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Retired at 40
Old 09-16-2005, 10:18 AM   #1
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Retired at 40

I have been retired now for the past 1 and 1/2 years and enjoying it very much (although the New England winters make it tough).* My retirement situation became available several years back when my wife was the unfortunate recipient of a serious malpractice surgery which left her partially paralyzed.* Of course the malpractice settlement did not arrive for several years after the unfortunate incident even though the doctor admitted fault.* This left us trying to manage living in a two story house with two young children and a wife in a wheelchair.* Fortunately the settlement did come after two years which allowed us to build a completely handicapped accessible home.

Retiring after the settlement arrived was not even in my mind until several years had passed and I realized taking care of the home life was much more important than my career and the salary it provided.* We had a financial plan completed which indicated that based on our savings withdrawal rates we could comfortably retire at age 40.

Are there any other retirees out there in their early 40s?* Sometimes I think I'm nuts for leaving work at such a young age but then I see how much time I get to spend with my wife and kids and think I'd be crazy to go back.* I still have difficulty telling people I meet during the day that I am retired and usually I just say I took the day off.* Not comfortable telling others that I can financially afford to retire at age 40.*
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-16-2005, 10:23 AM   #2
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Re: Retired at 40

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Originally Posted by VeryEarlyRetiree
Are there any other retirees out there in their early 40s?* Sometimes I think I'm nuts for leaving work at such a young age but then I see how much time I get to spend with my wife and kids and think I'd be crazy to go back.* I still have difficulty telling people I meet during the day that I am retired and usually I just say I took the day off.* Not comfortable telling others that I can financially afford to retire at age 40.*
Welcome to the board, VER!

I'm almost 45, been retired since I was 41. Family time is priceless!

There are a number of threads like this one on "What do you tell people?" I tell them I'm retired. And when my mother was fighting cancer, my father used to tell people that he was taking early retirement to help her.
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-16-2005, 10:37 AM   #3
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Re: Retired at 40

[quote

Are there any other retirees out there in their early 40s?* Sometimes I think I'm nuts for leaving work at such a young age but then I see how much time I get to spend with my wife and kids and think I'd be crazy to go back.* I still have difficulty telling people I meet during the day that I am retired and usually I just say I took the day off.* Not comfortable telling others that I can financially afford to retire at age 40.*
My first ER was in my middle 40's.* The first week of retirement our sheltie was found to have terminal cancer.* Before we put her down I got to spent two priceless days with her. Yes, the family time is precious.
For a few years I worked full time at home managing several family portfolios. I had done this before, but not fulltime.* The neighbors would see me in my tank top/ flip flops and I'm sure wonder why I couldn't* get a job. I used to feel like getting a front yard sign---
HEY DUMBASS---WHILE YOU WERE AT YOUR MINDLESS DEADEND JOB TODAY, I EARNED OVER $XXXX SITTING BY THE POOL WITH MY LAPTOP!!
PLUS I NO LONGER HAVE A DRY CLEANING BILL.
Couldn't get DW to go along with that one.
Since that time I've gotten restless and have started a business that sometimes overwhelms me, so I am now planning the final ER.
The bottom line is just as it always is---follow your dreams and your heart, and what ever you do, forget the critics.
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-16-2005, 12:04 PM   #4
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Re: Retired at 40

Don't be embarrassed about it. Wish I could have retired in my early 40's.*
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-16-2005, 12:20 PM   #5
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Re: Retired at 40

* *I am in a similar situation. I lost my wife suddenly and between survivor benefits and life insurance I have been able to stay at home (just over a year so far) and care for our 2 children. I'm 43. My wife and I had a wonderful marriage of 15yrs (plus a 5 year courtship) and were still very much in love. I'm not sure we were loving our respective careers and we both were saving madly to ER at 55.

* *I know there aren't any guarantees attached to tomorrow, but still it's a bitter pill to swallow watching so many long planned for dreams*go away in an instant (as I'm sure we're all reminded of by Katrina).

