Author Topic: Updated: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?  (Read 5496 times)

Emilyngh

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Updated: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« on: August 21, 2023, 10:18:19 PM »
I have been on a FIRE path for close to 10 years (posted some here many years ago, but not in a long time). I have been semi-retired for years, working at a job with great pay for PT hours. This situation has enabled me to have a great life outside of work (homeschooling our daughter, gardening, downsizing and renovating an old house, etc); however, while the job hours are great, the mental stress from it has been horrible. As Iím 42 and projected to hit FIRE in 3 years, my plan has just been to suffer through until then. But in the last 6 mos, things have gone from bad to worse and I just know down deep that I have to get out after this year (if I stay a year I will leave with an additional 6 mo severance).

So after this last year and severance, Iíd be leaving about 1.5 yrs before my projected FiRE date. My DH is self-employed, loves his work, plans on working about another 4 years, but makes very little money. After leaving my job, I plan on taking a solid year off to regroup and reset from the stress, but then I figure that worst case if I feel like weíre burning through money too quickly after that, I could always pick up a little work as needed here and there. So while it feels just wrong to leave before the FIRE number, realistically Iím not sure itís really that risky?

What about you? Looking at how things have gone for you since FIRE, do you think you would have been greatly affected if you had left 1-2 years before you did, and if so, how?

Eta: I just added an update post bc tldr: I did it!
« Last Edit: February 10, 2024, 06:08:53 PM by Emilyngh »

Freedomin5

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2023, 03:38:32 AM »
It sounds like you have a good amount of FU money. Youíre in a good position to take a break, or look for a different job. Sometimes, just a change of environmental help.

Another option is to just ďtang pingĒ at work. To kind of mentally check out at work or just mentally quit without actually quitting. Do the minimum that you need to do to not get fired. Youíre firing in 3 years, so itís not like youíre out to impress anyone or climb the corporate ladder. Can you refuse to do the stressful parts and only do the parts you like?

In addition, I think the research (or anecdotal data) suggests that many FIREees continue to earn money even after they FIRE.

In my case, Iím SWAMI (though recent changes in personnel are making me question that status). I did leave an untenable job and switch to a more relaxing job several years ago. We werenít FI at the time, but we had FU money. In our case, it didnít really impact our time to FI by much. A lower stress job meant that we didnít have to spend as much on childcare. We also could cook more meals at home. So our expenses went down.

Metalcat

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2023, 04:47:03 AM »
I had to retire before hitting FI.

We're basically coast FI. My income was the much larger of our two, and now we live off of the lower one and our savings grow.

That said, I am retraining to go back to work because I really enjoy meaningful, challenging work, but I'm taking my sweet time and being extremely picky about the kind of work I'll do, because we don't really need the income.

If you have money, you have the power to choose a life you enjoy more. No one needs to be full FI to choose a happier, more satisfying life.

jfer_rose

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2023, 05:17:30 AM »
I inadvertently did this. I was super burned out and had had a lightbulb realization about how great I feel when working with my hands. So I quit my job before reaching my full-FI number so that I could go back to school and learn woodworking. I quit four years ago this month. I intended to get a woodworking job after completing the one-year program.

Well, the pandemic happened when I was 3/4 of the way through the program, delaying graduation. So I ended up starting a business and then I was in the middle of my first big job and noticed my net worth had reached my full FIRE number while I hadnít been paying attention.

In my case, I do think stock market luck was in my favor, and I still worry about sequence of returns risk.

Anyway, I basically started to consider myself FIRED. I do still earn a couple thousand dollars a year from a combination of stuff I love: woodworking, cat sitting, paid election work, etc.

While I havenít gotten any formal jobs, I now realize there are so many more ways I wouldnít mind earning money than I was able to imagine while I was employed. Some of them are things I am really excited about. (Just one example, I volunteer taking care of indoor plants at a botanical garden and my volunteer manager also does paid plant care at restaurants and coffee shops, she pitched to me a cafe in my neighborhood that she thinks really needs that kind of help and I canít stop thinking about it.)

Emilyngh

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2023, 05:39:35 AM »

Another option is to just ďtang pingĒ at work. To kind of mentally check out at work or just mentally quit without actually quitting. Do the minimum that you need to do to not get fired. Youíre firing in 3 years, so itís not like youíre out to impress anyone or climb the corporate ladder. Can you refuse to do the stressful parts and only do the parts you like?


This is what Iíve been doing for years, and itís getting to the point where itís untenable. I have already risen as high as itís possible for me to go. I thought that once I did this I could ignore the bullshit and relax, but I cannot. Itís not who I am, and itís not what the job is.

Also, there is no downshifting to a different full time job without losing the parts of my life that Iíve built with my current very PT schedule (ie,. Homeschooling my daughter, etc). I could imagine picking up small amounts of work (5-10 hrs a week) if needed after a year or so break.

