Refresher: What is Coast FIRE?
For those new to the concept, Coast FIRE is when you have enough in your retirement accounts that without any additional contributions, your net worth will grow to support retirement at a traditional retirement age.
After your net worth has passed what we will call your Coast FIRE number, you still need to earn enough to cover your expenses each month, but you no longer need to be saving to ensure your traditional retirement. This means that once you reach Coast FIRE, you have the freedom to pursue a different job that pays less or shift to working part-time, without putting your traditional retirement in jeopardy.
What makes a good Coast FIRE job?
There are an endless number of ways that you can make money if all you need to do is make enough to cover your bills each month.
Before we get into some of the best jobs for Coasting to FIRE, let’s examine what qualities make a job great for your Coast FIRE journey. For starters, your Coast FIRE job needs to be more appealing overall compared to your existing job for it to make sense to quit. When it comes to making a career change once you hit Coast FIRE, consider this: what is it about your current job that makes you unhappy? For many, these factors could include long hours, high stress, commutes, toxic environment, boring work, or an inability to travel.
In general, I looked for the following qualities when choosing the jobs on this list: flexible hours, low stress, fun, and travel-friendly. The whole point of transitioning your job after reaching Coast FIRE is to find a job that you really enjoy or one that keeps your stress low while giving you more time to pursue what really matters to you in life.
Keep in mind that all jobs have their pros and cons, including those on this list. If there was such a thing as a “perfect” job, everybody would be chasing it!
10 great jobs for Coast FIRE
1. Your existing career on a part-time, freelance, or contract basis
If you enjoy your current career field but wish you could have more flexibility or time off, shifting to part-time, freelance, or contract work within your current career is perhaps the best Coast FIRE job. This is the most natural change on this list, because you can leverage your existing experience and connections to have more flexibility in your work. Medicine in particular lends itself well to part-time and contract work, and remote freelancing is common in the tech industry. Shifting your existing career to a more flexible basis will likely pay the best on an hourly basis of any option on this list.
Were you one of those people in school who was always helping to explain concepts to your peers? If you have deep proficiency in an academic subject and have excellent communication skills, then being a tutor could be a great Coast FIRE job for you. There are several paths you can take to become a tutor, including working for a national tutoring company, a test prep company, an online tutoring service, or being self-employed. Hourly pay for tutors starts out at about $20 per hour but it is possible to earn much more. Depending on which tutoring path you take, it is possible to have a highly flexible schedule and work completely remotely with students.
Check out this Guide to Tutoring Jobs to learn more.
Copywriters write clear and compelling copy to sell products and educate customers. Your writing often ends up on websites, product descriptions, emails, ads, newsletters, white papers, and on social media. About 65% of copywriters work on a freelance basis, and this field is very remote-friendly. Starting pay is around $20 per hour, but the sky is the limit as you improve and build your experience. To land work as a copywriter, it helps to build out your portfolio and do spec work to show off your skills to potential clients.
Notaries are officials appointed by the state to serve as an impartial witness to the signing of legal documents. A notary verifies the identity of the individuals signing a document and checks to make sure that they are signing without pressure or intimidation. Notaries need to be familiar with compliance, record-keeping, and legal documents like loan documents, affidavits, and passports. The requirements to become a notary vary by state, but in some states you must pass a background check and an exam as well as pay a fee to become a notary.
Often, formal agreements must be signed in a quick timeframe and at inconvenient times and places, so as a mobile notary you may need to drive to clients on nights and weekends to earn money. On the upside, it’s common to be a self-employed mobile notary and this allows you to be flexible with your schedule. Notaries make around $15 to $20 per hour starting out, but can earn more if they specialize in certain areas like being a loan signing agent.
Check out this Notary Career Profile to learn more.
