Motivation to retire early

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Did
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Motivation to retire early

Postby Did » Sun Feb 07, 2016 3:24 am


IlliniDave
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby IlliniDave » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:39 am

I try not to let these sorts of stories drive my decisions, but having already seen a number of my contemporaries check out prematurely, it's hard not to begin to get a little impatient.

Did
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby Did » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:34 am

For me it's a very practical motivator. My own grandfather died at 50, my friend's father at the same age. The YMOYL dude even died at 57. Thankfully he had been retired since 30.

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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby 7Wannabe5 » Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:43 am

As you can see here:

https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/STATS/table4c6.html

The risk is not insignificant. If you are a 51 year old male planning on retiring at age 54, there is an approximately 2% likelihood that you will die before retiring. Only about 1% risk if you are female. The obvious rational decision for any middle-aged female on the dating market based on this chart is rent-don't-buy.

IlliniDave
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby IlliniDave » Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:06 am

Did wrote:For me it's a very practical motivator. My own grandfather died at 50, my friend's father at the same age. The YMOYL dude even died at 57. Thankfully he had been retired since 30.


The sorts of stats brought up by 7Wannade5 are why I try to stay the course. I tend to be an optimist and I bet on life (with the odds heavily in my favor) rather than betting on death (with low odds). If I die this year I doubt I'll spend a whole lot of time fretting over the fact that I didn't get a chance to retire. Retirement is a nice goal for a phase of my life, but it isn't what I see as the purpose of my life. I had a grandfather whom I don't remember who died in his early 50s, and that always weighs on my mind. But all his children are in their mid/late 70s and doing reasonably well. One of my friends who I discuss the topic of ER with is 57 and already has lived longer than both of his parents, and he's at times pretty miserable, feeling he can't retire yet but that at the same time he's already on "borrowed time" (and has already had at least one cardiac procedure). So I can totally understand the attitude and I don't mean to sound critical of people who think that way. Mixing negative reinforcement/motivation into my plan doesn't feel right to me.

It is a good idea to live each day as well as you can, even if part of the day is spent at work. Irrespective of when the last day comes, you don't get a today back once it's gone.

Did
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby Did » Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:22 am

@ID yeah I see your perspective. It's a completely rational approach. But 2.5 years into my freedom, I would not go back to the grind - being anything I didnt enjoy, and I mean jump out of my skin wanting to do. Without being negative, if I keeled over right now I would say, well, at least I truely lived these last couple of years. If I had keeled over before then, I would have said, what a life I have mislead.

To me, with the perspective I have now, the thought of a 9-5 office gig seems completely and utterly insane - in that you'd have to be insane to do it. Far far far more insane than cooking your own food, living in an RV or whatnot. But I digress.

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jennypenny
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby jennypenny » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:15 pm

This is not directed at anyone in particular ...

I'm turning 50 this year, so I understand that 'motivation' more than ever. My father died of a heart attack at 58 and my mother died at 63. Eight years, or even 13 years, is a short enough time frame for me to grasp and visualize. I used to be fearful, but not anymore. It poisons the time you have. And although I do believe in making the most of that time, I don't believe indulging your present self at the expense of your future self like the YOLO crowd.

The goal should be finding joy and peace now while working towards the same for your future self. That's the beauty of ERE--it can show you how to restructure your current lifestyle to allow for both. There's nothing in the ERE playbook that says you can't/shouldn't strive to be happy now. I get annoyed when I see people interpret ERE as some austerity contest where the winner is defined as the person who is the most unhappy now in an attempt to produce the happiest life later on. That's nonsense.

One of the best parts of ERE IMO is that it gives equal weight to our present selves and future selves. First, it urges us to build a robust system for sustaining our future selves in the lifestyle we want. Second, it presses us to reexamine our current lifestyle to stop wasting resources on things that don't make us happy, and focus our efforts and resources on the things that do. As has been shown many times on the forum, people who do that usually end up with a much higher quality of life at a lower cost of living. The third leg of that ERE stool is the focus on finding ways to allocate time/resources to activities that benefit and satisfy both our present selves and our future selves. Activities that benefit both eliminate the pressure of deciding whether to spend resources on current or future needs.

