Author Topic: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.  (Read 4064 times)

RetireAbroadAt35

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Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« on: April 08, 2018, 11:49:45 PM »
One More Year
I've reached FI and am on the cusp of RE.

About a year ago, during a particular rough patch at work, I posted this thread, to reflect on what it means to retire, my motivations for doing so, and to get some encouragement to step off the ledge.

Instead, I decided that before leaving my job and declaring myself RE, I would make one more attempt to integrate work and life in more reasonable way.  To have my cake and eat it too.  You know, the impossible.  What's that they say about the definition of insanity?

I started by making a few ultimatums at work.  End result?  They gave me a raise and a promotion.  But the problems were all still there - long hours, travel, working to enrich distant assholes ... I was amused to be getting paid more simply for complaining but the money wasn't really the issue.

So I quit.

At that point I had planned to pursue contracts.  So I met with some of my old contacts, developed a plan, and even started lining up my first gig.  This would have been the start of a gentle glide into FIRE.  I had no idea what I was doing but I thought I'd found my way to have and eat the cake.

But then I was seduced.  GigaCorp suggested that I give them a try first.  There will always be contracts available in the future they said.  We negotiated some conditions about the type and style of work I'd do, and I accepted the offer.  Same work different environment.  A little more income.

I justified it to myself by calling it a one-year victory lap.  Although I must admit, part of me hoped that I would discover it was some sort of unicorn job that paid well, left me feeling satisfied, and gave me lots of free time to pursue my real priorities in life.  So far it's definitely not that. 

All I've learned from taking the GigaCorp gig is that I should have left the old job sooner, and the new one isn't getting me any closer to living the life I want to live.  It is, however, enabling me to accomplish a few financial stretch goals. 

Doing this for another year isn't going to make a major impact on the quality of life of myself or the people I really care about.  It's a strange middle ground where the incremental increase in savings isn't all that meaningful.  Doing this isn't going to help me self-fund medical expenses if the ACA is torn apart.  It's not enough to overcome the skyrocketing cost of housing around here (so it's not like working one year will help me afford my dream home or anything like that).  It's not enough to keep my parents out of America's dismal nursing homes.  It's not enough for a college fund.

So my question to the Mustachians is, am I done taking measured and rational approaches to assessing and mitigating the risks to my financial well-being and now simply deluding myself as I shoulder my load along with all the other schlubs suffering from one-more-year syndrome?

Laura33

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2018, 08:16:03 AM »
So my question to the Mustachians is, am I done taking measured and rational approaches to assessing and mitigating the risks to my financial well-being and now simply deluding myself as I shoulder my load along with all the other schlubs suffering from one-more-year syndrome?

So let me say this lovingly and with the best possible intentions:  you were done taking measured and rational approaches to assessing and mitigating the risks to your financial wellbeing when you posted your thread last year.  It has always been OMY syndrome.  Your experience since then has just forced you to acknowledge that OMY doesn't actually solve the problems you think it will, because there is never "enough" money for everything -- and no matter how much you have, you always find more things that you need.* 

If you want enough to fund nursing homes and college and ACA breakdowns and all that, you need to plan to work for probably another 5-10 years.  Or you can just accept that you can never have 100% safety from bad financial contingencies and quit now, while you still have health and energy to enjoy the money you do have.

*E.g., I don't recall the mention of parental nursing homes or college funds in your prior posts.

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2018, 09:48:22 AM »
No need to be gentle - face punch away. As you can imagine I have very few pro-RE influences in my real life.

On the random lists of costs I mentioned, it is interesting to examine OMY in the context of changing financial priorities.  By some definitions I've been in the depths of OMY for half a decade since I didn't RE to Thailand when I could first afford to.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 10:13:22 AM by RetireAbroadAt35 »

itchyfeet

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2018, 11:10:28 AM »
I guess I am writing to follow along/ share your dilemma.

After all, I find myself in a similar mental state I think.

I earn good money and save plenty. I am in the ballpark of FI and I am far from in love with my job. I don’t hate it, but more “meh”.

Hence I have decided to press eject come December.

I won’t be quite at 25x of what I would like to spend, and I can dream up millions of ways to spend far more if I had the cash. Instead, we will need to be pretty careful on our spending going forward. Not extremely so, but rather careful and quite choosy.

Working an extra 6 months or a year really won’t change anything. Yes we will have 5-10% more, but it won’t be life changing. And working 5 more years is not an option that DW and I are willing to consider. So we may as well just get on with FIRE at the end of this year and enjoy it with what financial means we have.

Knowing what is enough is very difficult for me.

Not the “enough” to cover our needs. For that I am fine with rolling the dice on 25x, and budgeting for needs is not particularly difficult for me. Needs is the easy part, as they are pretty fixed.

No, where I struggle is the “enough” to cover our wants with no regrets.

