Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

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Random Poster
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Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by Random Poster » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:11 am

In the context of retiring, whether on a permanent basis or for only a short-term break, how does one get over the fear of leaving one's job?

16 or so years ago, I quit my job to travel around the world. I had a negative net worth with sizable student loans to pay and no real retirement savings, but enough cash to travel around for a while. Yet quitting work didn't bother me at all. I was convinced that I could get another (likely, better paying) job when I finished traveling, and, besides, I wanted to see the world. I never gave a thought to matters of health insurance, where I'd live when the trip was over, or anything of any real substance.

Now, middle-aged, balding, and a bit pudgier around the edges, my net worth is positive and I have no debt. I'm reasonably convinced that my wife and I have enough that we will never go hungry or homeless. And I want to do something else with my life (although I'm not entirely sure what or where), but I'm honestly afraid to quit. I know that if I quit, I will likely never make as much as I do now. I'm not sure how to handle health insurance. I don't know what I'd really do.

The world seems a bit scarier and less forgiving now than it did when I was younger. Recovering from a financial mistake probably won't be as easy to do as it once was. It seems more important to keep what I've already earned than to possibly earn more in the future. But I like having a paycheck (I don't like earning it), and I love being able to save money and invest it. Quitting would mean the end to being able to save and the start of having to rely on our savings.

Surely I am not the only person to wrestle with this sort of question.

So for those who decided to retire, whether permanently or not, did you have fear of leaving one's job and surviving solely from your investments?

And if you did, how did you get over that fear?

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by jebmke » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:15 am

I retired in December, 2007 facing 10 years before my pension started and 3-5 more to reach SS. Coming out the other side of the '08-09 downtick pretty much cleared out any remaining doubts. A lot depends on how close to the edge of sustainability you are with your investment holdings. We were not terribly close to the edge but the key for me was managing the psychological risk (either "panicking," freezing up and failing to re-balance or simply worrying and failing to enjoy retirement).
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

TravelforFun
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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by TravelforFun » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:39 am

One of the reasons people are afraid of quitting is because they are unsure whether they have enough to sustain their retirement. I recommend you have a solid budget with discretionary spending, realistic income, and all appropriate taxes and health insurance in it. Once you have 33 times your annual budget, let it rip and enjoy life. I retired two months ago and have been enjoying it every day since.

Good luck!

TravelforFun

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by Stinky » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:47 am

TravelforFun wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:39 am
One of the reasons people are afraid of quitting is because they are unsure whether they have enough to sustain their retirement. I recommend you have a solid budget with discretionary spending, realistic income, and all appropriate taxes and health insurance in it. Once you have 33 times your annual budget, let it rip and enjoy life. I retired two months ago and have been enjoying it every day since.

Good luck!

TravelforFun
This is excellent advice.

Having a solid budget, good plans for insurance, and a nest egg that is large enough to support your needs is what you need to retire comfortably.

If you have a “miss” in any of those three areas, you could easily run into problems as you are retired.

Good luck to you.
It's a GREAT day to be alive - Travis Tritt

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by flyingaway » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:08 am

FIRECal says that I have enough to retire and enjoy life. But that is based on historic data, what if the future does not behave like the past?

I am 55, no pension, a little far away from social security and medicare. Those are the guaranteed things that I see at this time.

My choice? Enjoy my life, doing One More Year and re-evaluate the situations on a 6 month basis.

P.S. I teach at a university so I have lots of time and freedom to not work and not get paid.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by pkcrafter » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:22 am

Random Poster, the above replies are very good. I see that you are no stranger to Bogleheads so you should be familiar with safe withdrawal rate and portfolio construction. How much you should have in equities depends on your withdrawal %, but I think about 40% in equity is about the amount needed to cover inflation and the loss of spending power over time. If the withdrawal rate is a little lower than 4%, you might get by with 35%.

Now (sigh) I'll tell you how I felt with the idea of losing a lifetime of regular income -- I felt like I was suddenly being put on a tightrope with no net below YIKES! That uncomfortable feeling went away in just a few months.

Paul
When times are good, investors tend to forget about risk and focus on opportunity. When times are bad, investors tend to forget about opportunity and focus on risk.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by RadAudit » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:46 am

Saving and investing money is what you like to do? Really? C'mon, man! You're better than that.

The only thing money is good for is to buy freedom to do what you want to do for as long as you want. There has to be / usually is a point when earning and investing the next available dollar is not as rewarding as doing something else. Find that point, retire and do it.

