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Be honest: Which of your pre-FIRE plans turned out to be coping fantasies?
Old 06-27-2021, 07:05 AM   #1
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Be honest: Which of your pre-FIRE plans turned out to be coping fantasies?

DW and I have been FIREd for over a year. Leading up to FIRE, we had a detailed plan to quit our jobs, rent out our house, and circle the globe for a year of slow travel, like a couple whom we know did. We told everyone we knew and would have bought tickets to ensure we left. Then COVID hit. We FIREd anyway and spent the winter as snow birds, have had some camping trips, and are going to Europe with friends this fall for 3 weeks. However, very honestly, renting out our house, getting someone to care for our cats and leaving for a year seems like a giant hassle now. Though we value travel highly, I have to admit that our Big Plan was more of coping fantasy and crutch to get us across the finish line of difficult careers.

I’m curious if others changed their minds about their Big Plans once they no longer had work lives they wanted to escape from?
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Old 06-27-2021, 07:25 AM   #2
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I’m curious if others changed their minds about their Big Plans once they no longer had work lives they wanted to escape from?
I think it is pretty common to confuse personal interests with activities to deal with work stress. Most of the things I did to relieve stress when working became unimportant after leaving, and the list I made of things I wanted to do after retirement is still there, mostly untouched.
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Old 06-27-2021, 07:37 AM   #3
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I didn't really have any big ideas. DH is very much a home body, and I like to putter around the house and garden and stuff.

Family lives nearby, and yeah I have cats that I'm not fond of leaving behind for long periods. I did think we'd travel a tad bit more, but knew that a major increase wouldn't happen right away, as DH was more nervous about our ER readiness.

Had it not been for covid, we might have had a few more travels by now, but obviously that went into reverse. We're retired 5 years now, just realized typing this I missed the anniversary!
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Old 06-27-2021, 07:55 AM   #4
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We did.

Downsized our home to a lock and leave. Changed our lifestyle. Travelled for 7 months. Now we do a two international trips per year -two months each. Plus shorter ones in between.

Plan was to do some consulting work. That desire went away completely after two months of retirement.

We returned home in late March 2020. No travel since then but we do have plans for the fall, the winter, and next spring depending on covid.
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Old 06-27-2021, 08:01 AM   #5
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I had huge plans for retirement very few of which I have accomplished not withstanding covid. I find it a huge hassle to arrange for the proper care of my properties, plants and animals. Having stuff is hard when you want to live a carefree life.
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Old 06-27-2021, 08:23 AM   #6
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We sold our house and moved into a “lock and leave” apartment well before we actually retired. That made it much easier to spend several months a year away after retiring. We maintained this level of travel for 7 years before buying a house in England early 2017. Since then the longest we have been away is 30 days. We now find it much harder to have the house looked after for long periods.
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Old 06-27-2021, 09:58 AM   #7
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I think it is pretty common to confuse personal interests with activities to deal with work stress. Most of the things I did to relieve stress when working became unimportant after leaving, and the list I made of things I wanted to do after retirement is still there, mostly untouched.
Same here. We envisioned a lot more sailing, but once we decompressed other things took priority.

Didn’t faze me at all. We ended up having lots of adventures, just not how I’d previously assumed.

Upon retiring coworkers asked me is we were going to get an RV and take off big time. My answer was no - it hadn’t even occurred to us. But 5 years later we ended up doing exactly that. Sold the house, got rid of most of our stuff, and full timed in a nice motorhome for 5 years enjoying the nomad lifestyle before settling down somewhere else.
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Old 06-27-2021, 10:09 AM   #8
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Pretty much as planned for us. One exception is that I did a short contact for former employer as a favor after our first big trip. Quickly determined that I had indeed checked out and was not interested in working at all.

Of course, everything is "so far."
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Old 06-27-2021, 10:22 AM   #9
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We were going to move to southern Missouri ASAP once we retired. We dreamed of living a completely different life up there, so relaxed, no work, friendly small town people, nature all around us, fishing, hiking, lots of time in the public library, hanging out at Bass Pro, and so on. You're right, that dream was a coping fantasy for sure.

Turned out that what we *really* wanted was to get way far away from work and our workplaces. Once retired, that sort of just happens! You don't have to move to another state to never see the workplace or co-workers again. Retired life in New Orleans is far better than working long hours every day in New Orleans. Thank goodness we found that out before moving. So we changed our minds and did not move. We love it here and saved the expense of an interstate move.

