Here’s To You

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I’m gonna keep today’s article short because, let’s be honest here, you should be out BBQ-ing or watching fireworks or whatever this long weekend instead of sitting here reading a blog.

Image by chensiyuan @ Wikipedia

But I just wanted to share with you an email we just got that kind of encapsulates why we write this silly little blog 3 times a week.

So, I swear that I won’t keep pestering you all, but I had to write in to thank you again. Your analysis and your blog really inspired me.

Anyway, long story short – I resigned from my job and took a new position at same institution, but now I have a chance at $150,000 and student loan forgiveness. I negotiated a faculty position at $97,500 with adjunct pay for all courses taught outside my dept ($23,000 this AY), and 2 months summer salary ($21,600). ย That puts me at ($142,167) for 2017-2018 school year. ย If I bring in enough grant money for summer salary next year (and I certainly intend to do so) I could make $153,000.

I honestly wouldn’t have went for this if it wasn’t for your posts and the comments of the group. Here’s to FIRE!



This is reader Millennial Academic Scientist, who’s reader case we featured in a Case Study Here. To recap, MAS was earning good money, but had a giant student loan with an eye-popping balance of $183k. We did the case and figured out 3 options:

  1. Continue paying the minimum on the debt and rely on the PSLF to forgive it. Time to retirement: 16 years.
  2. Plow all your money into the loan to kill it, then save for retirement. Time to retirement: 15 years.
  3. Abandon the PSLF, go into private sector, increase salary from $100k to $150k. Time to retirement: 10 years.

So of course MAS went out there and made up a 4th option that I didn’t even think was possible: Increase salary to $150k while staying in the public sector! Now she has the money AND the PSLF!

In short, MAS is kicking life’s ass! She’s unstoppable, and we are SO incredibly proud of her!

But for this particular case, it wasn’t just us doing all the heavy lifting. After the post went up, the comments lit up with you guys giving out great advice and that back-and-forth really helped MAS solidify what she wanted to do. In particular, readers Frank, Jason, Chris, ARB, Vancouver Brit turned a pretty good article into an inspiring thread, and together we actually helped change someone’s life!

So here’s to you, fellow Revolutionaries. Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and thanks for being you. Together we can change people’s lives, one reader case at a time.

Now get out there and watch some fireworks.

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14 thoughts on “Here’s To You”

  1. I just love these case studies. They are inspirational to me, and provide a ton of useful knowledge.

    However, I am curious about the large jumps in salary that I see people making. I am not skeptical, but would love to know how they got such big jumps. I have been in accounting for 20 years with multiple certifications, but the doors to management and a higher salary seem to be closed. I would love to hear how others did it.

    1. It depends on the company. Some require you to take on a new role, some require you to suck-up to people higher up in the ladder, and some just stubbornly refuse to give salary bumps and promotions. In that case, people job hop to increase their salaries.

    2. Well, I can only speak for my case, so I’ll do just that. I honestly didn’t think this was possible, but I was inspired by this site and comments from others in academia. I’m also committed to maxing all the retirement accounts that I have access to this year. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I have been building a relationship with the department I transferred to for awhile and I knew I was a good candidate for the position, but I didn’t know if I’d get it. Once I was offered the position, I accepted the first offer they gave, which was a 10% increase over my current base salary, but didn’t include what I made as an adjunct.

      I talked to some of my women mentors who who were totally pissed at me and said that I better negotiate because research shows that women don’t try. They also boosted my self-esteem and reminded me that I’m worth it. I brought the institution 4 grants last year.

      The chair of the search contacted me again about teaching in the fall and I told him that my mentors were upset that I didn’t negotiate (research shows that women do better if they mention their mentors or someone else suggesting they negotiate) and that without adjunct pay it would essentially be a pay cut for me. (My mentor told me to ask for my base salary, plus adjunct pay with a 10% increase on the total). I asked for a 5% increase on base salary and adjunct pay in total.

      The next day I heard back and I received a 20% increase on my base salary only, but adjunct pay for every course I teach outside the dept (which will be 2 in the fall and probably 1 in the spring) and 1 month of summer salary with an option to bring in 3 months of summer salary next year through my grants.

      This is a non traditional non tenure track faculty position. So, I think that helped as far as the adjunct pay. My job description actually only requires me to teach one course in my department.


    We’ve been discussing this type of thing as well. I’m on the hunt for a new job, and the longer this is taking, the more and more we’re starting to realize that it might make sense to just give something else a shot, roll the dice and see where it takes us.

    Good on you two for changing the world, a couple lives at a time!!!!

  3. Very cool that things worked out well for MAS! Negotiating a higher salary is always difficult… I was once let go for trying to do so. You never know how management is going to take it.

    Thankfully, it all worked out well in the end.

    1. I’ve heard this, that folks have been let go for trying to negotiate a better salary. One of my former departments rescinded an offer because of this. So, I was definitely scared and I’m grateful that it worked out well!

  4. (This is a different Jason, haha)

    Hot damn, that’s awesome! I agree, the case studies are really great to help consider edge cases, other perspectives, and general motivation.

    I’ve been thinking about case studies a lot of late, Firecracker … hopefully I’ll have something to present to you next month in the UK. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Happy 4th, folks!

  5. FC, your session for Calculators is very poor. Could you please add more simulators and tools?
    I’d like to see one that projects your time to FIRE like you do in your Reader’s case posts!

  6. This is amazing! It is so great to hear about her killer update, keep up the good work MAS and MR! This is why I love this community!

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