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Having a hard time visualizing life in retirement
Old 03-24-2005, 05:20 AM   #1
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Having a hard time visualizing life in retirement

As a little background for those new to the site:
Me age: 50, single, net worth $1.5m, healthy, corp. exec in finance and accounting - apx $150K/yr

I am having a difficult time visualizing myself in retirement. I can visualize myself continuing to work. I can see myself putting on the suit, driving to work, in meetings, driving home. I can see myself buying a new house.

Here is the kicker - I took more than a year off when I was 45 to travel. After traveling I relocted from the northeast to the south and my current position. So I did experience some of the retirement lifestyle.

Is it my fears blocking out my vision?
Anyone else experience this?
Any advise?


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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-24-2005, 05:38 AM   #2
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

You're not ready yet.

JG
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-24-2005, 06:16 AM   #3
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

Don't fix something that isn't broke. 150K/year is a lot of money, especially if that's where you're deriving your identity from. ER is for those that either cant stand work, or simply prefer to do something else with their time so much so that they're willing to "pay" for the cost of that luxury.

The ER mentality is/can be both a blessing and a curse. Its a curse in that to get the freedom you want, it will cost you. I dont care how much you save or have in assets..... someone that continues to work will have more money than someone that doesn't (given both have the same assets).
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-24-2005, 06:17 AM   #4
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

I envision retirement as being like summer vacation back in grade school / high school. I also had a few months off back in 2000 and had no trouble entertaining myself.

When you were off for a year did you have any trouble with boredom or being unable to occupy yourself?

I have no trouble envisioning retirement. It's just a good ways off for me.

Anyway, I'm 35 (almost), and MRGALT2U is counting days until SS, so he might have caught some insight in your post that I missed.

EDIT: Just noticed it was dex who posted the question. I know I've seen dex post here, but I can't immediately recall much about him/you personally.
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-24-2005, 06:22 AM   #5
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

Quote:
150K/year is a lot of money, especially if that's where you're deriving your identity from.
(emphasis mine) I think this is key for a lot of people. I divorced my identity from my career in 1998/99 after getting put off for a routine promotion when I think it was clear everyone thought it was a no-brainer for me to get it immediately.

But the hunter-gatherer / career man / weatlh builder identity I think is deeply ingrained in the male psyche--moreso than the female psyche as I think a man is far more likely to commit suicide after losing a job than a woman is. I think this is why a lot of men work until it is physically difficult for them to continue.
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-24-2005, 06:57 AM   #6
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

Dex, get involved in something outside your work
environment ...... like a hobby, volunteerism, small
side line business, etc. Once you you find something
outside your work, fear of boredom will fade away
and you can visualize yourself in retirement.

Cheers,

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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-24-2005, 07:39 AM   #7
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

Dex - how'd you like that year?

I ask because I was comfortable too. Until the company gave me my 3 month paid sabbatical. I was happy as a clam. Slept well, was relaxed, found a ton of stuff to do. I was worried before then that I'd climb the walls if I wasnt "fully engaged" at work. I worried no more.

When I went back, the politics and other crap seemed so ridiculous.

They say that if you throw a frog into a pot of boiling water, it'll jump out. If you put a frog into a pot of cool water and bring it to a boil, it'll remain there not noticing.

Feel froggy?
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-24-2005, 09:42 AM   #8
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

Quote:
I am having a difficult time visualizing myself in retirement. * I can visualize myself continuing to work. *I can see myself putting on the suit, driving to work, in meetings, driving home.
You have been conditioned to keep doing what you have always done. You just have to come to the realization that there are other fun things to do in life besides work.

In some of my prior posts I described the "parable of the cave" and your situation parallels that story.
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-24-2005, 11:27 AM   #9
 
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

I agree with JG. You're not ready yet.

Rent the Jack Nicholson movie "About Schmidt" - This is the story of a guy that was not ready for retirement.
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Make yourself ready!
Old 03-24-2005, 10:27 PM   #10
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Make yourself ready!

I agree with th-- a long vacation/sabbatical is the way to go.

It should be at least a month, although longer is better. Don't try to rebuild the house or take the great American vacation or relandscape the yard. Just carry out your normal routine, except for the "getting ready to go to work" and "go to work" parts.

You'll probably do a lot of lazing around & napping the first week. Try to start an exercise habit if you don't already have one-- even if it's just a 30-minute spouse walk.

By the second week your head will clear, your brain will start working independently of your IN box, and you'll be on your way. Suddenly the question "But waddya DO all day?!?" will seem pretty funny, and you'll be dreading the return to work!
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-25-2005, 05:16 AM   #11
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

Another thing to keep in mind is that none of us are guaranteed old age. My brother retired at 50 but just passed away at age 56.

You certainly need to have a hobby or something to fullfill your life. I love golf so staying busy will not be a problem.
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-25-2005, 06:40 AM   #12
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

I want to thank those that replied and I hope that others will chime in if they feel the urge.

JG – I want to be ready! I really do. I belive that life is short and your enjoyment can diminish with age. You can get killed in a car crash and as you are dying think I should have laughed, loved and lived more. The work I do is just so easy and the money so good it makes the decision harder. If I hated (I don’t hate it – it is more of a drag) what I do, it was difficult or a terrible work environment the choice would be easier.

