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What I have Discovered while Planning ER
Old 03-03-2010, 01:37 PM   #1
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What I have Discovered while Planning ER

Over the past 10 years or so, I have started to think about ER. I am now 47 and ER is now possible. However I can't help but think back and reflect on what the reality of it is. Here are my thoughts.

First, about 10 years ago I unexpectedly become a multimillionaire during the tech bubble. At that time, ER became a possibility and got me thinking about it. However, I was too young (read immature) to realize the implications. Anyway, I sat on the stock and rode most of it all the way down...so that dream evaporated. Now that 10 years have passed, I have built a much more stable base and in the last year the ER idea has resurfaced as a possibility again, so I started doing my research.

1- Finances for retirement are hard. My finances are mostly tied into a "bricks & mortar" business. Getting things set up for retirement involves difficult decisions and actions.

2- People spend way more time thinking about getting into a position to retire and pay no attention to what happens when you retire. I have met a few older guys (mid to late 60s) in the last week who still run their business 6 to 7 days a week, even though they don't need the money. They both have vacation homes in warm exotic areas they seldom visit. Both say "Yeah there was a time that I thought I might like to retire" This confuses and scares me a lot since I am highly engaged now and have been for some time. It's kinda like The Shawshank Redemption movie, where they discuss being institutionalized.

3- How Much Do I Need? In the last year I have set myself some financial goals to enable ER. Unexpectedly, I keep meeting them and then change the number higher. I know I have enough and it could always be better, but it can't seem to sink in! (see topic 2).

4- How will I deal with being different? I will be the only person I know in my circle of friends and neighbors who will be ER. Except for an ex pro athlete and he has purchased and runs a junior club that keeps him very busy. Most of them are set to work for another 10 or more years before they can even think about retiring. They'll really be institutionalized by then!

5- The workplace keeps changing. It's funny what happens when you tell your boss you want to leave. They make it hard by changing the rules for the better. For example, they now are allowing me to work 3 to 4 days a week with fewer responsibilities. My friends say "how can you leave that job...really good money, few worries and responsibilities with stock options, etc?"

6- The anxiety of change as the date gets closer. I have set myself a date that allows a months notice and if I want to take advantage of the summer I need to decided in the coming 30 days. So I feel that pressure.

In the end, I know the answers to all of these, but knowing isn't the same as feeling it and sinking in. These are just things that I had/have to deal with in my road to ER. I can't help but think this is similar to many of you and perhaps a bit of a heads-up for others just starting to consider ER.

I'll work it all out and I can't see myself working full time for Mega Corp much longer, but it hasn't been as much fun preparing for this than I thought it would be.

E86S54
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Old 03-03-2010, 02:18 PM   #2
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1 - See your own point #3.

2 - People who can't find something productive / entertaining to do with themselves without direction from a corporate overlord suffer from a complete lack of imagination. This shouldn't be much of a problem if you decide that you're going to take the initiative in managing your life and your time.

4 - Maybe its just me, but I've always relished the idea of charting my own course. Who wants to be like everyone else?

5 - See your own point #3.

6 - As we age we get more risk averse. I see it in myself and those around me. This isn't a good thing. Over time we get so comfortable with the familiar that we become afraid to do anything new. You're analogy to Shawshank Redemption is apt. Personally I don't want to spend the next 10 years doing exactly what I've done the past 10 years simply because it is the path of least resistance. Life is too short. Live large.
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Old 03-03-2010, 02:50 PM   #3
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6 - As we age we get more risk averse. I see it in myself and those around me. This isn't a good thing. Over time we get so comfortable with the familiar that we become afraid to do anything new. You're analogy to Shawshank Redemption is apt. Personally I don't want to spend the next 10 years doing exactly what I've done the past 10 years simply because it is the path of least resistance. Life is too short. Live large.
We could have retired in place, and I could have done it last year. With no bills, and plenty of cash available, we could have gone back and forth to the cabin in the woods or sold the house and stayed at the cabin..... but it would have been dull, very dull.

