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Those who plan to ER in their 30's/40's...are you unfulfilled by your career?
Old 07-12-2013, 04:02 PM   #1
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Those who plan to ER in their 30's/40's...are you unfulfilled by your career?

I've been lurking on this forum for a while now and something that I've found intriguing is the number of people who are/plan to ER in their mid 40's or so. As an outsider looking in...being retired at such a young age seems like it would lead to an unsatisfying existence.

In the company I work for, quite a few people in their mid to upper 40's have some of the best positions. Often times these positions pay upwards of $150K/ year, there is a decent amount of travel involved, and you truly are the manager of a small facet of a large company. Being 22 years old, I aspire to be in one of these positions as I gain experience and many of those who hold these jobs seem to enjoy what they do and the various interactions on a daily basis unlike the boring and monotonous work I perform being entry-level.

So for those wanting to ER in their 40's...my question is why? Are you sick of work period? Does your company allow for no room to grow into better/more interesting opportunities? Do you simply want to spend more time with family?

If you enjoy what you do...is it really even "work"? Of course everyone has their bad days but when you have a job that leads to some type of self-fulfillment, why would you want to ER?

Inquiring minds...
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:17 PM   #2
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I have had the same mindset. I'm 31 and LOVE what I do right now. Luckily I get paid generously for it too.

However, I'm positioned for moving into management and i'm sure I will at some point. Bosses expect it. From what I see in others, that tends to burn a person out. More hours, harder work. Why do you think certain people make it into those positions? Not by just putting in their 40 hours a week... they work hard. They overachieve.

Despite loving what you do for work... there is no replacement for time, you can't get it back. You will always find other stuff you enjoy doing more.

So although I love what I do now, I want to have options when I'm 50 - retiring being one of them. At that point, if I really want to continue working, I will. I'm guessing I'll want to spend more time with family and traveling. We'll see
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:20 PM   #3
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In my early 40s I realized that chasing a temporary title was not the golden egg I thought it was. My family and other interests had grown in importance to me. Additionally we had always lived way below our means so early retirement was an option. Now almost seven years in it was a very good decision for DW, the kids, and I. The experiences we have had, the trips we have made, the deeper friendships we have, the many opportunities to help others and try new things, all would still be limited if we were still w*rking.

When we retired we both had reached a maturity level that made early retirement make sense for us. Retirement is a lot like marriage you know when its time and when its right.
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:28 PM   #4
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For many of us work boils down to a trade between time and money. Once you reach financial independence, more money and power may add limited value, and once you hit middle age you may become more acutely aware of how much time you have left. Sometimes this attitude change is triggered by a traumatic event such as a health scare, death of a loved one, or birth of a grandchild. So people who are FI and feel they have better things to do than add to their pile may suddenly decide to jump off the gravy train to the astonishment of their management and co-workers. I guess I'm saying that priorities and long term goals may change over the decades. To any 22yr old, I'd suggest pursuing FI to the best of your ability because it gives you the most options going forward.
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:33 PM   #5
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For me it is a combination of wanting to live my real life in more than the little scraps of time I am left with after work and other responsibilities and the vast amount of meaningless horsecrap that goes along with most jobs I have had (especially the current one).
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ArizonaDreaming View Post
I've been lurking on this forum for a while now and something that I've found intriguing is the number of people who are/plan to ER in their mid 40's or so. As an outsider looking in...being retired at such a young age seems like it would lead to an unsatisfying existence.

In the company I work for, quite a few people in their mid to upper 40's have some of the best positions. Often times these positions pay upwards of $150K/ year, there is a decent amount of travel involved, and you truly are the manager of a small facet of a large company. Being 22 years old, I aspire to be in one of these positions as I gain experience and many of those who hold these jobs seem to enjoy what they do and the various interactions on a daily basis unlike the boring and monotonous work I perform being entry-level.

So for those wanting to ER in their 40's...my question is why? Are you sick of work period? Does your company allow for no room to grow into better/more interesting opportunities? Do you simply want to spend more time with family?

