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9 Months of Anxiety?!
Old 10-28-2019, 04:22 AM   #1
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9 Months of Anxiety?!

So, my target is next summer. Math says I'm FI now but need/want to work a bit longer to get some ducks in a row and max out the 401K one more time. I'll be fairly lean FIRE but fairly conservative (still about a 1/4 of expenses arguably above subsistence and have imputed rent as I own my residence free and clear) and I plan to work for fun/more play money (moonlighting now for low pay and loving it despite the extra long days after the day job I don't love).


I find work really hard to maintain focus and I play around with spreadsheets and calculators obsessively even though at this point my assumptions and inputs don't change much. I'm not worried about anything specific (market crash and maybe healthcare) but am thinking too much and feel it would be healthier if I could turn off my brain and go back to autopilot as I was in the middle of my journey to FIRE. I think a big part of it is impatience but certain things I need to wait to do (taxes/notification to employer, etc).



Did you go though the same, any tips to maintain my sanity and help me sleep better for the next 9 months?!
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Old 10-28-2019, 06:01 AM   #2
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Good on you for getting this far! Don't be hard on yourself and try to force the perfect "glide path" landing on your FIRE. Find your own path - it's so dependent on circumstances and personality. I didn't do it perfectly. I had a lot of anxiety and slacked off on a good diet and exercise and just gritted my teeth and kept on walking. And wound up with a high blood pressure diagnosis slightly before FIRE. I "should have" kept up exercise and eating well. But I just couldn't seem to manage it.

What might help you: a progress of things to do before FIRE. 1) Medical exams can take up lots of time! Schedule them. 2) If your FIRE date is public, getting your work info together for your successor can take up time. 3) And tidying up - I had been a long time in my position so I made myself responsible for going through all the files and disposing of everything I had been keeping "just in case." Hard to let it go, because it was tangible evidence of what I had been doing for so many years, but I didn't want to leave incomprehensible pounds of paper and GBs of electrons that simply were not needed. That took time. 4) Lots of retirement paperwork needs to be done ahead of time and immediately after. Get those ducks in a row.

Also, look ahead. 5) If you are travel minded, have something on your schedule that requires some organization and research ahead of time. Go ahead and imagine that first week after FIRE. 6) Ask your S/O, if you have one, to give you suggestions for the next 9 months and thereafter.

7) If it suits your personality, get an online countdown calendar and set it up in whatever way works for you. I had mine to set work days only, and tried to figure in vacation days, holidays, and any other absences with a "play goal" of hitting the date on the calendar and reality exactly (didn't do it!). I looked at it A LOT. 8) I used the calendar to try to mix in more vacation days during my final months rather than chopping them off the end like most people did. My goal was to take Wednesdays off when I could, as that seemed to make the weeks fly by better than a third weekend day. Didn't work due to management's wishes and the press of business, but it was a good thought!

9) If you aren't already on it, join the "Class of 2020" thread and commiserate there at will with your fellow classmates! Can't tell you how much the Class of 2018 helped me!
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Old 10-28-2019, 07:10 AM   #3
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I was in a similar position to you in retrospect, but without a firm date and with my actual RE target out of my control (so it was more anxiety producing, but totally worth it).

It was October, I was 100% ready to RE myself come Feb (after bonus). But, then, my MC was doing a RIF without calling it that...for months. I was told my job would move cross-country, and I was welcome to move (with a relo) or post for another position. I said no thanks so what next? "Well, we'll know that in the new year....nudge nudge wink wink".

Many stupid meetings later, basically our leader team had concocted the plan without getting all the HR stuff lined up, and did it backwards, it was March before I got someone to admit I was really going to be RIF'd (when they reposted my job lol), so all that time before I could tell my staff or anyone else around me.

It was May before I got a final date and package paperwork. I was literally training my replacement before I knew my end date. If I wasn't so gleefully ready to RE, it would have been really traumatic. In the middle of that period, a colleague in the same situation got taken off the "list" and I was terrified that would happen to me.

Given the standard severance package and how things worked, I knew I had to just hunker in and wait.

