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View Poll Results: Poll: How happy are you in your ER stage?
0-2 years into ER, happier than expected 30 18.29%
3-5 years into ER, happier than expected 20 12.20%
6+ years into ER, happier than expected 32 19.51%
0-2 years into ER, neither happier nor less happy than expected 42 25.61%
3-5 years into ER, neither happier nor less happy than expected 18 10.98%
6+ years into ER, neither happier nor less happy than expected 12 7.32%
0-2 years into ER, less happy than expected 7 4.27%
3-5 years into ER, less happy than expected 1 0.61%
6+ years into ER, less happy than expected 2 1.22%
Voters: 164. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-27-2014, 09:37 PM   #21
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I almost voted that same 0-2 years into ER, less happy than expected but did not vote at all because I am not sure my situation exactly matches the spirit of this poll: I am not ER year. So, technically, I think that makes me 0 years into my ER. But, as I said, I do not think that was what OP had in mind.

Through some good luck and frugal ways, I now have enough invested assets to give me a conservative 2.5% SWR. (Planned budget based on worst likely case tax estimates, higher than current standard of living, high health care premiums, etc.) So, I believe that I am FI. However, I am not ER, continuing to suffer from OMY syndrome.

While I am definitely more relaxed than I was a few years ago, it is not what I was expecting.
  • If I try to work hard enough to justify my current salary (to myself), I am exhausted, stressed, etc.
  • When I start slacking off, even a bit, I feel like I am cheating those around me.
  • The fear of not really being FI and very low probability of ever commanding compensation anywhere close to current levels keeps me on the job.
Basically, I feel a bit like I am in limbo at the moment which is not at all what I expected for this stage: FI but doing OMY for added cushion. I expected to be enjoying this phase much more than I actually am.

Some of my fears keeping me in OMY mode and likely contributing to me being less happy than expected at this point in my life:
  • Is a 2.5% SWR really that conservative given my relatively young age and good health?
  • Possibility of needing to support my mother at some point. (Eighties, lives very frugally but has no significant investments. Currently good health.)
  • Will the markets really continue to provide a real return; or, have things actually changed now?
Please note: I am not particularly unhappy; I just expected to be much happier.

I experienced the limbo too; it is very hard.
The OMY syndrome makes work more miserable because every day you juggle with projects and policy decisions with the strong desire to let go of all that stuff. Counting those last days was actually pretty tough for me, partly because everyone at work thought I should act delighted. Each day of OMY is emotionally worse than knowing you absolutely must work.

Now I am off 1-2 weeks at a time, I am much happier with myself as I rediscover the spontaneous person I used to be before 50-90 hr work weeks for most of 30 years gradually wore me out. I'm done at the end of the year.

Lastly, some of that money you have invested in the markets won 't be touched for 20-30 years. The markets will go up and down several times during that time. A 2.5% SWR will last a minimum of 40 years, and likely is sustainable for the rest of your life. Relax.


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Old 10-27-2014, 09:43 PM   #22
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I'm almost six months in, thought I would be really, really happy and I am! DW agrees.
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Old 10-27-2014, 10:19 PM   #23
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The Retirement Maze is a terrific book. I read it this past summer.
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Old 10-27-2014, 10:32 PM   #24
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I voted happier than expected, notwithstanding I had great expectations to begin with!.......
Same here! I left the work force at 50, and have been ER for 7 years 8 months (but who's counting), and I knew life would be great when I bailed outta there, and actually it's even better than I had imagined! There has not been even one minute of boredom! I think a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that my range of interests is wide and varied, and I absolutely love to learn new things.

About the only unknown thing when I retired, was if or how my social life would change. It didn't take very long at all to adapt. Although most of my old co-workers vanished from my social circle, a few stayed in it. And now I'm helping some of them, as they are now retiring, adapt to the changes brought on by their new found freedom. My social circle has greatly expanded since ER, especially with folks in their 80s and 90s, and we all have a blast together. I love to just sit, drink coffee, and listen to their experiences and stories....I always learn something new from them.
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Old 10-28-2014, 07:32 AM   #25
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I voted happier than expected for 0-2 year category. I expected to be happier retired than when I was working. And I have been happier. But I also expected that I would miss work somewhat, and that has not happened. And my hobbies/trips are giving me more happiness than I expected.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:38 AM   #26
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Can one of the two people that voted "'less happy than expected" so far elaborate?
First off, I am not one of those who voted that way. But I do remember the first month or two was the hardest for me, so if I would have completed this poll about one month in, I probably would have voted "less happy than expected". I was frequently asking myself if I made the right decision. Going from a "portfolio building" mode to a "withdrawal" mode was also an adjustment for me. Now I am slightly over two years in ER, and I am much happier than I was in the first two months. For me, it was a process. I'm not quite to the point where I don't know how I ever had time to work, but I'm getting there very fast. The difference between what I expected and how happy I actually am is getting bigger each day (in a positive way)!
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:34 AM   #27
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ER Jan 1993, age 49 1/2 via lay-off.

A little chewy at first until I let go of my 'unemployed slacker personna' and embraced this forum/the concept of ER.

A few bumps - overly aggressive on frugal early on, Katrina wiped out the no flood insurance camp(house over water), girlfriend of 29 yrs passed away, and of course Mr Markets thrills and chills.

