Author Topic: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI  (Read 27250 times)

Joan-eh?

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Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« on: December 09, 2014, 05:32:31 PM »
 I am interested in the psychological journey and decision making process of leaving work.  I'm wondering what parts of formal work have my fellow mustachians missed once leaving.  Given FI, given one enjoys ones work,  what would you say is the criteria determining someone is ready to or could leave the formal workforce -psychologically.

 I've love to hear from people who have made an early move out of the formal workplace (before 55yrs,  let's say) and how they decided.

And anyone else FI, but still working? How to you think about your decision to work or not.


deborah

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2014, 06:45:47 PM »
Missed - nothing - I enjoyed my work, did it well and thought I would really miss the achievements (as a project manager I put together some really amazing stuff), the social aspects of work, the companionship. But I didn't.

Over several years, financial advisers told me that I could quit work tomorrow and retire. It took me a while to believe them. I spent some time thinking about what I would do in retirement, and what I needed to change for it to work. For instance, I have never had many friends, and I felt that I needed more friends before I left work and the social aspects of it. I worked out plans for achieving the things I needed to retire, but there was no urge to retire. I did work on the things on my list.

Then the black Saturday bushfires happened. Although I now live a long way from them, family was affected. One of the towns that was almost completely destroyed was where I grew up. My grandparents old house was destroyed, as was the church where my parents married. Friends and cousins lost homes. In a different town, an uncle was on duty with the local country fire crew that day and by the end of the day was finding cars with bodies in them. His son who had just finished school lost his two best friends. My parents lived in a different city but 100 metres from one of the fires that killed 50. Being so far away was extremely difficult for me - my co-workers discussed it endlessly as "News" - I thought they were a bunch of ghouls! I don't think I ever told them how close to me it all was, and that places they hadn't heard of a week ago (and were discussing endlessly) were quite important parts of my life. A week later my best friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she died 8 weeks later. So I had to travel through the blackened countryside a number of times. I struggled on working through the year. I still enjoyed the work, but had been really revolted by the people. It would have happened no matter where I worked.

Toward the end of the year I went to the local college on their open day, and talked to them about doing Fashion Design (something I had always been interested in, but was sure I was ineligible for). I applied and was accepted. So I took a year off work at half pay because I had a lot of leave owing to me.

At end of that year, I went back to work, and on the second day back, HR told me I had another month of leave that I could take. I wanted to continue doing my degree, and asked my boss about going part time - and that would have been OK. As I was only just back, he was also OK with me immediately going off for another month. I thought about it, and decided it would be better to retire. So I worked for exactly a week and retired. I don't know whether to count the preceding year as retirement or not.

Joan-eh?

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2014, 08:13:34 PM »
Deborah, thanks for sharing. I'm a so amazed that you miss nothing. That's incredible (and exciting) to hear.   Your points about getting the next stage ready and recognizing values and putting them into perspective are well made.

I'm curious, you didn't miss the achievements at work, but you replaced them with other goals, is that right?  Do you think that was part of planning the next stage?

I entirely understand the feeling of knowing you have enough, but not believing it! What convinced you? 

Casserole55

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2014, 08:21:15 PM »
I gave notice about 2 months ago and have until December 31 for the big day of retirement. I am 59, and probably would  have hung on with my job for another 6 or 7 years had I not stumbled upon MMM about 8 month ago. My boss was exceedingly supportive. My coworkers are freaking out because I was the person who always hauled their asses out of very uncomfortable situations. I will probably end up being able to continue to do some of my work (the part that I really enjoy) from home until they figure out a strategy for replacing me and/or dividing up my work to existing employees. People are envious. It has been an emotional roller coaster, but I'm ready for the change.

Joan-eh?

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2014, 08:42:02 PM »
Thanks Casserole55! Was it because you realized you had the savings / reduced expenses that made you decide?  Or something else?  What was your process? How did/are you navigating the emotional roller coaster? (You've hit the nail on the head, there, I think!) what were your worries, if you don't mind me asking?

Part of your solution looks to be a phased/staged leaving, non?
« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 08:43:58 PM by Joanie »

MDM

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2014, 08:54:40 PM »
Missed - nothing - I enjoyed my work, did it well and thought I would really miss the achievements (as a project manager I put together some really amazing stuff), the social aspects of work, the companionship. But I didn't.

+1.  Not exactly, but close enough.

Worked for MegaCorp and was recognized professionally and remunerated well enough.  But it was something I did, not who I am.  That's an important distinction.  The sharper one can draw that distinction the easier the titled journey - and vice versa.

Had the good fortune to work with and for very good people for the vast majority of my career.  Getting to FI did more or less coincide with running into a few bad apples that were spoiling things at work and made it that much easier to go from FI to FIRE.

Joan-eh?

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2014, 09:04:15 PM »
MDM- if the bad apples were not there, would you still have retired?

MDM

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2014, 09:31:48 PM »
MDM- if the bad apples were not there, would you still have retired?
Good question.  I'd have to say "probably not."  Bad apples aside it was an interesting, challenging, job with good co-workers.  So I wasn't really looking at the concept of FIRE until the politics changed.  No regrets now, however.

deborah

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2014, 11:18:55 PM »
Your points about getting the next stage ready and recognizing values and putting them into perspective are well made.
Although I had thought this through, and had written up a plan, I never actually finished putting these into action. Acknowledging what might be missing and knowing I could do something about it was probably more important than actually doing it.

Looking back, it is probably a good thing that I didn't put most of these things into action. I am a different person now to when I retired - a better person, more relaxed, a lot happier. If I had put everything into action I would not have become the person I am - that person needed room to come out.

I'm curious, you didn't miss the achievements at work, but you replaced them with other goals, is that right?  Do you think that was part of planning the next stage?
I did have other goals - I still do. But the goals aren't as important as they were. I have another 30 years, and if I don't achieve the goals, that's OK. I am definitely moving along the road to the goals.

Last year was very difficult, my father got cancer at the beginning of the year. He had an operation that left an artery cut, so he nearly died. Chemo left him quite fuzzy. My mother was unable to cope - I learnt that as couples age, they become reliant on each other, so when one becomes sick the other cannot do the things that need to be done. And it is 7.5 hours drive to their place. This year has been better, but goals and achievements will happen when they happen.

However, knowing goals that are important to me, helps me achieve them. I want to see a lot of Australia. Lake Mungo is a place I have wanted to visit ever since I heard about it being the site of the first known cremation in the world, and the first known ritual burial. I realised it was about 10 hours drive from here, and about 7 from my parents. I went there on the way home from my parents place last year. The first time the road was impassible, so I just went on home. I have been twice now - the second time for longer. Before I retired I would have been upset about the road. But now, it doesn't matter - I have another 30 years to get somewhere - surely the road won't be impassable every time! I have found a number of other interesting routes from my place to my parents place in the past year, so even though I have spent a lot of time going to and from their place, I have also gone some way to achieving my goal.

