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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 08-28-06, 05:33 PM   #1
Daboo
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my story

I'm 24, fresh out of college, and I just quit my 54k/yr corporate software development job. I'm halfway through paying off a new '05 car, which, I've decided to sell. It just dawned on me one day at work...what the hell am I doing??? The old, 'working to drive, and driving to work' deal, thats what. I've decided to kill two birds with one stone by both quitting a job I don't like, and selling a car which I don't want to pay for. I don't even have a backup plan yet! However I've got some bank saved up to figure out what I really want to do, and I have no student loans. I figure this is a turning point in my life, and if there is a time to do something like this, its now. I have no debt, no kids, and I'm not married. I don't know if this is some kind of "screw the man" phase, but I like it. The funny thing was, when I bought the new car, I drove it for a few months, then tried to sell it. Having never had any debt before (thanks Dad), I got kind of freaked out at the prospect of making car payments. However, social conditioning got the better of me, and I decided to keep it. I justified this, by convincing myself that since I could afford the payments, why not? Looking back though, there were some subconcious motivators involved - 1) everyone else out of school was doing it and 2) you NEED a car. How else will you get around? Now, I've realized that it doesn't have to be this way! Life doesn't have to be so complicated. Add the recent switch to a vegan diet and long hair - I think I'm truly a hippy at heart. I feel much better anyway.

I just bought an '05 c-dale t800 from the LBS, and I'm planning a ride from Cincinnati to Athens, OH this fall, and possibly St. Louis next year. I will also be using it to commute around town. This forum has totally inspired me, thanks guys!
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Old 08-28-06, 08:21 PM   #2
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Here's the perspective of a 53 year old grandfather, former electronics engineer, and business owner.

The world has plenty of corporate software developers. Learn some portable, practical job skills so that you can make a living where ever you go. Retail, food service, and health care aide come to mind. Learn to live cheap and do not go into debt. Paying into Social Security will be a good enough retirement plan. Then go out and see the world.

If you decide to change your mind and settle down in the future, you can always do that, too.
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Old 08-28-06, 08:43 PM   #3
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Congrats Daboo!

One of the biggest regrets in my life is that I didn't take the time to explore alternatives when I was younger. Looking back I don't think I even realized they existed! I guess I was pretty programmed into the graduate college - get a job - buy a car way of thinking.

My only concern for you is that if you are going to take this time then you really need to <i>do something</i> with it. Don't just hang around town and bum off your parents. They don't owe you that.

I think it is important that you try new things, big things. At your age you can not make a mistake. And what you learn now will prove its worth many times over for the rest of your life.

So plan a cycling adventure. Move to a new city every year. Get hooked up with an international work/study program and spend time overseas. Volunteer for the Peace Corps. I just don't want to hear that your flipping burgers at McDonald's and living in the folks basement smoking weed

Finally, while you are young enough to get by without much money and not care about it don't forgo health insurance under any circumstances. See if your parents policy will still carry you a bit longer. If not look into purchasing catastrophic health insurance. Something with a high deductible like $5000.
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Old 08-28-06, 09:03 PM   #4
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Fortunately, I'm self sufficient and don't have to rely on my parents. I've got enough saved up for about 6-8 months of unemployment, if it comes to that. I also made sure to hit up the dentist before I quit my job, and once I did, I got some high deducable health insurance. So I think I have all the bases covered, except I'm not sure what happens to my 401k. At this point, I'm definately thinking career change - To what, I'm not sure. You guys are right though, I need to just get out there and try stuff and the answers will come.

You know, I think I may start a blog about this experience....
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Old 08-28-06, 09:30 PM   #5
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Two thoughts...

1) Get a job that is transferable(can be done anywhere) and will be around no matter what...people need only four things to live... Food(inc water), Shelter(housing), Clothing, Heat(inc ac) think about a job that covers these areas and you'll never be outta work.

