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ER beta test in silicon valley
Old 02-07-2013, 10:44 AM   #1
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ER beta test in silicon valley

I pulled the plug this week. Mine is a messy situation so I may have to go back for a short while, but I'm basically done now. I'm exiting totally unplanned, and I haven't taken more than two weeks off per year in over two decades of work, so we'll have to see how this free time thing goes I guess.

My former life was as an engineer in silicon valley for 20+ years. I didn't move around much so handling change is new to me. I was lucky in that I liked my job, the work environment, co-workers, and management, everything about my work was great so I'm not leaving to escape anything unpleasant. But a recent cancer scare made me realize that a few more bucks isn't going to add much, while losing my next few years to work I may regret later.

On second thought I am getting away from one work related problem, and that's the all-or-none schedule that most tech workers around here live. There's no such thing as 40hrs per week in my line, it's basically 80 or zero. The long work routine was fun for me, but it crowds out other stuff that I'm slowly realizing are an important part of life that I shouldn't willingly miss. I see it turning into "saving the best for never".

Anyway my work time was fun while it lasted and I'll have to try to find something to fill my time going forward, otherwise I may just have to wander back to the grind that I know and love. Right now my bucket list is empty and I don't have any ideas. I've been deeply immersed in work so today feels like a Rip Van Winkle wake up call. Before work I was a graduate student, and I don't remember much about those years.

I see that newcomers get a welcome message from the regulars here, and I'd like to ask if you could describe the thing you did in retirement that you enjoyed the most so far. Was it something completely new, something you planned before you retired, or something you found after retiring, and if so how did you get the idea? Thanks for any guidance, my home internet access is limited so thank you in advance.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:50 AM   #2
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Welcome!!! Ex-Silicon Valley worker, still adjusting to ER but what I love so far is not living on United Airlines any longer.
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:22 AM   #3
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Ex-Silicon Valley here, retired in 2007 from a software engineering career at age 41, also done working mostly for a single big company. I was also living in San Jose.

For me, the big change was first traveling and then living abroad (four countries now).

Four months after retiring I was on a long journey through SouthEast Asia. I did stints in South America and SE Asia. I am now living in the Philippines where I plan to stay for the foreseeable future.

Another big change was paying more attention to my health and fitness. I never forgo going to the dentist or doctor now. I workout most days, either cardio or the gym.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunkelblau View Post
.....I see that newcomers get a welcome message from the regulars here, and I'd like to ask if you could describe the thing you did in retirement that you enjoyed the most so far. Was it something completely new, something you planned before you retired, or something you found after retiring, and if so how did you get the idea? Thanks for any guidance, my home internet access is limited so thank you in advance.
Welcome to ER!!!

I didn't really have much of plan for retirement other than take at least a year off from work and see what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

I started playing a lot more golf and hooked up with a bunch of retired guys who play each Thursday at local area courses. Also play with another group on Tuesdays.

Still searching for what I want to do for the rest of my life but enjoying golf (spring, summer and fall) with these guys for now.
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:43 PM   #5
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I know about that 80 hours or nothing also. I chose the nothing. Welcome.
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:40 PM   #6
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Welcome.... can't answer you last question as I still get a paycheck...

But, I had the 80 hr work when I was young... did everything to change and did... I told many bosses that I would rather be at home watching TV than working an extra 40 hours here with no compensation...
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:09 PM   #7
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Well I an not an engineer nor from Silicon Valley but just wanted to welcome you to the board.
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:16 PM   #8
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Welcome Dunkel! Finding ones niche in retirement is a personal journey, so what works for one may not for another. I would just reinforce two items from your post. Remembered you retired because you didn't want to regret working your whole life, so always hold that thought as this came from within, not someone's misguided advice. Also, try to learn to slow down and appreciate little things and some down time. Trying to replicate an 80 hour a week retirement schedule sounds exhausting. Oh and one other thing, try to get better Internet access at home. You can kill a lot of "down time" on this!
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Old 02-07-2013, 11:21 PM   #9
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Another thing I can recommend to occupy your time in the short term while you think about your future is downsizing and organizing your stuff. After years of focus on work, my piles had gotten bigger and higher. Downsizing and organizing was difficult and *iterative*. I laugh now at what were my first attempts at downsizing, even though they achieved a lot.

Also, you want to do your charitable gifts in this tax year, the year when you had high income and can still get a proper deduction for them.

In retrospect, my downsizing process, which ended up taking place over a period of about a couple of years as I took bigger and bigger steps, was one of the most satisfying things I have done in my entire life.
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Old 02-08-2013, 02:25 AM   #10
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Early retiree from Silicon Valley in 1999. Best thing being able to go sleep without your brain worrying about 100 things going wrong with your work project. Second best thing, is when you are retired you really can do all of those like exercise, eat healthier that you know are good for you but don't have time. For me moving to Hawaii, the cool thing was discovering that million dollar houses actually have million dollar views.
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Old 02-08-2013, 04:52 AM   #11
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Hi, I am just 6 months away from ER with DH at 55/61.
I have been reading a lot to prepare for the non-financial aspects.