Like MDM says, work was something I did. Work has never been my only place of achievement.
I entirely understand the feeling of knowing you have enough, but not believing it! What convinced you? 
I went through all my bank accounts and all my pay for five years, and I had no choice but to believe it. I was never spending more than one third of my income, no matter what I bought during those years. In the year at half pay, every cent was going into super (Australian equivalent to 401k), and I was still OK. Because I really had enough years before I retired, I do have more than I need.


chuckaluck

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2014, 02:17:51 AM »
At 58 years old, in Dec 2012, I retired from a 33 year career as a research scientist. I was FI about 4 to 5 years before that.  My wife is my age and still works full time, and will continue working full time through 2015 because she wants to -- not because she has to.  For about two years before I retired, all I could think about was retiring (knowing that you don't have to work to survive creates a constant stream of pleasant thoughts and dreams!). I had gone up the company ladder relatively quickly to a position that was about as high as I could go.  To go any higher would mean that I would have to take on additional tasks that were not important or satisfying to me.   So I think for me, it was the combination of knowing that I was FI and that I truly did not want to continue onto positions that were not going to be fulfilling is what made up my mind to set a date to leave.  I am also very handy around the house and with vehicles, hold certifications in other areas, and am a gym rat, so I knew I would fill up my retirement days nicely.  HOWEVER, about a month before I retired, I heard about a program that would allow me to come back and work part-time (20 hours per week on average) at the same agency I left, at a hourly wage identical to what I had before I left. My main jobs were to mentor very bright young scientists about the research process, and help run research studies.  I started this "new job" in Jan 2013 and am still doing it (and will for another year, perhaps two).  I LOVE IT!  I am basically doing only the stuff I like without the stress of having to do all the stuff I never liked. 

Now that you know something about my journey, I would like to mention something that is possibly the most important point you should consider that is less talked about.  I was and still am FI; and that is what most folks sort of key in on.  However what I minimized GREATLY in thinking about retirement  was  how much I actually missed my co-workers,  and friends.  Over my 33-yr full time career, I went to their weddings, birthday parties, kids births, their kids birthday parties, family funerals, etc.  So many of my memories spanning over three to four decades include many of my co-workers and friends.  The day to day interactions with people you have bonded with are hard to give up voluntarily, which is what you do when you retire.  Sure, plans can be made to "get together", but that rarely happens.  So going back part-time and working along side these folks has been what has kept me sane!  So my bottom line advice is to not only consider the financial portion when you are ready to retire, but also the "human side" as well.  Good luck my friend.

Laura A

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2014, 10:44:40 AM »
Since I think I will be in the minority of this post, I will post. The first 6 months of my retirement was the honeymoon. Loving it, got to do things I didn't get to do while working. Then realizing that all my friends were still working and work creates a BIG conversation topic in life. My friends say they will never be able to retire and I agree with them. Too, I started receiving snarky comments like I was a freeloader! Say what!? which only compounded my crisis of "Who am I?  Now that I don't work? While working and work is only to glad to tell you who you are, where to be, what you have to do, and when you have to do it. So I took an entire year off to just fool around and have fun - I think I at least deserve that!   I joined a writing group, starting reading fiction again, and attended an open art studio. Too, I got tired of doing everything alone. So, my  second year I went back to college to become an Early Childhood Educator because I have always had a passion for kids. I get SO much support from my friends to pursue this and then maybe they will feel they can talk to me again because I will be working. Ha!  But, I was not really ready for their jealousy.   Good Luck to you in your decision. And carving out a new path has been definitely interesting.           

mbl

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2014, 11:27:55 AM »
I think that the life one has built outside of work will determine how well the transition goes at the beginning.
Those that have jobs that require a great deal of time and energy that didn't leave much room for other things might
have a bit more of a challenge.
I've noticed that those who retired and had already been actively involved in different things did the best at the initial transition.
One of my friends through horses has a farm with 4 horses of their own as well as a few boarders.  He just expanded on the things that he was already doing.  He just had more hours in the day to do them.
Same for those of us who volunteer.  Ratcheting up the time spent is easy.  More time to do more of what I was already doing.

A lot of people say they'll  volunteer and do this and that when they retire because it all sounds so ideal.   For many those things aren't truly what they'd do.

chuckaluck

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2014, 12:44:13 PM »
Dear MBL,
I have found that your last two sentences are so true and not usually understood until after one retires!  On the day after retirement, one does not suddenly become someone they weren't 24 hours earlier.  Yet, I think in many ways, most think that their lives, their thoughts, their beliefs, their values, will be different.  That they will magically become another person that they have always wanted to be simply because they become "retired".  But other than a change in schedule each day, many will probably be disappointed to learn that they are, at the core, the same person.   

deborah

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2014, 04:44:09 PM »
I didn't stay in the same workplace for my whole working life. I worked for 14 years at my first employer, and was one of the longest serving employees. I've worked for a shorter time at each other place, yet have been one of the longer term employees at most places. At one training session I remember the 30 participants lining up in order of how long they had been there. I had only been there for three years, but there were only a couple who had been there longer. I think this has stopped my work places being the sort of place chuckaluck experienced. Less like home, more transient. People really weren't into making work their life. I guess it helped in retirement.

I had a life outside work and the transition was easy. As mbl says, I just ratcheted up my activities. Also, doing the course gave me extra areas to explore and broadened the activities I was engaged in. Part of it may be that I am a woman, and some of the activities I was involved in before I retired were things like embroidery and quilting. Plenty of people doing these are not working, or working part time.

I did not expect to become a different person after I retired - I expected to stay the same, doing the same things (except working) but doing some of them a bit more. I did not expect to take off for a month or two each year traveling, yet that is what I am doing. In fact I now plan to travel for at least 2 months each year. I have become a different person because I no longer have the stress of time limits and schedules.

DollarBill

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2014, 08:48:25 PM »
Since I think I will be in the minority of this post, I will post. The first 6 months of my retirement was the honeymoon. Loving it, got to do things I didn't get to do while working. Then realizing that all my friends were still working and work creates a BIG conversation topic in life. My friends say they will never be able to retire and I agree with them. Too, I started receiving snarky comments like I was a freeloader! Say what!? which only compounded my crisis of "Who am I?  Now that I don't work? While working and work is only to glad to tell you who you are, where to be, what you have to do, and when you have to do it. So I took an entire year off to just fool around and have fun - I think I at least deserve that!   I joined a writing group, starting reading fiction again, and attended an open art studio. Too, I got tired of doing everything alone. So, my  second year I went back to college to become an Early Childhood Educator because I have always had a passion for kids. I get SO much support from my friends to pursue this and then maybe they will feel they can talk to me again because I will be working. Ha!  But, I was not really ready for their jealousy.   Good Luck to you in your decision. And carving out a new path has been definitely interesting.         
I'm having some of the same feelings/reactions. I'm 40 and I just retired from the Military. My pension covers everything plus about $800 in spending money and I have enough savings to last me about 20 yrs. I plan on taking some me time but I get bombarded by my friends and family asking me about what am I going to do next. Which makes me second guess myself...am I doing this right? Am I missing something? I try not to tell them how good I'm sitting because they would never understand. I spent the last month with my Family and it was painful to listen to all of the advice. I had a few long drives with my Dad and it was mostly him shooting out idea's for what I can do next. Or how I have enough time to work up two more pensions. Or how I can add more to Social Security.

