Author Topic: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements  (Read 29168 times)

kenaces

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #50 on: August 13, 2016, 06:55:06 PM »
Interesting thoughts - thanks

I have had many mini-retirements.  Typically I will work(play poker) for 2-6 months and then take some time off.  Sometimes only a week other times a few months, other time I keep working but way less hours.  This has worked fine for me and I am on track to FIRE in maybe 15 years with no major changes. 

Now that I am hanging in these forums I am feeling the pull to step it up and shoot for more work now, better savings plans so I can get to that I am totally done and FIRE feeling faster.  But I still feel a bit conflicted about working hard now vs working easy for longer?

How do you guys/gals find a balance between chasing FI and enjoying life now?  I know they aren't mutual exclusive but I have a hard time really evaluating all the trade offs - thought?

Libertea

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #51 on: August 13, 2016, 07:33:47 PM »
How do you guys/gals find a balance between chasing FI and enjoying life now?  I know they aren't mutual exclusive but I have a hard time really evaluating all the trade offs - thought?
It's a tough question for me too, because I am currently working one of those hard core, invades its tentacles into every aspect of your life, kind of professional jobs.  It's incredibly stressful, and there's no doubt in my mind that it's shortening my lifespan (not to mention detracting from my enjoyment of life).  It's not a horribly hostile work environment or anything like that.  I just have other places I'd rather be and other things I'd rather do.  On the other hand, the salary is high enough that it feels like I've won the lotto every two weeks when I get paid, and it's allowing me to save ~$13,000 per month on top of my living expenses of ~$2500 per month.

I calculated that spending two more years with my current employer would allow me to reach my heavily inflated FIRE number by mid-2018 and almost certainly never have to work again.  I initially planned to do that.  But the job has gotten steadily more intolerable for various reasons, and I've decided that spending two more years at it is simply not something I can stomach doing.  So I'm compromising and quitting in March.  For the next seven months until I quit, I am going to go balls to the wall.  Then I am going to take three months completely off to travel/decompress, and then I'm going to work at a markedly reduced schedule for the rest of my work life expectancy. 

I conservatively estimate that I will be about $70,000 short of bare minimum FI (BMFI) in seven months when I quit.  This is based upon my savings rate alone and assumes no market gains or dividends.  I expect to reach BMFI by the end of next year, albeit at a reduced savings rate/longer time span since I won't be earning/saving nearly as much once I quit this job.  I should reach my inflated FIRE number by the end of 2019 or early 2020, and so I am planning to work PT at least until then.

Not sure if this helps you at all, but at least it gives you an example of how someone else went through the thought process and made the trade offs of time versus money.  On a more philosophical level, I keep thinking about the expression you hear people using when they talk about deploying the military: freedom isn't free.  And that's how I look at the next seven months, as payment for my freedom for the rest of my life.  It's going to be a sucky seven months, but on the bright side, unlike if I were deployed, no one will be shooting at me.  And I've made myself a solemn promise that I'm never going to delay gratification to this level of extreme again.

gerardc

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #52 on: January 23, 2017, 09:41:42 PM »
It's a tough question for me too, because I am currently working one of those hard core, invades its tentacles into every aspect of your life, kind of professional jobs.  It's incredibly stressful, and there's no doubt in my mind that it's shortening my lifespan (not to mention detracting from my enjoyment of life).  It's not a horribly hostile work environment or anything like that.  I just have other places I'd rather be and other things I'd rather do.  On the other hand, the salary is high enough that it feels like I've won the lotto every two weeks when I get paid, and it's allowing me to save ~$13,000 per month on top of my living expenses of ~$2500 per month.

I calculated that spending two more years with my current employer would allow me to reach my heavily inflated FIRE number by mid-2018 and almost certainly never have to work again.  I initially planned to do that.  But the job has gotten steadily more intolerable for various reasons, and I've decided that spending two more years at it is simply not something I can stomach doing.  So I'm compromising and quitting in March.  For the next seven months until I quit, I am going to go balls to the wall.  Then I am going to take three months completely off to travel/decompress, and then I'm going to work at a markedly reduced schedule for the rest of my work life expectancy. 

I conservatively estimate that I will be about $70,000 short of bare minimum FI (BMFI) in seven months when I quit.  This is based upon my savings rate alone and assumes no market gains or dividends.  I expect to reach BMFI by the end of next year, albeit at a reduced savings rate/longer time span since I won't be earning/saving nearly as much once I quit this job.  I should reach my inflated FIRE number by the end of 2019 or early 2020, and so I am planning to work PT at least until then.

Not sure if this helps you at all, but at least it gives you an example of how someone else went through the thought process and made the trade offs of time versus money.  On a more philosophical level, I keep thinking about the expression you hear people using when they talk about deploying the military: freedom isn't free.  And that's how I look at the next seven months, as payment for my freedom for the rest of my life.  It's going to be a sucky seven months, but on the bright side, unlike if I were deployed, no one will be shooting at me.  And I've made myself a solemn promise that I'm never going to delay gratification to this level of extreme again.

Libertea, we are so similar! I have roughly the same savings rate and expenses, and feelings about my job (it's not awful by any means, but I know it could be so much better).

One thing about your math though... AFAICT you were (at the time of your post) about 1 year to bare minimum FI. Add 1 year to that and you'd be at your "heavily inflated" FIRE number. This means your bare minimum and heavily inflated numbers are only $150k apart. How can that be?

My bare minimum is around $400k, my comfortable number would be $1m and heavily inflated would be something like $1.5-2m. I find there's so much uncertainy since I haven't lived that life before: not sure how much I'll want to spend, not sure what I'll even be doing (I have plans, but realistically they might change 2-3 years down the road) or where I'll live, not sure if I'll be earning PT, or going back to work, or if I'll get bored of traveling, getting married/kids, getting sick, wanting to start a business, etc. E.g. I currently spend very little, but I'm in "monk mode" with work, and I know with FIRE I'll get much more social, which is one of my reasons to FIRE in the first place, and I suspect outings may get expensive, or less, but again, I have no real idea. That makes it so hard to decide if I should tough it out 1, 2, or 3 years, which would literally bring me from 500k to 1m savings, but is starting to bring me down, and might just be uncessary if I'm going back to work in 5 years anyway (hence my interest mini-retirement).

Let me guess, are you one of engineer/lawyer/cpa and is your PT job plan to be a yoga teacher? ;)

OP, I am going to be trying out this strategy as well.  Quitting my job in March, will be spending two months abroad in April/May, then starting training for new job (semi-retirement job that I anticipate working at PT) in June.

Regarding mindset, I've thought a lot about this, because one of the issues I'm concerned about is what to do with myself during retirement.  I find that I get restless and bored after a couple of weeks with "nothing" to do.  I like setting goals for myself and pushing myself to achieve them (which no doubt is why I'm going to be able to achieve FI in the first place).  I've realized that what I really want is not to stop working altogether, but rather to work on my own terms, doing what I want, when I want.  And for sure not having to ask "permission" from some boss to take a measly two week vacation.  Heh.

