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Mental 'readiness' for ER
Old 06-17-2018, 03:34 PM   #1
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Mental 'readiness' for ER

Hey gang..wonder if anyone else is having a similar issue to what I'm currently struggling with..

FI and working in a job that's absolutely impossible (for a variety of reasons I won't bore you all with). Every day is a challenge and the stress is off the map. I've worked on my ER plan for a LONG time now, and financially CAN (and "should") put in my notice, but I'm having a very hard time even thinking about doing so.

A few reasons why:

- Fear - I went through my first lay-off in 2008 at the heart of the economic meltdown. Was the worst days of my life, bar none. I for the most part completely freaked out about not having a job or the income that goes alone with it. To VOLUNTARILY put myself right back in that situation is..terrifying, although a lot has changed since then including building up an ER income stream that will pay most of our bills until we get to SS.

- Fear part 2..no idea what the cuts to SS, Medicare or ACA subsidies may be..also worried about the longevity of the Bull and a likely Bear/sequence of returns risk right as I jump off the ship 10 years before SS/Medicare. We CAN make it even with cuts..but it's still much more unknown than it was in our parent's generation.

- Upbringing - no other way to say it..upbringing was not prosperous (OK, we were pretty much not even middle class). My dad was an electrician that was frequently on and off work or between jobs..mom worked to take care of the kids. We literally did not have a spare $1 to our name. (One time we wanted to do an event that literally cost one dollar..Mom said we couldn't because we "did not have the $1 extra to spare"). So, I worked my tail off..put myself through college (a 10 year 4-year degree since I had to work to pay my own way)..and now am in a much better place and have achieved FI in my mid 50s. To that point..

- Golden Handcuffs - sitting on significant $$s in unvested RSUs..every quarter is another pretty large chunk of extra $$S. Hard to walk away from that on top of professional-level compensation which makes for a very nice W-2. Especially after growing up with not even $1 extra to my name.

On the flip side, the money is not even worth it. I could (and should) pull the plug tomorrow. Next vest is mid August. After that, my plan has been to give notice..but I JUST. CAN'T. FATHOM. doing so. (And, funny enough - I'm on the "OMQ" [One More Quarter] plan at this point to get the next big chunk of extra $$. Seems to keep moving out another quarter every time I think I've done the last one for some reason. Go figure).

I have all sorts of interests and things I know I can spend my time on. My DW says that it's a testament to a lot of hard work that we CAN RE. It'd be great..we could do whatever we want..whenever we want..leave all the BS (which is immeasurable) behind..

So, why in the heck is this so hard? I can't even fathom pulling the ripcord even though the work situation is totally impossible to the point it's unhealthy.

Thanks for listening and for any/all advice..
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Old 06-17-2018, 03:41 PM   #2
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One thing you can't buy is time. If money is more important than that then stick with your job.

I walked away from sizeable comp as well, but had enough to not worry about it. Now about 2.5 since FIRE and enjoy myself. Already 8 weeks of travel this year and at least 3 more to go. Lots of day trips as well.

I don't dread Mondays any more, in fact I have to think what day of week it is now.

BTW, now is much different for you than 2008, it's now on your terms.
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Old 06-17-2018, 03:50 PM   #3
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I think I can relate.

I was brought in a less-than-middle-class level of income. We were immigrants and my father, the sole breadwinner, had a tough time-- both finding employment and keeping it through various downturns and cutbacks. I think the most he ever earned was $18,000/yr.

I, too, paid for my state college education working 20 hrs a week while classes were in session and 40 hrs a week when we had holidays and summer vacation.

To me, money (and the job that provided it) is SAFETY AND SECURITY. Walking away from a paycheck was tough. My B.S. bucket was full and I'd scrimped and saved...so I took the leap eleven years ago and haven't looked back. Happiest 11 years of my life.

I had stock options that expired worthless. Glad I wasn't counting on them.

None of us can predict the future as to SS, Medicare, ACA, etc.

We can predict that every year that we work is one less year we'll be retired.

And we'll never be younger than we are today...and possibly not as healthy, either.

C'mon in , the water's fine.

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Old 06-17-2018, 03:57 PM   #4
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I've found that my expenses in retirement are surprisingly low and we could cut back a lot if we needed to. My stash has actually been growing for the 11 years of retirement and we just applied for SS.


That said, I've started to slow down. I eat right and keep in shape but you can't kid Father Time - life and health is finite. One of my good friends at w*rk decided he'd work to 65 to make sure his wife was well taken care of when he died. At age 64 he found his body was riddled with cancer and in a few months he was gone. He enjoyed not one day of retirement. That made an impression on me.



