How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

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Lucky C
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by Lucky C » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:46 am

Also the psychology concept Flow has been helpful to me in understanding what makes work more or less enjoyable. There's a book but you can probably find a good 5 minute video summary. Basically you want your work difficulty to be pushing the high end of your skill level so there is some challenge but not enough to discourage you, and when your skills "level up" you get that nice feeling of accomplishment. Work has been frustrating for me when I've had too little or too trivial work as well as too much or too difficult work, but I'd rather have more/difficult work because there is an opportunity to improve skills and be mentored and it makes the day go by much faster.

You also want to be getting regular feedback so you know how good of a job you're doing or what you need to improve. If you have a year-long project and only a couple meetings per month, for example, you would want to push to sync up more often or at the very least share status & request feedback regularly via email.

Scott 2
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by Scott 2 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:52 am

You don't have to be unemployed to enjoy a leisurely morning coffee. Any chance of starting later, getting up earlier, or working from home once in awhile?

I'm in IT, so this is more normal, but my thirty person team works from home 80-90% of the time. Outside of IT, the percentage varies, but everyone does it sometimes. It's part of the company culture, to the point where our business continuity plan is "everyone will work from home."

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Lemur
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by Lemur » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:00 am

Haven't read through the whole thread but in regards to exercise, it is completely normal that humans resist expending energy for no purposes. It makes sense from a biological standpoint if you think about it. Running a treadmill is not normal because their is not an end destination.

Riding your bike to work, however, is normal because of the end destination. My suggestion for exercise: find something that you will enjoy and will relieve stress or find exercise that creates a destination (the destination could be a goal perhaps?). I have often found that swimming is great for this. If you can connect socially (having a running group or doing like a spin class or something) that can also help.

Scott 2
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by Scott 2 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:01 am

Another thought - coffee brewing as a hobby. It's a potentially deep topic, but I've read making better coffee than Starbucks isn't too hard. It could be a way to take greater ownership over the ritual, making it something interesting to look forward to outside of work.

cmonkey
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by cmonkey » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:04 am

If you wanna get from a 5% to a 3% WR, figure out how to cut your expenses by 40%.

Problem solved.

7Wannabe5
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:58 am

Maybe pretend like all the time you have outside of the office is Life 2 and your office life is Life 1, and you have to do everything necessary for Life 1 Maslow's Hierarchy while you are at the office. Kind of like living in your car, except your car is your time at the office.

So, the first thing you might do would be to figure out how you might sleep during your office day. Obviously, this will likely require changing your pattern of caffeine intake or Life 2 Sleep. I used to work with quite a few people who had serious artistic pursuits or second full-time jobs, and they became highly skilled at instantly falling asleep on break room sofa for exactly 15 minutes.

Second thing you might start doing at work would be grooming. I don't know what your workplace is like, but if there are multiple locking stalls in the bathroom, you could even maybe do some hand laundry and hang it up to dry in a locked stall, and then scoot yourself under and out.

Obviously, you could plug a small slow cooker in the break room or on your desk and do some cooking while at work.

Other possible tasks:

1) Run a small business from your phone.
2) Try to date one of your co-workers. The locked bathroom stall trick might come in handy here too.
3) If you absolutely can't leave your chair, you might do strengthening exercises designed for wheelchair bound individuals.
4) All bureaucratic and many shopping errands.

I hope this helps!

thrifty++
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by thrifty++ » Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:31 pm

So, to clarify, if you leave your job you have to leave the developed country you are in and go back to an undeveloped country you are from? You can't stay there and find a new job? Do you not have some sort of grace period like a year or something to find new work? If you are in a situation you will be sent back to your home country as soon as you leave your job I can understand why you feel more trapped than other posters on this forum might be thinking.

