Author Topic: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am  (Read 6655 times)

epower

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The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« on: August 31, 2017, 04:15:38 PM »
I find when I'm reading this forum, checking early retirement blogs, fantasising about being retired early, I'm actually rather miserable.

I'm miserable because all I do at work is dread being here and dream of not working. All I do on my weekends is imagine if everyday was like this. It actually causes me to get rather down and depressed about life in general.

Compare this to stopping reading all blogs early retirement, not reading this forum much if at all and generally trying to just get really great at my job and enjoy the small things throughout the day I'm generally much much happier. I'm still saving the same percentage of my income and the FIRE date doesn't really change, but I find my mood swings so much from constantly thinking about early retirement to not thinking about it so much.

Anyone else the same?

Optimiser

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2017, 04:27:00 PM »
I'm been feeling the same way lately too. I'm trying to find a balance of staying motivated without feeling depressed that I have so far to go.

life_travel

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2017, 10:29:30 PM »
Yes I feel it too, while I love the community here of like minded people , reading MMM is sort of ... addictive ... To the detriment of other things .
Also I feel that re- running our numbers , I just secretly wish that I magically "find" shorter way to FIRE. And then I realize there is not :(




kjulez_83

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2017, 12:24:09 AM »
Yes, pretty much exactly as you have described. At the moment I am trying to avoid going on the forum on my computer and only look at the interesting notifications that pop up on my phone from time to time.

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TartanTallulah

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2017, 05:40:01 AM »
The cause and effect is the other way round for me. The unhappier I am at work, the more I think about early retirement. When I was clearing out my desk drawers a couple of years ago, I found some things I'd printed out at the age of 47 about switching from my career to something different, and at 51, prior to crashing with occupational burnout, I asked for the numbers for what my occupational pension would be worth if I took it then. But I had more than a year afterwards where early retirement was just something hanging around in the background as a safety net rather than a preoccupation and I wouldn't have spent any time reading and thinking about it.

Dicey

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2017, 05:56:36 AM »
...Anyone else the same?
It doesn't matter if you're the only one who feels that way. You should honor your feelings and do what works for you. There are a million ways to FIRE. Hell, people managed to achieve it long before PF blogs or even the internet existed. People used to have to wait for paper statements to arrive monthly or quarterly to learn what their account balances were.

That's why dead people apparently make better investors. They can't look at their balances and they can't make changes.

Case

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2017, 07:27:47 AM »
I find when I'm reading this forum, checking early retirement blogs, fantasising about being retired early, I'm actually rather miserable.

I'm miserable because all I do at work is dread being here and dream of not working. All I do on my weekends is imagine if everyday was like this. It actually causes me to get rather down and depressed about life in general.

Compare this to stopping reading all blogs early retirement, not reading this forum much if at all and generally trying to just get really great at my job and enjoy the small things throughout the day I'm generally much much happier. I'm still saving the same percentage of my income and the FIRE date doesn't really change, but I find my mood swings so much from constantly thinking about early retirement to not thinking about it so much.

Anyone else the same?

Not terribly uncommon.
Unless you are here for social reasons, you should mostly view this forum (or blogs) as a means of obtaining information to reach your objective (or help people reach theirs).  Get what you need, then act on it.  Stewing on things will not get you there any faster.
Also, roaming around forums in of itself will not bring happiness; find things in your life that will.  Do you dreaming of retiring so that you can surf the MMM forum all day?  I think not.

Schaefer Light

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2017, 09:59:01 AM »
Also, roaming around forums in of itself will not bring happiness; find things in your life that will.  Do you dreaming of retiring so that you can surf the MMM forum all day?  I think not.

I dream of playing golf or boating, but I can't do those things while I'm stuck in the office.  So here I surf ;).

robartsd

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2017, 10:25:42 AM »
I sometimes feel the same way sometimes. Usually triggered by seeing a case study of someone about half my age and twice my income, or some FIRE story where the portfolio has ballooned past twice what I'd need for FI.

I like the general discussions on many topics here, learing from the DIY forum, and investigations into retirement withdraw strategies that could help me set a target withdraw rate > 4%. I've been very interested in SWR threads and expect to have a significant portion (25%+) of my retirement funded by a pension with COLA, so I'd like to target a 5% withdraw rate from my investements, but haven't figured out the rules for reducing that withdraw rate that should keep the portfolio safe. I don't frequently find new ideas that I could implement to save money (not that I don't have ways to cut spending, just that I struggle to get DW on board with the ideas I'm already aware of). I do like providing encouragement for others (espcially for cycling - cycling is how I found MMM).

soccerluvof4

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2017, 02:44:19 PM »
Before I fire'd there was a time I felt that way as well as I always felt like shit listening to the local news or stressed watching squawk box all the time. Do it a lot less and problem solved. ! Like someone before me said. Listen to your feelings!

