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Are you aiming at a date or a sum?
Old 12-04-2006, 09:06 AM   #1
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Are you aiming at a date or a sum?

For those yet to FIRE:

Is your target a dollar amount (which will support a desired lifestyle, security blanket, etc.), or is it a date (FIREing regardless of whether a specific asset amount has been reached, with appropriate lifestyle adjustments depending on the actual amount when the date is reached).

Let's assume that in both cases the asset amount is large enough to FIRE without being reckless.

I find myself moving a bit from the date target to an assets-on-hand target, probably a little more practical. It also holds the promise of FIREing sooner if the market surges. I should probably have a fail-safe date, too, so I don't fall into the trap of waiting too long and wishing I hadn't.
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?
Old 12-04-2006, 09:14 AM   #2
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

Rich:

I could retire now, but I have found that I'd like to keep working - at least for now. For me it's more of a lifestyle thing than a money thing. Lately I have been feeling really lucky to have the job that I have and to get paid relatively well to do it. Plus - When I get out my compound interest rate calculator, I can dream big if I keep working. That's a good combination - satisfying work and a bigger stash pile. Life is good !


So to answer your question - No I have neither a date or a dollar amount in mind. There is no magic trigger for me. I had some trigger amounts in mind in the past, but when I hit them nothing magic happened. They were just numbers.
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?
Old 12-04-2006, 09:16 AM   #3
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

I target a dollar amount. If you are more than 5 years out by any reasonable set of assumptions, planning by a date is folly, IMO.
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?
Old 12-04-2006, 09:20 AM   #4
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

I have both a retirement date and a target dollar amount bouncing around in my head, but neither one is really set in stone. I'll just do it when it feels right.
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?
Old 12-04-2006, 09:21 AM   #5
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
I target a dollar amount. If you are more than 5 years out by any reasonable set of assumptions, planning by a date is folly, IMO.
I'd say that detailed planning is even dicey at 2 years out.
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?
Old 12-04-2006, 09:33 AM   #6
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

I'm 31 and right now my plan is twofold: by a specific target date, I will take stock of my assets and determine if I can FIRE at that point; if not, my plan is to scale my work hours back and continue working a reduced number of hours for as long as it takes until I can retire.

My target date is when I hit 40.

The reason I am approaching it this way is because one of the main reasons I want to FIRE is to have more time to spend with my kid(s) as growing up. I work pretty long hours, and I know how inertia can sometimes prevent us all from making life changes - I don't want preoccupation with a dollar amount to make me lose sight of the true goal.

I realize I might end up working another 10 or 15 years at reduced or part-time hours, so I might not truly FIRE completely until I'm 50 or 55. But that's cool with me - I want to enjoy that window of time in my life where my kids are young and my parents are still around.
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?
Old 12-04-2006, 09:36 AM   #7
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
I'd say that detailed planning is even dicey at 2 years out.
Sitaution-dependent. If you are a gummint epmployee and you know that your are 3.332810872 years from vesting a full maeal deal pension and benefits package, I'd say its almost a lock. If you are 1 year away from vesting a boatload of biotech options... Different story.
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?
Old 12-04-2006, 10:05 AM   #8
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?
Old 12-04-2006, 10:12 AM   #9
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
I'd say that detailed planning is even dicey at 2 years out.
Or less sometimes. In February 2000, I still thought my April 2001 planned retirement date looked pretty easy to achieve. The crash of March 2000 and the continued poor performance of the market for a couple of years made me way too nervous to actually pull the trigger on that date.

My original plan was based on a minimum nest egg amount and a date both. I exceded the minimum nest egg amount more than a year prior to date, then dropped to just below it in the market crash. My date was chosen because it was the date when my DW and I both become vested in a small, but not negligible, pension. It seemed reasonable to get some pension benefits for our last 5 years of work. By the time the date occured, I had exceded my original minimum nest egg target again, but the dramatic drop of 2000 and the sluggish market made me realize that I was more risk averse than I had earlier thought. I readjusted the plan a worked couple of years longer, then phased out of work by doing a part-time thing for awhile.
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?
Old 12-04-2006, 10:15 AM   #10
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lusitan
I'm 31 and right now my plan is twofold: by a specific target date, I will take stock of my assets and determine if I can FIRE at that point; if not, my plan is to scale my work hours back and continue working a reduced number of hours for as long as it takes until I can retire.
I'm 34 and I take a similar but more immediate approach:

Do I have enough to fully retire right now? No.
Can I go to part time right now? Yes, but I'd have to work part time for the rest of my life. Not acceptable.

