Author Topic: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.  (Read 7497 times)

RetireAbroadAt35

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Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
« on: January 24, 2017, 10:19:21 PM »
One More Year
I'm writing with an update to my June 2015 post.  That thread was very helpful in getting me to crystalize my thoughts, but ultimately stamina won out and I stayed gainfully employed, mostly.  I did take several months sabbatical.  The promise of that time off kept me motivated when I was really struggling after I posted that thread.

At the time, one more year syndrome became one more quarter syndrome.  Now it's one more month syndrome. 

I'll be retiring young (under 45) so my stache has to last.  I don't expect to never earn another dollar, but I won't be able to get back into my industry easily.  In short, I have defined an arbitrarily large, round number that I'm trying to hit.  With a little bit of luck, that will happen in about 5 months.  At that point, I will have just a bit more than I need to live my modest, frugal-yet-comfortable, low-impact lifestyle, and pursue whatever comes next. 

The Slog
But here I am, facing another rough patch.  It's a combination of things, but ultimately I just don't find the relentless generation of shareholder value to be very fulfilling.  To make it worse, I've been working for some industries and in some business scenarios that are in conflict with my own values.  Some of this work makes me feel just a wee bit dirty.

Spending on toys?  Not worth it.  Even the prospect of massive charitable donations a la effective altruism isn't enough motivation. 

One Less Year
So I'm re-running the numbers and plotting my escape.  I told my boss that I would be leaving within the next 6 months.  For now it's just between us.  I'm now set on a variable withdrawal strategy, probably based on some variation of the Guyton-Klinger rules.

Am I There Yet?
It seems pretty clear that I am.  Since my last post, my total net worth increased by almost 26% from market gains and aggressive saving.  Per my FIRE goals, I now have 26x my target FIRE expenses, or 39x my basic expenses (in the event I had to scale back).  I've been living at my target FIRE expenses comfortably for years now, so I guess I should knock it off already.

But holy crap.   15+ years as a square peg in a round hole, so many lost weekends and evenings, so many nights in hotels and airports, multiple sabbaticals to recover from overwork, so much tooth-gritting; and I may well be done with that world?  It's hard to believe.

I'm both elated at the prospect of leaving the fortune 500 world, and anxious about leaving the corporate womb as we enter a period of Trumpian uncertainty around healthcare and economic stability.

Withdrawal Strategies
Simulations on cfiresim.com tell me that I can use a variable withdrawal rate that would allow me to withdraw a fair bit more than I'd expect to need in retirement.  It's essentially a variable 3.1-5% withdrawal.  At the low end it more than pays for my basic expenses to live comfortably.  At the high-end it's more than I need, but not more than I could comfortably spend. 

Net Worth Breakdown:
  • 43% in 401k
  • 4% in roth 401k
  • 48% in taxable
  • 3% in roth IRA
  • 2% in cash

I can draw from the taxable accounts for some time while setting up the roth conversion ladder.

The ACA is the only wildcard I can see in all of this.

Questions to Ask a Mustachian

I've read the Pre-Fire checklist, but I'm at a loss about how to get started.  I need to make my T-6 months countdown plan.  It should include a graceful exit from my employer, but it's hard to stay motivated.  I feel as though I should also start getting serious about cultivating some local contacts for contract work.  It might not be a bad idea to semi-FIRE to start.

So my questions:
  • Can anyone give me a good reason not to FIRE?
  • What are the chances I can make it long enough to at least front-load my 401k this year?
  • How many pens should I liberate from the office supply closet?
  • Should I feel at all guilty for skipping the 6PM virtual working session that they scheduled for tonight?
  • Can you all forgive me for this humble brag?  It's lame, but a chorus of "just quit already" actually makes it easier to step off the ledge.

Laura33

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Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2017, 08:21:53 AM »
One More Year
So my questions:
  • Can anyone give me a good reason not to FIRE?
  • What are the chances I can make it long enough to at least front-load my 401k this year?
  • How many pens should I liberate from the office supply closet?
  • Should I feel at all guilty for skipping the 6PM virtual working session that they scheduled for tonight?
  • Can you all forgive me for this humble brag?  It's lame, but a chorus of "just quit already" actually makes it easier to step off the ledge.

To answer your specific questions:

1.  ACA.  Whether that is a "good" reason is entirely up to you to decide.
2.  Given that you've made it, what, 20 months from your first post, I'd say pretty darn high if you decide that's what you want to do.
3.  As many as you can carry without getting busted.  I suggest stealth pilfering over time vs. massive one-time export.
4.  Fuck no.
5.  Dude, you're awesome.  Of course.  But just quit already.  :-)

So now let me ask a question that you don't need to answer:  as of the end of the last post, you had decided to give notice on 9/1/15.  It is now almost 17 months later.  So what made you change your mind? 

That's a real question for you to mull over, btw, not me being a smart-ass.  FWIW, I'm sort of where you are, except my job is a better fit and I have a high need for security + spendy DH, so for now our plan is to stay employed until second kid is in college [Unless I lose my shit before then :-)].  But in my own mental recycle loop on these issues, I find when I tell myself I want XYZ, and logic says I can have XYZ, but I still can't bring myself to do XYZ, there's something else going on that I'm not being honest with myself about.  E.g., for me on the "should I just quit now" Q, it was partly the realization that I was focusing entirely on running *from* things I don't like, without a clear sense of what I want to retire *to*.  Since I don't really hate my job (and actually love the people I work with), the status quo has a pull on me that I had not previously acknowledged when I was focusing only on the bits that annoy me; and on the flip side, without a clear vision of an engaging, productive future (and given my major lazy streak), I was afraid of finding myself bored and useless after a few years.  So my mental "RE preparation" for the next couple of years is to do more work/thinking/planning about what I DO want to do post-RE -- I need to get to the point that I have a vision of my future without my job that is just So Much Better than the vision of my future with my job, and then I will feel not only comfortable quitting, but compelled to cut the cord.

