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Old 10-31-2020, 11:26 AM   #41
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A big factor that helped us was looking at the Consumer Expenditure Survey and comparing our budgets to people in the survey. We had a lot of fat in our budget compared to most people. Some expenses we optimized before we retired, others we kept as is, like keeping a house that was kind of big for the two of us in a high cost of living area. But we also looked at lower cost of living areas and townhouses near where we lived, and decided worst case we would rather downsize or move a little bit out into the suburbs more than keep working.

We also have much lower overhead being retired - more time to price shop, we do our own yard and housework, our kids are grown and off the payroll, we no longer have to save for retirement or pay into Social Security, we have more time to do our own house projects, we don't have any job expenses, make use of the library, time to make the house water and energy efficient, etc.
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Old 10-31-2020, 03:28 PM   #42
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OP, there's a book written just for your circumstance: The Number by Lee Eisenberg
I agree, this is an excellent book. It delves into the emotions and psychology as well as the practical. YMMV
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Old 10-31-2020, 07:44 PM   #43
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I am also in the Camp of looking for validation, wanted to be sure 100%, many times over. We start our withdrawal phase next year & I am hoping this validation fever will subside then.I have run Firecalc, Fidelity Advice & Planning, NewRetirement & many other Retirement Calculators.
Recently to have local access & other reasons I have moved some of our Accounts from Vanguard to Fidelity & Schwab. Each of the CFPs there gave a free Financial Plan & validated our financial readiness for retirement.
In addition, I have & continue to ask numerous questions on this & Bogleheads knowledgeable & helpful Forums. Videos on You Tube have also been some what helpful.
Yes, you have company, & are not alone by any means
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Old 11-03-2020, 05:49 PM   #44
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While you were contemplating early retirement, poring over your various spreadsheets, models, scenarios, data sets, etc, did you seek out validation - someone to say, "yeah, looks to me like you're in good shape"? Did you ever get over that need for validation?

I find that I'm constantly looking at my numbers, constantly looking for holes in my analysis, and I find that I constantly need validation. I've already posted some of my numbers here and on Bogleheads to get peoples' feedback.

But as time goes by, I find that I want ever more validation. I'm still obsessing over my numbers, slicing and dicing, looking at various data points to jump out at me to say "YOU'RE GOLDEN!" Trying to look for flaws, weaknesses, risks that had been overlooked. I can't stop even though I know it's not healthy.

I know there are no guarantees, but I try to get as close to one as possible.

No one specific question, I guess. I'm just interested in peoples' reaction.
I consulted a financial planner and received a collection of papers and charts, saying "you're fine". I was also concerned I was missing something, but I wasn't. I felt better but I really don't recommend it. It just cost a bunch of money to have someone tell me what I already knew.
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Old 11-03-2020, 06:05 PM   #45
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Nope, too late now. It is what it is.
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Needed validation as well
Old 11-03-2020, 06:37 PM   #46
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Needed validation as well

I too needed validation after running multiple models, and when Ric Edelman was on the radio offering a free checkup, I took the opportunity and scheduled an appointment. Funny story, their program indicated I had a 100% probability of success (that I could retire right now), but their recommended adjustments indicated a 99% probability of success. I asked the financial planner what's that about, he said, "Oh, that's our fee". I thanked him for his honesty.

Still, I get that nagging feeling that I need more buffer above and beyond my current needs (which includes an ample amount of discretionary spending), just in case....
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Old 11-03-2020, 07:22 PM   #47
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I never stressed over the numbers. Just bagged it and shagged it.
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Old 11-03-2020, 07:50 PM   #48
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You can weigh a pig more frequently before sending it to be processed but it won’t get any heavier.