* *Even given my own profound grief (an exhausting state), 2 grieving preteens (and all their associated needs), a house to keep together and several pets, people still ask..."so, when are you going back to work?", or..."what DO you do all day?" Yesterday someone asked me if I was retiring early, I answered that I wasn't sure that raising two kids alone while keeping a house together was my idea of "retirement". Its a full time commitment (that is much more important than my old job). In most cases I just say that I and my kids are fortunate that I am able to stay at home for "awhile" and time will tell with the work thing. I think that says all they need to know of our financial situation.*

* If staying home allows you to get done what needs to be done and most importantly gives you quality time with your loved ones, you should do it and be commended. I know I would be a completely different animal (as would my kids) if I had to pick them up at the end of a long workday, tired and grumpy, to take them out to another carry-out meal followed by grocery shopping, laundry, errand running, lawn mowing, snow blowing, bill paying...etc...etc.

* *I have a whole new appreciation of single, working parents and all they do.
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-16-2005, 12:30 PM   #6
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Re: Retired at 40

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Originally Posted by DOG51
Don't be embarrassed about it. Wish I could have retired in my early 40's.*
EDIT: I admit I just skimmed through the first reading of your post. Sorry for your wifes misfortune. I know you didn't want to retire early that way. But I still wouldn't be embarrassed about it.
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-16-2005, 01:35 PM   #7
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Re: Retired at 40

Thanks for all the words of encouragement.* I'm not sure embarressment is what I'm feeling, it's much more like guilt (I got to retire early because my wife was injured in surgery).* I am starting to feel more comfortable with the situation.* I just wish the envious people would realize we both would give up the several million we obtained for a malpractice settlement to return to our former non-handicapped life.

My other concern is what will our kids think (currently ages 6 and 9) when they get older.* How can mom and dad not work when all my friends parents have to work?* Right now I don't think they have no idea what our current financial situation is.* Although I don't know how much longer that will last before they start wondering more about how we can survive without working.* We also don't want them to think that this is how the world works (moms and dads don't need to work).

I think that was my reason for not considering retiring earlier was that I wanted to continue to instill in my kids that a strong work ethic is important.* The final straw came when my wife fell on ice while bringing one of our kids to an after school activity after she became handicapped.* Continuing to work after that seemed ridiculous.

I agree with everyone's comments FAMILY TIME IS PRICELESS!* Hearing my daughter say "Dad get off the computer and lets jump into the pool" beats anything I ever accomplished at work.

Enough babbling, time to get the kids off the bus.
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-16-2005, 01:47 PM   #8
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Re: Retired at 40

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Originally Posted by VeryEarlyRetiree
I think that was my reason for not considering retiring earlier was that I wanted to continue to instill in my kids that a strong work ethic is important.
It's important when it is necessary. It's not necessary in your case.

In fact, it's not even a strong work ethic that is important in life as it is a strong living ethic. The most important thing in life is the pursuit of happiness. It doesn't matter what you consider happiness, as long as that pursuit doesn't harm or interfere with the pursuit of other peoples' happiness.
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-16-2005, 04:58 PM   #9
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Re: Retired at 40

Good for you that you can. I think most people would love the opportunity. I am working on retiring at 40, but to be honest, there is a lot of planning a little more sacrifice, but to have the option, is really great. I look forward to you giving some more ideas on this.
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-16-2005, 05:05 PM   #10
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Re: Retired at 40

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It's important when it is necessary.* It's not necessary in your case.

In fact, it's not even a strong work ethic that is important in life as it is a strong living ethic.* The most important thing in life is the pursuit of happiness.* It doesn't matter what you consider happiness, as long as that pursuit doesn't harm or interfere with the pursuit of other peoples' happiness.
Damn straight!
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-16-2005, 05:07 PM   #11
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Re: Retired at 40

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It doesn't matter what you consider happiness, as long as that pursuit doesn't harm or interfere with the pursuit of other peoples' happiness.
Please inform the gov't. of this; they don't seem to know...
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-16-2005, 05:11 PM   #12
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Re: Retired at 40

If you can retire early no matter what the reason, do so! Don't worry what anyone else thinks. Work to live not live to work.
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-16-2005, 06:39 PM   #13
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Re: Retired at 40

I can relate to the "guilt" VER. I retired on a disability at age 39. I did NOT want to give up the job I loved but my neurosurgeon and my employer had other ideas unfortunately. (it was my second serious injury followed by 3 surgeries and 14 months of rehab) My boys were 10 and 13 at the time. I cherished the fact that I was able to spend so much time with them and hubby but in all honesty to this day I still at times miss the job and feel some guilt. (and it's been 11+ yrs) But time marches on.

