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How I spend my post-FIRE time
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karma
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2005 1:03 pm    Post subject: How I spend my post-FIRE time Reply with quote

I know this is a bit touchy-feely for this board, but I thought a little of the softer side of FIRE might be a nice change from all the numbers.

When I retired about 6-7 years ago, I had all these plans of what I was going to do with my retirement. I was at least rational enough to know they wouldn't all get done, because I have several sewing projects from the 70s hanging around, not to mention many unread books.

I tried to start off slowly, because one of the things I didn't like about 40 hour weeks was the feeling of never having enough time. I looked into various volunteer opportunities and gingerly chose one. I seem to have chosen wisely because I still participate, though I am careful not to overdo it.

I also slowed down in terms of not rushing to do things. Like not getting flustered by lines at the grocery store and things like that. I also spent more time with family, gardening, and when forced Confused, cleaning house.

I have also participated at several message boards based on different topics. I try not to overdo this, though. Health costs are high enough, and I don't want to add carpel tunnel syndrome to them.

About my finances, I keep track of my investments and my spending. So far, I nominally have more in assets than when I started, so I guess things are OK. I don't obsess over them, though. I know some people like to play with finances, and as long as they are have fun, that's fine. The problem is when you start obsessing over them that the process isn't fun any more.

Many people worry that they will have enough to do if they retire or enough "meaningful" stuff to do. It's hard for me to imagine the problem of "enough" to do. I still need more time to do everything I want to do. Neutral"Meaningful" is in the eye of the beholder. Some people feel retired is retired, and if they want to watch Survivor reruns, so what. That's OK with me. Personally, I like to give a little because it makes me feel better. I'm pretty sure that economists have written long papers about why people give, but bottom line for me is that I can and there are others in need. But I also blow off whole days reading or, Embarassed, surfing the internet.

Bottom line is that post-FIRE ought to be an enjoyable experience. If for some reason it's not, perhaps you should examine your activities, and figure out where the problem lies. I have myself backed off from certain volunteer "opportunities" because I thought it would be over the top. Nobody said being FIREd would be easy, but it is certainly worth the effort.

karma


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ben
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2005 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting input Karma. Thanks.
I am sure I, like you, will have a long list (I already have) of things I want to do more in FIRE.

My own finances, financial advisor, see family/friends more,languages, travel, dive instructor, flying certificate, fitness/work outs and so forth.

Some of the things might earn me a bit of money - most probably won't, but that does not matter.

FIRE is for the few - demands a personality type that can handle the FIRE exposure.

Cheers!



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hocus2004
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Meaningful" is in the eye of the beholder. Some people feel retired is retired, and if they want to watch Survivor reruns, so what.

To some extent I agree and to some extent I don't.

One of my most popular posts over at Motley Fool was one where I argued that golfing can be a meaningful thing to do in retirement. I think it can be. A golfer could challenge himself to improve his game over time. He could make use of the time golfing to appreciate being outside more, to notice things in nature and so on. He could make new friends and help them advance in their lives by offering advice at the 19th hole. There are all sorts of possibilities.

I don't go so far as to say that spending all of one's time watching Survivor reruns is a good idea, however. If someone were to tell me that he was planning to retire early so that he could spend his days watching Survivor reruns, I would suggest that he think it over some more. It's not healthy to spend too much of one's time watching Survivor reruns. If someone said that they were going to never again eat anything but Hershey's bars, I would suggest he think again. So I feel that I need to say the same if he says that he will only watch Survivor reruns. Neither of these ideas are likely to lead to long-term health.

I believe that one of the reasons why we have seen so much narrow-mindedness on our boards re investing questions is that a segment (a small segment, in my assessment) of our community interprets early retirement as a withdrawal not just from dependence on a paycheck but from life itself. That approach is not my approach. I see financial freedom as a means of living life to the fullest, not as a means of retreating from all of the things that make life worth living.

Financial freedom is a tool, in my view. Like many tools, it can be put to good uses or to bad uses. I don't see it as an easy task to list the good uses and the bad uses. That depends on the particular circumstances that apply. But I don't go along with the idea that there is no such thing as a bad use of one's early retirement. I think that winning financial freedom early in life offer's one exciting opportunities. But there are risks involved too, and it is a mistake to get too caught up in the excitement surrounding the idea and entirely overlook the potential downside.


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hocus2004
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After putting up my earlier response, I came across the following link (requires free registration) to William Safire's farewell column at the New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/24/opinion/24safire2.html?ex=1107320400&en=7f9461b57a943477&ei=5070&oref=login

Safire offers two bits of advice:

(1) Never stop working;

(2) Make shifts to new types of work when you find that you are in a rut.

I agree with Safire. I am "retired" from paycheck dependence, but I will "retire" from work the day they put me six feet in the ground. If they pass a law saying that everyone who is retired must spend their remaining days watching Survisor reruns, I will go hat in hand to my old consulting firm and ask whether they would be willing to take me back at one-third of my old pay.

Bob Dylan follows the same philosophy. I read an interview with a friend of his from decades ago and one of the things that she says he made a point of stressing to her was his advice to "never stop working." He has followed that advice in his own life. He is now in his 60s and he still shows up for concert appearances on a regular basis. He stays out of ruts too by putting out new albums that require him to explore new themes or new approachs to old themes.