No one who inherits your estate is going to adequately appreciate the efforts you went through to acquire the money. Very few are going to remember you after your gone. (Try picking Millard Filmore out of a photo line up.) And the only way you'll know for sure if you did a good job at the things that really matter is if the grandkids turn out OK.

Best of luck.
FI is the best revenge. LBYM. Invest the rest. Stay the course. - PS: The cavalry isn't coming, kids. You are on your own.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by SevenBridgesRoad » Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:24 pm

This is a unique thread so far, in that everyone is pretty much in agreement!

For me, I never experienced fear of quitting. This wasn't by chance. I was psychologically and financially prepared for my third phase of life (which is often called "retirement". Retirement in my terms is years and years of time freedom, made possible by financial freedom, without responsibilities of a job, and have these years while I'm still healthy and able to be active.) Financially, my wife and I have a solid plan we developed and executed over the years. No mortgage on our house. Zero debt. A very comfortable lifestyle, but with expenses well below our means. Plan A and a Plan B for health insurance until Medicare. Two deferred single premium income annuities, timed to kick in as we turn 65. Enough cash to carry us until the DIAs and deferred SS provide us with our monthly paycheck. And we have a good enough, simple portfolio to cover anything else.

The psychological preparation is just as important. For us, the list includes: We are already living in the area where we have wanted to retire. We have lots of friends and activities. I have hobbies. We like to travel. We like spending time with the kids and grandkids. Importantly, although I had challenging and fulfilling work, I never let the job become my identity. I'm proud of and happy with my work legacy. And, I was very comfortable with the idea of a third phase of life.

So, in a nutshell, for me getting beyond fear of retirement/quitting was the result of preparation. I realize personalities and situations are different for everyone. This worked for us.
Retired 2018 age 61 | "Not using an alarm is one of the great glories of my life." Robert Greene

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by retired@50 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:43 pm

I agree that it can seem scary to leave the working class... But it can certainly be done.

With regard to health insurance, depending on your new lower income (presumably dividends and interest in a taxable account), and the state you live in, you can get health care through the healthcare.gov (Obamacare) website. Some states have set up their own website, while others just piggy back off of healthcare.gov. In any event, for people who earn under 400% of the federal poverty line, you can get some assistance in the form of a tax credit for health care premiums.

As far as your nest egg, my comfort comes from only needing under 2% of my nest egg to meet my annual expenses. In other words, with a low withdrawal rate, you can weather almost any storm. If your withdrawal rate is in the 4 to 5% range, you're skating on thinner ice. Best of luck.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by Rdytoretire » Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:47 pm

I determined my expected retirement budget and found that I was much more likely to run out of life before I ran out of money. The decision to quit was pretty simple. I was not particularly enjoying my work that also made it easier.

https://engaging-data.com/will-money-last-retire-early/

I retired 3 months ago at 61. Wanted to enjoy retirement while still fairly young and healthy. So far it's been great.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:55 pm

I'm way younger and likely a lot poorer than you, and I just did exactly that. 10 years into my career I decided to take a year off to travel before figuring out what the next chapter of my professional life will look like. I would imagine that with a high net worth, you don't really need to replace your current income when/if you decide you want to go back to full time work.

Life is short, just look at Mark Hurd. He made $108 million last year, there is no magic pill for the fountain of youth.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by MathWizard » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:09 pm

Anytime you have a life-altering choice, it is easy to have indecision.

Think back to those decisions:

You travelled the world
You got married (certainly life-changing)
If you had kids, that was life changing.
You chose a career.

Were any of these ones that you regret? Likely not.

Once you become responsible for people other than yourself, that makes the decision harder.
When you were young, your parents would probably not let you starve, so the downside was much less,
so yes, there is no safety net, which makes things much scarier.

I admit that I am in a similar situation. Near retirement, but not yet ready to pull the trigger.
My wife says we are ready, I am more concerned.

However, we are likely going to end up with more money than we will use.
It is that low probability that we live a long time, and happen to be in a time when
the 4% rule fails that causes me worry.
Last edited by MathWizard on Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by Dottie57 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:11 pm

OP,

Hopefully you have SS too. So will most of your needs be covered by SS?

Yes I had a lot of fear og retiring. I recalculated and verified my needs. With SS Covering most needs, my retirement funds will easily cover the wants. If SS is cut I will purchase an SPIA to make up the difference.
Last edited by Dottie57 on Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by Mullins » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:15 pm

Random Poster wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:11 am
But I like having a paycheck (I don't like earning it), and I love being able to save money and invest it.

