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FIRE Checklist - what would be on your list?
Old 05-25-2014, 09:37 AM   #1
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FIRE Checklist - what would be on your list?

For those that are FIRE - what should someone about to leave Megacorp have on their checklist?

Aside from countless hours of research and number crunching to get that confidence that FIRE can be done and a letter of resignation from Megacorp, what items would you put on a list of 'things to do' to make a smart worry free transition to FIRE?

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Old 05-25-2014, 09:45 AM   #2
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Timing of retirement makes a difference in some Megacorps. Make sure you maximize payments from Megacorp to your retirement plans. In my Megacorp, if you worked 1000 hours in a year, you received payment to your plan. If you worked less, you got nothing. I left just after I had accumulated 1000 hours (around the end of June) and as a result got the full match to my 401K and to my pension plan.

Also, check your plan regarding vacation pay. If you have a use it or lose it plan, and you get a new number of days January 1 of each year, and you were planning on retiring in December, why not go in January and pick up a new set of days, for which Megacorp may pay you upon your departure.
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Old 05-25-2014, 09:49 AM   #3
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For those that are FIRE - what should someone about to leave Megacorp have on their checklist?

Aside from countless hours of research and number crunching to get that confidence that FIRE can be done and a letter of resignation from Megacorp, what items would you put on a list of 'things to do' to make a smart worry free transition to FIRE?

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Old 05-25-2014, 09:49 AM   #4
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Decide to start thinking about getting ready to get around to make a checklist one of these days.
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Old 05-25-2014, 10:14 AM   #5
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Steal enough pencils and staples to last the rest of your life.
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Old 05-25-2014, 10:17 AM   #6
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I've always kept all my badges. I think I have about 16 of them and plan to make a nice photo-montage for the kids. Dad through the ages!
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Old 05-25-2014, 10:20 AM   #7
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There are so many ways this question could be answered!

1. Make sure you have your retirement income lined up. Pensions? Investments? Social Security? Whatever, as long as you have enough income. Don't forget health care.

2. Make a list of how to contact all of the above income sources, in case there is a problem or for a change of address in case you move. I never had to, but it is nice to know how to contact them if necessary.

3. Write a wonderful and touching "goodbye e-mail" to send to everyone on your contact list the morning you retire. Thank them all and so on. Make 'em cry big tears. I didn't include any non-work e-mail address in it although the more extroverted here might want to do so.

4. Clothes. Keep an eye out for sales on the type of casual clothing you will want to be wearing during retirement. If you find any and buy them while you are still working, you won't have to spend first year retirement money on them.

5. Destinations. Personally I don't like to travel, but if you do then why not think about places you might like to visit? That should make the time fly.

6. Things to do. Make a list of a dozen or two things you really want to do in retirement. You will probably file this away and never use it, but if you need it then it will be there for you. Mine is still sitting on my computer desktop, untouched. I may NEVER learn Spanish or take up piano again, at this rate.

7. More seriously, try to make a smooth transition at work, for whoever takes on your responsibilities. I wrote a 150 page manual for my supervisor and replacement only, on how to do the most enigmatic part of my job. Don't leave tons of useless paperwork for others to have to sort through - - throw out the papers that are trash, and distribute the rest to the people that need it. The same goes for e-mails.

8. Give away the GOODIES in your office (that belong to the organization) to those who deserve them. The ergonomic chair, that rare 3-hole punch that you keep hidden, the binders full of hard-to-find reports, the bookcase. The vultures are rabid for this kind of thing, and wouldn't you rather give them to the deserving?
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Old 05-25-2014, 10:28 AM   #8
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If you like the people you work with, think carefully about how much time before you leave you want to give notice. Personally, I gave three months so they could find a replacement and get them on board.
If you don't like the people you work with or for, be careful not to let the door hit your rear on the way out.
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Old 05-25-2014, 10:30 AM   #9
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Steal enough pencils and staples to last the rest of your life.
I *KNEW* I forgot to do something!
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Old 05-25-2014, 10:47 AM   #10
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Try living on your post retirement income for 6-12 month before you retire, so that you can prove all of your number crunching before it becomes real.
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Old 05-25-2014, 10:59 AM   #11
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Make a show of returning all company purchased stuff, even company logo shirts.

If you have used a personal credit card for company business, nuke it. In my case someone "accidently" charged $1,500 after I RE'd.

Do not give a flexible departure date. In my case, one month became 4, then a year of "on call" for very little compensation.
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Old 05-25-2014, 11:07 AM   #12
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Every time I turned around, the "millennial" employees were stealing my doctor-ordered ergo chair, so I did what you said...donated it to one of them, who'd been really nice and helpful to me. I figured it would make the less-nice ones jealous.

A.

