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Parental Leave: FIRE can’t come soon enough!

Question

My second child was born at the beginning of March 2019. To be home with my wife and help with our new daughter and my toddler son, I took a week of vacation immediately; went back to work for one day; and then took my full paternity leave. My company quite generously provides six weeks of paid parental leave. Starting tomorrow, I have one week of paternity leave left. So I will have effectively been off work for seven straight weeks.

Obviously, helping with a newborn child is no cakewalk (lack of sleep!). But these seven weeks have been the best that I can ever remember. It’s been amazing to spend all day every day with my family.

I’m already 32 years old and am working primarily with a dividend growth portfolio for FIRE. I target to invest $2000 each month into specific highly researched dividend paying stocks; with an end goal of $100k in dividends for FIRE. But it’s super slow going. My calculations indicate another 20 years of work. I’m sure if I pull from 401k and ROTH before 59.5 I could maybe cut it down to 15 years more of work. But it’s hard to predict that far into the future with any true clarity.

After being away from a traditional job for nearly two months, I absolutely do not want go back. But I am the sole provider for my family. And if I don’t return, I won’t be able to invest.

I don’t work for “job satisfaction”. I have forced my promotions and raises over the years entirely to increase salary and thus investing ability. I did this because I’m 100% confident I would never get job satisfaction from any career. To me, work is to make money.

I am working on a few side hustles, but nothing too major yet. And again, these are specifically focused to increase investing FIRE-power.

All this to say: I thoroughly enjoyed being home with my family all these weeks. I cannot wait to have this be my “full time job”. I only wish that it didn’t have to come after my children are grown.

Answers

Someone answered:

Congrats on your new little one! Don't be discouraged by the 20 year calculation. As you progress in your career, your FIRE power will increase as your salary and bonuses, etc. increase. Also, who knows, maybe you will hit the jackpot with your side hustle and FIRE sooner than you expect.

Double down on your expenses and continue to look for ways to increase your income. My money is on you retiring long before 15 or 20 years, just based on your attitude.

Someone answered:

3 week old in our house, so I hear you (especially about being the sold provider.

Being self-employed, I don't get any paid parental leave, but I do have a lot more flexibility around work and have set myself up to work from home a lot more in this early period (even though that will mean making less money).

Enjoy the days and the moments that you are there with them, knowing that everything you do each day at work is being done for them and for you.

Someone answered:

As a dad of 2 small kids I get you – I dream of taking the kids on random adventures throughout their childhood and it’s no fun spending that time in a job you don’t really care about. Not sure what your career is however if you’re able to angle a remote position it’ll help gain some time back – my company didn’t offer it however after requesting I now work remote so that’s more time with the kids. More and more companies are buying into remote and honestly to get & keep good talent they don’t have much of a choice.

Additionally, once the kids hit 3 they’re likely full time in preschool so they’re gone during the day anyway. Finally, calculations are all well and good but opportunities are everywhere so don’t get down on the potential ~15 year timeline, just take it day by day; for all you know this time next year you’re in a job you like and making 2x as much.