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Do people actually retire early?
Old 07-01-2010, 08:30 PM   #1
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Do people actually retire early?

Although i plan to retire early, based on the sample size of people I know or work with, this seems unobtainable. I literally know zero such people but know plenty of 60+ year olds who work including the president of the company I work for who is approaching 70.

If these early retirees exist, where are they? I do not want examples from internet blogs. Do you actually know a real person who has retired in the 40's or early 50's successfully?
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:35 PM   #2
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Although i plan to retire early, based on the sample size of people I know or work with, this seems unobtainable. I literally know zero such people but know plenty of 60+ year olds who work including the president of the company I work for who is approaching 70.

If these early retirees exist, where are they? I do not want examples from internet blogs. Do you actually know a real person who has retired in the 40's or early 50's successfully?
No
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:44 PM   #3
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My older brother retired in his early 50's. He was always a very thrifty person when he was growing up. He got an MBA and passed his CPA, and went on to eventually become the CFO of a mid-sized company. He retired in the 1990's with a nice pension and money in the bank/Vanguard. Pensions were more common back then.
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:45 PM   #4
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Several. Some examples:

1. a partner in my previous law firm who retired at around 50 to do charity work in (I think) Nepal

2. a lawyer who retired in his early 50s to return to university to study ancient history

3. at least two investment bankers who retired in their 40s (one subsequently went back to work)
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:47 PM   #5
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Although i plan to retire early, based on the sample size of people I know or work with, this seems unobtainable.

If these early retirees exist, where are they?
Hint: You won't find them at work.

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Old 07-01-2010, 08:55 PM   #6
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The only ones I know are on this board.
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:55 PM   #7
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Whaddya think we are, chopped liver urban legends?

And if we're not actually ER'd, do you think an ER board would give you full disclosure? Maybe you should debunk this question at Work-Until-We-Die.com.

My father retired early (age 53). My FIL retired early (age 61) when management screwed up a buyout/layoff and had to offer it to the IBEW members as well as to management. My spouse ER'd at age... um... a pretty darn young and immensely attractive age.

One of my old XOs ER'd at age 46, although he'd refer to it as "stay-at-home parent".

I have a few soon-to-retire shipmates who have been nibbling at the hook, and two more who are running with it as fast/deep as they can. One of them will no doubt be making his announcement on this board in a few months.

You've read about the Kaderlis, right? Enough people have spent enough time with them to detect any deception. They're "fo' real". I've dined with Leslie, REWahoo, Sc, BUM, FIREup2020, Leonidas, Htown Harry, 2Soon2Tell, TromboneAl, and a number of other ERs. If they're really just impoverished cubicle dwellers attempting to keep up the illusion of ER'd leisure... well... they're doing a heckuva job.

Sounds to me as if you need a new circle of acquaintances. I know plenty of people who have no incentive to retire (or have no resources to achieve the same) but that doesn't make me feel as if I need to go get a job.

Locally I know two retired flag officers who are drawing six-figure COLA'd pensions with cheap healthcare, yet who have no intention of ever retiring. They're doing great things for various organizations around here but that lifestyle is not for me. I also know a retired flag officer, in his very high 70s or early 80s by now, who will also never retire despite his six-figure COLA'd pension... because he and his spouse have managed to spend every penny as fast as it comes in. But they have a really really nice house (with a really really big mortgage) and I guess that's "working" for him.

Final questions-- who gives a crap whether you'll be surrounded by an eager herd of ER'd lemmings? Does ER require a critical mass or a statistically-significant sample size? Does your personal success depend on a majority vote of your co-workers?

Budget your expenses and do your own math. Use this board's resources to solve your own problems. That's a lot more credible than emulating your office staff.

For all the rest of you Doubting Thomases out there, contact me the next time you're on Oahu. If you surf, I'll loan you a board and we'll check out some of my favorite breaks. If you don't surf yet but can swim then I'll teach you how to surf. You can use the opportunity to quiz me on SWRs, FIRECalc, and the ER lifestyle to determine my credibility for yourself...
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:57 PM   #8
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Although i plan to retire early, based on the sample size of people I know or work with, this seems unobtainable. I literally know zero such people but know plenty of 60+ year olds who work including the president of the company I work for who is approaching 70.

If these early retirees exist, where are they? I do not want examples from internet blogs. Do you actually know a real person who has retired in the 40's or early 50's successfully?

