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Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-09-2005, 09:55 PM   #1
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Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

About 5 year ago, I set a goal for myself with respect to the size of the nestegg I figured I would need in order to retire.* It was a nice round number, one that has been bantered around this board many times.* Based on my calculations, I expect to reach that goal in about 12 months.* However, as I get closer and closer I have begun experiencing a nagging fear that I still don't have enough.* Perhaps this is just human nature at work -- one study suggests that we always feel we need about twice what we presently have to "be comfortable."* For those that have had a similar experience, can you share with me how you resolved this conflict?* Did you have some sort of epiphany that swept away all of the doubts?* I feel like a ping-pong ball.** * On any given day I may feel like the scales are tipping in favor of just quiting when the goal I set five years is reached . . . the next day I am just as likely to feel like I need to work "another year" as "cushion."* If you have experienced similar emotions/doubts, how did you settle them?

Robert
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-09-2005, 11:23 PM   #2
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

I worried like you if I had enough, and now that I'm retired I fret over not investing it wisely enough.* I think it's like "buyer's remorse" when purchasing a house.* I'm hoping I'll get over it after a while, but there is the possibility that I just need something to worry about.*
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-09-2005, 11:46 PM   #3
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

"Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew."

-Guillaume Apollinaire
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-10-2005, 08:47 AM   #4
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

Don't retire until its a no-brainer that you have enough. Fear and happiness don't go together.

Hope that helps.

Azanon
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-10-2005, 08:55 AM   #5
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

If your magic number is based on some hard math and historical spending as well as future expenses with adequate room for market ups and dows you should be fine. The "How much is enough?" mental exercise is much like a dog chasing its tail. Sometimes he catches it and sometimes he just gives up and goes to sleep.

If you feel confident that your magic number is a good one and you can live within your defined budget then stop working when you get there. If you keep moving that number up you will find yourself 65 years old and still worried about making the "current" magic number. You just have to do what works for you. Some folks here can live on a shoestring while others have a net worthover 7 figures. It is all about what works for you and how you feel about "enough."

Keep running the numbers until you have confidence and then work until you get there.....and then stop!
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-10-2005, 08:57 AM   #6
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert
However, as I get closer and closer I have begun experiencing a nagging fear that I still don't have enough.* Perhaps this is just human nature at work -- one study suggests that we always feel we need about twice what we presently have to "be comfortable."* For those that have had a similar experience, can you share with me how you resolved this conflict?* Did you have some sort of epiphany that swept away all of the doubts?* I feel like a ping-pong ball.** * On any given day I may feel like the scales are tipping in favor of just quiting when the goal I set five years is reached . . . the next day I am just as likely to feel like I need to work "another year" as "cushion."* If you have experienced similar emotions/doubts, how did you settle them?
Here, let me help you with that-- you'll never have "enough". *Feel better now? *Me either, but it doesn't make me want to get a job...

If you've nailed down your expenses, especially replacement costs like roofs, vehicles, & appliances, then you know what you're spending and you know what you need. *"Want" is an entirely different subject.

We kept an eye on our spending that first year of ER and realized that we were coming in way under some numbers. *Dining out was under $200/month ("Let's go out tonight-- again!"), entertainment was way under $100 (but surfing isn't expensive) and home improvement was way over budget (we finally had the time). *One big advantage to ER-- maybe the biggest-- is having the time to distinguish needs from wants, analyze prices, and to shop (especially the classified ads or Craigslist). *So our spending is below what we thought it would ever be.

Another strength of having the time is that I know more about investing & financial management than I ever did while I was chasing a paycheck. *The more I know, the better & longer my perspective has become, the less I do with our retirement portfolio, and the more it grows. *It's been bumping up to new highs this year and it's grown every single year since we started ER in 2002.

If you're feeling nervous over making the leap, take a look at the earlier posts about people who discovered that they'd stayed in the workplace "for just one more year to make sure" and discovered that they'd missed out on lifetime opportunities. *I won't try to claim that you can "just do it", but if your analysis indicates that you can make it then you owe it to yourself to try before the refrain of "It's Later Than You Think" starts playing over your cubicle's PA system.

Bob Clyatt feels your pain-- he went through this when his family ER'd and he talks about part-time work in his book.
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-10-2005, 09:12 AM   #7
 
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

You're experiencing the difference between abstract and concrete. In the abstract, it's easy to run the numbers and say "Yeah, no problem." When the time actually comes, and the retirement becomes more concrete, the doubts start. I'm experiencing that a bit too.