I liked especially Ralph Warner's Get a life
Get a Life - You Don't Need a Million to Retire Well - Financial Planning Book - Nolo
and Ernie Zielinskie's Get a life
How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won't Get from Your Financial Advisor: Ernie J. Zelinski: 9780969419495: Amazon.com: Books
There is an exercise to draw your "get a life tree" which I am currently doing and it helps me a lot.
Some days ago I found and enjoyed the retirement book of Boyd Lemon
Retirement: A Memoir and Guide: Boyd Lemon: 9781480211490: Amazon.com: Books
He also has a website with some free samples.

We have decided to take it easy, no sudden changes for the first months.
But a 4-week-trip to Namibia is already booked.

Enjoy having your time back to yourself!
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Old 02-08-2013, 11:57 AM   #12
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Welcome!

The big realization for me is how much I enjoy the everyday living - without stress or constant demands on my time. No two days seem to be the same & we make up our schedules as we go.
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Old 02-10-2013, 06:50 PM   #13
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Wow, thanks for all the advice and encouragement, I knew this was the right place for my kind of question. I have some health-related limitations right now, and hopefully the time off gets me at least a partial recovery. Then I can give your ideas a go, maybe I'll start with the light travel and exercise part to explore around me. It's a weird feeling not to be in the lab for several days in a row now, but it's not painful at all.

In terms of the FI part, I'm thinking flex rate, maybe turn my nest egg into a hedge fund and pay myself two and twenty to run it (BTW that's not w*rk is it?) Don't worry, I'm no Nobel Laureate so I don't expect to need another resume anytime soon. I figure the rolling adjustment of cash out with market fluctuations should give an inverse dollar cost averaging effect to some extent. I can put my severance into ballast that should cover basics for about three years. Yeah, I know, six one way half dozen the other, just that this partitioning feels more secure in my mind.

Anyway I'm more concerned about occupying the time than watching the budget at this point. With some luck my only regret will be that I didn't get out sooner. Thanks everyone!
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Old 02-10-2013, 07:11 PM   #14
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Congrats.
FWIW- I've often wondered if it's best to plan for RE over years and point to specific date, or RE suddenly due to irresistable ER offer from Megacorp or huge buy out of one's business. I've met happy ER's from many circumstances.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunkelblau View Post

In terms of the FI part, I'm thinking flex rate, maybe turn my nest egg into a hedge fund and pay myself two and twenty to run it (BTW that's not w*rk is it?) Don't worry, I'm no Nobel Laureate so I don't expect to need another resume anytime soon. I figure the rolling adjustment of cash out with market fluctuations should give an inverse dollar cost averaging effect to some extent. I can put my severance into ballast that should cover basics for about three years. Yeah, I know, six one way half dozen the other, just that this partitioning feels more secure in my mind.
Hi, If you really believe this, your retirement is in jeopardy. Seriously. I would start by reading from authors Larry Swedroe and William Bernstein. A good investing forum focused on index-type investing is bogleheads.org.
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Old 02-11-2013, 03:04 AM   #16
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Welcome to the board dunkelblau.

Having the time to revive an old hobby has been great. The traveling will come in a few years when I'm a little more sure of my finances and have completed a certain degree of tidying up and de-cluttering around here.

Even for people that really enjoyed their careers, I think that retirement is the time when you get to be exactly who and what you want to be. In a way, I feel that I have regained a part of me that had been dormant since my early 20's. A certain purity of youth has returned, albeit with back problems and early onset arthritis in both knees
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:05 PM   #17
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Thanks, actually the "irresistable ER offer from Megacorp" is at the root of my messy situation. I'm on hiatus now so both sides can sort out their positions. I don't need the payout for my numbers to work, but that's what it would take for me to do the transition they are asking of me.

On my FI plan, thanks for the heads up, I didn't mean to imply that I was new to the game believing that managing money would be a cakewalk. I see another thread with a video by one of the authors that tells a cautionary tale (interesting discussion follows). I've been a believer in the barbell approach and have run it this way since graduate school. Probably what changes is a shift from muni bonds into an SPIA to cover basic living expenses (income from which is part of the two). The other half I can start rebalancing with less tax bite. Frankly I've never been into index funds, but I concede that they have proven extremely effective over the years, just not my style.

I've got the same clutter problem, probably worse than most, and I'm now starting to dig through piles of papers. And I hear the message about regaining a lost identity, over the years I've been gradually losing interest in things outside of work and I figure it just gets harder to adjust if I work more years. One thing I don't miss from my youth is the angst about not fitting in, this took a long time to heal and I credit my work environment for helping me to accept who I am.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:15 PM   #18
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Welcome and congratulations!

I am now 5 months into my retirement at 51 yrs old. The first 4 months I most enjoyed hanging around the house, exercise and having time to be a friend to folks I encountered in a way that I was too busy/tired to do before.

This past month I started to get interested in taking a trip and DW and I just returned from a trip to the Caribbean with some dear long time friends that we just haven't been able to spend much time with over the past 20 yrs.

I now am starting feel more motivated to take on some projects but investing time in relationships has delivered the best ROI for me during the first 5 months of FIRE.

It has been interesting to let it all come naturally rather than driving to timelines and goals during the prior 25+ yrs of w*rk.
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