The most important lessons I've learned here are (1) most of us make more than enough money to keep our present selves and future selves abundantly happy, and (2) most of the things that make me really happy cost very little or no money at all, so there's no reason not to fill my life with them now.


(apologies to jacob for offering up yet another interpretation of ERE)

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jennypenny
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby jennypenny » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:40 pm

Ugh, that sounds so preachy and I didn't mean it to be. My point was that it's always presumed that a person can't be truly happy until they retire, but I disagree. When I read stories like in the OP, it reinforces my belief in ERE as a means to happiness regardless of what stage a person is in.

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Ego
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby Ego » Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:46 pm

Not preachy at all. It was quite good.

To the point.... Death has a way of bringing into focusing what's important. Thinking this will go on forever is as foolish as thinking only about this moment. Don't tell my wife. That was preachy... :D

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jennypenny
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby jennypenny » Mon Feb 08, 2016 3:39 pm

Haha ... well, it was for four people. I'm not going to judge. I could see myself paying an obscene amount to see Liverpool in a championship game. Sadly (luckily?) they haven't been in one in a while.

Did
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby Did » Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:01 pm

yeah if people can be happy in the moment great..... I didn't quite work that out when I was in the salt mines.

But all I'm saying is that if you're banking to live past a certain age then it's a roll of the dice (deferred gratification). Clearly ERE to the extent it involves saving, investing and efficiency involves deferred gratification, but if you are not optimizing efficency or saving enough, and plan on being tied to work until you aren't so E, then you are less likely to make it due to death, and certainly less likely to enjoy it due to health.

I'm also offering some post ER perspective which is that once you're free then any state other than free is actually worse than you realise when you're stuck in the cave so to speak. In fact, ER motivation for me has actually increased post ER, as its actually far better than pre ERs can imagine it.

I mean how can they imagine it accurately. It's like another planet where all of society's rules are thrown out the window. A planet where you elect what to do with your time.

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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby jacob » Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:30 pm

@jennypenny - I think even when you're preaching at your supposed worst, you're still doing much better than when I'm preaching at my best.

@all - I prefer the general strategy of living each day as if it was the last but also to act (make my daily choices) as if I was going to live for a thousand years.

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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby 7Wannabe5 » Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:57 pm

A 9-5 job takes up a heck of a lot of time that could in theory be spent on other activities that might have more or equivalent benefit for future-us. For instance, I would say that if you are already over 40 and working 9-5 is limiting your ability to care for your health then you might be better off retiring sooner rather than later and picking up a part-time job as night attendant at your local super-gym. Also, I hate to say this, but there is a level on which the all-or-nothing financial independence model of ERE reinforces the reality of the cave or cage. Like you have to believe that it exists if you think you need to earn your way out. Many of us have read books or blogs based on the experiment of "just not shopping/spending" for a time period. What about an experiment in "just not working/earning" in the conventional marketplace? The challenge would be that you have to survive for the next year without either working at a W-2 job OR taking any money out of your savings. Ready, set...hustle!

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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby ffj » Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:30 pm

Kind of a timely subject for me personally as the mother of my daughter's best friend was killed the other day in an automobile accident. She was my age and I'll always remember how well she treated my daughter. I think everybody is still in a little bit of shock, to be honest. It just reaffirms that nobody is promised tomorrow.

For me personally, I didn't want to be the worker drone that gets to die when he is no longer useful. What a terrible life that would be.

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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby jennypenny » Mon Feb 08, 2016 9:42 pm

@Did--I didn't mean that people shouldn't strive for ERE as fast as they can. I think they should. You have so much more control over your life once you cross the FU money threshold. What frustrates me is when people think they''ll finally be happy when X happens, whether it's retire, lose weight, save enough money, find a partner, etc. What if X never happens? Does that mean they'll live their whole lives without ever really trying to be happy? Life is short. People shouldn't wait on anything to get happy.


