Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

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geerhardusvos
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by geerhardusvos »

jjunk wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:49 pm I'm wondering how others who are considering retiring are handling the current environment. My situation is that I'm in my late 40's and we mathematically have enough to retire early. I say mathematically because if I were to use my current net worth, I'd be at ~3.4%SWR while living my "best life" from a monthly expenses perspective. We've built in a decent amount of wiggle room and discretionary spending that we can cut out, so I feel like we're in a pretty good situation.

I really dont enjoy my job any longer. It's causing me a ton of stress and I'm starting to see that stress manifest itself via various health problems that are more than just me turning older. However, I make a great living, live in an amazing city that I love and have wonderful health insurance. I dont think (given my age and skills) that I'd be easily employable anywhere near the wage/benefits I make today. I've tried finding another job within my company but it's slim pickings with COVID and ongoing hiring freezes.

So while I feel like I could retire and I'd like to retire, I cant bring myself to pull the trigger. Without getting into politics, between the election, COVID, the outlying economic pressures that continue to build due to the pandemic, etc etc, it seems like I'd be retiring at the exact worse time with a higher than normal chance of poor sequence of return risk. So, I feel stuck between a job I'm pretty sure is killing me and the fear that I cant mess this thing up by dropping out of the rat race early.

Does anyone else who is considering retiring in 2020/2021 feel this way? If so, how are you approaching it?
Just split the difference, work one more year, or set a date when you want to retire, and it might make your work less miserable and if it doesn’t, you will be thankful you committed to a date for Retirement. You may have other underlying problems if you are continuing to be anxious after being financial independent, don’t fear, just live each day as if it’s your last, because we’ve seen too many people Who thought they had plenty of time, but they didn’t make it, so just enjoy this and get some help if you are still unhappy.
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jjunk
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by jjunk »

Beehave wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:16 pm I had exceedingly stressful work in corporate IT and then got laid off in the 2009-10 financial collapse. I ended up retiring before I had planned.

I had taught before entering the IT world, and in retirement I'm teaching again, part-time.

My health was impacted by the corporate stress (3 AM calls and it took two or three year of improved diet and regular exercise to get back into very good all-around shape.

You should evaluate all your possibilities - some very good suggestions above regarding possibly staying with your current employer but improving your work conditions and personal outlook or simply retiring. Two thoughts:

(1) You mention returning to school if you leave work. Would your company conceivably allow you to take time off to get a degree while you continue your employment but take a break from or reduced load at work? Perhaps that might change things up favorably and provide some new opportunities while you retain your employment?

(2) If you decide to retire and continue you education on your own (you mentioned physics), maybe target teaching after getting the required degree.
As I mentioned above, I started teaching part-time at a community college after retiring. As a part-timer, the pay is dreadful and there are no benefits. But the work is gratifying - the diversity of students (in background and ability) is incredible and you have to figure out how to reach as many as possible. It is deeply rewarding in many ways. If you teach high school science you can make more money, have benefits, and work towards a pension. But that is a much more heavy-duty and potentially stressful work, but also potentially gratifying. The main thought in suggestion (2) is that as a young person in your 40s, there is a very long retirement ahead if you start now and how you spend that time is a big consideration to think about if you choose that path.

Best wishes. When I retired it was not voluntary. It ended up that the financial preparations I had been making over the years for the future were fine when the future came several years before anticipated. Good luck to you and take care of your health and family.
Thanks for the suggestion. Yes, my company offers tuition assistance through doctorate so long as its related to work. I could fairly easily argue that a physics degree would meet that bar. It's something I'll definitely consider.
wanderer
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by wanderer »

I think Klangfool made some great points

I was an “all-in” project guy. After some really rewarding projects my last one was not. So my motivation sagged but still tried to be “all-in”. Had a talk with my boss regarding retirement planning and he was supportive. We agreed to some team supportive goals. I approached these goals as a mentoring situation where I let go of fully owning the results. Turned out I enjoyed mentoring and was shocked at the appreciation from mentees and team results. Perhaps I should have focused on mentoring sooner :-)

Perhaps there is a way to help mentor others as you transition out. Could be a few months to a few years. Sounds like you might enjoy a bit more time before the leap.
KlangFool
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

1) I had been unemployed for more than 1 year a few times. I am unemployed now. Life goes on. There are more in life than just working for money.

2) My older brother early retired at 49 years old. He traveled and lived anywhere in the world for fun.

3) My oldest brother retired and passed a full physical health exam. A few months later, he fainted in the bathroom. They found an inoperable brain tumor in his head. He died a few months later.

KlangFool
Glockenspiel
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by Glockenspiel »

surfstar wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:57 pm You can retire and you want to retire. Do it.

Why wait in a world of uncertainties? You could get COVID and die or have lifelong decreased lung function or something. WTF are you waiting for?
+1. Rip off the band-aid and do it. If something awful happens, you can always get a part-time job later.
luckyducky99
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by luckyducky99 »

I am in a similar position -- age, withdrawal rate, wiggle room, disenchantment with career, and I pulled the trigger in June despite having the same set of fears you have. I feel great about things now. It's a personal decision, so I don't know what you should do, but I'll tell you how I decided.

What made things clear to me was when I framed the decision with these two questions.

First, what is the utility to me of another year's earnings and savings? Given that I too can live my "best life" on a conservative withdrawal rate, and the decreasing marginal utility of money, the answer to that was "very little". If I keep working, maybe I worry a little less about sequence risk when I start drawing down next year, or the year after.

