Author Topic: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?  (Read 6383 times)

rolliefingers

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Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« on: April 10, 2018, 05:49:44 AM »
We just sold an albatross of a property in our large Midwestern city.  We are moving from 5300 sq ft to 1900 sq ft.  I have never been happier to take it on the chin in a business dealing.

Our move has freed up considerable cashflow and makes leaving the workforce early at 46/36, respectively, completely possible for us.

Our annual spend will be about 70K; this includes 15K a year for travel.  Our stash stands at a little over $2.5mm, evenly split between after-tax & tax advantaged vehicles.  I also have a $17K non-COLA pension which kicks in at 65.

The weird thing?  I am in a high stress work environment, which I do not particularly love, and am finding that it may be hard to pull myself away from it.  We possess many hobbies, love to travel and have lots of friends yet part of me worries about "boredom" which several people complain about in ER.  I genuinely do not believe this would be the case for us but it does give me pause.  Admittedly, another question that rattles around in my head is "Who quits a relatively secure job that pays over $200k a year at age 46?"  Maybe I am addicted to numbers?  Quite the conundrum.

Anyone who can speak from their own experience would be really helpful as we weigh things.  The end of 2018 is my FIRE date; my wife will go another couple of years to accrue Medicare credits needed.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 03:36:47 AM by rolliefingers »

KBecks

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2018, 06:01:04 AM »
Does your job allow for a slowing down or some way to alleviate the stress? 

rolliefingers

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2018, 06:06:15 AM »
No - I am in sales.  Going half speed is not an option.  I have offered to be the new Cost Rican plant parking lot attendant to slow things up.  They don't seem interested in accommodating my request.

Does your job allow for a slowing down or some way to alleviate the stress?

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2018, 06:40:07 AM »
Ok, you have plenty of money so thatís not the issue. Instead of worrying now about the what if regarding not being bored, cross that bridge when you come to it. Give yourself permission to let boredom be ok, youíve worked hard. You could teach, whether online or at a community college or volunteer for, pick something!  If you find yourself struggling with what to do, hire a life coach who can help focus you. Again, youíre not there yet. Where you are is already FI by every measure and you donít need one more day of stress at work. Stay confident in knowing that you will love yourself to not let yourself become useless.  The world is yours now and life is far shorter than any of us want, donít waste this unique opportunity doubting your plan.

meghan88

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2018, 06:46:57 PM »
Posting to follow.

wordnerd

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2018, 06:51:44 PM »
Do you like the prestige of your job? Does making money factor into your self-worth? Do you fear judgment for outwardly embarking on a non-traditional life path? I'm younger and make less, but these are all issues I've faced as I've felt my way toward FIRE.

the_fixer

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2018, 09:53:03 PM »
I am 2 - 3 years out and I get a little freaked out from time to time about the possibility of quiting and I hate my job. 

Society has done a great job at conditioning us I suppose.



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rolliefingers

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2018, 03:35:06 AM »
Thanks for the thoughtful reply.  I truly appreciate your words.

Ok, you have plenty of money so thatís not the issue. Instead of worrying now about the what if regarding not being bored, cross that bridge when you come to it. Give yourself permission to let boredom be ok, youíve worked hard. You could teach, whether online or at a community college or volunteer for, pick something!  If you find yourself struggling with what to do, hire a life coach who can help focus you. Again, youíre not there yet. Where you are is already FI by every measure and you donít need one more day of stress at work. Stay confident in knowing that you will love yourself to not let yourself become useless.  The world is yours now and life is far shorter than any of us want, donít waste this unique opportunity doubting your plan.

rolliefingers

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2018, 03:41:35 AM »
My peer group would disagree but I do not believe my job is one of prestige.  I find it to be rather utilitarian.  It just happens to pay well.

I do like to make money so, yes, this is very likely the root of my issue.  I have had to work incredibly hard to get to where I am.  That's another part of the equation.

Judgment of others?  Good question.  I am to the point of caring very little about what others think now.  I have enough life experience at this point to I understand I am not, nor ever will be perfect, yet am still doing life better than most.  I credit my wife.  We are both from small towns and very lower middle class upbringings.  We know both ends of the spectrum in this country, which we would not trade for anything.

Do you like the prestige of your job? Does making money factor into your self-worth? Do you fear judgment for outwardly embarking on a non-traditional life path? I'm younger and make less, but these are all issues I've faced as I've felt my way toward FIRE.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 03:44:07 AM by rolliefingers »

rolliefingers

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2018, 03:45:53 AM »
The freakout gets a little more shrill the closer you get.  I know I am there and I will work 12 hours today, starting shortly.

I am 2 - 3 years out and I get a little freaked out from time to time about the possibility of quiting and I hate my job. 

Society has done a great job at conditioning us I suppose.



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WerKater

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2018, 05:01:15 AM »
No - I am in sales.  Going half speed is not an option. [...]
Why not? Just do it and go half speed from now on. What can they possibly do? Fire you? If your only other option is quitting altogether, being fired is not a threat at all.

libertarian4321

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2018, 05:09:05 AM »
I think a lot of people have pause when it comes to FIRE.

They worry about whether they will have enough, even when intellectually, they know they will have plenty.  "What if the market drops 90%" kind of stuff.

But an even bigger impediment, imho, is the "one more year" problem.  "I'll just keep working one more year, and pile up a little more, just in case"- that "one more year" can go on for decades.

Plus, even though most of us on these forums are NOT normal, we still feel family and/or societal pressure to keep working.  It's "not normal" to retire early.  Puritan work ethic or some such thing? 

All this stuff can cause people to keep working, even when they don't want to and don't have to.

But here's the important thing.  If you retire early, and for some reason need to go back to work, you can always do so.

