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Old 08-15-2014, 04:53 PM   #21
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I don't know if others who retired very young from the company I worked for ever went back to the way thing were. Some had fun hobbies that morphed into side businesses even though it was just for fun - like designing control systems for hot air balloons, for example. Others focused on raising families. Then there are folks who had more than enough to retire yet had such a strong entrepreneurial streak that they didn't want to do anything else. Elon Musk is a good example of this type. There was another non-retiree I suspected was waiting for his children to grow up before giving up the daily office escape.

I anecdotally know of one 30s retiree who was living the high life - apartment in Paris, etc. who got bored and went back to his law career. He just didn't find anything else that challenged him enough to be happy.

People are wired very differently. There is no one size fits all.

Yes, some retirees run out of sufficient funds and go back to work. It happens at all stages. 2008 was a tough year for some folks, as was 2001/2002. Or something happens to cause a major life change and dire financial repercussions.
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:05 PM   #22
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At the risk of sounding heretical on a RE forum, I think it is not a such a bad question to ask. But I think a lot of the answer depends on your definition of your job or work, especially whether you own your own business.

When I was in my 30s, I was just starting my own business. I actually got work doing things I was doing already (uP data acquisiton, processing, modelling) on my own projects. In fact I got hired for some jobs because people saw what I was doing on my own. So I just got to get paid for doing what I was doing already. And thought that was pretty cool. And in addition, my work exposed me to many other aspects of technology and industry that I was not familiar with, and I got to do many more exciting things than I think I would have been able to do completely alone.

Now I was not FI at that time, but I don't think it would have made a difference. I was too excited about starting my own consulting business and the projects I was doing. And others I knew then, one who was a superb engineer, who could have RE, with family wealth, started his own business at the same time, and it is still going strong. We worked togehter on a number of projects. He went on to get a large number of patents, travel around the world giving lectures at scientific society meetings, working with the best physisists in his field. Things he likely would never have done otherwise.

I knew another guy with great family wealth who's whole family worked in real estate development. I often wondered why they didn't just invest the money and relax, but it was not in their nature. They enjoyed what they were doing.

Another man I knew and worked with, had started a health device business in the 1950s, was still going strong into his late 70s. Still making 10 year plans for his business, starting into new ventures, talking about the latest scientific literature to scientists much younger than himself. I once asked him why he did it, he clearly had accumulated enough to live in as much luxury as anyone could want. He told me he simply felt he was making a contribution. But I think he was simply having too much fun. He always seemed excited about the next great medical breakthrough.

On the other hand another guy I knew sold out a very successful software company for big bucks, could have retired and lived well. But felt he needed to start another business, sunk a lot of money into it, but it could never be as successful as his first. Think it just faded away.

And another guy made a lot of money selling his medical device to a big conglomerate. Made a ton of money, but later lost it all because he felt the need for a do-over in the same field. Never was able to make anything of it, lost most of what he had accumulated.

What about the running away part? I don't think there has ever been anything I have worked on, or anyone I have worked with (or lived with or partied with etc), whom at some time I wanted to say, take this ... and shove it. I got to get the heck out of here! But later I was glad that I didn't say it or do it. And often the short term bad experiences turned into long term good ones.

So is retiring early (or anytime for that matter) running away, or just running (or strolling) in a different direction? It really depends. Depends on the time (sometimes exciting things get old), the individual, the situation, the work, your attitude and temperament and most of all where are you in the timeline of your life.

It is not a bad question.
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:14 PM   #23
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I've seen posts by REs who retired in their 30s. Every time I see one, I wonder if the person is entering RE or is he just running away from his job/career/work life/society? Anyone else wondered about this? What says you who retired in their 30s? What "really" made you quit work (or enter RE) so early in your life? Did RE last?

Questions not meant for those who are a single income family where woman (or man) has full time job taking care of kids, home, etc. That's not RE in my book.

I pulled the plug on what I think of as my career a few months after exiting my 30s. Was I "running away" from something? Sure: endless bullcrap, constant business travel, a job so dull that I could hardly stand it, very little time for my family/myself, etc. Am I supposed to love being tortured? There is way more to life than the 4 walls of a cube.

