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Entering the "dead zone" before ER
Old 08-16-2018, 12:05 PM   #1
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Entering the "dead zone" before ER

I have been vetting out much of my pre-ER analysis/strategies/jitters on this site recently as I get closer to launching at MY predestined ER date of 12/31/19 (age 55). I have run the math on WRs/AA structures/RE budgets and have spent some time trying to envision my post- ER life. In my case, my target date is somewhat arbitrary as it was based on a preset plan some years ago that included having all of my 4 kids college bought/paid for/out of the house and some wedding $$ in the bank (2 kids left to get married). My self-employed career has worked out well for me in being very lucrative and allowing me to support my family at a very nice lifestyle, yet sock away some dough. It does, however, require me to be fully engaged to reap maximum rewards ($) and I would be lying if I said I wasn't competitive and enjoyed closing deals and being one of the higher producing people in my industry. The few people in my industry who I have shared my ER plans with think I am crazy for leaving the business this early knowing the earning potential I am leaving on the table, so at this point, I just keep quiet. Up until recently (really the first of the year), I have been able to stay somewhat motivated to "hit" my numbers, but frankly, I am more or less where I need to be numbers wise at end of 2019 today. All of this has be sitting in somewhat of an uncomfortable/unmotivated/paralyzed "dead zone" which I am not comfortable with. In a sense, I feel like I am sitting around waiting for the end of 2019. Like many on this site, I have always been a big goal setter/planner and with a SAHW and 4 kids, I have always had plenty of motivation to go out and do battle every day for the sake of the cause! So now, as I dwell in this dead zone, there continues to be a little internal battle going on where perhaps my ego/sense of pride is telling me to get out there and slay it for the next 17 months while another part of me says, I got what I need, so just relax and coast in to the finish line.

Anyone else fall into this dead zone when they could smell the goal line? How did you Type A, higher income folks close out?
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:23 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawgMan View Post
Anyone else fall into this dead zone when they could smell the goal line? How did you Type A, higher income folks close out?
Sounds like you have already crossed the goal line but there is still time on the clock. Time that YOU put there. My suggestion is to walk over to the clock operator and tell them to run off the last 30 seconds(17 months) and call it game complete.

I am in the dead zone work wise but holding on for a couple of question marks. DD in grad school in Ireland and DS getting married next fall. Also yr 55 for 401K if for some reason it becomes needed.

Good luck Dawgman.
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:26 PM   #3
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Great post.

I was always "the guy". Top producer, had all the awards in my office and the monetary benefits that came with being a high producer. So I decided to start my own business. 22 years later, very successful, but now I am in the process of selling. The new owners have me until the end of 2020.


So that leaves me in the dead zone as you call it waiting for 2020 to roll around. My greatest benefit to the people buying me out is my past experience to fill in the gaps and sort of be around to help as much as I can, but I am no longer the hunter.

We just sold our house and our building our retirement home. So that occupies some time. We focus on travel, hiking, biking, friends, but I haven't completely figured it out what to do with my time in limbo. Not really working, not retired.


Once FIRE happens, I have a ton of things I want to do, but I feel your pain. I wish I had a better answer.
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:34 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bigdawg View Post
Sounds like you have already crossed the goal line but there is still time on the clock. Time that YOU put there. My suggestion is to walk over to the clock operator and tell them to run off the last 30 seconds(17 months) and call it game complete.

I am in the dead zone work wise but holding on for a couple of question marks. DD in grad school in Ireland and DS getting married next fall. Also yr 55 for 401K if for some reason it becomes needed.

Good luck Dawgman.
It's a "dead Dawg" world apparently!

I want to drive off with as clean of a slate as I can. Kid 4 graduates college in the spring and I am still trying to help kid 3 to become "self sufficient"... minimize potential bogies!
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Old 08-16-2018, 12:58 PM   #5
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DawgMan,

I'm in a similar situation - we are the same age, in fact, and I'm planning on transitioning to semi-retirement/FIRE in a similar timeframe. For me, every day is a struggle. I have already downshifted my heavy duty MegaCorp executive job for a lower stress/lower compensation MegaCorp position, giving me more freedom and time to address some emerging family demands. But, prioritizing my time and focus right now seem very different from my full speed ahead days - I'm still getting used to it, frankly.

My analysis is that transitions are simply not easy, and can be downright disorienting at times (we just moved to another state, so that's been another factor, too). All in all, we are in a great spot. These are "first-world problems", of course, and we are blessed to have options to consider at age +/-55.

Best of luck as you navigate your own set of uncharted waters,
Downtown
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Old 08-16-2018, 01:06 PM   #6
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To consider:

Was for me, age 53... , now 82. Still safe @100% in FIRECALC.
Type Z lower income.
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Old 08-16-2018, 01:25 PM   #7
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Quote:

Anyone else fall into this dead zone when they could smell the goal line? How did you Type A, higher income folks close out?
I was faced with the same issues you are writing about, leaving so much money on the table. At some point you have to ask yourself how much money is enough? I've pretty much replaced my base salary with just my taxable investment accounts and pension. After you cross the 8 figure net worth (excluding primary home) mark and are 100% debt free, your perspective changes. It's all now about having fun and enjoying life and staying fit and healthy.

