Why We Quit our $250k per year Jobs

Why we quit our $250k per year jobs, an evaluation of risk. www.owenyourfuture.com


WE QUIT OUR JOBS!! - that was my Facebook status update just a few short weeks ago. All caps… multiple exclamation points… We were very excited to start the next chapter of our life. For those that don't know us,  Allison and I both work as engineers in the oil and gas industry in Bakersfield CA . We've been at it for about 5 years at this point. So we are beating the united states average for our age group (only 3.2 years for 25-34 year olds!)
So, someone quitting their job isn't all that abnormal when you look at it that way.  What makes us special? I would say nothing, as my life seems super normal to me, but I’m living inside the snow globe per say. To some outside observers apparently this choice was quite shocking. After all we have achieved so much “success” why would we leave it behind? We were called privileged, told we didn’t appreciate what we had, that others would give so much to have our position in life. I know I’m privileged, everyone in the US is privileged. Your view of your privilege all depends on your perspective, and I will try to give ours below!
Upon breaking the news to some of our friends and family we received a whole spectrum of responses ranging from confusion to jealousy. Many were concerned about our choice damaging our careers, our financial situation, or concerned that we would be victims of some horrible circumstance while traveling. Others were equally tired of corporate life, and felt as though they wished they could to the same (They could!). Many were congratulatory and supportive.
It was very interesting to see the differences in how the people around us responded to this big life change.  It teaches you a lot about your friends and family and about what they value. I think everyone who chimed in did so in an attempt to help us as much as possible. They really had pure intentions of making sure that we made the right choice, and did what they thought would be best for us. Some of them were aligned with our feelings of seeking freedom and making our own way while others felt we were jeopardizing our future and were trying to help us see the light. In the moment, those that stand against you can really rub you the wrong way, but we had to remind ourselves that they really did want the best for us. Just our vision of "best", and theirs were not quite aligned.


We need differing perspectives in our life, so I can really appreciate them for speaking their piece about our choice and helping us to make sure we considered every angle. Even if it is a little uncomfortable. It was an opportunity for us to grow and really seek the truth instead of just seeking those who would make us feel “right”!
So why did we do it?
We have determined that (once you reach a certain level of wealth, i.e. all your needs are taken care of) money is not the source of happiness. While we haven’t reached a stardom level of success we can agree with some of the sentiments of the ultrawealthy. We by all accounts, were very successful. We had great jobs, a great (new) marriage, a wonderful house, plenty of money… yet we really didn’t feel that happy. We felt something was missing. We went through a phase of filling our life with things and that didn’t really help. We then tried to fill our life with Experiences, that helped a lot more. But eventually we always came back to home plate, which was our 12hr work day, traveling on the weekends, and fitting in family where we could.
We wanted more time! We couldn’t live the lives we wanted to live around the confined schedule of our day to day work. I left the house at 5am and got back at 5pm. I cooked dinner and spent time with Allison and it was 7pm. I would work on our business or chat with the roomates for another hour and its time for bed, so that I can wake up at 4am to do it all over again. This life felt constrained. There was my 4 weeks of vacation (which is super generous in the US), but even that seemed to fly by. We found ourselves looking forward to the next vacation or the next weekend and this started to build an animosity between me and my work.
When I first started my job, I loved the excitement of learning something new. I loved the challenges that came with breaking into a brand-new field with so much to learn and figure out. I’m a problem solver by nature and my job gave me a ton of freedom to do the work that I found exciting and interesting. I still think my job is a great job, and I’ll try to even out some of the job bashing that could have been construed from the previous few paragraphs. I had an excellent job that was engaging and fulfilling. It paid me more than I ever could have imagined being paid leaving college and provided for me to be in the position to be able to make the choice to stay or not. I worked with great people on interesting problems. I felt I contributed to the success of the company and in many regards, I felt I held a position that I had significant and direct impact on the company’s performance and bottom line.
I started to envision and imagine what my life would look like 5 and 10 years down the road. I could see myself working at this job. Still doing the same work and saving as much money as I could to someday reach the magical 25x savings compared to my spending at which point I’d be free to leave and never work again if we so desired. We were scheduled to hit that goal in a short 5-7 years from this year, to which many would have advised sticking it out. Why quit when you are so close?
Because I was thinking Bigger! I started to envision what it would be like to live that life now. To explore and adventure before starting a family. To work on something that could build perennial value for us and for our family. We wanted to have something to call our own that we built ourselves. That we were truly passionate about and that lit us up inside. Why should we wait?
The pursuit of Financial independence and all the personal development and inner work we had undertaken had ruined the idea of working for someone else for the next 10 years. [bctt tweet="If we could provide $250,000 worth of value to a company from the inside. How much value could we provide to the world if we went direct to those that needed it?"] Should we wait 10 years and then build the business and wait to be financially secure before taking the risk of leaving our jobs?


