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September 15, 2011


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Recently Retired

It takes courage to consider retiring during the current dire economic time of disappearing pensions, delaying retirement a few more years, and reduced social security payouts. I ran spreadsheet budgets and monte carlo simulations on my retirement portfolio which said retirement is possible. What finally got me to retire was the deaths of coworkers who held out for a few dollars more in savings. Money is meant to enjoy , when you are alive !

Almost a year into retirement, I do not miss the office politics, traffic jams and like you, just buying stuff. I only drove 5000 retirement miles and don 't need a new BMW to do that.


Sydney, I feel the big difference between those like us who retire early and those like your janitor is how we view the marginal utility of money. The term "Marginal Utility," as you know, refers to how much we value the next unit of something which can be anything from a dollar to an ice cream cone to a ride on a roller coaster.

In my case, I actually experienced firsthand my MU of money when I not once but twice cut my weekly hours at work in the last 7 years of working. The money I chose to forgo was not money I needed to survive and pay my bills but surplus money which was simply invested. My daily lifestyle did not go down from forgoing this money but instead improved because of the added time and freedom I had along with losing the negatives (i.e. the awful commute) associated with earning those extra dollars.

Eventually, I was able to forgo all of my earned income and reduce my weekly hours worked to zero without any decline in my lifestyle. Instead, it improved even more because I was able to eliminate 100% of the negatives associated with earning that money without losing anything positive associated with working. Your janitor, however, would not experiece an improvement in his lifestyle because the negatives associated with not working would greatly exceed any positives.


I retired first, primarily out of my own fear about giving up both mine and my spouse's paycheck at the same time. My salary was smaller, so I felt safer going first. My spouse should be following within the next 8 months, although the truth is he could go now with no impact on our retirement budget, but I'm still battling my own fears.

The irony is that since retiring, our monthly spend has been dropping steadily month by month. I've become so fulfilled by the various activities that I've become involved in, most of them free or nominal in cost, that I welcome my time at home and once there, have no desire to go out whether for shopping, dining or additional entertainment. I'm feeling increasingly selfish for encouraging my spouse to stay through one more bonus cycle before retiring. It goes to the heart of this post, which is there will never be "enough" money if simply banking money is the primary objective. We've funded our desired retirement lifestyle budget, have lived it for the past five months with much success and satisfaction, and I need to work through letting go so my spouse can experience the same benefits retirement has brought to me.

Oh, that fear!

Retired Syd

Tamara: True, but it seems 8 months is a small price to pay in the whole scheme of things, for that extra peace of mind.


Thank you Syd. I sorely needed that!

How to Relieve Stress

I think it all boils down to quality of life. Money definitely does NOT buy happiness right? Haven't you witnessed that too?

Downsizing for retirement makes perfect sense to me. I prefer, even now that I am not retired to start simplifying my life and be focused on "needs" more than wants which makes you buy a ton of crap that you really don't need for happiness.

I find it sad when you see those who live for making money and then usually die before they ever get to enjoy it. That's a wasted life wouldn't you agree?

Assisted Living Seattle

I truly agree. Settling a retirement is a serious decisions. You should consider an assisted living for you before you retire.

spray insulation

Downsizing for pension creates feeling to me. I desire, even now that I am not on to begin simplifying my lifestyle and be targeted on "needs" more than wants which creates you buy a ton of junk that you really don't need for pleasure.

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