And if you did, how did you get over that fear?
Is it about getting over the fear or is it about figuring out how you want to live?

If I may ask, what is it you do for a living that you hate? I ask only because would it work better for you if you could retire and also restructure what you now do for a living in a way that you love?

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by deikel » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:38 pm

People usually regret the things they have not done and not the things they have done. And although that is partly due to survivor bias, it should motivate towards action versus status quo

But, changing the status quo, especially if it is not a bad situation in itself is hard since the possible alternatives could be worse and possibly require another yet another change.

Just trust your general capabilities to handle the unknown and unexpected - its part of life's most interesting and funny and its a great preparation for the last chapter in life where health will likely throw you curve balls anyway.

If you don't know yet what you retire to, maybe start there and try things out before taking the plunge (new hobbies, longer travel then usual, take a sabbatical and pretend to never come back - that sort of thing)
Everything you read in this post is my personal opinion. If you disagree with this disclaimer, please un-read the text immediately and destroy any copy or remembrance of it.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by flyingaway » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:46 pm

By the way, what ages are considered as middle ages?

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by CurlyDave » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:58 pm

I still remember the day in 2006 when I decided to retire.

I came to the realization that I did not know how many days I had left, and that I was selling them to the company for less than they were worth to me.

It took until spring of 2007 to get all the pieces out together and actually retire.

For the first three months I sent my boss an email once a month telling him I was retiring and the exact day, then one a week for the next month, and one every day for the last week -- they still weren't ready.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by SevenBridgesRoad » Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:58 pm

flyingaway wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:46 pm
By the way, what ages are considered as middle ages?
500 AD to 1500 AD
Retired 2018 age 61 | "Not using an alarm is one of the great glories of my life." Robert Greene

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Random Poster
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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by Random Poster » Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:45 pm

Mullins wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:15 pm
Is it about getting over the fear or is it about figuring out how you want to live?

If I may ask, what is it you do for a living that you hate? I ask only because would it work better for you if you could retire and also restructure what you now do for a living in a way that you love?
Probably some of both. I love having money, I am afraid of losing money, and I love being able to invest the money. And, quite honestly, I want more money, even though by all reasonable measures we have enough already. As I give more and more thought to leaving my job, I realize that not having more money to invest with (because I left the job) concerns me and the distinct chance of losing money (because of a recession) bothers me. And not being able to capitalize on a recession by investing money that I don’t have worries me.

How do I want to live? Simply. Garden a bit, even though I seem to kill grass just by looking at it. Perhaps have a dog to walk in a leafy, tree-lined and pleasantly cool neighborhood. Barbecue every so often on a Weber charcoal grill. That sort of thing. Nothing spectacular. The more low-key, the better.

I am employed as a lawyer. I don’t see how my job could be restructured to allow me to retire, as I envision retirement.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by Random Poster » Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:46 pm

flyingaway wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:46 pm
By the way, what ages are considered as middle ages?
40 to 50, to me.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by Vogatrice » Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:31 pm

Yes. I'm terrified. I retired a year ago, quite suddenly due to a family crisis. For the last year, I've been living off the remaining cash in my consulting company. Every time I tried to tighten our spending, something else unexpected happened. Dog ate a bunch of grapes. $1500. I suddenly needed 3 root canals at once. $2500. House fix-ups recommended by realtors. $10000. Etc.... The company cash will be gone by end of this year. I'll have to touch retirement money for the first time. We are moving to Italy for a lower cost of living and an adventure, so although the house we just bought there cost 1/3 as much as our current home value, there will be a bunch of cash needed to get there - moving costs, selling costs for current house, bridge loan financing, buying a car, etc.

How am I getting over it? Looking at my husband's experience. He has been retired for a while, and started drawing out 4% of his $1.2M RRSP (Canadian version of a traditional IRA) about three years ago. His account has gone UP in value every year. I also have $1.2M, half in RRSP, half in IRA. So I have firm hopes I can match his results. No mortgage, no debt. I'm just choking on our spending without having that regular pre-retirement cash flow. But I don't miss the corporate cubicle at all...I just wish I had one more year's worth of free cash to finish the transition I've started.

