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Need a push
Old 02-01-2013, 03:32 PM   #1
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Need a push

I need a push to get me to break out of my bondage j*b and pull the trigger on FIRE. I'm fighting the "one more year" syndrome as well as just being too darn nervous about the uncertainty of taking the plunge. I've posted about this once or twice before, but I just can't make myself do it.

I'm 53, DW is 57 and FIREcalc gives us >95% probability of success spending what we live on now ($75k) for 40 years and assuming that SS is available to each of us at age 62 (we'll delay SS if it makes sense at that time but this seemed to be the more conservative assumption - if one believes in SS at all that is ). That spending level doesn't consider that our taxes will go down significantly without earned income, but does include the effect of no longer contributing to a 401k and tIRA.

I stand to inherit several hundred k from Dear Old Dad maybe within 10 years (longer, we hope!) but that's not included in the calculus - but maybe it shouldn't be ignored, either? I won't assume he won't have to run through his savings late in life, or just decide I don't need it.

DW RE'd a couple of years ago and gets a small pension that currently covers her healthcare premium with a pittance left over; I can be added to her policy for $6k/year at today's rates. I have no pension but we've always put the IRS maximum into 401k accounts which we've rolled over into IRAs when changing jobs.

But it's become clear that my engineering j*b is not what I want to do with the rest of my life - not with this company for sure. In fact, I've decided I just can't live like this. Too much travel, impossible government clients that refuse to be pleased, insane deadlines and corporate bean counters who watch every cent. Raises this year were around 1% and no bonuses were given, while the CEO's compensation went from $7M last year to $10M. They've now taken to scheduling meetings and deadlines on weekend days without even an "um, yeah, I'm going to need you to come in on Sunday too...that would be great..."

OTOH, for each year I delay FIREcalc says I can spend another $4k. A function of fewer years in retirement and fewer years without SS, I believe. But each year I delay is another year in bondage, another year closer to death - more like 1.5 years closer.

I think just typing this has helped me see what my course of action should be. But what have others who agonized in the same way done to get over this hump?

Perhaps as importantly, what should I be doing to prepare, especially financially? As it happens I'm sitting on some cash that should be invested and I'm wondering how much people generally keep liquid to cover expenses? One year of expenses? I've read the FAQ on preparing for RE, but Nord's great post is from 2006 and I'm not sure there's not something else I need to consider. I like the advice on maxing out healthcare benefits - I should get on the phone and make a bunch of appointments while I still can with reasonable co-pays.

There's really no such thing as "retirement" here - no counseling, no pensions, no filing retirement request forms - one just quits as usual. Part of me wants to finish this rather amazing project I'm working on, but it (and the insane PM and client) are the source of much of my stress. Another part tells me I should give a long notice as I'm somewhat specialized and may be hard to replace quickly (I really like my immediate boss and don't really want to screw him), but another part says the company doesn't give long notices when layoff time comes or asks if it's good timing, so why should I? Besides, I'm convinced they would work me like a dog as long as they have me.

Thanks to all. Sorry for rambling a bit.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:38 PM   #2
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Jump Boy!

But then again...it's easier to decide to jump off of an 80 story building than to reverse that decision when you arrive at the second story of the building.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:39 PM   #3
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Sounds to me like you already know what you need to do.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:49 PM   #4
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You mentioned 4k increase in annual income if you hung on one more year. But you didn't mention how much a difference in your life this 4k would mean to you. If it is not going to be spent, maybe it's not worth it. If you have some plans for that money that would increase your enjoyment in retirement, it may be worth it. At least you like your boss, which is a positive.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:01 PM   #5
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Perhaps you can line up a part time consulting gig for a few years.
Even an additional $10000/ year cuts back on the investment needed by $250000 at the 4% withdrawal rate. That would definitely help until you start SS benefits.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:07 PM   #6
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What did it for me was having a dear friend die at age 64. He was a just-one-more-year kind of guy, too, with his heart in the right place wanting to be sure his wife was taken care of. He never saw a day of retirement.

You only get so many years of retirement and it is way easier to add them to the front end than the back end.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyBoy View Post
I need a push to get me to break out of my bondage j*b and pull the trigger on FIRE. I'm fighting the "one more year" syndrome as well as just being too darn nervous about the uncertainty of taking the plunge.

Been there done that. I suspect many of us have. Be careful, my one more year syndrome turned into 5 before I knew it... Looking back I'm glad I waited for the extra $$$ but not for the 5 years I lost. It was just a traded off for me. Not sure I'd do it again.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by GalaxyBoy View Post
In fact, I've decided I just can't live like this.