I took a business class with Billy Murphy who writes a blog at ForeverJobless.com and he taught me so much about how to honestly evaluate risk. As humans we are inherently bad at being objective when it comes to risk because our brains were evolved with a negativity bias to help us survive. So, lets dive into our decision to really evaluate how risky it is.
The biggest risk in life is doing something that is not going to achieve your desired goals. When we looked at our life and thought about what we truly wanted more than anything else, we arrived at time and location freedom. We wanted to be able to support our standard of living of around $30-40k per year. We wanted to feel alive and passionate about what we were doing each day and feel that we were directly helping those we interacted with. (what are your dreams and desires? Write them down or put them in the comments below)
Time/ Location freedom
  • Jobs: scored pretty low in this area. We had very little freedom and while we had a light at the end of the tunnel that was still 7 years away or longer.
  • Quitting: Scored super high in this area, We could have this now. Work when we want, travel when we want, be wherever we want.
Financial Support
  • Jobs: Scores excellent. It has a 7 year timeline to get us to our goal of having enough savings to support our spending indefinitely and obviously provided more than enough for us to live on in the near term.
  • Quitting:
    • We said there is a 20% possibility (hopefully overestimated!) that we make zero money. We use up some of our 3 year savings runway and end up going back to work (Bummer) We lost a little time and money and end up in a similar situation to where we are now but maybe 1 year back on the timeline to FI.
    • There is a 50% chance that we at least make enough income to cover our expenses within the next 3 years so our runway becomes Infinite! Goal achieved
    • The other 30% of the time, we have amazing success in our businesses and greatly surpass our income requirements and quite possibly our earnings at our jobs. (hopefully underestimated!)
Feeling alive and passionate about our work
  • Jobs: This scores a 4/10. I liked what I did, and when you compare one job to another job… I had a great job. But if you compare that job to running a company that directly touches peoples lives? It starts to look a little worse.
  • Quitting: We can work on whatever we want! So this by nature has to be a 10/10 as long as we are being honest with ourselves!
So looking at these aspects when laid out this way, by taking your goals, and using those as the rubric to measure your choices, you hopefully end up with the optimal decision.
Worst-Case Scenario: would be we quit, and we are unable to provide for ourselves financially and we deplete our savings runway. We end up going back to work (we will be 30 and 31) and we can choose a new location and new jobs. In the mean time we had an awesome 3 years of travel and growth as we learned new skills and stretched ourselves. We likely grew together as a couple having all of these experiences and we are ready to settle down, have some kiddos and we can likely be financially free by the time they are 10.
Probable Scenario: We travel and work for the next 3 years and can get the businesses producing at least $30-40k per year. We maintain most of our savings and we live off the business and continue to invest into them and grow them. At the end of our 3 years of travel (or longer since we have a now infinite runway!) we can choose anywhere in the world to settle down and have kids. We can work from home and spend time with them when they are young. We make all the school and sports events. We can take them on long summer travels or homeschool them and travel indefinitely until we want them to have a more stable group of friends.
Ideal Scenario: Basically looks the same as above except we make WAY more than 30-40k/yr and we gain even more freedom to do what we want. We also get to give a lot of that money away to help others. We spend our time with our family, building new exciting businesses, or working to help more people in the ones we’ve already built.
Hidden Scenario: It’s easy to skip over the “do nothing” scenario as the status quo is so familiar but that has to be evaluated also. If we stay in our jobs we spend the next 7 years in Bakersfield, in a melancholy state, working until we reach our goals of financial independence. We want to have a family before then, so we are working and having kids and now have a lot of inertia holding us in Bakersfield. I literally feel like I just graduated college, where did the last 5 years go… Where will the next 7 go if I stay? Will I get out and make the move later on? (I think so but I’m not willing to risk it!)
When we broke it down like this. Our fears of leaving this job behind seemed so small and in fact, the thought of doing nothing and sticking it out seemed a little scary. Many people give up on their dreams automatically by choosing a path that is guaranteed to never get them there. If you goal is to make $2,000,000/yr You shouldn’t take a job as a fry-cook. Drastic example but I think you get the point. Each opportunity and option needs to be evaluated against where you want your life to be and that is how you truly evaluate your risk and your expected value. While staying in a nice safe job can seem less risky, it’s really not if its likely hood of reaching your goals are close to zero.
So that is why we did it! Please leave us a comment below and let us know what you think about our choice, our logic, etc. We are open books!
What are we going to do?
We have orchestrated a plan to travel the US and the world by a mix of plane, RV, and sailboat. It’s a loose plan at this point, but we like that and intend to keep it that way for at least a little while. Our first 6 months will be spent traveling the US via RV and exploring our own home country. We've both done a ton of international travel and sadly I haven't even been to half the states. The ones I have been too, I've seen 1 or 2 towns and usually for only a few days. We felt it's time to get out there and take it all in. We want to try and find our "forever home" that we can go to when we want to have kids and give them a more stable place to grow up.