So, bottom line - it is easy to think of life as free and easy and infinite, but it is not. By retiring early you are piling healthy retired years on the front of your remaining life. It is hard to put a dollar figure on it, but that is what you are trading off - money you may never need for healthy young years of retirement. You have to decide which you value most.
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Old 06-17-2018, 04:07 PM   #5
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One of my good friends at w*rk decided he'd work to 65 to make sure his wife was well taken care of when he died. At age 64 he found his body was riddled with cancer and in a few months he was gone. He enjoyed not one day of retirement. That made an impression on me.
In the last 20 years, I've watched two men I've worked with stay past 65 and then have their wives go into failing health quickly. It has made an impression on me, as well.
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Old 06-17-2018, 04:09 PM   #6
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I retired a couple of years ago at 56 with an amount requiring non-extravagant lifestyle, but about the same as while I worked. At the time, the ACA seemed like a permanent thing. I think I would now mentally have a much harder time retiring with healthcare in flux, but I'm so glad I did it! I did change my AA to better reflect healthcare question mark. So...that might help you mentally ready for retirement.

Do it! Monday will become your favorite day .
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Old 06-17-2018, 04:32 PM   #7
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I'm sure there's many positive stories of those who have worked to 65 and beyond. But I know of several personally that did and then didn't get a chance to enjoy it. Just recently there was a guy who worked in same office as I used to. He was always so talking of one more year. He finally announced his retirement and he was very excited. He was now going to watch his grandchildren every day and spend time with them and travel with his wife. I kid you not, one week after retirement he died of a massive heart attack. And he experienced this while at the park while watching his grandchildren. Truly tragic. His wife can now spend that extra money he worked so long and hard for to now travel by herself. And grandchildren miss out on spending quality time with their grandfather. Time is not finite and may be over sooner than you expect.
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Old 06-17-2018, 04:32 PM   #8
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........Monday will become your favorite day .
For sure. It is safe to come back out of hiding.
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Mental 'readiness' for ER
Old 06-17-2018, 04:34 PM   #9
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Mental 'readiness' for ER

I知 in the same boat. We have enough $ for ER, but I知 just not mentally ready for all the the reasons the OP states. Maybe someday.
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Old 06-17-2018, 04:44 PM   #10
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So, bottom line - it is easy to think of life as free and easy and infinite, but it is not. By retiring early you are piling healthy retired years on the front of your remaining life. It is hard to put a dollar figure on it, but that is what you are trading off - money you may never need for healthy young years of retirement. You have to decide which you value most.
+1 on this.

Lots of people have great reservations about retirement. It is a huge lifestyle change and for most people is irreversible. My father was also an electrician so I know what it's like to grow up "on the poor side of town". But he worked for the power company so he did have a steady paycheck. DW comes from a similar background. We always had a roof overhead and never went to bed hungry, but there wasn't much else.

When we retired from jobs in the Washington, D.C. area and moved to WV we also left a lot of money on the table, and for quite a while we struggled with whether that was a wise move. About six months later we went to see my younger sister in VA and the first thing she said was "I haven't seen you two look so relaxed in years".

Any doubts about the wisdom of retiring immediately went away.
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Old 06-17-2018, 04:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by nhcycling View Post
I知 in the same boat. We have enough $ for ER, but I知 just not mentally ready for all the the reasons the OP states.
It's a race against time and the finish line is invisible. There is no way to know if you'll retire before you get to the end finish line and the only way to improve your chances of "winning" is to pull the plug on work sooner rather than later.

Good luck.
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Old 06-17-2018, 04:55 PM   #12
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Pull the trigger. You state you will be busy and the money is fine.
There are many examples of 50's/60's lives lost.
Mondays are the best.
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Old 06-17-2018, 05:08 PM   #13
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I知 in the same boat. We have enough $ for ER, but I知 just not mentally ready for all the the reasons the OP states. Maybe someday.
You know one day I went in to interview a guy for a position in my group. I didn't feel well but went in anyway..... cause I wasn't ready to retire.

I don't recall much until the EMT's pulled me out of the office and told me they thought I'd had a stroke. They took me to a great trauma center and the doc there said it wasn't a stroke. But it could have been? I was only about 50? What if it was?
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Old 06-17-2018, 05:08 PM   #14
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Like decisions on asset allocations, only you can decide if you've
saved enough to retire. But I found this to be life after work:

calvin retirement.gif
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Old 06-17-2018, 05:23 PM   #15
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DW & I pulled the plug about 2 years ago with what I'm guessing is a lot less in our retirement accounts than many of this forum's members. I had 6 years before FRA for SS and DW still had 4 to go. Yet, as others have stated, ya' can't buy time. We spent 9 months traveling overseas in 2017 - 3 months in New Zealand, another 3 months in Tuscany and 3 more in Mexico. This year, we are living in Costa Rica. We still have our paid for home in the U.S.

What helped us is retiring debt free and our having lived habitually below our means.

