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How long would you be willing to stick it out for FIRE ?
Old 09-05-2007, 12:52 AM   #1
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How long would you be willing to stick it out for FIRE ?

I've been thinking about this on and off for awhile and youbet's post reminded me to start a new thread on this topic:

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Originally Posted by youbet View Post
Just remember that you are on the job because that's where you choose to be. You're not there because 'the boss" is making you do it or because "Mega-corp" is forcing you. You're there because YOU are choosing to be there. When you whine about a job, remember that you're whining about a situation you're voluntarily subjecting yourself to.

FIRE - it's great!
So... here's the question: If you were within a few years of achieving financial independence and being able to retire early, how many days/months/years would you be willing to stick it out with a sucky job to be certain of achieving FIRE, rather than switch jobs and have the risk of it taking a longer amount of time?
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Old 09-05-2007, 01:04 AM   #2
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For me, the answer is that if I had a reasonably good certainty of achieving FIRE within 2 years, I would be able 'suck it up' for that amount of time in exchange for the knowledge that I could retire for good.

FYI, I consider my job to be 'sucky' because of the MegaCorp politics, wage freezes (while CEO makes mega-millions) and relentless hacking away at our benefits package. I dislike my job, but I do not hate it. I don't think I would last six months in a job that I absolutely hated.

--Linney, who has a projected FIRE date of 2 years from now. coincidence? I think not....
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Old 09-05-2007, 02:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Linney View Post
So... here's the question: If you were within a few years of achieving financial independence and being able to retire early, how many days/months/years would you be willing to stick it out with a sucky job to be certain of achieving FIRE, rather than switch jobs and have the risk of it taking a longer amount of time?
I'm not sure that's possible to gauge. For example, my step-father is a less than a year away from retiring with a nice government pension. However, he doesn't think he's going to be able to make it. The politics, the burn out, etc.; he's pretty much right on the brink of quitting. To me, it seems like a no-brainer: suck it up and collect the full pension. But from his point of view, he passed his breaking point years ago I imagine, and everyday is probably agony now.

So it's easy for me to sit here and say that I'd suck it up for a year or even 2 years, but I'm not in that situation where I'm completely burned and fed up.
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Old 09-05-2007, 04:23 AM   #4
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About 4 years. I have a bonus that makes me hand in there a little longer. It is called early retirement with pension & health benefits at 55. Considering the cost of health insurance today for an individual, the two add up to a substantial amount of money.

Since we are a bit off on the target portfolio amount... I am sticking with my current plan to FIRE at 55. Of course, DW is going to ER in the next few months.
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:54 AM   #5
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I'm not sure that's possible to gauge. For example, my step-father is a less than a year away from retiring with a nice government pension. However, he doesn't think he's going to be able to make it. The politics, the burn out, etc.; he's pretty much right on the brink of quitting. To me, it seems like a no-brainer: suck it up and collect the full pension. But from his point of view, he passed his breaking point years ago I imagine, and everyday is probably agony now.

So it's easy for me to sit here and say that I'd suck it up for a year or even 2 years, but I'm not in that situation where I'm completely burned and fed up.
This is an interesting situation. One thing I've noticed about myself is that, when the end goal is far away, it's actually not that hard to just say I can deal with a bad situation. But as the end goal gets closer and within reach, it seems to make sticking it out in a situation you don't like all that much worse.

I don't know if this is the best analogy, but I'm thinking of a child waiting for Christmas. Now that school has just started, Christmas is far off, and really not on that kid's mind, most likely. But come Christmas eve, that kid might be practically wetting his pants in anticipation of the good things to come. And that can make the waiting part all that much more unbearable.

As for me, my retirement goal is April 1, 2016, which is stil a ways off. My job gets on my nerves from time to time, and there are days I really wish I could quit. The office politics get quite annoying, and management tends to take a double standard with the way they treat people. Basically that old cliche of it's not what you know, but WHO you know. Still, the pay's decent, the commute's almost non-existent, the people who REALLY matter (our gov't customers) love me and value me, and I don't have to blow a fortune on wardrobes and fancy cars to impress clients. I can show up in my jeans and Adidas and $500 Chrysler, and nobody cares.

