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When extreme ER just may not be the answer
Old 11-05-2010, 01:34 PM   #1
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When extreme ER just may not be the answer

I have been going back and forth - live on ramen noodle soup for a decade and retire early, or just be "modest" with how my family lives. If you think about it, you can goto the extreme and work 80 hours a week / sacrifice health, family, social life, etc. and retire sooner, but at what cost? The reality for me personally is to keep trucking in a modest fashion, and not work crazy hours or sacrifice family time while doing it.

This may not be the case for many, but I actually like my work at times - I find it fulfilling, though, at times, it can cause me to be one great big stress ball. I am just not sure what I would be doing differently that I am now anyway, as I am constantly on the net and love surfing the web as it is, so maybe this is just me.

I know, this post may not make much sense but I am just now coming to some pseudo-revelations about my situation here.
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:38 PM   #2
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I don't think many of the people who were obsessed with an "early out" did it by working "80 hours a week"; I think most of them did it by choosing to live well below their means and prodigiously saving and investing for their future.

ER isn't the answer for everyone, but in my opinion no matter how much someone might like their job, it can always be made better when you're financially independent even if you choose not to retire. For one thing, you have the peace of mind of knowing you can make it even if you are involuntarily terminated. For another, if the job starts to really suck, you have the freedom to leave it; the golden handcuffs no longer shackle you to it.

For these reasons, reaching FI (financial independence) is still worth going for.
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:41 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mouschi View Post
If you think about it, you can goto the extreme and work 80 hours a week / sacrifice health, family, social life, etc. and retire sooner, but at what cost?
I did all those things without any plan to retire earlier than my FRA age of 66. That "work lifestyle" was what was required to keep my j*b - no more, no less, for the sake of my family.

Even without retirement as a goal, I was able to retire seven years before my planned date (not ER, but "good enough", IMHO).

In today's economy, to hold a j*b (even a lower level one), may require one to make sacrifices, having nothing to do with retirement.

Just my thoughts...
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:45 PM   #4
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I don't think many of the people who were obsessed with an "early out" did it by working "80 hours a week"; I think most of them did it by choosing to live well below their means and prodigiously saving and investing for their future.
I agree completely and it certainly sounds like your job is far from toxic to you. So, live a little, enjoy the journey towards FI, and then decide when you want to retire, and do so when you and your family are good and ready.
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:54 PM   #5
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ah yes don't get me wrong - i am working hard to be able to cash out asap "just in case"
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:55 PM   #6
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I don't think that ER is the right answer for most people. I think it was the right answer for me. DW doesn't think it is the right answer for her (yet). And given people's reactions when I tell them I am retired, I dare to say that most people wouldn't know how to happily retire early. It's OK. Do what's right for you. Financial independence should remain a focus though because who knows what the future holds...
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Old 11-05-2010, 03:48 PM   #7
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I know, this post may not make much sense but I am just now coming to some pseudo-revelations about my situation here.
It makes sense to me. I have always been a follower/advocate of Joseph Campbell's "Follow your Bliss" advice. Present misery for future happiness never did ring true with me. Keeping things on an even Keel is the way to go.
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Old 11-05-2010, 04:14 PM   #8
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Makes sense to me too. You impress me as someone with a realistic and balanced view of your life. Reminds me of this quote:

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.

- William Arthur Ward
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Old 11-05-2010, 04:19 PM   #9
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you can goto the extreme and work 80 hours a week / sacrifice health, family, social life, etc. and retire sooner, but at what cost? The reality for me personally is to keep trucking in a modest fashion, and not work crazy hours or sacrifice family time while doing it.

.
While there are some so-called "extremists" participating on this forum, you'll probably find most of us simply LBYM'd, invested and were able to avoid FIRE-killing pitfalls. I made it to FIRE at 58 (hindsight says I should have pulled the switch a little earlier) and raised a family, took vacations and generally lived well along the way.

You'll not find too many advocating extreme sacrifice here.......
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Old 11-05-2010, 04:27 PM   #10
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Mmmm...we didn't know diddly squat about finances during many of our working years. We knew we must work, pay our bills and save money, but we had fun along the way.

There are things we enjoyed then that don't mean that much to us now. I'm glad we enjoyed them when we had the chance....

.....and we were still able to retire early.
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Old 11-05-2010, 04:30 PM   #11
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Mmmm...we didn't know diddly squat about finances during many of our working years. We knew we must work, pay our bills and save money, but we had fun along the way.

There are things we enjoyed then that don't mean that much to us now. I'm glad we enjoyed them when we had the chance....

.....and we were still able to retire early.
+1
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Old 11-05-2010, 06:10 PM   #12
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I could not have said it better. Thank you Ziggy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
ER isn't the answer for everyone, but in my opinion no matter how much someone might like their job, it can always be made better when you're financially independent even if you choose not to retire. (...) For these reasons, reaching FI (financial independence) is still worth going for.
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Old 11-05-2010, 06:21 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
I don't think many of the people who were obsessed with an "early out" did it by working "80 hours a week"; I think most of them did it by choosing to live well below their means and prodigiously saving and investing for their future.

ER isn't the answer for everyone, but in my opinion no matter how much someone might like their job, it can always be made better when you're financially independent even if you choose not to retire. For one thing, you have the peace of mind of knowing you can make it even if you are involuntarily terminated. For another, if the job starts to really suck, you have the freedom to leave it; the golden handcuffs no longer shackle you to it.

For these reasons, reaching FI (financial independence) is still worth going for.
I was canned - er layed off at the tender age of 49 and stumbled into ER in fits and starts before I even knew what it was.