Emilyngh

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2023, 05:44:40 AM »
I had to retire before hitting FI.

We're basically coast FI. My income was the much larger of our two, and now we live off of the lower one and our savings grow.

That said, I am retraining to go back to work because I really enjoy meaningful, challenging work, but I'm taking my sweet time and being extremely picky about the kind of work I'll do, because we don't really need the income.

If you have money, you have the power to choose a life you enjoy more. No one needs to be full FI to choose a happier, more satisfying life.

Thanks! Your situation sounds very close to mine. We could live off of my DH income for our basic expenses, but if we have any larger repairs, need a new car etc, we’d have to pull from investments. Plus my DH is older than I am, so I don’t feel right about expecting him  to keep working for longer than the four years he’s been planning, so I’m just not sure that we’ll quite be at FIRE when he’s ready to retire too if we just coast until then (depends on the market, what goes wrong financially, etc). Thanks for sharing your experience!
« Last Edit: August 22, 2023, 05:55:01 AM by Emilyngh »

Emilyngh

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2023, 05:53:15 AM »

While I havenít gotten any formal jobs, I now realize there are so many more ways I wouldnít mind earning money than I was able to imagine while I was employed. Some of them are things I am really excited about. (Just one example, I volunteer taking care of indoor plants at a botanical garden and my volunteer manager also does paid plant care at restaurants and coffee shops, she pitched to me a cafe in my neighborhood that she thinks really needs that kind of help and I canít stop thinking about it.)

This is great to hear (and what Iím hoping Iíll find if needed once Iíve recovered from burn out). The thought of having to give up FIRE life (which I pretty much live now outside of work stress) if we wind up not quite having enough money, sounds horrible. But Iím hoping that since I probably wouldnít need to bring in a ton of money, I could find small enjoyable ways to do it. But Iíve never done anything other than work an official job since grad school, itís hard for me to imagine.

Ron Scott

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2023, 06:12:34 AM »
Life comes with choices we donít like, and choices have consequences.

You are leaning toward quitting your job, not working elsewhere, and giving up on FIRE at this time.

You understand this is a suboptimal decision and you know the consequences. You can either find other means to generate adequate income or reduce your expenses for the rest of your life.

Sometimes itís helpful to dispassionately access the pros and cons of each option. In your case:

1. Continue working part time at your current job.
2. Look for a different part-time job from another employer.
3. Quit working altogether at this time, knowing that you will need to find income at some point in the future in order to keep living the lifestyle you currently have.
4. Reduce expenses and lower you current standard of living.

What does such a process lead you to choose?

Car Jack

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2023, 04:41:55 PM »
I think it really makes sense for you to do your homework if you have not already.  This includes 2 things.

1)  Make a "retirement spending" list.  This is NOT like Fidelity says at 80% of your salary or anything to do with your working list.  Sure, property tax or rent or gas for your car will be the same.  But insurance won't if you're on a group plan from work.  I'm particularly sensitive to this because I retired 2 months ago tomorrow.  DW and I are paying 5 times what we paid when I had a group plan.  Anyways, make the list.  For us, while working, we spent $50k a year.  In retirement, $75k.

2)  Build a life spread sheet.  For each year, list all income, assets, a percentage gain you expect for your assets, and spending.  By doing this for every year, you can change the percentage every year to match what gains are expected.  As a year ends, replace predicted with actual.  With this spread sheet, you can put in when you quit your job.  When your spouse does.  When you have college expenses.  When social security starts.  Anything can go in and get categorized as income or spending.  What this tells you is a lot.  First of all, you can look at total assets and if they go to zero in 5 years, you're not ready to retire.  If in 30 years, you have $5M, then why are you still working?  This is WAY more accurate than depending on the Trinity study numbers.  The Trinity study doesn't let you put in that you need a new car in 3 years.  That your roof needs replacement in 10 years.  That your kid will be in an $80k per year college in 12 years. 

What did I do?  Well, Covid helped me immensely.  I worked from home, helping customers over webex or teams or just on the phone or email.  I'm tech support for complex electronic hardware designs.  I should say "I was"....  When not in meetings, I'd mow the lawn or go to the grocery store or bring a load of scrap steel to the scrap yard.  For 2.5 years, I practiced being retired.  We had 25 times spending 10 years ago, so didn't have the financial stresses when I made the decision to stop.  DW couldn't believe we could possibly afford to retire and it took me years to convince her.  With the kids out of college, the big dollar upcoming things are house maintenance things.  In your case, do #1 and #2 above.  This is "doing the math" that I always recommend (sorry, I'm an engineer).  If the spread sheet tells you that you're good to go, fine.  If it tells you that with a part time job at Papa Ginos making pizza on the weekends, then there ya go.

Metalcat

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2023, 04:52:45 PM »
I had to retire before hitting FI.

We're basically coast FI. My income was the much larger of our two, and now we live off of the lower one and our savings grow.