So it's me, William Safire, and Bob Dylan on one side, and intercst on the other. Who ya gonna believe?


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karma
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
So it's me, William Safire, and Bob Dylan on one side, and intercst on the other.


What does intercst have to do with anything? You just dropped in his name out of the blue. Can't you go one day without dragging in that name?

Actually, I don't take my retirement advice from people who need the limelight like Safire and Dylan. I believe those sorts of people never retire, partially because thay have a strong need for approval from other people. They want to be in the middle of groups of admiring people. I don't think most early retirees have that need. They don't need outside validation for what they do. My take on it anyway.

karma


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ElSupremo
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings karma Smile

I really like your mouse! Cool



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karma
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I really like your mouse!


That's Miss Bianca from The Rescuers. Her voice was done by Eva Gabor.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076618/?fr=c2l0ZT1kZnxteD0yMHxzZz0xfGxtPTIwMHx0dD1vbnxwbj0wfHE9UmVzY3VlcnN8aHRtbD0xfG5tPW9u;fc=1;ft=20;fm=1

I could sing the whole Rescue Aid Society song, but you wouldn't want to hear me.

karma


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hocus2004
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What does intercst have to do with anything?

Intercst has strongly held views on what sorts of things early retirees should be permitted to do in retirement. Because he was the founder of the first board, a lot of community members gives his views a lot more credence than they merit. I've seen the idea that one must never do anything in retirement other than watch TV voiced at a number of boards, and I think it has become a highly unfortunate dogma in some circles of our community.

There are similarities between this question and the SWR question. On both questions, community members other than intercst seem to hold a diversity of viewpoints. But many seem reluctant to express their views because of the trouble that will result from questioning one of the Sacred Nonsense Dogmas. It is my hope that people will feel increasingly free over time to offer non-intercst views on all sorts of questions.

You just dropped in his name out of the blue.

You make it sound like that's nothing all that special. It has taken me years of study and practice to develop this highly refined skill I possess, Karma. (That's a joke.)

Can't you go one day without dragging in that name?

Like Cathyet says, "I could...."

The intercst dogmas are a subtext to many of the conversations held on all of the various FIRE/Retire Early/Passion Saving boards. I see the whole thing as just a terrible little quirk of history. There are lots of community members with a lot more to offer than intercst, in my view. Intercst has been elevated to this god-like status just because he happened to spend 10 minutes constructing an e-mail asking that the first board be set up. I think that what a lot of people are responding to when they become so deferential to intercst is the great learning experience they have enjoyed as a result of the contributions of hundreds of fellow community members. They attribute all that to intercst as if it were intercst writing the posts that they learned from! It is my view that intercst should receive credit only for the posts with his name on them. When you look at it that way, there are scores of posters who have contributed a whole bunch more than intercst and who are far more deserving of our appreciation than he is.

It will be great when I no longer need to make regular reference to intercst. That would be a sign that we had achieved our goal of Normalization of SWR discussions and of other sorts of discussions too. I think we will get there. It is a matter of growing up, of seeing our movement reach a more mature stage of development. A lot of us first heard of the Retire Early Idea through intercst, and we have come to feel, as Ariechert sometimes puts it, that intercst "invented" the concept. That is pure silliness, but some community members really do believe it. We need to get past that. We need to put the intercst era behind us and move into the community era, where we acknowledge the contributions of all posters, even those that intercst aims to drive out of the community.because they offer viewpoints not in accord with his own. We need to become a true community and not a group of yes men and yes woman serving this one particular individual's ego gratification desires.

They want to be in the middle of groups of admiring people.

I'm different. I long to be in the middle of groups of people yelling at me and threatening to ban me from their communities and such.. (That's another joke)

I don't think most early retirees have that need. They don't need outside validation for what they do.

I don't know too much about Safire. Dylan has a strong independent streak. It could be that he likes being at the center of things. Perhaps in that sense he seeks "outside validation." I don't think he shows many signs of seeking outside approval of what he thinks (it might not hurt him to seek that a little more, in my view).

Let's forget about people who are famous. That adds a confusing element to it. What about just normal people? Don't you think that a lot of people draw satisfaction from completion of a job well done? I sure do.

Getting back to the intercst thing, intercst describes the purpose of early retirement as seeking a life of "sloth and debauchery." I find that a complete 100 percent turn-off, and it is hard for me to imagine that I am the only one. My view of the purpose of early retirement is almost the complete opposite. I didn't seek early retirement so that I could work less, I did it so that I could work harder. I am now doing work that I find more meaningful, so naturally I work harder at it.

I do what I do not to be famous or anything like that. There's one sense in which I seek fame. I need to achieve a certain amount of name recognition to sell my books, and I need to sell my books to get the word out on this exciting new approach to money management. So I do want to be at the center of things to that extent. But the kick for me is in the work, figuring out what strategy is effective and figuring out how to get the message to as many people as possible. I just like doing the job and doing it well.

I felt that way at my corporate jobs too. The problem with those jobs was that I reached a point where I wasn't enjoying that feeling of satisfaction often enough. It was easy in the beginning when I was learning something new every day because I started out knowing nothing. But I reached a point where I felt that I was being paid more and more for doing less and less, and that just didn't make me feel good about myself at the end of the day.

I feel good when I read or ride my bike or take my kid to the park. It's not just work that makes me feel good. But work is an essential part of the good life for me. I would never want to be in a position where I had to give it up. You couldn't pay me enough to give up all forms of work for good. If that's the price of early retirement, you can keep it, so far as I'm concerned.

