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Which one or both? Retirement and/or Financial Indepedence
Old 08-19-2007, 10:39 PM   #1
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Which one or both? Retirement and/or Financial Indepedence

It seems that there is much discussion here about retirement and people wanting to 'get out of the rat race' but what are people really trying to achieve here. The people over 60 that I've met who seem sincerely happy aren't really retired but instead financially secure.

Maybe it is because I don't believe retirement is a real alternative or maybe I'm just misreading a bunch of posts here but really, what do we want...boredom or to have no financial worries and do something we enjoy. It could just be the timing of finding and joining this forum but there seem to be people who are struggling with be retired or having a partner that is retired.

Help me out here because I'm obviously missing something.

Side note: What does FIRE mean? Maybe I missed the sticky somewhere but I can't seem to find a definition for it. Tried search for 'What is FIRE' but and looked at the first few threads with no solution.
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Old 08-19-2007, 10:43 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by teachme View Post

Side note: What does FIRE mean? Maybe I missed the sticky somewhere but I can't seem to find a definition for it. Tried search for 'What is FIRE' but and looked at the first few threads with no solution.
Here's a link to forum acronyms:
* Acronyms and Slang Frequently Used on the Forum *
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Old 08-19-2007, 10:49 PM   #3
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Maybe it is because I don't believe retirement is a real alternative ...
I'd say that could easily be the root cause of your lack of understanding.

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Originally Posted by teachme View Post
.. really, what do we want...boredom or to have no financial worries and do something we enjoy.
Many of us don't believe in boredom, nor do we believe having no financial worries and doing something we enjoy is incompatible with retirement. Quite the contrary, retirement combined with no financial worries provides an antidote for both boredom and the rat race.

REW
Someone over 60 that you've now met who's sincerely happy, really retired and financially secure.
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Old 08-19-2007, 11:11 PM   #4
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Someone over 60 that you've now met who's sincerely happy, really retired and financially secure.
Thanks for the response, so you left a job you enjoyed and are now doing what? Or did you only kind of enjoyed your job but instead enjoyed the prospect of not doing it anymore. Since I'm not to the point of financial independence yet please explain how your average day goes (if that isn't too personal). Also if you could help explain how long you've been retired.

I can admit that I know few things and need more 'life experience' so please help me understand what this big drive is to be retired? I'm a contractor and in most ways consider myself self employed and really enjoy what I do so I'm struggling to understand what is to walk away from.
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Old 08-20-2007, 12:05 AM   #5
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Welcome to the board, teachme.

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Thanks for the response, so you left a job you enjoyed and are now doing what? Or did you only kind of enjoyed your job but instead enjoyed the prospect of not doing it anymore. Since I'm not to the point of financial independence yet please explain how your average day goes (if that isn't too personal). Also if you could help explain how long you've been retired.
I'm 46 years old and I've been retired from the Navy's submarine force for five years. The first decade was good but the second decade was full of family/work priority conflicts.

An "average" ER day:
4:30 AM Wake up, get a cup of tea, stretch out, eat breakfast
4:45 Boot up the computer, check the surf forecast and a bunch of other websites. Decide whether I'm surfing that day (mostly Mon/Wed/Fri)
6:30 Hang out while spouse gets up and our teenager gets to school. Have a cup of coffee, decide what we're doing that day.
7:05 After our kid leaves for school, head for the beach (don't rub it in).
11 Home for lunch. If not surfing, spend time on this board and writing & reading. Or if the surf's really good, lunch on the beach and surf until my butt hurts and my arms are spaghetti.
Noon Naptime! (Or whatever spouse is interested in.) Spend a few hours on home improvement projects, honey-dos, or routine cleaning.
3-4 PM Kid comes home. Knock off work, review schoolday & homework, more writing & reading (I enjoy those last two a lot).
5 PM Dinner
6 PM Tae kwon do (Mon/Wed/Fri) or an hour's walk with spouse
8:30 PM Home, shower, bedtime...

Some days we do other workouts or fix infrastructure or run errands or drive around the island or work on the rental property or help out neighbors or chaperone a school field trip or just laze around the house. Parenting a teen doesn't soak up as much time as younger kids, but the crises tend to come more frequently and with greater intensity. People summarize the ER lifestyle as "every day is Saturday and every evening is Friday" or "I wake up with nothing to do and by dinnertime not even half of it is done".

