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The courage to pull the trigger
Old 09-14-2015, 06:12 AM   #1
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The courage to pull the trigger

As I was off to work one day last week I casually mentioned to the wife "geez I'm tired of going to work" she answered well "we have enough you can retire anytime you want".

I've got a great interesting job, a very nice boss but last week was office clean up week and they were giving an award for the oldest garbage thrown out. A 50 year old colleague asked me to get into the garbage can. We laughed but the truth is I'm 61 by far the oldest there. My jobs location sucks - I had a rant post about it in the other category called "another day in paradise" incidentally a couple of days after my post a person was shot a couple of blocks away near the police station.

Our retirement pile grows at roughy $3k per week; I'm of the school that you can't be thin enough or have enough set aside for retirement. Maybe because we had so little growing up...For me going to work is easy, it is all I know I graduated college in 1977 I've been employed ever since - 32 years with my current employer.

I know the obvious - No one lives forever ... Perhaps you can help me with what made you pull the trigger? Any constructive thoughts you have will be appreciated.. I've been struggling with this decision for a while...

A day in the life of...
(So you have a sense of me ..,) Yesterday the Mrs and I planted garlic, weeded the garden - I turned over 4 4 by 8 beds, tended the fall spinach, lettuce and arugula beds - I then blew the back and side yards to keep up with the leaves. We live pretty simple lives.. And I have lots of interest...

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Old 09-14-2015, 06:31 AM   #2
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That is a great question, one I had a while ago too. It's a bit daunting, but I analysed the numbers 100 different ways since then. I save nearly $200K a year, and have been for three years now. I only spend $40K max.

I have not yet pulled the trigger, but I am 100% confident I will no longer be working after July 5th next year. Guaranteed. And I have a few trips planned immediately after that.

How do you get the Courage?
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Old 09-14-2015, 07:41 AM   #3
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If the job is still rewarding, you should stay with it IMO - odds are you will be retired for a long time no matter when you start that phase. And if you had a career (vs a job), going back is difficult if not impossible for most people.

How much money is enough varies for everyone, longevity varies, projected spending varies, and what safety factor allows you to sleep at night varies.

And finally, it's not enough to retire from something (work), you have to have something better to retire to. Reading How to Retire Happy, Wild & Free and Work Less, Live More helped immeasurably for me with what to do in retirement.

Not saying you haven't thought of the above. From my experience, only you can know when it's right for you.

And 'no one lives forever,' or 'a buddy of mine just died unexpectedly' are among the poorest reasons to retire IMO - I shudder when I see people offer that up as a good reason, it's not. You have to plan on what's most likely for 99% of us, a long retirement.
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Old 09-14-2015, 07:42 AM   #4
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I was in a similar spot. We had enough. I liked my job/work, my colleagues and most of my clients. I didn't like travel but had been able to dial that down a lot. I was working part time (80% and then later 50%) but disliked the way work took over my schedule. Since work was an hour conference call here and a two hour conference call there and these calls were frequently rescheduled at the last minute I was constantly "on-call" and found it hard to even get away for four straight hours for a round of golf with friends.

I finally decided that we had enough for all plausible scenarios and it was more likely than not that we had way more than what we needed so in effect I was working to benefit Uncle Sam and our kids. At the same time, every time I opened the newspaper and read obituaries it seemed that some obituaries were of people my age.

At the time we had two homes and the expenses associated with two homes. Earlier in the year, we had moved into our rebuilt lakeside summer home and then we sold our main home. Having only one home reduced our expenses and the proceeds of our nestegg and it seemed like a good time to go (at 56, one year later than I planned).

It is scary to make such a dramatic change in your life. Now, almost 4 years later, I'm happier than ever, am busy doing things I want to do, and the 2012-2015 market rally leaves our nestegg 17% higher than when I retired and what I expected it to be at this point in time when I retired.

As a friend and I recently commiserated on the golf course... life is good.

It's a bit of a leap if faith ray.