That said, I am retraining to go back to work because I really enjoy meaningful, challenging work, but I'm taking my sweet time and being extremely picky about the kind of work I'll do, because we don't really need the income.

If you have money, you have the power to choose a life you enjoy more. No one needs to be full FI to choose a happier, more satisfying life.

Thanks! Your situation sounds very close to mine. We could live off of my DH income for our basic expenses, but if we have any larger repairs, need a new car etc, weíd have to pull from investments. Plus my DH is older than I am, so I donít feel right about expecting him  to keep working for longer than the four years heís been planning, so Iím just not sure that weíll quite be at FIRE when heís ready to retire too if we just coast until then (depends on the market, what goes wrong financially, etc). Thanks for sharing your experience!

My DH is a decade older and wouldn't want me working and miserable. He's happy to work longer because I'm a hell of a lot better as a partner now than I was before.

Again, you have options.

Anette

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2023, 05:15:03 PM »
Sounds like for your quality of life/ happiness you should go for it.
Destress, then watch out for very part time work which feels aspiring to you.

Emilyngh

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2023, 05:22:08 PM »
I had to retire before hitting FI.

We're basically coast FI. My income was the much larger of our two, and now we live off of the lower one and our savings grow.

That said, I am retraining to go back to work because I really enjoy meaningful, challenging work, but I'm taking my sweet time and being extremely picky about the kind of work I'll do, because we don't really need the income.

If you have money, you have the power to choose a life you enjoy more. No one needs to be full FI to choose a happier, more satisfying life.

Thanks! Your situation sounds very close to mine. We could live off of my DH income for our basic expenses, but if we have any larger repairs, need a new car etc, weíd have to pull from investments. Plus my DH is older than I am, so I donít feel right about expecting him  to keep working for longer than the four years heís been planning, so Iím just not sure that weíll quite be at FIRE when heís ready to retire too if we just coast until then (depends on the market, what goes wrong financially, etc). Thanks for sharing your experience!

My DH is a decade older and wouldn't want me working and miserable. He's happy to work longer because I'm a hell of a lot better as a partner now than I was before.

Again, you have options.

Thank you. You are right; my DH likes his job and may want to keep working anyway and/or ramp down and I pick up small things.  He certainly does not want for me to continue like thisÖ

Emilyngh

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2023, 05:41:26 PM »
I think it really makes sense for you to do your homework if you have not already.  This includes 2 things.

1)  Make a "retirement spending" list.  This is NOT like Fidelity says at 80% of your salary or anything to do with your working list.  Sure, property tax or rent or gas for your car will be the same.  But insurance won't if you're on a group plan from work.  I'm particularly sensitive to this because I retired 2 months ago tomorrow.  DW and I are paying 5 times what we paid when I had a group plan.  Anyways, make the list.  For us, while working, we spent $50k a year.  In retirement, $75k.

2)  Build a life spread sheet.  For each year, list all income, assets, a percentage gain you expect for your assets, and spending.  By doing this for every year, you can change the percentage every year to match what gains are expected.  As a year ends, replace predicted with actual.  With this spread sheet, you can put in when you quit your job.  When your spouse does.  When you have college expenses.  When social security starts.  Anything can go in and get categorized as income or spending.  What this tells you is a lot.  First of all, you can look at total assets and if they go to zero in 5 years, you're not ready to retire.  If in 30 years, you have $5M, then why are you still working?  This is WAY more accurate than depending on the Trinity study numbers.  The Trinity study doesn't let you put in that you need a new car in 3 years.  That your roof needs replacement in 10 years.  That your kid will be in an $80k per year college in 12 years. 

What did I do?  Well, Covid helped me immensely.  I worked from home, helping customers over webex or teams or just on the phone or email.  I'm tech support for complex electronic hardware designs.  I should say "I was"....  When not in meetings, I'd mow the lawn or go to the grocery store or bring a load of scrap steel to the scrap yard.  For 2.5 years, I practiced being retired.  We had 25 times spending 10 years ago, so didn't have the financial stresses when I made the decision to stop.  DW couldn't believe we could possibly afford to retire and it took me years to convince her.  With the kids out of college, the big dollar upcoming things are house maintenance things.  In your case, do #1 and #2 above.  This is "doing the math" that I always recommend (sorry, I'm an engineer).  If the spread sheet tells you that you're good to go, fine.  If it tells you that with a part time job at Papa Ginos making pizza on the weekends, then there ya go.

Thanks-Iíve done the math (as carefully as anyone can with unknowns); Iím also an engineer.

