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Retiring at 35?
Old 07-25-2014, 05:59 PM   #1
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Retiring at 35?

Hey guys, I've been lurking around these forums for a bit and figured I'd start a new thread and see if there is any advice for my situation. I'm currently 34 and blessed to be in a position that I should be able to comfortably retire without too many financial worries. Important details: 6.4M in taxable accounts, 100K in 401k, 3.5M (after-tax) in equity in the next 500 days, married with one kid, 450K/yr income for the next 4 years if I stay; 1.1M house mortgage free. Current portfolio is throwing off 180K/yr mostly tax free (munis). Spending can easily be contained at around that number, but wife will continue to work for her awesome health benefits.

I've done the whole FIRECalc thing about a million different ways and it usually comes out with a greater than 97% success rate calculating for 50 years; I'm likely not going to live nearly that long due to some serious health problems BUT I figured I should plan for it anyway. My worry isn't necessarily about money, its actually more about what a young guy like me who is healthy enough to enjoy life (for now) does in "retirement".

I've always been a work-o-holic as long as I can remember, 60-80 hour weeks were the norm for me and I *LOVED* it; mainly because it was either in a field where I was constantly learning and applying new skills, or I was building my business that I ultimately sold that (which made me my retirement stash). But now I'm working for a MegaCorp and it is driving me insane, all I do is think about how to get out and "retire". For me right now, retirement is the escape from having to deal with MegaCorp and all of its associated BS. I'm stuck there for another 500 or so days so I can vest the majority of my remaining equity, but I have enough right now according to firecalc that I COULD just walk away and ride off into the sunset. DW keeps telling me to just do that, but its very hard to leave high 7 figures on the table.

I guess what I'm asking is for some ideas from any other young retiree's, what do you do with yourself now that you retired? Did you go back to "wo*k"? Would you leave NOW, or would you stay until you got what you were owed?

One last bit of information about myself, the doctors just took away the one good idea I had for retirement; racing cars. So now I'm desperately trying to find something else that excites me enough that I can tell MegaCorp goodbye.
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:18 PM   #2
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I'm 37, at least 5 years from ER and vesting a pension. If I had independent means to walk away today, I would in a heartbeat.

My time would be filled going on long walks with my wife, travel with my wife, and pursuing various athletic endeavors. I would read a hell of a lot more than I do now, and I think I'd start doing charitable work with abandoned/shelter dogs.

I've never had a job I was truly passionate about, so the prospect of stopping work doesn't scare me one bit. My wife would say differently, as some of her identity has always been tied to her job.
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:29 PM   #3
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I've never had a job I was truly passionate about, so the prospect of stopping work doesn't scare me one bit. My wife would say differently, as some of her identity has always been tied to her job.
I think I'm alot like your wife, my work has always defined me. I *hate* what I'm doing now which is why I'm looking for the exit, but I'm not certain I could stop "working". I want to, BADLY because I missed most of my daughters first few years on this earth (she is 5) and I told myself that I'm working this hard for her but I need something to define me..
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:36 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by NotOldYet View Post
Hey guys, I've been lurking around these forums for a bit and figured I'd start a new thread and see if there is any advice for my situation. I'm currently 34 and blessed to be in a position that I should be able to comfortably retire without too many financial worries. Important details: 6.4M in taxable accounts, 100K in 401k, 3.5M (after-tax) in equity in the next 500 days, married with one kid, 450K/yr income for the next 4 years if I stay; 1.1M house mortgage free. Current portfolio is throwing off 180K/yr mostly tax free (munis). Spending can easily be contained at around that number, but wife will continue to work for her awesome health benefits.
What kind of healthcare benefits does your wife receive? What kind of life do you see retired early while you're wife still works? Do you want to do a lot of travel, or other activities with your wife that would be hindered by her working?

I'm not understanding why you're on the fence about working for 500 days to get $3.5 million...yet your wife will (presumably) still work for the long-term just to receive healthcare benefits...which surely could not have a net present value of $3.5 million in the wildest stretch of the imagination. ($3.5 million would yield over $100,000/year at 3% withdrawal rate, so you could even self-insure for healthcare if you really wanted to).