What are you waiting for?

P.U.S.H.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:47 PM   #9
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If you would like to stay longer but really don't need to you could put the decision in you bosses hands. Explain to him that if he is going to accept these unreasonable deadlines that he needs to bring in more resources. If he does not do it simple refuse to comply with what you feel is unreasonable. At that point he will either bring in more resources, fire you, or make lots of threats and do nothing. My experience was lots of threats at first but they went away after a while. No new resources were brought in so I guess the deadlines were not that important. If you are not afraid of the consequences you hold the power. So if you can't jump walk on the edge and see if someone pushes you.

NMF
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:28 PM   #10
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While I am far from being FI at this point, I completely agree with Mulligan.

I know that for me, right now, an additional $4k/year would not have any impact on my life since I am already living exactly the way I want to. So it would be saved, and therefore definitely not worth an extra year of work.

How would that additional $4k impact your retired life? For me, time is far more important than money, so I say jump!
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:39 PM   #11
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Do a trial...take a 30 day leave of absence and totally stay away. Then you will know.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:48 PM   #12
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Very personal decisions re financial security in ER, how much $$ YOU need to support your ER lifestyle, and even how much notice to give your j#b. Some feel better setting a future ER date. It may make it easier on those left behind (don't burn bridges), lets you get used to idea of ER, and for some it makes j#b stresses a bit easier surviving towards a set (vs abstract) finish line.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:52 PM   #13
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I am in the same boat too, suffering from the 'one more year' syndrome. I know it is a very difficult choice. You are not alone.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:08 PM   #14
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I agree with NMF. From what you have said you are FI and could RE at any time you chose. You seem to still enjoy some aspects of your job but others are driving you crazy. You could approach your management, explain the concerns that you have (too much travel, unreasonable deadlines, weekend work, etc) and that you are thinking of retiring (hidden message = quitting) unless some substantial changes can be made to your work situation. You may be surprised at what they are willing to do to keep you. If you can work something out then that is great, if not then at least hopefully they will appreciate your tried.

I was in a similar (albeit less drastic) situation and simply concluded that the changes that I would want were not realistic with the level of client service our clients expected that I knew the firm needed to provide, so I retired. They threw me a very nice retirement party where I got to reminisce and say goodbye and we parted on very good terms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NotMyFault View Post
If you would like to stay longer but really don't need to you could put the decision in you bosses hands. Explain to him that if he is going to accept these unreasonable deadlines that he needs to bring in more resources. If he does not do it simple refuse to comply with what you feel is unreasonable. At that point he will either bring in more resources, fire you, or make lots of threats and do nothing. My experience was lots of threats at first but they went away after a while. No new resources were brought in so I guess the deadlines were not that important. If you are not afraid of the consequences you hold the power. So if you can't jump walk on the edge and see if someone pushes you.

NMF
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:33 AM   #15
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Thank you to all for the varied, very good advice. I need to do some serious thinking. A bit more potential spending power per year in retirement vs. the less tangible costs of not retiring shouldn't be such a concern. My brother literally dropped dead at age 53 and now that I'm approaching my own 53rd b-day it gives me pause. Although we had some long-lived ancestors, he had never really got his life together which led to divorce, loss of employment, and stress, which I'm sure is what got him.

I'll take into consideration the advice on my work. I've actually already gotten my immediate boss to buy in on my going half-time in July, transitioning to more mentoring and QA/QC checking, but I'm not believing that this will work out. There is always pressure to be 100% billable, and although they give lip service to training they then interrogate you as to why you are charging to overhead. Then there's the likelihood they'll expect me to put in "just a couple of hours" for meetings on my days off, etc., which would probably be unpaid. The upside would be that they actually offer health benefits for as little as 20 hrs/week (but see above for health issues).

OK, I need to make this work! It's off to FAQ land and the Bogleheads wiki for advice on how to set up the finances.

Thanks!!
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Old 02-02-2013, 08:41 AM   #16
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I worked part time for many years before pulling the plug entirely. My annual plan included specific goals for chargeability so if your company has some similar process you and your boss could build it into your targets, though if you are doing mentoring and QA/QC checking perhaps your time could be charged to the specific projects your are QA/QCing and mentoring on.

The ultimate problem that I had with part-time is that due to client demands I felt like I was perpetually on-call and didn't have significant contiguous blocks of time that were mine. Some of it was my own fault because if a client or colleague requested a consultation of some sort the client service being in me readily agreed if I didn't have any conflicting plans. Alas, it was hard to simply say that I was not available on Mondays or Mondays and Fridays because when a client or colleague had a pressing issue they wanted my input straight away.
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