I also pretty much ďpractice retired lifeĒ  now bc I work so few hours and mostly work remotely  (other than the mental stress). The numbers show that weíre not quite there, but it is close enough that it depends on exactly what the markets do and could be offset by bringing in relatively small amounts of income by DH (after the four more years he was originally planning on working) and/or myself. We have no mortgage and live a low cost life with options for flexibility (eg., live in a walkable area and could probably go down to one car, our health insurance will actually be considerably less expensive vs what I pay now for our coverage through work bc weíll qualify for ACA subsidies bc our income will be so low). I guess I was mostly looking for feedback regarding in retrospect if people feel like they are better, same, or worse off than they calculated they would be before FIRE (ie., in retrospect could they have pulled the trigger earlier or glad that they waited until they did).

Metalcat

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2023, 05:47:40 PM »
I had to retire before hitting FI.

We're basically coast FI. My income was the much larger of our two, and now we live off of the lower one and our savings grow.

That said, I am retraining to go back to work because I really enjoy meaningful, challenging work, but I'm taking my sweet time and being extremely picky about the kind of work I'll do, because we don't really need the income.

If you have money, you have the power to choose a life you enjoy more. No one needs to be full FI to choose a happier, more satisfying life.

Thanks! Your situation sounds very close to mine. We could live off of my DH income for our basic expenses, but if we have any larger repairs, need a new car etc, weíd have to pull from investments. Plus my DH is older than I am, so I donít feel right about expecting him  to keep working for longer than the four years heís been planning, so Iím just not sure that weíll quite be at FIRE when heís ready to retire too if we just coast until then (depends on the market, what goes wrong financially, etc). Thanks for sharing your experience!

My DH is a decade older and wouldn't want me working and miserable. He's happy to work longer because I'm a hell of a lot better as a partner now than I was before.

Again, you have options.

Thank you. You are right; my DH likes his job and may want to keep working anyway and/or ramp down and I pick up small things.  He certainly does not want for me to continue like thisÖ

Start having a lot of very honest and frank conversations about what matters to both of you and how you can collectively live the best versions of your lives.

I used to feel really bad about not working while my spouse worked, but he literally thinks that's insane. Our quality of life is dramatically better since I stopped working, and I didn't even hate my job, I loved my job.

But it turns out that I'm a lot more ambitious and creative about our lifestyle when I'm not working. I've revamped our entire way of living from the ground up and radically improved every aspect of our quality of life. I brought in money before, but now I dedicate a lot of time and energy, which as it turns out, is worth even more than the money I brought in.

I will be going back to work, but I'll never go back to work full time, my time is just too valuable to waste on just working. I'm beat left to get just bored enough to come up with really, really cool ideas, and to research them and strategize the logistics.

Money is just one element of value that you can bring to the table, and when you already have a fair amount of it, the value of more kind of plummets.

And if it's making you miserable to earn it, then you're probably profoundly compromising the other forms of value that you could be bringing to the table.

Remember, your partner has to actually live with you. What caliber of *you* are they getting to live with?

My DH would rather lose a finger than trade the caliber of partner he has now for the version of me that was overworked, but bringing in a lot of money. We don't need a lot of money, but we definitely need me in top form for us to live as well as we do.

Seriously, his life is just so consistently easy and awesome, he's too spoiled to ever tolerate me going back to full time work.

Life in Balance

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2023, 06:48:48 PM »
I retired early before I hit my FI number due to burnout.  In my case, the burnout had gotten so bad that it had serious impacts on my health (hint: don't wait this long to leave your job).  To be precise, I was at 82% of my FI number.  I retired in December 2019 and haven't worked since, but I do have royalty income from a book that provides about 30% of my needed income.  I'm now at 100% of my FI number, thanks to the market ups (and downs) during that time. 

To make it work, I basically committed to myself that I would find part-time work if the royalty income dropped off more suddenly than I'd planned. I also committed to living as frugally as possible until I reached my number (the ACA has helped with this because I'm a regular user of healthcare).  So, for the last three years, I stayed at the same level of spending.  This year, I gave myself a raise because I was at over 90% of my FI number and inflation was starting to affect my budget.  It's worked out really well, but I may have a higher risk tolerance than average--I haven't found it stressful.  Recovering my health has been the stressful part--it's my main job now. 

I would say you're in good shape to retire if your DH is on board with working or you're on board with finding part-time work that you enjoy.  It sounds like there may be a few things you can do to lower expenses (e.g. you mentioned going down to one car).  You and your DH have been resourceful enough to get to where you are; it's time to reap the benefits of your work.  If you need to add a bit of income, you'll figure it out. 

eyesonthehorizon

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2023, 08:20:58 PM »
You framed it all in terms of years, not percentages or hard figures, so I assume you feel comfortable with the math side of things. I would usually assess from the budget up how narrow the tolerance is & how much you will be eating into your stash in different market conditions. But that framing of years catches my eye. For how many years have you felt like you were nearing burnout?

You have had a part time job on top of homeschooling & parenting a child, which is well more than full time hours. Spending more time digging a deeper hole when you could afford to try (even to fail!) other things until something worked out just means more time after you cut the job spent on recovering. How much longer will your child be at home? What will happen to your schedule as they move into more independent teen years, might you want to find paid projects then?

