Author Topic: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE  (Read 35307 times)

Dicey

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Re: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE
« Reply #100 on: April 12, 2020, 07:56:33 AM »
"However, I have not been trying to prove that primitive man was less fortunate in his working life than modern man is. In my opinion the contrary was true. Probably at least some nomadic hunter-gatherers had more leisure time than modern employed Americans do. Itís true that the roughly forty-hour work-week of Richard Leeís Bushmen was about equal to the standard American work-week. But modern Americans are burdened with many demands on their time outside their hours of employment. I myself, when working at a forty-hour job, have generally felt busy: Iíve had to shop for groceries, go to the bank, do the laundry, fill out income-tax forms, take the car in for maintenance, get a haircut, go to the dentist ...there was always something that needed to be done. Many of the people I now correspond with likewise complain of being busy. In contrast, the male Bushmanís time was genuinely his own outside of his working hours; he could spend his non-working time as he pleased. Bushman women of reproductive age may have had much less leisure time because, like women of all societies, they were burdened with the care of small children."
They were also burdened with entertaining pleasure-seeking Bushmen, hence the need to care for small children ;-)

spartana

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Re: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE
« Reply #101 on: April 12, 2020, 08:19:56 AM »
"However, I have not been trying to prove that primitive man was less fortunate in his working life than modern man is. In my opinion the contrary was true. Probably at least some nomadic hunter-gatherers had more leisure time than modern employed Americans do. It’s true that the roughly forty-hour work-week of Richard Lee’s Bushmen was about equal to the standard American work-week. But modern Americans are burdened with many demands on their time outside their hours of employment. I myself, when working at a forty-hour job, have generally felt busy: I’ve had to shop for groceries, go to the bank, do the laundry, fill out income-tax forms, take the car in for maintenance, get a haircut, go to the dentist ...there was always something that needed to be done. Many of the people I now correspond with likewise complain of being busy. In contrast, the male Bushman’s time was genuinely his own outside of his working hours; he could spend his non-working time as he pleased. Bushman women of reproductive age may have had much less leisure time because, like women of all societies, they were burdened with the care of small children."
They were also burdened with entertaining pleasure-seeking Bushmen, hence the need to care for small children ;-)
LOL! That plus all that gathering, growing, skinning and tanning of hides, cooking, cleaning, caring for the elders, making clothes, fixing up the hut, walking miles to the water source, etc. All done while trying to care for small kids and horney Bushmen.  Yeah...a 40 hour work week and a SAHP and life would feel pretty easy too whether primitive Bushman or modern day city dweller. There's a reason some of us chose to work full time and not have traditional marriage gender roles and not to have kids. It's just easier  ;-).
« Last Edit: April 12, 2020, 08:22:40 AM by spartana »

ysette9

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Re: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE
« Reply #102 on: April 12, 2020, 08:46:17 AM »
This.

Even now, I love my family and am grateful for them, but being at home 24/7 caring for all of them now is harder than when I was back at work.

dude

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Re: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE
« Reply #103 on: April 13, 2020, 09:37:19 AM »
Biggest surprise? How little money I actually need to live on. Don't get me wrong, I'm currently living on a pretty obscene sum (monthly pension), but I'd figured I would start drawing money right away from my 401k, and other than a one-time withdrawal for a big purchase last year, I'm not touching my 401k, because I don't need to.

Best advice - same as always, don't worry about the things you can't control, and focus on the things you can/do. Stoicism 101.

lifepopsicle

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Re: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE
« Reply #104 on: April 25, 2020, 05:30:49 PM »
Very newly FI and only partially RE (husband and I are both still doing freelance work.) FI/RE also coincided with the birth of our first child, so two major life changes at once. I'm surprised by a few things: 1) feeling guilt, anxiety (not sure of the exact emotion) over having the ability to retire from paid work at 32 and not having a plan to give back to society or build some sort of meaningful legacy. For example, if you could go back to college and study anything or pursue any career without regard to income, what would you choose? Is there a responsibility when you achieve this lifestyle to do something greater with your time, or is simply enjoying your life enough? This haunts me regularly but it's also such a privilege to even be able to ask it. 2) how challenging it is for me to talk about our life situation with others, even close family and friends. I find it hard to explain what were doing / what we did to people without it feeling like bragging. Many people are shocked and then almost offended when you tell them you're retired and you're only in your early 30s. I usually say that we're on sabbatical, parental leave, or that we're freelancers, but I almost never tell people we're retired. I wish I felt more comfortable owning this lifestyle publicly. 3) because of number one and two I've had trouble completely stepping away from work entirely. Even as a new mom, I am struggling with identifying purpose within the FI/RE life.

