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Why does everyone want to retire so early?
Old 01-17-2009, 05:42 PM   #1
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Why does everyone want to retire so early?

Hey yall,
I am young and about to enter the work force.

Can somebody please tell me why retiring in your late-40s/early-50s is so appealing to so many of you?

From my perspective (albeit a relatively uninformed one), aren't you checking out before your number is drawn? That is the time in which your earning potential is at its highest. Also, your job satisfaction should also be at its highest because you have peaked in your chosen profession. Retiring in my late-40s as a senior-managment (partner, or whatever your title is) would seem like a big mistake.

Also, with people living longer and longer... doesn't retirement get boring. I get bored on 3-day weekends (well not really, but a week or two and I am ready to hit it again).

Thanks for informing the younger generation, and please don't take this as a sign of disrespect. Just trolling the board and wondering what the rush is to get out of the work force.
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:45 PM   #2
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Work is highly overrated.
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:51 PM   #3
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I took an early retirement buyout for a pension of $25K; bumped up to $30K a year+ later. would have been $50K if had waited to 2008. Worth every %^&* penny. End of soul sucking frakkin' w**k.

If you're getting bored without some PHB telling you to complete your TPS, maybe you should stay in that cubicle.
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:52 PM   #4
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Hey yall,

Can somebody please tell me why retiring in your late-40s/early-50s is so appealing to so many of you?
You will understand when you start pushing 40.
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:55 PM   #5
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You will understand when you start pushing 40.
And it starts pushing you.
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:55 PM   #6
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Check back with us in 30-years and let us know how you feel then. You might feel the same way, or you might have decided you have more important things to do with your life.

Personally, I realized I couldn't save the world and the people I really owed loyalty to was my family. I retired to do the right thing by them and be there instead of working.

It helps, of course, if you can afford to do that.
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Old 01-17-2009, 05:57 PM   #7
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Landonew:
Welcome. You asked several questions:

Why is retiring early so appealing? Work-Life Balance didn't work out for me personally. I am being sarcastic here, but some folks just aren't in a position to assure that they can fit in all the extra events in their lives while earning a living. For many, work takes up a lot of personal time. It's the American way.

Earning power: yes, you're right, one could be leaving the work force at the point in time when earning power is the greatest. But it's a matter of choice (work/life balance again): how much do you need to earn in order to live well/modestly well for the rest of your life? If you've achieved enough financially, why stay in the work force -- unless the work is so compelling that it is your life's work?

Bored? ARE YOU KIDDING?!!! I can find more ways to do absolutely nothing and get the biggest blast out of it. Time management skills Boo! Hiss!

I sometimes think human beings weren't made to be so regimented by the clock and day of week. But then, I'm not one who is scrabbling for my very existence every day, where daylight hours are needed in order to survive over night.

So, my .03 is that in this life there are many other ways to make a contribution (i.e., volunteer work, helping a neighbor, smelling the roses, spending time with friends and family, pursuing curious interests for no other reason than you are interested) instead of earning money. It would be nice to do all of that and earn a living and contribute to your local economy, but many just aren't able to achieve a balance to do that.

-- Rita
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:00 PM   #8
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I'm on my second career - College English teaching - and I like it.

However, at the end of the day, my feet hurt, especially the right one.

My tolerance for nonsense from management is dropping fast. (has been for some years now.)

It's cold out. I would love to take my credit card and go somewhere warm for a week, just 'cuz I can. But I can't, since I work. (and have to work to pay said credit card bills... )

and so on and so on and scooby dooby do -

ta,
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:01 PM   #9
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landonew,
I guess it really depends on the person. If you are all excited about and love your job, you can stay at work. The main thing is being in a position financially so you can make the choices. That way you are not a slave to your debt or job. Life is somewhat strange, you spend most of your life buying and accumulating things/possessions and then one day you wake up and realise you don't own things, they own you. Try painting and taking care of the maintenance on a 2 story home when your unable to climb or stay on a ladder for hours. Just a point in how things can own you.
Another thing to consider is your health. If you feel fine, no pain and love your job you can keep at it. But, what if your back/spine hurts every time you move. I mean like hurts just to roll over in bed. Sometimes your body says to you, "guess what" your not going to be able to keep this line of work going forever. Get ready to be a smiling face at Walmart doors as a greeter.
Just some random thoughts for you.
I guess its more about freedom than anything else.

Steve
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:06 PM   #10
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There are a few people who are blessed with truly loving their work. There are few people I envy more in the world than those who can do something they love to do -- something they might choose to do for free -- AND get paid for it.

However, for most people I know, a "honeymoon" with a new career burns out quickly. Even if you really do enjoy the nature of your work, the other things -- bad commutes, inflexible working hours, office politics, stupid employer mandates and other stuff -- more often than not suck all the potential fulfillment out of it.

Truth be told, I don't want to fully "retire" early, at least not really early. But the "FI" in FIRE is "financial independence." THAT I'm seeking -- so once I reach the point I'm no longer prostituted chained to employment by the highest bidder, I can find reasonably enjoyable work on my terms (more or less). Once I'm truly FI, I'd rather do something I love for $X than something I loathe at $3X.

