Work for Two Million Dollars or Retire Early?




I am a very fortunate employee.  I am actually eligible to receive a pension.  Today, less than 20% of workers are eligible to receive a pension plan, and this percentage is dropping every year.  At the height in 1980, 66% of workers were covered by a pension plan.  I know it is very advantageous to have a pension, but even so, I am debating what I should do moving forward.  Do I continue to work for ten more years, or do I retire sooner?


Over the last fourteen years, I have been busting my hump.  These years have been characterized by paying off mortgage, maximizing my 401k and Roth IRA, and saving any additional money that I could.  As previously stated, it appears that by the end of 2020, I will finally reach FIRE (Financial Independence and Retiring Early).  At that point, I will not need to work any longer.  And, if I choose to work, I would have the flexibility to pursue something I am really passionate about.


Retiring Earlier vs. Later

work-retireNow here is the dilemma for me.  If I retire by 2020, I will be eligible to receive roughly an $18,000 pension starting at age 50 for the rest of my life, indexed for inflation each year.  This would mean that I would have to wait for this income for ten years.  This breaks down to roughly $1,500 a month for the rest of my life.  Now if I delay retirement until 2030, I will be able to roughly double this amount to $36,000, or $3,000 a month.


Health Insurance

insuranceIn addition to the extra money that I would receive in delaying my early retirement, I will also be able to receive my company’s health insurance the rest of my life, which is significantly cheaper than what is available on the open exchanges through Obamacare.  


This is a really nice benefit since they pay roughly 75% of my health insurance premiums every year, leaving me responsible for only 25% out of pocket.  In addition, it’s a PPO, so I get to choose my doctors, which isn’t too shabby.  Running the numbers, it appears that this benefit alone is worth about $12,000 a year.  



I’d be remiss if I didn’t include salary and the benefits that came along with the job.  That too would probably be an additional million dollars when it was all said and done.


So in theory, by retiring ten years early, I would be forgoing $30,000 in potential benefits, plus forgone salary.  This is following the actuarial table for myself and the age that I am suppose to live to, 85 years old.  That would mean that I would be missing out on potentially over two million dollars in forgone salary, pension payouts and benefits until I die.


Two things to address


  1. work-or-retireFirst, I know some believe that when they reach FIRE, there is no need to worry about anything they are missing out on.  They are absolutely correct.  With my son at one year old and with the hope of having more kids in the future, I can’t imagine living a retired lifestyle in the next fifteen years traveling and what not with a few school-aged kids.  I guess I fear giving up so much money when all that it involves is another decade of work.  
  2. Some also believe pensions are underfunded and shouldn’t be relied upon as a guarantee.  I understand this belief, but I feel confident in the government’s ability to pay all future liabilities.  The government is current in fully funding all obligations, and I don’t see this changing under the current structure.  If they couldn’t pay the pension, then I’d be pretty sure the world was ending and the US currency would no longer be in use.  


work-retireNow I will be completely honest with you.  I don’t love my job.  I not even sure I like my job.  For the most part I compile financial statements and make sure that the team does what it’s suppose to.  It’s unfortunate that I don’t look at this as a career but as a job that allows me to make decent money while allowing me to have a great work-life balance.  This is probably the main reason that I haven’t accepted any other opportunities that have come my way.  


A nice benefit with this job is that I get to rotate every two or three years into different departments, so that I am not stuck in one job.  This has allowed me the opportunity to meet tons of new faces every year.


So while my job is unfortunately not my passion, I do seem to come alive at work when I start to talk to others about their finances and their goals in life.  Since I get new colleagues every couple of years, I have the ability to share and learn from new groups of people about how to handle finances.  


investmentI find tremendous fulfillment in helping others optimize their finances and boost their financials savings.  I’ve had my fair share of finance trials and tribulations and enjoy using the knowledge I have learned over the years.  In addition, I personally find writing on the blog, interacting with others on the internet, and meeting people allows me to share this small gift that I have with others.  


So that is really my passion– helping people improve upon their financial situations.  This is why I help facilitate a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course even though I have some minor quibbles with him.  I can’t stand that he pushes mutual funds over low cost index funds.  I also think his stated returns are completely out of line.  But that is a conversation for another day.  Overall, Dave’s brand has a good reputation that draws people in, and I am able to help steer people in the right direction.  Now ideally, I would prefer a brand that had a good reputation and provided sound financial advice, but I realize that you have to work with what you got.


So this is where I ask you, the readers, to provide input.  Should I stay in a job for another decade that I am not passionate about, although I have the ability to share my knowledge day-to-day with my colleagues, for the equivalent of two million dollars?  Or should I break free into the unknown without a set plan with the hope of pursuing deeper purpose in my life?


