Author Topic: The Taste of FIRE  (Read 9211 times)

zephyr911

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The Taste of FIRE
« on: October 09, 2015, 10:59:29 AM »
I'm still years from full retirement but lately have felt a growing desire to give myself a little dose here and there, just to get a better sense of what it is that I'm working toward. A secondary motivation is to get a better sense of myself and how FIRE might affect my instincts and habits. Sometimes an unexpected hour of free time is enough to both reduce my stress level and increase my zeal, but I suspect some effects occur gradually over weeks and months. So, these are my questions for current retirees:

1) How many of you took some kind of trial run(s) before making the jump? I'm especially interested in hearing from those whose rationale resembled mine.

2) If you feel that this was beneficial to you, what expected and unexpected benefits did you experience? How important was the length of time?

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zephyr911

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2015, 11:50:50 AM »
http://livingafi.com/2014/04/06/three-weeks-off-series-part-0-prelude/
Quote
Itís day 1 of my vacation and already I feel the familiar dread that accompanies any time off from work.  That dread is born from the knowledge that before I know it, the vacation will be over and Iíll be back in the office.

Thankfully my job hasn't been that shitty in years! I'm accelerating FIRE as a pre-emptive strike against the eventuality of my chain of command going to crap again. ;)

Overall: yes, yes, and yes! What he describes is much like what I picture.

I have this huge fantasy of taking over all the housework for DW, who will have FT work for at least a while, possibly even years, after I do. Nothing about it feels like work in my imagination... just what I do because I love my wife and our house.

Cookie78

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2015, 11:55:59 AM »
How long of a dose are you looking for? I'm not post-FIRE so I can't really answer your questions, but I'm contemplating taking another 6 month leave of absence from work too to test out phase 1 of my post-FIRE plans and I'm curious to hear the responses of others.

I took a 6 month self-funded leave 2 years ago and it was great. I didn't even know about FIRE or retiring or investing or anything at the time, so it wasn't really a trial run. But I did learn a lot about myself, had a great time, and as an added bonus escaped a Canadian winter. The first couple months I was a little aimless and slept a lot. After that I got busy and determined and did a lot of figuring out what I wanted to do next with my life.

This time around I'm headed full force and head first towards FIRE and I'm contemplating taking another leave next summer/fall to spend time with my family where I'm planning to spend a lot of time post-FIRE. It'll give me the chance to spend time with my family sooner than if I wait until I FIRE, which is something I need right now. It'll also give me a chance to see if they are all going to drive me crazy and if it's a really bad idea. And it'll only push back my FIRE date 6 months max. This time around I expect I will spend less time aimless and sleeping, and more time helping family and building better relationships.

zephyr911

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2015, 12:29:28 PM »
How long of a dose are you looking for?
I don't know, I'm just looking for some perspective from people who've tried it. I don't have much leave in the bank right now and I'm loath to delay the real thing for the sake of a trial run. Plus, the less I use now, the more I cash out at the end, and LWOP would cut into my SR. But I'm thinking it might help strengthen my resolve.

What I've been contemplating is more on the order of 1-3 days for now.

Moustachienne

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2015, 01:14:38 PM »
I've done this a couple of times and recommend it for two reasons a) you need to keep refreshed in your current working life and b) a break long enough to disengage from your workaday life really opens up new ways of thinking about yourself, i.e. helps push back against any idea that our work defines us or that a work rut is too deep to see over.

I have a lot of annual vacation but usually can't/don't take it all but a few years ago I took an entire month off.  Turns out if a break is planned and committed in advance work has a way of organizing itself to make time off possible. :)  I used the time to begin serious retirement planning, although I had't found MMM or anything like it, and mostly to discover that I wouldn't be "bored" and that very simple aka frugal activities were very satisfying.  that's what I thought but great to have it proved.  Since then I've managed an even longer break which has super strengthened my RE resolve.

Just as you have to spend money on living now, you need to spend time as well.  Don't hoard it all up against the future.  Spend your money and your time wisely at every life stage.  Time off now can be an investment in your current AND future contentment.

