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How did you handle the period from FI to FIRE?
Old 08-16-2017, 08:17 PM   #1
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How did you handle the period from FI to FIRE?

I am sort of FI for a few months, based on the 4% rule (on retirement expenses). I plan to work for at least two more years to build some safety nets and achieve true FI, i.e., kids out of college, eligibility to buy group health insurance, and a small portfolio cushion.
However, I find that it is more and more difficult to go to work. I have been on an unpaid break for three months, the school starts next week and I wish it would never start.
I have been losing more and more motivation as I am getting closer and closer to FI. I just don't know how could I handle the next two years or so. I might be able to maintain a minimum acceptable level of performance for two years, but life could be difficult.

For those who are FIREd, how did you handle the period from FI to FIRE?
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:21 PM   #2
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Have you considered doing someting else? Maybe you are in a rut with your current work but would find something else stimuatling, even if it paid less money. It has worked for me for the past four years.

Funny thing, my (new) boss asked me how much longer I planned to work. I told him "until it's no longer enjoyable". I have no idea how he interpreted that.
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:41 PM   #3
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I went through this but it was probably my BEST time at w*rk. At 51, my pension vested as did my supplemented retiree health insurance. My stash had grown to the point where 4% WDR was more than adequate to make up the difference between pension and my estimated FIRE expenses. I could have left at that point. BUT I had finally arrived at my "dream j*b" which was something I had worked at all of my c*reer. So I stayed until my dream turned into a nightmare at age 58. I left immediately with a bigger stash and a bigger pension. Looking back, I don't think I would change a thing - except the way it ended, but that wasn't up to me. YMMV
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:47 PM   #4
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+1 It was a very good time in my career. I felt free to speak up and say the things the entire team was thinking but that management or clients did not want to hear.... after all, the worst that could happen was that they would fire me and so what....... and they loved the candor and I was in more demand than ever.
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:16 PM   #5
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Slacked off and did as little as possible.
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:44 PM   #6
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I chose to work an additional 21 months for more financial stability and it was not easy but I'm almost there. Working a little longer for reasonably priced health insurance and to build a safety net if you are only FI based on the 4% rule is not a bad idea. You may want to look at some similar threads from recent years for motivation. Search for:

Life just Before Fire
OMY "Glide Path" plans
Trapped in OMY Land
Beginning my Final Year? (Class of 2017)
Belt and Suspenders Regret
There is FI and beyond FI - but how far?
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Old 08-16-2017, 09:47 PM   #7
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Slacked off and did as little as possible.
I did the opposite, and sort of doubled down. That was my way of reassuring myself that I was close, so if I wanted to accomplish anything I'd better "hit it". Since you are a teacher, maybe you can challenge yourself to make an unusually big difference in at least one more student's life.

It wasn't easy to keep working during that time, and I only had 2 years of waiting. But I had things I wanted to finish in order to gain a sense of truly completing everything I wanted to get done in life. Especially the last year, I was pretty busy tying up loose ends, working hard to finish up all old projects in time, and so on. By the last half year I was really suffering with all this waiting so I used up all my accumulated vacation time by working a week, then taking two weeks off, and repeat.

I posted a lot on the forum and daydreamed about my future retirement location (which was fun but after retirement, we decided not to move after all).

I am so glad that I waited so that I could get retiree health care benefits! I had no idea in 2007 that health care benefits would be so important in retirement. Since I was already used to LBYM, during those two years I didn't spend any more and kept contributing to my retirement accounts as much as usual. Because of that (and the bull market), I have been able to relax the LBYM in retirement which has been nice.
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Old 08-16-2017, 10:29 PM   #8
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No pension, no group health care for me, just dust in the wind.

That's the way it is with small companies. Some times you don't even get profit sharing in your 401 if business is down. You are on your own.
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Old 08-16-2017, 11:16 PM   #9
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Until life took a turn, I had planned to work until age 65. I retired at 61 1/2 after I sat down and figured out how much the additional years of working would add to my retirement funds and to social security. I wasn't enough to make it worth while to work another three and a half years when my heart wasn't in it any more.
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Old 08-17-2017, 03:45 AM   #10
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Have you considered doing someting else? Maybe you are in a rut with your current work but would find something else stimuatling, even if it paid less money. It has worked for me for the past four years.

Funny thing, my (new) boss asked me how much longer I planned to work. I told him "until it's no longer enjoyable". I have no idea how he interpreted that.
+1.
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Old 08-17-2017, 04:45 AM   #11
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I also worked past the point where the numbers told me I was good to go and for the same reason (to build a safety net).

I actually found the last couple of years reasonably enjoyable and spent the time focusing on the stuff I enjoyed and reducing the admin/management stuff to a level where I was still doing the necessary but wasn't volunteering for anything extra. I also found that a lot of the stuff that once stressed me out didn't bother me nearly as much once I'd reached the point where I could walk at any time.

In any case, although the extra savings has (so far) turned out to be unnecessary it provides considerable peace of mind.
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Old 08-17-2017, 04:49 AM   #12
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I also worked past the point where the numbers told me I was good to go and for the same reason (to build a safety net).

I actually found the last couple of years reasonably enjoyable and spent the time focusing on the stuff I enjoyed and reducing the admin/management stuff to a level where I was still doing the necessary but wasn't volunteering for anything extra. I also found that a lot of the stuff that once stressed me out didn't bother me nearly as much once I'd reached the point where I could walk at any time.

In any case, although the extra savings has (so far) turned out to be unnecessary it provides considerable peace of mind.
+1. This is pretty much my story too.
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Old 08-17-2017, 05:34 AM   #13
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I am not quite RE, but this is how I have generally handled the time since I was FI:
- For work, which I still mostly enjoy, I have cut back on the extra hours I used to casually work. Not slacking off, but limiting myself to regular business hours and only going beyond that to avoid impacting my team or deadlines. Simple things like shutting down the work email and notebook on Friday afternoon and not opening it up again until Monday morning can make a difference.

