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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-19-2004, 06:14 PM   #21
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

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I kind of bristle (just a little) when I hear people talk about "work ethic" and "service to others" related to retirement decisions. *That sounds like someone's personal problem to me. *I just don't see how working at a job is a higher calling or a societal responsibility
Yes, in my case perhaps this is a personal problem. *We all have some baggage to carry along with our upbringing. *Perhaps a core issue to my original question. *I've read with interest the responses, and must offer some regret for areas of distress among the posters. *We are all different and I think anyone who has worked hard for many years to achieve the lifestyle s/he wants is fully entitled to that, regardless of the societal return. *I don't think it is a responsibility, but a personal choice. *We have enough rules in life without imposing more. *Though my personal choice and hope is to offer some greater future return to my family and community in retirement than I was able to offer in factory employment.

It is perhaps a sad fact of life that the mere situation of employment in any regard is one of master and servent. *This is perhaps the best reason for avoiding future emplyment other than working for one's self with or without wage. *The discussion here has helped me to clarify this thought. *
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-19-2004, 09:58 PM   #22
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

Whoa - skip a day and miss a whole debate!! Kudo's to Nords for the wonderful post!

Lets see, today I helped with cookie distribution for the Girl Scout cookie sale. My wife does a lot more, but $108k worth of cookies have moved thru our garage. A little less than 1/3 of that goes to the baker and distribution channel. The rest goes to help local troops (15%) and financial assistance for girl scouts going to camps (~50% I am told), and other program support. My wife went into school to help in the classroom. Guess it was an unproductive week, but I enjoyed it, and that is my measuring stick now.

But back to Roger's original post: Working inside, able to retire, and interested in the outdoors, nature, etc. WOW - what are you doing? One can enjoy the outdoors on a very low budget, and there are ways to lower it even more with parttime work that would still let you spend most of your time enjoying yourself. I know one retired person who goes on a trip every other month working on some conservation project or other, and gets travel/lodging taken care of or at least reduced substantially. One recent trip was some butterfly (her passion) related project in Mexico.

However, if you strongly feel your life should be one of service to others, I think I could find some opportunities for you

Wayne
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Re:  For Ronin
Old 02-20-2004, 12:00 AM   #23
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Re:  For Ronin

Ronin,

Not at all, surfing's always ON topic for me. I posted more at the "General"/"Hi, I am..." board. This may be a direct link--

http://www.early-retirement.org/cgi-...267100;start=0

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Re: *Thanks, Roger and, uh, Ted.
Old 02-20-2004, 08:19 AM   #24
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Re: *Thanks, Roger and, uh, Ted.

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So Ted, let's extend your GW analogy to Ben Franklin. *He made his stash at the age of 42-- although with his apprentice years, it still worked out to 30 years of work. *He DID drop out-- to invent many wonderful things including a practical electrical battery, a musical instrument, and the lightning rod..
Benjamin Franklin is an excellent example of a highly productive person who most certainly did not drop out, for all of the reasons that you cite. If you will take the trouble to read my various other posts, I have advocated exactly that sort of commitment to lifelong productivity, as an alternative to simply sitting back and using the financial credits that were accumulated during a person's productive years to purchase and consume the output of the current generation of workers.

The economic reality that people are going to face is that those credits will buy less and less in the future, as the ratio of consumers to producers increases. But if people on this board prefer to think that this economic reality is just a bunch of smoke, they will pay the price in the future, if they live long enough.
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Re: *Thanks, Roger and, uh, Ted.
Old 02-20-2004, 01:13 PM   #25
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Re: *Thanks, Roger and, uh, Ted.

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The economic reality that people are going to face is that those credits will buy less and less in the future, as the ratio of consumers to producers increases. *But if people on this board prefer to think that this economic reality is just a bunch of smoke, they will pay the price in the future, if they live long enough.
OK, I'll bite. How are YOU planning to address this problem? A COLA pension is definitely a gold plated way to do it. But for most of us, that die is cast. So absent that, what things can one do to avoid this problem that you see coming?

Mikey
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-20-2004, 01:22 PM   #26
 
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

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The economic reality that people are going to face is that those credits will buy less and less in the future, as the ratio of consumers to producers increases. But if people on this board prefer to think that this economic reality is just a bunch of smoke, they will pay the price in the future, if they live long enough.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-20-2004, 01:30 PM   #27
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

Yogi's right up there with DeGaul as my favorite financial advisor's.
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Re: *Thanks, Roger and, uh, Ted.
Old 02-20-2004, 02:07 PM   #28
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Re: *Thanks, Roger and, uh, Ted.

