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Old 03-29-2014, 06:25 PM   #61
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Hey, I know quite a few people that have incomes 10x yours. They cannot retire. Who is the loser? You won dude!! congrats.
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Old 03-29-2014, 06:29 PM   #62
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That post was suppose to accompany the quote from mikefixac. Maybe when I ER I will figure this thing out!
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:57 PM   #63
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Written before the position was eliminated...

Quote:
Charley, a new retiree-greeter at Wal-Mart, just couldn't seem to get to work on time. Everyday he was 5, 10, 15 minutes late.

But he was a good worker, really tidy, clean-shaven, sharp-minded and a real credit to the company and obviously demonstrating their "Older Person Friendly" policies.

One day the boss called him into the office for a talk.

"Charley, I have to tell you, I like your work ethic, you do a bang-up job when you finally get here; but your being late so often is quite bothersome."

"Yes, I know boss, and I am working on it."

"Well good, you are a team player. That's what I like to hear."

"Yes sir, I understand your concern and I will try harder."

"Seemingly puzzled, the manager went on to comment, I know you're retired from the Armed Forces. What did they say to you there if you showed up in the morning late so often?"

The old man looked down at the floor, then smiled. He chuckled quietly, then said with a grin, "They usually saluted and said 'Good morning, Admiral, can I get your coffee, sir?'"
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Old 03-29-2014, 08:18 PM   #64
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On any objective measure, this looks like a resoundingly successful career. Hardly "for naught". I think your anxiety about future "lost" opportunities says more about your psychology than it does about rationality. Your achievements at work are still worthwhile achievements even after you retire or die. If a net worth of 300 times expenses does not make you feel financially secure, I don't think a net worth of 400 times expenses will either. Your pursuit of financial nirvana has a huge opportunity cost in time. Perhaps your real fear is how to use that time in a fulfilling way. Some people need professional help making that adjustment.
I accept that the feelings are not rational - or better said, that they are not logical. Emotions tend to be rational even when they are not logical. But the feelings are quite common. Many people are hesitant to give up something built with a lifetime of effort (i.e., a career).

Spending fulfilling time in retirement is not even a minor concern. For me, much of the time will be spent doing more of what I already do ... athletic and outdoor activities (and preparing for such activities). It takes 5-6 months to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada, for example.

You are correct. Having 400 times expenses is not going to make one feel more financially secure than having 300 times expenses. But that is not the issue. I already feel financially secure. The issue is lost financial opportunity.

Would a typical early retiree go back to work for 1 day if their former boss offered them 1 million dollars? Of course they would. Almost anyone would. Even people with more than enough would not give up an opportunity to make that much money for only one day of time. Otherwise, they would regret the decision for the rest of their lives. While the example is absurd - it's never going to happen - the point is that even people with enough money do not hesitate to make more when the terms are right. Perhaps people shouldn't do this. But they do.

The difficulty is knowing when the terms are right. If I retire today at age 54 with a decent probability of living another ~40 years, my DB pension will provide me with about $85K/yr (COLA'ed). It goes up by over $1K/yr for every additional month of work. So if I work another 3 months - not that much time - I'll receive an additional $4K/yr for the rest of my life. If I work another 5 years - a sizable but not absurd amount of time - my lifetime COLA'ed pension will be about $170K/yr.

These differences are not trivial. The financial opportunity is huge. It's not easy to give up. It does not matter that the money is not needed. And I can give the money to others and feel good it. Yes, something may happen to my health and I may want those extra 3 months or 5 years back. But it's not a simple decision. It comes with both logic and emotions.
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Old 03-29-2014, 08:34 PM   #65
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Would a typical early retiree go back to work for 1 day if their former boss offered them 1 million dollars? Of course they would.
That is a highly unlikely situation.

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These differences are not trivial. The financial opportunity is huge. It's not easy to give up. It does not matter that the money is not needed. And I can give the money to others and feel good it. Yes, something may happen to my health and I may want those extra 3 months or 5 years back. But it's not a simple decision. It comes with both logic and emotions.
I agree that the financial differences are not trivial. At some point, which you clearly have not reached, the incremental benefits of continuing to work will reach a break even point with the drudgery of work. The alternative is that you will die, become disabled, or be asked to leave. So while you say you hate your job, you do not hate it sufficiently to overcome your love of the money it earns you (aka greed). Therefore you should continue to work and reevaluate the situation on a regular basis.
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Old 03-29-2014, 10:47 PM   #66
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ER Eddie, I got a lot of positive feedback from this post last year. The key point was this.
Your best months or maybe years working will probably be better working than retirement.
On the other hand, your worse month or year being retired is absolutely going to be much better than your worse month or year working.

