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FIUE, or, I might be retired
Old 03-31-2009, 10:51 AM   #1
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FIUE, or, I might be retired

FIUE - Financially Independent UnEmployed - that's my current variation on FIRE. Or maybe I'm retired now but I just don't know it!

Last year my j*b situation became unstable and it was only then that I realized I might be able to FIRE. It was always in the back of my mind but I never worked out the numbers - luckily I found this website. I stuck with that j*b until I could build up more confidence in my plans, then the market took a nosedive and my confidence was completely shattered. FireCalc said I could still do it, but boy was I uncertain, so I kept working.

I'm still uncertain but I was just laid off, so one big decision has been made for me. I'm not worried about finances for my immediate future and I can wake up each day feeling happy that I don't have to deal with the BS of my [former] workplace anymore. My only plan is to not do anything drastic. I definitely won't be looking for a new j*b right away - maybe I'll change my mind later, but once I get my head wrapped around this, my FIUE might just become FIRE. I'm 48 yrs old, in good health, and looking forward to enjoying my first summer off since college.

And now I'll be reading this board with much more interest - as opposed to thinking: yea, someday that'll apply to me.

My concerns:
  1. If the market goes up from here or even stays the same for a long time, then I'm ok. But any more big declines, and I might need to go j*b hunting.
  2. If I stay out of the workplace too long, it might be hard to get back in later. I worked in IT and it's important to keep up to date with technology.
  3. Future health care costs are such a big unknown! (Fortunately COBRA should be cheap for a while).
My immediate concerns:
  1. To really enjoy this spring and summer!
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:53 AM   #2
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Good Plan Joe! Destress, refresh and re-evaluate. Make no concrete plans for a while and heal from the corporate butt kicking!
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:28 PM   #3
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Joe, I like your strategy! Enjoy the Summer and see how things look after that. Good job of turning adversity into opportunity!

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Old 03-31-2009, 08:55 PM   #4
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Joe,

I expect to be in pretty much the same boat by mid-summer. (I just made it through round two of lay-offs; and, I'm sure when we have round three that I will be out.) I probably should be looking for something else; but, I am not.

I am also in IT; and, the number (FIRECalc, etc.) say I would be OK (barely) if it happens. But, I definitely understand and share your concerns.

My tentative plans (not included in my FIRECalc numbers) are to look for some very short term contracting/consulting gigs both to stay in the game (keep my skills relevant) and to help provide more financial cushion. (Kind of a Work Less, Live More strategy.) Depending on your specific skill set/background, you might be able to command a lofty rate for these kinds of gigs since most people are looking for something longer term / more stable.

I will also probably relocate to Central America for the climate, cheaper health care, and cost of living issues when I am not engaged in contract work.

But, like you, I do not plan to do any of this until I have had a few months to decompress and re-focus.

I do appreciate your post. It is somehow comforting to see someone in a similar circumstance handling things with such a positive, even if appropriately cautious, attitude.

Good luck!
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Old 04-01-2009, 05:47 AM   #5
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Good luck Joe. We are what I like to call "entry-level" FI, but had the market not crashed we would have been comfortably FI. So I keep plugging away. Part of me wishes I would get the boot, forcing my hand. On the other hand, I'm finding out that our taste in travel is a bit more expensive than my FIRE budget currently calls for...meaning it will be good to work a few more years, get some of the international travel bug out of DW's system (I've already had enough of that with megacorp), and save/invest a bit more as the market recovers.

So good luck to you, and keep us posted on your progress.

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Old 04-01-2009, 07:28 AM   #6
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Sounds like a plan to me. Eventually I did decide to go back to work after about four years, but this week I'm working four days and next week it's only three. So take the summer off and enjoy it.
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Old 04-01-2009, 07:29 AM   #7
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CoolChange - I'll keep that in mind about the short term consulting. I might eventually look for some freelance work where I can work from home and avoid the 9-5 office routine entirely - I might actually enjoy doing that. But mainly, I have some side interests that generate a small income from something I really love to do (art). I'm not going to focus too much on the money side of it, but I'll use my new free time to improve myself as an artist, and hopefully the money will follow.

The worst part about being laid off is that former co-workers feel so bad for me, and here I sit feeling really good at the moment.
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Old 04-01-2009, 09:55 AM   #8
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Sounds like a plan to me. Eventually I did decide to go back to work after about four years, but this week I'm working four days and next week it's only three. So take the summer off and enjoy it.
Walt,

You quotation sounds like what I am going through right now. "Hell, I don't know".

Joe,

It sounds like you are probably set financially. Your plan is good.
I would focus real hard on the fun you are going to have this summer.

The only difference between the joy of FIRE and the hell of job search is that you mind is focused either on one or another.