If you enjoy what you do...is it really even "work"? Of course everyone has their bad days but when you have a job that leads to some type of self-fulfillment, why would you want to ER?

Inquiring minds...
I just wanted to do what I wanted, when I wanted. Nothing unsatisfying about my existence, thank you very much.
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:36 PM   #7
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I retired in 2008 at ae 45. For me, it was the long, tiring, and often sickening commute I could stand any longer. Even twice reducing the number of days and hours worked in the last 7 years I worked was not enough. Once I had enough money to ER, I did. The job itself was good for a while, then the annoyance of the commute grew as the job satisfaction levelled off and later declined. In those 7 years of working part-time, work became an annoyance, too, interfering with my growing personal life which had improved a lot in those 7 years.

I have a nice, easy life now. I come and go as I please, sleep and wake up when I like. I will never go back.
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:47 PM   #8
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When I was 22, if I was asked to go leave for some random vacation, I had plenty of time and no money. Now pushing 30, I have the opposite problem. No time, but with the means to travel.

I'm working toward FI so that I can have both.
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Old 07-12-2013, 04:52 PM   #9
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One thing to keep in mind is that people heading for ER are not necessarily leaving the world of work behind. Some are -- they intend never to work again -- but a sizeable percentage, especially in the age range you mentioned, intend to pursue work of their own choosing, without having to worry about answering to a boss, following company policy, putting up with corporate BS, or about how big their paycheck is. There is a real freedom in knowing you can do whatever kind of work -- work you love -- whenever you want, to the degree that you want, and if you get tired of it, you can stop and do something else (or not). It's basically a freedom thing.
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:34 PM   #10
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Left megacorp at 48, senior engineering position, $100k+ salary

As an outsider looking in...being retired at such a young age seems like it would lead to an unsatisfying existence.

Not for me, best thing ever.

Being 22 years old, I aspire to be in one of these positions

I did too when your age, it ain't what you think it is.

my question is why? Because I can

Are you sick of work period? Yes

Does your company allow for no room to grow into better/more interesting opportunities? No

Do you simply want to spend more time with family? More time for me

If you enjoy what you do...is it really even "work"? I enjoy not working more

Of course everyone has their bad days but when you have a job that leads to some type of self-fulfillment, why would you want to ER?

My job was endless boredom, punctuated by high stress and long hours and commute. It was not fulfilling in any way, other than well payed.
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Old 07-12-2013, 07:14 PM   #11
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There is a reason there are bumper stickers that say my worst day fishing is better than my best day at work.
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Old 07-12-2013, 07:18 PM   #12
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I aim to retire in ~3 years, at 45-46. My reasons are several...

...While I am well-paid and in a j*b that has many benefits, e.g. flexibility, the organization has become more and more of a pressure cooker over the past 12 years. It is stressful.

...Even though I have the luxury of ignoring most of it, I find it very unpleasant to be in the midst of ever-increasing amounts of BS.

...I find my work mostly meaningless. The one part of my job that actually has an impact on other people is the part that is least valued by the organization. The rest is basically mind games of which I have grown tired and bored.

...There are so many other things I'd rather do. Many I used to do, that have gotten pushed aside - things like going to the gym regularly, hiking, biking. I expect to get back to those things in ER, and for it to be good for my health.