Still terrified, but I'll get over it in a year or so more once I see how this retirement gig actually works in real life.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by Mullins » Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:36 pm

Random Poster wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:45 pm
I am employed as a lawyer. I don’t see how my job could be restructured to allow me to retire, as I envision retirement.
Well, brainstorming here to get the ball rolling to where work could be streamlined or arranged to fit your picture of retirement: some rough ideas would range from the obvious seeing if you can work less days; or work as a consultant to the company; have the company outsource work to you as an independent agent which then means you can also hire help to handle the parts you hate, but as I don't have nor am I asking for all the details of what your job covers and not knowing what it is about it you hate, and what you might love about it, and not knowing the company's needs as you would, or what they could use from you which you could provide more beneficially if you were divested of the parts of the job you're not liking, this may be avenues to think on and see if any ideas or opportunities strike you where you might see if the company wants to take you on in that position. And if not with that company then perhaps scout around while you're still employed and see if another entity fits the bill and sees whatever arrangement you might come up with as an asset.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by EnjoyIt » Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:18 pm

Random poster,
I completely get it. I am about the same age and in a very similar situation or at least very close to it. Although I talk a big game about living life and working less, I too am frightened of completely pulling the plug on income. Luckily, I was able to semi-retire which has done marvels for us.
It allows me to gradually step into making less money. I cut my income almost in half when I stepped back. I used to save >50% of my after tax income. Now, very little.
I also increased our luxury spending a bit to coincide with the slowly increasing wealth.
I have tons of free time to enjoy my hobbies and I actually enjoy work more because of the free tome I have in between.
My plan is to eventually cut back from work even more so that I need to withdraw from some of my assets. Later on I will finally pull the plug on work completely.

What’s nice is that if I am wrong I can always get back into full time work.

Can you cut back at your current employment or find a job that wants you working part time? I bet an experienced lawyer has options. Maybe you find something you are really passionate about and it won’t feel like work anymore.

This is a scary decision, but if you have all your expenses and resources figured out, I’m sure you will do just fine.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by Lalamimi » Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:41 pm

Solved for me. I was laid off 2 months after turning 64 (and buying a new home) in March 2018. Took me about 6 months to realize, "Hey, I am DONE".
Keep in contact with work/industry associates, go to some luncheons, and find new hobbies.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by changingtimes » Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:51 pm

Lalamimi wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 4:41 pm
Solved for me. I was laid off 2 months after turning 64 (and buying a new home) in March 2018. Took me about 6 months to realize, "Hey, I am DONE".
Keep in contact with work/industry associates, go to some luncheons, and find new hobbies.
I wish they'd lay me off and make the decision for me!

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by Rus In Urbe » Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:06 pm

OP wrote: How do I want to live? Simply. Garden a bit, even though I seem to kill grass just by looking at it. Perhaps have a dog to walk in a leafy, tree-lined and pleasantly cool neighborhood. Barbecue every so often on a Weber charcoal grill. That sort of thing. Nothing spectacular. The more low-key, the better.

I am employed as a lawyer. I don’t see how my job could be restructured to allow me to retire, as I envision retirement.
Nice! That sounds perfect and it also sounds like you and I are going to have the same retirement!

I'm not a lawyer. But, as a writer, I'm going to devote my professional skills to teaching as well as some literacy-tutoring activities; I also volunteer with a local arts group and we subscribe to various performing arts orgs and support many others. I suggest you begin to do something similar in your community, perhaps applying your legal skills for the benefit of others even BEFORE you officially retire. Your skills and your knowledge are needed. If you make those connections now, there's no scary "gap" of meaningful activity. The psychological aspects of retirement are often even more threatening than the financial ones, but are often overlooked.

I retire in December----the best advice I've heard is: Don't retire FROM something; retire TO something.

My aim is that a few months after I retire, I will be enjoying my leisure time but I will also say what others have said: "When did I ever find time to work?"

As to the financial aspects....for the past 5+ years, I've been assiduously preparing. We have assets at about 33x expenses and then some. Neither I nor my spouse has a pension, but I've created a "10-year ahead" spreadsheet that lays out how much we will be getting from various sources (SS, RMDs, maturing CDs, royalties, dividends, and the years each of these "kick in"). I only have it going to ten years because at that point both our RMDs are activated and it all becomes somewhat automatic. As I devised this plan, over the years, I consulted my tax accountant as well as a specialist in health care/medicare, as well as a consultant in SS maximization. All of them had very good advice, and gradually, with their input, I refined my strategy, and adjusted our investments to 50/50 AA. I now feel secure. Of course anything can happen in the future, but I don't worry now because I am content that I have made the best decisions I can at present, within the limits of my own knowledge. And that is all I can do.