WTF is "work life?" Brainwashed much?

I areed this morning to a contract job that is supposed to last a year and will start about 9 months after I ended my career. When I quit my job, I was eager enough to do so that I did it with an adequate, but not enormous pile of assets. Since I am 40 and have two kids 10 and under, I bailed on the cube with the idea that if something that was sufficiently lucrative and not too painful came along I would take it in order to cut the tail risk off of things like sequence of returns risk. It appears I have been handed such an opportunity. I am still deeply conflicted about work intruding once again on my life, but it is only for a year and it involves no commute, a certain amount of schedule flexibility, minimal travel and the opportunity to work with a friend. If I had double my portfolio I would not ever have entertained the idea of doing this.
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Old 08-16-2014, 11:55 AM   #24
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I can honestly say, looking back over my 30+ year IT career, that it means nothing in the grand scheme of things, and that if I had been financially able to in my 30's (or even 20's), I would have escaped from it.

I'd much rather have enjoyed life pursuing other things than being trapped sitting in a cube all day, or doing some other mundane boring task.

So in my case, yes, I would have been abandoning job/career/work but not life. I would have enjoyed life more, having the time and money to pursue things I actually cared about.
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Old 08-16-2014, 01:58 PM   #25
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I've seen posts by REs who retired in their 30s. Every time I see one, I wonder if the person is entering RE or is he just running away from his job/career/work life/society? Anyone else wondered about this? What says you who retired in their 30s? What "really" made you quit work (or enter RE) so early in your life? Did RE last?

Questions not meant for those who are a single income family where woman (or man) has full time job taking care of kids, home, etc. That's not RE in my book.
The same thoughts go through my head. I think your questions are valid, and I hope you see more answers from those who retired in their 30s. The word "retirement" is going through a major metamorphosis right now, and people visualize different scenarios when they use it.

I assume it took most of us here at least two or three decades of living beneath our means and investing to the maximum to arrive at FI. Conveniently, that's about the amount of time it takes to really sour you on the corporate life and push you into early retirement!
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Old 08-16-2014, 02:23 PM   #26
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I can honestly say, looking back over my 30+ year IT career, that it means nothing in the grand scheme of things, and that if I had been financially able to in my 30's (or even 20's), I would have escaped from it.

I'd much rather have enjoyed life pursuing other things than being trapped sitting in a cube all day, or doing some other mundane boring task.

So in my case, yes, I would have been abandoning job/career/work but not life. I would have enjoyed life more, having the time and money to pursue things I actually cared about.
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Old 08-16-2014, 03:12 PM   #27
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I have a friend who's husband made it big when his startup was sold. He chose not to go back to work. He was 35. That doesn't mean he was running away from his job/career/work/life/society. He'd cashed out and now could spend his time doing what he wanted. My friend continued to work - but retired a year or two ago, herself - in her late 40's. They have no kids, have a small house in a great part of Berkeley... and find plenty to amuse themselves. They are active in various meetup groups, active in the arts communities, and big time foodies. How does that equate to running away.

I'm always surprised when I see a HUGE success (financially) then the person doesn't sit back and enjoy it - but instead goes to a lesser position - just to keep their hand in the game. Sanjay Jha - former CEO of Motorola Mobility is an example of this. He made well over $100M for a few years work - and got a big lump sum when Google bought MMI. Now he's working for a smaller chip company that few have heard of. I wonder why he doesn't just enjoy his time with his wife and kids. He's definitely not running away from work/job - but perhaps he's running away from his family...