For instance, I was just looking at trips to Antartica... not that I am planning (nor wishing) to go, rather the ads just popped up in my feed. These trips are f&cking expensive. Our stash will most likely never cover a trip to the Antartic if I RE this year. I am pretty near certain I can live with that, and not pine for it for the rest of my life. Going to Antartica would classify as something that I wouldn’t mind doing, but am not desperate to do. But, it is one extreme example. The point is that in my mind there are many “Antarcticas” out there that I will be passing up on. I just hope in hindsight after say 10 years of FIRE I will have no regrets. I suspect not, as I have plenty of things I wouldn’t mind doing that are free, or close to free when compared to Antartica. I just need to focus my energies on those experiences that give the best bang for my bucks and it’ll be fine.

I hope we will be happy that enough is enough.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 11:15:10 AM by itchyfeet »

affordablehousing

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2018, 01:31:49 PM »
Sounds like you need to come up with something to do more fulfilling than gigacorp. Travel is easy but you may be seeking some sort of recognition. That seems to be the reason for the explosion of van and boat travel vlogs. With some planning, most people could arrange their lives to do it, but then who would care? While Gigacorp sounds sucky, at least there are people you are enriching every day and patting you on the back, time to find something out in the world that does that intrinsically.

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2018, 01:55:02 PM »
I'm not especially motivated by attaboys. I'm also confident I could fill my time with things that are meaningful.

I am, however, struggling with the finality of RE.  Some call it OMY syndrome. Others may call it rational risk and financial management in the context of shifting priorities.

* When I was 33 I was willing to retire to Asia or Latin America.
* 3 years later I wanted the option of living in North America and reset my targets and decided to work a few more years.
* when I hit that point I realized that a hot market with a an orange nutter at the helm was maybe not the best time to execute a 4% plan so I saved to 3.5%
* now I've hit that point, and I've come to realize the next "level" of FI (ex: self funding health insurance, the nursing home for parents fund, etc) is on the horizon but at least five more years away

Ug

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2018, 05:02:05 PM »
* now I've hit that point, and I've come to realize the next "level" of FI (ex: self funding health insurance, the nursing home for parents fund, etc) is on the horizon but at least five more years away

How much of the desire to hit that next level stems from guilt at quitting so early (TOO early by most people's standards)?  If you were 55 but at your current level, would you still feel the need to hit another level?

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2018, 05:44:43 PM »
Its not so much guilt exactly.

 I'm not sure how I'd label it. In my case, I've been doing some of the risky work of helping some family with their own financial planning, which has made it clear that some of the folks I care about are struggling or heading for some struggles.  I am the only one with the financial wherewithal to do anything about it (lower middle class background).

I am not responsible or accountable for their finances, but I do recognize that RE means giving up the one resource that only i have in excess.  I don't feel guilty so much as ... Sad that I can't pull it off (when work is overwhelmingly shitty) or maybe a little guilt at the notion of prioritizing myself (when I focus on an interesting FIREy lifestyle).

If I look at the ACA example, emotionally it is a little bit of fear mixed with a little bit of anger.  Anywhere else on the planet and I could afford insurance or care.  But the downside to RE in America in 2018 is risk of getting screwwd over by healthcare corporations. That pisses me off.


RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2018, 10:16:38 AM »
I think the defining characteristic of OMY syndrome is futility, and it's most easily identified by acting in a way that's not in-line with one's FIRE intentions.

I do think it's important not to react to the possibility of OMY syndrome without analyzing and revising one's plans along the way.  When I decided not to retire abroad at 35 and instead to keep working, that wasn't OMY it was saving for the future I'd recently decided I wanted.  When I decided not to RE in the states at 4%, it was to save for the future that I'd recently decided was likely to coincide with Trumpian economic malaise and risk of moving closer to portfolio failure than I'd like.

I solved the crappy job situation so I've mostly eliminated that distraction. 

The only decision left is around the nature of the life I'm saving for.  Does it include being able to swoop in and cover a nursing home bill?  Does it include being able to self-fund my medical care to fill gaps in the ACA?  Start a college fund for some kids in the family?  Any one of these things would take years to save for. 

I think the answer is that no, it doesn't.  In that case, continuing to work would indeed by OMY syndrome marked by futility as I work and save (or spend) for no damn good reason.

My current priorities in are:
  • health
  • relationship
  • family
  • friends
  • job

Continuing to work 50-70 hours a week, even if it is with a good crew of folks that I like, would be prioritizing #5 to the detriment of #1 & #2, in the hopes I would for some reason be a hero to #3 and 4. 

Ergo this is all an irrational fall into OMY syndrome.

I just have to get over my sense of responsibility.  This notion that I stumbled into a well-paying job and am willing to walk away from it doesn't sit well with my upbringing.  But that's ok. 

