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Early Retirement from Self Employed
Old 06-20-2004, 03:34 PM   #1
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Early Retirement from Self Employed

I am new to the forum but have been "lurking" for four months or so.
The comments on when and how to ER are invaluable.
For many, the motivation to "Do It" have been outside their control and if were lucky got a bit of notice; others just got fed-up with working in organizations that were too enamored with pretense and not performance, or some of you seem to have had just one too many lousy bosses.
Now for the question at hand. I have been self-employed for the last 5 year but just lost my last employee to a client last fall. I have not replaced her and moved my office home. So far so good.
However, while still servicing my existing clients and working "full time" , there is this gnawing questions of perhaps I should just complete the process and formally declare ER.
I will soon hit 57 & based on the various scenarios from investment planners, the economics work as long as I do not need to live at 90k/year life style which I have not been doing anyway.
Any experiences/perspectives from those who ER out of Self employment?
Obviously we have to like our boss, and the work is okay and we have total control over how is done. So-o-o-o where do the final nudges come from?
All thoughts much appreciated
NWSTEVE
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed
Old 06-20-2004, 03:46 PM   #2
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed

How well do you like your existing clients - versis what you are thinking about doing in ER?

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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed
Old 06-20-2004, 04:14 PM   #3
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed

Interesting question regarding clients. Overall I say I like them fine and they seems to reciprocate. As an INTJ, clients I enjoy but are the end-all be all for existance beyond the obvious business relationship. In fact, many of them struggle with taking action on simple issues that could make their life better. A lot of what I do is give them the nudge to create motion and hopefully make them better.
Probably bigger question and a still a head scratcher is what I am I going to do when I ER. After working since I was 12 and being raised by a stanch Prussian where you could always do more and try harder, not working is almost beyond fathoming.
Listening to the many "conversations" here have certainly helped understand the many many possible answers.
Some options include a stint full-timing in an RV. Remodeling a second home that will become primary home after sale of current home. Also would not mind checking out Australia for about 6 months.
Can not say I have any driving force for any one thing. Hence is the answer, it is not time until you know the answer?
NWSTEVE

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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed
Old 06-20-2004, 04:20 PM   #4
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed

It came to me suddenly. I had been considering taking the dive for a bit of time but not seriously. When the company offered me a years pay and some other baubles I just said "why not?".

I was equally as mortified as to what I would do with all my free time. Now I almost need to hire back the gardener and housekeeper to stay even.

Sometimes you just gotta say "what the @#^$%#!!!!"
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed
Old 06-20-2004, 04:36 PM   #5
 
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed

I "sort of" ERed out of self employment, since I
was a one man consulting company from 1987 to 1990
and then bought a small manufacturing company
which I ran until August 1993, when I shut it down.
The company was not showing a profit, but that was largely due to the amount my wife and I took out
of it. Anyway, as the regulars know, I just wanted out
while I could still enjoy my life and leave my workaholic ways behind. I then worked part time for a few months,
went back to full time working for others for 2 years,
then back to part time for 2 more years until I hung it up
completely in 1998. I still had to finish winding down my little company, but that was kind of fun and I made some money doing it. The company lives on as a personal holding company. I never had any serious problems with my "bosses" between 1993 and 1998.
A bigger probelm was fighting the urge to get involved
in ventures which would have led into real work.
Luckily I have managed to avoid this and as time passed
it became easier to resist. It seems to me that you are
on the yellow brick road to ER just by virtue of where
you are in your life. I say, take the dive. I did.

John Galt
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed
Old 06-20-2004, 04:39 PM   #6
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed

Why not - I took a dive in 95 after two years out - lasted almost a year and made way more than they ever paid me in salary. And convinced me that work really is a four letter word. Been 'cured' ever since.
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed
Old 06-20-2004, 05:05 PM   #7
 
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed

nwsteve,

I'm not going to pull any punches here. It is an adjustment and for me it took about 6-8 months to fully appreciate retirement.