Please share your thoughts below.

Mustard Seed Money

Welcome to the website. A mustard seed is a very small seed but astonishingly grows very large over time. My hope is that through your financial journey that your small investment in time, money and faith will grow beyond anything that you could ever imagine.


      • It will definitely be interesting to see where this goes. From my perspective I really don’t see how we can afford a single payer model. It will almost certainly be much more expensive and companies will want to pay less than they do right now (i.e. they’d get a break on not paying a portion of employee’s health care, but would have to pay towards the gov. in taxes). I’m not sure how the US will make the transition.
        DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…7 Ways to Save Money Without Realizing ItMy Profile

  1. I can relate to the job/passion issue. I’m not a “throw caution to the wind” type of person so I would probably hang in there awhile UNLESS you can find a side gig that you are interested in and can be profitable. You have awesome benefits so I know how hard it would be to break away from that. Only you know your finances and goals however. Even in my own situation, the one thing I don’t want to have is regret. Looking back on life at age 90 and wishing I took a chance at a different career path type of regret. Tough one!
    Mr Defined Sight recently posted…Stop Selling to Your Friends: They are not Clients nor a Source of IncomeMy Profile

  2. A decade of extra work at a job you aren’t passionate about sounds like a stretch to me? $2 million would be a good salary and benefit package, but once you are in FIRE you could maybe try to find work that is more satisfying…or just live life satisfied with your FIRE status. I have the same quagmire though, and I can understand how tough it would be not to hang on for a few more years just to build a cushion for your family.
    The Green Swan recently posted…Credit Cards are Dangerous in the Hands of the MajorityMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing!!! I’ve read from people that achieved FIRE that it’s hard to breakaway from the “let’s just do one more year.”

      Hopefully I can set realistic expectations as I get closer and play it from there.

  3. I think that I would take it year-by-year rather than committing to a full decade of extra work. Maybe you get to 2020 and the market has been great and you get to walk away with your smaller pension and a portfolio that lets you withdraw at 3% instead of 4%. At that level of comfort I think it would be hard to advocate staying in the job for another 10 years.

    Maybe you get to 2020 and your portfolio is just barely 4%, or it coincides with a market crash and you’re below your target. In that situation it would probably make sense to keep working. Like I said, though, I would analyze it on a year-by-year case rather than shooting immediately for that bigger pension. Basically, every year think, “Given my portfolio and my current enjoyment of life and work, do I want to work another year?”

    You may initially decide to continue working but then get sick of your job or have your portfolio balloon to the point where the extra money isn’t worth it. This would allow you to course-correct instead of feeling locked in one way or the other.
    Matt @ Optimize Your Life recently posted…Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?My Profile

  4. Working an extra 10 years in a job you don’t even like? That sounds like a resounding “No!” to me. To date, you’ve followed opportunity to build your fortune. That’s provided you with a great safety net to now peruse your passion. Knowing as little as I do about your situation, I’d hang ’em up as soon as you reach FIRE, raise (expand?) your family, and follow your passion in your free time – my guess is that your passion could easily start to generate some income for you.

  5. I agree with Matt, take it year by year. I know that many mid-career physicians burn out because they become overly indebted with school loans a doctors house, private schools and new cars. See my current situation 🙁 The feel that they HAVE to work to pay the bills. The feeling that they HAVE to work makes the work less rewarding.

    Once they gain some financial breathing room they begin to enjoy the things that brought them into medicine. Helping people, the mental challenges of figuring out problems or fixing broken bones, etc… This is why you see many 70y/o physicians still out there. Its not because they haven’t paid off the mortgage.

    I’m afraid if you feel like you HAVE to keep your job to get the extra benefits you aren’t going to like it anymore than you do now. I would start exploring doing something that I enjoy doing but also pays a little money just to make the nest egg last a little longer.

    • My FIL is a doctor and he absolutely loves be a doc. He has no plans to ever retire.

      I think that’s what I really struggle with is being surrounded by people that love their jobs while I feel like I go to work for a paycheck.

      Hopefully over the next couple of years I can cultivate some interests that make me feel alive.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing 🙂

  6. Not an easy question to answer. If it were, I guess you’d have figured it out already!

    All situations are complex, and I don’t pretend to know the right way to make choices like these all the time. But, in my experience, passion and true interest and hard work are consistent keys to success. I was earning plenty of money before I started my own consultancy. But I wanted to chart my own course. So I did, which meant a helluvalot more work and no guarantee of success. Which definitely sucked at times. But it wasn’t long before I ended up way better off because I bet on myself to make it happen.

    So, although the numbers always seem to matter – stuff like your pension, etc. – the value of doing what’s right for your “spirit” is incalculable. And if there’s real passion and interest and hard work, then the numbers will probably shake out ok.