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2015, 04:26:24 PM »
I got enough of a "Taste of FIRE" on my normal holidays (4 weeks a year). The difference now is that I can do all the stuff I crammed in those 4 weeks (see my defunct Journal for what I do to float my boat) for 52 weeks of the year. The ability to immerse myself fully in my hobbies and passions without having to rush because my holiday time is ending is PRICELESS.

flyingaway

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2015, 08:00:05 PM »
We are FI this year. Starting this year, we are taking four years to taste retirement. We decided to live and travel like we are in retirement. We track all our expenses and do at least two overseas travels each year. The most important thing in this exercise is to shift our attentions from work to things other than work. I no longer do more than needed at my work and certainly no longer care about higher level positions or compensations.

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2015, 07:55:56 AM »
I'm still years from full retirement but lately have felt a growing desire to give myself a little dose here and there, just to get a better sense of what it is that I'm working toward. A secondary motivation is to get a better sense of myself and how FIRE might affect my instincts and habits...

1) How many of you took some kind of trial run(s) before making the jump? I'm especially interested in hearing from those whose rationale resembled mine.

2) If you feel that this was beneficial to you, what expected and unexpected benefits did you experience? How important was the length of time?

At least four times that I can think of, I gave myself unofficial sabbaticals from the job world.  They each lasted about 3 months.  One thing that really sticks in my mind even now is how those job-free stints got me in touch with the feeling of time freedom and total activity choice.  It was wonderful.  And it totally answered any doubts I might have had about the hackneyed question of being bored or adrift without a job to go to.  (Poppycock!)  So, when time came for me to really FIRE none of those doubts ever came up.

Good luck.

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2015, 08:16:02 AM »
quick comment; for me, even taking time away doesn't give me the feeling - there is always that nagging issues in the back of my mind that knows "you have to go back to work" - so I don't feel I can really 'un-plug'.

I do, however, believe that if I have my number met and took off like 3-4 weeks i may get a sense of the feeling.  early next year I will be taking off 3-4 weeks to care for family after some minor surgery - it is nice to not have to think about work for that duration, and it is therapudic - but I still can't wait until the day "I no longer have to return"...

all that said - I am the type of FI guy that will most likely work part time or 3, 6 or 9 months a year (mostly because I don't know how I will make the transition from saver to spender) - it will be difficult for me to watch my savings stay flat or go down... 

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2015, 04:15:26 PM »
I've been officially FIRE for over a month, but FIRE was simultaneous with an international move. I have not had time to get bored yet because I had to find a place to live, buy a car, etc. I'm still unpacking and getting everything set up.

I didn't take a trial run. I would've taken a hit to my work benefits to take any sort of sabbatical, and those work benefits are partly why I was able to FIRE at such a young age (early 30s).

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2015, 12:36:21 PM »
I would say, YES, take a trial run. But my guess is that you will enjoy it so much, you'll stay retired. That doesn't mean you won't find new projects that challenge you (and some may be part time work) but you will be able to pick and choose what you do.

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2015, 12:47:56 PM »
I'm still years from full retirement but lately have felt a growing desire to give myself a little dose here and there, just to get a better sense of what it is that I'm working toward. A secondary motivation is to get a better sense of myself and how FIRE might affect my instincts and habits. Sometimes an unexpected hour of free time is enough to both reduce my stress level and increase my zeal, but I suspect some effects occur gradually over weeks and months. So, these are my questions for current retirees:

1) How many of you took some kind of trial run(s) before making the jump? I'm especially interested in hearing from those whose rationale resembled mine.

2) If you feel that this was beneficial to you, what expected and unexpected benefits did you experience? How important was the length of time?

About 2006: I was seriously mentally encumbered by my job.  (That's probably a nice way of saying I was a hop-skip from a meltdown).  I'd been there a really long time (18 years) and just not liking the current management.  DW and I were also realizing our parents' mortality.  If we wanted to get out of the big city and move to the country AND have valuable time with our parents before they died: THAT WAS THE TIME TO DO IT.

I used work stress and desire to be near family as my rationalization and just walked in and quit with no prospects for future employment.

We basically lived 3 years in a bit of a trial run.  Moving to a small town has very few job opportunities for a techie.

