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Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Old 08-14-2010, 03:37 PM   #1
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Somewhere Over the Rainbow

No idea why I chose that title...except to get you to look (obviously it worked).

A post on another thread prompted this one, but I didn't post there so as not to 'rain on anyone's parade.' It's a recurring thought when I read on this forum, that I've never gotten past.

I don't enjoy my work anymore and we are comfortably beyond FI by most any measure but I can't pull the trigger. When people voice their 'can't pull the trigger despite FI' concerns here, (with a few exceptions) they're met with lots of people who retired several years ago (some even months ago). With all due respect, I would expect everything would be peachy for at least 10 years or more.

I am not at all concerned about funding retirement for 30 years or so, it's what comes after that that's hard to get my head around. Practically, I truly realize it's pointless to worry about life that far down the road. Acting on that knowledge is something else again.

I've concluded that there is no concrete answer, life has risks before retirement and after, no getting around it. Ultimately we all just throw caution to the wind one day, when (right or wrong) we're comfortable we've prepared well enough to sleep at night...

If there is a better answer - I'd love to hear it.
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Old 08-14-2010, 03:38 PM   #2
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If there is a better answer - I'd love to hear it.
Learn to love your job.

Seriously, some people are simply so risk averse they can never be sure the time is right. Early retirement isn't for everyone, even those who are financially "set". Nothing wrong with working until you are 65 or 70 if that helps you sleep at night.

It is possible you will have some sort of "incident" at some point in the future - the serious illness or loss of someone close to you, a particularly unpleasant experience at work, a personal health scare, etc. - which will suddenly change your outlook on pulling the plug. (Note that I'm certainly not wishing this on you, merely pointing out incidents like this can and do change everything.)
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Old 08-14-2010, 03:43 PM   #3
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What is the question?
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Old 08-14-2010, 04:23 PM   #4
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I don't enjoy my work anymore and we are comfortably beyond FI by most any measure but I can't pull the trigger. When people voice their 'can't pull the trigger despite FI' concerns here, (with a few exceptions) they're met with lots of people who retired several years ago (some even months ago). With all due respect, I would expect everything would be peachy for at least 10 years or more.


I can fully relate . I worked nine years after I was really FI . It was just inertia . I am one of these people who does not like change so the familiar is usually better even though when I am forced to make a change I like it and thrive . Because work was part of my life for so long I could not see a life without it until one day I just said I need to try it . My Boss thought I was kidding so I finally convinced her I was burned out and needed a break . I said the break may be for six months or forever I'm not sure . It was easy for me to make the step because I could always go back at the same salary but I did not return I tried a new life and I really like it now . So yes I can fully understand your feelings and I day they may change .
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Old 08-14-2010, 06:19 PM   #5
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I don't enjoy my work anymore and we are comfortably beyond FI by most any measure but I can't pull the trigger. When people voice their 'can't pull the trigger despite FI' concerns here, (with a few exceptions) they're met with lots of people who retired several years ago (some even months ago). With all due respect, I would expect everything would be peachy for at least 10 years or more.

I am not at all concerned about funding retirement for 30 years or so, it's what comes after that that's hard to get my head around. Practically, I truly realize it's pointless to worry about life that far down the road. Acting on that knowledge is something else again.
So if I understand correctly, you're pretty sure you have enough money, but you wonder what you would do all day after the first 10 - 30 years of retirement bliss?

You're right, that's a long way away to be worrying about. But even if you can't help yourself, why would continuing to work make it better? Are you thinking that you'll only be happy being retired for so long, so you'd better not go too early?

Another way to think of it might be that even if it's true that in 30 years your life will have gone downhill, you might as well spend the time until then having fun as a FIRE-ee
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Old 08-14-2010, 07:40 PM   #6
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What is the question?
I was mentally composing a response when I realized it felt like w*rk. Follow you bliss, Midpack.
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Old 08-14-2010, 08:54 PM   #7
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As I countdown to retirement (sometime between the end of 2011 and 2013), I've been asking myself a number of non-financial questions, (including the "what will I do all day" question) and have come to the following realisations:

1. since I no longer enjoy my job, I'm going with the theory that early retirement will have to be better

2. time is a finite asset, I likely have fewer years with good health ahead of me than I have already experienced - I'm not keen on wasting any more of them chained to my desk than I have to

3. I'm pretty sure I will regret not retireing more than I will regret FIREing
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:12 PM   #8
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Sitting around the house all day, day after day, can turn a retirement into a punishment rather than a reward. If your impulse is not to jump off the work treadmill, you could be one of those who won't enjoy retirement. Perhaps do a "test retirement" to see how you like it.
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:29 PM   #9
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If there is a better answer - I'd love to hear it.
If you were highly invested in your career, it could be the fear of no longer being seen as worthwhile. That doesn't seem to be the issue here.

