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Retirement will not come soon enough
Old 08-09-2007, 07:50 PM   #1
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Retirement will not come soon enough

Hello everyone, long-time lurker, first time poster, you have all been a great encouragement for me, thank you for your contributions to my sanity through your posts here.

I am a 47yo programmer. Crunching code and stomping bugs was once all I wanted to do, but these last two or three years have put me into full career burn-out and looking for a change.

I am a bit of an oddball (relatively speaking?), I have had several intentional unemployed periods during my adult life, typically months in length. I have often worked for extended periods (months or years), saved money, and then suddenly quit to take long vacations, only returning to work when the money ran out. At age 28 I decided to go back to school, got a degree, and have been on the treadmill ever since.

Details...

- I am single, never been married, no kids that I am aware of
- I am debt free, literally
- I own my home, no mortgage (market value is around $150k)
- $100k in tax-deferred accounts (IRA & 401k)
- $250k in taxable accounts
- I would rather be cycling, hiking, or sitting in a park reading a book

If things go well (the market doesn't completely collapse) I hope to retire at the end of 2008. Certainly, I will not have enough income to travel extensively or participate in expensive hobbies…but…I did enough traveling when I was younger to satisfy my curiosity and my hobbies (including but not limited to cycling, hiking, reading) are relatively inexpensive.

A large part of my hurry to ER is my health. My list of things to accomplish includes hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and Idaho's Centennial Trail, if I wait too long those things may not happen (a family affinity for arthritis has me concerned).

I would appreciate any comments on my current sanity, will I be pulling the trigger too soon? Life is short, but I realize it could get really long if I miscalculate and end up working as a cart-wrangler for a big-box store...

-Rob
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Old 08-09-2007, 08:02 PM   #2
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Greetings Rob

Welcome fo the boards. It sounds like you are LBYM. Have you run all your variables through FIRECalc? I found it to be a good sanity check.
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Old 08-09-2007, 08:13 PM   #3
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Hi Rob,

IMHO, I think you are young enough to keep working - even if it is on a part time or contract bases. But I would run the calcs necessary to give you an idea about the the income you will need to support yourself atleast in the pre-SS period. AT 62/66 or longer as that age may change, SS will come in handy.
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Old 08-09-2007, 08:18 PM   #4
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Greetings Rob

Welcome fo the boards. It sounds like you are LBYM. Have you run all your variables through FIRECalc? I found it to be a good sanity check.

Yes bssc, I typically live way way way below my means. I have tried FIRECalc and have run a number of scenarios. My exit is based on $500k invested with a 4% withdrawal. In 2005 I took a year off without pay (my boss can be very accommodating) and only spent $10k in 12 months, it really surprised me.
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Old 08-09-2007, 08:25 PM   #5
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Hi Rob,

IMHO, I think you are young enough to keep working - even if it is on a part time or contract bases. But I would run the calcs necessary to give you an idea about the the income you will need to support yourself atleast in the pre-SS period. AT 62/66 or longer as that age may change, SS will come in handy.

Thanks maxer, I have considered the contract/consulting angle and it might be the best route, especially if I can spend my winters working and summers doing what I want to do, early semi-retirement may be the way to go. There are some great hill-climbs in the Peruvian Andes during a North American winter...

-Rob
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Old 08-09-2007, 08:35 PM   #6
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Welcome NSE.

Are you already covered for health care in the US? Or are you planning to use medical services abroad?
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Old 08-09-2007, 08:37 PM   #7
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Can you live on $20K per year mostly taxable?

Health insurance? You may have gotten away without it when young, but it seems unwise not to plan for it in the future. A simple fracture, car accident, appendicitis, etc. could cost thousands to care for. Premiums might be $5-8K per year depending on lots of variables.

If you have those accounted for, your plan seems reasonable from what you describe. If not, in your shoes I'd wait or go part-time rather than FIRE completely.
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Old 08-09-2007, 08:42 PM   #8
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Welcome NSE.

Are you already covered for health care in the US? Or are you planning to use medical services abroad?
Hi Sam, I will have COBRA when I leave the job, but I don't intend to contribute. I can get a high deductible policy here for between $130/mo and $200/mo ($5k+ deductible).

-Rob
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Old 08-09-2007, 08:49 PM   #9
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Can you live on $20K per year mostly taxable?

Health insurance? You may have gotten away without it when young, but it seems unwise not to plan for it in the future. A simple fracture, car accident, appendicitis, etc. could cost thousands to care for. Premiums might be $5-8K per year depending on lots of variables.

If you have those accounted for, your plan seems reasonable from what you describe. If not, in your shoes I'd wait or go part-time rather than FIRE completely.
Thanks Rich, that is exactly the question I am asking myself, can I live on that. The health insurance is the biggest expense I can see, and you are correct, can I handle the high deductible if something should happen? I would like to think so, but life can be a huge dice roll. My current employer is open to a consulting arrangement, and though they are unaware of my current ER fantasy they might be willing to keep me on at half-time or less, that might be the best of both worlds for now...

-Rob
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Old 08-09-2007, 09:04 PM   #10
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Thanks Rich, that is exactly the question I am asking myself, can I live on that. The health insurance is the biggest expense I can see, and you are correct, can I handle the high deductible if something should happen? I would like to think so, but life can be a huge dice roll. My current employer is open to a consulting arrangement, and though they are unaware of my current ER fantasy they might be willing to keep me on at half-time or less, that might be the best of both worlds for now...
Glad you're thinking this through. I don't enjoy throwing cold water in someone's face, but to me it sounds like you're ready emotionally but not financially. Thinking about a career change, part-time work, or other gainful but truly different pursuit can be a much more sensible path.

