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counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-01-2006, 09:28 PM   #1
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counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

I hate to wish away my life. Really I do. But, I find that I am focusing more and more on my planned-for retirement in a little over 4 years from now. I may continue to work at something else at that point (or not), but won't be for my current employer. Been with this company for 24 yrs. Need to stay the 4 yrs for the health care, plus the pension really kicks in at 50. Ready for a change, and will have enough $ to say adios, barring a major snafu.

Lately, I'm not sure I'll even make it the 4 years.

Does anyone else have this problem, and any suggestions on how to avoid this? DW is tired of hearing me talk about leaving in 4 years. Not sure she even believes me actually (kids won't even be out of school yet)...
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-01-2006, 09:45 PM   #2
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

GetOutEarly,

Boy, I hear you!! I'm in nearly the identical situation (5-6 years for me) with three kids still in elemantary school. The only way I have found to deal with the situation is to understand that 5 years is really nothing at all. It goes by so fast. My anxiety comes from if my current employer cuts me loose and then having to find another job, re-learn everything over again (knowing I'm outtahere soon!), etc.

Anyway, just remember that you ARE employed, find something to enjoy each day, and you will be where you want to be in little time.

Good luck,

--Papi
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-01-2006, 09:59 PM   #3
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

I decided on my approximate retirement date a couple of years ahead of time, and started a "99 bottles of beer on the wall" countdown using weeks. When I got to 99 days, I switched to days.

The weekly and later daily ritual of marking down the calendar was great.
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-01-2006, 10:18 PM   #4
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

Dory’s post got me thinking so I pulled out my old Day-Timer. :P

It shows I started marking off the months to ER 5 years before my target date. With only 20 months to go, I made the decision to delay retiring by one year to pay off the mortgage before pulling the plug. When I got down to one year, I started marking off the weeks. DW gave me a digital countdown clock for my birthday and with 6 months to go I let it count down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the big day. (I resisted taking it to work and sitting it on my desk until the last month. )

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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-02-2006, 01:34 AM   #5
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

This has been a big problem for me, and still is. Living day in and day out with Megacorp's pathology drives me up the wall.

I suppose one just has to do as Sisyphus did, and revel in the glory of the struggle.

That said, I'm 8 weeks from the five-year mark and pension vesting -- never thought I'd make it. My strategy was to put a carrot out in front of me every six months or so. Once it was a trip to Africa. Another time, a new car (which I had to replace anyway, after driving the old one for 14 years). Other times it was just permission to leave once a milestone was reached -- "I can quit anytime I want after my next birthday."

Linking these things to staying on the job -- some expensive, some cheap and necessary anyway -- seemed to help get me through. The idea of the pension itself, oddly enough, was NOT very helpful -- too far away and too uninspiring.

As to worrying that you may get the boot before you're ready, I try to manage that by having "Plan B." For me, that was taking in housemates or buying a houseboat and renting my house out, or moving somewhere cheaper, or buying an RV and heading out... I may yet do some of these, or maybe I won't, but having them in mind and researching them every once in a while makes the constant layoffs less scary. Researching other neat jobs I'd like to have is another tack I take every once in a while.

Hanging out on this board and knowing others are in the same boat helps a lot.

Best of luck to you,
Caroline



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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-02-2006, 07:08 AM   #6
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
I suppose one just has to do as Sisyphus did, and revel in the glory of the struggle.
I think that's by far the sickest thing I have read here.

Probably another instance where I could stand to be more politic, but I have just such a visceral reaction to that line of thought. Brrr!

Having said that, I think that your coping strategy of milestones and carrots is a good one if you are reasonably close to your out date. If you are farther out (like us yunguns), I'm not sure that strategy would work. I try really hard to have at least small moments of pulling my nos away from he grindstone and experiencing the world around me, but it is tough to do sometimes given the demands of life. Wish I had a better solution.
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-02-2006, 07:31 AM   #7
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

My Countdown was easy, having been TYCO'd, walked into my office, Boys from New York were there, they sat down , handed me their thoughts, I met them later that day with my Lawyer's suggestions(Labour Relations Specialist, MUST for Illegal Dismissal Suits), a handshake that was it.

No need to clear out desk, you do that before the visit, never know what might come in handy.

I am not sure I could go through the motions, like trying to stay in an unhappy marriage.
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-02-2006, 07:57 AM   #8
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

I think counting down to retirement can be unhealthy, if you obsess over it too much. Especially if you've still got years to go like I do. My goal is 2015. I've also found that when you worry about things like that, that's when time seems to stand still and take forever.

If you find the workplace getting to be too much to bear, try taking a day off here and there to refresh yourself. Even if it's a day where you don't do anything but slack off. Sometimes that can be good for your spirit.
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-02-2006, 08:03 AM   #9
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

If the count down is unhealthy then I am terminally ill. I have 11 months to go so it shouldn't be hard to get through my final year but I literally dread going to work everyday. I shouldn't be this way as I actually have some good friends here. But the CEO and Pres are just too much for me to stomach. They basically have nothing to do on a daily basis other than think of ways to spend money. Oh well......no need to get into all that. *

Ugh.............nature calls. *:P
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-02-2006, 08:12 AM   #10
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by getoutearly
I hate to wish away my life. Really I do. But, I find that I am focusing more and more on my planned-for retirement in a little over 4 years from now.
That's a brave self-analysis, and I have noticed a lot of it going on. In that frame of mind, ER becomes an exercise in "fleeing" rather than a pleasant goal to work for. *Seems to me that's a poor prognostic indicator for a happy retirement when you finally get there (relief does not automatically morph into happiness).