I have been in a somewhat similar situation in the past. Being in a high stress job I hated not long after university. I was also financially precarious. With a huge student loan and f*ck all savings. I felt trapped in this job due to my finances and pressure from having built up lots of debt at university to acquire this job. This is part of what shifted me to personal finance and frugality. I felt very drained by my job. Distressed and drained. I remember walking out a couple of times and almost not coming back, then I would take a walk around the block and bring myself to go back to work,

Eventually though I decided, fuck it, I am not going to keep working if something comes up I want to do, like go to a special event with other people. I also engaged very heavily in spirituality at the time which was helpful. I also made sure I still exercised most days which helped, particularly when I thought fuck it - work can suffer if I need to work out - and can get done later. Eventually things got better. I just stuck it out for a while and remained miserable, but once I changed my mindset around fuck it - things got much better, if I do less well I don't care - because I am going to take time for me and do things I want to do - even if it mans work is done late. Things got better when doing this and ironically my work performance was also better, when I prioritised it less.

I also went to see a psychologist once every two weeks to help cope with it. It helped quite a lot. To gain perspective and the big picture. I would suggest that you do the same. It sounds like you need it.

Eventually in the future I found a way to segue into a job I like a lot better. And life is much better with this change. And then I segued into a related side hustle also which gives me further options. These segues were not immediately obvious at all. So the other thing I would suggest you do is have a long hard brainstorm and possibly a research into other jobs you could segue into that are related but not an immediately obvious segue - and of course which you could segue into while staying in the developed country - not working in a shitty call centre.

So - whatever you do you need to make some changes. I think step one is see a psychologist

flying_pan
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by flying_pan » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:27 pm

thrifty++ wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:31 pm
I have been in a somewhat similar situation in the past. Being in a high stress job I hated not long after university. I was also financially precarious. With a huge student loan and f*ck all savings. I felt trapped in this job due to my finances and pressure from having built up lots of debt at university to acquire this job. This is part of what shifted me to personal finance and frugality. I felt very drained by my job. Distressed and drained.
Just out of curiosity, how long were you at that job? And you felt trapped because you had to pay these loans or also because you could stay in that country while you working there?

Your story indeed sounds familiar to the OP. This makes your advice even more helpful, potentially.

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Bankai
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by Bankai » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:38 pm

Personally, I've been there and would go mad by now if I stayed. Having left and later discovered that it's possible to have a job that's both decently paid and not soul-sucking, I'd never do the 'I'll be miserable now for maybe better future' thing again. But you do you, I just think it's a box.

One obvious thing I probably missed is this: you say you have 20x expenses saved, work in 'developed' but are from '2nd world' country and would have to leave if you quit. So, I assume you are going to retire in your home country anyway, since once you quit to have to leave no matter your assets. So, does your stash of 20x expenses represent your current, 'developed' expenses or your target 'retirement in the motherland' expenses? If the former, assuming your home country is much cheaper, your 20x is probably worth 30-50x in your home country. Hence you can retire today. Alternatively, if the latter, good SR where you are, translates into enormous SR where you retire. Say you save 75% of your income; this is 3x your current spending but probably 5-10 times your 'target spending'? Considering this, can you not get where you want to be sooner than in 3 years? In the first case, you can probably retire immediately, in the second case, probably sooner way than in 3 years, and either way right now or very soon if you reduce expenses sufficiently.

thrifty++
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by thrifty++ » Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:40 pm

@flying_pan - I ended up there for 3 years. But the second half of it was substantially better due to - seeing psychologist, deciding to not give a f*ck as much and prioritise my health and life over work and allow work to be placed 2nd at times (which resulted in better performance), focussing on my health and engaging in spirituality. On top of it the pay wasn't even much for the job so despite being frugal, my savings percentage was pretty low, probably only about 25% (including the student loan payments). In some ways I was probably a lot more trapped than the OP as my NW was negative.

In some ways it also became easier over time as I got better at the job, so it became less stressful. And also pay rises helped too. It doesn't get much worse than high stress, long hours, large debt, low pay. It was certainly all those things at the beginning.

