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Slouching Towards Retirement
Old 08-28-2012, 05:46 PM   #1
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Slouching Towards Retirement

Hello all. I found this site a couple weeks ago and, lurking amongst the threads, am enjoying it immensely. There's an awful lot of wisdom here.

I'm a few weeks past 59 1/2. Wife is 61. Kids are grown and out of college and more or less on their own. Our first grandchild is due in early November.

Like many here, I relish the small relief that Friday evenings bring, knowing that the whole weekend stretches out in front of you.

I love getting up on Saturday and Sunday mornings to a quiet handful of hours with my cup of coffee at hand, and a good book in front of me.

I love the hours for whatever willful things I might choose that the shank of Saturday offers up.

I likewise love Sunday, albeit a tinge less, as it is already colored by loss.

I despair at how quickly the weekend flies by. How, in the blink of an eye, Sunday afternoon is upon you, easing into the evening, and the blues cast their shadow like a cloak.

It's not that I hate my job. To the contrary, I consider myself, for the most part, quite blessed.

But I hate the grind. The necessity, every day, with no exception save the 20-odd vacation days and half-dozen holidays I receive every year, to get up at 4:25am so I can leave the house at 5am - all so my morning commute will only take an hour. The evening counterpart usually takes closer to two. And when you add it all up my workday ends up burning the better part of 14 hours.

Doesn't leave much time for anything else.

I try not and complain too much. I was unemployed for fifteen months in 2001-2003 and know all too well how savage that can be. How unremittingly terrifying.

No, there's a karma to our lives. Best to only whisper some things.

Still. Surely there's more? Time to write those books and take those pictures? To climb on my bike and ride to distant lands? To put a fly in front of that brook trout up in the mountains on, say, a Tuesday? To crack open one of my chess books and wonder, slowly, which openings I might employ in the tournament in two weeks? To run my log splitter on a Thursday? To stay up long enough to watch an entire Nats' baseball game? To sit on my deck on a weekday evening, cold beer in hand, and ponder with great deliberation whether I should cut the grass tomorrow, or maybe give it another day? To be able to spend a week at the beach with my wife and not impose upon it the inevitable calculus of how many vacation hours it takes?

If nothing else, those otherwise awful fifteen months gave me a taste of those things. I was smitten.

It comes back to the money, of course. The number. How much do you need? How much is enough?

Someone dies, then. And you put down one pair of glasses and pick up another. You look at things through a different prism. You realize, in looking at both sides of that intriguing, rarely-to-be-answered-completely equation, that the one side, the one that speaks to days, is fixed. Immutable.

Makes you wonder.

I think I'm pretty nearly there. Close enough. I'm looking at next year, when I've extinguished the last of my debts, including my mortgage.

I'll post details later in other threads, where I can pose a question or raise a thought. My views of the economic landscape are a bit unconventional, and that has informed my portfolio - which is distinctly and decidedly undiversified.

More on that anon. In the meantime I just wanted to say hi. And thanks in advance for the advice, wisdom, and counsel...
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:09 PM   #2
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Welcome Jeff. You write very well with good visual imagery. The Great American Novel could be in your ER future!
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:13 PM   #3
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Welcome Jeff. The first few months after I retired the Sunday night realization that I didn't have to go anywhere on Monday morning was a wonderful thing.
"Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent." Pogo Possum (Walt Kelly)
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:23 PM   #4
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Welcome. Do you enjoy writing? You do it very well.
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:38 PM   #5
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Welcome aboard Jager. Looking forward to more of your posts.
"Those Who Can Make You Believe Absurdities Can Make You Commit Atrocities" - Voltaire (1694-1778)
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:20 PM   #6
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this post, and a couple of other recent posts, have really struck a nerve with me. I am SO ready to leave the workforce, but I've committed to hanging on [and I'm barely able to tolerate doing so] until March 1.
Like OP, I really really really LOVE my spare time, and also get the Sunday night blues. I can recall my childhood and getting a bit sad when Ed Sullivan said good night - it mean bedtime and school the next day (and I liked school!), 6 months for me if I can hang on - I'm doing my best as a "ROAD engineer." Welcome, Jager.
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Old 08-28-2012, 07:29 PM   #7
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Jager; good stuff! Welcome.
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Old 08-28-2012, 08:00 PM   #8
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Welcome! I enjoyed your introduction and your writing. I too get the Sunday night blues. I have a strong memory of what it was like 30 years ago to be a stay at home mom and never dread Mondays. I look forward to that again some day.
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Old 08-29-2012, 06:34 AM   #9
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Thanks for the welcome, ladies and gents. LauAnn, indeed, I am a writer - albeit that is not my primary occupation. Back in the mists of time, as a young man, I fully expected to become a writer. Alas, life has a way of intruding upon our dreams. A young wife, new babies, a house to pay for... and of a sudden responsibility and obligation to others demand their due. I'm sure many here can relate.

