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Taking the plunge to FIRE
Old 03-23-2011, 11:23 PM   #1
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Taking the plunge to FIRE

Hi all, I posted a couple of months ago on the "hi, I am" board seeking advice on my concerns of ER at 54 - and really received solid advice thanks! Here is how it's gone for me since.

I went on a nice cruise in Feb to clear the head and try to make a final decision about voluntarily giving up a mid six figure income to stay home and start the next phase of my life (DW is still w*rking but very supportive). Came back from the cruise about the same way I left - undecided. After 2 weeks back in the job, I realized it just wasn't my cup of tea anymore, and gave my boss 90 days notice. Since then, it's been an emotional roller coaster. An okay day at work makes me wonder what h... I was thinking. Then a bad day (which is more the norm) makes me feel better about the whole thing. I had envisioned that this time in my life would be a "take this job and shove it" moment and bring absloute peace and contentment. Two weeks in, it's not starting out that way. I don't need for anyone to talk me off the ledge or anything - I'm still committed to the decision I made, and I know I will enjoy ER beginning in June, but....

I've read and heard many times that ER go back to w*rk, because of the money issue. In fact, my father had to do that. I'm not really concerned a great deal about the money, although it wouldn't hurt if I had a bit more. So what are the thoughts form those that may have gone through this decision process - will I like the good life so much that I'll never think about w*rking again? Or will I be searching for something else to do (professionally) in 6 months? And will I find that giddy feeling of leaving the 'employed' once I get a bit closer to the final days?
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:44 PM   #2
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Congrats on your decision!
You can always go back to w*rk if you really have to, and there is only one way to find out if you really have to...
Enjoy!
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Old 03-24-2011, 03:04 AM   #3
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IMO it is important not only to know what you retire from but also what to retire to.
Have you + DW figured out that part yet?
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Old 03-24-2011, 04:39 AM   #4
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... Since then, it's been an emotional roller coaster. An okay day at work makes me wonder what h... I was thinking. Then a bad day (which is more the norm) makes me feel better about the whole thing. I had envisioned that this time in my life would be a "take this job and shove it" moment and bring absloute peace and contentment. Two weeks in, it's not starting out that way. ...

... I'm not really concerned a great deal about the money, although it wouldn't hurt if I had a bit more....

I believe that it is normal to wonder if one is making the right decision (be conflicted about it). Good days and bad days will happen. The decision should not be based on either of those (completely)... although general contentment with work is important since one spends so much of their time an energy doing it.

I am in a similar situation as you. I figure I could go another 10 years... but for what? To continue to do a job I no longer enjoy... and that I know I will not enjoy (but at best tolerate)! I would have more money... but how will that change things if I already have enough to support my lifestyle. More is always better (if all else were equal). But all else may not be equal!

The emotional part is important... However, it is very important to make sure one has enough money to FIRE and have a plan for managing it!
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:14 PM   #5
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I believe that it is normal to wonder if one is making the right decision (be conflicted about it). Good days and bad days will happen. The decision should not be based on either of those (completely)... although general contentment with work is important since one spends so much of their time an energy doing it.

I am in a similar situation as you. I figure I could go another 10 years... but for what? To continue to do a job I no longer enjoy... and that I know I will not enjoy (but at best tolerate)! I would have more money... but how will that change things if I already have enough to support my lifestyle. More is always better (if all else were equal). But all else may not be equal!

The emotional part is important... However, it is very important to make sure one has enough money to FIRE and have a plan for managing it!
There's my answer almost word for word, someone else already wrote it for me. Describes where my head has been at for a long time, I'm gone 6/30/11. But I really don't have any anxiety about my decision any more like the OP may. Thanks Chinaco!
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:20 PM   #6
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There's always the fear of stepping away from a nice paycheck. I had that concern as well.

At the same time, as I've told my still-working friends (I REd 4 years ago), "Even if I had twice as much money, what would I do differently? Not a whole lot."

omni
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Old 03-24-2011, 12:48 PM   #7
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We were in a similar situation as you are, but younger (48 & 45) when we initially ER'd in May '08. After watching our portfolio drop in '08/'09, we decided to go back to work in late '09. I worked part time, DW tried part-time, but it ended up more or less full time, but from home. By mid '10 I stopped working. DW stopped towards the end of '10.

This period of time has given us an immense amount of confidence in our ability to make ER work. We dropped our spending quite a bit without feeling like we were depriving ourselves and were also able to earn some money when needed.

If you have relevant skills & can keep your network current, I don't think it is difficult to go back to work. Remember - you only need to 'fill the gap' or re-build an already big portfolio, so it isn't like you're starting from scratch.

As for the future, if either of us feel the need to do something productive (as in work), we'll just do it. Also, what's the worst that can happen? We'd have to go back to work. Big deal!

If I were to do it again, I wouldn't change a thing. ER is about flexibility for us.

