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Shorter of breath and one day closer to death
Old 03-24-2017, 12:37 PM   #1
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Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

I had always viewed a cushy retirement as my ultimate career goal, to be enjoyed only after I had attained both a belt and suspenders. The sudden passing of a good friend has just shortened my timeline.

He retired last March. I had lunch with him three weeks ago, and he looked great. Retirement was suiting him well. He was walking 5 miles a day, had lost 30 pounds, and radiated cheerfulness.

I got word yesterday afternoon that he had been admitted to the hospital. I left w*rk early, and arrived at the saddest scene I have witnessed in 20 years. He was on oxygen, barely conscious, lying on his side and surrounded by his wife and daughters. The only word I can think of to describe how they looked is "stricken". I can't describe it any further without tearing up, so I'll leave it at that.

Three short weeks ago he was vital and robust. This morning he checked out. Retirement lasted all of one year.

When I joined this forum, advice from other members lopped three years off my calculated wait till retirement. Now I'm thinking of bringing it another year closer. My retirement budget is based on starting off debt-free, so I figured on exiting after having paid off two car loans (2019) and a HELOC (2020). Now I'm thinking that erasing the car loans will be enough.

Some will think, "Your friend's passing is only a single data point. Don't make any big changes based on one event." I agree.

But at this moment I'm writhing in the grip of such powerful emotions that desperate actions don't seem unreasonable. In my new calculation, OLY just became Priority One.
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:48 PM   #2
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So sorry to hear about your friend.
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:49 PM   #3
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I am sorry to hear of your friend's passing but these things do a good job of realigning priorities and I disagree on it being a "single data point". Instead, it's a wake up call for you. If retirement is your #1 goal, this event will give you the strength to power though and get it done, sooner than later.
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mdlerth View Post
Some will think, "Your friend's passing is only a single data point. Don't make any big changes based on one event." I agree.
I'm not some and I don't agree.

This is understandably an "OMG" moment for you and your reaction is entirely rational. Those who try to dot every "i" and delay retirement until they are absolutely positive they have no chance of failure sometimes learn the hard way there are no guarantees in life.

OMY equals OLY of retirement - and of life...
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:52 PM   #5
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I am terribly sorry for your loss.

I am a firm believer in not putting off pleasures( ER being one) if you can enjoy them now without jeopardizing your future needs.

These things do happen. I saw it often enough in my medical practice. I also lost my sister at the age of 51.

We are unlikely to be stronger and healthier in the years to come ( unless you shed unhealthy habits when you retire as sometimes happens) so if you want to travel or take up a strenuous sport go for it.
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Old 03-24-2017, 12:54 PM   #6
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Out of the last small team (about 25 people) that I worked with before I retire ~5 years ago, three have passed away (that I know of). Two died while still employed (not job related) and one died within 6 months after retiring. All were under 62. Makes you think!
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Old 03-24-2017, 01:08 PM   #7
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A couple/few years back, my cousin's husband, (a year younger than me), had been for lunch with a buddy of his........walking/talking after eating, his friend suddenly collapsed and died.

How can events such as this not affect one's perspective?

It could have been, and still could be, any of us.
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Old 03-24-2017, 01:13 PM   #8
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I am sorry for the loss of your friend. Your feelings are reasonable, one data point or not.

And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun
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Old 03-24-2017, 01:14 PM   #9
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The perspective reminds us of just how precious life is.
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Old 03-24-2017, 01:22 PM   #10
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Sorry for your loss.

One data point sure, I have known too many. One sweet woman who worked a couple of extra years to retire at 67, she didn't see 68.

Another former cow*rker's heart blew up one Sunday morning, he was 53.
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Old 03-24-2017, 01:40 PM   #11
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Reading this makes me really wonder if I want to go back to work fulltime.

I have an in-person coming up next week with a prestigious research facility. But I don't want to work 40 hours/days a week anymore.

But I am also concerned about being able to pay being able to afford medical insurance until age 65.
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Old 03-24-2017, 01:46 PM   #12
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Sorry for the loss of your friend. A former colleague recently passed at only 61. She had only 6 six yrs of ER, with the last 3 of those years marred by serious health problems, 1 yr of her husband's illness and passing and then 2 yrs of her own suffering. So, we never really know what is around the corner. They were both quite healthy and active until cancer struck. Indeed taking long strenuous walks during midday with a group that included one or the both of them is one of my fonder memories of my work years.
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Old 03-24-2017, 01:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemo2 View Post
A couple/few years back, my cousin's husband, (a year younger than me), had been for lunch with a buddy of his........walking/talking after eating, his friend suddenly collapsed and died.

How can events such as this not affect one's perspective?

It could have been, and still could be, any of us.
no one could disagree that it could be any one of us. Less commonly understood is that retirement does not change this

unless one has an unusually dangerous job. There are studies
showing how work shortens life, and studies showing that retirement shortens life. Let your bias make its choice, which is what all humans do anyway.
Ha
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Old 03-24-2017, 01:54 PM   #14
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no one could disagree that it could be any one of us. Less commonly understood is that retirement does not change this

unless one has an unusually dangerous job. There are studies
showing how work shortens life, and studies showing that retirement shortens life. Let your bias make its choice, which is what all humans do anyway.
Ha
Retirement may not extend life, but it makes those last years far more enjoyable - at least so far.
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Old 03-24-2017, 01:56 PM   #15
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There are studies
showing how work shortens life, and studies showing that retirement shortens life.
What I do know is that if I were to have a shortened life, I would rather not spend it working and would much rather be retired.
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Old 03-24-2017, 01:57 PM   #16
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The younger brother of my long time best friend (that pesky little brother that hangs around) due to cancer and I was scheduled to have serious intestinal surgery. When the Dr. said I didn't need the surgery (false positives are a b***h), I realized that I was given a reprieve on life, and made the decision to retire. I was debating on the timing when my direct boss told me they were about to start a search for a replacement for someone at my level. I didn't hesitate to tell her to make it 2 spots as I was retiring. Sometimes the signs are there and we miss them, and sometimes the signs are so big and bright that we have to follow them. I followed the sign, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
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Old 03-24-2017, 02:11 PM   #17
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I'm sorry for your loss. You are 100% correct to use this as an opportunity for reflection.

The only thing we can really ever own in life is the time we're here. Unfortunately, we never really know how much we have.

The only budget that truly matters in the long run is how we choose to spend that time.

I intend to budget well.
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Old 03-24-2017, 02:36 PM   #18
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Sorry for your loss. This is exactly what made my decision to pull the plug as soon as I could a no-brainer. No regrets
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Old 03-24-2017, 02:54 PM   #19
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mdlerth,

Sorry for the loss of your friend. Its sounds like he enjoyed the short time that he was retired.

We don't know how long we will be here. A glance at the obits shows that there are some who leave this orb much earlier than they probably imagined they would.

I'm grateful that I was able to early retire at 56, and hope that I have many healthy years of retirement ahead.

omni
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Old 03-24-2017, 02:55 PM   #20
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OP, sorry for your loss.

In addition to realizing our time is not guaranteed, I'd encourage everyone to do the common sense things we all have heard that *statistically* lengthen lives. Do some mild/moderate exercise, eat right, avoid stress, get enough sleep, drive carefully, get regular checkups. It is sad when someone dies "early", but I think the sadness compounds if the death could have been reasonably delayed.
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