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Old 11-05-2008, 07:03 PM   #21
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this is a very thought provoking post, and i really had to think before i answered. kudos for making me think...i try to avoid that lately.

Are you drawn to money and benefits over stimulating work, a better lifestyle, or work you would prefer to do?
i initially sought the stimulating w*rk, and decided on pursuing a geophysics (physics and geology) education. it was a brand new field at the time and groundbreaking has always been a thrill for me. but i graduated during a killer recession, so i had to take what i could and essentially change career tracks from geophysics via a sidestep in computer science to land into engineering. never a dull moment. the ability to be a technical chameleon served me well.
as far as what i preferred to do...i worked private sector for 8 yrs. but the reality of the job market where i lived turned me towards civil service. the (benefits + job security) overcame (salary growth + creative tech w*rk) in a well thought out tradeoff. i still had some fun as a fed. but it became unbearable - politics, creative restraint, bureaucracy, etc.

my non-w*rking lifestyle was always fun. but being widowed at age 46 again challenged me to be a chameleon and a forced a complete reinvention of my personal life. i restabilized that in less than 2 years. armed with a new reality, the decision to FIRE at age 48 was an outcome of the need to focus on my lifestyle as the primary motivating force, displacing what was now a high stress career from that lead position. when my first patent issued, i felt i had arrived in my field. the other 3 pending patents will happen as they happen, or maybe not. i knew it was time to exit. no regrets.

Would you sacrifice some retirement time to gain more enjoyment out of life now?
um...FIRE is the most enjoyment i've gotten out of life. i would not trade any time, not even 1 nanosecond (geek-speak, sorry).

For you older retired folks, If you could go back would you have lived more and saved less even though you would have delayed retirement?
you didn't define "older", so i'll use my age of 50 as a lower bound. i was lucky enough to get on the planning track at age 38 and get serious about investing. i saved a lot, but still enjoyed myself. ten years later, i pulled the plug and am living large but not expensively. money is fun to have, but it is not the be-all and end-all. my perspective is heavily influenced by events in my life from age 46 onward.
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I got a headache.......
Old 11-05-2008, 07:14 PM   #22
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I got a headache.......

from what I thought would be a short term(3-4 days) return to work, looks like may take 2 months to complete. Man......my little brain is a rusty. I'm sure I will get it in gear in a day or two. I will get to bring the work home so I can slip off a couple of days per week and play golf. Work on the project here and there through out the day.

I guess it's not all bad. It will give me a chance to build up the checking account so I don't have to pull from Fidelity, which is good considering how much my portfolio has shrunk.
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Stimulating Work?
Old 11-05-2008, 07:44 PM   #23
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Stimulating Work?

Mostly lurk on this board, but after 23 years at a nice job with about 2 years and 10 months to go, I have to say that after awhile all work is just mind numbing.

I am lucky enough to have been able to travel all over the country, be on my own for the vast majority of the time and to have done something I enjoy, but still -- I cannot wait to be done.

If I had it to do over I would refuse to settle for the safe job, the one which paid the bills and allowed me to retire early. I would take the risk and do the things I dreamed of, in the end the steady pay was nice, but all it did was allow me to dream of the day I can do what I really want. How nice would it have been to do that all along....

Of course it is easy to say that since I did not go that way. I am sure there are many dreamers who wish they had a steady paycheck and some security in their old age. The grass is always greener, as they say.
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:36 PM   #24
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Electric shock is also stimulating...
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Old 11-06-2008, 06:21 AM   #25
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Electric shock is also stimulating...
Or a poke in the eye. Just as soon have one of those.
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Old 11-06-2008, 08:22 AM   #26
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A friend of mine ER'd the beginning of this year and decided to go do what he truly had a passion for... music (church work and teaching). Well after 7 months he came to realize that the grass is truly greener on the other side of the fence. The church work was not as exciting as he imagined, the teaching was very sporadic, and he looked at how little he was being paid for what he did, even though he didn't really need the money anymore. But the big kicker for him was waking up in the morning feeling useless because he had so little to do during the day.

