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Old 06-04-2013, 03:10 PM   #41
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If I were in the same position of having a job that I didn't like but was financially set so didn't need the paycheck or the benefits, I would first try to get the parts of the job that I didn't like fixed. This could be done informally by talking with your supervisor or more forcefully with a resignation letter. Get your list of changes down on paper beforehand, make sure this is exactly what you want, and go for it. I personally would not show up for a job I don't enjoy in exchange for a paycheck that I have no use for. Work history is a sunk cost and we have limited time left, so unless there's something in it for me going forward, I'd rather take my chances trying something new.
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Old 06-04-2013, 05:34 PM   #42
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I found this a most interesting post...1st, I plead guilty for reading more than posting.



I looked at Shawn's 13 reasons at the start of the post. I tried to see which ones might have some common ground. Excluding # 13 (kind of a "catch all"), it seems to me, there are 4 common threads in the reasons listed:
  1. Money concerns (# 1 and 2)
  2. Love of job and/or co-workers (#3, 4, 5)
  3. Fear of the unknown (#6,7,8,11 and 12)
  4. What others think (#9, 10)
It's interesting how the reasons are grouped generally in order.

A short time ago, AARP had an interesting article titled "Top 5 Regrets of the Dying". Several were reasons I might have anticipated, but the 1st caught me somewhat by surprise: I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.


Since those on their death bed have little to fear from what others think I found this article particularly powerful. My somewhat convoluted point is: If money concerns are not your driving issue for retirement, make sure your plan/decision does not leave yourself with the Regret noted above.

Best of luck to All!!
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:10 PM   #43
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Since I was a young man, I believe that a life should be divided in not so equal parts.
1. Growing up and study
2. Working and raising a family(can be defined differently).
3. Retirement- time to enjoy life with enough time and freedom.

Unless endowed with incredible luck and opportunity, #1 and #2 could actually take over ones life and very little is left for #3.

I think #3 should be planned even at the start of #2. It requires very hard work and thoughts about everything that could sabotage #3.

If you are not ready for #3, you can think of all the reasons why not, and each is valid.

If you decide to go for it, it means that you have taken all the factors in, and still think that #3 is the best option.

I don't think that in your death bed, the first thing you may want to do is get back to your office! If you want to get back to work at such a critical time,then
the forum for you is called "Work forever" not early retirement.org.
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Old 06-04-2013, 09:46 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by DerbyCity View Post
I found this a most interesting post...1st, I plead guilty for reading more than posting.



I looked at Shawn's 13 reasons at the start of the post. I tried to see which ones might have some common ground. Excluding # 13 (kind of a "catch all"), it seems to me, there are 4 common threads in the reasons listed:
  1. Money concerns (# 1 and 2)
  2. Love of job and/or co-workers (#3, 4, 5)
  3. Fear of the unknown (#6,7,8,11 and 12)
  4. What others think (#9, 10)
It's interesting how the reasons are grouped generally in order.

A short time ago, AARP had an interesting article titled "Top 5 Regrets of the Dying". Several were reasons I might have anticipated, but the 1st caught me somewhat by surprise: I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.


Since those on their death bed have little to fear from what others think I found this article particularly powerful. My somewhat convoluted point is: If money concerns are not your driving issue for retirement, make sure your plan/decision does not leave yourself with the Regret noted above.

Best of luck to All!!
Excellent post. The regret you list is what I am heading for if I keep doing what I do because of what others expect. Fortunately, I have only felt this way for the last six months out of an otherwise very happy and successful 30 year career to date, but I don't want it to carry on too much longer.