It sounds like you have a very full plate but make sure to take time to smell the roses. And enjoy those kids. And don't worry about their work ethic. As long as you love them and guide them when needed they'll be just fine.
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-16-2005, 07:36 PM   #14
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Re: Retired at 40

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Originally Posted by VeryEarlyRetiree
My other concern is what will our kids think (currently ages 6 and 9) when they get older.* How can mom and dad not work when all my friends parents have to work?* Right now I don't think they have no idea what our current financial situation is.* Although I don't know how much longer that will last before they start wondering more about how we can survive without working.* We also don't want them to think that this is how the world works (moms and dads don't need to work).

I think that was my reason for not considering retiring earlier was that I wanted to continue to instill in my kids that a strong work ethic is important.*
There are a bunch of other threads on those issues here, here, here, here, and here.

Basically six-year-olds (1) don't know, (2) don't care, and (3) don't worry as long as the ATM keeps spitting out the cash. Of course if your kid is a Warren Buffett protegé then your experience will be different. Older adolescents usually just want to know that your savings should be enough to last for a long time if you stick to your budget. ("Sorry, pal, we can buy groceries from the grocery budget but we can't buy a PlayStation today.")

Another poster ER'd with a teenager and went to some lengths to keep up the appearances of going to work. Years later they were talking about that subterfuge and it turned out that the kid was so busy coping with being a teenager that they (1) didn't notice and (2) couldn't have cared less.

As for our 12-year-old's work ethic we tell her that life is not about owning stuff-- it's about relationships, educating yourself, and saving enough money to have choices. We tell her that hopefully she'll find a career that she loves, but if she saves enough & invests like we teach her to then she can do whatever she loves whether it's a career or something else. We're hoping that'll give her all the work ethic that she'll ever need.

MTV and the Disney channel have turned her into an expert consumer but we alternate between "Well, then you better get a really high-paying job!" and Bill Cosby's "No, kid, your mother and I have money, but YOU are broke." She's starting to get it-- washing cars & recycling aluminum for money, waiting for books & DVDs to come to the library instead of to Wal-Mart, and budgeting how she's gonna spend the occasional holiday benjamins that she gets from her grandparents & uncles/aunts.

I think that our kids are happiest when they're spending time with us. Now the NEIGHBOR's kids may ask yours why you can stay home while Mom & Dad have to work... usually it's enough to tell your kid to say that you're helping your wife and taking care of the family while you live on savings.
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-17-2005, 07:00 AM   #15
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Re: Retired at 40

thanks for the links to others in similar situations.* I can relate to many of the items discussed. I do wonder sometimes how our kids would respond in school or elsewhere when someone discuss what their Dad does for work.* I know we have told them that Dad needs to be at home to help out now that Mom is in a wheelchair.* I'm sure those other kids wish their Dad could do the same when they see me at home available to pitch some balls or play catch and never miss any school activities or field trips.

We do try often to indicate to our kids that money is not important, it's how you treat others that is.* Certainly the money does help us do some things we ordinarily would never be able to do.* Like this past summer when my son and I did a Red Sox road trip to see the Sox play in Wrigley Field, Camden Yards, and Tropicana Field.* We could have never afforded such a trip in the past.

and yes, my plate is very busy between hockey practices and games, soccer, baseball, figure skating, ontop of all the usual household needs - cooking, yard work, house maintenance, etc., etc and also taking the role as financial planner/manager.* *But that never stops some people from thinking I have nothing to do all day.*

I have read several books that have helped me break the notion that you must work to feel important - "How to Retire Wild, Happy, and Free", " Your Money or Your Life", and "The Joy of Not Working".

It looks like this forum will be another good avenue to research.