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OK, I'll bite. How are YOU planning to address this problem?
Probably about 250 of my posts have addressed this. *I don't care to repeat them. *My observations are based on an understanding of economics, and if you want to join the others in "dissing" this, that's your business.

Another of Yogi Berra's quotes is that "The future isn't what it used to be." *Well, it won't be in the future, either, and those of us who are not smart enough to realize that, or at least to seriously consider the advice of people like Alan Greenspan and William Bernstein who do, are setting themself up for big problems in maintaining a decent standard of living in their old age.

P.S. *Yogi is another native Missourian who doesn't hesitate to tell it like it is, and who, thankfully, did not decide to "retire early."
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Re: *Thanks, Roger and, uh, Ted.
Old 02-20-2004, 07:30 PM   #29
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Re: *Thanks, Roger and, uh, Ted.

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So absent that, what things can one do to avoid this problem that you see coming?

Mikey
As I understand the forecast, Mikey, the theory is that we'll have trillions of Baby Boomer dollars chasing ever-shrinking resources. (Ted, please correct me if I'm misinterpreting.)

Clearly this economic model glosses over the Chinese exporting business plan. And all of the "graying America" fuss ignores the effects of immigration & outsourcing. But let's presume that the future comes as Ted prognosticates it. (The risk of ignoring it could be fatal.)

For those not "lucky" enough to get a COLA'd pension (or to get their assets shot off earning one), an ER plan still has to account for inflation and large capital expenses-- rising healthcare premiums, new roof, new cars, weddings, fantasy vacations, and beer. ER portfolios based only on a budget forecast and a CPI are at best deluded and at worst dangerous.

Bud Hebeler's "Analyze Now!" website advocates an assumed 2% after-tax after-inflation return. So if you're withdrawing 4%/year, there's eventually gonna be a problem. He also capitalizes large expenses. OTOH his spreadsheets are iterated annually and based on the previous years' expenses so that the withdrawals don't stray far from the path. He knows a lot of impoverished "Social Security widows" so he's very conservative.

On the income side, I'd advocate a middle ground-- 3% and all reasonable projected capital expenses. I'd also work very hard at a healthy lifestyle or plan on raising healthcare costs at least 10-15% annually after age 50. If that isn't enough, then the ER lifestyle should also start out debt-free with home equity. If that STILL doesn't cut it then I'd plan part-time work or, even better, passive real-estate rental income.

But far greater gains can be made on the expense-reduction side. Dr. Phil has a dozen of his morbidly obese clients slashing their food budgets and their medical bills while losing tons of weight. That's an exaggeration for most of us, but anyone with a bodymass index higher than 27 can greatly reduce their healthcare costs by getting back down to fighting trim.

In ER, your time is simultaneously worthless (0$/hour) and your greatest asset. It can be used to take over all of those things we outsourced while working-- not just cleaning & yardwork, but also auto & home maintenance, financial management, tax preparation, shopping, and food shopping/preparation. It's very difficult to raise your ER income by 5-10% but it's very easy to lower your expenses by 20% while becoming healthier and wiser. (Then you can roam your neighborhood charging $25/hour to do THEIR outsourced tasks.) Instead of chasing consumer products with my dollars, I'll be simplifying and living frugally. The Dollar Stretcher website has tons of examples that frugal living is not deprivation. I think that sidesteps Ted's entire debate about a consumer-oriented lifestyle.

Other ER choices are mutually exclusive. It's probably difficult to raise more than two kids on ER, especially if you're planning to subsidize their college tuition. It's probably an overwhelming life change to move to a low-cost area (like Iowa?!?) or to give up a car for public transportation. (I don't watch much TV, but life without RoadRunner is not worth living.) It may also be difficult to be a perpetual traveller like the Terhorsts.

But every generation has solved just about every problem in unanticipated ways, and the graying society is not unsolveable. I don't know the solution but I'm going to keep overcapitalizing my retirement portfolio and underspending my budget just in case...
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-21-2004, 04:53 AM   #30
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

I agree with your thinking. Our (his and hers) combined portfolios are in the 2.5% range(div+interest) and with pensions cover expenses. The area between 2.5
and 4% SWR is lagniappe(overcapitalization?).

Unlike the Terhorst's, We love the swamp and don't plan to move.

And there is plenty of room to cut expenses if required - ie give up dryer sheets and line dry(another thread) plus other cuts if necessary.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-21-2004, 12:54 PM   #31
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

I only use half the dryer lines when I air dry.

