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When will the clouds part and angels sing again?
Old 11-20-2016, 03:46 PM   #1
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When will the clouds part and angels sing again?

I've been on my FI journey for quite some time. I started with a large mortgage, car loan, and credit card debt. I recall vividly the feeling of dread as a I looked at my monthly payments and being so nervous about the situation we'd be in if I lost my job. From this epiphany, I started becoming interested in personal finance, listening to people like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman, realizing that there was a better path.

Slowly we worked on paying off our credit cards and for each one of these, I felt elated. Then we used those funds for cc's to pay off my student loans. Once my last student loan was conquered, celebration! We then slowly chipped down second mortgage and again down it went. And finally, we decided to pay down our primary mortgage and we were finally DEBTTT FREE. I celebrated by dancing up and down with DW and the kids. It was fun.

With this feeling in mind, I thought if we were to ever achieve financial independence, the clouds would part and angels sing. So, we shifted toward using the funds for investments. Over the course of the past 8 years, we've built up a substantial nest egg. But unlike conquering debt, I've noticed that I don't seem to get the same joy I once did. I thought once I hit the $1M NW or investment portfolio, I'd feel some elation but it just felt like another day. Last year, when I calculated that I never needed to ever work, again no singing, dancing. It felt anti-climatic. Has anybody else felt this way? Or perhaps I just getting old?

And if I finally pull the trigger and retire early, will the clouds at least part just a little and will I see something with feathers sing?
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Old 11-20-2016, 03:54 PM   #2
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I dunno.

I kept on the same cloud the whole way. After the house was paid off I really started stacking dough and when I hit the million dollar mark I got a big smile on my face which fell a bit during the 2007 crash, but came back full force and then some which put my smile back and got running retirement calculators to see if I could.

It's been 2 and a half years since I quit working and I'm still smiling. Sunshine, blue sky, cheer in my heart and a big smile on my face. Life is good!
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Old 11-20-2016, 04:00 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Toocold View Post
I've been on my FI journey for quite some time. I started with a large mortgage, car loan, and credit card debt. I recall vividly the feeling of dread as a I looked at my monthly payments and being so nervous about the situation we'd be in if I lost my job. From this epiphany, I started becoming interested in personal finance, listening to people like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman, realizing that there was a better path.

Slowly we worked on paying off our credit cards and for each one of these, I felt elated. Then we used those funds for cc's to pay off my student loans. Once my last student loan was conquered, celebration! We then slowly chipped down second mortgage and again down it went. And finally, we decided to pay down our primary mortgage and we were finally DEBTTT FREE. I celebrated by dancing up and down with DW and the kids. It was fun.

With this feeling in mind, I thought if qw were to ever achieve financial independence, the clouds would part and angels sing. So, we shifted toward using the funds for investments. Over the course of the past 8 years, we've built up a substantial nest egg. But unlike conquering debt, I've noticed that I don't seem to get the same joy I once did. I thought once I hit the $1M NW or investment portfolio, I'd feel some elation but it just felt like another day. Last year, when I calculated that I never needed to ever work, again no singing, dancing. It felt anti-climatic. Has anybody else felt this way? Or perhaps I just getting old?

And if I finally pull the trigger and retire early, will I feel the sense of elation or will it feel like just another day?
I don't think retirement is just like another day. At least it wasn't for me.
As far as that elation, I know so well what you mean! Now that I am retired, I get a lot of fun out of keeping track of my spending and checking to see what percentage of my portfolio I spent. Did I happen to spend less than my dividends, for example? Am I still on track? I dunno, stuff like this floats my boat.

I love the fact that after paying off my first house before retirement, I was able to buy my (more expensive) dream home in cash last year during my 6th year of retirement. I did this by using the proceeds from selling my first home, plus using savings from my retirement spending. It's also really cool to see myself regaining financial equilibrium after all that (whew!).

I have had a lot of fun this week in setting up my own, personalized spending spreadsheet for 2017 in Excel, just like my 2016 spreadsheet. OK, not everybody's cup of tea but I'm weird like that.
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Old 11-20-2016, 07:42 PM   #4
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Mid this year I hit over $1m did I jump up and down, quit my job, dance. Nope just keep on working and hope they will lay me off but that is a dream, I work to hard and am one of the department's biggest contributor. So it is just another day for me working maybe 4-5 more years and smiling that I know I can quit any day.
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Old 11-20-2016, 08:00 PM   #5
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Your earlier milestone-related elation was (it sounds) not just about the achievement but in removing a monkey from your back. Taking with it, some worry and stress. So it was not a gain from zero to positive, but from taking and removing negatives.

