Author Topic: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty  (Read 7106 times)

margarita

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First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« on: February 26, 2015, 08:50:44 AM »
Today I am free!!! I am 56 years old and today is my first day that I am free.  It wasn't real prison but it sure as hell felt it.  Recently I was off work for surgery, found this website and although I might not be anywhere close to hardcore philosophy this website helped me realized that I may not be rich but I am rich enough I don't have to torture myself for 4 more years.  I was a welfare caseworker and the job had become so unbearable.  I was so burned out.  I came back to work from surgery, worked 5 days and then gave my two weeks' notice.  Yesterday was my last day. 
Background:  Married 56, husband (still working at 62 at a job he loves) assets $2.3 (house, RRSPs, stocks, etc.).

I feel so guilty.  Does the guilt every stop?  I feel guilty for my co-workers "left behind".  I feel guilty that I am not working today.  I feel guilty that my husband is still working and he is older than me (although he supports my decision 100 percent, in fact he suggested it).

I think part of the problem is this was a fairly quick decision but I have not regretted it for one minute. 

I am in disbelief right now.  I NEVER have to go back to the that hellhole.
I thank my parents for always instilling in me to live below your means.
Thank you to this website for making me realized I don't have to stay until 60. 
Honestly I did not think it was possible to leave before 60, which I know sounds so stupid now.

I have been working part time since 15 years old and full time since 23.  I went back to work when the kids were 4 months old (two kids). 

Does the guilt ever go away? 



 






$
« Last Edit: February 26, 2015, 09:07:26 AM by margarita »

jmusic

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Re: First Day Out - Does the
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2015, 09:06:43 AM »
Sweet!  Care to share deets on the stache & spending numbers?

retired?

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2015, 09:17:52 AM »
I am having a hard time reconciling the two statements:

    ....decision but I have not regretted it for one minute.

    I feel so guilty.  Does the guilt ever go away?


So, which is it?  Guilt must not be too bad or it would cause regret.  ; )

That said, you are not far from "normal" retirement age.  You have a good stash.  Sounds like you did what you were supposed to do, thus you should congratulate yourself for being successful.  Your husband loves his job, so why feel guilt?  Sounds like he could quit, too, but doesn't want to.

Chrissy

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2015, 09:22:18 AM »
I started taking several months off every year when I was 30.  At first, I had some mixed feelings... but, yes, the guilt goes away.  You're living the life people are MEANT to live, one with more balance and more happiness.  And, you will be doing other kinds of work:  work on self, family, community.  These are valuable too.

MoCoMatt

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2015, 09:23:30 AM »
Congratulations! What a great day!

I am still in the grind, so I can't tell you what it is like to be retired, but I did get laid off for a few months last year. What I did to assuage the guilt I felt for not contributing monetarily during that time was to make sure my wife did not have to lift a finger for household stuff, I did 100% of the shopping, laundry, cooking, cleaning, taking our son to preschool etc. I also aggressively audited our expenses and lowered them wherever I could. Feeling guilty is a pretty worthless feeling in my opinion unless it leads to some positive action.

margarita

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2015, 09:33:31 AM »
Financial Info:

Debts:  None
Assets:

$900   House
$350   LIRA
$260   RRSP (me)
$320   RRSP (husband)
$420   Stocks and Mutual Funds
$ 23    Emergency fund
$ 12    chequing accounts (total 2 accounts)

Not included

$35  RESP (oldest kid at 25 finished school, youngest has one more year wherein I will withdraw
       $20, leaving $15K in RESP - not sure what will happen to this $15K?)

I know a lot of the money is tied up in the house and we will be downsizing when my husband retires in 3 years and the kids are on there own.

Honestly we have wasted a lot of money on spending and although my parents are extremely frugal I didn't always follow his lead.  He grew up in the Depression is 90 years old, has a couple of million and thinks he is poor (which I know is very common).  I think we are the middle ground. 

Honestly since I was off with surgery I realized I don't need any more stuff.  I was not a shopping addict but I did like to buy nice stuff.  Now, it doesn't interest me.  I have enough stuff, in fact too much stuff.

I guess I was more careful than my co-workers with money (there is a small group of us that supported each other through divorce and have become very close).  My co-workers kept saying how lucky I am to retire early.  I feel like screaming "it is not luck" stop buying shit every day.  Stop buying your lunch (I took it every day).  Stop buying crap at the mall, more clothes, etc.  Our jobs were so stressful being a welfare careworker and shopping is a way of coping for many. 

If you have read this far, Thanks for listening.

My question is more about the guilt. Do other people feel guilty for retiring early?

Does it every go away?