If you are afraid of change (who isn't?) then you need something to pull you TO retirement, instead of fear of being pushed into it. What do you like to do? What have you been unable to do all these years, because you were too busy/tired/burnt out due to w*rk? Consider scaling back your workday or your work week to play at those things, whether it be golf, volunteering, hiking or whatever. That's what I am doing now. I have a vision of a time when I can do those things as much as I want, every week. It's very appealing!
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Old 08-14-2010, 09:46 PM   #10
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So if I understand correctly, you're pretty sure you have enough money, but you wonder what you would do all day after the first 10 - 30 years of retirement bliss?
I thought midpack's issue was not that. That is, he believes he is FI and thinks he has more than enough money. He thinks that say 15 years from now or 25 years from now he will. His fear (rational or not) is that at some point -- say 31 years from now -- he runs out of money or doesn't have enough for the lifestyle he wants.

TO Midpack:

If that is indeed your concern, I can't tell you that it is wrong. I can tell you it is something far more likely to happen to my DH and I than it is to you simply because DH retired (and I went part time) with us having less reserves than you apparently have. In our case, I feel that if things start going wrong we will know and be able to adjust. Neither he nor I came from families that had a lot of money and so we picture retirement as a modest lifestyle. We have enough now but have room to cut back and think that will work. But maybe it won't.

You seem worried about the tiny risk of not having enough many many years from now. That is a real risk (although small). The point is that risk exists if you choose not to retire. Yes, if you retire --ever -- there is always the possiblity you run out of money. That risk can never be eliminated.

However, not retiring has its own risks. The risk of never retiring. The risk of having less enjoyment for the rest of your life than you would have if you retired.

You get to pick which risk bothers you more. The important thing to realize is that there is a risk either way.
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Old 08-14-2010, 10:19 PM   #11
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I often post here about maintaining my part-time work for money reason. I am fortunate to have the option of working as much or as little as I want, as long as I do not over-commit and leave a project in limbo while I take off on a trip.

I don't know about Midpack's stash or his expenses relative to mine, but for me, my extra income helps my indulgence in travel and toys like the used RV and the used car/toad I bought this year with cash. I do not hate my work, so it is not a big sacrifice for me to put in some work to pay for toys.

But, I do not really worry about running out of money 30 years from now, in fact not even 20 years from now. I don't know about others, but I believe our life will be more sedentary in our 70s. And in our 80s, god knows if we last that long, other than food and housing costs, I do not see what we will be spending money on.

And if we happen to remain healthy, but do not have the money to indulge in activities that we enjoy in our earlier years, heh, we can always say we've "been there, done that". Our fate would still be better than that of people I know who dropped dead while working, some even at work!
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Old 08-14-2010, 10:45 PM   #12
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I've concluded that there is no concrete answer, life has risks before retirement and after, no getting around it. Ultimately we all just throw caution to the wind one day, when (right or wrong) we're comfortable we've prepared well enough to sleep at night...

If there is a better answer - I'd love to hear it.
Like Frank Sinatra, we can probably all say "I did it my way".

I don't have a better answer. My way was to plan, think of every possible eventuality that could mess up my plans, plan some more, plan, plan, and plan some more until I had a 20 spreadsheet Excel workbook containing what I felt was a bulletproof retirement plan for me, both financial and emotional/recreational. It's not perfect, I am sure, but I beat it to death and I did my very best.

Then, last November 9th was The Day. Despite all my planning, and even despite an unexpected inheritance, walking out that door after my last day at w*rk still felt like I was stepping off a cliff. Just make sure you are solidly prepared before you take that last, exhilarating step.

If things change unpredictably during the next 30 years, you can always adjust your plan accordingly. On the other hand, none of us has a guarantee of living 30 years.
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:34 PM   #13
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I'm not sure of your age midpack but I think of SS as an insurance hanging out there for me. So I tend to think if I can just make it to that point in life I'll be OK. That kind of keeps me from worring so far out in never never land. Maybe that would help you to break things down into small year numbers. Keep much smaller steps and time frames in mind.
Steve
PS. And yes I think it will be there in some form for all.
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Old 08-15-2010, 07:55 AM   #14
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I've concluded that there is no concrete answer, life has risks before retirement and after, no getting around it. Ultimately we all just throw caution to the wind one day, when (right or wrong) we're comfortable we've prepared well enough to sleep at night...
I suppose that's the key. One has to be comfortable with the choice. I ended up with another job, but a bunch of issues make it possible for me to do that. There's no heavy lifting, I work afternoon hours (I like to sleep late and loathe alarm clocks) the commute is short and easy, and most important, I still have my KMA hat. In short, I'm working because I want to, not because I have to.