Outcome:
* as to stress, it was EXTREMELY beneficial.  Even though I am FIRE now, I still look back on those years as some of the best times in my life.  This is EVEN THOUGH we were living in a 600 sqft tool shed at the time.  It was a pretty awesome time of leisure and hard manual labor working on our own bit of land.  It was also somewhat of a nice re-connection with DW.  We've always been close, but ... spending almost 100% of time together was REALLY nice after years of mostly seeing each other at dinner only.
* for family: it was awesome.  Since 2006 2 of 4 of our parents have passed.  We got quality time with them instead of just Thanksgiving, Christmas and a couple of weekends.  We got to set up weekly breakfasts and get togethers where we just sat and talked shit with each other.
* financially: it probably greatly extended my FIRE date.  We basically were living on savings (and not putting money into the market) during the 2008 downturn.  Had I been working and stashing money into the market at 2008 bottom prices... I probably would have been set the moment the market started up.

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2015, 09:07:16 AM »
I had a 5-6 month stretch on unemployment benefits.  I got about 2k a month and made it just fine.  That happened before I found MMM, but it started the obsession to get back to that point.  I taught myself guitar, hung with friends/family, did some short local travel, and recharged my batteries to start something for myself.  Awesome stuff.  Still was able to pay the student loans and stash a little cash too.  Just trying to get to 2k a month passive income again, argh!

Chrissy

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2015, 10:11:40 AM »
My story is a little different because I'm not FIREd.  Not even close.  Projections put me FIREd at 62, though I consider myself sort-of semi-retired.  I had the opportunity to take a little retirement every year and fully retire at typical retirement age, rather than super-save and retire early.

In 2007, I was making ~$30k/yr as a freelancer, and I was up for two permanent positions.  One was somewhere between $75k-$100k/yr, 60-hrs/wk, nonstop travel, VERY prestigious.  The other was $40k/yr, 40-hr/wk, no travel, less prestige, HOWEVER it was only 6-7 months of work contiguous (though the healthcare extended year-round!).

So, I took the lower paying position.  I now make ~$50k/yr from that job, and the hours per week are fewer because I've had years to improve my efficiency.  Sometimes, I take a few weeks of freelance work in my off months (Spring & Summer) to diversify my skills and maintain my contacts.  I've also taken a creative writing course, a trapeze class, a 3-wk trip to Europe, started writing a text book, improved my cooking/baking skills, volunteered with my union, my finances are a well-oiled machine... etc. etc.  Anything I can think of doing, I have the time to pursue with focus.  I LOVE my life!

Compared to my peers, I'm thinner, more energetic, happier.  I have one of the happiest marriages, since my overworked husband can outsource errands to me with ease when things get crazy for him, and doesn't have to face any resentment.

Surprises: 
*Some people have been so envious or just confused when I don't have anything to complain about that they cannot continue a conversation or sometimes the relationship. 
*After the first couple of years, I started to find 8-10 weeks was enough time for me to both feel free and to accomplish my entire "Summer List", and then I have to come up with a whole new set of goals.  Clearly, a little more time off for workers in this country would equate to a lot more happiness.
*It's become apparent this year that I'm aging at a slower rate than other women; I'm frequently mistaken for being nearly 10 years younger.  It's as though I stopped aging when my lifestyle changed.  I guess it makes sense; I'm one of the only people I know with both enough time, money, and sleep!

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2015, 06:33:38 PM »
So, I took the lower paying position.  I now make ~$50k/yr from that job, and the hours per week are fewer because I've had years to improve my efficiency.  Sometimes, I take a few weeks of freelance work in my off months (Spring & Summer) to diversify my skills and maintain my contacts.  I've also taken a creative writing course, a trapeze class, a 3-wk trip to Europe, started writing a text book, improved my cooking/baking skills, volunteered with my union, my finances are a well-oiled machine... etc. etc.  Anything I can think of doing, I have the time to pursue with focus.  I LOVE my life!

Compared to my peers, I'm thinner, more energetic, happier.  I have one of the happiest marriages, since my overworked husband can outsource errands to me with ease when things get crazy for him, and doesn't have to face any resentment.

