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Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...
Old 09-26-2005, 08:43 PM   #1
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Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...

Ok - I think I know the answer, but hope to get some responses to get some support to keep working for 2 1/2 more years to be FIRE...OR, maybe it's to get support to do it sooner....help!

We should be able to RE and live comfortably in 2 1/2 years given the lifestyle we want... however, it is getting really hard to go to work everyday (great career, but very stressful) and dealing with living/involvement with people that makes you question society as a whole (tenants who use the court/social system to not have to pay rent; vendor who embezzles money from us, etc)

So - I guess the question I have is: How did you know you were retiring early for the right reasons versus running away from difficult situations? Has anyone looked back and felt that you retired to early for the wrong reasons? Clearly, the calcs should work, but it really depends on how much you want to make each year, right? Part of me says that if I can retire now, it would be worth wihdrawing 10 - 15% less each year, but on the other hand, it would just be so much safer in the long run if we stick it out...

What if we quit now and regret it? What if we wait, and we regret it?

Thanks!




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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...
Old 09-26-2005, 10:02 PM   #2
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearkeley
So - I guess the question I have is: How did you know you were retiring early for the right reasons versus running away from difficult situations? Has anyone looked back and felt that you retired to early for the wrong reasons? Clearly, the calcs should work, but it really depends on how much you want to make each year, right? Part of me says that if I can retire now, it would be worth wihdrawing 10 - 15% less each year, but on the other hand, it would just be so much safer in the long run if we stick it out...
What if we quit now and regret it? What if we wait, and we regret it?
Thanks!
I think you hit on all the hot buttons most people have.
Am I retiring for the right reasons? Burn out is a very real malady. I had it. I was doing interesting work overseas. I slowly became less efficent and more and more out of touch with work. I left that position and returned to the USA but I think I ever was the same person. If you want to continue working express your concerns to your superiors. If they value you as an employee they will try to keep you. If they don't; is that the type of envoirment you want to work? Also think about an extendec vacation or leave of absense - what have you got to loose?

If I change something at work will I be happy? Her is the basic question many people have said on this board. Retire becaues work get in the way of the life you want to lead. It isn't about being happy about work; it is about being happy while you aren't working.

Should I retire now on slightly less than I would like? How old are you and what do you want to do with your life. I'm planning to retire next April at 51 because I believe I want to experince life with the vigor I have now. It will only decrease.

Regrets ("I have a few") When I was younger and dumber I once said I didn't want to live life with regrets. Now the regrets haunt me. The regrets you are talking about are the bars of your cell. You need to identify them and deal with them to free yourself

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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...
Old 09-26-2005, 10:31 PM   #3
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...

The big thing you didn't mention is your age -

If I was 60 or so, I'd certainly value the 2 1/2 extra years of freedom enough to make the plunge while still healthy and able to enjoy it.

At 45, I'd be more willing to work 2 1/2 more years, if it bought me substantially more comfort for the remaining 45 or so.
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...
Old 09-26-2005, 10:41 PM   #4
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...

And of course, you could always split the middle, go part time, or change jobs, change employers. Sometimes just a small change can restart the batteries and get you through another couple of years.
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...
Old 09-26-2005, 10:56 PM   #5
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
And of course, you could always split the middle, go part time, or change jobs, change employers.* Sometimes just a small change can restart the batteries and get you through another couple of years.*
Very well put. The small changes for a short time can allow you to work a few more years until you are ready to quit for good. I ER'd at 50 but moved at went back full time at another company. I plan on full ER in 2 years and then only part time stuff for fun and Mad Money after that. You have to have a goal!
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...
Old 09-27-2005, 02:01 AM   #6
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...

Who is defining the correct reasons to retire?
I believe it is perfectly acceptable to walk out from a situation that you cannot change or stand any longer.
Sometimes it takes more courage to walk out than to stay.
I have known several people who stayed too long in a difficult work situation - just because they felt it would be cowardly to go.
The efforts to stay ruined their private life and even their later retirement.
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...
Old 09-27-2005, 07:25 AM   #7
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...

"What if we quit now and regret it? What if we wait, and we regret it?"

Hubby and I went thru lots of scenerios before he retired. I'm the financial person in this marriage and I gave him all the reasons why he should probably stay another 2 yrs. (health ins., large additions to savings/investments, etc) I also told him that, yes, we could make it on our pensions if we cut back a little. He decided that it just wasn't worth it to him to continue working for another yr or two. That was in May this yr. He didn't hate his job....he was just ready for a change. (age 53)

For the first month we were busy with a wedding, college graduation, son moving out of state, home projects. He then went to Alaska for three weeks with a friend for some R & R. Back home he did some more projects and then came the phone call. An acquaintance called and asked if hubby could help out with some seasonal work starting late Aug at 3 days a week until the end of Jan. I actually liked having him around and I thought 2 days a week would be fine. Of course what do I know. He went to work 3 days a week and is even talking about making it 4 days starting next week. Even though it doesn't pay much he is having a great time.

