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Money goal or time goal?
Old 01-09-2008, 01:22 PM   #1
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Money goal or time goal?

I assume that most people here have a goal of XX amount of money and when they hit that amount, they will pull the plug and reitre (as oppossed to a goal of leaving on a certain specific date).

If you have a money goal, you must have a spreadsheet that tracks your retirement accounts and projects what approx date you will have hit your monetary goal.

How does it affect you emotionally when the market takes hits like its doing right now and you can feel your target date getting pushed back?

My date is / was 7 years away. No matter what happens I will have enough to retire on that date because I have a pension, but I dont want to leave without XX amount of money on top of the pension because we already have grand plans to travel and live a better lifestyle than we live now.

So anyway, do you have a time frame goal? Or a money goal? And if you have a money goal as I assume most do, how does it affect you emotionally when you see your time frame being pushed back day after day in a prolonged market downturn like this appears to be?
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Old 01-09-2008, 01:59 PM   #2
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How does it affect you emotionally when the market takes hits like its doing right now and you can feel your target date getting pushed back?
It is certainly frustrating, I was hoping to be in a position to retire next December, but that is looking less likely now. Still, it doesn't do me any good to fret about it, just means I may have to work another year or two. And fortunately, here lately, I have been assigned a couple of projects that are more interesting than the normal grind. I try to look on the bright side, this current slump is a good opportunity to do some cost averaging.
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Old 01-09-2008, 02:07 PM   #3
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How does it affect you emotionally when the market takes hits like its doing right now and you can feel your target date getting pushed back?

Good question. I make an effort not to track my investments too often. I do it in detail every 3 months. Having said that, I can't avoid being a little upset when I hear on the news that the market went down another 200 points that day. I do focus on the long term. I can look at my spreadsheet and say my portfolio has come close to doubling during the past 5 years and has averaged around 10% per year the last 10 years. Not too bad. I think one of the keys to successful investing is not panicking when everybody wants to sell.
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Old 01-09-2008, 02:13 PM   #4
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I assume that most people here have a goal of XX amount of money and when they hit that amount, they will pull the plug and reitre (as oppossed to a goal of leaving on a certain specific date).
Might be a bit oversimplified from my perspective. The money goal could be elusive and you might regret sticking to it too strongly in a prolonged down market. Adding a year or more to my FIRE time goal would be frustrating to me (though I would do it if prudence dictated).

OTOH, the time goal might coerce you out of the game before you're really financially ready. So for me, I have a money goal as a low-end, "cannot retire before" situation. I will retire sometime after that, but in any event no later than my "time to make a move" goal.

The two pieces set the outside boundaries, and I'm trying to keep flexible within them. Not sure I explained myself very well, but the bottom line is that it's a two-factor decision for me, and when the two intersect, I'm FIREd. My outside boundaries are the stop-loss piece, even if it requires lifestyle or travel adjustments.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 01-09-2008, 02:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utrecht View Post
I assume that most people here have a goal of XX amount of money and when they hit that amount, they will pull the plug and reitre (as oppossed to a goal of leaving on a certain specific date).

If you have a money goal, you must have a spreadsheet that tracks your retirement accounts and projects what approx date you will have hit your monetary goal.

How does it affect you emotionally when the market takes hits like its doing right now and you can feel your target date getting pushed back?

My date is / was 7 years away. No matter what happens I will have enough to retire on that date because I have a pension, but I dont want to leave without XX amount of money on top of the pension because we already have grand plans to travel and live a better lifestyle than we live now.

So anyway, do you have a time frame goal? Or a money goal? And if you have a money goal as I assume most do, how does it affect you emotionally when you see your time frame being pushed back day after day in a prolonged market downturn like this appears to be?
We have both. We know we need X amount to retire. However if we reach a certain time period we have a pension that would enable us to retire. So we could retire today if we had the pension and SS that we would get at 62. So if the market performed above average over the next fews years we could essentially retire early. Otherwise we keep on till 62.

Hope that made some kind of sense
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Old 01-09-2008, 02:21 PM   #6
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$$ goal.

But if the $$ isn't there by the projected date, I will likely try to reduce hours: semi-RE. DH is 10 years older than I am, so part of the urgency to RE is to be able to still do stuff while he can. If I can't get out completely, I expect I will want to take the time to play/travel a bit more.
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Old 01-09-2008, 02:48 PM   #7
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i'm going to have about $300k less than i planned on but i don't care. i'll make do with less.

my main choices: i could go back to work or i could live an adventurous life overseas. heck, i could just downsize and move to daytona. i can't buy the way cool boat i had my eye on but i've already found a less expensive one that i've totally fallen in love with. i could save money by trading this house for a boat or save even more by moving to se asia for 5 years, which, by then, likely would afford me that way cool boat if i even wanted it anymore, now that i'm in love.

work can help to pay for things but freedom from work buys some pretty nice options. having no dependents helps. i'm, yikes, 50 already. alzheimer's could be just 20 years away. at even just this level of independence, there's no further amount of money that could make me sell those years.
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Old 01-09-2008, 02:51 PM   #8
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I think it's a function of both money *and* time. What I would need (in real dollars) to become FI at 45 is considerably more than it would be at 55.
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Old 01-09-2008, 03:02 PM   #9
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I always had a money goal, but it was in "dividends adjusted for future growth in high quality, stable
stocks" rather than a $$ amount. Since this type of dividend rarely shrinks (at least without plenty
of warning), all adjustments were of the "shortening" variety. When I started serious planning in the
mid 90s, I was targeting Feb 2008. It kept kachunking down, and I reached my goal in the summer
of 2004. I actually retired in late 2006 because work went very smoothly for an extra few years,
with considerably more $$ than I needed.
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Old 01-09-2008, 04:57 PM   #10
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I am one of those with a time goal. I can't retire until I qualify for lifetime medical, in about 22 months. Otherwise I'm sure I would have quit by now due to stress.