Next, what is the utility to me of getting most of my time and almost all of my energy back to myself, to do the things I want to do, and actually enjoy doing, while also shedding the stress of my job? The answer to that was, "Oh my God, so much." It was like one of those cheesy mastercard commercials where the voice-over pauses then says,"Priceless."

Because of Covid, I happen to be living now at close to my bare-bones budget, not because of anything financial, but because my more costly hobbies and activities are unavailable, and I am still vastly happier than what I was expecting from my "best life" full-budget lifestyle.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by 000 »

luckyducky99 wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:25 pm Because of Covid, I happen to be living now at close to my bare-bones budget, not because of anything financial, but because my more costly hobbies and activities are unavailable, and I am still vastly happier than what I was expecting from my "best life" full-budget lifestyle.
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Domadosolo
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by Domadosolo »

Normchad wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:23 pm OP, I think you and I are in a very similar situation.

My biggest hang up is health care coverage. So for now, I’m just going to keep going until the future if the ACA is settled one way or another.

ACA Or equivalent is just another line item you need to account for. Get an estimate of costs at KFF website (yes, they increase significantly as you get older). If you feel comfortable, it is better to enjoy the rest of your life.
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dziuniek
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by dziuniek »

geerhardusvos wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 8:47 pm
whodidntante wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:16 pm
dziuniek wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 7:02 pm Delete facebook. Cancel cable.

Ignorance is bliss :)
Are you certain those actions will breed ignorance? :twisted:
Exactly, it’s cable/media and social media that has made us all ignorant
Dual citizenship here. Between hearing form my cousins/family in Poland about their upcoming elections + covid stuff and listening to the same here(not the board, just generally everywhere and from everyone), I've just about had enough :twisted:

I think my tolerance for 'news' (haha) has been reached. :)
runner540
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by runner540 »

Domadosolo wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:10 pm
Normchad wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:23 pm OP, I think you and I are in a very similar situation.

My biggest hang up is health care coverage. So for now, I’m just going to keep going until the future if the ACA is settled one way or another.

ACA Or equivalent is just another line item you need to account for. Get an estimate of costs at KFF website (yes, they increase significantly as you get older). If you feel comfortable, it is better to enjoy the rest of your life.
ACA ensures that you can buy health coverage. Pre-ACA, there was no guarantee of coverage at any price, and there were annual and lifetime maximums that limited coverage in catastrophic cases. For OP’s 20 year time period before retirement, it’s not just accounting for the cost - it’s whether it will be available at all.
heyyou
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by heyyou »

Having retired early with merely adequate assets and to get away from the job, I was later told by Dear Spouse that I was a nicer person in retirement than when I was working. Could that apply to any of you who are unnecessarily working for excess money, while merely considering retirement?

In early retirement, I stumbled into very fulfilling volunteer work that suited me well, making those years, the best ones of my life. You could be retiring into something better than what you are retiring from, but your view is obscured by the lack of remuneration.
Last edited by heyyou on Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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HomerJ
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by HomerJ »

Normchad wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:23 pm OP, I think you and I are in a very similar situation.

My biggest hang up is health care coverage. So for now, I’m just going to keep going until the future if the ACA is settled one way or another.
This is my thought as well... I would want to keep health insurance at least until next year, to see what happens with ACA.
Last edited by HomerJ on Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by flyingaway »

runner540 wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:40 am
Domadosolo wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:10 pm
Normchad wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:23 pm OP, I think you and I are in a very similar situation.

My biggest hang up is health care coverage. So for now, I’m just going to keep going until the future if the ACA is settled one way or another.

ACA Or equivalent is just another line item you need to account for. Get an estimate of costs at KFF website (yes, they increase significantly as you get older). If you feel comfortable, it is better to enjoy the rest of your life.
ACA ensures that you can buy health coverage. Pre-ACA, there was no guarantee of coverage at any price, and there were annual and lifetime maximums that limited coverage in catastrophic cases. For OP’s 20 year time period before retirement, it’s not just accounting for the cost - it’s whether it will be available at all.
One could worry about this health insurance forever. In the worst case, Medicare could become bankrupt.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by flyingaway »

KlangFool wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:31 pm OP,

1) I had been unemployed for more than 1 year a few times. I am unemployed now. Life goes on. There are more in life than just working for money.

2) My older brother early retired at 49 years old. He traveled and lived anywhere in the world for fun.

3) My oldest brother retired and passed a full physical health exam. A few months later, he fainted in the bathroom. They found an inoperable brain tumor in his head. He died a few months later.

KlangFool
KlangFool:

Hope everything is going well with you, as we all know, you are well prepared.
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vitaflo
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by vitaflo »

jjunk wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:53 pm Just wanted to tell you, my wife thanks you. All of your advice to this point she's apparently been giving me for the last several months and I havent heard it. For some reason, hearing it from an outside source made it sink in more. For that, we both thank you.
I know how your wife feels because it reminds me of me in my situation. My wife has been stressed out about her work/career for years, and I've told her for years to please quit, we are close to retirement and can easily live off my salary alone and continue to save. But she keeps saying that's "not fair" to me and she'd "feel bad for not supporting the family", etc. Like you she's also a workaholic and has a hard time saying no to other people.