If you look hard enough for flaws you eventually will find one, be it real or imagined, substantial or trivial.
Well said!
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Old 11-03-2020, 10:49 PM   #49
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In the 6 months before my projected ER I probably checked FIRECALC every other day! And on the off days I merely did handwritten budget checks, just to be sure. And I'm only slightly exaggerating.
+1 it makes me feel so much better to hear how common this obsessive checking is!
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Old 11-04-2020, 01:28 AM   #50
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+1 it makes me feel so much better to hear how common this obsessive checking is!
You know, I got to thinking back to BEFORE I declared Financial Independence at 51. I too checked every day. I especially liked looking at my 401(k)'s GIF results. It ALWAYS went up - even when the various other accounts bounced around. The really FUN fund was Megacorp stock which was on a tear about that time. Shortly after FI, I really slacked off - to the point I eventually just looked at the quarterly statements. Toward the end, I just looked (closely) at the year-end reports. YMMV
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Old 11-04-2020, 03:15 AM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincenzo Corleone View Post
While you were contemplating early retirement, poring over your various spreadsheets, models, scenarios, data sets, etc, did you seek out validation - someone to say, "yeah, looks to me like you're in good shape"? Did you ever get over that need for validation?

I find that I'm constantly looking at my numbers, constantly looking for holes in my analysis, and I find that I constantly need validation. I've already posted some of my numbers here and on Bogleheads to get peoples' feedback.

But as time goes by, I find that I want ever more validation. I'm still obsessing over my numbers, slicing and dicing, looking at various data points to jump out at me to say "YOU'RE GOLDEN!" Trying to look for flaws, weaknesses, risks that had been overlooked. I can't stop even though I know it's not healthy.

I know there are no guarantees, but I try to get as close to one as possible.

No one specific question, I guess. I'm just interested in peoples' reaction.

I obsessed over the same issues before my retirement 3 years ago. Now I'm wondering why I worried about it at all. I could have retired Minimum 3 years before I did and not have had to go into a job I absolutely despised. Now I obsess about that.
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Old 11-04-2020, 03:46 AM   #52
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Do you have access to spending documentation, or can you recreate it, going back beyond 4 years?

When the time for me to RE came, I found the value of having ~20 years of categorized spending data ready for analysis was priceless.

I was never on a budget, just spended what my values allowed.

When I saw that the quicken spending data was remarkable constant from year to year, I knew that I was set to RE.

Using a software package such as quicken that allows dual-entry accounting will prevent you from having untracked spending. You wouldn't be able to reconcile all of your financial accounts with their statements if you tried this.

-gauss
This resonates with me. In order to do a financial plan we needed to know our spending. We got that by charging almost everything to our Costco credit card, and then adding things that were paid by check. Like property taxes and health care.

The credit card data lets us look at various categories and guess about the future. Like reduced clothing and commuting cost, and increased vacation cost....

We monitored the data for a few years and came up with a number. Compared it to our in-laws who have been retired for years. Since our projection is almost exactly what they spend, and their spending includes smoking and lots of casino, we felt pretty good about our model. Especially since we are pretty good at LBYM, and can reduce our spending if needed.

In our financial models we have taken a portfolio chunk "off the table" for investing in the stock market. We will live on the income from the "on the table" money and let the stock market fluctuate like it does. We think the last 10 years are not representative so we are not comfortable planning for growth within the next decade. We hope we are wrong but hate to rely on something that is not predictable.

Since we have this fat in our plan we did not see the need for visiting a financial planner. When the time comes we will bring our kids into the know. They can be the sounding board. That might be when we are 75 or 85. Not sure.

Regarding Financial planners or brokers pretty much everyone I talk to in person says something like "I have this great guy. I can introduce you to him if you want." That feels scary to us.
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Old 11-04-2020, 03:49 AM   #53
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It's still there (at least for me). Look under Services in your Profile & Account Settings.
Just looked at my Vanguard account and it is not there in the Profile & Account Settings. Too bad - I liked that calculator very much. Now we use the Fidelity one as validation, plus our own spreadsheet.
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Old 11-04-2020, 05:51 AM   #54
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I had multiple sources (Megacorp financial planner, various calculators) all validated that I was good to go at age 55. However, Once reason I worked beyond that to age 60, to "fatten" our plan, so that We would not agonize over it once we retired. It helped that I liked my job and that it payed well. For our mental health working those "extra" years was well worth it. Life is always a tradeoff.
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Old 11-04-2020, 07:23 AM   #55
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I absolutely obsessed over the numbers for the last couple years before RE. Never had anybody else look at them. All is well.
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Old 11-04-2020, 09:09 AM   #56
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For me, it comes and goes. I go through spates where I am obsessively dividing numbers in my head while trying to sleep, getting up and checking figures against spreadsheets, etc. Then I can go weeks and weeks without worrying.

