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Who waited too long to FIRE?
Old 11-27-2013, 09:03 AM   #1
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Who waited too long to FIRE?

After reading many entries from those trying to hang on in an unfulfilling job to hit a higher number, I wonder who would have FIRE'd _earlier_ or differently knowing what they know now?

Time is more important than trying to hang in there to hit $5m, or $3m etc.

Could be valuable for those still a few years out to benefit from life wisdom many here have.
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Old 11-27-2013, 09:10 AM   #2
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I very, very nearly retired 2 to 3 years earlier but hung on until age 55 to get retiree health insurance and to able to start taking my pension at 55 instead of 62. Fortunately I applied and got a 2 year assignment to a different site (and State) and retired from there.

Those 2 extra years made a huge difference to our finances (DW kept working part time those extra 2 years as well) plus peace of mind of health insurance. We'd have been okay but I'm really pleased now that I hung on.
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Old 11-27-2013, 09:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm2 View Post
After reading many entries from those trying to hang on in an unfulfilling job to hit a higher number, I wonder who would have FIRE'd _earlier_ or differently knowing what they know now?

Time is more important than trying to hang in there to hit $5m, or $3m etc.

Could be valuable for those still a few years out to benefit from life wisdom many here have.
Ask us again in 50 years.
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Old 11-27-2013, 09:58 AM   #4
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I probably stayed on 18 to 24 months longer than I should have. My retirement goal was to have ? million saved and to have everything I owned paid in full before retiring, including my small car collection. I achieved that goal about two years before I actually retired. I probably accumulated another 750k during those last two years. I really didn't need the extra money but I sure wish I had the two years back for enjoyment in "early retirement".
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Old 11-27-2013, 10:00 AM   #5
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Ask us again in 50 years.
So true

I had a friend who retired back in 2006 and he agonized over the different options he had regarding pensions/lump sumps etc, and had created spreadsheets to analyze the different possibilities. I didn't ask any details but told him that whatever decision he made, don't look back in years to come because, just like standing in line at the checkout, chances are that you didn't make the most optimal decision, and you'll just end up regretting it for the rest of your life.
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Old 11-27-2013, 10:10 AM   #6
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Still not sure if we went too early. We may vacillate back and forth based on the wind direction from year to year, but we're enjoying it and trying to remember why we left the rat-race...

I only billed 9 hours in my "part time j*b" this month, so I feel retired 100%.
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Old 11-27-2013, 10:41 AM   #7
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As soon as I found out I could get health insurance coverage, I made the decision to retire.
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Old 11-27-2013, 01:39 PM   #8
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Ask us again in 50 years.
+2. It's a question one can only really answer at the end of retirement, only then will you know if it was a good financial decision. I chuckle when I read posts from people who advise others to 'just do it' because 'you could get hit by a bus tomorrow (true, but highly unlikely)' - after only a few years or months retired. It's a decision that's unique to each individual anyway.

I probably retired a little early, but then I still haven't ruled out a second career one day. I'd had enough of my first career, but not necessarily working.

Guess the OP may not be getting what he/she expected from some posts...
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Old 11-27-2013, 01:59 PM   #9
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If I knew then what I know now, I'd live like a lot some of the two income households on the Mr. Money Mustache forums and saved over half our income in order to buy freedom from full time corporate jobs instead of consumer goods and a house that was bigger than we really needed. We could have semi-ERed 15 years earlier if we had lived more sustainable and simply for the last 30 years. I would have saved 2/3 our income and funded 2 years of retirement for every year we worked.

Happiness studies and all the ER and simple living forums and blogs have really opened our eyes to how to live quite well without spending a lot of money.
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Who waited too long to FIRE?
Old 11-27-2013, 04:11 PM   #10
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Who waited too long to FIRE?

Me, maybe?

I worked for two very long, long years beyond the year when I became FI, because I didn't want to pull the trigger until I was eligible for federal retiree health insurance. Finally I retired at age 61, in 2009, with insurance.

It turned out that I didn't even get sick from the time I retired to age 65 (when I got on Medicare). So, I suppose I could have retired at age 59 instead of age 61. I didn't know that at the time.

But did I really wait too long? I didn't know that I wasn't going to get sick. In fact, I think I probably would have literally worried myself sick if I retired without health insurance, given the healthcare crisis that our country has been dealing with since that time. So, maybe not.
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Old 11-27-2013, 05:54 PM   #11
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I was considering retiring in 2007/2008. Had I done so with the stock market taking a dump, I would have felt bad leaving my well paying unfulfilling job. Leaving in 2012 with the stock market rebounding made the transition much easier and unstressful. While I would have certainly liked to have retired earlier I am not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if I were worrying about money. Timing was everything in this case.
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Old 11-27-2013, 06:19 PM   #12
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I was all set to leave in 2001, but the dotcom bust hit, and I wasn't smart enough to diversify. Had I pulled the trigger a bit earlier than planned I would've been in a tough position looking for a job, and not nearly enough to stay retired. Certainly I could've found something but I doubt I'd be in as good of shape as I am now.

