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Old 02-05-2010, 08:21 PM   #21
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Well retiring at 40 sounds great. It is many years behind me. Think what one or two percent inflation change will do to your plans. In the early 70's we had over 20% inflation. Think your plans can survive that?
1) I said that we would reach our original "number" before our 40's. I didn't say we would retire at 40. For one thing, retiring at 40 instead of 53 requires a lower SWR than originally planned and therefore a higher "number" which means a few more years of work.

2) I believe that the 70's inflation is built into FIRECalc, isn't it? If FIRECalc says my portfolio would have survived the 70's, that's good enough for me.
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:51 PM   #22
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I agree one of the problems is that I've yet to find my true calling. So far I have been competent at every job I've had, but I don't really feel passionate about them. I think I'd feel a lot more motivated if I were doing something I am passionate about.

JacqJ, I found the book you recommended at the library and will be reading it soon (maybe even on the cruise! ).

I don't think I am a bad employee, and have little to no conflicts with my coworkers. I always complete tasks on time and have no problem with multitasking. But I am not giving it 110%, either. But at my j*b, hard w*rk is not really rewarded, at least not monetarily. I have, in fact, been asking for more work to do, but my boss is so busy that he hasn't had time to re-arrange our work program. More work means more challenges and more interesting tasks, which could make work more fun. Right now I am definitely under-utilized at w*rk.

Onward, your post reminded me of something my father used to say, "When you have free time (in your 20s) you have no money. When you have money (in your 40s and 50s) you have no time." That's generally true, with ER folks being the exception.

Fuego, I would probably stay at a low-stress job if I were to choose, but it's mostly because of my personality and the residual effect of my 8 years working for a local government. I also have many hobbies I will need to give up if I were to work 60+ hours a week.

I am not too worried about inflation. It's not like money is sitting under my mattress. Maybe I am too naive about this. I also feel that I can always find some job some where if things get really tight.

Thanks folks for chiming in. It's nice to see the different approaches and reasons behind them.
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Old 02-06-2010, 08:34 AM   #23
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Once I began seeing ER as a possibility about 10 years ago, I was able to leverage that into switching to part-time work from full-time work and avoid much of the increasingly intolerable commute I had. My company relocated from Manhattan to Jersey City, New Jersey, in 2001 which really sucked. I was able to reclaim my personal life, a huge improvement.

In the 2000s, my company's all-important ESOP grew at a rapid rate so my ER planning grew at the same rate LOL! Another key thing which made me more depressed at my job was the end of the mostly telecommte gig I had for about 2 years (2001-2003). I had to make more of those awful trips to New Jersey even on a part-time basis (3 days a week) and I knew that would be my eventual undoing. It was very tough to juggle my home life with going to New Jersey 3 days a week which was wearing me out.

As for office politics and the like, I was living just fine on the reduced salary while still adding to my personal savings. I was always a bit aloof from the office stuff, partly because I just wasn't around as much as before (while I was still working F/T). I had no more promotions to get and my raises went from above average to average. I had never hung out with any of my coworkers except for one or two friends I had in the 23 years of working.

I still worked hard while I was there, just not quite as hard as when I was there F/T. With the lousy (and longer) commute I was not going to stay later than my usual quitting time.

In 2007, I switched to working 2 days a week instead of 3. I made a strong pitch to retain eligibility in the Group Health plan but my company stupidly would not budge. That was the last straw for me, as I was on COBRA in the interim. My ER planning now increased greatly as I could not stand the idea of working in New Jersey while still having to buy my own HI as if I were not working. I grew more and more depressed every day I had to drag my sorry ass to New Jersey. Several times each day, especially just after I arrived there, I would ask myself, "Why am I still working here and when can I get the hell out of here?" This made it tough to keep working hard.

Meanwhile, the big bond fund I planned to invest the still-growing ESOP into saw its NAV begin to drop in 2008. This was a great development because I would be able to buy into it at a depressed NAV. I had also found a decent, affordable individual HI plan I could switch to when my COBRA expired in 2009. The ESOP finally reached the amount I felt I would need to retire. I met with an investment advisor from Fidelity and I ran the numbers by him. I had also used their retirement planning software to build my own more detailed spreadsheet to aid in my own planning.

The pieces had fallen into place. The end was near. I finally began to feel better - not physically better from the awful commute, though. In October, 2008, I gave my notice and left at the end of that month. I worked hard in October, as my dwindling sense of loyalty still got me to finish the big project I had been working on for the last 18 months with only 45 minutes left in my last day! In early November, I received my ESOP payout and 401(k) rollover check and set up these new accounts with Fidelity to get my money working for me instead of vice-versa.

