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FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 03-27-2007, 03:32 PM   #1
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FIRE-ees: any regrets?

None of us are perfect. I am years away from FIRE status, but I'd like to hear from those that have already reached FIRE - with the wisdom of hindsight, what would you have done differently, even if it would only have been a slight change?

Saved more and built up a larger nest egg? Saved less and gotten more years of your life back?

Did you find some hobby in retirement that you wish you would have picked up sooner (and could you realistically have done so while working)?

Or did you -- gasp -- find something that pays you but you really do it for fun and because you enjoy it (i.e., a new line of work)?

Wish you moved to your great new location sooner? Or did you miss something about your old neighborhood and wish you hadn't moved?

Just curious to hear how the "FIRE-ees" would have tweaked things looking back ...
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 03-27-2007, 04:13 PM   #2
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

Retired 5 months ago at 48.

Mentally, no regrets. I can amuse myself indefinitely, so am never bored.
I will never miss the "stimulation" of work. While I always enjoyed programming,
it was usually on projects so easy I could (and did) do them in my sleep.

Financially, no regrets. My job environment changed from nearly perfect to
crap just as a 7 year string of good investment results left me well over my
FIRE target.

Healthwise, though, I used to be in excellent shape due to heavy exercise,
mainly cycling with some lifting. I regret the weight I put on the last 10 years,
that I am now struggling to get rid of. I really should have worked harder on
keeping that condition.
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 03-27-2007, 04:21 PM   #3
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

I would've left active duty for the Reserves, although of course that would have led to its own consequences after 9/11.

I didn't discover this board until after I'd FIRE'd. When I was working, I was usually too busy/tired/overwhelmed to consider retirement or preparing for it. We had our savings & investment programs on track, but that mostly consisted of set & forget with little tweaking until I was very close to retirement.
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 03-27-2007, 06:09 PM   #4
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

if regrets are caused by my actions or decisions, then i have no regrets. if regrets are based on situations out of my control, then regrets, i have a few.

i would regret not knowing about this forum before i fired, but i did research retirement before quitting my job. i stumbled onto this forum a few months after. had i the wisdom of this board, i might have realized how illiquid & unstable real estate can be and therefore perhaps i might have kept my job until the inherited house was sold.

i knew the market wouldn't last forever but i had no idea it could shut off so quickly and drop so fast. so i guess i should regret that i did not research finances well enough. but even if i had, i don't know that i would have made any different decision. i suppose if i did do better research and did make the same decision that then i should perhaps regret that decision. but i had fallen into a deep depression and i was desparate to escape some of the pain so i don't know that i made a decision which would justify regret because it was a decision i felt i needed to survive. i did what i felt i had to do under the circumstances as presented to me at the time so, while in hindsight it all might seem rather regrettable, i don't know why i would regret that.
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 03-28-2007, 10:28 AM   #5
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

My wife and I have what we believe is a pretty cool approach to early retirement....

We (semi) retired 21/2 years ago at 49 years old. We found that we could both work part-time (about 20 hours per week each) and earn enough money to cover our basic living expenses....maybe not a "wow" lifestyle, but very comfortable as the house is paid for, no debts, etc.

This allows us plenty of free time for hobbies, fitness, family....all the stuff we didn't have time for when we were clocking 50+ hours each week.

Our plan is to continue with this for a few more years, while our investments remain untouched and growing for our future. We don't really know when (or if) we will pull the trigger for "full time" retirement. (I get health insurance coverage for both of us from my employer, so that is a real factor retiring so early.)

But as far as regrets go, we DO know that if we had discovered this arrangement earlier....we would have done it sooner. Life is short, enjoy it while you can.

Hope this helps.
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 03-28-2007, 11:13 AM   #6
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

No regrets. None of this was abrupt for me. I was winding down my law practice before I knew I was doing it. I just kept turning away work. I didn't need the money and didn't want the hassle.

Now I am really retired, but occasionally I get a simple case and an easy few bucks and those are easy to spot, so I do it. I do a lot of unpaid legal work because I enjoy choosing how/where to do it and making a difference.

If I had planned more, I'd probably have more money, but I don't care.
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 03-28-2007, 11:58 AM   #7
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

We retired at 43 and 44 4 years ago. We spent a lot of time before that "anticipating a need" and now we have umpteen bath towels, underwear, socks and sheets. Ultimately, we could have afforded these items today easily and now we have "new" underwear that is losing its elasticity.
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 03-28-2007, 12:11 PM   #8
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparky
...now we have "new" underwear that is losing its elasticity.
May I suggest safety pins for this minor regret? Those were what I used as a kid when the waist elastic/garter would lose elasticity. It's really a hassle though when you have to go to the bathroom...