I retired early, then went back to work on my terms- terms that allowed me to avoid the crap that caused me to retire originally-  about 4 years later. 

So if you are ready, don't be afraid to "pull the trigger."  If you change your mind, you can always go back to work either full or part time.


Laura33

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2018, 06:45:38 AM »
IMO, the biggest privilege one can have in life is the ability to figure out who you want to be without having to worry about making a living.  Boredom is not to be avoided or feared -- it is to be appreciated and respected, because it is a sign that what you are doing is not as satisfying as you perhaps thought it would be, and so it is time to figure out what is missing and fill that gap. 

So go.  Do.  Be free.  And if you find yourself bored, so what?  You have major-league skills and abilities, as evidenced by your career to date, and a gazillion companies and charities that would love for you to deploy those skills on their behalf.

I think the fear of boredom is really the fear that you will never be able to get back what you gave up and end up somewhere worse.  Please recognize how irrational that fear is.  You're in sales?  Dude.  You can get a job or volunteer literally anywhere.  And I bet any amount of money that a lot of those places would be happy to have a much smaller piece of your time and not give you shit about demanding more.

Huge congrats on selling the house, btw.  That took guts.  Now apply that same courage to your future.

rolliefingers

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2018, 06:51:31 AM »
This is a fair point.  My wiring does not work this way but I may give it a shot.

No - I am in sales.  Going half speed is not an option. [...]
Why not? Just do it and go half speed from now on. What can they possibly do? Fire you? If your only other option is quitting altogether, being fired is not a threat at all.

rolliefingers

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2018, 06:57:59 AM »
Thanks Laura.  This really hit home.  You make great points that bubble up in my mind frequently (which I have dismissed, repeatedly).  I know I am there & I know I am ready.


IMO, the biggest privilege one can have in life is the ability to figure out who you want to be without having to worry about making a living.  Boredom is not to be avoided or feared -- it is to be appreciated and respected, because it is a sign that what you are doing is not as satisfying as you perhaps thought it would be, and so it is time to figure out what is missing and fill that gap. 

So go.  Do.  Be free.  And if you find yourself bored, so what?  You have major-league skills and abilities, as evidenced by your career to date, and a gazillion companies and charities that would love for you to deploy those skills on their behalf.

I think the fear of boredom is really the fear that you will never be able to get back what you gave up and end up somewhere worse.  Please recognize how irrational that fear is.  You're in sales?  Dude.  You can get a job or volunteer literally anywhere.  And I bet any amount of money that a lot of those places would be happy to have a much smaller piece of your time and not give you shit about demanding more.

Huge congrats on selling the house, btw.  That took guts.  Now apply that same courage to your future.

Mr. Green

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2018, 08:34:54 AM »
I struggled with walking away from my income. I FIREd for the first time in June 2016. I was making over $250k at the time and was in a sweet spot to ride out the contract for a few more years if I wanted. I was comfortable with the math that said we were FI, but I still had that little doubt in the back of my head, the one that is always scared in the absence of data.

I had also planned to build a house after quitting so the thought of a large capital outlay and having just given up my income really threw me for a loop. I started having panic attacks. I ended up going back to work after 3 months off and almost instantly regretted it. I'd had that taste of freedom (and I didn't like my job to begin with). I hung on for 9 months part-time just to keep from burning every single bridge I had, and FIREd again in June 2017. I also saw a therapist and she helped me work though some of the things that I wasn't able to sort out on my own.

My wife was working this whole time so we haven't even been drawing down our stash in the time I haven't worked. Now she's quitting her job in June and I have no stress over the thought of having zero income. The last 2 years have created some basic data that my mind is now comfortable trusting, my own personal experience instead of some online tool telling me I'll be fine. Despite having tracked our expenses for a few years before quitting I guess I was still worried that it would somehow be different after our I went away.

I was definitely afraid to FIRE. I feared that I was making a monetary mistake I wouldn't be able to fix. But I didn't let that fear stop me and I'm very glad of that now that I'm on the other side of it.

Mr. Green

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2018, 08:54:17 AM »
I was also addicted to the numbers. I'd been tracking everything via spreadsheets for years and every time I'd see a five figure paycheck go into the bank account it was like a dopamine hit. So every two weeks I was getting that hit and it was enough to pull me through the times when I didn't want to be there.

I think me quitting first while my wife kept working was like a tappered withdrawal instead of going cold turkey and that helped me adjust. Her paycheck covered the bills alone but all the sudden we werent putting thousands into savings every month. It took some time to get used to that feeling. I had just realized my most important monetary goal (FIRE) and didn't have a replacement. Now we're really comfortable with just her income and I have everything mapped out for how withdrawals will work when that goes away so I'm prepared for the loss of that income as well.

I sometimes feel stupid that this was a thing, being hung up on the thought of seeing dollars go into an account when I know we don't need more of them, but I guess more than a decade of conditioning can do that. Give yourself some time where you suspend judgement (financially) and don't act on doubts as the jumblings of your big transition are settling. I think if I had given myself some kind of mental moratorium, in the end I'd have been saying, "See, Brain, that was exactly like we thought it would be. And here you had all these doubts. We're still floating and the sun is still shining."

tooqk4u22

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2018, 01:07:16 PM »
Sure, I am guilty I guess of being afraid.  I keep trying to figure out why but when I convince myself of one thing or another it just leads to another fear/concern to think about.  Over time I have narrowed it down to a few things:

- OMY on a high income and savings rate is hard to give up and each year it adds so much to the buffer.  Although this has diminishing returns as your SWR declines....

- saving mentality, since I was a kid whenever I put money away for general savings/investments I always treated it as if it didn't exist, once it was put it was gone and I couldn't touch it.  If I wanted to buy something bigger I then had to save specifically for that.  The thought of withdrawing creates anxiety, its just not what I do. 