I hope we will see you soon in Happy Retirement Land! Cheers! :beer Rus
I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money. ~Pablo Picasso

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by bck63 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:22 pm

SevenBridgesRoad wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:58 pm
flyingaway wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:46 pm
By the way, what ages are considered as middle ages?
500 AD to 1500 AD
Or, more narrowly, 1100 CE- 1453 CE. :D

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by SevenBridgesRoad » Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:25 pm

bck63 wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:22 pm
SevenBridgesRoad wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:58 pm
flyingaway wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:46 pm
By the way, what ages are considered as middle ages?
500 AD to 1500 AD
Or, more narrowly, 1100 CE- 1453 CE. :D
Right! One could argue...
Retired 2018 age 61 | "Not using an alarm is one of the great glories of my life." Robert Greene

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by TN_Boy » Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:15 pm

Random Poster wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 2:46 pm
flyingaway wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 1:46 pm
By the way, what ages are considered as middle ages?
40 to 50, to me.
To me it's 50 to 60 ...

I didn't feel in the least "middle-aged" in my 40s. If you stay active and have a bit of luck with your health, you don't really slow down in your 40s (unless you are a professional athlete ...). That's mostly true in your 50s too, really.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by Wiggums » Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:18 pm

We were confident in our expenses since they are entered into Quicken. Crunched the numbers and had the DW weigh in on the decision to retire. I retired at 56 with 32 service years. I didn’t miss mega Corp and they didn’t miss me.

Accurately projecting your retirement expenses and having a reasonable cushion should take away any concerns you might have. We don’t miss the paycheck and we buy whatever we need.

Good luck to you...

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by timboo » Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:21 pm

I too fear quitting. I have enough to retire now, but it's hard to give up that nice (to me) paying job and steady paycheck. I'm 52 now and think I'll go till 55, but I have a feeling when I hit 55 I'll be afraid to quit till 60. Of course when I turn 60, I'm afraid...

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by EnjoyIt » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:23 pm

I also have some trepidation in retiring during such a long positive run on the market. I would rather be on the other side of a bear market as opposed to retiring right before one.

I had a mentor who had plans on retiring at the end of 2008. Instead he ended up working for 3 more years and retired in 2011. He came out far better than he could have ever expected.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by blahblahsunshine » Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:44 pm

We haven't retired but are getting close. I am unnerved by the prospect of unplugging though the math indicates we are good to go. One dimension I have been dwelling on over the last couple years is how big my financial risk is compared to early death. If you look at your cumulative chances of death going forward you might be surprised to find out the risk of dying in the next couple years far exceeds the chances of running out of money... Can't say I am over my fears and the SO has hers as well. A work in progress, but we will get there...in less than a year.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by SevenBridgesRoad » Sat Oct 19, 2019 1:25 am

blahblahsunshine wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:44 pm
We haven't retired but are getting close. I am unnerved by the prospect of unplugging though the math indicates we are good to go. One dimension I have been dwelling on over the last couple years is how big my financial risk is compared to early death. If you look at your cumulative chances of death going forward you might be surprised to find out the risk of dying in the next couple years far exceeds the chances of running out of money... Can't say I am over my fears and the SO has hers as well. A work in progress, but we will get there...in less than a year.
Yep. As an earlier poster said, paraphrasing, we reach a point where we understand running out of time has a greater probability and is a bigger concern than running out of money.
Retired 2018 age 61 | "Not using an alarm is one of the great glories of my life." Robert Greene

MathIsMyWayr
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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by MathIsMyWayr » Sat Oct 19, 2019 4:01 am

blahblahsunshine wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:44 pm
We haven't retired but are getting close. I am unnerved by the prospect of unplugging though the math indicates we are good to go. One dimension I have been dwelling on over the last couple years is how big my financial risk is compared to early death. If you look at your cumulative chances of death going forward you might be surprised to find out the risk of dying in the next couple years far exceeds the chances of running out of money... Can't say I am over my fears and the SO has hers as well. A work in progress, but we will get there...in less than a year.
The chance of running out of money is a calculated risk to a large degree, but the chance of running out of time is quite unknown. If you have 33x, your money carrying you for the next 15 years is next to a sure thing, but your being alive for the next 15 years is not even if all your family members lived to 99 and beyond. The question is how to balance apples and oranges. You have only one life, and cannot hide behind the statistics or probabilities.

pop77
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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by pop77 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 5:51 am

This is a great post. It is a strange feeling where you feel you are there but not sure. The problem is that there is no 100% guarantee. This thread should bring out finer and more subtler points about retiring rather than the obvious ones.

