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Old 04-20-2021, 04:42 PM   #1
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Saved and...now what?

Hello!

I've been a lurker for a long time and I love learning about people's lives/stories/strategies (we actually started a retirement blog about 18 years ago, but there wasn't really an audience for it back then). I'm so appreciative of how generous everyone is on these boards.

Getting to it, during Covid, we realized that although we were good savers (go DINKs!) and had a loose idea about living some or all of our time in Europe eventually, we really didn't have a plan. We were just simply "too busy" to focus on it; living in our home 24/7 freed up some time! We started working with a financial planner for the first time—given a potential move to Europe we know *we* needed some help to plot out the next, few years of moving money, taxes, etc. And when we did the math, we realized that we could, in fact, FIRE. Although at 54 (me) and 61 (DH), I don't know that we're necessarily "early."

BUT, although we're tired of working like crazy (both started work at 11 yrs. old), we're sort of addicted to it—and the money it's brought us. Growing up poor (like government cheese-level poor) will do that to you. We've had all the lessons in our lives (cancer, tragic family deaths, etc.) that have shown us, in no uncertain terms, that life is SHORT—and yet, we're both really hesitant to shut off the money spigot.

I'm curious as to how people have gotten past the emotional (and sometimes spending) hurdle of less money, and how more free time was/is, indeed, priceless.
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Old 04-20-2021, 05:35 PM   #2
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Welcome!

We all go through our own process of coming to the conclusion that it's time. Financially there are thousands of threads on "Do I have enough to retire". Start with Firecalc and plug in your numbers. Once you get to the point where you believe you have more than enough to retire at the level of comfort you are looking for, it will be easier to make the decision. At some point you will determine that you are just working to build unnecessarily large reserves, or to leave a bigger inheritance to someone after you are both gone. When that happens the decision will be easier for you to make.
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Old 04-20-2021, 06:19 PM   #3
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Welcome to our forum.
BTW you are ER. Most folks outside of this forum would consider under 65 to be ER, plus the average age of retirees on this forum is around 56/57 IIRC.
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Old 04-20-2021, 06:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ready View Post
Welcome!

We all go through our own process of coming to the conclusion that it's time. Financially there are thousands of threads on "Do I have enough to retire". Start with Firecalc and plug in your numbers. Once you get to the point where you believe you have more than enough to retire at the level of comfort you are looking for, it will be easier to make the decision. At some point you will determine that you are just working to build unnecessarily large reserves, or to leave a bigger inheritance to someone after you are both gone. When that happens the decision will be easier for you to make.
Yep. Love Firecalc—can't fake the numbers! But your point about "unnecessarily large reserves" resonates. Thank you!
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Old 04-20-2021, 06:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ready View Post
Welcome!

We all go through our own process of coming to the conclusion that it's time. Financially there are thousands of threads on "Do I have enough to retire". Start with Firecalc and plug in your numbers. Once you get to the point where you believe you have more than enough to retire at the level of comfort you are looking for, it will be easier to make the decision. At some point you will determine that you are just working to build unnecessarily large reserves, or to leave a bigger inheritance to someone after you are both gone. When that happens the decision will be easier for you to make.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dtail View Post
Welcome to our forum.
BTW you are ER. Most folks outside of this forum would consider under 65 to be ER, plus the average age of retirees on this forum is around 56/57 IIRC.
Thanks. And fair point re: age. I think I've just been inundated with discourse from FIRE fans who are in their 30s and 40s.
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Old 04-20-2021, 07:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by EuropeOrBust View Post

I'm curious as to how people have gotten past the emotional (and sometimes spending) hurdle of less money, and how more free time was/is, indeed, priceless.
For me it was the simple thought of how much more money would I need to change my standard of living......
$500k, $1M, $5M, ++ ?
It turned out to be a very large number. I have a fairly nice standard of living now, and to increase it would take big numbers - there isn't that much that I want for now, so I see a big step to the next level.
Then I considered how much time I would need to trade for that big number. Even with a big paycheck, it was measured in years.
Considering I have about 15 good years (healthy, active, able) left, I asked myself if I wanted to trade 3 or 5 of them for a higher standard of living. Considering that the next 3-5 are probably the best of the next 15, I said NO THANKS!
That's how I got past the emotional side of things.
Oh, and don't think of it as less money, think of it as enough money.
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Old 04-20-2021, 08:11 PM   #7
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I retired at age 54 1/2, with a small pension and a decent-sized 401k, but not all that much compared to some folks on this forum. I knew at that time I could do it, though, as DW and I have always been frugal, and we knew what our expenses were. I enjoyed my career, but near the end it was becoming less enjoyable and more like drudgery, so it was definitely time to move on. I could have worked longer and increased my pension and 401k, but, after 11 years of retirement, I am very glad I left when I did. The 11 years we've had have been great, and that is time that you just can't get back. It really hits home when we hear about friends and others around our age that have become ill, and may not be able to enjoy their retirements like we have been able to do. Life is short........enjoy it while you can.
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Old 04-20-2021, 08:25 PM   #8
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I got past the desire to put more away when it became more painful staying than adding more brought comfort to our world. Megacorp went through changes to become acquired, most management was looking like a deer about the get hit. My VP had a desire to yell. I have a desire not to be yelled at. We agreed.
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Old 04-20-2021, 08:59 PM   #9
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The strategy that seems to be helping me mentally is: instead of asking how much have we accumulated (in terms of $), perhaps the right way to gauge is:

