Need Some Feedback -- About FIRE (Maybe Sooner)


Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
Feb 14, 2007
A new situation may have surfaced at the Chinaco household.

DW might be offered a package at work (Huge MegaCorp). Part of that package is Group Health Care (premium cost today about $2k year for both of us). She would also get some severance.

I will be eligible to retire in about 4 years. At that time, I will be eligible for a pension. It will cover about 12.5% of our projected spending. Plus, I will qualify for Group Health Care (at about 2k/year for both of us).

We are almost at our target portfolio size for ER... But the allocation is still a little bit aggressive (70/30). I was planning on rebalancing over the next 4 years to get it in shape.

Anyway, if DW is eligible for the package we may have an opportunity.

If I stopped now (4 years before work ER age), I would still have my pension but would not get it till 65. I would lose the group health. Plus, even though DW has health care available... we all know what happens now days... the redundancy of an extra plan might reduce risk.

If DW gets the offer, she will take it. The question is should I FIRE now or holdout for another 4 years?

Work stinks sometimes... but I do not hate it (most times). However, I am ready to turn the page and start a new chapter in life.

My struggle is related to 4 years. I have been planning the ER for a long-time. 4 years does not seem too far off. If I wait 4 years, we have my pension (which helps with the success of the funding model).

I have considered DW ER... watch things for a bout a year then maybe ER.. But then I would be only 3 years away. Plus... I do not have the option to go part-time at work.

It is a bit of a dilemma! What would you do if you were me?

I consider you much more fortunate than us, in the standpoint that we will be totally on our own--no pension or retiree health care. This means that I have no true finish line, other than calculating on paper and whenever I am fed up enough. It sounds like you may not really need it, but an immediate pension is still nice to have, and double health care could come in handy some day as you mentioned. I would wait the 4 years, and if things worsen on the job, or DW seems to be having such a good time that you cannot wait to join her, then dive in. In the meantime, try to do what I do:

realize that you are working because you want to; if you don't get a big raise or promotion who cares; the worse that can happen is that you quit or they fire you which might me the best thing that could have happened anyway

I try to think all of the above, which only goes so far on those dark, snowy Monday mornings as you fight traffic, but it does take the edge off some.
Although I also travel in a different boat than you (single, no pension/health care benefits
after retirement), I was in a somewhat similar position in 2004 when I reached FI, and
by definition could retire. I had not planned to reach that $$ until 2008, but good
investment results accelerated it. As work was not stressful at that time, I decided not
to make a decision at that point, but to continue working until the "sweet spot" had
passed or 2008, whichever came first. The sweet spot soured in mid-2006, when
work conditions dramatically worsened. My retirement notice followed shortly, and
I happily retired at 48. The extra 27 months of work (plus investment results) allowed
a substantially lower WR, about 3% with 50% of that as travel/entertainment.

In your shoes I would probably do the same - work until the going got tough,
then get going on retirement.
You do not have any time pressure for this decision. Have your wife retire. If you think you can quit today that's a good feeling. It also means you can quit in a week or a month or 4 years.
Unless your work turns really ugly keep the income and use the time to rebalance to your retirement allocation.
It's not just about the FI .It's also about when "You are mad as he-- and you can't take it anymore " and believe me you'll know when that time comes.
edited - - my original response was based on a misunderstanding of the original post!!!

Never mind..... :)
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Unlike everyone else, I would probably look at the earlier retirement date in your situation. I think you may struggle to keep going into the office every day when your mate is at home having a good time. 4 years is a very long time. We are down to 50 weeks, and believe me we are both struggling to keep going on a day to day basis. We are in a similar situation, we are at 90% of our target and have calculated many times if we could cope financially on what we have.

The truth is you could keep going for 4 years but what's to say that they won't change your benenfits package and take away the medical.

I say map out Plan B where you start your reallocation process and bring your retirement date forward. However at the same time I would develop Plan C which would give you a backup plan in case something did happen.
No one can tell you when to go. You'll just have to feel right or have it forced upon you. Run FIRE calc. Think about what you want to do. Remember you're trading your youth and health for money.

On your pension -- most have provisions for a reduced payout being possible after age 55. Most are reduced by 3 to 5% for every year you are under the targeted "full retirement age." I personally have 4 tiny pensions and they all have this provision. All together they'll about to about 10 to 15% of my initial spending. Remember that private pensions are not COLA'd so they'll be worth nothing in a couple of decades.

