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Update on 3 month trial by FIRE
Old 06-07-2016, 05:16 PM   #1
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Update on 3 month trial by FIRE

Hi all.
I've been running an experiment/test where I took 3 months off work without compensation to see what it would be like.

Financially, we are FI... the question is should I ER... and to what degree.

While time off is not the same as ER, it seems to simulate it to some degree, especially since I take NO meetings, don't answer emails and am not involved in company activities. This is on purpose so that I can flush my brain and figure out what I want to do next.

Anyway, so far it's been pretty surprising.

My biggest surprise is that I don't miss work at all. Between spending time with family (wife + 2 kids + lots of family), picking up a couple of fun projects and doing stuff around the house, I am more than sufficiently busy with a great mix of things to do.

Second, I am blown away at how much I can do because I suddenly have entire days to do whatever. DW and I spend time going grocery shopping at "odd" hours (1:30PM on Monday), can sit and talk about stuff, etc. I can take my son for an early morning walk and watch people rushing to commute. And on and on. It's a very strange feeling, and I like it a lot.

Third. I forget which day it is. At first I was just joking about this, but as I write this down, I wasn't sure if it was Monday or Tuesday. Oh yeah, I don't care either.

Some Negatives.

I forget that most people don't have this ability and thus I've made a few weird comments with family that I think were insesnative. I don't do it on purpose, but when I ask people "why don't you just [do x] tomorrow?" they answer "Uh... because I have to work?!" and I have this "oh yeah..." look on my face. Have to get that under control.

I am shocked at how comfortable I am being lazy. I mean seriously. I can spend all day doing nothing except talking to my wife and playing with my kids and go to bed no problem. I feel ZERO guilt for not having "accomplished" anything and I don't feel the urge to suddenly do something else. Maybe this shouldn't be a "negative," but my upbringing tells me I should be "constructive."

A bit of identity crisis. I am finding myself thinking a lot about how "broken" stuff in "the world" is. I mean the way that people think life is school->job->retire->die instead of other things. I can feel it creeping into my every day talking and behavior and I don't think it leads to positive interactions.

Anyway, with 6 weeks gone and 6 weeks to go what I'm finding is that I am starting to really question if going back to work makes any kind of sense. I don't really miss it. I don't really dread it. I really enjoy what I do and who I work with. I guess it's a good problem to have.

Anyway, I guess so far so good?
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Old 06-07-2016, 05:20 PM   #2
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Great post, thanks! I do have one small quibble ..
Quote:
I am shocked at how comfortable I am being lazy. I mean seriously. I can spend all day doing nothing except talking to my wife and playing with my kids and go to bed no problem. I feel ZERO guilt for not having "accomplished" anything and I don't feel the urge to suddenly do something else. Maybe this shouldn't be a "negative," but my upbringing tells me I should be "constructive."
This is not a negative - it's a good thing.
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Old 06-07-2016, 05:34 PM   #3
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I think what new retirees do not realize is that they EARNED the right to be lazy and do (or don't do) whatever you want to.
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Old 06-07-2016, 05:48 PM   #4
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Yeah, I'd say you are in good shape.
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Old 06-07-2016, 05:53 PM   #5
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I think what new retirees do not realize is that they EARNED the right to be lazy and do (or son't do) whatever you want to.

+1


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Old 06-07-2016, 05:55 PM   #6
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Third. I forget which day it is. At first I was just joking about this, but as I write this down, I wasn't sure if it was Monday or Tuesday. Oh yeah, I don't care either.
This morning we thought it was Sunday.

We needed to know because we take the trash out on Sundays for the early Monday morning pick-up. Luckily, my trusty computer told me the day of the week at a glance.
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Old 06-07-2016, 06:02 PM   #7
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A couple of points.

1) It's Tuesday. All of the talking heads on tv are here in California talking about it being Tuesday. (Which is why I have the tv off. LOL)

2) You are not 'doing nothing' when you are spending time with your wife and kids. You are interacting, you are parenting, you are listening. These are all important jobs.

As for the long term decisions... as you get closer to the end of your break from work, pay attention to your gut. It will either say "Wow - I feel refreshed and can't wait to go back to work and solve lots of work problems." or "I dread going back to work - I want to stay here and hang out with my wife and kids.". Listen to your gut - whichever way it points you.
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Old 06-07-2016, 06:19 PM   #8
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What day is it is a common question around our house. Sounds to me like you are adapting nicely. Keep it up!
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Old 06-07-2016, 06:30 PM   #9
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This three month test seems like a great idea. Of course, not everyone can do it. But for those who can, sounds like a really smart thing to do -- regardless of what decision you make at the end of the three months.
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Old 06-07-2016, 07:47 PM   #10
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Third. I forget which day it is. At first I was just joking about this, but as I write this down, I wasn't sure if it was Monday or Tuesday. Oh yeah, I don't care either.
What is a "week-end"?

