Author Topic: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements  (Read 29344 times)

gerardc

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #150 on: June 27, 2017, 10:27:59 PM »
I'm 2 months into my first serial mini retirement. This has been some of the best time of my life. I've been insanely busy to the point, I don't know how I ever worked. I'm taking Japanese, Thai, Badminton and Tango classes. Spending more time with my son and wife, living normal hours. Its great I almost never want to leave. My burn rate is closer to $90k but I could FIRE today if I got it down to $60k. Mostly because of private school, public schools are well beyond garbage in Thailand. I'm flipping back and forth between working 3 months out of the year, or going back for another 3-5 years and get enough to FIRE at $90k. I truly recommend this to anyone considering taking time off. Its a great compromise

Wait, you spend US$90k/year in Thailand? I thought Thailand was cheap, like $2k/month more than enough for a family.

Thailand is cheap, you can easily live on $2k a month. I live in Bangkok which is more expensive then a midtier American city, but you get quality of living closer to NYC. I live in downtown in a posh neighborhood and want for nothing. Also Private school is $20k a year so thats a good portion. I'm not sure many American cities you can live a full all out lifestyle in a huge condo, for $60k salary. I think most mustachians live in homes in suburbs, which is a huge cost difference. If I lived outside the city I would probably spend 30-40k USD a year.

That's great. Would you mind going into more detail as to how this $90k is allocated? e.g. in rough categories like rent, food, car, etc., and what those luxuries involve. I'm interested in LCOL expat living, and wondering what high expense lifestyle can buy you... thanks!

mcampbell

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #151 on: June 27, 2017, 10:34:32 PM »
I'm 2 months into my first serial mini retirement. This has been some of the best time of my life. I've been insanely busy to the point, I don't know how I ever worked. I'm taking Japanese, Thai, Badminton and Tango classes. Spending more time with my son and wife, living normal hours. Its great I almost never want to leave. My burn rate is closer to $90k but I could FIRE today if I got it down to $60k. Mostly because of private school, public schools are well beyond garbage in Thailand. I'm flipping back and forth between working 3 months out of the year, or going back for another 3-5 years and get enough to FIRE at $90k. I truly recommend this to anyone considering taking time off. Its a great compromise

Wait, you spend US$90k/year in Thailand? I thought Thailand was cheap, like $2k/month more than enough for a family.

Thailand is cheap, you can easily live on $2k a month. I live in Bangkok which is more expensive then a midtier American city, but you get quality of living closer to NYC. I live in downtown in a posh neighborhood and want for nothing. Also Private school is $20k a year so thats a good portion. I'm not sure many American cities you can live a full all out lifestyle in a huge condo, for $60k salary. I think most mustachians live in homes in suburbs, which is a huge cost difference. If I lived outside the city I would probably spend 30-40k USD a year.

That's great. Would you mind going into more detail as to how this $90k is allocated? e.g. in rough categories like rent, food, car, etc., and what those luxuries involve. I'm interested in LCOL expat living, and wondering what high expense lifestyle can buy you... thanks!
Sure

$1500-2k a month gets you a 3 bedroom 2000 sqft condo 5 min walk to a train station in core downtown

$500 a month on delivered groceries from an app, so I don't waste my time on this

$500 a month for a fulltime live-in 6 day a week nanny

$200 a month for a maid to come twice a week for 4 hours a time

$150 a month for private Japanese tutor once a week

$15 a lesson private badminton coach

$250 private trainer for weight lifting, 3 days a week

Private school with movie stars is $12k for preschool and jumps to $20k for primary

Obviously this is a insane lifestyle, however I still spend less then I did in NYC and had a 1 bedroom 700 sqft place without tutors and what not. Also my wife doesn't need to work ;/

arebelspy

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #152 on: June 27, 2017, 11:21:02 PM »
Rent your house and make money on it?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

FIREby35

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #153 on: June 28, 2017, 06:43:32 AM »
I'm 2 months into my first serial mini retirement. This has been some of the best time of my life. I've been insanely busy to the point, I don't know how I ever worked. I'm taking Japanese, Thai, Badminton and Tango classes. Spending more time with my son and wife, living normal hours. Its great I almost never want to leave. My burn rate is closer to $90k but I could FIRE today if I got it down to $60k. Mostly because of private school, public schools are well beyond garbage in Thailand. I'm flipping back and forth between working 3 months out of the year, or going back for another 3-5 years and get enough to FIRE at $90k. I truly recommend this to anyone considering taking time off. Its a great compromise

Wait, you spend US$90k/year in Thailand? I thought Thailand was cheap, like $2k/month more than enough for a family.

Thailand is cheap, you can easily live on $2k a month. I live in Bangkok which is more expensive then a midtier American city, but you get quality of living closer to NYC. I live in downtown in a posh neighborhood and want for nothing. Also Private school is $20k a year so thats a good portion. I'm not sure many American cities you can live a full all out lifestyle in a huge condo, for $60k salary. I think most mustachians live in homes in suburbs, which is a huge cost difference. If I lived outside the city I would probably spend 30-40k USD a year.

That's great. Would you mind going into more detail as to how this $90k is allocated? e.g. in rough categories like rent, food, car, etc., and what those luxuries involve. I'm interested in LCOL expat living, and wondering what high expense lifestyle can buy you... thanks!
Sure

$1500-2k a month gets you a 3 bedroom 2000 sqft condo 5 min walk to a train station in core downtown

$500 a month on delivered groceries from an app, so I don't waste my time on this

$500 a month for a fulltime live-in 6 day a week nanny

$200 a month for a maid to come twice a week for 4 hours a time

$150 a month for private Japanese tutor once a week

$15 a lesson private badminton coach

$250 private trainer for weight lifting, 3 days a week

Private school with movie stars is $12k for preschool and jumps to $20k for primary

Obviously this is a insane lifestyle, however I still spend less then I did in NYC and had a 1 bedroom 700 sqft place without tutors and what not. Also my wife doesn't need to work ;/

Wow. Pretty awesome. You are the most interesting man in the world.

alleykat

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #154 on: June 28, 2017, 07:02:13 AM »
Now this is something I wish I had done in my life when I was younger. If I was young again, I would certainly consider it if circumstances allowed. 

therethere

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #155 on: June 28, 2017, 08:20:56 AM »
Full disclosure: I have not read the entire thread.

