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Old 04-03-2016, 09:58 PM   #1
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After FIRE

Hi everyone
Looking for some perspective. I will retire early in about 1 year at age 51. Married, 1 kid. Finances are all set. I am nervous about the transition to the next stage of life. I love all of the encouraging posts on this site highlighting the joys of living free...very inspiring. I was hoping that the community could guide me to some of your favorite threads/articles from people describing their experiences retiring early. I am looking for fairly sober assessments....the good and the bad, and some advice for making the transition as smooth, enjoyable and healthy as possible.

Thank you all in advance for your help, this is a wonderful site and community

BB
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:55 PM   #2
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Welcome BB.

For me - I was worried about the transition. I signed up for a class at the local community college just in case I needed some structure/goals... Turns out I didn't need that - but I'm now in my 3rd semester of Italian anyway.

I think the transition is harder for folks who have their identity tied up in their paid job... "I am a doctor" rather than "I practice medicine". (Using that as an example). I fell into that trap early in my career - identified myself and my selfworth on being a woman engineer. When I was laid off from my first job - I had a rude awakening... and learned that work was what I did to earn money, but wasn't what I "was".

Some folks try to concentrate on "what are you retiring to"...
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:14 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by BurntBrain View Post
Hi everyone
Looking for some perspective. I will retire early in about 1 year at age 51. Married, 1 kid. Finances are all set. I am nervous about the transition to the next stage of life. I love all of the encouraging posts on this site highlighting the joys of living free...very inspiring. I was hoping that the community could guide me to some of your favorite threads/articles from people describing their experiences retiring early. I am looking for fairly sober assessments....the good and the bad, and some advice for making the transition as smooth, enjoyable and healthy as possible.

Thank you all in advance for your help, this is a wonderful site and community

BB
Will your DW also be retiring or is she already retired? A FIRE'd couple with 1 kid has a different lifestyle (for us to comment on) than if your DW will still be working.

And congrats!
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:50 AM   #4
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good input so far. Rodi hit on identity and structure. I don't keep links to past threads to I can't easily do what you requested... that is point to specific threads. But I recall one that used excel to schedule their days and weeks. From what I recall, they had all the daytime booked for every week. Some people need this. Personally I put major items (like dates and times to get my MIL to doctors) in a calendar, but most of the time is blank and I fill it with projects I'm working on. I worked a similar way when I was working... that is little planning in the calendar.

Other major items... who are you going to play with. Most the people you know your age are still working. If you need more human interaction, you may need to search out other people to interact with.

I new one guy who retired and as he put it "his wife found all his flaws", so he went back to work. Retiring can change the dynamics between spouses. Something to be aware of. For some, things get better.

RE often means loosing the thing that looks like a paycheck. Often too early for SS or pensions. There have been some threads where some are having issues adjusting. It sounds funny since people plan to withdraw savings or distributions from their savings in retirement.

Probably the best advice I have is really general. Be aware of changes that happen in relationships and be willing to make adjustments. Often the stresses are not completely rational... i.e someone whose identity is defined by a job they hate. Be aware of the potential stresses and willing to make adjustments. Don't let it destroy relationships.

Oh, one more. Some of your current friends may not really like or understand your retiring early. Some may be jealous, some angry, but some will think it is great.
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:37 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by BurntBrain View Post
Hi everyone
Looking for some perspective. I will retire early in about 1 year at age 51. Married, 1 kid. Finances are all set. I am nervous about the transition to the next stage of life. I love all of the encouraging posts on this site highlighting the joys of living free...very inspiring. I was hoping that the community could guide me to some of your favorite threads/articles from people describing their experiences retiring early. I am looking for fairly sober assessments....the good and the bad, and some advice for making the transition as smooth, enjoyable and healthy as possible.
There have been so many discussions of this subject over the years that it is difficult to know where to begin looking to find the most relevant threads. My suggestion: go to the Life after FIRE forum here, then click on the word "Replies" at the top of that column. This will sort the threads in that forum in descending order based on the number of replies. Then page through the list, checking to see what thread titles interest you.
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Old 04-04-2016, 02:22 PM   #6
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Thanks Everyone!!!
First, DW will likely RE within 1 year of my own departure, but we will be happily constrained in our new life by one beautiful 9 year old.

Yes, the identity issue could be real. Part of the fear is the I and DW invested and sacrificed many years, with little pay (Grad school for PhD, etc.), to achieve what we have, so giving that up could be an issue. We are currently trying to mentally re-identify more with our non-professional selves, but aren't making much headway. I love the idea of retiring to something instead of from something. We are currently working on indetifying the "to".
The idea of being stressed out by identifying with a job one hates sounds perverse, but I can see happening quite easily.
As far as "who you play with"....a great point. Does anyone know of communities like this one that take a more physical form? For example, early retiree travel communities, or similar organizations that bring together people who are relatively young, with lots of time on their hands, and similar interests?