Not having the sky fall on your head immediately upon letting go of a known condition of misery really changes the way you visualize risk.

Emilyngh

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2023, 08:53:45 PM »

How much longer will your child be at home? What will happen to your schedule as they move into more independent teen years, might you want to find paid projects then?

Not having the sky fall on your head immediately upon letting go of a known condition of misery really changes the way you visualize risk.

Oh thank you, this is a really good point that I have been taking into consideration, but have not mentioned here. My daughter is 12. As trite as it is to say, time goes quickly and there will only be a few more short years when I am as needed. She is pretty independent already in her studies, but as she moves into her high school years she will be even more independent as she moves to online college courses and other online programs. Even as a teen we plan on having one parent home with her most of the day, but I feel like it would not make sense to spend my last years when she is young burnt out. And  even if we wind up burning through money way faster than I imagined, I feel like a few years of me at home wonít make that much of a difference financially, and I could always then work more when she is 16+ of it winds up being needed  (and maybe my DH could ease from work then and be around the house more.) And thereís a chance I still wouldnít need to work much if at all later, but if I wind up having to, I feel like itís better then than now.

HenryDavid

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2023, 03:56:14 AM »
I retired a little ahead of full financial independence. But I knew future income streams (government programs in Canada, like Social Security in the US) would start in a few years. And I wanted to leave my job.
Now 4.5 years in and we have more savings now than we started with. Because our assumptions about costs and savings growth were so conservative! So, no money issues at all.
We did all the math and saw we could cross the short time period to full FI no problems.
Time is worth more than money. Far more.
This factors into all of our money decisions.

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2023, 05:01:18 AM »
Lifes to short and since you your so close, your husband is working and all you would need is a part time job to make things work go for it. I was pretty much in the same boat and did exactly that. No regrets! As long as I have my health I know I can make money if it gets to that but staying doing what I was doing I wouldn't have my health.

Louise

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2023, 06:12:42 AM »
My situation is a little different. I left my job with zero work/life balance over ten years ago when my child was a toddler. My spouse wasn't making very much money at the time either, but our expenses were low. We were not FI, but had quite a bit saved. It turned out much better than I ever thought. My husband found work he loves that pays more, our home is less chaotic, our investments did well and we have exceeded our FI number.

I've had an awesome time with my daughter. She is now in HS, and I still find she needs a parent around for logistics (sports practices, etc.). However, I think she would prefer that I get a PT job so she can have the house to herself a bit, lol.

Much Fishing to Do

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2023, 03:09:11 PM »
Could I make you feel better by saying you actually are FI?  I'm pretty good at making the argument in many cases folks on this site disagree.... e.g. when you plug your number into FIREcalc do you get a success rate above 50%?  If so, then you are by definition most likely shortening your successful retirement by working any longer.....And No number above 50% is in anyway anything other than 'marginally' better than any other number....even "100%" just means past markets, not possible future markets.. etc etc...  IF things tank then you might have to work some more later, but you will not know that until later....

Heh, I worked thru all that when my job sucked beyond belief, even as I was downshifting.  Luckily my current part time job I've been able to feel fine with... (not putting email on my phone was a huge part....so now I literally only stress the 18hrs/wk I am on my laptop, and not only is that not much, that time has become not very stressful...and I've found I need a little bit of work stress, cause after 70hr/wk working I'm still figuring out what my hobbies/interests outside of work actually are....
« Last Edit: August 23, 2023, 03:15:27 PM by Much Fishing to Do »

Ron Scott

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #21 on: August 23, 2023, 09:09:58 PM »
when you plug your number into FIREcalc do you get a success rate above 50%?  If so, then you are by definition most likely shortening your successful retirement by working any longer...

Iíve got the feeling this argument is a 1-2 punch so I will bite just to hear it.

50%?

So you put three bullets in a six shooter and pull the trigger on your birthdays, hoping you donít lose in your early 80s. Whatís the catch?


Slow road to freedom

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #22 on: August 24, 2023, 04:31:04 AM »
The last year has been an odd one for me. I was desperate to leave the corporate world. Call it burnout, or just enough of the BS. I quit about 1-2 years earlier than planned (even skipped to the 2022 cohort!).

I really needed the change. I couldn't focus on what my priorities might be, not properly anyway. It was all work. And, of course, I worried about whether we had enough.

Since then, I got comfortable with what we had, planned accordingly, and then proceeded to not think about the financial side of things much at all. Given my [financial] background that's been a surprise.

I've been told by the rest of my family that I'm a better person to be around, and that our collective quality of life has improved significantly.

And after a few months my brain started to wander back to looking for meaningful/challenging things to do. I have two voluntary roles, and have a very part time job that pays pretty well. I couldn't have predicted any of those beforehand, but you sound pretty resourceful and certainly not work-shy - my suspicion is you won't be able to keep a lid on picking up 1/2/3 interesting things to do, one or more of which might well pay.