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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-21-2004, 03:54 PM   #32
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

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I only use half the dryer lines when I air dry.
I took lint from the neighbors dryer and spun a line that I use to hang my clothes on. When I'm not drying clothes, I use the same line as a dog leash. Next year I plan on using the line to hang the taxman, thereby avoiding all future taxes.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-21-2004, 03:55 PM   #33
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

Like tire rotation - rotate places when you hang - the line will last longer. And it's ok to have a dryer and unopened box of dryer sheets as a back up - only as emergency reserve because electricity costs money.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-21-2004, 07:50 PM   #34
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

Its funny because the house I bought last year has a huge clothes line "array" on the side yard. Little deck under it and a walkway to it, about 8 lines 20' long each, strung between two metal tee posts.

I'll actually probably give it a try when the weather warms up a little more - - its been in the 60's here lately. In the mid summer we get 90+ degree days with less than 30% humidity so by the time I was done hanging the laundry I would basically be able to start taking down dry clothes from where I started! Should be fun, i've never hung laundry out before.

To think...no electricity spent on drying, no extra A/C to offset the hot dryer, and NO DRYER SHEET USAGE AT ALL!!!

Nirvana.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-22-2004, 07:07 AM   #35
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

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I sometimes wonder if ER can be a little "me" oriented.
Ted and Roger, I want to thank you for expressing so succinctly something that I've been meaning to write here for a long time. I've been reading this board for a few months now, and it has made me very seriously re-think the morality of my goal of early retirement. What I have, rather belatedly I suppose, realized is that there is more to life than pursuing my own happiness. What I haven't quite figured out yet is what I should do with this realization.

It's interesting to see the reaction to someone challenging, in even this small way, the orthodoxy of this board. Didn't Dominguez coin the acronym FIRE? If I remember correctly the purpose of FI was to work at MORE important pursuits than your current grind, rather than less. Nords, if you have found ways to contribute more after retiring than before, then I don't see where you and Ted are in disagreement. Ted, may I ask, what ways are you finding to contribute in retirement (besides raising the level of discussion on this board, of course)?

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in 10 years time people who FIRE will be seen as pariahs and social leeches who are not "fully" contributing to the economy.
I've been thinking this as well. Sometimes I wonder if I should give up on trying to retire in ten years when everyone else does, and quit work for the next ten years or so, and then go back to work when the stuff hits the fan.

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As I understand the forecast, Mikey, the theory is that we'll have trillions of Baby Boomer dollars chasing ever-shrinking resources. . .Clearly this economic model glosses over the Chinese exporting business plan. And all of the "graying America" fuss ignores the effects of immigration & outsourcing.
Why on earth would you think it ignores that? It is not inevitable that the aging of America will cause massive problems, and there are some things that may counterbalance the demographic changes. No matter what you may think about trade or productivity gains or other economic developments, it is obvious without any economic theory that a large percentage of the population dropping out of the workforce will pose a problem for the country. In particular, I don't think increasing trade deficits or massive immigration will be "solutions" without problems of their own. The US has an enormous amount of assets that we can sell off to finance our current over-consumption, but it will be a tremendous shame to see us do so. While there is no need for today's children to inherit the massive foreign ownership that today's retirees are busy squandering, it would be terrible to see the US mortgaged to the hilt when my kids are grown.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-22-2004, 07:34 AM   #36
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

After ten plus years of ER, there's nothing, I repeat nothing more important than my pursuit of happiness - I just hope I don't catch it. Adam Smith, Jefferson, Thoreau and Joe Cambell.

If make Lake Ponchartrain an honorary 'Walden Pond' and just sit there - that's my 'invisible hand', 'pursuit', and following 'my bliss'
The curmudgeon in me says everybody else can go pound sand - unless of course they post something new that looks like fun to 'pursue'.

My PC days are over and I'll take my lumps with the free market.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-22-2004, 10:18 AM   #37
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

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Ted and Roger, I want to thank you for expressing so succinctly something that I've been meaning to write here for a long time. *I've been reading this board for a few months now, and it has made me very seriously re-think the morality of my goal of early retirement. *What I have, rather belatedly I suppose, realized is that there is more to life than pursuing my own happiness. *What I haven't quite figured out yet is what I should do with this realization.

It's interesting to see the reaction to someone challenging, in even this small way, the orthodoxy of this board. . . .
I think there may be a fundamental misunderstanding that is the root cause of much of this debate.

If you believe that working for a wage is your moral responsibility and that is one of the highest callings you can think of in life, then I think you should work. I don't understand your value system and I don't adopt it myself, but it is your value system. Live consistently with those values and I will respect you for that.

