Going back to work after you have retired? Any stories from those who have?

Hacking employment, improving work, professional development
User avatar
Posts: 991
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 1:40 am

Re: Going back to work after you have retired? Any stories from those who have?

Post by Lemur »

I'm noticing a trend on FIRE Forums and others that there is a general going back to work movement in this post-COVID environment. I speculate a big part of that is the pent up lack of socialization with fellow human beings....Could also just be exacerbated financial concerns with the forever printing of money and potential rising inflation.

Lucky C
Posts: 721
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2016 6:09 am

Re: Going back to work after you have retired? Any stories from those who have?

Post by Lucky C »

@ Lemur
Yes, both of those apply to me.

(a) Lack of socialization due to Covid would get better in a few months, though socialization would be primarily family members in my case. I am at the stage in life when college friends have mostly drifted apart and I don't yet have friends via my kid's friends. I don't have any in-person socialization with other STEM minds which can be rewarding even if it's just tackling a work problem.

(b) Not just money printing but asset valuations suggesting around 0% real returns over the next decade (plus or minus a few percent) for the major asset classes is concerning. I believe I can do OK with a conservative approach that gets more aggressive as expected returns increase but bubbles can be maddening for a lot of investors and can cause a lot of doubt. If the 2020 fall was part of a more "normal" bear market that took over 6 months to play out (instead of 1) and ended with typical valuations (not even wishing for low valuations!) I would be a lot more comfortable with higher future expected returns. Rationally, I probably have enough money, but for whatever psychological reasons I find myself wanting more money and the pleasure that comes with a steady increase of account balances, which leads to...

@ jacob: Keep in mind that with a very high salary and 100%+ savings rate, each additional year of work now might be worth more like a million dollars or more at "real" retirement age if I can get it to compound well. Between now and then I'm sure I can further develop my plans for using that wealth.
Also, with additional income I will be more comfortable investing more aggressively in order to end up with a better SWR on my savings though with a bigger tail risk (combined risk of large portfolio drawdown at the same time as losing employment income). If I can get almost as much enjoyment from work as from a hobby (setting aside typical work annoyances) while earning the potential to make a million dollar impact in the world a few decades from now, that seems pretty appealing even if I were to take the lazy route and just give it all to a basket of charities.

(a) In the event that (in future generations) wealth inequality only gets worse and everyone who isn't wealthy and powerful has no choice but to work terrible gig jobs, live in a dorm, and get standard government supplied mass-produced food and goods... I would want to ensure that my kids' kids don't have to suffer that fate. I am picturing a world where eco destruction makes much of the world unlivable, causes collapse of some governments, etc. but the elites in USA still make life comfortable for themselves (living beyond carrying capacity if everyone did it) but forcing the 90-99% to live sustainably to offset, and with the chances of making it from the lower to upper class being about the same as the chances of winning the lottery. Think Marshall Brain's Manna (the USA part). I'm not saying I want my kids to be oppressors or to live inefficiently, but to have freedom and the power to at least try and change things for the better from within.

(b) In a few decades, my parents may need nursing care, and I hate nursing homes. In-home nursing care is one expensive and inefficient thing I could see myself wanting to pay for, rather than trying to care for them myself.

(c) Real estate (not REITs). It would be nice to have the means to pay cash for a property or two to have that diversification, especially if in the future rates are high and property prices are low!

(d) In my part of the country we have a big problem of forests being cleared for huge solar farms. In 2-3 decades there will be many of these cleared areas becoming decommissioned and they're not all going to be replaced with new panels. If I'm still living here, there is a huge one within walking distance, held on private land, that I could buy and turn into a food forest, eco village, whatever. Otherwise the town may want to buy it and turn it into an office park (which wouldn't have happened if it was residential forest land, but the clear cutting and solar is "paving the way" for them to try to develop it in the future).

(e) Simply giving money to people who desperately need it in the future. Not the type that squandered opportunities in order to land them in the poor house, but those who are in great need through no fault of their own. How many families of climate refugees who have absolutely nothing could I help set up to have a new stable life? Or if I feel like supporting nature instead of people, a few millions could conserve a not-insignificant amount of nature.

(f) A small portion being spent selfishly and inefficiently, for what normal folks call fun. Trips to the Caribbean and Disney and such. Buying whatever I want to eat at a restaurant rather than focusing on the cheaper items. Because I want to. My wife and kids would get more joy out of those types of things than me anyway, so if they want to do those kinds of things, I wouldn't want to stop them. If we spend say $30k per year vs. $25k per year that is hopefully a small difference compared to the aforementioned impacts we can make.

The planet may be dying and its people may be suffering, but not all at once. In the worst case scenarios (within my lifetime, not hundreds of years in the future) there will still be some oases and some people living freely and comfortably. Greater wealth can help create and maintain these little pockets of hope either selfishly or selflessly.

I'd be getting income mostly via government contracts. The work will get done with or without me with just minor changes in labor costs and profits from the contract. If I get back into it, I capture a piece of the pie that would otherwise go to other highly paid employees. Instead of more money likely going to Teslas and McMansions (or the financiers of such things), I can eventually flow that cash to nature and the needy. Seems like a good use of my skills.

Hristo Botev
Posts: 1278
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:42 am

Re: Going back to work after you have retired? Any stories from those who have?

Post by Hristo Botev »

I'm a generational wealth guy.

