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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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Poll: How happy are you in your ER stage?
Old 10-27-2014, 11:20 AM   #1
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Poll: How happy are you in your ER stage?

This poll is spun off from my previous thread. To recap, in the book "The Retirement Maze" there's a chapter on early retirement in which they compared retirees between 45 and 59 to those who retired around 65.

The authors found that early retirees start off well, with "a positive mind-set" and "excited about the prospect of pursuing new interests."

But, they say, things tended to go south after two years for early retirees, who "become disenchanted, showing less and less enjoyment as they progress deeper into their retirement." 74% of early retirees are happy in their first two years, but only 54% are after six or more years. They point to changes in marriage dynamics, lack of social connectedness, and a declining interest in activities.

The researchers found the numbers were pulled down by unhappy retirees -- i.e., those who retired early involuntarily and those who defined themselves by their job role. I suspect many here likely fall into the happy category . This poll will help clarify.
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Old 10-27-2014, 11:23 AM   #2
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Good intro! Needs a poll tho'

(I'm ready to vote).

-- Rita
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Old 10-27-2014, 11:25 AM   #3
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Good intro! Needs a poll tho'

(I'm ready to vote).

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Polls take a few minutes to load after the original post appears.
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Old 10-27-2014, 11:51 AM   #4
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In my opinion, having realistic expectations is the key. If you suddenly expect all of your problems to go away after ER, you are setting yourself up.
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Old 10-27-2014, 12:01 PM   #5
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I knew I would be happy, but I didn't know I would be THIS happy. With a booming market, few hurricanes, relatively good health, and so much fun to be had, life is pretty good. Retirement just seems better and better to me, the longer I am retired.
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Old 10-27-2014, 12:09 PM   #6
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Retired only a few months and happier than I expected. I enjoy not being on a schedule and not feeling overwhelmed with assignments (office had become very short staffed and duties were increased with no paid overtime permitted and as a union employee I could not take compensatory time). I understand from former co-workers it has only gotten worse and they are chomping at the bit to retire or move to other units asap.
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Old 10-27-2014, 12:26 PM   #7
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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.
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Old 10-27-2014, 12:36 PM   #8
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I am in my 5th year of ER and I am still enjoying it very much. For me, ER is the ultimate luxury, one I hope I can continue to afford 'til my last breath.
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Old 10-27-2014, 01:07 PM   #9
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I knew I would be happy, but I didn't know I would be THIS happy. With a booming market, few hurricanes, relatively good health, and so much fun to be had, life is pretty good. Retirement just seems better and better to me, the longer I am retired.
+1000 Who knew goofing off could be this much fun!
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Old 10-27-2014, 02:23 PM   #10
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This Friday will mark my 6th year of ER and it has been just as good as I expected it will be. I was working only 2 days a week at the time so it wasn't a big change from that. But going from 2 days a week to zero days a week was a wonderful thing and remains that way! )
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Old 10-27-2014, 02:31 PM   #11
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I'm in the 0-2 years, about what I expected, category.

I expected to enjoy free time and lack of office bs... And that's been true. It's all good. But I expected it to be all good.
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Old 10-27-2014, 02:32 PM   #12
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I was just thinking about this the other day. I'm a little bit happier than I thought I'd be but not significantly so.
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Old 10-27-2014, 03:27 PM   #13
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Finishing my 7th month of retirement now, so far zero downside. Having been in the work mode for so long, and for the most part finding my work enjoyable, thought I might have some misgivings about feeling left out of what was happening. None of that at all, just feelings of relief that I am out of that particular race. Occasionally I have some ideas I want to tell them about, but then my better judgement kicks in and I realize: what if they really asked me to do it? Enjoying my freedom and looking forward to my new non-remunerative projects.
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Old 10-27-2014, 03:36 PM   #14
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In my travels about town (walking, always walking, because I now have the time to do so), a stupid grin is always threatening to bust out on my face. Seriously, this morning as I sweated it out at the gym, a joyous smile came out of nowhere - accompanied by the thought "This is way better than work!"... and yes, my job was pretty awful.

In my interactions with people, especially those of my own age, I consciously down play how great ER is. But on this site in particular, I really hold nothing back. ER is SPECTACULAR (so far, and its early).
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Old 10-27-2014, 04:48 PM   #15
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Retired only a few months and happier than I expected. I enjoy not being on a schedule and not feeling overwhelmed with assignments (office had become very short staffed and duties were increased with no paid overtime permitted and as a union employee I could not take compensatory time). I understand from former co-workers it has only gotten worse and they are chomping at the bit to retire or move to other units asap.

Same here. Ten months into a last minute, rushed ER (it was a couple of years ahead of my plans). Things were a little rocky the first few months, because I thought I had ER'd too early and my departure wasn't in accordance with my original plans.

But, I can say unequivocally that this is one of the BEST things that's ever happen to me! No stress, traffic, deadlines and all of the other problems associated with work. The only time I worry is when I have nightmares about being back at work. Luckily I wake up, hit the gym and jacuzzi, come back home for breakfast and then begin to enjoy another beautiful ER day. I don't know what I did to deserve this blessing, but I sure am grateful!!!


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Old 10-27-2014, 05:02 PM   #16
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It's wonderful, and a bit better than I expected, mostly because I thought I would get bored after a year or so and thus planned to do some significant consulting. Never got bored and so never got around to doing the marketing/networking necessary to build up the consulting practice. I did one gig last year and, while I enjoyed it, I found it took too much time away from being retired
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Old 10-27-2014, 05:31 PM   #17
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Can one of the two people that voted "'less happy than expected" so far elaborate?

Curious.
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Old 10-27-2014, 06:02 PM   #18
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Can one of the two people that voted "'less happy than expected" so far elaborate?

Curious.
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.
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Old 10-27-2014, 09:17 PM   #19
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I'm in the 0-2 years, about what I expected, category.

I expected to enjoy free time and lack of office bs... And that's been true. It's all good. But I expected it to be all good.
Pretty much sums it up for me, too.
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Old 10-27-2014, 09:27 PM   #20
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I voted happier than expected, notwithstanding I had great expectations to begin with!
1 1/2 years in, and the novelty has yet to wear off.
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