Azanon – Work isn’t my identity; but it beats digging ditches.

Charlie - I've been bad in the area of volentering and alike - I'll get back into it.

BigMoneyJim & th – I enjoyed the year+ off. I said to myself I was not going to think about looking for a job for 1 year and I didn’t. Once I started to think about work the worry crept into my life. I traveled to Australia, Greece, England and drove across the USA before I started to work again. I can relate to that "fully engaged" at work part. I don't enjoy work if my mind isn't working. But the other side of my brain says that I like being fully engaged so that I don't have to deal with the real chanllenges of life outside of work. Here I mean ER.

Retire@40 I read the parable again and I philosophically agree with you. I feel that the saying "Jump and the net will appear" holds true.

Cut-Throat - I rented "About Schmidt" It was recommended to me by an old girlfriend. Schmidt was not ready for retirement and age snuck up on him, life passed him by. I don't want to be him and I can see what is happening to me.

I"ll add more later - I'm at work right now
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-25-2005, 07:13 AM   #13
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

I agree with Nords. I took a month off and I found I started to live life at a different pace. Very enjoyable and I had no question at the end of the month that I did not need work to fill my days.

Now my problem is adjusting being back at work, albeit part time.
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-25-2005, 12:25 PM   #14
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

My interpretation of "about schmidt" was a little different.

It wasnt that he wasnt ready for retirement, its that he had no connection to anyone or anything outside of his work.

So when he took that away, he had nothing left and couldnt relate to his life anymore. I guess if you take that interpretation well, the key is to not have your work be your whole life, and if it is, fix that!

Either that, or seeing Kathy Bates naked horrified him so much his conscious mind detached itself, creating depression. Thats a strong possibility as well.
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-25-2005, 12:34 PM   #15
 
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

Quote:
My interpretation of "about schmidt" was a little different.

It wasnt that he wasnt ready for retirement, its that he had no connection to anyone or anything outside of his work.

So when he took that away, he had nothing left and couldnt relate to his life anymore. *I guess if you take that interpretation well, the key is to not have your work be your whole life, and if it is, fix that!

Either that, or seeing Kathy Bates naked horrified him so much his conscious mind detached itself, creating depression. *Thats a strong possibility as well.
TH,

It sounds like you took 'About Schimdt' the exact same way I did.

If all you have is work, then you're not ready for retirement. - And since every one retires, you better get ready!
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-25-2005, 04:16 PM   #16
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

'About Schmidt' had a message, but by the time I saw
it the message had long since sunk in. Had lunch today with maybe my best friend in the world (known him forever). A
farmer with apparently no retirement plans. He quite obviously enjoys what he does. Really absorbed by it.
I have taken a different path. I see financial opportunities
daily, but don't want the hassle. Thus, I concentrate
on fishing, boating and loafing. The point is, do what you want
to do. Your time is limited and uncertain. Even waiting
to achieve FI is a big risk IMHO.

JG
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-25-2005, 04:30 PM   #17
 
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

Quote:
'About Schmidt' had a message, but by the time I saw
it the message had long since sunk in.
For me as well. But it did paint a picture of tens of millions of American Men. A lot which I know personally.
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-25-2005, 05:14 PM   #18
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

Dex,

If you are content (or happy) with work while collecting a healthy salary, you should continue working until you are no longer enjoy work. Your financial sitution is sound and therefore the income should not be a major issue unless your life style demands a lots of income. As adviced by others, start identify and engage in something else of interest to you. Life is all about balance between fun and work.

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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-25-2005, 07:01 PM   #19
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

Quote:
If you are content (or happy) with work while collecting a healthy salary, you should continue working until you are no longer enjoy work.
The only problem is that some people have been conditioned to think they enjoy work. If they can get away from work long enough, they might just realize that they enjoy being free to do other things more than work.
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem
Old 03-25-2005, 07:11 PM   #20
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Re: Having a hard time visualizing life in retirem

Yep. There were plenty of things I liked about my job, especially the paychecks. I considered ER but it seemed like something that wouldnt happen for a few years. The kind of money I was making was a tradeoff. I had a spreadsheet tracking my bonuses and stock options "Joysheet.XLS". Whenever I was pissed or having a bad day, I looked at the bottom line #'s, dynamically updated every minute. After a while I felt better.

After that sabbatical, I felt a lot different about the job. Any job. Then the stock market dumped and the company stock dropped almost 90% in value. My next 2-3 years of options were underwater. Revenues and profits were lousy, so bonuses for the next few years wouldnt be so hot. Basically I'd be working for salary for the forseeable future.

I remember when the company first offered their rather generous severance package for anyone in the division, trying to cut the ranks a bit. When it was announced I was in a management meeting. At a break, I discussed the details with another manager who had also been around a long time, someone I had worked with extensively. We both thought nobody would take the deal except for fringey people.

Both of us ended up taking it and leaving.

Without that sabbatical...without that drop in compensation...without that "1 year pay plus benefits" severance, I would probably have never taken the first step. I always expected I'd go back after that year. Then I discovered I didnt have to, and didnt want to. Had this frog stayed in the boiling water, I'd still be bubbling away.
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