Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

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jjunk
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by jjunk »

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
I have ~11yrs of expenses in bonds atm (across all accounts). I have ~5yrs of that in my taxable account. My intent was to utilize the bonds in taxable alongside my stock dividends to fund expenses in retirement until they've been depleted and hope I can make it where I can start tapping the remainder in my 401k. On "good" years I would also take LT gains to pay for things also. It's all about playing the MAGI game with the ACA to keep healthcare costs down.
av111
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by av111 »

jjunk wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:33 am

I have ~11yrs of expenses in bonds atm (across all accounts). I have ~5yrs of that in my taxable account. My intent was to utilize the bonds in taxable alongside my stock dividends to fund expenses in retirement until they've been depleted and hope I can make it where I can start tapping the remainder in my 401k. On "good" years I would also take LT gains to pay for things also. It's all about playing the MAGI game with the ACA to keep healthcare costs down.
OP

You have enough funds in bonds to deal with the sequence of returns risk. Job is not fun. There is already enough money to enjoy full retirement

What is really keeping you at work? Do you have plans on things that you would like more than work? Is the family on the same page? No good asking a bunch of strangers when your spouse has a different timeline
AV111
manatee2005
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by manatee2005 »

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?
Can you give us the numbers, how much do you have saved and what are your monthly expenses if you retired?
JBTX
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by JBTX »

It sounds like with your health sabbatical you have a great opportunity to redefine your path

Scenarios:
1 after months at home you become bored and go back to work with new sense of purpose
2 after months at home you have great sense of relief, and having been away you realize that life goes on without the job
3 after months away from work, the team is forced to adapt without you, and at that point you can return at your own terms. Think through them and present them when you come back. If they accept great, if they don't, there's your answer. They are unwilling to change and the job will continue to be suboptimal. Call it quits or negotiate an exit path.

An extended time away from work can be very useful to clear the mind, and help focus on what is important. If you are anything like me, you tend to stay in a bad situation until it becomes unbearable. I recently had a job for a couple of years that on the surface had many things going for it. But there were some major underlying issues that just continued to worse. I tried to proactive address them but nobody was willing to listen. Ultimately it just blew up, and now I'm out of work again. While I hate that it played out like that, having been away from it a couple of weeks it is clear to me the core issues were never going to get better, so I'm relieved to be rid of it, now just figuring out what's next (im upper 50's)
eco_eco
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by eco_eco »

A couple of years ago I was in a similar situation as the OP. On a career track, running with lots of stress, working many hours a week, but basically financially independent.

Then about two years ago at age 42, I realised we had hit our goals and there was no longer a need to work for the money. After some soul searching I made some changes:

- Over the next couple of years I deliberately moved to a non career track job which was focused on the work I am good at rather than continued stretch assignments and rescue projects. This made work immensely more satisfying as I was working out of my strengths and not involved in any more competition or office politics.

- I decided to change my perspective and start approaching things with a view that I am in in my last phase of employment. I set a ‘last five years target’ with the option of walking away if work wasn’t satisfying. So now I work because it adds value to my life and I know I’ll make another decision about whether to accept more work in 2023.

- With a five year time horizon I’ve been taking deliberate steps to be ready to halt work if need be. Mainly this is around shifting assets from a heavy growth focus to proving a basic income. This allows me to test the long term ‘retirement’ plan, as well as providing more security and meaning excess cash from salary can be reinvested.

All of these actions were very freeing. Work became a lot more interesting when it was optional rather than essential to pay the bills.
BuyandHold37
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by BuyandHold37 »

I voluntarily stopped working for a year and a half at age 38. It was not fun because my spouse still worked, and all my friends worked. I had free time, but no one else did. Also, in almost any social setting, people's first question was always about "so what are you doing?", etc......funny how when you work no one gives a crap about your job, but when you are out of a job it's all they can talk about. I felt like I practically had to defend why I wasn't working so that they could wrap their pea sized/nosey brains around my decision.