I completely agree about working on your terms on goals that matter to you. But I think it's not necessary or beneficial to plan these goals too much in advance while still working. I suspect once you FIRE and decompress for 2-3 months, your goals will become clear to you and may differ from the preconieved plan you had before, so it's good to keep flexibility. But I'm sure you knew that.

arebelspy

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #53 on: January 23, 2017, 11:42:40 PM »
So I'm compromising and quitting in March.  For the next seven months until I quit, I am going to go balls to the wall.  Then I am going to take three months completely off to travel/decompress, and then I'm going to work at a markedly reduced schedule for the rest of my work life expectancy. 

It's been 5 months since you posted this... still the plan?  Any changes?

One thing about your math though... AFAICT you were (at the time of your post) about 1 year to bare minimum FI. Add 1 year to that and you'd be at your "heavily inflated" FIRE number. This means your bare minimum and heavily inflated numbers are only $150k apart. How can that be?

My bare minimum is around $400k, my comfortable number would be $1m and heavily inflated would be something like $1.5-2m.

Good question!  Curious about that too.
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Libertea

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #54 on: January 24, 2017, 01:25:28 PM »
Haha, ok, so updates.

A couple of weeks after that post gerardc quoted, I had my final straw moment and turned in my resignation.  (It has a good FU story with it that I may eventually post on the appropriate thread, but not right now.)  I gave four months notice, meaning that I left Well Paying But Super Stressful Job at the end of the year (now a little over three weeks ago).  At that time, I had saved about $525k. 

My bare minimum FIRE number was $625k, which is 25x a spending level of $25k/year.  However, I have a few other "luxury" expenses, including paying for my niece's and nephew's college funds, wanting to travel more, and self-insuring for LTC.  Therefore, I budgeted to have 25x $30k/year, which is $750k, as my "full FI" number, plus an additional $50k for LTC self-insurance, bringing my grand padded total to $800k.  So yes, it is indeed about $150k (actually $175k) more, an amount which would have taken me just over one additional year of working at my prior job to have saved.  However, in addition, these amounts were in 2015 dollars, and I am assuming a 3.5% inflation rate, which means that as of the end of last year (2016), I'd actually have needed $828k, and as of the end of this year, I'd need about $857k. 

I'm now almost a month into a six month sabbatical, after which I will begin working PT and doing a paid internship to train for a possible new semi-retirement career.  The pay is high enough to cover my expenses, but obviously nowhere close to what I was making before.  However, even with the drastically decreased income (this year, I expect to earn about 1/4 of what I earned last year), I am only delaying reaching my full, padded FI by about 2 years (so will likely get there in 2020 now).  And I still expect to reach bare minimum FI early next year or possibly even by the end of this year.

Regarding your concerns about whether your life will change drastically after FI, in my case, I am relatively confident that mine won't.  I am already middle aged (early 40s), unmarried, with no plans to have my own children, and have a pretty good idea of what I'd like to be doing with my time.  I readily concede that I might feel differently if I were still in my 30s or especially in my 20s though, so gerardc's points are well taken and well worth considering, especially for younger retirees.

Hopefully this clarifies for those who are interested.

arebelspy

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #55 on: January 24, 2017, 02:47:28 PM »
Thanks for the update, LiberT!  Hope you post the FU story some day.  :)
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gerardc

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #56 on: January 24, 2017, 08:55:45 PM »
Thanks for the update Libertea!

We're even at the same stash amount (I'm at ~$520k). It's only a little disheartening to have worked hard to build a career while earning relatively little from 20 to 28, and now being able to easily fly from 520 to 700 in a year, then 900 a year later, which is a lot in relative terms, but then just quitting...

Whenever you're undecided between two things, a good answer is often in the middle (say, OMY for me). If you see life as a series of probabilistic events, you can hedge your bets by picking a middle ground. E.g. there's a fair chance I'll go back to work for at least 1-2 years in 10 years; a good chance I'll have good PT income (say $10-30k/year); some chance the stock market won't crash that hard; some chance that I'll want MORE money/safety; some chance that I'm overshooting my target. I suspect the neural networks in your brain are quite good at making sense of all these probabilities and coming up with a decision. Exact calculations are (kind of) hopeless. You just pick something reasonable then don't look back.

* One tiny detail: Isn't it disadvantageous to quit end of year? I'd just try to quit in the spring so that I can benefit from a year more of 401k deductions + company match, roth mega back door (putting all my paycheck in there until they're maxed out) and paying low taxes that year.

arebelspy

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #57 on: January 24, 2017, 09:01:37 PM »
We're even at the same stash amount (I'm at ~$520k). It's only a little disheartening to have worked hard to build a career while earning relatively little from 20 to 28, and now being able to easily fly from 520 to 700 in a year, then 900 a year later, which is a lot in relative terms, but then just quitting...

The earlier the better (for the most part).  I don't see the early years as slow, but the later ones as fast.  They fly you to ER.  Not disheartening then, but exciting.  :)
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gerardc

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #58 on: January 24, 2017, 09:27:04 PM »
Yeah I don't know, there's kind of an opportunity cost to finally being in a good position to make money. That's like being thirsty in a desert, finding a well, drinking 3-4 sips then being on your way, thinking "that's all I need". Maybe it'd have been nice to fill up the tank while you were there.

The question is really more how much is enough, and how much is too much, and I find that pretty hard to answer.

arebelspy

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #59 on: January 24, 2017, 10:53:09 PM »
Yeah I don't know, there's kind of an opportunity cost to finally being in a good position to make money. That's like being thirsty in a desert, finding a well, drinking 3-4 sips then being on your way, thinking "that's all I need". Maybe it'd have been nice to fill up the tank while you were there.

The question is really more how much is enough, and how much is too much, and I find that pretty hard to answer.

Poor analogy, because with the well you'll absolutely definitely need more.  Once you have enough, you don't need any more.
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gerardc

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #60 on: January 24, 2017, 11:23:43 PM »
Nah, you won't need more water if you carry enough and you only drink 4% of your tank each year

Metric Mouse

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #61 on: January 24, 2017, 11:28:07 PM »

The question is really more how much is enough, and how much is too much, and I find that pretty hard to answer.

That is the right question. It is indeed hard to answer, but I think many would find the answer surprisingly low. I know I did.
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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #62 on: January 24, 2017, 11:29:12 PM »
Thanks for the update Libertea!
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arebelspy

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #63 on: January 25, 2017, 12:10:32 AM »
Nah, you won't need more water if you carry enough and you only drink 4% of your tank each year

Sure, if the tank refills itself, and you can stop and add more water at any time.  ;)
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FIREby35

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #64 on: January 25, 2017, 01:08:44 PM »
Hey guys - I don't know if you cared for an update from me, but I thought I'd share anyway.

I am in week 5 of an 11 week sabbatical. What I have concluded (so far) is that "retiring" is an interesting concept, especially for a 32 year old. It is very flexible, despite what the IRP says.

Respectfully to arebelspy and gocurrycracker, I don't really want to travel non-stop. Especially with my family of 5. In week 5 of my vacation (in Mexico and I am from the US) I miss my family and the stability of home. I like being gone in the dead of winter and could imagine regular, longer than normal vacations annually all over the world. But, not really much longer than 4-6 weeks I think. It will get harder when my kids get older, are in higher grades and have friends and activities.