Although not to anywhere near the same safety buffer level as the OP, I am comfortably FI right now, barely tolerate my job and would ER in a heartbeat. For me, however, it is my well-meaning family cheer squad that provide the greatest resistance to me doing just that. I need to stand up to them, lest those words of regret will also pass my lips on my death bed.
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:09 PM   #45
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Thank you all for the excellent comments regarding my original post(s). To follow-up and address a few of those comments …

My primary goal for the last 10 years has been to retire early. I do not like my job. I have more than enough money according to all the standard financial metrics. There are several activities I would like to pursue in retirement. All of the appropriate “should I retire” boxes have been checked. So it is quite surprising that I am hesitant about retiring, especially since the perfect opportunity is in front of me in the form of a company buyout. I always assumed it would be easy to pull the trigger when the time came. I assumed wrong. This illustrates that it can be difficult to determine how one will respond to a given situation until one is eminently faced with that situation.

While there are a few likely reasons for my hesitation to retire, I believe the primary one is money. Some might call this greed. To quantify, every additional year of work has a before-tax financial value of about $400K to me. This is split evenly between my salary and the increasing value of my pension (spread over my lifetime, in today’s dollars). That is a lot of money for one year of work. It does not matter if I already have enough or even 10 times enough. It is still a lot of money. I will never again have this financial opportunity. This opportunity is the reward for the nearly 40 years of non-stop 60-80 hr school/work weeks since I was 15. This is a lot to give up. (And yes, while many people claim to work 60-80 hr weeks, I really do.)

It is sometimes said that “work = money” and “retirement = freedom + flexibility”. But money provides its own freedom and flexibility, especially when the future is unknown. Three examples … 1) Until a month ago, there was a possibility that I would need to buy a house for my elderly mother due to her changing living situation. While that possibility didn’t materialize, I easily could have written my mother a check to buy a house. Not a down payment, but a check for the entire house. There was no stress or worry on my part because I had an easy solution to what could have been a difficult problem. 2) On weekends, I sometimes stop at Open Houses in a newer McMansion sub-division that is on my way to work. I have no immediate need for a large house. My 50-year old 1200 square foot fixer-upper is fine. But it is interesting to see how the “other half” lives, and it is comforting to know that I have the freedom to buy a larger house should I choose. 3) I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on veterinary bills for pets and other animals. I am able to do what I feel is best for the animal rather than make decisions based on cost.

So the level of freedom, flexibility, and physical and emotional security provided by money can be very significant. In this sense there is never enough. It is not about material goods. It does not matter if the money is actually spent. But I would rather be in a position to handle any financial life event rather than feel constrained. No. I cannot take it with me when I die, but it will go to charity in the end. I do not understand the problem with this nor do I consider this sad (as one person suggested).

Of course, by no means does this suggest that a person should work forever or even that a person should not retire at an early age. Everyone needs to balance what is important to them. But it can be difficult to recognize what is truly important. If I retire next week as part of the company buyout, I may regret the loss of $400K for each additional year I work. Alternatively, I may be delighted by the decision and never look back. I have never retired before. I do not know how it will feel.

There is solid logic in the suggestion that I should not retire if there is hesitation. After all, I can easily reverse a decision not to retire by retiring at a later date, whereas I cannot easily reverse a decision to retire since I will not be able to return to my job. But hesitation is a natural response to uncertainty and fear. Sometimes it is rational. Sometimes it is not. I was 7 years old when I first tried jumping from the high dive at a swimming pool. I hesitated. It was terrifying up there. In fact, it was so terrifying that I did not jump but climbed back down the ladder. This was an understandable reaction but also an irrational reaction. There was no real or significant danger since I could swim and planned to jump feet first. But I still did not jump. I tried again a week or two later. Again, I hesitated. But this time I jumped. In hindsight, I should have jumped the first time. Hesitation is not absolute.

Final comment. Yes, concern for co-workers is important. No, the world will not end if I retire. But I “manage” a group of 20+ individuals. Several have expressed significant concern about my possible retirement. This is somewhat surprising since I do not consider myself to be a particularly good technical/scientific manager (in fact, I keep telling my own supervisors that my job is worthless and that they should fire me - no luck so far). But I tend to be adept at foreseeing and intercepting problems, smoothing difficult interpersonal situations, and protecting the employees in and outside my group. Also, I am very effective at understanding and manipulating financial constraints to ensure that employees in my group are fully covered. So yes. I do care about my co-workers. I work for them, they do not work for me.