My friend has since gone back to full time work in his area of expertise (IT)
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Old 11-06-2008, 03:51 PM   #27
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Interesting perspectives, all of them. I retired after 29 years in law enforcement and yeah, if I was 22 I'd do it again. But it is definitely a high-stress job, how much so I didn't realize until I'd been out of it for a few years. Spend a couple of years mostly on the back porch just decompressing and reveling in the novelty of not having to work. Also realizing that I will probably never find something as intense as that again. There's nothing like having somebody try to kill you to really focus your attention.

Then the question comes up in my mind - "Okay, the bills are paid, we're out of the rat race, now what?" And I didn't have an answer. I still don't, really. Things that intrigue other people don't do a thing for me, like going to NYC to see a broadway show. Big yawn. Take acrobatic lessons in an airplane? Been there, done that. So I got a job that is OK but not stimulating (Why does a job have to be stimulating, anyway? Isn't it OK if it just pays the bills?) that will allow us to buy some toys that we otherwise wouldn't have, but I'm now just kind of drifting along, looking forward to getting on a motorcycle again next spring, but I really don't have any specific goals in mind, other than a vague notion of touring the WV and PA countrysides on the bike. Or maybe get a wild hair one day and ride it 'till I hit the Golden Gate Bridge.

And perhaps that's the issue - all my life I've been focused on this or that long term goals. Now I don't have any, other than to see what the next day brings. And perhaps that's what I should have been doing more of.
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Old 11-06-2008, 04:59 PM   #28
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Goals are importanmt to help us make money and achieve financial security, get a mate, perhaps have children.

After we have done those things, or less happily, realize that they are foreclosed, goals are really not necessary unless they keep us out of psychological deep water, or make our lives more satisfying or entertaining.

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partial retirement?
Old 11-06-2008, 05:48 PM   #29
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partial retirement?

For me it's about financial freedom to do what I want, when I want without financial worries. With that said, I love my career it is incredibly rewarding but it is not for the money. I will have a great government pension, and all of the investments will be icing. At the end of the day though, it is still a job. If I have 3 bad days in a row at work, I want to be able to say I'm done While living within my means, I do spend the majority of my money outside of investments on things that create experiences and memories over material items. For example, travel. I value that more so than a really big TV. I talk about places I've been more than my TV anyways, and people seem more interested in my travels than my TV. I will be able to retire at 50, but I would still like to do things. I don't think I'll really ever fully retire, maybe partially retire. I could see my wife and I sipping drinks in a tropical area, and working part time as a Scuba Dive instructor at a local dive shop. Clearly, I won't be making lot's of money, but I won't have to worry because I'll be financially secure.
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Old 11-06-2008, 06:09 PM   #30
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My work offers a 3 month and 1 year leave of absence which I plan to take. As well I can use leave income averaging which could give me an extra 5 weeks a year off at the cost of about $200.00 a month....there are many options to early retirement I am exploring that give me flexibility and an increased lifestyle without increasing my workload.
Those are great ideas. It would be a great personal investment to "sharpen the saw" on a regular basis.

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Maybe part of the problem is I haven't taken a real meaningful vacation in 4 years...last one was a months diving in Thailand...I feel guilty spending the money...oversaving is a sickness
D'oh!

My way of dealing with an all consuming job has been to invest in a resort property which I visit several times a year. In my line of business it's important to get out of town and turn off the blackberry. It sure beats those trips to the psychologist.
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Old 11-09-2008, 12:31 PM   #31
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Truth be known I enjoy work. I know this may be heresy on this board but that’s Ok.
Billy and I have talked about this many times. We have always been producers. We loved working and still do. We love the challenge, the feeling of satisfaction of getting something done - which is why we do volunteer work now in our retirement. It’s a combination of feeling productive and giving back which is very rewarding. Plus we don’t really need or want much.

Talk about heresy, listen to this. You know how people talk down about Wal*Mart greeters or grocery store baggers? They say things like ‘shoot me before I take a job like that….’ I’d love to have an incognito job like that - no one knowing who I am or what I have done in my life…. Service is a big thing for me, and jeeze, to actually get paid for just saying hello to people in such a way that it makes their day, or to bag their groceries - cripes. Life couldn’t be easier. I do harder things now and don’t get paid a cent. And besides, who cares what some stranger thinks about me?

