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Old 01-27-2016, 08:57 PM   #21
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I walked away from my last job because I could not physically do it any longer at 55. $90K+ overtime, 401K match, bonus if co was profitable etc.
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Old 01-27-2016, 09:02 PM   #22
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..... I wonder if I am a fool to give it up. (I am giving it up, that thought just runs through my head a bit.)
Are you a fool for giving up your freedom and time when you have a choice?

It's great to have a choice.

It'll really be tough, thinking you could work another 10 years before your FRA x your annual salary. How much are you giving up?
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Old 01-27-2016, 09:06 PM   #23
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I'm a few years away myself from ER, so I've been pondering this very question, 47 this year and seriously thinking of 50.

Walking away from maybe $300k (base $200k+, 20% bonus, stock options/RSU estimated at $50k)

I'm thinking time would be worth more to me after age 50. I might do part time consulting.
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Old 01-27-2016, 09:45 PM   #24
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I just received my review, bonuses and raise this week. Annual salary and bonuses are right at $122,500. (4 weeks vacation, 4% 401K match, etc.) Not much different than past years. When I look at that number, I wonder if I am a fool to give it up. (I am giving it up, that thought just runs through my head a bit.)


When you finally declared FIRE, what was your number that you gave up?
Coincidentally, I had my "big talk" with my boss over lunch today to tell him I'm FIREing by end of March. I know exactly how you feel, Senator - I'm walking away from at least triple those numbers..... did feel great today though
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Old 01-27-2016, 10:00 PM   #25
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I'm 56 and still working - perpetual OMY syndrome. I think about this question every day as I compare the agony of working against the loss of financial opportunity. I'll give up about $500K/yr. That's the sum of my salary plus the incremental growth in my DB pension (i.e., the capitalized value of the incremental growth). Crass or not, that's a lot, especially considering my base expenses in retirement will be extremely low ($15K/yr, assuming I pay off my mortgage and start making all charitable contributions from my DAF). The money certainly isn't needed for myself.

People sometimes ask if money is more important than life. But both are important. In fact, money can sometimes buy life.

As previously mentioned in other infrequent posts, I've spent about $100K over the last 10 years on veterinary bills for my pets and the pets of friends. This support has provided 1-3 extra years of quality life for "members of the family." This couldn't have happened without money.

Currently, I'm paying the college costs of a friend's niece who lives in the Philippines (friend lives in US, niece lives in Philippines). While it's not a lot of money - college costs in the Philippines are a fraction of what they are in the US - this support is still providing the opportunity for a young woman who would be considered impoverished by American standards to better her situation. And I've told this young lady that a possible option is for her to come to school in the United States, either now or as a graduate student in the future. None of this would be possible if I retired 10-15 years ago as soon as I became FI.

Money can be put to good use, and it makes me feel good when it is.

While I disparately want to retire, my own lack of action suggests that money is more important. Better said, I have not yet made a decision so the safest course of action is to do nothing. This is especially true because there will be no turning back. My job and its financial rewards will be permanently gone. But this line of thinking can go on forever. Sometimes I wish they closed my workplace or that I was laid off. At least then the decision would be out of my hands.

I still may retire tomorrow, or at least in the next 1-2 months. Yesterday was a particularly agonizing day at work. Retirement was all that I had on my mind. It's not the politics as much as it is a useless management culture. But today was more interesting. I got to briefly interact with the Number 2 (Deputy Secretary) and presumably Number 3 (Under Secretary) persons in one of the executive cabinet departments. I didn't do anything special - mostly escorted them into a special room so they could talk. Anyone could have done this. But it wasn't anyone. It was me. When leaving, the Number 3 guy gives me two light punches in my shoulder to say thank you. It provided perspective and made me smile.

Retire. Don't retire. Retire. Don't retire. Shoot me please.
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Old 01-27-2016, 10:17 PM   #26
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My husband will walk away tomorrow with a bit more, but reasonably similar. He's glad to pull the plug.


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Old 01-27-2016, 10:28 PM   #27
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Both my wife and I will be taking early retirement at age 50 (normal is 60 from our company) next year and what we will be giving up annually is fairly significant (figures are for combined):
Salaries: $360K annually with normally a 5% annual increase (minimum of $3.6M over the 10yrs from 50-60).
401K: $19K annual contribution from company (9% match). $190K from 50-60.
Pension: approx. $120K per year annual increase (minimum of $1.2M over the 10yrs from 50-60).
Annual Bonus: $37K per year (minimum of $370K over the 10yrs from 50-60).
So about $536K per year or at least $5.4M from 50-60.
But all that being said we don't care (it does however occasionally suck looking at the numbers in black and white I must admit). We reviewed the numbers last year as we had considered leaving in 2016 but decided to stay to 50 to get the corporate retirement medical insurance, and the extra 1 years worth of $500K.
We will be returning from overseas work for the last 20+ years and will be moving onto a new stage in life. We are trading $$ for time to enjoy ourselves and that suits both of us just fine. We don't have very expensive tastes and so should do just fine for the rest of our lives, however long that might be.
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Old 01-27-2016, 10:41 PM   #28
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Financially, it's almost always best to keep working.
One of the exceptions being if you have COLA pension with retiree medical. Given mandatory pension contributions, FICA-Medicare, union dues, etc, there actually gets to be a point where you're just giving money to the system.
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Old 01-28-2016, 05:02 AM   #29
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It's much more complicated than simply "walking away". For most of us there is a balance between the added satisfaction/enjoyment/freedom that retirement provides, versus the "cost' of giving up the compensation. Once your assets get to a certain multiple of desired spending, why fixate on something like pre tax comp? Ongoing comp, even if significant, will be less important once the assets are in place. If you continue to value your comp highly, you would never retire voluntarily.
In my case, with a little assistance(encouragement?) from my employer including a very generous retirement "package" which included enhanced pension, salary and benefits continuance, I was very happy to retire. Obviously, my comp at the time was significant but so were my assets. I was ready to go regardless of the comp. Really only a timing not absolute type of decision.
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Old 01-28-2016, 05:35 AM   #30
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I went from a part owner of the business working full time to a non-owner working 1 day a week over the course of several years prior to pulling the plug 100%. I sold my company stock incrementally over the last ten years of employment, so my share of annual profits decreased as years went by. And my salary decreased along with the reduction of work hours. I can't calculate how much $ I gave up during this period, but it was a significant, (but more than well worth it). On retirement day, I only had about $20k to give up.


