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Old 03-19-2008, 08:05 AM   #21
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For those that voluntarily ERed or in the process, how do you overcome the fear?

I have been thinking about it for a while but I am always worrying about (unable to overcome the fear of)

1. health insurance cost and its escalation, policy termination if excessively used (I am still healthy at 54 but do not know what future might bring).

2. Deprive myself and my wife of the luxuary of splurging on stuff and knowing that the next check is coming in a week to replace that sum of money spent (I am not living check to check - I believe I am FI). Losing the comfor and the security of having a pay check coming weekly is scary to me.

3. Running out of money, eventhough using Fidelity retirement planning program, I should be OK. Still have the fear.

4. Just a little concern about keeping busy, currently reading "how to retire happy, wild, and free".

Perhaps, for those that chose to ER, 100% your choice, can provide me advice of how to overcome my fear. I am assuming that you went through the same feelings during your decision making period.

Thanks in advance.

mP

I have health insurance from the government so that wasn't a worry . My biggest concerns were if I would stay busy enough , if I'd miss the social aspects of ny job and how to budget . I've stayed plenty busy . I started selling on ebay and amazon as a hobby , I started knitting and cross stitching again, I've taken a few courses , I've signed up for a beading class and I'm working on remodeling my house so I've really kept busy . As for the budget part I set it up like my paychecks . On the first of the month I receive my pension check and I also transfer a small amount from my money market . On the fifteenth I receive my SS survivor's benefit . This system works great for me . I also have a large excess in my budget for travel or whatever. I've been in the stock market for years so the gyrations annoy me but they don't make me lose any sleep . I did work a few extra years after I was FI until I was mentally ready to pull the trigger and believe me at that point I was ready . When you are truly ready financially and mentally you'll know it .Good Luck !
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:06 AM   #22
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Welcome to the club. I also believe I am FI but I have convinced myself there's no reason to add the RE to my status due to a family situation. I have several friends that retired voluntarily that have now become filled with angst over the stock market gyrations. One has gone back to the full time workforce and the other is seriously considering it. I've tried to point out that their overall portfolios have not changed that much since the beginning of the year (down about 5 to 6%) but they see only a straight line down to zero. One guy's wife who he says had never paid attention to the stock market started to go nuts over the down days. She drove him back to work. Of course, things never got so bad that she considered looking for a j*b.

What do you do? You have to be allocated conservatively enough to sleep at night. You need to have faith in FIRECalc. You need enough cash/liquid assets to carry you through 5 or more years of stock market turmoil ala a "buckets strategy."

I do think it was very interesting watching my friends deal with the gyrating market. It's definitely easier to retire when the market is going up 10% or more a year. It's much harder to watch any gain slip away even though it should be expected based on market history.
Very true. The market makes me nervous too but I'll stick my head in a gas oven before I go back to work.

Even though I have been nervous, I do have a ladder of cd's and a fairly conservative mix 47/53 using the 100 rule. I know I have it laid out so i can ride this thing out and do just fine. But it is frustrating watching your balance go down. Human nature I guess. But as Brewer suggest, I have turned off the tv talking heads.

Time to pull out a book to read. No golf, raining here.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:15 AM   #23
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Very true. The market makes me nervous too but I'll stick my head in a gas oven before I go back to work.

Even though I have been nervous, I do have a ladder of cd's and a fairly conservative mix 47/53 using the 100 rule. I know I have it laid out so i can ride this thing out and do just fine. But it is frustrating watching your balance go down. Human nature I guess. But as Brewer suggest, I have turned off the tv talking heads.

Time to pull out a book to read. No golf, raining here.
Raining here, too. Sounds like a good day for you to read about golf, practice your swing in the garage or den, etc?