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8. Give away the GOODIES in your office (that belong to the organization) to those who deserve them. The ergonomic chair, that rare 3-hole punch that you keep hidden, the binders full of hard-to-find reports, the bookcase. The vultures are rabid for this kind of thing, and wouldn't you rather give them to the deserving?
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Old 05-25-2014, 11:17 AM   #13
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Mine included:
* (personally) work a minimum of 35 years to maximize Social Security
* pay off the mortgage
* get my last kid through college (ie off my payroll!)
* if you have restricted stock vesting, plan how to handle it with an eye on taxes
* research a retirement gift for yourself on company time (car, motorcycle, boat, ...)
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:32 PM   #14
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Get a complete physical exam. Try to do this well enough in advance so you can take advantage of employer provided insurance for elective procedures etc.
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Old 05-25-2014, 12:52 PM   #15
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Make sure you grab any personal emails, documents, pictures, contacts, etc, off your work computer, and erase anything that might have personal information on it. Wipe out your browser history (form data, cookies, etc). Organize your desk so it's easy to grab and take home personal stuff, preferably the night before you leave just in case you are escorted out.

I also printed off or saved as pdf's things like employee stock purchase history, online paystubs, and other information that I might lose access to.
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Old 05-25-2014, 01:00 PM   #16
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Make sure you have a plan with your free time and not have retirement in and of itself your destination. You run the risk then of an unhappy retirement. Use some of that free time to rethink expenses that are needed anymore or provide no value. Rebid your auto and home insurance out. Call up the cable and internet boys and threaten to close account if they can't find any "specials" for you.


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Old 05-25-2014, 01:46 PM   #17
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How much time do I need to give my 401k plan administrator to start periodic withdrawals?

Who else besides my supervisor do I give notice of resigning for purposes of benefits?

Is it better to wait until the end of the year to max Megacorp 401k matching?

Should I also wait until the beginning of the 2015 to make any after tax sales to possibly benefit from lower LTCGs?
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Old 05-25-2014, 01:48 PM   #18
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Lots of good suggestions above.

My college roommate ER'd a couple of years before me, and sent me her advice on this topic (slightly edited):

1. Develop an exit statement (just don't tell others that's what you call it). It should be positive (even enthusiastic). It should not knock Megacorp so you can use it equally internally / externally. It should be truthful, but it doesn't need to contain all the truth. It should answer the obvious questions the listener would ask, so that they will congratulate (not embarrass you to your face or whisper about you behind your back). Questions people may initially have: whether you were fired, whether <relative's> health demands your full attention, whether you are desperate for your next job, whether you plan to travel / volunteer / relax.
2. If you are looking for consulting work in the future, be explicit or intriguing enough about this in your exit statement so that people will remember your interest in future work. Of course, your exit statement will have additional sentences about your future for those who want to / deserve to know more. Script then memorize those sentences too. Remember, you want to leave everyone with a consistent, positive view about your departure.
3. Give your exit statement to your boss, desirably as an agreed follow-up email after s/he gets the resignation news orally and directly from you. If you are leaving without a severance package, your boss does not have to agree to your statement, but at a minimum s/he should know that this is exactly what you plan to tell everyone else, inside and outside the company. Desirably s/he will also quote your exit statement when describing your departure to others, so there are no contradictory theories on why you're leaving.
4. Deliver your exit statement, desirably face-to-face or at least orally, to as many people as you can. Even a vmail left personally for one individual at a time, after you tried to phone each one, seems more personal than a mass-mailed email.
5. Stay on good terms with your boss. In the future, send a birthday message or service anniversary message or promotion congrats or whatever, so that s/he still thinks of you positively.
6. Stay on good terms with all possible Megacorp HR / Payroll / Benefits people. When one gets tired of you, others will still help you straighten out your COBRA premium or unpaid vacation days or 401(k) rollover.
7. Shortly before you leave, write every boss that you have ever had, desirably by snail mail on nice formal stationery. Include your exit statement and a personal anecdote about some wonderful moment you shared. Thank him /her amply for all past leadership and guidance (here you can stretch the truth if you have to). I did this with my 10 <her Megacorp> bosses and their returned gratitude and anecdotes were gratifying.
8. A week before you leave, send tailored email messages in batches to current Megacorp colleagues, former colleagues, clients, friends and relatives. Include an abbreviated version of your exit statement [perhaps separate your batches between those who already knew you were leaving and those who will be surprised]. Include future contact information.
9. Celebrate!
10. Join a book group. Try an exercise class. Meditate more. Do more at church. Cook healthy food. Sight-see locally. Write the kids and your mother often. Travel.
11. Don't commit to the first volunteering suggestions, but be open to all ideas.

I didn't follow all of this (she is much more attentive to things like handwritten letters than I am) but I found the ideas very helpful.
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Old 05-25-2014, 02:09 PM   #19
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Try living on your post retirement income for 6-12 month before you retire, so that you can prove all of your number crunching before it becomes real.
I did this.

My plan was (and still is!) to having money in a savings account with monthly transfers over to checking for my monthly living expenses. Not that different from having a "regular paycheck" really.

I then routed all my salary earnings into investments.

When I pulled the plug, the finances were already running smoothly, I just didn't get to pour anything more into investments.
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Old 05-25-2014, 03:04 PM   #20
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Consider getting a HELOC while you still have a job--it might be harder later on. Sure, you don't plan to use it, but you might have a need for a chunk of cash sometime in the next 5 years, and usingthe HELOC might prove better than paying the CGs on investments or selling stocks at depressed prices.

It's just cheap insurance.
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