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The doubter
Old 05-10-2012, 05:52 AM   #1
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The doubter

Would like any comments on this. I have been working excessive hours and LBYM for many years despite some lifestyle creep. Came up with an ER plan for about age 55 several years back and then stumbled on this site which gave me some great specific ideas about planning. Now I have read some books, made some spreadsheets, beginning to track spending, and had the "talk" with my wife so she is on board. Despite my resolve and excitement about eventual ER, I live in a world where NO ONE plans to retire early. Talked to coworker yesterday who is 66 and doesn't ever plan to retire. I have two partners in my small business who are over 70 and should retire but won't. Another partner recently passed at age 66, diagnosed with fatal illness but kept saying "don't have enough" and kept working until checked into hospital and died after 2 months. I am beginning to feel like I'm the anomaly, the crazy one for wanting to explore a life outside of work.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:08 AM   #2
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Choices. and some guts. If Steve Jobs hadn't gone with his innvoative idea, there wouldn't be Ipads, etc, (yet anyway) and that would be okay. Is it corny to remind you that only you know what is best for you and maybe you have the guts and drive to fulfill it, while your limited number of co-workers have made different choices?
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:24 AM   #3
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Many of us here are financially independent and have to make similar choices. It is a very personal decision. I have made up my mind but I also know that very few in my position would make the same choice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE
Would like any comments on this. I have been working excessive hours and LBYM for many years despite some lifestyle creep. Came up with an ER plan for about age 55 several years back and then stumbled on this site which gave me some great specific ideas about planning. Now I have read some books, made some spreadsheets, beginning to track spending, and had the "talk" with my wife so she is on board. Despite my resolve and excitement about eventual ER, I live in a world where NO ONE plans to retire early. Talked to coworker yesterday who is 66 and doesn't ever plan to retire. I have two partners in my small business who are over 70 and should retire but won't. Another partner recently passed at age 66, diagnosed with fatal illness but kept saying "don't have enough" and kept working until checked into hospital and died after 2 months. I am beginning to feel like I'm the anomaly, the crazy one for wanting to explore a life outside of work.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:48 AM   #4
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I RE'd at 53; not my choice. Would've worked at the job I loved until I dropped despite FI.

Would've been a BIG mistake!

I've come to think that people who keep working even when they don't have to may be having trouble envisioning a different way of life.

Every few weeks I see an old friend/classmate/aquaintance in the obits, ages 58-62.

Early on after RE, I went into the local wine store and asked the owner for a part time job. He said: "You're doing what everyone else wishes they could do...what is wrong with you?!" I walked out and never looked back.

Life is too short!

Good luck!
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:54 AM   #5
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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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Old 05-10-2012, 07:09 AM   #6
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I asked myself the same question on retirement due to the same situation with those I wor*ed with, in the following way:

"Do I want to live my own life, in my own manner and own way, or live life as others are/have done".

What they have chosen to do had nothing to do with me ...
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:11 AM   #7
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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!
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:22 AM   #8
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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.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:25 AM   #9
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It is not all about not working, it is about being in a position where one can choose to work as opposed to having to work. That's the FI part of FIRE.

Beyond that, many cling to the structure of the work world out of inertia or fear.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigE View Post
.... I live in a world where NO ONE plans to retire early...
I use to live in that world too, that is until I retired.

the majority of people will do nothing about working to get out of a situation
in which they dislike. that is just the way it is.
It has to do with everything in their life. they would rather look for someone to complain too than actually do something positive about their situation.
would not worry about what they think but figure out what is important in your life
good luck
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:53 AM   #11
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You didn't say how close you are to actually being FI and being able to retire. If you're 35, I wouldn't worry about it at this point. If you are now 55 and are FIRE material, you have to decide what your unemployed-by-choice lifestyle will be like. You are apparently surrounded by the same type of people I am. There are several 70+ people in my department and many over 65. Only 2 people have retired since I came here almost 8 years ago. One developed cancer and it successfully went into remission. I think he had an epiphany and retired at 62. People were shocked. The second retiree turned 65 and announced his retirement. Everyone in management tried to talk him out of it and kept telling him how hard it would be. He left anyway and tells me he's doing great.

The biggest issue to retirement is finding a new life for yourself. We have friends where the wife hasn't been employed for 20+ years and no kids at home for over a decade. When her husband talked about retiring, she just couldn't imagine what he would do all day. She wants him to work forever. I asked her what she did all day. Apparently, she has no trouble filling her day but still can't imagine what he'd do.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:57 AM   #12
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........
would not worry about what they think but figure out what is important in your life
good luck
+1 Exactly, you can't let other people live your life for you.
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Old 05-10-2012, 08:31 AM   #13
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Interesting. That was one of my biggest fears. That I would've w*rked and w*rked until old age and not know when to call it a career. I have some relatives in that boat. They definitely can afford to FIRE (kids have grown and finished college and now have successful careers of their own). Yet they choose to w*rk long hours when they really don't need to. One tried retirement a few times but I guess got restless so is w*rking again.

I suppose that some w*rk because that's all they've known for many years. Or some enjoy the company or prestige or the income.