The other side of this is I'm single. It's very awkward when meeting someone and you're waiting on the moment when they ask "So what do you do for a living". I have come up with a fairly good answer "I'm a budget analyst". She says "with who". I say "I'm an independent contractor, I mostly work from home". 




Joan-eh?

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #15 on: December 10, 2014, 09:36:41 PM »
The reactions of others seem hard to handle. I suspect friendship circles have to change too, when moving from income stream to fixed income. I have a great good of work friends ,but when we go out it costs 50$ Each!  Ouch!  I guess with colleagues it goes against protocols to to to someone's home for a meal or drinks. It's a co-ed group. Not sure if that matters.  It would be sad to loose that.

DollarBill. It seems you keep yourself busy- you only problem with the shift is others reaction?

DollarBill

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #16 on: December 10, 2014, 10:02:48 PM »
Quote
DollarBill. It seems you keep yourself busy- you only problem with the shift is others reaction?
Not really busy...mostly just relaxing. Enjoying the fruit of my labor. But yes others will probably shift me back into work mode. That way I can have a normal outer appearance.   

goodlife

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2014, 10:12:53 PM »
Dear MBL,
I have found that your last two sentences are so true and not usually understood until after one retires!  On the day after retirement, one does not suddenly become someone they weren't 24 hours earlier.  Yet, I think in many ways, most think that their lives, their thoughts, their beliefs, their values, will be different.  That they will magically become another person that they have always wanted to be simply because they become "retired".  But other than a change in schedule each day, many will probably be disappointed to learn that they are, at the core, the same person.

I think this is spot on. I will probably FIRE in 3 years time..at 33...unless I end up liking my job a lot more than I do right now. I do often ask myself what exactly I will be doing with my time then. I have hobbies etc...and I always fantasize how I will cook at least 2 elaborate meals a day and what not...but will I actually end up doing these things? No idea...and only one way to find out. I do enjoy these things now...but I only do them sometimes, not every day...so who knows!

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2014, 10:46:29 PM »
My DW 'retired' when we had our second child 9 years ago.  I suppose the fact that bloggers spin this as 'retired' is why, even with our family being FI, I am quite satisfied with my decision not to 'retire'.  I don't want to be a stay at home parent, but I am really glad that if I get laid off tomorrow we will still lead this really great life we have become accustomed to :)  FI (and having ongoing income that allows diversification into muni bonds, TIPS, and foreign currency (for dream future travel)) - i.e. match liabilities) is pretty much awesome, no complaints.  I also like the idea that I am still building up toward an even better future, even if it is only to be more charitable in my waning years.  I can think of no more noble thing to do each day than to be working at something I mostly enjoy so that more than just myself will be better off for it...

Surprisingly, after 8 glorious years of DW being SAH, she is ready to 'get back out there'.  We'll see what happens, we take every year one at a time.  I secretly hope that she quits her job.  I drop hints all the time, that our home life was better when she had meals ready and cleaned and was more relaxed, but I can't fault her for wanting to try something else.  Sometimes the best thing in life is to have options and to have freedom, and to earn your keep. 

deborah

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2014, 01:06:03 AM »
I think that the life one has built outside of work will determine how well the transition goes at the beginning.
Those that have jobs that require a great deal of time and energy that didn't leave much room for other things might
have a bit more of a challenge
.
I've noticed that those who retired and had already been actively involved in different things did the best at the initial transition.
One of my friends through horses has a farm with 4 horses of their own as well as a few boarders.  He just expanded on the things that he was already doing.  He just had more hours in the day to do them.
Same for those of us who volunteer.  Ratcheting up the time spent is easy.  More time to do more of what I was already doing.

A lot of people say they'll  volunteer and do this and that when they retire because it all sounds so ideal.   For many those things aren't truly what they'd do.
I don't know...I had jobs which required a great deal of time and energy to do (no 9 to 5 with weekends and holidays off and home each evening for me) and one reason FIRE was so attractive to be was because I was unable to do much else other than work. Even personal relationships were difficult, let alone trying to do other activities I was interested in. I sooo longed to do other things on a more intensive way so once retired I was of and running full tilt. I felt like in many ways my working life (which I loved and did by choice) held me back from so many other experiences and challenges that I would am now able to do.
I also had jobs that required a great deal of time and energy. I remember one where someone left, and for the next year I was doing both jobs - and both were more than full time - I did get a lot of overtime that year. But I was also involved in a dance team which had a lot more display work that year than ever before - yet I did both (I don't know how).

DollarBill

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2014, 05:27:10 AM »
Dear MBL,
I have found that your last two sentences are so true and not usually understood until after one retires!  On the day after retirement, one does not suddenly become someone they weren't 24 hours earlier.  Yet, I think in many ways, most think that their lives, their thoughts, their beliefs, their values, will be different.  That they will magically become another person that they have always wanted to be simply because they become "retired".  But other than a change in schedule each day, many will probably be disappointed to learn that they are, at the core, the same person.

I think this is spot on. I will probably FIRE in 3 years time..at 33...unless I end up liking my job a lot more than I do right now. I do often ask myself what exactly I will be doing with my time then. I have hobbies etc...and I always fantasize how I will cook at least 2 elaborate meals a day and what not...but will I actually end up doing these things? No idea...and only one way to find out. I do enjoy these things now...but I only do them sometimes, not every day...so who knows!
I do this now and I feel a big chunk of my time is cooking/cleaning pots and pans...lol. I like trying new dishes. Last week I made a great dish. I julienned zucchini and made pad thai it was amazing and healthy!

DollarBill

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2014, 05:37:17 AM »
Quote
Heretic!!! lol :-). Don't let other's - parents, friends, dates, anyone - tell you what is "normal" behavior. ER can be as normal as anything else in life even if other's don't understand it. If you enjoy not working, then don't cave to societal pressure to do something you don't want to do just for appearance sake. People aren't always going to understand your own personal goals in life and that's OK. Just do what YOU want. It's your life and it's too short to be worried about what others think you should be doing with that life - especially if you end up spending a big part of your life doing things you don't want to do just because some people don't get it. . 
Quote
The bolded above is true but often times you can become a better, more true to yourself version of "you" once you are retired.   Working, even at a beloved job, can often stifle the real you with it's regiment and long hours and adherence to certain protocol, schedules and behavior. Those things can mean you may not be flourishing as "you" as much as you could if given the opportunity and freedom to do so.  The freedom of ER can allow that to happen.
Quote
I don't know...I had jobs which required a great deal of time and energy to do (no 9 to 5 with weekends and holidays off and home each evening for me) and one reason FIRE was so attractive to be was because I was unable to do much else other than work. Even personal relationships were difficult, let alone trying to do other activities I was interested in. I sooo longed to do other things on a more intensive way so once retired I was of and running full tilt. I felt like in many ways my working life (which I loved and did by choice) held me back from so many other experiences and challenges that I would am now able to do.
So very true! But after so many years of being in my cocoon it's going to take some time to get use to my new wings. How do you make them flap? :)

Joan-eh?

