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Early Retirement Test Drive
Old 04-07-2007, 09:15 AM   #1
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Early Retirement Test Drive

Iíve watched this board for sometime and have been very impressed by the level of discussions. Most people are incapable of saving and are unaware of how to build wealth. People on this board have gone against that common trend and should be proud.

Iím 44, single. I have about $1.6MM in liquid net worth not including equity in my home. My expenses are around 63K per year including my mortgage. With my portfolio allocation, Firecalc shows a 97% success rate if I were to hang it up now. This all seems so strange to me because I didnít start thinking about this really seriously until about a year ago. I donít know if Iím ready to jump into RE, I feel Iím too young but I also feel Iím burned out at work.

An offer at work has presented itself. I can take 1-3 months leave without pay. In my mind this will give me a chance to ďtryĒ the RE life. Financially there are advantages Ė it will keep me out of AMT.

Has anyone else had a similar experience and what came of it? I guess I'm looking for support.

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Re: Early Retirement Test Drive
Old 04-07-2007, 09:28 AM   #2
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Re: Early Retirement Test Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadence

An offer at work has presented itself. I can take 1-3 months leave without pay. In my mind this will give me a chance to ďtryĒ the RE life. Financially there are advantages Ė it will keep me out of AMT.

Has anyone else had a similar experience and what came of it? I guess I'm looking for support.
I haven't but based on the reports of those who have, you won't have any desire to return to work after taking off 3 months. And in your situation that's not a bad thing...

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Re: Early Retirement Test Drive
Old 04-07-2007, 10:06 AM   #3
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Re: Early Retirement Test Drive

For what it's worth, I have a friend who did this for six months; and, he said he actually started getting a little restless and was ready to get back to work around the three month mark. (He wasn't restless enough to actually go back to work until his six months was over though.)

Everyone is different; but, three months seems like the perfect duration for an ER test drive in my mind: Long enough to decompress and get a bit of a feel for the lifestyle; short enough to allow reasonably easy reintegration into your current position if that's what you want.

Also, the six months off was nothing short of a life changing experience for my friend. Now, he walks through the office politics like a duck though the rain: Everything just seems to roll off his back without him even really seeming to notice. (He has admitted to me that he does notice but is able to ignore most of the noise now.)

Good luck.
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Re: Early Retirement Test Drive
Old 04-07-2007, 10:23 AM   #4
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Re: Early Retirement Test Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadence
Has anyone else had a similar experience and what came of it? I guess I'm looking for support.
Do you remember those 3-month long summer vacations you had when you were going to school? Those were happy times for me. I never fully accepted the idea that they went away once I started working, so for me, it'd be a no-brainer.

As far as an "ER test drive" goes, I'm not sure that 3-months is really sufficient to change your mindset. If you think you're "too young" even though you're "burned out," then you may have some deeply seeded work-ethic issues to work through.
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Re: Early Retirement Test Drive
Old 04-07-2007, 10:51 AM   #5
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Re: Early Retirement Test Drive

Welcome to the board, Cadence. Financially it looks like you're there; everything from here is just cannonball-polishing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadence
I donít know if Iím ready to jump into RE, I feel Iím too young but I also feel Iím burned out at work.
There are "minimum ages" for driving vehicles, drinking alcohol, and having sex, too, and I'm glad I didn't wait on those either. You probably don't want to save retirement for old age...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cadence
An offer at work has presented itself. I can take 1-3 months leave without pay. In my mind this will give me a chance to ďtryĒ the RE life.
Has anyone else had a similar experience and what came of it? I guess I'm looking for support.
Well, for starters you'll be able to spend all the time you want reading "Work Less, Live More"!

I retired from the military five years ago with plenty of opportunities to start a second career. One wave of offers rolled through as I was retiring, another wave came in about six months later. While they were all ego-enhancing, none of them were worth giving up the ER lifestyle-- let alone the hassles of commuting, working attire, deadlines, etc. Enough is more than enough. I don't think I'll ever be "ready" to return to any sort of working lifestyle.

You've chosen the best way to answer the ER question. Generally the sabbatical gives you time to rest, recuperate, think, discuss, and objectively analyze. (These activities are all difficult to accomplish when you're distracted by work.) Along with strengthening your convictions, a sabbatical lowers your tolerance for the usual workplace shenanigans. When (if!) you return to your workplace you may decide that the crap which you were formerly able to tolerate is no longer worth the mental, emotional, temporal, and even physical demands. Read about the experiences of John Greaney (retireearlyhomepage.com) and Philip Greenspun, too-- two other 40-something single adults who are way too busy to go back to work.
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Re: Early Retirement Test Drive
Old 04-07-2007, 11:01 AM   #6
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Re: Early Retirement Test Drive

Go for it!

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
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Re: Early Retirement Test Drive
Old 04-07-2007, 11:01 AM   #7
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Re: Early Retirement Test Drive

Welcome to the board.


Take the three months. It will be a nice sabbatical. Mull it over. Personally, I think you should spend some time reflecting on the ER move before you do it. Most information I have read indicates that you should take a year or so to figure out what you are going to do before you actually make the move... This is aside from the financial considerations.
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Re: Early Retirement Test Drive
Old 04-07-2007, 11:17 AM   #8
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Re: Early Retirement Test Drive

You absolutely must take this sabbatical. You may not be psychologically ready to RE, but this is a perfect opportunity to reflect, to explore the activities that might constitute RE for you, and to make plans for the real thing. Think of it as a dry run. It's quite possible you may find that you are not yet ready. Either way, your time away from work will be a great investment in YOU.
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Re: Early Retirement Test Drive
Old 04-07-2007, 11:50 AM   #9
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Re: Early Retirement Test Drive

Definitely take the time off... you won't regret it!

3 months is a good break, but as others have said, may not be long enough for you to know... I didn't know for sure about leaving my job until about the 9 month mark of 12 months off.

I worked my own business during that time (didn't feel like work), took some great multi-week vacations, and did a bunch of stuff I never had time to do.

I never went back to the regular job when my year was up. Spent the next few years running my own business, but I always set aside time for month-long vacations and other stuff - so in a way I felt like a semi-ER...

Four years later, I refuse to do more than half-time work. I am gradually scaling things back as time goes on... and by 40 I should be fully ER'd...

I am enjoying what I do - it is part-time and on my terms, and as time goes on, I feel much more comfortable with the ER concept... I know I will be ready for it when I get there in a couple of years!

Enjoy your 3 months, but don't expect to have all of the answers in that timeframe... as others have said, it may take longer than that to know for sure.

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