Surprises: 
*Some people have been so envious or just confused when I don't have anything to complain about that they cannot continue a conversation or sometimes the relationship. 
*After the first couple of years, I started to find 8-10 weeks was enough time for me to both feel free and to accomplish my entire "Summer List", and then I have to come up with a whole new set of goals.  Clearly, a little more time off for workers in this country would equate to a lot more happiness.
*It's become apparent this year that I'm aging at a slower rate than other women; I'm frequently mistaken for being nearly 10 years younger.  It's as though I stopped aging when my lifestyle changed.  I guess it makes sense; I'm one of the only people I know with both enough time, money, and sleep!

You make a lot of good points. I'm thinking that i'd love to do the same, as I feel aged after a busy work week and bounce back after time off. Also happy people look younger.
I wish I could combine my work(which I love) with more time off .... would be bliss

hoping2retire35

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2015, 07:58:38 PM »
So, I took the lower paying position.  I now make ~$50k/yr from that job, and the hours per week are fewer because I've had years to improve my efficiency.  Sometimes, I take a few weeks of freelance work in my off months (Spring & Summer) to diversify my skills and maintain my contacts.  I've also taken a creative writing course, a trapeze class, a 3-wk trip to Europe, started writing a text book, improved my cooking/baking skills, volunteered with my union, my finances are a well-oiled machine... etc. etc.  Anything I can think of doing, I have the time to pursue with focus.  I LOVE my life!

Compared to my peers, I'm thinner, more energetic, happier.  I have one of the happiest marriages, since my overworked husband can outsource errands to me with ease when things get crazy for him, and doesn't have to face any resentment.

Surprises: 
*Some people have been so envious or just confused when I don't have anything to complain about that they cannot continue a conversation or sometimes the relationship. 
*After the first couple of years, I started to find 8-10 weeks was enough time for me to both feel free and to accomplish my entire "Summer List", and then I have to come up with a whole new set of goals.  Clearly, a little more time off for workers in this country would equate to a lot more happiness.
*It's become apparent this year that I'm aging at a slower rate than other women; I'm frequently mistaken for being nearly 10 years younger.  It's as though I stopped aging when my lifestyle changed.  I guess it makes sense; I'm one of the only people I know with both enough time, money, and sleep!

You make a lot of good points. I'm thinking that i'd love to do the same, as I feel aged after a busy work week and bounce back after time off. Also happy people look younger.
I wish I could combine my work(which I love) with more time off .... would be bliss

Ah! This is what I want. I know I could do my job in under 30 hours a week and it could all be done from home, BUT if I asked they would most likely get confused, just say no, and next time something goes wrong they could think I am the problem/don't want to be there etc. not something I'm willing to risk. If something comes along like a job offer, then maybe I could get a serious negotiate and they might go for it. If I somehow ever pulled it off it would be bliss.

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2015, 08:16:19 PM »
I got a tiny taste of FIRE every weekend.

And then every Winter and Spring break (as a teacher).  Took one summer off to backpack Europe, but taught summer school every other year, but still usually had at least a few weeks to a month off.  Those tastes were enough to convince me I wanted to push for full FIRE.

I very much enjoyed my job, but the complete freedom of time?  It's incredible.  Not working is nice (i.e. the lack of "work"/effort), but having all the time in the world to do whatever is just amazing.

If you need a taste of FIRE to keep you motivated (as stated in the OP "have felt a growing desire to give myself a little dose here and there, just to get a better sense of what it is that I'm working toward"), go for it. 

Each weekend, and holiday/vacation should give you a taste though, IMO.  If you're burnt out and not liking your job, a sabbatical is a great idea.  But if you like your job, I tend to favor just pushing towards FIRE. 

Mini breaks and full FIRE are just such a completely different experience.  Enjoy the mini breaks, but it still won't prepare you for the amazingness of FIRE.  I'm pretty sure Jon_Snow, spartana, etc. can back me up on this.  :)
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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2015, 05:26:19 AM »
I took a trial run. I closed my business beginning of April and after about 3 months an opportunity came along that seemed to good to pass up. I worked there less than 3 months and resigned. I realized really quickly that I just didn't need the bullshit. But looking back there wasn't as much bullshit as I made it out to be but just me wanting to live each day at my own terms. Now that is not to say I wouldn't do something again BUT i will do my best not to.

