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FIRE update: six months in

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I have just reread my three-month ‘How’s FIRE1 going, then?’ update.

I seemed happy when I wrote it. I’m happy now! So far this thing has not grown old.

I was outed recently at a friend’s birthday. I was among peers I hadn’t seen for ages, but have known for years.

Word had gone round: TA is ‘retired’.

The responses?

  • WTF?”
  • “How does that work?”
  • “Are you really retired?”
  • “What do you do all day?”

Under this intense interrogation, I finally found a way of explaining FIRE that seemed more relatable:

You know when you’re on holiday at home? You don’t go anywhere fancy but spend more time with family and friends, doing the things you want to do.

The pace of life slows down, you relax, and even chores don’t seem so bad.

It’s like that. All the time.

Ding! That made sense to people. Now they could imagine it. Most of them had lived that for a few days over the summer and they wanted more.

Instead of puzzlement, I now got smiles. And stories about hiking trips to the Lakes, lunch dates with friends, and time to be yourself.

That last point struck home for me. I had a work persona that I donned like a suit of armour. The slings and arrows of the office mostly bounced off, but the odd potshot got through. Each hit taking another nick out of the me inside.

Wearing that persona made me feel hollow, like The Tin Man.

After a week off, I’d feel like I was just about emerging from the shell. Then I had to strap it back on and rejoin the fray.

Floating in space

I feel so much lighter now. I haven’t felt this free – or as excited about what’s around the corner – since I was a 21-year-old entering the workforce.

It’s amazing to have that feeling back. Tempered by grizzly/grisly experience, of course!

Mrs Accumulator and I met at uni. We’ve spent more time together this summer than at any point since those student days. That’s been wonderful.

Something that’s very little talked about is the emotional wrench of leaving your loved ones for 10 to 14 hours every day of the working week.

We don’t talk about it because we all do it. It’s normal. But it wasn’t so before the industrial age. I don’t think many people are really built for it, and that’s partly why Monday mornings feel soul-destroying.

We’re in Monday mourning for family bonds that cannot be replaced by office perks like a coffee bar or table football (because this workplace is sooo much fun!)

Now that’s in my past, I’m scaling the far side of the happiness U bend.

Rediscovering the lightness and sense of possibility from my youth is an unexpected gift.

Maybe now I can have another tilt at being an astronaut?

Okay, maybe not. But I can have breakfast in the garden just because it’s sunny.

Or enjoy a conversation with a neighbour because I don’t have to hurry.

And I’m not on the verge of a minor meltdown just because a bin bag burst, I’m knackered, and I can’t take it anymore.

Positivity overload

Too much? Don’t I have anything negative to report?

Or is FIRE like living in a Hovis advert, 24/7?

I’ve come to realise that I still need to protect my time a bit. Before financial independence I dreamed of endless days when I could do everything I wanted and still have time for tea.

Clearly though, that was the babbling delusion of a fantasist.

I can’t squeeze it all in and some of the wrong things have been squeezed out. My physical fitness has dropped off a cliff.

There was always a place for it in my work-life routine. Now that’s fallen apart I haven’t found a new slot for exercise.

So I need to sort that out.

Otherwise all that sustainable withdrawal rate (SWR) planning for a long and happy life will be for nowt. Tut-tut!

Take it steady,

The Accumulator

  1. Financial Independence Retire Early. []
{ 46 comments… add one }
  • 1 NewInvestor November 10, 2021, 9:59 am

    As someone who has had a fairly miserable week at work, it’s thoroughly uplifting to read your blogpost. Thanks!

    I can’t articulate how pleased I am too see how well it’s working out for you. It helps reassure me that I’m on the right path.

  • 2 Griff November 10, 2021, 10:39 am

    I enjoyed that. I’ve been working from home now since March 2020 and to be honest I’m finished for 9 o’clock most days (A.M) well, they want me back next week. Looks like I will be joining TA within the next few mths. I just can’t be bothered. Sad but True.

  • 3 Mike November 10, 2021, 10:50 am

    Thanks for the update TA, and glad you are enjoying life. I really hope you keep doing these and you let us know how you shape your life post-FIRE as it is great to hear how someone several years ahead of me on the curve is coping. I am probably a few years away from FIRE now but, like many in similar positions (I have a full time senior role in a large accountancy firm) am not quite sure exactly how I will cope with going from work to nothing – don’t have any major time consuming hobbies etc (in fact investing is my main one). My current thinking is ultimately to go 2 or 3 days a week for a while once I hit my number, which gives me time to figure things out without pulling the rip cord completely. I actually have the benefit of loving my job so no desperate need to stop work, just like the idea of it being optional, and being bale to have more time for other things. Really valuable to hear what other people’s plans are though, including yours and other commenters.