I could've retired a couple years early, but I was able to work part-time, flex hours, telecommuting, and not all that hard, so it seemed to make sense to me to buy some piece of mind.
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Old 11-27-2013, 06:51 PM   #13
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I've only been retired since the end of September so it's too soon to know for sure but I strongly suspect that if had had gone a year or two earlier when the numbers told me I was good to go, I would have lost a lot of sleep worrying about our finances lasting the next fifty years. As it is, I am sleeping well and enjoying life so no regrets so far.
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Old 11-27-2013, 07:35 PM   #14
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I'm retiring at the end of the year so this isn't for me personally, but my father could have retired at 55 and didn't. He ended up retiring at 58 because he came down with early-onset dementia. He retired as a top executive for a megacorp and in less than 5 years, he couldn't tie his shoes, sign his name, or read. He did get to sail his boat from Texas to Maryland right after he was forced into retirement, but the 12 years he lived after that were pretty much hell. I wish he had had those three years.


You can imagine that I'm retiring as soon as I'm eligible. I was talking the other day to a fellow at work who is suffering from the OMY syndrome about how much is enough. We could put away more if I worked longer, but there isn't much it would buy us that we want. Of course, I'm in the extremely fortunate position of having a good pension, and that makes a huge difference, but there are definitely risks both in delaying retirement and taking it too early...just different risks.
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Old 11-27-2013, 09:31 PM   #15
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I've been ER'd about 3 yrs now. DW is still working. I listen to her work stories every evening. As far as I'm concerned she could retire at any time and we would be financially OK. So far she hasn't been able to do it but she has a plan to ER in 1.5 yrs.

As far as looking back . . . I keep telling her that when she retires she will look back on these last couple of years and wonder why the hell she worked so hard and worried so much and waited so long. She has to decide for herself when to pull the trigger.
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Old 11-27-2013, 09:44 PM   #16
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There are times I think I should have gone earlier, there are times I think I should have hung in longer, but there has never been a time I would have gone back.





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Old 11-27-2013, 11:09 PM   #17
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I'm retiring at the end of the year so this isn't for me personally, but my father could have retired at 55 and didn't. He ended up retiring at 58 because he came down with early-onset dementia. He retired as a top executive for a megacorp and in less than 5 years, he couldn't tie his shoes, sign his name, or read. He did get to sail his boat from Texas to Maryland right after he was forced into retirement, but the 12 years he lived after that were pretty much hell. I wish he had had those three years.


You can imagine that I'm retiring as soon as I'm eligible. I was talking the other day to a fellow at work who is suffering from the OMY syndrome about how much is enough. We could put away more if I worked longer, but there isn't much it would buy us that we want. Of course, I'm in the extremely fortunate position of having a good pension, and that makes a huge difference, but there are definitely risks both in delaying retirement and taking it too early...just different risks.
Stach - a message worth hearing. Thanks for sharing it.

Life is only once for each of us and I think we can all remind ourselves of that from time to time.

M2
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Old 11-28-2013, 06:31 AM   #18
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I suppose I could have retired three years earlier except that I had some medical issues that required 3 major surgeries and a long (still continuing) rehab. Glad I didn't jump the gun because the cost that would have been a serious financial hit was absorbed by my employment insurance. Those years would not have been any different in how I could have spent them in retirement so my decision was good to stay. I'll just have to deal somehow with the additional retirement income.

Cheers!
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Old 11-28-2013, 02:26 PM   #19
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I've been ER'd about 3 yrs now. DW is still working. I listen to her work stories every evening. As far as I'm concerned she could retire at any time and we would be financially OK. So far she hasn't been able to do it but she has a plan to ER in 1.5 yrs.

As far as looking back . . . I keep telling her that when she retires she will look back on these last couple of years and wonder why the hell she worked so hard and worried so much and waited so long. She has to decide for herself when to pull the trigger.
Of course what matters is what you think in about 20-30 years, won't really know until then...but there's nothing to be gained by worrying about it in the interim.
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Old 11-28-2013, 04:09 PM   #20
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I never thought about retiring even though I had hit my number. Then a piece of property came up for sale, and I asked what if. Looked at my balance sheet and equity in my home and said, yes I can. Retired at age 54 in 2006, I was lucky to sell my home and begin 2006 with a lot of cash on hand. Must be dumb luck, but the portfolio keeps growing, and I just keep spending.
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