I am still w*rking, hoping to hang up the spikes this spring. I like to think it is normal to be very concerned as you stand on the precipice, ready to cast off most of your remaining human capital...
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Old 11-05-2020, 11:53 AM   #57
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I started by reviewing our investments. And our estimated pension income.

Then I tracked, on an after tax basis, our monthly spend, our annual spend for two years prior to retirement. Nothing fancy, just a tape of total outflows each month. Categories did not matter.

Then we added in a budget for travel. One for quarterly tax payments. Another for capital items. We added ten percent to those expense numbers. Then adjusted for inflation rates and investment returns.

The numbers gave us the answer. We knew if we were wrong we could cut back.

After eight years we were pretty much bang on but only from a macro total spend perspective. Investment returns have far exceeded our conservative guess eight years ago.

We still take a tape of monthly spend, and yearly after tax spend. Just totals since there is little value to us in breaking it down further.
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Old 11-15-2020, 11:23 AM   #58
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Vince,

Your normal - paralysis by analysis is standard in the years leading up to pulling the trigger to FIRE.

You have been given excellent advice in the responses herein.

I would 2nd/3rd the advice to having a Fee Only Financial Advisor to review your current status and path forward projections & plans.

ms gamboolgal and I have used Rick Ferri three times in the last few years - in fact we just did a final Nervous Nellies review with him again last week.
We like and recommend Rick.

We will retire effective 1-Feb-21 and consolidate all of Megaoil Corps Savings to Vanguard.

For us, we are going to Self Manage our Portfolio at Vanguard with a very simple 3 or 4 Index funds approach with a AA target range of 50/50 to 60/40 (equities / bonds).

Additionally we have about 3 years of Cash piled up that is not included in the basis for our AA targets.

Before we got comfortable with self managing we did the following:

As a experiment, we had some our our Savings with a Financial Management Firm that fellow workers used and recommended. Over a ~6 year period their performance was poor vs how our Vanguard Index Funds performed. So we closed the account and consolidated to Vanguard a couple of years ago.

We allowed the Vanguard Personal Advisor Service (PAS) to submit a couple of proposals to consider. We just can't see the value of the PAS fee's vs Self Managing for a simple index fund approach.

We used the Financial Planning Group that Megaoil Corp provides several times over the last few years.

We allowed a couple of Management Firms to submit reviews/proposals.

And finally, there is the thousands of Firecalc simulations, and multiple other sites to run the numbers till your eyes are bleeding, and the terabytes of homemade spreadsheets

FIRE is a big deal - Your normal..... but I would agree it is a good idea to get some Cold Eyes to review your plans thouroughly. It is monies well spent in our opinion.

ETA - Being overseas living in Africa - We were unable to take advantage of or participate in meet ups that local Boggleheads have. Suggest you check if you have a local group that meets near enough so that you can go and discuss with like minded folks.

In retirement, we plan on participating / attending Boggleheads meetings in The Woodlands, Texas.

All the best in your FIRE pursuits.

Lifes A Dance And You Learn As You Go....

gamboolman....

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Old 11-15-2020, 12:07 PM   #59
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I think part of the issue is that since most other people we know don't have the financial situation to retire, even those who had higher household incomes, retiring early seems almost too good to be true. I mean when we started actually running the numbers and doing research, we realized we could easily retire to Spain or the South of France. It seemed surreal.
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Thank you
Old 11-15-2020, 03:37 PM   #60
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Thank you

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It's still there (at least for me). Look under Services in your Profile & Account Settings.



Thanks for posting this. They moved it and I hadn't seen it in a long time. Honestly thought VG had eliminated the link.
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