...or you could take them on your next trip to Asia (or possibly Central/South America?) and find a seamstress who would change the elastic. (I pile up clothes needing mending and hemming and take them when I visit Manila.)

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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 03-30-2007, 05:18 PM   #9
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

Quote:
Those were what I used as a kid when the waist elastic/garter would lose elasticity.
LOL flipstress -- did you ever use rubber bands to hold up your knee socks?
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 03-30-2007, 05:22 PM   #10
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
LOL flipstress -- did you ever use rubber bands to hold up your knee socks?
Isn't that a tourniquet?
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 03-30-2007, 10:01 PM   #11
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caroline
LOL flipstress -- did you ever use rubber bands to hold up your knee socks?
Why, yes! I forgot about that. I must have learned it from my dad because I remember him doing that.

When I grew up, I hated to do mending, so I would still use safety pins on unraveled skirt hems, and once or twice, when I ran out of safety pins, I would staple the hem.

I am not a slob, really...I just do not like mending.
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 04-03-2007, 07:36 PM   #12
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

Thanks for your responses, all. Some good points for me to keep in mind.

CyclingInvestor - it's true, it's much more difficult to find time to work out while you're still working (and juggling a family life as well) but your post is a good reminder.

Nords - when you say you would have joined the reserve, do you mean you would have retired earlier and joined the reserve? Or that you would still have FIRE'd when you did, just that you would have joined the reserve when you left active duty? Do you feel that way due to financial reasons, or did you miss something about being the military that you realized the reserves would have given you?

TKP - my plan is similar to yours, although on an accelerated schedule. If I'm not FIREd by 40 I plan to scale back to part-time work, maybe with my wife doing some freelance work (she's raising our new baby and probably will be away from paid employment for quite a few years), and plan to make enough to pay for our (simple) living expenses while letting our nest egg grow untouched until we reach traditional retirement age.

I hope to be able to spend much more time with my child(ren) that way.
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 04-04-2007, 12:55 AM   #13
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lusitan
Nords - when you say you would have joined the reserve, do you mean you would have retired earlier and joined the reserve? Or that you would still have FIRE'd when you did, just that you would have joined the reserve when you left active duty? Do you feel that way due to financial reasons, or did you miss something about being the military that you realized the reserves would have given you?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lusitan
I hope to be able to spend much more time with my child(ren) that way.
No, there's no option to retire earlier than 20 years of service unless a special incentive is offered (I was never eligible) or there's a serious medical issue.

I would've resigned and then either gone back on active duty as a Reservist (with much more control over where/when/how long) or gotten a real civilian job along with drilling Reserve weekends & two-weeks-a-year active duty (the way the Reserves used to be during the Cold War). I'd probably still be working part time today (unless I discovered some latent Midas talent), and living a "Work Less Live More" lifestyle.

The Reserves would've given me the option of using my Navy skills without having to find a civilian career. The pay would've been the same (when I was working) and the benefits (except medical insurance) would've been about the same. (My active-duty spouse would've covered my medical.) But we would've had more control over my working hours, my liberty, and childcare. Ironically I might have been more easily promoted as a Reservist than many of my active-duty counterparts, but we'll never know.

I would've left active duty in 1994, after 12 years of service, so many would have advised me to stay on active duty and "just suck it up!" Of course those of you who've been in the Reserves for a while remember that the drawdown after the first Gulf War was pretty vicious, so I probably would have had a difficult time finding Reserve work if we'd left Hawaii. (Unlike Norfolk & San Diego, Hawaii has lots of military commands but not so many Reserve volunteers.) So the picture wouldn't be quite as rosy as I made it seem, but I would've had more control over that picture. However a 9/11 mobilization (or two) would've been almost as difficult a challenge as staying on active duty turned out to be. Instead of collecting a 20-year retirement at age 41 I would've collected slightly less at age 60... or maybe a bit more. Again we'll never know.

But here's the general lessons for the rest of the board, both veterans & civilians. There were two reasons I didn't resign, other than just plain inertia. The first reason was sheer ignorance of what the Reserves could do for me because in a decade of active duty I'd never really worked with Reservists. When I was having a miserable time at COMSUBPAC, though, I was surrounded by Reservists (including a couple shipmates) who would've been thrilled to corrupt another one show me what the Reserves could do for me. It never occurred to me (amid the long workdays/weekends, chronic night-baby-feeding fatigue, and general overwhelming family time) to investigate my options.

