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How many times did you move the goal posts?
Old 10-29-2017, 04:27 PM   #1
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How many times did you move the goal posts?

Prior to you making the plunge to RE, how many times did you change your “number”? I am 2 yrs away from my latest launch date, but have found that I have moved the goal posts multiple times, particularly over the last 10 yrs. I have probably changed my number 5 or 6 times, doubling my desired number at this point over the last 10 yrs from what I originally set. I suppose much of this is due to a combination of adopting/learning more conservative withdrawal strategies and setting a more conservative AA, desiding I would like a little more discretionary income in RE, and perhaps some additional fear/OMY syndrome. Like most on this site, I have been working my plan for years and my exit time is still pretty much as I planned 15 - 20 yrs ago, but I now want a significantly larger nugget. I find it interesting how FI is relative and so different for so many people on this site. Some define their FI when they can generate $25K - $30K yr, others $250K - $300K yr. I suppose the person who is happy with $25K thinks the $250K person should have retired yrs ago and the $250K retire wonders how can anyone live on $25K? I would also suggest most of us want to replicate a standard of living we have been accustomed too during the re ent years prior to RE and not take real steps backwards so our FI number can move due to lifestyle creep. Aside from certain events which dictate a retirement before the planned date (I.e. health problems, lay off), I suppose we are all entitled to set our own definaition of FI.
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Old 10-29-2017, 04:33 PM   #2
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I planned to retire at 55 and planned to acquire the assets to do so by that time. If I hadn't implemented my plan as well as I did, it would have been a frugal retirement but still possible. Luckily, things worked out better than I had hoped, so all is good.

The plan was for a particular age, the $ number was secondary and very flexible.
I thought growing old would take longer.
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Old 10-29-2017, 04:36 PM   #3
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I had planned to retire at 60 when I was 55. I only changed the date once and that was to move it up a year.
Retired at 59 in 2014. Should have done it sooner but I worried too much.
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Old 10-29-2017, 04:42 PM   #4
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Well, I changed my number, but the number was age more than $. I had initially intended to work until 70 (yes really), but had health issues and moved it down to 65 when I would qualify for Medicare. Then found out that DH's health insurance would continue upon his retirement, so moved the number down to 60 - if I don't run out screaming into the night.

As far was working part time at a low income wage, I don't see that. I'd rather work one more year at what I'm doing, that five years at a low paying job. I would probably quickly get resentful.
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Old 10-29-2017, 04:43 PM   #5
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I think the OP is referring to the financial number, not necessarily the date. Maybe those could be one and the same.

I actually moved the goal posts towards me; i.e., reduced my "number", when I got close. My rationale was that I could find some part-time contract work to bridge any expense gap. At 52, and still very employable, it was a risk I happily accepted
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Old 10-29-2017, 04:43 PM   #6
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When I was fresh out of college, working wasn't that much fun and I wasn't making that much - so I thought I could eek out a minimalist retirement in my 40's. When I was in my 30's I had a better job and I was making more, so I continued working. I got a great job in my early 40's and got a $20K/year salary boost at a very successful company. Coworkers respected my opinion, and management was helpful with training and expanding my knowledge. I'm still working at this company and planning to retire in July 2018 at 55 with a 4 star (out of 5) retirement plan.

In short, as I got older, I got better at my job, could better manage my projects to a successful outcome and pay increased greatly. I can understand how difficult it is to leave this combination - I'm on my third OMY!
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Old 10-29-2017, 04:47 PM   #7
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My goal post was a $ amount, not an age. I don't view it so much that the goal post moved, but rather that it was fuzzy and hard to judge the distance. As I spent more time and effort to figure out my retirement budget, the goal got clearer. Getting closer to the goal helped too--it's a lot easier to guess what health care will cost next year than what it will be in 4 years. You can say that I moved the goal posts a lot, but I didn't really consider it a fixed goal until I was close.
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Old 10-29-2017, 04:52 PM   #8
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Since I was a young fellow, my goal was age 55, which would have been in 2014. However, the 2008-09 stock market meltdown did two things: 1) it wiped out well over half of our portfolio; and 2) it convinced me that I should add a bigger cushion in our plans. The current goal is age 60 in 2019. If the market continues on its current tear, we could move that up a year.
Living an analog life in the Digital Age.
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Old 10-29-2017, 04:55 PM   #9
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I set my date ~24 months out. I tweaked it as I found benefit to staying for a couple more months. Since I was already FI when I set the date, it was mostly golden.
FIRE no later than 7/5/2016 at 56 (done), securing '16 401K match (done), getting '15 401K match (done), LTI Bonus (done), Perf bonus (done), maxing out 401K (done), picking up 1,000 hours to get another year of pension (done), July 1st benefits (vacation day, healthcare) (done), July 4th holiday. 0 days left. (done) OFFICIALLY RETIRED 7/5/2016!!
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Old 10-29-2017, 04:57 PM   #10
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we planned for 55 when we were in college. quit 2 years early. never had a target $ other than enough.

RE is more than $
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Old 10-29-2017, 05:39 PM   #11
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I changed my number about 4 times - the RE age number. Originally planned RE at 52. Instead I cut back my work hours and planned for 55. Then cut back to 2-3 days a week and planned for 57. Then the company talked me into one more year at 1-2 days a week. So I finally got out at 58.
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Traded portable goal posts for virtual ones for easy moving
Old 10-29-2017, 06:19 PM   #12
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Traded portable goal posts for virtual ones for easy moving

My goal number had been a date, not a $$ number, for my entire career. Initially it was 58, based on becoming pension-eligible under the rules in play at the time. 58 gradually edged upward to 62 as I contemplated the ravages of inflation on a non-COLA pension.