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Old 06-07-2016, 08:54 PM   #11
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I always liked this one;



Just substitute "2 weeks" for the joints and...that's retirement!
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Old 06-07-2016, 09:05 PM   #12
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Congratulation, you are ready to pull the plug.
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:30 PM   #13
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What will you do for health insurance in retirement? Are you currently on a company group health insurance plan? This is our biggest hurdle to FIRE.
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Old 06-08-2016, 06:15 AM   #14
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I am starting my own experiment like this next month (full year off) Appreciated your thoughts on how daily interactions are going. Biggest question for me is how will I adjust? I guess i will find out!
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Old 06-08-2016, 08:16 AM   #15
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It is NOT lazy..it's being leisurely which is defined as "acting or done at leisure; unhurried or relaxed." LAZY is, "unwilling to work or use energy." I am sure you are using energy and you are willing to w*rk, but aren't.

I can tell you that after about 571 days of being retired...everyday has been better and better. The more removed I get from my old "identity" of being employed the more relaxed I get. It's somewhat difficult to explain though.

As for doing stuff during "odd times", I call this "retiree drive time" which is between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM...and the best days are Tuesday and Wednesday. I actually enjoying going to the grocery store then since I can take my sweet time, peruse the aisles with no hurry and actually talk to the employees like they are human...it's a great thing. It's also very easy to make medical/dental appointments when they during the normal "w*rking hours" of most people. Obviously, this is also the best time for traffic.

It was also mentioned about noticing how things in the world seem to be. My advice for this? Ignore most of the reported news. Most of it is bad and sensationalized and often the facts are just wrong...and I would guess 90% of it doesn't personally affect you. This is not to say you should put your head in the ground. If something REALLY significant happens, you will hear about it...promise. Also, I am a FIRM believer in keeping up with local stuff that CAN and WILL affect you. For me, this is flipping through the local paper...and yes I am actually getting a PHYSICAL newspaper now. It's local and takes me about 20 minutes to review the LOCAL stuff but it's something that I now enjoy while having my coffee in the AM. Sure I can look at it online, but there is something cathartic about it for me. Bottom line...if you ignore the "hot topics" of the day, you will soon realize that life is indeed pretty damn sweet.
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:25 AM   #16
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I too had a similar experience. I was off w*rk for any extend period due to an injury. I didn't miss w*rk at all. Not one iota, not even the first day, not after months. If I'd had the money. I wouldn't have gone back. Even though I was in a wheelchair and couldn't drive, I found plenty to do around the house. After about 6 weeks I started losing track of what day it was. Just having a doctor's appt on the calendar 3 weeks away felt smothering. If I'd been able to get around town on my own I'd have been in heaven.
When the time comes for you to decide whether or not to go back, the decision will be crystal clear. Best of luck and enjoy!


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Old 06-08-2016, 11:21 AM   #17
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What will you do for health insurance in retirement? Are you currently on a company group health insurance plan? This is our biggest hurdle to FIRE.
Yeah.
It's an added expense I had to account for. Under coveredca (California) an unsubsidized plan is 700-1000 a month for the 4 of us.

I don't know what my MAGI will be and I assume a 30-50% increase plus hitting maximum deductible.

After housing... health is the biggest cost right now.

Hopefully actual costs are quite a bit lower... but safety first I guess.

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Old 06-08-2016, 11:25 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by BeachOrCity View Post
I am starting my own experiment like this next month (full year off) Appreciated your thoughts on how daily interactions are going. Biggest question for me is how will I adjust? I guess i will find out!
For me the most important thing was REALLY checking out. No email, meetings, phone calls, etc. I took about 6 months to make sure that things were setup that way and expectations were set.

Depending on your job this can be easy or hard.

Risk is that since the company can function just fine the question becomes, why take me back

So that's a risk I suppose.

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Old 06-08-2016, 03:01 PM   #19
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Hi all.
I've been running an experiment/test where I took 3 months off work without compensation to see what it would be like...
First, congratulations! Second, a word of caution since after only 3 months I would consider you still in the "honeymoon phase" of RE. Depending on your personality you may find a need for more intellectual stimulation down the road. Also, at some point your son may no longer want to hang out with dad. I've met people that have had a hard time adjusting to retirement and eventually went back to work and others that were able to adjust easily.
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Old 06-08-2016, 03:34 PM   #20
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I think most people who is FI would quit working unless their job is enjoyable and job environment is nice (depend on company financial condition, policies, co-workers, customers, manager etc).
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