Also, I don't think I like the MMM totally unplug "retire." I'm a little different because I own my own business. So, I can adjust hours, tasks, vision for the business, really everything. Unlike a big business or government person, I have already designed a business and daily routine that fits me and I can change it whenever I like. Being way past FU money and nearly FI allows me to jettison anyone I don't like as well. So, what exactly would I be unplugging from and to?  I already mosey into work at 9:00, go to the gym at 12 and leave at 4:30. I can go on vacations whenever I want. I have hired people I like with complimentary skills so I don't have to do things I deem hard/unnatural. Indeed, why would I give this up? I've decided I will not give it up. Especially to please the IRP! Haha :)

The even more interesting point is kind of related to libertea's post. You don't need a FI point that makes your entire life totally livable on passive income if you are going to continue to earn money. So, I am currently at 525 NW. That covers approximately 50% of my families living expenses. But, what about if I keep working? I mean, if my "retirement" is just me continuing to work as I do now and I currently make 200k+ then doesn't that qualify as FI. That means I am using about 25k of my 200k income to live a life I have intentionally designed to be exactly as I want it. There is no withdrawal in the forecast. It appears I'll be like MMM giving away gobs of money in the near future. Anyway, money is now officially "not a problem." I'm calling it FI no matter what anyone else calls it.

Anyway, this vacation has confirmed that mini-sabaticals of 4-6 weeks every winter and maybe another vacation for a week or two is about right. I'm not going to quit working (for the foreseeable future). So, I'm just going to ride of into the sunset living the good life. I think this is full-SWAMI.


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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #65 on: January 25, 2017, 01:34:41 PM »
Full SWAMI it is then!  FI, but not ER'd, is the ideal for many in your situation.

I get why you wouldn't want to travel, or fully unplug.  I personally don't get why you'd want to work so much with 3 kids and a wife at home (or at school part of the day, sure). 

But going in late and leaving early means you only miss a few hours (and some school related stuff, though maybe you take off for that), so not a big deal, and certainly missing way less than most.  If that's what floats your boat, more power to you!

Congratulations on your success!  :)
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FIREby35

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #66 on: January 25, 2017, 07:16:33 PM »
Arebelspy: If you don't understand why 35 hours a week away from 3 kids sounds just right, you don't have three kids! Ha, I'm just kidding, but seriously. :)

I also thought this thread was interesting bc all three of us thinking about mini-sabbiticals, RE and "what it all means" are at basically the same net worth: 525k. Maybe this is the level you start thinking, "Holy shit, that is a lot of money." You can see the finish line, the previously distant goal and start thinking new thoughts. Asking what can I really do/not do with that kind of cash piling up.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2017, 07:19:07 PM by FIREby35 »

arebelspy

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #67 on: January 26, 2017, 01:05:20 AM »


Arebelspy: If you don't understand why 35 hours a week away from 3 kids sounds just right, you don't have three kids! Ha, I'm just kidding, but seriously. :)

Haha, touche.

I think CanuckExPat has mentioned similar things in his recently FIREd journal (how he misses day care).
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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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #68 on: January 26, 2017, 05:22:58 AM »
Excellent updates! I enjoy reading stories/experiences of everyone else. 500K+ is my target number for full FI (while the wife continues to work). I'll be switching to PT work before that though, sometime this year. 

Libertea

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #69 on: January 26, 2017, 11:12:43 AM »
I also thought this thread was interesting bc all three of us thinking about mini-sabbiticals, RE and "what it all means" are at basically the same net worth: 525k. Maybe this is the level you start thinking, "Holy shit, that is a lot of money." You can see the finish line, the previously distant goal and start thinking new thoughts. Asking what can I really do/not do with that kind of cash piling up.
I'm thinking about how significant being at a half million dollars NW is for beginning to ponder semi-retirement or otherwise changing one's work life.  I think there is some truth to what you're saying.  I realized that at this point, I could stop saving for retirement at traditional age (which would be at 67 for a Gen Xer like myself).  Even at an extremely conservative 3.5% return, my money would more than double during the next 25 years, leaving me a millionaire.  This is also assuming that I never added another dollar of savings to my stash and never received a dime from SS (neither of which is a good assumption at all). 

So then the question becomes, ok, what do I want more: to reach FI (with or without the RE) as quickly as possible?  Or to start engineering more quality of life changes into my life right now, while still continuing to work (at a decreased level) to cover my current living expenses and add a bit more to my stash, albeit much more slowly?  For me, I had grown to dislike my last job enough that it seemed like a no-brainer.  What was the point of killing myself balls to the wall (or ovaries to the wall in my case?) for two more years with an endpoint of not ever working again?  I don't dislike WORKING per se.  I disliked THAT PARTICULAR JOB.  There's a big difference!  And I also wanted to work fewer hours, but again, FEWER hours doesn't automatically mean NO hours.  So while I understand that many people prefer to not work at all and go straight for FIRE, I decided that I'd rather glide along for a while, enjoying life now and working fewer hours at something that's more lifestyle-oriented and that I enjoy doing.  Because if I end up doing something that I enjoy so much that I don't want to ever completely retire from it, that seems like a pretty awesome way to live my life.

gerardc

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #70 on: January 26, 2017, 08:11:48 PM »
Yeah, I think $500k is a good amount if you just want a short break then plan to keep working regularly, maybe downshifting a bit. If you want a bigger downshift, like not working for 1-2 years, but are open to PT work in the future, a business or maybe going back to work FT down the line, $700k is plenty, for sure.

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #71 on: January 26, 2017, 09:30:33 PM »
I think 500k net worth is a bare minimum Fi number for a "well I'll never be homeless" lifestyle if you are not in a HCOL area. Here in Portland I'm somewhere in the 625-650 range and 750k seems about where I'll be having these thoughts. Move to an area where housing is 100-150k instead of 350-400k and the non housing portion of the net worth looks pretty much the same.

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #72 on: January 26, 2017, 10:21:07 PM »


Arebelspy: If you don't understand why 35 hours a week away from 3 kids sounds just right, you don't have three kids! Ha, I'm just kidding, but seriously. :)

Haha, touche.

I think CanuckExPat has mentioned similar things in his recently FIREd journal (how he misses day care).

Yup only one (and a half?) and I totally understand where he is coming from!

Kiddo also loved daycare.. I can see why he would, it's like an all inclusive retreat for kids. Except they are wired enough they don't need to get drunk
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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #73 on: January 27, 2017, 09:00:14 AM »
I never did this, but if I had to do it over again, I would do it that way.

I think I remember  you saying you/wife worked most summers via. Summer School,tutoring, furthering your education, etc. Plus of course you had real  estate stuff going on.

My question is - Had you done nothing (work related) in the Summers would you have considered those "mini-retirements" or would that be too short?

Just curious, for those on thread who don't know me my wife is a teacher and I'm sort of self employed and hope to join her in Summers off in 3-5 years after clearing up some debt.

Two months is nothing.  That's barely enough time to decompress.  We did a backpacking through Europe trip one summer, and that was great, but not like a retirement (even a mini-one).

I think I'd take 1-2 year sabbaticals, personally.

The wife and I just hit a year, approximately, and we discussed how we weren't quite ready to go back, though we could if we had to (e.g. if we had only saved up enough to take a year off, instead of being FI), but that in another year, we'd totally be energized and ready to work again, if we were planning on it.

I mean, sure, two months is better than the lousy two weeks most people get.  But we can spend a month or two just in a single town.  Having two months off to relax and vacation and decompress is quite a bit different than a retirement where you aren't just temporarily doing it, but you're living it.