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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-17-2005, 07:08 AM   #16
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Re: Retired at 40

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Originally Posted by anonimitycity
I am in a similar situation. I lost my wife suddenly and between survivor benefits and life insurance I have been able to stay at home (just over a year so far) and care for our 2 children. I'm 43. My wife and I had a wonderful marriage of 15yrs (plus a 5 year courtship) and were still very much in love. I'm not sure we were loving our respective careers and we both were saving madly to ER at 55.

I am so sorry about your wife. Years ago my mother died suddenly in her 30s. My dad, who was much older, was left to raise four kids. Tough job, but my became a great mother as well as a great father. It is great you are able to stay at home with your kids and not have to work.
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-20-2005, 10:46 AM   #17
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Re: Retired at 40

Sorry to hear about the losses you guys have had. I know no amount of money can ever replace a loved one's life or health/happiness.

This thread did touch a bit on something though, that I found interesting. The thought of feeling guilty about having a windfall due to such circumstances as losing a loved one, malpractice, etc. Is there any good advice out there for coping with that guilt?

In a few years, I might be faced with a similar situation, when my grandmother passes on. She's 81 now and still healthy, but I know she can't live forever. Even if she lives another 10-15 years, well that can go by in the blink of an eye! I'm an only child, and her only grandkid, and she has me in the will. I think everything is set to get split 40/40/20 among my Mom/Uncle/me. With the exception of the house I'm in, which right now is 1/3 mine, 1/3 my uncle's, and 1/3 Grandmoms. When she passes, that becomes 50/50 Uncle/me.

Now chances are, when she passes away, it won't get me to the point that I could retire on the spot. But, it'll still be a major financial turning point in all of our lives. And unless she gets really ill and that eats up all the savings, the inheritance will definitely get me to retirement a few years earlier. I'm just worried though, that I'm going to feel guilty about that. Anybody else understand what I'm talking about here?
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-20-2005, 11:32 AM   #18
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Re: Retired at 40

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Originally Posted by Andre1969
I'm just worried though, that I'm going to feel guilty about that.* Anybody else understand what I'm talking about here?
Maybe it's "survivor guilt": A deep sense of guilt, combined often with feelings of numbness and loss of interest in life, felt by those who have survived some catastrophe. Survivors often feel that they did not do enough to save those who died or that they are unworthy relative to the perished.

Apparently it's a pretty common feeling, with Google logging over 100,000 hits on the term.
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-20-2005, 11:35 AM   #19
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Re: Retired at 40

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Originally Posted by Andre1969
Anybody else understand what I'm talking about here?
Personally, I don't suspect I'm in line for any windfalls.

However, I do make a point in a low key way, that my mom and in-laws should spend everything. I've flat out told them I don't want anything.

Now, I may or may not get something anyway, at some point hopefully far far in the future. But I'm not counting on it, and if I do get it, I'll try to look upon it as that last gift they wanted me to have.
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Re: Retired at 40
Old 09-20-2005, 12:19 PM   #20
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Re: Retired at 40

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Originally Posted by Andre1969
Now chances are, when she passes away, it won't get me to the point that I could retire on the spot. But, it'll still be a major financial turning point in all of our lives. And unless she gets really ill and that eats up all the savings, the inheritance will definitely get me to retirement a few years earlier. I'm just worried though, that I'm going to feel guilty about that. Anybody else understand what I'm talking about here?
I'm in a similar situation. In rough terms, I'll hit FI in about 15 years, and have a wealthy relative who may pass away between now and then. Obviously, the closer to FI that happens, the more likely it is that the $ will push me over the top.

I don't think I would use the word "guilt" here, though. If that person dies, I didn't do anything wrong to cause it. I would feel something akin to "life is unfair" because that person worked hard for their money and I benefitted from it. I think I would feel a burden to take advantage of that money by either (a) passing it along to my kids in the form of college funds or house downpayments or something like that, or (b) retiring early and saying a mental "thank you" to that person for every day extra that $ gave me with my family, or (c) continuing to work but give more generously to charity or perhaps volunteering in a cause that I think is worthy.

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