Really, it is probably good that I have to wait, because I will have a bigger nestegg than I think I need. That could be nice to have as an extra safety net.

It's still not nice to see the market take a hit! I like to see that money rolling in and I don't like to see my nestegg shriveling up. I just keep reminding myself that a market hit is really just a blue-light special on stocks.

The problem with a time goal is that it's a little bit like slavery. No matter how bad things seem, I can't quit. I don't like feeling hemmed in like that.
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Old 01-09-2008, 06:26 PM   #11
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My goal is to earn enough to reach my financial goal by my target date, which is 5 years away. That means I have to work pretty hard till then. If I slack off, take a sabbatical or go part time, I prolong the agony. So I guess you could say that I have a time goal contingent on a financial goal. Current market conditions mean I am treading water. I consider myself lucky to be doing that now, rather than losing ground having already retired.
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Both, actually
Old 01-09-2008, 06:43 PM   #12
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Both, actually

I worked on the money target, for financial independence, first.

Once I had that goal in sight, I started working on the date, with an eye to getting all the fiddly bits that I'd need before retirement taken care of. Medical insurance, family issues, the usual bits. (That's how I found this board, looking for what the usual bits might actually be...)

T - 57 days and counting...
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Old 01-09-2008, 06:51 PM   #13
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My goal is based on a 4% withdrawal rate, so my date fluctuates based on my spending and my portfolio balance. I've been watching it pretty closely lately, so when the market goes down I try to spend less that day to keep my FIRE date the same.

I'll take a more serious look at my financial situation when I get close to the 4%. If I'm hating my job even more than I do now, I'd consider quitting and taking a lower salary. I'll also look at my age when I get close to the 4% and decide if I feel comfortable with the portfolio survivability at that point - if I hit 4% at age 70 I'd retire faster than if I hit 4% at age 40.

Interestingly, the market's slump since the beginning of the year hasn't changed my FIRE date. I think this is because of the way my spreadsheet is constructed and my particular circumstances. Even with all of the gyrations in the market the last several months it has rarely changed by more than a month or two either way.

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Old 01-09-2008, 07:04 PM   #14
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Mine's a time goal - full retirement when the wife turns 57 in 1272 days. Firecalc said we will have enough $ then, but I haven't checked since the market downturn.
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Old 01-09-2008, 07:22 PM   #15
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Either/or...

Firecalc says I need to let Mr. Market do some more work. (Damn...)

SS is 8.5 years away, and will put me over the top, all else failing. So, somewhere between here and 2016...
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Old 01-09-2008, 07:29 PM   #16
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Both:

Like Rich, a monetary goal, and like you a time I would prefer (aligned with eligibility for unreduced pension). In my case the time arrived and the money was there so I pulled the plug.
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Old 01-09-2008, 07:35 PM   #17
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I wanted to retire in my 50's .So at 59 I pulled the plug . I had already met my financial goals.
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Old 01-09-2008, 08:32 PM   #18
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Time here. The proverbial golden handcuffs with state and military employment have me labeled a regular employee until 50...(2020!!) Might stick around until 2025 for a bigger pension - but that is a crystal ball I do not have today.
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Old 01-09-2008, 08:45 PM   #19
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I am one of those with a time goal. I can't retire until I qualify for lifetime medical, in about 22 months. Otherwise I'm sure I would have quit by now due to stress.

Really, it is probably good that I have to wait, because I will have a bigger nestegg than I think I need. That could be nice to have as an extra safety net.

It's still not nice to see the market take a hit! I like to see that money rolling in and I don't like to see my nestegg shriveling up. I just keep reminding myself that a market hit is really just a blue-light special on stocks.

The problem with a time goal is that it's a little bit like slavery. No matter how bad things seem, I can't quit. I don't like feeling hemmed in like that.
This is my situation exactly.

In Jan 2004 I saved in a speadsheet the predicted size of our egg each year into the future (it gave a low, medium, high table of figures) and the actual size of our egg is listed alongside. (table came from a Fidelity calculator using monte carlo simulations)

When the market is tough I look at the table for a bit of blanket holding. After the latest market stumble we are still 18% ahead of where I hoped we'd be.
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Old 01-09-2008, 08:46 PM   #20
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Time here too!
I know what my pension will be in two years and that is what I'm shooting for. The 401K and other savings will be what ever they are at the time. The next two years DCA on a down market might just do us good. 4% of that will be plenty enough for us. We're fortunate.
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