Motivation to retire early

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IlliniDave
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by IlliniDave » Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:06 am

Other than being 2 apart, I don't know what's the difference between a 5 and a 7. So I don't know if a 5 must think more pessimistically than a 7 (other than maybe because he has 2 less than 7?). I don't think one needs to be pessimistic to "worry"/plan either. Pessimism would tend to say it's all going to turn out badly so why bother. Someone somewhere between pessimism and optimism would say it won't always be easy but I can probably endure/overcome if I'm prepared. I guess that is more pessimistic than pure optimism, but the goal is still to get a happy outcome and not accept an unhappy one.

If you are happy planning forward in your own fashion, it doesn't seem to make sense to want to be something else.

My goal is to think as little about the future as I can get away with. It's a slow learning curve.

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GandK
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by GandK » Wed Feb 10, 2016 1:26 pm

@IlliniDave

It's funny that you mentioned being prepared. As I was reading this exchange, I was thinking, "I'm definitely in the optimism camp, but occasionally I let my fears run away with me completely. What causes that?" And I think it's almost always not feeling prepared and competent to deal with what I'm facing. I tend to fret and catastrophize when I'm facing a situation that I have no clue how to handle, or feel that I should be able to impact/control but can't, or a project that I'm not sure how to proceed with. Exercise plays into this for me as well... if I'm physically fit then I tend to feel more prepared to handle whatever is going on in my life. Not sure that's actually true in a measurable sense, LOL, but it feels true, and that seems to be enough to get me out of the "what if" loops that can otherwise derail my happiness.

(It would be better if I could prevent the "what if" loops altogether. I'm not sure how to accomplish that, though.)

Regarding the OP, my maternal grandmother retired at 62 and died of cancer at 64. That had a huge impact on my mother, who retired early at 50 out of fear of the same thing happening to her. My mom is now 61, and as she inches toward the age her mother was when she died, there's this palpable "my time may come at any moment" specter that hovers around her. I hope that once she turns 65 she will feel set free from her mother's timeline and start feeling/behaving like every day is a gift. I don't have much hope of her adopting that attitude before 65, though. :(

7Wannabe5
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:07 am

IlliniDave said: Someone somewhere between pessimism and optimism would say it won't always be easy but I can probably endure/overcome if I'm prepared. I guess that is more pessimistic than pure optimism, but the goal is still to get a happy outcome and not accept an unhappy one.
Yes, but where do you place your finish line(s) for determining "happy outcome?" In Jacob's book, under the Intermittent Work heading, he talks about the possibility of a one hour work day. So, let's say your expenses are $600/month or $20/day, and you want to put aside conservative level of extra funds for possible problems that might be encountered by future you. Your daily goal/plan maybe becomes something like "Wake up, work until I earn $30, then do whatever I want with my time that won't increase my expenses above $20." Maybe your "happy outcome" for the day would be something like "Really enjoy my dinner." So, you plan your menu, start marinating the fish, bake a loaf of bread, don't eat too much lunch, invite a friend to join you, go for a swim in a cold lake, take a brief nap in the sun after reading another chapter of Borges, pick some salad ingredients and flowers from your garden, put on some music, arrange the flowers on the rough table you built yourself, welcome your friend, pour some wine, assemble the salad, put the fish on the wood fire grill, eat, laugh, drink, smile, perhaps even further the happy outcome if you find your friend attractive...aaaaaah, that's living, right?

I guess the point I am trying to make is that there are different sorts of natural cycles we experience as human beings, and "early" retirement can mean early retirement in your whole cycle of birth/death, or it can mean early retirement in the cycle of the seasons of a given year, or it can mean early retirement in the cycle of the sun tomorrow. So, if you are already getting old in the cycle of your life, why wouldn't you choose to retire early in the cycle of this year, or this month, or this day?

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GandK
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by GandK » Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:42 am

@7w5 I love your ability/inclination to question underlying assumptions.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:57 pm

@GandK:

Thanks. It's a hard and endless job, but somebody has to do it. Everywhere I go, all the day long, I see people working 40 hours week, eating beef instead of meal worms, using toilet paper, entering into legal contracts for monogamous relationship, and using base 10. Why, why, why? I must ask over and over. Is this all or the best that we can do?