FIreSurfer

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2017, 03:54:05 PM »
Feeling the same today too...esp as I am slated to work through the labor day weekend......

I'm pretty sure there is a whole MMM (or someone else?) article about the limbo feeling that one gets once you've reassessed, juggled all your finances, tweaked everything to maximum frugality, convinced your significant other to get on board, figured out your FIRE date, more or less, and then.....
Then our prospective FIRE-r (?) just watches the numbers, and even though to your average Joe they are probably growing at an eye-popping rate, to our fair saver it just seems like forever, watched pot, etc.....and the daily grind DOES get harder.  I feel like the writer of the article even coined a little term like "saving ennui" or compounding doldrums" or what have you.   It's like the honeymoon is over and the adrenaline wore off and now......you have nothing to do except not buy coffee at Starbucks and read this blog for 5 years......until.....it all becomes about the until.....

I don't really have an answer either, that is exactly how I am feeling today as well. I think the OP has the right idea.  Use this forum for information gathering, community, and support, but don't let it become a crutch.  Get out and smell the roses!......unless you are stuck inside a midtown office building 15 hours a day.....


Retire-Canada

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2017, 06:47:59 PM »
Anyone else the same?

No but after reading the blog and then the forums for a while you have all the tools you need to be successful at FIRE. Staying on the forums is mostly about having a social support group after a while. So if you are finding the negatives outweigh the benefits by all means ditch this site for a while or forever.

Although be careful some members have announced their departures in BOLD statements several times and they are still here so it can be harder to leave than it seems. ;)

FI4good

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2017, 07:17:47 PM »
I found focusing on what i don't have or can't have leads to me feeling miserable,

I like to focus on what i do have or what i could choose have, in recovery circles we talk about the idea of an attitude of gratitude and counting our blessings. physically writing them down, dwelling on them and acknowledging them.

I could sit on my pity pot and tell you my story of woe about alcoholism , how i missed 100's of opportunities of being very rich and missed out on the ideal partner, lover, life or health.

Here today i live in a great home , i live in a wealth of abundance in the 6th richest country in the world , i'm able to invest in a plethora of financial instruments , i'm able to dial a pizza , find out suff on the internet for free , i know if i maintain my course of moderate living i'll never have to worry about money ever again, which is extremely liberating. i look after a beautiful cuddly cat and have a lovely partner . I have a couple of glorious paintings on the wall by an artist who's work i love, i drive a 43 year old car that i'll never get rid of that i wanted when i was 4. 

Try it , find glory in your life :) what have you got to loose ?

calimom

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2017, 10:19:13 PM »
I found focusing on what i don't have or can't have leads to me feeling miserable,

I like to focus on what i do have or what i could choose have, in recovery circles we talk about the idea of an attitude of gratitude and counting our blessings. physically writing them down, dwelling on them and acknowledging them.

I could sit on my pity pot and tell you my story of woe about alcoholism , how i missed 100's of opportunities of being very rich and missed out on the ideal partner, lover, life or health.

Here today i live in a great home , i live in a wealth of abundance in the 6th richest country in the world , i'm able to invest in a plethora of financial instruments , i'm able to dial a pizza , find out suff on the internet for free , i know if i maintain my course of moderate living i'll never have to worry about money ever again, which is extremely liberating. i look after a beautiful cuddly cat and have a lovely partner . I have a couple of glorious paintings on the wall by an artist who's work i love, i drive a 43 year old car that i'll never get rid of that i wanted when i was 4. 

Try it , find glory in your life :) what have you got to loose ?

I so love this post :) Don't whine, don't complain, find the beauty in your everyday. Yes.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2017, 04:18:39 AM »
I found focusing on what i don't have or can't have leads to me feeling miserable,

I like to focus on what i do have or what i could choose have, in recovery circles we talk about the idea of an attitude of gratitude and counting our blessings. physically writing them down, dwelling on them and acknowledging them.

I could sit on my pity pot and tell you my story of woe about alcoholism , how i missed 100's of opportunities of being very rich and missed out on the ideal partner, lover, life or health.

Here today i live in a great home , i live in a wealth of abundance in the 6th richest country in the world , i'm able to invest in a plethora of financial instruments , i'm able to dial a pizza , find out suff on the internet for free , i know if i maintain my course of moderate living i'll never have to worry about money ever again, which is extremely liberating. i look after a beautiful cuddly cat and have a lovely partner . I have a couple of glorious paintings on the wall by an artist who's work i love, i drive a 43 year old car that i'll never get rid of that i wanted when i was 4. 