  • 4 Rosario November 10, 2021, 11:22 am

    Its odd that since I’ve become aware of the possibility of FIRE (in my mid 30’s) its actually made having to commute to a corporate job more difficult for me. That has been exacerbated by COVID over the last 18 months. I really enjoyed working from home, the return to the office 4 days a week much less so! Its made me see that I don’t dislike my job at all. Its the commute, presenteeism and being at someone else’s beck and call that I despise!

    I think your description of FIRE is absolutely spot on, being on holiday at home… the pace of life slowing down, relaxing, and even chores not seeming so bad. Its a great way to think about retirement. Even more than that though its an idea of how life should be lived. For everyone, not just those that are FI.

  • 5 FI-FireFighter November 10, 2021, 11:26 am

    Another great post and still spookily inline with what I have felt and experienced in the last 6 months.
    The same ‘outing’ scenario(s), although your response was better than mine ( I might borrow that now!)
    Similar responses as well, I was a tad concerned about peoples reactions, so far they have been positive.
    Some more curious than others, so I go with the flow with the questions and I am careful to not push anything. My default is always I am incredibly lucky to be in this position. Everyone seems to like that comment.
    My fitness has dropped off that same cliff, I think it’s due to my lack of routine. Having the freedom to choose what you are going to do each day and then changing that plan when you see the weather, means I do not have any kind of routine.
    But at 6 months I am still calling this the transition phase, I’ll get a routine, perhaps when some of my projects require more than just planning them sat at my desk.
    Note to self though, start the day with physical activity, then its done and I will feel all the better for it 🙂
    We are getting a puppy on Saturday ( sadly our previous dog died earlier this year), so I will have an all day play mate to get and keep me active 🙂

  • 6 The Investor November 10, 2021, 11:28 am

    @Mike @Rosario — I won’t hijack @TA’s thread too much, but here’s my regular reminder that for some of us (and it sounds like you may be among them) a huge amount of the benefit people talk about from FIRE can be got by radically reshaping what and how you work:


    The title of this post seems quaint post-Covid, but the general idea is if you like/love what you do and appreciate the income, find a way to do it with more freedom and control, even if it means a cost to your overall earning capacity. (Remember you’re setting this option against earning little to nothing with old school FIRE).

    You won’t get all the benefits of retiring early – you’ll still work, you’ll still have stresses, sometimes you’d rather be somewhere else – but if you can find the right balance you might be glad work is still in your life and even £15,000 income is equivalent to about a £500,000 retirement pot at a 3% SWR, so you can see how valuable it is.

    On the other hand, if you’re someone who really wants out and can make it work like @TA has done for him, by all means go for it! 🙂

    Okay, back to the scheduled programming.

  • 7 Damian November 10, 2021, 11:40 am

    Loved the update and the fact that you are enjoying it, 6 months in

    As you know, I’m still a bit further off FIRE (and much more mentally than financially) but perhaps will come round over the next few years!

    Keep them coming!

  • 8 Chris Hoskins November 10, 2021, 12:15 pm

    I sold my business after 25 years and retired (fairly) early.

    I initially found the transition strange but adapted fairly quickly. One thing I missed were my colleagues and clients. My wife had already been volunteering, helping with a forest school (she was a teacher) and persuaded me to sign up with the landscape volunteers there.

    It’s only one day a week and if I want to skip a day it’s never an issue. It’s just physical work, bonfires, clearing undergrowth etc but what great is the team of people I work with. An opportunity to swap stories, exchange advice, discuss current affairs and experiences with a new electric car.

    It adds a sense of purpose and achievement which is worthwhile to your general mental outlook.

    Give it a go

  • 9 Rosario November 10, 2021, 12:17 pm

    @TI Absolutely agree.

    I should have included in my original post that I have a plan to do just that. I am mindful of my options in that regard and am planning to make a shift at some point.

    Presently though I am of a mind that the income is worth the sacrifice. However that will become more and more marginal.

  • 10 theFIREstarter November 10, 2021, 12:35 pm

    +1 on the physical/health slide phenomenon! 🙂

    I’m now about 18 months into my semi-FI and finally getting a hold on it again. I joined the local squash club and have been running again slightly more regularly (have signed up for a few running events early next year), and when start the physical exercise I find you automatically start to eat a bit better as well as you are more conscious of it all.