What's everyone's number to where they are comfortable taking a mini retirement? I was hoping to get to 500k NW (for a couple) because that's my around estimate for supporting our age 60+ retirement. But I'm running out of patience. And most days I dream about just doing it. But I'm also terrified to spend any of our stash because it was such a struggle to get to this point. We're at 437k now, but taking a year off would have us spending that down to 350k.

My main concerns are finding a job after returning (or never wanting to return!). It took me over two years and a big paycut to get my current position when I was unemployed in 2010. DH and I are also interested in a career change but have no ideas on what that entails. I'm worried if we took a mini retirement we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot big time ):

Wtf, a year off would cost you $87k?!?

I'm thinking the $500k threshold as a couple as well, but our spending is only $40-45k/yr in a VERY HCOL area.

Perhaps they're hoping to maintain their old life/mortgage/rent/etc on top of funding a year of travel.

Yeah I think with the one year serial retirement, it's a lot harder to drop your expenses since you don't have any long term horizon. So you likely won't move from your current house, car payments etc. Since it's your first year of freedom you probably want to make trips abroad and what not also

We spend 65k a year now. From what I've gathered 5k a month for travel abroad is a reasonable budget, lower of course in some regions. So we would be break even pretty much. We have student loans on top of that (we do have a payoff account for that). We'd have to pay 2k min to break our lease, pay taxes on transferring/withdrawing money, and have a "startup" fund to come back to after year to rebuy a household and pay first/last/security on an apartment - assume 15k-20k. Plus 3-4 months on no or one income in a HCOL area on return - again around 5-10k. That easily gets to 80k for a year away and to restart again. 90k might be a slight exaggeration, but it is not too far off and it's still spending 20% of our NW. The other scenario of vanning it across the US for a year plays out about the same. But the lower travel costs are offset by a higher startup cost of buying the van/vehicle.

Yes, I'm wayyyy risk averse. Maybe I'm just calculating out ways to tell myself it is impossible. I tend to do that.


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Classical_Liberal

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #156 on: June 28, 2017, 10:22:42 AM »
From what I've gathered 5k a month for travel abroad is a reasonable budget, lower of course in some regions.
The other scenario of vanning it across the US for a year plays out about the same.
We have student loans on top of that (we do have a payoff account for that).
It's your life, do what you want, but if you are talking USD, these statements aren't anywhere near reality for Mustachian  level spending.
Yes, I'm wayyyy risk averse. Maybe I'm just calculating out ways to tell myself it is impossible. I tend to do that.
Driving a car to work is probably statistically, the riskiest thing you do.  Spending 5K a month on van-life (even with buy-in cost) is champagne, caviar, and a pull behind trailer for your servant's quarters.

mcneally

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #157 on: June 28, 2017, 11:00:23 AM »
there there is hopefully overestimating what their travel expenses would be, but when you factor in the transition costs (breaking lease, selling/rebuying or storing stuff, being unemployed for a bit while looking for work upon return) as well as drawing from rather than adding to investments, the difference 15 months from now of 'taking a year off' vs. 'not taking a year off' could easily be savings of 400k vs 525k or something. And if the job you're able to secure upon return pays less than before the difference compounds. Not saying it shouldn't be done, but anyone doing it should understand the cost. I'd wouldn't mind taking a year off, but I think I'm overpaid and probably couldn't get back a job that pays near as much.

therethere

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #158 on: June 28, 2017, 11:20:26 AM »
there there is hopefully overestimating what their travel expenses would be, but when you factor in the transition costs (breaking lease, selling/rebuying or storing stuff, being unemployed for a bit while looking for work upon return) as well as drawing from rather than adding to investments, the difference 15 months from now of 'taking a year off' vs. 'not taking a year off' could easily be savings of 400k vs 525k or something. And if the job you're able to secure upon return pays less than before the difference compounds. Not saying it shouldn't be done, but anyone doing it should understand the cost. I'd wouldn't mind taking a year off, but I think I'm overpaid and probably couldn't get back a job that pays near as much.

Yes! This is a wonderful point. There's no sense nitpicking exactly how much you would spend monthly on an unknown venture. Of course you want to round up in your planning so you don't get screwed. There are a lot of ending/startup costs with taking an extended amount of time off that is pretty inevitable. In my case, it seems the transition costs are fairly high because I'm anticipating it will take some time and paycuts to reenter the workforce. And we are paying under market rent in a soaring market so upon return housing will be much higher.

Also, I feel like a decent amount of people on the forum are not hard core mustachians. Even the creator of MMM himself is not! A lot of people, myself included, are drawn to discussions on the forum because they center around balancing your life and working so you can spend on what's important to you. That does not always translate to spending the absolute bare minimum. I think my 5k number is fairly accurate (rounded up maybe 10%) for a RTW type mini-retirement staying 1-2 weeks at a time in a city. Both month long vacations we took cost ~$4500.

 
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Classical_Liberal

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #159 on: June 28, 2017, 12:21:23 PM »
Also, I feel like a decent amount of people on the forum are not hard core mustachians. Even the creator of MMM himself is not! A lot of people, myself included, are drawn to discussions on the forum because they center around balancing your life and working so you can spend on what's important to you. That does not always translate to spending the absolute bare minimum.

This is true and fair enough, no personal offense was intended.  Rather it is I who have become more frustrated as of late with the transition of this forum from it's roots of efficient, low-level, environmentally sound consumption to more of a high-earner, slightly moderated spending format. 

