Author Topic: When you've won the GAME!  (Read 14504 times)

bayarea_dude

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When you've won the GAME!
« on: February 19, 2018, 07:30:41 PM »
Hi everyone, long time lurker, first time poster

It's really a question.  Why do people keep going and going when they've won the game?!  What is preventing people (I know plenty) from regaling us with stories of early exits of the hamster wheels?  Instead, they faithfully return to their cubicles day in and day out while whining about their work, how expensive everything is!

I know for a fact that over half of my acquaintances can sell their homes and walk away with at least 1M in their pockets.  Questions for the people who have done it and made the leap.  How did you do it?  What was the trigger?

P.S. I'm guilty as charged - in the same boat and looking for inspirations :]

mjr

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2018, 08:14:32 PM »
They pay me a boatload.  Every year worked is over $200k saved.  Even with over $2m in investable assets, $200k is no small potatoes.  Leaving is an irreversible action, once that trigger is pulled there's no going back.

If I wasn't on such a good wicket, even then I'd struggle to leave as the people here are a big part of my life - I've been here 21 years.

That said, it's still my plan to bail before the end of the year.  But it is *hard*.  Probably because it is a huge. voluntary step into the unknown.  Man, have I been institutionalised.


FiveSigmas

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2018, 10:21:54 PM »
What is preventing people (I know plenty) from regaling us with stories of early exits of the hamster wheels?

Not exactly what you're looking for, but you may find it amusing:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/epic-fu-money-stories/

P.S. I'm guilty as charged - in the same boat and looking for inspirations :]

<snark>While you're selling the house, don't forget to sell the boat, too.</snark>

bayarea_dude

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2018, 11:33:12 PM »
I hear you mjr.  $200k is a great salary but only average in the bay area.  After taxes, healthcare premiums, etc, I only clear  $100k/year.  Property tax + mortgage payment alone is $60k.  If I move out of SF and go to a place with no state tax say like Nevada or Washington, I won't have these high expenses.  Still it hard to walk away from what anyone in their right mind would consider a small fortune.  So here I am, paralyzed by indecision, continuing the turn the wheel.

I have not been a any meaningful vacation, ever!  Well, I did go skiing one weekend 10 years ago.

FiveSigmas: We'd be luck to fit one small sedan into any SF garages.  Nope, that 200k+ miles car stays in the driveway like all the neighbors.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2018, 11:58:11 PM »
You'll only know you've 'won the game' when your on your death-bed (and that's not something we aspire to, right?).  Don't get caught up in someone else's dream that FIRE is winning the game.  Not everyone gets to earn $200k/yr or even 100k/yr.  The vast majority of humans are not in control of their destiny.  That is what you have to figure out, if you want to trade security for a more self-directed life or if you want to get older until you have security but less life to live. 

IMHO, there is way too much 'patting each other on the back for ER' in the FIRE community (mostly done as a leap into a 'second gear career' as a lower, but still paid blogger / SAHP).  This community, when I joined, was more about shedding the lazy overpaid 'cube' skin in order to work harder but be paid better by feeling free. 

I keep hoping MMM comes back to speak to this (since my job has me travelling the globe after FI and it's pretty much my dream come true).  IOW, I'm probably not a good ambassador for FIRE, just FI.

marty998

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2018, 12:22:02 AM »
Some people simply just find meaning in their work. Others like @mjr get paid so much that it will afford quite a bit of extra luxury at a non-material cost of time spent.

Over half of Sydney households own property well over $1m in value (more than a million households). I have pondered for a moment what would happen if everyone decided to downsize at the same time.

My confident prediction is that Real Estate Agents will be the winner.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2018, 12:30:09 AM by marty998 »

ol1970

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2018, 05:24:59 AM »
Just my opinion, but winning the game is not amassing 25X annual expenses of a modest budget that involves biking to the grocery store in the middle of winter, only  taking 2 weeks of vacation a year to some nice location, but the rest of your time sitting around managing your budget and worrying if the 4% rule will really work out for your particular circumstances.  Winning the game is 33X a full life do whatever you want to budget.  Itís at that point I would start to seriously wonder why people would keep doing something they are not passionate about.  Before that itís significantly more challenging  to pull the rip cord.

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2018, 06:00:50 AM »
I'm in this situation as well. We could downsize and have a great stash with great income.

But it's a trade off. For some, it's worth it to live in a LCOL area. I'm sure it's doable but I have yet to find an area with the advantages we have in our HCOLA. Unfortunately it costs more to live in a place where all ammenities are walkable, where there's easy access to public transit and transit to airports, where there's lots of parks and easy access to hospitals, libraries, community centres, farmers markets, where there's cultural diversity, people who care about the community, streets that are safe and quiet, left leaning politics, well educated, not homogenously or overly religious, etc.

That's pretty much my list. I'm still looking for a community that has all this at a lower cost, and it could be out there but so far have not found it. It may delay retirement (retiring in 5 years instead of right now) but I don't want to retire to a community that I don't fit in to.

MrGville

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2018, 10:09:10 AM »
Just my opinion, but winning the game is not amassing 25X annual expenses of a modest budget that involves biking to the grocery store in the middle of winter, only  taking 2 weeks of vacation a year to some nice location, but the rest of your time sitting around managing your budget and worrying if the 4% rule will really work out for your particular circumstances.  Winning the game is 33X a full life do whatever you want to budget.  Itís at that point I would start to seriously wonder why people would keep doing something they are not passionate about.  Before that itís significantly more challenging  to pull the rip cord.

I'm with you.  Winning is being able to do what you want, when you want, and being able to afford some luxuries now and then.  Although technically the numbers say the 4% rule works, I do not think I'd be comfortable until I have 33X saved.

