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Old 05-09-2011, 04:35 PM   #21
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Perspective might be the key. We have good friends and neighbors who retired early, him at 57 and her at 60ish. They don't miss it a bit and both of them tied their identities to what they did at work.

We have other neighbors, one slightly older than me and one younger, who don't miss it a bit.

I don't think I'll miss work. As a lawyer, I'm a bit sick of the way the system has been frustrated by people who care for little except making money. I like my out of work hobbies and don't have enough time to spend on them. We have a 2d home in the mountains and when we go there for a week or two at a time, I don't miss work and don't feel unproductive. I, and my wife, sleep in a little bit (she is already retired), do a little productive work around the house and yard if we feel like it, read a lot, mess around with some of the hobbies I don't otherwise have enough time for, exercise and get frequent naps. I hate to come back. So I don't think I'll miss it.
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:16 PM   #22
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Because, for many people, it is a lot more satisfying to answer the question "What do you do?" by saying 'I'm a doctor, lawyer, computer programer, etc.' than by saying 'nothing.'
Fabulous perspective!

Q: What do you do?
A: Nothing

I live for this moment
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:34 PM   #23
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I knew too many people who defined "who they were" by "what their job was". I giggle when I overhear a conversion along the lines of: "what do you do", "I'm the Sub-Assistant Manager of the local convenience store", "cool". When I left mega-corp, I was 3rd level management (CEO <-> VP -> me) at one of Canada's largest companies. If people asked what I did, I told them I was a computer geek. Others at my level felt the need to spend service debt for things that impressed their friends. I just spent what I had wanted to.

I doubt anyone any of my friends knew my position or income. It's better this way, no one sucking up for a job etc. They also have no idea of my assets which is also great.

LYBM and hide your M.
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:40 PM   #24
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I wonder if the number of years into retirement plays a role. My BIL was initially very active after he retired. He played golf, volunteered for a number of organizations, and tackled a number of household improvement projects. He and his wife even did a bit of traveling. Lately I've noticed that afternoon TV and afternoon naps are playing a bigger role. There is certainly nothing necessarily wrong with TV and naps if that's what makes him happy but I might imagine that he has lost some of his motivation and/or identity.
Sounds like my first 2 or so years of FIRE, happily celebrating the "school's out" feeling of euphoria. 4 years later, I am still hopping around doing things, but not so much as the very first year of FIRE.
Only in his first year of retirement...Mr B likes to nap in front of the TV, but that only happens after he has accomplished something for the day.

Finding the right mixture of blatant goofing off and "doing something" is a personal thing for everyone.
If the sedentary activities go to 100%, that could be a potential health risk. In that case, you could be a good relative and send him an article talking about the benefits of exercise and social interaction. Gently sent...
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:01 PM   #25
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I will have absolutely no problem in retirement. I have many hobbies to keep me busy. Work right now keeps me from doing those hobbies and it frustrates me.

Most of all, I enjoy doing things with my DW. We are looking forward to me retiring.
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:11 PM   #26
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I had (and I still have to a degree) fear that I would be bored if I wasn't working. I don't socialize much outside of work because I am usually too tired to do anything once I get home on weekdays, and on weekends, I spend doing chores (plus some hobbies which do not involve other people), so unless I have a three day weekend, I really don't have the energy to do much. I took a week off one time without planning any big trips and kind of hung out and I couldn't believe the amount of energy I had. I totally perked up ! That kind of gave me hope; that if I wasn't working, I would have more energy (and time) to want to do things.

My mom is 83 years old and when I tell her I am so busy, she says she is envious; she says she has to make an effort to keep her mind occupied. (She worked until she was in her early 70's - willingly). She says she doesn't feel as productive or contributing to society. And she gets bored when life becomes too mundane. Maybe semi-retired is the way for me... somewhere between nothing to do and too much to do.

I shall see how I feel when I get there...
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Old 05-09-2011, 09:48 PM   #27
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Because, for many people, it is a lot more satisfying to answer the question "What do you do?" by saying 'I'm a doctor, lawyer, computer programer, etc.' than by saying 'nothing.'
Even before I retired I noticed that people were no longer so readily asking "What do you do?" I would say it was due to my grey hair, but I didn't stop coloring it for several years after retiring. So maybe it was because more and more people were/are retiring?
P.S. If someone were to ask "what do you do?" I can't imagine saying, "nothing." I do all kinds of things.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:10 PM   #28
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When I retired I really wanted to do "nothing". After so many years of all my time being taken up, doing "nothing" was something I looked forward to doing. By saying this I really mean, doing what ever I want to do. But I will admit that doing "nothing" remains one of my favorite things to do.
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:31 PM   #29
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In some respects, "nothing" is a rather negative answer to the question about what do you do all day.

So far I have told five people that I am intending to retire either early next year or early 2013. The reactions have all been variations of "you'll be bored", "what will you do all day", "you'll miss working" and "it won't last". Telling them I'm planning to do nothing just reinforces their beliefs.

I find it more positive to talk about items on my lengthy "bucket" list than to say "nothing".
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Old 05-09-2011, 10:56 PM   #30
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Author: "Well, I was going to write a book, but the 11,243 retirees I interviewed were all happy."
Editor: "All of them?"
Author: "Well, pretty much, except for these 89."
Editor: "There's your book! When can I see the manuscript?"

