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Finishing the job
Old 02-06-2016, 07:38 AM   #1
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Finishing the job

I'm not sure where to post this, and not sure if these musings will be valuable or interesting to anybody, but I post them primarily to initiate a discussion that may be useful for those on the precipice of retirement, but who have not made the jump just yet.

I am finishing a few things up, only working a few hours per week, and by March 1 I will be done. Not particularly "early" (62). I came across an index card on which I'd written "Finish the job". I wrote it about 5 years ago when it seemed to me I had enough to retire, into what would have been a minimally financed retirement. The message to myself was that if I retired at that point, I would have worked 37 years or so, so I could be poor in retirement. I was burned out on my job and on the concept of working in general, so the temptation to quit was real. The message to myself was, "yes you could quit, but the job isn't really finished"...

I was earning a decent buck and the market did well, so the extra years have really helped, and especially now that the market seems to want to "correct", the extra cushion is indeed a comfort.

The decision to retire, much like the decision to have children, is a personal one and one that should not be influenced too heavily by the opinions of others. But it is a big one, and I just throw this out there as my own personal experience, for what it's worth.

There is no shame in OMY,(or in my case, 5MY) if you are hearing that little voice that suggests the job isn't really "finished".
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Old 02-06-2016, 08:10 AM   #2
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Love it.

I'm not close to finishing the job -- several more years to be ready -- but I think it's really important to rise above the spreadsheets and have a longer term, more personal view.

A few years back we had a great intersection of events: I got promoted/big raise and we managed to put a couple of financials milestones behind us. Suddenly, the financial things we were working on 90 days earlier weren't relevant going forward.

I took a multi year look at our future finances. Not "what will we earn/save next year" but what is the total income/out go/savings for five years. It was eye opening on a number of levels. It reminded me how blessed we were, how far we still had to go financially even tho we now had a big surplus, and it forced me to recognize that whatever the spreadsheets said in 5 years, that 5 more years of my life would be gone.

As I reflected on this, I concluded that our goals were now to:
"Live, Give, and Prepare"

Live our lives, it's not just about the spreadsheet
Give too others, we're beyond being "ok"
Prepare for Retirement and Kids College, we still have a lot of work to do

I wrote "Live, Give, and Prepare" at the top of our annual planning spreadsheet and it's been a great guide post.

5 years on the kids college is done, we've established and nicely funded a tax efficient charity account, and we're well on the way to FIRE.

It's good to have a macro-framework and goals!
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Old 02-06-2016, 08:11 AM   #3
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Most definitely, there is no shame in OMY. I could have ER'd when I was 58 ( I had just been laid off ), and was mentally ready for that. But I kept looking for another j*b and did land one. So, my "OMY" became more like 2 1/2 MY's, but like you that extra period put me over the top......partially financially but more importantly emotionally 100% certain that the timing was right.
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Old 02-08-2016, 06:12 AM   #4
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Thanks for that post. Just what I needed to hear, really. I'm just short of my goal but feeling some market stress. You are quite right that I'm not quiiiite finished. I still need to put in to place operation safety net (3 30K cd's in case of a market decline. That plus dividends should sustain us in the event of a market decline. If no market decline- roll 'em over) and make my portfolio a little more conservative and add that extra cash. That ought to take 2 years, then I will re-evaluate whether I want to stay for the company retirement plan offered 4 years from now. Thx for your viewpoint. Very helpful.
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Old 02-08-2016, 09:44 AM   #5
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Always good to hear a different perspective! I have 2 more years to go and sometimes I read posts and think I should just make the jump now. But in reality, I need the 2 years to reach our goals.
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:04 AM   #6
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Good post, thanks. There are often very good reasons to work a bit longer. One thing I wanted to complete before I retired was to try to help folks I cared about get treated fairly through a relatively major reorganization. As things turned out, it didn't delay my retirement but I felt very good about seeing that through.
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:04 AM   #7
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My last few years at w*rk were indeed "finishing the j*b". A layoff, and the resulting pay reduction, plus some half-time work due to funding cuts, all conspired to keep that illusive FIRE date just out of reach. But I did FIRE almost immediately after the stars aligned.

Of course, that was on 12/31/2015, so whether it was a good plan remains to be seen, but I'm not broke yet...
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:07 AM   #8
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Years before I retired, I had two dates in mind for retirement:

The first was November 7th, 2009, which was the first day after reaching eligibility for retiree medical. I felt that was a necessity, even though I was FI a couple of years earlier.

The second was July 1st, 2010. If I waited for the latter, I'd get a bigger pension because of waiting until after my 62nd birthday, and I'd get to contribute another $22K to the TSP so it was better financially.

