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Old 07-20-2014, 05:38 AM   #21
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I sleep better. Less stress. Being FI allows me to devote more time to take better care of my health.


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Old 07-20-2014, 06:55 AM   #22
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I first realized the benefits of being (almost) FI when my employer was acquired in 2006. We're in an area where there aren't many employers in the same business, and we were the largest. Many of my coworkers jumped ship almost immediately because they couldn't take the chance of ending up without a job. I realized that DH (already retired and collecting SS) and I were secure enough that we could withstand a period of unemployment, so I decided to hang out and see what happened after the acquisition. It turned out to be a very good move and I stayed with the company 6 more years. It was liberating to be able to take a chance and stay on, rather than panic and jump ship. A few of my coworkers who had left eventually rejoined the company!

In May, I realized that the politics in the job I'd taken a little over a year before were ugly and the situation was unsalvageable. What a relief to just tell them I was leaving. Last I heard, the project in which I was a key person had gone nowhere since my departure.
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:41 AM   #23
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What FI gives me is life in which I am not very stressed out. I still work, but I care less and less if I get fired or not.

It gives me feeling of freedom which very hard to describe.

But I still would not say %$##& to my manager or coworker
+1 --- I am in the same boat. The biggest thing is the freedom to call it quits at will without the worry of the need to find another job.
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Old 07-20-2014, 08:34 AM   #24
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Before FI, I have stayed in jobs I really didn't like, or felt I had to take the only (terrible) job I could find after an old employer went out of business in a recession. With FI I no longer have to put up with the politics and worst of the management problems at work. Curiously, I am much less sensitive to them. Perhaps knowing that I do not have to put up with the BS gives me some detachment, and I find much of the BS just as terrible as it's always been, but I just don't care as much, so it doesn't bother me like it used to. I even fill out creative writing SMART Goals when they ask for them, knowing full well the "annual" goals will be abandoned, forgotten or replaced in three months. Somehow these things are no longer bothersome, but are more like theater of human foibles. With FI, I can choose to be amused by the absurdities of work instead of stressed.

At this point I am only marginally FI and if I stopped working I would need to really cut back on lifestyle, but it would be possible. I wonder what will happen to my attitude when I reach enough FI that work salary no longer adds significantly to my future RE lifestyle or safety.
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:08 AM   #25
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For those of you who are LESS then 62 (working or not) and ARE FI.

What do you think FI gives you?

What did you feel when you become FI?
I chose to start w*rking a few hours a week in my little hometown post office in the last few months, but being FI lets me just concentrate on the work I do and not worry about political and bureaucratic BS, because I know I can quit if it becomes intolerable.

In our situation it wasn't really a clear "aha" moment. Early last year my wife started ministry at a new church and I moved with her (with my job where I telecommuted full time). Well, six weeks after we moved I was laid off after nearly 13 years with Megacorp #2 and nearly 26 in the IT field overall. And there are basically no jobs in that field within 50 miles of where we now live.

But when I got laid off I ran the numbers, including my severance which was six months' salary, and realized we were pretty much there. We live rent-free and with utilities and all home maintenance/repair paid, so in reality our income need is quite low. And my wife got about a 40% raise with her new contract this year, making it even easier. Almost everything I earn goes into traditional IRAs despite only being in the 15% bracket now (needing to keep our MAGI under 300% of FPL for ACA reasons).

And how does it feel? It feels like an 800-pound load off my shoulders. And DW would tell you how much it has changed me, how I am much less stressed out, far more easygoing in the face of events that used to set me off, that my health has been much better. We aren't strictly FI because if DW stopped working we'd have to scramble. But as long as she is enjoying what she does and the folks here want to keep her we're in a pretty good situation.
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:13 AM   #26
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Flexibility. Choices. And, yes, stress reduction. There is a certain ease in life if you don't have to think of money knowing you have "enough".
+1

Having no schedule or time requirements makes life much more enjoyable.
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Old 07-20-2014, 09:24 AM   #27
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As many have stated FI gives you flexibility and freedom. For example I had some outpatient surgery done on Friday which didn't go as planned. Today I cancelled my trip reservations for the coming week and will give myself time to recover. That would not have happened ten or fifteen years ago.
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:35 AM   #28
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...And, I have the students write TPS reports! Someday one of them will figure out the movie connection!
...
Great! What do you tell them (if anything) the TPS acronym is, "Testing Procedure Spec" or something like that? This is too funny!! You should give extra credit to the first one who gets it!
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:38 AM   #29
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Yesterday afternoon, I sat in the front garden in my pajama bottoms and a t-shirt waiting for the mail carrier. It was a beautiful day. The weather was warm, and the slight breeze was causing the leaves to rustle in the trees. I sat down on the garden path while my neighbor's cat, Stephen, lay on his back next to me and went to sleep. I casually studied a very long line of busy ants, and took in the pattern of the bricks in the garden path, and the wild grass and ivy growing around me. It was one of those afternoons when time stands still and life seems perfect. It felt as if I had everything I needed right there.

A bit later, the mail carrier arrived and Stephen the cat scarpered. He makes himself scarce around people he doesn't know, which is a smart trait for a cat who spends time outdoors in an urban area. The mail carrier brought the packages I was expecting (vintage radio parts and a custom chassis for a new receiver I am building, as well as an unexpected gift from a friend).

