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Many Retirees Wish They Left Workforce Earlier
Old 04-15-2015, 06:24 AM   #1
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Many Retirees Wish They Left Workforce Earlier

Most people or everyone in this forum understand this concept already, but here are survey results that re-enforce the thinking.

PLANSPONSOR - Many Retirees Wish They Left Workforce Earlier
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Old 04-15-2015, 06:33 AM   #2
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From the article
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“Much of the dialogue around retirement has been focused on people enjoying longer lives and ensuring they don’t run out of money,” says Cruz. Results from the study show, if given the opportunity, retirees are generally happier when they retire earlier, so long as they can ensure the same level of financial security.
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Old 04-15-2015, 07:45 AM   #3
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My grandfather was the first early retiree in my family that I can think of. He left a job working at a government farm in 1971, when he turned 55, to take help take care of my Grandmother's favorite aunt, who was getting up in years, and falling into poor health.

That aunt died within a year, but Granddad never went back to work. At least, not in an official capacity. He and his brother in law did shadetree mechanic work out of Granddad's garage, at least until cars started getting more complicated. And farming was in his blood, so he had a good chunk of the back yard plowed up and turned into garden plot.

Granddad passed away in April 1990, about 5 months after his 73rd birthday, from complications of lung/lymph node cancer. But thankfully, he went pretty quickly, as he was diagnosed soon after his 73rd birthday, so he didn't have to suffer for *too* long. And, he was pretty healthy right up until the very end.

A couple years ago, Granddad's retirement came up in conversation. Mom had said she asked him once if he ever regretted retiring early and not going back to work once Grandmom's aunt died. He said he didn't regret it one bit, and loved the freedom.
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Old 04-15-2015, 08:47 AM   #4
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Much of the dialogue around retirement has been focused on people enjoying longer lives and ensuring they don’t run out of money,” says Cruz. Results from the study show, if given the opportunity, retirees are generally happier when they retire earlier, so long as they can ensure the same level of financial security.
+1 This is the key, of course many would retired earlier "if" they had the money. Duh!
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Old 04-15-2015, 09:03 AM   #5
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+1 This is the key, of course many would retired earlier "if" they had the money. Duh!
Yeah, good point. I'm sure that a lot more people would choose to retire earlier than they did IF they had the money.

I wonder though, if many retirees look back and realize that, in retrospect, they HAD the resources to retire early? They just didn't know it at the time.

I'm sure it's really hard to pull the plug, and make the jump to retirement. A lot of people are probably nervous about it, and second-guess themselves. But then, after they have a few years under their belt and see they're still comfortable, they realize that they really could have retired a couple years earlier.
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Old 04-15-2015, 09:07 AM   #6
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+1 This is the key, of course many would retired earlier "if" they had the money. Duh!
Yeah, that's a big "if". I just checked my spreadsheet with our monthly asset values. In late 2012 my job started to fizzle out. I was 59. Rather than hang around and wait to be fired and get severance (had been there 10 years), I found another job, which lasted till a year ago, when I quit for good. During the period I was in my last job, our net worth increased by $500K. (No, I wasn't making that much- it was mostly driven by investment results.) Our financial picture would have been a lot different if I'd quit in late 2012, even with a severance package.

I suspect if you talked to my brother he'd say he should have quit earlier. He hated his job for years but kept doing the OMY thing to get a better pension. He finally left late last year and he's SO happy.
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Old 04-15-2015, 09:20 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Car-Guy View Post
+1 This is the key, of course many would retired earlier "if" they had the money. Duh!


Now why didn't I think of that!
lol
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Old 04-15-2015, 09:35 AM   #8
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+1 This is the key, of course many would retired earlier "if" they had the money. Duh!
The problem is that some people never feel that they have enough!
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Old 04-15-2015, 09:36 AM   #9
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Yeah, good point. I'm sure that a lot more people would choose to retire earlier than they did IF they had the money.

I wonder though, if many retirees look back and realize that, in retrospect, they HAD the resources to retire early? They just didn't know it at the time.

I'm sure it's really hard to pull the plug, and make the jump to retirement. A lot of people are probably nervous about it, and second-guess themselves. But then, after they have a few years under their belt and see they're still comfortable, they realize that they really could have retired a couple years earlier.
It's not that they didn't know - they did - but they just didn't care to think that far ahead (or even think about it at all). It takes a great deal of discipline to save money to FIRE, which is why most people can't/won't do it.
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Old 04-15-2015, 09:57 AM   #10
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Our retirement didn't work that way. Instead of building "safe" assets, retirement was more of an experiment... a challenge... a game. At age 53, the first twelve years was a trial... leaving the workplace, but always with the thought that in might be necessary to go back.