So, if you have 9 clean months of just buckling down and doing your job, without other shenanigans, I'm jealous! But they did serve as a distraction. I didn't really find it hard to still dive in and focus...

Small tips:

Block your calendar on Friday afternoons and Monday mornings. Take your lunch break - not at your desk. Take a few extra days off for the holidays. Spend more time with folks you'll miss.
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Old 10-28-2019, 07:11 AM   #4
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I am in the same boat, but my countdown is about 14 months.
I think I have my ducks in a row financially. It’s the emotional side that is hard.
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Old 10-28-2019, 07:18 AM   #5
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Even though I picked my date several years in advance, it was difficult to stay motivated those last few months. I did many of the things suggested above, which helped. I also spent a substantial amount of time planning a big vacation to occur shortly after retirement.

I do have one question about your plan. What do you mean when you say "... have imputed rent as I own my residence free and clear" ?
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Old 10-28-2019, 08:43 AM   #6
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My last year I was a mess. I sat around and shook for most of it. I had done a OMY and hated everything about it. I had transferred to a different area and our VP's leadership style was that of a PO'ed drill instructor. I left a year earlier than the plan. In a way that guy did me a favor, I needed to be shook up and get away from Megacorp.

"Plan the work, and work the plan".
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Old 10-28-2019, 09:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FLSUnFIRE View Post
So, my target is next summer. Math says I'm FI now but need/want to work a bit longer to get some ducks in a row and max out the 401K one more time. I'll be fairly lean FIRE but fairly conservative (still about a 1/4 of expenses arguably above subsistence and have imputed rent as I own my residence free and clear) and I plan to work for fun/more play money (moonlighting now for low pay and loving it despite the extra long days after the day job I don't love).


I find work really hard to maintain focus and I play around with spreadsheets and calculators obsessively even though at this point my assumptions and inputs don't change much. I'm not worried about anything specific (market crash and maybe healthcare) but am thinking too much and feel it would be healthier if I could turn off my brain and go back to autopilot as I was in the middle of my journey to FIRE. I think a big part of it is impatience but certain things I need to wait to do (taxes/notification to employer, etc).



Did you go though the same, any tips to maintain my sanity and help me sleep better for the next 9 months?!
I am in the exactly the same boat. I have no answer to your problems. I am moving to more bonds in my portfolio to hedge against a near future market crash.
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Old 10-28-2019, 09:23 AM   #8
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Think of what the extra money will do for you. It's winter, you may as well work until summer anyway.
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Old 10-28-2019, 09:36 AM   #9
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I was ready to leave about 5 years before, but chose to stay for retiree health insurance.
My last year of tasks to keep my sanity:
1) read and re read the sticky in FAQ section-questions to ask yourself if ready to retire
2) had a retirement count down on my phone for the last year
3) used up all my vacation rather than be paid out-- had one week off each month and a long weekend
4) actually enjoyed all of the tasks I used to dread as it was the last time for "yearly budget", "staff vacation calendar", etc.
5) ran and re ran financials and budget, adjusted portfolio
6) got retirement book from HR and worked every page to make sure everything was on track
7) DH retired 5 months before me and we lived on my income, so I knew retirement budget would be fine.
8) realized anxiety would come and go for the year, so made sure I exercised and ate well.
9) read lots of forums here, and asked the same question regarding anxiety and if I was ready--everyone is so helpful!!

Best of luck and the time will go by faster than you think.
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Old 10-28-2019, 09:56 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by pacergal View Post
I was ready to leave about 5 years before, but chose to stay for retiree health insurance.
My last year of tasks to keep my sanity:
2) had a retirement count down on my phone for the last year
4) actually enjoyed all of the tasks I used to dread as it was the last time for "yearly budget", "staff vacation calendar", etc.

These two really helped me in my last couple of months. I also was entertained (and some days saddened) watching the politics of a reorg play out knowing that our new President would destroy all of our divisions (it took her two years to sink all 7).