So the plan?  Well, it's work for one more year of course ...
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 10:34:42 AM by RetireAbroadAt35 »

HeadedWest2029

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2018, 11:11:03 AM »
Fantastic thread!  This whole thing has been hitting me hard lately.  I too have experienced a moving target from 4 WR to 3.5 WR.  I settled into the idea of FIRE when my kid graduates H.S. and then we had a family member unexpectedly die and leave an inheritance that probably shaved off another 6-7 working years.  Psychologically I wasn't prepared to move from the 30 yard line to the 5 yard line (with a 3.5 WR) all of a sudden.  Now I'm considering if I should keep with the original plan and fill other contingencies like care for a family member who will likely face retirement with no assets, fully funding college (vs the original plan of "skin in the game"), flexibility to retire to HCOL areas if desired, save extra in case automation rules the job market (get the $$$ while humans still have value) to protect kid's future, etc.  The list is really inexhaustible if you let your mind wander.

Loved these thoughts

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How much of the desire to hit that next level stems from guilt at quitting so early (TOO early by most people's standards)?  If you were 55 but at your current level, would you still feel the need to hit another level?

 -- guilty --

and

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...maybe a little guilt at the notion of prioritizing myself

 -- yes! --
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 12:32:47 PM by HeadedWest2029 »

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2018, 12:06:26 PM »
Do you have something to retire to?

It's interesting to hear the perspective of someone wrestling with these questions in their 50s.  I'm well on my way but not there yet.  Part of my thinking (rationalizing?  justifying?) on 3.5 was the the potential length of retirement.  40 something me likes to think they'd tell 50 something me to pull the ripcord and enjoy the trip down.

One thing I'm trying to keep in mind is that there are a number of ways I can help a family member with limited assets.  My siblings won't even get social security.  At least my folks have that much.  At times I'm frightened for them.  But am I willing to dedicate a decade of my life to providing for their financial security?  That's a little bit off-balance IMO.  Who knows what their or my futures will bring. 

I think I would be doing well to make myself present, give them time when I can, and look for ways to optimize and save as I go.  If I find myself in a position to be generous when they have need, I'll make my decisions then.

HeadedWest2029

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2018, 12:30:07 PM »
Not sure if you are replying to my comment, but for reference I'm in my 30's .  I have hobbies I'd like to dedicate more time to like hiking, trail running, slow travel, reading, and starting a small financial coaching business, but some of those dreams are somewhat restricted with a kid in school.  I know GCC and others travel the world with kids (more power to them), but that would stress me out and I want to provide stability (hence the original plan of staying put until college).  Ultimately I think the part-time coaching gig will be a compromise.   Still processing

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2018, 01:16:25 PM »
I mis-read your quote in your previous post - 30s vs 50s. 

Had I been in your position, it would have depended on the job.  If the job were promoting and not interfering with my 5 priorities I'd be tempted to keep it.

But if not, I don't think you should sacrifice any longer than you must.


use2betrix

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2018, 02:01:04 PM »
If your parents end up in nursing homes and can’t afford it, the government will typically cover the difference through various programs, unless they are expecting some super high end resort facility. Same goes with assisted living. If they do have money, that will go towards it... but that’s the point of them having money, right?

I have worked in nursing homes for several years and have had family in them. The people that get screwed are the rare ones WITH the money to pay for it, which they have to, while all their neighbors get a free ride. It happens allll the time, and when you work there, the ones that pay are happy to mention it. Can’t blame them for being frustrated. Save their whole lives, then spend $10,000/mo for a room that everyone else is getting for free.

mm1970

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2018, 02:09:03 PM »
If your parents end up in nursing homes and can’t afford it, the government will typically cover the difference through various programs, unless they are expecting some super high end resort facility. Same goes with assisted living. If they do have money, that will go towards it... but that’s the point of them having money, right?

I have worked in nursing homes for several years and have had family in them. The people that get screwed are the rare ones WITH the money to pay for it, which they have to, while all their neighbors get a free ride. It happens allll the time, and when you work there, the ones that pay are happy to mention it. Can’t blame them for being frustrated. Save their whole lives, then spend $10,000/mo for a room that everyone else is getting for free.

I've known people in those rooms they are getting "for free".

These homes are depressing as shit.  YMMV.

People with the money to pay for it, should pay for it.  Hopefully, the money means you get a slightly nicer place as long as you can afford it.

I've also known some elderly relatives who had the money for nicer places.  HUGE difference.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2018, 04:33:15 PM »
Perhaps thinking of it as OMY syndrome is the wrong approach. The whole purpose of RE is to gain the opportunity to do something important and meaningful to you.

Some people work this hard and FIRE only to luxuriate. They lounge around and blog about it, or they travel the world, or they find some addictive consumption=happiness thing to do, such as most hobbies-for-sale. To me (and perhaps you too) this seems like a wasted life - a challenge to get fat and comfortable chasing emotions, all the while becoming ever more insignificant.

Consider that maybe you haven't left your career because something about your post-FIRE lifestyle as envisioned offers less than your status quo. The status quo currently involves making piles of cash that you'll probably someday deploy to improve the lives of other people. The post-FIRE life involves helplessly watching them struggle, suffer, and miss opportunities because of a lack of the money you could make in OMY.