Once you come to terms with this it will be easier.
The linked post was very insightful. Thanks.
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Old 03-29-2014, 11:28 PM   #67
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But still, it is hard realizing as you have said, whatever I have achieved in my working life, is all I will ever achieve.
I have struggled with this, very much so. I also find that it is bound up with a better appreciation of my own mortality than I have ever had. I always knew that everyone only gets so much time, but stepping away from the career really underlined it. I turned 40 the same year I stepped out of the cube, so that is likely a confounding issue.
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Old 03-30-2014, 02:54 AM   #68
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Retirement certainly does not have to put an end to personal achievements. Since I left the workforce, I've learned new skills, pushed myself physically, developed artistic talents, etc... Plenty of achievements to be proud of. If the idea of continued personal growth beyond retirement is inconceivable, then perhaps one should not retire.
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Old 03-30-2014, 07:01 AM   #69
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I have gone through it, too. And have come to terms with it. I think a lot of it has to do with the way we are programmed. All the energy it took to land that final job, (schooling, contacts, etc), then you get a good job, and work your tail off trying to do good. And over the years, you work your way up the food chain. Then once you are at the top of your game, you step off the edge and you're done. It's all over. And it's really not about the money. My shepherd has a strong drive to chase things, (most dogs do). It's like that dog will not ever chase a ball again. Even though that's what he has been trained to do all his life.

It really has to do with coming to terms with your true inner values. Some of them have changed. You become more self realized that there's a whole nother world out there.

For me personally...my regret was not following what I was really good at...instead taking another career that to me was stable and predictable...but mediocre in my eyes. It was a good job...but not necessarily for me.

Have any of you felt that you were put on this earth to do something special with your skills and life, or contribute something really good to the world, but got side tracked along the way? That's the way I have felt all these years. I am now working on fixing that and getting on that road I should have been on decades ago. Retirement has now allowed me to focus on my core values without having to have the need for money cloud the way. I feel like I have now been given a second chance in my life...and this time, I'm not going to screw it up. It's about personal achievement.

I know this is getting side tracked...but as a good parent you need to communicate to your kids how important it is to be in the field, (or job), where they are happiest and not something that's just secure.
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Old 03-30-2014, 07:16 AM   #70
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........ My shepherd has a strong drive to chase things, (most dogs do). It's like that dog will not ever chase a ball again. Even though that's what he has been trained to do all his life. .........
I took a lesson from my greyhound. Her kind was bred for over a thousand years to chase and she trained hard to run the race. Now we are both retired and happy to take a nap as we feel like it.
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Old 03-30-2014, 07:48 AM   #71
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The difficulty is knowing when the terms are right. .
+1. When your BS bucket is full, you will know it. I agree with Meadbh that you should continue working and periodically reevaluate your situation.
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:24 AM   #72
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Absolutely I can relate. My case was different, but the feeling 100% right on. In my case there was a SR. management change 5 years prior. Not being all that great at jr. high school politics, I found myself on the wrong side of a battle I didn't know was occuring.
Not technically a demotion, but I went from a technical leader to a much lesser position. I was ashamed, I'd done all that was asked and more. A new bunch of leadership took over, bright - eyed, condemning all that had been done prior.
I was close to FI, built my plans to RE. Took a few years to gain the confidence, that I could RE. Finally after discussing it with close friends, family, and one last meeting with Fidelity, I gave myself permission to let go. I'm so glad I did, my wife's health has improved. I'm able to work on mine.

I still have lunch with some w*ork friends. Occasionally I see some of the new leadership.
They ask how I'm doing. I just smile say great. They look older, tired. The once shiny eyes, bleary from the last 80 hour week. I haven't figured out what my passion is yet, but I will.

BTW - The Megacorp I worked for is never going to change humanity, end wars or injustice, feed the hungry, cure the sick........

Best wishes,
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:02 AM   #73
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Interesting topic. To my way of thinking, eventually we all will leave our careers, glorious or not, and be quickly forgotten. It is simply a question of how and when. I wanted to choose the how and the when.
The poet Thomas Gray put a decidedly morbid note on it: "The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, and all that beauty all that wealth 'ere gave, await alike the inevitable hour-- The paths of glory lead but to the grave."
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Old 03-30-2014, 02:21 PM   #74
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Interesting topic. To my way of thinking, eventually we all will leave our careers, glorious or not, and be quickly forgotten...........
This was really brought home to me when I cleaned out a cubical of a fellow engineer that had left the company. All those meticulously indexed notebooks, stacks of CDs with data, photographs, reports and graphs - into the dumpster. During the several years afterward I never had a soul ask about any of it. I did my own dumpster purge before I left to save anyone else the trouble.
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Old 03-30-2014, 05:33 PM   #75
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As a mechanical engineer, my standard answer was always to tell people that I was a mechanic. It was fun to see them stammer, then condescend to me.
One evening some years ago I was in a hot spring at Two Bunch Palms. Others there were talking about their postions in the movie/tv industry. When someone inquired of my job I said I fixed toilets for a living - pretty true as a landlord. I didn't expound.

