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Old 03-12-2012, 11:33 AM   #21
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I wonder if those who experience the 'anxiety of success' are also those who experience the 'just one more year' retirement syndrome? Or the 'I'll never be able to retire even though I'm clearly FI" affliction?
Yes, I'm sure you are right. Thanks. Something else for me and the OP to put in our anxiety basket.
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Old 03-12-2012, 11:34 AM   #22
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REWahoo --- I think you're on to something here. Yes, I've run FIRECALC and it says I have a 98.2% success rate but I am still working an additional 3.5 years since I do not have a pension and no retiree health insurance. As my name suggests I was initially going to ER in 2014 and now I've moved that date to April 1, 2015 instead. The closer I get, the more scared I become, even though quite excited too. What if I ER and can't get back in to the job market at anywhere close to what I was making when I ER'd if something bad should happen and I need to w*rk again?!!!
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:48 PM   #23
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My wife calls these "first world problems".


Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
This has nothing to do with your job. Here's how it works:

At birth, everyone gets a worry box. All your life, you will keep this box full. It may be full with a big worry, such as "Do I have enough money to pay bills?" or "Do I have cancer?" But if you don't have any big worries, you will fill it with little worries, such as "Will I always make such good money?"

If you get a big worry, you will temporarily remove the little worries from the box.
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:52 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
I wonder if those who experience the 'anxiety of success' are also those who experience the 'just one more year' retirement syndrome? Or the 'I'll never be able to retire even though I'm clearly FI" affliction?
+1

Great question
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Old 03-12-2012, 01:42 PM   #25
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Fear of losing a $100K job when one is spending $90,000 of it a year (much of it on obligations like a mortgage and debt) and haven't saved adequately can be a lot more stressful than losing a $40K job a year...

however...

losing a $100K job when one spends only $50,000 of it a year and has a million in savings to fall back on really seems more like a relief... i.e. retirement

If its the investments and planning that stresses you... there are plenty of people out there more than willing to tackle that for you. It'll cost something, but relieving that anxiety and stress makes it a small price to pay towards a happier life.
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:53 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
I wonder if those who experience the 'anxiety of success' are also those who experience the 'just one more year' retirement syndrome? Or the 'I'll never be able to retire even though I'm clearly FI" affliction?

That has been my problem. Now, at 57, I finally decided to ER (not so "E"...) from a very stressful job at the end of the year. I feel a sense of relief, inner peace and excitement at the same time -haven't felt this great in years!
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:35 PM   #27
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(Waving from across the Pacific to a fellow PNW-er)

And that hand in the air? Attached to the arm of someone who shares your "baglady syndrome" symptoms. My sister does, too. I wonder if it is a Northwest thing? We also came from a family of modest means -- dad was an engineer at Boeing, and mom stayed home after she had kids. We had a major scare with my dad's employment situation in the early '80s, which I think might be the reason for my own irrational fears. Just have that lingering idea that you never know when the rug might be pulled out from under you. I remember my dad was seriously depressed for several years -- was being forced to learn new skills at work (Cobol, if I remember correctly), work on projects that he didn't like much, and was being threatened with the transfer of his job to Wichita (which at the time seemed like a fate almost worse than death!).

We have decent middle class incomes and manage to save roughly one of our salaries. Our investments have grown nicely and we now have a very solid net worth. I will most likely be in a position to ER if I want to (DH is 10 years older than me, and enjoys his work, so probably won't retire significantly early). But I still worry about what would happen if one or both of us were to lose our current jobs. We do have good gigs for our field, and openings are not common. But realistically we would probably be fine. Hard not to worry, though, for some reason.
Yes! Baglady Syndrome. . It sounds like you and I had similar experiences growing up, and my Dad is also a Boeing guy. Lots of layoffs, turmoil, and uncertainty. No doubt we internalize that kind of experience.

Seriously, thanks to all who replied, and I see a lot of wisdom in those replies. Yes, I have an overachiever mentality, I see how this is a first world problem, and how I may be filling in my own "Worry Box" unnecessarily.