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I can admit that I know few things and need more 'life experience' so please help me understand what this big drive is to be retired? I'm a contractor and in most ways consider myself self employed and really enjoy what I do so I'm struggling to understand what is to walk away from.
Financial independence gives you the flexibility to work when/because you want to, not because you have to. When you have a choice then work might be a lot more enjoyable. Conversely, when you're FI you might find that you have no further tolerance for the crap that we're used to enduring for the sake of achieving FI.

You might want to read Bob Clyatt's "Work Less, Live More" and Ernie Zelinski's "The Joy of Not Working" and "How To Retire Happy, Wild, & Free"...
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Old 08-20-2007, 04:02 AM   #6
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Yes... for me FIRE is about getting out of the rat race (I am sick of work). Maybe I should rephrase it. I am sick of the structured work environment in a large business organization and all of the BS that goes on. I am not opposed to doing work. I will do some sort of work when I FIRE... but it will be work for DW and I around the house and keeping the financials in shape during ER.

ER means flexibility and less stress. It is about getting rid of the constraints that do not allow DW and I to do things we would prefer... extended travel.
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Old 08-20-2007, 05:00 AM   #7
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My father is a musician and teaches singing. Last year he was very ill and needed a lung transplant. He was barely breathing, but still he continued working.
Sitting on a wheelchair, connected to oxygen, he was still teaching 3-4 hours a week. Not much, but he can't live without music.

If you like your job, there is no reason to RE.

For most of the people work is only a mean to earn money. If you take the money, they won't work. I believe most of the people don't like their jobs. Even the few that do like it, probably think they spend too much time doing it.

I think that most of the people here want to reach FI so they can have the choice. We will chose what to do only based on our desires and not based on money incentives.

Nords, it sounds like you have a great life.
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Old 08-20-2007, 05:13 AM   #8
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My father is a musician and teaches singing. Last year he was very ill and needed a lung transplant. He was barely breathing, but still he continued working.
Sitting on a wheelchair, connected to oxygen, he was still teaching 3-4 hours a week. Not much, but he can't live without music.

If you like your job, there is no reason to RE.

For most of the people work is only a mean to earn money. If you take the money, they won't work. I believe most of the people don't like their jobs. Even the few that do like it, probably think they spend too much time doing it.

I think that most of the people here want to reach FI so they can have the choice. We will chose what to do only based on our desires and not based on money incentives.

Nords, it sounds like you have a great life.

Great point. There are jobs (professions) that are less like work and more fulfilling.

I always suspected that artists (musicians, painters, sculptors, certain crafts, and the like) tended to fall into that category.
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:52 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by teachme View Post
Maybe it is because I don't believe retirement is a real alternative or maybe I'm just misreading a bunch of posts here but really, what do we want...boredom or to have no financial worries and do something we enjoy. It could just be the timing of finding and joining this forum but there seem to be people who are struggling with be retired or having a partner that is retired.
Sounds like the former (your beliefs) are contibuting to the later (your mis-perceptions). I have been ER'd three years and reading this forum for more than two years and I read a lot from people struggling to determine whether they are comfortably financially independent, quite a few from people worrying whether they will be happy in retirement, but very, very few from people unhappy or struggling with retirement.

I would ask back at ya - if you don't believe retirement is a real alternative (a perfectly fine opinion many people hold) what on earth are you doing reading a forum for people who want to retire?
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Old 08-20-2007, 09:01 AM   #10
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I would ask back at ya - if you don't believe retirement is a real alternative (a perfectly fine opinion many people hold) what on earth are you doing reading a forum for people who want to retire?
Great question, I saw the FI part and that is what is keeping me on this forum. Being that many are looking to RE it would seem our goals are inline (accruing as much money as quickly as possible) so why not be here and learn what some are doing to achieve their FI as early as possible.

As I stated briefly in my original post, and some have touched on, I'm also open to the fact that maybe I grew up in a family that just likes to work and doesn't know how to relax for extended periods so I'm open to finding that out. I do realize it is a little premature to say I think I might keep working when I don't have the money yet to truly make that decision.

Since I made my career change a handful of years ago I can't believe how much job satisfaction I've had, it has been great doing something I truly enjoy...especially since I've had the opportunity to work from home 99% of the time on various contracts. Maybe it is also that the contracts I've set myself up on offer a tremendous amount of flexibility with hours of work (still need to satisfy whatever the requirements are for the project but as long as I get the work done no one really cares) and the opportunity to be at home with my family....it just seems right.