Rarely worked for wages or salary, so maintaining self image was pretty much my own job and not dependent on title. That said, not being in direct management and trying to downsize rather than increase our real estate holdings is difficult at times - a certain lack of purpose..
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Old 03-30-2014, 05:50 PM   #76
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OP here. The feelings have passed. They were a momentary insanity. I think part of what I was feeling was also just a sense of loss. Although work was been stressful and annoying, I was also more identified with it than I realized. It's going to be weird and sad to let it go. But it's also something I know I want to do. I am looking forward to downshifting and throwing off some of the stress, then eventually moving on to something else, somewhere else.

I will continue to work in a variety of ways, so the idea that "this is all I'll ever achieve" was ridiculous, really -- in fact, this will give me the chance to "achieve" things that matter more to me, like spiritual growth, spending time with loved ones, and exploring what comes next.
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Old 03-30-2014, 05:56 PM   #77
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For me, I just never made a lot of money, $20K-$25K max/year. Most years less than that. So put a big capital L on my forehead.

I did end up having a NW over $1M. Got lucky with investments, necessity being its mother.
More proof that people count more than things when it comes to success.
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Old 03-30-2014, 06:08 PM   #78
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I am getting close to ER but not there yet. Mentally and financially preparing. 2 years, 3 months....

I can only imagine the roller coaster of a ride that is to come. I have been financially very successful and in a position of respect. I have a title and ownership. I have been always careful not to make it my identity as many others in my field have. For that reason I am hopeful I will be at peace with my decision. Many others stay in my field because it is their identity. Kind of sad to me...many should have left long ago.
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Old 03-30-2014, 06:54 PM   #79
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I accept that the feelings are not rational - or better said, that they are not logical. Emotions tend to be rational even when they are not logical. But the feelings are quite common. Many people are hesitant to give up something built with a lifetime of effort (i.e., a career).

Spending fulfilling time in retirement is not even a minor concern. For me, much of the time will be spent doing more of what I already do ... athletic and outdoor activities (and preparing for such activities). It takes 5-6 months to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada, for example.

You are correct. Having 400 times expenses is not going to make one feel more financially secure than having 300 times expenses. But that is not the issue. I already feel financially secure. The issue is lost financial opportunity.

Would a typical early retiree go back to work for 1 day if their former boss offered them 1 million dollars? Of course they would. Almost anyone would. Even people with more than enough would not give up an opportunity to make that much money for only one day of time. Otherwise, they would regret the decision for the rest of their lives. While the example is absurd - it's never going to happen - the point is that even people with enough money do not hesitate to make more when the terms are right. Perhaps people shouldn't do this. But they do.

The difficulty is knowing when the terms are right. If I retire today at age 54 with a decent probability of living another ~40 years, my DB pension will provide me with about $85K/yr (COLA'ed). It goes up by over $1K/yr for every additional month of work. So if I work another 3 months - not that much time - I'll receive an additional $4K/yr for the rest of my life. If I work another 5 years - a sizable but not absurd amount of time - my lifetime COLA'ed pension will be about $170K/yr.

These differences are not trivial. The financial opportunity is huge. It's not easy to give up. It does not matter that the money is not needed. And I can give the money to others and feel good it. Yes, something may happen to my health and I may want those extra 3 months or 5 years back. But it's not a simple decision. It comes with both logic and emotions.

I retired at 45 and left 10k on the table by not going an extra 2 years. Spending 50k a year and already having a 75k COLA'd pension convinced me, I needed no more. Yet oddly enough, I continued working part time for several more years, not willing to pass up a "few more bucks". No regrets on retiring early, but clearly it made more sense to have just worked 2 more years in existing job, than doing PT work for 4 more. I guess for me it just came down to being tired of the work I was doing.


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Old 03-30-2014, 08:25 PM   #80
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Have any of you felt that you were put on this earth to do something special with your skills and life, or contribute something really good to the world, but got side tracked along the way?
Absolutely! I am planning to retire next year at 43 and am alternately excited and anxious. I have so many things I want to do in the second half of life, but am concerned that once I leave my job as software engineer there will be no going back.

I've actually been working with a life coach to talk through my feelings about the transition and it's been really helpful. She recommended this book which helped to clarify a lot of the confusion I was feeling.

Amazon.com: It's Only Too Late If You Don't Start Now: HOW TO CREATE YOUR SECOND LIFE AT ANY AGE eBook: Barbara Sher: Kindle Store
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