Author Topic: FIRE Adding to Stress/Anxiety? (Read 1004 times)

montgomery212

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FIRE Adding to Stress/Anxiety?
« on: November 05, 2017, 10:36:17 AM »
Been reading here, but havent posted before . . . .

My question -- anyone out there who became more anxious (rather than less) with FIRE? I always thought FIRE (the financial independence part, no experience with early retirement yet) would make life less stressful in a way because you have the ability to walk away from a job thats become awful or move away from an area you dont want to live in etc. without worrying about money the same way that someone is paycheck to paycheck.

In my case though it feels like the opposite, like now that youre aware of the numbers, you feel the need to make yourself even more miserable to strive for another milestone and then another etc. Havent posted my stats before and dont know if I should but am a 37 yr old lawyer; for 8 yrs I had a job that a LOVED and while I lived below my means, I didnt worry about financial independence too much probably bc I was really busy at work and enjoying it. Then came a layoff and I landed another job thankfully that pays well but I really dislike it (the work; the atmosphere; the people; the fact that Im not learning anything). It was my only option so I took said job 2.5 yrs ago and said, you are not leaving this job or the law until your net worth is x and your 401k is at 300k. Well I hit x net worth + 300k and now Im like hmm, I should make it work until Im at x + 100,000 and at least a 375k 401k.

Anyone else experience this? I thought reaching milestones would allow me to feel ok saying you know what, time to try to make myself happy. Instead its just prolonging the misery.

ixtap

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Re: FIRE Adding to Stress/Anxiety?
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2017, 11:53:17 AM »
Why are you not looking for another job while still employed? That is the option to suffer or quit.

Paul der Krake

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Re: FIRE Adding to Stress/Anxiety?
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2017, 12:07:57 PM »
Find another job already.

Nederstash

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Re: FIRE Adding to Stress/Anxiety?
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2017, 12:26:34 PM »
Been reading here, but havent posted before . . . .

My question -- anyone out there who became more anxious (rather than less) with FIRE? I always thought FIRE (the financial independence part, no experience with early retirement yet) would make life less stressful in a way because you have the ability to walk away from a job thats become awful or move away from an area you dont want to live in etc. without worrying about money the same way that someone is paycheck to paycheck.

In my case though it feels like the opposite, like now that youre aware of the numbers, you feel the need to make yourself even more miserable to strive for another milestone and then another etc. Havent posted my stats before and dont know if I should but am a 37 yr old lawyer; for 8 yrs I had a job that a LOVED and while I lived below my means, I didnt worry about financial independence too much probably bc I was really busy at work and enjoying it. Then came a layoff and I landed another job thankfully that pays well but I really dislike it (the work; the atmosphere; the people; the fact that Im not learning anything). It was my only option so I took said job 2.5 yrs ago and said, you are not leaving this job or the law until your net worth is x and your 401k is at 300k. Well I hit x net worth + 300k and now Im like hmm, I should make it work until Im at x + 100,000 and at least a 375k 401k.

Anyone else experience this? I thought reaching milestones would allow me to feel ok saying you know what, time to try to make myself happy. Instead its just prolonging the misery.

For early retirement it's the 'one more year' syndrome... you start questioning whether you've really gathered enough to quit. But in your case, you don't have to quit to retire, you can just find another job!

Mrbeardedbigbucks

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Re: FIRE Adding to Stress/Anxiety?
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2017, 05:13:46 PM »
You're not alone. We will likely FIRE in March 2018 but I often have sleepless nights thinking about sequence of returns risk and the fate of the ACA. I often wonder if I'll have the courage to actually quit a high paying job with good benefits. There are some days when I feel optimistic about early retirement but then the stress/anxiety really sets in when I read various early retirement blogs and people in forums who don't count on social security in their retirement plans (they call it "gravy"). They don't rely on retirement planning tools like cfiresim and firecalc and prefer to use various self created spreadsheets. They feel that 3% is the new SWR but even that's probably not sustainable. They might even have a spouse that will continue to work and will provide health insurance.

So yes, I feel a lot of stress and anxiety because we could very well be retiring toward the end of the 2nd longest bull market in U.S. history, we're relying on ACA (with subsidies) for our health insurance, we use planning calculators like cfiresim, firecalc and Fidelity's retirement analysis, we are counting on at least some social security as part of our long term income and our withdrawal rate will be 3-3.5% annually.

But with that said, if you worry too much about market risk and legislative risk, taxes going up, social security going away, health insurance reverting back to pre ACA days and if you compare yourself to other FIRE bloggers who probably create elaborate spreadsheets to account for varying levels of inflation for different expenses, you will never feel like you can retire. You will feel like your stash has to be twice as big as it is now. This is how you fall into OMY syndrome.

If you over save and over plan, you lose your time and part of your life in the process and you'll never get that time back. The time spent doing work that you dont enjoy so you can have a stash big enough to overcome every possible scenario has a cost.

If you feel like you have a good plan in place and you're not just winging it, if your expenses are dialed in with some room to increase spending if necessary, if you'll remain flexible during a long retirement and possibly bring in some part time income someday (maybe in a job you really enjoy), then I say leave that job you don't like, don't fall into OMY syndrome.


