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Old 05-11-2012, 02:43 PM   #21
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Others have to work in order to make ER possible. If every person in America planned to ER and did at age 45... all of that accumulated wealth wouldn't grow much because there would be a lot less people/businesses out there to invest it in. In that sense, you can thank your buddies for not retiring early.

If say the average American must work 75% of their adult life (approx 40 years) to support our economic growth... we're fortunate that so many choose to work 90% (50 years)... so we only have to work for 30-50% of ours (20-30 years).

Reminds me of the saying that anyone can become a top 10% earner with enough hard work. True... but if literally EVERYONE tried, 90% would still fall short.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:54 PM   #22
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Others have to work in order to make ER possible.
ER is not a zero-sum game. The theory that the economy would grind to a halt if we all stopped working is based on flawed assumptions of economic activity and how people really spend their workdays.

The real tragedy that would happen if we all quit working is there would be no more department meetings or mandatory safety training!

Early hunter-gatherer civilizations only worked a few hours a day to get the survival business taken care of, and they didn't even have cheap broadband. But they probably had some primitive form of department meetings and mandatory safety training...
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Old 05-12-2012, 08:44 AM   #23
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Big E, you are an anomaly. Most people live at or beyond their means and do not adequately save and invest for retirement and don't have a choice. Others have a choice but don't know they do since they have never done the work to understand they have enough.

You have a choice that many don't have. To thine own self be true.
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It sounds like there is a lot of overlap between your work and your social network, and it's time to broaden your horizons. If you've done the spreadsheets and the numbers look promising, the next step might be to get involved in activities and with people that are not your work.
+1. Saved me the typing.
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I realize that there are a lot of people who love their work or think they have nothing better to do than work, but my guess would be that many just are not FI to RE.
The Millionaire Next Door would say you're 2/3rds right IIRC. 1/3rd are FI or well beyond, and indeed some actually love what they do. I actually know a few people who do and they achieved FI a long time ago. We should all be so "lucky."
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Old 05-14-2012, 07:13 AM   #24
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I toyed with the idea of making weekends Mondays or Fridays sacrosanct, but when a client or colleague calls and has a problem that they need an answer to it doesn't work in our business to tell them they need to wait for 2 or 3 days.
Not calling BS - I don't know what industry you worked in, or what the legitimate expectations might reasonably be - but in general I think there is far too much of this sort of thing in contemporary society. Except for a few people in emergency services, the great majority work in jobs where immediate turnaround is not genuinely required.

I refuse to carry a crackberry or check emails / voicemails more than once daily (or at all, when away from the office). So far, that has not resulted in any deaths! ;-)
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Old 05-14-2012, 09:49 AM   #25
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Pretty presumptuous of you Milton.

I worked with demanding clients who paid us a lot of money for our services who were almost in 24/7 mode when a hot deal was in the works. To be fair more like 12-15 hour days 6 days a week and "on-call" the rest of the time. In many cases international deals so also doing conference calls at odd hours to coordinate work with colleagues in Europe and Asia. Highly demanding clients, but understandable given the stakes and what they were paying us.

If we couldn't respond promptly, it wouldn't meet the clients' needs, they would be unhappy and simply use one of our competitors who was willing to meet their needs in the future. the culture was such that nobody wanted to be the one who screwed up a valuable multi-million dollar client relationship because they were not willing to make the necessary sacrifices to provide outstanding client service.
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:03 AM   #26
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Not calling BS - I don't know what industry you worked in, or what the legitimate expectations might reasonably be - but in general I think there is far too much of this sort of thing in contemporary society. Except for a few people in emergency services, the great majority work in jobs where immediate turnaround is not genuinely required.

I refuse to carry a crackberry or check emails / voicemails more than once daily (or at all, when away from the office). So far, that has not resulted in any deaths! ;-)
While I don't disagree there is too much of this in society today, you would have lost your job pretty quickly with your stance where I worked, and I don't believe my situation was unusual for white collar jobs above entry level today (for lack of a better term).