    I still find I have almost zero time for myself though, but… young children. Hah 🙂

  • 11 fingeek November 10, 2021, 12:41 pm

    Good to hear it’s still going well! I took a “test retirement year” off a little while ago. Similarly the first 3 months were amazing (detox from burnout). From 3-6 months it was great, I found a bit of a groove, caught up with all the house things and bits n pieces I wanted to do. Then… the lack of structure and purposey stuff started to get to me. I realised I didn’t quite have the discipline to do the things I expected to do – meet up with friends, exercise, maybe do a side-business. After 12 months I went back to work out of boredom as it happens.

    So for me, it was a little test/temporary retirement that I really really needed. But then I was pretty happy to go back to work. The big clichéd learning for me was this: Make sure you have something to retire TO, not retire from, otherwise you will end up floating along.

    Hope you found your retire-to, and all the best!

  • 12 never give up November 10, 2021, 1:49 pm

    I continue to be delighted with how well it’s going for you. I can’t believe it’s been six months! That is a really good period of time to get out of the old work routine. I see exercise as a major part of my post-FIRE daily routine, so I hope you are able to build this in as a natural occurrence rather than something you have to make time for.

    I’m plodding on but am reassured from your post that I too will enjoy life post-FIRE. The slower paced life, with emphasis on quality rather than quantity, and embracing activities to their fullest really appeals. I don’t see retirement as one big holiday, or a constant splurging like a big kid with money and lots of time! Many of my interactions with people outside of the FIRE world seem to regard retirement in this way.

    My annual expenses have averaged £9k a year since I found FIRE four years ago and I immediately embraced the passive approach to investing, having been previously scared of the stock market. I have Monevator and MMM to thank here. I had forecast 2% growth in my ISA and 3% in my DC pension when I formulated my initial plan. Returns have been crazily higher than this.

    As a result I now find myself in a place I don’t quite understand! FI is now potentially much closer than I could have dared believe, but rather than excitement I find myself fearful that 2017-2021 especially, may turn out to be a terrible time to have poured into index funds with a high savings rate. (I appreciate it’s benefitted me of course, but a 40% fall and 15 years to recover would obviously hurt! There’s my fear coming through again!)

    What I do now have of course is flexibility and this is where TI’s excellent comment comes in. The obvious way to avoid big crash worries is to work part time for a few years, leaving the grind and grabbing more free time now, while keeping an income coming in. My post-FIRE expenses are based on £15-£16k but as I have survived on a base level of £9k, then surely it makes sense to do something to keep this amount coming in until the age of 55 or something (currently 43). I’m kind of working to securing FI from 50, and use part time to make up the gap, rather than FIREing at 47ish. I think I need to read your Christmas 2019 debate again!

  • 13 Tom-Baker Dr Who November 10, 2021, 2:03 pm

    @TA – Thanks for the update. I have been really enjoying reading them. Uplifting and inspirational! They help reassuring me that FIRE dreams can come true in practice. All the more timely, as I think I can see the light at the end this long tunnel finally getting closer around this coming Spring!

  • 14 Mike November 10, 2021, 2:45 pm

    Thanks @TI, and I agree that may be what it ends up looking like for me in due course. Related to that, one thing that I have been thinking about a lot lately (not strictly on topic for this post-FIRE blog but FIRE related) is that once the size of your pot reaches a certain level, the relative benefit of your earnings decreases since (at least in theory) much of the legwork towards your FIRE number is then achieved by investment growth. So, for example for me, I reckon I could be FI in about 6 years by continuing in full time employment, but if I went 3 days per week today and assumed say 5% investment returns on my pot, it would take me around 9 years, so 3 years longer, but I would have enjoyed over 3 year’s worth of days off during that 9 year period. I am currently not making that choice, but it is nice to know it is there and I can see the rationale for taking that rout, as you get to enjoy some of that freedom now, which has various potential positives (eg younger and fitter now, kids are young now, I am definitely alive now versus taking the risk I will survive to see this retirement in 6 year’s time). Lots to ponder.

  • 15 Sorab Shroff November 10, 2021, 3:09 pm

    Great post and it was a joy to read that the ‘lightness’ continues to be felt 🙂

  • 16 slg November 10, 2021, 4:10 pm

    It is great to read your reflections after FIRE. I wish you a long and happy life.

    I am unsuited to donning a suit of armour for work and leaving the ones I love for 10-14 hours a day. I managed to avoid that groove by never finding a career path to commit to. I am through “small children” phase now and “all-in” on the adventure of life and am redesigning my career around that to make things better.