I guess the counter question to make is:
"If you can afford to retire early and spend more time with your family, or pursuing your passions - why would you continue to work for money you don't need? Why are you running from your passions and family""

One of the things that people who make these big time fortunes is that most have some kind of.... let me just say drive... that people who want to RE do not have... heck, when I was at mega.... after a merger they brought in a 70 yo exec who was rich beyond anything he could spend.... he just LIKED the power that he had.... the ability to order people around etc. etc... he was on the road 4 days a week... usually dragging a group of people around with him... I just do not think he could turn it off....
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:09 PM   #28
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Seems like taking an un-conventional path, rather than ER. Nothing wrong with that at all.
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:27 PM   #29
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One of the things that people who make these big time fortunes is that most have some kind of.... let me just say drive... that people who want to RE do not have... heck, when I was at mega.... after a merger they brought in a 70 yo exec who was rich beyond anything he could spend.... he just LIKED the power that he had.... the ability to order people around etc. etc... he was on the road 4 days a week... usually dragging a group of people around with him... I just do not think he could turn it off....
Yep, know several people like that. Some of them founders of my company. Know plenty of them outside too. And when you see people like Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos (who has his own "deep space exploration venture" as a hobby) - they will always have a bunch of irons in the fire, schemes underway and plotting more. They like playing with really big toys. These are their toys. They work, because that's how you get big things done and be hands-on at the same time. They're not interested in sitting back and funding another genius.

Three buys around the table - "what's your favorite hobby?" "Oh, I like to fish." "Oh, I really enjoy taking photographs." "Oh, I'm into deep space exploration right now so I started a company to do that, and I'm also building a clock in West Texas that will last 10,000 years."
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Old 08-17-2014, 10:40 AM   #30
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Yep, know several people like that. Some of them founders of my company. Know plenty of them outside too. And when you see people like Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos (who has his own "deep space exploration venture" as a hobby) - they will always have a bunch of irons in the fire, schemes underway and plotting more. They like playing with really big toys. These are their toys. They work, because that's how you get big things done and be hands-on at the same time. They're not interested in sitting back and funding another genius.

Three buys around the table - "what's your favorite hobby?" "Oh, I like to fish." "Oh, I really enjoy taking photographs." "Oh, I'm into deep space exploration right now so I started a company to do that, and I'm also building a clock in West Texas that will last 10,000 years."
+1 Very good point!
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Old 08-17-2014, 10:51 AM   #31
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Oops - I see I meant three guys around a table.

Hate that when it happens!!!
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:51 PM   #32
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I've seen posts by REs who retired in their 30s. Every time I see one, I wonder if the person is entering RE or is he just running away from his job/career/work life/society? Anyone else wondered about this? What says you who retired in their 30s? What "really" made you quit work (or enter RE) so early in your life? Did RE last?

Questions not meant for those who are a single income family where woman (or man) has full time job taking care of kids, home, etc. That's not RE in my book.
As someone in his 30's planning to FIRE sometime in my mid-50's, my response to this is that job/career/work has very rarely been about the actual work itself. If it was, I would have less of a desire to try and achieve FIRE.

If work was about truly solving problems, making a difference, thinking critically, and analyzing data then I would not be as interested in FIRE. But I have found work to be more about arbitrary deadlines (reports needed in an hour that take at least 3 hours to make, only to sit on someone's desk for days before they are actually read), useless jargon that no one actually understands or they use it to sound smart, CYA, office politics, power struggles, and not at all about actually using the skills one brings to a team.

Some places I have been have been better than others, but at some point it all reverts back to those common denominators.

Admittedly a way around this is to start your own business about something you care about, but I fully admit that I value the stability of working for a company over the risk associated with starting a business. Plus I am not creative and would struggle to be the one to lead the start up. If someone I know were to start a firm and asked me to be a part of the management team, I would potentially move into that role, but that is because I know my strengths and weaknesses well.

I'm okay with the drudgery of corporate life though as it has its place. It does have its moments, and when it DOES become about the analysis, problem solving, and challenge it can be very fulfilling. Either way, it is helping me reach FIRE so I'll put the best I have into it until then and accept it for what it is.
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Old 08-27-2014, 06:23 PM   #33
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I just crossed the one year boundary in early retirement* yesterday. What's that saying about "the worst day at the beach is better than the best day at the office"? Yeah, except expand beach to include everything in ER. I don't recall any days in the office where I was like "holy crap, I'm doing something and I made a difference." Sure, stuff got built, people have new roads to drive on and new neighborhoods to live in, and I see the results of my efforts on google maps and advertised on TV and in the paper. Big whoop!