While you are figuring that out, of course, there is no reason on God's green earth why you should throw yourself into the parts of your job that you hate.  What are they going to do, fire you?
Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2017, 09:34:26 AM »
So now let me ask a question that you don't need to answer:  as of the end of the last post, you had decided to give notice on 9/1/15.  It is now almost 17 months later.  So what made you change your mind?
One more quarter syndrome.  I started setting incremental goals - rather than focusing on the target number. 

  • The first goal was to take a sabbatical starting in 3 months.  I so I stayed through the end of that year.
  • Then I came back from the sabbatical and I set a new goal, to stay employed for another quarter and see if it looked like I was likely to get a good performance review.
  • I was on track for a decent review, so I set a new goal to stay employed for 3 more months until the bonuses were paid out.
  • That took me through the end of 2016.  I then set a new goal, to make it 6 more months through the summer.  That would let me reach the big round number and align with some personal plans with my girlfriend.

So here I am, contemplating what should be the last big push. 

Quote
there's something else going on that I'm not being honest with myself about.  E.g., for me on the "should I just quit now" Q, it was partly the realization that I was focusing entirely on running *from* things I don't like, without a clear sense of what I want to retire *to*.
Oh yeah, the big questions.  I've pondered/wrestled with it all.  There's definitely some imposter syndrome at play.  There's definitely some unfulfilled ambition.  I'm definitely a terrible fit for corporate life; I feel like a sell-out every time I utter the phrases "pivot to the new" or "it's a matter of optics".  For the last two years I've spend much of my time automating systems and off-shoring work, leading to lost jobs, while some assholes like me and the bigger assholes I work for pocket the arbitrage.  I have family members in my industry that would be out of work if a hatchet man like me entered their workplace; I can't help but think about that and feel a bit guilty. 

There is a lot of churn/turnover in this industry and many of my favorite people have already moved on.  I could too, and collect a fat pay raise, at the cost of mental and physical well-being.  It's unusual for someone like me to stay around as long as I have.  The downside is wage compression; the upside is I can coast on my reputation when I need to.

Could I be depressed?  In denial about something else?  Doomed?  Perhaps, but leaving this line of work could be the best therapy.

Quote
While you are figuring that out, of course, there is no reason on God's green earth why you should throw yourself into the parts of your job that you hate.  What are they going to do, fire you?
Yep, I'm in a kind of "office space" mindset.  I'm not volunteering for anything.  I say no to most things I'm asked to do.  I've been telling our executives what's really on my mind.  I just have to watch myself and not go burning any bridges.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2017, 09:42:20 AM by RetireAbroadAt35 »

mozar

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Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2017, 09:39:25 AM »
I don't recommend stealing from your job. Your just going to annoy the secretary /admins. If you want pens, just buy yourself some damn pens.
I can understand being nervous about the current administration. But Trump can't be president for more than 8 years, and things will probably swing the other way. But you'll be fine because you are rich, and throughout history rich people always do fine. The skills that made you rich can be applied to maintaining your stache and adapting.
Embracing the absurd condition of human existence while also defiantly continuing to explore and search for meaning

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2017, 09:47:39 AM »
Quote
If you want pens, just buy yourself some damn pens.
Ok fine, but what about branded stationary?  Binder clips?  Can I at least empty out the free M&M dispenser?

Quote
I can understand being nervous about the current administration. But Trump can't be president for more than 8 years, and things will probably swing the other way.
The things set in motion today will be reverberating for the next 20-30 years.  Of course we can't predict the outcomes.  But the ACA thing alone will really screw up my plans.  I used to think I'd go abroad, but life circumstances have changed and I'd like to be FI in the good ol' USA.

Quote
But you'll be fine because you are rich, and throughout history rich people always do fine. The skills that made you rich can be applied to maintaining your stache and adapting.
Yup, I do have a lot of flexibility and relative wealth at my disposal.  That knowledge is what keeps me moving forward on this plan.

Laura33

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Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2017, 09:55:24 AM »
I'm definitely a terrible fit for corporate life; I feel like a sell-out every time I utter the phrases "pivot to the new" or "it's a matter of optics".  For the last two years I've spend much of my time automating systems and off-shoring work, leading to lost jobs, while some assholes like me and the bigger assholes I work for pocket the arbitrage.  I have family members in my industry that would be out of work if a hatchet man like me entered their workplace; I can't help but think about that and feel a bit guilty. 

. . . .


Yep, I'm in a kind of "office space" mindset.  I'm not volunteering for anything.  I say no to most things I'm asked to do.  I've been telling our executives what's really on my mind.  I just have to watch myself and not go burning any bridges.

So, first, it looks like you keep moving the goalposts on yourself.  Why?  You've appropriately identified your OMQ syndrome, but why stay in that cycle?  From out here in the anonymous interwebs, it looks like you keep searching for reasons to go "one more [insert appropriate time period here]," instead of reaching your original self-identified goal, patting yourself on the back, and submitting your resignation.

IMO, your first paragraph is non-negotiable.  If you are acting against your values, then screw the intermediate goals -- you can afford to be better than that.  Devote your significant skills to something that serves what you believe in.

OTOH, if you have a legit reason to hang on for one final [insert appropriate time period here], then ITA that Office-Spacing it is the way to go.   