- firehose of cash stopping,  I really really really like to solve big money items that come up simply by not saving for a month or two.  HVAC goes, fine, I just won't add to savings this month or next....never mind that I have a separate capex/repair account that I funnel $400/month into and include as part of my spending plan.

- social/community circle, most of our friends are peers with similar (and in several cases more) incomes but with higher spending patterns.  It is not uncommon for members (not all every time) of this group to do trips together (Disney, cruises, vegas, Hawaii, and so on), groups of 10 go out regularly and the girls absolutely go out for each's b'day dinner to expensive places (there's a grand a year right there).  I fear, more for my DW but for me to some extent, about not participating and possibly losing connection with these people.  The are all very good and fun people, but do have different goals and lifestyles.  We also do a lot of get-togethers at each's house and such...some of this will be at odds with our FIRE budget.

there are others such as SOR, rising expenses, healthcare, etc - but I am sorting through those.


neil

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2018, 02:54:43 PM »
My wiring does not work this way but I may give it a shot.

I feel 100% like this.  I could find a way not to hate certain aspects of my job by dialing it down.  Even though I don't care what people think of me, I do care what I think of me and some function of that is the quality of my work.  This last year has me depressed even though a lot of variables were not under my control, and I almost considered giving up because my health was declining.  I'm ok to leave before I'm ready (I can always find something else more palatable that pays the bills) but not doing it on my terms will probably make me unhappy.

A key thing that I recognized fairly recently is that I can't dial down inside my existing structure.  Unfortunately, my team is aware of my medical issues (because they manifested at work a few years ago) but I've been a reliable team member for years and this is what they are used to getting from me.  I am used to delivering at that pace.  Even though I notified that my health was degrading last year, there was no real option from a staffing perspective and the work simply suffered until I recovered enough to dial back up.  I can provide value but not 100% in the way I used to, but being honest about it doesn't even allow me to negotiate down the percentage in any way. 

I've actually slowly been merging my thought process to finding a plan for the next step, making a call when to do that, and simply executing on it.  There is way too much obsession finding the mathematical path the FIRE, but it doesn't make me feel better to have $X and can always find more carrots (security, travel, etc) to keep me from questioning the status quo.  Until I create something to move toward, I admit to myself I'll just let inertia carry me around no matter how I feel about it.

Eric

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2018, 04:15:23 PM »
I think it's natural to be afraid.  It's a major life step, similar to your first day of school or getting married.  But I wouldn't let fear of boredom be the reason.  Boredom is not always bad.  Boredom breeds creativity.  It forces you out of your comfort zone and makes you do new things.  Of course the good part is that retirement is not an irreversible decision.  In the unlikely event that you quit and decide 6 months or a year later that you were actually happier when working, you can get another job.  There are plenty out there, especially when you don't need the money.

rolliefingers

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2018, 05:23:16 AM »
Thanks for sharing Mr. Green.  I wonder about the "panic attack" thing happening to me too.  Appreciate your input.

I struggled with walking away from my income. I FIREd for the first time in June 2016. I was making over $250k at the time and was in a sweet spot to ride out the contract for a few more years if I wanted. I was comfortable with the math that said we were FI, but I still had that little doubt in the back of my head, the one that is always scared in the absence of data.

I had also planned to build a house after quitting so the thought of a large capital outlay and having just given up my income really threw me for a loop. I started having panic attacks. I ended up going back to work after 3 months off and almost instantly regretted it. I'd had that taste of freedom (and I didn't like my job to begin with). I hung on for 9 months part-time just to keep from burning every single bridge I had, and FIREd again in June 2017. I also saw a therapist and she helped me work though some of the things that I wasn't able to sort out on my own.

My wife was working this whole time so we haven't even been drawing down our stash in the time I haven't worked. Now she's quitting her job in June and I have no stress over the thought of having zero income. The last 2 years have created some basic data that my mind is now comfortable trusting, my own personal experience instead of some online tool telling me I'll be fine. Despite having tracked our expenses for a few years before quitting I guess I was still worried that it would somehow be different after our I went away.

I was definitely afraid to FIRE. I feared that I was making a monetary mistake I wouldn't be able to fix. But I didn't let that fear stop me and I'm very glad of that now that I'm on the other side of it.

rolliefingers

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2018, 05:25:01 AM »
Do you care to comment on your withdrawal mechanism?  I understand the "from where" portion but the "how" is a bit of a mystery to me. 

I was also addicted to the numbers. I'd been tracking everything via spreadsheets for years and every time I'd see a five figure paycheck go into the bank account it was like a dopamine hit. So every two weeks I was getting that hit and it was enough to pull me through the times when I didn't want to be there.

I think me quitting first while my wife kept working was like a tappered withdrawal instead of going cold turkey and that helped me adjust. Her paycheck covered the bills alone but all the sudden we werent putting thousands into savings every month. It took some time to get used to that feeling. I had just realized my most important monetary goal (FIRE) and didn't have a replacement. Now we're really comfortable with just her income and I have everything mapped out for how withdrawals will work when that goes away so I'm prepared for the loss of that income as well.

I sometimes feel stupid that this was a thing, being hung up on the thought of seeing dollars go into an account when I know we don't need more of them, but I guess more than a decade of conditioning can do that. Give yourself some time where you suspend judgement (financially) and don't act on doubts as the jumblings of your big transition are settling. I think if I had given myself some kind of mental moratorium, in the end I'd have been saying, "See, Brain, that was exactly like we thought it would be. And here you had all these doubts. We're still floating and the sun is still shining."