Executive Summary: For those who don't have time to read this lengthy post, here's a brief summation of the major points covered that all community members need to know about and commit to memory:

1) Intercst is a Bad News Bear!

2) There is no Point Two. Point One pretty much covers it! (That's a--well, you know.)


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karma
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. There are many other things about retirement that have nothing to do with SWR. In fact, this thread was trying to avoid any tie-in with SWR.

2. I frankly think your comments about intercst are drivel, and I would appreciate it if you kept your SWR/intercst rants on your own board.

karma


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hocus2004
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh my.

The SWR Research Group board is not "my" board, Karma. It is a community board. I am the moderator, that's all. The moderator of a board serves the community. He does not "own" the board.

If you think that my comments re our old friend intercst are "drivel," you are of course permitted to challenge them. But it is obviously not reasonable for you to expect that intercst's name will never be mentioned on boards not dealing specifically with the SWR question.

You are of course correct that this is not an SWR thread. And I am not making any points relating to SWRs here. I am making points that relate to intercst. Intercst is a a person who set up a web site dealing with the subject of early retirement. He offers his views on the subject there and in posts to discussion boards. Some of those views are well-founded and some are not so well-founded. From time to time, there is a need for people like me to point out the flaws of some of the not-so-well founded ones. What is the big deal?

You say in your post above that I comment on intercst in every post. I actually don't do that, but I do comment on him quite a bit. Usually in reaction to posts like your last one. Look at what you are doing. I made a number of substantive points about the question you raised in your thread-starter. And all you respond to is the intercst stuff! I even highlighted the fact that some of the intercst stuff was intended to be taken in a lighthearted way, and you still can't see past it.

People just have intercst on the brain. We need to get over him.He is not our master, we are not his slaves. We are all perfectly capable of thinking for ourselves without having Big Daddy Intercst showing us the way.

I do not care about intercst. Not one tiny little bit. What I care about is early retirement. I want to be able to talk about what the historical data says about SWRs without people jumping in and saying "Oh, intercst doesn't approve of people reporting what the historical data says, please just refer people to his study for all SWR questions!" And I want to be able to talk about the purpose of early retirement without people jumping in and saying "Oh, intercst doesn't approve of early retirees doing anything oher than watching television, please stick to the offocial intercst-approved viewpoints on this board!"

I'm not trying to get us to focus more on intercst. I am trying to get us to leave intercst in the dust. I am interested in the Retire Early views of just about everyone in the world EXCEPT intercst.

I mention intercst from time to time because I see his viewpoints being reflected in comments made by his supporters and there is this feeling that, because interest put forward these views, they must be 100 percent correct. I am saying that is not so. I am saying that intercst has gotten all sorts of things wrong and we need to stop thinking that just because intercst said it there is something to it. As often as not, what intercst says is just flat-out wrong.

If you want to offer your views on the purpose of early retirement, that's fine. If you want to find fault with mine, that's fine. If you want to defend intercst's views, that's fine. But it is real hard to have a good back-and-forth when the sum and substance of your argument is that for me to question intercst's views is "drivel." To respond to that assertion, I need to know some reason WHY you think it is drivel. Is it drivel because I am questioning interest? Or is there some reason why you, Karma, find it to be drivel? Tell me why you personally find appeal in intercst's views and we might get somewhere.


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peteyperson
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Rob,

I agree with the points. Whilst I am not retired, I have had occasion where I was taking an extended break, occasions where I was overworking and everything in between. Being simply idle is not satisfying for me. I need to delve into subjects I enjoy more deeply or explore new subjects. I would need to vacation to interesting places (if I were vacationing) and continue the exploration/learning theme abroad. The taking a break from work theme of a lot of rushed vacations would of course be less of an issue.

I do differ somewhat from the alternative tack some people take of calling themselves retired when in reality they still need paid work to survive financially, but have changed vocations to something lower paid & less stressful / more want they want to do now. There are obviously opportunity costs in making that choice, one being one might have retired completely in five year, instead of 10. Taking a lower paid job, one will be less able to save for retirement and far more reliant on cooperative markets providing an uplift to capital already deployed. This is less preferable than being able to influence the time it takes to reach your FI/RE target through new savings and the timeline being less influenced by market returns. Making the decision to take a much lower paid job for ten years when one could have stayed put and retired in five, creates the increased possibility that a combination of lower savings rate and lower compounding than planned don't get the job done in ten years. This choice then becomes more "expensive" than originally envisaged. So to call oneself "retired" but then still need to work for money is wrong labelling IMHO and liable to create other faulty thinking based on such confused logic.

I do agree that one might want to continue working in areas that present new challenges even though it comes with a paycheck. I think the point there is that you enjoy having some part of the day with some structure and level of responsibility, and that it may be fulfilling for you. I see nothing wrong with that at all. Once the stress of maintaining the income is out of the way, "work" can become far more enjoyable. It also allows your capital to continue compounding happily, while you explore new possibilities. One could take a part-time position which would provide more flexibility too. This seems to be the best of both worlds.

Petey
hocus2004 wrote:
After putting up my earlier response, I came across the following link (requires free registration) to William Safire's farewell column at the New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/24/opinion/24safire2.html?ex=1107320400&en=7f9461b57a943477&ei=5070&oref=login

Safire offers two bits of advice:

(1) Never stop working;

(2) Make shifts to new types of work when you find that you are in a rut.

