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How to balance fear and relaxation as an early retiree
Old 03-17-2015, 02:10 PM   #1
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How to balance fear and relaxation as an early retiree

Hi guys, I am not a prolific poster here on the board but will throw my 2 cents in from time to time. I plan on increasing my posts dramatically after I FIRE in just 9 short days. I have run firecalc and it gives me 100% success. I (age 49) and wife (age 47) are fortunate enough and worked hard enough to own our brand new retirement florida dream home free and clear, have 2.1M in investible assets (mostly in after tax accounts) but no pensions. Our annual expenses are calculated (and have been tracked) at 56k annual which includes about 6k allowance for "murphy" showing up and taking residence in a spare bedroom. My question I guess is how does one get used to the dual feeling of both fear and excitement and also how to let go of the purse strings a little and feel ok to spend. I look at the SWR at about 2.7% and think I am ok but when can you really relax
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Old 03-17-2015, 02:18 PM   #2
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See this thread. You are not alone!
Anxiety re:RE
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Old 03-17-2015, 02:46 PM   #3
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Here's another thread, along with a poll, discussing ER anxiety. Anxiety before FIRE (poll)
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Old 03-17-2015, 02:55 PM   #4
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One way to relax is to get on a Withdrawal Method that cannot fail (Well yes, if the whole economy fails, for the nitpickers).

It's called VPW and I am using it. It will most likely allow you to spend more money than others and is much safer than a fixed SWR. The tool is free and is available for download. It backtests like FireCalc and is the Best Retirement Tool I have come across yet. Run it and put your mind at ease.

Where is the house in Florida? I just got back from 3 months in the Bahamas where I winter every year now.

Variable percentage withdrawal - Bogleheads
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Old 03-17-2015, 03:27 PM   #5
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Old 03-17-2015, 03:44 PM   #6
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If you qualify for Social Security, then your fears should be lessened a bit.
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Old 03-17-2015, 03:50 PM   #7
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Hi guys, I am not a prolific poster here on the board but will throw my 2 cents in from time to time. I plan on increasing my posts dramatically after I FIRE in just 9 short days. I have run firecalc and it gives me 100% success. I (age 49) and wife (age 47) are fortunate enough and worked hard enough to own our brand new retirement florida dream home free and clear, have 2.1M in investible assets (mostly in after tax accounts) but no pensions. Our annual expenses are calculated (and have been tracked) at 56k annual which includes about 6k allowance for "murphy" showing up and taking residence in a spare bedroom. My question I guess is how does one get used to the dual feeling of both fear and excitement and also how to let go of the purse strings a little and feel ok to spend. I look at the SWR at about 2.7% and think I am ok but when can you really relax
I think most of us spend less during our first year of retirement than we do later on. It's only natural. But gosh, the freedom is so exhilarating - - I don't think I really wanted much else that first year.

Sleeping whenever you want to sleep, for example, is just amazing. Shopping when the stores are nearly vacant, while others are at work, is pretty awesome too. And try driving past your former workplace at, say, 2 PM. So many wonderful, free things to do.
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Old 03-17-2015, 04:43 PM   #8
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Old 03-17-2015, 04:58 PM   #9
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Fuhgetaboutit and enjoy! Just monitor your spending and adjust if needed. Pieceacake!
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Old 03-17-2015, 05:21 PM   #10
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I think most of us spend less during our first year of retirement than we do later on. It's only natural. But gosh, the freedom is so exhilarating - - I don't think I really wanted much else that first year.

Sleeping whenever you want to sleep, for example, is just amazing. Shopping when the stores are nearly vacant, while others are at work, is pretty awesome too. And try driving past your former workplace at, say, 2 PM. So many wonderful, free things to do.
I am into Year 3. I certainly have been careful with my spending in the first two years. I have found it reassuring to review and analyze my expenses every month (I designed a custom spreadsheet) and to calculate WR against my starting and current portfolio. I now feel confident that even if the markets drop significantly, my world will not collapse.

My overall stress level has significantly improved. Freedom is priceless!
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Old 03-17-2015, 05:33 PM   #11
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:02 PM   #12
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I'm a similar age and financial situation and I retired just over five years ago. Regarding fear, I just think: what's the worst that could realistically happen over my remaining years? I figured health issues, which is why I'm happy to pay a lot for the best possible insurance.

The other fear would be complete economic collapse, but a whole lot of other people would be in far worse situations.