What she doesn't get is that her being unhappy and stressed at her job makes me unhappy and stressed. Listen to your wife when she tells you things. You are probably making her life unhappy by staying at your job. You're in essence choosing your coworkers over her (at least that's how it feels on my end). If you really want whats best for your family you'll actually listen to them and step away.
KlangFool
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by KlangFool »

flyingaway wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:56 am
KlangFool wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:31 pm OP,

1) I had been unemployed for more than 1 year a few times. I am unemployed now. Life goes on. There are more in life than just working for money.

2) My older brother early retired at 49 years old. He traveled and lived anywhere in the world for fun.

3) My oldest brother retired and passed a full physical health exam. A few months later, he fainted in the bathroom. They found an inoperable brain tumor in his head. He died a few months later.

KlangFool
KlangFool:

Hope everything is going well with you, as we all know, you are well prepared.

Thanks. Let's hope so. We are all doing the best that we could.

KlangFool
Bobby206
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by Bobby206 »

I echo what Klangfool said above. Make your job more enjoyable. I did that to my job. It took about 3 years to get where I am today. I didn't have an exact vision except knowing what I wanted to stop working on. I have ended up at a point that my income hasn't changed and I am working less overall and far less stressful. Most importantly I am not working with the people or projects I don't want to. The good thing is when you can retire YOU can decide how things should be. The worst thing they can do is fire you which will force you to retire which is totally fine. Come up with a list of 5 or 10 things you'd like to improve about your job and get half of them done in the next 1 year and the other half within 2 years. You can do it!
Wannaretireearly
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by Wannaretireearly »

rockAction wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:49 pm I was in your situation a year ago. Mid-40s with "enough" to retire on, but just wasn't sure whether I should stick it out a while longer in order to make certain it would work financially and that I wasn't leaving money on the table.

I decided to retire, and don't regret it one bit. I took a part-time job that I love to at least have some money coming in to pay for vacations and other extra things. My health insurance premiums through ACA were cut way down (no guarantee that will last, though). My health is now excellent. I'm stress free, working out every day, and spending a ton of time with my family, reading, watching movies, etc, and loving every minute of it! I also have a lot of time to read financial books and also spend a good amount of time on this site.

Just figured I'd share my experience and two cents.
Mind sharing what your part time job is? Thanks
This time next year, we'll be millionaires!
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by rockAction »

Wannaretireearly wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:42 am
rockAction wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:49 pm I was in your situation a year ago. Mid-40s with "enough" to retire on, but just wasn't sure whether I should stick it out a while longer in order to make certain it would work financially and that I wasn't leaving money on the table.

I decided to retire, and don't regret it one bit. I took a part-time job that I love to at least have some money coming in to pay for vacations and other extra things. My health insurance premiums through ACA were cut way down (no guarantee that will last, though). My health is now excellent. I'm stress free, working out every day, and spending a ton of time with my family, reading, watching movies, etc, and loving every minute of it! I also have a lot of time to read financial books and also spend a good amount of time on this site.

Just figured I'd share my experience and two cents.
Mind sharing what your part time job is? Thanks
I work the front-desk at a local health and wellness center. The place itself is fabulous, with a large gym, walking track, basketball courts, 2 pools, sauna, hot tub, steam room, etc, and I enjoy talking with all the members coming through there everyday. I've made a ton of friends and connections through the job. It doesn't pay much, but it's very enjoyable, stress-free, and I get a free gym membership out of it. It's also just nice to be part of a place that focuses on health and wellness.
Mainlandjones
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by Mainlandjones »

Are there any parts of your job that you enjoy? If so, I like the idea mentioned of a third option... negotiate a reduction in hours, responsibilities, and pay. Pick the few tasks/roles that you enjoy the most, limit your hours to say 30 per week (set a hard limit), and ask for say 50% of what you currently make. Wouldn't this be a win-win for you and your employer relative to you leaving? You could put a lot more time into your health, family and hobbies, while postponing touching your retirement funds, and maybe still get partial benefits/healthcare. For me, this would be a much easier transition then going from 60 hours/week (and accumulating funds) to 0 hours/week (and spending down funds).

Best of luck!
kacang
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by kacang »

jjunk wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:12 pm .. I too have golden handcuffs in the form of unvested stock thats worth a pretty penny right now, but it vests only 20%/yr. My wife is supportive of me retiring, I just cant summon the gumption to do so. Good luck on your exit plan though, I hope things improve for you.
You've gotten lots of good advice. Just want to add I was in those shoes, several things you mentioned were my concerns for years. I tried a new career direction, but ultimately decided I was done, your experience may differ. Retired last year just before I turned 50, it was a good decision to prioritize family & health.

Golden handcuffs are designed to discourage people from leaving. It helped me to accept that regardless of when I retire, there is always money left at the table and the exit is always at/near career peak.
Keenobserver
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by Keenobserver »

Can u go part time? Why not make your current job less stressful by standing up for yourself. The worst than can happen is you getting fired. Well you are willing to walk away anyway. You got nothing to lose.
Wannaretireearly
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by Wannaretireearly »

rockAction wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:55 am
Wannaretireearly wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:42 am
rockAction wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:49 pm I was in your situation a year ago. Mid-40s with "enough" to retire on, but just wasn't sure whether I should stick it out a while longer in order to make certain it would work financially and that I wasn't leaving money on the table.

I decided to retire, and don't regret it one bit. I took a part-time job that I love to at least have some money coming in to pay for vacations and other extra things. My health insurance premiums through ACA were cut way down (no guarantee that will last, though). My health is now excellent. I'm stress free, working out every day, and spending a ton of time with my family, reading, watching movies, etc, and loving every minute of it! I also have a lot of time to read financial books and also spend a good amount of time on this site.

