Author Topic: Afraid to pull the trigger  (Read 4616 times)

Hoedjevanpapier

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Afraid to pull the trigger
« on: January 12, 2021, 04:07:38 AM »
It was about 8 years ago I discovered Mr. MMM and started my journey. And now I've reached FI and... well... now after so many years I've doubts, if I should retire.

About 5 years ago I started a company together with a former co-worker. Now we're a team of 3. I really enjoy working with them. However, I don't enjoy the work. In the start, I really loved working on the idea and making it into reality. Even though it was so much hard work. Now, however, it feels more repetitive and I don't enjoy working with our customers.

My planned journey to FI would've taken 4-5 more years and I envisioned leaving the company by then. My share would be fully vested and we would be mature enough to sell or for me to leave. Fortunately, this was a good year for my investments and I have enough now to retire. My preferred option would be to take a sabbatical to figure out if I would like to do "nothing". However, that's not really possible within the company, since we're too small and I can't promise to my partners that I would actually return to the company. I might enjoy it too much ;).

I can't imagine what it's like to be retired, now I'm there. Will it be disappointing? Would I lose a sense of purpose or at least a sense of getting things done? Also, it feels like I lack in grit if I leave the company now and that I would be letting my partners down. And what if I want to come back, because I miss the work?

Dicey

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2021, 06:50:11 AM »
Pre-FIRE, I had two mantras. One is paraphrased in my signature line. The other is:

"Retiring too early is a mistake that can be recovered from. Too late and there is no recovery."

I've been confidently chasing my dreams for eight years now, and it's glorious. I must hasten to add that I had no big dreams of glory. I just wanted to live a happy life that didn't require involuntary work.

My only consideration is that you've been FI for a very short time. If your investments experienced a 20% pullback, would you still be FI?

Bird In Hand

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2021, 07:37:49 AM »
In the start, I really loved working on the idea and making it into reality. Even though it was so much hard work. Now, however, it feels more repetitive and I don't enjoy working with our customers.

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My preferred option would be to take a sabbatical to figure out if I would like to do "nothing". However, that's not really possible within the company, since we're too small and I can't promise to my partners that I would actually return to the company. I might enjoy it too much ;).

I wonder if there's a middle ground you could find between full-time work and full retirement?  Would it be possible to restructure your responsibilities to include less of the parts you don't enjoy (e.g., dealing with customers) or working part time?  Perhaps you could negotiate a reduced share in the company along with reduced responsibilities, maybe with an option to buy back your full share later?

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I can't imagine what it's like to be retired, now I'm there. Will it be disappointing? Would I lose a sense of purpose or at least a sense of getting things done? Also, it feels like I lack in grit if I leave the company now and that I would be letting my partners down. And what if I want to come back, because I miss the work?

All of these things are possible, and you won't know for sure until you've tried it.  IMO you're likely to miss it at some point -- strictly based on the stereotypical hard-working, passionate self-starter attributes that I often see in entrepreneurs.  But everyone is different, and maybe you would fill your time in retirement with other things and not miss this at all.

Dicey has a great point about being able to withstand a market correction or extended bear market.  It sounds like you just recently achieved FI, and this occurred after a pretty solid stretch of great market returns (2018 notwithstanding).  If you're on the lean side of FI you'll want to consider your comfort level about the possibility of starting your retirement in a bear market.  If you can see yourself cutting backon spending and/or picking up some work in lean times, then maybe you needn't be overly concerned about this.

Malcat

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2021, 07:43:05 AM »
Does it have to be all or nothing? Could you stay on as a board member, executive, advisor, etc? If you enjoy working with your partners and want to continue with the business, is there not some role where you could continue to offer your experience and expertise without having to do boots-on-the-ground work?


Hoedjevanpapier

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2021, 09:26:17 AM »
Does it have to be all or nothing? Could you stay on as a board member, executive, advisor, etc? If you enjoy working with your partners and want to continue with the business, is there not some role where you could continue to offer your experience and expertise without having to do boots-on-the-ground work?

I wonder if there's a middle ground you could find between full-time work and full retirement?  Would it be possible to restructure your responsibilities to include less of the parts you don't enjoy (e.g., dealing with customers) or working part time?  Perhaps you could negotiate a reduced share in the company along with reduced responsibilities, maybe with an option to buy back your full share later?

That's a good point from both of you. The tricky thing is that we only have a small team. So we would have to bring someone on board to replace me. It's definitely something I want to discuss. Although I can't really imagine a role like that, where I would still add sufficient value to the business. I don't want to drag on the company, just because of my (selfish) reasons. It's hard enough that I would be leaving.