Now my sole focus is me. And my family. And friends. And having fun. And learning. And doing whatever I want to do.

I "abandoned" my career and the BS buckets that came with it. That doesn't mean I won't ever go back to it if I run out of really fun stuff to do! Or need the money or decide I want a higher standard of living. Between kids and personal interests, I can't imagine finding time for full time or even half time work right now.

Did I abandon society? I don't think so! I'm just not working for a paycheck any more. Maybe that makes me a social deviant, but take a peek at the lottery tickets bought every day. All those folks are just pissing away their funds to have a near-zero chance of having something like what I have (plenty of money, plenty of freedom). Instead of being a social deviant, I think ER is what a large swath of the population wants deep down inside (judging them by their actions and not words).

* By the OP's definition, I'm not retired because my wife is still working through the end of the year at least. So take my thoughts with the adequately sized grain of salt required for your taste.
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Old 08-27-2014, 06:29 PM   #34
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I've seen posts by REs who retired in their 30s. Every time I see one, I wonder if the person is entering RE or is he just running away from his job/career/work life/society? Anyone else wondered about this? What says you who retired in their 30s? What "really" made you quit work (or enter RE) so early in your life? Did RE last?

Questions not meant for those who are a single income family where woman (or man) has full time job taking care of kids, home, etc. That's not RE in my book.
I'll answer as someone who has a good shot at ER in her late thirties.

A few thoughts:

1. On the surface, I don't understand why ER would be any less attractive to someone who is 35 as opposed to 55. Work isn't (I would argue) our purpose in living, so once you've got your needs met, why continue to exchange your limited time for dollars you don't need?

2. There are so many things I want to do that are not possible while being employed. I want to eliminate the words "alarm clock" from my vocabulary. (This is huge!) I want to slow travel for 3-4 months at a clip. I'd like to write more, volunteer at a cat shelter, and go spend a week or two helping my Mom work on her house. I want to eat lunch with my DH most days, and not see him coming home at night all tired and stressed.

3. Will my ER last? Probably. I'm using fairly conservative estimates. But I am quite open to the idea that I may choose to earn money again someday. I may take on part time work for the intellectual stimulation, or do something interesting that comes with a paycheck. Who knows?

I am setting things up so that I won't *need* a job, but I won't view it as failure if I decide to take on some paid work here and there. In fact, I have no idea what will happen and I kinda love that fact.

Freedom!

SIS

(Cautiously estimating FIRE in 2017 at the age of 38)
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:40 PM   #35
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3. Will my ER last? Probably. I'm using fairly conservative estimates. But I am quite open to the idea that I may choose to earn money again someday. I may take on part time work for the intellectual stimulation, or do something interesting that comes with a paycheck. Who knows?

I am setting things up so that I won't *need* a job, but I won't view it as failure if I decide to take on some paid work here and there. In fact, I have no idea what will happen and I kinda love that fact.
I think the biggest difference between the 50-something ER and the 30-something ER is the willingness (or acceptance?) to possibly engage in some paid employment later in life. I've put a bookmark in the novel that is my career and stuck it on a bookshelf, but that doesn't mean I can't pull it off the shelf, dust it off and start turning the pages again in a decade. Or pick up an altogether different book and dive in head first!
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:50 PM   #36
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I think the biggest difference between the 50-something ER and the 30-something ER is the willingness (or acceptance?) to possibly engage in some paid employment later in life. I've put a bookmark in the novel that is my career and stuck it on a bookshelf, but that doesn't mean I can't pull it off the shelf, dust it off and start turning the pages again in a decade. Or pick up an altogether different book and dive in head first!
Just making $10K per year per spouse over 60 years adds in another $1.2M. Downshifting is a lot easier than total retirement at a relatively young age.
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:54 PM   #37
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I've put a bookmark in the novel that is my career and stuck it on a bookshelf, but that doesn't mean I can't pull it off the shelf, dust it off and start turning the pages again in a decade. Or pick up an altogether different book and dive in head first!
I like the analogy - that's a good one!

