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Old 01-18-2009, 11:03 PM   #61
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I went to college 25 years ago to become an engineer, naively believing I would be developing innovative new things. Well, some of that has come true, buuuuuut, it involved working with alot of people I would prefer not to deal with in my personal life. You can't choose who you work with in corporate life. I also found working to unrealistic schedules drains the creative juices right out of you. After working on many successful projects (at multiple companies), you realize one thing---they just want more and faster. Got fed up and took one summer off 4 years ago. DW did the same and we had the best summer of our life. Didn't do anything earth shattering, but did what we wanted. We had been saving pretty good to that point, but, when we went back to work after our "get a life" sabbatical, we were alot more diligent to become FI. I became a contract Engineer, and both of us absorb as much OT to be able to get the heck out of the rat race ASAP. I don't have a career ambition anymore, at least in engineering. Now my ambition and #1 goal is to be FI.

Future employment----------Snowplow Driver Money won't be an issue by this point.
Snowplow driver is cool. Weird hours but decent pay; and folks are glad to see you.
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Old 01-19-2009, 12:32 AM   #62
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I've worked many projects with crazy hours. Yes, I did over 100 hours in a week. It's not a sustainable pace and it's also a lot harder than it sounds. You have to do it to appreciate it. On some projects we were so gung ho excited we did the 60-70 hour weeks and felt good about it. I don't think it's possible to work over 90 hours and feel anything but tired. And non-stop back to back overtime (for which I have NEVER recevied any overtime pay - even in cases where the client was paying for it) is a real killer for work-life balance.

If it were my own shop or my own idea, maybe I would think differently. But my experience in all the companies I've worked for is that asking for excessive effort is common, employees are expected to do it or get demoted/fired, and managers running these projects often make very bad decisions, which makes work worse. Even when I've been in the rare wonderful work environment, it usually deteriorates due to management or external factors in a year or two.

Some years ago I was idealistic and believed that doing a good (great!) job was likely to be rewarded, or that taking a chance on the stock option fueled overtime lifestyle was a reasonable choice. I have learned that it wasn't for me. One incident that confirmed this was a week when I had over 50 hours logged by early Wednesday AM (this is physically possible but barely - not being paid overtime for any of it) after a month of working every weekend. I asked my boss if I could take the weekend off, since I was already over 40 hours and the week was still young. My request was declined and I got a formal reprimand for not being a team player - my request showed I counted work hours and that was against the then prevailing unlimited overtime policy. (That was also during an economic downturn and the company believed we had virtually no alternatives as the job market was horrible).

I actually like the work I do at some level. I'd have to if I was willing to do that much of it. But I'd rather be FI and be able to do what I want - even if it's more of this kind of work - but be doing so because I want to. Some employers, we've said I cannot believe they pay me to do this. But those have never lasted long for me before the company undergoes some Dilbert style transformation. If I'm FI, I don't have to put up with that, because I am not in financial distress if I'm forced to leave a job.

As for the desire to RE, I have so many other things I'd like to do. I do as many of them in my non-working free time, but I will have no problem being overbusy with just these ideas, even when I'm no longer working. The sooner I can devote myself to doing whatever I really want to, the happier I will be.
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:12 AM   #63
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It was an unusual circumstance. We didn't normally get paid overtime.

This gig was with a defense contractor who also did work for NASA, and this was in the "peace dividend" era (mid-1990s) when they thought it would be critical for their survival to get into the commercial space business (because, of course, with the fall of the Soviet Union, defense was a "dead" industry). They spared no expense, and that meant granting an exception for us to be paid overtime in order to hit their deadlines. They brought in catered dinners for several weeks for people who would work well into the night.
Ah, the peace dividend. That must have been before the discovery of the Indian and Chinese menial labor dividend. I long for those days when I could watch some OJ trials and some Monica affairs and just sit back and watch my portfolio rise by 30% a year. Too bad a) my portfolio was tiny then, b) my pay was tiny but I just didn't know it, and c) I thought free dinners were fair compensation for 60 hour weeks for a couple of years at a time. What a dumb ass. I should have jumped ship more often and collected stock options along the way.

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Some years ago I was idealistic and believed that doing a good (great!) job was likely to be rewarded, or that taking a chance on the stock option fueled overtime lifestyle was a reasonable choice. I have learned that it wasn't for me. One incident that confirmed this was a week when I had over 50 hours logged by early Wednesday AM (this is physically possible but barely - not being paid overtime for any of it) after a month of working every weekend. I asked my boss if I could take the weekend off, since I was already over 40 hours and the week was still young. My request was declined and I got a formal reprimand for not being a team player - my request showed I counted work hours and that was against the then prevailing unlimited overtime policy. (That was also during an economic downturn and the company believed we had virtually no alternatives as the job market was horrible).
Hey, what do you know? This stuff is pretty common. In my last job, I was going nuts for about 8-9 months at a stretch and still took the GMAT and went to grad school at the same time. I finally burned out at the 1-year mark and decided to take it easy by working only 40 hours a week for a month. The manager, who worked about 2.5 days a week, decided to write that I'm lazy on my review. It burned me to no end because by the time Wednesday noon rolled around, I was usually 24 hours into a work week while he's just starting to log his first 5. For him to be able to write with a clear conscience that I'm lazy is just beyond my comprehension. Well, two can tango. I kept my leaving plan hush hush and just left in the middle of the project. Good luck finding that mythical harder working person.
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:21 AM   #64
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Gigolo.com
Nay, I think that your career would hit a plateau at about 40 no matter how well you maintained yourself.
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Old 01-19-2009, 10:01 AM   #65
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landonew, thanks for the post -- you set off a good conversation!