2) If you are not sure what you want to do job wise, try borrowing "what color is your parachute" from your local library... it may open your eyes to something you are suited to, but never thought about... if not don't worry i'm 30+ and still don't know what i want to do.. The world is your oyster!!! Have fun.

P.S Congrats at getting out of the rat race, remember only rats win in a rat race...
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Old 08-28-06, 09:31 PM   #6
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...I'm not sure what happens to my 401k...
Reallocate the assets to something that has a good degree of diversity. Then I suggest you just let it sit and compound for the next forty years or so.
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Old 08-28-06, 11:08 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Platy
Learn some portable, practical job skills so that you can make a living where ever you go. Retail, food service, and health care aide come to mind.
So do things like nurse or doctor, and you can live on the pay of a nurse or doctor. Otherwise, learn a trade. Also portable, and you can live on the pay of a tradesman.


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Paying into Social Security will be a good enough retirement plan.
No offense, but that's the worst advice I've ever read anywhere.


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Then go out and see the world.
And that is some great advice.


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If you decide to change your mind and settle down in the future, you can always do that, too.
True.

Last edited by Blue Order; 08-28-06 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 08-29-06, 12:45 AM   #8
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So do things like nurse or doctor, and you can live on the pay of a nurse or doctor. Otherwise, learn a trade. Also portable, and you can live on the pay of a tradesman.
Doctors who work temp assignments are called locums. They can go to some interesting places and take long vacations between assignments. The problem with the licensed professions such as doctor and registered nurse is that so much specialized education is required and the student loan burdens are heavy.
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Old 08-29-06, 01:07 AM   #9
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Doctors who work temp assignments are called locums. They can go to some interesting places and take long vacations between assignments. The problem with the licensed professions such as doctor and registered nurse is that so much specialized education is required and the student loan burdens are heavy.
Sounds like travel nurses-- they get to work in different parts of the country, and they make more money than staff nurses.

True though about the education though. However, my best friend's husband is in nursing school at community college, and he doesn't have student loans. I went the fancy education route, on the other hand, and have the student loans to prove it.

Service jobs don't require an education, but they don't pay well enough to live off the income, either. At 24, that doesn't matter to some. At 34, and 44, it's a different story. Better to have a skill that's in demand anywhere and pays a living wage than to have a service job. I know, I've been there.

Ya know, OP, one thing you might consider is a position teaching English in Korea or Japan. You get to travel, you get paid, and you get to move on when it gets old. Another option is to join the peace corps. You get to travel, you get to make a difference in people's lives, and you get to come back-- if you want to-- when your service is up.
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Old 08-29-06, 01:21 AM   #10
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Heres my take on "what to do" sans job and car. Do the epic tour (US- southern or northern tier) observe what the people you meet have to say about life, what different cities look like and keep an open mind. In europe it's common to wander for a year and discover yourself.
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Old 08-29-06, 06:57 AM   #11
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Either hit the road or get back to work a few more years. If you can take a few more years of work, and save like crazy, it will make a huge difference on your life for the next 40 years. If you can save up 150k that could sustain a life long bike tour.
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Old 08-29-06, 07:42 AM   #12
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Either hit the road or get back to work a few more years...
The first thing the OP is likely to discover is that the formerly new car can't be sold for what is needed to pay off the loan. The barbed hook of consumer debt will soon be exposed, illuminating the insight and wisdom of that shadowy wizard in the background named Dad.

However, it seems the OP has stashed away a small amount of money. I think the wrong way to break free from the treadmill is to lounge around a few months waiting for inspiration. The result will likely be no money left and still no inspiration.