Just figured I'd share my experience and two cents.
Mind sharing what your part time job is? Thanks
I work the front-desk at a local health and wellness center. The place itself is fabulous, with a large gym, walking track, basketball courts, 2 pools, sauna, hot tub, steam room, etc, and I enjoy talking with all the members coming through there everyday. I've made a ton of friends and connections through the job. It doesn't pay much, but it's very enjoyable, stress-free, and I get a free gym membership out of it. It's also just nice to be part of a place that focuses on health and wellness.
Excellent. Thanks for sharing. The local gym is one potential I've been looking at for 'fun' jobs
This time next year, we'll be millionaires!
fortunefavored
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by fortunefavored »

Not much more to be said but I'll add to the chorus - pull the plug.

I'm late 40s similar situation/numbers. Right now doing less and less until laid off (which is inevitable, we lay of 5-10% per year every year - it is one of the reasons this job is so terrible, constantly wondering if you're on the list!)

I could even volunteer for a package but given the COVID situation, the things I want to do immediately post-retirement are not possible. So for now I just work from home in my pajamas doing very little.

Go for it!
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JoeRetire
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by JoeRetire »

jjunk wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:49 pmMy situation is that I'm in my late 40's and we mathematically have enough to retire early.

I really dont enjoy my job any longer.

I feel stuck between a job I'm pretty sure is killing me and the fear that I cant mess this thing up by dropping out of the rat race early.
Wow. You don't enjoy it? Or you are sure it's killing you? To me those aren't the same thing at all...

You said that you don't like your job, but nothing about what you would want to retire to. To me, that's telling.

So find a new job that you will enjoy. If you can afford to retire, then the financial considerations of the job won't get in your way. Just find one that you'll enjoy doing.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
stocknoob4111
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by stocknoob4111 »

In your situation I wouldn't think twice about retiring... i'm doing the same once I hit 3.5% SWR, I'm close.. perhaps 2-3 years to go :)
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Sandi_k
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by Sandi_k »

jjunk wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:28 pm
eldinerocheapo wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:54 pm Have you considered taking a sabbatical, and if so, would your company support this? You sound burned out and maybe some extended time off would give you some perspective. I retired at 62 earlier this year and am pursuing p/t and volunteer work on top of fishing, tennis and golf several days a week. An active mind needs a lot of stimulation. Mine does, and I'm guessing you do too. Take some time off, and consider your options as each one has a huge impact on your life.
At my company, you need to be a certain level to take a sabbatical. Unfortunately, I'm one level under that requirement. I will get a mini-sabbatical of sorts as I need a hip replacement which will put me out for quite a bit (doc is writing me out for 12wks). That might help clear my mind up somewhat.
I was just about to suggest a medical leave that allows for FMLA protection. If you time the surgery right, your LOA can happen in Nov-January, allowing the RSUs to vest. You would also presumably know more about ACA endangerment at that point.

So, if the ACA was still in force, and you got 20% RSUs vested, would that be enough to retire with confidence in February 2021?
sycamore
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by sycamore »

Sandi_k wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:08 pm
jjunk wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:28 pm
eldinerocheapo wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:54 pm Have you considered taking a sabbatical, and if so, would your company support this? You sound burned out and maybe some extended time off would give you some perspective. I retired at 62 earlier this year and am pursuing p/t and volunteer work on top of fishing, tennis and golf several days a week. An active mind needs a lot of stimulation. Mine does, and I'm guessing you do too. Take some time off, and consider your options as each one has a huge impact on your life.
At my company, you need to be a certain level to take a sabbatical. Unfortunately, I'm one level under that requirement. I will get a mini-sabbatical of sorts as I need a hip replacement which will put me out for quite a bit (doc is writing me out for 12wks). That might help clear my mind up somewhat.
I was just about to suggest a medical leave that allows for FMLA protection. If you time the surgery right, your LOA can happen in Nov-January, allowing the RSUs to vest. You would also presumably know more about ACA endangerment at that point.

So, if the ACA was still in force, and you got 20% RSUs vested, would that be enough to retire with confidence in February 2021?
The question around ACA endangerment will be argued before the court in the fall but any decision may not come until late in the term, possibly in June 2021.

Best to make a decision that doesn't depend on changes to the law. OP, after taking medical leave, do you know about COBRA and how you could use it if you left your job?
Domadosolo
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by Domadosolo »

runner540 wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:40 am
Domadosolo wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:10 pm
Normchad wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:23 pm OP, I think you and I are in a very similar situation.

My biggest hang up is health care coverage. So for now, I’m just going to keep going until the future if the ACA is settled one way or another.

ACA Or equivalent is just another line item you need to account for. Get an estimate of costs at KFF website (yes, they increase significantly as you get older). If you feel comfortable, it is better to enjoy the rest of your life.
ACA ensures that you can buy health coverage. Pre-ACA, there was no guarantee of coverage at any price, and there were annual and lifetime maximums that limited coverage in catastrophic cases. For OP’s 20 year time period before retirement, it’s not just accounting for the cost - it’s whether it will be available at all.

You are right....I never really thought of guarantee of coverage, as I retired into an ACA environment.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by marcopolo »

flyingaway wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:50 am
runner540 wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:40 am
Domadosolo wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:10 pm
Normchad wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:23 pm OP, I think you and I are in a very similar situation.