Finally, and perhaps most important of all:  there is no excuse for saying "pivot to the new" or "it's a matter of optics," under any circumstances.  Use real words; treat people fairly; say no to the bad stuff; and in general use the power of your impending departure to make the job into what you'd want it to be if you intended to stay forever. 

Tl;dr:  You clearly have FU money.  Use it for good, not evil. 
Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

ToTheMoon

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Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2017, 09:59:05 AM »
    One More Year
    • Can you all forgive me for this humble brag?  It's lame, but a chorus of "just quit already" actually makes it easier to step off the ledge.

    You have MORE than done all the hard work - JUST QUIT ALREADY!  Semi-retire into something unrelated if you feel you must.  Volunteer for a bit as you learn to adjust to having more down time.  But FFS, JUST QUIT ALREADY! 

    Does that help? :)

    RetireAbroadAt35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #7 on: January 25, 2017, 11:02:46 AM »
    So, first, it looks like you keep moving the goalposts on yourself.  Why?
    The goalpost hasn't really moved - it's still the big round number.  Amazingly, I'm on track to hit that number about 8 months ahead of the projections I put together in 2011. 

    What has changed are my intermediate goals; as I've bounced off the rev limiter of stamina for the work place, I've had to set intermediate goals, in order to eventually, hopefully, reach the main one.

    Quote
    IMO, your first paragraph is non-negotiable.  If you are acting against your values, then screw the intermediate goals -- you can afford to be better than that.  Devote your significant skills to something that serves what you believe in.
    This has been a game-changer.  I'm considering scrapping the final goal, calling it good enough, and perhaps doing some low-paid work or contracts as I semi-FIRE.

    The values conflict is nothing too crazy, but it's making it hard to justify padding my stache:
    * I've recently done a lot of work for a particular corporation that egregiously destroys the environment in third-world countries
    * I was just told to keep our work confidential at a particular client in order to prevent the people about to have their jobs off-shored to Asia-Pacific from catching wind and attempting to join their local IT workers union.  It's 50 people.  They will pretend to interview them to keep their jobs but there is no desire to hire any of them.  All of those jobs are going off-shore. 

    Quote
    OTOH, if you have a legit reason to hang on for one final [insert appropriate time period here], then ITA that Office-Spacing it is the way to go.
    Money.  Selling my soul just a little bit longer will fund a special project I've got in mind, give me a bigger cushion, and reduce the likelihood that I'll have to work to keep my stache alive through an early economic downturn.

    Also, I have an underling at work.  This person was a gift from my boss, the start of a team, to help me spread the workload.  I want to leave this underling in the best position possible when I bail.

    Quote
    there is no excuse for saying "pivot to the new" or "it's a matter of optics," under any circumstances.
    No doubt.  That shit makes me insane.  I refuse to do it.  But the crazy thing is, these terms will very, very slowly creep their way into your vocabulary over time.  I've caught myself using corporate double-speak before.  All the people who know me know that I expect them to call me out when I slip.  But it still happens.

    arebelspy

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #8 on: January 26, 2017, 03:55:59 AM »
    It's lame, but a chorus of "just quit already" actually makes it easier to step off the ledge.

    Adding my voice to the chorus.

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

    pbkmaine

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #9 on: January 26, 2017, 04:12:19 AM »
    Quit.

    RetireAbroadAt35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #10 on: January 26, 2017, 11:28:04 AM »
    I can't think of any reasons not to FIRE, and y'all haven't given me anything new to ponder.  The closest I've come to a reason is the ability to fund special projects and donate money (far more valuable than my time/expertise for most endeavours) to important organizations.  I can do some of that by picking up part-time contracts and just being semi-RE.  For the next few years at least, contracts should be relatively easy to come by.

    So it really is just a matter of timing.  Now or later?  There are some real advantages to sticking it out until the start of May.  The disadvantage is the daily slog and the sense that I'm enriching myself off on the backs of others.

    For now going to try for a set of 3 week sprints through April.  With continued Trumpian market gains, I may even make it to close to that nice round number.

    • If I can make it 3 more weeks without getting fired, I'll be at the start of a long-planned vacation.
    • Then I just have to survive 3 weeks of paid time off.  That shouldn't be too hard.
    • Then 3 more weeks until the start of April, when I'll have made arbitrarily significant progress towards front-loading the 401k.
    • Then with just 3 more weeks of corporate servitude, at which point I'll have finished front-loading the 401k and I'll get my ESPP discounted shares.

    I'm also going to try and get more specific about my 3 month (whoa - 3 months?) plan.  I need to figure things out like:
    • Getting/churning some credit cards while income:debt ratio is still infinite
    • Cultivating local contacts for potential contracts.
    • Vehicle/gear updates (this is generally budgeted for the FI plan though)
    • Pursuing any industry certs that might be needed for contract work?

    RetireAbroadAt35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #11 on: April 23, 2017, 09:58:11 PM »
    I thought I'd update this post, since we're nearly through April.

    I've made it through the 3-week sprints.  Amazingly, between savings and market gains, I reached the nice round number.  So, there's that.  It was both anti-climactic and worldview-altering.  I think it flipped a switch, albeit a small one, in my head. 

    For the first time, I feel FI, like I have FU money to wield and there's no damn reason I should be working for a second weekend in a row.  Whereas before I was resentful, now I am also indignant.

    I've been too busy with work and other things to make much progress on my 3-month plan.  I have started cultivating some local contacts.

    OMQ syndrome rears itself in very interesting ways.  Currently I'm trying to calculate how long I'd need to keep working to generate the funds I need for a certain special project.  Thinking about said project might be enough to keep my motivation up for a couple months of corporateyness.

    But should I?  It will be interesting to see how I answer that. 