Mrs. Rocker

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2018, 12:17:54 PM »
I think some people continue to work because it is the easy way out - there's a steady check coming in, your schedule is set for you, coworkers are a built in peer group, etc. Once you give up the job you have to manage this on your own.

DreamFIRE

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2018, 09:43:26 PM »
What is preventing people (I know plenty) from regaling us with stories of early exits of the hamster wheels?  Instead, they faithfully return to their cubicles day in and day out while whining about their work, how expensive everything is!

Hamster wheels, corporate drones, paper pushers, cubicles - I've read about all of those here, and if any of those fit into my job description, I would have already moved on or retired.  I have worked in open floor plans and shared offices before, but now I have an office to myself, a real office that I can close the door when I want, regulate the temperature where I want, listen to music if I want.  But not only that, I actually am interested in what I'm doing on my job most of the time.  It provides challenges, I get to research interesting things, and I sometimes have a lot of spare time to read up on investing and early retirement, walk around and chit chat with staff, etc. all while getting paid.  I'm also not expected to work over 40 hours but get paid extra if I do.  I fall into the upper middle class as well, and I live in a LCOL area, so as far as the job itself, I don't really feel a drive to leave.

I was at 68X bare bones the last time I calculated, so most would say I've won the game.  However, 68X becomes about 51X when I add in a buffer for extra spending to allow for some minimal travel and entertainment during FIRE, and if ACA subsides go away, that could drop me to 39X.  Add in a likely relocation on top of all of that, and I estimate that would drop me down  to 36X.  If I want to account for some potential higher medical/insurance costs and allow more in the budget for more frequent fun/travel/entertainment to give me more freedom from spending restrictions, I'm now looking at 28X.  And then, there's the future of my investments that could tighten things up further.  I'm looking to hold on for at least one more year to see what develops with ACA and my investments before pulling the plug completely or seeing if I can move to part time with benefits.  I know I just said, "one more year," but this is the same soft target I've had in mind for over a year, and I haven't extended it.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2018, 09:52:58 PM by DreamFIRE »

mjr

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2018, 10:08:52 PM »
I do love my office with the door :-)

slackmax

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2018, 07:40:05 AM »
I must admit I'm envious of the over $200,000 per year crowd. Seems they showed up around 3 years ago here on MM, I think.

Ten years ago, everyone was making less than $100,000 here, most probably below $60,000.  Or at least that how it seemed.

I maxed out at $80,000 per year as a programmer in 2001, and I thought I was overpaid.

I just can't imagine making $200,000 per year, although I would have happily accepted such an offer. Who is worth $200,000 per year? Gadzooks.

Yeah I know, "You're worth whatever you can get them to pay you".  LOL. 

Gimesalot

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2018, 10:09:43 AM »
To me the question is not, "Why people keep going?", you know that answer, it's why you keep going to work, but instead, "Why do people FIRE?" 

For me, the answer is that my job no longer allowed me to pursue my passion to a level that I was satisfied with.  If it would have, I might have stayed.  The reality is that due to my location, I needed to travel a lot to pursue my passion.  I spent the last year trying to get that to jive with my job, but they complained that I was taking too much vacation (although I was taking way less than the yearly amount given to me).  It lead to a lot of shouting and blame from my bosses, so I bailed.  Honestly, if they would have been more flexible, I would have stayed as long as possible on the gravy train.

If you don't feel that friction in your life, then there is no reason to leave your job. 

bayarea_dude

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2018, 11:52:04 AM »
I'm on that gravy train and it's impossible to give up the seat :(

Every OMY I stay to increase that '##X" fact, I lose 8000+ hrs of life.  5 more years of work = -5 years in FIRE - 5 years of  expenses = over saving

The best scenario would be a layoff package.  I don't want any other negative trigger to make it happen.


bacchi

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2018, 01:27:49 PM »
It's really a question.  Why do people keep going and going when they've won the game?!  What is preventing people (I know plenty) from regaling us with stories of early exits of the hamster wheels?

Because they don't have an answer to, "What will you do all day?" As discussed a lot, most people need to retire to something and not [only] from something.

As an example, if someone with 33x had to take care of an ailing parent, and work didn't allow them that much family leave, they would retire (or take a long sabbatical).

mjr

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2018, 01:49:54 PM »

The best scenario would be a layoff package.  I don't want any other negative trigger to make it happen.

Exactly.  Even this week, it now looks likely I'll be able to wangle getting laid off in a couple of months.

Sometimes fate drops the opportunity in your lap.

FrugalZony

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2018, 03:43:53 PM »
I used to be a solid OMY candidate and at recent meetups most people were in the "added security" and "want to be safe and make more money" camps.
Also here on the forums, most of us always talk about the risk of running out of money, making more, just in case, OMY etc....

What if we run out of time?

Ya know, the whole "live like we never die and die never having lived" thing. Ever thought about that?

The year before I FIREd I lost two colleagues, one in his late fourties, cancer, one in his early fifties, heart attack.
Both seemingly healthy, decent shape etc.
The heart attack one, actually had his heart attack on the treadmill at the gym. The cancer patient had 3 moths left after finding out his diagnosis.

My best friends mom, died a few weeks ago of pancreatic cancer, she had less than 6 months from diagnosis to leaving us way too soon.
Another friends wife died last year, also pancreatic cancer. Both of them had well paying jobs and tons of plans for once they retire.

Nobody can take away from me the 19 months I have been FIREd so far. I am having the time of my life!

Whereas I do understand, people wanting a safety margin and not wanting to pull the trigger too early, I feel many people do pay too much attention only to one side of the equation. There is a trade off many of us ignore.