I think part of the reason is the price of our health care premiums. Part is the fact that he is outside doing things he likes to do. (I swear he was a lumberjack in a previous life) Part is the fact that he knew most of the people at the new job and figured they would be easy to work with/for. All in all it is working out just fine. It is a "limited" job and he has to take 60 days off after 5 months of work. They then could call him back and he can decide if he wants to work again for 5 months or not. I think because there is an "ending" date it makes it an easier decision.

For us it really came down to "don't sweat the small stuff" because it worked out better than I thought it would. It's like Laurence said, "sometimes just a small change can restart the batteries". That's just what hubby needed.
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...
Old 09-27-2005, 07:51 AM   #8
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...

In making the decision to FIRE, you need to be headstrong.* It involves looking at your decision from all the angles you can and then going for it if you develop the confidence that your plan will work.* If you're wishy-washy and keep looking back with regrets to see what you could have done, then we don't want you in the FIRE club.

Once you make your decision, don't live your life in the past.* Go forward, keep an eye on your budgets vs. actuals, and tweek your plan as needed.* Everybody could have worked an extra month or year and everybody could have put a few more dollars into the kitty, but live in the world of now and the future, not the unchangeable past.
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...
Old 09-27-2005, 09:03 PM   #9
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearkeley
So - I guess the question I have is: How did you know you were retiring early for the right reasons versus running away from difficult situations?
You gotta have something run toward, not just a field of greener grass. For me it was being able to spend more time with my family and not having to race from the office to the after-school care program through six lanes of rush-hour traffic. Of course no more department head meetings made the destination even sweeter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearkeley
Has anyone looked back and felt that you retired to early for the wrong reasons?
Personally, no. We know a guy like me-- same career length, same rank, same (or better) financial situation-- whose ER was a dismal failure within the first two months. He essentially had no outside interests or activities and felt cut off from friends. I think he also didn't want to be responsible for his own entertainment and "needed" the structure of a cubicle farm. Despite a 33K DBP with a COLA and lifetime healthcare, he's happily back at work as a govt contractor in an office full of his shipmates.

There are a couple posters on this board who've gone back to work or who have significant self-employment income. Speak up, guys, you have valuable lessons to impart to the Young Dreamers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearkeley
Clearly, the calcs should work, but it really depends on how much you want to make each year, right? Part of me says that if I can retire now, it would be worth wihdrawing 10 - 15% less each year, but on the other hand, it would just be so much safer in the long run if we stick it out...
Well, sure, I'd love to have a $100K annual withdrawal that equates to a 2% SWR, but I'm not willing to work myself to death to achieve that payout. You have to pick an annual expense figure that gives you a life, not a lifetime of deprivation, and you should probably put a 10-15% pad on top of that to allow you to cut back expenses if the market collapses overnight for a decade. You can't invest too conservatively, either-- an undercapitalized portfolio is even more dangerous if it can't handle 30-40 years of inflation!

ESRBob's book has a big section on part-time employment. A great compromise is to take the ER now with the attitude that you're always willing to work 20-30 hours/week for another couple years to pad your retirement portfolio. It's not necessarily in the same job or even industry that you're in now, and you have to devote some heavy thinking to decide where you'd like to end up. I know a couple of retired military officers who, when they want to indulge in an expensive vacation abroad, bag groceries at their local grocery store for tips until they have the money to pay for the vacation. It sure tests their commitment!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearkeley
What if we quit now and regret it?
Hey, you could always go back to work! Again not necessarily in the same office, company, or industry, but somewhere there's a paycheck with your name on it. It's just another job search...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearkeley
What if we wait, and we regret it?
You mean, what if you wake up dead one morning? Just like that famous deathbed story, will you wish that you'd spent more time at the office?

Quantify your expenses, especially healthcare, taxes, & home maintenance/improvement. Make sure you estimate capital expenses for replacements-- new roof, replacement appliances, new vehicles, a kid's wedding, a fantasy vacation, whatever. Maybe figure out a bare-bones budget that's 10-15% smaller for those especially ugly years (like 2002) that you could cut back to if necessary. Take your biggest budget and divide by your SWR to come up with the total size of the retirement portfolio. Then take a deep breath and put in for a long vacation to see if you can "adapt" to the ER lifestyle. Don't travel the country, train for a triathlon, or repaint the whole house-- just get lots of naps, enjoy some exercise, and think about your life. By the time you get back from vacation you should have pretty good idea of what you want to do...
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...
Old 09-27-2005, 09:15 PM   #10
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearkeley

So - I guess the question I have is: How did you know you were retiring early for the right reasons versus running away from difficult situations?* *Has anyone looked back and felt that you retired to early for the wrong reasons?* *Clearly, the calcs should work, but it really depends on how much you want to make each year, right?* *Part of me says that if I can retire now, it would be worth wihdrawing 10 - 15%* less each year, but on the other hand, it would just be so much safer in the long run if we stick it out...