I still do not know if I will retire next week but I appreciate the opportunity to be introspective about this issue. It helps to write it down and to receive feedback from others who are or have been in similar or not so similar situations.
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:38 PM   #46
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That makes sense. It would be hard for me to give up the idea of earning $400K for one year's work. That's a lot of dough. I can also understand the security-oriented concerns, the notion that if you have another 400K, certain potential problems will no longer be problems. I also appreciate your willingness to leave your money to charity. I think that's noble. You also sound like the kind of boss I would want to have.

I would just add that you deserve to enjoy your life, not spend it all accumulating more and more money to stave off every possible financial problem. You seem very attuned to what other people need (e.g., your mother, your subordinates, charity), but you've got a right to take care of your own interests/happiness too.

You said, "I would rather be in a position to handle any financial life event." Well, okay, but you know, no one is ever 100% guaranteed of anything, and for every year you continue to strive after more financial security, you're sacrificing another year of your personal happiness to the job. Just make sure that's worth 400K to you.
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Old 06-04-2013, 10:49 PM   #47
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Thanks for explaining it more.

I think that everyone has to make his or her decision where the time versus money line is drawn. Some never draw and work until very old age. Some plan to draw it and are met with unexpected early death. Some draw that line early and prioritize time over money -- and while most are probably happy there is no doubt some may end up with not enough.

When I was working full-time (I semi-retired 3 years ago), I was earning a high salary (not 400k high, but high). Just a few weeks ago my son (in college) asked me what my full-time salary had been and when I told him he couldn't believe I had quit. He pointed out how long it would have taken me to save enough up another million and his point was valid.

And I do think that one of the important things money brings you is freedom to make choices. When that son - the one in college now - needed a therapeutic school that was almost $30k a year when he was 10, money allowed me to pay for it (ironically, tuition for college is a lot less than what I paid for that school!). So - yes, I understand that money allows one the freedom to make choices.

And, yet, I still gave it up 3 years ago (well I've worked part time at about an average of $75k a year for 3 years). I just came to a point where - while I would like to have even more money - I wanted time more. Even now, I am still pondering full retirement. At times I plan to do it the next time I'm at the office. At other times, I think about how much I could earn if I kept working. I've even considered going back full-time (which I have an invitation to do in my situation).

I guess I would say 2 things to you - one more practical than the other.

For the practical - Given your apparent importance to your work environment, could you negotiate some type of reduced schedule that would give you more time for other things but would still pay you a significant amount?

When I was working I had one of those more than 40 hour a week jobs (not as many hours as you work, although I did spend those hours at times). I was valuable to my employer and they were willing to allow me to change my work so that I have worked 1 or 2 days a week for the last 3 years.

For the other --

The calculation of time versus money may be different for you than me. You are in your late 40s. When I think about full retirement now, I am in my late 50s. So for me, time is more pressing. In your case I could see why you could come down the other way.
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Old 06-05-2013, 03:37 AM   #48
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Shawn, I am in roughly your position now, but at age 54. Seven years ago I was just becoming FI and accepted a buyout shortly after a MegaCorp merger. I wasn't emotionally ready for the change, and I felt very lost following my last day at work. I felt like the rest of the world was carrying on with their trip and I was getting off the bus to watch from behind in the dust. I had been working with effectively no break since age 15, and I didn't have an alternate sense of self-worth set up yet. I would drive to the store and feel like people were watching me and wondering why I wasn't at work doing something productive. I then started consulting 1/2-2/3 time and slowly got used to the feeling of being my own master away from the office environment. After a few years I got to really like making my own schedule, and didn't feel at all uncomfortable with being out-and-about during the 8-to-5 hours. After 5 years of consulting I decided that I had it in me to take one more kick at the cat, so I took a job back at Megacorp and moved overseas to work on a big growth project. I have been here for a little over 2 years now, and am enjoying the work, but am also frustrated by Megacorp processes. One of the most important reasons I stick with this is because of my co-workers...a couple of old friends I've worked and shared life adventures with for almost 30 years, and other youngsters just out of school and ready to learn a very interesting field of work. When I finish up with this assignment I will definitely be ready to retire this time, but that will be in 1-3 years. If DW wants continued salary income after that, she will be welcome to go bring it in herself.