My biggest hang up is health care coverage. So for now, I’m just going to keep going until the future if the ACA is settled one way or another.

ACA Or equivalent is just another line item you need to account for. Get an estimate of costs at KFF website (yes, they increase significantly as you get older). If you feel comfortable, it is better to enjoy the rest of your life.
ACA ensures that you can buy health coverage. Pre-ACA, there was no guarantee of coverage at any price, and there were annual and lifetime maximums that limited coverage in catastrophic cases. For OP’s 20 year time period before retirement, it’s not just accounting for the cost - it’s whether it will be available at all.
One could worry about this health insurance forever. In the worst case, Medicare could become bankrupt.
IMHO,

That is exactly correct.
There is never a shortage of things to worry about.
When was there ever a time where there were no dark clouds on the horizon? Things only become clear in hindsight.

Life is full of risks that must be navigated, no amount of SWR planning will eliminate those risks. You just have to have contingencies in place learn to live with them.

Life is not a dress rehearsal. If you are not happy doing what you are doing, change it.

By the way, I suspect there is a good chance the ACA goes away, or is curtailed in some fashion, but I am also suspect that we will not be going back to the days of denied access. At least, not in many states that have taken action, or have plans to back fill some of ACA protections. Will leave it there so as not to violate forum rules about politics.

OP, Good luck to you. It sounds like you are coming around to an answer that will work for you.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by jjunk »

Sandi_k wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:08 pm
jjunk wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:28 pm
eldinerocheapo wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:54 pm Have you considered taking a sabbatical, and if so, would your company support this? You sound burned out and maybe some extended time off would give you some perspective. I retired at 62 earlier this year and am pursuing p/t and volunteer work on top of fishing, tennis and golf several days a week. An active mind needs a lot of stimulation. Mine does, and I'm guessing you do too. Take some time off, and consider your options as each one has a huge impact on your life.
At my company, you need to be a certain level to take a sabbatical. Unfortunately, I'm one level under that requirement. I will get a mini-sabbatical of sorts as I need a hip replacement which will put me out for quite a bit (doc is writing me out for 12wks). That might help clear my mind up somewhat.
I was just about to suggest a medical leave that allows for FMLA protection. If you time the surgery right, your LOA can happen in Nov-January, allowing the RSUs to vest. You would also presumably know more about ACA endangerment at that point.

So, if the ACA was still in force, and you got 20% RSUs vested, would that be enough to retire with confidence in February 2021?
This is definitely something I've been contemplating. I had to delay my surgery due to COVID 3x already, but at this point I might just do it to get it out of the way and have the protections you've mentioned. Knowing the ACA survives, depending on election outcome, would probably be enough for me to pull the plug if I couldnt find a way to make my job less stressful.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by jjunk »

JoeRetire wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 1:32 pm
jjunk wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:49 pmMy situation is that I'm in my late 40's and we mathematically have enough to retire early.

I really dont enjoy my job any longer.

I feel stuck between a job I'm pretty sure is killing me and the fear that I cant mess this thing up by dropping out of the rat race early.
Wow. You don't enjoy it? Or you are sure it's killing you? To me those aren't the same thing at all...

You said that you don't like your job, but nothing about what you would want to retire to. To me, that's telling.

So find a new job that you will enjoy. If you can afford to retire, then the financial considerations of the job won't get in your way. Just find one that you'll enjoy doing.
Finding a new job isnt impossible but darn close to it right now with COVID and the hiring freezes we have in my company. I have a skillset that isnt easily transferable to roles outside of my current company. I'm definitely looking for roles internally though. As for not liking my job vs. it killing me, they go hand in hand. The things I truly hate about my work are the the same things which cause me an incredible amount of stress and amount to a large part of my day to day workload. So they're joined in that way. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by jjunk »

vitaflo wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:59 am
jjunk wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:53 pm Just wanted to tell you, my wife thanks you. All of your advice to this point she's apparently been giving me for the last several months and I havent heard it. For some reason, hearing it from an outside source made it sink in more. For that, we both thank you.
I know how your wife feels because it reminds me of me in my situation. My wife has been stressed out about her work/career for years, and I've told her for years to please quit, we are close to retirement and can easily live off my salary alone and continue to save. But she keeps saying that's "not fair" to me and she'd "feel bad for not supporting the family", etc. Like you she's also a workaholic and has a hard time saying no to other people.

What she doesn't get is that her being unhappy and stressed at her job makes me unhappy and stressed. Listen to your wife when she tells you things. You are probably making her life unhappy by staying at your job. You're in essence choosing your coworkers over her (at least that's how it feels on my end). If you really want whats best for your family you'll actually listen to them and step away.
My wife said you took the words right out of her mouth with this reply. It's pretty hard to hear honestly, especially from someone I care about so much. Thanks for sharing this perspective and opening up a line of dialogue in our house I might not have heard sufficiently otherwise. :sharebeer
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by nigel_ht »

Hey, just keep working. If you’re lucky you’ll have a heart attack at work like I did a year ago and live. If you’re not lucky...well...I hope you have good life insurance.

After my recovery I came back at 30 hrs a week and a firm date for retirement in my mind. I still lead 3 projects but dropped a supervisory position.

The reduction in hours and the retirement date made a huge amount of the stress go away given we are already FI.

I like my job and we do stuff that’s really exciting and you read about in the news...I couldn’t replace this job except at maybe one other place in the country that does what we do.