Now that I have been loafing for 3 years - this is normal and would it would take an equal amount of effort (if not more) to get me back to work!
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Sounds like a great life!
Old 06-20-2004, 10:32 PM   #8
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Sounds like a great life!

NWSteve,

I gotta admit I'm a little jealous. I (and many others on this board) bolted from the workplace as soon as we were able, as fast as our legs could carry us and screaming at the top of our lungs. Life has drastically improved and the proof is that we're generally in better health-- less weight, less stress, lower pulse rate & blood pressure, and more smiles.

You, OTOH, don't seem to have any compelling reason to run away. It also sounds like you don't have anything compelling you to run toward it.

A family friend faced mandatory military retirement at 20 years. All this bachelor talked about for months was selling his (highly appreciated) San Diego condo and moving back to his Florida hometown to be a lifeguard & chase babes (not necessarily in that order) on the Navy's $33K/year. But when he actually started terminal leave, he found that he lacked all motivation to do anything-- travel, work out, hobbies, nothing. Even his dog got tired of watching him surf the Internet and gaze upon CNN all day. Eventually he ran across another friend, one thing led to another, and he's happily ensconced in an office job as a military consultant. The workplace gives him the structure & entertainment that he needs in his life (but that he's apparently incapable of supplying on his own). He'll probably work until he wakes up dead.

I met one of my spouse's co-workers last month on a trip to Bangkok, where he & I were able to socialize an hour or so daily and get to know each other. He's been hearing about the ER lifestyle (from my spouse) for a couple years so he was interested to see how it's working. After a few days he admitted that he felt sorry for me because I've never found a job/career that I loved. He says he'll keep working as long as he's enjoying himself.

I also know a Naval Reservist who takes active duty 4-6 months/year and spends the rest of his time substitute teaching in high-school science/English classes. Clearly he's a battle-scarred trench warrior, but he feels a strong obligation to give back to his community and that's how he does it.

My point (I do have one) is that if you like what you're doing and you don't have a compelling reason to stop doing it or to start doing something else, then keep on doing what you're enjoying. You don't sound like you're hostage to your finances or a pension plan or SS or health insurance or any of the usual "working" reasons. You seem to be able to accept responsibility for your own stimulation & entertainment without the structure of the workplace. You seem to be holding all the cards! So keep working if you want to and quit when you're ready-- not when society makes you feel that you should be ready.

You'll find a reason to ER (admittedly the "E" window is starting to close) or else you'll work your way to happiness. Either one sounds like a great result!

I hate to keep pounding the same piano key, but a good book on this subject is Po Bronson's "What Should I DO With My Life?" (http://www.pobronson.com). Maybe something in there will spark a creative fire.
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed
Old 06-21-2004, 04:17 AM   #9
 
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed

Maybe I am just lucky (I really think you mostly make your own luck). I enjoyed most of my working life.
Oh sure I had my share of obnoxious co-workers
and idiot bosses, but overall it was pretty good. Same
with my first marriage (32 years), pretty good. In both
cases I knew when it was time to leave, and did so.
Both were good decisions, and now I enjoy being retired. The timing was right (both times) and both
decisions (although huge in anyone's life) were
relatively easy to make. Being a deep thinker and
having an ego as big as Alaska didn't hurt either

One more thing. My son is also what I would decribe as a deep thinker; well read and philosophical. He
tells people they can "choose to be happy". A bit
simplistic perhaps, but generally I believe many of us
can do it, financial resources aside.