    I have to admit some vague Trumpian sense of uncertainty has me worried that if I were to retire today, I'd have to spend very cautiously, perhaps precluding said special project from coming to fruition. 

    Laura33

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #12 on: April 24, 2017, 06:28:43 AM »
    I thought I'd update this post, since we're nearly through April.

    I've made it through the 3-week sprints.  Amazingly, between savings and market gains, I reached the nice round number.  So, there's that.  It was both anti-climactic and worldview-altering.  I think it flipped a switch, albeit a small one, in my head. 

    For the first time, I feel FI, like I have FU money to wield and there's no damn reason I should be working for a second weekend in a row.  Whereas before I was resentful, now I am also indignant.

    I've been too busy with work and other things to make much progress on my 3-month plan.  I have started cultivating some local contacts.

    OMQ syndrome rears itself in very interesting ways.  Currently I'm trying to calculate how long I'd need to keep working to generate the funds I need for a certain special project.  Thinking about said project might be enough to keep my motivation up for a couple months of corporateyness.

    But should I?  It will be interesting to see how I answer that. 

    I have to admit some vague Trumpian sense of uncertainty has me worried that if I were to retire today, I'd have to spend very cautiously, perhaps precluding said special project from coming to fruition.

    Congratulations!  Now quit already.  :-)  There is always going to be something to make you feel uncertain, some other reason to hang on a little longer.
    Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

    FIREby35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #13 on: April 24, 2017, 07:17:02 AM »
    Do yourself a favor - quit your job! :)

    Playing with Fire UK

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #14 on: April 24, 2017, 07:26:01 AM »
    Quit, quit, quit, quit.

    OMQ syndrome rears itself in very interesting ways.  Currently I'm trying to calculate how long I'd need to keep working to generate the funds I need for a certain special project.  Thinking about said project might be enough to keep my motivation up for a couple months of corporateyness.

    How long? Too fucking long.

    Quit already.

    RetireAbroadAt35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #15 on: April 24, 2017, 10:07:47 AM »
    Ok, yeah, working to generate funds for my special project is kinda ridiculous.

    The next way OMQ syncrome rears its head is with the idea that I need a plan for winding down.  There are two big/nebulous items still on my list.

    • Cultivating local contacts for potential contracts
    • Pursuing any industry certs that might be needed for contract work?

    I've started #1, have had a couple meetings and am reconnecting with some others.

    #2 is tougher.  Right now I don't bother to hold certs, as I don't need them given my experience at MegaCorp.  I'm not sure yet if the local market would see that differently.  Most people in my industry who hold certs are either covering up their lack of skill/experience with a paper cert, or they hold the cert because their employer likes to brag about how many cert-holders they've employed.  Anyhow, they are time-consuming to get - lots of reading and memorizing before sitting for proctored exams.

    I'll probably make another go at two of them, perhaps setting my resignation against the exam dates in June. 

    Prudent?  Or is is this how my brain tricks me into staying for OMQ?

    Laura33

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #16 on: April 24, 2017, 10:52:22 AM »
    Ok, yeah, working to generate funds for my special project is kinda ridiculous.

    The next way OMQ syncrome rears its head is with the idea that I need a plan for winding down.  There are two big/nebulous items still on my list.

    • Cultivating local contacts for potential contracts
    • Pursuing any industry certs that might be needed for contract work?

    I've started #1, have had a couple meetings and am reconnecting with some others.

    #2 is tougher.  Right now I don't bother to hold certs, as I don't need them given my experience at MegaCorp.  I'm not sure yet if the local market would see that differently.  Most people in my industry who hold certs are either covering up their lack of skill/experience with a paper cert, or they hold the cert because their employer likes to brag about how many cert-holders they've employed.  Anyhow, they are time-consuming to get - lots of reading and memorizing before sitting for proctored exams.

    I'll probably make another go at two of them, perhaps setting my resignation against the exam dates in June. 

    Prudent?  Or is is this how my brain tricks me into staying for OMQ?

    Yeah.  I'm gonna go with Door #2.

    Question:  Do you have enough accessible funds to sustain yourself for the next year?

    If so, what is preventing you from doing all of the above after you quit and are happily living on said funds, with all the free time in the world to pursue contacts and certifications?
    Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

    2Birds1Stone

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #17 on: April 24, 2017, 10:57:59 AM »
    I'll pour on another "quit!"
    "A small house can hold as much happiness as a big one." - Fortune Cookie

    29 Months till FI - Stop by, or stay a while.....
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    RetireAbroadAt35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #18 on: April 24, 2017, 11:21:39 AM »
    Question:  Do you have enough accessible funds to sustain yourself for the next year?
    Yep

    Quote
    If so, what is preventing you from doing all of the above after you quit and are happily living on said funds, with all the free time in the world to pursue contacts and certifications?
    If I sit for the exams while I'm in the good graces of MegaCorp, I'd save a couple grand on cert costs.

    Laura33

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #19 on: April 24, 2017, 11:38:00 AM »
    If I sit for the exams while I'm in the good graces of MegaCorp, I'd save a couple grand on cert costs.

    OK.  So is your freedom worth $1K/mo.? 

    And then what is going to prevent you from coming up with some other idea to extend your FIRE date at the end of that two months? 
    Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

    Vindicated

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #20 on: April 24, 2017, 12:14:32 PM »
    I'll preface this with saying, of course I don't know you at all, and I have no idea what your motivations are.

    However, reading snippets of your (an anonymous internet person's) story, it really seems like you don't mind this job at all.  If you did, you'd have quit as soon as you were able.  So, I'll say, keep doing what you enjoy.  If it is really something you enjoy.  You say it isn't, but it seems like it might be.