    Just my pair of pennies. Buena suerte!
    FinanciaLibre recently posted…The Value of MistakesMy Profile

    • Hahaha…”Just my pair of pennies.”

      I love the way you phrase things.

      You’re right though. I do want to bet on myself at some point in the future and it’s looking like I may have that opportunity sooner rather than later. Which makes me nervous and excited at the same time.

      Being somewhat risk adverse is a double edged sword that I need to get comfortable with if I want to take a chance.

  7. This is a no-brainer for me – 100% retire! Use the extra time to get in incredible shape, spend time with your family, adventure, maybe side-hustle. Reinvent yourself a few times – maybe even make some money on the side. No reason to stay trapped in a job you don’t love for $. I don’t know if you work a cubicle job but the poor posture and health affects of sitting are SCARY. Just my 2cents.
    Julie @ Millennial Boss recently posted…How to become a millionaire the boring way – 401(k), IRA, HSAMy Profile

    • Thanks for the advice.

      I’m lucky that I have a standing desk at work so while it’s a “cubicle” job they did provide a good working environment for me 🙂

  8. I would say it’s probably worth staying at the job for another decade given the paycheck and benefits, especially when you don’t mind the job and it’s not causing you too much stress. More money is great as long as it’s not degrading your health or family life. Also, having the option to rotate should keep things interesting. I wish you the best in whichever path you take 🙂

    • Thanks for taking the time to share. When I first posed the question to my wife. She said I guarantee you that everyone will share to stay. So you’re in good company 🙂

  9. I think you answered your own question, “I come alive when I talk to others about finance.” It is a truism that you should follow your heart. After all, you only live once. And if you follow your heart, and are passionate, who knows, maybe you’ll even be more successful. And if not, well, at least you’ve enjoyed yourself.

    From a purely risk averse mathematical perspective, you should keep working. But it comes down to what’s important to you in your life? I would say if you’re lucky enough to know what makes you happy, follow that…and never look back.

  10. I think you should keep working and progressively move into roles that require less and less stress and give you more and more flexibility. I have seen several people at my company obtain financial freedom and then take a different title (lower) in a different organization. This allows them to maintain their great professional relationships and still be an important contributor to the team while also allowing them to take a major step towards full retirement. But they still rack up the years of service for the pension etc. So the pension ends up keeping people but I think if they are honest with themselves and their leaders it can work to everyone’s best interest: the employee still keeps a job, an income stream, and gets a bigger pension, and the company retains a highly valued employee with a lot of experience.
    PatientWealth recently posted…Preparing for Another RentalMy Profile

    • This is really great advice and this probably makes the most sense. If I could find a position within my company that I really liked it would definitely make a lot of sense to stick around and fully fund my pension.

      Really appreciate the advice!!!

  11. I say retire. Personally, I don’t think working another 10 years at a job you don’t like is worth the potential extra salary, pension, and benefits, even if you don’t technically “have” to work there. Based on your post, it seems like you’ve figured out your true passion. In a few years you’ll be in a position to be able to pursue that passion. I think you gotta take that opportunity and run with it.

    • I definitely am passionate with personal finance so hopefully I can parlay that in the future to helping more people. I still have a couple of years to think about it and hopefully it will become more obvious in the future.

  12. If I were in your position (and able to conservatively retire) I’d retire and try doing a side hustle you love. What is life to you? What do you want to do? Why do something if you don’t enjoy it if you don’t want to or have to?

    Could you drop down to part time work? That could be a nice option too.

    Dividends Down Under recently posted…An introduction to Dividend Growth InvestingMy Profile

  13. It’s easy to tell you to retire when I don’t have that baller health benefit and higher pension.

    The older I get, the faster the years go. If you need to stay in the same location because of your kids, having a structured activity during the day isn’t the end of the world. You don’t like yoru job, but do you tolerate it? If it’s tolerable, I say stay. If you don’t even tolerate it, I’d say you can probably figure the money out with what you have. You certainly don’t have to decide between a decade and now though. Many variable time options in between. 🙂

    • Very true TJ. Time is on my side right now but like you said. As you get older time seems to go by much quicker. I’m hoping that FIRE doesn’t sneak up on me and I’m totally unprepared.

  14. I like what Matt said that the decision doesn’t need to be made right now, and you can decide that when perhaps you have better clarity? I always like what Oprah says, “when you’re not sure what to do, do nothing.” OK may be paraphrasing. 🙂 Hopefully then some obvious answer will come to you when you’re patient with yourself!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Talking Money With Rachel CruzeMy Profile

  15. “I don’t love my job.” Im pretty sure your answer is in this statement.