I felt trapped because of finances, not because I couldn't stay in the country - I think the latter might be the OP's issue - but I think he needs to clarify this more. I have a passport for the country in which the job was based.

bigato
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by bigato » Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:17 pm

Answering this guy is all the more frustrating since he doesn't answer to most of what is said. A lot of legitimate points were made which were ignored. A bunch of them are pretty obvious and then instead of explaining further, he gets mad at people for pointing out the obvious - despite not willing to explain why the obvious doesn't work. This doesn't feel like a dialogue and thus won't progress. It's probably a waste of time.

This is like to opposite of talking to theanimal. When he asks for help or even if the advice was uncalled for, he takes his time to acknowledge and answer people. Even when it is obvious that it he doesn't agree or when it is something he already tried, he is humble. That makes it very pleasurable to talk with him. That's what a true dialogue is, you don't get mad at people who disagree with your points. You talk and you listen and you reply. So the conversation brings evolution and enlightment to both sides.

Because you see, I couldn't care less if the guy is going to leave his job or not. Seriously, I don't care. I barely even care about my close relatives, let alone some internet stranger whose nick I can't even spell. But the subject itself is quite interesting, I like solving problems and if it is actually hard, there's a high chance that I may also learn something from it by talking about the issues. Who knows, maybe he is right in all his assumptions and I just don't understand; how awesome would it be if he took his time to explain this better to us and then people would probably storm with much better focused ideas? It kind of remembers me of a girl I knew once, who would apparently ignore completely what you were saying and talk past you about whatever she wanted to say instead. A friend who also knew her was wondering that maybe she was deaf and wasn't actually listening well to what we were saying. Because this friend had a deaf uncle who acted exactly like that. But then we realized that this girl would do exactly the same when talking in text via whatsapp. What do you call this type of attitude? I must confess that it is highly irritating to me and won't allow the talk to get any depth unless you happen to have the same interests and to previously agree with the person about that subject. Which does not promote much in the direction of exchange and mutual learning.

TopHatFox
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by TopHatFox » Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:18 pm

Most immediately: can you take a vacation to just do nothing? A week or two and you might start missing having somewhere to be and things to do, even at a job like IB or lawering or high sales or consulting, which it sounds like yours is.

These types of high-stress reactions come with the territory. When I was in finance, my friends dealt with it by drinking after work and basically outsourcing everything that was not work-work: food, clothing washing, apartment cleaning, car ownership, and so on. I think that’s worth the expense.

I say grind it out for the 3 years and then decompress. But do try to take that vacation and outsource or eliminate everything you possibly can. If you can move next to work, do it. I’d you can get your dry cleaning done next to work or at work, do it. Shit man, if you need to pay for sex so you don’t have to waste time running game, do that too. Just try to not let it impact your savings rate too much and don’t get any permanent health ailments. Much better to add a year and get to 3% at 41, but with more hair on your head and your liver more or less in tact.

As for motivation, you could put up pictures of what life may be like after you quit: hard getting another job, getting kicked out of the country, not meeting your financial goals, and so on. You can also put pictures of how great it’ll be to reach 3%, and how great it’ll feel to have stuck to your goals.

I say don’t quit. Quitting is all fun and games until after. Maybe if you had a job lined up that you genuinely thought wouldn’t be stressful, or if you switch over to one of those “lifestyle” jobs.

—————

Other survival tactics:

1. Ask your colleagues (not at your company) how they survive
2. 3 monitors
3. A 10000 lumen SAD light for your desk
4. Standing desk + treadmill If you can swing it
5. Bone-head phones to listen to music while hearing surroundings
6. A life coach that would provide encouragement to keep with it rather than quit
7. Automate literally all bills and processes you can
Last edited by TopHatFox on Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

steveo73
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by steveo73 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:21 pm

One point I'd make is that even if you retire you will still have to do stuff you don't like. I have to do things for my kids and my parents. I have to clean the house and cook. I have to fix my bike. I don't have to turn up to the gym but I really do if I want to stay fit and healthy.

