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retiring early-mid 40s - - thoughts
Old 04-03-2014, 06:45 PM   #1
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retiring early-mid 40s - - thoughts

Hi all. I have really enjoyed this site. We are an eclectic and varied group on this site with a common goal: FIRE. I gravitate generally to the factual posts as an analytical person. But here I am seeking others like me as it seems I don't know even one personally in a similar situation.

I am about 2 years away from FIRE and will be 44. My post is to fellow 40-somethings:

While I am ultra-excited. . .I am nervous. . .anxious. . . little afraid even, maybe. Of course the numbers look fine but. . .who really knows!

I have my reasons to do it: work stress, want to home-school my kids and incorporate SERIOUS travel as part of it, and because I can!

I'd love to hear your motivations and aspirations for the next phase, hence "life after fire". I think it would be nice knowing about others in my situation going against the grain...thanks!

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Old 04-03-2014, 07:15 PM   #2
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I left my job 11 months ago at age 46. Initially I was planning on retiring completely, but I ended up taking on a role at a company that allows me to work the equivalent of about one day a week, primarily from my home. So at this point I consider myself semi-retired.

I have no kids, and my partner still works full time, so our ability to do extensive travel is somewhat limited by his schedule. I have thoroughly enjoyed the past eleven months. I wake up when I feel like it, get lots of exercise, read the newspaper every day, cook my own meals, and still have enough to do with my part time work to dabble, without getting fully engrossed in it.

When the weather is warm, I find that my days fly by. I live by the beach, so spending time on the beach, swimming, bike riding, walking...the days go very fast.

When the weather is somewhat cold and unappealing, lately I've been finding it a bit frustrating. And in the past few weeks, I've been finding it a bit more exciting to get involved with some work related projects. And I've been going into the office a bit more than I was earlier on. So I'm starting to wonder if I'm not quite ready to completely end my career aspirations. But I feel like I have tremendous control over my schedule, and I know that if I don't like what I'm working on, it's perfectly fine to quit and try full time retirement, or just do something else.

If my partner was also retired, it might be a bit different. If I had kids, I'm sure they would keep me very busy. So everyone's situation is different. But looking back at my decision to leave a very high paying position...I have no regrets. The freedom to explore who I am and what I want to do with the rest of my life has been priceless.

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Old 04-03-2014, 09:00 PM   #3
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Travel wanted, your post almost exactly describes my situation. Currently 42 with with plans to retire at 45. I expect to spend time getting back into shape, working in our garden/yard, volunteering, and lots of travels when my kids are not in school.

I am a little nervous with the thought of leaving the j-b. I am in the early stage of a five year mega-project, and my planned exit time is in the middle of the implementation. While I know I don't owe my employer, I have always had a hard time leaving projects undone. However, the chance to spend extended travel time with my then early teen kids will not wait for the project to be completed.
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Old 04-03-2014, 09:24 PM   #4
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I'm cutting back to halftime in Sept, done March 2015. I chose medicine as a career out of a sense of duty--I was the best student in my high school, graduated second in GPA in my year in as a Biochemistry major at UC Berkeley, and generally found school easy yet took it pretty seriously. Gradually found my way picking a specialty and getting work in a group near my husband's music career. I did fine but really did not enjoy it as much as most of my colleagues. I was burnt out and miserable so I took a posiion on the other side of the country. I was always good at what I did but it to this day falls flat for me. High level of success as a physician and generally miserable as a person.

It's scary because those of us who have a "career" tend to define ourselves by the limited role we have in the world where we get paid for what we do. Getting away from that career world, we sense that somehow we were not successful in reaching some indefinable pinnacle of "achievement" or "success". In fact our goal was always to find time to live, as we did during the summers when we were kids.

Every major change is fraught with scariness.

It's better for you to look at the fear for what it is--fear of change, fear of being irrelevant. Without change life is boring and we are each very important and very unimportant to others, at the same time. I'm trying to embrace my own unimportance, as beyond that lies the freedom to choose my activities, instead of having them chosen for me.

I'm scared too, but also very excited.
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Old 04-03-2014, 10:25 PM   #5
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TravelWanted, I retired just over 5 years ago at age 45. I had built up a good personal life, the one I reclaimed in 2001 when I switched from working FT to PT ("Semi-retired"). At that time, I thought I'd be able to retire at some time in my 50s. But things quickly began falling into place between 2001 and 2007 so an ER in 2008 seemed more and more possible.

I am single and have no kids but I have had a steady ladyfriend since 2004, so she saw how my ER plans were falling into place during my PT years and how I was becoming more and more miserable even working PT. Also, working PT, even as little as 2 days a week (12 hours total) was becoming a nuisance because it was interfering with my personal life (i.e. my midday, weekday activities I had to schedule around a fairly flexible work schedule).