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All of these things are possible, and you won't know for sure until you've tried it.  IMO you're likely to miss it at some point -- strictly based on the stereotypical hard-working, passionate self-starter attributes that I often see in entrepreneurs.  But everyone is different, and maybe you would fill your time in retirement with other things and not miss this at all.

Very true. For myself I just don't know, but I'd like to find out.

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Dicey has a great point about being able to withstand a market correction or extended bear market.  It sounds like you just recently achieved FI, and this occurred after a pretty solid stretch of great market returns (2018 notwithstanding).  If you're on the lean side of FI you'll want to consider your comfort level about the possibility of starting your retirement in a bear market.  If you can see yourself cutting backon spending and/or picking up some work in lean times, then maybe you needn't be overly concerned about this.

Pre-FIRE, I had two mantras. One is paraphrased in my signature line. The other is:

"Retiring too early is a mistake that can be recovered from. Too late and there is no recovery."

I've been confidently chasing my dreams for eight years now, and it's glorious. I must hasten to add that I had no big dreams of glory. I just wanted to live a happy life that didn't require involuntary work.

My only consideration is that you've been FI for a very short time. If your investments experienced a 20% pullback, would you still be FI?

A very nice way of putting it. Time can only be spent once. (Unfortunately, I can't read your signature line).

A 20% pullback would be fine. I can cut back on spending. Currently, I've about 50% more stash than I would need. My house is fully paid off.

Dicey

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2021, 09:35:01 AM »
Oops! It's from Thoreau's Walden:

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."

ETA: I have no idea why that random picture attached, so it's gone now.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2021, 07:51:30 PM by Dicey »

reeshau

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2021, 10:25:58 AM »
Does it have to be all or nothing? Could you stay on as a board member, executive, advisor, etc? If you enjoy working with your partners and want to continue with the business, is there not some role where you could continue to offer your experience and expertise without having to do boots-on-the-ground work?

I wonder if there's a middle ground you could find between full-time work and full retirement?  Would it be possible to restructure your responsibilities to include less of the parts you don't enjoy (e.g., dealing with customers) or working part time?  Perhaps you could negotiate a reduced share in the company along with reduced responsibilities, maybe with an option to buy back your full share later?

That's a good point from both of you. The tricky thing is that we only have a small team. So we would have to bring someone on board to replace me. It's definitely something I want to discuss. Although I can't really imagine a role like that, where I would still add sufficient value to the business. I don't want to drag on the company, just because of my (selfish) reasons. It's hard enough that I would be leaving.


Building on this thought, could you make it your goal for 2021 to find an employee or partner to replace or partially replace you?  That could give you closure, and maybe break up the repetition of the work.  I don't know the nature of your work, but there are plenty of dislocated people at the moment--a broad pool to pull from.  And if it was actually a new partner, you could get your cash out, too.

Of course, all this needs to be reviewed with your current partners.  Maybe they have their own doubts?  Maybe they would just as soon buy you out as bring in someone else?  For better or worse, your life is entangled with theirs, and any ideas you have could run into major complications until you know what they are thinking.

flyingaway

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2021, 09:23:03 PM »
I hope you can retire and still collect profit from your business as one of the owners.

helloyou

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2021, 12:40:29 AM »
Pre-FIRE, I had two mantras. One is paraphrased in my signature line. The other is:

"Retiring too early is a mistake that can be recovered from. Too late and there is no recovery."


I love this quote. It's also something in my mind for a while but I didn't formulate it as eloquently as this.

As I get older and older, this is something of more and more importance to me. I'm almost FIRE and if we weren't in lockdown I probably wouldn't be looking for job now!

former player

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2021, 01:08:28 AM »
One thing not mentioned yet is: it is absolutely fine to be the sort of person who enjoys setting up a new business rather than the kind of person who enjoys running a business after it's been set up.  They are two different skillsets and interests.  You have discovered something about yourself with the realisation that you are the first sort of person and not the second. I bet that if you talked about this with your partner they would understand and would work with you to find a solution, including your retiring.

The other thing I would say is, I don't think you need to worry about what you would do in retirement.  I think you need to forget about retirement, I think you need to think "I'm going to do something new with my life now, and I've not only got the money that gives me time to find it I've got the money that means I can find something that doesn't may make money but doesn't need to".

Hoedjevanpapier

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2021, 06:05:19 AM »
Thanks for all the input!

Does it have to be all or nothing? Could you stay on as a board member, executive, advisor, etc? If you enjoy working with your partners and want to continue with the business, is there not some role where you could continue to offer your experience and expertise without having to do boots-on-the-ground work?