Luckily I was easily able to swing it on November 9th, 2009 so that was when I retired. It turned out the 7th was on a Saturday so in order to assure that there was no question about my retiree medical eligibility, I waited until Monday.

Anyway, I think most people have a "Plan B" in mind just in case; or at least I did anyway.

I also had some work goals that I wanted to complete before retiring, although I probably could have finished them by late 2008. Still, it was nice to have the extra time to go over everything, do it right, and "tie it up with a bow", so to speak.
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:15 AM   #9
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Oh my. This one kinda hits close to home...

The first time I quit my job was in 2011. There is a thread somewhere on the boards here where I described my plan as 'insane.' I hear it is an entertaining and somewhat sobering read. The short version is that we had one pension and SS to look forward to, and we had a lot of cash in savings. It lasted about four years. They were fun years! Unfortunately our pension and SS early-retirement dates are still in the future, so I had to go back to work. In two years we will have TWO pensions + SS and that makes a helluva lotta difference in the long run.

On one hand, I have no regrets. On the other hand, yeah - we weren't really thinking things through. I didn't finish the 'job.' But this time I will.
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Old 02-08-2016, 10:39 AM   #10
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My take from most here is that the shame in OMY is related to what you would have missed because you're overly conservative. I was probably FI in mid late fifties, but there was a significant pension boost to wait until 60. I may well have kept working if I still enjoyed the work as much as I had (most of the time) up until about 58. Then the BS bucket got full, the elected people who had control over me changed, and the general business priorities became less important IMO. Frankly, I just couldn't stand it any more so bailed (at 60).

For me, I have no regrets for the last ~2 years; the boost in pension more than made up for it. And, knowing the end was near was comforting. I think there are a lot here (after all, isn't the object to retire early and get away from work?) whose primary goal is to RE ASAP with sufficient security.

It's all highly personal as to when you go, what risk you're comfortable with, and how miserable the job is for you. For me it was simply time to get out. While I had run financial calculators endlessly for several years, we could have done it earlier but I still wouldn't characterize the inaction as OMY as typically used here.

In the end, you just have to do what is comfortable to your values, risks, tolerances, and desires. Good luck!
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Old 02-08-2016, 01:51 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by H2ODude View Post
My take from most here is that the shame in OMY is related to what you would have missed because you're overly conservative. I was probably FI in mid late fifties, but there was a significant pension boost to wait until 60. I may well have kept working if I still enjoyed the work as much as I had (most of the time) up until about 58. Then the BS bucket got full, the elected people who had control over me changed, and the general business priorities became less important IMO. Frankly, I just couldn't stand it any more so bailed (at 60).

For me, I have no regrets for the last ~2 years; the boost in pension more than made up for it. And, knowing the end was near was comforting. I think there are a lot here (after all, isn't the object to retire early and get away from work?) whose primary goal is to RE ASAP with sufficient security.

It's all highly personal as to when you go, what risk you're comfortable with, and how miserable the job is for you. For me it was simply time to get out. While I had run financial calculators endlessly for several years, we could have done it earlier but I still wouldn't characterize the inaction as OMY as typically used here.

In the end, you just have to do what is comfortable to your values, risks, tolerances, and desires. Good luck!
good points. in my case, since I was my own boss, I was able to make some changes in hours, and time away, in order to keep the job from being too onerous for me. If I had to work for an oppressive boss, without control over my schedule, I likely would not have continued. But being my own boss was also a big part of what I was burned out on. Being MY boss, and the boss of a handful of other people who I cared about, and who to a considerable degree, were relying on me not to screw up.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:05 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by H2ODude View Post
My take from most here is that the shame in OMY is related to what you would have missed because you're overly conservative. I was probably FI in mid late fifties, but there was a significant pension boost to wait until 60.
Very close to home for me too. I was probably FI about 3 years ago at 53. That felt too early, and if I waited 5 more years, the pension would go from $26K/yr to $35K, but then be capped. Right now it would be 32.5. The RE assets have benefited too and I only need a WR of 2% for what I want. DW would prefer I stick it out to the max from Megacorp, and I suppose I will unless things get worse. It is not really so bad, I am just tired of it all. On the missing out side, we are doing OK In spite of w**rking, in the last 3 years we have been on great trips to the national parks in Alberta, Oregon, Colorado, & Arizona, plus a trip to France.
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Old 02-08-2016, 05:12 PM   #13
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OMY OMY OMY OMY OMY OMY OMY. Time will finish the job (croak!).
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