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Hi from Ozstache
Old 02-04-2013, 04:47 PM   #1
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Hi from Ozstache

G'day everyone. I've been on MMM for a couple of months and have recently discovered this forum after seeing many references to it in Nords' excellent military FIRE guide that I have just read. While I've always done things financially that would set me up nicely for retirement, I didn't realise until late last year that I was so close to FI already and hence ER has recently become a very real possibility.

I'm am extremely fortunate to have started my line of work at a time when a generous ER-friendly pension scheme was in place and that I've been able to stay with. At 45, I'm now in a position where if I ERed, I would immediately start receiving a COLAed pension that is, after tax, is right around my current annual spending rate of $50K. On top of that, I own my house outright, I will have over $650K of savings, golden handshake money and "normal" retirement (65+) savings if I do pull the pin.

Sounds like a no brainer to ER, right?, but FUD is currently consuming me:
  • Fear. I've been in my line of work for 30 years, straight out from school, and the work environment, as annoying as it can be sometimes, is as comfortable as a favourite old shoe. Will I cope with the significant lifestyle change that ER will bring?
  • Uncertainty. The COLA pension has historically lagged wage growth by about 1% a year and many existing pensioners complain that COLA adjustments don't cover real inflation. To counter this over a long retirement (55 years if I live to 100) and keep income parity I'd need to increasingly draw from my savings pool. Will my expenses go up when I ER? Will I have enough to compensate for this pension erosion?
  • Doubt. I'm good at my job (not great, but a large part of that is me pacing myself so that I don't get caught up in the high flyer, no work life balance mindset) and enjoy some of the challenges that it gives me. Will ER provide similar challenges to stimulate me?
My logical side says the number easily work out, that I should embrace change and take that new direction in my life. Please help me send my FUD packing!
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Old 02-04-2013, 04:55 PM   #2
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Keep working till the BS bucket outweighs the FUD bucket, then you'll know it's time to go.
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:04 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Keep working till the BS bucket outweighs the FUD bucket, then you'll know it's time to go.
+1. You're probably expecting a more complicated answer, but that's what it really comes down to.

Reaching FI is independent of ER. Everyone should strive for achieving FI as soon as they can IMO, but I wouldn't typically advise anyone to quit until they really aren't getting any satisfaction out of work/career.

And no one can tell another when their BS bucket is full. Some people are comfortable pulling the plug at a low probability of portfolio success, while others need as much as 200%.

It's never a no-brainer though some see it that way. Retiring is not only about how big your portfolio is. The non $ aspects are even more difficult to come to grips with for some of us (me for example). It's not enough to retire to escape from something (work) of just because you can, hopefully you have something better to retire to...

Best of luck, when it's time, it'll be pretty clear to you.
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:04 PM   #4
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Or..........

IF BS > FUD, then RE = 1, given that FI = 1
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:00 PM   #5
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[*]Fear. I've been in my line of work for 30 years, straight out from school, and the work environment, as annoying as it can be sometimes, is as comfortable as a favourite old shoe. Will I cope with the significant lifestyle change that ER will bring?
Can you take a leave of absence for a few months as a trial? Having done this myself I know this wont be an issue for me.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:55 PM   #6
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My BS bucket has been filling towards full over the last five years, with occasional splashes over the side. I think it's more that I've been promoted to my level of workplace BS intolerance rather than incompetence. Reaching FI has certainly not improved the former, so perhaps it's time to move on anyway, regardless of whether I follow through with the RE now or later.

Yes I can take a leave of absence, but not much. I have one month off of normal leave now, but tapping into and decent chunk of the 7 months long service leave I have left is likely beyond the tolerance of my organisation for the role I do (major project management). Ironically, the only way I can likely access the whole lot in one go is to resign, yet it is likely that such a time away would refresh my batteries and have me going on with them for a few years yet.

Lots to think about in the next month while away from work. Your inputs, short and sharp or more detailed, are much appreciated.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:16 AM   #7
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Or..........

IF BS > FUD, then RE = 1, given that FI = 1
But for some of us RE = 2 x FI, and some are OK with RE = 0.75 x FI.

FI ≠ RE
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:20 PM   #8
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Welcome to the forum.
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:50 PM   #9
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Oz-

look into a medical leave too. A time to decompress. Something along those lines. Dunno your relationship w/ "management" - or the specific culture of your organization - but if possible a heart-to-heart can sometimes work.

As others have said, you know when it is time to go. For me, it was a year or two before I left. Thank God I was able to go before it got ugly.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:10 PM   #10
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Medical leave is an option, but it would involve significant probing into my life to justify it and ongoing monitoring while I'm absent from work, which I'm not sure I have the energy to do nor will it achieve my desired objective to get away from it all.

I'm going to talk to my HR department and see if I can wrangle 12 months long service leave off at half pay, an amount upon which I can easily live. If I start it at the end of this year, which was when I was planning on ERing in any case, they can likely allocate me to some sort of year-long pool position. This would allow my current position to be filled by someone else, which they cannot do if I take normal long service leave, and hence be satisfactory to them. I'll have a year to "find" myself, after which I can choose to either resume my career in a refreshed state or to hang up the towel for good and move onto the next chapter in my life.

Good idea?
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:20 PM   #11
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Good idea?

Only you know the answer to that one.
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