For whatever reason (probably cause I like my work), this has not been a problem for me. At the risk of sounding a bit too zen for some, it really makes sense to focus on the present - don't regret your past decisions and don't get too sucked in by your view of the future (which is almost always inaccurate anyhow). Use your brain to set things up for FIRE if that's your goal; revisit it as needed; revise and correct from time to time. But in the end, "now" is all you have.

Do what you need to do: learn to accept your job and surrender to it, implement changes within your current job to make yourself unmiserable, or leave your job for another.

If you are really feeling metaphysical, try reading Tolle's "The Power of Now." Or try Bodian's "Dummies' Guide to Meditation." I've read both, recommend them to patients from time to time, and at least pieces of them have rubbed off on me.

IMHO, an obsessive preoccupation with FIRE is indeed unhealthy. Fixing it is easier said than done, I guess.* That said, I can imagine that it will be highly enjoyable to anticipate (if not salivate over) the day once it comes on the radar screen, ironically just like the feeling I had when I started a new job.
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-02-2006, 09:10 AM   #11
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

There is NOT a day/minute that goes by, that I do not think of the day I will leave work. Call it obsession? You bet! It was the only way I am able to accomplish this goal. If you have a strong goal, you will achieve it!

I am now 3 months away, but have been obsessing since the late 1990's. For the past 6 months, I have been taking 1 day off per week, so as to adjust. I am so, sooooo happy when I have the freedom to do what-ever I feel like.

My work is great.

My life is not my work.

My work has been 7 of the 8 pieces of pie. The pendulum has swung to the left, way too long.

Even if ALL the money were to disappear, I would still leave....

I have my health, but I am a slave! Not a slave to an employer, but a self induced slave of wage and routine. My clients do not keep me chained to routine, but I do... and many others do too... through the routine of buying false happiness on the backs of future income and debt. Only you can stop the routine and get out! FOCUS, OBSESS... do whatever you must to regain your freedom! It's all up to you... and only you!

:-)



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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-02-2006, 09:39 AM   #12
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gReeNy
I have my health, but I am a slave! Not a slave to an employer, but a self induced slave of wage and routine. My clients do not keep me chained to routine, but I do... and many others do too... through the routine of buying false happiness on the backs of future income and debt. Only you can stop the routine and get out! FOCUS, OBSESS... do whatever you must to regain your freedom! It's all up to you... and only you!

:-)



Wow, your avatar pic even kinds looks like Tyler Durdan...
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-02-2006, 09:45 AM   #13
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

Reading this thread, it seems that the trade-off of benefits and security working for Megacorp vs. self-employment and the associated risks may be turning towards self-employment! *Some of you folks seem really miserable at your jobs! *

Reminds me of some discussions I have with a lifelong friend who supports himself as a writer. *He moans about sporatic income, no benefits, lack of health coverage. *I moan about the 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily grind, boredom, dumb work associates. *But we're both where we are through our own doing. *I guess it just feels better to moan and groan a little! *After all, what are friends for?
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-02-2006, 10:08 AM   #14
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

Managed to find the famous quote from Mario Savio I wanted to attach to the above posting:

"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"






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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-02-2006, 10:11 AM   #15
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

Yes, I think it is unhealthy to obsess about it esp for younger folks. I refocused myself and am working toward FI first and pursuing more hobbies and interests.
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-02-2006, 10:27 AM   #16
 
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

At one point, in China (maybe now?), if you were due to be executed, they just come up and shoot you in the back of the head when you don't expect it.

That's how it should be for retirement, so we could skip this counting down stuff.

I have three months to go, and I'm really 90% retired alread. I've sold the business, and I just handle 2-3 tech support calls a day. But I appreciate my wonderful lifestyle less because I can't wait to be totally free.

I have much less tolerance for computer illiterate callers. When the user's saying "I don't know how to copy a file, can you walk me through it?" in my head I'm screaming "You stupid nincompoop, you can't even spend an hour or two to learn how to use your computer, only 3 more months and then I never have to talk to someone like you again!"

Instead I say "First, bring up Explorer," and then, never fail, they always say "You mean Internet Explorer?"

BTW, does anyone know where to get a graphical countdown timer than I can put in my signature?
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-02-2006, 10:37 AM   #17
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
At one point, in China (maybe now?), if you were due to be executed, they just come up and shoot you in the back of the head when you don't expect it.

That's how it should be for retirement, so we could skip this counting down stuff.
Is it just me, or does anyone else think T-Al's analogy stinks?
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-02-2006, 10:50 AM   #18
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dory36
"99 bottles of beer on the wall" countdown using weeks.
Yes - do the same thing (86 weeks a/o this Friday)*

Also had a "shortimer calendar" while in Nam (everybody did).* All kinds of different "art"* , but all started at around 182 days...* :

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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-02-2006, 10:55 AM   #19
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl

When the user's saying "I don't know how to copy a file, can you walk me through it?" in my head I'm screaming "You stupid nincompoop, you can't even spend an hour or two to learn how to use your computer, only 3 more months and then I never have to talk to someone like you again!"

Instead I say "First, bring up Explorer," and then, never fail, they always say "You mean Internet Explorer?"
I thought I was the only one saying those things in my head while smiling and being nice.

Everyday as I leave the car for the elevator I imagine going in an telling them I'm leaving. I'm working on the FI part and I just keep my eyes on the goal while getting the job done. Maybe once I get within a year I'll put the calendar on my desk counting down, they'll get a kick out of that.
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?
Old 05-02-2006, 11:26 AM   #20
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Re: counting down to retirement - unhealthy?

Unhealthy? Not sure. My cound down is at 26 w@#King hours to go. But I'm not counting! DW's is at 3 1/2 weeks!
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