It still isn’t worth dying over.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

If you’re absolutely financially independent and you’re able to leave a job you don’t like then do yourself a favor.

At 49 I’m in the same situation, quickly too, since Covid has made my job nearly unbearable. I planned to retire in two more years but I think I’m going to call it quits this year.

I like to stay busy so I’ll find some other mode of income, though I don’t care how much it is as long as I enjoy the work.

Just do it.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by Dottie57 »

jjunk wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:09 pm
KlangFool wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:52 pm OP,

If you can afford to lose your job now, why can't you make your current job more enjoyable? Start saying no to stuff that you do not like to do. Or, do less or slow down the delivery of the stuff that you do not like. Do more of the stuff that you like. You can re-invent your job if you do not need your job.

Heaven is within you. Hell is within you too.
- Buddha

In many cases, you are the source of your own suffering.

KlangFool
Thanks for the advice. I've been reading tons and tons of books on mindfulness and trying to come to grips with living in the now and making things more enjoyable. My current team is woefully understaffed so while I could say "no", its still going to end up on my plate. I also have a personality where I have a strong sense of ownership and its very hard to let things drop. All this to say, I'd love to find a way to adopt this mindset as I do think it would help me a bunch. I just havent figured out how to yet.
I retired in early 2018. It was an excellent choice. Enjoyed the work but not the environment. Leaving gave me the opportunity to take care of a loved one until their death - a priceless gift. If you look you will find gifts along the way too.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by av111 »

How familiar are the posters who are advising OP to quit now with Golden handcuffs? How golden are the OPs handcuffs?

In this situation, like in most others, there are choices. Find a fit that works for you

It is easier to walk away when there are non negotiable events like laid off in late 50s, health issues or a spouse who gives you an ultimatum 😊
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by mrspock »

You might also consider just not really "retiring", but just work for yourself in some capacity. It could be consulting, it could be a small business. The biggest thing is getting control over your own time and calendar. Once you have that, I suspect life changes dramatically.

My own personal freedom is the biggest motivation I have for FI. Once you have that, along with your health and FI, the world is yours.

To answer your question more directly (overcoming the fear): I have done this by saving extra $$$. I had a goal, then I made it bigger, I reached the bigger goal and I've made it bigger yet again. By time I reach the new goal my nest egg should be large enough that I can survive a financial nuclear winter (SWR of just 1.5%, but I'll allow anything up to 3.5% if I want to splurge). The other piece is easing into it, I'll take 6-12 months off to de-compress, call this a "leave", after that if I'm finding I'm busy and having fun doing whatever it is I'm doing (being a beach bum hopefully), I'll pull the plug entirely. If not, I'll maybe work for myself as described above, or do time bound contract work.

All in all.... fear of early retirement is a very good problem to have! Enjoy it!
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by mrspock »

jjunk wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:12 pm
staustin wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:07 pm I'm in a similar situation. early 50's. I'm a highly compensated manager who has suffered mentally and physically the last two years. The golden handcuffs are very real and very difficult to escape. I had guilt for quite awhile thinking I was letting my family down if i 'left money on the table'. But, the situation has become such that I have no choice but to leave. To do otherwise, would risk my marriage and long term health.. So, after talking at length with the DW, i've set an exit target. I feel better now having an end date in mind. Your situation sounds similar. If your work is truly toxic, I encourage you to do the same. Summon the courage to go in a different direction.
Thanks for sharing your experience, definitely sounds very close to mine. I too have golden handcuffs in the form of unvested stock thats worth a pretty penny right now, but it vests only 20%/yr. My wife is supportive of me retiring, I just cant summon the gumption to do so. Good luck on your exit plan though, I hope things improve for you.
As for golden handcuffs... How would the millennials say it? "I wish I worked 3 more years." -- Said nobody ever on their death bed.

The value of your time is going exponentially higher as time passes. At some point, there should be no amount of money that would keep you at your job. It's a question of what the incremental value of that money is vs. the time you have on this earth. For many on here, a bigger house, or nicer cars in retirement isn't going to move the needle enough on happiness to make it worth it.

I have some pretty heavy handcuffs as well, but to me they are a means to an end, nothing more. Once I hit my goal.... that's it. If I fast forward to my death bed thought experiment: having 2-3 more years of retirement in my 40s, in prime health, that's worth millions to me -- easily. At that moment I'd spend it in a millisecond. So that's exactly what I'm going to do: I'm going to spend it now, in my 40s, and have no regrets later.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by marcopolo »

mrspock wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:54 pm
jjunk wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:12 pm
staustin wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:07 pm I'm in a similar situation. early 50's. I'm a highly compensated manager who has suffered mentally and physically the last two years. The golden handcuffs are very real and very difficult to escape. I had guilt for quite awhile thinking I was letting my family down if i 'left money on the table'. But, the situation has become such that I have no choice but to leave. To do otherwise, would risk my marriage and long term health.. So, after talking at length with the DW, i've set an exit target. I feel better now having an end date in mind. Your situation sounds similar. If your work is truly toxic, I encourage you to do the same. Summon the courage to go in a different direction.
Thanks for sharing your experience, definitely sounds very close to mine. I too have golden handcuffs in the form of unvested stock thats worth a pretty penny right now, but it vests only 20%/yr. My wife is supportive of me retiring, I just cant summon the gumption to do so. Good luck on your exit plan though, I hope things improve for you.
As for golden handcuffs... How would the millennials say it? "I wish I worked 3 more years." -- Said nobody ever on their death bed.