I was at 90+/10- earlier this year. I'm working at getting my ratio down to 70/30 by the end of this month. I'm a hardcore equity junky and believe we're going to have a fabulous bull market for another couple of years. I also know that market timing is dangerous and especially dangerous as retirement looms.
Honestly, I wouldn't overthink this right now. Let DW retire and you can see how you feel as time goes by. You might stay 4 weeks, 4 months or 4 years. When the time comes, you'll know it, but I can't see any pressure for you to make an immediate decision. Congrats at being very nearly there!
Don't count your chickens before they hatch.

Once you reach FI, then lots of the stress of work simply fades away because you just don't care anymore. Work becomes alot more meaningful and easy. So why substitute pressure at work for self-induced pressure at home?
I'm with the majority on this one. Assuming that your RE plans don't include a geographic move, there is nothing pushing you out the door at this moment. Let DW retire and get adjusted. Organize your finances with the new reality. Let DW use some of her newfound time to reduce the hassles of your career, e.g. picking you up form the airport as you return from your business trip rather than getting a taxi. Realize that you are FI and begin treat your job as what it is: icing on the financial cake, with a significant carrot if you can hold out for four years. As long as this feels comfortable, relax and enjoy.
Guy I know wanted to work 3 more years. Diagnosed Friday with throat cancer. Not likely to live three years, working seems kinda dumb if you don't have to.
I think I would stick it out for a while, as others have suggested. Get whatever is left to do to get your financial house in order done. Take longer vacations...some of the time at home to get used to the idea of getting up in the morning and not having to go to work. Try living on your anticipated retirement income/withdrawl, to make sure you can. You can always punch out a little later, but it ain't easy trying to get back in the cockpit once you pull the "eject" lever.
Thanks for the feedback. It has been on my mind a lot. My inclination is to continue working for the carrot hanging out there. But I am increasingly getting the wanna FIRE blues.

Not sure yet if DW will get the option... but I am having some serious daydreams at work. ;)

I would retire....enjoy the time with your wife!
It's great that you are very close to the $$ factor and you will be able to have the health benefits as well.
4 yrs=1460 days.....that is a lot of "one day at a times" as you get ready for work and your wife rolls over to catch some serious zzzzz's!

DH and I have alternately worked or not worked a few months at a time over the last 5 years. As it turned out, when he was not working for a bit, I was working, and when I was not working for a bit, he was. So we have not been "unemployed" together yet. We found that if one of us wasn't working, it took a lot of the pressure of doing mundane tasks and errands off of the one who was working at the time, so when it came time for the weekend or a vacation, we could really relax and enjoy it.

Right now, he is working full time, at something he likes, 1 mile from home, where he has a fair amount of flexibility. I work 3 days per week (one of those is at home) and consider myself "partially retired". It's not nearly as bad as the full time/long commute situation we both used to have.

Anyway, that's my way of saying that is she is retired and you aren't, it still could be OK, as long as you aren't miserable. A pension and the health care benefits aren't to be sneezed at...

i quit before--as it turned out--i financially should have because i was counting on proceeds from an inherited house which, due in part to accepting poor advice, i then failed to sell at the top of the bubble and so it is now costing about $130k/year in expenses & lost opportunities for my brother & i.

though that wasn't much in my control as it was a really difficult time of life to be making decisions. more under my control was deciding if there was advantage to staying at work. i was watching mom rapidly deteriorate from alzheimer's. i had watched my grandfather whither away 20 years prior. i pictured my own possible demise in another 20 years.

i wanted 20 years for me. if i kept working until i was 55 i would have received an company allowance towards health care (i think it was $180/month). that's it. my pension would have increased some for the additional 7 years of work but as is will cover at age 65 ten% of my current expenses (uncola).

had work not been adding to my misery at the time i would have kept working. had work been actually enjoyable, i'd still be working today, even after inheritance. early retirement was never my goal; it was, however, my savior.
At 6 years out DW RE'd and we moved with my job. Having DW RE'd actually helps me a LOT. She took on all the house work, shopping etc which frees up a whole of my time off work doing all that stuff.

However, seeing what a blast she is having RE'd does make me really look forward to it. For example these last 2 summers she has spent 6 weeks in England cruising around on rail tickets and having a blast. She has also been able to accompany me on a couple of business trips to Europe which was pretty good. (she decined to come to Bombay though :confused:)

I am in the same situation - if I can hang on I'll get an immediate pension at 55 plus health bennies. Now it is only 31 months so I feel sure I can hang on in there. My Megacorp has just been bought out so may be RE even sooner if I'm lucky enough to be offered a package, but I doubt that will happen somehow.

Sit on it for a while. See how it feels when she has the freedom to pursue her interests while you are still working.
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