All the best.
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Old 03-24-2011, 01:35 PM   #8
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I retired in 2007 but it did not take so I returned for another year working one or two days a week . A few months into that I realized enough was enough but do to staffing issues I hung on for a year and retired in Jan.2008 and have never looked back . It is scary retiring especially if you have spent a good chunk of your life working . Expect to go through some questioning and even some boredom before you get a new life in retirement .
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:01 PM   #9
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I ER'd June 08, the best day was 7-1-08 when I went to the atm and the pension check was in the bank and I'd not been at w*rk for 30+ days. WOOTWOOT!!
At 56 YO it was the best decision made, I'm not rich but life is so much better than 12 hr shifts in a 24/7 environment.

Good Luck
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:04 PM   #10
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After nearly six months of ER, I think I have just figured out "what's next". I've been volunteering a lot and in the past month or so have discovered that one of the things I am doing which is also closely related to my w*rk is actually a needed and marketable service to other non-profits. So I'm starting the wheels turning to make that into a small consulting business (no more than 10-15 hours/week). I've enjoyed "pure" ER but this now has me more energized than I have been in years.

So my advice is not to worry now about what you will do, instead use what you do in those first months to help you figure out "what's next". And enjoy the ride!!!!
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:26 PM   #11
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I ER'd 5 years ago at the age of 55 and am still very happy with my decision. I haven't worked a day since. There is a good chance that you'll eventually ask yourself this question, "How did I ever have time to work?"

Congratulations, on your decision to join the in crowd and enjoy life to the fullest. Time is indisputably our most important natural resource and once it's exhausted, it can never be replaced. Use it wisely and enjoy!
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:40 PM   #12
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I retired Dec 31 2004 at age 54, once I realized I spent less than ~$25K/year.
I'd rather sell a kidney than go back to w*rk.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:51 PM   #13
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About a year ago I was getting ready to retire at the end of April (age 56) with DH to retire in June. When I started talking about it at work, I was given the opportunity to continue working on a very part-time basis (one day a week).

I had a lot of butterflies the closer it arrived. It is almost a year later now. I did decide to do the part-time work and that has been an interesting experience as it has really clarified to me what I like and don't like about working. I go in to the office usually once a week, occasionally twice. Then I do some work at home. It averages about 50 hours a month.

I have found that I don't mind the actual work. In fact, I kind of enjoy now that I'm not stressed out with having to do too much of it tight deadlines. I find that what I really didn't like was the lack of time to do other things, the high stress and deadlines, and the commute. Working as I'm working though basically takes care of all those issues and working part-time really smoothed the way financially.

At this point I'm finding it pleasant enough that I have no plans to really stop (and no plans not to -- I like that I can totally choose to do this as long as it is fun for me). Right now, I have enough time to do the stuff I never had time to do but I still find the work enjoyable and the extra money -- while not necessary -- is nice to have. And, I really like it that I could stop doing it any time I want to.
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:49 PM   #14
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Thanks for all of the advice and the well wishes. I have been preparing for this time of ER for several years, both financially and emotionally. The financial part was easy for me - it's just running the numbers and allowing plenty of cushion to feel comfortable. My SWR will begin at less than 3% probably less than 2%, if I choose to. No pension, so I created my own by LBYM. I don't really spend much money anymore, except to travel. My financial plan allows for a greater spend in retirement than when I worked. So, I'm good here.

The mental part is what's throwing me off. Never expected that. I think I have prepared for what I would like to do next, but how do I know if it will be satisfying? Like western skies said - "only one way to find out". I left the part time/consulting door open with my employer, but I doubt I will do that.

I'll keep you all posted as I move down the path. A bit over 2 months left to go before the last day. Next week, I begin to tell my staff and co-workers of my decision. Reactions will be interesting. Thanks again!
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:26 AM   #15
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You made a good decision on solid grounds. A big part of "liking retirement" you don't really know until you're retired.

I've been "studying" dozens of people know who retired. Most will never work again, some go back part time, some go back full time.

But ALL of them were glad they decided to retire rather than "continue to cling onto their desks"....
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:49 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by MBAustin View Post
After nearly six months of ER, I think I have just figured out "what's next". I've been volunteering a lot and in the past month or so have discovered that one of the things I am doing which is also closely related to my w*rk is actually a needed and marketable service to other non-profits. So I'm starting the wheels turning to make that into a small consulting business (no more than 10-15 hours/week). I've enjoyed "pure" ER but this now has me more energized than I have been in years.

!!!!

Congratulations on figuring out what's next . It really is different for everybody .
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Old 03-25-2011, 05:32 PM   #17
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I'll keep you all posted as I move down the path. A bit over 2 months left to go before the last day. Next week, I begin to tell my staff and co-workers of my decision. Reactions will be interesting. Thanks again!
Sounds like you're a candidate for this thread too, feel free to enter your info The Class of 2011
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:51 PM   #18
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Sounds like you're a candidate for this thread too, feel free to enter your info The Class of 2011

Yes, by all means please do join the rest of us who aspire to become Kermit the Frog !

I'll be really happy to see everyone listed change by the time New Year's Eve rolls around.
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