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I sure hope it is what I expected!
Old 10-21-2016, 05:05 AM   #1
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I sure hope it is what I expected!

I expect there are some good threads on this, but I will pose the questions none the less. First, some observations... it's clear that many on this site have done the financial planning throughout much of their life with an intential plan of ER (or planned RE none the less). It's also clear to me that the 80/20 rule is in play in the rest of the world whereby 80% of the general population has not done the work/made a real plan. Like I am sure many of you, I find comfort in finding like minds on this site whereby it can be difficult to find friends in the hood who think alike. I find that people like us swim against "society's stream" in many ways and we often need to be careful of what we say regarding ER in fear that we may be perceived/judged differently. At 52, I also observe that society wires most of the population to work, save (if they do), retire (not ER), die... a real pick me up, huh. The work part obviously takes up most of our waking hours and for many of us becomes our identity/purpose. Getting personal, I am 3 yrs (last kid graduates from college) from FIRE with some lofty post RE income goals. I have been "plowing the fields" supporting a stay at home wife and 4 kids. While for almost 30 yrs being self employed with an income that fluctuates, I have been very fortunate to make good $$ and have always LBYMs which has set me up for my exit in 3 yrs if I so desire. Life's motivation so far has been driven by obligations/fear/achieving my financial goals/reward which while shallow in some respects, has given me purpose and satisfaction. So now I am 3 yrs from getting to the top of the mountain and ringing the bell and wondering what I am retiring too?? I am reading some books, exploring this site, trying to do some test runs on what I think I want to do in RE (i.e. more travel, explore some volunteer stuff), indulge more into some existing and new hobbies. I can continue to work and even ratchet it down some if I like. I expected to be really jacked up when the day came that I could FIRE, but feeling a little uneasy about next half of life. I have 3 yrs (or as long as I like) to figure it out and do my "test runs", but would love to find the purpose/excitement/passion I have had so far for my RE yrs.

Did you feel this way leading up to RE (assuming you weren't in a job you hated or was killing you)?

What steps did you take pre-RE that better prepared you psychologically/emotionally for the jump, especially as you look back now?

What would you have done differently?
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Old 10-21-2016, 06:37 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by DawgMan View Post

Did you feel this way leading up to RE (assuming you weren't in a job you hated or was killing you)?

What steps did you take pre-RE that better prepared you psychologically/emotionally for the jump, especially as you look back now?

What would you have done differently?
My job was fine, but it was taking too much time from my life. I started planning trips for each quarter, and asking myself, 'What would I do if I wasn't working today?" on a daily basis.

I started losing weight, intentionally, as I knew it was healthier, and my next job was to live, not work. I went from 210 to ~180. Blood pressure well in normal range now, and less aches and pains. Worked out more. Started building a 16 x 24 deck so that I could enjoy the day in the fresh air if I wanted. Ate more salads and fruit. Even make my own 1000 island dressing for incredibly cheap.

I went in a bit later to work, and left earlier, during my last six months. I refused to let work issues get in my way. I would either ignore them, or tackle them the next day. That gave me more time to reflect and make sure I would utilize the time. It is easier to do this as a W2 wage slave, rather than your own business. (Unless you are a consultant type worker, which is a simply glorified wage slave.)

The financial part is easy. I made sure I was saving over 100% of my gross work salary from outside sources. For 3+ years. That way, the financials were not an issue.

The mental part was the most challenging. The first couple of days I was at a bit of a loss. I surfed the net all day and realized it was going to be a long 30 years if that was all I was going to do. I made a lot of time management decisions to better make use of my time. I have connected with several friends that I have not seen in a while. I try to go to lunch once a week with a friend.

It has been much better since ER. Even my dog is happier.
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Old 10-21-2016, 06:49 AM   #3
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Looks like you are a newbie (7/5/16)... congrats! Keep me (us) posted on tricks of the trade!
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Old 10-21-2016, 07:55 AM   #4
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I struggled with non-financial readiness for a few years and read a lot of books (My Next Phase, Supercharged Retirement, Rewire, and several others) to stimulate my thinking about what I could do in retirement. I also started a couple of volunteer activities I really enjoy. This helped me gradually feel more ready. Then the traffic started getting a lot worse and my j*b started getting more stressful and less fun. I had a large bonus pay out and decided to ER right after. My last day at work will be Nov. 4. I feel very excited about my next phase.