All of this said, there isn't a single day where I haven't been grateful for this life. One of the absolute best parts about FI/RE is that I don't have to stress about balancing raising a young child and working, and my husband and I can share many of the child rearing responsibilities. We have it so much easier than everyone else we know with young children.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE
« Reply #105 on: April 26, 2020, 12:24:24 AM »
Very newly FI and only partially RE (husband and I are both still doing freelance work.) FI/RE also coincided with the birth of our first child, so two major life changes at once. I'm surprised by a few things: 1) feeling guilt, anxiety (not sure of the exact emotion) over having the ability to retire from paid work at 32 and not having a plan to give back to society or build some sort of meaningful legacy. For example, if you could go back to college and study anything or pursue any career without regard to income, what would you choose? Is there a responsibility when you achieve this lifestyle to do something greater with your time, or is simply enjoying your life enough? This haunts me regularly but it's also such a privilege to even be able to ask it. 2) how challenging it is for me to talk about our life situation with others, even close family and friends. I find it hard to explain what were doing / what we did to people without it feeling like bragging. Many people are shocked and then almost offended when you tell them you're retired and you're only in your early 30s. I usually say that we're on sabbatical, parental leave, or that we're freelancers, but I almost never tell people we're retired. I wish I felt more comfortable owning this lifestyle publicly. 3) because of number one and two I've had trouble completely stepping away from work entirely. Even as a new mom, I am struggling with identifying purpose within the FI/RE life.

All of this said, there isn't a single day where I haven't been grateful for this life. One of the absolute best parts about FI/RE is that I don't have to stress about balancing raising a young child and working, and my husband and I can share many of the child rearing responsibilities. We have it so much easier than everyone else we know with young children.

The age of 32 is indeed very young. Maybe for your own benefit, you should look into doing something like volunteering after a while. Or start a company.
I FIREd at 46 and I do not have that feeling (yet). I feel like I have always worked and contributed to others. Now, I would like to have some time for myself once.

I don't tell others about retiredment either. I think people might have prejudices, like not paying as much tax as you could. So we have been telling the sabbatical thing as well.

On topic, what surprices me a lot, is how little I come outside. Inlove being outside normally and roam through the forest for hours. Now I feel I don't have that much time. Partly due to corona policies which kept us home instead of being in our preferred skiing location. And partly because of stress for finding a good rental property. There is a lot of internet search that needs to be done. And I have also become reluctant to use the car to get to some other spit. So I walk in the forest close at home, but I am not using the option of going everywhere, like I used to in the past during the weekends. I also read a lot more than I used to and can't do that walking. So if my book is attractive, I often prioritize it over being outside.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2020, 12:41:35 AM by Linea_Norway »

lifepopsicle

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Re: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE
« Reply #106 on: April 28, 2020, 07:41:05 AM »
You're so right that 32 is young, and I have a few thoughts about it...

1) SO many FI/RE bloggers retired in their early 30s that it seems "normal" if you spend enough time on their blogs, but it does bring some challenges, namely, feeling like maybe you haven't contributed enough to society OR you haven't created your "life's work." Brandon @madfientist has a couple wonderful posts/podcasts about his first few years after retirement where he talks about the importance of having a project you care about when you retire. One of the interesting things about following these online gurus is that they all have that project or purpose fairly well-defined, by nature of you even knowing about them! Certainly they do their own soul searching, but because they are bloggers and that gives them a sense of purpose and a channel for helping others, it's harder to look for them for guidance on defining purpose and meaning in your own life.