IDK, it's hard to explain.  You'll see what I mean though, when you do fully FIRE and spend all your time with the wife/kids/stuff you want to do.  :)
All of this. I've taken short sabbaticals (month or 2) and long sabbaticals (couple of years with last one planned for 5 years) and FIRE is a whole different animal.

Knowing you never have to work again, unless you want to,  and that every single moment of the rest of your life you are free to do exactly want you want (more or less) is a very different feeling from knowing that you'll "have to" go back to work after your sabbatical ends. That doesn't mean long sabbaticals aren't great - they are and what I was doing myself but found FI along the way - but just a different mind set.

Yes, more time and time that is more free of the need to work is better, but taking what advantage you can of your situation makes a lot of sense.

I had a number of 'sabbaticals' in my 20's that were priceless - a year or two between degrees with intermittent low key work and tons of time. Every couple of years, I got restless or thought the grass was green in school or out of school and enjoyed being able to shift gears.

I had a genuine academic sabbatical that was pretty amazing too in the middle of my last career.  But while I was able to return after over a year away with more energy, it mostly made me realize that I didn't like my job that much.

I'm pseudo-retired now and enjoying taking each day as it comes, even though I'm putting in lots of time starting a business, but would really love to get to the full-on, no strings, where do you want to go today? stage.

My only caution is that during the time off, you may develop all sorts of ideas/interests/plans that are at odds with your current vision of returning to your engineering gig...but it should be exciting either way
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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #74 on: January 27, 2017, 11:01:04 AM »
I think 500k net worth is a bare minimum Fi number for a "well I'll never be homeless" lifestyle if you are not in a HCOL area. Here in Portland I'm somewhere in the 625-650 range and 750k seems about where I'll be having these thoughts. Move to an area where housing is 100-150k instead of 350-400k and the non housing portion of the net worth looks pretty much the same.

Yeah the HCOL area does hamper your FI a bit. Although we live in a HCOL and found a house for 150K (might as well have been a foreclosure). We got lucky.

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #75 on: January 27, 2017, 09:29:23 PM »
I also thought this thread was interesting bc all three of us thinking about mini-sabbiticals, RE and "what it all means" are at basically the same net worth: 525k. Maybe this is the level you start thinking, "Holy shit, that is a lot of money." You can see the finish line, the previously distant goal and start thinking new thoughts. Asking what can I really do/not do with that kind of cash piling up.
I'm thinking about how significant being at a half million dollars NW is for beginning to ponder semi-retirement or otherwise changing one's work life.  I think there is some truth to what you're saying.  I realized that at this point, I could stop saving for retirement at traditional age (which would be at 67 for a Gen Xer like myself).  Even at an extremely conservative 3.5% return, my money would more than double during the next 25 years, leaving me a millionaire.  This is also assuming that I never added another dollar of savings to my stash and never received a dime from SS (neither of which is a good assumption at all). 

So then the question becomes, ok, what do I want more: to reach FI (with or without the RE) as quickly as possible?  Or to start engineering more quality of life changes into my life right now, while still continuing to work (at a decreased level) to cover my current living expenses and add a bit more to my stash, albeit much more slowly?  For me, I had grown to dislike my last job enough that it seemed like a no-brainer.  What was the point of killing myself balls to the wall (or ovaries to the wall in my case?) for two more years with an endpoint of not ever working again?  I don't dislike WORKING per se.  I disliked THAT PARTICULAR JOB.  There's a big difference!  And I also wanted to work fewer hours, but again, FEWER hours doesn't automatically mean NO hours.  So while I understand that many people prefer to not work at all and go straight for FIRE, I decided that I'd rather glide along for a while, enjoying life now and working fewer hours at something that's more lifestyle-oriented and that I enjoy doing.  Because if I end up doing something that I enjoy so much that I don't want to ever completely retire from it, that seems like a pretty awesome way to live my life.

Libertea: I had the exact same thought process. It's like you just typed out of my brain.

I had the additional thought that if any of those highly conservative assumptions (no additional money saved, no SS, low returns, etcetera) are wrong then I have, in fact, already probably over saved and will actually end up ridiculously wealthy.

In my personal situation, I have all that flexibility and still maintain a high income so WTF. I'll just end up giving it away. Why stress about an imaginary FIRE'd finish line to create passive income under conservative assumptions that actually won't ever be used because I am just going to continue with the exact same life which includes earning lots of money? It just didn't make sense. But, it took a lot of mental and emotional effort to come to that conclusion.


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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #76 on: January 27, 2017, 09:50:32 PM »
We've done this many times in our lives. My husband and I quit our jobs and signed a contract to teach English in South Korea for a year. We volunteered on a farm in Florida for a month before we left, we traveled a lot during school breaks while in Korea, and then we took 6 months off to travel Asia after our contract ended. We came home with about $10k in savings.

After we came back to the US we moved across the country and worked for a couple years and then I lost my job. I took that as an opportunity to start to build my own business and took off several months to do that. We both then worked as independent contractors part-time for several years. We had about a 15-20 hour work week. It felt like retirement to us.

Now we have grown a pretty successful business with several full-time employees and often work a typical 40+ hour work week. We are missing the more leisurely lifestyle we had, but enjoy our work and know that despite being able to maintain our lifestyles during those leisurely years we had no real future savings and would have had to work indefinitely. I think semi-retirement is great as long as you are still saving and still on target.

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #77 on: January 27, 2017, 10:52:15 PM »
nara, way to take advantage of opportunities in between jobs! Sometimes I wish I was that brave :)

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #78 on: January 27, 2017, 10:58:11 PM »
So I've basically done this and here's my story.

My NW is pretty similar to what folks here are listing. I sold my condo in LA back in October and all told my NW after investing the proceeds and enjoying the Trump rally is just north of 600k now. Like others here, once my NW started going over 500k I really started to realize that the biggest variable in when I could call it quits was starting to become market variance and not how much I could contribute. As such, I started to think of ways that I could just defray draw down of my stash while I let it do its thing.

So, after I sold everything I hit the road for a few months. Wanted a proper Spanish immersion, so I mostly just hung out in Medellin, Colombia the whole time. Just this week, I've returned to work for 6 months as a contract healthcare worker (like a traveling nurse, but my profession is in the laboratory). It was super easy to get a contract lined up for the exact date I wanted as well as favorable hours. Lot of desperate laboratories out there. So, now I'll be working for a few months until the end of July when I'll head out again.

Boredom: yeah, I got bored down in Medellin sometimes, despite making quite a few friends and having an all around good time. Now that I'm back to work this week, I'm already bored out of my mind doing that. I'll take the boredom that comes with not working far more than the boredom that comes with working.

Sword of Damocles: this in my view is the biggest problem with semi RE. No matter how much time you've got off, it's always gnawing in the back of your mind that you've got to go back "soon". This is true for a 2 week vacation. And it was true for my roughly 4 months off. I'm sure it'll be true for my 6 month off stint coming up as well. There's only one way to escape that feeling for good I'm thinking: retire for good...forever. The reverse is also a pain: see the other thread on this forum about surviving the last 6 months before FIRE. I'm going to have to deal with that every year. I'm already on the countdown: 1 week down, 25 to go.