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Old 09-14-2015, 08:36 AM   #5
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Figured that in 2000 that the pension and investments were just barely enough to maintain our existing LBYM lifestyle. Things were looking up at work (previous director had retired and I got along great with new director). But when I realized that I could be a regular part of my sons' growing up years and any job would be secondary, I pulled the plug.

No regrets, net worth up by factor 2.5, still somewhat LBYM but loosening up.
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Old 09-14-2015, 09:00 AM   #6
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I doubt you will be able to retire until you change your entire perspective on life. You seem to live to work...not work to live.

Think about what living means. It should be about enjoying yourself. Enjoying your spouse. Enjoying the environment around you. Having fun with your hobbies. Traveling and seeing the greatness and the wonders of the world and the different cultures of the world. Spending more time with friends. A lot of 18 year olds want to take a year off from school and see the world because they still have that perspective on life, but they cant afford to do it unless their parents pay for it. We as a people should only work to be able to afford to do all of those things. You lost that somewhere along the way. Until you get that perspective on life back, you will most likely continue to work.

No matter how much you enjoy your job, you cant seriously like it better than not working and spending all of that time on things you love to do instead of things someone else wants you to do. Think about this.....would you continue to go to work for free? Why not? If you love it so much why make them pay you? Find out whatever you would rather do for free and go do it....because you dont need a paycheck anymore.
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Old 09-14-2015, 09:31 AM   #7
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...Perhaps you can help me with what made you pull the trigger? Any constructive thoughts you have will be appreciated.. I've been struggling with this decision for a while...
I had always planned to retire at 55, which was official "early retirement" at Megacorp. At that age, there was a significant increase in the pension value and you keep all unvested options and RSUs. The portfolio grew a little faster than expected, which made ER possible at 52... probably earlier, but that's when I pulled the trigger.

The job was always interesting but quite demanding. My pay was very good but was not growing as fast as it had earlier in my career. I was still getting annual bonuses and stock grants, but it was essentially the same amount every year. Yet my responsibilities, workload, and stress level were higher than ever and growing at an unprecedented rate. This was a great value proposition for Megacorp... not so great for me, even with the extra money dangling out there at 55. That was probably the main factor.

But other things were starting to bother me as well... the commute (40 miles one-way in increasingly heavy and unpredictable traffic), increased business travel to Asia, conference calls at 5am and 10pm almost every day, less and less time for hobbies, deterioration in my health (high blood pressure, sleep habits), and just an overall feeling that work had become burdensome, while my hobbies and other interests were going un-pursued.

Still, it was not an easy decision, especially the age-55 cash I sacrificed, which was no chump change. Retirement is a very big change in your life. And in my case, there's no going back. I miss the people a lot, but not the work. After two years, I think I've finally found my "rhythm" in retirement. I'm once again doing woodworking, playing guitar, building PCs, cooking every day, learning to fix stuff around the house, traveling, reconnecting with old friends, seeing family more, and often times doing nothing at all. I'm about as happy and carefree as I can ever remember being. Yes indeed... life is good.
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Old 09-14-2015, 10:12 AM   #8
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I'm sure you've read the 2 bucket analogy here. You have one bucket with money in one hand, and another bucket with BS, in the other hand.

The more money you have the less BS it's worth putting up with.

I pulled the trigger in part because of commute. My work was ok (though not as fun as previous years). My boss was mostly ok, or could be ignored. But the commute home every evening was getting nightmarish. Toss in a couple merger/acquisitions/divesting/etc... which messed with benefits, pension, compensation... the BS got too much.

I had fear. But I figured I could always find a part time gig - even if it was stocking shelves at costco - to supplement my retirement income.
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Old 09-14-2015, 10:25 AM   #9
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As I was off to work one day last week I casually mentioned to the wife "geez I'm tired of going to work" she answered well "we have enough you can retire anytime you want".

... Perhaps you can help me with what made you pull the trigger? Any constructive thoughts you have will be appreciated.....

I think your wife says it best ...... "we have enough you retire anytime you want." We all have different reasons but the key is to know you really want to take this step. Sounds like you have a great life outside work and the ability financially to retire but there are things you really like about work that keeps you going. That's a good problem to have!