Relocated 1000 miles inland on a hill.

Married at age 70 and relocated to Paradise - Kansas City.

heh heh heh - new wife may have altered my attitude a tad.
I like your attitude Unclemick. Except I think you are backing the wrong team in the World Series.
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:43 AM   #28
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In my 8th year and happier than i expected and I expected to be happy.
Still into old hobbies have new ones along with a good solid group of friends/acquaintances.
As I've said before, my only complaint concerning ER is how fast the years are flying by...
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:45 AM   #29
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I am in about 2 1/2 years and if it just asked how happy am I to be away from the workplace it would be 1000%

As far as everything else, it is more or less what I expected/planned for so therefore I count it as going as planned....
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Old 10-28-2014, 04:37 PM   #30
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Three years in, I am much happier in retirement than I was working.

I can relate to the article's comments around social disconnectedness. With work, dealing with people is built in. In retirement, it takes more effort to find people to connect with. Like a lot of things, retirement is what you make it and in some respects it takes effort.


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Old 10-28-2014, 07:55 PM   #31
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Does the book mention if the unhappy people are equally prepared/funded for retirement as the happy people?


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Old 10-28-2014, 08:08 PM   #32
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Same old, same old, as I was working sporadic part-time work for many years prior to pulling the plug for real.

More free time, but without earned income, seeing so much money being transferred out of the brokerage accounts into the checking account takes a bit of time to get used to.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:20 PM   #33
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Ultimately happy...

Never expected to be able to retire.
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:42 PM   #34
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Does the book mention if the unhappy people are equally prepared/funded for retirement as the happy people?
From the book: "Retirees who have inadequate income or face financial uncertainties are likely to feel stressed and as a result are more likely to be unhappy in retirement." No surprise there.
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Old 10-28-2014, 10:52 PM   #35
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The end of this week will be a total of 5 months ER'd for me.

I still have to remind myself several times a week that I don't have to go to work in the morning.

It's MUCH better than I expected
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Old 10-28-2014, 11:13 PM   #36
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2 years into ER. Happy but a bit less happy than I expected to be.

I struggle with the social isolation of ER. I'm an introvert and have to work really hard at socializing. I do. But I definitely feel a lack of close friendships that was filled with superficial work friends. Now that I am on my own, I don't have those built-in work friends.
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Poll: How happy are you in your ER stage?
Old 10-29-2014, 10:09 AM   #37
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Poll: How happy are you in your ER stage?

Much happier than I expected, and I'm coming up on two years. Our house needs a lot of updating before we can sell it and, though I enjoy building, our house needs a LOT of updating before we can sell it. But we are in no rush, and we jump off not the truck camper whenever we wish, pick a direction, and travel. When we come back we can think about what to do next on the house, design, ride our bikes, canoe, hike, take photos, lounge around and goof off - whatever the whim strikes - and when we have reached a remodeling consensus and the moment feels right, enjoy doing a little work around the house. Get tired of working around the house, stop and do something else. Our financial situation is also much better than I expected, so that means no worries there. I'm also getting the garage set up as wood shop area, in prep for for some carpentry work.

And when all that gets too much, there's always the recliner, a good book, and that wonderful, wonderful mid-afternoon nap.

Haven't seen any actual poll to add my vote, though...

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Old 10-29-2014, 10:24 AM   #38
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Can one of the two people that voted "'less happy than expected" so far elaborate?

Curious.
In short, after retiring this past January there were some life events that threw me for a bit of a loop.

My expectations were that "every day would be a Friday". Even though that was tongue in cheek, I expected a lighter existance. But reality set in with a few events that I won't bore you with. These are the kinds of events that, after five years, I probably won't even remember, but when they were happening, they seemed (and seem) like a big deal. I'm looking forward to putting these things behind me and getting on with enjoying my life. By January, these things should be behind me. I just hope they're not replaced by others!

So if it hadn't been for these couple of unexpected problems, I'd have answered "as expected", and if you ask me the same question in a year from now, I predict it would be "as expected".
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Old 10-29-2014, 04:21 PM   #39
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2 years into ER. Happy but a bit less happy than I expected to be.

I struggle with the social isolation of ER. I'm an introvert and have to work really hard at socializing. I do. But I definitely feel a lack of close friendships that was filled with superficial work friends. Now that I am on my own, I don't have those built-in work friends.
I get this. During the day while my wife is at work, I am in a bit of a social vacuum. I get groceries, go to library, gym, sometimes the local Tim Hortons where I will grab a newspaper and enjoy a coffee. Been doing this for a month, and while I've had more than a few friendly conversations with folks, I'm certainly not developing any real connections with people - though to be honest, I'm not sure I'm seeking that right now. Still in decompression mode I think.

DW is quite sociable, and has a network of friends that I quite like - so I get swept up into DW's social scene, which is enough for me for now.

Once I start pursuing some of my hobbies with vigour, and joining groups and clubs associated with them, I think I will develop some friendships - sure hope so.
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Old 10-30-2014, 06:09 PM   #40
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I ER'd 12 years ago and it has been wonderful, just as I expected it to be so I marked 6+ years no more or less happy than expected. I took a one year sabbatical 12 years before ER to test the retirement waters. The 12 year (so far) sabbatical has met all expectations developed during the one year trial run.
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