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Am i good to go?
Old 12-28-2018, 09:46 AM   #1
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Am i good to go?

Hi all. Iíve been lurking here for over a year and I always learn something new reading this forum. Thank you all for your contributions. Now I need a pep talk and would love to hear your thoughts or concerns about my plans. Iím 57 and wife is 55. Weíve already paid for college for our kids who are out of the house. We have zero debt in Mid-West LCOL area. Iím a C-level exec and my wife is in education. Combined income is $430K including bonus but only $80K from wife. Weíve only enjoyed this level of income for the past few years. Iíve been C-level for past 6 years but income did not really rise dramatically until last 2-3. Since my mid 30ís I have been planning to retire at 55. As my career has taken off, Iím enjoying my work more than at any other time in my career, so Iíve obviously chosen to work past 55. I was going to pull the plug last year but chickened out and decided on OMY to pad the portfolio. So here is my dilemma:

1) I have worked my entire career to reach this pinnacle
2) I really enjoy most aspects of my job and the people that I work with.
3) I do enjoy the prestige of being at the top rung but I do not think that my entire identity is linked to my career.
4) If I walk Iím leaving approx. $500K-$1MM in unvested equity. This is not liquid as it pays out upon a transaction which I estimate will happen in the next 1-3 years.
5) However, after 30+ years in the corporate world Iím feeling burned out and tiring of the pressure and stress.
6) Here is the kickerÖI work out of state and fly out every Monday and back on Friday. Been doing this for years and Iím sick of being away from home so much.
7) Iím feeling ready for my second act, but a little afraid of the unknown and walking away from the money.

Hereís the finances: ~$3MM NW including $325K paid off home and $530K company equity which I value at 50% of current value to account for any future drops in valuations. $2.1MM in financial assets allocated 79% equities and 21% cash & ST bond funds. 43% taxable and 57% IRA/401K.

Here is the plan: Household spending last 2 years ~77K. Wife enjoys her work and plans to work until at least 60. If she works until 60 we will be able to continue her employer health benefits to age 65. Wife take home is about $4K/month. We can withdraw $3K per month from portfolio (1.7% withdrawal rate) and live what I consider to be Fat fire retirement. This does not include approx.. $30K in SS if I take at 65 and another $17K if she takes at 65. At this age I think that our SS is fairly safe.

This looks rock solid to me but I would love to hear any feedback. I believe in a bucket approach to cushion the market swings and thatís why I have the $450K in cash. This provides 5 years of expenses even if the wife quit. Letís me ride out the market swings with ease. Currently down over $250K with this correction but I havenít lost a moment of sleep. The thought of hopping on that plane on Jan 2nd is not appealing. Think Iím 90% ready to pull plug in March. Am I crazy to walk?
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Old 12-28-2018, 10:47 AM   #2
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Welcome, flybynight! If you haven't found them already, we have a helpful list of things to think about before you make the leap:

Some Important Questions to Answer

But given the details you've provided, I'd be surprised if there are any "gotchas" out there to derail you financially. If DW plans to keep working, how does she feel about you being home all day? And have you given thoughts to what you will do to occupy your time and give you some focus (after you take a few months to decompress)? With your executive background, nonprofit pro-bono assistance (board service, executive coaching, or hands-on projects related to your expertise) could be very welcome if there are causes you are passionate about. Or you could go into another direction entirely with hobbies. But do think about it and talk about it with DW.

Keep us posted and best wishes for a FIREd 2019!
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Old 12-28-2018, 11:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flybynight View Post
Here’s the finances: ~$3MM NW including $325K paid off home and $530K company equity which I value at 50% of current value to account for any future drops in valuations. $2.1MM in financial assets allocated 79% equities and 21% cash & ST bond funds. 43% taxable and 57% IRA/401K.

Here is the plan: Household spending last 2 years ~77K.

This looks rock solid to me but I would love to hear any feedback.
Assuming your expenses will be about the same in retirement and you aren't planning any large one-time expenses (big new home, yacht, trip around the world, etc), you should be completely fine to quit today.

You get to decide if $500K-$1MM is enough compensation for sticking around for a while. That may depend on what you plan to do with your free time.

You haven't mentioned any goals, what you plan to do in retirement while your wife is working, what you plan to do when you are both eventually retired. Hopefully, you have thought that out.
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Old 12-28-2018, 12:14 PM   #4
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Two big questions I have, are not financial:

Today you are C-suite, and you enjoy your work, and (thank you for admitting) the prestige. Are you really ready to give that up? Your frequent flyer and hotel statuses will be gone in a year. You do say you've only been at this level for a few years, but it's far easier to get used to it than it is to see it go. As many guides here will tell you, you need something to retire-to more than to retire-from.