Cheap SOB and other endearing terms were often used in place of 'frugal' in the early years until I loosened up a tad and Mr Market blessed us with the 90's.

heh heh heh -
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Old 11-06-2010, 05:39 AM   #14
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FI is the key. The closer I get the less work bothers me. Actually I no longer fret over challenging projects and presentations. I'm now able to play the game a little looser and have some fun with it. What are they going to do fire me? If so then it's on to the next chapter. Also, maybe my job performance has improved with this better attitude. I can't imagine being in the situation where I'm cowering in fear over what my runny nosed boss thinks of me.
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Old 11-06-2010, 06:58 AM   #15
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...in my opinion no matter how much someone might like their job, it can always be made better when you're financially independent even if you choose not to retire. For one thing, you have the peace of mind of knowing you can make it even if you are involuntarily terminated. For another, if the job starts to really suck, you have the freedom to leave it; the golden handcuffs no longer shackle you to it.

For these reasons, reaching FI (financial independence) is still worth going for.
+1, my sentiments exactly.
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Old 11-06-2010, 07:01 AM   #16
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The current model, on the way out for most, was/is - education, work, retirement.

The coming model is - education, first careers, second career (could be before or after FI), retirement (when one just physically can't work effectively/productively anymore). Lots of books describing this ie, Rewire, Don't Retire or Encore to name two.

The latter model makes more sense to me though my version will probably be education, first career, FI, sabbatical, second career, retirement (drooling in front of the TV). And the latter model mimics ERE, the only difference is when one moves from first careers.
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Old 11-06-2010, 10:17 AM   #17
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The current model, on the way out for most, was/is - education, work, retirement.

The coming model is - education, first careers, second career (could be before or after FI), retirement (when one just physcially can't work effectively/productively anymore). Lots of books describing this ie, Rewire, Don't Retire or Encore to name two.

The latter model makes more sense to me though my version will probably be education, first career, FI, sabbatical, second career, retirement (drooling in front of the TV). And the latter model mimics ERE, the only difference is when one moves from first careers.
Sometimes I wonder if the media clamor promoting another career after FI (usually something lower paying and more fun), is simply opening up the higher paying jobs for youthful employees and relegating baby boomers to crummy jobs that younger people don't want. Maybe not, but I think that any job can get tiresome after the "honeymoon period" and I would rather be able to decide what I do all day long, than not. I'll pass.

As for the OP, as long as you meet your responsibilities there is no reason to do anything in life that isn't fun on some level. For some of us, it is or was fun to be frugal. For me, every penny that I saved was sticking it to my management, because it got me closer to being out from under their control. I truly enjoyed figuring out at the end of each month, how much of my salary I had managed to squirrel away for retirement. And when I reached FI (and had to continue to work for health insurance for a couple of years), it was wonderful to think that in an emergency I could survive even without a job.
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Old 11-06-2010, 12:37 PM   #18
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The latter model makes more sense to me though my version will probably be education, first career, FI, sabbatical, second career, retirement (drooling in front of the TV).
I've been on one o' them there sabbaticals for over eight years now...
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Old 11-07-2010, 04:42 AM   #19
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FI is the key. The closer I get the less work bothers me. Actually I no longer fret over challenging projects and presentations. I'm now able to play the game a little looser and have some fun with it. What are they going to do fire me? If so then it's on to the next chapter. Also, maybe my job performance has improved with this better attitude. I can't imagine being in the situation where I'm cowering in fear over what my runny nosed boss thinks of me.
This to me is the key - the mental freedom. FI allows for mental freedom and more choices. When you have options with less constraints, you can mentally relax.

I just had this conversation with my husband. It looks as though we will be 'retired' a bit earlier than we originally planned. He's more hesitant thinking we need more of a financial cushion, but after we've done the analysis, turns out we are more than fine financially. Right now the largest part of our budget is the saving bucket - by a large margin. When that is reduced (and a house paid for), the financial requirements for living are substantially reduced. That changes the criteria for the decision to work or not work to one of desire and not one of need. Huge difference in the mental approach and/or decision making approach. Yes, follow your bliss.

Nords says he's been on a sabbatical for awhile, but writing that book and then setting up the blog/FaceBook/Twitter account seems like work to me - may not be for him, but he has the choice to spend as much time on it and tweak the quality as per his desire, not someone else's. REWahoo had the time to work on fighting an undesirable development in his neighborhood. Seems like work to me, but he had the time and choice to engage. I work in my consultancy - however, for the most part I don't consider it work and I can scale back or up as I desire. I have the time and choice.

This is all because we are financially independent. It gives us more options. It's great to have options. Options come from self-disciplilne.

Off soapbox :-)
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Old 11-07-2010, 05:22 AM   #20
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I have been going back and forth - live on ramen noodle soup for a decade and retire early, or just be "modest" with how my family lives. If you think about it, you can goto the extreme and work 80 hours a week / sacrifice health, family, social life, etc. and retire sooner, but at what cost? The reality for me personally is to keep trucking in a modest fashion, and not work crazy hours or sacrifice family time while doing it.

...

Larry Kotlikoff has a book on consumption smoothing. It has been recommended by several people on this forum in the past

Read the book... it provides some perspective on the topic. You should be able to get it at your library.

Here is his blog. A Smoother Way to Save for your Future | www.kotlikoff.net


IMO - lifestyle extremes have traps. Save too much too early (and you die young) and/or forgo "living while young". Spend too much to early (and you live long) and eat dog food in old age. Identify a comfortable lifestyle, live it... save enough along the way to live the same when you FIRE. It take planning, discipline, and follow-through (save and invest prudently).

Do some soul searching. What is your goal? What do you really hope to achieve (and/or avoid)? Think about your family's goals and needs (and some wants... people have wants).
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