Life is full of doing stuff that you don't really want to do and it doesn't matter if you are retired or not.

bigato
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by bigato » Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:28 pm

By the way, one of the people that answered to you about swr did what was probably the most extensive research to date on the subject, along with gathering all the data that he could possibly get his hands on *and* building a free simulator with all this knowledge and data. If you researched even deeper than him and have actual data that points otherwise, I and most people here in these forums would be very interested to know, if you want to share.

Riggerjack
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by Riggerjack » Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:54 pm

This morning, I did my usual thing: took transportation to work and bought coffee. I sat down for a couple of minutes to sip it. There was sunlight streaming through the branches, and I felt this deep sadness that this is something I must leave, because someone else says I need to be somewhere at a certain time for fear of my physical survival.
Interesting strategy. Before going in to a place you dread, review how nice it is outside. By comparison to the relaxed coffee in the sunlight, work really sucks.

I have no doubt that's true, but that may not be the comparison you want to make, on your way into the belly of the beast.

When I have a bad day, or am getting geared up to do something I would prefer not to, I compare it to worse things I HAVE done, that make today's sacrifice seem like the petty bitching of a soft, weak office dweller, that it is.

My fallback is crawling under a house I had jacked up, stuffing insulation into spider infested (did I mention that I am arachnophobic) spaces, while the house was balanced on posts, all the while ABBA's Greatest Hits is playing on repeat, at offensive volume. Trying to not think about spiders, insulation, earthquakes, what else was down there with me, or what I was breathing in for $7/ hr under the table.

But I have plenty of others...

Makes going to a cube, to listen to audiobooks, and clicking a mouse seem much easier. I imagine that comparing my job to hanging out by a campfire, drinking some coffee, with no responsibility, would have driven me crazy by now.

How's it going for you? Maybe you also have a memory of a time in your life when you did things that make what you do at work seem pleasant and easy. If so, maybe that would make a better mindset going in.
A different job, even if I hate the job itself less, would still be a job. I would still need to give up the ability to sit in the sunlight, and I would still need to be trapped until a certain time at night. I would still not be able to take a day off just because I need it: there are only a certain number allowed, and then trouble starts. I would still need to learn what I must learn for someone else, not what I am curious to learn. I would still have to develop my own interests and hobbies in time eked out from someone else's demands. Yes, this job sucks. But also, I would like to eliminate the state of being employed from my life as soon as possible. When I thought about it this morning, I could connect to how central this desire is in me.
I can relate. That's why I am ditching employment. But you seem to have a blind spot here.

Why are your choices only employment (and associated baggage) or unemployment? I don't know what you do, but rarely is employment the most efficient path to money. Usually, it's the stable route, (the devil you know...) with the fewest highs and lows. But the company pays you, and makes a profit. Taking on some of your boss' responsibilities, and find some side work, or build a sideline may be both a more efficient path to money, and easier on your mind. With 20x expenses, you have lots of room to make changes, but then you wouldn't have this either/or situation you have been flaying your mind with.

I have noticed that high earners (and this seems to be related to income from work vs potential replacement job) tend to think of problems and solutions in monetary terms. As others have said, maybe more money is not the ideal solution to money problems...

Whatever you choose, good luck!

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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by jacob » Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:00 pm

Riggerjack wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:54 pm
When I have a bad day, or am getting geared up to do something I would prefer not to, I compare it to worse things I HAVE done, that make today's sacrifice seem like the petty bitching of a soft, weak office dweller, that it is.
There's also the 10/10/10 rule in which a decision is judged according to:
  • How it's going to feel 10 minutes from now?
  • How it's going to feel 10 months from now?
  • How it's going to feel 10 years from now?

ertyu
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by ertyu » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:28 pm

@Lucky: thank you for these lists. I wrote out the parts of the job I do not like, and they also happen to be parts that I cannot change. This brings me to the conclusion that if I choose to continue to work, I must remind myself that I have actively chosen to deal with these parts of the job on a regular basis.