Mr. Green

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2018, 02:45:18 PM »
Do you care to comment on your withdrawal mechanism?  I understand the "from where" portion but the "how" is a bit of a mystery to me.
We'll be using a Roth IRA pipeline to channel pre-tax dollars into taxable accounts in the beginning. While we're establishing that pipeline we have more than enough money in taxable accounts to live off of already.

That's the long term plan but we're covered until the end of 2019 by money we have in savings that isn't part of our investment portfolio. I always liked to have some cash laying around in case there was a real estate deal I wanted to pursue so we have about $40,000 in CDs that are maturing. I kinda like the fact that the next 18 months worth of expenses are coming from a "separate" bucket because I can be fairly oblivious to the market for a while. I didn't really plan it like that but I'm enjoying that it worked out that way. Perhaps we'll even continue that in the future, pulling out one year's expenses at a time and then putting the stash "away" for the year and just paying attention to money we've allocated for the year.

After years of paying extreme attention to our cash flow and investments I find I need to develop a system that breaks that habit because there's nothing really to look at anymore. All our investments have been streamlined and the bills are on auto pilot as much as possible. But that habit to look anyway is just like the person who has developed the habit of picking up their phone every time they're bored. I want to free my mind from that habit so I can think about other things.

gerardc

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2018, 06:23:31 PM »
Have you ever noticed an asymmetry in how you feel about money when you earn it as opposed to when you spend it?
For example, you save $10,000 in Vanguard, you feel "meh" like it's nothing; you need to pay a $100 parking ticket or renewal fee and it feels huge?
If so, these feelings need to calibrated. They might be normal during the accumulation phase, but during drawdown obviously there will be more spending. If you don't adjust your mentality, you'll freak out at the idea of spending.

JoJo

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #24 on: April 13, 2018, 01:38:51 PM »
Have you ever noticed an asymmetry in how you feel about money when you earn it as opposed to when you spend it?
For example, you save $10,000 in Vanguard, you feel "meh" like it's nothing; you need to pay a $100 parking ticket or renewal fee and it feels huge?
If so, these feelings need to calibrated. They might be normal during the accumulation phase, but during drawdown obviously there will be more spending. If you don't adjust your mentality, you'll freak out at the idea of spending.

Wow.  This is me.

I was so mad at myself last year for forgetting to pay my property taxes (out of the country).  Was $200.   I love to travel so I don't bat an eye at $1000 in airfare.  When I go to a restaurant (rarely) I usually order some of the least expensive items.   This is certainly a mental problem.

Mrbeardedbigbucks

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2018, 05:41:47 AM »
We just recently FIREd. Ages 44/39. Walking away from a high paying job and reliable health care insurance certainly is a scary feeling.   I had many sleepless nights leading up to the day I gave my notice and the four weeks in between giving my notice and my actual departure date (3/31/18). My wife left her job in June 2017.

Once you actually get through the process of leaving your job, those feelings of fear and uncertainty start to fade. Itís only been two weeks for me but the feeling that you get from never being in a hurry to get things done and the freedom to wake up and do anything that you want is exhilarating. That freedom has outweighed the fear by far.

If you have plenty of hobbies and enjoy travel, I donít think you have to worry about getting bored. This might be a bit judgemental and Iíll surely get lambasted for saying this but I believe that anyone who gets bored because they donít have a full time job generally lacks curiosity in life. Just be curious, try new things and DIY everything. You wonít be bored. When we were working 40-50 hours a week, we could always think of 100 things weíd rather be doing other than being at our stressful, unfulfilling jobs. This was one of the driving factors for leaving the workforce early.



From a numbers standpoint, we were bringing in about 210k annually and our stache is half the size of yours and we FIREd at similar ages. Hereís the link to our case study:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/case-studies/is-this-fire-plan-'razor-thin'/

gerardc

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #26 on: April 15, 2018, 10:24:45 AM »
Have you ever noticed an asymmetry in how you feel about money when you earn it as opposed to when you spend it?
For example, you save $10,000 in Vanguard, you feel "meh" like it's nothing; you need to pay a $100 parking ticket or renewal fee and it feels huge?
If so, these feelings need to calibrated. They might be normal during the accumulation phase, but during drawdown obviously there will be more spending. If you don't adjust your mentality, you'll freak out at the idea of spending.

Turns out this is (similar to?) loss aversion:
"Some studies have suggested that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains."

englishteacheralex

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #27 on: April 15, 2018, 10:31:41 AM »
Have you discovered the blog www.livingafi.com? The author has a couple of really, really good series about how he addressed this problem. Apparently it's quite common among retirees and soon-to-be retirees of almost all stripes.

Tom Bri

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2018, 10:47:07 PM »
Me, no. My wife? Terrified of dying of starvation in old age. No joke. Terrified of medical bills, nursing home expenses, what have you. I'll work a few more years before broaching retirement...

rolliefingers

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2018, 06:30:44 AM »
Thanks for the insight.  How are you guys handling healthcare?  Are you utilizing a ministry or going ACA?  Given similarities in ages, what does your healthcare spend look like if you don't mind sharing. 

We just recently FIREd. Ages 44/39. Walking away from a high paying job and reliable health care insurance certainly is a scary feeling.   I had many sleepless nights leading up to the day I gave my notice and the four weeks in between giving my notice and my actual departure date (3/31/18). My wife left her job in June 2017.

Once you actually get through the process of leaving your job, those feelings of fear and uncertainty start to fade. Itís only been two weeks for me but the feeling that you get from never being in a hurry to get things done and the freedom to wake up and do anything that you want is exhilarating. That freedom has outweighed the fear by far.