What are we going to work on? 

We have Primal Noms, a keto and paleo baked goods company, which will be launching a line of muffins and mug cake products in April 2018! (woot woot!)

Alli has her own life coaching practice, and we plan to open up a financial coaching school for couples using Matt's expertise in finances, investments, and Alli's coaching skills.


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Mike Malig
Mike Malig
4 years ago

Wow, amazing read! I love how you guys broke down every single scenario and the possibilities. I truly believe in both of you, and I know you will both succeed. This has really given me a new perspective on how to manage my time, and it is making me think about how much value can I bring to my own business. Thank you!

Allison Owen
Allison Owen
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike Malig

Awesome to hear that Mike! We believe in you too and can’t wait to watch you succeed!

Dick Diamond
Dick Diamond
4 years ago

As far as reactions/advice from friends/workmates – Nothing has changed since June 9, 1985 when I quit my job & took off.

You cannot do at 65 what you can do at 27 PERIOD !!!

One can always always figure out how to make money.

Money is enless but time is not.

4 years ago

Great Article! We’ve been considering a similar path. A lot of what we want to accomplish is traveling around the world and working for small non-profit groups and communities. It’s hard to do that while working a regular full time job. And, like you, we’ve also considered whether to push another 5 years saving money to be fully FI or to take a break now and see where it takes us. We’ve settled on a middle ground: to work another year and then take off. We’re in our 30’s, so 100-150k in the market now would likely secure our older… Read more »

Andri Johnston
4 years ago

Amazing and love how practical and realistic you still were about the whole change. My husband is also an engineer so I appreciate a more practical outlook on following your dream and having the life you want. Really excited for your financial business as well and will definitely like to learn more from you regarding saving etc. Good luck and live the dream!


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Financial Samurai
4 years ago

Congratulations! I think it’ll be a blast. As you said, you guys can always go back to work.

But one question: why I quit instead of negotiate a severance and have an even longer runway? Les Moonves from
CEO has 6 harassment complaints against him and is getting a $100 million severance!


Linda Gomez
Linda Gomez
4 years ago

Oh my gosh. Sounds amazing. Can I ask you what the breakdown in the 600k is? That’s where my husband and I are at financially – so it’s giving us the hope to potentially hit the road!


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