The optimum strategy, I think, would be for the OP to spend this short interlude hoarding the cash and learning how to wait a table or work a cash register.
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Old 08-29-06, 08:50 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Blue Order
True though about the education though. However, my best friend's husband is in nursing school at community college, and he doesn't have student loans. I went the fancy education route, on the other hand, and have the student loans to prove it.
You would never go to a high priced education UNLESS the major selected started with a salary of 75K and more per year. Otherwise, you're better off going to a community college and studying a trade or working for the government.
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Old 08-29-06, 09:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daboo
I bought the new car, I drove it for a few months, then tried to sell it. Having never had any debt before (thanks Dad), I got kind of freaked out at the prospect of making car payments. However, social conditioning got the better of me, and I decided to keep it. I justified this, by convincing myself that since I could afford the payments, why not? Looking back though, there were some subconcious motivators involved - 1) everyone else out of school was doing it and 2) you NEED a car. How else will you get around?
It's amazing how this site draws fresh new blood to the forum. At 24, I would have been terrified doing what he's comtemplating and would still feel that way today. I have to say that I went down the other road and really never felt satisfied about any of the jobs I've taken. Then again, the internet wasn't really around like it is today and most of what I learned about life happend after I logged on.

We are socially conditioned to lease a new car every four years or less and this is considered normal. It's normal to spend 20-30% of your working income on transportation costs each year. It's normal to make monthly payments to banks and insurance companies for your motor car addiction. Like robots, we fall in line and spend most of our lives paying for a lifestyle that just made us grow old.
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Old 08-29-06, 09:39 AM   #15
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...Like robots, we fall in line and spend most of our lives paying for a lifestyle that just made us grow old.
Word.

Back when I was an employer, I was very pleased when new employees bought new cars and houses. The reason? I knew from that point on, we owned them. Nothing makes employees compliant like debt does.
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Old 08-29-06, 10:14 AM   #16
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Oh no! That's not right at all!

Quote:
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Paying into Social Security will be a good enough retirement plan.
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Old 08-29-06, 11:01 AM   #17
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Congratulations. You are finding out who you are much younger than most other people. You have lots of options.

At about your age, I shucked my corporate job and took off on a 3 month trip around Europe and the U.S on bicycle, train and bus. I learned a lot, and saw myself differently at the end. I was down two bicycles, one girlfriend, several thousand dollars and out of a job, but my career started then.

One fellow mentioned several low paying jobs as fall back skills. Actually programming is a good general skill and will get you work in most places these days. But since we must spend so much time working, you may want to ask yourself, what do I want to accomplish? what do I enjoy doing? If you have any wild dreams, now is the time to go after them with a vengance. You are old enough to accomplish anything and young enough to have the energy.

If you know where you want to live, you may want to look into buying a small house. Also now is the time to begin investment, good investment will pay more than a job. Get involved in the community. This can be very rewarding and lead to connections. Connections are what make you.

Be very wary of marriage. It's the ONLY lifetime commitment. The woman who is your wife, is not the bride you marry. People change. Be sure your values and economic lifestyle match.

I personally wouldn't marry except to legitimize children, but then I just got divorced after a 16 year marriage, and I'm still digging out of the rubble so I have to admit some bias. Yet, we are still friends, and given what I knew then it was a sound decision, just a very wrong one.

So good luck to you. The only other advice I have for you is learn to play Freecell and play it well. That game has taught me more about planning, strategy and risk taking than anything else in life.
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Old 08-29-06, 11:07 AM   #18
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Histotechnologist might be a good choice. They prepare tissue for microscopic examination. The education minimums are low, the pay is fairly high, and you can generally find work in most communities.
National Society for Histotechnology
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Old 08-29-06, 12:58 PM   #19
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The first thing the OP is likely to discover is that the formerly new car can't be sold for what is needed to pay off the loan. The barbed hook of consumer debt will soon be exposed, illuminating the insight and wisdom of that shadowy wizard in the background named Dad.
Of course, I definately will lose money overall on the car. But somewhat stupidly, I financed the car at 30 months. Thankfully it's almost half payed off, and even with depreciation, I will still get a little cash back after paying off the bank. This is pretty unusual, I know, but I better get out while the getting out is good.