I have been retired for 15 months now (I am 46) and it is great. No more getting up early. No more trips to New Jersey (especially in this crummy weather). My home life's daytime and evening schedule is easier to plan again. And my personal savings rate is still about 25% so I am turning a nice surplus from that big bond fund's dividends.
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:25 AM   #24
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I agree one of the problems is that I've yet to find my true calling. So far I have been competent at every job I've had, but I don't really feel passionate about them. I think I'd feel a lot more motivated if I were doing something I am passionate about.

I don't think I am a bad employee, and have little to no conflicts with my coworkers. I always complete tasks on time and have no problem with multitasking. But I am not giving it 110%, either. But at my j*b, hard w*rk is not really rewarded, at least not monetarily. I have, in fact, been asking for more work to do, but my boss is so busy that he hasn't had time to re-arrange our work program. More work means more challenges and more interesting tasks, which could make work more fun. Right now I am definitely under-utilized at w*rk.

Fuego, I would probably stay at a low-stress job if I were to choose, but it's mostly because of my personality and the residual effect of my 8 years working for a local government. I also have many hobbies I will need to give up if I were to work 60+ hours a week.
I think you hit on something there Goodsense, I wouldn't necessarily say that someone has to work OT to be really engaged in their work. You're doing it for you - even if it's to make the days go by faster - not for the company. And it seems that if your manager is overwhelmed or overworked, that this is a perfect opportunity for you to step up and find something that's falling through the cracks that is something you could get excited about and really want to do and could take off their plate. When I managed people, it was such a relief to have people who didn't have to be assigned stuff, who just took the ball and ran with it.

But I hear what you're saying about government jobs wrecking any initiative people once had. I just spent one year working at a University, which is kind of like government (strong union and work to rule) and I even found myself becoming that way. Ugh.
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:16 AM   #25
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"Why am I still working here and when can I get the hell out of here?"
That's my theme song!

Great story, scrabbler1. Easy to relate to, since I am same age as you and also a telecommuter (till retirement at the end of this month). I also loathe commuting.

FIRE as a realistic goal was the only thing that allowed me to endure work these past years. (I don't have a family.) I don't know what people do who have to face the grind every day without an escape route, or at least a realistic plan for one. I guess they go shopping.
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:43 AM   #26
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This thread reminds me of my most recent performance review. My boss had only great things to say about the past year but he hinted that another reorg might occur that will reduce the number of promotional opportunities for me.He said that I've strategically built my resume so that I could go and do anything but he didn't want me to get discouraged and leave.

Now I'm not really interested in moving up any more. Maybe my attitude will change but I don't see the benefits outweighing the added stress and hours. Little does he know I'm counting down my FIRE date which is ~6 years. Knowing that the end is in sight definitely makes me more relaxed. I probably will continue working after FIRE (44 YO) but at that point it will be my CHOICE.

I told my boss I'm not dying to be promoted to director and I'm happy where I am at the moment. My FIRE date is my little secret
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Old 02-06-2010, 10:59 AM   #27
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On the other hand, I am probably a little too laid back. I am not keen on getting the latest office gossip and feel even OK with not being in the "inner circle." I wonder if my lack of ambition is going to cost me promotions and raises. Since promotions and bonuses are pretty limited in my company, I don't feel like they would greatly impact my FIRE date. But inside, I feel that 31 is a bit early to adopt the "I don't care" attitude.

I know that my significant lack of ambition is uncommon, at least among my coworkers. Does anyone else feel this way?
I also feel this way but I try to show my enthusiasm at least even though I don't care about work environment. I think I need to play the game till FI. There is one pitfall of this strategy that I may get extra responsibility which I don't want. When I am aiming for RE path,expenses are mostly constant, any extra money will reduce time to reach FI goal. Once I am FI then I guess this behavior is OK.
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:37 PM   #28
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I am less stressed about how my actions impact a future career. I still care about career advancement, but it's not that I have to deal with it for the few decades. I guess it's good in that I worry less about what my boss thinks of me and how my performance compares with others, and my work anxiety has been greatly reduced. I am also less worried about the future of my company despite the economic crisis.... Does anyone else feel this way?
Being FI has made it much easier for me to handle the challenges and petty annoyances of w*rk. The worst that can happen is that I'll be fired, which while unwelcome would hardly be the end of the world.

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As I got closer to FIRE I lost some motivation at w_rk and, if anything, worked less hard. But my budgeting and money mgmt really intensified.
Me too.

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This reminds me of what I've always thought of as the FIRE paradox: people who thirst for FIRE detest the corporate games that must be played to enable FIRE. People who can play the corporate games don't have a thirst to FIRE.