2) When you retire at 32, you aren't really retiring. Are any of us really retiring actually? It's really an opportunity to pursue work that matters to you, as MMM advises frequently in his posts. However, there's more constraints on work you're willing to do. For example, most of us would never work for a boss ever again. Nor would we want performance reviews or to be held to specific hours. So traditional work is out. You're right that starting a business (or in my case, pivoting the business I already own to something I enjoy more) can be a great path forward. So can volunteer work if you can find a cause you really care about. But this can still feel intimidating. Nothing worthwhile is easy! (Something I'm thinking about is taking a 2-3 year "sabbatical" to explore topics that I am interested in, almost like a self-guided master's degree, and see what comes out of that learning process.)

3) Many people in their early 30s have young children or are starting families, this takes a lot of time and you can genuinely be so busy with just this that it may be a while before you have the time and energy to pursue the passions you dreamed about pre-FIRE.

So to sum it all up, I think the most challenging, surprising and invigorating aspect of post-FIRE life is defining your identity and purpose, and what you could do if you could do anything.


Side note - I literally stopped working actively on my business on January 1, my baby was born February 1, and coronavirus started March 1. Our post-FIRE plans involve(d) quite a lot of international travel. We're optimistic for the future but it's definitely a weird time to embrace the retirement that you worked so hard for! I can't wait to reflect again on this same question a year or two from now!

Cassie

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Re: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE
« Reply #107 on: April 28, 2020, 11:02:15 AM »
Life, itís great that you donít have to work and can enjoy raising your child. Thatís really a gift.

hybrid

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Re: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE
« Reply #108 on: April 30, 2020, 02:13:41 PM »
I got a sinus infection (viral) shortly after my FIRE date. Although this was a sh**ty way to start FIRE it was sooooooo nice to be able to just go to bed and rest without that subconscious anxiety of falling behind at work. OMG, the luxury of putting self-care FIRST on my list of priorities. I was able to recover very quickly and start having fun, but I won't forget that revelation.

That is sh**ty. Although it's not a competition, I can top that... ;-)

Fortunately, lots of stuff to do around the house and in the yard to keep me occupied until a sense of Normalcy returns.

hybrid

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Re: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE
« Reply #109 on: April 30, 2020, 02:54:47 PM »
I really enjoyed reading this thread start to finish. One trait I seem to have is that I have an uncanny ability to not look backwards. I worked for 35 years straight, and two weeks out of the working world I have 100% adjusted to not working because while 35 years is a long time, it was 35 years ago and now is in the past so no longer matters.

I think the fact that DW is 12 years older than me (we have been married 34 years) I became a planner and forward-thinker quite by accident. Because DW was experiencing a number of things a decade ahead of me it conditioned me to look forward, not backwards. I became an expert about SS benefits at 48 because DW was going to be eligible in a few short years, so we needed to know about what to do there many long years before it would apply to me.

I have a few questions for the group:

  • Did the fact that most of your social circle still work create and issues or problems? Did you avoid discussing your new (awesome) place in the world because they weren't there? Being FIRE feels a little like winning the lottery and having to be careful not to say too loudly how awesome it is.
  • Anything noticeably change on the spousal front? DW (who retired four years before me) goes at a slower pace than me, and she feels stressed that I am eager to tackle a host of new projects. I tell her she should go at whatever pace feels good for her and I'll go at mine, I'm not convinced that is a satisfying answer for her. I'm sure she's adjusting to me being home 24/7, and with Covid that isn't much of an exaggeration....

Thanks!

spartana

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Re: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE
« Reply #110 on: April 30, 2020, 08:50:21 PM »
^ I didn't tell anyone I FIREd but just said I was on a long work break to do other things. Newly divorced and no kids and fairly young I think it would have raised too many questions..

My social circle expanded (including dating) because I had so much more free time. This allowed me to devote a lot of time doing things solo or chores while others were working, and be able to fully dedicate my time when they were off working to family, friends, and a social/dating life.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE
« Reply #111 on: May 01, 2020, 12:29:27 AM »
@hybrid I would feel bad telling friends who still need to work, that I have retired. Taking a year off is already a thing most people cannot afford, but that most will understand. I think that if you are above 60, you can tell others you have retired without anyone questioning you.
I told one friend about my plans, but he would be capable of doing the same thing himself, if he would just sell that rediculously expensive apartment he just bought. He bought it after I had told him about the concept of FIRE two years ago, so maybe it was a deliberate choice.
Because of DH's wish, I only told people, including this friend, that we took a year off. Except for FIL, who FIREd himself many years ago. But unfortunately, FIL did what I was affraid my mother would do, he told all his friends about us retiring in our 40-ies. Why do old people always gossip about their children, even our finances? Better to not tell anyone. But I feel bad every time I am not speaking the truth. Like now, when we looked for a rental property, I explain to the landlords that we havevtaking a year off and that we later will work a bit as a consultant. It hurts mentally, being dishonest.

