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What if your career pays too well?
Old 12-26-2014, 10:27 AM   #1
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What if your career pays too well?

I am 45 and plan to retire at age 54. I have a dedicated amount per month going to my Roth 401(k), and a dedicated amount per month going to my non tax deferred bridge account (to carry me from 54 - 59.5), and my house is scheduled to be paid off at age 54, so everything is shaping up according to plan.

Here is my question, what if you are in a career (I am in law), where it is a shame to let so much money go. I am not having second thoughts, but has cutting the cord been hard for some here? The answer may be that I make a good deal of money, but it's at the cost of having to deal with others headaches.
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Old 12-26-2014, 10:35 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSdot View Post
Here is my question, what if you are in a career (I am in law), where it is a shame to let so much money go. I am not having second thoughts, but has cutting the cord been hard for some here? The answer may be that I make a good deal of money, but it's at the cost of having to deal with others headaches.
Welcome to the forum!

Be careful of letting your spending grow to consume all your income (that's a common hindrance to ER among high earners). That will tend to keep moving the goalposts to the point you'll never be able to retire.

The worry of letting "so much money go" leads to OMY (One More Year) syndrome - its discussed quite a bit on these boards. One counter to OMY is when your nest egg has grown to the point where the additional wealth you would accumulate in another year working is small by comparison to what you already have. Only you can decide what ratio that has to be before the additional safety margin is worth less than your time, but I think around 20:1 would be a good rule of thumb.

Signed, a multi year OMY'er who was taught to believe "make hay while the sun shines".
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Old 12-26-2014, 10:59 AM   #3
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IMO, there is no amount of money that equals the fun and freedom of not working.


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Old 12-26-2014, 11:03 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by CSdot View Post
The answer may be that I make a good deal of money, but it's at the cost of having to deal with others headaches.
+1

And then there is this:
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Old 12-26-2014, 11:04 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSdot View Post

Here is my question, what if you are in a career (I am in law), where it is a shame to let so much money go. I am not having second thoughts, but has cutting the cord been hard for some here? The answer may be that I make a good deal of money, but it's at the cost of having to deal with others headaches.
There is no shame in living the life you want to live, whether that includes employment or not. On the other hand, if you judge yourself on how much money and stuff you have/can accumulated based on high income employment, then the shame is on you. Not saying that is the case.

I feel no shame in giving up my high income to ER at 49. If anything, I feel proud that I was able to accomplish this goal in the face of what our society values.
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Old 12-26-2014, 11:17 AM   #6
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When you have enough, try quitting for a year and see if you want to come back to your career. If you want to comeback to your lucrative job after a year of retirement bliss, you are not mentally ready to retire. If you are a workaholic, that's another story. If you get your kicks in accumulating wealth, then that's yet another story. Go find yourself 1st.
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Old 12-26-2014, 11:32 AM   #7
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If you're happy to work until you die, that's great. Otherwise you'll want to get out at a time when you have enough money to do what you want, and enough time to do it.
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Old 12-26-2014, 12:23 PM   #8
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FI and retirement should be separate goals IMO. I am sure we all value work vs retirement differently (some people are genuinely better off working longer). And we all have different thresholds as to what we safely consider FI, there's no universal number or even percentage.

After some period (6-12 months), giving up a career is an irreversible decision for most of us. Some can resume careers, many cannot. Most of us probably had second thoughts about giving up work income, I know I did, and "pays to well" isn't a primary factor IMO.

So yes many had second thoughts (at some point) about giving up work income, but our experiences aren't likely to be of much use to others.

No matter how much you make, you'll know when it's your time...

But don't worry, once you give up your career and retire, you'll probably have second thoughts again during the inevitable market plunges unless your nearly 100% SIRE ( pensions, annuities, etc.) vs mostly FIRE.
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Old 12-26-2014, 12:40 PM   #9
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I have to say, for a first post, I am thrilled with the level of response. I have been lurking for a while, and I appreciate the helpful responses. :-)
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Old 12-26-2014, 12:51 PM   #10
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I would ask yourself, why do you work. Do you work to live or live to work ?? My answer to that question helped me get serious about a plan to retire. (I still have 2 years left before I plan to retire at 60/61.) Before that I had planned to work as long as I could.
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Old 12-26-2014, 01:00 PM   #11
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It is the classic trade-off problem: More time vs more money. You decide which is more valuable.

A related corollary to this is you also need something to retire to. Just because you have a job to retire from, does not mean you have something to retire to. That could be hobbies, volunteering, travel, focus on physical or mental health, taking adult education courses at local college, or whatever you want to spend time on. For many it also includes some part-time work doing it for fun and social interaction, maybe working at something you like to learn new skills or knowledge.
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Old 12-26-2014, 01:26 PM   #12
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You have 9 years to go. When you get closer and your plan still looks on track - say 2 years - you'll have a much better idea if this will be an issue for you.
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Old 12-26-2014, 01:40 PM   #13
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Time is the most precious commodity one has, use it wisely.
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Old 12-26-2014, 01:52 PM   #14
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I planned yo retire at 61/62.

Instead, I left at 58/59. Never regretted it. I cannot imagine why I originally wanted to wait. For me it is all about time and our bucket lists.
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Old 12-26-2014, 02:38 PM   #15
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Welcome.

I'm a multi-year OMYer and I have to admit that my high pay in engineering (significant but probably not up there with a big-time layer) has seduced me to stay longer than necessary. I have very little baggage or stress at work. I've just decided that there's other things I'd like to do.

I'm planning to retire/resign of 5 Jan 2015 and I should have done it several years ago.
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Old 12-26-2014, 02:42 PM   #16
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At some point, even a high income won't be a good enough enticement to keep dealing with headaches as you put it.
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Old 12-26-2014, 03:19 PM   #17
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The worry of letting "so much money go" leads to OMY (One More Year) syndrome - its discussed quite a bit on these boards. One counter to OMY is when your nest egg has grown to the point where the additional wealth you would accumulate in another year working is small by comparison to what you already have. Only you can decide what ratio that has to be before the additional safety margin is worth less than your time, but I think around 20:1 would be a good rule of thumb.
+1 to the 20:1 ratio. That is about where we are. I ERd a few years ago.

Also having a dear friend at work die suddenly a few years before his retirement was also a motivator for me.

-gauss
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Old 12-26-2014, 03:22 PM   #18
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Don't most people retire at the peak or near the peak of their earnings?

Fortunately, if you have enough money saved and/or other income sources, that salary pales compared to the savings/other sources.

Then you add in the time you would gain and the freedom from the hassles of work.
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Old 12-26-2014, 03:32 PM   #19
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Spent my last 10 years working surrounded by a group of colleagues who were all held in place by Golden Handcuffs to one degree or another. I was the first to call it a day in May of this year and several of my partners were totally incredulous. The key for me was to have been living a modest (by their standards) lifestyle and have no great plan to go crazy in retirement. It is key not to let your spending increase at anywhere near the rate that your earnings go up. At some point, time and the things you can do with it, become more valuable than income generated at work. Also the realization, if you've saved and invested well, that your passive income has outstripped your earned income makes the final decision much easier.
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Old 12-26-2014, 03:50 PM   #20
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Most high paying careers come with a good deal of stress and working hours. Only you can answer when the stress/work overrules the added money that would come on top of an otherwise financially ready situation.
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