My advice is that you will feel it when you are ready. Gradual non-financial preparation is helpful. I would definitely wait until you feel like you are moving TOWARDS something positive rather than just moving AWAY from something negative.


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Old 10-21-2016, 08:12 AM   #5
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I have been fortunate that I have a "hobby" that occupies, mentally, my every waking moment - boats, and everything about them. Sailing, small boat cruising, fixing boats, modifying boats, building small boats, boat electrics, navigation electronics, oceans, rivers, and tides, you name it. This has been the case for over 25 years. It dovetails nicely with my geeky engineering nature and job.

Nearly every weekend and vacation involves boating for us. Work definitely gets in the way.

It's very easy for me to know what I will be doing a "that time" - boats. Period.

Luckily, I have a DW who enjoys boating, both positives and negatives, as well (or else she is going a great job of pretending!). We are initially planning on doing the Great Loop in our current boat for the first year and maybe two when we pull the plug - so that will be a good transition to the permanent vacation mode, I think.
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I sure hope it is what I expected!
Old 10-21-2016, 08:23 AM   #6
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I sure hope it is what I expected!

I retired 2.5 years ago, but worked part time for before retirement. I gradually reduced working hours from 60 hrs per week down to 8 through several years. Semi retirement gradually prepared me for retirement.

OP- you look like you have thought this through thoroughly and have a good plan in place.

Good luck on your journey!
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Old 10-21-2016, 09:06 AM   #7
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Did you feel this way leading up to RE (assuming you weren't in a job you hated or was killing you)?
Not really. I was looking at it as the chance for a VERY long vacation, and was looking forward to having lots of leisure time.
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What steps did you take pre-RE that better prepared you psychologically/emotionally for the jump, especially as you look back now?
I didn't do anything, and I was worried about that at the time. I thought that surely a "driven" person like me would be completely at a loss without a job. Much to my surprise, I had one of the easiest adjustments to retirement that I have ever heard of. I attribute this to the fact that I know how to entertain myself. While I was still working I never had trouble thinking of things to do on the weekends, for example.
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What would you have done differently?
I wish I could have retired earlier, but I stayed until eligible for retiree health insurance. That turned out to be a good move. When we first retired, we planned to move to Missouri and I suppose that planning to move away was pretty stupid and a waste of time and money. We eventually decided to stay and have been completely happy here.
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Old 10-21-2016, 07:15 PM   #8
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I kept having the OMY syndrome for 3 years but each time a negotiated better working conditions so during the last year I worked a 3-4 day week at full pay (they didn't want me to go). But I KNEW that life is shorter than we think it is and I have the freedom of retirement. My father retired at 55 and folks that was too early but I am glad he did because he had several good years before dying at the young age of 65.



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Old 10-21-2016, 08:58 PM   #9
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I've been thinking about retiring for a few years now. I'm almost 56 and have earned all the benefits work has to offer - primarily retiree health care - except more earned income. A year ago, I went part time. I'm not sure how full retirement will be, but I find that life has a way of filling the void that not going to work provides. My dad worked until he was in his 70's. He thought he'd have trouble figuring out what to do with his time, but he's been busy ever since. At 85, he's only slowing down because his age is starting to catch up with him. He still has plenty to do. I think that if you don't have a clear focus, like a hobby or a mission that you're focused on for retirement, the next best thing is just to make sure you keep moving. Set up meetings (lunch, golf, whatever), eat right, work out (physically keep moving) and it will work out. For me, I'm trying to spend more time with people I care about. I'm basically an introvert, so that is a challenge to me, but it's just one of the "goals" I've set to replace my working time. The bottom line is that I'm certain I can find something to do that is more rewarding than going into work. I don't hate my job but it's basically just been there to pay the bills. The rest of my life, I want to be more rewarding. The good news is, up til now, I've set the bar pretty low. I'm looking forward to whatever comes, even if it's just more time with family, better health and less stress.
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Old 10-22-2016, 08:45 AM   #10
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Interesting post. As you suggest, I'm from the cohort that has been focused on financial freedom from a young age and formalized a goal of being able to RE quite some time ago.

I can now firmly see RE on the horizon...still several years away but plainly visible...and in a certain way it's a little scary. I like the peace of mind of my growing financial freedom, but once I get past the romantic thrill of being not having to get up early and deal with company politics, the notion of actually retiring is disconcerting. I LIKE having my mind going a mile a minute. I LIKE being in the thick of technology changes. I LIKE using everything I've learned to lead big and complex things.