So I guess I am saying that you may well feel lost if you take the buyout. I did...but I got over it. And taking the buyout doesn't necessarily mean that your big earning days are over. I'm earning and saving more than double now what I was in 2006. And my networth now is more than double what it was in 2006. Even if you take the package and find you're not ready, you'll still be smart and marketable.

Best of luck in whatever you choose.
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Old 06-05-2013, 08:12 AM   #49
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....Of course, by no means does this suggest that a person should work forever or even that a person should not retire at an early age. Everyone needs to balance what is important to them. But it can be difficult to recognize what is truly important. If I retire next week as part of the company buyout, I may regret the loss of $400K for each additional year I work. Alternatively, I may be delighted by the decision and never look back. I have never retired before. I do not know how it will feel...........
My perceptive from 6 years in retirement - you are going to die, you just don't know when or how. When we are working, we don't have the time to think about what that really means. That money is finite is obvious and reinforced daily. But life is finite, too, and the only real purpose of money is to make life as enjoyable as possible while life lasts. Having a billion dollars to spend in my last year of life wouldn't make me one iota happier, but having another year of retirement to enjoy is priceless. The really hard part is recognizing when we have enough.
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Old 06-05-2013, 01:44 PM   #50
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6) “I will be bored in retirement.”
7) “I will have no purpose or goals if I retire.”
8) “It’s what I know, it’s what I’ve always done.”

Seeing 6, 7, and 8 together made me reflect on why none of these are holding me back. 6 is easy - I'm bored at work, so there's little chance I would be more bored in retirement. The company has been struggling for a long time, and all of the interesting/creative work has disappeared or moved to other locations. 7 is related to 6 - the projects and opportunities that inspired me in the past are long gone, with little hope of coming back, and whatever sense of purpose came along with them is also gone. 8 is also related - the work I'm doing now bears little resemblance to what I was doing when the creative opportunities existed, which is when I felt like I was making a real contribution.

The upside of the company's struggles is this: since I'm no longer getting these things from my job, I've found myself getting these things more and more outside of work. I've developed new interests - especially creative outlets - and have plenty of ideas for things I can do to "make a difference" once I pull the plug and have time to pursue them.

I think I've always been wired for ER, but a lot of the negatives that have been occurring at MegaTechCorp have also been positives in that they will make for an easier transition to ER.
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Old 06-05-2013, 03:06 PM   #51
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So the level of freedom, flexibility, and physical and emotional security provided by money can be very significant. In this sense there is never enough. It is not about material goods. It does not matter if the money is actually spent. But I would rather be in a position to handle any financial life event rather than feel constrained.
I can totally relate to the above having 2 small children who will always be "daddy's girls". Money will never be enough and if I can hang onto work until my 50's (which is still considered very early RE), I should be able to reach FI not just for DW and I but also for my girls lifetime as well (although we would never tell them). However, deep down, I am hoping to be talked out of working past 45...... there is much to do and so little time.

In the end, it will have to be a balance between my remaining life versus theirs.
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:02 PM   #52
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Live And Learn....you need to get over to the Life after Fire Forum and join the Class of 2015. I'm 50, FI and planning to RE in 2015 when I'm 52. Sounds like we are in the same boat. I just want to vest in my pension. Instead of OMY syndrome, I got 22mm syndrome (22 more months).
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:30 PM   #53
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just do it

Shawn, you will land on your feet regardless of when you take the leap.

You have quite clearly learned how to live within your means and really that is all that it takes.

If you wait for all your financial ducks to be lined up "just so" then, chances are, you'll regret not taking the leap sooner. The only financial duck I bothered to line up was the debt-duck. I summarily shot it and have not used a credit card or carried debt since 2002.