I discovered that part of my dream wasn't a coping fantasy, though - - I had dreamed of buying a different, better house in Springfield, one that was closer to Frank's house so that we could more easily spend time together as we grow old. But guess what? There are houses for sale in New Orleans, not just in Springfield. So, I fulfilled that part of my dream by buying my Dream Home in 2015, six years after retirement. I love this house and its location next door to F's house.
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Old 06-27-2021, 10:23 AM   #10
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So far, retirement plans are nothing what I envisioned--they are turning out better!
Grandbabies arrived

Our first year, we did travel quite a bit, but never had plans to be gone for long periods of time.
My "list" was thrown away within the first year.
We still plan 2 big trips a year, and that will restart in 2022. We do short trips locally to coast, desert or mountains--they are all within about 4 hours drive--if we want to get away in-between.
But really enjoy time home with family and the Grandkids! So fun to spend time and money on them.
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Old 06-27-2021, 10:25 AM   #11
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[T]he list I made of things I wanted to do after retirement is still there, mostly untouched.
+1

I clearly remember writing down a bunch of things I thought might be fun to get into (like hobbies, adventure travel, volunteering, learning new languages) after I left the "9-to-5" world back in 2014. Yet I hardly did any of those things—or even really thought about doing them—after I pulled the plug. At the time, though, thinking about that list and all the interesting things I'd written down made me very happy and excited to join the ranks of the FIRE'd, so it was a good motivational device to get me across the finish line.
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Old 06-27-2021, 10:46 AM   #12
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[...] the list I made of things I wanted to do after retirement is still there, mostly untouched.
My very long list is still somewhere on my hard drive. I haven't done any of those highly laudable accomplishments AFAIK. I was going to grow show roses (nope!), learn Mexican Spanish (nope!), take up piano again (nope!), write a book (nope!), volunteer to help the aged and poor (nope!).

Haven't done a blessed thing worthy of a gold star on my forehead. Instead I have decided that I don't have to justify myself and my happy life to anybody, any more. If I want to play a dumb, time-wasting kids' video game (Animal Crossing) all day, I'll do it and never look back.
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Old 06-27-2021, 10:49 AM   #13
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DW and I have been FIREd for over a year. Leading up to FIRE, we had a detailed plan to quit our jobs, rent out our house, and circle the globe for a year of slow travel, like a couple whom we know did. We told everyone we knew and would have bought tickets to ensure we left. Then COVID hit. We FIREd anyway and spent the winter as snow birds, have had some camping trips, and are going to Europe with friends this fall for 3 weeks. However, very honestly, renting out our house, getting someone to care for our cats and leaving for a year seems like a giant hassle now. Though we value travel highly, I have to admit that our Big Plan was more of coping fantasy and crutch to get us across the finish line of difficult careers.

I’m curious if others changed their minds about their Big Plans once they no longer had work lives they wanted to escape from?
We explored a lot of options, including living in Europe. We used to watch all the international living shows. It was fun to consider. Partly we were interested in more affordable health care, but the ACA came along and solved that issue for us without having to move.

But in the end we didn't end up moving or actually even traveling much. Our adult kids are within weekend visiting distance of where we live now, we've made a lot of new retired friends we would miss if we left and we've found a lot to do right in our own backyard. We kind of thought, well we'll see our the local sights and then move if we get bored but after ten years we've barely scratched the surface of what we can do just with day trips and local events, like plays and concerts. We always liked vacationing in Hawaii in the past, and thought about living there part of the year. But we realized we've already been there many times already, and have just as much fun going places like Napa or Sonoma for the day, hiking and wine tasting, without having to pack, have someone take in the mail and watch the house or go through all the airport hassles of getting there.
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Old 06-27-2021, 11:05 AM   #14
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We moved to a lock and leave HOA complex. The HOA takes care of snow removal and gardening.

We purposely do not have any pets or plants to worry about.

This is what we wanted and what we needed in order to move forward with our retirement plans. It has been ten years now. Lots of travel, still many places on our respective bucket lists.

One plus that we did not count on was the decrease in expenses simply by downsizing our home and keeping our existing vehicles. Taxes, insurances, utilities, home maintenance have all been much less.
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Old 06-27-2021, 11:22 AM   #15
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DW and I are both cautious, so when I ER'd ( 8 years before DW) we had informal Plans A, B, and C. Plan A was the presumed retirement lifestyle, B was the scaling back in event of economic need, and C was more spending and travel. Pre pandemic we were living in accordance with Plan C as things were much better than originally foreseen. Now that pandemic things are easing up, we're looking to increase our travel plans again.
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Old 06-27-2021, 11:28 AM   #16
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I was going to grow show roses (nope!), learn Mexican Spanish (nope!), take up piano again (nope!), write a book (nope!), volunteer to help the aged and poor (nope!).
It is interesting that many of us made such ambitious lists and then promptly ignored them once we had ample time to actually do those things. I wonder what psychology is at work here. Clearly, we listed things that we thought we'd like to do, stuff that seemed intriguing, fun, challenging, etc. But, ultimately, we chose more mundane, familiar ways of spending our newfound excess of free time. Why? Is it because those things on our lists seemed too much like the dreaded w*rk we'd just left behind?

In my case, I think I wanted to simply "be" and not feel any pressure to get specific things done. I wanted to experience the luxury of no commitments, no deadlines, no pressure of any sort, and I think the items on the list—for some reason—did arouse certain feelings of "pressure".