I agree with Safire. I am "retired" from paycheck dependence, but I will "retire" from work the day they put me six feet in the ground. If they pass a law saying that everyone who is retired must spend their remaining days watching Survisor reruns, I will go hat in hand to my old consulting firm and ask whether they would be willing to take me back at one-third of my old pay.

Bob Dylan follows the same philosophy. I read an interview with a friend of his from decades ago and one of the things that she says he made a point of stressing to her was his advice to "never stop working." He has followed that advice in his own life. He is now in his 60s and he still shows up for concert appearances on a regular basis. He stays out of ruts too by putting out new albums that require him to explore new themes or new approachs to old themes.

So it's me, William Safire, and Bob Dylan on one side, and intercst on the other. Who ya gonna believe?


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hocus2004
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So to call oneself "retired" but then still need to work for money is wrong labelling IMHO and liable to create other faulty thinking based on such confused logic.

My view is that the word "retired" needs to be redefined when you put the word "early" in front of it, or else it no longer makes sense.

To "retire" is to withdraw. The obvious question is--Withdraw from what? In days past, people retired at age 65 expecting to die at age 70 or so. They were withdrawing from life itself, planning to die. If you go strictly by the old definition of "retirement," to aim to retire early is to aim to die early. What is the appeal in that?

The reason why we find the idea of early retirement appealing is that we want to be able to do things with our lives other than work for money. That's what it is really all about.

And that is the state that I have achieved. I don't do the work that I do primarily for money. I do it because I love the work. I would do it if it paid zero.

I could have stayed at my corporate job for a few more years and saved enough to never "need" to work again. But what would have been the point? I knew that I would be doing this work, so I saw no reason not to count the minimal amount of money that it would bring in as income when putting together my plan.

People can use whatever terms to describe this that they please. An argument can be made for dropping the word "retirement" altogether and just saying that I have gained the ability to live the self-directed life. I am certainly OK with that. The reason why I sometimes use the word "retire" is that that is the term that people most often use on these boards. Using that term, the best way to describe what I am is to say that I am "retired" from corporate employment but not from the world of work altogether.

I object to the way in which intercst plays semantics games with the word "retirement." He does this not just with me, but with anyone who differs with one of his Sacred Nonsense Dogmas. He says that anyone who has any interest at any time in doing anything other than watching television is not really "retired" and should not be permitted to post at the Motley Fool board. I think that is complete nonsense. Intercst could learn a lot from listening to the many community members who have developed creative ways of getting what they want out of life. If he is satisified with his own approach, why is it that he feels such a need to constantly put down all other approaches?

It's not the semantics that matter. It is what we can learn from others who are trying to achieve their life goals and who can offer experiences to help us achieve ours. I would like to see intercst stop pushing his narrow view of what constitutes "retirement" and permitting the many community members who have expressed a desire to hear some new ideas to see those desires realized at all of the various FIRE/Retire Early/Passion Saving boards. My personal belief is that intercst does not care about the definition of "retirement" one way or the other. He uses the semantics games to shut down other viewpoints, just as he uses the nonsense claims put forward in the REHP study to shut down discussions of views on investing that he is not able to respond to with reasoned argument.


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karma
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Petey -

May I be so bold as to say
- you are not yet FIREd, though I hope close to FI
- you require more activity than you found than when you took extended leave
- you do not believe that a person who needs to work to make ends meet is actually retired

Please correct me if I have misunderstood you.

karma


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peteyperson
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds accurate. Was the executive summary for your purposes or was I unclear? Smile

Petey
karma wrote:
Petey -

May I be so bold as to say
- you are not yet FIREd, though I hope close to FI
- you require more activity than you found than when you took extended leave
- you do not believe that a person who needs to work to make ends meet is actually retired

Please correct me if I have misunderstood you.

karma


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peteyperson
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Rob,

Well I wasn't thinking of intercst though I noted you couldn't help but do so. I just don't find further discussion of intercst to be productive.

I don't tend to think about "retirement" in my own mind. I do think it conjurs up images of being old and gray (or worse) and it isn't motivating. I think in terms of being financial freedom - the freedom to spend my days howsoever I wish. I agree that this doesn't have to mean one does not work, like it is black & white, but at the same time I wouldn't say I had financial freedom if I wasn't in a position to fund my living expenses indefinitely.

I do see financial & personal freedom (which is how I frame my goal) as something one works towards gradually over time. I am presently clearly old debts but I am using the opportunity to learn as much about investing, ahead of my ability to actually invest, in order to be well prepared. This increases my confidence levels - creates the belief that I can do this - and pushes me forward. I've also found a renewed general interest in exploring & learning new things constantly in my life. Never having been very academic at school, this has come as something of a revelation to me. It is also something personal & flexible, and can be molded & interpreted which suits my own style. Lastly, it is a way of being able to flex my intellectual muscles in new ways and perhaps benefit from their presence.