There is a story in most American family histories about the patriarch who sacrificed and saved enough money to buy his family boat tickets to escape the coming war, the pogroms, or the potato famine, or to survive the Depression, or to escape other forms of persecution such as Deep South lynchings. Some of us owe our existence to these family heroes, and recognize their job is now ours. If you want to be that family hero, that's the important and meaningful thing you get to do at work every day. You're already doing what you set out to accomplish.

In my case, being a consumer-worker-drone was a more attractive life than frugality and RE, that is, UNTIL I discovered a line of nonprofit work that I'm whack-job excited about. My post-FIRE life involves changing the world, and I can barely wait to get started. 4% rule and out!

In your case, examine what impact you want your life to have and make explicit plans to achieve exactly that. If it doesn't involve RE ASAP, then so be it. Maybe you work another 3-5y while your untouched stache becomes a gigantic money snowball just in time to help the people you love. Or maybe you go back to work only if the need arises. Or maybe you help them with taxes, saving, and resource finding in your spare time as an early retiree. Again, an explicit plan aligned with your life goals will put it all in order.

affordablehousing

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2018, 05:47:23 PM »
Sounds like work is the most fun thing you have going on. I'd just stick it out at gigacorp and grind away. If the purpose of making more money was to compensate for family's members lack of forethought, that seems really sad to me. Go find something you really want to do and go do it.

mozar

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #17 on: April 10, 2018, 06:16:29 PM »
Quote
now I've hit that point, and I've come to realize the next "level" of FI (ex: self funding health insurance, the nursing home for parents fund, etc) is on the horizon but at least five more years away

If you want to keep working another five years that's fine and you don't need anyone's permission to do that.

I think you should figure out how much these things actually cost. So if your parents nursing home costs 100k a year each and look up how long people stay in a nursing home on average (let's say 5 years), then you can save 500k for each parent.

For self funding health insurance if you think that we will no longer live in an industrialized nation and the concept of health insurance ceases to exist (I don't know what "gaps" you are talking about) then you will be paying for surgeries as they come up. Think about which surgeries you might need or what your parents have already had. I think knee surgery is about 20k. My dad's surgery to remove a kidney stone was 5k I think (which his health insurance paid for). You can research how much different cancers cost to treat.

I'm not sure how much housing costs in your area. I also live in a HCOL area and a townhouse across the street from the White House costs 7k a month which is 84k a year. Definitely doable.

You can offer the kids in your family a full ride to state schools which is about 12k a year or 48k each. For 3 kids that's 150k.

I had a roommate in college who's father was rich enough that everyone in her family expected him to pay for college, weddings, etc. And he did. I don't think that's a bad way to go through life if that's what gives you meaning. I know his daughter resented the rest of the family though.

Most importantly I think you need to find a therapist, because you sound anxious.  You do sound like you are in a better place than you were in 2015 so that's good.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 06:20:02 PM by mozar »

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2018, 06:25:39 PM »
Some people work this hard and FIRE only to luxuriate. They lounge around and blog about it, or they travel the world, or they find some addictive consumption=happiness thing to do, such as most hobbies-for-sale. To me (and perhaps you too) this seems like a wasted life - a challenge to get fat and comfortable chasing emotions, all the while becoming ever more insignificant.
Don't get me wrong, I can lounge with the best of them, but you're right - I would find that unsatisfying in the long run.

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Consider that maybe you haven't left your career because something about your post-FIRE lifestyle as envisioned offers less than your status quo. The status quo currently involves making piles of cash that you'll probably someday deploy to improve the lives of other people. The post-FIRE life involves helplessly watching them struggle, suffer, and miss opportunities because of a lack of the money you could make in OMY.
Interesting perspective - I hadn't really thought about it quite like that.  Now that I'm FI, I've cut back on my savings rate and significantly increased my giving both charitably but also in generosity to people around me that could use a little generosity.  It's part of the experiment this year, along with the new job.  I figure there's two possible outcomes: either I'll have used my victory lap well but acknowledging I'm squarely in OMY I RE in early 2019, OR I discover I've found a creative new balance and get satisfaction from using my resources to their maximum good a la effective altruism.  FI but not RE is an option.

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If you want to be that family hero, that's the important and meaningful thing you get to do at work every day. You're already doing what you set out to accomplish.
I don't relish the burden honestly, but RE does come with some lost capacity to help. I'm struggling with the notion of giving up on this, but given the toll it's taking on me I it may be my best choice.

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In my case, being a consumer-worker-drone was a more attractive life than frugality and RE, that is, UNTIL I discovered a line of nonprofit work that I'm whack-job excited about. My post-FIRE life involves changing the world, and I can barely wait to get started. 4% rule and out!
Congratulations.  That is truly awesome, and all too rare, to find your passion.  Kudos.

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Again, an explicit plan aligned with your life goals will put it all in order.
I've had the notion that I should get more explicit.  I tend to hedge my bets and find ways to keep my options open, so the idea of cutting myself adrift and leaving myself open to opportunity has some appeal.  I've done this before in short stints and found it very rewarding.  So I'm confident I'd come up with something, but I've got some time to plan.  So I may as well.