  • 17 The Bonce November 10, 2021, 4:45 pm

    Superb post, TA, as ever! The phrase ‘Each hit taking another nick out of the me inside. Wearing that persona made me feel hollow, like The Tin Man’ particularly hit home to me. Spot on!
    Great to hear that you are enjoying your well deserved retirement. I’m a bit further along the track than you, and regarding keeping fit and healthy, I have found that by joining a local Sports Centre it has bought both health and social benefits. In fact, the majority of our social life now revolves around a group of us that have get to know each other through the Sports Centre. My advice would be to stay away from the gym / running machines, etc. – too boring and too much scope for making excuses not to go. I have found the secret is to join exercise classes (circuit training, body pump, kettle bells, boot camp, HIIT, etc.). You HAVE to be there at the prescribed start time, and I find the communal vibe of everyone participating together makes it far more enjoyable than singularly grinding away on a running machine. Good luck and please keep the updates coming!

  • 18 Jim McG November 10, 2021, 6:18 pm

    Good to hear you’re still in the “Hello trees!” stage 🙂 I’m six months in to my retirement, and I also found asking the question, “What do you like doing on holiday?” useful to put in context what I’d like to do with retirement. For me, however, the gym and exercise has been a lifesaver – golf, cycling, walking, swimming and so on. If nothing else, going to the gym, doing some exercise and then having a coffee in the cafe can provide a refreshing change of scene. Plus I’m making an effort to actually talk to fellow gym members (I never “had time” for that when I was working!) I’m also trying not to give myself a hard time when I find myself bored – and sometimes I still do find myself bored. It’s still better than being bored at work, and it’s a great problem to have if that’s the only problem I have. I’m looking forward to “working more at retirement”, finding more things to do and expanding my social circle on top of the many other benefits you’ve outlined. My acid test is going to be if I’m offered a job that seems quite attractive. I liked work and still miss some aspects of it…..

  • 19 Wodger November 10, 2021, 6:53 pm

    If you’re into cycling, joining your local club and putting your name down for group rides is a good way to schedule regular exercise. My local club organises a wide choice of group rides on at least four days every week. It’s an especially good way to motivate yourself to keep riding outside over the colder months!

  • 20 weenie November 10, 2021, 6:55 pm

    Thanks TA, after a tough day at work, this was a wonderful and uplifting read!

    An inspiration for those of us still with our noses to the grindstone!

  • 21 Tom-Baker Dr Who November 10, 2021, 7:06 pm

    @TA – As to physical exercise, you will find that it can be quite addictive. To get addicted to it though, you must develop the habit (pun intended). Once you force yourself to do it a few times a week, always at the same time of the day, you will want to carry on no matter the weather.

  • 22 The Investor November 10, 2021, 8:06 pm

    @Jim McG — Didn’t the gym feature heavily in Round One of FIRE for you…? 🙂 I give you six months 😉 😉

  • 23 SparkleBee November 10, 2021, 8:44 pm

    Glad you are enjoying your retirement. Wow, 6 months just flies by.
    I am 22 months into my ‘fire break’. (I intent getting some part time work at some point)
    Covid lockdowns hit 3 months into my ‘break’ so I found it hard to relax but now I am getting there. Now things are getting back towards a normal pattern, I am more relaxed. I am starting to enjoy it to the extent that I do not want to go back to work. I can continue my ‘fire break’ without work at the moment, which is great, so I will continue to enjoy it.

    I make exercise part of my day. I try to cycle at least 3 times a week and on the other days I will fit walking into the day. If I need food, I will walk/cycle to buy it. If I am meeting up with someone I will try to make it somewhere so I can either walk or cycle there. This means I get a reasonable exercise quota in for the week. I try to fit things around the exercise so it naturally appears within the day. It feels a bit forced at the start but soon becomes second nature.
    I much prefer that to the gym any day.
    Keep posting updates as it is great to read your experiences of a post FIRE life.

  • 24 BillD November 10, 2021, 9:29 pm

    Great to read your update and that things are going well. I’m 9 months in myself. I’m with you on the exercise thing. I have realised I need to build in regular exercise, I was never one for the gym and never will be. When I was working I used to walk 1.5 miles each way to the office every work day, so I had something built in. Also lunchtime walks to just get out of there. I found working in a town where you absolutely want to avoid using a car due to roads being gridlocked makes for a lot of walking. All that gone now and mostly away from the town place and living rural so I do country walks and cycle rides but it is a bit sporadic. Sometimes I meet another retired friend at a nature reserve and we walk around and have a coffee there. I’d really like to get into going swimming regularly if I can find a decent place with a pool. That said on the exercise, I found I’ve actually lost weight – at least 10Kg on our scales. When I was working I had canteen lunches and was part of a captive audience for cake sales and the inevitable office birthday cakes, so that may be it. It seems I have had to tighten my belt in early retirement, but not in the way I thought I would need to!