Congrats,

Free to Canoe
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Old 04-04-2009, 02:05 PM   #9
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Joe, I'm the worst person to ask about specifics of health insurance, but it sounds like you are considering using COBRA. If you actually end up "retiring", it might be a better move to seek insurance outside of COBRA now. That way, while you are healthy, you should be able to get a relatively low(er) cost policy. COBRA tends to be relatively expensive, I think. At least, consider it. Not that you couldn't be cancelled later, but once you are with a company, they tend to just raise rates if you have "issues". If you start with "issues", getting insurance at any price could be a challenge. YMMV

Good luck with your plan. Sounds like you have everything well in hand.
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Old 04-04-2009, 02:40 PM   #10
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Your attitude comes across as very positive. Kudos to you!
Relax, regroup, assess your situation, then go forward. I FIREd at 48 also, for entirely different reasons. I will warn you that FIRE is addicting. This layoff could really open up some other possibilities for you. What kind of art do you create?
Question: Is getting unemployment part of the layoff? Don't be shy about applying for it.
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Old 04-04-2009, 02:49 PM   #11
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Um, Joe, go buy a Lottery ticket.
Today is 4/4. My response to your new thread was my 2,222nd post. What are the odds?
Send me half if it w*rks out for you.
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:44 PM   #12
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... If you actually end up "retiring", it might be a better move to seek insurance outside of COBRA now. That way, while you are healthy, you should be able to get a relatively low(er) cost policy. COBRA tends to be relatively expensive...
I was thinking the same thing, that I could get something cheaper than COBRA. But there there's this - which says I can pay only 35% of the full COBRA premium for up to 9 months, and I seem to qualify. The notice about premium reduction should come along with the forms to sign-up for COBRA (and that won't be for a few weeks yet). So I can get cheap COBRA for 9 months(!) then switch to another policy. (Unless I misunderstand something about this).

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... This layoff could really open up some other possibilities for you. What kind of art do you create?
Question: Is getting unemployment part of the layoff? Don't be shy about applying for it.
I paint landscapes in oils, fairly traditional realism. I was selling pretty well in some galleries until about 8 months ago, but I'm sure that'll change soon.

I'm getting a few months severance pay, and I will be able to apply for unemployment. And I will apply for it, even though I'll feel a little guilty because of my FI. But after all the taxes I've paid over the years, I deserve a little something back.
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:45 PM   #13
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Um, Joe, go buy a Lottery ticket.
Today is 4/4. My response to your new thread was my 2,222nd post. What are the odds?
Send me half if it w*rks out for you.
I will. I promise!
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Old 04-04-2009, 08:04 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by JoeDreaming View Post
My concerns:
  1. If the market goes up from here or even stays the same for a long time, then I'm ok. But any more big declines, and I might need to go j*b hunting.
  2. If I stay out of the workplace too long, it might be hard to get back in later. I worked in IT and it's important to keep up to date with technology.
  3. Future health care costs are such a big unknown! (Fortunately COBRA should be cheap for a while).
My immediate concerns:
  1. To really enjoy this spring and summer!
Joe,
Sound like a level headed approach, especially not doing anything drastic.

As to your concerns:
#1 - Cash flow planning is important to surviving declines.

#2. IT a lot of those people here


#3. Health care - COBRA is expensive - look into BCBS - I'm 54 single and pay 150/mo with a 5K deductable.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:04 AM   #15
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Layoff Jan 1, 1993. 16 wks severance pay. Took max unemployment including extension. Age 49. Been pretty much ER'd ever since - with one yr temp work in the stretch in the first 3 years.

The mental shift from 'unemployed' to 'I don't have to work anymore' took a while.

heh heh heh - Going back to the same plant as a contract worker after 2 years - the world had shifted .

P.S. Being single I do not recommend anyone going 12 years without health insurance like I did.
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Old 04-05-2009, 10:10 AM   #16
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#3. Health care - COBRA is expensive - look into BCBS - I'm 54 single and pay 150/mo with a 5K deductable.
The best I can find is almost $300/month. Not sure where you're located but I probably have higher rates because I'm in NJ. $300/month would still be cheaper than COBRA for me, except for the 1st 9 months where I'll only have to pay 35% of COBRA premiums, or about $135/month. That's an opportunity I don't think I should pass up.

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Layoff Jan 1, 1993. 16 wks severance pay. Took max unemployment including extension. Age 49. Been pretty much ER'd ever since - with one yr temp work in the stretch in the first 3 years.
It's nice to know that others have blazed the path before me!
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The mental shift from 'unemployed' to 'I don't have to work anymore' took a while.
I have a feeling it won't take me long at all.
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Being single I do not recommend anyone going 12 years without health insurance like I did.
I promise I won't!
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Old 04-05-2009, 01:54 PM   #17
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"and I will be able to apply for unemployment. And I will apply for it, even though I'll feel a little guilty because of my FI. But after all the taxes I've paid over the years, I deserve a little something back."
No guilt Using it extends/betters your FI. It's the fiscally responsible action to take.

However, since you are looking forward to having the summer off...
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