I continue to frequent the forum and make comments such as the above to ensure the thousands of non-commenting readers that the original ideas of the MMM blog, are in fact, realistic.  A long-term per adult budget of <20K a year, living a middle class life or one of perpetual travel is possible without sacrifice.  It just takes some skill. Many have done it and are continuing to do so.

The end goal is not to insult high spenders, spending is a personal choice. Rather, I want to encourage a median income person/household (median US HH income is about 56K pretax), that their dreams can come true just as easily as yours. In fact, i would argue that the skills/optimization utilized by such a household to reach 50% savings rate makes their eventual FIRE or serial retirements much more robust than that of one who chooses a higher level of convenience spending.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2017, 12:26:13 PM by Classical_Liberal »

therethere

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #160 on: June 28, 2017, 12:36:40 PM »
No offense taken. Just trying to find middle ground. You did remind me that I may be thinking too narrowly in my version of a mini retirement. I'm an extreme optimizer so I'm overly conservative and tend to be all or nothing. So my thinking leans towards: if I'm going to risk quitting my cushy job to take a year off I want to be able to do everything and go everywhere! Who knows when I'll have the chance or money to do it again.

But, you reminded me I could make it more palatable moneywise to pick 2-3 locations and stay for a 1-2 months versus 1-2 weeks. Less places visited but more time like a local. Same amount of a mind reset (maybe even better because you aren't constantly looking at what's next). I think I'll have to revisit what that would look like.
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life_travel

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #161 on: June 28, 2017, 04:29:17 PM »
Also, I feel like a decent amount of people on the forum are not hard core mustachians. Even the creator of MMM himself is not! A lot of people, myself included, are drawn to discussions on the forum because they center around balancing your life and working so you can spend on what's important to you. That does not always translate to spending the absolute bare minimum.

This is true and fair enough, no personal offense was intended.  Rather it is I who have become more frustrated as of late with the transition of this forum from it's roots of efficient, low-level, environmentally sound consumption to more of a high-earner, slightly moderated spending format. 

I continue to frequent the forum and make comments such as the above to ensure the thousands of non-commenting readers that the original ideas of the MMM blog, are in fact, realistic.  A long-term per adult budget of <20K a year, living a middle class life or one of perpetual travel is possible without sacrifice.  It just takes some skill. Many have done it and are continuing to do so.

The end goal is not to insult high spenders, spending is a personal choice. Rather, I want to encourage a median income person/household (median US HH income is about 56K pretax), that their dreams can come true just as easily as yours. In fact, i would argue that the skills/optimization utilized by such a household to reach 50% savings rate makes their eventual FIRE or serial retirements much more robust than that of one who chooses a higher level of convenience spending.
Sadly it's true that the forum is losing its original roots and I suspect that it will ( maybe?) become like early retirement . org where extremely risk averse people need to save 2-3 mil to retire . Which in itself is totally fine. But where can we go,people who earn average wages and aspire to retire on 20k a year ? :)
I don't comment a lot but have been reading this forum extensively since 2014.
In regards to mini retirement . It depends what motivates you . If you'd rather work for a few more years to fully FIRE the like there there ( no offends btw!) then you'll find all sorts of excuses :)
If you have a burning desire to take a year off then you will lower your expenses so much just to be able to take that year off. There is no right and wrong way .
For us I'd rather take a couple of years off now but husband being older and just turned 50 wants to work as he may not get a job later.

LAGuy

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #162 on: June 28, 2017, 06:52:56 PM »
I don't think the forum has strayed far from its roots. Part of it just may be that with markets flying so high, a lot of people are feeling rather flush. I still see this as the "middle of the road" FIRE site compared to the extreme early retirement folks and the Boglehead forum types. I imagine when we get a downturn here there will be a lot of tears and belt tightening and things will return to being a bit more frugal.

My own take on a few of the points that have come up recently in this thread:

My own research and experience is similar to Classical_Liberal. A year of travel on the road for a single person will probably run about $18k to $24k. But, that's spending a good portion of your time in the lower COL areas and doing a good portion of it as a "backpacker". And again, that's as a single. therethere sounds like he/she is making plans for a couple. I'd expect that to run about 50% more, so around $27k to $36k for a couple. Really it just sounds like they are planning rather conservatively at an expected spend of $60k then really being spendypants.  As noted slow travel can bring the cost down quite a bit and is really the way to do it. Expecting to spend on a year of travel the same that was spent on a month long vacation is certainly not the most efficient way to do it. Perhaps a bit more research is in order? I'd suggest reading this whole thread, as it really is a good one...you'll find that the "number" a lot of us partial early retirees arrived for early partial retirement at was just north of $500k total assets invested, but for the most part we're all singles as well.

I will say, though, if the plan is to take a year off and spend down a good chunk of the stache doing so, I'm afraid I have to vote for that being a very bad idea. As you noted, therethere, it was a difficult grind to get to where you are now. Going out and blowing a bunch of it right before your stache starts to take on a life of its own is probably an extremely bad idea. When you go back and look at this whole thread, I think you'll find a lot of people that made the semi/serial early retirement thing work in and of itself. Some people earn on the road working remotely. Or, myself for instance, works part of the year as a traveling healthcare professional. I'm actually still adding to my stache overall on a yearly basis...just not as much as when I was full time. I also completely reordered my life to take advantage of the situation - got rid of all my stuff minus the two bags I live out of, made sure my investments were in the right types of accounts, researched places I wanted to go, costs, visa issues, banking, etc. It really was an entire lifestyle decision as much as FIRE itself is, or making a decision to have children, or move to a new city.

