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Sequence of Return Problem Leads to Barnacle Growth and Socks
Old 03-31-2020, 12:55 PM   #1
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Sequence of Return Problem Leads to Barnacle Growth and Socks

So there we were happily living on our sailboat cruising around the west coast of Mexico, enjoying volunteering at the Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival, and the next thing I know I am sailing north. 400 miles later we were tied up in Puerto Vallarta and prepping the boat for hurricane season while we arrange rental cars to get back to our car at the north end of the Sea of Cortez. 5608km later after 130 hours driving time we are now in our new home: a basic basement suite in a friends home where we are serving under mandatory quarantine.

I used to enjoy this forum plotting my escape from the working world. I almost never check in these days as I haven't really cared about investment and retirement issues. I've been focussed on boat maintenance, learning Spanish, and enjoying beautiful anchorages.

So here I am, back at work. Wearing socks while barnacles grow on my hulls. Checking out the forum again. Thinking about re-FIRE-ing again one day.

Sequence of return risk was one of those things that seemed largely mitigated with market performance since we left almost 2 years ago. Now it is an issue requiring active management.

Time to check into my toilet paper inventory and investment portfolio and make some bad decisions.

Good to be back??
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Old 03-31-2020, 01:23 PM   #2
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Welcome back! Wish it was under happier circumstances.

I think most of us would say - be careful not to make any major financial moves on an impulse right now. Especially in the evenings.

Hope you finish quarantine healthy and sane and are ready to move on to what's next. Keep us posted!
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Old 03-31-2020, 02:03 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Going Sailing View Post
So here I am, back at work.
Congrats on being able to easily (it seems) re-acquire a source of income. Not everyone is so lucky.

Semi-retirement - where you retain a modest income stream in exchange for part-time w*rk - can be a worthwhile trade-off for some folks (like me).

Good luck!
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Old 03-31-2020, 02:48 PM   #4
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Congrats on being able to easily (it seems) re-acquire a source of income. Not everyone is so lucky.

Semi-retirement - where you retain a modest income stream in exchange for part-time w*rk - can be a worthwhile trade-off for some folks (like me).

Good luck!
The income is nice. I'm not sure how much I'll take at this point. Mostly trying to help guide the company through a turbulent period and keep good jobs for a great team of young engineers. Still I need to pay rent and moorage and compete on the open market for toilet paper so funds are good.
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Old 03-31-2020, 03:04 PM   #5
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Welcome back! Wish it was under happier circumstances.

I think most of us would say - be careful not to make any major financial moves on an impulse right now. Especially in the evenings.

Hope you finish quarantine healthy and sane and are ready to move on to what's next. Keep us posted!
Not sure I want to make any movements at the moment. Market timing is not a particular skill I have. I am actually surprised how well the portfolio is holding up. Even more surprised that my tenant has paid their April rent early!

In truth, it isn't really financial concerns that brought me home. That is just what everyone likes to talk about here. Our boat has solar panels, water maker, generator etc and is a near perfect isolation platform for potentially months at a time, but just about all the countries and ports are closing their doors to cruisers. Everyone is playing a game of musical chairs trying to figure out where they want to be when the music stops and wondering if they will be valued guests or faced with resentment and hostility from locals. So we found a chair we liked, pulled the plug and got home while we still could. It is a bit alarming being dependent on others to buy groceries for us from stores already ravaged by hoarders.
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Old 03-31-2020, 03:04 PM   #6
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If you're willing to share, I would be interested to know the story of what led you to return to work. Did you make decisions that now seem to be mistakes? Are you still technically OK but have fears of the market being even worse than it has lately? Were your numbers marginal in the first place? Got bored? If it was SORR, did you know about SORR when you FIREd, and did you address it in whatever plan you had?

I'm not trying to pick on you or call you out or anything. It's just that I think there's a lot to be learned from situations where things aren't working out, more than the garden variety successes we often hear about. I would really appreciate it so I can see if I can learn from you and see if there are any blind spots I might have in my own situation.

If you don't want to share for whatever reason, that's OK too.

Thanks.

ETA: Crossposted with you. So it was mostly COVID-related travel-restriction stuff, then? I can see how that would have been a hard thing to contingency plan for.
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Old 03-31-2020, 04:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Going Sailing View Post
In truth, it isn't really financial concerns that brought me home. That is just what everyone likes to talk about here. Our boat has solar panels, water maker, generator etc and is a near perfect isolation platform for potentially months at a time, but just about all the countries and ports are closing their doors to cruisers. Everyone is playing a game of musical chairs trying to figure out where they want to be when the music stops and wondering if they will be valued guests or faced with resentment and hostility from locals. So we found a chair we liked, pulled the plug and got home while we still could. It is a bit alarming being dependent on others to buy groceries for us from stores already ravaged by hoarders.
I had thought that boats were fairly ideal for surviving SHTF/apocalypse scenarios, but this overlooks the need for occasional supply stops. If you can't dock, you can't shop! Hope you enjoyed your time in MX - we're holed up here in the interior mountain desert. Hope you can resume your voyage soon.
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Old 03-31-2020, 05:05 PM   #8
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Welcome back.

It's always nice to have the ability to not have to withdraw when the market is unstable... so I think your decision to earn again makes sense. SORR is a real worry. I feel fortunate, that so far (knock on my head - the only wooden thing close by) that my nest egg is still above where it was when I retired almost 6 years ago... but I still have worries about sequence of returns. Especially in this market.

Looking forward to stories of your sailing adventures!
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Old 04-01-2020, 09:49 AM   #9
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Welcome back.

It's always nice to have the ability to not have to withdraw when the market is unstable... so I think your decision to earn again makes sense. SORR is a real worry. I feel fortunate, that so far (knock on my head - the only wooden thing close by) that my nest egg is still above where it was when I retired almost 6 years ago... but I still have worries about sequence of returns. Especially in this market.

Looking forward to stories of your sailing adventures!
.

Your comment actually prompted me to do the math and see where the portfolio is at. In fact, our position is pretty much exactly where it was 2 years ago when we chose to leave. So I should probably retitle this post as "Fortunate Sequence of Returns Keeps Boat Afloat During Global Pandemic"
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Old 04-01-2020, 10:03 AM   #10
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Congrats on being able to easily (it seems) re-acquire a source of income. Not everyone is so lucky.

Semi-retirement - where you retain a modest income stream in exchange for part-time w*rk - can be a worthwhile trade-off for some folks (like me).

Good luck!
I know the bias here is to define a decision point for FIRE and make the decision and go. In truth, I have been kind of treating retirement as a semi-permeable membrane that I flow back and forth through. So I have been working during hurricane season and occasionally returning back during the sailing season to work. I am fortunate in that I enjoy the work I do and there is plenty of it. It is actually a nice distraction right now. My wife has a lot of anxiety right now because she doesn't feel like she has done anything at the end of the day.
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