Being underwater, and then coming up for air, is quite a relief. Big difference between drowning and breathing.

Now, you've simply grown further and further up. There is no big gulp of relief as you go from 750 to 1mil, etc. No new risk you've removed. But it is a very different satisfaction, hopefully, a more mature one, if you will.

As far as do you get that big wave of joy when you ER? Has a lot to do with what you are leaving also. Many of us ER to take the yoke of a MC, and years of BS off our backs. You don't mention anything about your job so maybe you like it? Great if you do, I see many threads here of "i can't take it, firecalc is close enough, I'm quitting tomorrow" and then paint a portfolio that isn't quite there yet.

For me the celebrations are many and small, all the little things. Going out to a movie in the afternoon when it's empty...because you can. Or your favorite table at your favorite restaurant mid-week, when the staff isn't rushing as much. Vacations without having to fit into your work schedule, or a pile of 1000 emails when you return. Sunday nights without having the gloom of monday morning hanging over them. No alarm clock. That thing you didn't do today? You can do it tomorrow..or the next day, or not. That instrument or language you've always wanted to try...

Do any one of those make you want to dance?
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Old 11-20-2016, 08:00 PM   #6
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I was canned-er layed off with way less than the common $1 mil goal and way earlier than my target 63.

I was a mopey old unemployed slacker til I wasn't. Now after over a year I did a couple stints as a temp('jobshopper') . About one year total time and more $ than my previous job.. That sort of cured my desire to work.

Then I found Greaney, Dory36, et al and my mental attitude began to shift and has be 'moving on up' ever since.

heh heh heh - Now I are a high class ER swell - just axe me. . P.S. the axe is for my old stomping grounds of New Orleans.
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Old 11-20-2016, 08:02 PM   #7
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Well, it helps if you don't like your job.
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Old 11-20-2016, 09:56 PM   #8
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Aerides, I think you hit it on the nail. The release of stress from getting rid of all that debt felt so good. I like my job, so I doubt I'll feel the same way if I choose to quit or even better getting fired.

My life is rich and I'm very blessed with a wonderful DW, awesome kids, good family, and interesting job. Plenty of things in my life to celebrate. I just need to find a goal that'll make me feel exhilarated again.
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Old 11-20-2016, 10:06 PM   #9
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So, you have this pile of money. And you get concerned when you see it shrinks when a bad news hits. Grexit, then Brexit, then elections, etc...

I vaguely remember the day I saw my investable amount crossed the 7-figure mark. It was way back when (close to 20 years), and I was using MS Money. Didn't jump up or down or anything. Just told myself "Look at that".

I am not going to see another digit added. It would take a miracle, or a winning lottery ticket. I do not deserve the former, and do not buy the latter.

So nope, never going to have a moment of exhilaration with money. It's nice to have more, but jumping up and down, no.
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Old 11-20-2016, 11:00 PM   #10
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We were never in much debt - pretty much only the mortgage which we paid off early before retiring. But as I was getting close to FI there were a lot of clouds parting and angels singing, especially when I decided it was time to pull the plug and retire!!!
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Old 11-21-2016, 03:40 AM   #11
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Like others have said, mine was a gradual dawning. Since the 07/08 crash ruined our longer range plans (retiring in 5+ years), and left me with only part time work, I was very disappointed at first. Then, as I began to adapt, I liked it. From there, it was a process of reinvention and downsizing (smaller house, selling one car, etc.) and things began to come into better focus. DW was able to retire 3 years ago. We both work very part time in our small business, shut it down when we travel, and just enjoy our modest lifestyle, in a low cost of living area.