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affordablehousing:
Sounds like work is the most fun thing you have going on.
I don't know where you got that notion.  I work hard and play hard.  I've got plenty of outlets.

mozar, I've run the numbers on a bunch of scenarios.  For what it's worth, that townhouse far exceeds what I spend in housing today or my entire planned post-FIRE budget.  I don't see how it's relevant.  For the things that are, I've got a good sense of what the financial risks are having considered a lot of scenarios.  With spreadsheets.

And thanks but no thanks on the therapist.  Don't extrapolate me coming here to question major life decisions and venting a bit about my burdens to a general state of being.  Life is pretty awesome when it comes down to it and I'm grateful to have it so easy compared to many. 

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You do sound like you are in a better place than you were in 2015 so that's good.
Thank you.  Screw that last job.  Those people were effing nuts.  It was making me nuts too. 
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 06:34:52 PM by RetireAbroadAt35 »

WalkaboutStache

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #19 on: April 10, 2018, 07:19:12 PM »
One More Year

All I've learned from taking the GigaCorp gig is that I should have left the old job sooner, and the new one isn't getting me any closer to living the life I want to live.  It is, however, enabling me to accomplish a few financial stretch goals. 


Translation: "I have come to realize that I hate this crap, even after giving it another go.  However, it helps me achieve stuff I can't quite define and which is probably a placeholder for my fears."

Rise to the challenge, my friend.  Either list those financial goals (here or for yourself) and draw up a specific plan of how Gigacorp will help you get there in a reasonable time period, or forever hold your peace (or forever stay anxious, but I would recommend peace).

One More Year

Doing this for another year isn't going to make a major impact on the quality of life of myself or the people I really care about.  It's a strange middle ground where the incremental increase in savings isn't all that meaningful.  Doing this isn't going to help me self-fund medical expenses if the ACA is torn apart.  It's not enough to overcome the skyrocketing cost of housing around here (so it's not like working one year will help me afford my dream home or anything like that).  It's not enough to keep my parents out of America's dismal nursing homes.  It's not enough for a college fund.


Translation: "I am beginning to realize that this is futile, but I am still trying to pin down stuff that is as unpredictable as the stock market, and that really helps stoke aforementioned fears and keep me in my [dis]comfort zone."

You forgot your safety net, which is the contract work bit.  Why not go back to that plan (really on contract, not as Gigacorp's minion).  Keep them short and sweet so you are not sucked into an endless loop of contract after contract.  if you have so much demand that you still "need" (not really need, mind you) to work full time, increase your rates. 

I think your fears are reasonable, but they are making you take your eye off the ball.



2Birds1Stone

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #20 on: April 10, 2018, 07:38:27 PM »
Hopefully it doesn't take something tragic like a health scare, losing a young loved one, or any otherwise sobering experience to cause you to realize that life is finite and trading your healthiest and youngest years for more money is probably not something you will be grateful for on your death bed.

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #21 on: April 10, 2018, 09:09:02 PM »
Translation: "I have come to realize that I hate this crap, even after giving it another go.  However, it helps me achieve stuff I can't quite define and which is probably a placeholder for my fears."
Starts strong but ends a little fluffy.  I mean, I figured it was unlikely that I'd stop hating this crap but I figured I'd give it a go and find out.  So not a big surprise. 

But I should clarify, there is no stuff I can't define.  I have a long list of things that are perfectly definable.  Some of them require more funds then my 'stache will generate.  Is it worth it?  That is the current exercise.

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Either list those financial goals (here or for yourself) and draw up a specific plan of how Gigacorp will help you get there in a reasonable time period, or forever hold your peace (or forever stay anxious, but I would recommend peace).
I have several plans and spreadsheets and models/projections, going from the 1 year "victory lap" plan to the work 10 years and retire early but not really early, with shit-tons of financial options open.

Each calls for some sacrifices and tradeoffs.  That's what I'm weighing.  If I get some free time I can elaborate the plans but I shy away from specific numbers online so I can understand why it would appear nebulous.

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Translation: "I am beginning to realize that this is futile, but I am still trying to pin down stuff that is as unpredictable as the stock market, and that really helps stoke aforementioned fears and keep me in my [dis]comfort zone."
I can plan for these things just fine.  Is it a smart idea to plan for them and execute on that plan given the sacrifices involved? 

I'm trending toward thinking not.

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You forgot your safety net, which is the contract work bit.
No guarantees but it's likely I could get a pipeline of short-term contracts.  When I leave GigaCorp in ~10 months, if I've decided to keep working that's the plan.

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I think your fears are reasonable, but they are making you take your eye off the ball.
Quite possibly - thanks for the input.