The value of your time is going exponentially higher as time passes. At some point, there should be no amount of money that would keep you at your job. It's a question of what the incremental value of that money is vs. the time you have on this earth. For many on here, a bigger house, or nicer cars in retirement isn't going to move the needle enough on happiness to make it worth it.

I have some pretty heavy handcuffs as well, but to me they are a means to an end, nothing more. Once I hit my goal.... that's it. If I fast forward to my death bed thought experiment: having 2-3 more years of retirement in my 40s, in prime health, that's worth millions to me -- easily. At that moment I'd spend it in a millisecond. So that's exactly what I'm going to do: I'm going to spend it now, in my 40s, and have no regrets later.
Well said.

The problem with golden handcuffs is that most companies always keep them on, and they often become more valuable as you progress in your career. So, if you are waiting for them to come off, you may be waiting a very long time.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by random_walker_77 »

Your time on this earth is limited, and buying your freedom can be seen as The Most Expensive luxury good. As mrspock points out, at some point, you reach diminishing returns. At some point, an extra 100K or 500K or even 1000K just doesn't change things that much. At that point, you need to decide on why you're working and whether that is truly worth it to you over the other potential uses of your time.

This presumes that you don't stretch your lifestyle too much. If you become truly rich, you're still going to have to work if you're used to spending 300K/yr (or 500K, or 1M...). If you spend 100K, then maybe you're ok with walking away from the golden handcuffs.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by sleepwell »

This perhaps is going to sound flippant, but it isn't meant to be.

Have you ever thought that by remaining in a job which is stressful and which you do not enjoy, you are preventing someone else from having the opportunity to hold that position? Maybe there are others who would love to take over your job duties.

As many of the posters here have already remarked - life at work tends to go on without you, no matter how integral a part you think you have played in your company or how many years you have worked there. (You might be very surprised at how quickly your absence is no longer noticed.)

Good luck with your decision.

Sleepwell
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by TravelforFun »

jjunk wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:49 pm Without getting into politics, between the election, COVID, the outlying economic pressures that continue to build due to the pandemic, etc etc, it seems like I'd be retiring at the exact worse time with a higher than normal chance of poor sequence of return risk.
You can eliminate sequence of return risk by having may be 10 years of expenses in bonds, money market, CDs, and cash. Use them when the market goes down and replenish them when market goes back up.

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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by beyou »

runner540 wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:40 am
Domadosolo wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:10 pm
Normchad wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:23 pm OP, I think you and I are in a very similar situation.

My biggest hang up is health care coverage. So for now, I’m just going to keep going until the future if the ACA is settled one way or another.

ACA Or equivalent is just another line item you need to account for. Get an estimate of costs at KFF website (yes, they increase significantly as you get older). If you feel comfortable, it is better to enjoy the rest of your life.
ACA ensures that you can buy health coverage. Pre-ACA, there was no guarantee of coverage at any price, and there were annual and lifetime maximums that limited coverage in catastrophic cases. For OP’s 20 year time period before retirement, it’s not just accounting for the cost - it’s whether it will be available at all.
ACA ensures you can overpay for bad
health insurance. The plans in my area cover nothing out of network, nothing outside the immediate area, not my DWs cancer center that treated her on employer plan but will not take ANY ACA plans. Makes me consider to self insure with the amount I will have to spend, unless I can get a subsidy (free but still limited so still lots of OOP expenses).

This is the reason to stay employed.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by willthrill81 »

jjunk wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:49 pm I'm wondering how others who are considering retiring are handling the current environment. My situation is that I'm in my late 40's and we mathematically have enough to retire early. I say mathematically because if I were to use my current net worth, I'd be at ~3.4%SWR while living my "best life" from a monthly expenses perspective. We've built in a decent amount of wiggle room and discretionary spending that we can cut out, so I feel like we're in a pretty good situation.

I really dont enjoy my job any longer. It's causing me a ton of stress and I'm starting to see that stress manifest itself via various health problems that are more than just me turning older. However, I make a great living, live in an amazing city that I love and have wonderful health insurance. I dont think (given my age and skills) that I'd be easily employable anywhere near the wage/benefits I make today. I've tried finding another job within my company but it's slim pickings with COVID and ongoing hiring freezes.

So while I feel like I could retire and I'd like to retire, I cant bring myself to pull the trigger. Without getting into politics, between the election, COVID, the outlying economic pressures that continue to build due to the pandemic, etc etc, it seems like I'd be retiring at the exact worse time with a higher than normal chance of poor sequence of return risk. So, I feel stuck between a job I'm pretty sure is killing me and the fear that I cant mess this thing up by dropping out of the rat race early.

Does anyone else who is considering retiring in 2020/2021 feel this way? If so, how are you approaching it?
The beauty of a 3.4% withdrawal rate is that it's so low that even if right now is a bad time to begin retirement, it's low enough that the historic odds are very high that you'll be just fine.

It's very likely not worth suffering through a job that you don't like waiting for this amorphous feeling of 'okay, everything feels good right now' that may never come.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by marcopolo »

beyou wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:20 pm
runner540 wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:40 am
Domadosolo wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:10 pm
Normchad wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:23 pm OP, I think you and I are in a very similar situation.

My biggest hang up is health care coverage. So for now, I’m just going to keep going until the future if the ACA is settled one way or another.

