Other People’s Fear

Well as I  enter the last year of my full time working career (I hope), I’m starting to notice a new emotion in other well meaning people around me: fear.

After all I have already told some of my family members a bit of what I’m planning on doing.  It’s not like I blog under another name so they could always find out the details anyway, so I’ve open to my family with my plans at least in general terms.  I usually don’t bother getting into too much detail in the more extended family.

Yet now when I’m mentioning I could be done before the end of this year, it suddenly becomes real for those around me and I get the usual well meaning concerns like:

  • Are you sure you have enough saved?
  • What happens if you don’t get a part time job?
  • What will you do with unexpected expenses?
  • Maybe you should work just one more year?

Of course I short of do an internal giggle at these questions as I have already asked myself those exact questions.  After all this whole leaving you job thing to live off your investments is a bit like jumping off a cliff.  You can’t stop it once it’s started so you need to be very sure on what you are doing before leaping off.

Depending on the person I will try to answer those questions, but of course I realize that with some people I can give all the answers they want, but I can’t stop another person’s fear.  By the way the answers are:

  • Are you sure you have enough saved? I’m mostly sure.  I can’t be completely positive because of the number of variables involved, but that is okay since I already have a number of backup plans in case things don’t turn out.
  • What happens if you don’t get a part time job?  Short term this isn’t a problem as I’m saving our expenses for the first six months.  Longer term I have lots of options for bringing in some extra money and keep in mind I don’t need this money for anything immediate like groceries.  It’s for vacations.  Worst case, if things go very badly I can go back to full time job for a few more years to build up more money.
  • What will you do with unexpected expenses?  The same thing I do now.  Pay them from the emergency fund or put them on a line of credit to spread out the impact.  Also depending on what happens, like something breaking in the house  I will have a lot of time to fix some things myself.
  • Maybe you should work just one more year? I’ve considered that and I may do it if for example the stock market does another 2008 crash or other horrible event occurs.  I’m willing to be flexible if things happen and adjust my plans accordingly.  After all I’m not locked into this plan until I provide official notice of my retirement at my job.

I like to hope the fact I’m very calm when discussing these things helps put people at ease, but ultimately they have to find the source of their own fear and face it.  I can’t do that for another person.  I can merely help them discuss the issues in their heads and put them a bit more at ease.

Perhaps the one thing that gets people is I’m aware of the flaws in my plan.  I fully admit I may not have enough saved to head into semi-retirement.  But I don’t want to live a life based on fear of the unknown.  I’m willing to try out something new and see what happens.  Yes things can go wrong, but they can also go right as well.  In the end, I live in a world of hope rather than fear.  Time will tell if that is a smart point of view or not.

9 thoughts on “Other People’s Fear”

  1. We can only plan so much before we just have to trust, jump out of the plane and pull the parachute chord.

    You sound like you’re in fantastic shape. Much better off than people actually retiring with only $100K saved….

    If need be, beans and rice are always an option 🙂

  2. Yeah I agree too you should not worry, everything is going to be Allright. In fact I don’t know a lot of people who have a big money cushion like yours ever in their lives.

    Retirees I know all told me life got less expensive when stopping working and be abl to repair everything by themselves etc.

    You cannot plan more than this. And I don’t think more money will kill all the fear of the people or ourselves

    Man you got just a few months to work, must be exciting!

  3. I’m no where near being at the retirement benchmark, but there aren’t too many people I tell about my plans.

    By the look on some people’s faces you would swear I was a delusional psych patient or something. People just don’t think it’s possible, but all that matters is that you’ve got the confidence that you’ll make it no matter what. Even if there are bumps in the road or things don’t go according to plan, if you’ve got the confidence that you’ll figure it out, that’s all that really matters.

    Congrats on planning your escape! Hopefully I won’t be too far behind…

  4. The first four bullet points in your post sums it up beautifully!

    I made the leap out of my burnout job 2 years ago now and haven’t looked back. Mid-40’s and TRULY loving life for what feels like the first time. I’m still ‘working’ (for a lot less $) but it’s at something I enjoy and as my own boss. Sure, the questions arise from time to time, but when I look back at how much healthier and happier I’ve been over the past couple of years, the doubt quickly dissipates.

    Good luck reaching your milestone!

  5. Hi Tim

    I am definitely suffering from the OMY syndrome. Turn 50 in a couple of months, 3 teenage kids and live in a relatively expensive part of Canada…vancouver !Also both wife and I grew up in Scotland, which instills a certain amount of financial wariness !

    Taking a 6 month sabbatical beginning July this year and hope to get some clarity about way forward during that time.

    Enjoy your Blog very much

  6. Sometimes if friends/relatives realize you have a large nest egg (sufficient to allow you to retire early) they may expect you to pick up the tab, give extravagant gifts, be available for a loan. Make sure that’s part of your plan before you open up too much.

  7. Hi Tim, I’ve been reading your blog and am really intrigued by your story. I have my own newly start blog http://www.freedomlifeplanning.com that touches on a lot of these same topics.

    While you may have all your expenses covered, I think it is important to have a lot of conservatism in your calculations to account for the unknown. Maybe your side income could slow down? Maybe there is another 2008.

    The other thing is if you separate your luxury spending from your needs, you have quick areas to cut back if this don’t go accordingly to plan right away.

    I look forward to continuing to follow your story!

  8. You seem to be good shape and you’re right that you can’t worry about or control the fear that others have. What’s more challenging is when you are FI but your spouse is the one with the fear! I’m working to convince her that everything will be fine (even great!) while continuing to work and save more than we need because I want the transition to be positive, not full of anxiety for her. Regardless, you’re spot on that so much of this is psychological and fear is a dominant emotion in people. Thanks.

  9. Pull the pin. You will never know unless you try it – and you can always go back to work if you wish. There are tons of part-time jobs out there. Even so, as long as you are not too proud you probably could have a job of some kind in under a week no matter where you live in Canada. We pulled the pin and started our own business which was always a dream of hubby’s. Four years later it employs both of us which was not the original plan but it worked. Good luck to you

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