For what it's worth, we're saving one income and living off the other, so it's not a lack of planning causing stress. I'm sure being self employed and Type-A is contributing to it. You've given me some good things to think about, and I admit to a certain amount of comfort in knowing I'm not the only one.

SIS
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:50 PM   #28
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I have the bag lady syndrome at times. I run the the different calculators at least once a week and almost surprised each time they show that we will be ok. I wish I could relax about it.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:03 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
This has nothing to do with your job. Here's how it works:

At birth, everyone gets a worry box. All your life, you will keep this box full. It may be full with a big worry, such as "Do I have enough money to pay bills?" or "Do I have cancer?" But if you don't have any big worries, you will fill it with little worries, such as "Will I always make such good money?"

If you get a big worry, you will temporarily remove the little worries from the box.
The is the truest (and funniest) framing of the problem.
However, as others have noted the uncertainties of some modern career paths (such as mine) tend to increase anxiety.
Then there are people like DW who is going to get a tatoo "Born to Worry".
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:15 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
I wonder if those who experience the 'anxiety of success' are also those who experience the 'just one more year' retirement syndrome? Or the 'I'll never be able to retire even though I'm clearly FI" affliction?
Another exit strategy that consists only of "probate"...
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:47 AM   #31
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OP

No, I can understand how you feel. I always knew I'd retire from this position early, and knew I'd start a second career afterwards - kind of looked forward to it. I've discovered, however, that I can retire in a year, due to our successful finances.

Now I'm worried something will go wrong in the next year and I'll have to find a job rather than retire lol.

I guess change is just frightening, or we naturally fear that 'it's going too good so something bad has to happen.'
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:08 AM   #32
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I've certainly felt this way. My way of dealing with it was to nail down a nest egg that would allow me a soft and hopefully permanent landing.
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:40 AM   #33
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There was a time I felt that anxiety. After I began to get a good nest egg and a few years under my belt, a learned to loosen up. I understand the syndrome. Just keep to your budget and try to have fun with your blessed life!

Now, I don't worry much at all about it and secretly hope I could be given an early retirement without losing my benefits...but I know they won't. I just go in and laugh a lot.

Hey Al...My Worry Box has been getting emptier as I get closer to FIRE. What should I fill it up with?
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Old 03-13-2012, 03:35 PM   #34
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What I've noticed though is that instead of making me feel comforted/secure, our situation makes me feel a bit anxious. Earning "big bucks" feels exciting but tenuous, as if it can evaporate at any moment.

Can identify with this big time. Dad was union skilled blue collar, low middle class by regional standards, mom a home-maker. Growing up with the threat of job loss every time the union contract ended helped create the incessant pathologic worrier I am today (and no I don't need therapy, I accept who I am, even laugh at myself occasionally). Married a fellow health care professional, worked insane hours (to include moonlighting) and saved consistently. EVEN SO, the wolf is never that far away, oh yeah maybe down the street now, but never that far. Over the last 2 years or so, I have seen the writing on the wall for my profession and it ain't so pretty. I'm so grateful I saved like a "mutha", b/c it's going to get lean. So yes, your worry instinct is probably healthy in regard to "it can evaporate at any moment". Keep saving while the income is high. Also, if you don't have a defined benefit plan, you will need quite a large amount to retire. You will notice quite a few contributors here have the luxury of annual defined retirement benefits of 60-80k, aweful sweet but it's not happening for the rest of us without saving a bundle.
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Old 03-13-2012, 04:10 PM   #35
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I think that success can be scary if you can't visualize the alternative. You don't have enough information!

What I would do is 1) figure out your expenses (almost) to the penny. Then 2) figure out what you could do without. Then 3) figure out how you'd pay for the rest with either your savings, a lower paying job or a little of both.

I found that once I got it all down on a spreadsheet, I felt a lot better knowing that I'd be ok no matter what.

In my case, I lost a $500K job and never got another one...mostly because I had done the "1,2,3 Steps"...I just went directly to FIRE.