Let me guess, probably sitting in front of their computers, sipping a cool drink (beverage of one's choice), typing away in a retirement forum?
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:59 PM   #9
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Yes.

I met two well-known 40's / early 50's forum members once at a get-together. They definitely were retired - nobody smiles that big while they are still working

Otherwise, only person I know well comes close to your criteria. He retired at 55 on a cushion of retiree health benefits, a small government pension and a pile of cash from selling a family real estate portfolio his dad started in the 1950's.

While definitely FI, he hasn't been entirely "successful" at the ER part. He does some spot work when a local consulting firm gets a job needing his type of expertise. The motivation is definitely not financial.

I'm curious why you ask the question. Are you wondering if we ER-types flock together or are you trying to determine the relative rarity of our species?
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:00 PM   #10
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Yes, plenty.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:06 PM   #11
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I still have those darn recurring dreams of w*rking. The plot pretty much stays the same. In the dream, I've discover I've been still at the office, plugging away and volunteeringly helping out the megacorp for months, but I'm not even on the payroll.

That said, I think part of early retiring is a mindset. When I had just FIRE'd, I remember coming back home and instinctly looking for a pager that I had carried all along, or a message from w*rk to fix something. Now, for me, FIRE'ing is like the first two years away at college, without the homework
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:09 PM   #12
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Do you actually know a real person who has retired in the 40's or early 50's successfully?
No.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:09 PM   #13
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Yes.

I met two well-known 40's / early 50's forum members once at a get-together. They definitely were retired - nobody smiles that big while they are still working

Otherwise, only person I know well comes close to your criteria. He retired at 55 on a cushion of retiree health benefits, a small government pension and a pile of cash from selling a family real estate portfolio his dad started in the 1950's.

While definitely FI, he hasn't been entirely "successful" at the ER part. He does some spot work when a local consulting firm gets a job needing his type of expertise. The motivation is definitely not financial.

I'm curious why you ask the question. Are you wondering if we ER-types flock together or are you trying to determine the relative rarity of our species?
Well the reason I ask is that any time this subject comes up at work and I mention I would like to retire early, they think I'm A)Crazy or B)Naive. You just see the same people grinding it out M-F and it's hard to think there are people who actually don't live this way.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:11 PM   #14
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Well the reason I ask is that any time this subject comes up at work and I mention I would like to retire early, they think I'm A)Crazy or B)Naive.
I've received the same reaction from a number of book publishers, who keep trying to redirect me to the "fantasy fiction" side of the house...
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:13 PM   #15
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One friend retired at 50 another at 57. I retired at 52. Not real early but as soon as we could.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:15 PM   #16
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52 when I retired. Wildly successful ER so far. By the things I measure, anyway.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:15 PM   #17
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I know I've FIRE'd when the phone rings at about 10:30 in the morning while I'm still snoozing and I say, "gosh, the phone is ringing early today"
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:16 PM   #18
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My dad retired at 57, he owned a construction co. My uncle retired in his early 50's. I retired 3 years ago at 50, I was a construction manager. My wife is also retired and much younger than I.

I also have a friend who retired today, he is mid 50's. I know several others who still work part time for some reason. It's their choice.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:17 PM   #19
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Do you actually know a real person who has retired in the 40's or early 50's successfully?
Yes...some of the folks on this forum ...some of which I know better than others, but I digress...

I really had to sqyeeze my brain to come up with any long-term friends who have retired early. One retired at 52; he is a doctor. The other retired from the army at 53 years of age as a Major; he is a dentist.
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:20 PM   #20
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Well the reason I ask is that any time this subject comes up at work and I mention I would like to retire early, they think I'm A)Crazy or B)Naive. You just see the same people grinding it out M-F and it's hard to think there are people who actually don't live this way.
There are people who don't live this way. My brother (that I mentioned above), has a condo on Maui and spends half the year there, and half the year in Missouri where his wife's family lives. She is a public school teacher who retired in her late 40's. I forgot to mention her. Theirs is a second marriage for each, and they met and married after he had retired. She retired too, shortly thereafter.

Anyway, they travel a lot. They just got back from Machu Picchu, and earlier this year they spent a couple of months on safari in Africa right after they got back from visiting friends in the Netherlands. Did I mention they love travel? Anyway, they are having fun and enjoying life. When they are home they do a lot of volunteer work for their church and with Habitat for Humanity.

They don't live the same way as the people at your work who are discouraging you so.
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