IlliniDave
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:13 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote: I guess the point I am trying to make is that there are different sorts of natural cycles we experience as human beings, and "early" retirement can mean early retirement in your whole cycle of birth/death, or it can mean early retirement in the cycle of the seasons of a given year, or it can mean early retirement in the cycle of the sun tomorrow. So, if you are already getting old in the cycle of your life, why wouldn't you choose to retire early in the cycle of this year, or this month, or this day?
Sure. ER can mean any of those things I suppose. In terms of all the "why nots?", I'd throw the once-and-for-all option in there as well as all the cyclic variants, then say each individual should consider all the possibilities and pick the one they feel best about. They can very much work in tandem. There's really no need to justify one choice versus any other (except sometimes a person gets nudged into a defensive posture when he behaves differently).

The true finish line is right now, the only moment in time we ever really "have".

GandK, yes, I've noticed that too about physical fitness, and yes, immediate situations are always more acute. When faced with a real problem I do revert to the Mars/Venus stereotype and retreat to chew on it until I have a plan of action. I think instead of "worry" I probably should have used "concerned" above, something a bit softer. I really don't spend a lot of time sitting around wringing my hands and tormenting myself with a horde of phantom fears. That has happened at times, and still is apt to happen once in every blue moon, and probably always will unless God-forbid I somehow outlive my daughters and grandchildren and I find myself not caring about anything at all. In the meantime I'm both a dreamer and a planner and those two things are hopelessly interwoven. It tends to keep my plans exciting and dynamic, and my dream energy focused enough I'm occasionally able to actualize one of the grander ones. Maybe being able to juggle a breadth of possible outcomes makes me Eeyore's stunt double, I dunno.

Peanut
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by Peanut » Thu Feb 11, 2016 3:46 pm

Re: op, I think we're missing something important. This guy may very well have loved his work. He certainly seems to have had a lot of success at it. His death at 57 is tragic but he seems to have experienced a full life--he has a grown son who is also already a policeman, etc. If he had had the financial wherewithal to retire at 37 and pursue other interests would he have done so? I'm guessing not.

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Sclass
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by Sclass » Wed Feb 17, 2016 1:08 am

Death was a big motivator for my retirement at 43. I watched my father's latest GF die of cancer at 39. She was gone in months. While it was a relief to see her depart, it shocked the hell out of me because she was my age. About the same time a close friend got cancer at 55 and died in less than a year.

His tragedy is he had already hit the dot com lottery. He had been spending his time flying his plane till he heard about what I was working on and decided he wanted in. He left retirement to have one last crack at small business. I helped bury him.

Then, I got a pain in my chest at age 41. I started fainting during meetings. I felt a squirming in my chest which would make me choke uncontrollably. I literally could feel something growing in me. It was growing fast. The doctors took months to figure it out then months to figure out how to remove it without killing me. My heart, or what they had thought was my heart, was actually 75% heart and 25% tumor. So there I was, rich enough to retire but about to lose it all.

It was a sinking feeling. I'd sacrificed and struggled from my teens till that point. I'd been thinking about retiring for a few years. And now this? Angio sarcoma. Six months tops. Sorry SClass you won't be needing all that money you scraped up.

I decided I had nothing to lose and told the surgeon to have at it. Then I woke up and was told the pathology...non malignant growth. WTF? It came out easily and I only lost 10% of my left atrium.

But the damage to my psyche was already done. Yes, you can die anytime. If you have the means why not retire now?

A year and a half later I walked out the door. The board asked if I'd just got a little upset recently. I told them I'd planned my exit over a year ago in the ICU. I wasn't going to die working for them. I stayed long enough to convince myself that I'd really recovered since we were on the eve of ACA.

So that's my story. Death, or the fear of it was a big motivator. It's kind of like those episodes of Fantasy Island where you wake up from the bad dream at the end and you're transformed forever.

I don't live every day to its fullest. I just live and I'm thankful to watch every sunrise out my kitchen window as I drink my daily brew.

I miss working on significant projects but at least I won't die at my desk.

Did
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by Did » Wed Feb 17, 2016 1:59 am

@sclass Thanks for sharing your story. So many voluntary simplicity stories or massive life changes are triggered by death or near death experiences. Not everyone gets the chance. The truly enlightened manage to make changes early in their life without the scare.