For me, my job had become less fun at a time when various changes were occurring in my immediate family. Wife had some serious health issues, children getting married, moving away, having kids etc.. I decided I really wanted to have the time to be more involved in my family life. Since my job had become less fun, it was a relatively easy decision for me.

Best of luck to you and your musings!
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Old 09-14-2015, 12:17 PM   #10
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I know the obvious - No one lives forever ... Perhaps you can help me with what made you pull the trigger? Any constructive thoughts you have will be appreciated.. I've been struggling with this decision for a while...
So, logically you know that no one lives forever, but have you actually grasped that fact on a personal, emotional level? Just a thought.

Also, have you accomplished what you wanted to accomplish in your career, or do you still have grand plans of big ideas that you want and need to implement, that will make an significant impact on the world? I think that aspect makes a huge difference and should not be ignored.

I wanted to retire for about a decade before I qualified to retire. (My original username here was "Want2Retire"). The idea sounded delightful; all that time to garden or play golf! (Neither of which I have actually DONE in retirement, so far, but it was the fantasy).

By 2003 I was 55, and I was pretty sure that I had completed everything I wanted to do and could reasonably expect to do in my career, and that it was time to start wrapping things up. As I went through my late 50's my desire to retire became stronger and stronger and I began to feel like I was just marking time.

Determining the date was simple for me. I was eligible to officially retire on 11/7/2009, and would become eligible for my tiny pension and retiree medical if I waited until that date. Waiting until my 62nd birthday on 6/8/2010 would have meant all of that plus more money. Instead of waiting those extra months, I cranked up the LBYM to get more money.

By 2007 I had enough $$ to retire, barely, except that I still needed the retiree medical so I was definitely waiting for 2009. I kept 2010 in the back of my mind as a fallback position just in case, and I joined the ER forum.

In 2008 I received a modest inheritance which fattened up my nestegg and in a sense made the waiting harder to bear. I had more than enough to retire, except that I still needed to wait for retiree medical in 2009.

Then as 11/7/2009 drew closer, I discovered that it was on a SATURDAY, omg! I wanted to make it crystal clear to the powers that be, that I was eligible for official retirement. So, I waited past the weekend and my last day of work was Monday, 11/9/2009.

That's how I knew when to pull the trigger.
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Old 09-14-2015, 12:50 PM   #11
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..snip..
Our retirement pile grows at roughy $3k per week; I'm of the school that you can't be thin enough or have enough set aside for retirement. Maybe because we had so little growing up...For me going to work is easy, it is all I know I graduated college in 1977 I've been employed ever since - 32 years with my current employer.
.

For me that statement says it all. You're married to your job as well as your wife. I can understand that, could have been me.

To answer your question. Megacorp made it easy, all new management starting at the "C" level. I hung around another year and a half, things got stupid(er). I was having zero fun, actually started hating the place.
After meeting with my Fidelity rep and hearing that "yes, you can retire" again, I was done.

I was lost at first, but after 30 months it was the best thing I've ever done. Hope you can get out of the war zone.
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Old 09-14-2015, 07:40 PM   #12
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I retired essentially as soon as the folks in personnel confirmed I could. I’ve seen too many associates wait “one more year”, and either die on the job, or their health deteriorates so much that retirement becomes a wheelchair, hospital bed, or casket.

Go. Eliminate the stress of work, commute, etc. Get more physically active. Eat better. Spend time with your significant others. Life is too short, and more years are far from guaranteed.
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Old 09-14-2015, 08:03 PM   #13
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I think the voices telling you that you have something to go to when you pull the plug are ones you should listen to. Spend some time figuring out what life would look like after you pull the plug.


For me it was a combination of things. I have young kids (currently 9 and 11) that I was missing out on. I actually really enjoy spending time with my wife. I was travelling far too much for my liking (to this day I have to practically be put on a plane at gunpoint). I was also very burnt out. I worked a job that was both beneath me and with several layers of incompetent management above me. I asked a couple of friends at the salt mine what they produced in the last year. When one answered "landfill" I saw myself in that answer. I did not really have enough money piled up, especially with 2 kids and being 40, but it was time for a change. I also watched my bright, PhD-educated father in law go from an active 70 year old to a far-gone Parkinson's sufferer in a couple of years.


