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Old 10-01-2013, 11:17 AM   #21
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How much is enough is an interesting question. Years ago I would have made the number a lot higher than what we have now.

I'm actually reading a book now from the library called How Much is Enough? It is based on Keyne's predictions that productivity improvements would allow people to work 15 hours a week. So what went wrong? Productivity improvements in the work place have indeed happened, so why are people often working more, not less?

These last few years the whole voluntary simplicity and urban homesteading type movements have really opened my eyes to how much we could cut our expenses, get rid of clutter and lead simpler, happier lives with lots of free time. And actually do it now, not in one more year or ten years, but now.
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Old 10-01-2013, 04:43 PM   #22
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I like the question. My answer changes daily.
We have hit the enough number, but we still wonder: if we worked another two years we would have $$$, but when do you stop?
We have a zillion business ideas if we want to earn more money and as we will be 41 and 38 when we pull the pin next year there will be plenty of time to try stuff out.
I suppose for us, with two young children, the enough is to provide for them as well as us.
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Old 10-01-2013, 05:13 PM   #23
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but when do you stop?
Great question and as a guy about 18 months away from being able to FIRE, I struggle with this exact question. If I work just 12 more months I will have another $XXXk.....but when does it stop. It makes me a little crazy.
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:19 PM   #24
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Great question and as a guy about 18 months away from being able to FIRE, I struggle with this exact question. If I work just 12 more months I will have another $XXXk.....but when does it stop. It makes me a little crazy.
I hear you!!!! We have done so many calculations on various options I swear I can hardly see the numbers on the calculator anymore...
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Old 10-01-2013, 06:52 PM   #25
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I hear you!!!! We have done so many calculations on various options I swear I can hardly see the numbers on the calculator anymore...
I was 'there' for a couple of years. In the end, for us, it was the BS bucket got fuller more than the number changed. YMMV

Best wishes,

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Old 10-01-2013, 07:11 PM   #26
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Have you considered Vanguard's managed payout funds? They are designed more to optimize payout stability than total yield and are a bit sophisticated for me but in the right hands perhaps they could get interesting.
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Old 10-01-2013, 07:25 PM   #27
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My goal was to maintain a lifestyle similar to what I had while working. I worked out the before and after numbers on a worksheet and was comfortable with what I saw. I cut back on a few things and starting paying attention to a budget but I am entirely happy with the result.
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Old 10-01-2013, 07:52 PM   #28
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How much is enough?

Like many (I suspect), I stayed in the j#b a year or two longer than necessary from a financial perspective. The reason for sticking around had nothing to do with increased consumption in retirement but everything to do with peace of mind - I wanted enough fat so I don't have to worry about having to choose between unacceptable (to me) lifestyle sacrifices or going back to work for financial reasons later in life.

With 40+ years of retirement ahead of me, this required me to over-engineer our finances. I arbitrarily added 20% to our cost of living, assumed that DW would quit her part time j#b at the end of 2014 (even though she wants to carry on), ignored the fact that at some point DD1 and DD2 will be off the payroll and ignored a few small assets. If I had been more aggressive, I could have retired a couple of years earlier but I would have worried a lot more - for me the trade off was worth it.

The mental deal I have made with myself is that if after two years of early retirement our finances remain sufficiently ahead of where they need to be for our lifestyle, I will take the family to NY and London (which is very expensive from out here in HK) and give a bit more to some charities I support.

I FIRED two days ago at age 47.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:13 PM   #29
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I FIRED two days ago at age 47.
Great news! Congratulations and best wishes for a long and successful retirement.
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Old 10-01-2013, 08:30 PM   #30
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Great news! Congratulations and best wishes for a long and successful retirement.
Thanks. I already feel like I am getting into the swing of things and, best of all, ... no honeydo list yet
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:24 PM   #31
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Congratulations, trainee. You figured out how to take that big step! So you're staying to live in Hong Kong in retirement?
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:30 PM   #32
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Thanks. I already feel like I am getting into the swing of things and, best of all, ... no honeydo list yet
That is really cool, and if I remember right you are working on a creative writing degree, too? Enjoy!
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:20 PM   #33
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How much is enough?

