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Discuss Latest POF Blog Post: An Epic Fail at Early Retirement

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  • #16
    Originally posted by JWeb View Post
    If you want to read the actual post of the blogger who failed retirement, it's here. . . https://livingafi.com/2021/03/17/the...rement-update/

    Not sure why POF posted another blogger's recap of someone else's failed retirement. . .
    Every Friday, I syndicate a post (with permission) that was among the most widely read articles shared in a recent Sunday Best. The readers vote with their clicks.

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    • #17
      returns after retirement were lucky
      “. . . And the LORD spake, saying “First shalt thou take out the Holy 401k. Then shalt thou save to 20%, no more, no less. 20% shall be the number thou shalt save, and the number of the saving shall be 20%. 25% shalt thou not save, neither save thou 15%, excepting that thou then proceed to 20%. 30% is right out . . .””

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by Sampter View Post
        I enjoyed this article. Clearly if in a relationship both need to be 100% on board with any plan. Lot of judgement thrown at the spouse about her wanting to have a more "normal" life. A real MrMoneyMustache living (30-40K yearly) with no room to splurge for 40 years is not a dream for the majority of us. I wouldn't enjoy it and neither would my wife (and I wouldn't force it on her either).
        i think this is the right take

        early lean-FIRE on what is essentially a poverty wage is not the way forward for most people and is a bit of a gamble.

        the Venn diagram of people who want to become practicing MDs and then retire on a small amount of money leaving millions in lifetime earnings on the table has to be pretty small. i also think there are people who would want to think of themselves as being this person who just aren't. i have nothing against the small set of people, i just think it's kind of weird. if you only need $30k to live on there are lots of ways to get there and one of them would be to just work as a doc for about 2 days/mo.

        seems like one important step in planning for RE is deciding if you want to take a sabbatical or never work again.

        Comment


        • #19
          Originally posted by MPMD View Post

          i think this is the right take

          early lean-FIRE on what is essentially a poverty wage is not the way forward for most people and is a bit of a gamble.

          the Venn diagram of people who want to become practicing MDs and then retire on a small amount of money leaving millions in lifetime earnings on the table has to be pretty small. i also think there are people who would want to think of themselves as being this person who just aren't. i have nothing against the small set of people, i just think it's kind of weird. if you only need $30k to live on there are lots of ways to get there and one of them would be to just work as a doc for about 2 days/mo.

          seems like one important step in planning for RE is deciding if you want to take a sabbatical or never work again.
          I could not agree with this more. Every time I hear about some frenzied "lean"ish FIRE goal from a physician I have uncomfortable feelings that the person is destined for failure for one reason or another. We are largely like sharks...

          Also, I didn't put in all this work and my spouse didn't deal with all this garbage to drive a 25 year old Camry (insert your own lifestyle upgrade off poverty here).

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          • #20
            coast FI> lean FI imho. I'd rather per diem a few times a month to cover a decent living expenses than go full on MMM and live on only 30k per year with hope of no health issues. Thats my plan in a few years, but life throws curve balls allthe time. its important to be able to pivot when it does.

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            • #21
              yeah, these stories of severe asceticism has the flavor of extreme frugality for its own state, even if stated otherwise as a means to an end. perhaps pathologic, and hard to imagine many others really being on board with it. spouse may not have gotten fair treatment here. maybe rather than really being on the same page at onset, she was willing to accommodate him but couldn’t hold out. i wonder if the librarian is really on the same page or eyes his income/wealth as a lifestyle upgrade. turn on the treadmill and see if she jumps on.
              “. . . And the LORD spake, saying “First shalt thou take out the Holy 401k. Then shalt thou save to 20%, no more, no less. 20% shall be the number thou shalt save, and the number of the saving shall be 20%. 25% shalt thou not save, neither save thou 15%, excepting that thou then proceed to 20%. 30% is right out . . .””