After I returned to the US after a couple yeas abroad I worked for a couple years for an Armenian matriarch and her husband that had solidly established themselves and their family in the US after fleeing Beirut in the 80s. Of course husband and wife had ended up in Beirut because their parents had fled there (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armenians_in_Lebanon) after surviving the Armenian Genocide. I didn't give much thought to the particular diasporan journey my boss and her family had endured when I was a 20-something-year-old who just assumed life in the US would just continue to get better for everyone (and who knows, it just might still); I just know I liked the family and liked working for them, as they were just really the most admirable and virtuous people. I think if anything I viewed their disasporan journey as now complete--"you've made it to the US; journey over!". But if I had to guess I bet that as much as they love and appreciate this country, they still have gold and various other assets (like expensive artwork) stashed in various places around the world, and they made sure they maintained disasporan networks all over the world.

As I'm older with kids of my own, and in a world that my crotchety old-man self views as quite different than the one I thought I'd lived in back when I was in my 20s, I can't help but being really impressed by how quickly my boss and her family were able to establish themselves in the US after fleeing Beirut, without a whole lot of disruption to their family, relatively speaking. Looking at them as a case study, they were likely able to do that because they had: (a) transferable professional and entrepreneurial skills; (b) a vast network of diasporan friends and family in the US; and (c) lots of money, which they'd no doubt smartly diversified in ways that diasporan populations have been doing for generations.

So, because of my experience with my old boss, and because of my knowledge of the very recent and even ongoing diasporan experiences of other populations--the Jewish people, of course, Christians in Iraq and Syria, among other places, Uyghurs in China, and the list goes on--e.g., Missouri's "Mormon Extermination Order" wasn't rescinded until 1976 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_Ex ... tion_Order)--I'm a generational wealth guy, with no plans on "retiring" so long as I'm physically able to be productive. That's not to say I'm going to be sitting in this office from 9-5 M-F 5 years from now. But I might; it just depends on where I think my time is most profitably spent, with an eye towards generating "profit" for the purpose of building generational wealth. And to the inflationary point made several places above, it may very well be the case that a salaryman paycheck might not be nearly as profitable in the coming years as managing productive assets like small asset-producing businesses or rental properties. But for now, my time is most profitably spent in my office job, building up ERE-type skills on the weekends and in the evenings.

To me ERE is about resilience; and I'm working towards generational resilience; family-focused ERE.

I'll add that although I see the earn-to-consume "system" as irrational, I don't see anything at all irrational at a personal, individual level about me spending my time in this office collecting a paycheck, so long as I don't spend that payecheck on stupid shit I don't need.

Lucky C
Posts: 721
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2016 6:09 am

Re: Going back to work after you have retired? Any stories from those who have?

Post by Lucky C »

ERE works for the planet if everybody did it, therefore it is the right thing to do. Jacob, Paul Wheaton, etc., should be seen as the highest role models.

Maximization of wealth accumulation and then applying it to the benefit of the planet & its people works because only a very small percent will ever attempt an ERE or permaculture based lifestyle. Therefore it is also the right thing to do. People like Bill Gates, or to a lesser extent the frugal teacher who saved millions and donated it all, should be seen as the highest role models.

In this way, minimizing working years is the right thing to do for some, and maximizing wealth is the right thing to do for others. Personality type and the size and status of family members, as well as current economic and environmental conditions, can sway which right thing to do is the right thing for you.

Other personality types may have other strategies that are perfect for them. An ERE or wealth maximization strategy may have zero appeal to an artist, but the photographs of Chris Jordan or the work of Wall-E CGI artists have surely influenced others to live more sustainably. Political and religious leaders have their own ways of doing things which many on this forum would likely not see as efficient solutions, yet these are still roles needed by society with the opportunity to use such powers for good (hopefully resulting in positive feedback loops).

Might there be a "web of lifestyle design strategies" across the dimension of personality types? Maybe not 16 distinct strategies for all 16 MBTIs, but at least several, of which ERE is one. As a web, they would be planned to coexist harmoniously.

Then there is the time dimension. People want different strategies at different ages and throughout different generations. FIRE desire probably peaks in someone's late 20s perhaps? There are also too many (?) FIRE believers in the past few years, but not enough in 1982 (major bond and stock valuation bottoms & precious metals had recently crashed too), etc. Finally, there is the dynamically changing needs of a family as generations age and new generations grow up - easy to plan for with healthy/wealthy/wise parents and 0-1 kids, but gets more tougher with bigger families and evolving needs. The planet's needs, in terms of urgency and appropriate technology, is changing pretty quickly too.

"Others" have too much resistance to ERE. Should there exist a meta-strategy to help non-ERE (non-INTx) types to come up with their own (versions of) strategies that, while perhaps less efficient, are more efficient than no strategy at all? Can ERE or something close to it be translated to the language of an ESFP for example?

Apologies if these ideas (should) have been discussed elsewhere.

Mister Imperceptible
Posts: 1470
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: Going back to work after you have retired? Any stories from those who have?

Post by Mister Imperceptible »

LOL @ overfed panhandlers pushing “deviant financial strategies” being exalted as highest role models

Posts: 72
Joined: Sat Jun 02, 2018 3:08 am

Re: Going back to work after you have retired? Any stories from those who have?

Post by BWND »

That seems a little unnecessarily mean-spirited and personal, MI :(

Post Reply