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Anxiety re:RE
Old 02-23-2015, 10:13 AM   #1
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Anxiety re:RE

Hi Folks,

Well I never thought it would happen to me, but I am having a huge bout of doubts and OMY syndrome. All the tools say we are good to go, withdrawal rate will average 2.3% (assuming 1% real growth, 66% social security) and I have us living to 100 (har har). I am 47 and DW is 49. Basically I am freaking out over do we have enough, and what if <blah blah>, and will I get bored. I know my skills are going to get rusty fast and although I despise my job, it pays well and most days it is quite tolerable. So, I struggle with working a few more years to add to the stockpile versus getting out now. If I get out now, I have projects and hobbies to keep me busy. But in the back of my mind, I am scared that I might get bored. I am a teleworker, and any employment I could find locally is going to be for a small fraction of what I currently make. So, there is this tug-of-war going on in my head between being free & seeing what happens, versus the safety of the current situation. But if I don't go now, when will I go? I doubt my BS bucket will ever get full. I am a black-belt in ignoring BS. This is really driving me nuts. Has anyone else gone through this? If so, any tips?
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Old 02-23-2015, 10:19 AM   #2
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Everyone goes through it, just some better than others, and it depends on job circumstances and individual makeup/expectations. It IS a big decision, not one you should take lightly (and you're not). For most people going back to work is much harder as we age and likely to yield less income. I'd encourage you to ignore the few here who blithely say 'you'll love it, best thing I ever did' and little else, without knowing nearly enough about you to have an opinion.

Though we all belabor it, figuring out if you have enough $ is the easy (though not simple) part, though the right answers are not universal. Sounds like you have that well covered. How much will you spend, how much do you have from all income sources, what withdrawal rate does that equate to, and what probability of success does that yield? BUT we can't know if the future will repeat the past so it comes down to your own outlook. Some people are perfectly happy with a 75% probability of success, others need 200% to sleep at night. But retiring just because you've accumulated enough $ is not a good reason by itself.

You should have something/activities better to retire to, it's not enough to just retire from something (a job/career). Some people make the transition with little or no effort, some are lost initially.

Will I be bored was one of my big questions, but doing the Get-A-Life Tree exercise in the How to Retire Happy, Wild & Free book by Ernie Zelinski helped me see there were more than 50 activities that I was interested in. Your library probably has the book. I haven't gotten bored (though northern winters are more challenging boredom wise) and haven't had to refer to the list I made, but it was what I needed to allay my boredom fears before I pulled the retirement trigger.

Whether you retire at 40-something or 60-something, odds are you'll be retired for 20-40 years. You'll know in your own good time.
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Old 02-23-2015, 10:19 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by sadsak View Post
Well I never thought it would happen to me, but I am having a huge bought of doubts and OMY syndrome. All the tools say we are good to go, withdrawal rate will average 2.3% (assuming 1% real growth, 66% social security) and I have us living to 100 (har har).
Keep working for at least another decade. You don't need to for financial reasons, but by that time you'll be entirely cured of OMY syndrome and kicking yourself for not retiring 10 years earlier. Problem solved.
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Old 02-23-2015, 10:40 AM   #4
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I have Ernie's "The Joy of Not Working", and I have done the Life Tree. I probably need to pull it out and look at it for a while (and re-read the book while I am at it).

I have recently re-read "Your Money or Your Life". I thought for sure it would give me the needed push, but it was not enough.

The same cautiousness that made me a good saver, is now biting me in the butt big time!

I just cannot get over how hard this decision has become.
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Old 02-23-2015, 10:54 AM   #5
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I just cannot get over how hard this decision has become.
It's not that unusual, give yourself a break. You'll get over it in your own time, your own way. We all have to pass through that decision, it usually takes years all told.
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Old 02-23-2015, 10:57 AM   #6
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It's a very natural response. Many of us have spent 30-40 years saving, investing and living below our means in order to retire (early or not). Then one day we actually retire we have to withdraw money from the accounts!!! The horror of it!!!!!!!!
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Old 02-23-2015, 11:00 AM   #7
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The decision gets a lot easier when you have friends and relatives die at an early age and you come to realize that there for the grace of God, go you.

Your life is finite. Only you can apportion how much of it you spend retired and how much you spend toiling.
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Old 02-23-2015, 11:00 AM   #8
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Everyone goes through it, just some better than others, and it depends on job circumstances and individual makeup/expectations.
Will I be bored was one of my big questions, but doing the Get-A-Life Tree exercise in the How to Retire Happy, Wild & Free book by Ernie Zelinski helped me see there were more than 50 activities that I was interested in.
+1 great post.. for first 3 months into RE, I was nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs about the financial part. I think it's part of the process. Now I roll with the flow and it's been all good so far.
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Old 02-23-2015, 11:12 AM   #9
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Sounds like you have enough saved, but now the important part.

Do you have enough stashed outside of 401K/IRA accounts for a bunch of years lumpy expenses.
While you can 72T an IRA for a constant stream, the lumpy expenses could throw you into the penalty box tax wise.
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Old 02-23-2015, 11:25 AM   #10
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Its kind of like sky diving. The first step out the door is scary as hell but once you do it, the rest of the ride down is amazing. Like Nike says...Just do it!