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #22 on: December 11, 2014, 02:04:54 PM »
For me, I see  5 pillars of a healthy life : food, fitness, sleep, social network &  meaningful contribution to society.   I have great difficulty accomplishing more that three. of them. I choose healthy food and sleep and meaningful contribution. Would love to fit in the fitness and friends- they go in waves.  If I were to prioritize health, I suppose that the job would go.  Maybe the ideal for me is part time work (but finding a way to really keep it half time)!

mozar

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #23 on: December 11, 2014, 07:03:52 PM »
I try not to post if I'm not the target demographic, but I wanted to say that I'm single, and I recently went on a date with a person who told me they are a millionaire and just waiting until they find a spouse and have kids so they can retire. Swoon! I'm waiting for the next date with bated breath!
You don't have to be that honest DollarBill (although it works for me), but you can determine your dates' views on money and tailor your response.

Cookie78

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2014, 11:09:48 PM »
And they also seem to expect retired me to go back to work too so I can help aid and abet the buying of those shiny things. UGH.

I laughed out loud! Fuuuuuuck that!

Joan-eh?

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #25 on: December 12, 2014, 11:36:12 AM »
Since I think I will be in the minority of this post, I will post. The first 6 months of my retirement was the honeymoon. Loving it, got to do things I didn't get to do while working. Then realizing that all my friends were still working and work creates a BIG conversation topic in life. My friends say they will never be able to retire and I agree with them. Too, I started receiving snarky comments like I was a freeloader! Say what!? which only compounded my crisis of "Who am I?  Now that I don't work? While working and work is only to glad to tell you who you are, where to be, what you have to do, and when you have to do it. So I took an entire year off to just fool around and have fun - I think I at least deserve that!   I joined a writing group, starting reading fiction again, and attended an open art studio. Too, I got tired of doing everything alone. So, my  second year I went back to college to become an Early Childhood Educator because I have always had a passion for kids. I get SO much support from my friends to pursue this and then maybe they will feel they can talk to me again because I will be working. Ha!  But, I was not really ready for their jealousy.   Good Luck to you in your decision. And carving out a new path has been definitely interesting.         
I'm having some of the same feelings/reactions. I'm 40 and I just retired from the Military. My pension covers everything plus about $800 in spending money and I have enough savings to last me about 20 yrs. I plan on taking some me time but I get bombarded by my friends and family asking me about what am I going to do next. Which makes me second guess myself...am I doing this right? Am I missing something? I try not to tell them how good I'm sitting because they would never understand. I spent the last month with my Family and it was painful to listen to all of the advice. I had a few long drives with my Dad and it was mostly him shooting out idea's for what I can do next. Or how I have enough time to work up two more pensions. Or how I can add more to Social Security.

The other side of this is I'm single. It's very awkward when meeting someone and you're waiting on the moment when they ask "So what do you do for a living". I have come up with a fairly good answer "I'm a budget analyst". She says "with who". I say "I'm an independent contractor, I mostly work from home".

You might enjoy the song "crabs in the bucket" by k-os --- or read about crab mentality... Which is "if I can't have it, neither can you!) 

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2014, 02:09:55 PM »
Now I'm hungry for some blue crabs :).

Nords

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #27 on: December 13, 2014, 07:16:58 PM »
Since I think I will be in the minority of this post, I will post. The first 6 months of my retirement was the honeymoon. Loving it, got to do things I didn't get to do while working. Then realizing that all my friends were still working and work creates a BIG conversation topic in life. My friends say they will never be able to retire and I agree with them. Too, I started receiving snarky comments like I was a freeloader! Say what!? which only compounded my crisis of "Who am I?  Now that I don't work? While working and work is only to glad to tell you who you are, where to be, what you have to do, and when you have to do it. So I took an entire year off to just fool around and have fun - I think I at least deserve that!   I joined a writing group, starting reading fiction again, and attended an open art studio. Too, I got tired of doing everything alone. So, my  second year I went back to college to become an Early Childhood Educator because I have always had a passion for kids. I get SO much support from my friends to pursue this and then maybe they will feel they can talk to me again because I will be working. Ha!  But, I was not really ready for their jealousy.   Good Luck to you in your decision. And carving out a new path has been definitely interesting.         
I'm having some of the same feelings/reactions. I'm 40 and I just retired from the Military. My pension covers everything plus about $800 in spending money and I have enough savings to last me about 20 yrs. I plan on taking some me time but I get bombarded by my friends and family asking me about what am I going to do next. Which makes me second guess myself...am I doing this right? Am I missing something? I try not to tell them how good I'm sitting because they would never understand. I spent the last month with my Family and it was painful to listen to all of the advice. I had a few long drives with my Dad and it was mostly him shooting out idea's for what I can do next. Or how I have enough time to work up two more pensions. Or how I can add more to Social Security.
These questions were one of my first posts on Early-Retirement.org about over a decade ago.  The other military veterans said that I was doing fine and should keep having fun!

During your first few months of retirement, it bugs the crap out of people that you're not working or otherwise conforming to their definition of a productive member of society.  After the first couple years, though, the questions start to die out.  They either can see you're happy (and they're happy for you) or they decide that you're chronically unemployable.  The questions never completely go away, but they do settle down.

I think family members are generally just trying to be helpful and make sure that you've thought of everything.  They may also be worried about you eventually asking them for money.

The other side of this is I'm single. It's very awkward when meeting someone and you're waiting on the moment when they ask "So what do you do for a living". I have come up with a fairly good answer "I'm a budget analyst". She says "with who". I say "I'm an independent contractor, I mostly work from home".
This comes up a lot on retirement forums, and it appears to be a perpetual debate with no easy answers. 

Have you tried a phrase like "I'm a retired submariner" or "I'm retired Army"?  I get this question from my readers, and I wish I had a better answer.  This time the person you're meeting might be trying to figure out whether you're a gold digger or someone worth getting to know better.  At some point you could say "I'm taking a few months off to decide what I want to do next with my life, but while I'm thinking about my options there sure is a lot of traveling and exploring to be done!"

http://the-military-guide.com/2011/01/26/forget-about-who-you-were-and-discover-who-you-are/

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #28 on: December 13, 2014, 07:45:27 PM »
Hi Nords, good to see you here.  I have some fears about a market crash that would derail early retirement. If I retire now in late late 40s, it would be near impossible to get my job back in my line of work.  It's almost easier to retire early, early... Because then one would not be too old to re-enter the workplace.

 How to you see surviving market crashes?

Thx!

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #29 on: December 13, 2014, 09:27:57 PM »
Hi Nords, good to see you here.  I have some fears about a market crash that would derail early retirement. If I retire now in late late 40s, it would be near impossible to get my job back in my line of work.  It's almost easier to retire early, early... Because then one would not be too old to re-enter the workplace.

 How to you see surviving market crashes?

Thx!
Thanks for asking the question, Joanie-- as I drafted my answer I realized that I've written a blog post. 

You're right about that early-early retirement concept.  I know several ERs in their 30s (and a couple in their 20s) who are confident that they'll be able to freelance their way to more income if they need to.  But if you can accumulate the assets to retire that early then you'll never go hungry again, and you'll always be producing income through some entrepreneurial side hustle.  I'm lookin' at you, Jim Wang (http://microblogger.com/) and Pat Flynn (SmartPassiveIncome.com).