I for one (although I would have loved to have the extra 4-6x expenses had I worked the extra 1.5 years, I had originally planned) prefer to be master of my schedule NOW. It has a risk, yes, I may have to find supplemental income at some point. But I traded the uncertainty if that will ever be the case with the certainty of 19 months of freedom and counting.

And yes, I was one of those, who said, I wanted to be 150% sure that I never have to work again, before pulling the trigger.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2018, 09:54:45 PM »
The best scenario would be a layoff package.  I don't want any other negative trigger to make it happen.
Exactly.  Even this week, it now looks likely I'll be able to wangle getting laid off in a couple of months.
Sometimes fate drops the opportunity in your lap.

That's why FI should be seen as a double-edged sword:  You race to FI for a freedom that you never had.  The challenge, the meaningfulness behind the sacrifice.  The journey, for the most part, is worth it without question.

But then you get to the destination, and eventually, a little while past the initial shock at being there well before 67.5, or 60, or 50...  You have "won the game" a lot sooner than even yourself thought possible!

But you are still at work, so you start to dial it in.  You're distracted.  And grumpy.  And short with people who still care.  You find that the paycheck that used to motivate you no longer gets you out of bed in the morning.  You keep up the routine, but none of it makes sense like it did when you were secretly stachin'.   

Then you have to make the ultimate choice (unless, of course, it is made for you) - do you figure out your best life with work, or do you make the plunge into ER and tell everyone how awesome it is to not have to work.

I have thought about it many years now.  Each year, it is a different path the the same conclusion.  When we were barely FI and wanted kids, my wife became 'ER' / SAHP.  Then we used FI to pursue some expat opportunities, knowing we had an ER escape hatch.  Now, kids are older and we don't want to be expats, so ER would be my answer to having to go expat again in the next 6 years. 

Fully luxury FI now, I was running a half marathon and realized I was getting complacent.  Thinking about ER again, I didn't really know where I should go with my life.  I didn't have to do anything impressive in the run other than finish, but that's really not good enough when you cross the finish line.  I enjoyed the run and my legs were fine, but my time sucked.  Sure, it was a good race, it was enjoyable, but I wasn't really happy.  I signed up for another half almost imidiately and ran it for time.  At mile 10, I began to suck wind, but I knew I could get a better time than I did a few weeks ago.  Shaved almost 10 minutes off my half marathon time and it felt fantastic! 

Bottom line, as long as you don't get complacent, do whatever you find pushes yourself the hardest once you're FI.  For me, it's having to work hard at work and play hard in the margins.

StetsTerhune

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2018, 02:30:26 AM »
Life isn't a game. And there is no winning.

It's certainly convenient to believe it, but all your problems are not going to be solved by not having to go into the office every day.

Life is an extraordinarily complicated optimization problem, and, yeah, it looks like people are making bad decisions if we reduce it to just a few factors (quit job! move somewhere cheaper!), but no one's life is that simple.

slackmax

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2018, 06:19:37 AM »
A couple more thoughts about folks who can retire but don't.

The talented and honest car mechanic who retires leaves me with one less honest and talented mechanic to go to. I would prefer he or she keep working. This is the mechanic who knows what your problem is and actually tells you what it is so you can fix it yourself. Don't disappear on me, dude !!   

The overpaid sinecure guy making more than $200,000 per year just to show up (can you feel my envy?)  will have even more money, if he keeps showing up to the office,  to buy something from me on Craigslist or Ebay at my high asking price, so that's a win for me. If he retires, he will still probably pay me my same high asking price, I hope.     

 

former player

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2018, 07:21:54 AM »
To me the question is not, "Why people keep going?", you know that answer, it's why you keep going to work, but instead, "Why do people FIRE?" 

This.  OP is asking the wrong question.  The people who keep working after they have won the game are the "successful" people.  They are the well socialised people who are team players.  They had a decent time at school with friends and activities.  They fitted in to the dominant culture around them then and are still fitting in to the dominant culture around them now at work: fitting in is what they know and is what they are good at and it makes them feel good about themselves, as it always has.  Fitting in has enabled them to win, and they will continue to fit in because it will enable them to continue to win and so to continue to feel good about themselves.

It's mustachians who are the outliers, the oddballs, the misfits.  We are the ones who can see the parameters of our culture, because we have so often come up against those limits during our lives.  We are the ones who are looking in from the outside.  We see that "winning" only occurs within certain constraints and we want to live outside those constraints.  We think that we have won the game by FIREing, by not having to play by the rules any more, by not having to put on that physical, mental and emotional suit every day and go to work.

While there may have been different specific triggers for each of us mustachians to FIRE, in the end what enabled us to FIRE was our ability to see outside the tramlines of the culture we lived in.  Most of the people who keep working don't even recognise that those tramlines exist.  Some of them do and it makes them unhappy but they haven't progressed to recognising that there is a whole exciting world outside those tramlines and that a hop and a skip will get them there.  Those are the people we mustachians can help.

jim555

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2018, 07:58:51 AM »
My guess is they don't retire because then they would have to be around the spouse 24/7.  :)

pecunia

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2018, 05:18:48 PM »
Maybe, they can't face the finality of life.  Quitting your job to stop work seems like a forever step, a step of finality.  It is a little like taking a step into the abyss.  You will be losing that security.  You will be losing that pattern.  Some of the meaning of your life is wrapped up in what you do.  You are giving up on good people.  You will never see those people again.

Some of the choices you've made in your life have not been good ones.  You have regrets.  Is this another one? 

I am facing that choice.

However, I read the descriptions of those that have un-knotted the tether of work.  I speak with retirees.  I realize my time on this earthly plane is limited and the choice becomes clear.

bayarea_dude

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2018, 10:09:49 PM »
My guess is they don't retire because then they would have to be around the spouse 24/7.  :)

This!  My SO will not appreciate seeing my :| 24/7! 

