Sunday, May 31, 2015

Just to make it official...

Too many hands on my time
Too many feelings
Too many things on my mind
When I leave I don't know
What I'm hoping to find
When I leave I don't know
What I'm leaving behind... 
-Neil Peart, The Analog Kid

In the current Internet climate, it seems nothing is official until it's "Facebook Official."

It is in that spirit that I announce: I'm going to retire.  This is now, once again, a Quitter's Blog.  Much like my initial pretirement in 2006, the reactions seem to range from "congratulations" to "you are a dumb sumbitch."  I guess I should expect as much.  So, with little fanfare, I will address some of the common questions that aren't already answered in the wtf.  I'll probably eventually fold them in there in some form or fashion.

Why the hell are you retiring?

Short answer: because I can.  If you had the option, would you? ("No" is an acceptable answer.)

Longer answer: There are all types.  Some people love their jobs and will work up until the point they are dead-at-desk*.  While I enjoy doing things, they're not always the same things that I get paid for.  Human life is ridiculously short.  The idea of getting up, sucking down coffee, driving an hour, then spending the majority of a beautiful day in an 8x8 cube with no view of the world... Well, as glamorous as it sounds, it loses a little of it's gleam over the years.  Tag.  You're it.  It's your turn.

What the hell are you going to do all day?

Whatever the hell I want to.  This isn't really a question I even understand.  For years, I hear people complain of their busy lives and what they'd do if they just had time.  Well: I have time.  I have a workshop that needs to be fully set up and a house that's been 80% complete for a long time.  Just tying up those ends will entertain me for the short term.

Won't you be bored?

Are you bored at work?

How long have you been planning on this?

Almost since the beginning of work itself.  I have a much beloved uncle that punched out for the last time at age 48.  While I missed the bar by a couple of years, the idea has been there for as long as I can remember.  But I've been mostly** working on it for the past 20 years. 

How in the world did you do this?

The really short answer to "How?" is: you spend less than you earn.  I know that sounds like a cop out, but it really is just that simple.  Drive an older car.  Live in a less expensive house.  Eat out less.  Buy less stuff.  Don't pay $5 a day for a 15 cent cup of coffee.  And that isn't just a way to save money now while compounding interest does awesome things.  That also means you'll need less to live on later.  That $100k of expenses you had this year might last you 3 or 4 years if you just looked at it from the right angle.  (And this doesn't mean your way of spending is wrong...  But it might be wrong if you want to retire early.)

But I'm just a snarky sonofabitch.  I'm not really a good teacher.  If you really want a nuts and bolts approach, you should probably take a look at someone like Mr. Money Mustache.  It turns out that the math is shockingly simple.  I happened on MMM well after I was on the road.  And I by no means took an extreme approach.  While I brag about being a Cheap Ass Bastard -- compared to Those of the Mustache™, I am probably a Spendy McSpenderson. 

This wouldn't work for me.  My situation is different...

That's not a question.

Dammit.  Okay.  How in the world would this work for me in situation X?

I'm not a financial analyst and you probably don't want to pay me to become one.  Are there people that just have oddball corner cases or lots of dumb, stupid luck?  Sure.  But there are quite a few cases of people making almost nothing, with a house full of kids that managed to retire MUCH FASTER than me.  If you really want advice, I'm quite sure one of them could offer it better than I.  If you're serious about it, post your details on the MMM forum and let the math geeks play with it.  But if you want to argue that it cannot be done in your situation, you've come to the wrong place.  If you don't think you can do it, you're destined to be right.

Will you ever work again?

I don't know.  I'm relatively sure I won't ever work again in the same capacity that I do now.  I'd be more interested to take lower paying jobs where I could learn a skill (cabinet shop anyone?) than leverage my existing skills.  And I might do little bits and pieces of what I do now for grins -- but at a significantly higher rate.

When's all this happen?

Both seriously and tongue in cheek: Independence Day.


*One place I worked had a database of everyone that had ever worked there across decades and their employment status: current employee, retired, fired with cause, etc.   One entry in that very large database had the status "dead at desk."  That will not be me.

**Mostly meaning: not including 2006-2009, when I felt the urge to take my ball and go home for a little while.  Again: because I could.