For me, increasing levels of personal & financial freedom is the thing. This helps not make it an all or nothing vision with life seemingly put on hold while one works to achieve this. More balance. One good example of this is balancing investing in the highest long-term returning asset classes which may seem prudent but may derail your plans if those handful fail to work as they have historically. Having steps along the way as rungs one climbs on the ladder to FI. Having interests one wants to pursue but not putting them off endlessly for a time when you'll have more time. To hestitate less and accomplish more today. So if approached right, one can take a future-focused financial plan and turn it into something that helps you in your daily life. Most likely a quite unexpected result for most people who turn away from the idea of thinking about their future because it isn't interesting.

I do still stand with the point though that one shouldn't talk about being "retired" but still need income to live. Thinking & talking in terms of possessing increasing levels of personal & financial freedom is the way I frame it and I think is both more accurate & healthy too. Laughing

I have read intercst's points on this matter (and I don't wish to get dragged into a whole thing about intercst, please Rob) and what I read in his point was simply what I have just said. One cannot call oneself "retired" and still need to work. It is like a light switch being either on or off - you can't be both at the same time. So largely it may seem like semantics but I think the way one frames these things psychologically is important (just like I think the asset class headers one uses splitting bonds out from secure ones used as a foundation and other ones which deliver little net real return little but are lumped in with the 'bond' allocation is a mistake). When one starts from a position of clarity I think one makes better decisions moving forward. I too see "retirement" as an old concept, uninspiring and negative. It doesn't really get to the core I want to strive for. It makes me instead see an image of a guy in his 70s or 80s sitting at home alone in a dreary rainy London and that isn't something I want to save-up for! Passion saving! Laughing

Financial independence is slowed down when one chooses to move "into the slow lane" as the savings rate slows and one may even need to tap investment returns & stop saving altogether partly to plug the income gap (depending on what work you move into). You could end-up compounding existing capital at lower rates (tapping 2% of the compounded growth to live) and not be able to add new savings. This would dramatically change the timeline from that point to full financial freedom - compounding what you have at 2% because you're tapping the other 2% to plug the income gap will put a far increased requirement on what you have saved to that point before you take the leap. If you used to earn $20k, spent $15k, saved $5, then drop to $10k in your new job, you'll need $5k from investments each year (numbers for illustrative purposes only). Depending on how much you have, this will be a certain percentage of your capital. The problem is, once you get up to money in the $'000s it compounds much faster and new savings makes all the more difference to that. If you quit for something more fullfilling but with the above financial scenario, you rather shoot yourself in the foot! If there is a shortfall this year and you start living off part of that investment return, you need to be halfway to the FI target to deliver the 2% used in the example and compound the other 2%. Just a few more years of adding full-time savings & full compounding would have gotten you to the FI goal much much sooner. As Charlie Munger has said, getting to the first $100,000 is the hardest, then $1,000,000 and so on. You also become far more reliant on further timely investment returns rather than being able to take a 5-year outlook on returns (not year to year which may cause one to more to a lower returning portfolio to achieve that goal). The emphasis is then on what the market delivers and not what you control which is how much new savings you add to the pot each year. When fully FIREd one has the ability to cutback on spending in poor returning years, you deprive yourself that flexibility when using this half-retired approach. So I think much caution and least optimistic financial forecasts are required. The path is fraught with risk..

Predicting what one will earn in a new untested scenario of a change of career is difficult because one cannot really know even with research. One has to quit the higher paying job in order to find out and it may not just be a simple case of returning later (this is where I disagree with Terhorst who suggested the same thing if full retirement isn't to your liking - he was very much against saying you were retired but still freelancing - retirement to him had a no paid work requirement to survive & and not just subsisting but really living).

Often changing career completely will involve retraining full-time and starting at the bottom. Income levels will first disappear and then come back probably much lower than they were before (one way to go for one type of career change, milage will vary). This takes considerable planning, and personal deceit as to your level of financial independence achieved to date is unhelpful to that goal. I have seen much talk on the Fool "Slow Lane" board of being "retired" and it makes me cringe because none of these people are. They have made a courageous choice to live life in way that puts personal freedom of exploration ahead of financial freedom. Lets be clear about that. Lets not muddy the water and obscure that reality. I can certainly see myself working into my 60s and 70s, but I would really want that to be on things that I enjoy. I would want to have the freedom to take two months off if I so choose and not be stuck to a single location because my job was there or because they won't allow me such time off in one block because it would interfere with running their business. This is, I think, where trouble comes into paradise and having the financial flexibility to walk away, move around etc is important. Clarity is essential.

Petey
hocus2004 wrote:
So to call oneself "retired" but then still need to work for money is wrong labelling IMHO and liable to create other faulty thinking based on such confused logic.

My view is that the word "retired" needs to be redefined when you put the word "early" in front of it, or else it no longer makes sense.

To "retire" is to withdraw. The obvious question is--Withdraw from what? In days past, people retired at age 65 expecting to die at age 70 or so. They were withdrawing from life itself, planning to die. If you go strictly by the old definition of "retirement," to aim to retire early is to aim to die early. What is the appeal in that?

The reason why we find the idea of early retirement appealing is that we want to be able to do things with our lives other than work for money. That's what it is really all about.

And that is the state that I have achieved. I don't do the work that I do primarily for money. I do it because I love the work. I would do it if it paid zero.

I could have stayed at my corporate job for a few more years and saved enough to never "need" to work again. But what would have been the point? I knew that I would be doing this work, so I saw no reason not to count the minimal amount of money that it would bring in as income when putting together my plan.