You can throw money at fear and make it disappear so if you have 33 times or 50 times your expenses, this thread may not apply to you because there is enough buffer. (one could still argue what if...and some scenarios but we should contain scope creep :-))

The problem I think is not just fear but also greed. I feel that if I work X more years, I can get to 30 times and then 33 times so I can be MORE sure than now. There is also a feeling of allocating twice my budget to travel and vacations and thereby pushing the goal post. Maybe I can fly first class..

If you have in and around 25 times your expenses, some of the specific fears are

1. We have had a 10 year bull market, what if market turns down right after I retire - Sequence of returns risk
This could be mitigated by
- a) Paying off your house so that there is less expenses to worry about
b) Using a bucket strategy - having 3-5 years in short term fixed income, CDs, MOney market etc that can carry you through a bear market

2. If you are in 50s what will I do for healthcare?
As some has suggested you can rely on healthcare.gov for this and by having enough money in safe investments to cover for deductibles and out of pocket maximums. However there is no answer to the question, whether obamacare will still be there OR what if premiums go up by 50% in future years...

3. Unexpected expenses (one time)
Again having enough cash in the bucket might help but one could overthink this and have a lot more there by increasing the long term risk.

4. What if 4% rule does not work in future?
There are more pundits who say with the current interest rate scenario, the 4% rule may not work in future. Fixed returns will be in 2-3% and equity returns not much higher.. The developed side of the world is aging and slowing and emerging side not essentially picking up the slack.. There is no answer to this question, unless you want to lock in fixed returns by buying annuities to cover your essential expenses. There is risk there to if the annuities are not indexed to inflation and you have both inflation and meager returns. Love to hear everyone's thoughts on this.

As others have pointed out you are battling these fears with the fact that these are worst case scenarios and there is a much higher probability of you ending up with MUCH more money and you want to enjoy it while you can . Look at Mark Hurd

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by ad2007 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 6:22 am

Random Poster wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:11 am

I will likely never make as much as I do now.

... I like having a paycheck

... how did you get over that fear?
Just retired here...

I accepted that I will never make the same kind of dough, but I didn't need to save anymore money.

I do miss the income but it's just psychological.

Can't say I've gotten over the "fear" if that's what it is. I now keep a closer eye on the market - not sure what good that'll do. Again mostly psychological. Luckily the market has been good. My plan accounts for a huge market decline that doesn't recover for 10 years, but not sure how freaked out I'll be if that happens. We'll have to wait and see. I can go back to work PT to cover all living expenses.

But in the meantime, retirement is GREAT. I feel like a kid during summer break. I get to do fun stuff all day without having to worry about getting my "work" done first.

Good luck with you decision.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by Rudedog » Sat Oct 19, 2019 7:29 am

Retired at 62 years old January 1, 2019. So far we have done better than I projected money-wise. Retiring was a no-brainer for me as I had grown to extememly dislike the people I worked with, the endless meetings where nothing was accomplished, putting down employees behind their backs, the disingenuous actions, yada, yada, yada. Yes, I miss the paycheck every two weeks, but I don't miss anything else about it. Life is short. I expect I have 25 years or so to walk this earth, I intend to enjoy time with my children and grandchildren.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by ChowYunPhat » Sat Oct 19, 2019 7:54 am

SevenBridgesRoad wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:24 pm
The psychological preparation is just as important. For us, the list includes: We are already living in the area where we have wanted to retire. We have lots of friends and activities. I have hobbies. We like to travel. We like spending time with the kids and grandkids. Importantly, although I had challenging and fulfilling work, I never let the job become my identity. I'm proud of and happy with my work legacy. And, I was very comfortable with the idea of a third phase of life.
Thank you for this 7bridges. DW and I are still in our 40s but there is a lot of wisdom and great advice in the post. Anything you would add to describe your process leading up to full retirement?
A wise man and his money are friends forever...

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by Shallowpockets » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:11 am

Wiggums wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:18 pm
We were confident in our expenses since they are entered into Quicken. Crunched the numbers and had the DW weigh in on the decision to retire. I retired at 56 with 32 service years. I didn’t miss mega Corp and they didn’t miss me.

Accurately projecting your retirement expenses and having a reasonable cushion should take away any concerns you might have. We don’t miss the paycheck and we buy whatever we need.