I don't know what industry you were in, but I was in manufacturing and refusing to carry a BB (for a Dept Mgr or anyone above thru the CEO) and not checking email/vmail continuously wasn't an option. We had our BB's with us 24/7, vacations included. While it wouldn't have "resulted in any deaths" and "immediate turnaround [was] not genuinely required" - customers absolutely demanded it. Times have changed radically...
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:08 AM   #27
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I resisted carrying a BB for many years as I was afraid work would be more intrusive on personal time.

When I finally got a BB I found it provided me more freedom. Shortly after I got the BB there was a baseball game I wanted to go to but I was expecting something from a colleague that needed a quick response. Since I had the BB I was able to go to the baseball game, during which I received an email from the colleague, responded to it and then went on to watch the rest of the baseball game. All in all, I found having a BB to provide me with more freedom rather than less freedom.
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:12 AM   #28
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I resisted carrying a BB for many years as I was afraid work would be more intrusive on personal time.

When I finally got a BB I found it provided me more freedom. Shortly after I got the BB there was a baseball game I wanted to go to but I was expecting something from a colleague that needed a quick response. Since I had the BB I was able to go to the baseball game, during which I received an email from the colleague, responded to it and then went on to watch the rest of the baseball game. All in all, I found having a BB to provide me with more freedom rather than less freedom.
I refused when they were a novelty/status symbol very early on, but refusing wouldn't be an option today. I also found it convenient at first, but it becomes a real nuisance/mixed blessing in time. The first time I got an email from my boss while on vacation driving across the Newport (RI) Bridge with my spouse, followed by a "strong" follow up call about a half-hour later I really wanted to throw it in the Atlantic/Narragansett Bay. It was something I just had to deal with, pretty difficult without all the info I'd have at my fingertips at work. It wasn't my boss who was pushing, it was a big (totally unreasonable) customer. I'd love to name the bastards them, it's a household name, but I know better...
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Old 05-14-2012, 10:24 AM   #29
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ER is not a zero-sum game. The theory that the economy would grind to a halt if we all stopped working is based on flawed assumptions of economic activity and how people really spend their workdays.

The real tragedy that would happen if we all quit working is there would be no more department meetings or mandatory safety training!

Early hunter-gatherer civilizations only worked a few hours a day to get the survival business taken care of, and they didn't even have cheap broadband. But they probably had some primitive form of department meetings and mandatory safety training...
In my mind the hunter-gatherer civilizations make for an even simpler example of what I was trying to say:

Lets say BamBam has a life expectancy of 32 years... the first 10 years of life he is supported by his family and tribe. As a worker he collects and hunts for the next 20 years to provide for himself, his family, and the community. At an old age 30 he has a crippling injury and lasts another 2 years on the labor of others collecting and gathering food for him. In that world... there is no ability to stop "working" early without others to support you. If everyone in the tribe wanted to retire early, say at age 20... the SUM work required to collect food wouldn't support that average 12 year retirement for everyone.

Today instead of food, we are trying to accumulate money. Without others working, your money won't turn into more money very efficiently. When you invest you are putting money somewhere and hoping others working turns it into more money... without people working (or perpetual machines and vast amounts of unsupervised energy) your money won't grow. Maybe someday when robots do everything for us unsupervised... that will change things.

As a thought experiment... if every single American living above the poverty line did what others here do to allow them to retire at 45 (say, putting aside 30% of pay in an intelligent investment no matter what), it would create an unsustainable system. My guess is that it would still work... but the returns on investments would shrink accordingly (so you'd need EVEN more to make it... to the point where only the same percentage could really achieve ER)
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Old 05-14-2012, 11:43 AM   #30
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Ask yourself the three "enough" questions...

Do you have enough ?
Have you had enough ?
Do you have enough to do ?
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:39 PM   #31
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Just because you (and most of us ) are looking forward to e-r'ing doesn't mean that it's right for everyone. Your coworkers are making their own choices that are presumably right for them on levels that might not be financial, and you're setting yourself up nicely for what you want. Good for all of you!
+1

Like Dave Ramsey says often....

