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The process of reaching THE decision
Old 03-02-2010, 09:32 PM   #1
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The process of reaching THE decision

This might best be posted in the "life after" forum I donno.

Its been over one year since I seriously considered "jumping out of the plane". The downsizing package offered in the fall of 2008 had me creating spreadsheets and thinking hard. When the economy crashed the opportunity I was about to land to do something completely different dried up and I backed off. At the time I was clearly unprepared to fully retire.

Prior to that I was much more concerned with getting caught up in a downsizing than I was thinking about voluntarily retiring.

1.25 years later and another downsizing and (somewhat reduced) package comes along. However, this time I had the benefit of having played with my numbers for a year. Low interest rates increased my retirement lump sum. The economy bottomed out and seemed on a much more stable footing.

The DW and I were processing the scenario at some level for all that time.

Im a numbers guy. I did so many what-ifs it would make a normal person numb. Returns, inflation, how much do we really need etc...

We talked about downsizing our house and budget. We talked about moving and the prospect of stepping outside our comfort zone " for once in our lives".

I grew to consider the change a a "blue ocean" experience, an adventure. I cant quite describe it but it took all this time to really get psychologicaly prepared.

In the past week or so we have clearly transitioned from "ruminating and oscilating" to taking action. We've crossed some sort of threshold. Now the inertia associated with implementing some of these changes (e.g getting the house staged for sale) is building. Our plan is coming alive and the stress associated with the decision is receding.

I could never have come to this in a month or two. Its too big.
Now Im with one foot out of the plane. Turning back seems a very remote possibility. Im coming to peace with the choice... to a point.
I sure do hope the chute opens.

How was the process for you??

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Old 03-02-2010, 10:13 PM   #2
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I am one year into ER and went through similar angst to reach my decision. My company was downsizing and offering incentives and only because I was fed up had I crunched the numbers many times prior to this offer. It still is so hard to make the move. You have been this person for so many years and to "suddenly" change to something else is very traumatic. Even after one year, I still have "work dreams" and cannot quite get past it. Around here, if you retire early I think the assumption is something is wrong. You have to find your peace with the whole thing. Reading these posts helps me think I'm not crazy. Reading Zelinski's books helps alot too.
Don't get me wrong, I don't wish for one minute I was back at my job. It just takes me more than I thought to adjust and be at peace.
It sounds like you have more at stake, since you are reducing your cost of living. I did not have this problem, am pretty well set but it's still a struggle some times to be this different person.

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Old 03-03-2010, 07:43 AM   #3
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Your very fortunate to have had the time to run the fire-drill a couple times. Lots of people are getting the boot without the cute (and making it work).

Plenty of threads about "analysis paralysis". Just get comfortable with the fact that you'll never eliminate all the risk. There's always: divorce, health crisis and uninsured lost (to name a few); which we have little/no control over.
FIRE'd since 2005
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Old 03-03-2010, 09:39 AM   #4
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I spent 8 years from the time I first thought "If they fired me, I could probably look for part time rather than full time work." to "I'm walking out the door". Each year along the way improved my financial situation and made retirement more realistic.

Like you, I'm way analytical and ran scenarios every way I could.

As it turned out, I've had some unexpected financial negatives since I retired. In my case, I'm glad that I had a belt-and-suspenders plan.
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:07 AM   #5
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Congratulations on making your decision.

For us, it seemed relatively easy. DW & I didn't associate much self-image to our jobs, and that helped. Having skills and a professional network to fall back on helped us feel secure in our decision to leave our jobs. The bigger stress factor was our age - 48/45 at the time - and the amount of time our portfolio (no pensions or paid healthcare) would have to sustain us. I ran every calculator I could find and they all said we would be fine.

We have no regrets at having taken the plunge into ER. However, our calculations didn't take into account a 2008 in the very first year (in fact, a scant 4 months into ER!), so we went back to work late last year - part-time - to ease the drag on the portfolio. This too, we're trying to take in our stride, though it isn't easy at times.

After 2008, my confidence in being able to handle the volatility of a "4% of current portfolio value" strategy (from Clyatt) has been shaken. So, we may continue to work here and there for a few years to come.
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Old 03-03-2010, 04:51 PM   #6
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I took ER only so I could go work for their competitor and get back at them..for under paying me and over paying themselves and their Buddies..and family..

worked like a charm..
Retired a few yrs later with alot more $ and satisfaction..that justice has been served..

They bouught my former Company..
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Old 03-03-2010, 04:59 PM   #7
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I retired at the first moment of eligibility for subsidized lifetime medical. So, there wasn't a period of time in which I could think, "Should I retire now? or next year?"

With healthcare becoming such a crisis, and with pre-existing conditions, I didn't want to retire without it.
I have drunken deep of joy,
And I will taste no other wine tonight.

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Old 03-03-2010, 05:35 PM   #8
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I retired when I was emotionally ready . I had been financially ready for several years at that point . I never even worried about the financial part as I knew my pension and savings would cover way more than my paycheck but I was not sure if I could be happy not working .
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Old 03-03-2010, 05:51 PM   #9
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My process was simple...once I figured out how I could fit all the pieces together and could really afford to do it, I was toast.
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
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Old 03-03-2010, 05:58 PM   #10
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Once I realized I was only spending 1/3 of my gross income I took the next early retirement offer.
"Knowin' no one nowhere's gonna miss us when we're gone..."
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Old 03-03-2010, 07:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Khan View Post
Once I realized I was only spending 1/3 of my gross income I took the next early retirement offer.
That is my ratio of spending to gross as well- almost exactly.
I hope uncle sam can make it without us.

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