If you are 53, then I suppose you only have to make it through 9-13 more years until SS kicks in. Having a conservative AA is a huge help, and I know that personally I found that my fears and impulses to sell during down periods have really diminished since I went from 75/25 to 70/30 to 60/40 (during my accumulation phase) to my present pre-ER and ER AA of 45/55. I find the market to be very interesting, though like everyone I do get concerned at times!
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Old 03-19-2008, 12:19 PM   #24
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I had a couple of friends from SoCA come up for a visit a couple of weeks ago and they both commented on how much more relaxed I have become. They said that they always had to pick up their pace to keep up with me while talking and walking. We went out to lunch and walked around the little goldrush town that I live in - they said - who are you and where is the real "Donzo"? It has been it has been 20 months since being freed and I don't notice a change in my behavior anymore - they only see me 2X per year - it was good to hear that the transition is still progressing!
Situations that used to set me off entertain me now - if I am stuck in a line at the store or resturant- I used to be the one huffing and puffing - now I get a kick out of watching the huffers and puffers.......
Even a year out from retirement, I feel that since I have "tenure" with a guaranteed future pension- I'm easier to deal with. Good to hear your story as a become what I feel is a more "likeable" person - easy going without the stress of work.
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Old 03-19-2008, 06:15 PM   #25
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In my particular case, this will not be an issue since I chose to be a federal employee, which entails a lower salary with higher benefits. I will have lifetime medical.
I don't want to offend you but my experience with "lower salary" claims by Federal workers is a pile of crap. It does seem to be a "chant" of this class of workers bemoaning their lot in life.

I worked as a government contractor and most of the civil servants I interacted with would have been run off in short order by the private sector companies I was with.

All my peers made far less than the civil servants and did their "function" which they "managed." Most were clueless or worse. Some of the high level government people may be able to make big bucks on the outside but the typical civil servant was over paid IMHO.

Being a civil servant bestows upon the retiree massive benefits that are adjusted for inflation. Working for decades as a contractor qualifies you to die broke. There is no pension except for the wonderful amount of social security.

My rant is based on repeatedly overhearing civil servants crying that they won't be able to retire until they are 55 and they just don't know how they'll survive on their pension. They usually did this in front of numerous contractors (the ones that must be making far more money since they weren't civil servants) that had no pensions and no job security. Most of these overpaid contractors hoped to work until 65 or later unless a merciful God took them sooner.

As for lifetime medical.... You've got to be kidding.
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Old 03-19-2008, 07:03 PM   #26
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I don't want to offend you but my experience with "lower salary" claims by Federal workers is a pile of crap. It does seem to be a "chant" of this class of workers bemoaning their lot in life.

I worked as a government contractor and most of the civil servants I interacted with would have been run off in short order by the private sector companies I was with.

All my peers made far less than the civil servants and did their "function" which they "managed." Most were clueless or worse. Some of the high level government people may be able to make big bucks on the outside but the typical civil servant was over paid IMHO.

Being a civil servant bestows upon the retiree massive benefits that are adjusted for inflation. Working for decades as a contractor qualifies you to die broke. There is no pension except for the wonderful amount of social security.

My rant is based on repeatedly overhearing civil servants crying that they won't be able to retire until they are 55 and they just don't know how they'll survive on their pension. They usually did this in front of numerous contractors (the ones that must be making far more money since they weren't civil servants) that had no pensions and no job security. Most of these overpaid contractors hoped to work until 65 or later unless a merciful God took them sooner.

As for lifetime medical.... You've got to be kidding.
My goodness.. I didn't mean to aggravate you or anybody. I'm sorry if I did!

I was referring to the fact that at one point I had a choice of taking my present job as a scientist working for the federal government, or a scientist working as a permanent full time (non-contractor) employee in industry. I earn about $20-$22K less as a federal employee than my colleagues in industry (the oil and gas industry, generally) with equal qualifications. However, I have better benefits and better hours. This is normal in my occupation (and jobs in academia pay considerably less than either). I do not regret my decision. These were exactly the trade-offs and it is an accepted fact among both industry and government scientists in my small field. Perhaps it is different in your field. In any case, we each make our best deal when we choose a job.