As for living abroad on the "cheap" I can't say I'd recommend it. Why? Because if all you want to do is retire and live on like $20k a year you can do that just fine in the US. Better frankly, because you understand how the system works, you don't need to deal with visa issues, and you can kind of just live a simple below the radar kind of life. What you really don't want to be doing is living "poor" in the 3rd world. That sucks. Moreover, any loser can (and does) do exactly that. Just go get yourself a thrift shop backpack, a guitar and some dreadlocks and you can retire right now down at Khao San Road without ever having worked a day in your life. No, you go to a place like Thailand to live like a Rockstar on a Toledo, Ohio budget. Otherwise you're going to be bored out of your mind living in your cheap ass Chang Mai apartment with absolutely nothing to do.

gerardc

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #163 on: June 28, 2017, 09:07:26 PM »
Another difference I observed between year-long and month-long vacation: the first few weeks are usually high adrenaline, low rest, low sleep, packed schedule; that will naturally cost more per unit time. After a while, most people get tired and need a sustainable steady state that includes more nights in, watching movies, recharging batteries, etc. which may sound boring but is necessary and much cheaper, especially if you're staying at the same location for longer.

Padonak

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #164 on: June 28, 2017, 09:54:52 PM »

As for living abroad on the "cheap" I can't say I'd recommend it. Why? Because if all you want to do is retire and live on like $20k a year you can do that just fine in the US. Better frankly, because you understand how the system works, you don't need to deal with visa issues, and you can kind of just live a simple below the radar kind of life. What you really don't want to be doing is living "poor" in the 3rd world. That sucks. Moreover, any loser can (and does) do exactly that. Just go get yourself a thrift shop backpack, a guitar and some dreadlocks and you can retire right now down at Khao San Road without ever having worked a day in your life. No, you go to a place like Thailand to live like a Rockstar on a Toledo, Ohio budget. Otherwise you're going to be bored out of your mind living in your cheap ass Chang Mai apartment with absolutely nothing to do.

How exactly can you do that? Maybe you know a little secret I don't know? I used to travel to Thailand in my mid-late 20s when I had very little money saved (compared to my stache now in mid-late 30s). I really wanted to stay there, at least for awhile, but decided to be responsible and keep working until I achieve at least bare bones FI.

I also met a few people who decided to drop out of the rat race and move to 3rd world countries in their 20s or early 30s before they reached FI. One of them ended up homeless in a big 3rd world city in Asia with no money for a ticket back home and risk of going to jail for overstaying his visa and not paying the fine. Another one, a good friend of mine, quit his cushy job in North America to go to Brazil, then had to come back in a few years with very little money left. After he came back, he could only find a low skilled job and is pretty much stuck now doing low skilled work for the rest of his life.

My question to you is how exactly can somebody retire right now in Khao San Rd (Bangkok) without working a day in their life?  Please be specific. No begging, no sleeping with rats on the side of Khao San Rd. Nothing fancy, just bare bones retirement.

FIREby35

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #165 on: June 29, 2017, 06:51:44 AM »
I think that was precisely his point - you can "retire" without working if you want to be totally irresponsible like you just mentioned. I think he said he didn't want to be around people like that. Presumably because, as you pointed out, it is a terrible life!

That is our MMM cross-to-bear, responsibility :)

LAGuy

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #166 on: June 29, 2017, 12:54:03 PM »
I think that was precisely his point - you can "retire" without working if you want to be totally irresponsible like you just mentioned. I think he said he didn't want to be around people like that. Presumably because, as you pointed out, it is a terrible life!

That is our MMM cross-to-bear, responsibility :)

Exactly

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #167 on: June 30, 2017, 09:15:19 AM »
In the interest of continuing the mini serial retirement discussion here’s the progress I’ve made in my plan for this lifestyle:

Over the past year I finished pairing down my physical positions to only enough “stuff” to furnish a small studio apartment, along with daily use items.  I have successfully moved in a single trip with a standard sized rental cargo van.  This is great considering my initial plan is some slow US travel, subletting small apartments for 3 mos or so at a time, picking up travel nurse contracts as I see fit.  I feel much lighter and more mobile. I have also considered trading this idea for an RV/TT…TBD

I ran across the FIRE idea about 3.5 years ago and went through the standard steps of maximizing income, experimenting with spending minimization, paying off debt, and increasing savings rate.  My spending experiments have worked well and I have found a “sweet spot”, which is about 25% lower than the lowest number I had initially imagined possible.  Bare bones, with a feeling of mild sacrifice is about 40% lower than my original low-ball estimates.  This is great news as I have a good feeling about actual costs going forward for my life.  I tacked on about 6K a year extra for uncertainties regarding healthcare and potential preference changes and have come up with my long term spending number.
 
After paying off all debt, I still felt I had one unfunded liability to consider, older age “traditional retirement”.  For all of the talk about adaptability, spending cuts, intermittent full time or part time work, I'm a realist (pessimist?) regarding my ability to adapt as efficiently once I reach my mid 60’s and onward.  I see the potential of age related physical and mental deterioration in my daily work, adding to this concern is the not-so-subtle age discrimination in the US.  I consider it wise to ensure that no matter my choices for the next 25 years, I have a comfortable amount of assets in a “traditional” retirement bucket.   As of my last run on Cfiresim, I have reach a point of 100% success through age 95 of a traditional retirement without any additional contributions. This is a BIG mental barrier to break through; I’ve now stamped my debt to future me “paid in full”.

At this point I feel I’m at about even.  With 25 years before traditional retirement age I can choose to only earn what I spend.  This would equate to working about 1/4 of each year in my current field.  Since I am getting to the point of a brown out in that profession, I may choose to do something more enjoyable, but lower paid. I may still decide to go for full FIRE which would be about five more years of FT work based on my current 75%ish savings rate. I haven’t really decided yet, but I’m leaning towards saving about five more years of expenses before making any decisions as I feel this would be an adequate amount of FU money.
 
For the first time in my life since about age 18, I feel the world is at my fingertips, I can truly do what I want.  It’s having a positive impact on all aspects of life, even making work more enjoyable. I feel the life of semi-retirement knocking at the door and hope to join the likes of LAguy and Libertea soon enough! 