I wonder if there's a middle ground you could find between full-time work and full retirement?  Would it be possible to restructure your responsibilities to include less of the parts you don't enjoy (e.g., dealing with customers) or working part time?  Perhaps you could negotiate a reduced share in the company along with reduced responsibilities, maybe with an option to buy back your full share later?

That's a good point from both of you. The tricky thing is that we only have a small team. So we would have to bring someone on board to replace me. It's definitely something I want to discuss. Although I can't really imagine a role like that, where I would still add sufficient value to the business. I don't want to drag on the company, just because of my (selfish) reasons. It's hard enough that I would be leaving.


Building on this thought, could you make it your goal for 2021 to find an employee or partner to replace or partially replace you?  That could give you closure, and maybe break up the repetition of the work.  I don't know the nature of your work, but there are plenty of dislocated people at the moment--a broad pool to pull from.  And if it was actually a new partner, you could get your cash out, too.

Of course, all this needs to be reviewed with your current partners.  Maybe they have their own doubts?  Maybe they would just as soon buy you out as bring in someone else?  For better or worse, your life is entangled with theirs, and any ideas you have could run into major complications until you know what they are thinking.

I really like this option. You're completely right that our lives are entangled. I want the best for them too. Doing it this way, would ensure leaving a good legacy and/or perhaps keeping a (smaller) role in the business.

One thing not mentioned yet is: it is absolutely fine to be the sort of person who enjoys setting up a new business rather than the kind of person who enjoys running a business after it's been set up.  They are two different skillsets and interests.  You have discovered something about yourself with the realisation that you are the first sort of person and not the second. I bet that if you talked about this with your partner they would understand and would work with you to find a solution, including your retiring.

That's also an interesting point of view. I'm 36. Before this, I was always employed. So I don't have a lot of experience in setting up businesses. Looking back to my employed life, I was always working on stuff to improve things or work on completely new things. So I think you're right.

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The other thing I would say is, I don't think you need to worry about what you would do in retirement.  I think you need to forget about retirement, I think you need to think "I'm going to do something new with my life now, and I've not only got the money that gives me time to find it I've got the money that means I can find something that doesn't may make money but doesn't need to".

That's a very nice way of thinking about this going forward.

Hoedjevanpapier

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2021, 02:35:34 AM »
Update time!

Over the last couple of weeks I've had some really good discussions with my business partners. Everything is not completely fleshed out, but I really like where we're going with this. We're going to find one or two people this year to take on most of the current operational work. The idea is that all of us should only be needed about 1 day per week for the current operational work, as that should also reduce dramatically after Q3. My partners really hope that I'll stick around for the next 4 years, even if it would only be parttime. Why 4 years? Because they might want to retire or work significantly less by then as well.

For my partners, this would allow them to grow the business through more business development, product development and more time for new initiatives. For me, it would probably allow me to work parttime or even depart at all. Although, it might also reinvigorate me and allow me to focus on more fun stuff: working on new idea's and creating POC's. In our following discussions, we need to finalize the details:

- What would happen if one of us (most likely only me) would leave per 1-1-2022. What would that do to the shareholdings of each of us (and the new people joining).
- What would happen if one of us would decide to work parttime, what that would mean for income and shareholdings. 
- What people we need to join the business, what to we want to give them and when. We all agree that has a priority.

I want to thank everyone again for there input. What is this an amazing community!

reeshau

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2021, 06:31:09 AM »
Congrats!  And kudos for jumping into action so quickly.  Sounds like your partners may have had similar thoughts, or at least sympathize with you enough that they can see themselves in your shoes, someday.  Sounds like 2021 is going to be a great year for you and your business.

Malcat

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2021, 06:50:38 AM »
Congrats.

Sometimes it's easy to get sucked into thinking that your options are option 1 or option 2, neither of which you want, but meanwhile there's an infinite  number of options between the two and it's really a matter of choosing which is more ideal, option 1.42846 or option 1.59376.

Good job figuring out the space between, and good luck fine tuning which option is best for you and your partners.


Fishindude

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2021, 07:14:08 AM »
Why not hire and train a replacement to buy your share of the business and eventually replace you.
Ease your way out of your job over the course of a couple years, gradually reducing hours and salary.

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2021, 10:35:52 AM »

 And now I've reached FI and... well... now after so many years I've doubts, if I should retire.

About 5 years ago I started a company together with a former co-worker. Now we're a team of 3. I really enjoy working with them. However, I don't enjoy the work.

 Now, however, it feels more repetitive and I don't enjoy working with our customers.