Dicey

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Re: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE
« Reply #112 on: May 01, 2020, 03:22:01 AM »
@hybrid I would feel bad telling friends who still need to work, that I have retired. Taking a year off is already a thing most people cannot afford, but that most will understand. I think that if you are above 60, you can tell others you have retired without anyone questioning you.
I told one friend about my plans, but he would be capable of doing the same thing himself, if he would just sell that rediculously expensive apartment he just bought. He bought it after I had told him about the concept of FIRE two years ago, so maybe it was a deliberate choice.
Because of DH's wish, I only told people, including this friend, that we took a year off. Except for FIL, who FIREd himself many years ago. But unfortunately, FIL did what I was affraid my mother would do, he told all his friends about us retiring in our 40-ies. Why do old people always gossip about their children, even our finances? Better to not tell anyone. But I feel bad every time I am not speaking the truth. Like now, when we looked for a rental property, I explain to the landlords that we havevtaking a year off and that we later will work a bit as a consultant. It hurts mentally, being dishonest.
Keeping your personal business to yourself is NOT being dishonest. Virtually every social grace exists to help people get along with each other. As you have described it, you are being mindful of other's  feelings. This makes you a considerate person, not a liar.

spartana

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Re: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE
« Reply #113 on: May 01, 2020, 08:00:12 AM »
@hybrid I would feel bad telling friends who still need to work, that I have retired. Taking a year off is already a thing most people cannot afford, but that most will understand. I think that if you are above 60, you can tell others you have retired without anyone questioning you.
I told one friend about my plans, but he would be capable of doing the same thing himself, if he would just sell that rediculously expensive apartment he just bought. He bought it after I had told him about the concept of FIRE two years ago, so maybe it was a deliberate choice.
Because of DH's wish, I only told people, including this friend, that we took a year off. Except for FIL, who FIREd himself many years ago. But unfortunately, FIL did what I was affraid my mother would do, he told all his friends about us retiring in our 40-ies. Why do old people always gossip about their children, even our finances? Better to not tell anyone. But I feel bad every time I am not speaking the truth. Like now, when we looked for a rental property, I explain to the landlords that we havevtaking a year off and that we later will work a bit as a consultant. It hurts mentally, being dishonest.
Keeping your personal business to yourself is NOT being dishonest. Virtually every social grace exists to help people get along with each other. As you have described it, you are being mindful of other's  feelings. This makes you a considerate person, not a liar.
I agree. It is not dishonest at all. I mean, I'm still on a sabbattical. It just ended up being a really really really long one ;-).

I did actually start out doing a planned long sabbatical of at least 5 years when I first left my job so it was just easier to continue with that when I didn't go back to work...ever. I did try to explain FIRE to friends at first but when I got very negative responses, I just found it was easier to frame it as a work break. However I think if someone is in their mid-50s or older most people will be more supportive and understanding about early retirement. Its common for some people in the US to retire at 55 when some pensions start. If you are younger, especially 30s or 40s, many people could become resentful. Especially now when so many are struggling economically. 
« Last Edit: May 01, 2020, 08:03:46 AM by spartana »

Cassie

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Re: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE
« Reply #114 on: May 04, 2020, 01:01:56 PM »
I retired at 58 with a pension and even though I talked about it I had one couple we were friends with very unhappy that they still had to work. Then my husband got laid off and couldnít find a job at 53. He took his pension early and it cost us 600/month reduction and they were mad again. Just keep your personal business to yourself.

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Re: Biggest surprise/best advice Post-FIRE
« Reply #115 on: May 06, 2020, 07:29:13 PM »
PTF.