EscapeVelocity2020:  you are right.  I am getting depressed and cranky at work.  I get very frustrated when people don't understand very "simple" instructions.  If I have to explain each point to that person on every assignment, I'm going to go mad!  I've tried to spend as little time as possible in my cubicle, going in late, 2 hour lunches but still manage to be the 20% of the people doing 80% of the work.  I'm tired of pretending and faking it at work. 

Not giving up yet/can't walk away because -
-it's easy (people tell me all the time how easy I have it and why am I whining)
-don't yet have something to RE to
-I'll miss the 2 hour lunches
-I can keep adding to stash
-miss office gossip, drama
-have few friends outside of workplace


DreamFIRE

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2018, 11:11:06 PM »
You have "won the game" a lot sooner than even yourself thought possible!

But you are still at work, so you start to dial it in.  You're distracted.  And grumpy.  And short with people who still care.  You find that the paycheck that used to motivate you no longer gets you out of bed in the morning.  You keep up the routine, but none of it makes sense like it did when you were secretly stachin'.   

That definitely doesn't apply to me nor do some, or maybe any, other generalizations I've seen posted in this thread.  I have my own office now (not a cubicle) and distractions are down, and I'm over-all happier because of that.  It's the best it's been in decades of working for me. I'm also getting along with staff in my dept. better because I have my own space to retreat to.   But having over 25X already with a sweet buffer, it's a great sense of freedom to know that I choose to be there and don't need the job or the paycheck at this point.  My planned FIRE date continues to be Spring 2019 at this point - I'll see if I feel like OMYing it when the time comes.  I took the day off today (and am tomorrow), and I was actually missing work a little earlier in the day.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 11:13:48 PM by DreamFIRE »

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #26 on: February 23, 2018, 10:29:51 AM »
You have "won the game" a lot sooner than even yourself thought possible!

But you are still at work, so you start to dial it in.  You're distracted.  And grumpy.  And short with people who still care.  You find that the paycheck that used to motivate you no longer gets you out of bed in the morning.  You keep up the routine, but none of it makes sense like it did when you were secretly stachin'.   

That definitely doesn't apply to me nor do some, or maybe any, other generalizations I've seen posted in this thread.  I have my own office now (not a cubicle) and distractions are down, and I'm over-all happier because of that.  It's the best it's been in decades of working for me. I'm also getting along with staff in my dept. better because I have my own space to retreat to.   But having over 25X already with a sweet buffer, it's a great sense of freedom to know that I choose to be there and don't need the job or the paycheck at this point.  My planned FIRE date continues to be Spring 2019 at this point - I'll see if I feel like OMYing it when the time comes.  I took the day off today (and am tomorrow), and I was actually missing work a little earlier in the day.

That sounds a bit like my situation, except I've been in OMY for about 5 years :)  I have plenty over 50x expenses, so it's definitely not the paycheck that keeps me going...  For me, part of it is that I work for an international company and I enjoy the people I work with domestically, internationally, and at the project partner companies.  I enjoy working with competent experts and I enjoy the mental stimulation.  Plenty of opportunities and support to continue education and attend conferences. 

I also get a few business trips which, while a little stressful at times, always leave me refreshed and feeling valued.  I have self-direction on what I want to do and how much I want to pursue.  The work is fast paced.  And the pay and benefits are really good.  I also have two kids in Jr. High, and my wife is a SAHP / part time teacher.  Life is just good, why add stress to having to figure out health care and what to do with myself.  Once the kids are through college, or maybe when the second ones goes off to college, or if the job gets to be a burden, then I'll think harder about ER...

Edit to add:  I only got to this point of 'skipping to work' after FI and changing jobs.  Knowing that I didn't need to work and that I don't need to put up with too much, knowing that I can show up late and leave early and take random days off if my kids need me, and working for a company with a 'family first' attitude made this possible.  My other philosophy is that those of us who are FI but not ER should be advocates for our co-workers.  When my wife saw favoritism, overt laziness, and other inexcusable or shameful shenanigans at the school she taught at, she was able to speak up for the other teachers that were worried they might lose their job.  She ultimately quit anyway to have more time with our kids, but she also started a much overdue regime change (Principal being reassigned) during her tenure.  The teachers frequently talk her how much better things are now.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2018, 02:48:55 PM by EscapeVelocity2020 »

slugsworth

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #27 on: February 23, 2018, 01:22:42 PM »
To me the question is not, "Why people keep going?", you know that answer, it's why you keep going to work, but instead, "Why do people FIRE?" 

This.  OP is asking the wrong question.  The people who keep working after they have won the game are the "successful" people.  They are the well socialised people who are team players.  They had a decent time at school with friends and activities.  They fitted in to the dominant culture around them then and are still fitting in to the dominant culture around them now at work: fitting in is what they know and is what they are good at and it makes them feel good about themselves, as it always has.  Fitting in has enabled them to win, and they will continue to fit in because it will enable them to continue to win and so to continue to feel good about themselves.

It's mustachians who are the outliers, the oddballs, the misfits.  We are the ones who can see the parameters of our culture, because we have so often come up against those limits during our lives.  We are the ones who are looking in from the outside.  We see that "winning" only occurs within certain constraints and we want to live outside those constraints.  We think that we have won the game by FIREing, by not having to play by the rules any more, by not having to put on that physical, mental and emotional suit every day and go to work.

While there may have been different specific triggers for each of us mustachians to FIRE, in the end what enabled us to FIRE was our ability to see outside the tramlines of the culture we lived in.  Most of the people who keep working don't even recognise that those tramlines exist.  Some of them do and it makes them unhappy but they haven't progressed to recognising that there is a whole exciting world outside those tramlines and that a hop and a skip will get them there.  Those are the people we mustachians can help.