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2birds1stone:
Hopefully it doesn't take something tragic like a health scare, losing a young loved one, or any otherwise sobering experience to cause you to realize that life is finite and trading your healthiest and youngest years for more money is probably not something you will be grateful for on your death bed.
I hear you but I could just as easily say "hopefully it doesn't take something tragic like a diseased/injured loved one to leave you realizing that your income potential was a unique gift and you squandered it and now your father/aunt/brother/mil/etc is living in a medicaid home sedated on thorazine and left to have their bedpan emptied every other day".


mozar

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2018, 09:51:38 PM »
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And thanks but no thanks on the therapist.  Don't extrapolate me coming here to question major life decisions and venting a bit about my burdens to a general state of being.  Life is pretty awesome when it comes down to it and I'm grateful to have it so easy compared to many. 

Whether your life is awesome or not or how grateful you are is unrelated to getting a therapist. Having someone to help you organize your thoughts is a great thing. Something that we on an anonymous internet forum can only help you so much with.

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I hear you but I could just as easily say "hopefully it doesn't take something tragic like a diseased/injured loved one to leave you realizing that your income potential was a unique gift and you squandered it and now your father/aunt/brother/mil/etc is living in a medicaid home sedated on thorazine and left to have their bedpan emptied every other day".

A therapist can help you work through this worry.

Anyways I'm curious how much this townhouse is. Maybe you can start your own business and all the money can go towards your dream house fund.

gerardc

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2018, 12:19:33 AM »
Instead, I decided that before leaving my job and declaring myself RE, I would make one more attempt to integrate work and life in more reasonable way.  To have my cake and eat it too.  You know, the impossible.  What's that they say about the definition of insanity?

Interesting post. I'm trying to like work more too, because the financial upside is so large. It is partially working, I must say. Every year gets easier, better paying, more vacation, and I feel like I have a better handle on anxiety and fitness. But there are ups and downs; sometimes it feels more tolerable, sometimes really painful. Still pretty bad overall.


No, where I struggle is the “enough” to cover our wants with no regrets.

For instance, I was just looking at trips to Antartica... not that I am planning (nor wishing) to go, rather the ads just popped up in my feed. These trips are f&cking expensive. Our stash will most likely never cover a trip to the Antartic if I RE this year. I am pretty near certain I can live with that, and not pine for it for the rest of my life. Going to Antartica would classify as something that I wouldn’t mind doing, but am not desperate to do. But, it is one extreme example. The point is that in my mind there are many “Antarcticas” out there that I will be passing up on. I just hope in hindsight after say 10 years of FIRE I will have no regrets. I suspect not, as I have plenty of things I wouldn’t mind doing that are free, or close to free when compared to Antartica. I just need to focus my energies on those experiences that give the best bang for my bucks and it’ll be fine.

I agree that knowing how much is enough is the hardest. You can probably pick a middle ground. Also, you don't need to go to Antarctica every year, so fitting it in your 4% budget is overkill. If you've lived modestly for many years, I'm sure you'll have no problem sacrificing a few months worth of fun budget for something special.


I am, however, struggling with the finality of RE.  Some call it OMY syndrome. Others may call it rational risk and financial management in the context of shifting priorities.

* When I was 33 I was willing to retire to Asia or Latin America.
* 3 years later I wanted the option of living in North America and reset my targets and decided to work a few more years.
* when I hit that point I realized that a hot market with a an orange nutter at the helm was maybe not the best time to execute a 4% plan so I saved to 3.5%
* now I've hit that point, and I've come to realize the next "level" of FI (ex: self funding health insurance, the nursing home for parents fund, etc) is on the horizon but at least five more years away

Ug

I'm exactly like you :) Started with a goal of $400k to work PT/remote, then it increased to $500-750k, I'm now closing in on $1M and I'm already lurking at all the nice new lifestyle stuff I could get for 1.5 or $2M, starting to think of what if I get a family, etc. as I get older.

I think it's reasonably healthy. I don't know how much you have but $1-2M isn't THAT overblown. Some people go way over that. So, if you have a good paying job, it seems logical to milk it for what it's worth while you can. There's always more things you'll want though, and someone richer or more successful. I guess if you think you can be happier doing something else, that shit has got to stop sometime in the near future.

About the finality of FIRE, I started thinking of taking extended leaves from work so I could officially stay on payroll and avoid resume gaps. Or tell yourself you can always change your mind.


Sounds like work is the most fun thing you have going on. I'd just stick it out at gigacorp and grind away.

The sad thing though is that while you're working you usually have little room in your head/life to build other things that would become fun. You kinda need to stop working for a while to realize that.


Interesting perspective - I hadn't really thought about it quite like that.  Now that I'm FI, I've cut back on my savings rate and significantly increased my giving both charitably but also in generosity to people around me that could use a little generosity.  It's part of the experiment this year, along with the new job.  I figure there's two possible outcomes: either I'll have used my victory lap well but acknowledging I'm squarely in OMY I RE in early 2019, OR I discover I've found a creative new balance and get satisfaction from using my resources to their maximum good a la effective altruism.  FI but not RE is an option.