My spouse and I have been through two market crashes during our ER:  the tech wreck and the Great Recession.  We've been investing since the late 1970s but the retirement recessions felt more painful without a paycheck.  Today, though, we have the experience and confidence born of the crucible.  Another recession wouldn't bother us much, but we might find some great bargains.

Your biggest challenge is dealing with emotions, particularly fear.  The first step is to pick an asset allocation that lets you sleep at night.  Then you can lie in bed reciting the Bogleheads mantra "Stay the course!" until you doze off.  But seriously, watching your portfolio through a recession is a test of mental toughness and stamina.  If you have an asset allocation plan then you can feel as if you're in control (even though you're not), and you can also buy more bargains at the bottom (rebalancing).  The confidence is what keeps you from panicking and selling out at the bottom.

Another defense is reading about asset allocation and investing during recessions.  I started with Dimson & Marsh's "Triumph of the Optimists" and William Bernstein's most excellent "The Four Pillars of Investing".  It probably doesn't matter exactly what books you read about asset allocation as long as you read about recessions and investing until your reaction becomes "Ho-hum, another swing of the pendulum."  Then turn off CNBC, step away from the computer, and go for a long walk.  If you need to pick a book for inspiration then start with the blog's "Recommended Reading" list from the "investing" or "retirement" categories:
http://the-military-guide.com/recommended-reading-books-research-papers-and-articles/

It also helps to post to forums like this one.  You'll see plenty of people buying gold bullion and shotgun shells, but the experienced investors will be watching for their rebalancing criteria to trigger.  You'll also find plenty of reassurance.  Other people hire financial advisors just to have someone to hold their hand and tell them that everything's going to work out fine.

The next challenge is financial:  having the assets to survive a recession.  Most recessions bottom out during the first year and start to recover during the second, so we keep two years' expenses in cash.  We start out in January with 8% of our portfolio in CDs and a money market fund and begin spending it for the expenses that aren't already covered by my pension.  At the end of the first year, if the market is up then we replenish the cash stash from dividends/interest or by selling a few appreciated shares.  If the market is down at the end of the first year then we start cashing in the CDs.  By the end of the second year you might have to contemplate selling equity shares, and they might be off their peak value, but we've never had to sell at a loss.  This post covers the month-by-month excruciating details:
http://the-military-guide.com/2014/02/20/how-should-i-invest-during-retirement/

Every portfolio should include some annuitized income, even if it's "just" Social Security.  When you ER, if you do not have a pension then I strongly recommend putting 20%-25% of your asset allocation in a single-premium index annuity.  If you're reluctant to trust an insurance company (and pay the fees for the longevity insurance) then I'd recommend a low-expense index dividend equity fund.  (We have a portion of our portfolio in the iShares Select Divident ETF DVY.)  During the Great Recession this fund lost a huge chunk of its value, but its dividend payouts only lost about 10%.  Today it's back at its 2007 levels but the dividends have grown faster than inflation (and a lot faster than our personal inflation!).  Other disciplined and diversified dividend investors who held on during recessions (only selling if a company froze or cut its dividend) saw minimal reductions in income. 

The 4% SWR assumes withdrawing 4% during your first year and then boosting withdrawals for inflation every year afterward, but that's just "easy" for a computer to simulate.  No human actually robotically follows that system.  Investor behavioral psychology says that we tend to spend more during bull markets (wealth effect) and cut back during recessions.  If you find yourself tempted to boost your spending during a bull market, then at the end of the year you could try to raise your cash asset allocation to 9-10% to give you a little more buffer during the next contraction.  You will also spend less during a recession, so your two years' cash will probably stretch to 2.5 years or even longer.

In "Work Less, Live More", Bob Clyatt pioneered the 4%/95% SWR.  (You can probably find WLLM at a library.)  Bob's system withdraws 4% of your portfolio value every year, no matter what that value may be.  No inflation adjustments, and this 4%-every-year works great during bull markets.  However if the portfolio drops during a recession, you'd end up taking a huge spending cut.  That's where the 95% comes in-- if the market is down at the end of the year and next year's withdrawal would be less than 95% of last year's withdrawal, then just limit your cutback to 95% of the previous year's withdrawal.  That means you might end up withdrawing 5%-6% of your portfolio for a couple years, but eventually the market will recover and your portfolio will rebuild.  Bob paid a financial analyst firm quite a bit of money to run the simulations, and he treats his own portfolio this way. 

Bob's "Armageddon" solution is to find a temporary job-- even if it's greeting Wal-Mart shoppers or running errands on TaskRabbit.  However since writing WLLM he's rekindled his passion for sculpture and he's now one of NYC's leading artists:  ClyattSculpture.com.  When you're in ER you'll probably find your own passion or at least a paying hobby, and that will also help you feel more productive and confident during recessions. Mine is writing & blogging, and I could pull in at least $25K/year by working 3-5 mornings a week.  My cousin has confirmed my estimate with her blog, and FinCon is filled with hundreds of entrepreneurs doing at least that well.

Statistically, your fears of a market crash may be baseless.  Here's the crux of the 4% SWR:  19 times out of 20, you end up with way more money than you need.  Since we're all (mostly) human, everybody immediately zooms in on the 1 out of 20 with laser-keen focus and starts trying to reduce that to "0 out of 20" by various schemes like "just one more year" or the 3% SWR or living off only their dividends.  However the fastest way to plug that 1 out of 20 failure is with some annuitized income from a SPIA or dividends, and then the other 19 situations will take care of themselves.

Nords

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #30 on: December 14, 2014, 10:26:04 AM »
I really don't have any suggestions except to say to be honest. Like Nords suggested, just say you recently retired from the military and can live off your pension so may not go back to work ever. That covers the basic info of how you were able to retire early, how you support yourself in ER, as well as that you may not be planning to go back to work again (that'll keep the gold diggers away :-)!).  Then you'll only have to deal with the "what do you do all day" kind of questions - which surprisingly seems to bother people more than the money stuff as many people can't seem to imagine a life without a job to take up most of their free time.
Upon further reflection, when I'm surfing or at taekwondo almost nobody has ever asked "What do you do?" or even "Whaddya DO all day?!?" 

Maybe the key is meeting people at classes and recreation, where they get to know you in a context not related to work...

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #31 on: December 14, 2014, 10:56:48 AM »
I am finding peace with Nord's idea above on having 2 years' needs in "cash" (or cash-like vehicles). I think this gives me more confidence about the crash that will come.  Thank you for this gem-like advice!

Nords: You said it was hard through those crashes - emotional/fear or actually "suffering" - had to move? Food scarcity? 
What did you learn from it, what have you don't differently to prepare for the next one?

Further: I don't spend much really because I don't have many wants - BUT I've never not been able to buy something I've wanted. This would be an adjustment, I suspect - any comments?

Nords

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #32 on: December 14, 2014, 06:57:14 PM »
I am finding peace with Nord's idea above on having 2 years' needs in "cash" (or cash-like vehicles). I think this gives me more confidence about the crash that will come.  Thank you for this gem-like advice!