How many "work-free retirement years" have we banked so far? Every/another/extra year we work, we are losing one banked/saved "retirement year", and we are left with one less year of simpler/happy life.

In other words - we are spending another year of retirement life, to chase some electronic bits ($) in a computer.
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Old 04-20-2021, 10:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EuropeOrBust View Post
Thanks. And fair point re: age. I think I've just been inundated with discourse from FIRE fans who are in their 30s and 40s.
They can be safely ignored, at least those in their 30's, as they haven't been kicked in the teeth enough (or seen that happen to close friends) to understand what it takes to really, actually, no turning back, kiss your nice income goodbye forever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EuropeOrBust View Post
Hello!

I've been a lurker for a long time and I love learning about people's lives/stories/strategies (we actually started a retirement blog about 18 years ago, but there wasn't really an audience for it back then). I'm so appreciative of how generous everyone is on these boards.

Getting to it, during Covid, we realized that although we were good savers (go DINKs!) and had a loose idea about living some or all of our time in Europe eventually, we really didn't have a plan. We were just simply "too busy" to focus on it; living in our home 24/7 freed up some time! We started working with a financial planner for the first time—given a potential move to Europe we know *we* needed some help to plot out the next, few years of moving money, taxes, etc. And when we did the math, we realized that we could, in fact, FIRE. Although at 54 (me) and 61 (DH), I don't know that we're necessarily "early."

BUT, although we're tired of working like crazy (both started work at 11 yrs. old), we're sort of addicted to it—and the money it's brought us. Growing up poor (like government cheese-level poor) will do that to you. We've had all the lessons in our lives (cancer, tragic family deaths, etc.) that have shown us, in no uncertain terms, that life is SHORT—and yet, we're both really hesitant to shut off the money spigot.

I'm curious as to how people have gotten past the emotional (and sometimes spending) hurdle of less money, and how more free time was/is, indeed, priceless.
You're "early" by my standards, but I don't think someone else's label should deter one from making the right decision for themselves.

As far as getting past the hurdle, there are a lot of stories here. Mine was the realization that I could live as I had after a change in family circumstances. Better that I raise the kids than a nanny while I continued working. The things on the horizon with the extra money were all play toys with transitory (and declining) value, so that made it easier. Have missed the professional challenges and regular interaction with bright people, so those were the trade offs.

Short recommendation - When working is no longer fun and interesting, AND you can live the life you want, pull the plug.
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Old 04-21-2021, 02:59 AM   #11
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I grew to hate my job. I saw all kinds of folks pass away young before 62. So it was easy for me. My father away said something that hit home. If you are single and go broke it is no big deal. He came from a large family that went broke. I pray I will not go broke but I do understand his point. Another thing that helped me is I know several millionaires that chase money non stop. I don't want to be like that. You will always leave money on the table that is life if you think about it.
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Old 04-21-2021, 06:20 AM   #12
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Time is also a commodity, and you can't buy more than whatever you have left.
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Old 04-21-2021, 07:22 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarveyS View Post
For me it was the simple thought of how much more money would I need to change my standard of living......
$500k, $1M, $5M, ++ ?
It turned out to be a very large number. I have a fairly nice standard of living now, and to increase it would take big numbers - there isn't that much that I want for now, so I see a big step to the next level.
Then I considered how much time I would need to trade for that big number. Even with a big paycheck, it was measured in years.
Considering I have about 15 good years (healthy, active, able) left, I asked myself if I wanted to trade 3 or 5 of them for a higher standard of living. Considering that the next 3-5 are probably the best of the next 15, I said NO THANKS!
That's how I got past the emotional side of things.
Oh, and don't think of it as less money, think of it as enough money.
I love this—"..don't think of it as less money, think of it as enough money." We're the same, we have lived pretty fat for many years. Yes, all the "stuff" but travel is our biggest luxury (pre-Covid) so having more time to do that would be pretty dreamy. And my hope is that we have less desire for the over water bungalow-type holidays once we're not spending the first five days of holiday decompressing from work.