LAGuy

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #168 on: June 30, 2017, 06:03:08 PM »
In the interest of continuing the mini serial retirement discussion here’s the progress I’ve made in my plan for this lifestyle:

Over the past year I finished pairing down my physical positions to only enough “stuff” to furnish a small studio apartment, along with daily use items.  I have successfully moved in a single trip with a standard sized rental cargo van.  This is great considering my initial plan is some slow US travel, subletting small apartments for 3 mos or so at a time, picking up travel nurse contracts as I see fit.  I feel much lighter and more mobile. I have also considered trading this idea for an RV/TT…TBD

I ran across the FIRE idea about 3.5 years ago and went through the standard steps of maximizing income, experimenting with spending minimization, paying off debt, and increasing savings rate.  My spending experiments have worked well and I have found a “sweet spot”, which is about 25% lower than the lowest number I had initially imagined possible.  Bare bones, with a feeling of mild sacrifice is about 40% lower than my original low-ball estimates.  This is great news as I have a good feeling about actual costs going forward for my life.  I tacked on about 6K a year extra for uncertainties regarding healthcare and potential preference changes and have come up with my long term spending number.
 
After paying off all debt, I still felt I had one unfunded liability to consider, older age “traditional retirement”.  For all of the talk about adaptability, spending cuts, intermittent full time or part time work, I'm a realist (pessimist?) regarding my ability to adapt as efficiently once I reach my mid 60’s and onward.  I see the potential of age related physical and mental deterioration in my daily work, adding to this concern is the not-so-subtle age discrimination in the US.  I consider it wise to ensure that no matter my choices for the next 25 years, I have a comfortable amount of assets in a “traditional” retirement bucket.   As of my last run on Cfiresim, I have reach a point of 100% success through age 95 of a traditional retirement without any additional contributions. This is a BIG mental barrier to break through; I’ve now stamped my debt to future me “paid in full”.

At this point I feel I’m at about even.  With 25 years before traditional retirement age I can choose to only earn what I spend.  This would equate to working about 1/4 of each year in my current field.  Since I am getting to the point of a brown out in that profession, I may choose to do something more enjoyable, but lower paid. I may still decide to go for full FIRE which would be about five more years of FT work based on my current 75%ish savings rate. I haven’t really decided yet, but I’m leaning towards saving about five more years of expenses before making any decisions as I feel this would be an adequate amount of FU money.
 
For the first time in my life since about age 18, I feel the world is at my fingertips, I can truly do what I want.  It’s having a positive impact on all aspects of life, even making work more enjoyable. I feel the life of semi-retirement knocking at the door and hope to join the likes of LAguy and Libertea soon enough!

Awesome job, CL! It's funny, I too often look at funding my retirement and investment accounts as a debt owed...the biggest one I've ever had to pay off!

Like you I figure about a quarter of the year is all I need to work. However, I figure I need to work at least half the year though to make investments such as return flights to the US and ACA insurance worthwhile - I prefer to spend my off time abroad and if I was permanently FIRE'd I could drop ACA in favor of much cheaper traveler type insurance. Of course, in that scenario my backup plan for major medical issues was to get back on ACA and that route might be in jeopardy depending on what the current administration does with healthcare.

Now, just imagine how free you'd feel if you got rid of all the rest of that stuff! I'm down to two bags that I travel with and two stored boxes at my brothers. Are you moving all that stuff in and out of your assignment housing every few months?! Let me tell you nothing feels better then just leaving it all behind every few months...like being reborn! Rent your RV, have a blast, then drop those keys off on the rental agencies desk when you're done and walk away clean.

FIREby35

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #169 on: June 30, 2017, 07:55:04 PM »
Are you two male/female (or any other appropriate combo) and reasonably attractive single people? I'm pretty sure you need to meet :)

PS I'm sorry I can't help it. I'm a 32 year old who met his wife at 18 and has 3 kids. It is just where my mind goes....
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 07:56:41 PM by FIREby35 »

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #170 on: July 02, 2017, 08:55:21 PM »
Are you two male/female (or any other appropriate combo) and reasonably attractive single people? I'm pretty sure you need to meet :)

Ha!  Unfortunately, I'm a guy breaking the nurse sex barriers, like a female STEM!  LAguy is a maleish name, but who knows?  Either way, my new found zest for life helped me in the dating realm too!  If you like vicariously living the adult dating game, catch up on some Mustachian dating shenanigans in this thread

@LAguy

Yes, whenever I get rid of more stuff, it's a bit painful for a few hours, then pure bliss to have less crap to deal with or worry about. 

I'll absolutely be doing the slow international travel scene.  There is just so much to see in the US though.  Every time I move to a new city for a travel gig, I'm amazed how differently I view a place after living there a few months. Starting out my travels in the US just seems to make sense.  I can work in the states & meet locals while working, keep getting used to the lifestyle step by step, and see what it's like to actually live in different regions. I may even decide to slowly trail off work.  Start with a month between each contract, then increase as time goes on.

I did take a month off before my current assignment.  I noticed a couple of things.  First, I did feel a bit of dread about returning, but only the last few days off.  The first week  back was brutal.  However, after that initial pain, I was enjoying work again and 12 more weeks didn't seem so bad.  I was really concerned I wouldn't enjoy my time off at all knowing I'd be going back, but that wasn't really the case.  I'll have to keep playing with it to find a sweet spot. In the meantime, the more I work, the more FU buffer I get.

limeandpepper

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #171 on: July 03, 2017, 08:50:17 AM »
I did take a month off before my current assignment.  I noticed a couple of things.  First, I did feel a bit of dread about returning, but only the last few days off.  The first week  back was brutal.  However, after that initial pain, I was enjoying work again and 12 more weeks didn't seem so bad.  I was really concerned I wouldn't enjoy my time off at all knowing I'd be going back, but that wasn't really the case.  I'll have to keep playing with it to find a sweet spot. In the meantime, the more I work, the more FU buffer I get.