    If it really upsets you how your company hurts other companies/regions, then you might be working for the other side by now, taking the pay cut, and enjoying the mission.

    Or, you really just don't know what to do with yourself if you quit, and are afraid of being "useless".
    My MMM Journal: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/my-almost-perfect-life-experience/

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    RetireAbroadAt35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #21 on: April 24, 2017, 01:00:39 PM »
    OK.  So is your freedom worth $1K/mo.? 
    Hmmm, good question.  I think the stakes a bit higher than that.  This is a high stress, nebulously defined, conflict-ridden, highly-competitive environment.  And it is affecting my health.  My attempts to juggle it all haven't worked out.  I have colleagues who have had early heart problems.  I don't think I'm going to have a heart attack.  They probably didn't either though.  All I can say is it's not normal to be so stressed out, and doing all the normal things doesn't seem to be enough.  It's not a good place to be for me, or for most people I suspect.

    Quote
    And then what is going to prevent you from coming up with some other idea to extend your FIRE date at the end of that two months?
    Yep.  Exactly.  I'm pretty creative about these things.  So far it has served me well in my quest for FIRE.  But now I think it's leading me into the one-more-quarter/one-more-month/one-more-week trap.

    Quote from: vindicated
    it really seems like you don't mind this job at all.  If you did, you'd have quit as soon as you were able.  So, I'll say, keep doing what you enjoy.  If it is really something you enjoy.  You say it isn't, but it seems like it might be.
    I definitely fall into the "hates my job" category, though it's more like I "hate what I let this job take out of me while simultaneously feeling conflicted because I'm grateful to have been lifted from lower middle class wage slavery by this opportunity".

    I'm pretty tenacious and goal-driven.  Part of that is coming up with justifications to explain why I still work here.  That might be making it sound like I don't mind this job.  I do.  I mind it terribly.   But I'm conflicted, as the first person in my circle to go to university, the only one to reach any semblance of prosperity, the only one to end up at a megacorp ... where I come from stability comes from employment.

     I know that's not true but that's just how my brain reacts to the idea of writing that resignation letter.  I'm working on it :)

    ysette9

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #22 on: April 24, 2017, 01:12:46 PM »
    Have you read The Quit Series on the blog Living A FI? You might find a lot of parallels between Dr. Doom's situation and yours.

    That said, it almost feels like you are looking for something external to push you over the ledge. I don't think you will get that. You have to make the tough call to do this on your own, and accept all responsibility for the fallout of that decision.

    Personally I don't see a lot of downsides to you turning in your notice (or mentally committing to turning it in at a date such as a month from now) and then absolutely committing to doing the bare minimum. No more than 40 hours a week. No weekends. No 18:00 phone calls. Nothing. Consider yourself as doing community service for those who do not have the power of FU money backing them up.

    What is the worst thing that could happen? So ACA might explode if our incompetent fearless leader actually learns to lead.  I admit that this is a real risk, but if you had to go back to work part-time in something low-stress that is more enjoyable than what you are doing now for a limited period of time, how would you be worse off than you are now? If you have the skills and experience and discipline to get to this point, you have the creativity and ingenuity to adapt to shifting winds down the road.

    Take the plunge!
    "It'll be great!"

    Laura33

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #23 on: April 24, 2017, 01:24:26 PM »
    But I'm conflicted, as the first person in my circle to go to university, the only one to reach any semblance of prosperity, the only one to end up at a megacorp ... where I come from stability comes from employment.

     I know that's not true but that's just how my brain reacts to the idea of writing that resignation letter.  I'm working on it :)

    So IMO this is what is important. It's not about the money; it's about the sense of security that your steady paycheck gives you.  All this money-this, money that is just a red herring, something your brain is fixating on so that it can avoid dealing with the existential fear of giving up your security blanket and all the worst-case hypothesizing that that thought triggers.  Until you figure out that, your very clever brain is always going to come up with more excuses to avoid jumping into the void.

    [as me how I know]
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    Case

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #24 on: April 24, 2017, 01:25:37 PM »
    I can't think of any reasons not to FIRE, and y'all haven't given me anything new to ponder.  The closest I've come to a reason is the ability to fund special projects and donate money (far more valuable than my time/expertise for most endeavours) to important organizations.  I can do some of that by picking up part-time contracts and just being semi-RE.  For the next few years at least, contracts should be relatively easy to come by.

    So it really is just a matter of timing.  Now or later?  There are some real advantages to sticking it out until the start of May.  The disadvantage is the daily slog and the sense that I'm enriching myself off on the backs of others.

    For now going to try for a set of 3 week sprints through April.  With continued Trumpian market gains, I may even make it to close to that nice round number.

    • If I can make it 3 more weeks without getting fired, I'll be at the start of a long-planned vacation.
    • Then I just have to survive 3 weeks of paid time off.  That shouldn't be too hard.
    • Then 3 more weeks until the start of April, when I'll have made arbitrarily significant progress towards front-loading the 401k.
    • Then with just 3 more weeks of corporate servitude, at which point I'll have finished front-loading the 401k and I'll get my ESPP discounted shares.

    I'm also going to try and get more specific about my 3 month (whoa - 3 months?) plan.  I need to figure things out like:
    • Getting/churning some credit cards while income:debt ratio is still infinite
    • Cultivating local contacts for potential contracts.
    • Vehicle/gear updates (this is generally budgeted for the FI plan though)
    • Pursuing any industry certs that might be needed for contract work?