After asking myself day after day, "Why am I still working here?", the last pieces of my ER plan fell into place in late 2008. So, at age 45, I took the leap and retired. It was a little scary for a few days when my 401k balance dropped to zero before the fund were totally transferred to me or my bank electronically but it soon got all straightened out. And when the markets kept going down into early 2009 I had a few doubts my ER plan was going to work. But the markets turned around and after a few bumps and tweaks to my plan everything has gone just fine!

I do not miss anything about my career and my old job I had held for 23 years. It seems like a lifetime ago. And getting rid of the damned commute is far and away the best part.

I have always been an outlier, one who goes against the grain. So, being an early retiree at age 45 (now 50) was not a big deal.
Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

"I want my money working for me instead of me working for my money!"
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Old 04-04-2014, 03:50 AM   #6
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Congrats to all of you.

@Omalley. . .as you retire, how do you think it will impact your kids? How will you address that with them? As role models there is no doubt it will need to be addressed.

@EastWest Gal. . . Biochem, MD here as well! Nice to hear I am not alone in my thoughts of leaving medicine. We devoted so much of our lives to this career that it seems strange, almost abnormal to walk away in the "prime" of our careers. I think for me that is part of the issue. While I am one who does not tie my entire identity to medicine, it is and has been a major part of our lives for a long, long time. When I look around, so many docs are working into their 60s-70s and I think, why?? Why am I ready while they work on?

No doubt @scrabber1, many of us are going against the grain. For me it is nice to hear the stories of similar folks because we are so rare. Helps me believe I may not be nuts afterall! Or perhaps we ALL are nuts! Ha!
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:11 PM   #7
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DH and I are currently 38 and 39, forecasting retirement in 6 years, so we're looking forward to the same transition.

We have a lot of "homebody" hobbies - computer games, gardening, walking/biking, etc., so the idea of spending all day at home puttering is really appealing to us. I've started a list of retirement ideas, from volunteering at local food banks to taking astronomy lab classes at a nearby university. I think we'll need plenty of ideas to keep from getting bored, but I also strongly believe that being bored and retired is far far better than being bored at work!
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:20 PM   #8
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I bailed in January. DW and I ar both 40. She still continues part time in her small business.

I wanted out since age 25. I didn't retire "to" anything, and the first 6 weeks were a rough transition. Doing better now. We have two kids under 10. Being around them more and not exhausted/burnt out has made a huge difference in my relationship with them and DW. I have had a few questions from my 9 year old about what I am doing now and I have dissembled to a large degree. I will sit down and discuss matters with her sooner rather than later, as she is very interested in money, finance, etc . (I fund myself explaining the basics of behavioral finance to her last week).

With the kids in school it drives much of our schedule. Not a big deal.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:55 PM   #9
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I retired 27 years ago at age 33. Now at 60 with a young family it is becoming more difficult to raise my children as my son at 8 is suddenly interested in money and how I can provide for our family and still be at home all day? My Wife (33) has gone back to work to help provide some perspective, but kids seem to have these generic role models in life (developed in school) and our family is far from generic in any way.shape,form. I have even considered starting a business again , just to provide some cover. Where I live everyone has servants and all the children are picked up from school by their nannies. As I went through this before when I lived in NYC, I was determined that my future children would not feel the sense of entitlement my prior daughter felt. Plus, it is not normal to not be able to tie your shoes at 8 years old and still be a grand champion horse back rider!
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Old 04-04-2014, 07:19 PM   #10
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my situation and plans are very similar, travelwanted. i aim to ER in about 2.5 years, when i am 45 and my kids will be 6 and 8. and one idea i play with a lot is taking them out of school for a year, maybe when they are 8 and 10, and "home" schooling while traveling around the country. then maybe another year when they are a bit older to travel more widely. but first i figure to just decompress for a year or so and then see how things look. i love the idea of being able to walk them to school in the morning then have the day to myself to do anything, or nothing, without the constant stress of feeling like i should be working.
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Old 04-04-2014, 07:36 PM   #11
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36, but aiming for 6 years to ER myself. A lot of it is my specific job, but I have goals I want to attain that don't involve working. I suspect I will part time for a while, but I would like to never have to have another career. DW and I have no kids, don't know if we will, but if we do, all the more reason.

We do love dogs, just got our first and will get our second soon. Love to travel as well.