For my first mini-retirement, I was worried that I would never find another job again afterwards, so I was quite pleased when I got a gig and started earning money again. I'm about to embark on my second mini-retirement soon, and I have to say I'm kind of keen to find out what new job I'll get this time after I'm done with my travels!

des999

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #172 on: July 13, 2017, 10:03:02 AM »
what a great thread.  I finally read the whole thing, and just have a couple comments.  I too am at a point where I'm looking to do a mini retirement. 

One thing that actually makes me want to do it sooner than later is the changes to healthcare that may be coming soon.  I have a 6 year old with a pre-existing condition, so I almost feel like I need to get on ACA now while I still can, and take my 6 month (or maybe a whole year) mini-retirement. 

It seems like most are single that I've seen posting on this thread, any one do this with a family, and what is everyone doing for health ins?

It is a nice feeling knowing that I could never add another dollar to my stache and still reach FIRE by age 48(ish).  I am in IT and megacorp now, and I may look to go into a different field (teacher) as now i no longer have to worry about taking a huge pay cut to do it.


arebelspy

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #173 on: July 15, 2017, 01:46:40 PM »
It is a nice feeling knowing that I could never add another dollar to my stache and still reach FIRE by age 48(ish).

You are at the point of Retirement Inevitability.  Congrats! :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
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You can also read my forum "Journal."

rockstache

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #174 on: July 15, 2017, 07:03:37 PM »
It is a nice feeling knowing that I could never add another dollar to my stache and still reach FIRE by age 48(ish).

You are at the point of Retirement Inevitability.  Congrats! :)
I love that, thanks for sharing!

des999

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #175 on: July 17, 2017, 12:05:56 PM »
It is a nice feeling knowing that I could never add another dollar to my stache and still reach FIRE by age 48(ish).

You are at the point of Retirement Inevitability.  Congrats! :)

thanks for the link arebelspy, that's pretty cool :) 

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #176 on: July 20, 2017, 12:38:54 PM »
You are at the point of Retirement Inevitability.  Congrats! :)

What a perfect link to summarize exactly what I have done. I have left work to focus on my fun new self employed PT relaxed "career" . I am able to pretty much do as I wish and spend more time with my wife and family everyday. I am able to say YES to things on a moments notice.

My goal was to get enough in savings that would cover my cost of living. I am there so I left work and now I have found just enough side hustle income to cover those costs and preserve my savings. That way they can grow just like this article spoke about.
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Classical_Liberal

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #177 on: July 20, 2017, 06:46:55 PM »
@ anyone who reached
Retirement Inevitability.
...and decided to quit your full time gig.  How did you determine it was time to take the plunge?  How did you deal with internal and external factors of downshifting as it pertains to things like personal identity, relationships, ect?  How did you deal with the "golden handcuff" issue of not yet being FIRE, knowing you're giving up the "fast track" to that goal?  What difficulties did you have which were unexpected?

Thanks

gerardc

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #178 on: July 20, 2017, 11:18:25 PM »
How did you determine it was time to take the plunge?  How did you deal with internal and external factors of downshifting as it pertains to things like personal identity, relationships, ect?  How did you deal with the "golden handcuff" issue of not yet being FIRE, knowing you're giving up the "fast track" to that goal?  What difficulties did you have which were unexpected?
Thanks

I think if you're describing your job as the "fast track" to your goal... you're not really ready to FIRE. It's mostly an emotional decision at this point, what makes you more at peace with yourself? If you're thinking you might regret ditching your career, you have your answer.

I would totally jump into semi-retirement if I was making < $150k or in a bad job, was close to my goal and had fun part-time options. Anything other than that kinda changes the game.

FIREby35

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #179 on: July 22, 2017, 05:07:10 PM »
I reached retirement inevitability (although, I didn't have that term clarified in my mind) and I massively re-arranged my job. But, since I own my own business, I didn't have to ask anyone for permission. Essentially hired more staff and reduced profitability (in theory) but gained massive stress releif and free time.

It turns out, it hasn't affected profitability as much as I thought. It just increased our capacity to better serve our clients which  has led to more clients. But, that is another story.

It does affect identity. I always considered myself to be a "hard worker." Now I find myself in the office wondering if I can leave (and I'm the owner!). Or, if I leave at 3:00 to go to the pool with my kids if my employees will resent me. I find myself trying to "look busy" and, in fact, find more things to do. I just had a client/friend tell me I work "bankers hours." They were joking, but serious and I'm a little embarrassed to say I was insulted - for like 30 seconds before I was overcome with gratitude for my situation. I didn't want to tell them I actually work less than that! Anyway, I'm not all the way to the other side of the mental tunnel on that, but I'm working on it.

I know that is not exactly what you were asking about, but that is how retirement inevitability affected me when I actually made dramatic changes to my work life.

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #180 on: July 23, 2017, 12:44:00 AM »
I think if you're describing your job as the "fast track" to your goal... you're not really ready to FIRE.
I agree I'm not mentally ready, but disagree since I've begun to think of my job mainly a vehicle to retirement vs a worthwhile use of my time.  On one hand, maybe I've just grown lazy and have a piss-poor attitude that needs adjustment. On the other, maybe it's just run it's course and I should start writing a new chapter; one made possible by retirement inevitability.  Either way, I have some mental barriers to break.

I know that is not exactly what you were asking about, but that is how retirement inevitability affected me when I actually made dramatic changes to my work life.

That is exactly the type of thing I'm looking for!

happy

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #181 on: July 27, 2017, 05:51:04 PM »
Posting to follow this most interesting thread.

I didn't find FIRE until my early 50s in 2011 and I'm still not quite FIRED, but definitely downshifted.