Solution: Keep working full time for now and check the options again later.
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?
Old 12-04-2006, 10:16 AM   #11
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

I aim for both. It looks like they'll both arrive at the same time. However, the deciding factor will be neither. I have two children, they are supposed to have sucessfully finished their bachelor degree in 5 years. If for some reason that date is delayed, so would my retirement, accordingly. Anyone in this same situation? I don't feel comfortable giving up work until the kids are properly launched.
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?
Old 12-04-2006, 10:29 AM   #12
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

I will base my full-retirement decision when I hit the 25X expense mark, even though I would like it to happen when I hit age 40 which I think it will.

Even so, either milestone will be a guideline for my decision.

It's gotta feel right, so nothing is set in stone.
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?
Old 12-04-2006, 10:37 AM   #13
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

I set a retirement AGE (45) ... then as things evolved a retirment number (2m).

The actual date was set by mega corp (Oct 3, 2005) as 17 of us were laid-off. If not for being laid-off I would have stayed on for a couple more years to meet my preffered AGE.
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?
Old 12-04-2006, 11:12 AM   #14
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam
I aim for both. It looks like they'll both arrive at the same time. However, the deciding factor will be neither. I have two children, they are supposed to have sucessfully finished their bachelor degree in 5 years. If for some reason that date is delayed, so would my retirement, accordingly. Anyone in this same situation? I don't feel comfortable giving up work until the kids are properly launched.
I am in the same boat - two daughters to complete college in 5 and 8 years. I probably will not wait 8 years until the second daughter complete college. My feeling is about 5 years.
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?
Old 12-04-2006, 11:27 AM   #15
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

I set a dollar amount, and the date adjusts based on the market, so far, so good.

I agree those with govt pensions and such have an easier time knowing the date.............
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?
Old 12-04-2006, 11:30 AM   #16
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

Interesting question...the answer depends on mindset, priorities and financial realities, I suppose. But mostly, I'll suggest the answer lies in knowing what motivates you.

For me - it's 99% date driven. A date is a certainty; an amount is a complex variable, depending on savings rate, investment performance, inflation, and who knows how many other factors. Selecting an amount is also heavily dependent on another changing, and often unknown personal variable - lifestyle. What material things will make me happy when I ER? I've no idea...this for me, is another complex decision.

I need something more concrete to be motivated. A date speaks more to me about quality of life issues, which is my primary ER motivator. The age at which I start enjoying these benefits is of far more importance to me than how well off I'll be. I'm comfortable accepting that if major adjustments need to be made, they'll be with respect to budget, not years of employment. As such, a date that I'm 100% committed to keeps me on track better.

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Old 12-04-2006, 11:43 AM   #17
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

Definately a date for us. My wife hits the points required for early retirement in 4 years, and the two youngest should be out of college then.

Of course, if we hit the lottery our decision would definately be based on a dollar amount and we would leave immediately. But that would require actually purchasing a lottery ticket...
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Old 12-04-2006, 11:48 AM   #18
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

I could retire now and adopt the ex-pat lifestyle, or live in Arizona in one of those cute little resorts and travel... or take in a roommate to reduce my mortgage payment / pay for my healthcare insurance...

Or I could work longer, save a few more sheckles, and retire here in No. Calif with our glorious weather and with my friends / the Marina nearby.

I guess it's not really a dollar target OR a date. I seem to have hit some minimum dollar amount without planning it, but just by staying in harness and saving as much as I could. Right now, my job is not horrible (deadly dull and meaningless, but not horrible), so I'm taking the time to explore my post-retirement lifestyle. Traveling wihen possible, taking ceramics classes, trying out a little community activism, spending more time with the folks / friends, etc.

I'm also considering a small RV (maybe a vintage trailer I could spiff up), to test the full-time lifestyle without a huge outlay (translation: Can DP and I live well together in captivity?).

In summary, I will probably go when I find something better to do that I cannot do without quitting.

The alternative is that Megacorp lays me off (always a possibility) or that work becomes noxious again and I quit in disgust.

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Old 12-04-2006, 12:02 PM   #19
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

Dollars for me.

Seems to be a relationship:

Pension = date
Investments = dollars.
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Old 12-04-2006, 01:21 PM   #20
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Re: ARe you aiming at a date or a sum?

Both. I have a stash now that would see me live an acceptable, but not lavish lifestyle. However, I am young (42), and feel that I can afford to work a while longer to ensure a more lavish lifestyle. Therefore, I have both a date (48) and a lump sum (1.5 current expenses). I will FIRE at the first one that is reached.
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