Bottom line: there's not enough time in this life to waste it in a cubicle/on a ship/working. DW may continue to work and make me a kept man... I could only be so lucky, I suppose - that would help me train for Ironman - but I would like my best friend galavanting with me eventually when that craziness is done with!
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:43 PM   #12
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Fully resigned a year ago at age 48. Prior to that was on a dependent care (mother) leave of absence for 1 1/4 years with the option to return after the first year. Prior to that I worked 60% schedule for a year. DW has 3 1/2 more years to work until she reaches 30 years and the associated big bump in pension at that point. My employer cancelled pension accruals a few years ago so that made my decision easier. I have not looked back since leaving. It has been very good for me. BTW, with pensions, Social Security etc awaiting us down the road, I think that we can live on a 2% SWR so that helps me sleep at night. Peer group tended to question my decision for the first year or so (ie. "well if it works for you" comments), but now they see the life I am living after a few years and I regularly hear the comment "I want to be retired too"

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Old 04-04-2014, 09:38 PM   #13
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I am turning 40 in a few days and I have been fully retired for several years. My main aspiration was to become master of my own time. My wife still works full time and we have no kids. So I am in charge on my own entertainment and I love it.
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Old 04-05-2014, 12:25 AM   #14
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I am so fortunate to have retired nine months ago at age 49. DW and I are still raising 3 children (15, 12, 10) and it's been great being around more and watching them develop into them selves. In my career I was on the road a good portion of the month including many weekends. It's been a great change of pace and although at times I miss the traveling to some pretty prime destinations, I certainly would rather be home with my loved ones than in a hotel halfway around the world. It is nice to say I've been there done that with no regrets.

We made a huge family move across the country when I left work and had many discussions with the kids as to why and how we were making this change. They seemed to understand it all and have adjusted remarkably well to our new life.
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Old 04-06-2014, 02:05 PM   #15
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Me 45 hubby 46, ready to stop working at any moment, but pending the withdrawal of my ESOP account balance. If all goes as planned, we will be able to FIRE in 2015 or 2016.

I too am nervous. I feel confident in my living expenses calculations for everything but healthcare. We've never had to live on a budget, so doing so in retirement sounds very scary.

I also like to travel, but the budget will not allow for more of it in retirement than the 2 weeks we currently take. Which I'm trying to come to grips with. We intend to sell our home and move to FL so the first year we'll be busy making that happen. Once in FL, we'll have a lot of new things to checkout.

I'm extremely sick of my job so when we get to our number of 2.5 mill we're done.
Awaiting cash out of Corp retirement plan, saving, saving and saving more, in hopes of RE in 2016 at age 47.
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Old 04-09-2014, 11:57 PM   #16
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We are FI now, but not RE. Planning to do this either later this year or in the middle of next year.

We will be selling everything up and travelling the world with our two children (currently 7 and 4yo).

We are trying to sell or streamline our business before we go, but we have been planning this for years and we are 41 and 38.
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Old 04-10-2014, 08:52 AM   #17
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Got out at 45 .... 8 years ago (yikes!)

Kids were young. Hard to put a price on being there for them. Being the only dad at ALL the school activities was pretty cool. Now that they are a bit older its skiing every day they have off.

Little bit funny ... my 7th grader has a "career seminar" later this month. Parents have signed up to go class to class telling the kids what they do for work. I am on for that too .... should be interesting.
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:52 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by tryan View Post
Little bit funny ... my 7th grader has a "career seminar" later this month. Parents have signed up to go class to class telling the kids what they do for work. I am on for that too .... should be interesting.

Tryan if you don't mind can you let us know how that goes and how you expect to approach it? Whenever I discuss my goals to retire early with friends and neighbors I get looked at like I have 4 heads. I can't imagine discussing being retired at an early age in front of parents and 7th graders! Although it would be fun! You should start it off by talking about LBYM.
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:45 AM   #19
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I'll be 44 in 2017, which is when my 20 years of military time will be up, and I'll receive retirement pay that is about 30% of what I make now. With that and the investments I have now, projections show that we will be FI before then. To RE, go to part time, or keep working is one question. Kids will then be 13, 11, and 8. Enjoy living where we do, but we are in the expensive part of a high CoL area. So moving or staying put is another question. Looking to take advantage of the free space-A flights and do more traveling while kids are young and parents don't get tired out so easily.
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Old 04-10-2014, 02:17 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Pleeplus View Post
Tryan if you don't mind can you let us know how that goes and how you expect to approach it? Whenever I discuss my goals to retire early with friends and neighbors I get looked at like I have 4 heads. I can't imagine discussing being retired at an early age in front of parents and 7th graders! Although it would be fun! You should start it off by talking about LBYM.
I have learned not to talk about it other than to those who NEED to know.
We just have to accept we are taking an alternate path and we are damn proud of it!

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