You've been out of the house M-F for a while and are anxious to drop that commute. Honest question: Is your wife eager for you to be home? Are you both ready to adjust to 24/7 togetherness? It's a transition even for those of us without commutes. You'll also want to read threads on potential pitfalls to avoid if one spouse retires earlier than the other, even if they aren't anticipated.
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Old 12-28-2018, 12:38 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum. Financially you appear to be okay. But, the couple of extra years will add a nice cushion. It's really a decision only you can make. But, at your current pay level, you will always leave a lot of money on the table. If you base it solely on money, you will never FIRE. That's okay also. At 53 I walked away from similar numbers and a SERP that would have vested in 3 more years. In my case, I was not willing to stay. 4.5 years later, I have never doubted my decision.
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Old 12-28-2018, 12:48 PM   #6
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Welcome aboard! I read your post and thought of me (selfishly). My post right now could read exactly like yours except we are 3 years behind you. I got a shot at P&L 3 years ago and love it. But had to commute 4 hours on Monday and 4 hours back on Friday. That got old. So I stepped aside for a VP C-suite job until I find my next P&L. Several have come up that I passed on but one is in the works right now that would be my dream job. It would be the job I have been working on getting for the last 10 years. If it works out, we will be in the same boat as you in 3 years.

Like you, whenever I decide to leave, I will be leaving $1M in RSU's on the table. Easy for me to say no problem right now, but when it comes time to walk away, will I have the guts? Dunno. Very easy to justify OMY when you are making $750k/year and don't hate your job.

So, no advice to offer yet. But want to follow this thread to see what others say.
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Thank you!
Old 12-28-2018, 02:18 PM   #7
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Thank you!

Thank you for these thoughtful responses. All of you mention things that I have considered. Firstly, yes my wife supports my decision either way and does not want me to retire and be bored. However after years on the road we would both like to go back to seeing each other every day. I'm very fortunate that the marriage is awesome after 3+ decades.

The only big expense potentially looming is that we may want to move and put in another $200K for our dream house. My hope was that the eventual equity position in my company would reimburse us for this.

As far as plans in retirement...first I would love to do nothing for a few months except getting caught up on house projects and decompressing. After that I think I would like to pursue teaching as an adjunct professor at one of our local universities or online in my field. I have a sports background and I think part time coaching at the HS would also be enjoyable. I've also thought that I would explore volunteering opportunities as well. In addition, I also have several hobbies including running/triathlons that I would like to devote more time to.

Even though I enjoy my role I'm tired of the constant pressure and demands on my time. I never went through a mid-life crisis (that I know of) and at this point in my life, the thought of doing whatever the hell I want is sounding very appealing. Maybe this is my crisis albeit a bit late. That being said, I'm quite frightened when I try and get my head around the idea. I'm quite Type A. I will always do something. And even though I've run the numbers, the prospect of withdrawing versus saving is a bit scary. This is why I really appreciate reading the posts of those whom have come before me. Very helpful!
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:29 PM   #8
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Adjunct positions at many institutions are pretty close to volunteering. Including ďprofessorĒ in the title sounds impressive, but theyíre not a large or reliable income source.
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:31 PM   #9
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You should consider discovering what you want to retire to. As a type A, athlete, executive, doing nothing may or may not fit your life goals. Find your "why". Why do you want to retire? Where do you want to be 10 years from now? 20 years? Then go for it. As a type A, you cannot fail (unless you die).

For me, my why right now is similar to yours. I want to live with my wife of 30 years. I have no other why. If my current company/path cannot provide that, I am out. After 20 years as a Navy wife and 10 years as a corporate wife, she deserves my focus. We will make this happen.

My longer term why is pet rescue. Once I retire, and decompress a bit, I will get back into making the world a better place: my ultimate why. I have been exploring business models and lining up supporters over the last 10 years to make this phase happen.

So what is your why? If it is to come home every night to your wife, plan that out with her and make it happen. It really is simple once you have a vision. With vision comes clarity, with clarity you get focused, with focus comes execution.

Find your why and go for it.
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:42 PM   #10
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Since you really seem to enjoy your job, and appear to be well-compensated, I have to ask two questions:

1) Are there any big purchase you'd like to make besides the house?
2) Besides things like becoming a professor, do you have any close friends, passionate hobbies, etc.? Some folks derive their meaning, identify, and entire self from work. While I'm not one of those, I understand.

You appear to have a very modest lifestyle for your income level.

The 1-3 year payout may or may not happen, and may not happen on that schedule. If I were you, I'd seriously consider bailing after another year, just to add some cushion, or bail now, if the commute is really killing you.

Best wishes!
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by steelyman View Post
Adjunct positions at many institutions are pretty close to volunteering. Including ďprofessorĒ in the title sounds impressive, but theyíre not a large or reliable income source.