So my question - why not work for 500 days and then both you and your wife retire? Do you not want to spend much time with her when retired?
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:15 PM   #5
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What kind of healthcare benefits does your wife receive? What kind of life do you see retired early while you're wife still works? Do you want to do a lot of travel, or other activities with your wife that would be hindered by her working?
The biggest challenge with giving up her healthcare is that with my medical conditions, I can easily generate a 1M medical bill (and my last stroke did exactly that). The good news is that she is a teacher, and does get significant time to travel and enjoy time together.

I am very hesitant to sign up for obamacare plans only because I fear that the ACA is always under attack and a person with my medical background will get dropped or rate hiked the second they have legal grounds to do so.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:27 PM   #6
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Given what you've described I would take a sabbatical, go on a spiritual retreat, and learn to relax and define yourself by something other than work. I don't know all of your medical conditions, but you may find them improve with a different outlook.
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Old 07-25-2014, 07:30 PM   #7
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I stopped working a few years ago at age 36. Personally I was never a workaholic and always had a lot of interests outside of work. I am also an introvert and enjoy my own company. So I don't get bored easily and keep myself entertained just fine. And I have self-discipline, so I did not turn into a couch potato.

There are several difficulties that a very young retiree might face (in my experience):

1) loneliness and boredom. Most people your age will be toiling away at work and won't be able to hang out with you during the week. So you need to be able to entertain yourself. This has not been a problem for me, as I said.
2) the regard of society on you. Why are you not working, you bum? There is this notion that if you are young and able, you should be working. If you don't then you must be lazy. At age 35, when someone asks what you do, calling yourself retired is just going to make people incredulous. Some younger retirees come up with "cover stories" to get around that. But depending on your lifestyle, people are more likely to assume that you are either a welfare queen, a kept man (if your wife is still working), or a trust fund baby. This aspect, I find annoying. It basically disparages my own financial achievements.
3) the feeling of underachievement. This one does not seem to hit right away. But after a few years of retirement, when going back to your career is not an option anymore, you might start to wonder what else you could have achieved if you had soldiered on. You might see people your age at the peak of their career achieving great things, and there you are threading water in retirement. Perhaps, you might even be tempted to get back in after the bad work memories start fading.

So my advice is not to jump into ER without doing some soul searching first. Running away from a job is usually not the best start for a successful retirement. You need to be excited about retirement.
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:21 PM   #8
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There are several difficulties that a very young retiree might face (in my experience):

1) loneliness and boredom. Most people your age will be toiling away at work and won't be able to hang out with you during the week. So you need to be able to entertain yourself. This has not been a problem for me, as I said.
2) the regard of society on you. Why are you not working, you bum? There is this notion that if you are young and able, you should be working. If you don't then you must be lazy. At age 35, when someone asks what you do, calling yourself retired is just going to make people incredulous. Some younger retirees come up with "cover stories" to get around that. But depending on your lifestyle, people are more likely to assume that you are either a welfare queen, a kept man (if your wife is still working), or a trust fund baby. This aspect, I find annoying. It basically disparages my own financial achievements.
3) the feeling of underachievement. This one does not seem to hit right away. But after a few years of retirement, when going back to your career is not an option anymore, you might start to wonder what else you could have achieved if you had soldiered on. You might see people your age at the peak of their career achieving great things, and there you are threading water in retirement. Perhaps, you might even be tempted to get back in after the bad work memories start fading.

So my advice is not to jump into ER without doing some soul searching first. Running away from a job is usually not the best start for a successful retirement. You need to be excited about retirement.
Thank you, this is helpful. I really never gave much thought to how I might be viewed, but I know that would grate on me a bit. A cover story might be just the thing.

The feeling of underachievement might going to be tough to shake as well... I've always defined a large portion of my self worth from my accomplishments at the job.

I guess in the end, I should be running toward something and not away..maybe some consulting instead of a full time gig before I pull the plug entirely. I guess there is no harm in being FI without the RE part until your 100% ready.
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:27 PM   #9
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I am very hesitant to sign up for obamacare plans only because I fear that the ACA is always under attack and a person with my medical background will get dropped or rate hiked the second they have legal grounds to do so.

Rate hike is the most likely but with your situation, especially if you hang on for 500 days, it probably won't matter, you can afford any premiums and out of pocket expenses.

