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Ready to FIRE - but need reassurance
Old 06-20-2014, 05:43 AM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Dec 2013
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Ready to FIRE - but need reassurance

First of all, thank you for this awesome community! DW and I have worked hard over the years to raise our family and to build a security nest - and after 25yrs, I am getting burned out and am ready to slow down before my health gives out.

Firecalc says I am ready to go, but need some reassurance to calm my nerves. I am wondering if there is a place that has the financial stats of folks that has successfully FIRE'd.

Here are my stats:
age 46
married for 23yrs
3 kids, 15,8,6
home (fully paid, equity ~$1.0M) - property taxes about 11k
taxable acct ($1.3M)
retirement acct ($1.6M)
net worth ~ $3.9M
estimated post retirement spending (100k incl taxes)
estimated income from OMY (~$0.5m)

i do plan on downsizing home and potentially moving to a lower cost state (like texas) after oldest child goes to college.

here are some other buffers
if healthcare costs are too high - we are healthy now, but who knows what may happen later - we can move back to Canada to take advantage of lower healthcare / long term care costs.

I am sooooo stressed out at work that i am ready to call it quits at the end of the year - but am terrified that the money will run out. I would like to ask for feedback / advice on whether my numbers work (and if possible a link to a thread which contains the stats of folks that have FiRE'd off successfully, so i see how i stack up)

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Old 06-20-2014, 05:59 AM   #2
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I would try a new job and see if the stress problem increases. I would not retire if I had three children at home although I know opinions will vary on that aspect.

"A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do" --Bob Dylan.
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:00 AM   #3
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3% WR looks fine based on info. you posted. Have you been tracking expenses and absolutely sure that 100K would meet your upper limit? Also, have you funded Emergency Expenses? I usually keep 60K in cash for new roof/car repairs etc..
What about 529 plans for Kids' education? Have you funded enough for at least 4 yrs college expense?
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:07 AM   #4
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You appear have enough safety nets to fall back on if something goes haywire. You could also go back to work later to help make ends meet if you get uncomfortable... wouldn't need much to take the pressure off the portfolio so maybe something more fun and less stressful if it came to that. Congrats!
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:10 AM   #5
Confused about dryer sheets
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thanks heavy joe. that is certainly an option... I have struggled with this over the years. I have worked for several employers and have jumped jobs when stress / bs got too much or went to a better opportunity. But it seems that i put myself in a high stress situations (exec level) with adverse consequences to work / life balance. Perhaps i need to consider a career change!

i think i need to take a timeout for a year, then think about what to do next.

by the way, i would cherish spending more time with the kids vs. working all of the time
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:15 AM   #6
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I'm conservative - I would be wary of full retirement with three young kids at home. I think trying to change jobs first is a wise choice; try to understand whether your stress is from this job in particular or any job. With all the variables in a child's life, from health to education, you need more than just a personal run rate assurance, I think. But ultimately these are extremely and totally personal decisions, with lots of conscious and unconscious triggers. The more you can be clear about why you want to make the move and how you will react over a number of different scenarios, the better off you'll be. Best of luck however you go.
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:20 AM   #7
Confused about dryer sheets
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retire 2020
much of my anticipated income in retirement will be in tax deferred accts.. so taxes will be minimal at ~15% tax bracket (waaaayyyy lower than now). my discretionary spending is approx 70k today (LBYM)..
I am assuming $20k/yr for healthcare and feel that $100k is relatively conservative for post retirement spending. in firecalc, i assumed steady spending throughout retirement.
529 is funded up to $200k as of now. i am hopeful that kids go to state school, or canadian school (we are canadian & american dual citizens) - even better if they elect to stay home and commute to college (we live near many top notch universities)
we are budgeting $5k per year for misc. repairs and do have plenty of liquid assets.
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:24 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by willowbeezer68 View Post
i think i need to take a timeout for a year, then think about what to do next.
I like this option.

My personal observation is many of those who retire prior to age 50 still have the need to "accomplish something" and aren't ideally suited for retirement. That isn't always the case of course, so a 'trial retirement/sabbatical/voluntary unemployment' period would be a great way to test the waters to see if you are comfortable with it.
Numbers is hard.

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension

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Old 06-20-2014, 06:44 AM   #9
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Don't confuse the need to accomplish something with the need to have a 40+ hour a week j*b.

I became more active volunteering with an organization after FIREing at age 46. I do volunteer event planning for the group's annual conference. Seeing the conference grow in the number of attendees and the positive comments that we receive back are very rewarding. It is also nice in that the planning only runs for about 5 months of the year giving me the rest of the year to recharge and do whatever else I am inclined.

As for questions/comments to the OP:

#1) You didn't mention what type of income you are earning now at your j*b

#2) You didn't mention any Social Security benefits that you and/or DW may have accrued under current law. (In our case, DW and I both have accrued over $30k/year each in SS benefits if we wait until age 70 to commence payments. Both of us worked in engineering, non-managerial positions. This was based on ~22 years of full time post college employment for each of us. SS benefits accrue very rapidly in the early part of one's career due to the payout formula being based on lifetime earnings (AIME) applied to a 'progressively' shaped payout function (PIA) -- higher paid individuals progress through the high payback portion of the curve relatively quickly. The trick to quickly determine what you have accrued so far is to place '0' in last years earnings in the SS estimator available on the SS web site. This causes the estimator to assume that you will not have future earnings.