Everyone's input is appreciated.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:00 AM   #11
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Great question, I saw the FI part and that is what is keeping me on this forum.

As I stated briefly in my original post, and some have touched on, I'm also open to the fact that maybe I grew up in a family that just likes to work and doesn't know how to relax for extended periods so I'm open to finding that out. ...

Since I made my career change a handful of years ago I can't believe how much job satisfaction I've had...

Everyone's input is appreciated.
All of that makes sense to me. My brother is 75, still working and loves it. Different strokes for different folks. The FI part makes sense even if you think you will want to work till you drop. Things have a way of changing. In the meantime, keep paying into Social Security to keep the rest of us going.
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Old 08-20-2007, 11:36 AM   #12
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The real question, already asked, is "Would you do this even if it did not pay you anything?"

If the answer is Yes then you will never retire. If the answer is No then you need to dig deeper to see what really motivates you.

Some people consider the money people are willing to pay them as a measure of their worth. Such people need help that is not available here.
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Old 08-20-2007, 12:19 PM   #13
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I'm a contractor and in most ways consider myself self employed and really enjoy what I do so I'm struggling to understand what is to walk away from.
Hi, teachme.

Things change. You may love your situation now but there might come a time when you don't anymore. So if you were FI (financially independent), then one option then would be to RE (retire early).

Also, something doesn't have to be totally bad for anyone to walk away from it. It could just be that one wants to move on and to do something else.

FI status would hopefully enable financing whatever the "something else" may be--pursuing hobbies, taking classes, starting another new career, having one's own business, spending time with friends and family, volunteering, farming, gardening, creating art, meditating, finding oneself, napping, sleeping, etc.
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Old 08-20-2007, 12:24 PM   #14
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The day that I started w*rking for a paycheck 30+ years ago, my ultimate goal was to be able to retire at the earliest possible opportunity. FI was the means to achieving that end. So over all of those years that I earned, saved, invested, managed (and occasionally squandered) my money, it was solely to be FIRE'd!

It wasn't because I liked/disliked my j*b, or even the paycheck. Those were merely the necessary evils means to reach my desire end!

Now that I've reached my desired state of being....FIRE, I will NOT return to my former state....w*rk.

As for "boredom".....what the heck is THAT?? While I was employed I heard stories of such a creature, but have never seen or heard any substantiated evidence to it's actual existence. I was told that as soon as I retired this mysterious creature would ascend from the bowels of the earth, and swallow me up in one fell swoop! IT'S A MYTH!!! IT'S A SHAMELESS LIE!!!

Our culture has fairly successfully tried to ingrain in us that w*rk = life. However, that's not so. W*rk = money....and money simply finances life! So once finances are properly established, there's no concrete reason to continue w*rking. At that point the only necessary or worthwhile thing, is to ENJOY LIFE and ALL that it has to offer!

But, hey.....that's only my opinion!!!!
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Old 08-20-2007, 12:56 PM   #15
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Some people consider the money people are willing to pay them as a measure of their worth. Such people need help that is not available here.
Well said....My theory is that many people use work to fill other emotional needs...another reason on my list to want to get out....
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Old 08-20-2007, 02:57 PM   #16
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Hi teachme - I'm 38 and planning to RE at 52. My parents retired at 57, 13 years ago. I can give you an idea of what they do, and then an idea of what I WANT to do.

BTW - I like my job a lot, and part of wanting to be FI is just that my parents were always careful with money and I like the security.

What my dad does in a typical week:

Helps restore an historic barn for the town historical society
Plays golf 3/4 days
Plays tennis several days
Acts as the treasurer for the arts council in town
Goes rock hunting
Acts as amateur photographer (including matting/framing his own pictures)
Hits an antique auction
Reads a book
Reads the newspaper everyday and does his crossword puzzles
Works around the house or in the garden
He also occasionally builds furniture

Mom:

Plays golf/tennis several times
Works in her garden (she loves this)
Relaxes with her coffee and the paper in the morning
Volunteers with the local breast cancer society
Practices the piano several times
Sews clothes
Cooks dinner every night
Etc..

They keep very busy, doing things they like.

Me - I want to spend more time traveling, volunteering, working on my photography, and generally expanding on hobbies/interests that I can only devote a little time to right now.

Karen
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Old 08-20-2007, 06:25 PM   #17
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Teachme,

I saw your comment on FI and wanted to add a couple of comments. You don't have to retire just because you are FI. FI gives you the option to do so but you choose what you will do.