If you have plenty of hobbies and enjoy travel, I donít think you have to worry about getting bored. This might be a bit judgemental and Iíll surely get lambasted for saying this but I believe that anyone who gets bored because they donít have a full time job generally lacks curiosity in life. Just be curious, try new things and DIY everything. You wonít be bored. When we were working 40-50 hours a week, we could always think of 100 things weíd rather be doing other than being at our stressful, unfulfilling jobs. This was one of the driving factors for leaving the workforce early.



From a numbers standpoint, we were bringing in about 210k annually and our stache is half the size of yours and we FIREd at similar ages. Hereís the link to our case study:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/case-studies/is-this-fire-plan-'razor-thin'/

bluebelle

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2018, 07:58:07 AM »
Have you ever noticed an asymmetry in how you feel about money when you earn it as opposed to when you spend it?
For example, you save $10,000 in Vanguard, you feel "meh" like it's nothing; you need to pay a $100 parking ticket or renewal fee and it feels huge?
If so, these feelings need to calibrated. They might be normal during the accumulation phase, but during drawdown obviously there will be more spending. If you don't adjust your mentality, you'll freak out at the idea of spending.

Wow.  This is me.

I was so mad at myself last year for forgetting to pay my property taxes (out of the country).  Was $200.   I love to travel so I don't bat an eye at $1000 in airfare.  When I go to a restaurant (rarely) I usually order some of the least expensive items.   This is certainly a mental problem.

but isn't the anger more directed at an avoidable cost.  You want to travel, the cost isn't avoidable.  A surcharge or parking ticket is avoidable.  That's what makes me mad at myself - a cost that was avoidable if I'd just had my shit together. 

spokey doke

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2018, 08:56:52 AM »
The existentialists have a bit to say about this...real freedom can be scary

austin944

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #32 on: April 20, 2018, 08:19:36 AM »
You could try ER for a little while and see how you like it.  If it does not suit you, then you can always go back.  You may take a hit on your employability due to the gap in your employment. But if you are good and the gap is not too long and the economy is still strong, then I don't think it will be a major problem.  That's what I am doing.

I am 5 months into ER at age 56, leaving a $200K+/yr job and excellent benefits.  The problem for me has not been boredom, but rather I miss the built-in socializing that goes on at work, and the collaboration with others on difficult problems.   I am also a chronic worrier and am always thinking about the uncertain future, especially with regards to the cost of health insurance and the path of the stock market.  Health insurance is affordable now for me now (currently on COBRA), but might not always be that way in the future.  And the stock market may become like it did in the 70s; not a big crash and recovery but a long depressed market.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2018, 08:23:42 AM by austin944 »

Mrbeardedbigbucks

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #33 on: April 21, 2018, 10:44:44 AM »
Thanks for the insight.  How are you guys handling healthcare?  Are you utilizing a ministry or going ACA?  Given similarities in ages, what does your healthcare spend look like if you don't mind sharing. 

We just recently FIREd. Ages 44/39. Walking away from a high paying job and reliable health care insurance certainly is a scary feeling.   I had many sleepless nights leading up to the day I gave my notice and the four weeks in between giving my notice and my actual departure date (3/31/18). My wife left her job in June 2017.

Once you actually get through the process of leaving your job, those feelings of fear and uncertainty start to fade. Itís only been two weeks for me but the feeling that you get from never being in a hurry to get things done and the freedom to wake up and do anything that you want is exhilarating. That freedom has outweighed the fear by far.

If you have plenty of hobbies and enjoy travel, I donít think you have to worry about getting bored. This might be a bit judgemental and Iíll surely get lambasted for saying this but I believe that anyone who gets bored because they donít have a full time job generally lacks curiosity in life. Just be curious, try new things and DIY everything. You wonít be bored. When we were working 40-50 hours a week, we could always think of 100 things weíd rather be doing other than being at our stressful, unfulfilling jobs. This was one of the driving factors for leaving the workforce early.



From a numbers standpoint, we were bringing in about 210k annually and our stache is half the size of yours and we FIREd at similar ages. Hereís the link to our case study:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/case-studies/is-this-fire-plan-'razor-thin'/

We just recently purchased a silver level plan on the ACA exchange. Our monthly premium is about $130 for two adults. The deductible is $1400, max out of pocket is $2800. With IRA and 401k contribution this year, our projected MAGI is about $32000. It's possible we could be slightly above or below that by the end of the year so we could be paying some of the subsidies back or possibly getting a refund. We also add another $150 to our monthly healthcare costs, assuming that at least one of us may need more than just an annual physical every year and as a result spending more out of pocket until the insurance kicks in.

I think we're relatively lucky when it comes to the ACA where we live. There's still 3 or 4 insurers to choose from and the plan we chose is accepted by both of our primary care physicians as well as most major hospitals and labs within a 50 mile radius. If your income is substantially higher, have kids and live in a different state, you could face much higher premiums.

Hope that helps.

rolliefingers

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #34 on: April 22, 2018, 09:05:20 AM »
thanks Austin

so ER agrees with you thus far?

i understand what you say with the "built in socialization" -- i worry that i'll miss this part as well

You could try ER for a little while and see how you like it.  If it does not suit you, then you can always go back.  You may take a hit on your employability due to the gap in your employment. But if you are good and the gap is not too long and the economy is still strong, then I don't think it will be a major problem.  That's what I am doing.

I am 5 months into ER at age 56, leaving a $200K+/yr job and excellent benefits.  The problem for me has not been boredom, but rather I miss the built-in socializing that goes on at work, and the collaboration with others on difficult problems.   I am also a chronic worrier and am always thinking about the uncertain future, especially with regards to the cost of health insurance and the path of the stock market.  Health insurance is affordable now for me now (currently on COBRA), but might not always be that way in the future.  And the stock market may become like it did in the 70s; not a big crash and recovery but a long depressed market.