While in the dead zone:

1- Do not burn any bridges - you want to leave on good terms
2- Stay friendly with all co-workers
3- Get a count-down timer app to monitor your approaching end date
4- Make sure you have a lot of projects and hobbies lined up
5- Get your expenses under control. Don't buy stuff you don't need
6- In addition to your kids, you should plan time to help take care of your parents or in-laws - they will need help of some sort

I'm entering my 4th year of retirement with my wife who just turned 50 last week, who is in her 5th year of retirement and neither of us miss work. It was disorienting at the beginning going from 70-80 hour work weeks to 7 day weekends, but you'll get used to it.
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Old 08-16-2018, 01:41 PM   #8
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I was in a dead zone and my VP pizzed me off. I retired a year early. I couldn't afford to w*rk for him anymore.
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Old 08-16-2018, 02:44 PM   #9
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I love these posts. Makes me feel so much better walking away at 62 and not feeling like I am leaving too much on the table. I won’t be in a real dead zone for 6 more months but I’m definitely in the glide path approach. I expect the “WTF am I waiting for?” will make the last 14 months the worst. But it is just such easy money coasting....
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Old 08-16-2018, 02:48 PM   #10
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Who is crazy? They are crazy!

"Hey, let me develop that one last spreadsheet and impress my co-workers. Let me pull an all-nighter and really impress!"

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Old 08-16-2018, 03:13 PM   #11
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I found both my motivation and "tolerance" suffered once I had reached FIRE. I finally realized it did not matter how much I was leaving on the table. It has been more than two years now, and I have no regrets about jumping off off the hamster wheel. My wife had stopped 30 years ago for motherhood and never felt the need to go back.
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:25 PM   #12
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14 years ago, I was promoted to my dream j*b at megacorp, where I'd already w*rked for 20 years. First 20 were absolutely horrible, but the benefits and pay were great, and I tolerated it. The last 14 were my reward for that first 20.


The last three annual visits with our fee-only advisor have closed with "why are you still w*rking?" One day it just hit me - my dream j*b just wasn't as dreamy anymore. Once that switch flipped, I turned into a crabby, unmotivated slug. I gave notice in March and now have just 14 days to go. I can barely stand it. My heart just isn't in it anymore and it really shows. I snapped (badly) at my boss's boss yesterday, and I think she realizes I've checked out.


Only you can decide if you're comfortable enough with your financial situation to pull the plug. If your heart isn't in it, it's going to be a long 16+ months. If it is, you'll have more dough to blow at the end of 2019.


This was a hard decision for me, as I believe it is for most. I'm fairly confident I won't regret it.


Let us know what you decide to do.
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:29 PM   #13
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Early Career - low net worth/high j*b satisfaction

Late Career - high net worth/low j*b satisfaction


I think there is a parable in there somewhere. Something about needing a j*b and not needing a j*b.
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:36 PM   #14
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Gosh - leaving money on the table! At some point it's no longer about the money!
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Old 08-16-2018, 04:51 PM   #15
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Money is fungible. You are not. Might be best to sort that out, "quick, fast, and right away."

Parenthetical remarks from Major Payne.
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Old 08-16-2018, 04:55 PM   #16
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Can't help you, I'm a type C personality. I coasted the last 2 years -
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Old 08-16-2018, 05:08 PM   #17
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I am in the dead zone at 54, the only difference is that I don't know where or when is the end.
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Old 08-16-2018, 05:12 PM   #18
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I coasted the last 2 years -
This is me now. Was @ the office for 8:45 today. Sent and received a total of 7 emails. Actually worked maybe 2 hours today. Took a full hour for lunch. Maybe 1:15. When there is work to do, it is interesting. I don't feel guilty because when the ballon goes up I am there. I go above and beyond when needed. The customer knows what is going on. We have new systems coming on line in the next 2-5 years. My partner and I already have our implimentation solutions figured out for those systems. We won't be there when the systems actually come on line. Getting the "come up to speed" briefs ready now for my relief. I will help hand pick my replacement, then be there part time (my timeline) until the relief is ready to go on their own.
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" People say I'm lazy, dreaming my life away Well, they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me When I tell them that I'm doing fine watching shadows on the wall "Don't you miss the big time, boy. You're no longer on the ball" -John Lennon-
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Old 08-16-2018, 07:37 PM   #19
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I'm not anywhere near my ER target, but I've almost certainly crossed my minimum threshold. I want to get a lot farther, but... I'm definitely constantly running scenarios now and thinking about how much do I really want to hit goal X of annual spending. It feels like it is impacting my motivation and enjoyment at work. :/
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Old 08-16-2018, 08:34 PM   #20
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Can't help you, I'm a type C personality. I coasted the last 2 years -
LOL!
Way to go!
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