I took ER at age 50 after 24 years of mostly management level Quality Assurance positions in a variety of Medical Device and Pharmaceutical manufacturing plants along with a 6 year stint at doing compliance audits of all the company's 50+ manufacturing locations worldwide. I booked hundreds of thousands of air miles (most of which the company kept). My DW at the time also worked for the same company and had over 34 years in various positions. We were FI long before we chose to ER.

I chose to get another position with a different company in the area we wanted to relocate to. The deal was I put in a year and they pay the closing costs on the houses and pay to move 20 tons of stuff 2000 miles. I also got to feather the nest and buy some toys without dipping into the nest egg. For personal reasons I chose to stay on for 4 years instead of just one. It was not for the money it was for a lot of other reasons I won't rehash here.

Getting to be FI is the first step. Deciding to ER is another one. If you like what you are doing, by all means keep doing it. But, what would your rather be doing? Many folks never look beyond the job to see what they really would like to do if they only had the time. Most of the ERs on this board saw an alternative life ahead of them and did what it took to get the funds to do so. Some work part time, some volunteer, some travel, some write, some do photography, some live in far away places and become part of the culture; but most are fully enjoying their new life.

ER is for folks that see an alternative lifestyle and want it more that what their job or business can provide to them. Some folks ER'd due to loss of a job (downsizing mostly) and found they actually liked not working for a living and found ways to stay out of work or to work only long enough at something to get to FI so they could ER.

ER is not for everyone and not everyone can ER. FI takes planning, determination, knowledge, and the willingness to do without some things knowing the payoff in the future will be more than worth it.

There are a thousand paths to FI. Pick one and follow it. There is enough information in the Fire and Money forum to keep you busy for months. Good luck and welcome to the forums.
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Old 08-21-2007, 02:43 AM   #18
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I feel like I am in a sort of limbo land because I didn't RE, but DH has a job that brought us overseas and I don't work right now, so I am living the life of a retired person (I guess? at least similar?) ... at least until the baby arrives and I start full-time parenting.

I just wanted to chime in that the days really do fill themselves and I am never bored. DH is envious because I have been to sights and restaurants he doesn't get to because he's w*rking. On the other hand, I have started learning how to cook so that chore is off his shoulders (finally). I read, swim, garden a bit, play with the dog, cook time consuming things we'd never have tried back when we were both working .... I really don't know how I will ever fit w*rk back into my schedule!

Also, DH really enjoys the work he does, but when the 20 years are up he'll be out because he has other interests he wants to pursue that can't be done concurrently with the current lifestyle. Some of those interests may actually end up bringing in income, but can't really be called w*rk because, like others have said, he'll be doing it even if it doesn't pay a cent.
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:49 PM   #19
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FI = Do what you want when you want

That could include RE or not. I think part of the problem for many people in our society is that they see what they do as a measure of their worth to society and themselves. If you are not working, then you are not contributing and leading a worthless life. Believe me, just because someone is willing to pay you to do a job does not mean that you are making a major contribution to mankind. If you are a cancer researcher or the like, that is one thing, but most office jobs are just that, a job.

If you can make enough in 25 years and prudently save and invest it, why work for 40+ years. Who says we must retire in our 60's? On good days, my job is pretty good, but there probably are at least a few days per month that I could do without it. I also cannot work from home and must be in the office for what averages to a 10 hour day. I also hate getting up in the winter in the dark and commuting on the frozen snowy mornings. With RE, this would go away. I do not think I will do "nothing", and would not mind doing something in between, "dabbling" at work.

If you have something that allows you flexibility and satisfies you, great! Do it forever if you are able and continue to want to. Meantime, as other posters have said, feather the nest in case the day comes when you no longer want or are able to do it.
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Old 08-21-2007, 06:39 PM   #20
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Teachme, you inspired a good conversation here. Thanks!

For me, for a long time, the FI part was the most important. I've been in the same job, same employer, for 25 years -- in a technical field. I'm not up on the latest and greatest and if I had to find another job it could be really difficult. Especially as I age. So for me being FI, so I could RE if necessary, was the real incentive.

But once I achieved FI, the RE part really started looking attractive. I have a pretty long list of things I want to do that are difficult to do while working full-time.

And, depressingly enough, at my age, 56, friends, friends of friends, and siblings of friends are beginning to see serious medical problems, or are dying. I'm getting a real sense of the potential shortness of time.

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