Good luck to you...
+1 could not have said it any better. Looks like a lot of people here had a career that was not as onerous as some of us. Retirement from most careers is “I can’t wait”. Leave megacorp behind. Soon as possible. When you have a more or less satisfying career you can fudge everything and linger, and linger, and linger. Fear is a stand in place and do nothing feeling. No progress. As above, if you have the knowledge of your money, both what you have and what you spend, your fears can be reduced to the numerics. At that point any other fears are your own personality kicking in.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by flyingaway » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:31 am

blahblahsunshine wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:44 pm
We haven't retired but are getting close. I am unnerved by the prospect of unplugging though the math indicates we are good to go. One dimension I have been dwelling on over the last couple years is how big my financial risk is compared to early death. If you look at your cumulative chances of death going forward you might be surprised to find out the risk of dying in the next couple years far exceeds the chances of running out of money... Can't say I am over my fears and the SO has hers as well. A work in progress, but we will get there...in less than a year.
I agree that the risk of death is bigger. But you cannot manage that. The risk of running out of money, on the other hand, can be managed, by working for a few years, or not retiring.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by flyingaway » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:45 am

Wiggums wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:18 pm
We were confident in our expenses since they are entered into Quicken. Crunched the numbers and had the DW weigh in on the decision to retire. I retired at 56 with 32 service years. I didn’t miss mega Corp and they didn’t miss me.

Accurately projecting your retirement expenses and having a reasonable cushion should take away any concerns you might have. We don’t miss the paycheck and we buy whatever we need.

Good luck to you...
In addition to finance, one needs to have something more exciting than working to retire to.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by blahblahsunshine » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:10 am

SevenBridgesRoad wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 1:25 am
blahblahsunshine wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:44 pm
We haven't retired but are getting close. I am unnerved by the prospect of unplugging though the math indicates we are good to go. One dimension I have been dwelling on over the last couple years is how big my financial risk is compared to early death. If you look at your cumulative chances of death going forward you might be surprised to find out the risk of dying in the next couple years far exceeds the chances of running out of money... Can't say I am over my fears and the SO has hers as well. A work in progress, but we will get there...in less than a year.
Yep. As an earlier poster said, paraphrasing, we reach a point where we understand running out of time has a greater probability and is a bigger concern than running out of money.
And another interesting observation relative to getting over the rubicon of "am I ready to retire" is what is the alternative? Work another year? While that does give you incrementally more money and helps the math side of the equation, what is really holding one back (speaking for myself) is the psychological readyness. And one more year doesn't solve for that - there is just incrementally more money. What I find myself yearning for is some extraordinary input (say +20% addition the the nut) which I reason would get me over the mental hurdle...this is also unrealistic and I know it, and why I also know the one year more mantra in my head can't be solved by inputs...and is something I just need to get over. There is a saying that goes "the skills that have served to get you are today are the same skills holding you back from taking the next step".

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by BogleFanGal » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:28 am

While OP and everyone else's comments are mostly around money fears, I also think - at least for me - there's an "end of the line" feel to quitting that freaks me out a little and keeps me putting it off.

Retirement was always this hazy thing waaaay in the future - that was for "old" folks. I always saved for it, but looked at it as the last stage of life - you grow up, get married, have kids (maybe!) retire, die. Transitioning to the "retire" part makes me feel uncomfortably close to that last stage. :shock:

Yes - I know you can die at any time...nothing's guaranteed, yadda yadda yadda. This is all illogical emotion - I'm no Mr. Spock. As long as I'm still working, I feel younger/more middle aged vs old, no matter what the real numbers say.
"Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen." Mark Twain

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by EnjoyIt » Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:10 am

flyingaway wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:31 am
blahblahsunshine wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:44 pm
We haven't retired but are getting close. I am unnerved by the prospect of unplugging though the math indicates we are good to go. One dimension I have been dwelling on over the last couple years is how big my financial risk is compared to early death. If you look at your cumulative chances of death going forward you might be surprised to find out the risk of dying in the next couple years far exceeds the chances of running out of money... Can't say I am over my fears and the SO has hers as well. A work in progress, but we will get there...in less than a year.
I agree that the risk of death is bigger. But you cannot manage that. The risk of running out of money, on the other hand, can be managed, by working for a few years, or not retiring.
This is the conundrum at least for those whose fears are financial in nature. How do we find the right point of wealth? One can always work more and save more, but one’s time is fleeting. I wouldn’t mind putting in a little extra and have slightly too much money as opposed to not enough. I would hate it if I wasted an entire decade for money I don’t need. Where is that line?

