My wife and I had finally found a house we want to buy (or rather, build. That’s an important distinction for this story), and we have found a bank that would accept me for a loan at a very reasonable rate (1.63% fixed for 35 years). We’re signing for the land at the end of this month, and there will be another signature for the building itself, mid next year.
Everything was looking great, as getting the loan was the last thing I needed to do before quitting my job and FIRE.
Except it will not happen.
As we reviewed the documents with the bank ahead of signing the loan, they shared a rough “schedule” leading to the house being built by end of May next year. It was a bunch of kanji, but my wife noticed something she knew I wouldn’t like.
– “what’s that ‘approval’ step in May next year?”, she asked.
– “Oh. Yes, there’s a second approval step for the second loan, the one for the house, right before the house is completed. So it should happen in April or May next year.”
– “So there’s a second approval. The one we did last month is not enough?”
– “Right. Two loans, one for the land in 2018, one for the house in May 2019, so, two approvals. We recommend your husband doesn’t [something I don’t understand] until the second approval is passed, otherwise the second half of the loan could get declined”
– “What’s that word?”, I ask.
– “They strongly recommend you don’t change jobs at least until the second approval in May next year”, my wife replies.
– “Of course, if you move to another reputable company in the meantime, I’m sure things will be ok”, the bank dude tells me with a smile, “but unless you have to, I’d really recommend to stay in your current company as it will make the whole thing much, much smoother”.
It fell on me like a ton of bricks. My entire plan for the year involved sticking it to my boss by the end of June, August at the worst. I have a white board close to my desk, where there is only one thing written: the number of days remaining until the end of August. I diligently update it every day.
Having to work One More Year has so many bad implications it feels like a terrible joke from fate. Today, I’m rich enough that I can RE as long as I get the loan. but not enough to just pay for the house with cash. In a year, I’ll probably be rich enough to pay for the house in cash, but by then I probably won’t need to. How ironic.
I have been miserable at work for a long time now, and I’m having a hard time imagining having to keep doing it for twelve more months. Rich enough to retire at age 36 under some conditions, yet not enough to just be able to say “fuck you” to the banking system.
Because of the bank’s constraint, I somehow need my position at the company more than I need the money that comes with it, which is oddly unsatisfying.
That’s for the ugly, psychological shock of this meeting at the bank today.
Now, there’s some good in this situation. For the obvious parts, this means I’ll be that much richer by the same day next year. If Mr Market is good, it means I could probably FIRE without even a need for my side gig by mid next year. In any case, it will give me more flexibility. Even if the market is bad, I’ll be ale to say in hindsight that it was a better idea not to retire the year before anyway. And it would have to be truly terrible for me to not be able to compensate for a huge drop with our savings rate. Either way, more money will mean more flexibility and less problems.
Additionally, it means my company will handle my taxes next year as well. Which is great because it will be in theory the last year where I find myself in a complex tax situation involving the US. Not having to do it myself will be a huge burden off my shoulders.
I’ve probably just run into the mother of first world problems: having to stay one more year at a job that pays a stellar salary and has great benefits, and whining because I can’t actually retire at age 36, and will have to wait at age 37. Whine whine whine.
Of course, the problem remains: How will I survive the next 12 months at my job, given that the past 12 months have been insanely painful… time to look for ideas and rekindle my motivation somehow.