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #35 on: April 22, 2018, 09:16:48 PM »
I did a year or two of OMY. Still felt I wasn't 100% sure I could pull FIRE off (inner bag lady syndrome), work was going OK, liked my coworkers, made a great salary. I was getting close to my target age, but I wasn't sure I was going to pull the plug.

But then life through me a huge curveball in terms of my health, I went back to work after sick leave, got a new intolerable manager, got assigned to a role I was not well suited for...well let's just say I had a really good entry in the Epic FU Money thread.

I FIREd that year.

I have never understood the "being bored in FIRE" argument, but I do see some suffer with that. My biggest fear was the financial part and turning off the money spigot.

But you can get really sick and not make it through or end up disabled and not be able to do the things you always wanted to do outside of work and then regret you never FIREd when you could have. I personally miraculously recovered well, but it may not have ended up that way, and I cherish every healthy day I have in FIRE.

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #36 on: April 22, 2018, 09:51:55 PM »
Just chiming in to say my goal in FIRE was to ask, "How did I ever have time to work?" I'm happy to report it did not take long. Now I have to be careful not to overfill my calendar. It's a terrific problem to have and I love having it. I am five+ years post-FIRE.

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #37 on: April 23, 2018, 03:08:19 AM »
I've been told (by a fellow forumite no less) that she could FIRE on my stache and she gave me the explanation of how and I still didn't believe her...

Not sure if that qualifies me as afraid, but I guess I felt that I don't have enough yet so I'm not at the point where I should make a decision.

Perspective is a funny thing.

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #38 on: April 23, 2018, 09:11:12 AM »
I've been told (by a fellow forumite no less) that she could FIRE on my stache and she gave me the explanation of how and I still didn't believe her...

Not sure if that qualifies me as afraid, but I guess I felt that I don't have enough yet so I'm not at the point where I should make a decision.

Perspective is a funny thing.

I know for a fact that most here could FIRE on my stash...as many have already, let alone on way lower amounts.  Expenses in general and specific to certain wants are a big factor.....I mean my property taxes ($10.5k for $300k 1900 sf house), costs for children's activities ($10k - travel sports mostly) are what some here are living off of. 

sui generis

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #39 on: April 23, 2018, 02:36:17 PM »
Yeah, I'm afraid!  My RE date is a bit past yours, but I'm passing the time with meeting with a coach to talk through a lot of the same things you've voiced.  Basically, my goal is to help create the right framework going into RE for myself, to change how I look at/think about certain things that are scaring me right now, so that I feel more confident about them 10 months from now when I'm out in the big scary world without my $20k/month security blanket.  I've had 3 meetings so far and it's already been super helpful in creating new frames and new perspectives.

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #40 on: May 04, 2018, 11:54:05 AM »
thanks Austin

so ER agrees with you thus far?

Yes, ER is good so far.  The best part is not being on a work schedule, and waking up whenever I want, instead of setting an alarm.   I would definitely do it again given the choice, of just trying ER for a little while to see how I liked it.

After 6 months of trying ER, I wrote down some advantages of ER vs. continuing to work.  As you might be able to tell from my lists, I am thinking of returning to work.  I would definitely encourage everyone to make their own lists.

ER advantages
-----------------
Get to do most anything I want.  In my case, I am learning new tech-related things and doing some volunteering
to find some life purpose and meaning.   Never had time to do this when working.

Not being fixed to a work schedule.  Do things when I want, or not.  Vacation/travel anytime.  Sleep/wake/nap whenever.

Not wasting time in frustrating commute.

Far more time available to meet new people and make new friends, and connect with family.

Can avoid thinking about work even during off-work hours.

Continuing to work
----------------------
No anxiety or sleepless nights about not having a regular paycheck.

No need to pay for health insurance premiums.

Don't worry too much about spending too much money for things.  I am already FI so I can spend my salary freely.

Built-in socialization at work.  Formed many close and lasting friendships.

Provides a stick to keep me productive and intellectually stimulated.  I have been pretty lazy in ER.

Earning more money means an even more comfortable retirement, and a guard against expensive unexpected events.
Can't know what the future holds; it might not always be the way things are now.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 11:56:55 AM by austin944 »

rolliefingers

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #41 on: June 23, 2018, 08:29:33 AM »
Out of curiosity, did you choose to go back to work?

And on the healthcare front, have you considered a health ministry (Samaritan, Liberty, et al) versus COBRA?  Lower costs and seem to be very viable options versus COBRA and its nonsensical costs.

Thanks.

thanks Austin

so ER agrees with you thus far?

Yes, ER is good so far.  The best part is not being on a work schedule, and waking up whenever I want, instead of setting an alarm.   I would definitely do it again given the choice, of just trying ER for a little while to see how I liked it.

After 6 months of trying ER, I wrote down some advantages of ER vs. continuing to work.  As you might be able to tell from my lists, I am thinking of returning to work.  I would definitely encourage everyone to make their own lists.

ER advantages
-----------------
Get to do most anything I want.  In my case, I am learning new tech-related things and doing some volunteering
to find some life purpose and meaning.   Never had time to do this when working.

Not being fixed to a work schedule.  Do things when I want, or not.  Vacation/travel anytime.  Sleep/wake/nap whenever.

Not wasting time in frustrating commute.

Far more time available to meet new people and make new friends, and connect with family.

Can avoid thinking about work even during off-work hours.

Continuing to work
----------------------
No anxiety or sleepless nights about not having a regular paycheck.

No need to pay for health insurance premiums.

Don't worry too much about spending too much money for things.  I am already FI so I can spend my salary freely.

Built-in socialization at work.  Formed many close and lasting friendships.

Provides a stick to keep me productive and intellectually stimulated.  I have been pretty lazy in ER.