But then you wake up one morning and realize how swiftly one's allotment of days is passing away. And you know that if you're ever going to give life to those dreams that you once had, you had best get to it.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:25 AM   #10
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Very well said, I only wish I could describe my thoughts about work and life as well as you have here. I echo your feelings around getting fulfillment from work yet I am tired of the daily grind. I look forward to your future posts. Good luck in your retirement planning, I hope you find the folks on this board as helpful as I have.
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Old 08-29-2012, 07:38 AM   #11
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Jeff, glad to have to on the board. You appear to be ready and willing and I do hope you are able to join the "Class of 2013".

Class of 2013
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Old 08-29-2012, 01:46 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Meadbh View Post
Welcome Jeff. You write very well with good visual imagery. The Great American Novel could be in your ER future!
I agree
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Old 08-29-2012, 03:50 PM   #13
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Welcome Jeff, this is a great place for those of us planning to retire early.

You captured beautifully what I always called the Sunday night dread. It is totally a dim memory now after a couple years of retirement.
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:11 AM   #14
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Wow, great introduction.

I'm also having the same conflict. A few months ago a 52-year-old at work got The Big Ache and the rest of us (mostly) retired law enforcement guys paused for a bit to consider why we're still working. Only a couple really need the income and the rest, like me, do it because they're optimistic and are for the most part saving it for later.

We decided it all comes down to a line from a Dirty Harry movie:

"How lucky do you feel, punk?"
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:56 AM   #15
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Welcome. You do, indeed, have a flair. The grind, as it were, is a motivator for many, if not most, to find a way to make it happen.

Not having the Sunday night blues is a great reward.

I was similar to you in that I did not dislike what I was doing, but wanted to do something else.

The question of whether you have enough is age old. What you may think is enough may be viewed differently by others. Do your due diligence and then make your decision. No debt and a reasonable stream for income, coupled with "covering all the bases" with regard to health care, etc, should allow you to make an informed decision.

In the final analysis, who really knows if enough is enough? In reality, again assuming sound reasoning was used in the first place, you just "make it work". I have been reading posts recently regarding the difficulty many have making the transition from saving to spending in ER. I can certainly relate to that. However, being weary of spending what I have versus not having it at all is the better position to be in for sure.

It has been 1 year since I ER,d. I found it amazing how easily new habits and routines are formed. Good luck and welcome again.

When all is said and done, usually more was said than done.

Retired Fall of 2011 @58 :)
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:42 AM   #16
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Thank you so much for the eloquent reminder of those painful weekends. On Saturday morning, the weekend seemed so long and then in a flash it was Sunday night.

I'm only one year into ER and I'm not sure if you can ever be certain you have enough money, but you also never know how much time you have. Everyone deserves some time when you are still healthy and energetic to enjoy your free time.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:47 PM   #17
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Jeff, like others have said, nicely done and welcome!

I'm not sure I've read something that so accurately reflects what I'm feeling at my core.

I've got more slouching ahead of me...
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:35 AM   #18
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You write very well. I wish I could do the same. Welcome to the forum, Jeff.
Very conservative with investments. Not ER'd yet, 48 years old. Please do not take anything I write or imply as legal, financial or medical advice directed to you. Contact your own financial advisor, healthcare provider, or attorney for financial, medical and legal advice.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:01 PM   #19
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Very nice post. Ask lots of questions. These people know their stuff and are happy to share it.

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Old 09-07-2012, 10:14 PM   #20
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Great introduction, and welcome!

Speaking of those special weekend feelings, I've been out for almost a year and I still get excited on Saturday mornings and a little melancholy on Sunday nights.
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