You don't want to be living off dog food when you're 60.
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Old 08-09-2007, 09:09 PM   #11
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Hi Sam, I will have COBRA when I leave the job, but I don't intend to contribute. I can get a high deductible policy here for between $130/mo and $200/mo ($5k+ deductible).
-Rob
Rob, that's quite large relative the your annual budget. Several members of this board use medical services outside of the US and are quite satisfied with both the services and the price.
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Old 08-09-2007, 09:25 PM   #12
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Glad you're thinking this through. I don't enjoy throwing cold water in someone's face, but to me it sounds like you're ready emotionally but not financially. Thinking about a career change, part-time work, or other gainful but truly different pursuit can be a much more sensible path.

You don't want to be living off dog food when you're 60.
Please consider the cold water "well received". At this point I prefer opinions to experimentation. When I was younger I would have quit my job already...age has an interesting way of attenuating our ambitions. Life is short and yet no one wants to find themselves in a ditch.

-Rob
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Old 08-09-2007, 09:31 PM   #13
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Rob, that's quite large relative the your annual budget. Several members of this board use medical services outside of the US and are quite satisfied with both the services and the price.
Thanks Sam, I will do some searching and see what I can find, I had not considered non-US health insurance or care. Obviously, with lower rates, lower deductibles, and similar benefits, the travel costs would easily be lower than what I would need to spend with the deductible on a US plan...

-Rob
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Old 08-09-2007, 10:09 PM   #14
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Welcome to the "other" side of the board with posting and not just lurking. We have nothing against lurking but we also like to have folks be a part of the conversations here and to contribute as well as just soak up what is offered here.

I would like to add to Rich's comments on retirement.

One key aspect of retirement is to retire TO something rather than FROM your work or your working environment. Retirement is a huge change in your emotional, financial, and social lives. Unless you have a clear idea what you want to do in retirement your retirement could be pretty disappointing and demoralizing. The end of your working life and your career should be a happy time and one where you feel you have "completed" what you wanted to do in the working world and are now ready to start a new life in retirement. Retirement is truly a journey and not a destination.

Money is only one part of being ready to retire. You also have to be ready emotionally. If you are really just looking to get out of your current job then as Rich suggested; find a different job or career; go back to school; etc. What is your passion? What would make you happy doing it 8 or more hours a day? Once you know this then you have your answer; the rest is just the mechanics on getting there.

ER is great but is not for everyone. Preparation in every aspect of your life is key to enjoying rather than enduring ER.
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Old 08-10-2007, 12:27 AM   #15
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Money is only one part of being ready to retire.
A very big part, nevertheless ;-)
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Old 08-10-2007, 10:33 AM   #16
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Hi Rob, and welcome to the board.

I admire your adventurousness!

We're in the same boat, being single and childless. Lots of folks at retirement need to be concerned about their spouse, or want to be able to help their kids out, or want to leave an estate. Not having those concerns lets us consider "riskier" options.

We also tend to think of retiring as irrevocable, and for many it is. But it sounds like you have experience getting in and out of the job market. Could go go back to work after a few years if retirement isn't working out as you planned?

You sound sane enough to me. I hope you can keep your dream of a 2008 retirement alive!

Coach
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Old 08-10-2007, 10:41 AM   #17
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Money is only one part of being ready to retire. You also have to be ready emotionally. If you are really just looking to get out of your current job then as Rich suggested; find a different job or career; go back to school; etc.
Thanks Steve, I appreciate the sentiments and have considered the implications of having an extra 40+ hrs/wk all to myself. I neglected to mention in the intro, my employer allowed me to take a one year sabbatical in 2005. It was easily the best year of my life, if I had been FI at the time I doubt I would have returned at the end of the year. But even with that experience I still wonder whether I can escape completely, especially since I am still a little short financially.
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Old 08-10-2007, 11:33 AM   #18
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I just wanted to say that if you are an oddball, I'm right there with you.

I'd also rather read, cycle, build something, cut my lawn, play with my welder, or about a zillion other things, than go to work.

Also a programmer, 43 yr old, but with wife and 2 kids.

If you do your personality profile thingy your probably an INTP like myself.

Welcome to the board,

John
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Old 08-10-2007, 02:42 PM   #19
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We also tend to think of retiring as irrevocable, and for many it is. But it sounds like you have experience getting in and out of the job market. Could go go back to work after a few years if retirement isn't working out as you planned?
Very true Coach, thanks for the encouragement! A semi-retired/part-time arrangement with my current employer might be the best option, especially if they are willing to continue providing subsidized health insurance.

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I'd also rather read, cycle, build something, cut my lawn, play with my welder, or about a zillion other things, than go to work.
Thanks John, "zillion" is about right. I've noticed many of the pop-psych books that are often suggested reading for FIRE wannabes recommend writing a list of things you'd want to do if you were retired or had more free time. Off the top of my head I can list a dozen, writing a list could turn into a job in itself. My Dad retired early at 55, he only had one hobbie, playing golf. He told me after ten years that he was getting tired of playing golf every day...but he couldn't think of anything else to do. I've heard similar things from friends, they like the idea of retirement but they either can't imagine what they would do all day or their interests are frighteningly limited...
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Old 08-10-2007, 03:30 PM   #20
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Welcome to the board!
I definitely empathize with you Rob....I have a lot of other things that I would rather do than have to go to work in the morning. I am looking to semi-retire at 45 myself and working part time at something I enjoy and that provides health care.
My parents can't understand why I don't want to work till 67....they worry that my ER goal is a bit obsessive....but neither of them are happy.

My job gets in the way of my life!
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