Maybe one day I'll get back to that list, because I really do want to accomplish a few of those things, like learning another language. But, for now at least, I'm in no rush.
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Old 06-27-2021, 11:54 AM   #17
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We too planned to do more travel. My early retied years were spent packing and moving my parents and an aunt. Then my wife got the bug to buy a very large foreclosure home in a very nice neighborhood. After falling victim to crimes, we cashed in that big house and moved again 75 minutes away. It feels like all we've done is move--us and everyone else for the last 12 years. No more moves are left in us.

We got knocked out of our Berlin/Poland/Budapest trip a year ago. Then my wife had foot surgery that put her in a wheelchair 4 mos. But we just returned from Vegas and 3 national parks last week. We hadn't got home before my wife was looking for European cruises to either the Eastern Med or Baltics.

If we could never travel overseas again, we'd be okay savoring our crazy memories of 50 years' of travel. But we always want to have something to look forward to--in the near future.

I enjoy reading about so many on this website that are also nomads of sorts. After last week's comments on Italy, it's obvious so many of you really know how to travel--and to look forward to the future.
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Be honest: Which of your pre-FIRE plans turned out to be coping fantasies?
Old 06-28-2021, 06:23 AM   #18
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Be honest: Which of your pre-FIRE plans turned out to be coping fantasies?

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It is interesting that many of us made such ambitious lists and then promptly ignored them once we had ample time to actually do those things. I wonder what psychology is at work here. Clearly, we listed things that we thought we'd like to do, stuff that seemed intriguing, fun, challenging, etc. But, ultimately, we chose more mundane, familiar ways of spending our newfound excess of free time. Why? Is it because those things on our lists seemed too much like the dreaded w*rk we'd just left behind?

In my case, I think I wanted to simply "be" and not feel any pressure to get specific things done. I wanted to experience the luxury of no commitments, no deadlines, no pressure of any sort, and I think the items on the list—for some reason—did arouse certain feelings of "pressure".

Maybe one day I'll get back to that list, because I really do want to accomplish a few of those things, like learning another language. But, for now at least, I'm in no rush.

Precisely! This curious psychology is why I created this post. Like W2R and others, I created a massive retirement list myself, some of which I’m retaining as a longer term bucket list. For example, this week I initiated a Caribbean scuba trip this week with friends.

Otherwise, there’s not much on earth that can pry me out of my coffee-drinking chair before about 11 a.m., unless it’s to do something that is even more enjoyable. Slow mornings, right here, especially on Mondays like this, knowing the rest of the world is out there in a panic, make me tingle with satisfaction, joy, gratitude and even accomplishment at reaching my primary career goal early, which was to retire!

In hindsight, I realize THE LIST is not why I FIREd. Rather, the freedom to make each day up, moment to moment, is. I couldn’t agree with W2R more.
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Old 06-28-2021, 06:40 AM   #19
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Like others, I planned much more travel than I've actually undertaken. For the most part, I have ended up as a homebody. That sounds dull, but it's not. I find it satisfying and don't feel the need to undertake great adventures.

One of the things I've learned is that when you slow down to appreciate what you're doing, you have less need for "special activities," like big vacations, travel to exotic locations, etc. Hanging out in the backyard with my dog, enjoying the trees and the birds, reading a good book, having a cup of coffee -- that is enough. I don't feel the need for some special activity. I've learned better how to enjoy the ordinary ones.

I'm also a big introvert, so I don't need as much external stimulation and variety as a more extroverted person. Most of the things I enjoy have nothing to do with geographic location -- in fact, many of them become harder when I travel.

And as several people have mentioned, travel can be a hassle. I will still occasionally fantasize about traveling to a distant locale, but going through all the steps to get there just doesn't feel worth the effort.

I also planned to move out of state, prior to retirement. But so far, that hasn't happened. When I visited my top candidates for relocation, they didn't impress as much as I imagined. It didn't seem worth the effort, stress, and expense of a move. I ended up feeling more appreciative of where I live now.
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Old 06-28-2021, 10:19 AM   #20
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Our plan for many years was our move to Hawaii. We'd purchased our townhouse several years before. RE happened very suddenly as relayed many times here. Following RE, we had one parent and one cat remaining on the Earth. Additionally, we had one child in university who still needed a place to come home to for a year. As it turned out, in a couple of years, all of our commitments were fulfilled and we were able to make the big move.

DW was anxious to begin an extensive remodeling of the town house which we completed in our first 18 months in Paradise. Unfortunately, DW was not too keen on the area we had chosen. We loved the town house and the general area, but we were in one of those freakish rain bands that you could literally walk out of in a few minutes. (Upon moving, we hadn't covered a pick-up load of stuff. It began to rain and I told the driver to "turn left" whereupon it stopped raining. He looked at me as If I were a weatherman-savant!)

So we moved and remodeled yet another place. So 3 years elapsed before we realized we were actually "home." After that, I'd say we have settled into a day-at-a-time life-style. We plan relatively little and make most of it up as we go. YMMV
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