I was nowhere close to your level of financial security when I realized that there were more important things in life than pleasing an employer to get a good review and subsequent pay rise or stock options or whatever and ... dare I venture to actually write it .. pleasing the DW to get ... well you know what they say, "happy wife - happy life". mmm, cleverest myth ever conjured by a woman.

After leaving a rather hectic career as an engineer within a hi-tech company I discovered that I have a great capacity for doing very little from day to day without ever growing bored. By very little I don't mean becoming a coach potato. I simply mean choosing some project and working that one project for however long it takes to get a satisfying result. Sometimes its a household project or tied in with one of my children's current need, sometimes its a study project sometimes its pure recreation! Contrast that with working as an employee within the constraints of a shrinking budget, increasingly more products to get to market and the necessity to multi-task just to keep your head above water. I reckon it's bliss to be able to prepare a meal for the family and then all sit at the table to discuss the days affairs. Its even better when your kids willingly assist and learn how to cook and clean up after themselves in the kitchen and the house in general.

Most commentators would say that at age 39 I quit my engineering career too early however, this bothered me only a very little. It sure bothered my DW a lot. That was in 2002. I'd always been the provider and she the consumer. My goals and dreams are quite few and are the type you can realistic save toward while her appetite is for near term luxury and spontaneous pleasures. I could never take her seriously. (If you are reading between the lines then, yes, we did divorce about 8 years later in 2010, I think. Now that severance package was a real bargain!)

Here's the thing. You need to live your life. Be responsible for making yourself happy and count yourself lucky if satisfying this one, albeit selfish, appetite serendipitously makes you wealthy or your partner similarly happy. Of course if you have children (I have 3 surviving children) then you have very clear responsibilities toward them. Even for this, I do not subscribe to the "sacrifice my life to raise the children" philosophy. I reckon that the best role model you can be for your family is to show them a person who has thought carefully about what is important and then consistently set about fulfilling those prioritized needs even at the expense of other, more frivolous, demands placed upon you.

You mentioned a relative possibly needing a house. I think it is wonderful that you are in a position to write a check for her. If this is important to you then do it but if it is merely expected of you because of the net worth you have earned throughout your working life then think twice about your reasons for being so altruistic.

My preferred gift to my family is my time, my attention and whatever wisdom they might divine out of my conversations and my behavior. It is certainly not my cash or my earning potential. It's a cultural thing instilled by my parents probably. Having seen my father die at age 51, my first son die at age 2 and my mother die at age 73 (in that order) you can well imagine that I value the days in a year more than I value the dollars in the bank.

Some time in my 30's I prepared a spread sheet figuring out post-retirement expenses and so forth. The net worth that I thought I needed to retire was a little more than 10 times what I actually had when I did make the decision to at least take an extended sabbatical. (read 5 to 10 years living on savings and passive investments alone ... plus whatever income my DW decided to go out and earn) During the years since 2002 I have been extremely closely involved with my children's middle and high school years and currently university years and now have a daughter graduated law and practicing in Brisbane, a son studying sound and audio engineering in Byron Bay and a gap-year youngest son who is still crystalizing in his mind just what career he might become passionate about.

I have not fully retired. You probably won't either - you might relax at first but if you are young at heart and are mindful of your health then chances are you'll feel compelled to do something in society either for coin or for charity.

I drive a taxi a few nights a week and I have surprised myself that I am still doing so after 3 years. What I get out of that "job" is interaction with lots of interesting people. I've probably acquired more "street smarts" as well! Most of my living expenses are covered by just the tips that I receive so the majority of my income from fares is all cream. Indeed saving money is much easier when you truly know how to live within your means.

Now that my kids are young adults (I still have one to get started in college) I am shifting my focus toward a long-held dream of living aboard a 40-50 foot catamaran and cruising lots of interesting places. I have assured my family that there will be nothing left in the bank for them to inherit unless, perhaps, they can salvage the boat because I am quite certain that I will kick the proverbial bucket whilst blissfully making passage between some exotic locations!

