Soon to be E-R folks- DC area


Confused about dryer sheets
Mar 12, 2004
My name is Jack Speer. I'm the business correspondent for National Public Radio in Washington, DC. I'm currently working on a story on why jobs are vanishing in the economy and one factor I want to examine is if the number of people opting out of the workforce, through early retirement might be a factor. If you are contemplating leaving the workforce early because you are financially comfortable and live in or near Washington, DC perhaps we could talk. My e-mail is

Thank You!
I've noticed that there are at least 5 classes of ER represented here:

1) Planned to ER all along (relatively rare)

2) Came to the realization one day that they no longer needed to work (like me!)

3) Opted to take a company pension buy-out offer

4) Involuntarily ER'd

5) John Galt

I think only (3) and (4) represent any sort of trend of the last few years, but I'd be surprised if the numbers are significant.
I was a 4. and then a 2. when -duh!- the light bulb came on.
Hope you find useful contacts, Jack.

I'm guessing, as Wabmester suggested, that there aren't enough people in the early retirement category to be meaningful. For one thing, we are misfits, statistically. Intercst did a semi-scientific survey of personality types and found that those who were or wanted to be retired early were among the personality types that make up a very tiny percentage of the population. See

For example, the MBTI type INTP encompasses only 1% of the general population, but 15% of the ERs. There are tons of similar bits of info at the linked page.

I was a 2, btw.
I had (1) in the back of my mind and jumped on (3)
when it happened in '89.

I always wanted to (1) but had no real plans, then a stock market windfall and a somewhat (3) when the company offered a years pay, bonuses and six months healthcare for anyone that wanted to bug out.

That and the company stock falling 75% meant I'd be working for salary instead of mid six figure incomes made it an easy decision. I figured I could at least live on the years pay and see how I liked being a bum and if I did, I'd try to figure out how to keep doing it. I did and I did.
1) Planned to ER all along (relatively rare)

I've been planning since I was 21 and at the ripe old age of 26 it's depressing to think that ER's still so far away... :'(
Count us as a 4. Husband laid off every other year since 1996 after being involuntarily retired from DOD after base closings. One IT job after another. After the last one we had our kids raised and the house paid off and gave up careers. We both have fun part time jobs (bartending and tutoring) with a lot of time off. It seems to be working well, but so far less than a year into ER.
Wabmester's ER Categories:
1) Planned to ER all along (relatively rare)
2) Came to the realization one day that they no longer needed to work (like me!)
3) Opted to take a company pension buy-out offer
4) Involuntarily ER'd
5) John Galt

This is a pretty good list, but some people are probably more of a hybrid, like me. I worked for years -- living a relatively frugal lifestyle and investing, but without giving retirement a thought. It looked like I was destined to become a category 2 ER. Then one day I figured out that if I worked at it for about 5 years I could get out (category 1). I got caught in the stock crash of 2000 and ended up working almost 7 more years. Then just before I was going to retire, I got an involuntary severance (category 4). I actually knew that involuntary layoffs were coming and had to negotiate to get picked, so it was really a voluntary involuntary package (category 3). I have never been John Galt. :D
Thanks for putting me in a class by myself
(most appropriate). Re. salaryguru's "I have never been John Galt", nor will you be. Not only can there
only be one of me, but I think the world's citizens mostly
prefer it that way, If for different reasons :)

John Galt
Maybe my daughter is a number 1. When she went to her first job interview, she was asked her longterm goals, and she said to retire. Luckily she was being interviewed by engineers who thought it was pretty funny. She's an INTJ.

I may have influenced her because I was figuring out how to retire early and had been at it for several years (the FI part). I'm INTJ, too.

I'm a (1). I just came home for lunch after attending a two hour staff meeting which was held an hour and a half away from my office. Our boss (a real pinhead) told us we'll be having these much more regularly, so I am infinitely grateful that I started planning an exit 13 years ago. If I thought I had to continue this for another 10 years, I don't think I could take it. Only a few months to go - I hope.
I was definitely a (1) -- from the first office job I ever had I realized that work basically blew. It wasn't till I read Paul Terhorst's book, 15 years ago, that I realized ER could be done, though. I thought of ER like "graduation" -- if you work hard and get good 'grades' you get to go on to the rest of your life!
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