"you are weird"
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:14 PM   #32
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I have only a few days left till I ER at 51.5. DW works at the same place as me and her friends tell her that a lot of people are talking about it. Apparently someone said "Well, if <BigNick> has done the math and decided to take the money and run, he's probably got it right". Quite a nice ego boost, that.

Most other people seem to be publicly slightly incredulous, which I take to suggest that they may be privately slightly jealous. I think there may also be some people whose DH/DW is hoping that they don't get "the bug".
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:22 PM   #33
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Most other people seem to be publicly slightly incredulous, which I take to suggest that they may be privately slightly jealous.
I suspect those people have another 28 years on their McMansion refinanced mortgage and are way in debt to Master Card.

The concept of saving aggressively for retirement escapes many until it's too late for them to do much about it. This topic dovetails nicely with the concurrent thread running about starting saving early (or not) and nest egg size.
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Old 05-14-2012, 03:58 PM   #34
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I suspect those people have another 28 years on their McMansion refinanced mortgage and are way in debt to Master Card.

The concept of saving aggressively for retirement escapes many until it's too late for them to do much about it.
In our case, more like the second home in a nice part of the Mediterranean and (for the men, at least) their wives' shopping habits... man, you can whizz a lot of $$$ up the wall on designer stuff. So they typically won't have huge debts (perhaps a mortgage on the second home that they could clear by selling it), but they would certainly take a lifestyle hit.

The true miracle of saving for retirement is the "double effect": you have money to spend and you're used to spending less. It's such a good idea in general that it's the basis of the French banks' "housing saving plan"; basically, you sock a few hundred /$ away every month for a few years (and the government gives you a tax break on the interest to sweeten the deal), then you can get a better rate on the first XX amount of your home loan as a function of what you saved. You've shown the bank that you can live without that few hundred a month, so when you buy your home you won't have big problems with the fact that the repayments are higher than your rent was (which, with a 15-year repayment mortgage being standard in France, is usually true).
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:36 PM   #35
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If we couldn't respond promptly, it wouldn't meet the clients' needs, they would be unhappy and simply use one of our competitors who was willing to meet their needs in the future. the culture was such that nobody wanted to be the one who screwed up a valuable multi-million dollar client relationship because they were not willing to make the necessary sacrifices to provide outstanding client service.
Of course. In the private enterprise world, you don't get paid for existing, you get paid for satisfying customers and clients. If you do not do that, like you say, they go down the street, or to Germany, or Japan, or Indonesia or India or...

Ha
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Old 05-14-2012, 05:38 PM   #36
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As a thought experiment... if every single American living above the poverty line did what others here do to allow them to retire at 45 (say, putting aside 30% of pay in an intelligent investment no matter what), it would create an unsustainable system. My guess is that it would still work... but the returns on investments would shrink accordingly (so you'd need EVEN more to make it... to the point where only the same percentage could really achieve ER)
You musst not think bad thoughts!

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Old 05-14-2012, 07:23 PM   #37
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Ask yourself the three "enough" questions...

Do you have enough ?
Have you had enough ?
Do you have enough to do ?
Excellent questions for the OP to consider.
At about 2 years before retirement I assessed those exact questions and answered:
1. Enough and a bit of margin.
2. Enough and way too much margin.
3. Enough and will work to add more.

I have not done so well on #3 but there is not one day that I have considered going back to work, not a single one.
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:43 AM   #38
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Good post, MasterBlaster.

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Pretty presumptuous of you Milton.
Please refer to the first sentence of my earlier post.
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:08 AM   #39
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I don't know what industry you were in, but I was in manufacturing and refusing to carry a BB (for a Dept Mgr or anyone above thru the CEO) and not checking email/vmail continuously wasn't an option. We had our BB's with us 24/7, vacations included. While it wouldn't have "resulted in any deaths" and "immediate turnaround [was] not genuinely required" - customers absolutely demanded it. Times have changed radically...
It has been my experience that customers/customers/employers have virtually unlimited expectations. There is no doubt that to a certain extent, those demands must be met. However, trying to meet ALL of their expectations is a sure road to a stressful, unhealthy, unhappy and resentful life, IMO.

I have found that doing high quality work at reasonable rates is much more important than being 'on call' at all times. YMMV.
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