(sorry that was so lengthy but I just ran with it. It was just as much for me as it was for you so thanks for the question)

TartanTallulah

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Re: FIRE Adding to Stress/Anxiety?
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2017, 12:03:00 PM »
Quite the opposite for me. Knowing that I could walk away any time now into a position of slightly frugal financial independence makes the bad days at work bearable.

When I'm away from work, or on a good day when everything has gone smoothly and I've been able to do my job to my own satisfaction, I sometimes find myself thinking, "If I work X more months, the extra money will cover Y contingency/allow us to afford to buy Z without using post-retirement income." But we're talking luxuries rather than necessities, and on a bad day I'd trade them all for the privilege of not having to go to work.




LadyDividend

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Re: FIRE Adding to Stress/Anxiety?
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2017, 12:15:51 PM »
Maybe you are feeling more anxious because you have become aware of your situation and what you want in life. Some stress is good, especially if it motivates you to improve.

Congratulations, you have now taken the red pill and there is no going back (Matrix reference, hope everyone gets that)!
Straight, sensible financial and lifestyle talk. From one Lady to you.

http://LadyDividend.com

Schaefer Light

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Re: FIRE Adding to Stress/Anxiety?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2017, 06:17:47 AM »
I get where you're coming from. I felt some added anxiety when I determined my projected FIRE date because then I was afraid I'd fail to meet it. It also made it harder for me to accept the idea that it might be better for me to transition to a lower paying job because that would definitely cause me to miss my FIRE date.

This is where I think it's important not to become too attached to your goals. What initially seems like a wonderful goal (such as reaching FI by 2025) may turn out not to be the best goal for you if circumstances (i.e. your job starts making you miserable) should happen to change. I've recently adopted the mindset that you should still generally try to work on the things that matter to you, but you should be much more open-ended about your goals. You still want to reach FI so you continue to save and invest what you can. You just don't worry so much about when FI actually happens.

Even with this shift in mindset, it's something I have to continually work at. Otherwise, I start making myself miserable by feeling like I'm trapped doing something I don't enjoy for the next X years until I reach FI. When the FI date doesn't matter as much, I no longer feel trapped.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: FIRE Adding to Stress/Anxiety?
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2017, 06:52:38 AM »
If it's making you miserable, you aren't doing it right.

You need to stop what's making you unhappy, and re-evaluate.

spokey doke

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Re: FIRE Adding to Stress/Anxiety?
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2017, 08:33:23 AM »
You're not alone. We will likely FIRE in March 2018 but I often have sleepless nights thinking about sequence of returns risk and the fate of the ACA. I often wonder if I'll have the courage to actually quit a high paying job with good benefits. There are some days when I feel optimistic about early retirement but then the stress/anxiety really sets in when I read various early retirement blogs and people in forums who don't count on social security in their retirement plans (they call it "gravy"). They don't rely on retirement planning tools like cfiresim and firecalc and prefer to use various self created spreadsheets. They feel that 3% is the new SWR but even that's probably not sustainable. They might even have a spouse that will continue to work and will provide health insurance.

So yes, I feel a lot of stress and anxiety because we could very well be retiring toward the end of the 2nd longest bull market in U.S. history, we're relying on ACA (with subsidies) for our health insurance, we use planning calculators like cfiresim, firecalc and Fidelity's retirement analysis, we are counting on at least some social security as part of our long term income and our withdrawal rate will be 3-3.5% annually.

But with that said, if you worry too much about market risk and legislative risk, taxes going up, social security going away, health insurance reverting back to pre ACA days and if you compare yourself to other FIRE bloggers who probably create elaborate spreadsheets to account for varying levels of inflation for different expenses, you will never feel like you can retire. You will feel like your stash has to be twice as big as it is now. This is how you fall into OMY syndrome.

If you over save and over plan, you lose your time and part of your life in the process and you'll never get that time back. The time spent doing work that you dont enjoy so you can have a stash big enough to overcome every possible scenario has a cost.

If you feel like you have a good plan in place and you're not just winging it, if your expenses are dialed in with some room to increase spending if necessary, if you'll remain flexible during a long retirement and possibly bring in some part time income someday (maybe in a job you really enjoy), then I say leave that job you don't like, don't fall into OMY syndrome.


This pretty much covers it...while it all seems so reasonable, there is no end to the second-guessing that can go on. I could put together a pretty strong case that we have over-saved and are wasting our still healthy years working, and I could put together a pretty strong case that we could use more cushion.

It is amazing just how varied seemingly reasonable perspectives can be on all this, in part because the assumptions made (and the things one pays attention to) can be so different, and of course because it is all so speculative...
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reformingSucka

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Re: FIRE Adding to Stress/Anxiety?
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2017, 12:33:49 PM »
+1 for finding a new job.

And I totally feel the stress/ anxiety of FIRE! Before, as a straight and arrow consumer sucka, I just spent whatever money I made after my bills were paid. I indulged in luxuries such as Starbucks and at times, have used restaurants a source of food instead of entertainment! I even drank my money - at happy hours with beers or wine that were "only" $8. But now, those things don't appeal to me. And the change didn't happen overnight, and some parts were just painful. Like telling co-workers or friends that I wasn't going to hang out at restaurant/bar - but I would be open to having a meal at home or tea, offering to cook.