Life is funny. Less than a year after I quit I was pretty much handed a lucrative, easy consulting gig and it looks like it will turn into an permanent lucrative, easy gig at the end of the year. I took up beekeeping. I got to travel more and spend time with my wife and kids. I've had time to become a much more proficient hunter. I am teaching myself to make soap. There are still a ton of things I need more time to do, learn and experience. A change of pace might help you, but you need to know where you will land. I can see the burnout in your posts, thought.
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Old 09-15-2015, 05:24 PM   #14
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My favorite saying is "screw it, this is so over". Keep saying that. It starts to sound so good it will become your mantra. Then just live it out and enjoy the freedom. Or keep w*rking and helping to fund our ss. Wait.

Forget all that bs. Keep w*rking.


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Old 09-15-2015, 05:28 PM   #15
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Great post Brewer! Bee keeping and making soap are in my "to learn" list
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Old 09-17-2015, 05:13 AM   #16
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My favorite saying is "screw it, this is so over". Keep saying that. It starts to sound so good it will become your mantra. Then just live it out and enjoy the freedom. Or keep w*rking and helping to fund our ss. Wait.

Forget all that bs. Keep working..

You gave me a belly laugh with the SS comment; I am always telling my younger buddies/colleagues the most important thing is that you keep paying your SSI. Your comment about being burnt out struck a nerve....is it possible to be tired (burnt out) in a good job?


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Old 09-17-2015, 07:44 AM   #17
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You gave me a belly laugh with the SS comment; I am always telling my younger buddies/colleagues the most important thing is that you keep paying your SSI. Your comment about being burnt out struck a nerve....is it possible to be tired (burnt out) in a good job?


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Heck yes it's possible, I spent years in that state.
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Old 09-17-2015, 08:18 AM   #18
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Ray,

I wrote a response to you earlier but I can sum it up by saying..."Would you do the job for free?" Do you enjoy it THAT much? If not why are you still doing it? You don't need the money. If you dont enjoy the job so much that you would do it for free, go spend that time doing something you WOULD do for free. Your portfolio will pay your bills.
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Old 09-17-2015, 09:24 AM   #19
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My jobs location sucks - I had a rant post about it in the other category called "another day in paradise" incidentally a couple of days after my post a person was shot a couple of blocks away near the police station.
.
.
.
I know the obvious - No one lives forever ... Perhaps you can help me with what made you pull the trigger? Any constructive thoughts you have will be appreciated.. I've been struggling with this decision for a while...
You've answered your own question, just a matter of if you want to follow the logic through. You've decided that so far, money > time. I doubt you'll feel that way in another 4 or 5 years.

In my case, Mom died at 31, younger brother died at 42. I had to perform CPR on a coworker in the men's room at work, and he was back at work less than a week later. And looked horrible.

I sort of enjoyed my job, but I would never have done it for free. So once I had enough money saved that they weren't adding any value to my life, I had no reason to be there. I've been retired for 9+ years, and will turn 60 this year. It's been wonderful, and even if things hadn't turned out just fine financially, I'd be hard pressed to say I regretted anything. I can feel the aches and pains creeping up on me now, and know that getting out early enough to do more than watch TV and putter in the garden was worth much much more than it's weight in gold.
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Old 09-17-2015, 11:01 AM   #20
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Here is how I look at it. I would rather be sorry that I went a little early at 59 than be sorry at 65 that I did not go a little early.

We spent today driving around an island in a foreign country and spending quality time with my spouse at a wonderful small beach. I could drop dead to,or row,who knows. Bit for sure my time spent today was better than anything spent during my working career....one which I enjoyed immensly.

A colleague of mine, and a friend, went at 65. He passed away suddenly six months later. I would rather be in the former group than the latter group.
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