I like this "victory lap" idea, it sounds pretty fun.
I wanted to do this and take it pretty far: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/crazy-semi-retirement-idea-for-high-earner/
Once you're FI you relax a lot about saving and being frugal, maybe that allows you to enjoy your work life a little more.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 01:05:23 AM by gerardc »

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2018, 01:59:32 AM »
Weird, you seem to be panicking, worrying about a lot of what ifs? You need to understand what’s really going on? You seem scared and lack confidence. You’ve executed a great plan to retire, follow it through. If you need extra cash, then just get a simple part time gig doing whatever, but most like.y you won’t need that. Trust the process, go somewhere to relax and chill out.

jeroly

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #25 on: April 11, 2018, 02:34:45 AM »

For instance, I was just looking at trips to Antartica... not that I am planning (nor wishing) to go, rather the ads just popped up in my feed. These trips are f&cking expensive. Our stash will most likely never cover a trip to the Antartic if I RE this year. I am pretty near certain I can live with that, and not pine for it for the rest of my life. Going to Antartica would classify as something that I wouldn’t mind doing, but am not desperate to do. But, it is one extreme example. The point is that in my mind there are many “Antarcticas” out there that I will be passing up on. I just hope in hindsight after say 10 years of FIRE I will have no regrets. I suspect not, as I have plenty of things I wouldn’t mind doing that are free, or close to free when compared to Antartica. I just need to focus my energies on those experiences that give the best bang for my bucks and it’ll be fine.

I hope we will be happy that enough is enough.

There are some cruises that loop around the bottom of South America (with itineraries from Buenos Aires to Santiago, for example) that stop for a couple of days off of Antarctica, which are not incredibly expensive and are actually pretty cheap when you add in the two week cruise (food, accomodation, etc.) that gets thrown in to the mix - perhaps $1,500/person for a two week cruise.  I think that Celebrity has some itineraries along that line.

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #26 on: April 11, 2018, 05:21:21 AM »
Weird, you seem to be panicking,

Err, no, not at all. Cool as a cucumber over here.

pecunia

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #27 on: April 11, 2018, 08:06:38 AM »
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It's interesting to hear the perspective of someone wrestling with these questions in their 50s.  I'm well on my way but not there yet.  Part of my thinking (rationalizing?  justifying?) on 3.5 was the the potential length of retirement.  40 something me likes to think they'd tell 50 something me to pull the ripcord and enjoy the trip down.

These posts are great.  This one made me laugh.  Of course the response above was that the person who made it is actually in their thirties.  I admire that there is a desire to help others.

You guys get my wheels turning in the old think tank.  I do mean old from your perspective as I am in my sixties.  I recently quit my job to take "one more."  This one is supposed to be only forty hours a week and starts at the end of the month. 

Why one more?  This post certainly makes me question the wisdom of this decision.  Debts are paid and house is paid for.  I've been told we have enough money to go and  can add to it with Social Security, but the health care thing does hover over my head. Not old enough for medicare.  There is a medical stash to pay premiums, but when the guys in Congress were so willing to vote to take away the health care from millions, it gives me pause.  I guess it scares me into working a bit longer.

Or,......after a lifetime of being a wage slave,.......maybe the freedom scares me.

I wish there had been computer forums like this when I was in my thirties.

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #28 on: April 11, 2018, 10:42:25 AM »
A therapist can help you work through this worry.
Sure but I'm a DIYer and I think I've got this.  This is pretty serious, life-changing stuff, so I can understand the appeal to professionals.  I've considered it just given the weight of the decision.  I may consider it again, a la Dr. Doom, when I get closer to making announcements at work.  But right now I look at therapists like financial advisors.  Useful if you're in particular need but not a great value for all of us.

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Anyways I'm curious how much this townhouse is. Maybe you can start your own business and all the money can go towards your dream house fund.
I was talking about the DC townhouse you mentioned. 

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I also live in a HCOL area and a townhouse across the street from the White House costs 7k a month which is 84k a year. Definitely doable.
Is it doable?  Sure, I guess, but not in line with my values/lifestyle/spending so I'm not going to be shopping for one anytime soon.

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gerardc:
milk it for what it's worth while you can.
Yes - I think it does make sense to milk it, but only if you know what it's worth.  Before it was easy - it was worth it to generate a passive income stream.  Now I'm either just padding things or I need to a worthwhile target to justify continuing to make the work/life sacrifices.

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I started thinking of taking extended leaves from work so I could officially stay on payroll and avoid resume gaps.
Yes.  Do it.  Don't worry about the resume gaps (they are easily explainable and if you have a good story, makes you a better candidate) but an LOA is a great way to take some time away and it makes it easy to go back to your old gig while giving you time and perspective to find another one.

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The sad thing though is that while you're working you usually have little room in your head/life to build other things that would become fun. You kinda need to stop working for a while to realize that.
This was the most valuable part of my leave from work a few years ago.  I learned a lot about what I wanted next in life.

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I like this "victory lap" idea, it sounds pretty fun.
It is, but only if the work/life situation is tenable.  If I hadn't changed to my current / better employer I would not be working full-time today.  The other thing I'd say is that if you spend the victory lap on luxury consumption it may reveal something about your lifestyle preferences.  I party like that sometimes on the company dime and it's utterly unfulfilling so I wouldn't do that here.  If my impulse was to go nuts and spend my income willy-nilly, then I think it would be a warning sign that my post-FIRE lifestyle was not going to be tenable.