However looking back I've had 4 substantial periods off work. One at 25/26 2 years after starting work were I travelled around UK/Europe in a combi van for 10months, and skied in Europe for another 6 weeks.  A second year off 5 years later. This was more like a mostly unpaid sabbatical where I studied with some experts. Since I was largely supernumerary there was little stress/pressure and I was able to immerse myself in 2 different locations in England for 6 months each and had some unique experiences. I had a below poverty level stipend... "Living like a student" is what I called it in my head. But I enjoyed it and don't recall any great sense of sacrifice.

Then 2 periods of mat leave for 6 months each with my kids. One part of me wanted to take longer off, and another part of me couldn't wait to get back into the adult world of the workforce!

And then I've worked part-time ever since, mostly at 3 days a week, at first because of the kids, and a few years in , I loved it so much, it became a deliberate downshifting strategy which I've maintained now for over 22 years..

If I'd known about FIRE at the beginning of my career I might have been tempted to mostly power through. Then again that first special year off travelling is something I think I would have regretted if I had not done it.

I'm loving reading how everyone is juggling all these pros and cons. When I started downshifting, it wasn't really a thing..and I just had to figure it out as I went along.
Journalling at Happy Aussie Downshifter

Plina

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #182 on: July 29, 2017, 03:48:30 AM »
I am planning to take a 9-12 months long sabbatical from August 2018. I will take a leave Of absence from my work. In Sweden the employer has to give a leave for studying and if you want to try running your own business. I will use the studying excuse. The fun thing is that there are no requirements for success in studies so if I don't fel for studying when it is time I will not do it. I plan to travel the year. I will let my employer know in the end of march so they will have ample time to find a replacement.

Sustainable Happiness

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #183 on: August 02, 2017, 11:13:53 AM »
Posting to update Semi-ER progress, as well as continue to keep this thread alive because it is awesome and I think super useful for people who don’t really like their job.

9 Month unpaid paternity leave scheduled and confirmed for Oct 1, 2 months to go! Starting to get excited for it and also experiencing emotional turmoil from the idea of not coming back to work afterwards (as that is my current plan) and doing something completely different PT in a semi-retirement-esque setting. Emotional turmoil stemming from:

1) missing out on a relatively large stable income (feel like this will feel even more important with baby)
2) pushing back FIRE date to an unknown time vs going hard for the “FInish line”.

My fuck-up fund is 11 years of expenses in the bank which is what I remind myself of when rumination begins in order to re-center on the present.

Currently have no set plans for the 9 months off, I’ll still be teaching 1 or 2 nights a week for fun and playing soccer/sports as usual, but my initial plan is to focus on keeping the baby alive and then after a month or two open up my “ideas” folder and go from there.


Stasher

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #184 on: August 02, 2017, 11:34:14 AM »
Good Luck with your plan @Sustainable Happiness , you will do great and sound like you have a confidence in yourself. So far my exploits into FIRE are doing well, I have built up a fun P/T income from my writing and photo hobby that has allowed me to break even each month. FIRE stash preservation is my goal. Adding to our savings accounts always felt awesome but watching them remain and grow is nice as well.
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Trudie

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #185 on: August 24, 2017, 03:33:07 PM »
Posting to follow... I am 47 and considering a 1 year sabbatical, to start in just under a year.  (I would time it so I can max out my 401K before I go.)  I gained more confidence in the idea when I ran FIRECALC today and determined that we are FI now, just not RE.  My spouse makes a decent salary/benefits to support us during my "gap year."  We will not have to figure out health insurance... which is the big reason we're still working.

I am a CPA (working in private industry in a management position) and so I feel like there will always be a market for my skills somewhere, even on a contract or temporary basis.  I don't have huge expectations about getting back in at the level of responsibility that I have now; I'm striving for a happy medium.  The reason I feel like I need the break is that I have a clown commute in our rural area (45 minutes each way), and after ten years (including 11 winters) it's really taking its toll.  There aren't going to be other opportunities within this company (small, local) and I can't really foresee cutting back hours because I'll still have to deal with the commute.  I'm also eager to try a new industry (perhaps getting back to the non-profit world I came from) and be around new colleagues.  The company and industry I'm in presents few networking opportunities, so I'm going to do that on my own through my alumni association and other personal contacts.  Because job opportunities are limited in our rural area, we are considering relocating in another year or so anyway.  This would give me some flexibility and allow us to flex our Mustachian muscles.

Also, my spouse turned 56, so we are very close to taking ER for real.  But the reason I really feel the need to step away is that commuting has just been a real bummer for my health (back aches, weight gain, anxiety in the winter) and my energy levels.  The time suck has curtailed my desire to get involved in volunteer opportunities and even to socialize as much when I am home.  This absence of "connectedness" is a huge quality of life issue and something I want to tackle because I also feel it is a main challenge of ER for many people.  And lack of connectedness leads to "blah" feelings that really don't help much of anything.  Again, I feel like I need to flex those muscles and gain confidence rather than just living out of fear.

Since I have some time I've been reading a lot about sabbaticals and have been trying to journal about it and come up with a rough plan for my year (or so) before I go back.  In addition to personal goals (getting back into running/half marathon shape, planting a veggie garden, cleaning out clutter at home, potlucking with friends a couple of times a month, 8 hours of sleep per night) I'm also putting together a professional/learning plan so I can re-tool a bit and jump into something more rewarding at the end of the term.  I'm trying to identify the aspects of my job that I enjoy the most and am going to take my CPE (required) in those areas over the coming year.  Again, I don't feel this is real possible where I'm at because -- generally -- my boss does not support the learning and growth of employees (unless its directly related to this industry) and because I'm physically distant from home it's not easy to do on the job.  I'm going to take advantage of my husband's tuition benefit (he works at a college) and try to take some classes for free.

I'm still kind of scared about it all, but am trying to work through my fears before I jump by talking with friends in HR.  From what I read, it's very helpful to be able to tell your sabbatical "story" when you jump back into the market and to have a few results to show for your time off.  To be candid, I'm sure that if I do return to work I will be more enthused... because right now I'm just tired and bored.

limeandpepper

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #186 on: August 25, 2017, 09:57:29 AM »
Good luck, Trudie. You sound like you're in a great position to take the leap!