I think recognition that time is limited is a big factor in not working forever at the grindstone. Call it pessimism if you like, I call it logic and realism. There are only so many days left for each of us. How do we want to spend them is the question.

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Sclass
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by Sclass » Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:20 am

Yep. It's like getting a pardon on the eve of execution. The pressure of my imminent death was unbearable. I can recall the anxiety and anger. I was constantly asking myself why I'd invested for the future. My life's plan up to then looked monumentally stupid.

And now it's like a bad dream I play back when I'm feeling down. It always puts a smile on my face and gets me up in the morning.

I'll try very hard to keep living outside regular employment. Last night a friend told me how his startup just got its second round of funding. I got jealous for four seconds. Then I started going down to my mind vault to the medical exam room.

Sun is coming up. Time to make coffee, sit by the window and stare at the mountains.

Did
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by Did » Wed Feb 17, 2016 10:11 am

You should write more sclass. I enjoy your perspective.

As it turns out, I'm reading your words staring at the Pyrenees mountains in the South East of France on a housesit. We spent the morning collecting local scraps at a restaurant for the chickens - we have really bonded with the owners even though we speak little French and they less English. We cleaned the chook pens and shoveled llama shit. We drank local cheap wine in the sun and marvelled at our good fortune.

And in my old life I would still be at work in my home town, hating every moment of it.

Cheers to an early exit !

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GandK
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by GandK » Wed Feb 17, 2016 3:28 pm

@Sclass and @Did

You should both write more. :D

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cmonkey
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by cmonkey » Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:28 am

Reading through this thread and the healthcare options thread has got me depressed this week. Then we watched this emotional roller coaster last night! I've spent the morning thinking about how I'm turning 30 in a couple of months and that I'm already half way to 60 yet I feel I haven't lived very long at all. :( We need to stop talking about death!

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jennypenny
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by jennypenny » Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:39 am

Ha! I'm turning 50 in a couple of months and still feel like I've got my best years ahead of me (even if it's fewer years than I'd like ;)). Maybe it's an occupational hazard with ERE-types?

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GandK
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by GandK » Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:01 am

jennypenny wrote:Ha! I'm turning 50 in a couple of months and still feel like I've got my best years ahead of me (even if it's fewer years than I'd like ;)).
:D It's awesome that you feel that way! I've heard so many people say that their 50s+ are liberating. I'm looking forward to it.

Did
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by Did » Sat Feb 20, 2016 1:57 am

@gandk I'm not looking forward to old age. That's why I'm doing crazy shit now while I still can.

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Sclass
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by Sclass » Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:53 am

cmonkey wrote:Reading through this thread and the healthcare options thread has got me depressed this week. We need to stop talking about death!
Depends how you look at it I guess. Life is too short to ruin things worrying about the inevitable.

Health insurance was tough for me since I quit working in 2012 before the ACA kicked in. After that ACA was tough because it is a bureaucratic nightmare for people with irregular income.

I had a lot of time to think this over. My SO put a lot of pressure on me to get us low deductible health insurance because that is what good people do. I self insured myself for awhile and bought her a policy to keep us happy.

Insurance is an options trade in an inefficient market. The house can give you any odds they can pull out of their arse as long as they don't lose money. I have this emotional argument with my SO every year when I set deductibles or decide where we should self insure. Bets shouldn't be made on emotions like fear for example. That's for losers.

Heath insurance doesn't make you healthy. They're two separate things. Today I have health and I'm grateful for it. Oops, I'm missing sunrise. Bye.

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jennypenny
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by jennypenny » Thu May 05, 2016 4:25 pm

jennypenny wrote: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.
Well, they proved me wrong.

Anyone have a hotel recommendation for Basel?

enigmaT120
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by enigmaT120 » Thu May 05, 2016 9:34 pm

That's too funny. Is it like a reverse jinx?

SustainableHappiness
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by SustainableHappiness » Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:20 pm

So, after giving thought and reading on death and/or the meaning of life (two completely different topics, but very related), I have found mindfulness practice the most useful method for coming to grips with it. Keep in mind I am a beginner ERE-er and mindfulness practitioner, but I hope this helps.