Even if you don't, $180k a year with no mortgage should allow you to buy any insurance policy.

So there should be no financial issues at all, unless that workaholic mentality morphs into angst about not accumulating even more than you have when you quit.
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Old 07-25-2014, 09:57 PM   #10
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I envy your current and future net worth. You could RE today, but it is tempting to wait 500 more days.

Here is what I would do if I were you:

1. Can your health withstand the next 19 months at work? It sounds like you have serious issues. Will taking care of yourself better by not working make a difference?

2. Do you have children? If you do, there is additional value to being at home.

3. Your wife is a teacher. She has great health benefits plus summers/holidays off. 9 months of the year is a lot of time to re-create yourself, independent contracting, going to school, voluteering, or being the captain of the ship that is your life.

The ACA concerns:

I too am nervous retiring now with the ACA under attack, not because of the premiums, but because the ACA offers no denial or cancellation of insurance due to illness. You will be able to afford the premiums now, but more so in 500 days. That is just over 18 months. So your wife's work is doubly valuable to you and is to be cherished for that. You being a great stay at home dad will take pressure off of her. The 500 days of work left will likely be enough to show us the staying power of the ACA.

What to call yourself after ER:

Be the stay at home dad (if you are a dad). Be the professional investor. Be the independent contract. Be "self-employed." My husband puts that on every contract we sign--and he is (he only nets $3-4K a year but WTH, it works!) Despite what you may think people think of you, the fact that you earned the RE badge as opposed to inherited wealth is truly impressive and should be respected, not derided.

If you go out during the day, during the week, these days, to the store, to volunteer at the school, whatever, people will assume you work a different time or a different shift. You can call yourself many things but no one knows what you do all the time except you and your DW.

Health issues:

It sounds as if you had a stroke. If you have health issues which are exacerbated by work, can you get through the next 19 months? If you have health issues which shorten your life expectancy, regardless of how you spend your time, then working for Megacorp seems pointless to me.

Thoughts to ponder: Live the life you love. You are a human being, not a human doing. What makes you happy in the moment now? Do it.
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Old 07-25-2014, 11:22 PM   #11
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The biggest challenge with giving up her healthcare is that with my medical conditions, I can easily generate a 1M medical bill (and my last stroke did exactly that). The good news is that she is a teacher, and does get significant time to travel and enjoy time together.

I am very hesitant to sign up for obamacare plans only because I fear that the ACA is always under attack and a person with my medical background will get dropped or rate hiked the second they have legal grounds to do so.

Even pre-ACA, you could go on a HIPAA plan if you were already insured for a certain amount of time. Our plan was over $2K a month, so it wasn't cheap, but we had insurance even with pre-existing conditions.

Another option is all states, at least pre-ACA, used to have small group insurance. This could be a group of one or two depending on the state and the business could be eBay reselling or something not too taxing.

Tough call on the $3.5M. Normally I'd say stay for that but maybe with your health issues, a young daughter and more than enough money already I would consider calling it a day and FIRE on what you have. You can't take it with you.

I'd also suggest the book What Happy People Know (focuses a lot on happiness and already wealthy workaholics) and the Netflix video from Nat Geo called Stress: Portrait of a Killer.
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Old 07-26-2014, 12:18 AM   #12
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From reading your post, I'd say stick it out 500 more days for mega paycheck. You sound half way between wanting to retire and wanting to work. It'd be a shame to turn down millions just to give early retirement a shot and then find out you're equally happy working or not working.

Going from 60-80 hrs/wk to zero will be a huge adjustment. I retired at 33, and didn't find dropping from barely 40 hours per week (where I rarely worked hard during all 40 hours) to zero hours per week to be a challenge at all. But then again, I've always worked for the money and not because I love a job or love working or love being productive.
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Old 07-26-2014, 06:10 AM   #13
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Very interesting thread.

I am older than you but still very young for retirement (early 40s).

1- I have learned from this site to retire "to something" not "from something". I worry you suddenly going from 80 - 0 will be harder than you think. I worry about it for myself as well. I am currently pondering being done in June 2015, or continuing part-time so as to ease into the ER thing. I also am making plans for the next phase so I ER to something: in my case we will be home schooling, I do all our yard/garden work, and lots of traveling! Oh, and I plan to learn another language or two.