Remember that we're a self-selected group. There are lots of people who want to keep working as long as they possibly can. They're perfectly honorable people and if you should end up in that group you'll be in good company. And we like them, we appreciate them funding Social Security!

And as a number of people have pointed out, the real secret is FI, which puts you in control of your life, perhaps for the first time in your life.

Welcome to the forum!

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Old 01-19-2009, 05:01 PM   #66
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Does anyone know of a forum for people who want to work till they are dragged out, feet first, from their workplace? I would like to visit to sample some of their posts.
They're too busy to be wasting time on forums.

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Old 01-19-2009, 05:11 PM   #67
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Does anyone know of a forum for people who want to work till they are dragged out, feet first, from their workplace? I would like to visit to sample some of their posts.
PhysiciansWithoutaLife.net?

I assure you that as much flack as I get around here for not yet pulling the trigger all the way, I wouldn't dream of talking retirement to any of my colleagues for fear of being tagged as impaired. I'll beat most of them by about 12-15 years.

A few will FIRE just a little too late for their own good (and that of their patients).
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Old 01-19-2009, 05:17 PM   #68
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PhysiciansWithoutaLife.net?

I assure you that as much flack as I get around here for not yet pulling the trigger all the way, I wouldn't dream of talking retirement to any of my colleagues for fear of being tagged as impaired. I'll beat most of them by about 12-15 years.

A few will FIRE just a little too late for their own good (and that of their patients).
What Rich said.

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Old 01-19-2009, 05:19 PM   #69
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PhysiciansWithoutaLife.net?

I assure you that as much flack as I get around here for not yet pulling the trigger all the way, I wouldn't dream of talking retirement to any of my colleagues for fear of being tagged as impaired. I'll beat most of them by about 12-15 years.

A few will FIRE just a little too late for their own good (and that of their patients).
As a professional, did you find it difficult to make smart decisions when you were relatively young and had a substantial income? My friends from law school who graduated a year or two ahead of me seem to be spending $$$ like it is going out of style. The new fad for the single guys is to finance a BMW M3. I hope I am not tempted by these material things. Any tips?
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Old 01-19-2009, 05:23 PM   #70
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As a professional, did you find it difficult to make smart decisions when you were relatively young and had a substantial income? My friends from law school who graduated a year or two ahead of me seem to be spending $$$ like it is going out of style. The new fad for the single guys is to finance a BMW M3. I hope I am not tempted by these material things. Any tips?
As an intern, I was working more than 50% of the hours in the day. I worked, I came home to Mom & Dad, I crashed, I slept, I didn't spend any money.....at the end of the year I bought a Ford. After that I only had to spend approximately 45% of my time at work.

I always thought young lawyers worked ungodly hours. Maybe your young friends are underemployed.
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Old 01-19-2009, 05:26 PM   #71
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Landonew, the LBYM attitude is more easily learned young, although it can be learned at any age.

Many otherwise quite smart people, when confronted with 'real money'* go WHEEEEE!, not 'Let me sock some of this away, and then go WHEEE!'

Budget, figure out what you need and want, and go a bit slow.

Go find a compound interest chart on the Internet. The curve really starts rising at 25 - 30 years out. The difference between a BMW right out of school, and a nice but not nutso car, and multiple decisions like that, can be the difference between FI and not.

ta,
mew


*your definition of 'real money' may vary
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Old 01-19-2009, 05:28 PM   #72
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My motto is "Working is for suckers."
I'm still working tho.
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Old 01-19-2009, 05:30 PM   #73
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As a professional, did you find it difficult to make smart decisions when you were relatively young and had a substantial income? My friends from law school who graduated a year or two ahead of me seem to be spending $$$ like it is going out of style. The new fad for the single guys is to finance a BMW M3. I hope I am not tempted by these material things. Any tips?
I don't advise you to do what I did: borrowed so much for my training that I was over 40 by the time I had any real money to invest. By then, I was starting to get it.