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by fire2026 View Post

                My spouse constantly reminds me her worry about unforeseen ill health events or some dumb law suit ( professional/personal) derailing our own FIRE plan
                That's my biggest concern having known a few in their 50-60's deal with that exact thing, often not for themselves but for their kids.

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                • #23
                  Yes, true, the unknown unknowns

                  I am warming up more and more to the idea of PT work even if it’s 0.4 FTE or less to keep our mental sanity till I reach 55

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Sampter View Post
                    I enjoyed this article. Clearly if in a relationship both need to be 100% on board with any plan. Lot of judgement thrown at the spouse about her wanting to have a more "normal" life. A real MrMoneyMustache living (30-40K yearly) with no room to splurge for 40 years is not a dream for the majority of us. I wouldn't enjoy it and neither would my wife (and I wouldn't force it on her either).

                    1. I agree fully. Just because a spouse feels stressed about her work does not mean she will forever live in poverty with you on a $30K income.

                    2. She is not keeping up with the Jones. She just wants to have the routine things in life that may have to be curtailed with that 30K income. Not wanting a 20 year rusting Honda. Maybe having nice haircuts. Maybe Spotify. Travel and stay in nicer places. Things difficult to do due to penny pinching.

                    3. He seems to have a mean streak within him. He is blaming his wife more even as he states he is not into the blaming game. So, she is ready to go back to work and bring home some additional money but he is just wanting to stay and home and contribute nothing?? WTH. Even if he had taken up part time work in IT he could have improved his financial status and his marriage.

                    4. Maybe it was not his wife who was depressed, it was him and maybe due to his ED he had ED. Who knows. Maybe she wanted some love and affection that he could not provide and she sought it from someone else. The nerdy librarian may not be his soul mate and probably would have behaved in the same way if she had lived with him for the past 6 years.

                    5. Finally, he is not a great writer. His post was long and meandering. Thank God he left the years 2015-2018 out. And I don't blame his community college creative writing class. It is more likely he does not have it within him to be a writer that others would love to read his writing.

                    6. I think all these good earners who want to just quit and jump with no parachute on should seek a financial counselor before they do it, and drag others with them.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      I read Living a FI/Dr. Doom before he retired. It's fairly clear the author suffered from depression before FIRE. He also hated his job. He needed to change his life. FIRE changed it.

                      I read his FIRE update last year when someone posted it on bogleheads. He was much happier after FIRE until his significant other became disgruntled. If she remained happy with him and their life, then it probably would have worked out.

                      His plan didn't contain enough safety margin to account for divorce or other financial shocks, so it failed in that sense, but he was in a very bad place before he "retired." The time away from work improved his life and state of mind greatly. He needed it. Now, after the trauma of his break-up, it sounds like he has recovered and recharged with a better outlook than he had pre-FIRE. I think the break from work provided a large net benefit for him.

                      I didn't intend to FIRE 20 years ago; it wasn't a thing then, but I was completely burned out. I needed to quit. I didn't have a long-term plan. I just knew that I had enough money to come up with one. Quitting turned out to be a very good decision. I had an interesting life, and a much less stressful life, for thirteen years.

                      Ultimately, I returned to practice and subsequently managed to negotiate terms for a sustainable work-life balance. Dr. Doom and I are both better for the change.

                      Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried (many) bags for a lovely and gracious 59 yo Cyd Charisse. (RIP) Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Kamban View Post


                        1. I agree fully. Just because a spouse feels stressed about her work does not mean she will forever live in poverty with you on a $30K income.

                        2. She is not keeping up with the Jones. She just wants to have the routine things in life that may have to be curtailed with that 30K income. Not wanting a 20 year rusting Honda. Maybe having nice haircuts. Maybe Spotify. Travel and stay in nicer places. Things difficult to do due to penny pinching.

                        3. He seems to have a mean streak within him. He is blaming his wife more even as he states he is not into the blaming game. So, she is ready to go back to work and bring home some additional money but he is just wanting to stay and home and contribute nothing?? WTH. Even if he had taken up part time work in IT he could have improved his financial status and his marriage.

