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FIRE And My Mental Health
Old 10-30-2020, 02:28 PM   #1
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FIRE And My Mental Health

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.
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:04 PM   #2
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:10 PM   #3
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You can weigh a pig more frequently before sending it to be processed but it won’t get any heavier.

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Old 10-30-2020, 03:17 PM   #4
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I never asked for validation, but as I read and investigated more, I kept adjusting our numbers to get more safety. DW joked that it was "five more years" for at least a decade. :-)

Because we planned a majority of our spending to be for travel, which is entirely discretionary, we were enabled to jump without much fear.
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:17 PM   #5
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I retired in 2001, without the benefit of FIRECalc and all the other calculators available today. Just seat of the pants calculation. So far it has been working just as planned.

One thing I believe may be useful is to run FIRECalc using only a portion of your portfolio (maybe 75%) and inflating your planned expenses (maybe 120% of actual). If that comes out to a high success percentage, it should give anyone the assurance they need.
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:25 PM   #6
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That's what I did. In addition to Firecalc also used Fidelity's what-if tool as that's where the bulk of my investments are. I was fairly conservative with my parameters; used 125% of what my expenses were and didn't include Social Security at all (in reality SS is going to be around 40-50% of my needed income once I start taking it). Probably at 70 but possibly before (I'm almost 67 now).
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:31 PM   #7
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Before I retired I did go see a financial planner just to make sure there weren't any "gotchas" that I didn't know about. He was very familiar with the retirement system I'm in and the whole meeting took about five or ten minutes. As I recall he didn't even charge me anything.
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:33 PM   #8
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I didn't ask anyone else for validation, but the thing I worried most about was not accounting for all expenses, especially the irregular ones, because I had too many "forgot about this" additions. Once I took a few passes over it without change, I felt a lot better. When it came time to pull the trigger, I did so without any panic.
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
I retired in 2001, without the benefit of FIRECalc and all the other calculators available today. Just seat of the pants calculation. So far it has been working just as planned.

One thing I believe may be useful is to run FIRECalc using only a portion of your portfolio (maybe 75%) and inflating your planned expenses (maybe 120% of actual). If that comes out to a high success percentage, it should give anyone the assurance they need.
Thanks for this. I just did so, and I didn't include social security or my wife's expected pension. I chose the, "Search for settings that will get a success rate of as close to 100% as possible (usually within 1%) by changing...Spending Level" in the Investigate tab. The result gave me a spending level that was 120% of our current spending.

I'm feeling good...for now.
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:51 PM   #10
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Before I retired I did go see a financial planner just to make sure there weren't any "gotchas" that I didn't know about. He was very familiar with the retirement system I'm in and the whole meeting took about five or ten minutes. As I recall he didn't even charge me anything.
That's interesting. The financial advisors I've called wanted me to have them manage our money. They didn't want to talk to me otherwise. None of them agreed to just a one-time consultation.
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:54 PM   #11
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I didn't ask anyone else for validation, but the thing I worried most about was not accounting for all expenses, especially the irregular ones, because I had too many "forgot about this" additions. Once I took a few passes over it without change, I felt a lot better. When it came time to pull the trigger, I did so without any panic.
I think this is what I fear most. However, I know that fear is unfounded as we pay for almost everything by credit card, and those credit cards are tracked in Quicken.
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:57 PM   #12
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I think this is what I fear most. However, I know that fear is unfounded as we pay for almost everything by credit card, and those credit cards are tracked in Quicken.
Here’s a list of questions anyone planning on retiring should review. https://www.early-retirement.org/for...ire-69999.html
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Old 10-30-2020, 04:06 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 10-30-2020, 04:33 PM   #14
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That's interesting. The financial advisors I've called wanted me to have them manage our money. They didn't want to talk to me otherwise. None of them agreed to just a one-time consultation.
This was admittedly an unusual situation - the FP I went to see was also a retiree from the same place I worked, and although he was knowledgeable everyone knew his wife was the real brains behind the operation. She was sitting in the same room at the time and the fact that she didn't say a word spoke volumes.
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Old 10-30-2020, 04:47 PM   #15
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For a while, I was paranoid about zeros .. what if I added one by mistake?

I used Vanguard's free advisory service. It was a while ago, but I don't think I got much from them, but at least someone else looked over the portfolio & value.
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Old 10-30-2020, 05:00 PM   #16
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We had a call with our vanguard rep to go through my estimates and our tax assumptions. Much of the call was spent with me correcting him, but it gave DH the added security of knowing someone else had vetted my numbers and helped assure me I wasn't missing something big.

I really, really didn't want to work anymore, so no way were we saving for 120% success levels. Which made me check numbers daily.... That said, our spend is relatively fat, so there's a lot to cut if we need to.
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Old 10-30-2020, 05:18 PM   #17
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I for one believe that if one is at 100% in the various different calculators, one is most likely good to go.
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Old 10-30-2020, 05:43 PM   #18
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I had used Quicken and Quicken Lifetime Planner for years to plan our retirement and monitor our progress. In addition, I had had a couple free Vanguard financial planning sessions. I had also monitored my progress using Financial Engines that was available through Vanguard for years.

On the verge of retirement, I ran FIRECalc and about every free retirement planner known to man and they all gave me various versions of a green light... so I pulled the plug.
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Old 10-30-2020, 05:56 PM   #19
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That's interesting. The financial advisors I've called wanted me to have them manage our money. They didn't want to talk to me otherwise. None of them agreed to just a one-time consultation.
Thirty-five years ago my wife and I met with a financial planner (first and last time ever) to get his take on our plan. I walked him through our savings and investments and asked if he thought we were saving too much for retirement. He looked at us like we were crazy to even entertain such a thought. Then, he offered to do a one-time analysis and plan for a cool $1,000. A lot of money in 1985. That’s when we became DIY’ers. And, I am glad for every dollar we put away.

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Old 10-30-2020, 06:24 PM   #20
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All my life I never tracked expenses and it was never a problem. I had never planned to retire early but when circumstances changed I quickly put together a spreadsheet. I worked on it for one month until the numbers stopped changing. I made my decision to retire but waited a couple of months to announce it to my workplace. I tracked my expenses in detail for about 18 months into retirement then I put the spreadsheet away. Ten years later all is well.
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