Nords: You said it was hard through those crashes - emotional/fear or actually "suffering" - had to move? Food scarcity? 
What did you learn from it, what have you don't differently to prepare for the next one?

Further: I don't spend much really because I don't have many wants - BUT I've never not been able to buy something I've wanted. This would be an adjustment, I suspect - any comments?
Heh.  For the last 12 years, the only suffering around Hale Nords has been self-imposed and not financial.  We have our dream house, more food than we should eat, and we're empty nesters.  Life is good. We can buy what we want, yet we're not spending it fast enough because apparently there's just not enough material values in the world.  Maybe someday I'll buy a NetJets share, but it's still more fun to fly military Space A.

"Painful without a paycheck" refers to watching your unrealized capital gains evaporate without being able to do anything with it.  When we were earning paychecks then we would have gleefully dollar-cost-averaged into more investments all the way down and all the way back up.  In retirement, though, you don't keep much "dry powder" and you're reluctant to commit those scarce funds to a dubious market-timing opportunity.  What if it's a three-year bear market, not just two years?

Intellectually we know that we should have a high-equity portfolio because our military pension is the equivalent of I bonds.  Converting my lifetime pension income to its present value means that our net worth is something like 90% in bonds & real estate, so our TSP/IRAs/taxable accounts really didn't have any effect on our life.  But it was still painful to watch those accounts lose 50% (peak to trough) and not be able to do much with it.  Selling would have just locked in the losses.

Financially, keeping two years of cash allows you to largely insulate yourself from market volatility.  10 years of cash might seem even better, but you'd reduce your overall portfolio returns and probably risk losing ground to inflation.  Bernstein's "Four Pillars" book makes this point with a portfolio that's 80% equities and 20% bonds, but I think 90% equities and 10% cash achieves the same result. 

We spent years deciding on our asset allocation, and after going through two recessions with it we've become comfortable with it.  That intellectual understanding is supposed to overcome the investor's behavioral psychology emotional discomfort at having to endure the market volatility.  "Don't do something, just stand there."  Both times our accounts have recovered, and they keep going up. 

By the way, I wouldn't characterize the future as a "crash".  I'm not even sure there's going to be one during the rest of this decade.  The stock market might drop 10%-25% at some point during the next five years, but if I was saving for financial independence then I'd just keep dollar-cost-averaging into it.  In retirement I'll simply rebalance when our portfolio reaches its triggers, and otherwise not worry about it.  We only rebalance once every 2-3 years, and lately I'm beginning to think that we should just let our allocation to Berkshire Hathaway run wild.  I'm not sure that stock could ever be overvalued, even after Buffett & Munger step down.

If there is a recession then we're ready to deal with it.  The last recession did have some impressive discounts on travel and lodging... especially Asia and interisland cruises.

Joan-eh?

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #33 on: December 14, 2014, 07:36:29 PM »
I will check out the readings you have suggested - I have looked at the military guide before, maybe time for a revisit.

In return, all i can say is that Warren says his only mistake was buying airplanes. He says "never buy planes" as they are only for the ego and always lose money :-)

Best,
Joan

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #34 on: December 15, 2014, 06:30:37 AM »
Thanks Casserole55! Was it because you realized you had the savings / reduced expenses that made you decide?  Or something else?  What was your process? How did/are you navigating the emotional roller coaster? (You've hit the nail on the head, there, I think!) what were your worries, if you don't mind me asking?

Part of your solution looks to be a phased/staged leaving, non?

Please excuse my delayed reply, Joanie! After reading lots of MMM posts we realized that everything was in place. We have more than 25 times annual expenses invested, plus my husband and I both have part time jobs as singers/musicians. He has a 3-year-old voice studio that is now bringing in some decent income, and we both sing in churches. This is work we adore. It will probably grow once I leave my full time job. And doing a little bit of my old job from home will be a nice little bonus that was not planned for. I always assumed that I would have to work to provide health care benefits, but ACA takes care of that. We have one child who is in college, but because he receives merit scholarships and is a resident advisor, his college is practically free. We had saved enough to pay for 4 years at an in-state university, but we're spending way less.

The emotional rollercoaster at work was due to the tiered announcements of my resignation. First I told my boss, then I had to tell my "other boss" in the parent company. Then I told my staff (hardest), then my fellow managers, then all staff, then my volunteers (I work for a non-profit.) It was a bit odd that I ended up doing all the announcing. I've worked for this organization for 10 years. It is like a family, albeit sometimes highly dysfunctional.

Joan-eh?

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #35 on: December 15, 2014, 07:36:36 AM »
Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences, Casserole55.  I smile when I hear people retire, then they start throwing themselves into the work they love. :-) I believe rewarding work is a part of our mental health, so what you are doing makes sense.

Our baby step here in this home is for hubby to "retire" from the 9-5 job and expand his part time work in the arts. It seems self-directed/part time work is the answer for early retires who are also empty nesters.  I think we'd go mad, otherwise. AND it provides comfort financially. I'll have to get my head around this.

It's almost dec 31! Congratulations!

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #36 on: December 15, 2014, 04:18:30 PM »
A much bigger deal than I suspected.

I know your aware of my many months of ramblings in the link below..:)

Frank

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #37 on: December 15, 2014, 06:23:39 PM »
I retired at age 58 but became bored after 6 months.  However, now I am really happy because I do very p.t.consulting work in my prior field & also teach a college class online.  This has been so much fun! I have found just the right balance between work & play.  Last week I had to be out all day at certain times, etc & I hated it.  It mostly was not work demands but taking friends to doc appts, etc.  Anyways it showed me that I do not ever want to be super busy like I was when I worked f.t.  I love not being rushed, taking my dog for a nice long walk in the afternoon. If I meet a fellow dog walker we can stop & talk -no need to rush off because I have so many other things to do.  I think everyone will find their ideal balance if they listen to their soul.

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #38 on: December 15, 2014, 07:42:34 PM »
I'm FI right now using the 4% rule.

As Nords pointed out, most people who hit FI in this way immediately try to plug the 1/20 (5%) fail chance.  I'm planning on doing this by downsizing in 2015.  This brings me under 3% on spend and makes the money questions absolutely disappear for me:  I am not worried about the financial aspects of FI at all anymore.

With the finances out of the way, you'd think that I'd be completely ready to just pull the trigger on employment.

Unfortunately, you'd be wrong.  I've unexpectedly run into what I think of as 'quit guilt'

Thing is, I've been very very happy to leave jobs in my past -- jobs with crappy managers or too much work or an intolerable function.  But not this one.  Things are OK.

Let me be clear:  I'm not one of these sappy people who professes to love their job.  I don't.  The function is, as I mentioned, just OK.  Sometimes boring, sometimes interesting, sometimes aggravating, mostly just fine.

But many of my prior jobs have been so intolerable that having a 'just ok' job feels almost incredible by comparison -- even though I've already been there 3 years and the honeymoon is most assuredly over. 

Summary:  I suddenly feel loyal to my employer.  Leaving them feels like a betrayal of sorts.