62 became 70+ when I woke up and found myself in my early forties with the pension underfunded and my life savings consisting of a tool collection haphazardly assembled over two decades of doing home repairs. (DW and I were a paycheck-to-paycheck household, largely because that was our background and expectation; if there was money, it was there to be spent.)

Kicked savings into gear, and by mid fifties I was targeting an exit at 65 based on Medicare. Found this forum and FIRECalc, and shaved 65 down to 62. This year the death of one close friend and the ER of another have affected me deeply, so now I'm shooting for 60... and I turn 59 in a week.

Right now I'm hoping I don't lose my nerve and go into perpetual OMY mode. Also, keeping fingers crossed that a big reorg at Megacorp makes the decision for me with a comfy "get-lost" package.
Paying it forward is the best investment.
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Old 10-29-2017, 06:32 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Ronstar View Post
I changed my number about 4 times - the RE age number.
Same here.

In my 30's when I first came up with the idea of early retirement I set a target date of age 52. In my late 40's I saw the numbers wouldn't work and moved the date to 56. After turning 55 I realized if I worked OMY I could pay off the mortgage*, so 57 became the target. When I gave notice at 57, I was asked to stay another three months, so the date moved one final time.

* Debate away, it worked for me.
Numbers is hard

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
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Old 10-29-2017, 06:40 PM   #14
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Like others I moved the age as opposed to the financial number. Originally I was going to ER at 40, but found a chilaxing low-w*rk sales position with great pay given the low hours. Now I’m considering ER at age 48 or latest at 49.999.
Saved 8 figures by my mid-40's as a professional bubble-spotter. Beware...the Fed creates bubble after bubble after bubble.
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Old 10-29-2017, 06:44 PM   #15
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In my late 30's, my goal was to RE at 59. By my mid 40's, I had moved it to 55 because I was getting burned out on my IT job, but I still loved the company that I worked for. However, after an upper management change two years ago, I no longer liked my IT job or the company that I worked for. I was also wishing that I was more available for aging family members. Over a one year period, I found myself rapidly moving my number, first to 53, then to 51, and finally 50. RE at 50 meant working two more years, however, the thought of even two more years at my job seemed unbearable.

As luck would have it, a couple of months ago, I stumbled into a part-time job with health insurance in a field that had always interested me. I jumped at the chance to work 4 days a week learning something new. With this change in plans, I now have to figure out when to completely RE. Instead of fully retiring at 50, I might consider working until 55. A lot depends what happens with the ACA.
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Old 10-29-2017, 07:35 PM   #16
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My planning has been both a dollar amount and an age. At the outside I was considering 62. In fact I have projections for 60, 61 and 62. That said, the favorability of the recent market performance and the complete stress overload at work have coincided and so 60 it is. I only hope I can make it until next December...
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Old 10-29-2017, 07:48 PM   #17
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My magic number was tied to the value of company stock I was going to cash out when I planned to leave my job. I first hit it in July of 2008 but I didn't have all of the other pieces of my ER plan ironed out. The value of the stock dropped very slightly three months later at its next evaluation (everything was dropping a lot around that time, remember?) but not enough to prevent me from retiring.

For me, the short answer to the OP's question is........ZERO.
Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

"I want my money working for me instead of me working for my money!"
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Old 10-29-2017, 07:57 PM   #18
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I moved the goal post for age and money.

Age - my parents each retired at 62 and loved retirement... I decided I was going to outdo them and retire at 55. So I set to full max retirement savings in my 30's. When DH and I got married - we also set to reducing debt as quickly as possible - even with out California sized mortgage. I knew my spending number would be lower without a mortgage.

Money - the number got higher as I ran my plan past folks here and got to know firecalc better. Fortunately, the market was good during my periods of depression at the moving goal post.

What actually happened... I retired with 200K more than my original plan and 2+ years earlier than my original plan. No regrets so far.
Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
micro pensions 6%, rental income 20%
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Old 10-29-2017, 08:05 PM   #19
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Like many replies above, my goal "number" was more age than dollars. DF retired at 55 and passed away at 59, 22 years ago. That lit a fuse on my ER, so maybe 15 years ago I targeted age 60 to 62. Then when I better understood 401(k) and had a better idea of how much I needed that became 59.5 (I'm guessing in my late 40s). My income was doing well as I passed 50 years old so my target moved up to 57. Then toxic corporate culture combined with the stock market run since 2009 moved me to 55 years (and 4 days since my birthday was on Tuesday and biweekly payroll closed on Friday).

I think in all that time my dollar number didn't really change, I just analyzed and understood it better.
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Old 10-29-2017, 08:08 PM   #20
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Years ago, I slammed a $$$ goal and 50 years old in the ground as a target retirement goal. As we get closer, I think inflation and a bit of life wisdom has me aiming about 15% higher on the $$$ goal...but I think I can still pull it off at 51.

I've also always said that I don't really expect to just drop into neutral and play golf. I've always planned that I will do some level of work or teaching just to keep the brain in motion. That remains my plan.

5 more years (I hope!)
Luck is when Preparation meets Opportunity.
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