Having been retired almost 20 years now (retired at age 38 ) I’ve logged thousands and thousands of miles on an airplane, seen exotic hill tribe villages, lived years overseas, opened my perspectives about life and how I can live it, made new friends and learned lots of new skills. I would find it fascinating to bag people’s groceries and see how they’d treat me. Then I’d write a book about it or something.

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Are you drawn to money and benefits over stimulating work, a better lifestyle, or work you would prefer to do?
Most of my working life I was self employed. Benefits? I had to pay for them myself… I did work for the State of California while going to college at night and they did give lots of benefits. I personally found the system of rewarding tenure over actual production to be confusing and spirit killing :confused: , so I left to purchase our restaurant.

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For you older retired folks, If you could go back would you have lived more and saved less even though you would have delayed retirement?
We’re 56 now(although I don't consider myself to be 'old'), and sometimes I refer to our retirement planning like being a banana squished out of its peel. We took 2 years to plan it, and then the two years were up. That was it. Pow! We were retired. People thought we were nuts. I wouldn’t change it though, so no is the answer to this question.

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They will waste two hours of my time in a meeting just drilling me.
I don’t ‘do’ meetings if I can avoid them. When I run a meeting, I bring an egg timer. 3 minutes - then on to the next person. Any meeting I have gone to that is over an hour is about 50 minutes too long. I guess that’s why I don’t exactly fit well in the Corporate World…

Be well,
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Author, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement
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Old 01-25-2009, 05:41 AM   #32
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^ I wish you ran meetings at the company where I work. There is nothing more frustrating to me than spending 4-5 hrs/day in mostly useless meetings, not being able to get much of rhythm going in the disjointed 30 minute fragments between meetings, then it being 5pm, and still having a good 5 or 6 hrs of work to get through.

Though I am only 38, and really only taking the first steps towards our goal of me retiring early at 48-53, my wife and I are working very hard at making this happen. We save a good 40-45% of our income. Our philosophy on sacrificing quality of life now so that you can enjoy more later, is that to a large degree you don't have to. We've just gotten into the habit of always asking "will this more expensive thing buy us any more happiness"? The answer is usually no. For example, our couch cost us $180 from goodwill. Are we any less happy than if we'd bought a new couch for 800.00 or so? Hell, no! It's just a couch. You sit on it. Our youngest is almost 2, and outgrowing his crib. We're getting his bed for $35 on Craig's List. The cheapest we can find new is 200.00 at Walmart. We apply that to pretty much everything. Even milk - is Borden milk really $3 nicer than the store brand? Personally, I can barely tell the difference. Since we drink at least 2 gallons of it per week, that's 300.00 per year saved on a single grocery item. It's amazing how this kind of thinking rapidly adds up to thousands of dollars per year saved, with no current happiness sacrificed at all.
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Old 01-25-2009, 08:05 AM   #33
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I have found that no matter how stimulating the work is, you are still required to give up your time. There are always requirements of work that cause you to have to sacrifice other opportunities. You are never free to do as you wish when working.
For me, the statement above by CheapSinceBirth pretty much says it all. Even though I don't hate my job, I will never be free to do whatever I want to do with my time, until I am retired. Ever wake up on a beautiful morning in the spring with a desire to spend the day out fishing, or tending to the garden, or taking a walk with your spouse and the dog, or whatever.......but you can't, because you have to be at that meeting at work in an hour?

Canadian Grunt, my feeling is that if you feel like you are making too many sacrifices now in order to save for retirement, then you probably are. Each person needs to seek their own balance, and if yours involves spending a little more $$ now in order to enjoy life, then by all means, do so. For me, the independence of retirement is a very high priority, and so I have no problem with living a frugal lifestyle if that is what it takes to get there sooner. Remember, there is a trade-off here involving age also. The longer you work, the fewer physically-active pursuits you are probably going to want to do (and/or be able to do) upon retirement. Since those things are important to me, I have a strong desire to retire while I am still able to enjoy them.