ACA Or equivalent is just another line item you need to account for. Get an estimate of costs at KFF website (yes, they increase significantly as you get older). If you feel comfortable, it is better to enjoy the rest of your life.
ACA ensures that you can buy health coverage. Pre-ACA, there was no guarantee of coverage at any price, and there were annual and lifetime maximums that limited coverage in catastrophic cases. For OP’s 20 year time period before retirement, it’s not just accounting for the cost - it’s whether it will be available at all.
ACA ensures you can overpay for bad
health insurance.
The plans in my area cover nothing out of network, nothing outside the immediate area, not my DWs cancer center that treated her on employer plan but will not take ANY ACA plans. Makes me consider to self insure with the amount I will have to spend, unless I can get a subsidy (free but still limited so still lots of OOP expenses).

This is the reason to stay employed.
This is very state/county specific, not true in many places, nor is it a problem unique to the ACA.

We have a PPO that is tied to the BlueCross/BlueShield network (BlueCard). So, we have coverage any place in the US that is on the BLueCard network. It seems quite extensive. Others have also discussed their positive experience with their plans.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by billthecat »

TravelforFun wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:19 pm
jjunk wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:49 pm Without getting into politics, between the election, COVID, the outlying economic pressures that continue to build due to the pandemic, etc etc, it seems like I'd be retiring at the exact worse time with a higher than normal chance of poor sequence of return risk.
You can eliminate sequence of return risk by having may be 10 years of expenses in bonds, money market, CDs, and cash. Use them when the market goes down and replenish them when market goes back up.

TravelforFun
Not to hijack the thread but is there a formulaic approach to determining when to draw from your pool of cash (and not replenish immediately) or draw from stocks? In other words, how down would the market have to be trigger this?
We cannot direct the winds but we can adjust our sails.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by willthrill81 »

billthecat wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:51 pm
TravelforFun wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:19 pm
jjunk wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:49 pm Without getting into politics, between the election, COVID, the outlying economic pressures that continue to build due to the pandemic, etc etc, it seems like I'd be retiring at the exact worse time with a higher than normal chance of poor sequence of return risk.
You can eliminate sequence of return risk by having may be 10 years of expenses in bonds, money market, CDs, and cash. Use them when the market goes down and replenish them when market goes back up.

TravelforFun
Not to hijack the thread but is there a formulaic approach to determining when to draw from your pool of cash (and not replenish immediately) or draw from stocks? In other words, how down would the market have to be trigger this?
There isn't a 'fixed' approach to doing it. But there are some documented approaches for 'bucket' strategies, as these are called, that aren't just mental accounting. Karsten at Early Retirement Now has reviewed some of these, the two most prominent of which are the 'Fritz's 2 year cash bucket approach' and 'McClung's Prime Harvesting approach'. These have also been discussed on the forum.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by jjunk »

marcopolo wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:42 pm
beyou wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:20 pm
runner540 wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 8:40 am
Domadosolo wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 11:10 pm
Normchad wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:23 pm OP, I think you and I are in a very similar situation.

My biggest hang up is health care coverage. So for now, I’m just going to keep going until the future if the ACA is settled one way or another.

ACA Or equivalent is just another line item you need to account for. Get an estimate of costs at KFF website (yes, they increase significantly as you get older). If you feel comfortable, it is better to enjoy the rest of your life.
ACA ensures that you can buy health coverage. Pre-ACA, there was no guarantee of coverage at any price, and there were annual and lifetime maximums that limited coverage in catastrophic cases. For OP’s 20 year time period before retirement, it’s not just accounting for the cost - it’s whether it will be available at all.
ACA ensures you can overpay for bad
health insurance.
The plans in my area cover nothing out of network, nothing outside the immediate area, not my DWs cancer center that treated her on employer plan but will not take ANY ACA plans. Makes me consider to self insure with the amount I will have to spend, unless I can get a subsidy (free but still limited so still lots of OOP expenses).

This is the reason to stay employed.
In my case, I live in WA state. We're about to have the first "public" option go into effect in 2021. It also has the side benefit of allowing subsidies up to 500% FPL vs. the ACA's 400% FPL subsidy cliff. Not sure how that will work out, but in King County in general, the ACA seems to have a lot of options. I would still use my COBRA for 18mos regardless of when I retire since my insurance is so great right now.
This is very state/county specific, not true in many places, nor is it a problem unique to the ACA.

We have a PPO that is tied to the BlueCross/BlueShield network (BlueCard). So, we have coverage any place in the US that is on the BLueCard network. It seems quite extensive. Others have also discussed their positive experience with their plans.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by jjunk »

sleepwell wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:13 pm This perhaps is going to sound flippant, but it isn't meant to be.

Have you ever thought that by remaining in a job which is stressful and which you do not enjoy, you are preventing someone else from having the opportunity to hold that position? Maybe there are others who would love to take over your job duties.

As many of the posters here have already remarked - life at work tends to go on without you, no matter how integral a part you think you have played in your company or how many years you have worked there. (You might be very surprised at how quickly your absence is no longer noticed.)

Good luck with your decision.

Sleepwell
Not flippant at all. I know people want my job because even though we're understaffed now, we're also hiring on my team. It just takes a very long time to find candidates with the required experience because my area is very specialized. My hope has been that if we can get a few more folks on the team, it may alleviate some of the strain I have day to day. Of course, we've been hiring for over a year now and it's netted one new hire despite literally thousands of applicants. Life will definitely go on without me, I'm just a cog in a machine and have no delusions that I am more than that.
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