There are good days and bad days. Attitudes and emotions flare up and then subside. But for the most part, I can deal with it. It's only 8 hours per day, and during the times that I have to pull overtime, the people who annoy me the most are nowhere to be seen. Right now, at roughly 8 years and 7 months, I feel like I can put up with it for the duration. However, I have a feeling that as FI/RE gets closer, I'll end up being like a kid on Christmas Eve, anxious for the time to fly by so that the happy event will get here and I'll be free!

My mother is about a year and 4 months away from retirement. She's pretty much told her superiors that she can go at anytime now, and piss her off enough, and she will. Might not be the best career move, but when you're that close, who cares?
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Old 09-05-2007, 10:13 AM   #6
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This is an interesting situation. One thing I've noticed about myself is that, when the end goal is far away, it's actually not that hard to just say I can deal with a bad situation. But as the end goal gets closer and within reach, it seems to make sticking it out in a situation you don't like all that much worse.
Good point Andre. I'm at about 8.5 yrs as well, and find myself putting up with it more now than I think I will in 8 years.
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Old 09-05-2007, 11:00 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Linney View Post
If you were within a few years of achieving financial independence and being able to retire early, how many days/months/years would you be willing to stick it out with a sucky job to be certain of achieving FIRE, rather than switch jobs and have the risk of it taking a longer amount of time?
I went eight more years for what seemed like very good reasons at the time, but in retrospect were due far more to ignorance & obstinance than to any actual quantitative research or cost-benefits evaluation.

But the experience paid off. Spouse got a similar "unrefusable offer" a few years later and left active duty for the Reserves 19 days short of 18 years of service-- the point of vesting for the military's 20-year pension. (Bad assignment officer. Very bad.) Nearly seven years later it's still the best decision she ever made, and she'll at least break even on the money.

Freedom is priceless.
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Old 09-05-2007, 11:43 AM   #8
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I dislike the term "full pension", as it tends to be misused and misunderstood. If the system you work under has a minimum age for any permanent payout, then that's simple enough. If there is a further, later age for a special benefit, i.e. paid health bene's or the like, that's a no brainer too.

What I don't like is the way worker's are brainwashed into thinking you have to be a certain age, or have worked a minimum amount of years, or both to qualify for a pension. This is just frequently not the case. Most systems are a sliding scale based on actuary tables. The older you are, the sooner you'll croak, therefore the higher payout you'll get based on your average lifespan. It doesn't take into account your health, your ability to manage your money, or even your gender.

Often these plans get promoted with catchy numbers like (2@55) indicating in this example a retiring employee would receive 2 percent of his ending pay (highest salary using some formula) multiplied by total years of service, and given the person is exactly 55 years old, which of course he/she is not.

What I have found in the system I worked under, it was not widely known that you could retire anytime from 50 years old to about 65 years old or more and the formula is essentially the same. Obviously the older and more years of service the more your calculated monthly payout would be, although other criteria like the level of achievement you reached at the end could well be more important. Big shots have a much higher ending pay scale than the worker bees.

I literally had co-workers tell me I was too young to retire at 50. They weren't sure why exactly, just that it couldn't be done. To them 'early' was 55 and they mostly wanted to "get their 30 years in" because of a loophole that let's them stop paying a large percentage of the salary into the plan once they reach that milestone regardless of age.

The reality is most never did ANY retirement planning, and just mosied on along assuming all would be well if the worked until 62 and got that darn SS going to help make ends meet. There are people that left here with a larger payout AFTER they left if measured as pure take home spendable income than when they worked. These same people bitched and moaned about how tough it was to keep going after all the years of being beaten down and walked all over.

Go Figure.