An example of our own lives. We hit 25x last year but decided to still work some and increase our luxury spending. Today we are about 150k away from the new 25x. Are we any happier? Probably not much. Did we really need to increase our budget and work more?

I don’t know the ideal answer to this question, but for now we will continue working part time and see what life brings us.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by RadAudit » Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:37 am

blahblahsunshine wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:44 pm
If you look at your cumulative chances of death going forward you might be surprised to find out the risk of dying in the next couple years far exceeds the chances of running out of money...
Made me look, didn't you?

The way I figure, I've got a good chance of dying before I run out of money. The pressure is off! Time to even up the odds!

https://www.longevityillustrator.org/

https://engaging-data.com/will-money-la ... 1&show5x=1
FI is the best revenge. LBYM. Invest the rest. Stay the course. - PS: The cavalry isn't coming, kids. You are on your own.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by EddyB » Sat Oct 19, 2019 12:45 pm

flyingaway wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:31 am
blahblahsunshine wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 11:44 pm
We haven't retired but are getting close. I am unnerved by the prospect of unplugging though the math indicates we are good to go. One dimension I have been dwelling on over the last couple years is how big my financial risk is compared to early death. If you look at your cumulative chances of death going forward you might be surprised to find out the risk of dying in the next couple years far exceeds the chances of running out of money... Can't say I am over my fears and the SO has hers as well. A work in progress, but we will get there...in less than a year.
I agree that the risk of death is bigger. But you cannot manage that. The risk of running out of money, on the other hand, can be managed, by working for a few years, or not retiring.
Right, but focusing on managing a factor just because you can doesn't make it the right way to prioritize.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by dknightd » Sat Oct 19, 2019 1:04 pm

When you are young, you are invulnerable. So you can travel the World, or do whatever you want.
Congratulations, or condolences, you now recognize you are not invulnerable. I guess that is middle aged?
One day you will realize you do not have to work for money any more, then you can retire from working for money.
Once again you can feel invulnerable. But now you have a more seasoned understanding of what that means, and perhaps a different outlook (knowing that in fact you will die one day, no matter what you do).
I think I decided to retire when I did not really need to work for money any more. Each additional year of work would be one more year of contributing to savings, and one less year my savings had to support me. Eventually, since I did not know how long I would live, and contributions were a small part of my savings, I decided to pull the plug.
If I pulled the plug too early, I'll just have to learn (again) how to spend less money.
If you are scared of quitting, then do not. Once the fear of dying out ways the fear of running out of money, then you can retire. You have to decide for yourself when that time comes . . .

Edit: It is possible you can ask me this question in 40 years, and I will answer maybe I should have worked one more year. It is also possible you could ask me this question in 20 years, and I will not be around to answer.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by SDLinguist » Sat Oct 19, 2019 3:03 pm

Rus In Urbe wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:06 pm
OP wrote: How do I want to live? Simply. Garden a bit, even though I seem to kill grass just by looking at it. Perhaps have a dog to walk in a leafy, tree-lined and pleasantly cool neighborhood. Barbecue every so often on a Weber charcoal grill. That sort of thing. Nothing spectacular. The more low-key, the better.

I am employed as a lawyer. I don’t see how my job could be restructured to allow me to retire, as I envision retirement.
I retire in December----the best advice I've heard is: Don't retire FROM something; retire TO something.
This, I am nowhere near retirement but seeing my parents and their friends retire it is important to know what you will after.

My dad retired almost 10 years ago now. He used to work 12 hours a day every day. Then he didn't have a plan of what to do next. He still doesn't. Not having a goal really changed him, and not for the better.

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Re: Retiring and Getting Over The Fear of Quitting?

Post by midareff » Sat Oct 19, 2019 3:15 pm

It is a real fear and I'm sure most if not all of us go through it. I retired in April 2012, ,mental exercises galore to figure if I had enough to do things besides sit on the couch and wait to die. It was very traumatic and I'm sure if we had gone into 7 or 8 year market funk from there it would probably still be mentally burdensome. We live mostly frugally, still have a 3.0% mortgage I'm not going to pay off, a 1.49% car loan, ... well, that's it on the debt side. Pension and SS can pay all the bills with a little bit left over for dining out and a bit of travel so there really are no worries ..... BUT, there is this once in a lifetime bull market I retired into. 55 countries and 44 states later... what a ride!

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