My intution is telling me that the answer is the internet. One website that has been a great inspiration to me is stevepavlina.com. Steve lives almost entirely off ad revenue from his blog. This is the direction I've been thinking in. I've got the tech savy to do it, and there is very low risk involved. And, I can work a regular job if needed at the same time.
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Old 08-30-06, 08:21 AM   #20
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I'll be 24 in a month, and I am contemplating something similar. I went to college, have no student loans, have a fully paid-off car (though I commute by bike) and a decent job (which I ought to be doing right now, instead of writing this). I also have a wife and a house with a big ol' mortgage. My job is boring, not at all stimulating, and generally not really what I thought I would be doing when I started school.

My problem is that I cannot decide what I want to do with the rest of my life. I absolutely cannot see myself in this job when I'm 40. I don't really know what I'd like to be doing when I'm 40. I'd love to dive head-on into the side-business that I'm running, but it's a risky move with so much else at stake.

I suppose I'm not really being too helpful here. All I can say is, good luck with your newfound freedom. Use it to find something in life that you are truly passionate about.
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Old 08-30-06, 09:30 AM   #21
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My problem is that I cannot decide what I want to do with the rest of my life. I absolutely cannot see myself in this job when I'm 40. I don't really know what I'd like to be doing when I'm 40. I'd love to dive head-on into the side-business that I'm running, but it's a risky move with so much else at stake.
Yes, its interesting how every company will use your skills how they see fit. They sometimes don't really even know you because they have you pegged. I had one supervisor who after I had basically set up their animation standards and refined over 100 animation templates, noted on his "recommendation" after our department got laid off that I could use Microsoft Word.....

After the layoff, I resisted the temptation to polish all the most obvious skills and instead took the time to beef up the parts I liked doing the most,(interactive 3d) ended up as a speaker at a professional conference on doing just that and in part from being a speaker, got a job doing what I wanted to do. You have to be agressive about maintaining your direction.

Marriage may make that harder. It all depends on how you two can work it out. .

Keep plugging on with your side business. Let it grow. It will tell you when the right time to make the jump is. Good luck with it. Your bikes look appealing. Once I get the debts from my marriage paid off, I would be tempted to get one.
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Old 08-30-06, 10:06 AM   #22
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wow...and I thought I was unique in my situation (23, have a degree, don't want to dive into debt)

I guess my problem is not knowing where to take myself. 3 things appeal to me (and a 4th option tells me it exists, but I'm not so sure I like it):

Cooking (I love to cook and generally do 5-6 nights a week)

Metalwork (I had to lathe/mill some things for research when I got my degree...loved every minute of it)

Some kind of healthcare (I'm currently a paid attendant for a quadruplegic...its ok)

Education (I'm only a master's degree away from being that wierd high-school physics teacher everyone either loves or hates)
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Old 08-30-06, 10:21 AM   #23
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Daboo congratulations on quitting your job. I am 31, married with 2 children, house in the burbs, and I just quit my job Monday. I told them I was going to a competitor so that they paid me for my last 2 weeks, but truth be told I don't have another job lined up, and I'm not in a hurry to find one. Luckilly my wife makes enough running her own business part time that I don't have to race back to work.

Enjoy your time off. When you're ready to get back to wok you'll have a better idea of what to do. The blog is a great idea, or perhaps you could make house calls to help people with their computers? One of our neighbors did that contracted through our local cable/internet provider. I don't think he worked for any less than $50 an hour. We called him when we had a virus, and my wife was running a different biz on Ebay at the time, so we gladly paid the $50 to keep the business doors open so to speak.
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Old 08-30-06, 01:43 PM   #24
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Travel...I'll work a year and take a year off, travel someplace work a bit...explore a bit, get up and go someplace else...I work a trade so it's easy to find work most anywhere, no wife or kids, and no major expense to speak of. Trying to work up hiking the AT next year for about 5-6 months. But travel is my substitute for the car and chain.
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Old 08-30-06, 04:43 PM   #25
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Congratulations daboo. I don't think you need any advice so I'll not offer any. Enjoy your life and keep on posting here!

What kind of bike do you have?
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