Happiness at home easily beats money from a crappy job. And in time your mind will be allowed the freedom to explore, which will probably mean earning money in ways you can't imagine at the moment. I'm not trying to sound woo-woo but that's just how it's felt to me.

You will make it work, just focus on what means the most to you.


Much Fishing to Do

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #23 on: August 24, 2023, 05:10:07 AM »
when you plug your number into FIREcalc do you get a success rate above 50%?  If so, then you are by definition most likely shortening your successful retirement by working any longer...

Iíve got the feeling this argument is a 1-2 punch so I will bite just to hear it.

50%?

So you put three bullets in a six shooter and pull the trigger on your birthdays, hoping you donít lose in your early 80s. Whatís the catch?

So you would put 5 bullets in a 100 shooter if you retire when FIRECALC says 95%?

I would hope it doesnt fail, as it 'probably' will not, and if it does look like it will at some point I would go back to work or spend less.  Same for 51%.  Same for "100%" which of course doesnt mean you will not go broke.  And I fully expect to "lose" in my early 80s the same way everyone I have ever known has, by dying (well the few that made it to their 80s).  Holy cow, your post has explained to me why so many folks have a SWR of <2%, as being a broke 82 year old (like most 82 year olds) is worse than death itself.

Yes, This is all slightly tongue in cheek, as I myself like the 4% SWR, but its not a ridiculous position to take.  Because again, once you go beyond 50%, you are probably reducing the length of a successful retirement, and most of us here look to maximize it.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 05:21:57 AM by Much Fishing to Do »

mistymoney

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #24 on: August 24, 2023, 09:26:18 AM »
Could I make you feel better by saying you actually are FI?  I'm pretty good at making the argument in many cases folks on this site disagree.... e.g. when you plug your number into FIREcalc do you get a success rate above 50%?  If so, then you are by definition most likely shortening your successful retirement by working any longer.....And No number above 50% is in anyway anything other than 'marginally' better than any other number....even "100%" just means past markets, not possible future markets.. etc etc...  IF things tank then you might have to work some more later, but you will not know that until later....



this seemed really wacky to me....so I went to rich dead broke. The defaul settings are 40/1M, so started lowering the 1M and 825k was a 51% success rate, initial WR of 4.8%. So - not as crazy as it initially sounds....
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 09:30:02 AM by mistymoney »

lhamo

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #25 on: August 24, 2023, 10:12:02 AM »
When I left paid employment in 2015 I wasn't 100% sure if it would be real FIRE or not -- we needed to cash out the equity in our very expensive condo in China for things to be clearer.  In retrospect, I probably COULD have left work a few years earlier because that lottery ticket proved to be a really big one. You don't have that card to play, but I would still encourage you to consider taking a break sooner rather than later.

Burnout is awful  I had it, and it took quite awhile for me to recover.  It gets harder as you get older, I think.

Being a SAHP with teens was a great situation for me.  I would NOT have been a good SAHP to toddlers/pre-schoolers.  But for teens it was a great fit.  I was available when they needed me, but still had lots of time to do my own thing.  We had almost no conflict, and now that they are 18 (heading off to college/the dorms in a few weeks, but still a short bus or "mom can you pick me up" car ride home) and 22 (off at grad school in another state, but still comes home and has fun hanging out with us) we have a great relationship that I hope means I will continue to see a lot of them as they get older.

Also remember that when your time is your own there are lots of things you can do here and there to make more money if you need it.   


FireLane

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #26 on: August 24, 2023, 01:22:29 PM »
My take, which admittedly comes from a place of privilege, is that no amount of money is worth working at a job that makes you miserable.

The point of this FIRE thing isn't just to suffer through years of unpleasant work to reach the blissful paradise of early retirement. It's that you build up FU money along the way, so even if you're not ready to quit the working world for good, you don't have to tolerate abusive bosses, bad working conditions, or extreme stress. You always have options, which means you always have freedom.

If you were planning to retire 1.5 years from now, you must be very close to your FIRE number. Typically, that's the point where the market is doing most of the heavy lifting anyway. Instead of working longer and padding your stash more, do you have non-essential spending that you could reduce for a while? If so, it's possible that market growth could carry you over the line all by itself. If the market cooperates, you might hit your number in the next few years anyway, even without contributing another dollar!

Also, I feel like the big question is: what does your DH think of this? Is he on board with your FIRE plan?

I quit my job in 2021, but my wife is still working. Her salary, plus dividends from my taxable account, covers our expenses. In exchange, I do most of the childcare, cooking, and other household chores. Could an arrangement like this work for you?

Loren Ver

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #27 on: August 24, 2023, 08:07:32 PM »
DH and I both retired before we hit our full financial numbers when I was 36 and he was 39.  We retired because we felt like it and I liked the idea of forever being a retiree at 36 and I told DH I'd have him out by 40 back when we were in our 20s. 

