Author Topic: Sudden Post-FIRE, checklist review?  (Read 4350 times)

MrBean

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Sudden Post-FIRE, checklist review?
« on: December 13, 2019, 07:54:13 AM »
Hello MMM Forum, I'm a long time reader and first time poster. My wife and I have been living with FIRE in mind for a while, but last year my parents both suddenly passed away and we ended up inheriting roughly $1m in 2019 (the most depressing lottery, my buddy calls it). There's minimal estate liquidation needs yet, the big stuff is done.

Anyway, I'm taking 2020 off of work to be home with my wife and baby. We've had a rough few years, our two sons passed away from muscular disease in 2016 and 2018. We just want to chill for a year and then I'd like to get a 20hr/week fun job for insurance. We're in our early 30's and I've worked a higher pay/higher stress investment fund accounting job through my career so far, so it sounds attractive to work/live local and focus on family.

What do I have to do to prep for 2020? I've forecasted my 2019/2020 taxes (State/Federal), signed up for an HSA eligible HealthCare.Gov policy with subsidy (so I know what my MAGI needs to be in 2020 to keep the subsidy), and we're planning out our expense budget for the year. Our investments are in taxable and IRA accounts and I have my investment allocations all set, and I've moved some $$ to a money market account for the next two years planned expenses. Once I get more comfortable with post-FIRE life, I may keep less in MMKT but I want to do conservative decisions for 2020 to reduce mistakes/regrets. I'm OK perhaps missing a year of equity growth in exchange for a conservative year with this portion of our allocation.

So yeah, any other todo items or feedback? We're telling zero people our $$ situation but we told a few close friends that I'm home full time, and planning to keep that circle small.

Good note: I've been home for about 45 days full time and it's been amazing. It's been very healing for us given the stress of the last three years and we're very grateful for this opportunity. And I hope future posts in this community are more giving and less 'needy'.

Sun Hat

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Re: Sudden Post-FIRE, checklist review?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2019, 08:34:26 AM »
I'm so sorry for the litany of heartbreak that you've had to endure the past few years. That's a lot for anyone to handle.

I found myself suddenly FIRE a couple of years ago, also due to unhappy circumstances (but your past few years certainly make my woes pale in comparison). Since it seems that you have your finances set up well to allow you some stability for the next two years, my tips will focus on the lifestyle stuff:

1) People will ask (pry) about you taking the year off. Don't feel obligated to tell them anything at all, certainly don't feel like you have to explain your pending inheritance. If it feels right, you might offer "I/we needed time to regroup". It's true and doesn't reveal future plans or finances. If they persist in prying, feel free to tell them anything at all - I've told plenty of lies to people whose interest was clearly selfish curiosity. If they care, they'll understand your need for simplicity for a while.

2) Take care of your physical and mental health. Your family has been through the wringer, and that can often take a toll on your health. I have found that meditation (or mindful yoga) has done wonders for healing and calming my mind by allowing me to stay in the present moment rather than dwelling on painful memories of the past or fantasizing about how things could have been different. Eating lots of unprocessed foods and any sort of physical movement that you enjoy will allow your physical body to recover from the stress and support your mental wellness.

3) When I was suddenly thrust into RE, my income was cut substantially and I worried that I wouldn't have enough. Since living off of 4% of a million is a comfortable but not extravagant $40K/year for a family, you may have similar concerns. If you're not already doing so, I'd suggest tracking your expenditures. I used a simple Excel spreadsheet, others use paper or apps. Tracking my spending helped me notices and trim areas of unconscious overspending, and recognize that I could live very well within my means. Like any muscle, thrift becomes a habit, and now I marvel at how I used to manage to spend more while living less well (meditation is a cheap hobby and certainly more relaxing than my old spa visits).

4) Don't apologize for asking for help. Lots of people (especially on this forum) really WANT to help. Helping makes us feel good and those who ask for help receive it more happily than those I give unsolicited advice about budget tracking and the joys of bulk-buying lentils to!

G-dog

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Re: Sudden Post-FIRE, checklist review?
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2019, 09:47:29 AM »
Here is a pre-FIRE checklist https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/post-fire/pre-fire-checklist/

Does your inheritance include any accounts with RMDs? 