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Old 01-25-2009, 08:43 AM   #34
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We should all try to find what makes us happy. As long as there is no regret, there is no wrong answer.

I have lived relatively frugally most of my life. I don't regret it. Frugality is a deeply ingrained value for me. I don't need adventures or throwing money around to feel like I am enjoying life (tried it, doesn't do a thing for me). I don't care about expensive cars, big houses, expensive watches or foreign travel. In fact, my dream life would be to live in a 800 sq ft condo in a small town, drive a small but sporty car (VW golf GTI) and never ever again set foot on an airplane or a boat. There are a few luxuries I would be hard pressed to do without, but overall I don't need much. My pleasures are simple and cost little money. I know, some people think that my life is boring, so what, that's my life and I am not going to apologize for it. And you shouldn't apologize for your choices either.
Oh, I do appreciate a nice house, a nice car, and other nice things because I have "enjoyed" their cheap versions. Imagine living in a basement apartment in which you are constantly 5 feet from people's feet while you're on your sofa trying to watch a movie, and imagine driving a car of a name brand that no longer exists, and you'll want better things. The problem is that when it comes to trading time for those better things, the time is invariably spent in some unpleasant ways. This was our last Friday's group lunch which was supposed to be for relaxation and team building: Two guys going at each other about how much traffic a web site is supposed to get. Great, at least that was somewhat work related, but never mind that neither had the facts, and both were just going for it to win an argument. A woman makes up crap about a project she never led to make me, the project leader, seem less competent than she is. Another guy is posturing for the the new girl. Each interaction in itself probably was mildly annoying, but taken together, the lunch had the atmosphere of a bunch of peacocks on parade. I sat back and watched these guys crap on each other, boast, make up sh1t, do a little attempted back stabbing, and I'm thinking, "Feet watching now would be a step up."
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Old 01-25-2009, 08:47 AM   #35
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I retired at 59 . I could have retired earlier but I was not ready psychologically . We always lived below our means but we certainly did not sacrifice our love of travel and adventure . We travelled a lot when we were younger and I'm glad . As you age certain adventure trips (white water rafting ,extreme hiking ) are harder and maybe not as much fun as they once were . So if I had to do it over again I would not change a thing . I think I lived below my means why not sacrificing anything that was important to me . Retirement is great but not worth sacrificing enjoying life in the moment for IMO.
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Old 01-25-2009, 09:02 AM   #36
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^ I wish you ran meetings at the company where I work. There is nothing more frustrating to me than spending 4-5 hrs/day in mostly useless meetings, not being able to get much of rhythm going in the disjointed 30 minute fragments between meetings, then it being 5pm, and still having a good 5 or 6 hrs of work to get through.

Though I am only 38, and really only taking the first steps towards our goal of me retiring early at 48-53, my wife and I are working very hard at making this happen. We save a good 40-45% of our income. Our philosophy on sacrificing quality of life now so that you can enjoy more later, is that to a large degree you don't have to. We've just gotten into the habit of always asking "will this more expensive thing buy us any more happiness"? The answer is usually no. For example, our couch cost us $180 from goodwill. Are we any less happy than if we'd bought a new couch for 800.00 or so? Hell, no! It's just a couch. You sit on it. Our youngest is almost 2, and outgrowing his crib. We're getting his bed for $35 on Craig's List. The cheapest we can find new is 200.00 at Walmart. We apply that to pretty much everything. Even milk - is Borden milk really $3 nicer than the store brand? Personally, I can barely tell the difference. Since we drink at least 2 gallons of it per week, that's 300.00 per year saved on a single grocery item. It's amazing how this kind of thinking rapidly adds up to thousands of dollars per year saved, with no current happiness sacrificed at all.
Nothing wrong with being frugal, but sometimes people get a bit extreme. My sis in law did things much like you do, but it went too far. We went on a joint vacation and she forced he family to eat Ramen noodles every morning for breakfast because it cost pennies to feed them that way. She won't heat her house even if the inside temps drops into the 50's. She never uses the AC no matter how hot. We tried to plan a family reunion in disney world and she decided that everyone else should pay for her family's airfare because she would have to fly the farthest...oh and she's a multimillionaire.
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Old 01-25-2009, 12:16 PM   #37
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I have no regrets, but if starting over, I would be even more frugal, and strive to retire at 43 instead of 53.