But yes, it must be hard - pent up youthful demands for the toys, the too-nice-a-house, whatever. But really, you don't have to sacrifice that much if you stay just a little beneath your means. Most step out way ahead of their means while in those first few years. And split any financial good fortune such as bonuses and raises with yourself: stash half for retirement, and use the rest for fun.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:13 PM   #74
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As a professional, did you find it difficult to make smart decisions when you were relatively young and had a substantial income? My friends from law school who graduated a year or two ahead of me seem to be spending $$$ like it is going out of style. The new fad for the single guys is to finance a BMW M3. I hope I am not tempted by these material things. Any tips?
My wife and I started making $100K+ (combined) right out of graduate school. It's very tempting to go crazy when you make that kind of money so young (especially after years of living on a shoestring). But we kept each other in check and started investing our money right away. A lot of young single guys who graduated with us, however, were feverishly spending their money on cars, TVs, video games, and parties. Of course we had a house (and a mortgage to pay), and they were still crashing on a friend's sofa, so they had more disposable income. I think if you are tempted by material things now, it will be hard to resist. If you are not, then making lots of money won't make much of a difference.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:26 PM   #75
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As an intern, I was working more than 50% of the hours in the day. I worked, I came home to Mom & Dad, I crashed, I slept, I didn't spend any money.....at the end of the year I bought a Ford. After that I only had to spend approximately 45% of my time at work.
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I always thought young lawyers worked ungodly hours. Maybe your young friends are underemployed.


They work long hours, but they have short periods (at least from my perspective) of conspicuous consumption. I know how bad that is, but it looks like a lot of fun.

I think there needs to be a balance. Maybe I will set up a reward system. Once I pay off my loans, I will consider partitioning a portion of my monthly income for a toy with the intention of paying in cash. Perhaps, after seeing how long it took to save $30-40 grand for a nice used luxury car I will decide that It isn't worth it, and spend that $$$ wisely.

Am really glad I found this site. I first started thinking about investing about 1 year ago (After seeing my parentsí situation) and my plans have cycled from mutual funds, to index funds, to real-estate investments to DRIPs.

The stock market crash has absolutely scared the crap out of me. Until recently, I had thought purchasing a 1-2 DRIPs (w/ dollar cost averaging) in each sector would provide adequate diversification. After seeing a 20% reduction in the DOW, I have determined that having a portfolio consisting of diversified equities is not really a diversified portfolio. I read the thread on lattered CDs and I know think that may be the way to go.

I have a lot to learn from you guys. For now I will aggressively pay off my $150,000 worth of student loans, while at the same time maxing out my IRA/401k. After that, I will re-evaluate my situation.
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:34 PM   #76
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As a professional, did you find it difficult to make smart decisions when you were relatively young and had a substantial income? My friends from law school who graduated a year or two ahead of me seem to be spending $$$ like it is going out of style. The new fad for the single guys is to finance a BMW M3. I hope I am not tempted by these material things. Any tips?
Buy the M3. Unbelievable car, and it sure won't hurt your social life either. When you are young, you don't know where your ceiling is. Not only will you have more fun, but it might just work out better if you go on the assumption that you will be a big earner.

Soon enough you will know where you stand in the food chain. Then, if need be, you can start straining glass out of broken peanut butter jars and washing baggies.

OTOH, if you have made it, you can live very well your entire life.

Ha
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:34 PM   #77
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For now I will aggressively pay off my $150,000 worth of student loans
Ouch!
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Old 01-19-2009, 06:43 PM   #78
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Ouch!
Good law schools ain't cheap these days. The worst part is that alot of that is just interest from unfavorable loan terms..... 12+% APR on some of the notes. Need to refinance as soon as I get my feet under me.
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Old 01-19-2009, 07:15 PM   #79
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As they say, "different strokes for different folks". When I was working my ass off trying to get ahead, and then getting ahead, we used to have these retirement parties for the guys leaving. Then the company started offering "special earlies", guys 57 years old and sometimes 55 years old. There was a formula, age plus length of service =85 and you can get the same benefits as retiring at 62. The older I got the better that looked and by the time I was 51, I was was burned out. Comes from working 10-11 hours a day, six and seven days a week for thirty some years. I finally got the chance for a special early buyout. They bought me out with two years salary, all health care benefits and on top of my pension, would pay me social security until I turned 62. For starters, I just couldn't see working for two more years for nothing so I took their deal. Retired 5-1-88 with 34 years service at age 51 1/2. I have never regretted making that move. Of course, if I had stayed a few years longer, I would have a bigger pension and my 401k would have been larger. Also, I could have gotten transferred which I did not want. My wife and I decided that what we had plus what were going to get would make us live comfortably. Lots of things we can't do but we love our lifestyle. God, it's hard to believe I'm 72 and have been retired for over 20 years. Never have looked back. Live every minute.
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:09 PM   #80
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toys

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I think there needs to be a balance. Maybe I will set up a reward system. Once I pay off my loans, I will consider partitioning a portion of my monthly income for a toy with the intention of paying in cash. Perhaps, after seeing how long it took to save $30-40 grand for a nice used luxury car I will decide that It isn't worth it, and spend that $$$ wisely.
How about a nice USED, used luxury car. Instead of 30-40k on a 2 yr old
luxury car, put 5k onto a 10 yr old luxury car. They tend to age rather
well since their owners usually take care of them. I just got a 10 year
old Lexus for my wife for 5k and I can tell you it is 95% as good as a
brand new one. You've already recognized that you don't want to
compete with your coworkers, but that doesn't mean you can't be in
their league and have just as much fun.

Also, no disrespect to haha, but one of my coworkers had an M5,
and you really won't be able to appreciate it unless you plan to spend
a lot of time on a track (or maybe in Montana).
Save your money.

-LB
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