Earning more money means an even more comfortable retirement, and a guard against expensive unexpected events.
Can't know what the future holds; it might not always be the way things are now.

austin944

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #42 on: June 23, 2018, 01:28:21 PM »
Out of curiosity, did you choose to go back to work?

And on the healthcare front, have you considered a health ministry (Samaritan, Liberty, et al) versus COBRA?  Lower costs and seem to be very viable options versus COBRA and its nonsensical costs.

Thanks.


I started looking for work not long after I posted in this thread, and I got one offer for $200K/yr, but I turned it down.  I looked at the people working there and saw a lot of unhappy faces, and the position would have been very high stress.  So the search continues.  If I get the right offer, then I'll take it.  But, that might not happen.

I chose traditional insurance instead of health sharing because the cost was reasonable (COBRA $420/mo. with $1500 deductible vs. $1000/mo for equivalent Obamacare plan) and it was more familiar territory to me than health sharing or Obamacare.  At some point I will have to switch to either health sharing or Obamacare.

Are your hobbies and travel something you use to help decompress from work?  Do you look forward to those activities when working, and reflect back on them after returning to work?   If there was no work to decompress from, would you savor that leisure time as much?  Do you enjoy them in their own right, independently of the relief it gives you from the stress of work?

Do you think your current hobbies and travel could fill the time available if you FIREd, and does your FIRE budget allow for that?  Would you get bored with them if you did them too much?  If they would not fill the time, would you feel motivated to fill it with something new, like a part-time job, more time together with family/friends, volunteering, or new interest in line with your budget, or would you fill it with idle time (nothing wrong with that)?

If you have new activities you'd like to try in FIRE, then why are you not pursuing them now while you are working?  Not enough time, too tired from working, not motivated enough, some other reason?   Do you feel you'd like to do those new things in ER to avoid being bored, or are you genuinely interested in pursuing them now while working, but can't for some reason?  If you took a long vacation or sabbatical from work, would you pursue those new things during that break?

These are all questions I've thought about while in ER, but not nearly as much before.

rolliefingers

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #43 on: June 24, 2018, 06:40:34 AM »
Thanks for the reply Austin.

You must be in a tough state for Obamacare.  The ministries and ACA ought to both be well under Cobra costs, if it has any material impact on your budget and, thus, matters.

We love to travel.  If it were me we would do it on a shoestring.  My wife, however, appreciates the finer things and travel is more expensive.  This is one of the reasons I plod on and add to the stache.

Hobbies -- I would like to paint, write and help folks with basic financial literacy.  My all consuming job leave little time and less energy for these pursuits.  It isn't just the work, it is the travel heaped on top of the work that robs me of time (driving, not flying, or I could at least write).

It is hard to hear someone who has FIRE'd and now wants to re-enter the fray.  I am worried that that would be me too.  Institutionalized at this point with the 200k job and a repeatable recipe to keep my "success" model growing.

Out of curiosity, did you choose to go back to work?

And on the healthcare front, have you considered a health ministry (Samaritan, Liberty, et al) versus COBRA?  Lower costs and seem to be very viable options versus COBRA and its nonsensical costs.

Thanks.


I started looking for work not long after I posted in this thread, and I got one offer for $200K/yr, but I turned it down.  I looked at the people working there and saw a lot of unhappy faces, and the position would have been very high stress.  So the search continues.  If I get the right offer, then I'll take it.  But, that might not happen.

I chose traditional insurance instead of health sharing because the cost was reasonable (COBRA $420/mo. with $1500 deductible vs. $1000/mo for equivalent Obamacare plan) and it was more familiar territory to me than health sharing or Obamacare.  At some point I will have to switch to either health sharing or Obamacare.

Are your hobbies and travel something you use to help decompress from work?  Do you look forward to those activities when working, and reflect back on them after returning to work?   If there was no work to decompress from, would you savor that leisure time as much?  Do you enjoy them in their own right, independently of the relief it gives you from the stress of work?

Do you think your current hobbies and travel could fill the time available if you FIREd, and does your FIRE budget allow for that?  Would you get bored with them if you did them too much?  If they would not fill the time, would you feel motivated to fill it with something new, like a part-time job, more time together with family/friends, volunteering, or new interest in line with your budget, or would you fill it with idle time (nothing wrong with that)?

If you have new activities you'd like to try in FIRE, then why are you not pursuing them now while you are working?  Not enough time, too tired from working, not motivated enough, some other reason?   Do you feel you'd like to do those new things in ER to avoid being bored, or are you genuinely interested in pursuing them now while working, but can't for some reason?  If you took a long vacation or sabbatical from work, would you pursue those new things during that break?

These are all questions I've thought about while in ER, but not nearly as much before.

chasesfish

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #44 on: June 24, 2018, 07:08:20 AM »
I can completely relate to your thoughts...I'm approaching my early retirement date and have already extended it for eight months due to some pretty substantial financial rewards coming and dealing with something in the family that sent my our healthcare expenditures through the roof..

I'm also in sales and can't find a "part time/half time" option.  There are plenty of lower paying jobs at the company, but all still come with their own stress and don't make sense.  Leaving a job is more about just the paycheck going away, its the fear of the unknown, the loss of identity if its tied to your job, ect.

The best advice I've seen around here from all the people who do it is expect the first full six months to be decompression then don't make any big decisions until after that.