Every person/job is different, but sometimes when someone tells me they would be bored if not working I think "Is this person so lacking in creativity that they need someone else to tell them what to do?"
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Old 01-25-2009, 12:30 PM   #38
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As others have said, it depends entirely on your specifics.

For me, I love science and especially computers, and jumped from a science career to engineering so I could work with the machines. I have a lot of flexibility in my present job, I walk to work in a beautiful area, pick my hours, and decide how I go about doing my tasks. When I go home I spend spare time messing with computers and computer science. I view the time at work as just a component of what I'm learning and doing, and I'm glad to be around other people I can learn from.

Since I'm basically FI if the job went sour or I got laid off, I would just find a more interesting job, or make a go of my own business. I expect to be doing this the rest of my days frankly. I've traveled the world for work, and discovered that traveling is boring (for me). I have no interest in sports (golf) or anything like that. And just hanging out and living a quit life would bore me terribly, I would just moulder.

For me,

Work is play = Play is work.

Wasn't always this way, my job stunk a few years ago, but it's good for now and I have the freedom and resources to go somewhere else if it changes.
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Old 01-25-2009, 03:25 PM   #39
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As others have said, it depends entirely on your specifics.

For me, I love science and especially computers, and jumped from a science career to engineering so I could work with the machines. I have a lot of flexibility in my present job, I walk to work in a beautiful area, pick my hours, and decide how I go about doing my tasks. When I go home I spend spare time messing with computers and computer science. I view the time at work as just a component of what I'm learning and doing, and I'm glad to be around other people I can learn from.

Since I'm basically FI if the job went sour or I got laid off, I would just find a more interesting job, or make a go of my own business. I expect to be doing this the rest of my days frankly. I've traveled the world for work, and discovered that traveling is boring (for me). I have no interest in sports (golf) or anything like that. And just hanging out and living a quit life would bore me terribly, I would just moulder.

For me,

Work is play = Play is work.

Wasn't always this way, my job stunk a few years ago, but it's good for now and I have the freedom and resources to go somewhere else if it changes.
I was like that back in college. I had an assembly programming class in the last semester that I spent 8 hours a day working on because it was so much fun. By the time the class ended, I had done all 20 projects and some in 2 or 3 different ways while the class finished 8. There were physics classes that other guys accused me of ruining the curve because I scored 100 on the final while the next highest score was 80. However, I find that the reality of doing a job on computers has only a passing resemblance to the fun of making computers work. In the latter, I can just put on my mega-nerd persona and work with my head down totally immersed in the technical details. In the former, I have to keep my eyes open to see from which way the sh*t storm and back stabbing attempts are coming.
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:07 AM   #40
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I have no regrets, but if starting over, I would be even more frugal, and strive to retire at 43 instead of 53.

Every person/job is different, but sometimes when someone tells me they would be bored if not working I think "Is this person so lacking in creativity that they need someone else to tell them what to do?"
Me too, I'd have started saving earlier in life, I didn't really start until I was 35 and had just bought my first house.

I'd still go into computer work. For a job it was OK and sometimes even fun. But, a job is a job after a while.

I will qualify for retirement in 4 years (age 56), with a pension and health coverage, so I won't be quitting before then.

I don't think it's the job I dislike, I think work takes too big a part of life. I get up at six and am at work around 7:30 - 8am. I get home between 5 and 6pm. Then there is the oncall every other week and weekend upgrades and projects. My vacation time is 90% flying back to the midwest to spend time with my Mother.

So, no matter what the job is, I'm sure it will always feel like I have too little free time. I want to own my time, to be able to go hiking, backpacking, traveling, reading, researching, finding new interests and taking afternoon naps if I want one.

I don't know if I will be FI in four years, but I've decided not to stress about it. There are too many variables to know at this point. I'll figure it out as time gets closer.
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