@ffj-I'm sorry to hear about your friend. DH's close friend died last year (age 46). Even though we knew it was coming, it was still such a shock. It took us a long time to get past it. It's not the way things are supposed to happen, you know?

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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby Slevin » Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:54 pm

Ego wrote:Not preachy at all. It was quite good.

To the point.... Death has a way of bringing into focusing what's important. Thinking this will go on forever is as foolish as thinking only about this moment.


Memento mori. Remember that you must die.

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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby Did » Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:36 am

@Jp yeah I agree. If work sucks and you aren't FI you should really get another job.

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cmonkey
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby cmonkey » Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:21 pm

jennypenny wrote:What frustrates me is when people think they''ll finally be happy when X happens, whether it's retire, lose weight, save enough money, find a partner, etc. What if X never happens? Does that mean they'll live their whole lives without ever really trying to be happy? Life is short. People shouldn't wait on anything to get happy.


I completely agree and have found myself doing just this the past 5 years or so. I'll be happy once the house is paid off. I'll be happy once the house is remodeled. I'll be happy once I'm retired. :roll: I'm consciously trying to change this and its working. Living in the moment as opposed to in the future is a really big part of it.

I'd like to get to the point where quitting my job essentially just brightens the color of an already great life, and really isn't that big of a deal in the end.

Did
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby Did » Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:58 pm

@cmonkey that sounds ideal job but in my case I had a job I wasn't fond of but it paid a staggering fortune (to me). So I dreamed of a simple life, and no mortgage, and waiting around in the crappy job for long enough provided me with that. Had I chased another more pleasant job I might still be in it due to earning less - happy enough as one can be, I suppose, when you devote most of your life to performing tasks set by another for their benefit.

George the original one
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby George the original one » Tue Feb 09, 2016 11:02 pm

Death should never be a motivator. Rather, living the life you choose is the motivator!

So I'm going clamming for razor clams Thu or Fri morning. Won't care if it's raining. Already got to play in the garden sunshine this week moving strawberry plants so they're no longer crowded and listening to the eagle cry out as it approached the roost. Saw a pair of wild turkeys (WTF?!? In the Oregon coast range?!? ah, google suggests either Eastern Wild Turkey population has moved south from Washington or Rio Grande Wild Turkey moved west from Willamette Valley) when we took a jaunt down to Tillamook to get the clam gun.

steveo73
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby steveo73 » Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:03 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:A 9-5 job takes up a heck of a lot of time that could in theory be spent on other activities that might have more or equivalent benefit for future-us. For instance, I would say that if you are already over 40 and working 9-5 is limiting your ability to care for your health then you might be better off retiring sooner rather than later and picking up a part-time job as night attendant at your local super-gym. Also, I hate to say this, but there is a level on which the all-or-nothing financial independence model of ERE reinforces the reality of the cave or cage. Like you have to believe that it exists if you think you need to earn your way out. Many of us have read books or blogs based on the experiment of "just not shopping/spending" for a time period. What about an experiment in "just not working/earning" in the conventional marketplace? The challenge would be that you have to survive for the next year without either working at a W-2 job OR taking any money out of your savings. Ready, set...hustle!


Some good points here. I'm starting to view my FIRE journey as more about getting to certain levels and then working less. I think working a 2 or 3 day week is a lot less stressful and allows a lot more time to do other stuff than working a full time job.

IlliniDave
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby IlliniDave » Wed Feb 10, 2016 5:44 am

cmonkey wrote:
jennypenny wrote:What frustrates me is when people think they''ll finally be happy when X happens, whether it's retire, lose weight, save enough money, find a partner, etc. What if X never happens? Does that mean they'll live their whole lives without ever really trying to be happy? Life is short. People shouldn't wait on anything to get happy.


I completely agree and have found myself doing just this the past 5 years or so. I'll be happy once the house is paid off. I'll be happy once the house is remodeled. I'll be happy once I'm retired. :roll: I'm consciously trying to change this and its working. Living in the moment as opposed to in the future is a really big part of it.