@jacob: thank you. I did not know about this rule, but just reading through it made me realize how glad I would be ten years from now that I have gotten employment done and over with as fast as possible. Also made me realize it would be excellent to think of in the moment: it changes the focus away from being "in" the situation to looking at the situation from the outside, realizing that in 10 hours this will be done and I'll be one day closer to my goal. Excellent suggestion.

@Riggerjack: you are right, and I thought of this, too. Before work, I am fresh, it is quiet at the coffeeshop as I hit it before morning rush hour, and in general, I love this time to myself. But maybe this is exactly the problem: I am making it all the harder for myself to begin my workday by highlighting the contrast, and I should look into changing my morning routine on weekdays.

Re: is employment the most efficient means to accumulation: I think it is really important to have a realistic assessment of one's ability and skill set here. Employment is to accumulation what ETFs are to investment. If you know for sure you do not know how to run a business and do not have good business ideas, you'd better stick with employment. Thinking you have skills when you don't and taking the riskier path will only blow you up. In contrast, someone skilled at business/investing is better off taking the active route as they have a skill advantage. When you don't have inevsting or business skills, you stick with employment and ETFs and accept that the price you pay for not being skilled is being subject to the vagaries of the market. One can work on developing the skill, but assuming you have skills you don't is dangerous. I don't have skills right now, and I believe it is important that I keep a realistic assessment of where I am. This is not defeatist, just a realistic assessment of my starting point.

@bigato re: SWRs

SWRs are very much dependent on a person's situation.

- I am targeting developing country spend, @Bankai. (Ditto @cmonkey who suggested I lower spend. I am already planning for a very very conservative level of spending and planning to ERE on a much lower absolute stash than many here for this reason. Wiggle room is not great).

- "Conservative, developing country spend" implies I need to factor in developing country levels of inflation. Most of the west has been experiencing consumer goods deflation over the last 10-15 years, but many people forget that the opposite has been playing out in developing countries. Property and consumer goods prices have been rising as incomes have risen and developing countries have converged to the West. I expect this process of price convergence to continue. I also expect energy prices to rise faster than they would for the developed world as we are more exposed to climate change.

So, I am investing my savings in developed country markets, but need to account for faster-than-developed country rise in prices. This makes my SWR lower than that of someone in the West all other things equal.

- No medicare/medicaid equivalent to rely on in my case because of various tax treaties (or rather the lack thereof) - I have not been contributing to my country's social insurance program while working, so these will be expenses I need to fully shoulder on my own. Again, this will make my SWR lower than that of someone who might benefit from a social safety net if they hit poverty level.

- I do not have access to tax advantaged accounts for accumulation purposes. I pay full tax on all capital gains.

- I am very wary when it comes to confusing conditional with unconditional probability when it comes to SWRs. Saying, "This WR would have been OK in 80% past starting years" is not the same as saying, "this WR would have been OK in 80% of past starting years _with stock market valuations like current CAPE". I have not done work on this, but Big ERN and Prof Wade Pfau have: retiring close to the top of a business cycle is both more likely, and more risky. One way to account for this is to take a CAPE-adjusted WR. BigERN has calculated this to be 3,25% for his (North American) household right now.

- Another one from Dr. Wade Pfau: one can make the argument that the past 50 years have been the age of american exceptionalism. The stock market during that time captured the US's move to a world superpower. WRs derived from the stock markets of countries who have not had this move have been much lower - sometimes as low as 1%. So, if one thinks the US will lose its superpower status in the next 50 years, it might be reasonable to assume that stock market data from the previous 50 years would lead to an overestimate of SWRs.

- If you believe the US is headed for a period of high inflation (debt monetization, which has already begun) and low returns (https://financial-charts.effingapp.com/), the current situation is most similar to that of the '68-'69 retirement cohorts. The SWR for them was 3,25%.

