Over the last year or so I have written more than one article about being financially secure. In each of these posts I have noted this situation allows me to take more risks with my financial situation. What I had yet to do was determine what exact risks I would take, until now. This post will explore Location Independence.
Inspiration on Travel
A few weeks ago, I spent a week at the beach at a family reunion of sorts. You won’t see much written on this event since for much of it either myself or my wife were working while the kids frolicked during the day. Also, the bill was footed by other family members attending so no travel hacking discussion here. Still, the event itself has started a formation of a plan for next year around location independence.
Work from Home
I work for a company that allows plenty of work from home. I typically work at home one day a week. This is also not the first time I have gone somewhere and brought my work with me. Two of the last three years my wife has worked 2 weeks in Germany in her full-time role. In each case I went along working one week remotely and vacationing the second week. I did much the same with this beach trip, working part of the week and enjoying the July 4th holiday the rest. So, short stints of location independence are cool with my company.
What about Longer Term?
More and more I am also seeing older folks at work relocate away from our sites while retaining their jobs. I would say it’s no longer even a rare occurrence, as I have seen 4-5 people do this in the last six months. The only defining factor is these people tend to have jobs that are not location dependent. I.e. they can do their jobs from anywhere. My job fits that criteria, I tend to manage people across the globe. I am more likely to be on the phone to China then talking to the person in the next cube. As such at a high level my job fits the requirements for my company to allow location independence.
So why have I not done so to date?
With all this background and how often it happens in the company I work for you are probably wondering why I have not already practiced location independence. There are actually two reasons. The first is before this year my wife worked for the same company and her job was location dependent. She spent most of her time teaching local training courses to engineers on site. Fast forward and she is now a contractor working at home, so her job is no longer a concern. The second reason was my position in my career to date. As a former boss once stated to me: You can relocate anywhere you like and we will support you, but you better be prepared to be in your final job.
Out of Sight, Out of Job?
Simply put once you move away from major sites you are out of sight out of mind. So, promotions and job opportunities are less likely. Add to that when they look to cut people for layoffs also tend to be these remote workers. It’s much easier to get opportunities when management sees you every day on the way to the coffee machine. That has not changed where I work and I imagine it is still true for much of industry despite changing industry attitudes towards remote workers.
No longer need to Climb
Which brings us back to being near financial independence. I no longer need to climb higher up the ladder and a job loss would not do much more than delay retirement by a few years. This has changed only recently. In other words, I am entering a stage in my career instigated by financial independence where the downsides of location independence are less important.
Part of Year Location Independence
So, what are we going to do? Well I know I want some location independence. I want to travel to places and live there for some length of time. But I also know working remotely is not always easy. I also know while I no longer need to climb corporate ladder rungs, I would not mind doing so at least one more time. I especially still dream of landing an ex-pat position for a few years. So, going full Location Independence and moving away full time probably does not fit the bill. This is especially true since we have only lived in our current house for 4 years. But, at the same time, a few months of time location independent would likely not stunt my career while fitting the need. Which leads us to the plan.
The first part of the plan for location independence is timing. In our case, we have a young child in First Grade starting in September. Between now and September our schedules are already well booked locally for both work and non-work activities. Since we do not want to disrupt our child’s schooling or become homeschoolers this means any locational independence would need to be scheduled around next summer. We are currently thinking of doing so from June after our child’s elementary school ends through the end of August when it starts again.
My job involves a decent amount of travel and will likely still have certain weeks where I need to stop at the local site for a meeting. As such anywhere we choose needs to be near an airport for travel. I would also prefer it to remain in the US on the east coast so if I wish to drive back for a meeting at my main work site I can. Thankfully I have relatives in the area so in those minimal cases I may need to return for a meeting a hotel would not be necessary.
Once we determine the where we will look at the how. I would like to keep the costs in control such that we are not paying both rent and mortgage for three months. So, for now we are considering options like house sitting, house swapping, or renting our home while we are away. We are still investigating options at this point.
A request for Recommendations
Which brings us to the typical action question at the end post. In this case, it’s an ask of you the readers for suggestions. Do you have any advice on the where and the how? Any recommended resources? Thankfully I have a full year to plan this adventure but suggestions are welcome.