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Old 01-28-2016, 05:36 AM   #31
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It's much more complicated than simply "walking away". For most of us there is a balance between the added satisfaction/enjoyment/freedom that retirement provides, versus the "cost' of giving up the compensation. Once your assets get to a certain multiple of desired spending, why fixate on something like pre tax comp? Ongoing comp, even if significant, will be less important once the assets are in place. If you continue to value your comp highly, you would never retire voluntarily.
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Old 01-28-2016, 06:10 AM   #32
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It was a lot in gross terms but salary + bonus was only about 6% of net worth so as Danmar said, at some point you have enough and that is why we all are here :-)


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Old 01-28-2016, 06:13 AM   #33
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My big aha moment was when my effective tax rate on earned income grew beyond 50 percent.

Federal 28-32
State. 10
Unemployment. 6
Medicare
New Obama care tax 3.8

Don't get me started with all the reductions alternative minimum tax nonsense ...

It wasn't how much I was making. It was how much I was working and giving up to taxes.

&$@8 that ... I was done.
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Old 01-28-2016, 06:20 AM   #34
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Financially, it's almost always best to keep working.
+1
But that doesn't mean you should. While it keeps me busy and I like the social aspect, I'm out as soon as I feel I've hit my goal (with some margin). There will be plenty of additional, non-stressful things to keep me busy.
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Old 01-28-2016, 06:23 AM   #35
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I walked away from comparable numbers as mentioned. At the age of 52 and in 2007. We all know what happened soon there after. But it all worked out in the end, I held on and the markets came back. So no regrets about retiring early now, although it did cross my mind in 2008-2009.
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Old 01-28-2016, 06:31 AM   #36
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I will describe what I walked away from this way: At the time I ER'ed almost a year ago, my net worth was increasing by an average rate of about $250K/year, and I was spending about $100K year to live on.

And so I had some OMY issues. But the tug of OMY did not win. I still ER'ed. I was having some health issues that were w*rk-related. The off*ce, with its growing bureaucracy and often bit*hy politics, was crushing my soul. The pressure to generate just under a million a year in legal work was also getting burdensome. I'd been chained to my desk for 28 years. The extra net worth was not worth it.
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Old 01-28-2016, 07:03 AM   #37
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I left behind a substantial income + 25% bonus + 6% 401K company match + stock options but I regained my health and my sanity. I lost 20 pounds, overcame type 2 diabetes and I'm stress free.

Once I reached the financial goal that allowed me to maintain my desired standard of living I was out...It's been almost 2 years with no regrets whatsoever.

Being healthy and free to do what I want when I want is priceless......
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Old 01-28-2016, 07:09 AM   #38
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After I had reduced the number of weekly hours worked to only 12 back in the middle of 2007 (in anticipation of ERing in 2008), I knew I would be losing very little when I did pull the plug. That reduction in weekly hours worked eliminated nearly all of the remaining benefits I earned every year. Those included 401k matching, annual company stock allocation, paid time off (except for one day of jury duty I took in 2007), and eligibility in the group health insurance program. I still earned a small bonus along with my small salary (salary just over $30k), and I was eligible for the pretax transit program to reduce my shrinking but still considerable commutation costs. But most importantly, being employed kept me in the overall company stock (ESOP) program so its value rose another $39k in those 18 months, reaching my magic number to finally ER.


The company stock value took a hit after I left in late 2008 but it did bounce back like everything else by the end of 2009 and has continued zooming upward. No way I was going to work there more just to break even in 12 months.
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Old 01-28-2016, 07:16 AM   #39
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People sometimes ask if money is more important than life. But both are important. In fact, money can sometimes buy life.

None of this would be possible if I retired 10-15 years ago as soon as I became FI.

Money can be put to good use, and it makes me feel good when it is.
Thanks for this perspective, which is where I think I'll find myself in 8 years when eligible to pull the plug and enjoy a moderate retirement or continue to work and impact other folks lives and get much satisfaction from it. If it were only about me it would be a no brainer as far as I'm concerned to retire when eligible as my investments would cover the lifestyle I anticipate living.

But it is not only about me, so I'll be facing a dilemma also -- Really though I see it as a win -- win -- If I have an early retirement -- WIN If I decide there are worthwhile "causes" that push me to work a few extra years -- WIN -- even if I die shortly thereafter
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Old 01-28-2016, 07:25 AM   #40
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Total package was around $130K when I walked away a little over ten years ago. Funny thing was I was living on about $50K per year and what wasn't going for taxes was going into savings/investments. Still living on about $50K per year and the only thing I regret is I didn't do it two years sooner as I would have been fine, financially speaking.
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