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2015, 03:41:30 PM »
I'm still years from full retirement but lately have felt a growing desire to give myself a little dose here and there, just to get a better sense of what it is that I'm working toward. A secondary motivation is to get a better sense of myself and how FIRE might affect my instincts and habits. Sometimes an unexpected hour of free time is enough to both reduce my stress level and increase my zeal, but I suspect some effects occur gradually over weeks and months. So, these are my questions for current retirees:

1) How many of you took some kind of trial run(s) before making the jump? I'm especially interested in hearing from those whose rationale resembled mine.

2) If you feel that this was beneficial to you, what expected and unexpected benefits did you experience? How important was the length of time?
Before I retired, there were several occasions when I had time off. On the first occasion I took three months off and had a "trip of a lifetime". But that wasn't a FIRE practice. It was a trip overseas, when I was very busy and I don't think I connected with myself at all.

On three other occasions I had time off for a couple of months, and worked on finding myself. It allowed me to change course, get rid of the annoying little things that were bugging my life - that I never had time for. The time I took off when I was nearing retirement, I read a book "What Color is Your Parachute for Retirement" and did a number of the exercises in it. I spent time thinking about what I wanted to do in retirement, what satisfaction work gave my life, and what I would do after retirement to get that satisfaction.

For example, I decided that work fulfilled my social needs, and that I would be somewhat isolated in retirement. I decided that I would take steps while I was working to develop a bigger group of social contacts (and possibly friends) by joining one club or group (of course in something that interested me) every six months (preferably one where men and women shared interests, as another problem was that almost all of my outside contacts were women because I was involved in embroidery and quilting).

Later, I also decided to take a week off each year where I wasn't scheduled to do anything - a "me" week. I got my hair cut, sorted out things that were weighing me down, and generally cleared the air for the following year. This was immensely beneficial because I didn't have things nagging at me for the rest of the year. I found I was less stressed at work because of the week off. Until then I had always structured my holidays to fit EVERYTHING I wanted to do.

I really don't think the length of time matters.

One interesting thing is that none of these breaks was like real retirement. I thought they were at the time, but they weren't. I have no stress. I am much happier. Sure there are problems occasionally, but these are trivial. Maybe they prepared me for retirement. My next door neighbour was talking to me about retirement a couple of days ago. She had had some time off (two weeks) and it drove her bonkers - she is never going to retire!

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Re: The Taste of FIRE
« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2015, 12:57:32 AM »
So, I took the lower paying position.  I now make ~$50k/yr from that job, and the hours per week are fewer because I've had years to improve my efficiency.  Sometimes, I take a few weeks of freelance work in my off months (Spring & Summer) to diversify my skills and maintain my contacts.  I've also taken a creative writing course, a trapeze class, a 3-wk trip to Europe, started writing a text book, improved my cooking/baking skills, volunteered with my union, my finances are a well-oiled machine... etc. etc.  Anything I can think of doing, I have the time to pursue with focus.  I LOVE my life!

Compared to my peers, I'm thinner, more energetic, happier.  I have one of the happiest marriages, since my overworked husband can outsource errands to me with ease when things get crazy for him, and doesn't have to face any resentment.

Surprises: 
*Some people have been so envious or just confused when I don't have anything to complain about that they cannot continue a conversation or sometimes the relationship. 
*After the first couple of years, I started to find 8-10 weeks was enough time for me to both feel free and to accomplish my entire "Summer List", and then I have to come up with a whole new set of goals.  Clearly, a little more time off for workers in this country would equate to a lot more happiness.
*It's become apparent this year that I'm aging at a slower rate than other women; I'm frequently mistaken for being nearly 10 years younger.  It's as though I stopped aging when my lifestyle changed.  I guess it makes sense; I'm one of the only people I know with both enough time, money, and sleep!

You make a lot of good points. I'm thinking that i'd love to do the same, as I feel aged after a busy work week and bounce back after time off. Also happy people look younger.
I wish I could combine my work(which I love) with more time off .... would be bliss

There are some really good points here. I'm having some down time right now. 4 days off and one day work from home with not much work getting done. I've slept a lot and realize how much I like having the down time.

I think at some point I'm going to start taking 8 weeks holiday per year. At the moment I get 4 weeks. Then I might move to 2-3 days work per week and then completely retire. I think I'll phase it in however I think I'll get to a good stash level prior to doing that.