So why did you choose to work as a contractor for decades? Do you mean like a jobshopper? If it was me, I would rather take a permanent job of almost any kind than be a jobshopper, since I do not like to move. Frank has done both. In my agency, the only contractors we have are IT people and I think they do not move as much as engineering jobshoppers.
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Old 03-19-2008, 09:48 PM   #27
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Want2Retire,

You worry too much. Your portfolio will withstand any storm. If you are concerned about having too much assets at Vanguard, try shifting some of them to Fidelity. We have multiple accounts with Fidelity since we like their offerings and service. Stop worrying.

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Old 03-20-2008, 07:00 AM   #28
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Want2Retire,

You worry too much. Your portfolio will withstand any storm. If you are concerned about having too much assets at Vanguard, try shifting some of them to Fidelity. We have multiple accounts with Fidelity since we like their offerings and service. Stop worrying.

Spanky
You're right - - I know that I really DO worry too much. Up to now life has thrown some formidable and unexpected obstacles in my path (such as having to start over from massively negative net worth at age 50, which was my fault for divorcing my husband at that age, but my failed marriage is only one of many disasters). Most people just wouldn't believe it if I told them! As a result I suppose that I try to anticipate things that just never end up happening.

I will be researching funds over at Fidelity, and if I find one that I like then I will probably open an account over there with about 20% of my net worth. I think that will increase the "sleep at night" factor a little. I have a chunk of my assets in the TSP, too, which helps.

What makes me suspicious about Vanguard is that it has become SO popular in the last ten years or so, especially with the baby boom generation. Due to some prior experiences, I regard that as a warning sign.
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Old 03-20-2008, 08:26 AM   #29
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I worked part time last year until the end of September when I fully pulled the plug. Even though I retired when the dow was over 14,000, I'm still glad I did. I'm not sure exactly what my allocation is presently, but I did increase my bonds/fixed income portion to carry me for several years. If the market is down for several years, we will just cut back alittle on the spending. I made sure to have plenty of cushion in the budget.

My golfing buddies have definatly noticed that I'm more relaxed. Its worth much more to me to just be able to get out and do what I want everyday. I'm definatly more laid back now. I'm not in a hurry as I know I can always get to it later.

The only drawback that I can see is the wifes never ending list of projects for me to do. I never have to worry about not having anything to do. But she does realize that I am in no hurry and I have a 1:00 tee time durring the week, 9:00 weekends.
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Old 03-20-2008, 08:27 AM   #30
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Some people worry about everything. I remember my grandmother saying my grandfather would worry if he didn't have anything to worry about.
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Old 03-20-2008, 09:03 AM   #31
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The funny thing about worrying is the thing that you are worrying about rarely happens . It's the unexpected stuff that knocks you for a loop .
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Old 03-20-2008, 09:26 AM   #32
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Somewhere I was told, "worrying is like planning for something you don't want to happen."

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Old 03-22-2008, 03:36 AM   #33
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I've been in the stock market for years so the gyrations annoy me but they don't make me lose any sleep . I did work a few extra years after I was FI until I was mentally ready to pull the trigger and believe me at that point I was ready . When you are truly ready financially and mentally you'll know it .Good Luck !
As you can see, this is becoming a common theme here
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Old 03-22-2008, 08:34 AM   #34
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I am extremely more relaxed, even though I'm still working 4 days a week. After a health scare a few years ago that turned out ok, I don't fear or worry about non life threatening things.

The stock market will come back, like it has every other recession. If I run low or out of money in retirement, I'll go back to work. And I know I wont get bored in retirement because I enjoy more than enough activities to keep me busy.
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Old 03-22-2008, 07:38 PM   #35
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Relaxed , I'll tell you relaxed . Tonight I was about to have an early dinner party for twelve people when the power went out . Did I panic ? No , I found lots of candles and placed them around the whole house . It was pretty nice and an hour into the party the power returned . In the old days I would have been so stressed out but this time I just took it in my stride . Luckily everything was already cooked .
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