I'm not taking my foot off the savings gas for even a second, but I have to admit that actually pulling the FIRE trigger feels a bit less obvious now that it's in sight than it did 10 years ago.

Time will tell what I actually do...
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Old 10-22-2016, 10:06 AM   #11
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Timely post, as just this week I've been rethinking where I'm at this point having been retired fifteen months. Some thoughts:

1) As I've posted elsewhere, I've found retirement consists of two aspects: quantitative and qualitative;
2) I prepare for everything, so before ER I read lots of books regarding the qualitative retirement aspect. I don't regret having done that, but retirement has been nothing like I thought it would be (my volunteering lasted only one week!).
3) There was nothing to be afraid of. Really. Nothing. It's just a life change, and when you think about it, you've been navigating those since kindergarten. This is just one more and manageable.
4) I still schedule my time, have been enormously productive since retirement, have settled into a rhythm, and everything has just sort of worked out on it's own.
5) OP is right about not talking to people about ER. I can't find anyone who gets it, and everyone has their own ideas of what they would be doing. If I feel like talking about ER, I'll talk to a wall. At least it won't say something annoying back to me.
6) I've learned to ignore the ubiquitous social pressure regarding what retirees are supposed to be doing (i.e., travel, travel, travel, bucket lists, hobbies, volunteering, etc.) and just be happy with doing whatever I feel like doing. I have no problem filling my time. In fact, time has flown by and I have no idea how I had time to work.
7) I never expected to have fallen in love with reading, studying, and reflecting as I have. After one of the books, I ceased striving to be "happy" (a nebulous term) in retirement and sought instead to be content. I am much more content than I was a few months after retiring a year ago, and infinitely more content than before I retired.
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Old 10-22-2016, 10:29 AM   #12
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"Content" is a perfect description for me also. I am only a few weeks into retirement, not terribly busy, without a bucket list, but instead reading, playing golf, seeing friends, taking care of my mother (a little). All in all, I am very contented.
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Old 10-24-2016, 11:00 AM   #13
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My test has always been this: Can I take a week off work, stay at home, not be bored and not spend more money than I would if I were working? It is always a resounding yes.

As the OP stated about "swimming against the stream" I also think that I/we are of a different personality type; our jobs, even if we enjoy them, are never the exact center of our lives. For many people they are, and I have observed many who retire, then have no idea what to do with themselves. They often get bored, depressed and/or go back to work.

Not me. One of my former bosses recently told me "Yeah, work was always kind of an inconvenience to you, wasn't it?". I think there are a lot of people like us who are ER'ing to go live our lives the way we always wanted to.

My hobby is antique cars and I started a hobby/business related to it 13 years ago. It makes me "gravy" money. I either just buy more car-stuff with it, or travel and dine out with my wife, guilt free. Then there is travel in our RV trailer, house projects (always), hiking and Racquetball which I have been playing for the last 40 years....

38 work days left!!!
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Old 10-24-2016, 11:10 AM   #14
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As with other career transitions, I just put my emotions aside and said I would not evaluate how I liked it until 6 months had past. That was 12 years ago.
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Old 10-24-2016, 11:15 AM   #15
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I have been fortunate that I have a "hobby" that occupies, mentally, my every waking moment - boats, and everything about them. Sailing, small boat cruising, fixing boats, modifying boats, building small boats, boat electrics, navigation electronics, oceans, rivers, and tides, you name it. This has been the case for over 25 years. It dovetails nicely with my geeky engineering nature and job.

It's very easy for me to know what I will be doing a "that time" - boats. Period.

Luckily, I have a DW who enjoys boating, both positives and negatives, as well (or else she is going a great job of pretending!). We are initially planning on doing the Great Loop in our current boat for the first year and maybe two when we pull the plug - so that will be a good transition to the permanent vacation mode, I think.
We see a great number of Great Loopers come by our lake house on the way to the big Looper's yearly meeting at Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville, AL. Even if you're not ready to start the odyssey, you might want to make one of the meetings--even if by automobile. A great deal of knowledge is passed between Loopers there.

Planning and having the proper boat would be so big a part of that 5000 mile journey. And everyone really needs to know their vessel and all it's systems.