Meanwhile - I have one more shift at work, and in one week from now, I'll be in Asia for 4 - 6 months. Woohoo!!

life_travel

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #187 on: August 25, 2017, 06:48:22 PM »
Good luck, Trudie. You sound like you're in a great position to take the leap!

Meanwhile - I have one more shift at work, and in one week from now, I'll be in Asia for 4 - 6 months. Woohoo!!
Woohoo , huge congrats ! Hopefully that would be us in 3 years , can't wait :)

limeandpepper

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #188 on: August 27, 2017, 09:20:44 AM »
Woohoo , huge congrats ! Hopefully that would be us in 3 years , can't wait :)

Thank you! I see a page back you mentioned also that you'd done one already and hence the one in 3 years will be your second one... that's so similar to our path! We did one a few years ago and this upcoming one is our second one. And we're both in Australia too. :))

Sustainable Happiness

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #189 on: August 31, 2017, 05:50:44 AM »
Semi-ER win - 2.5 years ago I began strengthening connections in a local community college with the intent to develop a tertiary income stream.

1.5 years ago I was offered a night time class contract (sales and marketing related) for 3 to 6 hours a week @ $38/hr (in class hours only count, so ~25 in real $) for a hobby I enjoyed.

1 month ago, One of my contacts found out I was taking a 9 month parental leave and decided to offer me a day-time class for the first semester at $100/hr (again in class hours only). Now i'll be working 6 hours a week and have majority covered for my wife, baby and I, with dws mat leave covering the rest with some savings still. Just went from a serial mini-retirement to a very viable 6 hr work week forever, with Potential scalability because of intentional lifestyle design.

Hopefully not too braggy, just thought it was a cool example of what happens over time with systems aligned for semi-ER or fire.

iluvzbeach

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #190 on: August 31, 2017, 06:56:21 AM »
Not braggy at all. That's awesome. Congratulations!
Planning to be FIREd in 2020!

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #191 on: August 31, 2017, 09:05:35 AM »
Semi-ER win - 2.5 years ago I began strengthening connections in a local community college with the intent to develop a tertiary income stream.

1.5 years ago I was offered a night time class contract (sales and marketing related) for 3 to 6 hours a week @ $38/hr (in class hours only count, so ~25 in real $) for a hobby I enjoyed.

1 month ago, One of my contacts found out I was taking a 9 month parental leave and decided to offer me a day-time class for the first semester at $100/hr (again in class hours only). Now i'll be working 6 hours a week and have majority covered for my wife, baby and I, with dws mat leave covering the rest with some savings still. Just went from a serial mini-retirement to a very viable 6 hr work week forever, with Potential scalability because of intentional lifestyle design.

Hopefully not too braggy, just thought it was a cool example of what happens over time with systems aligned for semi-ER or fire.

This is exactly the type of lifestyle I'm in the process of designing.  Very happy for you! 

Curious if you would like to share how you made a determination on your "enough", from a financial standpoint, to start the Semi-ER path.  Was it years ago when you first obtained the additional income streams?  or did you just pull the plug on FT now? 

PS same S.H. as ERE?

life_travel

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #192 on: August 31, 2017, 03:43:15 PM »
Woohoo , huge congrats ! Hopefully that would be us in 3 years , can't wait :)

Thank you! I see a page back you mentioned also that you'd done one already and hence the one in 3 years will be your second one... that's so similar to our path! We did one a few years ago and this upcoming one is our second one. And we're both in Australia too. :))
Yeah very similar in thinking , I read a few of your posts over the years :) We are a bit older though and can't really amass a huge stache since we lost a lot during GFC and took a few years to recover .
So we can have real FIRE if we work into our late 50s / early 60s( as there is a few years age gap between DH and me) but we don't want to work THAT long . So we have to be creative :) And frugal :) BTW we LOVE Asia ! You must be finished work by now , so jealous ( in a good way he he)

Sustainable Happiness

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #193 on: August 31, 2017, 05:38:53 PM »
This is exactly the type of lifestyle I'm in the process of designing.  Very happy for you! 

Curious if you would like to share how you made a determination on your "enough", from a financial standpoint, to start the Semi-ER path.  Was it years ago when you first obtained the additional income streams?  or did you just pull the plug on FT now? 

PS same S.H. as ERE?

Yup, same SustainableHappiness. Although this is the main thread I am following on here, because I want to here how others are Semi-ERing for bonus ideas!

"Enough" is a moving target and the initial goal was 10 years of expenses, 1) because its a nice round number, 2) because I was confident I could find new ways to make money without the golden handcuffs within that time. No guarantees I won't go back to FT after a Semi-ER test run...having a kid recently has changed my views on stability. Waiting to see if the risk aversion fades since my FT Job is a neutral influence in my life (bland feelings about it) and would like to pursue other potentially riskier or less $$ things.

Additional income streams went like this; FT Job 4 years ago (Stream 1) -> immediate Rental Property Obsession (Stream 2) -> Equities Fixation (Stream 3) -> Discovered ERE after MMM about 2.5 years ago and decided 1 FT job with no back-up plan seemed non-resilient so worked on the academic path concurrently a la above -> PT night class teaching (Stream 4) -> DW Pregnancy changed all plans -> Parental leave as a semi-ER test -> Soon ditching Stream 2 to beef up Stream 3 since rentals have had too high of a PITA factor attached and the market where the properties are is still mildly hot.

Weeeuuuu...feel like I just told my personal finance life story, hope it helps or provides a useful perspective!

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #194 on: September 01, 2017, 11:14:21 PM »
PTF.  Great stories in this thread and hugely motivating.  DH and I are taking 3 months long service leave (Australia) next year and I can't wait.  We both love our jobs but they are head space demanding and some days I'd just like to run away...;)