 My preferred option would be to take a sabbatical to figure out if I would like to do "nothing". However, that's not really possible within the company, since we're too small and I can't promise to my partners that I would actually return to the company. I might enjoy it too much ;).

I can't imagine what it's like to be retired, now I'm there. Will it be disappointing? Would I lose a sense of purpose or at least a sense of getting things done?


Life is finite.

Having attained FIRE by "getting things done" at the very least you've earned the opportunity to try FIREtirement to experience "what it's like to be retired" and "figure out if [you] would like to do 'nothing.'"










"Takin' Care Of Business"   Bachman–Turner Overdrive


You get up every morning from your alarm clock's warning
Take the 8:15 into the city
There's a whistle up above and people pushin', people shovin'
And the girls who try to look pretty
And if your train's on time, you can get to work by nine
And start your slaving job to get your pay
If you ever get annoyed, look at me I'm self-employed
I love to work at nothing all day
And I'll be taking care of business (every day)
Taking care of business (every way)
I've been taking care of business (it's all mine)
Taking care of business and working overtime, work out
If it were easy as fishin' you could be a musician
If you could make sounds loud or mellow
Get a second-hand guitar, chances are you'll go far
If you get in with the right bunch of fellows
People see you…

FIREby35

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2021, 11:42:00 AM »
You've gotten great comments from others. I'd just add, as fellow 36 year old and FI (not RE) MMMer about the same amount of time as you, this is a decision that is confronted. You built it all, saved it all, you've got what you want, so now what?

For me, I just quit doing the things I didn't like. I started winding up parts of my business - which can take a long time to do with care for the interests of everyone around you. But, I started "closing loops" rather than opening them. Along the way, I identified the things I can do to keep the money flowing while doing the things I like with people I like. So, I don't think I ever did the RE part even though my day-to-day is revolutionized for the better.

Maybe I'll have enough loops closed to be "retired" by 40. Maybe I'll keep enough business open to work forever. Who knows.

Allow me to modify a famous quote:

"Before Financial Independence, chop wood, carry water. After Financial Independence, chop wood, carry water."

Bateaux

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2021, 10:57:04 AM »
My parent's aren't impoverished in their retirememt, but their money is very tight.  Medical bills and home repairs are eating away at their savings at an irreplaceable rate.  They are in their late 70s and it's getting harder for them to do everthing themselves.   They were in pretty good shape financially and health wise when they early retired in the 90s, in their 50s.  Time and inflation marches on.  Don't turn off the FIRE hose of dollars till you are sure you are ready.

flyingaway

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2021, 05:06:33 PM »
My parent's aren't impoverished in their retirememt, but their money is very tight.  Medical bills and home repairs are eating away at their savings at an irreplaceable rate.  They are in their late 70s and it's getting harder for them to do everthing themselves.   They were in pretty good shape financially and health wise when they early retired in the 90s, in their 50s.  Time and inflation marches on.  Don't turn off the FIRE hose of dollars till you are sure you are ready.

I am curious about what are your parents' retirement income(s)? investment, social security, or pension?

Bateaux

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2021, 10:10:46 PM »
My parent's aren't impoverished in their retirememt, but their money is very tight.  Medical bills and home repairs are eating away at their savings at an irreplaceable rate.  They are in their late 70s and it's getting harder for them to do everthing themselves.   They were in pretty good shape financially and health wise when they early retired in the 90s, in their 50s.  Time and inflation marches on.  Don't turn off the FIRE hose of dollars till you are sure you are ready.

I am curious about what are your parents' retirement income(s)? investment, social security, or pension?

The world of the 90s is gone.  Multiple market wipeouts during drawdown have hit their mutual funds.  Social Security helps a bit.  A small pension doesn't even cover medical expenses.  When you think you have saved enough, triple it.

chevy1956

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #20 on: February 08, 2021, 04:16:08 PM »
My parent's aren't impoverished in their retirememt, but their money is very tight.  Medical bills and home repairs are eating away at their savings at an irreplaceable rate.  They are in their late 70s and it's getting harder for them to do everthing themselves.   They were in pretty good shape financially and health wise when they early retired in the 90s, in their 50s.  Time and inflation marches on.  Don't turn off the FIRE hose of dollars till you are sure you are ready.

I am curious about what are your parents' retirement income(s)? investment, social security, or pension?

The world of the 90s is gone.  Multiple market wipeouts during drawdown have hit their mutual funds.  Social Security helps a bit.  A small pension doesn't even cover medical expenses.  When you think you have saved enough, triple it.

No thanks. I retired last September at about a 5% WR. I'm completely fine with this situation and I have no intention of going back to work.