- Shifted my work task as much as possible from "doing" to "mentoring". Timing was good since several new folks were added into the organization. Things that 10 years ago I would have jumped in feet first to become the expert on I am letting others take the lead and just providing overall guidance. While this means less opportunity for raises and bonuses, those are no longer things I need.

- Though still LBYM, we have increased spending, particularly on one time/long term items. Things like home renovations (new bathrooms, driveway, etc.), and a couple of major "once in a lifetime trips" (e.g. taking the family to Asia in comfort earlier this year). Even with those expenditures our savings rate is still above 25%.

- Spending more time on things outside of work that I enjoy. Starting getting into my hobbies more, and investigating new hobbies/activities. More "date nights/weekend vacations" with DW.

- One lucky timing item for me. Megacorp shut down our office location soon after I reached FI. Since then I have been working from home, with rare trips to the office. That has reduced a lot of commuting stress and expenses. However, our new management now in place is expecting us to be in the office more, at a location about twice as far away as our previous one. They are not yet strictly enforcing it, but it is giving me more incentive to seek RE now.
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Old 08-17-2017, 05:35 AM   #14
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I was at a point very similar to what you describe. You don't mention your age, but I was 58, planning on taking SS at 62. I had "enough" to retire, but IMO, not enough to retire AND live the life I wanted to live. I wanted that cushion of which you speak.

I didn't change jobs, but I did change how I approached it. I did more of what I like, less of what I didn't. I managed to convince myself that I was "playing with house money". Of course, being self-employed, I may have had more freedom than you to assume a "glide path" mentality. I mean, if I could afford to retire, I could certainly afford to take more time off and ease back on the throttle.
Not sure what I'd have done if I worked for someone else and I was not able to dictate my hours and my effort. I would probably have done what others have suggested, and considered a different job, with less hours, less stress.

It worked out great for me, as the last few years of padding the nest has made me much more at ease with my "nut", and my WR and my lifestyle. Not lavish, but comfortable and within my means.

Good Luck, you can do this!
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Old 08-17-2017, 05:47 AM   #15
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There was very little time for me where I was FI but had not yet retired. I'd say it was the 4 months after I hit my "number" but before I actually left my job back in 2008. I was working only 2 days a week at the time and was working mainly on one project I wanted to get done before I left. I also wanted to finish up some other smaller transition work to make many of the widely used programs I oversaw and maintained easier to run for the rest of the staff. Slacking off wasn't really an option for me, but I wasn't putting in any extra hours, either.
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:31 AM   #16
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From "jollystomper"

"- For work, which I still mostly enjoy, I have cut back on the extra hours I used to casually work. Not slacking off, but limiting myself to regular business hours and only going beyond that to avoid impacting my team or deadlines. Simple things like shutting down the work email and notebook on Friday afternoon and not opening it up again until Monday morning can make a difference.

- Shifted my work task as much as possible from "doing" to "mentoring". Timing was good since several new folks were added into the organization. Things that 10 years ago I would have jumped in feet first to become the expert on I am letting others take the lead and just providing overall guidance. While this means less opportunity for raises and bonuses, those are no longer things I need."

That was pretty much how I worked for two years after FI.
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:33 AM   #17
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Slacked off and did as little as possible.
+1

I set my target date before I knew how FI I was, about 28 months out. I knew I wanted to be 55+, and had milestones to reach to get a higher 401K, bonuses, pension, etc. Looking back, I may have left a year earlier, but I was FI for 5+ years before I left my job.

From there I was just tracking to the date. I ran numbers 20+ times a day. I had a calendar that showed how many days left I had at the first business day of the month. In the final 100 days, I had a countdown chart.

All my co-workers and my boss knew I was leaving. I did not get assigned on any long-term projects, to help avoid a transition mess. I “worked from home” on most Fridays the final year, and in the final six months took even more “work from home” days. I logged on, and responded to emails and texts, but did not volunteer for any work.

I also knew that the final year(s) would give me enough cushion to increase my lifestyle a bit. I wanted a new truck and a fifth wheel. I started to vision myself retired, as in “What would I do if I was no longer working”. I created a travel schedule, which has included about 8 trips in the first 12 months. I have been sticking to my travel schedule pretty close.

Keep in mind, I calculated every which way I could to see how much I was spending and saving. I was saving 2x my gross pay, plus whatever the market added to my portfolio. I assumed my expenses would be double what they actually were, and my income only half of what it actually is.

My NW was increasing pretty well at the end. I was more than just FI. If all you have is enough to make it on a small spending amount, with little cushion, keep building. Never underestimate the power to have plenty of financial cushion.
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Old 08-17-2017, 07:03 AM   #18
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Have you considered doing someting else? Maybe you are in a rut with your current work but would find something else stimuatling, even if it paid less money. It has worked for me for the past four years.

Funny thing, my (new) boss asked me how much longer I planned to work. I told him "until it's no longer enjoyable". I have no idea how he interpreted that.
I don't think there is anything that is as easy as I have and pays me close. If I retire, I have to retire for good and never think about working again.
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Old 08-17-2017, 07:33 AM   #19
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I don't think there is anything that is as easy as I have and pays me close. If I retire, I have to retire for good and never think about working again.
Again, my situation was like that. Are you self-employed?
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Old 08-17-2017, 07:43 AM   #20
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The biggest thing I do different is I minimize headaches at work. For example, I had a client who became difficult while still owing a few bucks on an unfinished project last week. I fired them and told them I'd write off the balance owed. Not worth the money to deal with headache people. Life is too short. Now I have time to come on here and read all of your great success stories!
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