This might be my favorite post on this forum ever. Thank you!

dude

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2018, 08:32:44 AM »
"The easiest way to be rich is to want little."

Not saying I want little; I actually want quite a lot.  But most of what I want doesn't cost much more than a tank of gas -- e.g., to get to my favorite climbing area, or the beach to surf, or the mountains to hike and camp, or the gym, or to hang with friends by a fire. I love international travel, too, but prefer to do it cheaply (I don't see the utility in paying top dollar for some 5-star resort b.s. -- I just need a clean(ish) room with a bed and a shower).

In retirement (next year), I'll shift from a $200k salary (if you include employer's contribution to my pension) to a $59k/yr pension + 401k withdrawals, and I don't expect my lifestyle to suffer one bit.

Mr. Green

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2018, 10:06:08 AM »
To me the question is not, "Why people keep going?", you know that answer, it's why you keep going to work, but instead, "Why do people FIRE?" 

This.  OP is asking the wrong question.  The people who keep working after they have won the game are the "successful" people.  They are the well socialised people who are team players.  They had a decent time at school with friends and activities.  They fitted in to the dominant culture around them then and are still fitting in to the dominant culture around them now at work: fitting in is what they know and is what they are good at and it makes them feel good about themselves, as it always has.  Fitting in has enabled them to win, and they will continue to fit in because it will enable them to continue to win and so to continue to feel good about themselves.

It's mustachians who are the outliers, the oddballs, the misfits.  We are the ones who can see the parameters of our culture, because we have so often come up against those limits during our lives.  We are the ones who are looking in from the outside.  We see that "winning" only occurs within certain constraints and we want to live outside those constraints.  We think that we have won the game by FIREing, by not having to play by the rules any more, by not having to put on that physical, mental and emotional suit every day and go to work.

While there may have been different specific triggers for each of us mustachians to FIRE, in the end what enabled us to FIRE was our ability to see outside the tramlines of the culture we lived in.  Most of the people who keep working don't even recognise that those tramlines exist.  Some of them do and it makes them unhappy but they haven't progressed to recognising that there is a whole exciting world outside those tramlines and that a hop and a skip will get them there.  Those are the people we mustachians can help.
A comparison to The Matrix really is apropos.

gutts

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #30 on: February 26, 2018, 04:16:25 PM »
Hi everyone, long time lurker, first time poster

It's really a question.  Why do people keep going and going when they've won the game?!  What is preventing people (I know plenty) from regaling us with stories of early exits of the hamster wheels?  Instead, they faithfully return to their cubicles day in and day out while whining about their work, how expensive everything is!

I know for a fact that over half of my acquaintances can sell their homes and walk away with at least 1M in their pockets.  Questions for the people who have done it and made the leap.  How did you do it?  What was the trigger?

P.S. I'm guilty as charged - in the same boat and looking for inspirations :]


Lol man, I am asking myself exactly the same question. If I had enough money to escape the 5/2 hell I would quit right at this moment.

Much Fishing to Do

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #31 on: February 26, 2018, 04:33:19 PM »
Isn't it just keeping on keeping on.  In school I realized to just keep doing my best, slacking off didnt pay off and stressed me out.  Work was the same....I got to the point that of course I could take a sick day when I wasn't...but given that doesnt help, and doesnt fix tomorrow, why go down that lazy road.  You just keep doign what you have to do and even saying you dont mind it until it gets ingrained.  And those who are really really good at that are pretty good at getting to the point they dont really have to keep doing it...but they got there b/c they keep doing it...

JerseyGrrrl

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #32 on: February 26, 2018, 04:34:32 PM »
It's really a question.  Why do people keep going and going when they've won the game?!  What is preventing people (I know plenty) from regaling us with stories of early exits of the hamster wheels? 

For me, the usual: What is my identity if I'm not working? Am I wasting my potential? What will I retire to? Why do I get to do this when so many other hard working people don't? Ahh, the angst.

For my husband, it's "golden handcuffs" at his job, and those handcuffs are very, very shiny! Although we are beyond FI for ourselves, he feels a deep responsibility to family members who helped him along the way but who aren't as well off as us. He feels the $$ are too much in too little time to give up when he could then be able to help his family if needed. He's got 3 years to go, if he makes it.

But it looks like 2018 will be the year for me. Family is also the impetus for me FIREing, as I want to move closer to be near family, and I'll have to quit my job for that. (Hub can work remotely from anywhere.)

tooqk4u22

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #33 on: February 27, 2018, 09:28:46 AM »
It's really a question.  Why do people keep going and going when they've won the game?!  What is preventing people (I know plenty) from regaling us with stories of early exits of the hamster wheels?  Instead, they faithfully return to their cubicles day in and day out while whining about their work, how expensive everything is!

Well, I guess it depends if you are play the right game, what it takes to win the game, and whether or not the game has changed.

Health care is the biggest factor that is need related.  I have others that are wants or ego driven but I can manage those.  But having to pay for health care 100% would 100% f-up my WR and would represent a very very very significant part of my spending.  Sure there is ACA now (which still has been increasing) but who knows tomorrow.  The problem is to account for this could be another $250,000 to $750,000 of savings.   

I don't know how people get comfortable with this if they rely on ACA, which is compound by being a minimal spender (ie less flex to absorb it)

Ughhh....I need this solved.

Farmgirl

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #34 on: February 27, 2018, 10:16:45 AM »
We won the game late 2017.  I'm still working because of health insurance.  Husband goes on Medicare in October, and youngest son turns 26 in September.  After that, it's just me.  If there is anything left of subsidies, I am at least trying for part time. 

itchyfeet

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #35 on: February 27, 2018, 11:28:52 AM »
Interesting thread.