There are always some risks, no matter what. We had/have all of the same fears, markets, SS cuts, ACA - the whole nine yards. But we decided not to let fear govern how we live our lives. So, without knowing *exactly* what our futures held, we took the plunge. And man, the lives we are so privileged to live now are way better than the days of wage slavery.
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Old 06-17-2018, 05:42 PM   #16
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It looks as a lot of this is financial fear. While it is impossible to control every scenario, perhaps think about ways to reduce the fear. For example, would cutting your expenses and paying off all debt help? Would putting enough cash to cover bare-bone expenses till SS help? Get the financial fear under control first. After the fear is under control, the golden handcuffs shouldn't be quite as tight, you can work on slipping them off.
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Old 06-17-2018, 05:51 PM   #17
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It looks as a lot of this is financial fear. While it is impossible to control every scenario, perhaps think about ways to reduce the fear. For example, would cutting your expenses and paying off all debt help? Would putting enough cash to cover bare-bone expenses till SS help? Get the financial fear under control first. After the fear is under control, the golden handcuffs shouldn't be quite as tight, you can work on slipping them off.
+1 There are actions you can take that might make you feel more prepared.
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Old 06-17-2018, 05:57 PM   #18
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Hey, gang..thanks for all the great replies.

We're totally debt free, so the Golden Handcuffs and a few more OMQs are just getting us the ability to buy more things we would like - like, a new ER house that's not on top of our neighbors like the current one is. Ideally 10 acres or more. We've been looking for the "purple unicorn" for 10+ years but haven't found it yet. As we continue to look, the prices go up..and up..and up..so the extra (fairly substantial) $s every quarter is somewhat compelling to use on that..or any number of other things.

We're very close to our target ER / major milestone $ number (within $20K actually) but have a number of large house expenses and tax payments to make that'd pull us back south of that number. So, we continue to plug away working to get over that #. It's purely psychological and arbitrary, but my goal was to have enough to do all the (fairly costly) house repairs, buy the few remaining big ticket items we need (which I call "infrastructure") and do our ER "we finally made it!" trip (Africa safari). If I can still be north of that number and do all that, all is good purely in terms of $. But the psychology / mental issues are still a bit challenging..

We technically could bail tomorrow, and just not make the #. The # is way above what we would "need" but is a personal milestone I've had that I want to end north of..

Good points about health and living what's left of life. I worked with a guy 30 or so years ago who I just happened to look up on FB (long story as to why) about 3 months ago. Read his wife's post and he was dying of pancreatic cancer. Turns out he died a month or two later..couple years older than me, but not much. Really made me think.

Two months later..another death of someone in their 50s that we know.

It's like God is saying something along the lines of "HEY, STUPID!! ARE YOU LISTENING - YET?!!"

Not to get religious or political but I randomly started catching Joel Osteen's program every now and then. There was a really good sermon that talked about listening to your "spirit". That really spoke to me..my "spirit" is saying to run - hard and fast as quickly as I can in the opposite direction.

Maybe it's time I start paying attention, before it's too late..and it's MY OBIT in the paper. All the $ in the world won't mean squat 6' under the dirt.
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Old 06-17-2018, 06:01 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetireSoon;
Hey, gang..thanks for all the great replies.

We're totally debt free, so the Golden Handcuffs and a few more OMQs are just getting us the ability to buy more things we would like - like, a new ER house that's not on top of our neighbors like the current one is. Ideally 10 acres or more. We've been looking for the "purple unicorn" for 10+ years but haven't found it yet. As we continue to look, the prices go up..and up..and up..so the extra (fairly substantial) $s every quarter is somewhat compelling to use on that..or any number of other things.

We're very close to our target ER / major milestone $ number (within $20K actually) but have a number of large house expenses and tax payments to make that'd pull us back south of that number. So, we continue to plug away working to get over that #. It's purely psychological and arbitrary, but my goal was to have enough to do all the (fairly costly) house repairs, buy the few remaining big ticket items we need (which I call "infrastructure") and do our ER "we finally made it!" trip (Africa safari). If I can still be north of that number and do all that, all is good purely in terms of $. But the psychology / mental issues are still a bit challenging..

We technically could bail tomorrow, and just not make the #. The # is way above what we would "need" but is a personal milestone I've had that I want to end north of..

Good points about health and living what's left of life. I worked with a guy 30 or so years ago who I just happened to look up on FB (long story as to why) about 3 months ago. Read his wife's post and he was dying of pancreatic cancer. Turns out he died a month or two later..couple years older than me, but not much. Really made me think.

Two months later..another death of someone in their 50s that we know.

It's like God is saying something along the lines of "HEY, STUPID!! ARE YOU LISTENING - YET?!!"

Not to get religious or political but I randomly started catching Joel Osteen's program every now and then. There was a really good sermon that talked about listening to your "spirit". That really spoke to me..my "spirit" is saying to run - hard and fast as quickly as I can in the opposite direction.

Maybe it's time I start paying attention, before it's too late..and it's MY OBIT in the paper. All the $ in the world won't mean squat 6' under the dirt.

+1
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Old 06-17-2018, 08:23 PM   #20
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My work was killing me (literally). I worry about health care and sequence of return risk as well. I could wait and worry or make a good informed decision (financial advisor, CPA, and the good folks at ER & bogleheads forums) and move foreword. I chose the latter (but i'm still nervous as heck)

I would have really liked to have had that McLaren 12C but its not worth working another 5 years.

I like living under the radar anyway. Best of luck with your decision
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