#3) You haven't mentioned tracking your expenses.
I had tracked my expenses in quicken for years while I was working. When FIRE became a possibility due to the changing environment at work, having the data on actual, unconstrained spending was priceless. Because everything was accounted for (except breakdowns of ATM withdrawals) by category, it was easy to see which expenses would go away in retirement and come up with a very realistic retirement budget. This gave me the confidence to pull the plug in that it was based on real data.

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Old 06-20-2014, 10:11 AM   #10
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You have more than enough to retire. You have my assurances .

I don't mean this in a bad way. The way I see it, potential divorce & 3 kids are your only major financial liability that can dampen your RE. But, I assume your marriage is strong, and you have already taken measures to take care of your kids college expenses, etc.. Best wishes.

OMY = 0.5M, I know it's hard to let go. I struggle with my OMY.
Pura Vida
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Old 06-20-2014, 11:59 AM   #11
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willowbeezer68; Perhaps I misunderstood your numbers, but your investment portfolio is 2.9MM. Withdrawing $100,000 the first year represents a WR of 3.44%. IMHO that would be the maximum WR that I would feel comfortable with IF I was older and did not have such a long time horizon, not to mention 3 young children. If you were to downsize your home costwise now and add an additional amount (say 500K?) to your investment portfolio that would reduce your WR to 2.94%. Now you are in a more comfortable range, but you still have the issue of three children and they are expensive. I like your idea of taking a year off and decompressing before making a final decision.
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:38 PM   #12
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I have three kids as well, all in their early 20's. They just graduated college and are now looking for jobs and the next step of their life. When they are done with the house ~ 3yrs. We will sell.

Couple of observations -
> Life happens!!! I could not, at the age your kids are at, have predicted where they would end up and how dependent they would be. While it all turned out ok each has had their setbacks and costs that could not have been predicted.
> Kids are a huge responsibility and I and my wife are ready for RE because we now have free time and resources. Even now we get frustrated when we can't do things because they require are assistance or car! We - and them - are ready to move on.
> One person mentioned being 50+ to be emotionally ready - I could not agree more. We are now 52 and are about to go part time to sample RE for 4 days a week. Then next year go all in if we like. Easing into it financially and emotionally.
I retired for 3 months 6 years ago and needed to go back to work - since the kids were young I was just itching to do things but could not, if was frustrating.
> $ is not everything and while your SO may seem ok with it, mine did too, but down deep she was scared - because ---- life happens and it can be completely unpredictable.

Just my 2 cents
Just Trekking thru!
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Old 06-20-2014, 01:49 PM   #13
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I am in a similar boat. In my 40s with kids at home and wanting to RE.

The key will be your spending. And let's face it, it is an unknown, especially with 3.

The thing that pops out to me is the house value. Seems to be pretty high to ER at that age with 1 million dollar house and those assets. Why? Taxes are but one cost. And, you have already indicated property taxes are 11% of your annual budget. I, too, live in a 1+ mil house, but plan to sell once I ER. Too many expenses to maintain it. Think if something big like HVAC, roof, etc repair comes up.

I like your thinking but due to our (relatively) young ages I have projected to spend 2x what I currently spending (post-tax). I also tend to assume very low returns 4-5% on investments. We have a much longer time horizon than most.

So, I agree with spending more time with your kids. I would suggest you run some pessimistic return numbers and project higher expenses and see the likelihood of success. If nothing else you have a great base and have given yourself the financial freedom to dump the high stress job for a lower one, even if it means lower $. IMHO.
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Old 06-20-2014, 02:35 PM   #14
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Congratulations on your financial and family success (23 years marriage and 3 kids). Similar place at your age, including wife and 3 kids. I can identify with the burnout but I'm grateful it came at the very end of my 40's. I'm now 50 and pacing myself to make a few more years. For many of us that make it to a relatively high compensation, there's no going jumping out of the plane becomes a very important decision. In my field for sure, I can't go back, so I'm willing to spend a few more to increase success. If you can take time off and go back to similar pay, then sure go for it. Although your assets are great, I would personally feel uneasy with that amount, 3 kids and longevity risks from leaving the workforce that early. The bad news: kids are like herpes, the gift that keeps on giving. The good news: state universities provide a great education and you already have a big jump on that. Good luck.
This is no social crisis, just another tricky day for you...
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Old 06-25-2014, 01:30 PM   #15
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Hi and welcome. I understand the burnout. As others have said, retiring with young children adds a whole new dimension to the risk we take when we ER.

You said you've moved jobs before when the stress became too much, but it appears you keep going into management roles, which is the cause of your stress.

In your shoes, I would first try out a non-management, individual contributor role, which at least in theory would be lower stress. Technically you could take an 80% pay cut and still cover your expenses.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't ER, just that there are other options that you may want to consider first.

"For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." ~
Hebrews 12:11

ER'd in June 2015 at age 52. Initial WR 3%. 50/40/10 (Equity/Bond/Short Term) AA.
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