They've spent money to provide training on a few technologies that they need me to support that I didn't already know coming in.  Also, my manager has actually told me -- and I wish this weren't true, it feels disgustingly congratulatory and I feel really awkward about this -- but he told me that the perception of his entire team has changed since I've come on-board 3 years ago.  The team used to be viewed as surly and difficult, and now people like to work with us.  (I'm more or less the face of the team nowadays, engaging other teams to gauge requirements i.e. figure out what they need and make sure technical things get done correctly on the first pass -- I'm in IT.)

So based on the nice things my manager has said, multiple times, always with a pathetically earnest expression plastered on his face, I think he's going to be devastated when I give my notice.  I don't have a huge ego, I don't think anyways, and I know that they'll live without me after all, no one is irreplaceable but still, this knowledge does nothing to mitigate the guilt I feel when I think about leaving. 

I'm going to quit anyways, don't get me wrong -- April 1, 2015, I'll be turning in my notice.  I need to do it for me -- I've had enough of my industry and everything else -- there's just about zero satisfaction out of going into work every day and, what's more, I'm really looking forward to starting my next life. 

But still, I recognize that they (my employer) put a lot of time and money into training me and they depend on me in certain ways and now I'm just going to, well, poof.  Disappear.  Pop smoke.

The bottom line is something I could not have predicted:  Like I said, I have quit guilt.  The thought of leaving them makes me feel bad, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the pay or benefits.

This doesn't mean I want to stay.  Hell no.  I'm impatient to move on.  It's just something I'm working through and I figured I'd share.

Nords

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #39 on: December 15, 2014, 08:00:55 PM »
Summary:  I suddenly feel loyal to my employer.  Leaving them feels like a betrayal of sorts.
This doesn't mean I want to stay.  Hell no.  I'm impatient to move on.  It's just something I'm working through and I figured I'd share.
Maybe it's Stockholm Syndrome?  Because, after all, every major corporation knows that headcount is fungible...

The military invests hundreds of thousands of dollars (sometimes millions of dollars) training its servicemembers to perform for as little as a couple of years.  Some of the training persists for 20-40 years, but it's still a huge expense with no profit incentive.  Yet despite the rapid turnover, somehow the average skill level persists and even improves.

Sure, your corporation has invested a lot of training in you.  But perhaps you've already paid back the cost and given them their ROI. 

I guess the only way to test your guilt hypothesis would be to return to the office after six months to see whether you still feel guilty... or not. 

By the way, turning in a notice on 1 April might be interpreted as an April Fools prank... if everyone is laughing, though, maybe you'd feel less guilty?

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #40 on: December 15, 2014, 08:01:13 PM »
Unfortunately, you'd be wrong.  I've unexpectedly run into what I think of as 'quit guilt'


I'm finding that this is the only barrier that remains for me. I've been with my employer for nearly 20 years (since I left school). I've grown up in that time and got to enjoy a couple of different 'lives' while I was in their employ. They've been good to me and overall I have enjoyed my time with them. I feel a great sense of loyalty.

On the other hand, I have many, many other lives to lead before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

If I started hating the job, it would make it much easier to just go. As it happens, I take up a promotion next year and I'm not particularly passionate about the work I'll be doing. Perhaps 2015 will provide me with an obvious turning point that makes it easier to leave.

Joan-eh?

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #41 on: December 15, 2014, 08:03:09 PM »
Hi Dr doom!
Thanks for a great new term for the MMM dictionary!

My friends who have retired are surprised that no one stays in touch with them after working together for 20 years! It solved their quit guilt rather quickly. 

2015 is just around the corner! :-)

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #42 on: December 16, 2014, 07:00:51 AM »
...Maybe it's Stockholm Syndrome?  Because, after all, every major corporation knows that headcount is fungible...

..But perhaps you've already paid back the cost and given them their ROI. 

..I guess the only way to test your guilt hypothesis would be to return to the office after six months to see whether you still feel guilty... or not. 
Good points, all of them - thanks.

I chose April 1st because my 401(K) contribs will be frontloaded and maxed after 3 months of 2015.  The fact that it happens to be April Fool's Day is really just a fortunate coincidence.   Also, my birthday's on April 17th and I'm hoping for the 16th to be my last day so I can officially and accurately say I went on permanent sabbatical (AKA ER) before turning 38.  I do hope that they give me a minimum of hassle.  The Mad FIentist tried to leave a few months ago and his employer balked, instead offering vastly improved terms which he ultimately couldn't turn down.  There are virtually no terms that would make me stay at this point, though, unless they can drum up an X-Wing to use for my commute and occasional pleasure trips through outer space.

Everything else feels "right" about leaving, and I agree with you -- I think 6 months after my departure, there's very little chance I'll still be thinking about work or guilt or anything other than my new life.  (I'm not normally a guilt-driven person, which is why this experience feels so unexpected.  I'm more of a rational type: research, collect data, analyze data, select best option, execute plan, move on with life.  Emotions?  What are those things again?)

I will add that I'm currently working in academia (rather than a MegaCorp.)  This is, no doubt, part of the reason the decision feels a little tougher.  It's not a faceless and inscrutable entity.  I also have a team-oriented and social work-style because I think that it's easier to tough out the grind when you make friends and dedicate yourself to your job.  This is all well and good while you're actually working, but has turned out to be a negative now that I'm anticipating cutting the cord because I find that I, like, sort of care about my captors.
..
On the other hand, I have many, many other lives to lead before I shuffle off this mortal coil.
..
Perhaps 2015 will provide me with an obvious turning point that makes it easier to leave.

Right - that's my primary motivation to leave, too.  It's simply time to do something else with my energy.
This is, without a doubt, the only time in my career I've ever wished for a bad manager.  If I could have my current guy swapped out with an intolerable jerkbag, it'd be, as you say, an "obvious turning point."

Bye bye, internal conflict, hello pure satisfaction.


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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #43 on: December 16, 2014, 12:48:18 PM »
I am finding peace with Nord's idea above on having 2 years' needs in "cash" (or cash-like vehicles). I think this gives me more confidence about the crash that will come.  Thank you for this gem-like advice!

Nords is full of good advice! And I'm glad he's reliably here to deliver "face punches" over OMY syndrome, since we tend to get a lot of that.

I'd like to also reiterate one other thing he said that I find to be very important to providing the confidence you're talking about, in addition to keeping two years' worth of expenses on hand: Annualized income (or an annuity). I see that as a really valuable approach to getting over fears about quitting. Knowing that no matter what, your basic needs will be covered, should give all of us the confidence to take that last step. It may not be completely optimal in terms of maximizing investment returns, but I think covering those basic expenses through a guaranteed income stream is an excellent approach that takes much of the worry out of ER and helps you avoid acting on emotion during (inevitable) market downturns.

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #44 on: December 16, 2014, 01:33:42 PM »
Also, my birthday's on April 17th and I'm hoping for the 16th to be my last day so I can officially and accurately say I went on permanent sabbatical (AKA ER) before turning 38. 

Dr Doom, Totally off topic, but we are exactly the same age. I'm 38 on the 17th April next year!

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #45 on: December 16, 2014, 01:54:05 PM »

[ lots of stuff here I relate to ... removed for brevity ]


I totally relate to this.   I'm sort of in this turmoil myself.