The result is that FIRE is very rare, and that's sad.
I don't think it's sad. While there are no doubt a few innocents who simply experience bad luck, FIRE is generally available to anyone who sincerely wants it.

As you say, those who enjoy corporate games typically don't want FIRE. Some other people may welcome FIRE but are too lazy to take the necessary steps, or are unwilling to defer gratification; that is essentially a matter of choice.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:43 PM   #29
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I can't stand office politics, particularly when my boss doesn't have my back. This has changed my attitude towards work from somewhat interesting and challenging to simmering anger towards him. Not a healthy attitude to have.

It's amazing how having a spineless boss changes your outlook on a job. You go from caring about doing great work to doing what you're told - even though it's contrary to how you see your job, and perhaps how you see yourself. Sometimes this can be a useful wake up call to acknowledge poor interpersonal skills, while other times it's simply a signal that your contributions simply aren't being valued anymore (if they ever truly were).

Sorry to be maudlin, but it's annoying to put a significant amount of work into your job, only to have your boss Monday Morning Quarterback your moves with an eye towards keeping some self-important executive happy. My response? If my boss (or the executive) wanted something done a particular way, then he should have made it clear before I did it - not after in an effort to smooth out ruffled feathers. A truly supportive boss would actually ask me why I did something, and if I had a good reason, explain that in the future he would like it done differently. He might even take responsibility for not making himself clear at the outset and tell the executive in question just that. Unfortunately, it's easier to avoid blame by passing it along to your employees.
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:37 AM   #30
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As I get closer to FIRE I have noticed something i never thought would occur in me... I have always been a very loyal employee putting the business first and my needs a close second with a very strict w$rk ethic ... I am a "tell it like I see kind of guy" which isn't great for advancement but at least I ended up in jobs I liked since I have never been a suck up of any sort... this too may have cost me money over the years... but what has really changed since I reached the FI part of my life is what I call the mental empowerment of knowing what "the FIRE date" is in your mind... knowing the date empowered me at w$rkto be even more "tell it like it is" and to further explain to my superiors that I was doing so with no agenda now that I am retiring... amazing how this little bit of knowledge in the w$rkplace changes so many co-w$rker attitudes towards you... the only negative is my sliding w$rk ethic due to my reduced motivation at w$rk which has resulted in more slacking in my wo$kday... it has been hard to let my w$rk ethic slide but it has equally satisfying knowing that my day is coming soon...
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:22 AM   #31
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Sorry to be maudlin, but it's annoying to put a significant amount of work into your job ...
And you can stop right there!
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:21 AM   #32
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As I get closer to FIRE I have noticed something i never thought would occur in me... I have always been a very loyal employee putting the business first and my needs a close second with a very strict w$rk ethic ... I am a "tell it like I see kind of guy" which isn't great for advancement but at least I ended up in jobs I liked since I have never been a suck up of any sort... this too may have cost me money over the years... but what has really changed since I reached the FI part of my life is what I call the mental empowerment of knowing what "the FIRE date" is in your mind... knowing the date empowered me at w$rkto be even more "tell it like it is" and to further explain to my superiors that I was doing so with no agenda now that I am retiring... amazing how this little bit of knowledge in the w$rkplace changes so many co-w$rker attitudes towards you... the only negative is my sliding w$rk ethic due to my reduced motivation at w$rk which has resulted in more slacking in my wo$kday... it has been hard to let my w$rk ethic slide but it has equally satisfying knowing that my day is coming soon...
In 99% of workplaces, the only people who can "tell it like it is" are: (1) bosses who are pretty unassailable, or (2) people on the verge of (normal) retirement. FI introduces a third category, namely, someone who doesn't need the job and the income it provides. Because this type of person is rare, bosses and co-workers alike don't know how to react. Bosses are used to having the upper hand by virtue of their ability to fire someone. People who aren't FI are afraid of being fired. Co-workers think they can dump their work or get away with inappropriate behavior until they find out you can quit whenever you like. Unfortunately, such knowledge often engenders jealousy and backstabbing/blame.
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:25 AM   #33
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I don't think it's sad. While there are no doubt a few innocents who simply experience bad luck, FIRE is generally available to anyone who sincerely wants it.