2-Prior threads have addressed the subjects of what to say about being ER'd. I am going with investor and home school teacher. It is definitely something to ponder given your age. It will come up and if you are not ready you may be shocked by people's reaction. Think jealousy.

3-The issue FIREd brings up scares me the most. That after several years away, I will have this "what if" feeling. Yes we are financially secure, but what if I had just worked another year. . .As driven people it is a real possibility. We achieved our success through dedication and hard w*rk. Leaving the stress behind is great but can we learn to relax and stop achieving?

4-I am sorry to hear about the health issues. I cannot relate to that specifically. However, a big reason for me to ER is concern of that moving forward. Having a young family I want to be around for them. The stress I fear will kill me at a young age. I know our families would rather have us than more money. My SF died at 46 so we never know what God has planned for us.

Best wishes to you and keep us up to date!
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:58 AM   #14
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I am set to ER a little older than the OP... 42.

I am definitely retiring "TO" something rather than "FROM"... my brain is literally bursting with thoughts and ideas with what I will do with my new life. I could literally rattle off the top of my head 50 things that I want to do, learn, build, and experience. And I could think of plenty more. My job has thus far been the dominant force in my life and prevented me from doing so many things. No more.

Some things are minor - like learning how to grow a vegetable garden.

Some are big ideas - I think I might want to paddle around Vancouver Island.

I would say it would be helpful to cultivate a bunch of interests, passions, and hobbies before cutting the work-cord completely.
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Old 07-26-2014, 10:19 AM   #15
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Hmm I'm on the verge at 53 but I'm not retiring to something.

I will have a generous travel budget and a lot of little projects that I've deferred. But I don't have specific plans yet.

Got enough money and am feeling burned out. Knowledge that I could spend a lot more in retirement than I've been spending has lately made me feel blah about some of the longer term projects I'd have if I continued to work.
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Old 07-26-2014, 10:27 AM   #16
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good job
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Old 07-26-2014, 11:05 AM   #17
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That sucks to have so much money so young and so poor health. I would definitely retire now and enjoy your life. They aren't making it anymore so it can be scarce.
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Old 07-26-2014, 12:43 PM   #18
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Hi and welcome! You are doing so well. While you stay at your job, I would suggest using the time to do some soul-searching to prepare for your eventual retirement so it's a successful transition.

One thing that really helped me is sessions with a life/career coach. When you find the right coach, they will push you in ways you would never have imagined. Seeing her became a catalyst for an incredible period of personal growth and insight.

My coach also recommended a number of books on finding meaning in the second half of life. I highly recommend anything by career coach Barbara Sher.
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Old 07-27-2014, 02:00 PM   #19
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Thank you guys for all the wonderful suggestions. I'm going to add a few books to my kindle account tonight! I've really got to get my head on straight about this retirement thing. It is such a blessing that I have the option of leaving the workforce on my own terms, it would be a sin to be unhappy after I did it.

I'm not certain I could retire and keep DW working so I may just have to put my faith in the ACA and hope that premiums don't bankrupt me in the future. Thankfully my options at mega Corp vest monthly so every month I stay makes the amount left on the table smaller. I might just try and stick it out for the rest of the year and start 2015 on my own terms.

Thanks again for all the good advise and personal experiences. I have been afraid to talk about my conflicted feelings with anyone I know since it's such a foreign problem for most of my friends.

Sent from my HTC6525LVW using Early Retirement Forum mobile app
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Old 07-28-2014, 10:18 AM   #20
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Bit late to the discussion, but my initial reply was this: Money can't buy health. If your health is concerning for you long term, and work seems to make it worse, then you need to minimize the work so you can maximize health and family. Yes I realize that is easy to say, and there are many variables in the total equation to consider besides just heath.

From a financial standpoint you seem to be fine. It does have financial value to try and stick around longer then today to get those vesting funds. Only you can figure out the trade-off of when the reward for working (both salary and vesting) is offset by the freedom of being retired.

Having your wife continue working and being able to be on her health insurance may be a good choice. You can be stay at home Dad, be your own financial advisor and planner. work on your health so you can enjoy the time together when your wife gets home. You can tell people you are self-employed, and potentially consulting may be a good part-time option for you?
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