...If all goes according to plan, my kids will be about 6 and 8 when I ER. I want to be able to devote a lot more of my time and attention to them, and be involved in their lives. I have only one chance to do this - if I wait a decade that chance will be gone.
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:16 PM   #13
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...If all goes according to plan, my kids will be about 6 and 8 when I ER. I want to be able to devote a lot more of my time and attention to them, and be involved in their lives. I have only one chance to do this - if I wait a decade that chance will be gone.
This is another significant issue for me. My kids just turned 7 and 9. Time is fleeting. I just barely juggle work with being a father and husband and eek out a smidge of time for my interests. I am tired of everything taking a backseat to the (generally nonsensical) demands of my employer and I have bigger fish to fry.
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Old 07-12-2013, 09:53 PM   #14
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Do you have a date yet Brewer?
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:01 PM   #15
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Do you have a date yet Brewer?
Assuming no major wrench gets chucked in the gears between now and then, the first day after I get back after New Year's Day 2014.
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:08 PM   #16
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There is a reason there are bumper stickers that say my worst day fishing is better than my best day at work.
Not a fisherman, but the concept still applies to me, also. I got tired of the headache and hours of being the boss. Then when the opportunity of buying years became available, I took the opportunity. Then next was the math .... I can retire at 45 or continue working for $500 a month more than my pension. Divide that by 50 plus hours a week and I said to myself "I am not going to work for $2.50 an hour", so I retired. I totally enjoy during whatever I want, whenever I want (within reasonable parameters set by my GF) or do nothing either.
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:18 PM   #17
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:52 PM   #18
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For many of us work boils down to a trade between time and money. Once you reach financial independence, more money and power may add limited value, and once you hit middle age you may become more acutely aware of how much time you have left. Sometimes this attitude change is triggered by a traumatic event such as a health scare, death of a loved one, or birth of a grandchild. So people who are FI and feel they have better things to do than add to their pile may suddenly decide to jump off the gravy train to the astonishment of their management and co-workers. I guess I'm saying that priorities and long term goals may change over the decades. To any 22yr old, I'd suggest pursuing FI to the best of your ability because it gives you the most options going forward.

Yup. I'm 40 years old and my traumatic events were seeing my co-workers in their 40's die from cancer and heart attack this past year.

Prior to this year, I thought I would work till 65 and retire with $10 million and live in a beach house in CA.

Now I hope to get fired and get 1 year servance and live cheap on my $500k savings. As long as I have my basic needs met, food, shelter, and some sin money, I don't need to keep up with the Jonesesssss.
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:10 PM   #19
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As a 40 years old and looking to get out of the corporate world when they can me, this is my experience:


Being 22 years old, I aspire to be in one of these positions
I had the same aspirations when I was 22. I achieved my goals when I was 35, VP title, Management position, 6 figures income.
I had aspirations to make SVP at 40 to 60 years old.





Does your company allow for no room to grow into better/more interesting opportunities?

Yes. And they want to give me more responsibilities.
No thanks. More stress and more money. After a certain amount, the financial compensation doesn't give you any satisfaction unless you're the type of person that can't stop spending.

If you enjoy what you do...is it really even "work"?

I started in the Corporate world at 24. Enjoyed it for 13 plus years...then it started going downhill. The office politic and bullcrap you have to deal with that didn't bother you when you're in your 20's, begins to wears you out everyday when you're in your late 30's.


I don't mean to discourage you. You should continue with your aspiration because you will find life more meaningful and you will be more successful in your career and time will fly at work. I used to work 12 hours a day and I didn't even feel like it was work because I enjoyed being at work.

I have no regrets. I 'm just giving you my personal experience.
Up until this year, I never thought I would be one of those type, dropping out at 40's. But the corporate BS gets to you eventually and you find money and corporate title meaningless.
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:17 PM   #20
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I doubt I'll be able to retire at 30, but for me, the sooner the better, as long as I can afford to do the things I want.

I love what I do now, I get to see the results of my work, have tons of fun there, and help people, all without ever coming into contact with a customer or boss, and never having to leave my house, although I can take my job anywhere with me, so I can leave the house whenever I want, vacation as long as I want, etc. So it's very fulfilling, very free, laid back, the perfect job for someone like me who doesn't want much to do with people and has nooo problem sitting at home. It's completely different content all day, every day, I'm constantly learning new things.

So absolutely nothing wrong with my work. It's great! But I could also do without it. If I had the income to travel, live as I do, hang out with my family, watch and read stories, do all of that all I want without ever having to think about the time, that'd be great.

My job is as close as I get, but I don't have some weird need for someone to think I'm whatever title. Who I am to me is more important than where I work, or whether or not I work. I aspire to be nice, to help people, to give more than I get. A great job won't change that, and someone with less other stuff to do can come along and do my job one day when I no longer have to.
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