People can use whatever terms to describe this that they please. An argument can be made for dropping the word "retirement" altogether and just saying that I have gained the ability to live the self-directed life. I am certainly OK with that. The reason why I sometimes use the word "retire" is that that is the term that people most often use on these boards. Using that term, the best way to describe what I am is to say that I am "retired" from corporate employment but not from the world of work altogether.

I object to the way in which intercst plays semantics games with the word "retirement." He does this not just with me, but with anyone who differs with one of his Sacred Nonsense Dogmas. He says that anyone who has any interest at any time in doing anything other than watching television is not really "retired" and should not be permitted to post at the Motley Fool board. I think that is complete nonsense. Intercst could learn a lot from listening to the many community members who have developed creative ways of getting what they want out of life. If he is satisified with his own approach, why is it that he feels such a need to constantly put down all other approaches?

It's not the semantics that matter. It is what we can learn from others who are trying to achieve their life goals and who can offer experiences to help us achieve ours. I would like to see intercst stop pushing his narrow view of what constitutes "retirement" and permitting the many community members who have expressed a desire to hear some new ideas to see those desires realized at all of the various FIRE/Retire Early/Passion Saving boards. My personal belief is that intercst does not care about the definition of "retirement" one way or the other. He uses the semantics games to shut down other viewpoints, just as he uses the nonsense claims put forward in the REHP study to shut down discussions of views on investing that he is not able to respond to with reasoned argument.


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hocus2004
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Joined: 10 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Petey and I have been exchanging e-mails for a number of years. We have a relationship off of these boards. He sent me an e-mail yesterday monring asking to see a copy of my book and I will be putting one in the mail to him today.

In that book, there is a section discussing the question of how the word "retirement" needs to be redefined. I have discussed this concept in brief on the boards, but I discuss it with more depth and context in the book. My suggestion is that Petey read that section of the book when he obtains his copy. Perhaps I will persuade him and perhaps I will not. Perhaps he will write a response to what I say in the book that will persuade me. Either result is evidence of a learning experience.

I obviously believe strongly that the word "retirement" needs to be redefined. Otherwise I wouldn't be making the case that it needs to be redefined in the pages of a book that I am trying to sell to the ouside world. I would like Petey or Karma or any other poster to tell me what I should do in the circumstances I am in. I believe that the word "retirement" needs to be redefined, that it does not make sense for people to seek after "retirement" early in life so long as we continue to define "retirement" as a withdrawal from life itself, a preparation for death. Intercst does not agree. Intercst has shown a willingness to launch a Campaign of Terror against anyone who questions one of his Sacred Nonsense Dogmas, whether it be the Sacred Nonsense Dogma that changes in valuation have zero effect on SWRs or the Sacred Nonsense Dogma that anyone who does anything other than watch television in retirement should not be permitted to post at any of the boards, or any of the others. What would you have me do?

You say that you don't want to hear more about the intercst matter. But in the next breath you make clear that you do not intend to help me get intercst's posting privileges revoked. Well, what are we going to do then? So long as he is able to post, the Campaign of Terror continues. Am I supposed to lie about my beliefs? Am I supposed to say that I agree with intercst that anyone who does anything other than watch television is not really retired?

I am not going to lie for him. That was the real message of the May 13, 2002, post. I am not going to lie for intercst. It is because I said that in such clear terms that the May 13, 2002, post provoked tens of thousands of responses. No one in our community had ever said that before. I was like the rest of you all for three years, remember. I lied for him for three years. Not in a direct way. But I sat on my hands while he misled people about what the historical data says re SWRs. I knew different, and I didn't say so. I was scared of what he would do to me if I told the truth, just as Petey is scared of what will happen to him if he tells the truth today, and just like lots of others are too.

I am saying that the time has come to stop being scared of him. That time came for me when he launched a Smear Campagn against Wanderer. That was when I said "Enough is enough." For JWR1945, it was when he looked at the numbers himself and saw that intercst was indeed engaging in "A Big Lie Strategy" (those are JWR1945's words). For FoolMeOnce, it was when intercst began making use of threats of physical violence that the line was crossed. For Wanderer, it was intercst's ongoing deceptions about investing in real estate that caused the lightbulb to go off that enough was enough and to just speak truth to power. It was the deceptions about how TIPS work that caused BenSolar to snap and put up a post asking that intercst knock off the funny business.

Intercst does not speak truthfully in the posts he puts to the various boards. This is a stone cold fact. We are not dealing with someone who engages in deception on an occasional basis. We are dealing with someone who engages in it on almost a daily basis, and who always has made extensive use of it (less so in earlier days). Petey says that he does not think that continued discussion of the intercst matter is productive. Then he says a few paragraphs down that "clarity is essential." How the heck can we have clarity when our board founder is engaging in deliberate deception on a whole host of issues? How the heck do we do that?

We can't do it. Achieving clarity on SWRs means acknowledging that intercst got the number wrong in the REHP study. That's the ABCs, knowing what the number is. If we don't have a consensus on that, there is no hope for clarity.

Clarity on the definition of early retirement means that we need a measure of goodwill between the various posters contributing to the discussions so that we can over time achieve that clarity. I can talk with Petey on this issue because, while we are not in complete agreement, Petey is talking sensibly, he is talking reasonably. And I can talk with Karma on this, and with hundreds of others. However, we cannot as a community discuss this issue reasonably so long as intercst is permitted to enter the room. I know. I have tried.