And DH is a cancer survivor and has always referred to these years after his remission as bonus years. I'm with you as far as the notion of the next 3-5 potentially being the best years!
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Old 04-21-2021, 07:26 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by RAE View Post
I retired at age 54 1/2, with a small pension and a decent-sized 401k, but not all that much compared to some folks on this forum. I knew at that time I could do it, though, as DW and I have always been frugal, and we knew what our expenses were. I enjoyed my career, but near the end it was becoming less enjoyable and more like drudgery, so it was definitely time to move on. I could have worked longer and increased my pension and 401k, but, after 11 years of retirement, I am very glad I left when I did. The 11 years we've had have been great, and that is time that you just can't get back. It really hits home when we hear about friends and others around our age that have become ill, and may not be able to enjoy their retirements like we have been able to do. Life is short........enjoy it while you can.
THANK YOU so much for this reminder. Needed it today—after spending an hour convincing the DH not to "lose it" at work today. He's definitely at the end of his working rope.
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Old 04-21-2021, 07:30 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by FANOFJESUS View Post
I grew to hate my job. I saw all kinds of folks pass away young before 62. So it was easy for me. My father away said something that hit home. If you are single and go broke it is no big deal. He came from a large family that went broke. I pray I will not go broke but I do understand his point. Another thing that helped me is I know several millionaires that chase money non stop. I don't want to be like that. You will always leave money on the table that is life if you think about it.
Great perspective. Thank you!
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Old 04-21-2021, 07:31 AM   #16
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Time is also a commodity, and you can't buy more than whatever you have left.
I hear you!
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Old 04-21-2021, 07:33 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by FlaGator View Post
They can be safely ignored, at least those in their 30's, as they haven't been kicked in the teeth enough (or seen that happen to close friends) to understand what it takes to really, actually, no turning back, kiss your nice income goodbye forever.



You're "early" by my standards, but I don't think someone else's label should deter one from making the right decision for themselves.

As far as getting past the hurdle, there are a lot of stories here. Mine was the realization that I could live as I had after a change in family circumstances. Better that I raise the kids than a nanny while I continued working. The things on the horizon with the extra money were all play toys with transitory (and declining) value, so that made it easier. Have missed the professional challenges and regular interaction with bright people, so those were the trade offs.

Short recommendation - When working is no longer fun and interesting, AND you can live the life you want, pull the plug.
My work is fun; DH's is not. I'm a consultant so can build my business anywhere, even in Europe (if I felt the need to work). But, yes, he's super stressed and it's tough to watch, for sure. Having that year timeline (sell our house and move to Europe by next summer) is helping.
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Old 04-21-2021, 07:36 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by FANOFJESUS View Post
I grew to hate my job. I saw all kinds of folks pass away young before 62. So it was easy for me. My father away said something that hit home. If you are single and go broke it is no big deal. He came from a large family that went broke. I pray I will not go broke but I do understand his point. Another thing that helped me is I know several millionaires that chase money non stop. I don't want to be like that. You will always leave money on the table that is life if you think about it.
That's a great way to think about it. We've both always been good earners, so letting that part of our life go is a strange notion. Although I'm open to starting a completely different business in Phase 3 (as we call it) like raising bees or something
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Old 04-21-2021, 07:40 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by yhoomajor View Post
The strategy that seems to be helping me mentally is: instead of asking how much have we accumulated (in terms of $), perhaps the right way to gauge is:

How many "work-free retirement years" have we banked so far? Every/another/extra year we work, we are losing one banked/saved "retirement year", and we are left with one less year of simpler/happy life.

In other words - we are spending another year of retirement life, to chase some electronic bits ($) in a computer.
Oohhh. I like this LIfe Math. Thanks
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Old 04-21-2021, 10:20 AM   #20
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I think everyone has their own "moment" when you just know. I had been talking about retiring for about 5 years, and financially could have done so, albeit with different levels of financial security. I had ideas of what I wanted to do in retirement. But I never pulled the plug. I was less and less satisfied at work, but it was still fine (and they were paying me a ridiculous amount of money). And then it changed.

I had some medical issues in the fall which made me a bit more introspective about priorities. Then my boss announced her retirement, which means my job would have changed significantly. And I knew it was time. So 2 1/2 weeks ago was my last day.

If my job was still 80% enjoyable and fulfilling as it had been 5-10 years ago, I don't know if I would have left. But my BS bucket overflowed. It was a little scary leaving that pay check behind, but I'm as comfortable as I can be that my stash will last me.
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