I have a FIRE worthy stash but havenít walked yet.

Back when I was young, ambitious and invincible I took on a massive mortgage to buy a small home in an expensive trendy inner city suburb. I didnt fear the future, after all I was invincible.

Now, 10 years on, I no longer feel invincible. My life seems very finite and time is ticking. The easy FIRE option is to sell our house and buy a massively cheaper place in any of the other 95% of suburbs/ towns in Australia that would be cheaper for an even nicer house.

The problem is we really like our inner city lifestyle, with all our friends and hobbies in walking distance. We have zero interest in living in suburbia and struggle to imagine life an a sea change/ tree change location at this time of our lives. We definitely imagine such a life being appealing 20 years from now.

This is the biggest blocking point to FIRE. We need to sell our stupidly expensive home, but arenít quite ready to. There will be no turning back once we sell. We will never buy back into that market again.

To keep saving so we have enough so that we wouldnít need to move would prob take 4or 5 years. Yuk.

Weíve decided to go a 3rd route. We will FIRE this year, travel for a bit, and then see what happens. Maybe we will earn a bit post FIRE to bridge the difference for a few years. We could inherit a little. Markets might perform more favourably than we have priced. We might decide to go back to work. We might decide to sell up and move. We might spend less than we think.

We are accepting that we donít need to decide everything today, but we also accept that we do need to take advantage right now of our enviable financial position as we have other things we want to do besides work.

chasingthegoodlife

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #36 on: February 27, 2018, 12:53:41 PM »
Some great thoughts here.

OP, I think perhaps you are seeing the game very simply (FIRE/work) when it’s just a part of a bigger and much more complicated game (life).

Particularly, you say that many of your friends have property over 1mil and could downsize to FIRE. Where would they go, if so many properties in your area are over a mill? What will they then sacrifice in terms of proximity to family, friends, a built up community, a sense of place and history for them and any spouse/children? Are those things more or less important than work?

I’m an Australian, and I suspect moving cities is generally less common here than in the states, but I have moved to a more rural community (where a comparable house costs a quarter of what it would in my old suburb, though we didn’t move to downsize/FIRE) and actually lived that change that you’re wondering why your friends don’t make. I love it, but it’s completely different from logging on to your share trading platform and clicking sell.

Kay-Ell

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #37 on: February 27, 2018, 12:54:32 PM »
I think it helps to take a step away from money and ask yourself if you still believe you've won the game.  I do.  I am with the love of my life, raising a gorgeous child, living in a beautiful place.  And what's more, I enjoy my own company.  If life can be won, I feel like I'm doing it now.  So for me, when I got laid off last year, I looked at my stash and my rental income and decided it was good enough.  Not that it's huge, or even enough to declare myself reitred forever.  But it was enough to feel secure doing other things with my life because I already feel secure about all of the things in life that really matter.

Less than a decade ago, that was not the case. I was lonely, I felt hopeless, I contemplated ending it all.  And while I didn't get much of any joy out of work - it was a consistent distraction from my inner turmoil.  If I'd had the modest level of financial independence then that I do now, I probably would have kept showing up to work, putting on my headphones and powering through until the end of the day working for more security - because my life (separate from my finances) didn't feel the least bit secure.

Freedom and the promise of self direction almost never gives joy and purpose to someone who is otherwise devoid of it.  You can't win the game with money.  But if you really, truly, feel like you are winning at life then choosing to spend your money to purchase time instead of spending your time in pursuit of more money becomes a much easier choice.

pecunia

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #38 on: February 28, 2018, 01:28:06 AM »
Quote
Freedom and the promise of self direction almost never gives joy and purpose to someone who is otherwise devoid of it.  You can't win the game with money.  But if you really, truly, feel like you are winning at life then choosing to spend your money to purchase time instead of spending your time in pursuit of more money becomes a much easier choice.

This was a good one.  You only have so much time.  As it passes, what's left of that time becomes an even more precious commodity.




bayarea_dude

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #39 on: February 28, 2018, 01:48:17 AM »
Kay-Ell:  I'm glad it worked out for you. 

The unknown -> no job to go to is scary.  I've worked since I was old enough to hold a job.  After more than 30 years of having somewhere to go to and where I think I'm "needed", it's hard to let go of that life line.  Although, intellectually, I know that everyone is replaceable even if they think or others tell them they are very important to the group and organization.  I feel very sad whenever I think about it.


SnackDog

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #40 on: February 28, 2018, 03:52:08 AM »
Work is still fun and interesting and full of additional potential.  Annual net worth increases are huge at this end of the game.

After looking around at some alternatives, I think we will probably retire in the Bay area perhaps even in a nice house in the City.  That is expensive. We don't want to live like rats.  Why retire early and move to Dubuque just to spend time mowing the yard, playing bingo and writing a blog?

Malkynn

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #41 on: February 28, 2018, 06:07:27 AM »
This is why Iím building my post-FIRE life now.

Iím not even remotely close to FI, but Iím already engineering my long-game of what I want my post-FIRE life to be, and it wonít look all that much different from my current life, except that Iíll cut my day-job hours more to whittle it down more to a hobby.

In the meantime, Iím focusing on discovering my passions and building fun projects, some of which will be profitable. Iíve already networked my way into inventing two positions for myself with organizations I want to be involved with. Both of these new positions open a lot of doors to get involved even more in things I enjoy.

I wonít ever really have a ďpull the triggerĒ decision because I wonít ever have a 9-5/5-2 job to quit from. Iíll just have an ever evolving collection of passion projects and hobbies, which Iíll maintain as long as I enjoy them and that will go on until I die.