    Reasons to stay employed:
    1.  special projects
    2.  non-frugal treats (though might make you more shallow; depending on what it is could enhance or detract from your life.
    3.  extra savings for when SHTF.
    4.  charity
    5.  help out your current employer
    6.  remain employed but mentally check out and work less and less, in order to screw your employer
    7.  Stay in a high income bracket in order to pay more taxes and help out the goverment

    RetireAbroadAt35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #25 on: April 24, 2017, 01:48:25 PM »
    Have you read The Quit Series on the blog Living A FI? You might find a lot of parallels between Dr. Doom's situation and yours.
    I haven't read Dr. Doom in a while - thanks for the reminder.  Re-reading these is helpful.  You can find them from the Post Collections menu here: https://livingafi.com/the-quit-series/

    Quote
    Personally I don't see a lot of downsides to you turning in your notice (or mentally committing to turning it in at a date such as a month from now)
    $$$

    Let's say I give them 4 weeks notice on Monday.  During the 4 weeks I'm phoning it in, I will save enough money to fund 6 months of bare-bones living expense (rent, food, basic transport).  Every month I don't show up is a massive charitable donation not made, college fund contribution for the nephew unfunded, economic stability for myself less bolstered, a lifestyle upgrade untaken, etc.

    The cognitive distortion here is the idea that working this job is the only way I can make donations to charity, or help my nephew go to college, or improve my economic stability.  I already know I don't care about lifestyle upgrades.

    Quote
    Take the plunge!
    I'm going to spend some time trying to think of a good reason not to give them my notice on Monday the 1st.
    « Last Edit: April 24, 2017, 02:20:45 PM by RetireAbroadAt35 »

    Playing with Fire UK

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #26 on: April 25, 2017, 06:20:49 AM »
    I'm going to spend some time trying to think of a good reason not to give them my notice on Monday the 1st.

    There are no good enough reasons IMO.

    How about you bring the excuses  good reasons to us and we get to vote on whether or not you get to stay at work?

    FIREby35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #27 on: April 25, 2017, 06:58:42 AM »
    Totally agree there are no good reasons. When you described how much you don't like your job, you lost all my sympathy! Quit for pete's sake (PG version of what I'm really thinking).

    If you don't like your job and you have the money then thinking of more "reasons" to stay is close to a mental health problem. Go do what Dr. Doom did at livingafi and see a therapist. QUIT!

    All the above is said in the best possible tone :)

    RetireAbroadAt35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #28 on: April 25, 2017, 05:09:14 PM »
    I think therapy is a good idea for everybody, but the implication I'm being irrational is, I think, unjustified.  This is the single largest financial decision I am likely to ever make.  Caution is not unwarranted.  That said, the feedback is generally appreciated.

    Tig_

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #29 on: April 25, 2017, 06:15:56 PM »
    So my questions:
    • How many pens should I liberate from the office supply closet?

    42

    And quit! ;)

    RetireAbroadAt35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #30 on: April 25, 2017, 06:21:57 PM »
    I decided to buy an H3.  If I divert all my retirement contributions and savings to the hummer fund, I think I can have one in about 5 months.

    Existential crisis averted!  Whew.

    ysette9

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #31 on: April 25, 2017, 07:36:14 PM »
    That should help you get through the days at work, knowing the money is going to such a good cause.

    :)
    "It'll be great!"

    Tay_CPA

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #32 on: April 26, 2017, 12:34:31 PM »
    Alright, I think the last part of MMM's latest post was written just for you:

    Quote
    What does This Have to do with Early Retirement?

    Every week, I get at least a few emails from people who have more than put in their time. People in their late 30s and beyond who have worked multi-decade careers, paid off the house, given their kids a good start in life, stashed seven figures into retirement accounts, and long since grown bored of the big-company life.

    But they are still working one more year, to add that last bit of safety margin padding, fill up that last college fund for the last kid, max out that health savings account just in case. Some of them have more savings than my family has even now, even though we’ve been retired (and continuing to accumulate wealth) for more than ten years.

    And they’re still afraid to retire.

    You Become Free Only when you Acknowledge That You Cannot Control Life

    You can’t control the random bits of misfortune which may strike you. You can only control your responses.

    If you are following the Principles of Mustachianism, you’ve already taken all the preventative work that you need to take: optimizing your habits to maintain a healthy body, mind, and bank account.

    These are not a formal insurance policy, because formal insurance is nonsense.

    They are a statistical prevention policy, a way of tilting the odds in our favor. And even more important, a response policy – a recipe that ensures that even when shit does hit the fan, you can clean it up, resume your prosperous life, and learn something in the process.

    The lesson? Instead of working endlessly to build a glass shield around yourself, start enjoying life right now and just keep a mop handy.

    From the man himself!

    RetireAbroadAt35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #33 on: April 26, 2017, 05:00:20 PM »
    So my waffling, which takes the form of intensive multi-layered analysis and scenarios, is oriented around financial prudence, but as I've really pondered this, I've come to realize that the central question that keeps coming to mind is "what will I do all day?" 

    Fascinating.  I've taken long breaks from work before but it was always to pursue a short-term project or objective.  While I've got ideas, I realized yesterday that I hadn't actually tried to think about what those ideas would mean on a day to day basis.

    What will "be more present for friends and family" mean to me at 10:30AM on Tuesday morning?

    In other news, I've reconnected with former colleagues at some other employers nearby.  I'm going to send some resumes, hopefully resulting in options for part-time work.
    « Last Edit: April 26, 2017, 05:10:43 PM by RetireAbroadAt35 »

    Vindicated

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #34 on: April 27, 2017, 06:39:54 AM »
    Take a shot at mapping out an example calendar for what your weeks would look like retired.  What time will you wake up?  What is the first thing you want to do every day?  Do you want to get something done everyday?  Do you want to exercise?