Finances: working part time with a large taxable account (from condo sale) to live off of if necessary is a nice place to be in. My taxes will be super low...I'll dump what I make from working into my retirement accounts. The contract work covers my housing as well as paying $260 a week for expenses, tax free. The one thing that is super expensive is having to go around setting up my life again on arrival back in the US. Living abroad for even a few months makes you realize how ridiculously expensive things are here. Abroad, I walk into a 7-11 and walk out with a SIM card and a month of data for $15. Here, you'll be lucky to get it for $40. And you'll have to put up with people trying to sell you Direct TV and Virtual Reality goggles for your phone, "Sir, I think these would really benefit you in your travels!" Transportation is horribly expensive in the US as well. Yeah, I'm doing the bike thing and all that, but I don't want to deal with even a beater old car to own for only 6 months. Long term car rentals are laugh out loud expensive (starting at like $900 a month and God knows what hidden taxes and fees are also added) - somebody really needs to start a "rent-a-beater" car rental company. Basically, I'm looking at a couple of hundred a month in Uber charges. Still, I'm getting well compensated for it, so whatevs, but the second I'm not working, is the second I'm out of this place again. Still, the LCOL parts of the world are seriously inexpensive; that part ain't a joke. I could not see how one could spend over $2000 a month living in a place like Colombia.

Loneliness: this isn't really applicable to this topic, but I'm going to go ahead and include it here since there's a couple threads in this forum right now that are covering similar ground. This is definitely going to be an issue during my work phase. Fellow Americans think you're weird if you're in your 40's and you don't have a wife and a couple of kids and a miserable job. I'm pretty sure they think the main focus of my travels is so I can have sex with children and engage in liberal drug use. However, on the road it's a totally different story. Finally (finally!) I was meeting a lot of people (fellow travelers) with a similar world view to my own. Yeah, most of them weren't all rolling a stash like I (or those of us here) have. But not all of them were just dirty backpackers looking to score cheap coke. In just a few months in Colombia I made a number of really good friends...more than I have since my college years for sure.

Do I regret pulling out when I did? Nope, not at all. Like others here, I needed a change...badly. Being back at a job and my attitude is much improved. I mean, I'd still rather not be working, but it's certainly not the soul crushing horror show it was. I don't think it'll even make any difference one way or the other as to my final FIRE date either. I'm still looking at 2 to 5 more years of work, depending on market returns. Basically the same situation I was in before.

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #79 on: January 27, 2017, 11:23:38 PM »
That's an awesome story, LAG!  Thanks for sharing!  :)
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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #80 on: January 27, 2017, 11:34:31 PM »
. However, on the road it's a totally different story. Finally (finally!) I was meeting a lot of people (fellow travelers) with a similar world view to my own. Yeah, most of them weren't all rolling a stash like I (or those of us here) have. But not all of them were just dirty backpackers looking to score cheap coke. In just a few months in Colombia I made a number of really good friends...more than I have since my college years for sure.

This was always my favorite part of travelling. There are so many people out there living non-traditional lifestyles. It's really freeing to find the amount of good friends one can make in a strange country that they barely know. And this happens all over the world. While air BnB'ing across the planet is ok, some times the old ways are still the best ways, as far as meeting new people and experiencing things one might not if they only traveled to  and from tourist traps from their rented house.
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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #81 on: January 28, 2017, 12:45:06 AM »
LAGuy, I really identify with your post. Glad to see you still enjoy your travel at 42, and it's not too late...

A couple points:

I don't think it'll even make any difference one way or the other as to my final FIRE date either. I'm still looking at 2 to 5 more years of work, depending on market returns. Basically the same situation I was in before.
Well, with your 600k and living @ 2k / month in Colombia, you're exactly at 4% SWR, so that's not surprising. That blog post from livingafi showed a slight delay in overall work years, but that's only if your currently stash puts you above say 5%. If you're even lower say at 3%, a mini-retirement will actually decrease your total work years! (if you temporarily reduce your expenses)


However, on the road it's a totally different story. Finally (finally!) I was meeting a lot of people (fellow travelers) with a similar world view to my own. Yeah, most of them weren't all rolling a stash like I (or those of us here) have. But not all of them were just dirty backpackers looking to score cheap coke. In just a few months in Colombia I made a number of really good friends...more than I have since my college years for sure.
That's one of the main reason if want to FIRE. I get very withdrawn, or very social depending on the envrionment. I find the american culture and corporate envrionment is not very conducive to having an interesting social life. There's just no sense of community, no fun events happening. Some people try to organize things, but the spirit just isn't there, I find. Maybe people are just too over worked and focused on individual pursuits, I don't know, but that makes life a nightmare.


Sword of Damocles: this in my view is the biggest problem with semi RE. No matter how much time you've got off, it's always gnawing in the back of your mind that you've got to go back "soon". This is true for a 2 week vacation. And it was true for my roughly 4 months off. I'm sure it'll be true for my 6 month off stint coming up as well. There's only one way to escape that feeling for good I'm thinking: retire for good...forever. The reverse is also a pain: see the other thread on this forum about surviving the last 6 months before FIRE. I'm going to have to deal with that every year. I'm already on the countdown: 1 week down, 25 to go.

Agree, but that only affects those mini-retirements. That's basically the reason I haven't gone forward with those 1-6 months breaks. I figure with so short a break, you have barely started it that you already need to start figuring out logistics for coming back. You'd need a good buffer of 1-2 years at least, IMO. The first 2-3 months you decompress, then if you want to start an open-ended project that requires to move or other committment, you're free to pursue it. Even a 6 month "deadline" would seriously put a dent in your perceived freedom.

I see FIRE as mostly a way to try out your life in ways that are not guaranteed to earn a (livable) income, like acting or music, or starting a business. You get the safety net of your stash plus the thriving factor of these bigger goals. You don't really get that by taking a short break, IMO, although I'm sure that feels good too.

LAGuy

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #82 on: January 28, 2017, 11:51:03 AM »
LAGuy, I really identify with your post. Glad to see you still enjoy your travel at 42, and it's not too late...

Hahaha! Yup, even at the ripe old age of 42 I still manage to get around. Thank God for priority boarding for us old people!

This was always my favorite part of travelling. There are so many people out there living non-traditional lifestyles. It's really freeing to find the amount of good friends one can make in a strange country that they barely know. And this happens all over the world. While air BnB'ing across the planet is ok, some times the old ways are still the best ways, as far as meeting new people and experiencing things one might not if they only traveled to  and from tourist traps from their rented house.

I did Air BnB in Medellin. Worked out well, I had an awesome place! I do agree that you need some purpose to get out and meet people, though. For me, my circle of friends were fellow language students. I think if you're just living cheap in a foreign land with no purpose you're going to get bored and lonely pretty quick.

Agree, but that only affects those mini-retirements. That's basically the reason I haven't gone forward with those 1-6 months breaks. I figure with so short a break, you have barely started it that you already need to start figuring out logistics for coming back. You'd need a good buffer of 1-2 years at least, IMO. The first 2-3 months you decompress, then if you want to start an open-ended project that requires to move or other committment, you're free to pursue it. Even a 6 month "deadline" would seriously put a dent in your perceived freedom.