When I walk out the door, I'm taking my copy of "LoneAspen's History in the IT Field" and burning it, bookmark and all. I can honestly say I will NEVER get back into IT again unless I'm starving in the streets (and even then, I think I'd prefer to starve).
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Old 08-28-2014, 02:32 PM   #38
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I think the biggest difference between the 50-something ER and the 30-something ER is the willingness (or acceptance?) to possibly engage in some paid employment later in life. I've put a bookmark in the novel that is my career and stuck it on a bookshelf, but that doesn't mean I can't pull it off the shelf, dust it off and start turning the pages again in a decade. Or pick up an altogether different book and dive in head first!
It is a nice analogy, but for many if not most people IMO it is not very realistic. In your early to mid 30s your career is just taking off, you are usually just starting to make good money, and expecting career advancement and salary increases. Leaving at 33 and expecting to come back at 43 to the same page is not likely. The story has moved on, your page is no longer there.

It is the same for women who leave the workforce to raise a family and then want to return. They find there were consequences to leaving. Of course I am not saying don't leave to raise a family, or to RE, just that if you do want to return later, it will be to a different place than you were, and certainly to a different place than you might have been.
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Old 08-28-2014, 03:46 PM   #39
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It is a nice analogy, but for many if not most people IMO it is not very realistic. In your early to mid 30s your career is just taking off, you are usually just starting to make good money, and expecting career advancement and salary increases. Leaving at 33 and expecting to come back at 43 to the same page is not likely. The story has moved on, your page is no longer there.

It is the same for women who leave the workforce to raise a family and then want to return. They find there were consequences to leaving. Of course I am not saying don't leave to raise a family, or to RE, just that if you do want to return later, it will be to a different place than you were, and certainly to a different place than you might have been.
I agree. No matter how old you are, if you step out of the workforce for a few years you become stale IMO. I am a chemist by training. But after several years on the sidelines, my skills are outdated and I have lost of lot of technical knowledge (my wife is still employed as a chemist, so the decline is pretty evident throughout our conversations). In a tight job market and with the right connections, I could probably get another job in that field. But with the current job market and the fact that I have not cultivated past professional connections, that career is pretty much over for me. I am fine with that (I don't consider myself a chemist anymore). But if I needed to make money again, I'd have to reinvent myself professionally - like millions of other sidelined workers. I do have a good brain and other skills, some I developed in retirement, that could still make me some money in the future.

The other thing is, after tasting freedom for a few years, I know that going back to a traditional 9-5 career would be very stressful, more so than before retiring.
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Old 08-28-2014, 04:09 PM   #40
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It is a nice analogy, but for many if not most people IMO it is not very realistic. In your early to mid 30s your career is just taking off, you are usually just starting to make good money, and expecting career advancement and salary increases. Leaving at 33 and expecting to come back at 43 to the same page is not likely. The story has moved on, your page is no longer there.

It is the same for women who leave the workforce to raise a family and then want to return. They find there were consequences to leaving. Of course I am not saying don't leave to raise a family, or to RE, just that if you do want to return later, it will be to a different place than you were, and certainly to a different place than you might have been.
I don't doubt it would be a challenge to pick up where you left off, and maybe necessary to "re-read a few chapters" to continue the analogy.

For some careers it would be a challenge to get back in the race, whereas others it might not be that challenging (especially after a little bit of time back on the job). In my field, the technology and software is mostly unchanged over the last ten years (they're using version 7 or 8 of the industry's main software package instead of version 5 when I started however there's not a lot of difference between the versions).

I get the feeling a lot of people rose up the career ladder a good bit, but for me at age 33 I never really rose that far. After 10 years away from my career, I bet it wouldn't take more than a year or two to get back to where I was (if that's where I wanted to go). YMMV of course.

FIRE'd brings out another good point - picking up new skills in ER can lead to a totally different (and more enjoyable) career. And one where you don't necessary have to make a ton of money. Or work a 9 to 5 if you don't want to. Although career paths that don't require 40+ hours per week might take some hustlin' and creativity!
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