Retire-Canada

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2015, 09:40:14 AM »
I feel so guilty.  Does the guilt every stop?  I feel guilty for my co-workers "left behind".  I feel guilty that I am not working today.  I feel guilty that my husband is still working and he is older than me (although he supports my decision 100 percent, in fact he suggested it).

I think part of the problem is this was a fairly quick decision but I have not regretted it for one minute. 

I am in disbelief right now.  I NEVER have to go back to the that hellhole.

First off CONGRATS!!! :)

No reason to feel guilty. If you want to help others share the techniques/plan that got you free...assuming they ask for help.

-- Vik

sandandsun

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2015, 09:51:46 AM »
If you aren't doing anything productive, I can understand the guilt- I would feel the same.  But if you are contributing in other ways - taking care of things at home- that is worth a lot.  Also, maybe consider some short term projects around the house to kick off your retirement and feel super-productive.  Need to organize/de-clutter, for example?  improving your environment will bring immediate gratification...

lostamonkey

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2015, 10:05:40 AM »
Just a heads up but you can rollover your RESP amounts into an RRSP if you have the contribution room. You will have to pay back any grants that were unused though. If you just straight withdraw the RESP money, it's taxed and you have to pay an additional penalty tax.

lise

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2015, 10:18:07 AM »
I can say that the guilt does go away.

I'm not fully retiring, I freelance.  My work involves long term projects, so when they end I take 1-2 months off in-between to travel, decompress etc.   Over the last 5 years the average is working 8 months out of 12.  I used to feel extremely guilty during the downtimes but only when people used to bring out the "you're so lucky" or "how can you afford not to work".  It's only since finding MMM that my guilt has stopped.  Finding other people (outside my family) that share similar values do I realize I'm not alone and therefore the guilt disappeared! 

I too thank my parents for teaching me how to live below my means and about not getting in to debt.  This was via example and not via "lectures".  Although I did get a few every now and then (e.g., when I purchased a new car in my early 30's instead of used - I did pay cash but they told me it was stupid - I knew it was stupid but I still did it!).

mm1970

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2015, 10:26:39 AM »
Quote
Does the guilt ever go away? 

I think so.  I'm not retired, never have been. But when my boys were little, I switched to part time (30-32 hours a week) for 3 total years (off and on). 

The first month or two of leaving work at 3:30 pm instead of 5:30 pm was really really hard.  And weird.  And people give you funny looks.

But you get used to it.

Eric

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2015, 10:46:04 AM »
Why would you feel guilty for leaving your co-workers behind?  They obviously attribute your retirement to "luck" and not anything that's fully in your control.  You earned this.  I'll say it again.  You earned this!  Congrats!

If you still feel guilty in 6 months, you can always go back to work.  I'm pretty sure it won't be an issue though.

pachnik

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2015, 10:52:57 AM »
Disclaimer - I am not retired and will retire at a 'normal' retirement age - late 50's or so. 

Anyway, I guess it is hard to speak up when people say "you are lucky" because if you give an example of what you did like bring your lunch from home everyday, people could see this as judgmental of their spending.  Your retirement was about consistent choices you made to live beneath your means and invest the difference.  And these are choices your co-worker didn't make. 

I am sure the guilt will pass along and you'll be feeling better very soon.

Pachnik

SummerLovin

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2015, 10:58:10 AM »
Congratulations on your accomplishment!  You SHOULDN'T feel guilty since you worked for it, nobody "gave" it to you. I think the problem is that the decision was made rather quickly, and you didn't really have plans other than leaving. You'd probably fell less guilt if you had been running towards something in "retirement" vs. running away from "hell".  Chin up, and start living the life you want and doing what makes you happy. No ones says you can't work any more, but FI gives you freedom to choose what, how and how often you do it.

I personally love my work but i do see myself being a semi-retired person at your age as well. My original goal was 60, but i think I can bring that down.  I started investing much later, and as a single parent it is a bit harder, but it can be done once you put your priorities in place.  I give big props to MMM and this community for bringing clarity to needs vs. wants, and promoting living a great life without consumption.

Go forth and enjoy!

Davids

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2015, 12:30:42 PM »
Congrats and you should not feel guilty.

misschedda

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #15 on: February 26, 2015, 01:11:16 PM »
That's so great! Wishing you a prosperous and happy retirement!

And no, you should not feel guilty because it's obviously not your fault, but I do see why you feel bad for your ex-coworkers. It sucks to see other people suffer (that may be hyperbole depending on how bad your job really was) especially when you know they wouldn't have to if they just cut back a bit.