I'm FI by 4% as well.  For a while I've discussed my intentions with my immediate manager.  It is no surprise.  We even discussed how much notice he'd want for a reasonable transition.  (6 months, btw).  I recently gave him the heads up.  The countdown starts now.

I'm a little surprised at the feelings.  After all, this has been a goal of mine for probably 15 years. 

Add to that the most recent news:  The most senior vp has basically said "give him whatever he wants."  It was an odd place to be in.  "What I want" is to be RE. 

I'll admit: deep down I totally am a whore.  There is some number, somewhere that certainly would get me to stay for some amount of time.  And while I think I am somewhat underpaid based on previous salaries... the number they'd have to hit for me to stay another year is way more than I'm worth -- and way more than they'd consider.  I'm a whore.  But I'm an expensive whore.

So I'm both experiencing "quit guilt" ... and a little bit of misplaced "if you think I'm worth so much, why weren't you paying me more".  Neither of these is productive.

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #46 on: December 16, 2014, 05:43:45 PM »
I was looking through the money/financial section and stumbled up Bob Clyatt's book "work less, live more." All the books focus on the financial aspect but this book gave a good picture of the psychological aspects of being FI. Hope this helps.

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #47 on: December 16, 2014, 09:03:16 PM »
Dr Doom, Totally off topic, but we are exactly the same age. I'm 38 on the 17th April next year!

Very cool, you're the first I've met to share my birth date. 

@LLCoolDate, I spent most of this afternoon reading "Work Less, Live More."  It's quite good, actually -- probably a quarter of it is devoted to how people choose to live their lives post-RE.  It basically lists all sorts of activities and semi-vocations that people might choose to get involved in after leaving the standard 40+ hour a week work grind -- and most interestingly, it seems to focus on the idea of semi-retirement rather than full retirement. The author puts an emphasis on every individual's need to stay busy and connected in the world, and makes many suggestions as to how one can continue to feel plugged into life without working full time.   There are lots of examples of real-world folks that retired early which give readers some good starting-point ideas.  A few I can remember off of the top of my head:  Getting involved in local government, school boards, teaching night classes, becoming a fitness instructor/trainer, dog walker, activist for cause of your choice, working for non-profits, etc.  The author also says the first 6-12 months after ER are the most challenging because you'll likely be decompressing/detoxing from your job while simultaneously trying to pull together all of the answers to the 'what comes next' question.

The financial content is very standard (4% rule, the importance of savings rate to build a stash, etc.) -- but that being said, it's very decent and jibes with most of the advice given by knowledgeable folks on this board (index investing, staying the course, choosing a good AA, going with low-fee providers like Vanguard, etc.) 

Anyways, don't want to turn this thread into a full-on book review or anything, but Joanie, definitely there are some good sections to read if you're close to the end of your journey and you're looking for ideas.  t's also well written and easy to read.

@Spork, thanks for your post.  It's nice to know I'm not the only one going through this.  I'm a ho, too, if it makes you feel any better.  Most of us have our price, in the end. If my job doubled my salary and let me work from home 4/5 days a week -- all while not increasing my workload in the slightest -- I'd probably agree to stay on another year.  But I think that's going to be out of the range of possibility, and by a significant amount.

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #48 on: December 16, 2014, 09:17:08 PM »

[ lots of stuff here I relate to ... removed for brevity ]


I totally relate to this.   I'm sort of in this turmoil myself.

I'm FI by 4% as well.  For a while I've discussed my intentions with my immediate manager.  It is no surprise.  We even discussed how much notice he'd want for a reasonable transition.  (6 months, btw).  I recently gave him the heads up.  The countdown starts now.

I'm a little surprised at the feelings.  After all, this has been a goal of mine for probably 15 years. 

Add to that the most recent news:  The most senior vp has basically said "give him whatever he wants."  It was an odd place to be in.  "What I want" is to be RE. 

I'll admit: deep down I totally am a whore.  There is some number, somewhere that certainly would get me to stay for some amount of time.  And while I think I am somewhat underpaid based on previous salaries... the number they'd have to hit for me to stay another year is way more than I'm worth -- and way more than they'd consider.  I'm a whore.  But I'm an expensive whore.

So I'm both experiencing "quit guilt" ... and a little bit of misplaced "if you think I'm worth so much, why weren't you paying me more".  Neither of these is productive.

Yeah I'm a bit of a tart too.. I'm way beyond FI with a SWR of about 2.6%.. Not touching the stash cus My wife is still working and now I have a part time job.. The job pays very well.. The more it pays, the more hours I get (especially overtime at 1.5*) the more I like counting the money.. Its kind of a game.

but its a game I enjoy... I don't mean fraud or claiming for anything more than I work, but more hours = more money= more fun..

Frank

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Re: Psychological journey of leaving work - if already FI
« Reply #49 on: December 16, 2014, 09:52:17 PM »
@LLCoolDate, I spent most of this afternoon reading "Work Less, Live More."  It's quite good, actually -- probably a quarter of it is devoted to how people choose to live their lives post-RE.  It basically lists all sorts of activities and semi-vocations that people might choose to get involved in after leaving the standard 40+ hour a week work grind -- and most interestingly, it seems to focus on the idea of semi-retirement rather than full retirement. The author puts an emphasis on every individual's need to stay busy and connected in the world, and makes many suggestions as to how one can continue to feel plugged into life without working full time.   There are lots of examples of real-world folks that retired early which give readers some good starting-point ideas.  A few I can remember off of the top of my head:  Getting involved in local government, school boards, teaching night classes, becoming a fitness instructor/trainer, dog walker, activist for cause of your choice, working for non-profits, etc.  The author also says the first 6-12 months after ER are the most challenging because you'll likely be decompressing/detoxing from your job while simultaneously trying to pull together all of the answers to the 'what comes next' question.

The financial content is very standard (4% rule, the importance of savings rate to build a stash, etc.) -- but that being said, it's very decent and jibes with most of the advice given by knowledgeable folks on this board (index investing, staying the course, choosing a good AA, going with low-fee providers like Vanguard, etc.) 

Anyways, don't want to turn this thread into a full-on book review or anything, but Joanie, definitely there are some good sections to read if you're close to the end of your journey and you're looking for ideas.  t's also well written and easy to read.
Bob was a '90s startup entrepreneur and I think he also worked a stint at Reuters.  He wrote the book with the feedback of posters on Early-Retirement.org.  Nolo Press seemed like a natural publisher choice at the time since their co-founder had published a book called "Get A Life:  You Don't Need A Million To Retire Well."  However one of the big debates on E-R.org forum came when Bob's editor gave him a lot of pushback on "What happens to the global economy if everyone retires early?!?"  It turned out that his editor was skeptical of the whole ER "fad" and was more than a little concerned about a legal publisher advising people to drop out of their careers before the traditional retirement age. 

When Bob published the second edition it became "Semi-Retirement", which apparently didn't resonate well with any prospective readers.  The workbook is good but Nolo's founders sold the company and the new owners don't seem interested in the book. 

Bob is much happier working on his sculpture!