In my case, I have a paycheck-by-paycheck projection for my earnings over the next year.  Fill the 401k, fill the backdoor roth, fill the HSA, some contributions to taxables, starting donar-advised funds to frontload charitable spending, made a couple surprise gifts to family members that needed and deserved a break, etc.  I may also upgrade some infrastructure (old car could use a new engine, etc).
« Last Edit: April 11, 2018, 10:46:58 AM by RetireAbroadAt35 »

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #29 on: April 11, 2018, 10:55:30 AM »
Why one more?  This post certainly makes me question the wisdom of this decision.

Yes!  Question it.  It's a fascinating exploration of your values no matter which way you go decide to go at the end of the month.  If there's nothing pressuring you to take this job then you are already free. 

As for the ACA fears, I've got nothing there.  I'm not as worried about the ACA going away as I am about it being insufficient.  One of my scenarios considers if I were to succumb to a medical condition early in retirement.  I could easily end up with more than $10k in annual medical expenses, which would take a significant chunk out of my 'stache, my standard of living and my ability to be there for others. 

Is that "FI enough" for me?

gerardc

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #30 on: April 11, 2018, 06:26:06 PM »
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I like this "victory lap" idea, it sounds pretty fun.
The other thing I'd say is that if you spend the victory lap on luxury consumption it may reveal something about your lifestyle preferences.  I party like that sometimes on the company dime and it's utterly unfulfilling so I wouldn't do that here.  If my impulse was to go nuts and spend my income willy-nilly, then I think it would be a warning sign that my post-FIRE lifestyle was not going to be tenable.

I don't enjoy luxury at all, whether cars, restaurants, bars, hotels, etc. Whenever we go at a fancy restaurant with the company, I always think we'd be having more fun at Chipotle. But, some people like it, so you can take someone you know. You can increase the frequency of ski trips, international vacations, long weekends out, banias, etc. You can stop worrying about saving pennies here and there. You'd still save 70% instead of 85%, but if you're already FI, who cares? Maybe that takes some weight off your shoulders.

It seems luxury can be an acquired taste. I'm trying to understand my acquaintances who like expensive clothes, restaurants, cars...  but I just don't. Maybe there's something there that I don't see, so I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, and try.

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #31 on: April 12, 2018, 12:27:20 PM »
I don't think there's a secret to be learned here.  Its the intersection of values/desires/anxieties/comforts that I don't share. If they hold no appeal to you then you probably don't either. That you're on this forum is further evidence.  Hopefully I just saved you a few tens of thousands of dollars :)

gerardc

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #32 on: April 12, 2018, 02:57:43 PM »
I don't think there's a secret to be learned here.  Its the intersection of values/desires/anxieties/comforts that I don't share. If they hold no appeal to you then you probably don't either. That you're on this forum is further evidence.  Hopefully I just saved you a few tens of thousands of dollars :)

I wasn't really going to spend tens of thousands of dollars for that. Probably just having conversations, trying to pick their brains and 1-2 special events if I feel like it. The frugal way to luxury :D

mozar

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #33 on: April 13, 2018, 03:40:46 PM »
I'm a diy-er myself. I've read a lot of books about anxiety and trauma. I have also gone to therapy. It costs me 15 dollars per visit.So I don't see why it's not "great value."  I see it more like going to the doctor to get a checkup. Most people only go a couple times.
The reason why I'm pushing therapy is that there is only so much you can do about worst case scenarios. A big part of this website is figuring out what enough is and what your risk tolerance is which tends to be an emotional decision. But I'll leave it at that because you said you would consider it.
A couple of books that have helped me: Feeling good, the new mood therapy, and The body keeps score.

RetireAbroadAt35

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Re: Am I There Yet? One More Year later.
« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2018, 11:46:58 AM »
It costs me 15 dollars per visit.So I don't see why it's not "great value."  I see it more like going to the doctor to get a checkup. Most people only go a couple times.

Ok, I hear you.  It sounds like you've got an incredible deal with a good therapist.  In my limited experience, therapists are always expensive and very hit or miss.  I once used my employee mental health benefits to make an appointment with a counselor.  A friend who had no insurance and limited resources was descending into crisis.  Not having any better ideas, I used my employee benefits to set up an appointment and brought my friend along, doing a little bait & switch on the therapist.  They talked for about 30 minutes and the therapist recommended that my non-religious friend try prayer.

Pray to have the strength to not kill yourself.

Ok, so maybe that's an extreme example, but point being I think a good therapist can be very helpful, a bad therapist can be damaging, and I'm not sure it's worth the effort to weed out the good from the bad for someone in my position.  Maybe it is.  I'll keep it under consideration  because the decision I'm making is pretty huge and a bit of second opinion wouldn't be a bad idea.

Thanks for the recommendations on the books.