  • 25 Chris K November 10, 2021, 9:32 pm

    Congrats TA! Found this blog recently and am really digging it. It sounds like you are really loving your new life, especially the amount of “time-freedom” you can now enjoy! You worked hard to get to this point, enjoy it.

    I love reading updates like this from writers like you. I left the corporate world 6 months ago to pursue self-employment full-time and it’s amazing how the little like “having breakfast in the garden just because it is sunny” are. I think a big challenge is staying grateful for these opportunities and not taking them for granted as time goes on. While I still often fight the nagging feeling of “I should be doing this, or I could be doing that for my business,” I relate emotionally to many of the thoughts you shared in this post.

    Will you keep these updates coming? You are a vivid writer and folks on the FIRE path love reading true stories “from the other side” 🙂

  • 26 JimJim November 11, 2021, 7:57 am

    Jealous as hell @TA 🙂
    … And not helpful at the moment. I am in limbo, not retired and – on paper- FI when the money hits the bank. My dads estate is the straw that will tip the balance, and, although it is not a large straw, it is a chicken not hatched. (Ooo, a delightful mixed metaphor, I am proud and embarrassed at the same time)
    Work has dinted my armour so much this academic year, and the workload has been so onerous with a 25% staff absence rate that stopping around is hard work and takes a fair bit of willpower.
    Everything I read at the moment is tempting me to turn around to a manager and say F****t. Colleagues who have crossed the Rubicon recently are espousing the delightful nature of the green grass on the other side (there I go again!). Perhaps the only thing that keeps me turning up at the moment is a self imposed duty to my charges, a few of which are worthwhile and eager to learn.
    Limbo sucks. sucks harder than porridge through a straw.
    I need to sort my head out or go.
    Still, I love hearing the tails from the other side, especially yours… I do hope those are not Sirens on that rock over there 🙂

  • 27 FI-FireFighter November 11, 2021, 9:27 am

    @JimJim – You have my full sympathy and understanding of how you feel and what you are going through at work.
    It sounds very similar to my final years.
    A significant thing that kept me sane (and going back each day) was knowing when it it would end. I had a date to look forward to.
    If you can clear your head for a weekend, speak to those who you trust, check your figures and set a date. It might be this year or next or further away, but having the exit known can help on those difficult days.
    I even had a countdown app, instead of banging my head on the table (or screaming at the inept senior manager and their inane comments) I just looked down at the app and saw the date getting closer and closer.
    It was also motivating knowing I was about to exit and the senior manager(s) didn’t have a clue.
    Good luck.

  • 28 Jim McG November 11, 2021, 10:17 am

    @TI – hmm, yes the gym did figure a lot on my first attempt at FIRE, now you mention it. You’d think after all this time and effort I’d be fitter or would have lost some weight! I’ve been busy this week so far so today’s a “rest day” from exercise. I’ve nothing planned and am really appreciating the luxury of having the day to myself to do whatever I please. In fact, I may head into town and have a cheeky afternoon pint just because I can – and maybe pen a restart to my retirement blog while I’m there, as I keep meaning to do!

  • 29 Al Cam November 11, 2021, 11:35 am

    Good stuff @TA.
    FWIW, I have observed that time dilation (not the relativity take, but rather the feeling that the years roll by quicker as you age) seems ever more real!

  • 30 Tom-Baker Dr Who November 11, 2021, 12:56 pm

    @Al Cam #29 – I am not sure why but I have been experiencing the opposite: time seems to be crawling to a halt with days taking eons to end. Perhaps it is the count down to finally be able to FIRE, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel at last approaching? If you don’t mind me asking, did you feel time passing slower just before crossing the FIRE finishing line?

  • 31 The Accumulator November 11, 2021, 1:25 pm

    Thank you all for the best wishes! The community really helped me when I was on the long road to FI. I’m glad to be able to pay something back.

    @ Mike – I think the 2-3 day route is well worth trying – especially if you love your job. As TI and fingeek note, having some weekly structure is gold dust.

    @ Rosario – absolutely spot on. It’s the corporate BS that really wears thin.

    @ FI-Firefighter – +1 for changing plans based on the weather. That’s strangely important in this country. There are some beautiful days in November that beg to be enjoyed. Then there’s pissy grey days that beg to be written off in a flurry of re-grouting the tilework or whatever.

    It’s strange, but the question I don’t get is: “how’s it done?”

    Good luck with the puppy! You’ll have your hands full now 🙂

    @ Chris Hoskins – your forest school work is inspiring. I hope to find my version of that in time.

    @ theFIREstarter – I’m the same. I enjoy exercise but if I lose my routine then it goes to hell for ages before I get my grip again. Squash is a great idea!