Thanks again for all of your thoughtful advice.
BB
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Old 04-04-2016, 03:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by BurntBrain View Post
Hi everyone
Looking for some perspective. I will retire early in about 1 year at age 51. Married, 1 kid. Finances are all set. I am nervous about the transition to the next stage of life. I love all of the encouraging posts on this site highlighting the joys of living free...very inspiring. I was hoping that the community could guide me to some of your favorite threads/articles from people describing their experiences retiring early. I am looking for fairly sober assessments....the good and the bad, and some advice for making the transition as smooth, enjoyable and healthy as possible.

Thank you all in advance for your help, this is a wonderful site and community

BB
I have a thread I started on my retirement date, with a three year update later on in the thread. This thread is not all that sober and doesn't include the good and the bad, because honestly I have yet to see the bad.

Want2retire is retired!

I was 61 when I retired, older than you, plus my dear boyfriend and companion (Frank) retired a couple of months after me. Perhaps because of my age, I haven't had the slightest problem in feeling isolated. Frank and I see each other at lunch every day, and last summer I moved next door to him so he drops in several times a day, which I love. Also we go to the gym MWF, and so we know lots of other people our age who also go to the gym regularly.

I was concerned about not "retiring TO something" so before I retired, I wrote out a list of things I wanted to do in retirement. Did very few of them and I don't even know where the list is any more. Basically, I had no trouble entertaining myself on Saturdays when I was working, and so of course the same was true after retirement.

I was concerned about the fact that I identified with my occupation of oceanographer a great deal. But gee. Nobody's taking that away from me. Now I'm a retired oceanographer which is pretty terrific too. While I spend very little time reviewing oceanography, it's not like I'm going to forget everything I know or knew; nobody is going to ever wrench my hard earned PhD away from me either. Oceanography will always be a part of who I am. If an acquaintance asks me about something oceanographic and I know my information is out of date, I just say so and that's that. I don't think my retirement has negatively impacted my identity at all.
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Old 04-04-2016, 04:16 PM   #8
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I am looking for fairly sober assessments....the good and the bad, and some advice for making the transition as smooth, enjoyable and healthy as possible.
You'll can expect lots of happy-talk advice from this forum.

If you want some actual advice by true-to-life researchers on the subject Who actually have some things to say that wouldn't be so popular on this forum, I'll point you to two must read books. I purchased them used from Amazon for very little (plus shipping).

http://www.amazon.com/The-Retirement...ilpage_o01_s00

Be sure to read the chapter about early retirees and their issues. It's not all about golf and travel and early-bird dinners.

and The Experience of Retirement: David J. Ekerdt, Robert S. Weiss: 9780801472527: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 04-04-2016, 04:24 PM   #9
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If you want some actual advice by true-to-life researchers on the subject Who actually have some things to say that wouldn't be so popular on this forum, I'll point you to two must read books. I purchased them used from Amazon for very little (plus shipping).

The Retirement Maze: What You Should Know Before and After You Retire: Rob Pascale, Louis H. Primavera, Rip Roach: 9781442216181: Amazon.com: Books

Be sure to read the chapter about early retirees and their issues.
Here are the Cliff's Notes:

Quote:
Millions of baby boomers are just beginning to retire, and in doing so many are likely to run into adjustment problems, such as loss of identity, deterioration of marriage and social life, and feelings of disconnectedness to the world. Studies have found that as many as 40% of retirees have difficulty adjusting, and even those who claim to enjoy retirement may experience some uneasiness as they adapt to a life lacking in structure and direction.
Thankfully I've managed to keep up the "happy talk" now for eleven years of retirement, without ever needing to read a retirement gloom & doom book like this one.
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Old 04-04-2016, 05:03 PM   #10
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Thankfully I've managed to keep up the "happy talk" now for eleven years of retirement, without ever needing to read a retirement gloom & doom book like this one.
The books aren't all gloom and doom. There is real value in reading them.
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Old 04-04-2016, 05:14 PM   #11
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You'll can expect lots of happy-talk advice from this forum.
I think that's because most of us FIRE folk really like it. I know in my 10 years of retirement I've had issues and stress, but so much less than when I was working that there's no comparison.

I think it mostly comes down to personality. If you end up being able to be happy without externally imposed structure, you'll like retirement. If you need structure, and you are able to apply it yourself, you'll find a balance and be happy. If you can't impose structure and you need it, you'll be unhappy. You'll never really know until you try it, and you'll probably spend a few years figuring it out. I can't imagine you'll be bored and lonely while raising a kid.

I agree with REW about sorting the threads and looking through the titles. I did that when I first got involved with this site. There's a lot of interesting conversations out there.


Regarding sober discussion, any post I make after 9 pm has no guarantee attached.
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Old 04-04-2016, 05:48 PM   #12
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:00 PM   #13
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I think any major life change brings an adjustment period. For me, it took over 2 years to adjust to RE.