Maybe it's like jumping off the high diving board the first time. You know it's safe,
but when you get up there, your body just says "No, no, no!" Sometimes you just have to say, "I've analyzed this and I know it will work." and jump.
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-10-2005, 05:09 PM   #8
 
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

Quote:
For those that have had a similar experience, can you share with me how you resolved this conflict? Did you have some sort of epiphany that swept away all of the doubts?
Yeah, for me, I had not really intended to leave the workplace for another 5 years. Age 55.

But my Boss called me in one day about 4 years ago and told me 'That my Job would be changing' - I did not like the changes, so I went home ran the numbers and retiring became a much more desireable choice.

After sleeping on it for a Full 24 hours, I went into my Boss's office and told him that I decided to retire in 2 weeks. - The look on his face was Priceless! - He had not seen this coming and he looked like I just laid down a Royal Flush!
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-10-2005, 05:14 PM   #9
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

You did!
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-10-2005, 05:19 PM   #10
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

Quote:
Originally Posted by riskaverse
Ithere is the possibility that I just need something to worry about.*
Human nature
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-10-2005, 06:28 PM   #11
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

Hi Robert, I am going through the same feelings. My DH retired three weeks ago. Hard to leave the house in the morning and go off to work. It is human nature to have those feelings of working a bit longer. You will know in your heart when it is time to finally " let go." It is a process.
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-10-2005, 07:30 PM   #12
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

When in doubt, don't.
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-10-2005, 07:48 PM   #13
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert
About 5 year ago, I set a goal for myself with respect to the size of the nestegg I figured I would need in order to retire.* It was a nice round number, one that has been bantered around this board many times.*

You arrived at that # for some reason (other than it being battered around this board).

If you have it .. it's enough.
If you don't have it yet .. when you reach it, it will be enough.

If your # is $1 million it will surely be enough.
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-11-2005, 06:56 AM   #14
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

robert, I don't doubt that I will go through the same thing when I get to the top of the mountain. But retiring is like making a big investment in something risky, taking a new job, getting married, etc.: do all the reasearch you can, have a plan in case the bottom falls out, and double-check everything, but if it still looks right, take the flying leap. You'll generally be glad you did.

I also think that I will probably come to the same realization that many others here have. One day, I will look up and say to myself: "Sh!t, I'm a millionaire. I don't have to put up with this cr@p any more!"
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-11-2005, 08:00 AM   #15
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

I say to myself - I can work and save money to be sure I have enough. But I can't save time (age), health, and vigor. So it is a balance.

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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-11-2005, 08:59 AM   #16
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

Robert,* *we are experiencing the exact same thing you describe.* We also set that nice round number, X, as a goal.* We got there.* Then we said,* "that's not really enough to live the way we would like in ER, we don't want to give up everything we enjoy,*let's shoot for at least Y, to be comfortable."*

Now we are within spitting distance of Y - if December bonuses are kind we will be there in a few months.

So I run more numbers, we talk a little more, we worry that inflation is going to eat up our savings, that the market is never really going to recover, and we decide, well,*maybe just to be really sure we should go for Z.*

Obviously we're not ready to quit.*

If I had a cubicle I hated and a boss to quit to, I probably would have done it.* *But instead I have partners I've spent 15 years building a successful business with.* It's going to take me some psychological time, but I have at least started talking about going part time.

SO is scouting property and will probably "putter" in the remodeling or spec housing business, so we are an example of a couple that has chosen to slowly wind down rather than just dive in.

It's probably true that you'll know when it's right, just don't let your fear cause you to miss out on the best years of your life!
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-11-2005, 10:24 AM   #17
 
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

Does the $1 million include the equity in your home?
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-11-2005, 11:12 AM   #18
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

For those who are not ready to quit, but at or oh so close to their goals.....

Why not cut back work to 2 or 3 days days a week and see if they meets your needs. If that works for you, it's a happy medium. It may help you decide whether you really are ready...

I left the work force in June. I had planned on retiring in June, but 'chickened out' and switched to 3 days a week. It only took a few weeks of the part time schedule to help me realize I really wanted a no work schedule. I was retired by the end of June, and do not regret it one bit.

Good luck in your decisions.....
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-11-2005, 11:27 AM   #19
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Does the $1 million include the equity in your home?
If you were asking me, the answer is no.* But it does include S.O.'s house equity since that will either be sold or rented.
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches
Old 11-11-2005, 11:30 AM   #20
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Re: Dealing with Doubts as FIRE Approaches

Quote:
Originally Posted by KB
For those who are not ready to quit, but at or oh so close to their goals.....

Why not cut back work to 2 or 3 days days a week and see if they meets your needs.* * If that works for you, it's a happy medium.* It may help you decide whether you really are ready...

Good luck in your decisions.....
I'm working on some options in that direction. I am trying to finish off old projects and not take on new ones, and delegate everything that I can, but right now I have 50 hrs. or more worth of demands on my time.
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