It's all a personal preference. For me, I'd much rather be retired and putz around when I want to.
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:19 AM   #14
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Thanks for all the input and shared experience. Additional info would include I'm late 40's and have no problems finding things to do when I have (rare) time off and really don't think I'll have problems finding more interests...God I love to putter and tinker! And I haven't really met anyone who continues to work during advanced age b/c they love their occupation; I'm sure they exist, just have not met any (including the four persons mentioned in the original post). I enjoy reading about others successful retirement because quite frankly it gives me hope that I can achieve this as well, especially since I am living in a small provence where no one even talks about retirement. Thanks again.
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:10 AM   #15
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I'm late 40's and have no problems finding things to do when I have (rare) time off and really don't think I'll have problems finding more interests...God I love to putter and tinker!
I think this is the key.

Many people keep working because they really don't know how to 'entertain' themselves 24/7.

Also, we are all here for an unspecified but finite amount of time --- how do you want to spend yours....working or enjoying life?

omni
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:19 PM   #16
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I live in a similar world where early retirement is unusual.

As obgyn65 says, it is a very personal decision. For me, it came down to a few questions that were simple to ask and surprisingly simple to answer:

1. do I have enough money to be comfortable that I will never have to go back to work?
2. will I be able to keep myself physically and mentally engaged?
3. which will I regret more - retiring early and settling for less money or working longer and settling for less life?
4. is the wife supportive?

I would have FIREd at the end of 2011 but decided I needed a little more money to get comfortable. Absent a compelling change in circumstances, I will retire at either end of 2012 or early 2013 at age 46/47.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by traineeinvestor View Post
I live in a similar world where early retirement is unusual.

As obgyn65 says, it is a very personal decision. For me, it came down to a few questions that were simple to ask and surprisingly simple to answer:

1. do I have enough money to be comfortable that I will never have to go back to work?
2. will I be able to keep myself physically and mentally engaged?
3. which will I regret more - retiring early and settling for less money or working longer and settling for less life?
4. is the wife supportive?

I would have FIREd at the end of 2011 but decided I needed a little more money to get comfortable. Absent a compelling change in circumstances, I will retire at either end of 2012 or early 2013 at age 46/47.
+1 though partners could retire anytime from 55 to 60, and were required to retire at 60, and the vast majority stayed until 60. I made it pretty clear from when I was 50 that even though I was a high performer and enjoyed my work that I had other priorities in my life that were important to me and I was going to retire early and settle for less money.
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:57 PM   #18
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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.

Many of the later baby boomers did not start contributing to 401ks, IRAs, etc. early enough because they thought that pensions from private corporations were a given. For many, that didn't work out so well.

So on to Plan B, using the proceeds from your primary residence to downsize and/or move to a lower COLA. Uhm, that one hasn't worked out so well either.

In the meantime, the cost of health care has increased exponentially.

I believe the primary reason more people don't RE is because they are not FI.

IF you do your homework and see that you are FI and want to RE, I say go for it!!
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:12 PM   #19
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BigE, I guess I don't qualify anymore as someone who might actually retire early as I'll be 63 later this year and I'm still working. But, I have some minor personal insights on your thoughts.

I work in a small professional firm with 5 partners and 2 other professionals, along with a staff of 9. Business has been very hard for the last 2 or 3 years, but we've managed. I'm 2d oldest, and the oldest is 65. I drive the most modest car of any of the partners and have generally taken the most inexpensive vacations. We've saved a lot, inherited a little and are modestly well off. We've got 2 houses, no debt except one mortage that is very small. Based on FIRECALC, we've got enough to maintain our lifestyle forever.

My concern has been what happens to this little business I've been involved with for almost my entire adult life. This year, I agreed to take less compensation in exchange for more time off, but I'm discovering it is really difficult to carry out. I just don't like doing this anymore. Like you, I have plenty of things to do outside of work, so that isn't an issue. Maybe a sense of obligation is a problem.

What scares me is that the 65 year old is afraid to quit. He's not as financially well off as we are, but he's okay. He says he doesn't know what he would do. He's kind of coasting, but still taking a full share. I never, ever want to be in a situation where I don't like working but am afraid to quit becuase I don't know what I would do.

I go back and forth. Right now, I'm thinking that I might work for a few months next year, to help the folks here out, and then pull the plug. We're in Florida, so the winter months are the nicest time of year. Our other home is in the mountains and the nicest time of year there is spring to fall. So maybe I'll work some until spring and then fly the coup.

It is hard to pull the trigger, and I haven't done it, but kind of tiptoeing into it isn't working too well either.

Good luck.
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Old 05-11-2012, 02:25 PM   #20
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67walkon, what you describe has a lot of similarities to the situation I was in. I had dialed back my hours to 80%, then later to 50% and still enjoyed my work. While I only worked 50% or 80%, I felt like I was "on-call" 24/7.

Some of it was my own fault in that if a client or colleague called wanting to o a conference call and I didn't have other plans I would say yes so it seems that I ended up working a bit each day (some more than others). While it made sense from a business perspective, I never felt like I had contiguous time off because I was on call all the time.

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.

Since I couldn't find a way to make it work, I RE'd.
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