When I figured out what was possible, I started planning my date about 7 years out, and came mighty close. I've made a few dozen converts since, but not nearly as many as I'd like. ER even with FI is not for everybody, or I find, even for a sizable chunk,

We on this board are the small minority that get it.
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Old 09-05-2007, 02:20 PM   #9
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I dunno. I've turned down several sucky job offers and have quit some jobs when they turned sucky. But past performance is no guarantee.... I took a good offer without regard for benefits, turned out the bennies are OK. As soon as I qualified for a KEOGH plan I was fully vested in it. But now it's the "one more year syndrome." This should be my last Sept. 5 on the job, tomorrow the last Sept. 6 and so on.
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Old 09-05-2007, 02:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by youbet
Just remember that you are on the job because that's where you choose to be. You're not there because 'the boss" is making you do it or because "Mega-corp" is forcing you. You're there because YOU are choosing to be there. When you whine about a job, remember that you're whining about a situation you're voluntarily subjecting yourself to.

FIRE - it's great!



I could not agree with you more Linney.... People somehow along the way seem to forget that where they work, and what they do, is largely determined by their own actions. I listen to folks all the time constantly complain how their profession does not make enough money etc. Did somone force them to major in a liberal arts degree, or choose history as a major? Both of those fields are noble, worthwhile, and worth persuing, but did it never occur to them that the pay was probably not going to be very high?
I have also had lots of conversations where an individual will complain endlessly about their job, and then take no action to do anything about it. I could suggest going back to school for a higher degree, changing jobs somewhere else, going to a city with a lower standard of living etc. But the truth is... there are far too many folks out there, that would rather complain and share their misery, then actually do anything about it. There are only two types of people in the world. Those that will choose to sit in a room with no light, and curse the darkness forever, and those that will go about the business of building a lightbulb.
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Old 09-05-2007, 04:01 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by youbet
I listen to folks all the time constantly complain how their profession does not make enough money etc. Did somone force them to major in a liberal arts degree, or choose history as a major? Both of those fields are noble, worthwhile, and worth persuing, but did it never occur to them that the pay was probably not going to be very high?
Many of us here don't care about money. I can't imagine how dull retirement would be without an interest in the arts.
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Old 09-05-2007, 04:29 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Linney View Post
I've been thinking about this on and off for awhile and youbet's post reminded me to start a new thread on this topic:



So... here's the question: If you were within a few years of achieving financial independence and being able to retire early, how many days/months/years would you be willing to stick it out with a sucky job to be certain of achieving FIRE, rather than switch jobs and have the risk of it taking a longer amount of time?
Personally, I have found I can 'stick it out' if I see the light at the end of the tunnel. For example, when I was in the service, ... I knew I was there for 4 years ... in the last year, I was counting how many days I had left. I know this is a little different in that the penalty for NOT DOING SO was a bit more severe then working a few more years to finance FIRE.
When I was in my last few years of megacorp, I had lost much of my passion (which I truly had in the early stages of my career). I again saw the 'light' ... and focused on going out 'winners', keeping my integrity, reputation, and being a meaningful contributor to the team. BUT ... I was again counting the days. Once I had the goal in mind, all of the corporate BS just didn't seem important any more... I did not get stressed or angry about any of the politics, pettiness or any other distractions from my goal.
The Final Answer: I would stick it out... and develop the 'I will do my best' attitude... but not join in or contribute to the BS.
I am now 2 months and 5 days into FIRE ... and loving it!
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Old 09-05-2007, 04:36 PM   #13
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15 years, evidently, since I'm still here and not there.

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Old 09-05-2007, 04:42 PM   #14
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I am now 2 months and 5 days into FIRE ... and loving it!
Wow, I really envy your ability to be so laid back. I know if I was that close to FIRE, I'd probably be going crazy with anticipation! I also have a feeling that my attitude would go seriously south whenever someone got on my nerves, because I really wouldn't have to deal with it anymore.

What's that old saying, patience is a virgin virtue?