DW and I both retired exactly one month ago. She had a lot of anxiety in the months leading up to our retirement date. We immediately went on a 5 day trip to Cancun and she felt great but when we got back home the anxiety came back. We had a long talk about what was bothering her and it was mostly afraid of not having enough to do. Here we are a few weeks later and she is wondering how she ever had time to work. She is now loving every minute of every day.
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Old 02-23-2015, 01:10 PM   #11
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Looks like that I am going to have a lot of anxiety for the next 5 years. Even I consider myself to be semi-retired, only work about 7 to 8 months each year and get paid accordingly, I do have problems to get myself going every day.
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Old 02-23-2015, 01:15 PM   #12
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Its kind of like sky diving. The first step out the door is scary as hell but once you do it, the rest of the ride down is amazing.
That's what I think it will be like for me. Jumping out of the plane will be hard but once I jump, there's no coming back up . I need to make it work, come rain or shine.
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Old 02-23-2015, 01:51 PM   #13
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I am definitely that way, and plan to retire June 5 anyway. My husband already retired last year. We can live on his pension (with 100% survivor benefits) and our 2 social securities, without any withdrawal from our savings. And I'm still anxious. I think it just comes with the over-planning personality.
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Old 02-23-2015, 02:27 PM   #14
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Sadsak, Your post could have been written by me. I have had a date set (June 15) for about a year but as the date approaches and things start to get real I am gripped by intense anxiety and second guessing for the reasons you mentioned. Glad to hear from others responding that this is fairly normal. I am not convinced that I will pull the trigger when planned, but I am hoping to. Will be watching this thread closely. Good luck!
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Old 02-23-2015, 03:09 PM   #15
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I am RE as of 12/31/14. I do have some independent contractor dates scheduled for work; I expect about 6/month for 6 months then plan to be through for good. I hate every day I've agreed to work but like the money and I know I'm helping friends. So I'll do it for a time.

Allow yourself a little couch potato time...you've earned it. Then, plan, exercise, downsizing your stuff, and ramping up the things you've put off because of "career".

My goals include better cooking and eating habits, developing my legal and financial savvy, become a better musician, become more patient/less irritable. Losing weight and physical fitness too.

Set yourself 3-6 things you would do if you had more time, then do them!
The whole of your being is not about earning money, as it has been for too many years. That is a very superficial part of who you are. Embrace letting that go.

A little planning helps. But do allow yourself to be free from excessive planning. This forum is wonderful because it embraces the DIY folks, the fitness folks and the lay in the hammock folks, and everyone in between.


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Old 02-23-2015, 03:36 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by sadsak View Post
Hi Folks,

Well I never thought it would happen to me, but I am having a huge bout of doubts and OMY syndrome. All the tools say we are good to go, withdrawal rate will average 2.3% (assuming 1% real growth, 66% social security) and I have us living to 100 (har har). I am 47 and DW is 49. Basically I am freaking out over do we have enough, and what if <blah blah>, and will I get bored. I know my skills are going to get rusty fast and although I despise my job, it pays well and most days it is quite tolerable. So, I struggle with working a few more years to add to the stockpile versus getting out now. If I get out now, I have projects and hobbies to keep me busy. But in the back of my mind, I am scared that I might get bored. I am a teleworker, and any employment I could find locally is going to be for a small fraction of what I currently make. So, there is this tug-of-war going on in my head between being free & seeing what happens, versus the safety of the current situation. But if I don't go now, when will I go? I doubt my BS bucket will ever get full. I am a black-belt in ignoring BS. This is really driving me nuts. Has anyone else gone through this? If so, any tips?
I'm just the same as you, about to pull the plug in Summer but it seems quite scary to me after 35 years. Crazy thing is I can afford to do it. Hopefully it will be easy once I've notified the boss.
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Old 02-23-2015, 05:11 PM   #17
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Not much to add except my pilfered question I think about when I wonder if I'll get bored:

When you get bored now, do you think, "I'll go to work!"?
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Old 02-23-2015, 06:03 PM   #18
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It's a huge decision in anyone's life, so it's no surprise that you find yourself weighing aspects of it again and again. That's a good thing. Like others have said, getting there is a process. You'll know when you're at least somewhat ready to take the leap. And, make no mistake, it is a leap.

As much as I planned for ER and felt tremendous excitement about it, when I finally gave my notice, the sensation in my gut was like I was in the downward dip of a rollercoaster. That's because I considered the decision irreversible -- there was no going back. You're still under 50, so maybe that's not as much the case for you.

Now on the other side for nearly six months, I haven't regretted my decision for a single minute. You may be reassured by this recent thread: 5 biggest ER surprises.
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:14 PM   #19
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There is no good answer to your quandary. It is basically a leap of faith. There are pros and cons to whatever decision you make. Even though I ER'd 4 yrs ago and am the "model" retiree by everyone I know, my wife is still struggling with OMY syndrome. In the end it has to be your decision. No one can tell you what to do.
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Old 02-23-2015, 08:34 PM   #20
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With a withdrawal rate of 2.3%, it sounds like you are pretty well set, financially. The bigger question for you is how you will spend your time in retirement, will you be bored, will you be satisfied with your new life. Only you can answer those questions, and you need to spend some time thinking hard about them, and planning for your retirement years. If, in the end, you can't envision how you would spend your time in retirement, and if you're not excited about having more free time to pursue your passions and interests, then you probably should continue working.

For me, I have so many hobbies and interests that I had zero concerns about being bored in retirement, and it's worked out that way since I retired 5 years ago. I am virtually never bored, and in fact it's hard to find the time to do all the things I'd like to do. I also really appreciate having the time to live a healthier lifestyle than I did while I was working (I sleep better, eat healthier foods, exercise more, etc.). So, I have zero regrets about retiring when I did at age 54 1/2.

Every one is different, so only you can decide when the time is right for you.
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