I'm fully aware that the pay is nominal at best. Money is not the objective. I think that I have a lot to offer given my experience in my field and I've always enjoyed my time training and mentoring others during my career.
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Old 12-28-2018, 02:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by flintnational View Post
Welcome to the forum. Financially you appear to be okay. But, the couple of extra years will add a nice cushion. It's really a decision only you can make. But, at your current pay level, you will always leave a lot of money on the table. If you base it solely on money, you will never FIRE. That's okay also. At 53 I walked away from similar numbers and a SERP that would have vested in 3 more years. In my case, I was not willing to stay. 4.5 years later, I have never doubted my decision.
So glad to hear comments like yours as to never doubting or regretting the decision. Yes we'll always be walking away from more money but when is enough enough? Personal decision for sure. As for cushion, I think we have tons of cushion. We've lived way below our means for years while still enjoying life. We could make it on my wife's salary alone if need be which is a 2.2% withdrawal rate.
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Am i good to go?
Old 12-28-2018, 03:04 PM   #13
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Am i good to go?

One route might be to set a new date (no more OMY), convince yourself itís firm and that you really will take the leap then.
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Old 12-28-2018, 03:05 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by HNL Bill View Post
Since you really seem to enjoy your job, and appear to be well-compensated, I have to ask two questions:

1) Are there any big purchase you'd like to make besides the house?
2) Besides things like becoming a professor, do you have any close friends, passionate hobbies, etc.? Some folks derive their meaning, identify, and entire self from work. While I'm not one of those, I understand.

You appear to have a very modest lifestyle for your income level.

The 1-3 year payout may or may not happen, and may not happen on that schedule. If I were you, I'd seriously consider bailing after another year, just to add some cushion, or bail now, if the commute is really killing you.

Best wishes!
Thanks for the reply Bill!

1) No big purchases besides the house.
2) I do have several close friends and hobbies as I have mentioned and I've never been identity one dimensional.

The payout will happen unless the company's value goes to zero which is highly unlikely as it's very successful and established. The question is how much and when. My valuation is conservative but the payout could take 10 years. OMY will provide a cushion but I do not think that i need any more cushion. We could live on much less if the Sh*t hit the fan. If it doesn't hit the fan we can spend much more...I think.
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Old 12-28-2018, 03:09 PM   #15
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One route might be to set a new date (no more OMY), convince yourself itís firm and that you really will take the leap then.

Sorry for not mentioning earlier...my date is 3/4/19. Providing that I don't chicken out. Hence my post today. Looking for validation and support or good reasons that I'm nuts and I should hang in for OMY.
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Old 12-28-2018, 03:12 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by flybynight View Post
Sorry for not mentioning earlier...my date is 3/4/19. Providing that I don't chicken out. Hence my post today. Looking for validation and support or good reasons that I'm nuts and I should hang in for OMY.

Ah! Iím afraid I canít vote for OMY. It would be nicer to enjoy that year, I hope you decide to.
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Old 12-28-2018, 03:15 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by corn18 View Post
You should consider discovering what you want to retire to. As a type A, athlete, executive, doing nothing may or may not fit your life goals. Find your "why". Why do you want to retire? Where do you want to be 10 years from now? 20 years? Then go for it. As a type A, you cannot fail (unless you die).

For me, my why right now is similar to yours. I want to live with my wife of 30 years. I have no other why. If my current company/path cannot provide that, I am out. After 20 years as a Navy wife and 10 years as a corporate wife, she deserves my focus. We will make this happen.

My longer term why is pet rescue. Once I retire, and decompress a bit, I will get back into making the world a better place: my ultimate why. I have been exploring business models and lining up supporters over the last 10 years to make this phase happen.

So what is your why? If it is to come home every night to your wife, plan that out with her and make it happen. It really is simple once you have a vision. With vision comes clarity, with clarity you get focused, with focus comes execution.

Find your why and go for it.
Thanks for this. Great thoughts to consider!
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Old 12-28-2018, 03:17 PM   #18
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Ah! Iím afraid I canít vote for OMY. It would be nicer to enjoy that year, I hope you decide to.
Ahhh...That's the answer I'm looking for!! I hate chickens.
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Old 12-28-2018, 03:23 PM   #19
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Agree that the personal is as important as the financial. I loved not working but the main hurdle was not having the perks that I enjoyed. Took about two years to adjust to being a common traveler which is worth it in the long run.
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Old 12-28-2018, 03:24 PM   #20
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Sorry for not mentioning earlier...my date is 3/4/19. Providing that I don't chicken out. Hence my post today. Looking for validation and support or good reasons that I'm nuts and I should hang in for OMY.
You're good to go... if you want to.

My situation was not as good as yours and I was going for one more OMY, retire at 57. One day my VP decided to share how afraid of the CIO he was. I wasn't amused.

I spoke with my Fidelity rep and he confirmed OMY didn't matter much, financially. I gave my notice the next week and gained a year.

What's a year worth to you?
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