Like many (I suspect), I stayed in the j#b a year or two longer than necessary from a financial perspective. The reason for sticking around had nothing to do with increased consumption in retirement but everything to do with peace of mind - I wanted enough fat so I don't have to worry about having to choose between unacceptable (to me) lifestyle sacrifices or going back to work for financial reasons later in life.

I FIRED two days ago at age 47.
Yes, we have more fat than we need too. But I figure that we can roll over money and keep investing; will hopefully keep us well ahead of inflation and market worries.

Congratulations! It must feel amazing to have that wind in your hair!!!!
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:56 PM   #34
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We reached our net worth goal this summer and officially entered "one more year" mode, we've agreed to work until at least next summer but I predict we'll push thru until end of 2014.

It is so hard because right now we are in peak earnings years (45 & 42) and really socking away a lot of money. It just seems foolish to walk away from that, when every additional year can permanently add that much more to the monthly budget. Things would be a lot easier if one of us would get fired or something.
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:05 AM   #35
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It is so hard because right now we are in peak earnings years (45 & 42) and really socking away a lot of money. It just seems foolish to walk away from that, when every additional year can permanently add that much more to the monthly budget. Things would be a lot easier if one of us would get fired or something.
This scenario conjures up this image for me:


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Old 10-02-2013, 09:38 AM   #36
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Agree with reaching the peak earning years (currently age 43). Leaving a job that is increasing your net worth by 2% a month average is hard to do. Just did the calculation for Sept and our net worth increased 6.48%! It will be very hard to give up this income in 2 years.
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:35 AM   #37
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We made a bucket list of things we like to do.
We made sure that expensive houses and cars are not part of it.
We made sure that we are not going to keep up with others.

It comes to $50,000 / year from investments and pensions plus SS,
approx, 85-90K total.

I think we can live with that.
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:29 AM   #38
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We had a very clear understanding of how much we spent, in after tax dollars. This was at the macro level, not the micro level. We did not have it down to how much we spend on, say, dining out or movies. I think understanding your current expenses, your projected expenses (adjusted for inflation), adding in dollars for non recurring items and increased items like dental are a key ingredient in determining how much is enough.

So we had the number. We added to that an estimated after tax number that we projected to spend on frequent travel. Added another factor to be conservative and called it a day.

After almost 3 years we are on the number...not by the month, or, year but over the three year period. What we really did not and could not estimate was our housing since we sold our house, travelled, and are not renting for a little while until we decide what we want.

We also found that we have more income than we anticipated and that the 'number' that we used for retirement savings was overstated. The other issue is lifestyle for us. We have been careful spenders all of our lives. Although we are travelling extensively we still cannot shake some of our frugal habits. That was a bit of a surprise.
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:43 PM   #39
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1) Nobody has an answer to "How much is enough ?". Mo matter what they say, they just don't have an answer. Mostly... more is better So the question then becomes that oft-said tradeoff..."What do I have to give up now to have more later ?" and/or "Is what I have now enough for me given that I no longer want to work ?"

2) Personally, I told myself that I would retire when I had an X-Sized nestegg, but then I got it and my X-goal just got ever bigger. Lee Eisenberg writes very eloquently about this phenomenon in his book "The Number" about how laughable his initial nestegg goal was. That book, by the way is a great read if you are interested.

3) The level lifetime spending plans are probably best but may be hard to acheive in practical terms. The ESP-Planner (aka Larry Kotlikoff) approach uses the lifetime level spending approach to retirement and lifetime planning and forecasting. Were I smart enough to take the ESP-Planner advice I would now considerably up my spending and live "The Good Life" right now. I do live the good life right now, I just am not spending all I could.....yet.
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Old 10-02-2013, 03:03 PM   #40
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The lifetime spending models often assume that spending more money now will make you happier. After a certain point of having your needs met, most research shows that spending more money doesn't buy more happiness.
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