Good luck!
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:32 PM   #36
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My brother and I are ~2 years apart but you would think we were raised in different households when you compare our attitudes about money. We grew up poor and I remember I worried if my family was going to go hungry when I was very young. Thank goodness our family finances got better and we were consider lower middle class by high school so we was able to go to college. I got a well paying job right after college and even with significant student loans, I was able to saved a sizable amount for my emergency and retirement accounts and still had enough money left to go on mutiple vacations a year, enjoy trendy restaurants, tennis and skiing; just enjoying life. An advantage I seem to have over my friends and brother is I don't have a shopping addicition and I don't need the latest tech toys like palm pilots and cell phones which were the status must have for the young professionals back in the late 90's.
Unfortunately, an extended disability caused the lost of my job and after being unemployed for 1.5 years along with the bear market in early 2000's, my accounts were decimated. By the time I recovered from my disability, 9-11 happened and there were hiring freezes in NYC. The only job I could find took 6 months and it was a part-time 24 hours per week position with no benefits. When I got that first paycheck, I only had ~$700 left so another 2 weeks, I would not had been able to pay my bills. Luckily, I was able to find a full-time position 6 months later and I've been working hard to rebuild all my accounts. It's 12 years later and I believe I have "recovered". All my friends and family can not understand why I still choose to live like someone making less than $30K. Maybe I have insecurities issues from childhood but I am fully cognizant, one major accident or illness, I could lose everything again but this time I'll be a lot older and I may not recover fully from it. I have come across other people (acquaintances and friends) who have recovered from situations worse than mine (death of fiance, child or spouse or permanaent disability) and some, a lot later in life. No one talks about undoing the past and we can only plan for so much so most of us just find ways to save more, work additional jobs to makeup for our financial losses or rethink "life".
You sound young so my only advice is you must live your life and have no regrets. I am always responsible with my money and managed to save a lot even while enjoying life but unforseen things happen and if I did not have such a large emergency fund, I would not have lasted almost 1.5 years until I found a job. My childhood had made me plan for worst scenarios so I had more than a 1 year emergency fund when the recommended in the late 90's was 3 months. Back then who would have ever guess NYC would have extensive hiring freezes and that anyone who was willing and able to work can't get any job. I'm glad I traveled and live it up in my 20's. My 30's was extremely rough but I survived it and my 40's are still a bit challenging but I hope because of my discipline saving/planning and if life won't throw me any more "curve balls", my 50's and the remainder of my life will be smooth sailing andenjoyable again.
I hope you can find contentment in your life with all that you have and realize you will survive anything life will throw at you even though at that moment, you'll feel hopeless.
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Old 03-14-2012, 01:43 PM   #37
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Fear of losing a $100K job when one is spending $90,000 of it a year (much of it on obligations like a mortgage and debt) and haven't saved adequately can be a lot more stressful than losing a $40K job a year...

however...

losing a $100K job when one spends only $50,000 of it a year and has a million in savings to fall back on really seems more like a relief... i.e. retirement
+1

In my case the wage numbers were smaller, but I didn't feel comfortable until I had my nuts squirreled away. I am on a countdown to one year, more or less.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:18 PM   #38
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Why is success scary?
Because, things can be pulled right under your feet!.
Success normally results from a lot of studies, hard work, struggles and uses a lot of life's energy, produces competition, envy, hatred, and all the other negative feeling around you.
As a trainee, I made 30K for four years. Then I made 100K, later I was
making over 200K. My stress level was up, the more I made.
When I made 450K one year, I can't do anything else but work.
I was so busy, and yes, scared, that something may happen. It's like the old story, a sword in hanging by a thread over my head.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:52 PM   #39
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I wonder if those who experience the 'anxiety of success' are also those who experience the 'just one more year' retirement syndrome? Or the 'I'll never be able to retire even though I'm clearly FI" affliction?
Guilty!

One rather twisted rationalisation is that the more you earn the more you have to lose and therefore you should worry more. There is also the greater prestige that may come with some higher jobs - losing the job hits the ego as well as the wallet.

Alternatively, some of us just need something to worry about - if it's not losing the high paying job before retirement it will be oversleeping and missing lunch after I retire.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:40 PM   #40
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My husband and I both have decent pensions but I still worry because day to day living expenses cost soooooo much! So, how much is enough??
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