ďWinningĒ is about being happy and healthy. Itís really not about simple numbers. Each person needs to figure out for themselves what relationship they want to have with paid work and what role it will play in their lives. MMM spends most of his time doing profitable work in retirement, and so will i and so will many others. Itís really not as simple as ďI have x dollars, I will stop working nowĒ.

For MMM it was a simple ďI have x dollars, so Iím going to quit my full time day jobĒ but for people like me who already left full time day jobs and already have made a life/career of projects, there is no finish line, there is no destination, there is no end point.

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #42 on: February 28, 2018, 08:05:10 AM »
Just wanted to say - love your posts, Malkynn. I am not a fan of black and white thinking, in that I don't feel work can be turned on and off like a switch once I reach a certain number. I prefer the semi RE life, where work doesn't take over my time too much and I can keep up with other hobbies and skills.

For me the problem with work has always been the all encompassing aspect of it (cultural and personal tendencies towards workaholism and too much focus on earning more and more money.) At a certain point I had enough of that life. I was burned out and just tired. For me, I'm happier when there's a balance - time to do my own thing, plus work, which has become an outlet for using my skills as well as socializing with people in my field. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. I've also tried nothing (not working) and felt bored, directionless, and lonely. Blasphemous to say so on this blog, but hey, everyone's different.

Malkynn

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #43 on: February 28, 2018, 09:00:37 AM »
Just wanted to say - love your posts, Malkynn. I am not a fan of black and white thinking, in that I don't feel work can be turned on and off like a switch once I reach a certain number. I prefer the semi RE life, where work doesn't take over my time too much and I can keep up with other hobbies and skills.

For me the problem with work has always been the all encompassing aspect of it (cultural and personal tendencies towards workaholism and too much focus on earning more and more money.) At a certain point I had enough of that life. I was burned out and just tired. For me, I'm happier when there's a balance - time to do my own thing, plus work, which has become an outlet for using my skills as well as socializing with people in my field. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. I've also tried nothing (not working) and felt bored, directionless, and lonely. Blasphemous to say so on this blog, but hey, everyone's different.

I feel like people also drastically underestimate the opportunity cost of waiting until retirement to start figuring out and doing what you love.

By putting in the time and energy now in my 30s, I have the benefit of energy and time to dedicate to building the meaningful work I want to be able to do forever.

Retiring early leaves you with a VERY LONG TIME to fill. Freedom is all nice and good, but it can be incredibly lonely and discouraging to go into that freedom with nothing but a chunk of money to support yourself and no other activities, projects, skills, etc.

Pete retired at 30, thatís a great age to start projects and look at the amazing things he continues to accomplish. However, a lot of people here are aiming to retire in their 50s, and it can be tough to start building your best life from scratch at that point.

Having nothing to do is only pleasant in contrast to having obligations that you donít want to do. If you donít have demanding work on a day to day basis, then having nothing to do is called boredom.
My single biggest retirement concern is how to accomplish something substantial enough in my later years to feel satisfied with my post day-job life. If my accomplishments in retirement are less profound than my day job years, Iíll be seriously disappointed with my life.

The point that resonated most with me on the MMM blog was that when people are free from financial pressures is when they do their best and most meaningful work...unless they burn themselves out on their day job first.

My grandmother retired from teaching and wrote some very successful books, my aunt retired and learned an Inuit language and got a massive grant to live up north and work on cultural projects, my mom retired and became a dog breeder and dress shop owner because she likes dogs and clothes, my dad retired from being a shop owner and became a political campaign manager, my friend retired from government and became a university lecturer, and another friend retired from dentistry and opened a school in Ghana.

Iím surrounded by people who left day jobs and went on to bigger and better things. I personally find that stage of life to be the most important to invest in, which is why Iím skipping most of the day job step and going straight to the ďwait...what do I actually *want* to do???Ē

Because Iím focusing on that *now*, Iíll be way ahead of the game when FI hits and I have total freedom in what I do. Iíll already have my best projects lined up and years of networking and value building behind them so that my post-FIRE work will be its most satisfying.

Itís not about hours now vs hours later or whatever. Itís about what can I do now to engineer the life that I want later, and sometimes working less now is actually the better path to the later that you truly want. I know for me, it took having free time now to even figure out what I wanted, and that alone was worth the lost income at the time.


FireLane

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #44 on: February 28, 2018, 11:27:35 AM »
While I'm not FIREd yet, I think I'd count as one of those people who won the game that OP is talking about, so maybe I can speak to this.

For DW and I, the main reason we haven't pulled the trigger yet is that we live in an HCOL area. We could sell our house, move somewhere cheaper and retire tomorrow... except it would entail making some fairly drastic changes to our lifestyle (leaving our quiet and walkable neighborhood with lots of amenities, cultural opportunities and congenial politics, not to mention moving away from family and friends). We've decided we don't want to uproot ourselves like that, not right now.

If we want to retire where we are, we can, but it will take a few more years of work to build up a stash commensurate to what things cost here. I still intend to cut the cord by 40, which I think is pretty early by any measure.

The secondary reason for me is health insurance. I feel as if I can plan for every expense except that one. The next few years in the U.S. could bring anything from single-payer to a collapsing healthcare system and death-spiraling premiums. I don't feel bad about sheltering under the umbrella of employer-paid insurance for a few more years before venturing out into those uncharted waters.

steveo

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #45 on: February 28, 2018, 02:16:56 PM »
Just my opinion, but winning the game is not amassing 25X annual expenses of a modest budget that involves biking to the grocery store in the middle of winter, only  taking 2 weeks of vacation a year to some nice location, but the rest of your time sitting around managing your budget and worrying if the 4% rule will really work out for your particular circumstances.  Winning the game is 33X a full life do whatever you want to budget.  Itís at that point I would start to seriously wonder why people would keep doing something they are not passionate about.  Before that itís significantly more challenging  to pull the rip cord.