The road has been bumpy, to be sure, but I would not have it any other way.

Good luck with whichever choice you make.
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:37 PM   #54
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The road has been bumpy, to be sure, but I would not have it any other way.

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Well done mate! A life lived well so far. here's to many more ahead
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:50 PM   #55
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I wondered what you would decide. I work where you work with similar financial rewards for working one more year. And I understand exactly that you cannot duplicate your job situation....I can't either. I am about your age or a bit younger. However, I took the buy out and have been thrilled ever since I made that decision. My only fear is that my last day of work will be deferred 30 days and that I will have to work a month longer. But I do understand how hard it is to walk away from the golden handcuffs. It was a tough call to do something so out of the norm from my coworkers even though I too dislike employment that I once loved. I decided I didn't want to be the richest person in the graveyard. I also want my life back and have too many interests. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:18 AM   #56
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My perceptive from 6 years in retirement - you are going to die, you just don't know when or how. When we are working, we don't have the time to think about what that really means. That money is finite is obvious and reinforced daily. But life is finite, too, and the only real purpose of money is to make life as enjoyable as possible while life lasts. Having a billion dollars to spend in my last year of life wouldn't make me one iota happier, but having another year of retirement to enjoy is priceless. The really hard part is recognizing when we have enough.
+1

Perhaps I am in a similar situation as the OP, except every year I work adds a relatively smaller amount ($100-$125K) towards our savings and investments.

However, while we plan for the long term, no one is guaranteed tomorrow. At a certain point in time one must decide which is more valuable - money or time. No one can tell you when that time is. A lot depends on ones own experiences and observations.

Over the last 10 years I have become acutely aware of folks whose long term plans were tragically cut short.Just a week before Memorial Day I was at a family graduation event and met the head of a law firm a nephew works for. Nice guy, mid 40's, had played sports through college and seemed in great shape. Memorial Day weekend my nephew calls me sobbing, this man was playing catch with one of his kids and suddenly collapsed and died instantly. In the last 2 years I have lost 3 co-workers my age or slightly older, all of who were eligible to retire and had the means. One was also sudden, the other two retired when they here diagnosed with serious illnesses and each lived barely a year after that. My DW has said "I'd rather you retired and us having to curb our spending, even selling the house and moving to an apartment, than be a rich widow".

So for me time has become a bigger factor. I have given so much of my time to my Megacorp, and they have paid me handsomely for it, no complaints there. But now I lean towards having control over whatever time I have left, regardless of the compensation I am giving up. Again, just my decision.
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:35 AM   #57
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Well said Catfeet! Very perceptive.

And welcome to the forums!
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:04 PM   #58
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My perceptive from 6 years in retirement - you are going to die, you just don't know when or how. When we are working, we don't have the time to think about what that really means. That money is finite is obvious and reinforced daily. But life is finite, too, and the only real purpose of money is to make life as enjoyable as possible while life lasts. Having a billion dollars to spend in my last year of life wouldn't make me one iota happier, but having another year of retirement to enjoy is priceless. The really hard part is recognizing when we have enough.
+1
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Old 06-06-2013, 03:22 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post

+1
While I side with you, Chuck, and Travel, I have come to the belief it is all up to the individual. Some people like freedom to focus on hobbies or whatever their post work interests are. But, making money can be a hobby in an of itself too. As long as the person knows the trade offs involved, they can be just as happy working and stacking dollars, as I am enjoying doing nothing but living a middle class life of leisure without work.
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Old 06-06-2013, 04:48 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by scrinch View Post
I wasn't emotionally ready for the change, and I felt very lost following my last day at work. I felt like the rest of the world was carrying on with their trip and I was getting off the bus to watch from behind in the dust.
This comment resonates with me more than anything else in this (excellent) thread. But my feelings are the exact opposite: It's when I'm sitting in the office that I feel that the rest of the world is carrying on, and I'm sitting on the sidelines watching, wishing I could be doing what they are doing. The office is lifeless, but there's a lot of life to be lived outside of the office.
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