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Working in the media industry, it would be downright ungrateful for a person to up and quit after watching colleagues get laid off when they have families to support. Still, we all dream of being able to say, "Take this job..." or "I quit" on days when the pressure gets too much. I am no different.
But I'm also realistic. I know I need a certain amount of money in savings before I can quit my job and pursue a life of absolute leisure and laziness.
My husband and I have practiced living on one income since we know layoffs are so common. But practice is based on a scenario in which we are forced to buckle down and live on one income. When it comes to personal choice, I have an "I Quit Number," or the amount of money it would take for me to quit my full-time job as an editor.
Boosting retirement savings
In order to quit, I would need to have at least $200,000 in my 401(k) and Roth IRA accounts. I would want to have at least $100,000 in each account so I would have an adequate amount of money to work with between now and retirement , which is another 30 years away. With the magic of compound interest, that should be plenty. I'm only half way to my goal on this front. I'd need $100,000 more in retirement to feel comfortable quitting.
Paying off my mortgage
I would feel completely comfortable quitting my job and never returning to full-time employment if we could completely pay off our mortgage. We still owe about $100,000 so I continue to work. However, we are on an accelerated plan to have it paid off in 7 years.
Having no car payments
Another financial concern is transportation. If we moved to one income, we would be able to share cars. I could do a better job riding my bicycle or walking instead of using the car. Still, I don't want to have a car payment when I am not working. We still owe $8,000 on a car we purchased a year ago.
Beefing up our savings
In addition to having no debt and $200,000 in retirement, I would want to have a sizable amount of cash in savings. If we were living on one income, we would need a beefier emergency account. Also, we are decades away from being eligible for social security benefits. I'd want $40,000 to $50,000 more in our savings.
Adding it all together, I wouldn't quit my job unless I received a windfall of about $250,000. Since I don't play the lottery, it's unlikely I'll be quitting my full-time job anytime soon. I guess I'll just have to continue on with the daily grind for now and keep dreaming.