Or not. Is that the question?
This month has been somewhat trying work-wise. I haven't had much time to think, but in the limited time I have had I've been mentally exploring some options. Today's post is going to list them and hopefully the act of writing them out and getting some feedback from the RetireJapan community will help with the decisionmaking process.
The post should also illustrate some ways to think about money and plan for the future.
Right now I work at a university. My job is tenure track, and I am applying for tenure this year. If I get it the position is pretty close to bulletproof: I will continue to receive my decent salary and benefits until I retire in twenty-some years time. The work is pleasant, allows a lot of flexibility, and is not particularly tough or stressful. The salary is enough for my wife and I to live on but is set by the university pay scale and will not increase meaningfully in the future regardless of what I do.
My wife owns and runs a small language school. She employs about ten people, including two full-time teachers. I help out at the school in an advisory capacity (with permission from my employer). Running a school is tough and my wife works long hours and deals with a lot of stressful situations. I try to help as much as I can but am somewhat constrained by my main job. Currently the profits from the school are between 1.5 and 2 times my university salary.
We have very little free time, both day to day and on an annual basis. It is difficult for us to take time off and we don't have enough time as we would like to spend with family or on ourselves. We've been working flat out for fifteen years now and feel like maybe it's time to cut back and restore the work-life balance somewhat.
We have about 15 years' worth of living expenses in savings and investments. I will receive a retirement bonus (around 2m yen if I left this year, 20m if I continue at the university until retirement). My wife could sell the school (it's worth what someone would pay for it, but probably at least 15m yen right now). We should both receive a Japanese state pension (kosei nenkin for me and kokumin nenkin for my wife). I should also receive a UK state pension. We will probably delay receiving the state pensions in order to take advantage of the increases in that case.
WHAT MIGHT BE
I figure we have five options, from extremely conservative to somewhat adventurous.
Option 1 is the status quo. Continue working at university and running the school to take advantage and save/invest more money. The school could become more profitable, potentially accelerating this process.
Pro: more money, safer. Con: stress, no extra free time.
Option 2 is conservative. Stay at the university and scale back or close the school so it is less stressful.
Pro: more time, less stress. Con: less money.
Option 3 is entrepreneurial. Leave the university and double down on the school. We could probably expand the business and make it more profitable.
Pro: more money, interesting. Con: more stress, might not work.
Option 4 is a lifestyle choice. Leave the university and scale back the school so it pays our expenses. This could be done with just a couple of days a week.
Pro: more time, less stress. Con: less money, might not work.
Option 5 is a bit wild. Leave the university and close the school. Travel and spend time on our hobbies. Spend down our savings until we reach pension age.
Pro: freedom. Con: might run out of money. Overly dependent on state pensions.
Options 1-3 would allow us to leave our investments to grow over time, and possibly add to them. Option 4 would probably deplete them slowly. Option 5 would deplete them more quickly.
WHAT SAY YOU?
This post is basically like that thing where you flip a coin then decide to do what you wanted to do in the first place, ignoring the result of the coin flip if it contradicts your feelings.
What do you think we should do? Why? We probably won't do it, but the more feedback we get the better a decision we will eventually come to.