- The "investment assumption": aiming to develop investing skill is worthwhile, and would probably be even more so over the next 10 years. Assuming 5% SWR based on investing skills you don't have means blowing yourself up. More power to those who are better-than average investors. Currently, I know enough to know I am not.

- "stopping employment doesn't mean you'll never make money ever again" -- if there is no economic crisis. Most people from the west who have not lived through serious economic turmoil seriously underestimate what it is like. Besides, it is a legitimate goal to want not to -have- to make money ever again.

tl;dr: while this might not be true for all cases, a 3% SWR is very much justified in my case.

@bigato again, re not replying: I am not in your time zone and I have a full time job. Patience.

@thrifty: good call on deciding not to give a fuck. Will do that at T - 1 yr.

@7Wannabe5: good call on trying to cram as many maintenance tasks during office hours. I have been toying with some of these, will explore further in the future.

Frita
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by Frita » Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:01 am

steveo73 wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:21 pm
One point I'd make is that even if you retire you will still have to do stuff you don't like. I have to do things for my kids and my parents. I have to clean the house and cook. I have to fix my bike. I don't have to turn up to the gym but I really do if I want to stay fit and healthy.

Life is full of doing stuff that you don't really want to do and it doesn't matter if you are retired or not.
TRUTH.

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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by steveo73 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 3:17 am

ertyu wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:28 pm
SWRs are very much dependent on a person's situation.

- I am targeting developing country spend, @Bankai. (Ditto @cmonkey who suggested I lower spend. I am already planning for a very very conservative level of spending and planning to ERE on a much lower absolute stash than many here for this reason. Wiggle room is not great).
In my opinion people continually don't get WR's and this is a classic example. Technically you are correct that you are going for a 3% WR but it's a 3% WR based on really low spending. I don't view this as a 3% WR. It's a play on expenses.

WR's are just a guide on your future expenses. It's not getting down to 3% that makes everything good. It's estimating your expenses with some degree of conservatism (which is the opposite of what I think you are doing when you state conservative spending), investing in the least risky asset allocations (note risk in this scenario isn't low returns and low volatility) and then having some risk mitigation techniques.
ertyu wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:28 pm
I am very wary when it comes to confusing conditional with unconditional probability when it comes to SWRs. Saying, "This WR would have been OK in 80% past starting years" is not the same as saying, "this WR would have been OK in 80% of past starting years _with stock market valuations like current CAPE". I have not done work on this, but Big ERN and Prof Wade Pfau have: retiring close to the top of a business cycle is both more likely, and more risky. One way to account for this is to take a CAPE-adjusted WR. BigERN has calculated this to be 3,25% for his (North American) household right now.
I get all of that analysis but no one knows what future returns will be. We just don't. Anyone who states they do is telling you lies because they cannot predict the future. It's why you invest in broad index funds. It's why you have to be careful with all the portfolios with gold or crypto in them or any form of esoteric asset allocations. It's why you estimate your expenses with some buffer because that is something you can control even if market returns are poor. It's why you look to have some form of a pension or annuity in your portfolio or some other back up plan.

There are ways to mitigate against risk but I think getting to a 3% WR based on really low spending is one of the worst possible risk mitigation techniques. It's a mirage based on the worst false assumption and that is really low spending with no room for adjustments. That 3% can easily become 6% and if you are young with no back up plans it's probably going to fail. Your expenses might not increase but if they do you have nowhere to go.

ertyu
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Re: How to last another 3 yrs at my job? Advice?

Post by ertyu » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:03 am

OK so @steveo if you're right, I'm father away from goal than I thought. If I target expenses with wiggle margin, I'm currently at 5,35% and will be at 5% flat by the next performance review cull in 6 months.

Even if no one can tell the future, I would still go with the conditional probablility estimate. I trust it more. I might be forced by circumstances to pull the plug at 5%, but I can't say I'd feel anywhere close to safe at those numbers. As I said before, everyone should know their own risk tolerance and plan accordingly. Mine just happens to be higher than yours.

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