I was 53 and anticipated that and discounted most discomforts during that period as simple 'adjustment time' fully expecting that things would get better. They did...much better!
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:01 PM   #14
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I think it mostly comes down to personality. If you end up being able to be happy without externally imposed structure, you'll like retirement. If you need structure, and you are able to apply it yourself, you'll find a balance and be happy. If you can't impose structure and you need it, you'll be unhappy.
I really need structure. Luckily, for those of us who do, and who have *initiative*, it can be so easy to find. Just going to the gym regularly gave me a good foundation for structure upon which it was easy to build.

If there is one thing I wish I could thank my (now deceased) parents for, it is that they encouraged the development of considerable initiative in all of their kids. That's also why I don't get bored in retirement.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:06 PM   #15
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I think any major life change brings an adjustment period. For me, it took over 2 years to adjust to RE.

I was 53 and anticipated that and discounted most discomforts during that period as simple 'adjustment time' fully expecting that things would get better. They did...much better!
+1
Exactly 2 years for me. Now it is much better than great!
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:15 PM   #16
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good input so far. Rodi hit on identity and structure. I don't keep links to past threads to I can't easily do what you requested... that is point to specific threads. But I recall one that used excel to schedule their days and weeks. From what I recall, they had all the daytime booked for every week. Some people need this. Personally I put major items (like dates and times to get my MIL to doctors) in a calendar, but most of the time is blank and I fill it with projects I'm working on. I worked a similar way when I was working... that is little planning in the calendar.

Other major items... who are you going to play with. Most the people you know your age are still working. If you need more human interaction, you may need to search out other people to interact with.

I new one guy who retired and as he put it "his wife found all his flaws", so he went back to work. Retiring can change the dynamics between spouses. Something to be aware of. For some, things get better.

RE often means loosing the thing that looks like a paycheck. Often too early for SS or pensions. There have been some threads where some are having issues adjusting. It sounds funny since people plan to withdraw savings or distributions from their savings in retirement.

Probably the best advice I have is really general. Be aware of changes that happen in relationships and be willing to make adjustments. Often the stresses are not completely rational... i.e someone whose identity is defined by a job they hate. Be aware of the potential stresses and willing to make adjustments. Don't let it destroy relationships.

Oh, one more. Some of your current friends may not really like or understand your retiring early. Some may be jealous, some angry, but some will think it is great.

This is a very wise post. Lots of truths. Nice work summarizing.
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:37 AM   #17
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I retired at 56 (2 years earlier than planned). DH retires this May. I was covered about structure and availability of playmates. I joined a gym and attend group classes 3-6/x week depending on my schedule. I love outdoor activities and went a bit overboard joining clubs and now find that I have to pick and choose between activities. (Cycling club, golf league, Kayak club and Mountaineers). The Mountaineers can keep me busy year-round with XC skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, scrambling, climbing and backpacking. There are also activities through the community that I take advantage of as well. I haven't been this healthy or happy in decades. I am also able to read books again without guilt so getting lots of use of our library system. Basically, feels like being a kid again but with the financial resources 😉
My only concern at this point is how things may change with DH retiring. He isn't big on "joining" and has a small social network. So, keep that in mind with your spouse.
I think retiring with a 9 YO may give you lots of opportunities for "play".
Congratulations and best wishes.


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Old 04-05-2016, 12:05 PM   #18
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There are lots of blogs from people that have retired and write about their daily activities. Reading these can give you the good, bad and ugly. We decided to become full time RVers and see the country. We are having an amazing time.
This may be the lifestyle for everyone, but there are many ways to go about life. Just find one that challenges you to discover new things and keeps you inspired.

Shawn
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Old 04-05-2016, 04:46 PM   #19
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We retired at 53 and 58. I by choice at 58 and my DH because he got laid-off and could not find a f.t. job so took his pension early. About 6 months in even with volunteer work, etc we got bored so both consult in our fields and I teach an online college class. It is perfect working about 10-15 hours/week. I can teach my class from anywhere and just let my private clients know when I will be gone. for us this is the perfect mix 4 years later. I may give up the consulting in the future but I love the teaching gig and they will have to pull it from my cold, dead hands)
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Old 04-05-2016, 05:16 PM   #20
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Consider getting a retirement mentor, preferably someone who is not adjusting well. Sounds strange, but I learned a lot from a retiree that was not happy, so I tried to avoid his pitfalls.

Of course there is a lot of happy talk on the forum here. Who would hang around, and say how miserable they are? These people go back to work.

Biggest impact of my life was ER. Mostly positive, but challenges exist, like many of those mentioned above.

Try taking time off, and don't go anywhere, just stay at home until you get so bored, you have to do something. Now imagine that same process the rest of your life. I suspect your wife will expect dinner on the table, a clean house, and laundry done
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