The second reason was because spouse and I feared that one of us leaving the Navy would result in the other one of us being ordered to a remote duty station. For spouse at the time this would've been Diego Garcia and it would've been an unaccompanied tour. But again due to our situation we never really analyzed the finances or childcare, just the terrible thought of having to handle being a single parent for 12-18 months. Somehow the default decision became staying on active duty.

So as miserable as it may be at a job, it's extremely difficult to pull one's head out of an IN box for a dispassionate quantitative appraisal of career options, personal finances, and the fears/anxieties. But it has to be done to be able to figure out a solution and I never made an opportunity for myself to do that. Sure, I made it to retirement, but there was undoubtedly a price to be paid.

The year before I retired, when my retirement was assured but spouse was threatened given an unaccompanied-tour offer that she couldn't refuse, spouse resigned from active duty and joined the Reserves. She was just short of 18 years of service, but life is far better than it would've been if she'd taken the advice to "suck it up!" The difference in our situations is that we were a bit older & wiser, less fearful of confrontation, and able to make the time we needed to analyze all the details. Like Laurence's conversation with his spouse about buying a house with a risky ARM loan, our sanity epiphany came when we were contemplating a separation of over a year (I'd be raising our eight-year-old in Hawaii) and marveling at the robust family-counseling services that would've been offered at my spouse's overseas homeport. We looked at each other and she said "I gotta resign" at the same time that I said "Game over." The uproar that followed her resignation letter confirmed that she'd made the right choice... and it also showed us that being able to analyze our situation and act on it had given us the upper hand.
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 04-04-2007, 11:13 PM   #14
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

We have no regrets about retiring, even though we did it insanely early at age 38 and didn't have the wisdom or support of this forum.

We did it on guts and hope, really.

There was no one to talk to about this idea, and that led to some lonely times thinking we were the only ones out there who wanted more from life than simply 80 hour work weeks, a great wardrobe with no time to wear it, and some great toys.

Looking back I don't know that we would have made a different decision, but I would have liked to have had more personal confidence that I wasn't looney tunes or a bum. I knew I was neither, but we were certainly asked about being both...

No amount of money could buy those 17 years worth of experience and travel, perspectives gained and insights into self.

This is a personal choice for each one of us.

Be well,
Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 04-04-2007, 11:33 PM   #15
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

Being freshly FIRE'd (as of today!) I'm throughly content with my path to this point! I doubt I would have made any great changes if I had it to do over again. Saved a little more...maybe....but probably not. I learned a LONG time ago to "w*rk to live...not, live to w*rk"....so that helped keep life in balance, and helped keep stress levels down.

Regrets? NOPE!!! NADA!!! NOT ANY!!!
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 04-05-2007, 03:49 PM   #16
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

Not one regret! I'm just happy I was able to retire when I did, and able to enjoy my remaining life on this earth. Many folks work their selves to death with stressful jobs and die before they're able to retired and I didn't want to be in that group. You can't buy your Health and You can't buy Time, so while you have both enjoy your life....cause retirement Life is Grand!
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 04-05-2007, 06:04 PM   #17
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

I hear you guys when you say "no regrets about retiring early!"

Actually I wasn't asking about whether anyone had regrets about the fact that they retired early so much as I was curious as to whether anyone had any minor regrets, or anything they'd change, if they could go back and do it all over again.

And that could be anything, including "I would have done it sooner!"

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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 04-06-2007, 01:30 AM   #18
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lusitan
I hear you guys when you say "no regrets about retiring early!"

Actually I wasn't asking about whether anyone had regrets about the fact that they retired early so much as I was curious as to whether anyone had any minor regrets, or anything they'd change, if they could go back and do it all over again.

And that could be anything, including "I would have done it sooner!"

I can only respond as I did: Regrets? NOPE!!! NADA!!! NOT ANY!!!

I have NO regrets in life at all!!!
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 04-06-2007, 08:37 AM   #19
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

not FIREd yet, but this group seems to be mostly "no regrets" people, and I'm quite happy to add myself to that list. :-)
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?
Old 04-06-2007, 08:47 AM   #20
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Re: FIRE-ees: any regrets?

My DW has had more difficulty than I. She loved the working world and has missed it most. We would have dealt more directly with her issues sooner. Whereas I have kicked back quickly, she still has her ToDo Lists even though they are all about personal/household things.

I find lists frustrating because I always overplan when making them. I have a list in my head and I chip away at it when the mood is right.

We retired a few years before we had achieved FI so I have adopted portfolio management as an avocation, and, with the benefit of the rising tide since RE is 2002, we are well on our way to FI.

A divorce is 1995 deferred RE and FI but perhaps I delayed that decision by 3-5 years hoping for a different outcome.
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