The next time I do it I will just say I am a day trader, because I do that anyway.
Wanderingwheelz
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

BuyandHold37 wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 6:20 am I voluntarily stopped working for a year and a half at age 38. It was not fun because my spouse still worked, and all my friends worked. I had free time, but no one else did. Also, in almost any social setting, people's first question was always about "so what are you doing?", etc......funny how when you work no one gives a crap about your job, but when you are out of a job it's all they can talk about. I felt like I practically had to defend why I wasn't working so that they could wrap their pea sized/nosey brains around my decision.

The next time I do it I will just say I am a day trader, because I do that anyway.
BuyandHold37 is now a day trader. I call “Top!”

All kidding aside, be careful in the world of social distancing telling people over 45 that you’re a day reader. They’re going to want to give you a hug and console you in advance of your impending despair. Maybe that was kidding too? Maybe..

The only day trader I knew well lost $400,000 of his own money and well over $1MM of family members money, mostly his parents.
3 Fund Portfolio. 70%/30% AA. No mortgage. Simple.
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beyou
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by beyou »

eco_eco wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:13 am A couple of years ago I was in a similar situation as the OP. On a career track, running with lots of stress, working many hours a week, but basically financially independent.

Then about two years ago at age 42, I realised we had hit our goals and there was no longer a need to work for the money. After some soul searching I made some changes:

- Over the next couple of years I deliberately moved to a non career track job which was focused on the work I am good at rather than continued stretch assignments and rescue projects. This made work immensely more satisfying as I was working out of my strengths and not involved in any more competition or office politics.

- I decided to change my perspective and start approaching things with a view that I am in in my last phase of employment. I set a ‘last five years target’ with the option of walking away if work wasn’t satisfying. So now I work because it adds value to my life and I know I’ll make another decision about whether to accept more work in 2023.

- With a five year time horizon I’ve been taking deliberate steps to be ready to halt work if need be. Mainly this is around shifting assets from a heavy growth focus to proving a basic income. This allows me to test the long term ‘retirement’ plan, as well as providing more security and meaning excess cash from salary can be reinvested.

All of these actions were very freeing. Work became a lot more interesting when it was optional rather than essential to pay the bills.
Hit my goal of kids done with college and have been trying to think as you do. I am acting in same manner but it’s hard to adjust decades of thought process. I have had a major decision to make, relocate for negotiated advancement in a new location vs continuing to do same job of many years, until they replace me at new location. The idea of not going for promotion, not going to LCOL location, voluntarily losing employment are all very uncomfortable decisions, but in the end I have to keep telling myself life<>work and at some point enough is enough. Just hard seeing less qualified people move up by moving to a new location, scary at prospect of losing good health insurance for our bad ACA plans in my area, losing lifelong daily habits, stimulation, but I know it’s the right thing to move on personally rather than move on (new location) professionally.
TravelforFun
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by TravelforFun »

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?
I'm not aware of a formula that you can use to determine how much and when to replenish the cash. Let me know if you find one.

TravelforFun
J295
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by J295 »

Chose not to read all the posts, but will offer this from someone who transitioned away from full-time work eight years ago. Note, there was plenty of uncertainty in the world at that time also.

I left my profession during my peak earning years. A few things we determined then and still believe.

Work less, make less. Simple.

The affordable care act constitutionality had not yet been decided by the US Supreme Court. However, we were not going to let the insurance tail wag the dog.

Feeling uneasy about such a significant decision… There’s a word for that… It’s called normal.

This journey is not a dress rehearsal.

You are likely more resilient and creative than you know.

Want to make God laugh. Tell him/her your plans.

Out of the top 25 things we’ve enjoyed most about our life transition, it’s likely that only one or two of them would’ve been on a list had we made one when I transitioned away from full-time work. Life is full of surprises, nearly all of them good.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by JoeRetire »

jjunk wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:52 pm
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.
(shrug) In my part of the country, there are job openings everywhere.

Since you are financially secure, you don't need to use your skillset at all. You could fill any full or part time job that would make you happy, and cause you no stress at all. All you have to do is decide it's time for a change.