There were discussions of this question at the Early Retiremnt Forum. They were disrupted by one of intercst's goon squad. Intercst does not want to see reasoned discussions of this issue to proceed. If the community comes to have reasoned discussion of this issue, that is a bad thing for intercst. Why? Because one of the tactics that intercst employs in his Campaign of Terror is to post deceptively on the question of how my plan is put together. These discussions of what it means to retire early inevitably lead to some discussion of how my plan was put together, and any discussion in which there are accurate statements as to how my plan was put together shows intercst to be a liar. Is there anyone who honestly thinks that he wants to see such discussions proceed?

All that we have to work with on these boards is words. That is the currency of exchange. Intercst has devalued our currency. He has told so many lies on so many subjects, and so few have stood up to challenge him when he did so, that the value of the words put forward here has been diminished in a serious way. A people that permits someone who lies this often to participate in the discussions is not a serious people. We should care more about learning about early retirement than we care about any one poster. A community that cared more about the subject matter would take action against the poster diminishing the value of the learning experience.

Newcomcers to our boards see what is going on. They don't know all of the details. But they know enough to come to a conclusion that they do not care to get involved. They see that there is some guy named intercst who has caused a lot of trouble, and they see that people are afraid to confront him so the trouble continues. They know that this sort of thing has ruined a lot of discussion board communities in the past, and they don't want to devote their time to putting up posts knowing that this one is probably not going to make it.

If I didn't know that this community is special, I would agree with them. But I saw this community in its Golden Age. I know that we are special. We can come back from this. But we need to eject the posion from our system. Intercst and his deceptive posting practices are the poison. That needs to be ejected. The rest of us need to get back in the habit of shooting straight with each other.

There are many people who have an intense desire to know more about my approach to early retirement, semantics games be damned. I know this because I have spoken to them. I published a report at Soapbox.com, and there were customer reviews that said this, and comments at the discussion board that said this, and e-mails that I received from customers that said this. So I know.

If you want to go deep into the Post Archives of the Motley Fool board, you will see that intercst himself has said this on numerous occasions. There used to be a line near the top of the FAQ statement of the Motley Fool board that said : "Read any post by hocus, they are all at the top of the Most Recommended List." Intercst wrote a review of my "Secrets of Retiring Early" report in which he said that, if I were ever to expand that report into a book, he was sure that it would quickly become "the Bible of the Retire Early movement." So there was a time when intercst did not feel a need to smear me because I used a new definition of the word "retirement."

Why is it that my new definition was perfectly acceptable prior to May 13, 2002, and became incredibly controversial after May 13, 2002. Is there anything that happened on May 13, 2002, that could possibly explain this change in community viewpoints? Let me think....

I seem to recall that I put up a post on that day reporting to the community accurately what the historical data says about SWRs. Do you think that might have anything to do with it?

Bingo!

The discussion of how to define the word "retirement" is a legitimate one. I am seeking a new definition and I of course should not expect that people are going to buy into the new definition until they have had a chance t ask a lot of questions about it first. That's all to the good. The question that we are struggling with is--How do we deal with this individual who is not willing to shoot straight, who has put forward hundreds and hundreds of deception posts and intimidation posts because he does not want the rest of us to engage in honest and informed posting on this or any other aspect of the Retire Early question (there is a Sacred Nonsense Dogma that applies re just about all of them).

I've said how I think we should handle it. I say that we should cut the guy loose. If there is someone who wants to argue for an alternative means of proceeding, I'm all ears. If you need to think it over some more, well, then, that's just the way it is. I think that 32 months of this should be enough. But if the community wants to think it over some more, we are going to have to think it over some more, whether I like the idea or not.

I am not going to lie for him, however. That's out. What brought intercst to the table in this thread is that I included a throwway line saying "There's Safire and Dylan and me on one side, and intercst on the other, who are you going to believe?" That's an appropriate thing to say. Intercst has expressed strong views on this question, and it is perfectly appropriate for me to make reference to someone who has taken such strong stands on the question. There is not a thing wrong with what I said. Karma's response, that I should not bring up the name intercst or any board other than the SWR board, is not appropriate. Intercst is a reality, so in approrpiate circumstances he should be brought up.

If you are ashamed of him, that is your problem. You have every reason to be ashamed of him and to want his name not to be brought up. If he were removed from the community, there would be fewer cases in which it would be appropriate to bring his name up because he wouldn't be engaging in active deceptions anymore. That's why I think that the healthy thing to do is to cut him loose.

Don't take out your shame on me. If you are ashamed of your association with this individual (you post on the same boards as him), it's your problem. I am covered on this one. I have said that the guy should be cut loose, so no one can say that I am lending any credence to his deceptions at this point. I am covered, and it feels good to be covered. I don't lie for him anymore. I was put through hell for making that choice, but at least my hell is a hell that comes to an end. I don't have to worry about the retirements that are going to go bust because I was not willing to speak up in time. I spoke up.

If you don't want to deal with the intercst matter, then you need to get used to living with the consequences. The consequence is a feeling of shame each time you hear his name come up in the discussions. It's too bad that that makes you feel bad, but I have told you the way out and you have elected to wait. That's your business. It's not my doing.

When did you last post to the Motley Fool board, Petey? It's been a long, long time, hasn't it?

I wonder why.