What I have learned (and everyday is a practice) is that FI/RE mentality, much like life is a practice. And I don't subscribe to the idea that happiness is at the other side of FIRE. It isn't. FIRE is solving the financial security part - so that you can go out and explore all the other parts of what it means to be a human being not working 40-60 hours a week to continue riding the same hamster wheel everyday until you're 67.

So, aside from the new job... I guess my question to you would be: what little thing could you do today that will bring you joy? Maybe call someone you love and have a chat, or go for a long walk after work, or prepare a nice dinner or try a new recipe.


May2030

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Re: FIRE Adding to Stress/Anxiety?
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2017, 01:01:00 PM »
+1 for finding a new job.

And I totally feel the stress/ anxiety of FIRE! Before, as a straight and arrow consumer sucka, I just spent whatever money I made after my bills were paid. I indulged in luxuries such as Starbucks and at times, have used restaurants a source of food instead of entertainment! I even drank my money - at happy hours with beers or wine that were "only" $8. But now, those things don't appeal to me. And the change didn't happen overnight, and some parts were just painful. Like telling co-workers or friends that I wasn't going to hang out at restaurant/bar - but I would be open to having a meal at home or tea, offering to cook.

What I have learned (and everyday is a practice) is that FI/RE mentality, much like life is a practice. And I don't subscribe to the idea that happiness is at the other side of FIRE. It isn't. FIRE is solving the financial security part - so that you can go out and explore all the other parts of what it means to be a human being not working 40-60 hours a week to continue riding the same hamster wheel everyday until you're 67.

So, aside from the new job... I guess my question to you would be: what little thing could you do today that will bring you joy? Maybe call someone you love and have a chat, or go for a long walk after work, or prepare a nice dinner or try a new recipe.

This thread has just answered the question I did not know to ask and I now understand what I have been feeling. Great replies, thanks for posting everyone.

Away for a little joy.

tooqk4u22

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Re: FIRE Adding to Stress/Anxiety?
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2017, 01:27:19 PM »
You're not alone. We will likely FIRE in March 2018 but I often have sleepless nights thinking about sequence of returns risk and the fate of the ACA. I often wonder if I'll have the courage to actually quit a high paying job with good benefits. There are some days when I feel optimistic about early retirement but then the stress/anxiety really sets in when I read various early retirement blogs and people in forums who don't count on social security in their retirement plans (they call it "gravy"). They don't rely on retirement planning tools like cfiresim and firecalc and prefer to use various self created spreadsheets. They feel that 3% is the new SWR but even that's probably not sustainable. They might even have a spouse that will continue to work and will provide health insurance.

So yes, I feel a lot of stress and anxiety because we could very well be retiring toward the end of the 2nd longest bull market in U.S. history, we're relying on ACA (with subsidies) for our health insurance, we use planning calculators like cfiresim, firecalc and Fidelity's retirement analysis, we are counting on at least some social security as part of our long term income and our withdrawal rate will be 3-3.5% annually.

But with that said, if you worry too much about market risk and legislative risk, taxes going up, social security going away, health insurance reverting back to pre ACA days and if you compare yourself to other FIRE bloggers who probably create elaborate spreadsheets to account for varying levels of inflation for different expenses, you will never feel like you can retire. You will feel like your stash has to be twice as big as it is now. This is how you fall into OMY syndrome.

If you over save and over plan, you lose your time and part of your life in the process and you'll never get that time back. The time spent doing work that you dont enjoy so you can have a stash big enough to overcome every possible scenario has a cost.

If you feel like you have a good plan in place and you're not just winging it, if your expenses are dialed in with some room to increase spending if necessary, if you'll remain flexible during a long retirement and possibly bring in some part time income someday (maybe in a job you really enjoy), then I say leave that job you don't like, don't fall into OMY syndrome.


This pretty much covers it...while it all seems so reasonable, there is no end to the second-guessing that can go on. I could put together a pretty strong case that we have over-saved and are wasting our still healthy years working, and I could put together a pretty strong case that we could use more cushion.

It is amazing just how varied seemingly reasonable perspectives can be on all this, in part because the assumptions made (and the things one pays attention to) can be so different, and of course because it is all so speculative...

Totally get it....one minute I be like "Shit we have a ton of money how did we pull that off?"....literally next minute I be like "This won't be enough to get by on!"....sometimes I feel bipolar when it comes to money and FIRE.

Personally, I fall into the 3% SWR camp. Not bc I necessarily disagree with the 4% rule and sure a 3% WR is bulletproof historically but I would be lying if that was my basis for liking it. Nope, it simply makes me feel warm and fuzzy bc I like the idea that my portfolio can drop 25% and all I would need is 4% return after said drop is all that would be needed to cover my withdrawals. Sounds pretty ridiculous when I say it like that....oh well, I like being warm and fuzzy and don't like sweaters. hahaha

OP - switch jobs.