As you say, those who enjoy corporate games typically don't want FIRE. Some other people may welcome FIRE but are too lazy to take the necessary steps, or are unwilling to defer gratification; that is essentially a matter of choice.
I agree. You may not advance higher or garner the huge raises/bonuses of those who enjoy corporate games, but you can still retire 10-20 years earlier than your peers if you keep your eye on the ball. Discipline is the essence of FIRE.
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Old 02-13-2010, 02:00 PM   #34
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As I get closer to FIRE I have noticed something i never thought would occur in me... I have always been a very loyal employee putting the business first and my needs a close second with a very strict w$rk ethic ... I am a "tell it like I see kind of guy" which isn't great for advancement but at least I ended up in jobs I liked since I have never been a suck up of any sort... this too may have cost me money over the years... but what has really changed since I reached the FI part of my life is what I call the mental empowerment of knowing what "the FIRE date" is in your mind... knowing the date empowered me at w$rkto be even more "tell it like it is" and to further explain to my superiors that I was doing so with no agenda now that I am retiring... amazing how this little bit of knowledge in the w$rkplace changes so many co-w$rker attitudes towards you... the only negative is my sliding w$rk ethic due to my reduced motivation at w$rk which has resulted in more slacking in my wo$kday... it has been hard to let my w$rk ethic slide but it has equally satisfying knowing that my day is coming soon...
Heyduke, you have just about the same amount of time till RE as I do and your post above closely mirrors my thoughts about where I am too.
For me, I am having some days where I just can't get motivated. Luckily I am not where "the rubber meets the road" so I can get away with this. I don't really like slacking if that's what we call it, but I guess I am doing more and more of it lately. I find myself "socializing" more now instead of nose to the grindstone like the past 32 years. If I take the time to discuss current affairs or other non-work related subjects for an hour I don't feel that guilty about it. In years past, that never happened because I just didn't have the time and I was really motivated. I am less than a year from RE and I look at this last year as a time to enjoy the people I am with and to relish the thought of doing everything for the last time in my career. I have just enough responsibility to keep me as busy as I want to be and if I put something off until the next day no one will be the wiser.
It is just a great position to be in and I am enjoying it.
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Old 02-16-2010, 09:28 PM   #35
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I'm not so young as some of you. I used to be fiercely ambitious to advance in my career. These days, as I approach FIRE, I am much more aware of all the things I like about my present job and I have lost all ambition to "get to the top" for the sake of my ego. If I change jobs now it will be for financial benefits or quality of life.

Here's an article from today's G&M which reinforces the forum's mantra of LBYM and financial discipline as a means to personal fulfilment:
Be smart about money – but not owned by it - The Globe and Mail
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Old 02-17-2010, 08:08 AM   #36
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FIRE goals have definitely made me think and act a little differently. Being "vested" in two pension systems has created a strange animal! I just have to put in 10 more years of my w*rking adult life to reap what I have sown. In my Navy career, I am a brand spankin' new "officer" - with 20+ years of enlisted experience - what a great place to be! My next two promotions are automatic, so my actions are not about my getting ahead - but what is the way to get my sailors taken care of? So far, this seems to have a very positive effect (I have a unit of 44 people reporting to me). I feel like I am on the downhill end of my careers, so work hard to pass on the knowledge I have attained over the years - and I do enjoy the luxury of "telling it like it is." I also was approached about heading back to active duty by a few recruiting commands - I held my ground for the recall opportunity that did not involve relocation. And - it worked! (will be back on AD for a 2 yr recall in April) In my civ job, well, I really do not give a rat's a$$ about promotions (then I'd not be working with solely veterans - which I most thoroughly enjoy) Nor do I really care what my bosses in the local office think regarding office statistics, my mil leave, etc. The golden fuzzy handcuffs have become a fashion statement. I wonder if I'll get lazier as the clock winds down?
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:00 PM   #37
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I wonder if I'll get lazier as the clock winds down?
Doesn't seem very "lazy" from this post!
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:23 PM   #38
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Doesn't seem very "lazy" from this post!
LOL - feels like it at times! Now that work stopped blocking this site, I spend more time here than whatever I should be doing when I don't have a customer! Maybe it is a good thing Facebook is blocked here!
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:34 PM   #39
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I made the firm decision on a retirement date about one year before I actually pulled the plug. The company required a three month notification (in order to do all the paperwork).

In that nine month period of being "non-officially" on pre-retirement, I told more than one person (including my direct manger) of my intentions.

Nobody could believe that I could be so positive that I would plan on retiring a year in advance, yet alone at an age much younger than those that retired in the past (not as early as some on this board, but before the age of 60).

What I found during that nine month period was that the time really dragged on, and day by day I was increasingly irate with the corporate culture that surrounded me.

However, being the "good soldier", I stuck it out, even though time seemed to go slower, day by day. BTW, I was employed there almost 30 years.
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Old 02-18-2010, 11:22 AM   #40
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My next two promotions are automatic
How so?
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