    @ fingeek – it sounds like you learned a lot from your experience. It also sounds like you had the self-awareness to know maybe retirement wasn’t right for you yet, hence the test drive? I completely agree with ‘retiring-to’ something. That was the critical lesson from a couple of ‘how to retire’ books I read (they were written for traditional 65+ retirements.)

    @ never give up – You’ve done incredibly well to plane your expenses down to £9K a year. That’s ERE levels of frugality.

    Are you 100% in equities? If so, then transitioning to a greater bond allocation can help you deal with the fear. The calamity of a crash setting you back a decade or more is mitigated if you recognise you now have something to protect and need to take some risk off the table.

    That crash will happen we just don’t know when. Going all out for the finish line at 100% equities isn’t worth the risk. Especially because, at very high saving levels, it’s your savings rate that’s doing most of the work.

    I struggled to take risk off the table, too. The market was going great guns and I was still some years from the line. But the fear of what I could lose was building. Then, as he periodically does, TI nudged me with a timely comment, and that intervention pushed me to de-risk.

    Looking back with hindsight the big crash didn’t come – though there were two scary corrections. I’d have more paper wealth now if I was 100% equities. But I don’t care. I got everything I wanted.

    @ The Bonce and Wodger – those both sound like great ways to motivate myself. Like Chris’ forest school, community fused with exercise is eudamaimonic alchemy.

    @ Jim McG – “Good to hear you’re still in the “Hello trees!” stage” – love this! What do you think of the 2-3 days a week solution? And yes, about that blog update… 😉

    @ Weenie – Cheers! I look forward to reading the post when you finally frisbee that grindstone away.

    @ Tom-Baker Dr Who – Some of my happiest moments occur when I’m playing football or cycling but I’ve never found exercise addictive. I know some people do but – for me – it needs to be part of my routine, or I need an external motivation. Community really works for me.

    Sadly, I knocked football on the head when I left work. Hard to believe because I’ve loved kicking a ball for 45 years or so.

    @ SparkleBee – sounds like you’re having a whale of a time! Some of the best FIRE days have been when I’ve cycled 20 miles to see a friend. That’s when you really realise how lucky you are to have the time to do what you want.

    @ BillD – so much of your experience chimes with me. I’m glad it’s going well for you. Exercise has become sporadic for me too, whereas it used to be built in. That’s what I’m struggling with.

    @ Chris K – very happy you’re enjoying the blog and well done on making the leap to self-employment. Did lockdown trigger the move? I couldn’t agree more about staying grateful. I guess we humans are programmed to take things for granted so I’ll need to work on that.

    Re: the writing. Yes, I think I’ll keep it up so long as TI is happy I’m onboard. It’s another thing that I enjoy much more now that I’ve got time to breathe.

    @ JimJim – your straw chicken did make me laugh. Hopefully it’ll come home to roost soon.

    @ Al Cam – same! FIRE time doesn’t seem any slower either 🙂

    @ Tom and JimJim pt 2 – fantasising about pulling the plug definitely got me through much of the last six months. At the same time, I got very impatient too. My tolerance for BS fell to a new all-time low.

  • 32 Al Cam November 11, 2021, 1:59 pm

    @TA (#31):
    IMO, RE time – like time before RE – is ever quicker too.
    For example, I sometimes cannot believe I am almost 5 years down the RE line; whereas at the start of my working life 5 years seemed like an eternity. I vividly recall struggling to answer “what do you want to be doing in 5 years time” type of appraisal questions!

    @Tom-Baker Dr Who (#30):
    Not sure if this will be any help to you, but …..
    My final approach to RE was perhaps a bit unusual in that I agreed to stay on until some things were “sorted”. This inevitably took longer than initially foreseen, but then it all really happened – in the way I wanted it to – at a fair old lick at the very end. Perhaps this should have been frustrating, but I do not recall it being particularly so.

  • 33 SirRik November 11, 2021, 2:14 pm

    Thank you TA, it is always interesting to read about your ‘journey’. It makes us wonder (‘us’ as: many of your readers) how our jurney will be… I think one day, I’m partially joking now, you will have to write an article about your neighbours; I’m interested about their comments. I imagine something like: “I’ve been told he won the lottery, he doesn’t work anymore…” and the other replying: “Somebody told me he was fired in the the company where he was…”. Something like that?!? 😉 😉 🙂 🙂 Greetings from Venezia to you and readers!