John Galt
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed
Old 06-21-2004, 04:44 AM   #10
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed

Love the American Declaration of Independance - the part about - pursuit of hapiness - certainly hope I don't I don't catch it, I'd probably fossilize and die. The shear joy of bitching and complaining( as long as I don't take myself too serious) is a gift of being born American. Remodel/RV/travel/volunteer/etc are all there if that dastardly thought -work!!!! - crosses my mind. heh. heh. Lazy is good - also.
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed
Old 06-21-2004, 07:47 AM   #11
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed

Quote:
Lazy is good
In the 80's, greed was good. Now lazy is good. OK, let's just get it all out in the open: greed, sloth, glutony, lust, pride, envy, and wrath are all good
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed
Old 06-21-2004, 07:59 AM   #12
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed

Quote:
OK, let's just get it all out in the open: greed, sloth, glutony, lust, pride, envy, and wrath are all good
http://early-retirement.org/cgi-bin/...num=1087771843
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed
Old 06-21-2004, 08:06 AM   #13
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed

Quote:
In the 80's, greed was good. Now lazy is good. OK, let's just get it all out in the open: greed, sloth, glutony, lust, pride, envy, and wrath are all good
A historian put together the following cycles that most civilizations go through:

from bondage to spiritual faith;
from spiritual faith to great courage;
from courage to liberty;
from liberty to abundance;
from abundance to selfishness;
from selfishness to complacency;
from complacency to apathy;
from apathy to dependency;
from dependency back again to bondage

Where we are today is a point of great potential discussion. I think we're somewhere between complacency and apathy.
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed
Old 06-21-2004, 08:11 AM   #14
 
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed

Feel free to put me down in the apathy column.

John Galt
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed
Old 06-21-2004, 08:38 AM   #15
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed

Thanks to all for the various insights. After lurking for a number of months, I now can personally attest to the wealth of perspective this group has to offer.
I think Nords recount pretty much summed it up for me.
The comments helped me recall a similar sense of ambivalence at each of my career changes. I guess I just loose some the challenge when most of the mystery and unknown of a job have been eliminated.
The question then becomes what's next?
Since I have the choice, ER can be on the list. I just finished a book (Retire Smart, Retire Happy-Finding your True Path-Schlossberg) that does of good job of covering this sense of dis-jointedness I have and others have noted as being part of the transition. It is a good good companion to Poulson's Get a Life.
One of the message was how to frame the next step. Rather than retire (which with my workholoic genes still translate to sounding like retreat), I am reframing to describe it as REINVENT. Another good alternative "labels" came from one of Schlossberg's clients who came up with the Spanish word of "jubilacion". To retire is "jubilar"--meaning "Glee". Based on the many responses from this forum resident members, that sounds a lot like what you enjoy daily. Congrats!
Another reading I would offer to anyone else making the transition is How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free by Zelinski. (He also wrote "The Joy of Not Working" which he did at 30. He has written three books--uhmm, key aha--it is only work when it is not pleasurable, otherwise it is a hobby). While somewhat irreverant, he offers a lot of good resources. One I found really good is his "Get a Life Tree--which is really a spin on the old brain mapping/storming tool.
Thanks again for the insight. I look forward to many more.
NWSteve
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Between complacency & apathy?
Old 06-21-2004, 11:21 AM   #16
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Between complacency & apathy?

TH,

It doesn't seem to be much of a problem and I didn't really feel like thinking on it that hard, but after a moment I realized that I really don't care!

What, we worry?
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed
Old 06-21-2004, 01:24 PM   #17
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed

I cant believe I had the energy or motivation to cut and paste that, let alone add two lines of commentary.
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed
Old 07-24-2004, 04:18 PM   #18
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Re: Early Retirement from Self Employed

nwsteve,

Isn't what differentiates you (and me) from most and is a huge obstacle to ER is that the self employed almost never - ever have pensions or extended benefits of any kind. Once you lock the corporate door and turn off the lights, its all over. No paycheck, expense account, health benes (after cobra), perqs.... all gone.

So what defines SE's in the first place as go-it-alone types, needs to ring true to the end. You have to make your own way in retirement as well. As good as SE has been I think ER will be better. I'm half way there and its looking better all the time.

BUM
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