I'd like to get to the point where quitting my job essentially just brightens the color of an already great life, and really isn't that big of a deal in the end.


+1 to both jennypenny's and cmonkey's thoughts. I won't rehash my series of little epiphanies in 2011/2012, but around that time I found I was dedicating a significant majority of my mental energy rehashing past mistakes or, more commonly, looking to the future to bail me out of whatever I thought was an obstacle to being happy/content/at peace.

It's a tricky thing. Even though I'm aware of it, I still catch myself doing it frequently now. The antidote for me is to be deliberate about mindfulness or as cmonkey said, "living in the moment". Though I always have to modify that as living in the moment, but not for the moment. Have to recognize that what we do now can have future repercussions.
Last edited by IlliniDave on Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby 7Wannabe5 » Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:33 am

I think it is also important to recognize that life is not strictly linear. You can't eat enough dinner tonight to last you until your deathbed. Therefore, many of our decisions are most rationally made in the present moment (inclusive of memory of past) and for the future. So, my decision-matrix about "What's for dinner?" is always going to be something like- Delicious? Nutritious? Inexpensive? Easy?(but not necessarily in that order.) Same goes for any choice that involves some sort of sensual or immediately physiological component. Choice of exercise, music, reading material, clothing fabric, color and lighting, social companions, etc. etc. etc. You can't save up or reserve resources towards better choices to be made in the sensual moment very far into the future, but you can begin to form better or worse habits or practices towards improved quality of life right now. It's just as possible to start making these decision in your cubicle at work as in your cabin in the woods, but it is more likely that your lack of control will cause you to wish to have more. For simple instance, the vagrant out on the street is free to blast whatever kind of music he prefers on the boom-box attached to his shopping cart, but you, in your cubicle are forced to listen to classic-rock-muzak all freaking day long. Being stoic does not mean being numb to your surroundings or habitat in the moment.

IlliniDave
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby IlliniDave » Wed Feb 10, 2016 9:20 am

7Wannabe5,

Seems like we get to essentially the same point but by completely different paths.

For me the trick is not so much deciding what to eat and/or being in control of that. It's more about not sitting there eating dinner, whatever it happens to be, while my mind is either in the past rehashing events that can't be changed now, or more commonly, worrying about some scenario in the future that may or may not play out in a way resembling what I imagine. It's about simply paying attention to dinner at dinnertime. It's less common now, but I used to frequently eat with the TV on and then find myself surprised when all of a sudden my fork was scraping an empty plate, with little or no recollection of what the food actually tasted like, or of stuffing it in my mouth. And it was a multilayer thing because even though I was staring at it, I often wasn't really paying more than token attention to the TV. Most likely I'd have been thinking about what I should have said in some conversation that I didn't say, and what might be the best thing to say in the next conversation to compensate for the thing I should have said but didn't in the last conversation. Or whatever.

As reformed me, I can now say I can fully appreciate the many subtleties and nuances of been burritos. With just a handful of additives and 3-4 varietes of beans, one can create nearly infinite variety! And eating lower on the food chain a higher percentage of the time is purported to have health benefits for aging males. That it preserves resources as well only gives me options for the future. I like classic rock! Though at work I'm more inclined to opt for baroque when I'm tethered to my desk.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Postby 7Wannabe5 » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:19 am

@IlliniDave: I agree that we are mostly in agreement.

It's more about not sitting there eating dinner, whatever it happens to be, while my mind is either in the past rehashing events that can't be changed now, or more commonly, worrying about some scenario in the future that may or may not play out in a way resembling what I imagine.


Interesting. I am frequently not present in the moment, but I am only very rarely in "rehashing" or "worrying" mode either. I am always planning forward, but usually in overly optimistic fashion. IOW, I am usually thinking about what will go right rather than what will go wrong. So, maybe it works better for me to shorten up my planning cycles towards reality rather than "pie in the sky." Might not be so true for other types. My stated mission in joining this forum was to become more like a 5 than a 7, but if the price I have to pay is thinking more pessimistically about the future, maybe I don't want to join the club?


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