5. Pet sitter
If you’re an animal lover, then being a pet sitter could be an awesome Coast FIRE job for you! Pet sitters care for a pet in its own home while the owner is away and perform tasks like feeding, brushing, and walking pets, cleaning litter boxes and giving medications. Pet sitters make a median pay of around $11 per hour and are not required to have any formal training but they should be familiar with all aspects of animal care and behavior. Since pet sitters take care of animals while their owners are away, working weekends and overnight stays are common. The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and Pet Sitters International offer online certificates in pet sitting which could give you an edge on getting gigs in your area.
Check out this Pet Sitter Career Profile to learn more.
6. House sitter
Closely related to pet sitting, being a house sitter could be a perfect fit for your lifestyle after you reach Coast FIRE. With house sitting, you watch over an owner’s house (and oftentimes their pets as well) and in exchange you are able to live in their property while the owner is away. While you aren’t being paid on an hourly-basis per se, as a house sitter your biggest expense of housing is covered which can be worth thousands per month! House sitting gigs can range from weekends to years in length and make an excellent complement to a slow travel lifestyle. Having great references is key to landing house sitting gigs, so it helps to start out by house-sitting within your social network to build references at the beginning.
7. Gig economy driver
When it comes to setting your own schedule, its hard to beat the flexibility of being a driver in the app-based gig economy. Gig economy driver jobs can include driving passengers on platforms like Uber or Lyft as well as delivering goods on platforms like Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, Instacart, and Amazon Flex. The barrier to entry for becoming a gig economy driver is very low: you just need to have a valid driver’s license, eligible vehicle, and insurance, as well as passing a background check. Pay for gig economy drivers starts out around $15 to $20 per hour but varies by location and time. Driving in big cities during peak times like nights and weekends can boost your earning potential.
8. Airbnb / short-term rental host
Being an Airbnb host could be a great Coast FIRE gig to help you cover your housing expenses if you have an open room or when your home is vacant while you’re traveling. If you’re a renter, you’ll need to make sure the terms of your lease allow you to rent out your space on a short term basis. Your profitability as an Airbnb host depends on a number of factors including your property, your location, your pricing, and local fees and taxes. Typically running an Airbnb can be quite profitable if you live in a tourist destination with high demand for short-term stays. Becoming an Airbnb host involves preparing your space, creating an attractive listing and host profile, and then managing bookings. When starting out, you may need to price your listing on the low end, but as ratings and reviews flow in and you build your reputation as a host, you can command a higher price for your space.
9. Teaching English abroad
Teaching English abroad is perhaps the most accessible way for you to live and travel to almost any country in the world and get paid while immersing yourself in the local culture. If international slow travel is calling your name, then being an English teacher abroad could be the perfect Coast FIRE job for you! The qualifications to teach English abroad are lower than you may think:
- You need to be able to write and speak English fluently
- Have a bachelors degree of any kind
- Obtain an ESL certificate (like a TEFL) with a minimum of 100 hours of study
You don’t need to speak the local language to teach English abroad, in fact, most overseas schools actually prefer that you don’t speak the native language!
Salary for teaching English varies depending on location and experience, but in general your pay will allow you to live a comfortable lifestyle in your new country with some money left over for savings and travel. Asian countries like China, Japan, and South Korean are known for offering highly-competitive pay packages and a high standard of living to teachers. Many teaching abroad programs in Asia and the Middle East offer great benefits like covering your airfare and health insurance if you sign a year-long contract. Teaching contracts range from about 20 to 40 hours per week, which could be a big improvement over your 9-5 job back in the states and give you ample free time to explore your new surroundings.
10. Flight attendant
Once again, if travel is a priority for you after reaching your Coast FIRE milestone, then being a flight attendant could offer an appealing mix of benefits and change of pace from your office job. As a flight attendant, you’re essentially being paid to fly around the world, so discounted or sometimes free travel including flights and hotels is the main perk of the job. Depending on their seniority, flight attendants have some flexibility and can rearrange their schedule to stack their work trips so they can travel on their days off. Being a flight attendant does have its downsides though: the pay is oftentimes low, you must be frequently on-call starting out, and you can expect to be away from home frequently which can make it difficult to have a family or pets.