I think worrying about having to put up with logistics isn't really an issue to worry about. First, the more you do it the better you get at it. I'm usually up and running in under 48 hours just about anywhere I go these days (phone, metro card, bike, place). It just comes down to how simply you can live your life. Ironically, the biggest hassle is getting things sorted here in the good old USA, "I assume you'll be wanting the Triple Play Pack with that, sir?" Second, this is the life I signed up for. We all have logistics to deal with in our lives no matter how we choose to live; sure, there's costs involved with moving around, but they're planned for "sunk costs".

Is 1 to 2 years a sufficient break where 6 months is not? Not sure I'm prepared to say that. There's issues with longer breaks too that are going to be gnawing at you. Will your skills still be up to date when you're ready to return? That was my biggest concern when considering longer term breaks. I mean I could take 10 years off if I wanted to, but would I be willing and able to return then? Working part of the year, every year, is also a pretty sweet deal from a tax perspective as well. You can take advantage of the juicy end of the progressive tax scale, still have retirement account contribution access as well as get another year on your SS contributions for whatever that's worth to you. On the downside, for now at least, you'll be required to carry ACA insurance even while abroad. Incidentally, this is probably the number reason I haven't chose to work only 3 months and travel for 9...it's not worth coming back here to work for just 3 months what with travel costs and needing to carry ACA if you're in country for more than 30 days.

At the end of the day, it's just another way to live your life. I don't anticipate living like this forever. I'll want to settle down somewhere longer term eventually, but that will also probably be the day I quit working for good as well. Or I could decide to work full time again, it's not like the decision to semi RE is permanent.

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #83 on: January 28, 2017, 01:08:06 PM »
Now to find the employer that lets you work a month, take a 11 month sabbatical, and repeat.

;)
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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #84 on: January 28, 2017, 03:43:43 PM »
Now to find the employer that lets you work a month, take a 11 month sabbatical, and repeat.

;)
There is such an employer.  It's called "Self." :-D

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #85 on: January 28, 2017, 04:01:04 PM »
Now to find the employer that lets you work a month, take a 11 month sabbatical, and repeat.

;)
There is such an employer.  It's called "Self." :-D

That sounds like a pretty grueling work schedule. I think I'd rather have more free time.
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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #86 on: January 28, 2017, 04:14:32 PM »
This thread is awesome, thank you for sharing everyone.

I originally planned to work till 40 and hit my $1M full FIRE #. Then realized I could cut expenses and get to $600k by age 35.

I have a feeling once I crack the $400-500k mark I will be looking to do this type of arrangement.....$18-20k/yr is enough to live comfortably in most LCOL/MCOL areas, and many countries.
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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #87 on: January 28, 2017, 07:35:56 PM »
This is a fabulous thread, I cant beleive I hadn't read it before!

@libertea, glad your are enjoying yourself!  dont forget good 'ole classical_liberal while he is slaving  away with the crazies!
However, on the road it's a totally different story. Finally (finally!) I was meeting a lot of people (fellow travelers) with a similar world view to my own. Yeah, most of them weren't all rolling a stash like I (or those of us here) have. But not all of them were just dirty backpackers looking to score cheap coke. In just a few months in Colombia I made a number of really good friends...more than I have since my college years for sure.

That's one of the main reason if want to FIRE. I get very withdrawn, or very social depending on the envrionment. I find the american culture and corporate envrionment is not very conducive to having an interesting social life. There's just no sense of community, no fun events happening. Some people try to organize things, but the spirit just isn't there, I find. Maybe people are just too over worked and focused on individual pursuits, I don't know, but that makes life a nightmare.

^^^ I get this!

@LAguy, I remember you posting when you were first thinking about travel work, I hadn't realized you were this far into your game plan!  Super awesome!

I don't have quite the assets you do, but I've been seriously contemplating cutting down. 2, 3-mo contracts a year would be the plan because if I cut back less, I just don't see the big advantage. I'd still have a very positive savings rate, so finances aren't too big a concern, but this has me a bit worried.
Sword of Damocles: this in my view is the biggest problem with semi RE. No matter how much time you've got off, it's always gnawing in the back of your mind that you've got to go back "soon". This is true for a 2 week vacation. And it was true for my roughly 4 months off. I'm sure it'll be true for my 6 month off stint coming up as well. There's only one way to escape that feeling for good I'm thinking: retire for good...forever. The reverse is also a pain: see the other thread on this forum about surviving the last 6 months before FIRE. I'm going to have to deal with that every year. I'm already on the countdown: 1 week down, 25 to go.

I'm totally that guy. Letting some distant thought of going back to work months down the road ruin my day, worrying about the next assignment sucking or some such BS.  Would you care to elaborate?  How much did it impact your daily life and how did you cope with this?

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #88 on: January 28, 2017, 09:30:11 PM »
This is a fabulous thread, I cant beleive I hadn't read it before!

@libertea, glad your are enjoying yourself!  dont forget good 'ole classical_liberal while he is slaving  away with the crazies!
However, on the road it's a totally different story. Finally (finally!) I was meeting a lot of people (fellow travelers) with a similar world view to my own. Yeah, most of them weren't all rolling a stash like I (or those of us here) have. But not all of them were just dirty backpackers looking to score cheap coke. In just a few months in Colombia I made a number of really good friends...more than I have since my college years for sure.

That's one of the main reason if want to FIRE. I get very withdrawn, or very social depending on the envrionment. I find the american culture and corporate envrionment is not very conducive to having an interesting social life. There's just no sense of community, no fun events happening. Some people try to organize things, but the spirit just isn't there, I find. Maybe people are just too over worked and focused on individual pursuits, I don't know, but that makes life a nightmare.

^^^ I get this!

@LAguy, I remember you posting when you were first thinking about travel work, I hadn't realized you were this far into your game plan!  Super awesome!

I don't have quite the assets you do, but I've been seriously contemplating cutting down. 2, 3-mo contracts a year would be the plan because if I cut back less, I just don't see the big advantage. I'd still have a very positive savings rate, so finances aren't too big a concern, but this has me a bit worried.
Sword of Damocles: this in my view is the biggest problem with semi RE. No matter how much time you've got off, it's always gnawing in the back of your mind that you've got to go back "soon". This is true for a 2 week vacation. And it was true for my roughly 4 months off. I'm sure it'll be true for my 6 month off stint coming up as well. There's only one way to escape that feeling for good I'm thinking: retire for good...forever. The reverse is also a pain: see the other thread on this forum about surviving the last 6 months before FIRE. I'm going to have to deal with that every year. I'm already on the countdown: 1 week down, 25 to go.

I'm totally that guy. Letting some distant thought of going back to work months down the road ruin my day, worrying about the next assignment sucking or some such BS.  Would you care to elaborate?  How much did it impact your daily life and how did you cope with this?

Yeah, that was quite the rollercoaster getting to where I am now, haha! Like others here I finally said, "Fuck this I can't deal anymore." Called my Realtor and told him my number. A number I was sure was going to be too high. But we got pretty darn close to it in the end. Of course, it took one failed escrow at the last minute followed by a layoff from my shit job that I had been expecting to come any day for the past several years (probably requesting a severance package days before the failed escrow was due to close had something to do with that, hehe). But despite the ride, everything has basically fallen into place they way I hoped it would.