The REAL lesson for me was that financial decisions we made 30+ years ago (low debt, no CC debt, buying used cars, saving and investing) really saved our bacon when the wheels fell off in 07/08. That is what I am trying to pass along to our kids. Meanwhile, I only get grouchy when something postpones my nap.......
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Old 11-21-2016, 04:55 AM   #12
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Phycologists say that we feel pain of loosing twice as much as joy of gaining. So in other words, your joy of NOT loosing money (interest, payments, etc.) was twice as much as the joy of saving money. Makes sense?
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Old 11-21-2016, 05:35 AM   #13
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....I just need to find a goal that'll make me feel exhilarated again.
My advice: buy a motorcycle and ride.
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Old 11-21-2016, 05:43 AM   #14
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Psychologists say that we feel pain of loosing twice as much as joy of gaining. So in other words, your joy of NOT loosing money (interest, payments, etc.) was twice as much as the joy of saving money.
I think this is part of it. The pain hurts more than the gain feels good. Also, eliminating your debts were more discrete events than hitting a NW round number. You have done quite well and will benefit greatly. Don't focus too much on the intensity of your feelings about it.
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Old 11-21-2016, 05:59 AM   #15
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And if I finally pull the trigger and retire early, will the clouds at least part just a little and will I see something with feathers sing?
I have been retired for only ~5 months, and there really is no 'magic moment'. Maybe a little less fear, but nothing like you are looking for. I do often thank god for my being able to be in the fortunate situation I am in, especially when I talk to some of my peers that still have 10+ years left to work. Sometimes I will call a friend and remind him to set the alarm for Monday morning.

I think of you keep working, you will eventually drop over at your desk, and then you may hear the angels sing.
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Old 11-21-2016, 07:56 AM   #16
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Well, for me I'm not sure I'll ever have that moment. Even though I retired at 49 and had/have well over $1M NW, I still felt that my FIRE plan had some high risk factors mainly due to inflation and healthcare costs. When you start running different scenarios and slightly increase the cost for these things it is very sobering how they impact your NW over the course of 45 years (assuming I live until 95). Lots of people I know think if they had a $1M they would be set for life, but they really have no clue on how to figure out if that is really true based on their expenses, AA and assumptions. The "sobering" reality is a $1M does not make you a rich person anymore. Has not for a long time now. Do not get me wrong, it is a very significant FI milestone. However if more people really sat down to figure out how much they needed to retire based on their current expenses, healthcare and inflation they would find that they would need well over $1M. Maybe if I won the lottery I would see the clouds part and hear angels sing, but I just hope that happens when it is my time to leave this planet .
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Old 11-21-2016, 08:15 AM   #17
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My life is rich and I'm very blessed with a wonderful DW, awesome kids, good family, and interesting job. Plenty of things in my life to celebrate. I just need to find a goal that'll make me feel exhilarated again.
How about your next million? Given the magic of compound interest, that will come faster. Or saving for the kids' educations. I managed to get DS, my only child, through a good private university without student loans. I was so happy that he could launch without a load of debt.

I chuckled at being a millionaire when I/we hit $1 million but I wouldn't say it was exhilarating. More like amusing. DH and I always drove modest cars and on a normal day were dressed in T-shirts or sweaters and jeans. Our only visible signs of prosperity were my jewelry (which most people probably assumed to be fake) and our interesting travels. When we hit $2 million we laughed about being multi-millionaires.
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Old 11-21-2016, 08:30 AM   #18
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No clouds parting for me.

At the time, I wasn't tracking or thinking about FI, but had of course been saving all along. And I had not 'run the numbers' in a decade. Then one day it did, and realized I really didn't need the job. But it felt more like a door opening (that I could choose to explore or not) than a celebration.
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Old 11-21-2016, 08:58 AM   #19
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I suspect it's different for different people. And it would depend on how secure you think you are, how much you like/hate your job/career, whether you exit voluntarily or not, the status of your SO and how they adapt, what activities you have in mind for retirement, among many other factors.

There weren't any 'clouds or angels' at retirement in my experience, I was just anxious to start another chapter in life. Reaching FI (years before I retired) was a more significant milestone for me, I felt a new sense of freedom/security. When I retired it took a couple of months to fully realize I didn't have to go to work anymore, and a couple of years to settle in, though my retirement will continue to evolve (or I'll be bored silly) just as my life evolved during my working years.

YMWV (your mileage WILL vary)
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Old 11-21-2016, 10:40 AM   #20
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Definitely clouds and angels for me (I'm easy). DH otoh volunteered for a layoff from a long-time job that he still enjoyed and was sort of shocked when megacorp took him. But he dove into some new and very different stuff he could not have done while working and the adventure started right away, so having something to focus on might help you. DH is not a clouds and angels kind of guy no matter what, even though his adventures continue. Any anxiety should go away after eight or so years .
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