Yeah... more of an adventure and a learning experience. Squeeze a little bit here, find better ways to enjoy life there.... So we gave up the big house, moved to the campground, and then spent 23 years as snowbirds, enjoying the best of what life could offer. Most of this time detailed here, for newcomers:
Sharing 23 years of Frugal Retirement

So, maybe we didn't share the "same level of financial security", but if we had stayed around to reach that goal... we might have wasted years of freedom. Absolutely no regrets.

We're not millionaires, but we're certainly in the top 1% of "happy".

As the song says... "To each his own, we've found our own". It all worked out and we never had to: "wish we left the workforce earlier."

Life is Good!
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Old 04-15-2015, 10:07 AM   #11
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"We're not millionaires, but we're certainly in the top 1% of "happy"."

With all of the talk about the 1% on tax day, it's good to remember what really matters...Thanks for the reminder!
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Old 04-15-2015, 10:47 AM   #12
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Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

If we had retired four or five years earlier, we might look back now and wish we had worked four or five more years.
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Old 04-15-2015, 11:14 AM   #13
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We could have ERed / semi-ERed much earlier if we had realized for us optimizing our expenses was the real key, not so much saving more.
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Old 04-15-2015, 11:39 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by plsprius View Post
"We're not millionaires, but we're certainly in the top 1% of "happy"."

With all of the talk about the 1% on tax day, it's good to remember what really matters...Thanks for the reminder!
Complaining about taxes?
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Old 04-15-2015, 11:53 AM   #15
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I know we have enough for basic living expenses. But we plan to do a lot of travelling in retirement, and

business class seats are more comfortable than economy class seats, and first class seats are better more comfortable than business class seats;
hotels are better than motels, and all inclusives are better than hotels; and the list can be long.

In the end, we will have a lot of money, and will have no time for first class seats and all inclusive hotels.
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Old 04-15-2015, 12:01 PM   #16
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I know we have enough for basic living expenses. But we plan to do a lot of travelling in retirement, and

business class seats are more comfortable than economy class seats, and first class seats are better more comfortable than business class seats;
[liveaboard diveboats are better than shore diving]; and the list can be long.

In the end, we will have a lot of money, and will have no time for first class seats and [months long dive trips to Indonesia].
This. Is. My. Nightmare. Especially reading the "Are you Slowing Down?" thread.

We look at my inlaws, who slowed some in their late 70s, but F.I.L. still plays tennis 3-4 days a week at 86 and can hold his own on the courts with teenaged grandchildren. Maybe we, too, will be climbing step pyramids in our late 70s and continuing to want to fly all over the world. Then again, we may be unable to do either by our mid-60s, or I may die at 69 like my dad (no tobacco use here though). Oh well. DW really doesn't like long-haul coach flights.
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Old 04-15-2015, 12:08 PM   #17
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I think a lot of people on this forum will wish they had retired earlier than they did. Many don't retire until Firecalc says they have 100% success. Many of those people will likely die with more money than they retired with. They could've retired several years earlier. Their kids or favorite charity will be very well off.
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Old 04-15-2015, 12:12 PM   #18
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My Dad could have afforded to retire at a fairly young age. He didn't, although he still retired at 60, so not "too late". He has mentioned to me that he has very few regrets in life, but not retiring earlier is one of them.


My DW's parents have several very successful businesses. They have absolutely NO reason (financially, anyway) to continue to w*rk but they do anyway. And they complain about it all the time. They can't understand WHY I would retire as early as I did.
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Old 04-15-2015, 12:24 PM   #19
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Yeah, that's a big "if". I just checked my spreadsheet with our monthly asset values. In late 2012 my job started to fizzle out. I was 59. Rather than hang around and wait to be fired and get severance (had been there 10 years), I found another job, which lasted till a year ago, when I quit for good. During the period I was in my last job, our net worth increased by $500K. (No, I wasn't making that much- it was mostly driven by investment results.) Our financial picture would have been a lot different if I'd quit in late 2012, even with a severance package.
I'm currently struggling w/ this...

Planning on retiring in a year; we have 35x annual expenses saved. Firecalc says we're 100% good to go. However, my wife recently went back to work (2 years ago), and we are really socking away money now. We've always been big savers, but with 2 incomes, we can save close to $100K/year.

Hard to walk away from the ability to keep saving.
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Old 04-15-2015, 01:56 PM   #20
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I wonder how many people retire and then wish they hadn't so soon? The answer is probably more informative, IE near 0%.

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