We know it would be okay because the market was already doing the heavy lifting at that point.  Our income was just drops in the bucket, so no loss there.  All we had to do was not pull out more money than the market was making over time and we'd eventually hit our number.  I think it helped that we had been pulling money from investments for years to help cover large purchases (cars, down payments).  So pulling money wasn't foreign to us, it was just another income stream to be used.

Anyway, it worked.   We have no plans to go back to paid work.

We generally try not to overcomplicate things.  Simple is good.

Edit for typos
« Last Edit: August 24, 2023, 08:10:13 PM by Loren Ver »

BeanCounter

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #28 on: August 25, 2023, 08:35:53 AM »
I think it really makes sense for you to do your homework if you have not already.  This includes 2 things.

1)  Make a "retirement spending" list.  This is NOT like Fidelity says at 80% of your salary or anything to do with your working list.  Sure, property tax or rent or gas for your car will be the same.  But insurance won't if you're on a group plan from work.  I'm particularly sensitive to this because I retired 2 months ago tomorrow.  DW and I are paying 5 times what we paid when I had a group plan.  Anyways, make the list.  For us, while working, we spent $50k a year.  In retirement, $75k.

2)  Build a life spread sheet.  For each year, list all income, assets, a percentage gain you expect for your assets, and spending.  By doing this for every year, you can change the percentage every year to match what gains are expected.  As a year ends, replace predicted with actual.  With this spread sheet, you can put in when you quit your job.  When your spouse does.  When you have college expenses.  When social security starts.  Anything can go in and get categorized as income or spending.  What this tells you is a lot.  First of all, you can look at total assets and if they go to zero in 5 years, you're not ready to retire.  If in 30 years, you have $5M, then why are you still working?  This is WAY more accurate than depending on the Trinity study numbers.  The Trinity study doesn't let you put in that you need a new car in 3 years.  That your roof needs replacement in 10 years.  That your kid will be in an $80k per year college in 12 years. 


It's hard to predict what expenses will be in 5,10, or 20 years but this is still a really useful exercise as it allows you to think about what you could do in various scenarios- add income, cut some expenses etc.

JupiterGreen

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2023, 12:03:35 PM »
DH and I both retired before we hit our full financial numbers when I was 36 and he was 39.  We retired because we felt like it and I liked the idea of forever being a retiree at 36 and I told DH I'd have him out by 40 back when we were in our 20s. 

We know it would be okay because the market was already doing the heavy lifting at that point.  Our income was just drops in the bucket, so no loss there.  All we had to do was not pull out more money than the market was making over time and we'd eventually hit our number.  I think it helped that we had been pulling money from investments for years to help cover large purchases (cars, down payments).  So pulling money wasn't foreign to us, it was just another income stream to be used.

Anyway, it worked.   We have no plans to go back to paid work.

We generally try not to overcomplicate things.  Simple is good.

Edit for typos

I love posts like this. We are sometimes overly worried about all the things that could go wrong that it's good to be reminded that things can sometimes turn out better than expected too. I'm enjoying this thread thanks for sharing your experiences.

doneby35

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #30 on: August 29, 2023, 07:37:27 AM »
Could I make you feel better by saying you actually are FI?  I'm pretty good at making the argument in many cases folks on this site disagree.... e.g. when you plug your number into FIREcalc do you get a success rate above 50%?  If so, then you are by definition most likely shortening your successful retirement by working any longer.....And No number above 50% is in anyway anything other than 'marginally' better than any other number....even "100%" just means past markets, not possible future markets.. etc etc...  IF things tank then you might have to work some more later, but you will not know that until later....

@Much Fishing to Do Could you elaborate on this? Not sure I understand. 50% chance of success is just as good as 90%?

Emilyngh

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #31 on: February 10, 2024, 06:07:17 PM »
Update: I did it.

I didnít even make it the full year and thus didnít even get any severance. I decided I was done and resigned effective Jan 1st of this year. Not at my FI number but not that far away considering how well the market has been doing. DH is still working for himself doing a job he likes with flexibility making a low income, but we have a paid off house and low expenses, so I guess weíre kind of Coast FIRE for a year or two until technically reach FI.

Iím really not concerned about money and not technically being at my number; money really doesnít feel like itíll be a problem (not so far). I feel perfectly fulfilled with what I do every day (Iím really a homebody anyway, am planning my garden, homeschooling my daughter, doing house projects, deep cleaning, walking to get places, taking/planning a few small trips, etc), but I do feel unsettled about the loss of identity. I kind of feel like a loser without my previous career title, and as a woman in my young 40s feel like Iím just seen by others as unemployed/SAHM.  This is not to put down SAHMs; I have total respect for them, but donít feel like this really fits me (as the mother of one independent 12 yr old). But I am working through this, and am happy to be free from my hellish career! Thank you for all of your support when I was pondering my options.

the lorax

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Re: Updated: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #32 on: February 10, 2024, 06:53:21 PM »
congratulations!!

