I graduated with a bachelor’s in the humanities last year. I would have preferred to continue studying, but I don’t have the money, and I have found very few opportunities for full funding where I live (in the EU). I’m originally from the States.
I work in IT, and given how the wages are at present, if I buckle down and exclusively focus on work, I could probably save up enough in 5-6 years that I could live completely off of conservative investments (index funds). I would work at a US company (where wages are high) and live in central Europe (where costs are low).
My question is: from an academic point of view, does it seem reasonable that the benefits of self-funding my research would outweigh the disadvantages of delaying my career by at least 5 years?
For the purposes of this question, please assume that my financial assumptions are realistic. I realize I will need to do my due diligence there.
More details / clarifications:
- The plan would be to attend graduate school in Europe after achieving financial independence, and then self-fund independent research after that. By "self-fund," I mostly mean paying my living expenses; my field does not require expensive equipment, travel, etc.
- My concern is that at 30, my motivation and ability to re-enter academia will be much less than it is now, both because I’ll be older and because I will have spent all of my youthful energy on non-academic work. Obviously, 30 is young, but still, I’ve been warned that motivation and capacity to learn really decreases from one’s 20s.
- I think one advantage of this idea is independence. I am in the humanities and have a far-left persuasion. I've heard that junior faculty have to research what their seniors want to see, rather than what they’re interested in. I recognize the need to consult senior colleagues., but having to censor myself would defeat the purpose of doing research in the first place, for me.
- It seems to me that academics have to waste time and give up autonomy in order to get grants. I could avoid all of this by self-funding.
- It's unfortunate that my IT work (which requires study and effort) has no overlap with my research interests. So, I would have to put research completely on hold until saving enough money, and then would never use my IT knowledge again.