FIRE 20/20

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2021, 10:20:24 AM »

The world of the 90s is gone.  Multiple market wipeouts during drawdown have hit their mutual funds.  Social Security helps a bit.  A small pension doesn't even cover medical expenses.  When you think you have saved enough, triple it.

Wait, what?  Are you being figurative or literal here?  Are you advocating for a 1.3% withdrawal rate?  Just doing some back of the envelope math to get an approximation it seems to me that someone following that advice would likely die with literally tens of millions of dollars.  For example:

Assume someone retires at age 45 and spends $36k / year.  To support that they'd need $900k using 4%.  Tripling that as you suggest would be $2.7M.  To keep the math easy, I'll assume 6% real returns and group the $2.7M into two buckets - $900k for the 30 years from 45 to 75, and $1.8M for old age expenses.  Assume a worst case scenario that the $900k is totally gone after 30 years.  At 6% real returns and using the rule of 72, the $1.8M would have grown to $3.6M by age 57 and then to $7.2M by age 69.  At age 75, when the original $900k is gone in this scenario, the remaining amount would be worth $10M.  Keep in mind that's $10M in today's dollars because we're using real returns.  At age 75, such a person could withdraw a lot more than 4% and be safe, and an annuity would provide much greater than 4% as well.  This person would easily be able to spend $500k / year at age 75 for their old age expenses.  I think that's a little excessive to say the least. 

I realize those are estimates are pretty rough, but in general I've made pessimistic assumptions - below average market returns, failure of the 4% rule within 30 years, zero social security, zero pension, zero inheritance, zero adjustment to poor returns and high inflation,  etc.  Even being crazy pessimistic, this person made a mistake and it wasn't by saving too little!
« Last Edit: February 09, 2021, 01:20:59 PM by FIRE 20/20 »

Hoedjevanpapier

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2021, 01:01:46 AM »
Thanks for all the responses, didn't have to much to add so I didn't reply. I do read them all!

We made some initial changes that are starting to make a big difference. We hired someone to join us. He'll start in little over a month. Couldn't be happier. Very confident that he'll work out great. This person will take on a lot of my current responsibilities. That will really free up a lot of time to move towards the 1 day a week scenario, and for now to explore other activities within our company. It feels weird to say it, but it gives so much freedom to know that we can hire people to do the things that we do, so we don't have to do it all ourselves.

For some reason business development opportunities suddenly all come flying towards us instead of us chasing them. It feels like an acknowledgement of our accomplishments. It will be nice explore those opportunities and I'm especially eager to spend more time to further develop our product. Feels like I could go back to my activities when we started our company... maybe... or could slowly take more steps back. I love the closing loops reply btw. It really feels the same for me.

markbike528CBX

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #23 on: February 26, 2021, 06:05:00 AM »
The journey of forum member @Omy could provide some comfort.
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/post-fire/serious-'one-more-year'-syndrome-advice-appreciated/

Spoiler alert:
Spoiler: show
Omy is no longer a descriptive username

former player

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2021, 06:41:36 AM »
That's a nice update: congratulations on finding a win/win solution.

Dicey

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2021, 07:14:39 AM »
PTF.

As an aside, wow @Bateaux, that explains so much. I agree that triple is excessive, but I better understand your reluctance to pull the trigger.

Hoedjevanpapier

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2021, 01:42:06 AM »
The journey of forum member @Omy could provide some comfort.
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/post-fire/serious-'one-more-year'-syndrome-advice-appreciated/

Spoiler alert:
Spoiler: show
Omy is no longer a descriptive username


I read that topic before. Good stuff! Although in the back of my mind, I'm thinking: "If I was older, then I would definitely retire". The thing is though, you can say that when you're 36, 51, 65 or 78. So I'll re-read with that in the back of my mind.

That's a nice update: congratulations on finding a win/win solution.
Thanks! It's a good first step. Very curious to see where/how it will go from here.

MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: Afraid to pull the trigger
« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2021, 11:19:53 AM »
Since you've only recently reached FI, I'd give it some time to sink in.  You've reached it by surprise, so maybe it's time to think through what you would do once you leave the company (in your copious free time, as a member of a 3 person company, haha!)

But also, these forums are unusual - there's more people retiring early here than in the general population.  But your friends and relatives are probably aiming to retire in their 60s, and their reaction to a retirement decades early might be worse than you expect.  You might want to get a sense of what people think - before doing it - so you get a sense of how things might change in your social relationships.

Along that same line, if you like the people you work with, and they are reaching a point near FIRE themselves... is it worth spending some time socializing with them?  Ten years from now, they are more likely to have free time Monday to Friday than most people - and you already enjoy their company (pun, on second thought, intended).