Whatever. Maybe you have decided that you don't really want to work. I wish you well.
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.
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jjunk
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by jjunk »

av111 wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:14 am
jjunk wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:33 am

I have ~11yrs of expenses in bonds atm (across all accounts). I have ~5yrs of that in my taxable account. My intent was to utilize the bonds in taxable alongside my stock dividends to fund expenses in retirement until they've been depleted and hope I can make it where I can start tapping the remainder in my 401k. On "good" years I would also take LT gains to pay for things also. It's all about playing the MAGI game with the ACA to keep healthcare costs down.
OP

You have enough funds in bonds to deal with the sequence of returns risk. Job is not fun. There is already enough money to enjoy full retirement

What is really keeping you at work? Do you have plans on things that you would like more than work? Is the family on the same page? No good asking a bunch of strangers when your spouse has a different timeline
Sorry, I end up answering these in bunches during my spare time. My main answer to your question is simple: fear. More tangibly, if I could get things to work out at work, I think there are a lot of "extras" my wife and I could have in life if I kept working (nice vacations, nice place to live, etc). My wife would prefer that be our lifestyle if I could figure out a way to decompress, which so far, I havent been able to do.
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jjunk
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by jjunk »

manatee2005 wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:27 am
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?
Can you give us the numbers, how much do you have saved and what are your monthly expenses if you retired?
Right now ~2.9M across accounts. Current expenses are 5.5k/mo, 3k/mo of which is rent. We'd likely move to a cheaper area if I retired to save $$$ and because rents in my area are going up at 10%YoY. I've been planning around a 8k/mo spend in retirement as a "max" when factoring in new car purchases, maxing out ACA benefits on bad years, etc. But overall I expect we're going to need ~6k/mo when we settle into our day to day, possibly being pushed higher if we have to move a lot due to rent increases. When I mentioned 3.4%SWR, it was using our current net worth against the 96k/yr spend.
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jjunk
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by jjunk »

JBTX wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:41 am It sounds like with your health sabbatical you have a great opportunity to redefine your path

Scenarios:
1 after months at home you become bored and go back to work with new sense of purpose
2 after months at home you have great sense of relief, and having been away you realize that life goes on without the job
3 after months away from work, the team is forced to adapt without you, and at that point you can return at your own terms. Think through them and present them when you come back. If they accept great, if they don't, there's your answer. They are unwilling to change and the job will continue to be suboptimal. Call it quits or negotiate an exit path.

An extended time away from work can be very useful to clear the mind, and help focus on what is important. If you are anything like me, you tend to stay in a bad situation until it becomes unbearable. I recently had a job for a couple of years that on the surface had many things going for it. But there were some major underlying issues that just continued to worse. I tried to proactive address them but nobody was willing to listen. Ultimately it just blew up, and now I'm out of work again. While I hate that it played out like that, having been away from it a couple of weeks it is clear to me the core issues were never going to get better, so I'm relieved to be rid of it, now just figuring out what's next (im upper 50's)
Thanks for this perspective, it breaks down into a lot of how I've been thinking after reading the different advice across this thread. We definitely sound similar in that I'll put up with a bad situation for quite a while but I'm just now seeing how unhealthy that can be. My current thoughts are to look for a new job in my company for the next couple of months. If I cant find something, I'll have my surgery at EoY and then have 3mos off (or more if I tack on vacation). In doing so, I'll be able to recover without needing to worry about work and it will nicely coincide with my current lease expiring in March 2021. Aside from a large stock vest I have happening in April 2021, I should have a path forward one way or the other. Plus some of the uncontrollable things that have me fearful like the election, COVID WaveX, etc will be a little clearer by that point.
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jjunk
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by jjunk »

JoeRetire wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:39 am
jjunk wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:52 pm
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.
(shrug) In my part of the country, there are job openings everywhere.

Since you are financially secure, you don't need to use your skillset at all. You could fill any full or part time job that would make you happy, and cause you no stress at all. All you have to do is decide it's time for a change.