But if you choose to label me a "sinner" because I have diferent values, then I begin to lose respect for you. You don't know me. You don't know what I do with my time. You don't know what I value in life. When you condemn my life choices based on so little knowledge of me, it appears to be an unkowledgeable attack on my values in favor of yours. Not many people like that. You have the right to proselytize if you want, but I have the right to tell you what I think of your religion. If you want to convince me your religion is better than mine, I need to know more about it.

Maybe it would be more productive to discuss detail of your beliefs so we can find the root cause of our disagreements. Why do you think working is such a worthy pursuit that we should all do it even if we don't have to? Is it simply working for a wage that is worthy? Is it worthy to work for Enron or Tyco or Halliburton or Worldcom or . . . ? Or is it a specific type of work you feel is worthy? If I volunteer, is that worthy? or do I have to get paid? Is it as worthy to volunteer for the local Archaeology Society as it is to volunteer for Red Cross or Big Brothers, Big Sisters? When I choose to work at the polls (~16 hours for $85) is that acceptable behavior or should I go back after that mid-6 figure income? What about time spent with my dying mother, my greef-stricken father that pays nothing? How do I weigh that value against the value of making money? What about the additional quality time I spend with my wife? with neighbors? Does that count as a worthy expenditure of my time or should I only work for money?

As you can see, I'm not a convert to your religion . . . at least not yet. But let's try to tackle some of these questions and we might move closer together in our beliefs.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-22-2004, 12:18 PM   #38
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

This is a very strange discussion in the sense that there seems to be some very strong, passionate disagreement going on, yet I find that I agree with most of what everyone is saying, even those who seemingly strongly disagree.

To me it comes down to this: Personally I have no problem with the concept of working part time. Under the right conditions I think I would actually prefer to work a couple of days per week. But work, the way it exists almost everywhere now, sucks. It's not usually the work itself; it's all the leeches who are feeding off the ones who actually do the work, and those whose job it is to speed up the line while simultaneously ensuring that nobody feels good about what it is they do, lest they become complacent and slow down. It has become destructive to my spirit and I would rather live hand-to-mouth for the next forty years than subject myself to much more of it. So if society is going to need more of us to work part time in the future, they're going to have to address the crap that drives people out. If they don't, as far as I'm concerned society can shove it for as long as I'm able to have a cheap roof over my head and food on the table.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-22-2004, 01:31 PM   #39
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

Strong opinions is putting it mildly - ie I've been the benificiary of ten years of 'advice' on how I should 'volunteer' my time from well meaning friends and acquantices - since 'I' have nothing to do all day - to the point of 'forcing me into downright curmudgeon-ness' as a self defense mechanism.

To repeat an earlier post - the brokerage ad of the young guy(who hates his job) and the old guy(rich due to the broker) on the archeology dig - ? work and fun in the same place?

We did some 'free' putting together of playground eq/etc. at a kids park - along with some parks(low pay) dept. people. ? Guess who had fun(mostly retired engineers) and who worked - and the weather wasn't too good either.
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job
Old 02-22-2004, 09:01 PM   #40
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Re: Retirement vs Perfect Job

I don't mean to offend anyone, and I don't blame anyone for indulging themselves. Up until a few weeks ago that was what I wanted, and I may just be in a momentary altruistic mood, and will return to my natural selfishness. Lately, though, I've been asking myself what I'm put on this earth to do. I decided it is pretty unlikely that I was put on this earth to watch TV, or even to golf or travel.

I also don't want to label anyone a sinner without knowing anything about them. It's all too easy to type things in this type of forum that say or imply things that you don't mean.

I certainly wouldn't claim that all work is more noble than non-work. If you are a hit-man or thief or extortionist or one of their legal equivalents, then the world may be better off if you just decide to stay home for the rest of your life. You can also choose to spend your time in ways that are rewarding, just not financially so. Ted and Nords have already discussed Ben Franklin, a great example of someone who chose to contribute to society without chasing the almighty dollar. I think Dominguez might be another good example. He "retired" when he was, what, 35? But he worked for the rest of his life writing his book, speaking, and forming his foundation.

Broadly speaking there are a couple different kinds of FI/RE. There's the "I'm going to quit my job so I can do something better with my life," and the "I'm going to quit my job so I can fish and golf and sail." Just about all of the discussion on this board seems to be about the latter. Maybe there's nothing wrong with that, but I'm starting to wonder if maybe there is something a little bit wrong with that, especially if you're in your 30's. And even if there's nothing wrong with it, I don't see how anyone can argue that the first kind isn't a little bit better.

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But work, the way it exists almost everywhere now, sucks.
Indeed.
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