Find what gives you peace in your last few months and keep your head down!
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Old 10-28-2019, 10:33 AM   #11
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Once I decided to retire I was gone 2 weeks later. I worked for the state so that’s all that was required. People were shocked at work.
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Old 10-28-2019, 11:09 AM   #12
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We used that time to focus on post retirement. We completely reviewed our finances, investments. Fired our investment person, stock brokerage, and changed our bank. Consolidated our accounts to make them easier to manage-especially if I happened to fall off my perch and left DW to sort through a mess.

We made life style decisions to downsize, sell, and travel. So we spent time doing this and preparing our home for sale.

We spent time thinking about what to do in our first year of retirement. Once we decided on travel, we had to start thinking about when and where.

Before we knew it the date was upon us. We were already well down a course of action.

These plans and sorting out our finances detracted completely from any countdown issues. For us it was a case of always moving forward. We did not want to be sitting complaining about how slowly the countdown time was going. Keep busy and use your time wisely.
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Old 10-28-2019, 12:06 PM   #13
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I checked and double, triple checked my numbers. It was like I was plotting a no miss missile path. Similar to the old movies with room full of rocket scientists sweating their missile calculations.
This is a major life transition and deserves careful planning. These efforts will continue for a few months after you pull the lever. Its normal and will be looked back on as "what I hadda do to ER".
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Old 10-28-2019, 01:42 PM   #14
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Read a retirement book. Worked and re-worked spreadsheets till the cows came home. Went online and filled out every retirement calculator then looked for new ones. Still tried to believe that I could retire. Since I had set my retirement date way out I was just looking for verification. All my anxiety was financial not personal. I live close to corporate headquarters. I knew if I wanted to see them they were just a stones throw away
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Old 10-28-2019, 01:44 PM   #15
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In addition to planning my vacation, I also spent a lot of time thinking about how little they really needed me.
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Old 10-28-2019, 02:27 PM   #16
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I have spreadsheets with numbers.
Spreadsheets with optimal actions to take every year for the next 12 years.
Spreadsheets tracking the spreadsheets with numbers.
I have run every calculator I could get my hands on...twice...or more.

The date is set.

Vacations are dreamed about. Things to do are added to the bucket list. Work clothes thinned out and certainly no more purchased. The retirement house and car have been bought. Health insurance options on deck.

Now I wait. Oh god, I wait.
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Old 10-28-2019, 03:57 PM   #17
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Sounds like I am doing a lot of the things already. Planning a vacation would be one more thing to plan... I want my brain to turn off. I plan to do nothing the first week... nothing... hopefully catch up on 2 decades of sleep. Then, probably a drive up to visit my family via a meandering path with no deadlines or pressure to use my vacation time wisely!


Feels good to know I'm in good company though. Today was bad... some bad days make me smile knowing the number is finite but today I just wanted to walk out!
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Old 10-28-2019, 04:07 PM   #18
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Good luck! I hope you don't yield to the OMY syndrome, but it's a very real threat. No matter when you retire, you're always leaving $ on the table. Every month I don't work, means spending down the portfio by $9K, and not earning another $10K, along with having to pay my own insurance....so it's a nerve wracking decision. If I w#rk another month, it pays for another month of travel...

No real advice here, except make a checklist, get all of your financial ducks in a row, have a transition plan for your 401(k), and read some retirement books, if you don't have a solid plan for your early RE years! Best wishes!
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Old 10-29-2019, 11:02 AM   #19
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I had about three months notice.

But I changed immediately and my spouse saw it. No more 12 hour days or working the phone line to take advantage of time zones.

I became more relaxed. Did not have the same level of care about the business. It stopped being as personal as it had been. Looked on some of my team in a much more charitable vein.

It was all good. My immediate focus was on moving forward. But instead of moving forward in my career or moving the business forward my thoughts were completely taken up with moving our retirement and personal lives forward.

The only hard part was keeping my pending departure confidential until the final week or so. Hard to do because some astute colleagues noticed the changes.

I think that this attitude helped me walk away and never look back. Not only from my employer, but from the business environment itself.
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9 Months of Anxiety?!
Old 10-29-2019, 04:42 PM   #20
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9 Months of Anxiety?!

Hey, look on the bright side, it could be a lot more serious. When I saw the thread title I thought the thread was about a daughter's missed period....
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