If you're financially independent and still working, then you better be happy-- because you have to be responsible for your own entertainment.

Lately my "occupations" are all unpaid (volunteer) positions: Spouse, parent, surfer, martial artist, home-improvement junkie, writer, reader... whaddya DO all day indeed.
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Old 05-09-2011, 11:03 PM   #31
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Very interesting post. I am only 3 weeks from FIRE. I've had a 30+ year career in the glamorous world of accounting and finance - escalating into a senior level executive at a mid size company. Looking back, I've had some great times, accomplishments, and friendships along my career. And I did identify myself by my escalating positions - I was proud of that. If I still loved the job, I'd never be retiring at 54. However, for me the constant stress, pressure and daily grind have soured me on the current career. I'm looking at retirement as a whole new era of my life. Yes, for six months, I will look forward to some peace and quiet home time, but after that - I'm open to something else, for pay or not - just as long as it's enjoyable.

What I do find sad is that since I announced my plans to retire, I've talked to several other peers at work, all older than I am. They confided in me that they don't know what to do with themselves when they take a week off from work, let alone a lifetime. Those are the kind of people that will hate retirement, be bored, lose their health and turn into old fogey's. While I choose to retire early and proceed with life, they will be forced to retire someday - unprepared. I'd rather be me.
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Old 05-10-2011, 05:03 AM   #32
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Same for me. I intend to continue to volunteer in the US and abroad as a clinician when retired.
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I will have absolutely no problem in retirement. I have many hobbies to keep me busy. Work right now keeps me from doing those hobbies and it frustrates me.
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Old 05-10-2011, 05:55 AM   #33
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My takeaway from reading the book is that retirees enjoy the freedom of retirement but suffer (some quite a bit) from re-defining themselves and their identity in retirement.
"Re-defining themselves" is the essence of retirement.

If someone views re-defining as "suffering" - they should keep working.

If they view re-defining as liberating - then retirement, preferably ER, is right for them.

A lot of people do not have the energy, guts, and conviction to re-define. When this happens, they retire "idle un-re-defined" - and that would s_ck - I'd almost rather be working.....
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Old 05-10-2011, 06:22 AM   #34
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because you have to be responsible for your own entertainment.
This is one of life's truths that goes mostly unnoticed. No one who understood this simple point would ever say "you'll be bored without a job."
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Old 05-10-2011, 06:35 AM   #35
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Thanks for posting this provocatively phrased blog post.
Watching the reaction on this forum was like seeing a tank full of piraņa go after fresh meat. What fun! Definitely not the crowd to agree with the findings. Most folks here are focussed on FIRE and have planned extensively for it.
Certainly too many people in the US think their identity is their job, so transition to retirement would be difficult. That is probably less of an issue with folks on this forum. Agree?
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:18 AM   #36
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Certainly too many people in the US think their identity is their job, so transition to retirement would be difficult. That is probably less of an issue with folks on this forum. Agree?
For all the forum members (and especially for those who are actually retired) I would have to agree.

For me? My j*b was a means to an end - that is it took me to where I wanted to be, in a financial sense. It never gave me a "sense of fulfillment" that I now experience in retirement, where I'm able to set my own direction - not have to fulfill the desires/wants of somebody (or organization) for my talents and my time, that I was beholden to for a paycheck.

I've only been retired four years (as of May 1), but I can state that it's been the best four years of my life.

If others want to live their lives by what they do at their j*bs? It dosen't bother me at all. They have their desires, I have mine ...
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:26 AM   #37
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Because, for many people, it is a lot more satisfying to answer the question "What do you do?" by saying 'I'm a doctor, lawyer, computer programer, etc.' than by saying 'nothing.'
Interesting perspective, and I think that proves that I truly am a wanna-be early retiree. Whenever someone asks me what I do, I don't start the sentence with "I am a..." I'll usually say "I work for NASA" or, if I feel like making a dumb joke "I sit in front of the computer and go brain-dead all day", and then follow up with the type of work I do. But never does the phrase "I am a..." come into it.

So to me, work is just something I do, a means to an end, something to pay the bills. But it's not something I become.
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Old 05-10-2011, 07:32 AM   #38
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I'm 2 years from FIRE and still employed... my favorite answer to "what do you do?" is "as little possible to continue picking up a paycheck". Not during performance appraisals or to top management of course! :))

I plan to transition that to "nothing" or "whatever I want that's legal" (still debating the latter )))) That's a joke of course!
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:30 AM   #39
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I think I can drum up some regular social activities with out working.
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Old 05-10-2011, 10:55 AM   #40
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Thanks for posting this provocatively phrased blog post.
Watching the reaction on this forum was like seeing a tank full of piraņa go after fresh meat.
Yes, many topics chosen are just like this. This is not a group for doubt and re-examination.

To me, a funny part is that in finance, our group worships all kinds of more or less bogus research. But in this case, a couple of real-deal and apparently even handed researchers have their findings dismissed out of hand.

But like you say, one cannot generalize findings from one group to a different group with very different characteristics.

Ha
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