  • 34 Tom-Baker Dr Who November 11, 2021, 2:38 pm

    @Al Cam #32 – Thanks. This is very similar to the approach I have been taking so far. Would be great if I could convince Jodie Whittaker to lend me the Tardis for one last time 😉

    @TA #31 – Perhaps you are one of those rare people who don’t get addicted to Endorphins then 😉

    I stopped playing football too a few years ago. I got fed up with always being chosen as the goalie.

  • 35 never give up November 11, 2021, 2:59 pm

    @TA (#31) – Thank you for your thoughts. As great as Monevator has been in helping me escape my fears of investing, my natural powers of cautiousness (what a power to have!) have prevented me from ever being 100% in stocks. I’m wiping my brow and feel like a lie down just from the very thought of that allocation! Funnily enough, I have recently de-risked a little even though I wasn’t ever more than 80% stocks anyway.

    1. For my pre-55 pot I’m following your liability matching approach (from the Pension/ISA split series) and am 100% cash/cash like.

    2. Because of the uncertainty over pension access age (shakes fist in the general direction of Westminster) I have a separate age 55-58 ISA pot invested in LifeStrategy 40. I haven’t followed the liability matching approach here as this is a bit further away and the impact of inflation the highest. It will be moved to cash as I get into my 50’s.

    3. My DC Pension is currently around 75% stocks. I was about 85% a week or so ago but started to feel a bit queasy at recent gains, and realising that I only need enough. I hadn’t rebalanced in a while. I’m not trying to accumulate for the sake of it and reducing the potential downside suits my personality.

    The first pots role is a curious one for early retirees. It very much strikes at the heart of your FIRE debate, your post this week and TI and other commentators thoughts on part time work and other flexible working options. These can all help negotiate that 45-55 phase (or earlier of course). I am starting to veer towards delaying FI in order to get some time back now. If I’m ahead of schedule, then why not spread what I need to earn over more years and escape the full time grind several years earlier.

    Depending how I wake up in the morning I can see this either way! It’s as if I have two little never give ups on my shoulder telling me to FI as soon as possible versus go part time now. The trouble is I have no idea which one is the angel and which one is the devil!

  • 36 Al Cam November 11, 2021, 3:03 pm

    @Tom-Baker Dr Who (#34):
    Well there is your challenge then!
    Managing your exit to a mutually satisfactory conclusion is really the name of the game. IMO, this is by far the best way to go having seen the other side of that coin.

  • 37 Dave s November 11, 2021, 3:44 pm

    Good morning. Very much enjoy your writing. Retired fully last December. The idea of dropping the office persona was an aha moment for me. It is absolutely true but I had not realized or verbalized it. So thanks! Cheers

  • 38 JimJim November 11, 2021, 5:23 pm

    @FI-FireFighter, @TI.
    The date is nailed to the wall already as Mrs JimJim has booked a trip away during term time next year and I have my orders to be “retired” (whatever that may mean) by then. I am not letting on at work, who knows, a timely redundancy offer may come along to give me a shove out the door 🙂
    @TA, and @TI… If you ever get up to the Lake District, I feel I owe you both a pint.

  • 39 Living Cheap In London November 11, 2021, 5:49 pm

    Sounds divine @TA.

    Depends where you’re based in London, & I’m not sure if you’re a cyclist, but if you ever fancy a bike ride during the day out to Kent I go out most Mondays if the weather is dry, such is the joy of working PT.

  • 40 xxd09 November 11, 2021, 7:42 pm

    Just some words of encouragement -you will get there and survive!
    It can be done
    18 years retired-fired at 57
    From a 24/7 job-that filled the day completely
    Initially wonderful-phone stopped ringing -got my life back etc
    Then did a few months work for a couple of days a week
    More hassle and a tie than the worth of it -financially not needed but a useful mental transition to complete retirement
    Live in the country so could now exercise every day -walking-got much fitter
    Then managed as well to travel the world twice a year in the winter-will this option come again?
    Now 75 -getting slower but main retirement techniques remain in place
    Regular exercise-you feel better
    Travel-as required-abroad if poss or U.K. only-
    Social life in the gaps-family etc
    Wife and I remain fit luckily but this won’t last forever
    It was good to have been able to do so much travel together

  • 41 Naeclue November 11, 2021, 8:17 pm

    Good to hear how you are getting on. Fitness was an issue for me initially as I used to cycle to work about 7 miles each way every day. Took up swimming, pilates and yoga once I realised I needed more exercise.

    What a great sequence of return you have experienced so far with the world market up about 15%!

  • 42 The Accumulator November 12, 2021, 10:09 am

    @ Al Cam – I didn’t have a good answer for “where do you want to be in 5 years time?” questions either. Especially once on the FI path. The blunt response would have been: “Outta here!”