FireLane

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Re: Updated: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #33 on: February 11, 2024, 04:12:07 PM »
Congrats on flexing that FU money!

In my opinion, a successful FIRE is half about the money and half about the mindset. You've solved the financial side of things, and now you've got some work to do on the other half of it.

This problem of "feeling like a loser" because you no longer have a career - that's the pressure of society's expectations. Sometimes peer pressure comes from other people, but sometimes it comes from ourselves, from ideas we've internalized. It's because capitalism defines people's identities in terms of their jobs, so if you don't have a job, who are you?

The good news is, this pressure is completely self-imposed, so you don't have to subject yourself to it. You can let go of it if you choose. But it takes a conscious effort of reframing.

If you don't want to think of yourself as unemployed or a SAHM, try thinking of yourself as an independent investment manager. I've heard other FIRE people use that line. Or go the Mr. Money Mustache route and just say you're retired to pursue your passions. That's a path society understands, even if you did it at a younger age than most people.

Either way, it takes time to retrain your mind and to get rid of old habits of thought that aren't serving you any more. The good news is, you've got that time now.

Have you read LivingAFI's post about the TFB mentality? It's an oldie but a goodie, and it sounds a lot like the issue you're having.
https://livingafi.com/2015/11/06/done-detoxing/

Emilyngh

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Re: Updated: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #34 on: February 11, 2024, 05:38:48 PM »
Thanks @FireLane. I read that blog a while ago, but it had much less of a meaning to me then and is great to read again!

BeanCounter

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Re: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #35 on: February 12, 2024, 07:50:34 AM »
Update: I did it.

I didnít even make it the full year and thus didnít even get any severance. I decided I was done and resigned effective Jan 1st of this year. Not at my FI number but not that far away considering how well the market has been doing. DH is still working for himself doing a job he likes with flexibility making a low income, but we have a paid off house and low expenses, so I guess weíre kind of Coast FIRE for a year or two until technically reach FI.

Iím really not concerned about money and not technically being at my number; money really doesnít feel like itíll be a problem (not so far). I feel perfectly fulfilled with what I do every day (Iím really a homebody anyway, am planning my garden, homeschooling my daughter, doing house projects, deep cleaning, walking to get places, taking/planning a few small trips, etc), but I do feel unsettled about the loss of identity. I kind of feel like a loser without my previous career title, and as a woman in my young 40s feel like Iím just seen by others as unemployed/SAHM.  This is not to put down SAHMs; I have total respect for them, but donít feel like this really fits me (as the mother of one independent 12 yr old). But I am working through this, and am happy to be free from my hellish career! Thank you for all of your support when I was pondering my options.

Congratulations on pulling the trigger!
I totally understand where you are coming from and it still frustrates me a bit that I don't feel that I can say I retired and have credit for the good 20 year career I had. People likely just see me as a SAHM. But the truth is much of why I quit was to stay home and enjoy my children (ages 11 and 15) and not have the crazy rat race of working full time and then spending the evening driving kids to activities. And to have time to myself to just enjoy life. So if that makes me an unemployed/SAHM then I think I'm okay with it. Lucky to have the option!
It's a process and you'll work through it. I look back now and think I had a good career and excelled at it, but now I actually have a LIFE.

Louise

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Re: Updated: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #36 on: February 12, 2024, 10:59:42 AM »
Congrats! I get the identity part totally. I left my career to stay home a few years younger than you. This was after I'd finished graduate school about five years earlier. I remember thinking, why on earth did I put myself though all that just to abandon it?? I don't think about it much anymore. My days are pretty busy and full and I don't give a second thought about my degrees or career.

I think people at my kid's school assume I work from home. No one really asks and I don't volunteer any info.

dangbe

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Re: Updated: What if you had RE a couple of years before FI?
« Reply #37 on: February 20, 2024, 02:31:42 PM »
I also retired on Jan 1st this year!  Congrats!

I am in a similar boat where I don't feel fully FI.  My expenses range between 45-50k and I have about $1m in investments.  However, like you my partner still works and enjoys her work (she is not interested in RE like I am) and she has a hefty nest egg building up as well (we mostly keep finances separate).  If we moved to a lower cost of living location we could RE today but my wife really likes it here.  The rent is not for someone living off of 40k though...   With our ability to relocate, and my ability to go back to work, we're really not in any danger.  I even turned down a contracting opportunity just last week!

We all have our reasons for retiring at the moment we do, but for me it was a stress issue. My last position was causing me a lot of health problems, my migraines increase ten fold, so, I said "fuck it" and pulled the plug.  I'm going to see if I can never go back to work again, but I'm also not opposed to contracting part time for a few months here or there.  I think I may be justifying myself to myself here.  Either way, feeling pretty OK about the decision.  Hopefully I'm not broke at 80.