The weird thing is, reading this meditation once in a while (maybe every couple months?) has done nothing to change my tactical approach to life and early retirement explicitly (or planning-wise), but it has done a great deal for helping my interpretation of events, including deaths of other people or pets that I am close with and therefore I would be crazy to say that it has not had an impact on my well-being. Every time I read and meditate on these realities, my fear of death is lessened (although clearly I am not in an intentional pursuit of it!), it just is.

A. DEATH IS CERTAIN

1. There is no possible way to escape death. No-one ever has, not even Jesus, Buddha, etc. Of the current world population of over 5 billion people, almost none will be alive in 100 years time.

2. Life has a definite, inflexible limit and each moment brings us closer to the finality of this life. We are dying from the moment we are born.

3. Death comes in a moment and its time is unexpected. All that separates us from the next life is one breath.

B. THE TIME OF DEATH IS UNCERTAIN

4. The duration of our lifespan is uncertain. The young can die before the old, the healthy before the sick, etc.

5. There are many causes and circumstances that lead to death, but few that favour the sustenance of life.

Even things that sustain life can kill us, for example food, motor vehicles, property.

6. The weakness and fragility of one's physical body contribute to life's uncertainty.

The body can be easily destroyed by disease or accident, for example cancer, AIDS, vehicle accidents, other disasters.

C. THE ONLY THING THAT CAN HELP US AT THE TIME OF DEATH IS OUR MENTAL/SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT

7. Worldly possessions such as wealth, position, money can't help

8. Relatives and friends can neither prevent death nor go with us.

9. Even our own precious body is of no help to us. We have to leave it behind like a shell, an empty husk, an overcoat.

Full reading here (I removed the convictions): http://www.buddhanet.net/deathtib.htm

SimpleLife
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by SimpleLife » Thu Jun 30, 2016 8:45 pm

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!
Interesting...

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BRUTE
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by BRUTE » Thu Jun 30, 2016 10:44 pm

SustainableHappiness wrote: C. THE ONLY THING THAT CAN HELP US AT THE TIME OF DEATH IS OUR MENTAL/SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT

7. Worldly possessions such as wealth, position, money can't help

8. Relatives and friends can neither prevent death nor go with us.

9. Even our own precious body is of no help to us. We have to leave it behind like a shell, an empty husk, an overcoat.
do mental and spiritual development go with SustainableHappiness? if not, how are they helpful?

enigmaT120
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by enigmaT120 » Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:06 pm

Yeah. You have to believe in an afterlife to think that will work.

SustainableHappiness
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by SustainableHappiness » Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:33 am

Yeah. You have to believe in an afterlife to think that will work.
do mental and spiritual development go with SustainableHappiness? if not, how are they helpful?
The list mentioned does not imply belief in an afterlife (although an afterlife of some sort is a facet of Buddhism). I hold no such belief myself.

The word "Spiritual" tends to get weird emotions rising both in myself and in other people and maybe I should've removed it from that quote since I was more intent on the mental than the spiritual, but arguably they are deeply intertwined if we except Dictionary.com's definition of "of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things." Mental = immaterial if the mind is our faculty of consciousness and thought and we concede it is difficult to define in a straight mind/body connection (this is really weird territory and I do not believe I have the expertise to give it the words required). SIDEBAR: Interestingly enough, I can't find a logical way out of determinism (and/or materialism), except for the fact it doesn't reflect my personal experience, i.e. I feel like I can make a choice in all the decisions I make.

Anyways, the point is that YES, mental development is a key facet of SustainableHappiness (and ERE??), based on all the evidence we have seen showing that material/physical things do not consistently provide happiness, and redefining our relationship with death is in the vein of mental development is it not? Much like practicing stoicism is applying the strength of mind versus the suffering inherent in nature*?

*this feels like an oversimplification.

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Dragline
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Re: Motivation to retire early

Post by Dragline » Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:42 am

Some of the most meaningful life experiences I have had have been with people who were dying.

There is a great podcast about the process of death here: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2016/01/2 ... d-answers/

And the guest wrote some very short but insightful pamphlets that you can get as one book/package: https://www.amazon.com/End-Life-Guideli ... ine+series

Highly recommended.

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