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"Pushed" Into Possible Retirement
Old 04-16-2012, 09:06 AM   #1
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"Pushed" Into Possible Retirement

Hi! I'm new to the forum. Iím 47 and I was pushed into possible retirement in November 2011 when I was laid off from a corporate job I had grown to hate. About 8 years ago, I was inspired by "Your Money or Your Life" to really focus on saving enough money to escape. My original plan was to quit once I had saved 17 years of expenses. I reached that goal, but I didnít quit then because of the bad economy and probably a lack of courage. At that point, I felt I had "extra" money, so I really gave thought to what I wanted to do with that money. My house was already paid off, but I upgraded the kitchen, replaced my car and bought a few "luxuries" like a nicer TV. I also realized that there was literally nothing else I wanted.

Being laid off was probably a blessing---it was scary, but it was probably the push I needed. My current withdrawal rate is around 2%. FireCalc tells me I have enough to retire, but Iím just not convinced. I'm reading like crazy. Iím working on a novel now and I have an interest in Teaching. Years ago I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa and I have considered retiring abroad (or maybe teaching abroad). Speaking of travel, Iíve visited 36 states and 25 countries.

I've always craved time and it is so wonderful to have that now. If I could just stop worrying about finances, I think I would love retirement. Because of my worries, I am instead searching out meaningful work. I was convinced that we all "deserve" to find the right job by listening to "The Ultimate Anti-career Guide"

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Old 04-16-2012, 12:07 PM   #2
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Welcome! I had a similar situation near the same age and it's working out much better than I expected. Good luck!

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Old 04-16-2012, 12:17 PM   #3
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Congratulations! If you haven't read The Joy of Not Working you might get some insights or ideas. With a WR of 2%, you certainly seem to be OK financially, but taking on some paid activities that have meaning to you might be just the ticket. Good luck!
"One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute." William Feather
ER'd Oct. 2010 at 53. Life is good.
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Old 04-16-2012, 12:19 PM   #4
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Welcome to Good luck with the retirement potential.

We are in somewhat the same boat. I FIREd last August at 46. My budget is at a 3% WR and I worry . I would love to be at 2%. Barring catastrophe (then we will all be in the same boat), 2% WR should be unassailable...if you can maintain the low costs.

From a budget/spending perspective, here is my experience so far... Semi-Annual Report

I would think hard about the cost of healthcare is the biggest thing to watch out for. I had to adjust my budget to have enough. Other things you can reduce or eliminate.

Since you are reading, there is a reading list on the site that might help FIRE Recommended Reading List. I found Jim Otar's "Unveiling the retirement myth" to be especially helpful in feeling comfortable. You can get a pdf version for $5.99 on his site: otar retirement calculator Just click "book" in the left nav.

Have fun, do what you want. If you want to work at something that you enjoy, 2% makes that an easy decision.

If you are still worried at 2% remember this: ďThere is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoeverĒ. Mahatma Gandhi
FIREd at 46, 8/31/11
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Old 04-16-2012, 12:34 PM   #5
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Hi Delaney, and welcome. It is normal to worry, but you seem well prepared, and if your withdrawal rate is 2%, your finances are in good shape. Perhaps in addition to (or even instead of) looking for another job you might want to use some of your free time to learn about managing your investments. This will help you deal with the worrying in a proactive way. You can start by reading one of William Bernstein's books: The Four Pillars of Investing: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio (9780071385299): William J. Bernstein: Books

or his most recent The Investor's Manifesto: Preparing for Prosperity, Armageddon, and Everything in Between (9780470505144): William J. Bernstein: Books

Many people here have dealt with the issues you are facing, so feel free to browse the archives and ask questions.
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:15 PM   #6
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Very conservative with investments. Not ER'd yet, 48 years old. Please do not take anything I write or imply as legal, financial or medical advice directed to you. Contact your own financial advisor, healthcare provider, or attorney for financial, medical and legal advice.
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Old 04-16-2012, 02:47 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Delaney View Post
I've always craved time and it is so wonderful to have that now. If I could just stop worrying about finances, I think I would love retirement. Because of my worries, I am instead searching out meaningful work. I was convinced that we all "deserve" to find the right job by listening to "The Ultimate Anti-career Guide"
Welcome aboard. I suspect we all worry about finances to some extent, undoubtedly some more than others, and always will. The only way to combat those fears is to better understand whatever bothers you, here's still the best reading list for investors I know of Investment Books.

But at a 2% WR you're off to a (historically) conservative start. Nothing wrong with permanently "hanging up the spurs" but there's also certainly nothing wrong with an "encore career" either. I'd only suggest you give yourself time to finalize your next move - what's the rush? I thought I'd want an encore career, but after 9 months, I still haven't had any interest in looking for work. If that changes, so be is full of surprises (sure would be boring otherwise), and that doesn't stop with retirement.
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:29 PM   #8
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Welcome and congratulations. 2% WR is great.

Why not take a year off and see how it goes. I RE'd back in December. I think just change was disconcerting. The more I am RE'd the less worried I am about my 3% WR, particularly because I know it will be lower when i start my pension ~60 and next to nothing when I start SS at age 70.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:53 PM   #9
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Congratulations and welcome! Your situation is remarkably similar to mine. I was 47 when my company pushed me out last fall. I was relieved since I had been planning for early retirement and was well prepared. The book that inspired me years ago was "Millionaire Next Door", although I have read "Your Money or Your Life" more recently and for me it also was very affirmative. Based on my situation, I decided I would use a 2.5% withdrawal rate, which would allow me to live off of dividends and interest income without touching principal for the time being (hopefully).

After leaving my career job, I decided to travel overseas for a few months to clear my head and check a few things off my bucket list. It was a fantastic experience and I have no regrets about my trip, although I was hoping to have some sort of epiphany as to what to do next with my life. The only thing close to an epiphany was that I decided to spend a chunk of time upon my return on a job search to see if I could find a position where I could combine my career skills with something I felt passionate about, such as a cause or my interest in personal finance - and most importantly something that would not compromise the quality of life aspects I had been seeking prior to leaving my career job. An additional consideration for looking into new employment was that in my field the longer one is out of work the more difficult it is to re-enter, and since I had the benefit of outplacement assistance I figured I should take advantage of it while I could so that I would not have any regrets later on.

I have not yet found the right opportunity that delivers the right balance for me, but I intend to keep looking for the time being. But for me, the interest in re-visiting active employment is more about keeping busy and socially connected. It is not about money worries. In fact, if I don't find a paying job that meets my expectations I will probably do volunteer work or maybe just get a temp job for awhile.

I frequently review my financial plans and models, not so much because I am worried about my finances, but because I am proud of myself for building a nest egg that allows me the freedom to do what I want with my time and it makes me feel good to look at it on paper from time to time. It is like the "nest egg principle" from Lost in America - my nest egg will keep me safe and dry, if I don't squander it.

I guess one of the benefits of getting another paying job, even a part-time gig, would be to have a little more cash to tuck away or maybe a little more to spend and have fun now. Either way it will be my choice.

Good luck and please let us know how it goes for you!
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:49 PM   #10
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Congratulations! I was in a similar situation.

My original plan was to retire at 50, but events at megacorp made it so I left at 47 instead. Looking back, I wouldn't change a single thing.

Have you ever seen a headstone with these words
"If only I had spent more time at work" ... from "Busy Man" sung by Billy Ray Cyrus
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