Try it , find glory in your life :) what have you got to loose ?

I so love this post :) Don't whine, don't complain, find the beauty in your everyday. Yes.

+1 I was going to say something similar, in a much less elegant way.

I think the whole MMM philosophy is about finding out what really matters to you, and living your life according to those principles. It preaches finding joy in the simple things, and making your life more content.

It's all about framing your life in a positive way, and making the best of each day. Personally, I am enjoying these 4 years watching my balances grow, and enjoying life; i know what I like doing, and what delights me, so I do more of them. A bit of stoicism helps with reality, as we all have to do things we'd rather not, but that is life.

wenchsenior

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2017, 09:04:54 AM »
I found focusing on what i don't have or can't have leads to me feeling miserable,

I like to focus on what i do have or what i could choose have, in recovery circles we talk about the idea of an attitude of gratitude and counting our blessings. physically writing them down, dwelling on them and acknowledging them.

I could sit on my pity pot and tell you my story of woe about alcoholism , how i missed 100's of opportunities of being very rich and missed out on the ideal partner, lover, life or health.

Here today i live in a great home , i live in a wealth of abundance in the 6th richest country in the world , i'm able to invest in a plethora of financial instruments , i'm able to dial a pizza , find out suff on the internet for free , i know if i maintain my course of moderate living i'll never have to worry about money ever again, which is extremely liberating. i look after a beautiful cuddly cat and have a lovely partner . I have a couple of glorious paintings on the wall by an artist who's work i love, i drive a 43 year old car that i'll never get rid of that i wanted when i was 4. 

Try it , find glory in your life :) what have you got to loose ?

Great post, thanks!

Maenad

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2017, 10:20:28 AM »
I too have discovered recently that the more time I spend thinking about how I'm not where I want to be (financially, health-wise, etc.), the less happy I am.

I honestly try to start every day giving myself kudos for the accomplishments I have. I've been reframing the issue as "building off of my past and current successes" rather than "fixing these things I've messed up", and it's helping a lot so far.

We also got two cats 6 months ago after going without for a couple years after our last cat died, and they're so playful and awesome, that they bring me joy every day. Pets can be great for that. :-)

Rimu05

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2017, 04:34:30 PM »
I am so glad someone posted this but I also feel misery too. I also can't help but always think about money. No matter what I buy, I can't help but reflect on it.

JayKay

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2017, 09:44:18 AM »
I know the feeling too.  I'm not sure why I come here, it sometimes seems like it's only to find case studies to beat myself up with.

But, I find that if I spend too much time online on anything, it gets to me.  I have to start looking for better hobbies, I think.

jeromedawg

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2017, 09:46:51 AM »
Yea, I can only get so much of a fill of FI-talk before I have to fast from it for a while. Dreaming of FI can become a consuming obsession - for some that might be the motivation to get to it faster, but I would argue that for most people that's just not a reality.

Classical_Liberal

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2017, 10:17:40 AM »
I think the whole idea of FI/FIRE comes in stages.  It's easiest to get into the depression mode once someone gets their financial shit together.  Finally, an end is in sight, one that had never been possible before... It just seems soo far away.  This is stage hits hard on folks who tend to dislike their job (ie me lately).

As other posters have eluded, there is much more to an FI mindset than the financial. Once debt free and living on a fraction of ones income, opportunities abound. Save a few (or a dozen) years of expenses and the world becomes your oyster, even if not FI.  It requires a mental and emotional mentality shift at this point to understand how free you have truly become.

I would suggest an exercise.  It's natural to see FI as a final goal or destination and to judge all progress by that bar.  Instead of focusing on how many years it will take to get to FI, try focusing on where you are now vs your starting point, or where the "average" person is sitting.  From this different vantage point it's easy to become excited about the possibilities that have opened.

This isn't bogleheads, this is F'en MMM!  We don't want to "retire" and sit on our asses for the last two decades of our lives, we have 40,50 or 60 years and want to remain productive in some way. If you are unhappy in life as it is and your financial shit is together, you have already created a situation in which you can take risks and make changes.  Sooner rather than later, if that is what you need.  Take a year off to recharge, change careers, go back to school, start a business, try going part time and/or consulting; you have earned the opportunity to do what is fulfilling.  Above all start by realizing how lucky/blessed  we are to have had the opportunity to build our financial house to work for us vs having to work to keep our heads above water.

One other suggestion if you enjoy the process of cutting spending... There is ALWAYS room for improvement!  There are stages above mere frugality which can be very enjoyable trying to obtain, read this dudes journal!  Frigg'en awesome!

catccc

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2017, 10:18:59 AM »
The cause and effect is the other way round for me. The unhappier I am at work, the more I think about early retirement.