    @ SirRik – I hope things are well in beautiful Venezia! Haha. I bet you’re right – there will be rumours. It doesn’t look so odd to be at home in the age of COVID, so maybe that gives me some cover. I might start a rumour that I’ve been brainwashed by a cult run by a man with a massive moustache.

    @ Never Give Up – it sounds like you’re already making the right moves. I’ve always found fear to be a great motivator too. They say the heart rules the head. It turns out it’s the gut 😉

    Love the idea of two little Never Give Ups.

    Because I worked in a declining industry I decided to go all out for FI on a full-time basis. I sensed the clock ticking and felt I couldn’t risk taking longer to hit the number on a part-time ticket. Still, PT is a great solution if you have the option.

    @ JimJim – That’s great news that you’re so close now. I can just imagine you snapping their hand off if the redundancy offer comes. Don’t look too keen!

    I have wonderful memories of the Lakes, I may just take you up on that pint some day 🙂

    @ Living Cheap – that’s a lovely idea! I am a cyclist but quite far from London. Would probably take me 3 days to cycle there 🙂

    @ Naeclue – a 14-mile round-trip cycling commute was the bedrock of my fitness too. You’re not wrong about those markets! Only a decade or so to get out of the danger zone 😉

  • 43 The Investor November 12, 2021, 10:46 am

    RE: Summoning motivations for FIRE, there’s an interesting dichotomy in the (pop) psychology that divides people into two broad camps – we move towards things, or we move away from things.

    For instance, do you actively go out on a Saturday night because you love the bustle and socializing, or do you go out because you don’t like being alone at home?

    Do you diet and join a gym because you want to be buff and fit, or do you want to avoid being unhealthy and dying too soon?

    Do you get married and have kids because you long for a partner and children, or because you don’t want to be different from your friends and family.

    I’m probably not giving great examples above (at least sometimes the two types would do *different* things) but I think you get the point.

    There’s something of this in the FIRE blogs and so on I’ve read. Some people are motivated by a life of freedom. Others are motivated by escape from the office.

    I leave it as an exercise for the reader to speculate which is the most conducive (‘greed or fear’, we could put it very imperfectly) for both getting to FIRE and life afterwards. 🙂

    Obviously most people would have elements of both in their mix.

  • 44 Tom-Baker Dr Who November 12, 2021, 12:07 pm

    @TI #43 – I have always been in the ‘moving towards things’ camp. After spending about 10 years in academia, I decided that what I really wanted in life was to become a modern day equivalent of a gentleman scientist. For those who don’t know what I mean, I think the most famous example of a gentleman scientist is Charles Darwin. But he was the modern day equivalent of a billionaire! I on the other hand, could not rely on any billionaire (not even a millionaire one!) inheritance, just wanted to become FI to fund my own research. So I left academia to become an investment bank quant with the explicit aim of saving enough to be able to one day fund my own research. In the meantime, I supported my family, got my kids to university, and got a house. Also the job turned out to be a nice compromise though now it’s not as interesting as it used to be.

    There are a few modern day gentleman scientists, if you are wondering. Two examples that come to mind now are David Deutsch and Julian Barbour. Julian, by the way, is one of my heros. I had the privilege to talk to him a long time ago, when I was considering my FI plan, and he kindly advised me and encouraged me.

  • 45 Ownitall November 12, 2021, 12:30 pm

    I pulled the trigger a couple of months after TA having deferred it for a year due to the pandemic hitting – with the world frozen seemed like I might as well.

    A few months before my long planned trigger I had a shock health diagnosis that statistically will rob me of 10 years. While I planned on attending to health more anyway, I did it with far more rigour, perhaps slight obsession. I’ve found that, above all else, it structures my days but with flexibility (if sunny, then outside!). With restrictions lifting I started doing group sessions and classes which has provided a new social circle and not a forced one like the corporate world.

    I got approached to do a small bit of work and said only if I can fit it around my other commitments would I do it – the other way round from before pulling the trigger. I can’t imagine doing conventional work on any other basis now.

    I tend to say I am now working for myself when it comes up in discussion. As I’ve done that before, there are rarely any follow up questions. One could say this is masking the full truth somewhat, but on the other hand is not any productive endeavour work?

  • 46 never give up November 13, 2021, 11:39 am

    @TA (#42) – Yes my gut seems to take the lead too!

    My job is definitely threatened by automation but I think I have enough time to go part time beforehand. I’ll see what my head, heart, gut and big toe make of things next year 🙂

    @TI (#43) – Your comments often leave me with a lot to think about. I always feel I learn something or at the very least end up looking at something in a completely different way. That one will take me a while to chew over.

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