I often tell the story of my dad, who was thinking about retiring at his megacorp once he hit 55 and became eligible for retirement with the pension and stuff. He liked the actual work he did, but he grew weary of the office politics and the corporate BS. Well, once he hit 55, suddenly a lot of the politics and corporate BS disappeared. His bosses didn't want him to retire, and they went out of their way to make him want to stay.

That's what financial independence does. If they knew he was chained to a huge mortgage and a live-above-your-means lifestyle and he *needed* the job, he'd still have to grovel to THEM instead of the other way around. But as it was, since he was FI enough to retire at 55 if he wanted to, they made him want to stay. And until a too-good-to-pass-up early retirement incentive came his way a couple years later (one I can only dream of), he was very happy doing the things he enjoyed about his job without enduring most of the pain.

So even if you don't think you want to retire really early, I think it's still important to try to achieve financial independence from employers as soon as possible. Once you do that, if you still want to work, it can be more on YOUR terms. I'm really only pushing for FI because that gives you the ability -- but not the obligation -- to RE. But you can't responsibly RE without FI. So FI is the key.
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:07 PM   #11
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landonew,
and then one day you wake up and realise you don't own things, they own you.

I guess its more about freedom than anything else.

Steve
Years and years ago I read, and was heavily influenced by, The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin.

I have been very, very careful about what I have bought that might 'own' me.

I prefer to work for other reasons, not to pay for stuff, more stuff, and still more stuff.

ta,
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:13 PM   #12
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Hey yall,
I am young and about to enter the work force.
....
That pretty much covers it.

Welcome, yall!
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:18 PM   #13
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My father, and accountant, use to tell us this little ditty:

I dig in the ditch
to get the money
to buy the food
to get the strenth
to dig in the ditch.

At some point one decides it would be nice to break this cycle. Life is what YOU make it.
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:24 PM   #14
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Early retirement was not nearly so appealing before we had kids.

If you'd asked me the day before I had our son whether or not I'd quit work to stay at home, I would have said "no." I had a great job I loved and I was looking forward to going back after my maternity leave was over.

The day after I had our son, going back seemed unthinkable. Still does.
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:38 PM   #15
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I think you will find out when you have been in the work force for a few years.

For me, the most important goal is financial independence. That means nobody can tell me what to do and if I get tired of what I am doing I can change it without big financial consequences. There are also lots of things I want to do that are incompatible with work. For example, I very much want to head off to the West for a summer with travel trailer in tow and do it for the whole summer before the kids head off to college. How likely do you think it is that I will get that much time off from a job?
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:45 PM   #16
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Why quit in the prime earning years? For same reason that they’re prime earning years… because your time and energy are worth more than ever before.
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:48 PM   #17
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Thanks guys. I guess I haven't experienced 2-3 decades of working, so I can see how that might change one's outlook.

I think I understand the FI thing. Tell me if this is a good way to think about it.

Being FI gives you options. The older I get, the more I understand how important it is to have options. People w/o highschool diplomas have limited options. People w/ GEDs have more, but still fewer than those with college degrees who have still fewer than those with professional degrees.

I guess you can look at wealth accumulation like that as well. Those with no savings and a relatively high-degree of obligations (mortgage, credit-card debt, car-payments, ext.) have fewer options than those with an abundency of savings and no obligations.

Perhaps this is the way I should look at it. Anyway, thanks for the input. This forum has started to change the way I view money (especially in relation to the "time-value" of money, and what a dollar saved is worth as opposed to a dollar spent.)
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:51 PM   #18
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Being FI gives you options. The older I get, the more I understand how important it is to have options. People w/o highschool diplomas have limited options. People w/ GEDs have more, but still fewer than those with college degrees who have still fewer than those with professional degrees.

I guess you can look at wealth accumulation like that as well. Those with no savings and a relatively high-degree of obligations (mortgage, credit-card debt, car-payments, ext.) have fewer options than those with an abundency of savings and no obligations.
That's a good start. Another consideration that I wish I had figured out when I was 25 is that you have a limited amount of time and earnings over the course of your life. When you are young, it may seem like there is always plenty of time to earn more money and either dig your way out of a hole or pile up assets. But as you get older, it becomes more and more clear that you have only a certain amount of time, so every year's pay/savings is important. By the time you get to be 60, you had better have saved a good chunk of money because you have relatively time left to pile it up. Time is a wasting asset, in other words.
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Why does everyone want to retire so early?
Old 01-17-2009, 06:52 PM   #19
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Why does everyone want to retire so early?

Because even the worst day spent fishing beats any day at the office.
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:53 PM   #20
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Hey yall,
That is the time in which your earning potential is at its highest.
If you are FI,it's irrelevant.
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Hey yall,
Also, your job satisfaction should also be at its highest because you have peaked in your chosen profession. Retiring in my late-40s as a senior-managment (partner, or whatever your title is) would seem like a big mistake.
Often, if you do well at something you like,mega-corp will need you for a job you don't like. Can't turn it down or you're not a go to guy. No more job satisfaction.
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I think you will find out when you have been in the work force for a few years.
For me, the most important goal is financial independence.
If you are FI and love like your job, great. If you are FI and don't, well that's great too because you have alternatives. FWIW, my uncle (who was probably FI at 50) continued to work into his upper 90's because that is what he wanted to do.
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