This, for me.  I was miserable at my last job and was desperate to escape via early retirement.  I've been much happier the last 3.5 years at my current job, but I still think about early retirement plenty.  The only difference is I'm looking forward to something instead of running away from something.  It's a delicate balance between enjoying the present and planning for the future.  Make sure you spend enough time in the present, dwelling on the future (or past) in excess will surely make you miserable.

jrbrokerr

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2017, 12:25:38 PM »
The advice I will give to you people is instead of getting all depressed and do nothing but hating more your current job, why not use it as a motivation and create for example some side gig that will accelerate your ER ??

It doesnīt have to replace all your current income, most people donīt realize that if you can produce some extra $$ that cover letīs say your grocery bill, then you will reduce your FI date exponentially.

So keep reading the forums and be motivated, getting depressed and passive will just get you more depressed.

startbyservingothers

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #23 on: September 07, 2017, 04:20:28 PM »
I'm not sure which is the cause and which is the effect.   It did happen for me.  The more money I saved and the lower my expenses were, the less I valued my job.  (I.e.   The more I hated my Job and the BS I dealt with.)

I'm no where near being truly financially independent but I ended up parting ways with the job I dreaded.  In hindsight things weren't nearly as bad as I made them out to be.  But your happiness is determined by how you view the world.  I'm still glad to be done with it. 

Like Plato's cave, you first have to be unshackled before you can understand your possibilities.

LostGirl

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2017, 06:38:38 PM »
Yes I feel it too, while I love the community here of like minded people , reading MMM is sort of ... addictive ... To the detriment of other things .
Also I feel that re- running our numbers , I just secretly wish that I magically "find" shorter way to FIRE. And then I realize there is not :(

All of this.

Trudie

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #25 on: September 10, 2017, 07:17:00 PM »
I"ve been in a real funk lately which has been hard for me to understand because we've achieved "FU" money and the point of retirement inevitability.

"Why am I not happy?  This is what I wanted!"

I think the answer in my case is that to achieve this I've been commuting to a job to toil away at a job that is no longer challenging, frequently frustrating, and at which I'm surrounded by people who (for the most part) don't share my values.  For a long while I had an answer to the "why" question (FI).  Now, I don't.  People are often depressed after achieving a goal they've long planned and prepared for, then executed. 

Another dimension to it is that I'm more aware of the passage of time, and of not wanting to waste time.  So the price my current job and lifestyle extracts each day/month/year feels marginally higher. 

It's common to idealize things that lie in the future, otherwise why would we strive so hard for things?  It keeps us moving forward.

What I'm doing now to navigate this gauntlet (besides talking to a counselor to work on anxiety) is to look back to the past ten years I have spent in my current job (that I'm tired of) with gratitude.  I actually made a list of things that I've been able to do in this period of time that I'm particularly proud of, or that the money from the job has allowed me to do.  Top of the list:  Financial independence, followed by such things as:  Paris, Italy, Ireland, 4 half marathons and a marathon, Springsteen in Croake Park.... you get the idea.

I'm simultaneously working out a list of creative pursuits for when I leave my job.  Reflecting on the past and what I have achieved has boosted my esteem and helped with energy.  I feel like I can get some of my "old self" back.  Right now I feel tired, burned out, and cynical.  It's helpful for me to think of myself as the "world traveler" who did a marathon -- the latter being something I thought I could never do.  I remember feeling really let down afterward.  I should have been faster, blah, blah, blah.  Maybe the point was that I would have never felt high on the mountain just after doing it.  Maybe the point was that three years later, when I really needed some inspiration and motivation I would need something to remind me who I really am -- I'm that person who summoned the guts to start running at 40 and completed a marathon.  It's my little miracle.

So this current state is like an emotional bridge between the two states, and it's kind of uncomfortable, but it's a way forward.

Hargrove

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Re: The less I think about early retirement the happier I am
« Reply #26 on: September 10, 2017, 08:56:16 PM »
On any goal, we can pick a destination, but we can't necessarily choose to get there.

Our choice is simply to answer: how will we exert effort? What will we try to move towards?

As a poker player, you have to first learn the rules, then the value of your hand, then you start learning what you're up against and how to market your hand against the unknown, even if your hand isn't very good today. You can't choose to have won the game, but you can certainly try to make good choices that put you ahead. That's what the blog and forums are about.

Many people won't be satisfied to plan a lost decade, then victory. Planning to be a badass poker player today is much more satisfying.

You know. Financial freedom through badassity.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2017, 08:59:29 PM by Hargrove »