                        4. Maybe it was not his wife who was depressed, it was him and maybe due to his ED he had ED. Who knows. Maybe she wanted some love and affection that he could not provide and she sought it from someone else. The nerdy librarian may not be his soul mate and probably would have behaved in the same way if she had lived with him for the past 6 years.

                        5. Finally, he is not a great writer. His post was long and meandering. Thank God he left the years 2015-2018 out. And I don't blame his community college creative writing class. It is more likely he does not have it within him to be a writer that others would love to read his writing.

                        6. I think all these good earners who want to just quit and jump with no parachute on should seek a financial counselor before they do it, and drag others with them.
                        one point of clarification: it sounds like maybe HE had $950k in assets and HE had an income of $30k, whereas SHE had her own assets and income. I have never read him before, for those who have, is that correct?

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by FIREshrink View Post

                          one point of clarification: it sounds like maybe HE had $950k in assets and HE had an income of $30k, whereas SHE had her own assets and income. I have never read him before, for those who have, is that correct?
                          Yes, as I recall, she was also going to contribute $30K per year from her portfolio. They were going to live on about $60k/year. I believe that was a little more than the median household income at the time.
                          Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried (many) bags for a lovely and gracious 59 yo Cyd Charisse. (RIP) Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by RoentgenRacing View Post

                            I could not agree with this more. Every time I hear about some frenzied "lean"ish FIRE goal from a physician I have uncomfortable feelings that the person is destined for failure for one reason or another. We are largely like sharks...

                            Also, I didn't put in all this work and my spouse didn't deal with all this garbage to drive a 25 year old Camry (insert your own lifestyle upgrade off poverty here).
                            it's just a really bizarre path.

                            i also think sometimes these folks are not doing everything they can to maximize their job balance of time/money.

                            i mean there are ways to make $100k/year in any field working absolutely no where close to full time.

                            if you can find the right locums gig in EM you can do that working one weekend a month.

                            so if you feel that you can live on $30k a year you can have a 3x upgrade, barely work, and you don't find this doable? i think there are many other issues that need to be explored there.

                            "you don't want to know about them dude but.. there are ways."
                            -Walter Sobchak

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by MPMD View Post

                              it's just a really bizarre path.

                              i also think sometimes these folks are not doing everything they can to maximize their job balance of time/money.

                              i mean there are ways to make $100k/year in any field working absolutely no where close to full time.

                              if you can find the right locums gig in EM you can do that working one weekend a month.

                              so if you feel that you can live on $30k a year you can have a 3x upgrade, barely work, and you don't find this doable? i think there are many other issues that need to be explored there.

                              "you don't want to know about them dude but.. there are ways."
                              -Walter Sobchak
                              Dr. Doom was not a physician. I think his blog avatar was a character from a video game or comic book series. He was a tech employee earning a good salary, but I'm not even sure it was $100k/year. He definitely did not have the option to earn $100k/year working part-time.
                              Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried (many) bags for a lovely and gracious 59 yo Cyd Charisse. (RIP) Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by MPMD View Post

                                it's just a really bizarre path.

                                i also think sometimes these folks are not doing everything they can to maximize their job balance of time/money.

                                i mean there are ways to make $100k/year in any field working absolutely no where close to full time.

                                if you can find the right locums gig in EM you can do that working one weekend a month.

                                so if you feel that you can live on $30k a year you can have a 3x upgrade, barely work, and you don't find this doable? i think there are many other issues that need to be explored there.

                                "you don't want to know about them dude but.. there are ways."
                                -Walter Sobchak
                                Agree that part time work makes more sense in many of these situations. Much easier to unwind that a few years later if your situation changes. (For a physician at least - the guy in the story seemed to find a new job just fine)

                                But talking about $30K/year spending is a straw man. I have never heard of a physician attempting this. "Lean" early retirement for a physician is more like PoF, who I think had a couple million and a paid off house when he quit? That's a different life than the guy in the story.

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