Posted in Money Mondays
A million years ago when I worked at Arthur Andersen & Co., my co-workers used to call me the Vacation Queen. When I first started working at The Firm, one of my mentors explained to me how it was possible to get up to six weeks of vacation time. In addition to the traditional two weeks of vacation, it was possible to convert some of your overtime pay to vacation time if you so desired. Oh, I so desired. Not everyone did, some preferred to increase the balance of their bank accounts.
I preferred to increase the balance of my vacation account. So I always banked the maximum 120 hours to vacation time instead of dollars. But that savvy mentor explained to me that if you took vacation time before you actually accrued it each year, you could “go negative” in your vacation bank and then earn your way out of “the hole” with each overtime hour you worked.
We worked a lot of overtime at Arthur Andersen.
So I would do this: take a week of vacation at the beginning of the fiscal year, before I’d accrued any time, use the first 40 hours of overtime to pay them back, bank the next 120 hours of overtime, and then take that and my regular two weeks before the year was out. Grand total of vacation time: six weeks. Grand total dollars earned from overtime: not too grand.
But I preferred time over money, even back then. Not everyone felt the same way. Some worker bees didn’t even use all their vacation time and actually got PAID FOR VACATION TIME THEY NEVER TOOK. (I put that in caps because it was something I never understood back then, and have to shout it to try and get my head around it even now.)
Which brings me to the subject of early retirement. If you retire early, you’re making the same decision, opting for the vacation bank account instead of the actual bank account. More work, more money. Less work, more time.
And that’s when a young tax accountant with an early retirement personality was born.
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