**Edit: I just ran the FIREcalc for my planned retirement in 2016. It actually comes out to a 100% success probability, which shocked me. But I ran a couple other years. 2014 would still give me about a 91% chance of success... I'm happy.
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Old 09-06-2007, 04:25 AM   #15
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Wow, I really envy your ability to be so laid back. I know if I was that close to FIRE, I'd probably be going crazy with anticipation! I also have a feeling that my attitude would go seriously south whenever someone got on my nerves, because I really wouldn't have to deal with it anymore.

What's that old saying, patience is a virgin virtue?

**Edit: I just ran the FIREcalc for my planned retirement in 2016. It actually comes out to a 100% success probability, which shocked me. But I ran a couple other years. 2014 would still give me about a 91% chance of success... I'm happy.
You mis-read my post... I AM FIRED NOW... and have been for 2 months and 6 days now. ... and YES nothing bothers me anymore.
The last 2 months prior to FIRE was the best time I ever had working. No one could faze me. I just did my job and did my best to turn over to my successors. Once that was done, it was 'THEIR' problem.
I have gotten 3 checks now ..
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Old 09-07-2007, 01:35 AM   #16
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When my job sucks for three months straight, I start looking to change jobs or change companies. Usually that means I change jobs every 1 - 3 years (I work on a project/contract basis so job-hopping isn't an issue). You spend a good portion of your life at one job or another, I can't imagine spending that amount of time at something that I hate.
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Old 09-07-2007, 08:07 AM   #17
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Many of us here don't care about money. I can't imagine how dull retirement would be without an interest in the arts.
That is SO TRUE (for me, at least)!

As I often tell people, nobody becomes an oceanographer for the money. It turned out that I am making some, but that was not my original motivation for going into this particular science (especially from an electrical engineering background, where some feel that making big money is a sure thing).

I have a great job - - an oceanographer making good money, and having some small degree of influence on the evolution of my science. However, sadly I have discovered that a job is a job, and working at even the best and most interesting of jobs is not something I want to do forever, despite the money. I may not care much about money, but I do care about time and to a certain extent, time = money.

My family has always thought that my ascetic habits were a bit cracked. However, these habits have merged nicely into more moderate LBYM habits which can allow me to maximize the time value of my money.

(How much time can you buy for a certain sum, such as $100,000? This is what I mean by time value of money.)
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Old 09-09-2007, 02:30 PM   #18
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I'm of the mind that when things get too sucky it's time to move on. Life is too short to spend it in a job you hate with a toxic environment. Maybe it's to do with my dad dying in his late 50s and knowing that the possibility of never making it to retirement age does happen.

Our original plan was to exit in June 2008, however I know it is unlikely I will last that long. A month ago I was thinking about leaving my job at the end of Sept, however after some vacation time I think I can make it thru to the end of Feb with careful planning and taking some intermittent leave. I was even prepared to walk away from a 5 figure bonus rather than stay another day, but some time off definitely helped.
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Old 09-10-2007, 02:44 AM   #19
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Easy, till the final chunk of restricted stock vesting (10.987 months to go unless they kick me out sooner). No huge amount, but enough to stick it out.

For DW the date is when our younger one finishes 5th grade (22 months)
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Old 09-10-2007, 04:40 PM   #20
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I'm of the mind that when things get too sucky it's time to move on. Life is too short to spend it in a job you hate with a toxic environment. Maybe it's to do with my dad dying in his late 50s and knowing that the possibility of never making it to retirement age does happen.

Our original plan was to exit in June 2008, however I know it is unlikely I will last that long. A month ago I was thinking about leaving my job at the end of Sept, however after some vacation time I think I can make it thru to the end of Feb with careful planning and taking some intermittent leave. I was even prepared to walk away from a 5 figure bonus rather than stay another day, but some time off definitely helped.
Yeah! I would say "hang in there" but it might be bad advice; only you know for sure. I've taken to writing a yellow sticker, PF@W for "practice freedom at work" which reminds me to take breaks and do other counter-cultural stuff. I fall into the group who got really impatient when discovering that there really is enough money in the retirement pot already; maybe at that point, all jobs suck.
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