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karma
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Petey,

No, you were clear. Otherwise I couldn't have summerized it Smile
I just want to be sure that I fully understand a person's position. Sometimes I misunderstand perfectly clear sentences

I find youre saying that people who still need to earn money in order to live are not retired interesting. I agree.

What do you think of the person who is FI, retires early, finds they want more challenge and so goes back to paid work? This area gets kind of murky. I do believe that FI is a requirement for early retirement. Working here or there for entertainment is similar to my volunteer work (I just don't get paid). When you are talking many hours a week of paid work, I'm not so sure. It all comes under the banner of doing what you want to do during retirement But the bottom line is being FI and staying that way without the need of any paid work.

karma


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hocus2004
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Joined: 10 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you are talking many hours a week of paid work, I'm not so sure. It all comes under the banner of doing what you want to do during retirement But the bottom line is being FI and staying that way without the need of any paid work.

I agree with the statement re "doing what you want to do." The idea of doing what you want to do with your life makes a lot of sense to me.

The artificial definitions of "retirement" and "financial independence" being employed here do not make sense to me.

It seems to me that what you are saying is that someone is "financially independent" when he has no possible need for any additional money. I don't see how I could ever achieve that state, short of dying and being put six feet in the grouns. If I were to win $10 million in the lottery today, I would expand my "needs" to find ways to make good use of the money. I would set up foundations, build an addition to my house, make plans to travel more than I do now, etc. My life would be better. But I would be no more "financially independent"than I am today. It is hard for me to imagine any circumstance in which I would have zero interest in having more money. Money does wonderful things for people. Wouldn't I always want more money, if for no other reason to give it to other people?

If I agreed with the notion that, once a person no longer absolutely "needs" more money, he has achieved complete financial independence, then I would have "retired" years sooner than I actually did. It costs very little money to keep body and soul joined together. People in third-world countries live on far less than the amount that I had coming in through my investments on the day I handed in the resignation from my corporate job.

If retirement is something that you achieve the day you do not "need" more money, most of us living in one of the industrialzied economies of today are able to achieve it very early in life indeed. If retirement is something that you achieve only when you do not want any more money, most of us never achieve it. The old defintions of the words "retirement" and "financial independence" just don't make sense in today's world, a world in which middle-class workers are able to make enough money to enjoy lives better than what is involved in barely keeping body and soul joined.

I never want to spend only what I need to spend. That would be a lifestyle that just doesn't appeal to me or my family. I hope never not to want more money. Money does too many good things for me ever to not want more of the stuff. So I just have no interest in pursuing outmoded approaches too retirement or financial indepdence.

For me, the thing that matter is the thing that you focused on when you referred to "doing what you want to do." That is a goal that makes sense to me. That is the goal that I made the center of my Retire Early plan. I didn't want to retire from life altogether. I wanted to retire from the thing I didn't like--dependence on a corporate paycheck--while retaining access to all the things that I did like. I think that is an approach that makes sense, and judging from the reaction that I have heard to the idea when I proposed it in my "Secrets of Retiring Early" report and in posts that I put to the boards prior to May 13, 2002, there are a whole bunch of others who find a good bit of appeal in that approach as well.


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unclemick
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Joined: 12 Jun 2004
Posts: 231
Location: LA till Katrina, now MO

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ben Franklin

And, and - Does anybody remember the old E. F. Hutton brokerage ad about the young guy and old guy out on a dig?

If you are FI - you can call what you do - anything you want.


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peteyperson
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Joined: 26 Nov 2002
Posts: 525

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Karma,

Nice to hear from you again. Glad my posting was clear for you.

My own take would be that it is perfectly fine if you try the completely dormant lifestyle and you find it doesn't suit. I would certainly consider taking some time for myself but later volunteering for a worthwhile charity like the Red Cross which would require much committment, new training etc. As one discovers during the Tsunami, one cannot just volunteer, one needs to train for a meaningful role and take it seriously. Whether the role was paid or unpaid would depend on what it was, but I think the money isn't the issue. You have enough already to choose freely what work you would like to take on. It is this freedom to choose, the ability to go into completely new areas without regard for payscale, which is the hallmark of having FI. You just don't have those options if you leave work without being in that position. You'll always be running around working in order to pay the bills. This certainly might be preferable for someone who dislikes their own job and wishes to change, but then hopefully that is a concious choice that carries serious repercussions in terms of ability to add new savings to reach FI sometimes later than one might otherwise have done so. It is a personal choice, but being more self-directed with added savings is probably preferable to hoping for investment returns to get you the rest of the way while you do something your heart desires. Practical reality over idealistic desires! Wink Clearly those that have opted for the change in lifestyle without the assets to fully back it up will violently disagree with this perspective! Crying or Very sad

Petey
karma wrote:
Petey,

No, you were clear. Otherwise I couldn't have summerized it Smile
I just want to be sure that I fully understand a person's position. Sometimes I misunderstand perfectly clear sentences

I find youre saying that people who still need to earn money in order to live are not retired interesting. I agree.

What do you think of the person who is FI, retires early, finds they want more challenge and so goes back to paid work? This area gets kind of murky. I do believe that FI is a requirement for early retirement. Working here or there for entertainment is similar to my volunteer work (I just don't get paid). When you are talking many hours a week of paid work, I'm not so sure. It all comes under the banner of doing what you want to do during retirement But the bottom line is being FI and staying that way without the need of any paid work.

karma


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