So we decided to take an adventure instead. We're selling everything and moving 600 miles away to a sea coast town that we've visited many times but don't know many people.

It will not be dull. I think only about 15% of the people our age look at this as anything other than that we've totally lost our minds. Those who are younger think its a wonderful adventure. Some are so scared of it they change the subject when we mention it to them. Its pretty funny.

Z
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Old 03-03-2010, 04:02 PM   #4
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E86S54, you and I are in similar situations. We're the same age. I was also FIRE-able in 1999 (didn't last long!), and am FIRE-able now, in a more stable way. I can identify with every point you made.

In the end (IMO), the transition from disciplined, plugged-in accumulator to FIRE-ee really requires a leap into the unknown. Doesn't matter how much $$ you have, or how often you've run FireCalc. There is just no way to anticipate all the unknowns involved in a radical change of lifestyle.

For me, it came down to, "I have 17,000,000 more seconds on Earth, if I'm lucky. They are passing more quickly than ever, and there's no way to refill them. How do I most want to spend them?" Employment, no matter how good, doesn't even make the top ten.

The workaday world will throw all kinds of temptations at you to get you to stay. But they don't hold up when you remember the number: 17,000,000. No, wait: 16,999,990....
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Old 03-03-2010, 04:41 PM   #5
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Retirement has been like an endless string of Saturdays for me so far.

If you aren't scheduled to work on Saturdays, and you find yourself working at home anyway just because you want to finish some things up (not because you have to finish those things up), then I think it might be hard to retire.

But if you are happy enjoying your leisure time on Saturdays and can always find something you want to do, I think you are probably going to like retirement! At least, I do so far.

It's a big step, and to a lot of people retirement signifies growing old so it is something they put off. Putting off retirement does not put off ones eventual demise, though.
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Old 03-03-2010, 04:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by e86s54 View Post
In the end, I know the answers to all of these, but knowing isn't the same as feeling it and sinking in. These are just things that I had/have to deal with in my road to ER. I can't help but think this is similar to many of you and perhaps a bit of a heads-up for others just starting to consider ER.
I'll work it all out and I can't see myself working full time for Mega Corp much longer, but it hasn't been as much fun preparing for this than I thought it would be.
Everyone worries about this list when they're getting ready to ER, and I guess that's a good way to make sure they get it right the first time.

But a few months after everyone ERs, they wonder what the heck they were so worried about...
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Old 03-04-2010, 12:38 PM   #7
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I worried about the things you worry about, but made the leap very soon after we felt we were FI.

So, what can go wrong if you make the jump?

You will not lose your skills or your network for at least a few years. You can always go back (or try something new) if things don't work out the way you want them to - either from a lifestyle or a financial standpoint. I know - I am back at work. Part time, but back. And given the same circumstances, I would make the same decision.

You learn a lot about yourself when you quit voluntarily and live off your savings. You'll also gain the confidence that comes from being FI & living it. And there is no way to learn those things unless you make the jump. It is similar to being through the bursting of a bubble. There is no way to know your risk limits until you go through it.

I like your Shawshank redemption analogy.

All the very best to you.
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Old 03-04-2010, 01:05 PM   #8
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Not retired so can't really help you. But I did appreciate the shout out to the Swawshank Redemption. Great movie!
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Old 03-04-2010, 01:51 PM   #9
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e86s54,

To me (just my gut feeling) you don't seem ready to retire. Of course you CAN retire if you want to (congratulations! That's no small feat), but it really sounds like you are still emotionally tied to your work. That is a good thing. I loved my work, and didn't retire until age 63. Could I have retired earlier? I didn't know it at the time, but the answer was "without doubt, of course I could have." But I wasn't ready.

Probably SOME people don't have a plan for what they will do once they retire, but most of us do indeed make a plan--even if that plan is "sit around and do nothing." Most of us FIREd people live full, happy, active lives.
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