Do you do contract work full time? Personally I don't see how you can NOT take breaks. Or at least return home to work there part of the year. The place the agency has me set up in is nice enough, but it's not exactly "homey". My AirBnB in Medellin was way more like a home than this soulless apartment with rented furniture is.

I coped with the idea of going back to work by kind of being a slug and doing absolutely nothing quite a bit of my time for about the last month. I'd say it impacted my state of mind quite a bit because I had this constant feeling that I needed more "downtime". I'm not particularly guilty about it, because doing nothing was frankly part of the plan especially considering before arriving in Medellin, I basically sold my place, crashed at my brothers for 2 days, then got on a plane and started 4 hours a day of Spanish lessons a few days later. That was all a bit much. But in the future, I'm going to have to be a bit more deliberate in what I'm going to do with my time. I don't want to just spend 6 months dreading going back to work and compensating by sitting around playing video games and watching movies.

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #89 on: January 28, 2017, 09:55:29 PM »
@LAguy

Yes, I contract full-time.  I dont really have a home, family is scattered and not too close (emotionally and geographically).  For awhile I was keeping an apartment, but it became more of a hassle than it's worth & a waste of money.  I guess "home" is my 10X10 storage locker? or maybe my UPS mailing address?   

Housing depends on where I go, some places I can bank some of the per diem thanks to low priced local rentals.  Basically, I fit everything I need in my car, but have been considering an upgrade to an Astrovan/Safari, as I could fit a bed and a couple of small pieces of furniture.  Then, I could look at nonfurnished rentals & potentially bank more from the per diems. I've been at my current contract for almost 9 months (originally it was only going to be 3 mos) and have been living in an extended stay hotel (bad area for prices on short term stay).  It's actually pretty cool, like a studio apartment with quite a few other travelers staying here. 

I really haven't been taking more than a couple weeks between contracts.  I'm probably just trying to avoid sitting around all day playing video games & watching movies.  Ha!   I'm planning a month after this assignment, to test the waters a bit, but I think 6 months would be much more productive from a relaxation and slow travel standpoint.  I guess I won't know until I try?

FIREby35

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #90 on: January 28, 2017, 10:06:14 PM »
This is a fabulous thread, I cant beleive I hadn't read it before!

@libertea, glad your are enjoying yourself!  dont forget good 'ole classical_liberal while he is slaving  away with the crazies!
However, on the road it's a totally different story. Finally (finally!) I was meeting a lot of people (fellow travelers) with a similar world view to my own. Yeah, most of them weren't all rolling a stash like I (or those of us here) have. But not all of them were just dirty backpackers looking to score cheap coke. In just a few months in Colombia I made a number of really good friends...more than I have since my college years for sure.

That's one of the main reason if want to FIRE. I get very withdrawn, or very social depending on the envrionment. I find the american culture and corporate envrionment is not very conducive to having an interesting social life. There's just no sense of community, no fun events happening. Some people try to organize things, but the spirit just isn't there, I find. Maybe people are just too over worked and focused on individual pursuits, I don't know, but that makes life a nightmare.

^^^ I get this!

@LAguy, I remember you posting when you were first thinking about travel work, I hadn't realized you were this far into your game plan!  Super awesome!

I don't have quite the assets you do, but I've been seriously contemplating cutting down. 2, 3-mo contracts a year would be the plan because if I cut back less, I just don't see the big advantage. I'd still have a very positive savings rate, so finances aren't too big a concern, but this has me a bit worried.
Sword of Damocles: this in my view is the biggest problem with semi RE. No matter how much time you've got off, it's always gnawing in the back of your mind that you've got to go back "soon". This is true for a 2 week vacation. And it was true for my roughly 4 months off. I'm sure it'll be true for my 6 month off stint coming up as well. There's only one way to escape that feeling for good I'm thinking: retire for good...forever. The reverse is also a pain: see the other thread on this forum about surviving the last 6 months before FIRE. I'm going to have to deal with that every year. I'm already on the countdown: 1 week down, 25 to go.

I'm totally that guy. Letting some distant thought of going back to work months down the road ruin my day, worrying about the next assignment sucking or some such BS.  Would you care to elaborate?  How much did it impact your daily life and how did you cope with this?

I coped with the idea of going back to work by kind of being a slug and doing absolutely nothing quite a bit of my time for about the last month. I'd say it impacted my state of mind quite a bit because I had this constant feeling that I needed more "downtime". I'm not particularly guilty about it, because doing nothing was frankly part of the plan especially considering before arriving in Medellin, I basically sold my place, crashed at my brothers for 2 days, then got on a plane and started 4 hours a day of Spanish lessons a few days later. That was all a bit much. But in the future, I'm going to have to be a bit more deliberate in what I'm going to do with my time. I don't want to just spend 6 months dreading going back to work and compensating by sitting around playing video games and watching movies.

What I have found is that I have to create a daily routine no matter where I am. As I've learned more about myself and how to engineer happiness into my life, I see it almost like "Groundhog Day." I have a baseline day of getting up at a certain time, coffee, reading...whatever. Then I add or subtract things to that routine to engineer it into the ideal routine. Of course, being flexible with it to do unexpected things is always possible. But I weigh those unexpected things relative to an awesome (but routine) day - does it make it better or worse? But, doing this - no matter where I am - is what ultimately makes me happier.

If I don't have a basic routine and start tweaking it to make it better - I feel aimless and anxious. Maybe it could help you avoid thinking about potentialities six months in the future and enjoy your present moment.

This is why I am going to keep with my SWAMI status. It already includes a routine I designed and can change at will. When my routine is mundane, a sabbatical will be planned to mix it up and add a little spice to life.

Libertea

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #91 on: January 29, 2017, 06:47:37 AM »
That's a great point about having a daily routine, FIREby35.  I have been doing the same thing for the last month.  It took me a few weeks to re-adapt from being awake nights and sleeping days (like I'd annoyingly wake up at 2 or 3 AM and not be able to go back to sleep), but for the last week or so, that hasn't been happening any more.  I go to bed around midnight and get up at 8AM like a "normal" diurnal human being. :-p

CL, you know I thought you were crazy for wintering over there in the first place.  I think my goal in life is to "retire" to being a snowbird. :-D. But seriously, if you love it there (and I know you met someone special, so that changes the calculation too), then that has to count for a lot.  And you know you can leave any time.  I agree with LAguy that you should consider taking longer between this contract and your next.  Even a month may not be long enough; I can't believe January is almost over already.  I feel like even the six months I'm taking off is going to just fly by....

Gerardc, you don't have to wait until FIRE to develop a more interesting social life.  I'm more of an introvert, so I don't participate in a ton of organized activities.  But one thing that really helps me meet people when I move to a new area is to join meetups or other groups for activities I like.  I've been in my current location for one week, but I've already joined a book club here and attended one meeting, for example.  I'm also doing a half marathon in a few weeks, and I've met some acquaintances at the gym.  And of course I see my family quite a bit since they all live around here too.  Maybe you could pick something you like to do and see if there's a local meetup group or club in your area?

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #92 on: January 29, 2017, 09:19:44 AM »
@FIREby35
Good advice with the routine.  You make a good point, having some routine makes anyplace feel like home.  I guess I dont know what it'll be like when I have more or total freedom of time, I can see how routine needs to be in place to stay motivated.  OTOH, I have found that my life is much more interesting (maybe stressful too) when I mix things up.  Maybe the key is balance... Is it possibly my mother was right afterall?