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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #45 on: June 24, 2018, 07:35:29 AM »
As mentioned previously health care is our biggest hurtle.  With the federal government salivating daily to destroy the ACA, Medicare and Social Security how can you not worry?  We have very good and affordable health care while working.   With a cancer surviving child we've used more health care benefits than many families will earn in a lifetime.  I'm not going to sugar coat it, when you get sick or when you get so old that 24 hour nursing care is required, the Republicans simply want you to die and go away.  I dream of FIRE in 2019 or 2020. Unless the midterm elections change the current make-up in Congress, there is no way I'm leaving my high paying job to be at their mercy.  I hate the fact that we've got plenty to retire on saved up but know that the next illness could bankrupt us.  It is amazing that a voting majority of people would want to create that reality.
I'm watching my grandmother die right now in the nursing home.  The costs have wiped out her savings and her home will be lost to pay the bills.  This is the reality young people cannot grasp, twenty years ago in my youth neither could I.  It's a sad system.

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #46 on: June 24, 2018, 07:59:20 AM »
As mentioned previously health care is our biggest hurtle.  With the federal government salivating daily to destroy the ACA, Medicare and Social Security how can you not worry?  We have very good and affordable health care while working.   With a cancer surviving child we've used more health care benefits than many families will earn in a lifetime.  I'm not going to sugar coat it, when you get sick or when you get so old that 24 hour nursing care is required, the Republicans simply want you to die and go away.  I dream of FIRE in 2019 or 2020. Unless the midterm elections change the current make-up in Congress, there is no way I'm leaving my high paying job to be at their mercy.  I hate the fact that we've got plenty to retire on saved up but know that the next illness could bankrupt us.  It is amazing that a voting majority of people would want to create that reality.
I'm watching my grandmother die right now in the nursing home.  The costs have wiped out her savings and her home will be lost to pay the bills.  This is the reality young people cannot grasp, twenty years ago in my youth neither could I.  It's a sad system.

Fear of leaving a high paying job is a legitimate thing. The higher the salary and greater the difficulty of re-entering the job market the worse the fear becomes in my opinion. I'm not worries about missing my job, becoming bored or any or that stuff, but I am fearful of a medical disaster or some other factor in life that forces my spending much higher than it is today. Even worse, I work in medicine, so I have the bias of seeing people get hit by unexpected medical disasters every day. It is really easy to dismiss this stuff if you are young and healthy. If I could have reasonably priced guaranteed health insurance to get me to medicare age I would probably retire within the year, but these days even with insurance, health care costs can be absurd.

rolliefingers

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #47 on: June 25, 2018, 02:23:43 PM »
The six month suggestion is pretty wise actually.  If I am a "free agent" I am pretty certain I will have other companies chasing me when I step away (if they do not understand the reasoning behind the move).  This could lead to more pay for a very similar set of variables ... not what I am looking for ... but I can imagine the temptation.

Yes, one's identity can certainly get wrapped around the occupational axle.  My best idea is to take the first couple of months of FI and go to southeast Asia to clear my head, turn off my phone and let the new reality breathe a little bit.

I can completely relate to your thoughts...I'm approaching my early retirement date and have already extended it for eight months due to some pretty substantial financial rewards coming and dealing with something in the family that sent my our healthcare expenditures through the roof..

I'm also in sales and can't find a "part time/half time" option.  There are plenty of lower paying jobs at the company, but all still come with their own stress and don't make sense.  Leaving a job is more about just the paycheck going away, its the fear of the unknown, the loss of identity if its tied to your job, ect.

The best advice I've seen around here from all the people who do it is expect the first full six months to be decompression then don't make any big decisions until after that.

rolliefingers

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #48 on: June 25, 2018, 02:35:16 PM »
Nice to hear from you.  I appreciate your excellent work.

I work in healthcare as well and can relate to your perspective.  Have you given Samaritan or Liberty a look to see if either will fulfill your family's insurance needs?  I am pondering them both at this point but cannot say if I would use them or the ACA (our state has not lost its mind yet).

Cheers.

As mentioned previously health care is our biggest hurtle.  With the federal government salivating daily to destroy the ACA, Medicare and Social Security how can you not worry?  We have very good and affordable health care while working.   With a cancer surviving child we've used more health care benefits than many families will earn in a lifetime.  I'm not going to sugar coat it, when you get sick or when you get so old that 24 hour nursing care is required, the Republicans simply want you to die and go away.  I dream of FIRE in 2019 or 2020. Unless the midterm elections change the current make-up in Congress, there is no way I'm leaving my high paying job to be at their mercy.  I hate the fact that we've got plenty to retire on saved up but know that the next illness could bankrupt us.  It is amazing that a voting majority of people would want to create that reality.
I'm watching my grandmother die right now in the nursing home.  The costs have wiped out her savings and her home will be lost to pay the bills.  This is the reality young people cannot grasp, twenty years ago in my youth neither could I.  It's a sad system.

Fear of leaving a high paying job is a legitimate thing. The higher the salary and greater the difficulty of re-entering the job market the worse the fear becomes in my opinion. I'm not worries about missing my job, becoming bored or any or that stuff, but I am fearful of a medical disaster or some other factor in life that forces my spending much higher than it is today. Even worse, I work in medicine, so I have the bias of seeing people get hit by unexpected medical disasters every day. It is really easy to dismiss this stuff if you are young and healthy. If I could have reasonably priced guaranteed health insurance to get me to medicare age I would probably retire within the year, but these days even with insurance, health care costs can be absurd.

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Re: Has Anyone Been Afraid to FIRE?
« Reply #49 on: June 26, 2018, 08:49:27 AM »
I don't think it is unusual to fear the boredom of FIRE...  That's not what I worry about though.  I can fill my time just fine without a job, and luckily my work (accounting) lends itself well to temporary or part time work in case I miss it.  (I can see missing it.  I like what I do, I just like my freedom more.)  What I'm worried about is health care.  I've looked into post FIRE options before, but the landscape is dynamic and I'm not sure I want to rely on the current situation or assume it will be the same in a few years.