RetiredAt63

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2015, 01:38:40 PM »
Congratulations.  You have saved your health and sanity, you do realize, if you were that burned out.  Plus it sounds like you would have useful skills to volunteer to your community once you have taken some recovery time, if you decide to go that route.  Most early retirees (and some of us not-so-early retirees) find it takes 3-6 months to decompress, before we really start to figure out this retirement thing.

Come and join us over at the post-FIRE category.  We are a happy bunch  ;-)

margarita

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2015, 02:44:13 PM »
Thank you all for your wonderful advice.  I think I have been brainwashed - must work until 60 at minimum.  This is a great place and I am grateful to have found it.

I am going now to meet my work friends for dinner.  I guess then are my ex work friends now.  Now I am free!!!

 

Yankuba

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2015, 04:59:34 PM »
You should feel guilty if you did something wrong. If you didn't do anything wrong then you shouldn't feel guilty.

Greystache

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2015, 05:50:35 PM »
Congrats and welcome to the party. I retired t 55 a couple months ago. Like you, my spouse is still working (until June). I felt a little guilty that she is still working while I am not, but she will be free soon.  I never felt guilty about the coworkers I left behind.  I gave my boss 6 months notice so I had some time to train my replacements. Even though I had grown to hate my job, I have to admit it was a pretty good gig and my replacements seemed truly happy for the opportunity.  I like to think I made room for a couple people to advance in their careers.  The fact that it took two people to replace me is strange. I don't know if I should feel proud or if I should feel like a chump for doing two employee's worth of work for one salary. 
I suppose another reason that I don't feel guilty is that I am too busy.  I have been working my ass off painting the house and doing other long-deferred maintenance.  Hope to have everything done by the time DW retires in June. Like others have said, enjoy your new life. You earned it.

mancityfan

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2015, 03:10:48 AM »
Just a thought, I am wondering whether the nature of your work may be part of your issue. I have been a nurse and am now a teacher. I am proud that both professions are about helping others, dedicating your efforts to others. Sometimes it can be hard from that mindset to think of yourself, and your own needs. Start to focus on yourself and what you want. You have earned it!

2lazy2retire

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2015, 06:22:07 AM »
Thank you all for your wonderful advice.  I think I have been brainwashed - must work until 60 at minimum.  This is a great place and I am grateful to have found it.

I am going now to meet my work friends for dinner.  I guess then are my ex work friends now.  Now I am free!!!

 

With a name like that you should be - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue2-ZVxpVjc and not be worrying about the co-workers

Jon_Snow

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2015, 09:08:02 AM »
For whatever reason, I have not had a single shred of guilt. Perhaps because I had to work SO DAMN HARD and avoid "lifestyle creep" to pull it off. Whereas, my co-workers that I "left behind" lived in such a way (buying big houses, and pricey vehicles) that it was clear that retiring early wasn't a priority for them. They seem fine with their lifestyle choices...and I wake up with a smile on my face every morning with the knowledge that I am FREE to do whatever I want...

jordanread

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #23 on: February 27, 2015, 09:23:32 AM »
I think part of it is based on what you were doing. Somewhere around here (possibly in the Post FIRE thread) someone was mentioning their experience. You worked as a welfare caseworker, meaning you'd have to be pretty jaded and cynical not to consider that job one in which you directly impact peoples' lives. The person I'm thinking of organized adoptions or something, and found out shortly after they left that the last kid they had been working with fell through and wound up in a bad circumstance.

I feel like this is something that might be affecting you. You've worked to benefit others for so long, you feel guilty about taking benefits for yourself. I don't have a solution to this (as I am a selfish ass hole, so have no frame of reference), but it might be something to look into.

Secretly Saving

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #24 on: February 27, 2015, 09:31:58 AM »
Congratulations!  No guilt.  You earned it.  You deserve it.  Enjoy it! 

Happy in CA

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #25 on: February 27, 2015, 03:07:08 PM »
As Jordanread said, your guilt may stem from the job itself.  Your clients are poor and there are too many of them, and it's your job to help - so you end up carrying around a lot of their burdens.  Especially if you care.  It becomes habit.  Your coworkers are kind of like fellow soldiers - you are it in together.  Though it feels great to finally cast off those burdens, you feel guilty about it.  I retired from a similar type job four years ago.  I still feel guilty occasionally, but find that my love of my freedom (and freedom from constant stress) more than makes up for it.  About two years after FIRE my dentist told me my teeth had finally stopped showing the marks from constant grinding and clenching! 

BTW, thank you for the service you gave to your community.  My mom started out as a welfare caseworker back in the 1940's.  She said it changed her life and shaped her politics.  Be proud of your career and enjoy your retirement.     

Livewell

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Re: First Day Out - Feeling Guilty
« Reply #26 on: February 27, 2015, 03:18:46 PM »
CONGRATULATIONS!