@libertea
A half marathon will be an impressive accomplishment! Time is flying by because we are getting old!  Unfortunately things with Midwestern sort-of coworker are not going to be long term.  We enjoy each other for now, but she is well aware I'm not spending the rest of my life in the frozen tundra & she is pretty attached to the area.

Libertea

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #93 on: January 29, 2017, 10:59:54 AM »
Oh, this isn't my first half (though it's the first time I've done this particular race), and I've done a couple of full marathons too.  But I'm a slow runner, so that's the biggest reason why I stopped; it takes me over five hours to finish a marathon.  I kept doing halfs though, which take me from 2-2.5 hours.  I like that distance; it's long enough to feel like I got a good workout, but not so long that my life starts to revolve around training for it.  (Even though I have the time to train for a full marathon now that I'm not working, I don't really WANT to spend 6-7 hours doing a long run every other week for several months!)

I was telling someone else that I'm not particularly athletic (was always the 90 pound weakling type as a kid).  But people THINK I'm "athletic" now because I'm in my 40s and still work out pretty much daily, which is not the norm in our society.  But it's not that I'm so athletic; it's that so many other middle aged people are totally out of shape. ;-P

Sorry that things probably won't work out for LT with your coworker; what happened with the woman of mystery?  :-D

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #94 on: January 29, 2017, 11:43:27 AM »
I was telling someone else that I'm not particularly athletic (was always the 90 pound weakling type as a kid).  But people THINK I'm "athletic" now because I'm in my 40s and still work out pretty much daily, which is not the norm in our society.  But it's not that I'm so athletic; it's that so many other middle aged people are totally out of shape. ;-P

Maybe I'm just overly impressed with runners because I dislike that activity to such a high degree.  I would argue though,  anyone capable of running a half marathon is in pretty good shape for any age, give yourself some props!  You are certainly right about societies health expectations for people our age.  I've allowed myself to become super overweight, BMI about 28, since travel work started two years ago.  When I'm at a healthy 10-12% body fat my BMI sits at about 24 as I always tend to maintain a basic level of fitness through strength training.  A couple months ago, I decided to start counting calories and gave up sugary snacks; my coworkers thought I was nuts... none of them thought I was overweight.  Just goes to show, even in healthcare, overweight has become the norm.

Sorry that things probably won't work out for LT with your coworker; what happened with the woman of mystery?  :-D
It is too bad, but she just isn't adventurous enough for me & I think she really wants to have a family. IWOM is fun, but it turns out she just got out of a bad marriage.  I was just some dude for a short fling, which was OK by me. High maintenance women like her can be dangerous to fall for!

Where are you staying during your time off, did you move yet?

Libertea

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #95 on: January 29, 2017, 12:28:21 PM »
I wouldn't say I love running exactly, but I've come to enjoy various aspects of it, including the sense of accomplishment and the ability to listen to my favorite podcasts or music guilt-free for several hours per week (not to mention the ability to cheat on my diet a bit!)

You're right about the new norm in BMI.  It's not surprising that overweight seems "normal" to us now given that 2/3 of the country's population is overweight or obese.  And of course the Midwest and South are the worst regions of the country for this, so you're right there in the thick of things.  Good for you for not letting other people pressure you into eating so much junk.

Yes, I've started my travels.  I'll keep you posted if you're interested. :-D

And, so as not to derail this thread too much further, I was telling someone this privately, so I'll post it publically as well: I don't think six months is too short of a time to take off.  But maybe my situation is a bit different than gerardc's, for two reasons.  First, I'm starting a new semi-retirement career that I'm excited about.  And second, I'm giving that new career a six month trial period as well.  If I decide at the end of this year that I dislike it, I'm going to quit and do something else.  So it's more like I'm taking six months off, then working six months, which is all I've committed to in my head.  Of course, I could end up like CL and just love the new job so much that I'll want to keep doing it, and I do expect that I'll at least stay for two years.  But we'll see.  I'm ok with it if I end up not liking it and want to leave early.

gerardc

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #96 on: January 29, 2017, 04:58:39 PM »
Gerardc, you don't have to wait until FIRE to develop a more interesting social life.  I'm more of an introvert, so I don't participate in a ton of organized activities.  But one thing that really helps me meet people when I move to a new area is to join meetups or other groups for activities I like.  I've been in my current location for one week, but I've already joined a book club here and attended one meeting, for example.  I'm also doing a half marathon in a few weeks, and I've met some acquaintances at the gym.  And of course I see my family quite a bit since they all live around here too.  Maybe you could pick something you like to do and see if there's a local meetup group or club in your area?

Yeah, I'm doing that in the meantime to mitigate the damage (dancing, crossfit, clubs), but I don't have much energy for it after work. I'm more of a "go all in" time of person, I have a hard time to multi task with my goals/activities. Since I can't put much effort into it, I get little reward and it sucks compared to what I was achieving in the past, when I had more time, if that makes sense.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #97 on: January 29, 2017, 07:41:39 PM »
Sorry that things probably won't work out for LT with your coworker; what happened with the woman of mystery?  :-D
It is too bad, but she just isn't adventurous enough for me & I think she really wants to have a family. IWOM is fun, but it turns out she just got out of a bad marriage.  I was just some dude for a short fling, which was OK by me. High maintenance women like her can be dangerous to fall for!

I was waiting for an update on this story! Finally!
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tigerfoot

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #98 on: February 26, 2017, 01:25:46 AM »
Sounds good


 
« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 07:28:24 AM by tigerfoot »

amyable

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Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
« Reply #99 on: February 26, 2017, 05:53:59 AM »
I never did this, but if I had to do it over again, I would do it that way.

I think I remember  you saying you/wife worked most summers via. Summer School,tutoring, furthering your education, etc. Plus of course you had real  estate stuff going on.

My question is - Had you done nothing (work related) in the Summers would you have considered those "mini-retirements" or would that be too short?

Just curious, for those on thread who don't know me my wife is a teacher and I'm sort of self employed and hope to join her in Summers off in 3-5 years after clearing up some debt.

Two months is nothing.  That's barely enough time to decompress.  We did a backpacking through Europe trip one summer, and that was great, but not like a retirement (even a mini-one).

I think I'd take 1-2 year sabbaticals, personally.

The wife and I just hit a year, approximately, and we discussed how we weren't quite ready to go back, though we could if we had to (e.g. if we had only saved up enough to take a year off, instead of being FI), but that in another year, we'd totally be energized and ready to work again, if we were planning on it.

I mean, sure, two months is better than the lousy two weeks most people get.  But we can spend a month or two just in a single town.  Having two months off to relax and vacation and decompress is quite a bit different than a retirement where you aren't just temporarily doing it, but you're living it.

IDK, it's hard to explain.  You'll see what I mean though, when you do fully FIRE and spend all your time with the wife/kids/stuff you want to do.  :)

My husband teaches, and I'm a school counselor but would like to get back to teaching after we save more, and I think this is what we're planning on doing.  We're both certified in high shortage teaching areas, and we live in a area where we can get a teaching job anytime we want, no problem.  I'd love to teach for 2-3 years and then take a year off.  I love working in education, and I really don't think I could RE full time, but having a year off every few years would be a good balance for me.