Granted, yesterday was a Saturday but

a) I used to work every Saturday, and
b) even if I hadn't worked on Saturday, my general work schedule wouldn't have afforded me the luxury to pass the time in such a leisurely and thoroughly enjoyable way on my day off.

In ER, I am answerable to no-one, except for the occasional expectations of my SO (and she doesn't ask for much, bless her) and my cats, who wait on the bed every morning to remind me that they need to be fed. So to answer the question, this is what I get from FI. It's a high-stress life, I tell ya



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Old 07-20-2014, 10:44 AM   #30
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As others have indicated, the "I" in FI can really make a difference at work. Once you realize that employment is no longer required to maintain your financial well being, it's very liberating to realize that whatever you do is a choice you can make based on life metrics other than financial survival. When you no longer feel trapped at work, your approach can become more matter of fact - perhaps even more honest. I became more comfortable contributing my opinions about how things were going, what we should or shouldn't be doing, etc. - always toward positive outcomes and with respect. I think I became a better and less stressed employee. I probably could have done more of the same before FI, but it was much easier after, and my last couple of years at work were much more tolerable because of it. When a reorg came about in which I realized I wasn't going to see eye-to-eye with new management on some things that mattered, and that there would be even more bureaucratic "goo" layered onto my existence, it was very easy to step aside into FIRE without any angst about whether I would land on my feet. They deserved to have someone who was "all in" and by that time I was ready to become someone who was "all out". Now I do what I want, and so far that's working out fine.
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Old 07-20-2014, 10:50 AM   #31
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7/29 I become eligible for 2 pension checks per month.With that and the multiple investments, I guess I too have become FI.I do plan to work a couple more years to shore up the fortress, however I could go in 9 days if desired.That option is what FI means to me.The ability to leave tomorrow if I so desire.I now will be in all area's "steering my ship"
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:41 AM   #32
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I'd say it's job satisfaction that is extending my working career. My personality is a terrible fit for supervisory roles and in my line of work most of my age cohort has made the jump from technical into management. The alternative is an early ceiling on salary. FI removed the conflict of interest so I've felt comfortable declining those opportunities.

I'd also echo the comments to the effect that I'm more productive at work as a result of being FI. I can exercise my own judgment about what parts of the job are and aren't adding value. My management has supported my independent streak by requesting my permission in advance before giving me any assignments in meetings. In exchange I'm very supportive of management. I would certainly let them know offline if I thought they were making a mistake, but so far it's all looked good to me.

So I guess the downside of FI is that it has effectively kept me away from RE.
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:43 AM   #33
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I'd say it's job satisfaction that is extending my working career. My personality is a terrible fit for supervisory roles and in my line of work most of my age cohort has made the jump from technical into management. The alternative is an early ceiling on salary. FI removed the conflict of interest so I've felt comfortable declining those opportunities.
I can relate. I spent the second half of my career exactly where I wanted to be on the "corporate ladder" -- on the highest rung below management. Yes, it limited my upward mobility and potential for salary increases since I was "maxed out" in the non-management career track, but for the last few years I was cracking into the low six figures and that was enough, especially since our expenses were maybe 1/3 of our income while I was still working in that role. The hassles and headaches of management weren't worth the raises to me.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

RIP to Reemy, my avatar dog (2003 - 9/16/2017)
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:46 AM   #34
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Old 07-20-2014, 01:13 PM   #35
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I have 7 more weeks of work left. I expect this time to drag agonizingly. My current (and last) project with my company is particularly unpleasant. Yet now, with the end in site I am sitting here on a Sunday with a very limited sense of angst about work tomorrow. Usually, the Sunday Night Dread would have it's nasty hooks into me by now.

I only expect the wonder of stress free life to increase once I clock my last shift. Stress really is one of the most insidious things in our lives. Future stress for me now will probably have something to do with not being able to do all the amazing things my job prevented me from doing. I'll deal with it the best I can.
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Old 07-20-2014, 01:51 PM   #36
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Freedom to invest my time into my school aged children, time to rebuild my relationship with DW after too many high stress years of work, and time to pursue hobbies in earnest, not just when I could fit them in.

I feel very fortunate.
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Old 07-20-2014, 05:33 PM   #37
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For those of you who are LESS then 62 (working or not) and ARE FI.

What do you think FI gives you?

What did you feel when you become FI?
When I was working and FI it gave me the ability to be more candid with colleagues and clients as to my views on business issues knowing that if they didn't like it I could just say "Ok, have a nice life" and walk out the door. I guess I did it right because they actually ate it up.

I felt I was FI when I knew I no longer needed to work but was workign because I wanted to.

A few years ago, I stopped wanting to and am now happily retired.
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Old 07-20-2014, 06:06 PM   #38
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Learning I was FI gave me the idea to RE (which I did 6 months later) and unloaded a lot of stress.
+1 - except I only waited 3 months
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Old 07-20-2014, 06:12 PM   #39
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For those of you who are LESS then 62 (working or not) and ARE FI.

What do you think FI gives you?

What did you feel when you become FI?
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Old 07-20-2014, 07:27 PM   #40
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I even fill out creative writing SMART Goals when they ask for them, knowing full well the "annual" goals will be abandoned, forgotten or replaced in three months. Somehow these things are no longer bothersome, but are more like theater of human foibles. With FI, I can choose to be amused by the absurdities of work instead of stressed.

I've started changing the dates on my old "anal" reviews and turning in the old ones since it seems they aren't read in the first place.....
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