I'm with you.  Winning is being able to do what you want, when you want, and being able to afford some luxuries now and then.  Although technically the numbers say the 4% rule works, I do not think I'd be comfortable until I have 33X saved.

I think that there are 2 things here:-

1. Expenses aren't being looked at in their complexity. So you have some bare bones budget and some additional budget but you want to spend the additional budget. That is just adjusting your expenses and then saving more to meet those increased expenses.
2. You aren't comfortable with the 4% rule. This just means that you require extra safety margins.

I'm not sure that this is really working post you've won the game it's more about defining your level of security and your level of expenses. Personally for instance I don't care about riding my bike and only having a 2 week or so vacation every year. I'm pretty happy with that. I'm also not really concerned about the 4% rule. At the same time I don't dislike my job and I may end up slowly moving towards retirement via working part time and then quitting which may mean I end up at a lower than 4% WR. I may also retire at a 5% WR. I'm not that concerned about increasing my assets in order to retire but it wouldn't hurt.

I suppose therefore I could work post winning the game mainly because I don't hate my work and the extra money may be nice. I would only work though on my terms.

ol1970

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #46 on: March 01, 2018, 09:39:22 AM »
Just another side note, to the great comments above, I don't think you should view work as a negative, in most cases its a positive.  If you hate what you do but make big bank, yes get yourself FIRED then start doing what you want to do.  Should Nikola Tesla "retired" after he invented freaking A/C electricity at the age of 32?  Should Michael Jordan retired after his second ring?  Should Elon quit after PayPal?  Should Jeff Bezos/Warren Buffet/(insert super successful dude or dudette name here) retire because they have more money than they could spend in 100 lifetimes?  I'd say the world would not be quite as amazing if that were the case.  It was 3 years after I hit my FI number that I was awarded my first U.S. Patent, 2 years later the second...with more hopefully to come.  I get a lot of pride and sense of purpose working on stuff, it's actually fun, and if it makes you happy it isn't work! 


Kay-Ell

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #47 on: March 01, 2018, 10:58:02 AM »

I feel like people also drastically underestimate the opportunity cost of waiting until retirement to start figuring out and doing what you love.


I agree with you, and I also needed to be freed from full time work to really understand this point.  I was planning to pull the trigger on retirement in April of 2018, but ended up being laid off in October of 2017 with enough severance and PTO to take me up to within a couple of weeks of my original target fire date.  The math worked out brilliantly, so I wasn't worried.  But almost immediately after being laid off I had 3 other job opportunities that I did not take.  Almost immediately an opportunity arose to increase my passive income by about 1/3 which I am taking.  In addition, my health and mental health are benefiting.  My relationship with my young daughter (who I can spend more time with every day) is blossoming.  I have the freedom to attend important events for close friends and family.  The opportunity cost, both in terms of income and life benefit, of having a full time job that draind and stagnated me was WAY higher than I realized.

I consider myself financially independent in a very basic way.  But having a frugal lifestyle and enough passive income to cover the basics for myself and my daughter, takes the stress off of earning income.  Only now, after achieving a basic level of FI, am I realizing that I could have made a lot of these life changes a long time ago.   When I earn money, it adds to the stash (or in theory could be budgeted toward one-time experiences that don't fit the current budget).  If, my consulting gig dries up in a couple of months and I choose not to earn money for a while, the stash is not diminished.  It's a win/win situation with a very, very long horizon to optimize for both net worth and net happiness.

Miss Prim

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #48 on: March 02, 2018, 08:42:01 AM »
I have not been a any meaningful vacation, ever!  Well, I did go skiing one weekend 10 years ago.

OMG!  Sorry but you have NOT won the game if you have never taken a decent vacation in 21 years!  Take a vacation please!  I never made as much as that, and retired at a later age but I took wonderful vacations abroad and in the States over the years.  Also worked a lot of years part time so I could enjoy what life I was given.  Please, even if you don't retire now, at least take a vacation!

                                                                  Miss Prim

ol1970

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Re: When you've won the GAME!
« Reply #49 on: March 02, 2018, 10:10:14 AM »
Just another side note, to the great comments above, I don't think you should view work as a negative, in most cases its a positive.  If you hate what you do but make big bank, yes get yourself FIRED then start doing what you want to do.  Should Nikola Tesla "retired" after he invented freaking A/C electricity at the age of 32?  Should Michael Jordan retired after his second ring?  Should Elon quit after PayPal?  Should Jeff Bezos/Warren Buffet/(insert super successful dude or dudette name here) retire because they have more money than they could spend in 100 lifetimes?  I'd say the world would not be quite as amazing if that were the case.  It was 3 years after I hit my FI number that I was awarded my first U.S. Patent, 2 years later the second...with more hopefully to come.  I get a lot of pride and sense of purpose working on stuff, it's actually fun, and if it makes you happy it isn't work!
And conversely even if you love your job and wouldn't want to do any other kind of work, if it is such a time suck it prevents you from enjoying and engaging in all the other things you love, then RE once FI can be a great choice. Most of us have a multitude of things we enjoy and want to do and if a job, even a much loved job, takes away from your ability to do those other things your life might not be as awesome as it could be.

Whole heartedly agree!  I spent the last 3 years exploring the world and they were undoubtedly the best of my life, now I'm working 20ish hours a week for fun until its not fun traveling when I feel like it.  It is all about happiness, to Spartana's point sometimes you don't know what your missing so you should definitely take the time to figure that stuff out too even if you love your job, you may love spending your time on something else equally if not more.