Whatever. Maybe you have decided that you don't really want to work. I wish you well.
I still enjoy working, it keeps my mind active and I really enjoy solving problems. I live to make systems more efficient. There are tons of jobs here in Seattle, so its not for a shortage of work opportunities, its that with my background it's fairly difficult to move to the other companies in the area. The main blocker is that I dont have a degree and that has actually cost me roles. I'm still looking for roles in my company but I'm now at a level where its difficult to move laterally and be successful without the right skills. One thing I've considered is taking a level (and compensation) cut to move down into a team thats more interesting to my work but where my current level wouldnt impact my annual reviews as much due to lower expectations. It's a hard pill to swallow considering the work I've done to get to where I am, but it might be the only solution which keeps me employed. Thats one part of having financial stability I havent put a lot of thought into, just how much annually do I need to make to keep what I have without continuing to add more.
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JoeRetire
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by JoeRetire »

jjunk wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 11:51 amThats one part of having financial stability I havent put a lot of thought into, just how much annually do I need to make to keep what I have without continuing to add more.
This is confusing. If you have enough to retire, you don't need to "keep what [you] have". So you don't need anything annually. Right?

You seem to be fixated on roles within your company, or roles similar to the one you have. But financial independence means you aren't actually limited to those roles, and your lack of degree may not be relevant.

Get a job as a guide in a museum. Get a job in retail. Get a job as a park ranger. Get a job in a hospital answering phones. Whatever you might enjoy...

My wife retired from her health profession job after about 40 years in it. She now works a few days a week in a local Italian kitchen accessories shop, handing out wine and cheese samples. Loves it! She had the freedom to try any job that seemed appealing, because we don't need the money. And if it didn't work out, she could try a different job.
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.
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by nigel_ht »

jjunk wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 11:34 am
av111 wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:14 am
jjunk wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:33 am
I have ~11yrs of expenses in bonds atm (across all accounts). I have ~5yrs of that in my taxable account. My intent was to utilize the bonds in taxable alongside my stock dividends to fund expenses in retirement until they've been depleted and hope I can make it where I can start tapping the remainder in my 401k. On "good" years I would also take LT gains to pay for things also. It's all about playing the MAGI game with the ACA to keep healthcare costs down.
OP

You have enough funds in bonds to deal with the sequence of returns risk. Job is not fun. There is already enough money to enjoy full retirement

What is really keeping you at work? Do you have plans on things that you would like more than work? Is the family on the same page? No good asking a bunch of strangers when your spouse has a different timeline
Sorry, I end up answering these in bunches during my spare time. My main answer to your question is simple: fear. More tangibly, if I could get things to work out at work, I think there are a lot of "extras" my wife and I could have in life if I kept working (nice vacations, nice place to live, etc). My wife would prefer that be our lifestyle if I could figure out a way to decompress, which so far, I havent been able to do.
Yah, I used to have that fear. Got replaced by the fear of dying at my desk...I had my heart attack at work.

Take your 12 weeks medical and see what happens. I think you'll discover that they got along fine without you.

If they didn't you have even more leverage to get rid of things you don't want to do or come back part time or whatever.
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jjunk
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Re: Overcoming the fear of an early retirement

Post by jjunk »

nigel_ht wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:20 pm
jjunk wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 11:34 am
av111 wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 1:14 am
jjunk wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:33 am
I have ~11yrs of expenses in bonds atm (across all accounts). I have ~5yrs of that in my taxable account. My intent was to utilize the bonds in taxable alongside my stock dividends to fund expenses in retirement until they've been depleted and hope I can make it where I can start tapping the remainder in my 401k. On "good" years I would also take LT gains to pay for things also. It's all about playing the MAGI game with the ACA to keep healthcare costs down.
OP

You have enough funds in bonds to deal with the sequence of returns risk. Job is not fun. There is already enough money to enjoy full retirement

What is really keeping you at work? Do you have plans on things that you would like more than work? Is the family on the same page? No good asking a bunch of strangers when your spouse has a different timeline
Sorry, I end up answering these in bunches during my spare time. My main answer to your question is simple: fear. More tangibly, if I could get things to work out at work, I think there are a lot of "extras" my wife and I could have in life if I kept working (nice vacations, nice place to live, etc). My wife would prefer that be our lifestyle if I could figure out a way to decompress, which so far, I havent been able to do.
Yah, I used to have that fear. Got replaced by the fear of dying at my desk...I had my heart attack at work.

Take your 12 weeks medical and see what happens. I think you'll discover that they got along fine without you.

If they didn't you have even more leverage to get rid of things you don't want to do or come back part time or whatever.
FWIW, I'm glad you made it through the heart attack. That must have been scary. Cheers.
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