The upside is the extra income (the bulk of which is going to savings/investments) allows us to do stuff that we otherwise would hesitate to do, since every expenditure has an opportunity cost. Without it, there's no way I would have dropped $12k on a motorcycle.

I was discussing this very issue last night with another retiree who also works where I do. We are both in the position where we don't need the extra income, but it buys options that we wouldn't have otherwise. He also bought a motorcycle with the additional income but like me the bulk of it is going to savings.

That's where the optimism comes in. We're both making the bet that there will be a "later" where the work now will have a payoff.

I have a relative, a half-brother-in-law, who is 25 years my senior and whose opinions and advice I have always valued and respected. My parents were older when I came into the world (Dad was 40, Mom was 36) and in my teens the generation gap was huge. My parents remembered the '30's Depression and it influenced their behavior for the rest of their lives, which seemed irrelevant to me then. The half-brother-in-law and half-sister were old enough to have experience and young enough to have credibility.

He's 85, and discussing my choice to go back to work I mentioned that if I kept working until 65 I'd be able to bank another $150k or so. Without hesitation he said "Do it." He's comfortable, has a pension, but I get the idea all is not entirely well.

So "you pays your money and takes your chances".
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Old 08-15-2010, 08:52 AM   #15
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I took an ER buyout when I realized the small pension exceeded my spending.
I didn't worry about what I would do.
It was a "run screaming into the night" decision.
Mental/physical health are much improved.
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Old 08-15-2010, 08:58 AM   #16
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So if I understand correctly, you're pretty sure you have enough money, but you wonder what you would do all day after the first 10 - 30 years of retirement bliss?
My post was somewhat rambling and unclear. But not worried about what I'd do all do. It's that I can't convince myself that we're 'pretty sure we have enough money' 30-45 years from now. That's why the frequent comments in other strings here from (mostly) relatively recent retirees are puzzling to me. Of course it's peachy at first...
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:05 AM   #17
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My post was somewhat rambling and unclear. But not worried about what I'd do all do. It's that I can't convince myself that we're 'pretty sure we have enough money' 30-45 years from now. That's why the frequent comments in other strings here from (mostly) relatively recent retirees are puzzling to me. Of course it's peachy at first...
So you are planning on waiting until some of us "so far, so good but retired less than ten years" retirees get 30-45 years under our belt and report back before you pull the plug?
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:09 AM   #18
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I think that, no matter how good your numbers, there's always a leap of faith in deciding to retire early. That leap is just easier to make if your j*b is killing you.
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:10 AM   #19
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I thought midpack's issue was not that. That is, he believes he is FI and thinks he has more than enough money. He thinks that say 15 years from now or 25 years from now he will. His fear (rational or not) is that at some point -- say 31 years from now -- he runs out of money or doesn't have enough for the lifestyle he wants.
Exactly, thanks. My post wasn't very direct...
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Originally Posted by NW-Bound
But, I do not really worry about running out of money 30 years from now, in fact not even 20 years from now. I don't know about others, but I believe our life will be more sedentary in our 70s. And in our 80s, god knows if we last that long, other than food and housing costs, I do not see what we will be spending money on.
Big losses in the market leading to an overall shortage of cash and/or health care costs spiraling completely out of control.
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Originally Posted by Stevewc
I'm not sure of your age midpack but I think of SS as an insurance hanging out there for me. So I tend to think if I can just make it to that point in life I'll be OK. That kind of keeps me from worring so far out in never never land.
I'm 56, DW is 54. We're about 40X (where FI is argubly 25-33X) now. If I was 5 years older, I'd consider SS and Medicare close enough, at 56 it looks a long way off. We have no pension or retiree health care of any kind.
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I suppose that's the key. One has to be comfortable with the choice. In short, I'm working because I want to, not because I have to.
I had my "speech written" to retire in May, but balked. I am coming to the conclusion that I need to retire, and go to work doing something I enjoy regardless of the money. Laying in a hammock or playing golf would bore me to death within a week (at least for now).
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:16 AM   #20
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So you are planning on waiting until some of us "so far, so good but retired less than ten years" retirees get 30-45 years under our belt and report back before you pull the plug?
I get it. But actually, it would be a lot more reassuring if there were more posts from folks 20-30 years out, who could add some perspective to the $ aspect of retirement. There have been a few, but they are very rare. Although, those folks lived through some good times investment wise, I'd be surprised if we see that ahead of us. Witha ll due respect, the folks that post in response to those who are reluctant to take the step saying 'I retired 6 years/months ago and it's wonderful, you'll love it' aren't that convincing IMO...
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