I just wish my wife was the adventurous marine type--which she's not. We're still just traveling the incredible 650 miles of navigable water on our Tennessee River via our 24' boat.
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Old 10-24-2016, 11:21 AM   #16
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We see a great number of Great Loopers come by our lake house on the way to the big Looper's yearly meeting at Joe Wheeler State Park in Rogersville, AL. Even if you're not ready to start the odyssey, you might want to make one of the meetings--even if by automobile. A great deal of knowledge is passed between Loopers there.

Planning and having the proper boat would be so big a part of that 5000 mile journey. And everyone really needs to know their vessel and all it's systems.

I just wish my wife was the adventurous marine type--which she's not. We're still just traveling the incredible 650 miles of navigable water on our Tennessee River via our 24' boat.
Thanks, Bamaman! - it's been on our 2017 calendar for the last little bit. Looking forward to it!
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Old 10-24-2016, 11:45 AM   #17
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I am one that "prepared the least"

Not that I didn't prepare. IRA's, 401K's, paid off house, lots of regular saving and investments.

Never had a budget, never ran a spreadsheet, never investigated what health care would cost. Never worried about "what to do" when retired either. I just love the hobbies I have, look forward to new ones and reviving some old "left behind" ones too.

Good luck!
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Old 10-24-2016, 01:02 PM   #18
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I am one that "prepared the least"

Not that I didn't prepare. IRA's, 401K's, paid off house, lots of regular saving and investments.
This is me, only I prepared even less. Thought about it a lot, but didn't exert myself too much.

Early on, I signed up for deductions into retirement plans, lived gently on the remainder, and paid them little attention for thirty years. I'm forecasting another ≥4 years before I can FIRE comfortably. By the standards of many on these pages, my own preparation has been awfully tame.

But it's astonishing that being in the bottom half for er.org still puts me in the top 10% of society at large! And I have zero doubt that when FIRE arrives it will be fabulous!
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Old 10-24-2016, 01:16 PM   #19
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But it's astonishing that being in the bottom half for er.org still puts me in the top 10% of society at large! And I have zero doubt that when FIRE arrives it will be fabulous!
Oh yes, you're doing well. Lots of people have no reason to think they'll ever retire.

Quote:
It was a striking image. A photo of an 89-year-old man hunched over, struggling to push his cart with frozen treats. Fidencio Sanchez works long hours every day selling the treats because he couldn't afford to retire. The photo and his story went viral and thousands of people donated more than $384,000 for his retirement.

His story is a window into a dark reality: Many low-wage workers say they can't afford to retire.
News from The Associated Press
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Old 10-24-2016, 01:57 PM   #20
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Financially, I started planning HARD CORE after my finances were absolutely rocked by a divorce. I won't blame the ex, but after escaping that hell, I *knew* that the way I was handling my finances HAD to change. I was very lucky in the fact that I was raised by very, VERY frugal parents, so that part came easy to me. What I wasn't *sure* of was exactly *how* I would attain my goals. So, lots of reading and research commenced and I became a crazy-saving-machine. Not quite to the levels of Jacob Lund Fisker (of Early Retirement Extreme: — a combination of simple living, anticonsumerism, DIY ethics, self-reliance, and applied capitalism fame) but something that would have made David Bach (Millionaire Next Door author) proud. So, with some planning, a good military pension and some decent luck, the finances fell into place with relative ease.

For the mental aspect, when I started to get burned out, I first started to explore bridge careers (post military career) and couldn't really find anything that I was interested in. I was *very* fortunate in my AF career to have very flexible hours and generous time off. I knew that finding that in a bridge career would be very difficult. So...I started thinking the concept of early retirement and started planning for that in 2011'ish time frame. I absorbed all that I could...websites, blogs, books, you name it. In the last year of w*rking, I bought (and borrowed) every single book on ER I could find on Amazon. I probably spend at LEAST 5 hours a day reading everything I could on it. So by the time I retired, I had a very good understanding of the good and (potentially) bad things about retiring early...especially retiring in my 40s.

So, two years into I ask...would I do anything different? Well...nope. Perhaps retired even EARLIER, but I couldn't have done much better than I did, so I don't harp on it. I will never feel bad for saying I retired at 40 instead of 35. Never.

Today, I reflect on the last couple of years. I can say, without ANY hesitation at all, that this has been the GREATEST time of my life. I have more than enough stuff to keep me busy (too busy, really) I can't tell you the last time I was bored or otherwise unhappy with my "station in life".
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