    I did something like that in my own journal.  Without going back to look exactly, it was something like this:

    Wake up at normal time (6am), make breakfast for family.
    Coffee and reading after Son is off to school.
    Be productive for a few hours (house work, projects, volunteer, whatever)
    Exercise
    Nap
    Play games, relax
    Visit friends / family
    Make nice dinner each night

    Longer-term, how many vacations per year?  Maybe one "big" vacation each year, with a few more local trips every month or so. 

    Something like that.
    My MMM Journal: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/my-almost-perfect-life-experience/

    "Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” - Dalai Lama

    arebelspy

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #35 on: June 14, 2017, 04:58:51 PM »
    ...have you quit yet?

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

    Dicey

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #36 on: June 14, 2017, 06:25:42 PM »
    God, I hope so. Breath held, fingers crossed.
    I did it! I have a journal!
    A Lot Like This
    And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

    RetireAbroadAt35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #37 on: July 14, 2017, 12:14:49 PM »
    Update

    I set aside all the waffling and focused on basics and brass tacks.  I.e. the financials - withdrawal strategy & rates, asset allocation, the number, etc.  The kinds of things that got me to this point.

    That way I was able to quantify my anxiety and identify/answer the key questions: "do I have enough?" and "if not, is this current gig the way to get me there?"

    So, do I have enough? 
    When it comes to withdrawal rates, I have long championed the notion that "4% is conservative enough for anyone" and "4% is a planning rule, not a withdrawal strategy."  So I started working on my withdrawal strategy and how I would react to varying market conditions.  Despite my steadfast support for the 4% rule for planning purposes, I quickly found that the reality of retiring on my current 'stache carried some risks.  Mainly, the risk that I would have to react to a market-downturn/stagnation in the first couple of years of RE.  On the surface, that's ok; I have a strategy for that - cut back spending or pick up a job.

    A lot of people have started saying that 4% is too risky.  Others are planning for 3% or even less.  Everyone is citing some nebulous concern about the future.  It sounds like a lot of fear-mongering, but our intuitions are worth paying some attention to. 

    I won't lay out the entire argument, but the question to ask yourself is, "what are the conditions under which one's FIRE is put at risk?"  Many of the indicators that correlate with those conditions can be found in today's economic environment.  That doesn't mean we're in for some shit, but it does suggest that people retiring today are more likely to be in the danger zone than they'd like, if their withdrawal strategy is anchored around 4%.

    In other words, I am more likely to need to invoke my cut-back-spending-or-get-a-job strategy in the early years of RE than I'd like.  It doesn't help that in the first part of my RE I plan to put some money (budgeted) into a project.  That project would be first on the chopping block if I have to cut back, and going back to work would mean shelving it due to time constraints.  I want to dive into this project when I get free, not have to cancel it right out of the gate.

    I don't have enough free time to work all this out myself, but I found an excellent analysis that really brought things to life for me. 

    https://earlyretirementnow.com/2016/12/07/the-ultimate-guide-to-safe-withdrawal-rates-part-1-intro/

    Essentially, I've determined that in order to increase the odds of being able to keep my desired spending levels in the early years within my comfort zone, I need to increase my 'stache such that it can accommodate a withdrawal strategy anchored around 3.5%.  If I must cut back from there I'm ok with that reduced risk.

    So, no, I don't have enough.  Not quite.  I'm FI but not RE.

    So what will I do to get me there?
    I did some real soul-searching on the career front.  In the end I decided to pursue all of my options. 

    • Status quo is done for.  I've given a date for resignation, and proposed a way to keep me around (reorganize my part of the company, give me a new role, and more control over my schedule).  This could buy me the ~8 months of saving it would take.  If I resign, I'll just use the free time to pursue #2 & #3.
    • I'm interviewing with a couple of similar mega-corps that might have a better work/life balance.
    • I'm meeting with some former colleagues about contract/consulting work.

    One thing is certain - things are about to change for the better.  Whether I'm FIRE in a riskier environment than I'd like, I get a new role at my megacorp, I get a new position at another megacorp, or I ease into RE with some contract work, things are about to get better.
    « Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 12:22:50 PM by RetireAbroadAt35 »

    Bicycle_B

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #38 on: July 14, 2017, 12:33:31 PM »
    @RetireAbroadAt35, I hope you don't mind if I abbreviate your handle as "Retire"... 'cause you started the thread seeking encouragement/courage to retire, and you're still seeking it!  :)

    I like Tay_CPA's comment, and your own insight that what you're facing emotionally is the question of what you will do all day, while the financial analysis covers up that worry.

    Good luck finding the guts to quit!!

    Fwiw, have you read any of the following:

    "How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free" by Ernie Zelinski
    "The Joy of Not Working", same author.  (Even more specifically focused on finding a joyous life, rather than the financial planning parts.)
    "101 Things to Do in Retirement:  An Irreverent, Outrageous and Funny Guide to Life After Work", Stella Rheingold

    RetireAbroadAt35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #39 on: July 14, 2017, 01:18:34 PM »
    It's not so much "what would I do all day?" as "what would I do all day if an immediate downturn cuts my spending?"

    The answer is ... looking for work.  Since I'm not willing to go back to work within the first 3 year of RE, I've decided that 4% isn't good enough for me.

    So I gotta work a little bit longer. 

    But this has inspired me to quit dealing with some of the crap at my current job that's been pissing me off, and force some change.  So for giving me that insight and confidence, yay FIRE.  It aids in all things.

    arebelspy

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #40 on: July 15, 2017, 02:05:37 PM »
    It's not so much "what would I do all day?" as "what would I do all day if an immediate downturn cuts my spending?"

    The answer is ... looking for work.  Since I'm not willing to go back to work within the first 3 year of RE, I've decided that 4% isn't good enough for me.

