Retirement or “We Don’t Have To Work Anymore”

Friends of ours just invited us to their “We Don’t Have To Work Anymore” party!  It has been interesting to participate in their thought process as they got comfortable with this decision.

We hike with these friends–a lot.  So we have had hours of conversations about retirement and money.

He was a successful business owner who recently sold his business.  He was to stay on for a period of time but had some disagreements with the purchaser so they figured out a way for him to exit the business.

She has a consulting business that has slowed down in recent years.

So they both found themselves with time on their hands and not enough invested (they thought).

Their passion is photography–landscapes, wild animals and monks (random huh!) are their specialty.  Check out their photography blog to see some amazing pictures and even learn about how to take a great shot.  They may figure out a way to make some money from their hobby some day but know they can’t count on it yet.

They then decided “one of us needs to go back to work” I know that had to be a tough decision because they’ve had a similar level of flexibility to mine over the past months and if you told me I had to go back to work, I think I’d cry.

Though most of our friends (and even Mr. Ms. Liz) insist I will go back to work someday, it would need to be a really flexible, fun situation for me to consider it.  Of course, I think playing with Excel is fun so who knows!

After they decided one of them needed to find work, we took a hike where I was asking him if he was sure.

We had conversations about what expenses could be cut back–house cleaning, pool cleaning, lawn maintenance, etc.  I wanted them to think through all of these things, because given the choice between doing these chores myself and having to go back to work–I’d choose to do them myself.  I really tried to stress that everyone is different and has different priorities but . . .

Well, it’s only about $400 a month turned into – ok $400 x 12 is $4,800 a year and $4,800 a year divided by 4% is $120,000.  If you did them yourself, you’d need to save $120,000 less in order to retire.  High math when oxygen deprived on a hike but I think we got the numbers close.

Ultimately they decided to check in with their financial advisor and were surprised to learn they had enough!

But like my friend who took six home pregnancy tests before going to the obstetrician, they didn’t believe it.

So they plugged their numbers into Personal Capital and it said retire!

Then they consulted another advisor and he said retire!

So he decided they could retire.  But she didn’t believe it.

So Mr. Ms. Liz cleaned up our long-term financial model for them and they plugged their numbers in and it said retire!

Next thing you know, we are being invited to a “We Don’t Have To Work Anymore” party!

But, they’re hedging their bets–they’re unwilling to call it retirement because they suspect they will work again.  But it will be by choice rather than by necessity and what an amazing feeling that is.

Not all of us want to retire early.  Not all of us should retire early–many of my friends think I’m crazy.  But don’t we all deserve to have more choices?

I’m a planner–that’s my positive spin on being a worrier and a control freak.

In my most recent position, I thought through several difficult scenarios.  What if the company sold?  Or my bosses left or I had to work directly for someone else who I didn’t respect?  I had a great job with a great company and I couldn’t be sure I could recreate that with another company in our community.

A whole bunch of our lives are out of our control and even out of our circle of influence.  You really can only control your own preparation for and reaction to these situations.

One of the ways to prepare yourself is to stockpile some cash (and suitable investments).

Some of the people I follow in this blogosphere call it having F-you money (Jim Collins being one of the best).  When you have money working for you, you don’t always need to be working for money.  If something becomes objectionable at work, you can take a break from work and figure out what’s next–but only if you have stockpiled some money.

A stockpile of money gives you flexibility and more control over your life and, ultimately, less to worry about.

I’ll pass on some possessions in order to have flexibility and less to worry about.  How about you?

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Author: Ms. Liz

A CPA, I retired at 51 and I am helping people create their fantastic futures!

6 thoughts on “Retirement or “We Don’t Have To Work Anymore””

  1. New reader here. Great post and congrats to your friends! How do I get my hands on that long term financial model you referred to? I’d love to plug in some numbers and see what I’ll need so we too can have a “we don’t have to work anymore” party!

    1. Hi Michael–thanks for stopping by! I’d be happy to share the model with you and would welcome your feedback on it. Give me a day or so and watch your blog email.

  2. Love your blog Liz – keep the posts coming! We discovered Personal Capital a few weeks ago – a great financial tool. We aren’t retired but don’t “have” to work any more. – Jenny (in Costa Rica.)

    1. Jenny, thanks for your kind words! I’m glad you found Personal Capital–I especially like how I can see the average fees I’m paying on all of my mutual funds. Plus when the market is going up daily like it has been, it’s fun to quickly see my investment growth. You guys have definitely figured out your balance with not having to work anymore–mine is a work in progress! Enjoy Costa Rica–I look forward to hearing about your trip.

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