these days. They're incredibly expensive for the company, what with the level of paperwork that goes into it, the classes to get the employee prepped for their new home, and then the logistics of getting all their stuff over to the new place. As well as a few more I don't know.
But…. I still want to go. It'd be a great way to travel around a region from a home base without having to use up tons of vacation or suffer through 18 hour+ flights. IN ECONOMY. THE HORROR.
The beauty of being on this path to FI is I have options. I'm willing to use up every bit of social capital and power of FU money I have to make it happen. If I lost my position in the company because I pushed too hard, I'll land on my feet.
I'm just going to wait until that's possible!
Thanks for reading! How do you think I should broach my FIRE plans on dates?
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