    So I gotta work a little bit longer. 

    Wait a minute... your "IF the * hits the fan, I'll have to go back to work" downside scenario means you've decided to... continue working?

    You're guaranteeing yourself the worst case scenario?  Why?

    Why not ER, and see if your portfolio trends to 3.5%, as many do?  And if the downturn hits, wait it out, and if you decide at that point to go back, go back, but take a few years.

    I don't understand why a worst case scenario means best go do that worst case scenario now!  :)
    We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
    If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
    We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
    You can also read my forum "Journal."

    Lepetitange3

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #41 on: July 15, 2017, 02:20:23 PM »
    I think you should retire.  I'm extremely risk-averse, but the forum helped me see the light.  Why waste another day on the worst case?  If the worst case comes, deal with it when it comes.  (Also is he worst case really having to go back to work?  I mean...there's always the zombie apocalypse).

    Playing with Fire UK

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #42 on: July 16, 2017, 12:19:02 AM »
    I'm pleased that you're making changes with your work.

    Have you also looked at the risk that you run out of years way before you run out of money? That would concern me far more.

    former player

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #43 on: July 16, 2017, 12:49:23 AM »
    I was very much where you are, until an irresistable redundancy offer pushed me over the cliff.

    My friend, you are institutionalised.  You have been in a prison called "working at X500 Corp" for the last 15 years.  That is a life sentence.  Now you have all the problems that anyone coming out of prison has: resetting your life, and doing it without that externally imposed timetable that says that every Monday at 9am you have to be in the prison laundry and every Tuesday at 10.30 am you have to be in the prison exercise yard.

    It's great that you have a project to move on to.  But my recommendation would be to spend at least a month after you retire doing exactly nothing (possibly doing nothing in a favourite place in the world), just to let the reality of your life reset sink into your pores while the prison stink leaches out.

    You are young (relatively), educated, healthy and wealthy.  You can press the button on your retirement now and be fine.  You can always earn more money, you can never earn more years.

    Good luck.
    Be frugal and industrious, and you will be free (Ben Franklin)

    FIREby35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #44 on: July 16, 2017, 07:28:28 AM »
    I agree 100% with Formerplayer.

    I only come back here to see if and when you are going to free yourself. It is all in your mind.

    RetireAbroadAt35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #45 on: July 17, 2017, 06:47:56 PM »
    Greetings from an economy seat on yet another plane heading for yet another client meeting in yet another city.  At least this prospective client doesn't appear to be profiting from human misery or environmental destruction.

    Apologies for dropping out of the thread. Things got busy at work. Will respond back once the insomnia sets in.  Yes I know.

    Pennycounter

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #46 on: July 17, 2017, 10:06:52 PM »
    Posting to say good luck!

    RetireAbroadAt35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #47 on: July 18, 2017, 06:08:37 PM »
    So many thoughts here, so hard to express on mobile at the airport bar.

    As to the logic of pulling the "work longer" lever in anticipation of a worst case scenario ... I'm not anticipating economic collapse, I am fine-tuning my finances as I devise my withdrawal strategy.   I have recalculated my number. The only way I coumter this is to refute the analysis I linked earlier. I hear what you are saying but it doesn't quite apply to me.

    Am I institutionalized? In many ways, yes, but I think I am fairly aware.  I have always been a bit of a black sheep in the corporate world and I've taken a few long breaks along the way.

    It takes about a month for the fog to lift, and after about 6 months, I find the stresses of my corporate life are like a dream.  Point being, I have a strong sense of what I'm giving up by continuing to work.

    As for exchanging time for money, it would take about 8 months at my current pace.  But given I'm frustrated, fed up, and restless, the status quo isn't good enough.  Instead I've played the FI card (without them knowing) and delivered an ultimatum.

    At this point I don't know if I'll hit my new target via a new role at my current megacorp, while honeymooning at a competing megacorp, while working part time at my current employer, contracting, or monetizing a hobby while goofing off on the side.

    Whichever way it goes is a huge leg up on how I pass my time now, and I'm still looking forward to RE within the year.

    Shorten my path to freedom by refuting my 3.5% target ...

    arebelspy

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #48 on: July 18, 2017, 09:25:09 PM »
    Shorten my path to freedom by refuting my 3.5% target ...

    There's enough posts out there about why the 4% rule is fine.

    Read them.

    I'd also add, even if you disagree and want a 3.5% WR, fine. Why do you have to have it all up front?  Most people who ER with a 4% WR hit a 3.5% WR, if they don't raise their spending (except for inflation) beyond their planned amount.
    We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
    If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
    We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
    You can also read my forum "Journal."

    RetireAbroadAt35

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    Re: Am I there yet? 18 Months Later.
    « Reply #49 on: July 18, 2017, 11:25:45 PM »
    On the 4% rule, I've been there and done that.  I've read the original trinity study and the guyton Klinger stuff and everything else in between. I have floor and ceiling spending and plans for dealing with slowdowns. 

    I think 4% is a great planning rule during accumulation but its not a withdrawal strategy.  As I've developed my own withdrawal strategy I've adjusted my numbers and targets. This isn't about fear or feelings. It's about numbers.  We dont talk much about the details of drawdown much around here. 

    As for why I want it up front, it's because it's a helluva lot easier to get it sorted now than it will be in two years when my skills are dated and I'm competing with every other schlub for dwindling jobs.

    That said, I am actively looking for part-time and contract work in my field that would set the ol life:work ratio right. Gliding into RE as it were.  If that doesnt work out and megacorp does, I'll megacorps for 8 months. If neither work out I'll RE very soon and figure it out as I go.