Regarding excitement and feeling okay to spend, I found happiness is not about having things or going places, it's about the people in your life. I've spent a lot less on vacations and hobbies than I thought I would.
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:12 PM   #13
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We had a thread a while back about uncertainties in ER, and most people said the curved ball that they most feared would be an unexpected serious health problem. Yes, that happened to me, and quite a few other posters. And not all of them are still posting. That's how bad it could be.

Don't sweat too much about money. It's only money, folks.
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Old 03-18-2015, 12:20 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Quantum Sufficit View Post
Hi guys, I am not a prolific poster here on the board but will throw my 2 cents in from time to time. I plan on increasing my posts dramatically after I FIRE in just 9 short days. I have run firecalc and it gives me 100% success. I (age 49) and wife (age 47) are fortunate enough and worked hard enough to own our brand new retirement florida dream home free and clear, have 2.1M in investible assets (mostly in after tax accounts) but no pensions. Our annual expenses are calculated (and have been tracked) at 56k annual which includes about 6k allowance for "murphy" showing up and taking residence in a spare bedroom. My question I guess is how does one get used to the dual feeling of both fear and excitement and also how to let go of the purse strings a little and feel ok to spend. I look at the SWR at about 2.7% and think I am ok but when can you really relax
I'm going through that process now. I FIRE'd two months ago and am adjusting to a life of aimless leisure. Even with a projected SWR of .9% with plenty of fat to trim and with DW still working, however, I still constantly find myself opening up the spreadsheet and running and re-running the numbers almost daily. I know that this nagging anxiety is completely irrational, and I hope to be able to eventually put it behind me.

Other than that, FIRE has been great. I have formed a habit of making a list of things (errands or fun stuff) to "accomplish" at the beginning of each week. This helps me stay focused on getting errands done while also planning out the fun stuff. It has worked out great for me so far.
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Old 03-18-2015, 01:52 AM   #15
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We're really getting into simple and sustainable living. That has been a real money saver for us, a fun hobby and reduces what we need to draw from the portfolio. Every $1K we can knock off the annual household run rate might turn into needing $50K less in total retirement funding. Plus we work part-time at hobby jobs.

I can control the hobby income and expenses but I can't control interest rates or stock prices. And there is no point in worrying over what I cannot control.
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Old 03-18-2015, 07:40 AM   #16
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We are just now going to have to start dipping into funds that have been saved and put in Ira. It will be strange to be taking out instead of putting in. It is a bit scary!!
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:52 AM   #17
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Old 03-18-2015, 08:57 AM   #18
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I think most of us spend less during our first year of retirement than we do later on. It's only natural.
True for us as well.

Over time, as you get more confident (surviving the 2008 crash did wonders for our ability to withstand a financial "worst case" a blessing of sorts!) you start to spend a little more without worry.
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Old 03-18-2015, 09:03 AM   #19
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Over time, as you get more confident (surviving the 2008 crash did wonders for our ability to withstand a financial "worst case" a blessing of sorts!) you start to spend a little more without worry.
+1

Surviving that experience did a lot to boost my confidence in making it to the end without running out of $. Making it to the 10 year mark without major depletion of our portfolio has also been a big confidence builder.
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Old 03-18-2015, 10:29 AM   #20
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I think most of us spend less during our first year of retirement than we do later on. It's only natural. But gosh, the freedom is so exhilarating - - I don't think I really wanted much else that first year.

Sleeping whenever you want to sleep, for example, is just amazing. Shopping when the stores are nearly vacant, while others are at work, is pretty awesome too. And try driving past your former workplace at, say, 2 PM. So many wonderful, free things to do.
+100000 on this!!!!

I have 5K "budgeted" in annually for the snafus of life and not less than a month after pulling the retirement trigger, I dropped 7K on a roof (although I knew it was coming, just not THAT soon!) and then in the last two weeks I have dropped another 1K on animals at the vet. It's a *little* stressful, but certainly NOTHING compared to what stress w*rk was causing me towards the end. Also, I know that Murphy has me on speed dial and so I expect to get a call from him on occasion...thus is life.

One thing that I have found some comfort in (and others have reported this as well) is that my spending has gone down quite a bit on the day-to-day stuff...much more than I thought. I have always been a frugal guy, but retirement has been a pretty cheap endeavor for me so far.

Oh yes...CONGRATS on your pending retirement!!
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