If you wonít have much income in 2020, it is a great year to do a Roth conversion.

kei te pai

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Re: Sudden Post-FIRE, checklist review?
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2019, 10:46:39 AM »
I had rather a FIRE with grief experience too. While appreciating enormously the time, space and freedom just to be, that it brought, the first year was still strange and I felt very vulnerable.
I was much nearer to conventional retirement age than you. Even people who I thought of as reasonably sensitive friends were at times quite insensitive about the situation that precipitated retirement.
I would suggest as little information given about finances as possible, enjoy time with those you love, and expect some emotional wobbles.
Financially, tracking spending carefully, rather than controlling it tightly, will aid peace of mind.
Best wishes for a wonderful year.

Cassie

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Re: Sudden Post-FIRE, checklist review?
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2019, 11:07:37 AM »
As a former social worker you and your wife have experienced extensive trauma between your children and parents.  I think itís a great idea to take a year off.  I think going forward part time is a good idea. When you feel like it I would figure out what you spend versus what comes in.   I also think you guys should plan something special to look forward to like maybe a trip to somewhere you have wanted to go.   Hugs:))

FIREby35

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Re: Sudden Post-FIRE, checklist review?
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2019, 04:46:36 PM »
It sounds like you are thinking straight on the financial aspect.

RWTL

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Re: Sudden Post-FIRE, checklist review?
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2019, 05:19:41 PM »
Wow.  So sorry to hear of your tragic situation.


ShastaFire

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Re: Sudden Post-FIRE, checklist review?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2019, 05:24:51 PM »
I'm glad it's been so healing for you, given what you've been through with your family.  I think your plans are fine, especially having the two year backup in the money market - I did the same into FIRE.  No regrets.

I would just counsel to give yourself as much time as you need to heal, and to not feel like you have to explain/justify to anyone!

Best wishes and congratulations on the baby.

Much Fishing to Do

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Re: Sudden Post-FIRE, checklist review?
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2019, 05:15:13 AM »
My best to you, it sounds like you're doing great with what you've been given.  Obviously the most important "financial" decision right now probably relates to not being overly concerned with your living situation over the next few years being optimized/sustainable, your family's mental health is obviously infinitely times more important.

I'd assume the other big one focus right now and going forward is anything and everything related to health insurance given your family history? There are few things that can do damage to $1M like a serious health issue, so any and all options need to be explored, though I assume you've already done that.

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: Sudden Post-FIRE, checklist review?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2019, 10:17:54 AM »
So sorry to hear you have been going through serial grief.  By all means, take time.

On mechanics, you might want to post a case study.  Without knowing the details like planned FIRE spending, how much of personal/inheritance accounts are taxable/tax advantaged, and miscellanous items, it is hard to offer sound financial advice.

But work on the personal stuff first.  Once you FIRE, it only takes about 6-9 months to figure out that the previous years of worrying about money were sort of wasted.  You live between your ears, not between your cash flows.

DaMa

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Re: Sudden Post-FIRE, checklist review?
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2019, 05:53:11 PM »
Just posting to give you validation.  It sounds like you are doing the right things.  I would also suggest carefully tracking your expenses.

I was FIRED, but my husband was not, when he died suddenly in April.  I will always be grateful that I didn't have to go to work.  I cannot even begin to imagine how people do it.

MrBean

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Re: Sudden Post-FIRE, checklist review?
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2019, 07:04:59 AM »
Thank you everyone for the support and feedback. We feel good about our operations/compliance much moreso now (taxes, expenses, RMD schedule, insurances, other). Looking forward to contributing to this community!

Cassie

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Re: Sudden Post-FIRE, checklist review?
« Reply #12 on: December 22, 2019, 11:19:43 AM »
Itís hard for people to go back to work after a death. My good friend lost her daughter at 19 8 years ago. The state only allowed her a week off. Itís been a constant struggle and she is now retiring with a penalty for not being 60 because she can finally financially do it. Itís a total relief.

Dicey

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Re: Sudden Post-FIRE, checklist review?
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2019, 06:37:10 AM »
Pre-FIRE, one of my favorite motivational sayings was "Retiring too early is a mistake that can be recovered from. Too late and there is no recovery." 

You have borne unendurable losses. Give yourself, your wife, and your new baby the healing gift of time. You will not regret it.

Huge hugs from this Internet Stranger. Best wishes to all of you.