What if we quit now and regret it?* What if we wait, and we regret it?

Thanks!




What if you wait and are dead? I have looked back. I retired for exactly
the right reasons. Just should have done it sooner and with more $.

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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...
Old 09-28-2005, 01:15 PM   #11
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...

I quit intending to go back. Got a years pay and bonuses with the option to rehire back in after a year.

After a few months of playing with the numbers between days at the beach, I decided not to go back.

I've never really 'gotten' the fear that you wont be able to do your old job after a while. Sure, while some day to day knowledge might be lost, thats quickly regained. Your basic skill sets dont fall out of your head.

5 years later, I know I could call any one of a handful of VP's at my old company and have my old job back, probably starting in 3 days as thats how long HR takes to process a job requisition and do a hire.

I've always figured, worst case is 20 years from now when all those people I knew are gone, I take an entry level job for mid to high five figures...which is plenty of money coming in for someone with no debt...and in 2-3 years tops I'd be right back where I was before.

Lets face it, you're just stopping work a while, not getting stupid or having any detrimental brain surgery...
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...
Old 09-28-2005, 04:11 PM   #12
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
I know a couple of retired military officers who, when they want to indulge in an expensive vacation abroad, bag groceries at their local grocery store for tips until they have the money to pay for the vacation. It sure tests their commitment!
Great post Nords. One question though. Since when do grocery baggers get tips? I've seen it in Mexico but never stateside. If it is a Hawaii thing, please do your best to not spread it to the mainland.
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...
Old 09-28-2005, 07:28 PM   #13
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...

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Great post Nords.* One question though.* Since when do grocery baggers get tips?* I've seen it in Mexico but never stateside.* If it is a Hawaii thing, please do your best to not spread it to the mainland.*
I try to strip the jarhead jargon out of my posts when it doesn't contribute to the discussion. My spouse & I can have entire military acronym-filled discussions that are totally incomprehensible to our kid and to the neighbors.

But 98% of the tipped baggers that I've seen are at military commissaries. You collect the groceries, the cashier rings them up, the baggers bag them and take them out to your car for a tip.

Most of them are high-school or college kids hustling for a buck. Occasionally it's a military spouse bringing in extra money while their spouse is deployed. But an alarming number of them are in their 60s or even 70s, and I sure hope they're doing it for the entertainment budget. One man looks like a 0%-bodyfat silver-haired Montagnard with a brush-cut in his high 70s who could snap my spine like a dry twig, and he gets all my respect for his bearing & demeanor rather than for his chosen occupation. (I'd like to know his story someday.) Another woman does it to pay for her cruises, so we're always trading information about the latest deals.

These people work for tips only-- no salary and never any benefits. The problem is that the stores give zero guidance on an adequate tip. I give 4% because it seems like an adequate wage for 10 minutes of pooled tips from bagging a week's groceries-- about $5. I feel that I get back twice that much in good conversation and insider news about commissary policies or unadvertised specials. But from the reaction to my appearance I suspect that others tip far, far less than that. The response is noticed even by our kid, who tends to be teenager-oblivious to such things. But maybe she's just looking forward to the day when she, too, can hang out in an air-conditioned space with cute guys. And maybe I have a touch of ER's survivor guilt or I want these people to remember me if I join their group in two or three decades.

I have seen tip jars in one or two Hawaii grocery stores. I haven't shopped for Mainland groceries in a long time!
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...
Old 09-29-2005, 01:12 PM   #14
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...

Nords,

Good to hear the tipping at grocery stores is a military-only thing (good for non-military at least). I'd hate to tip 4% on a $100-200 grocery-and-everything-else Super Walmart visit!!!
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...
Old 09-29-2005, 05:02 PM   #15
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
IMost of them are high-school or college kids hustling for a buck.* Occasionally it's a military spouse bringing in extra money while their spouse is deployed.* But an alarming number of them are in their 60s or even 70s, and I sure hope they're doing it for the entertainment budget.*
We have some retirees here at Peterson AFB.* I was in the barbershop a few months ago watching them and talking to the barber. He said they did pretty good for walking around money.*

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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...
Old 09-29-2005, 06:56 PM   #16
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Re: Having a hard time waiting to be FIRE: life's too short...

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin
Good to hear the tipping at grocery stores is a military-only thing (good for non-military at least).* I'd hate to tip 4% on a $100-200 grocery-and-everything-else Super Walmart visit!!!*
The commissaries claim that they charge cost + 5% and we're always welcome to bag our own groceries if we don't want to tip.

OTOH I'm sure that Wal-Mart has already priced our 4% (or more) tips into our bills... and we still end up having to carry our stuff out to our cars.
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