    You’re willing to sell 10 more years of your life for a job your don’t love. That sounds like a bad trade off. Of course, job stability is huge and knowing the added financial benefit is a plus..but, this all comes down to the cost of work in a in a job you don’t love AND knowing when enough is enough. If your plan was to retire in 2020 that means you have already weighed the finances involved in that date. Will the extra money make your life any better? Will working instead of spending the time with your small child (children) be worth it? I don’t know. Those are questions you have to ask yourself. But knowing that at one point 2020 was enough for you, why add the extra 10 to just have more? These are all questions I ask myself! I don’t have kids and actually love my job…but having the freedom to do what I want instead of what they want me to do is why my FIRE date exists. When I reach that point I may feel differently! 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. There are definitely times at work that I feel like I am trading time for money and it doesn’t feel like a fair trade. Most of the advice has leaned your way and that’s the way I was leaning beforehand but it’s nice to get confirmation that I’m not too far off in my thought process.

  16. I think it completely depends on your value of $2m. I would trade $2m away for a lifestyle that I want to have, in a heartbeat.

    Also, once you are retired, it’s not to say that you won’t be working. You can always find side income opportunities (like your blog) that makes you passive income while you work so the income may not be completely gone. Just my perspective on it!
    Finance Solver recently posted…Million Dollar Club, I’m Joining!My Profile

    • I really appreciate your perspective. I figured it’d be nice to crowd source the decision and hear the pros and cons from everybody.

      Seems like you’re in the majority 🙂

  17. Are you crowdsourcing your retirement decision? Cool!
    That’s a tough one. The health insurance benefits sound sweet. But what is the value of future $12k per year discounted to present value? If I take the 12K today (say, age 40), increase it by 3% p.a. until age 90, but discount the stream by 7% p.a. (my expected portfolio rate of return) the value of that benefit stream (50 years old an onward only, including none of the values for ages 40-49!!!) is about $173k. That’s a lot of money, but it pales in comparison to the other opportunity costs of retiring at age 40 (lost income, lost accumulation and lower retirement fund needs when retiring later). If you got the money to retire at age 40, you have to go for it! 10 extra years to travel and have fun at such a young age are priceless!
    earlyretirementnow recently posted…Five Fishy Finance Phrases Deserving Diabolical DeathsMy Profile

    • I figure why not crowd source and get as much input as possible. 🙂

      That way anything that I didn’t think about well got brought up. Like your analysis of NPV 🙂

      I definitely agree with you though traveling for 10 years instead of working at a time when I know I can appreciate it would be amazing.

  18. Mr. Mustard Seed Money,
    FIRE (Financial Independence and Retiring Early) is a new acronym for me….I actually took the time to google it and scrolled through the pages. One that caught my eye made me think, “Financial Integrity Review Evaluation.” ~ you’ve crunched your numbers, but, now look at the process of how you are getting from A to B. I think going to a day to day job that you are not passionate about will eventually cause the fire to burnout. The best decision I made this past year was to leave a job that was causing me absolute misery. I did the opposite – I took a step down from a managerial position that could have led me to a sky is the limit world and paycheck, to a cube life but at least making the same pay and benefits. It took a while to transition to, but I’m extremely happier and I know this is where I need to be at this stage in my life. You made a network in your rotational assignments…likely as well an impression that you are a good person and know what you are talking about…now see if you can tap into that network!
    Mrs. Defined Sight recently posted…Stop Selling to Your Friends: They are not Clients nor a Source of IncomeMy Profile

    • Thanks for the really great advice. I am actively networking within my company to see if there is a better fit in a different department. Hopefully this will pacify my desire to leave but we shall see.

  19. Considering your blog is only a few months old, I would venture to say you’ll have some good income once you reach FIRE. 🙂 The job I left last year when I decided to stay home with my kids and purse working from home was a wonderful job. But all of the wonderful things were mostly financial similar to how you described (+ I had great co-workers). I would have a hard time going back — even for $2M.

    But I think you’ll know what’s right for your when the time comes. 🙂 Good food for thought.

  20. I wish I could relate! I worked at a big phone company for a few years, and the first year or so was the final years of the pension plan. Now that I’m full-time self-employed online, I definitely miss the 401(k) matching and all of the different insurance plans. It’s hard to walk away leaving money on the table, but I suspect when you hit your retirement goal you’ll have a more solid feeling on what you want to do.
    Eric Rosenberg recently posted…October 2016 Earnings and Investments Update – Personal ProfitabilityMy Profile

  21. Really enjoy this post since I am in a very similar position. We’re about the same age and will have a pension. (I used to work in the federal government as well and miss that TSP…not sure I’ll get much of a pension, was only there 3 yrs). The pension is a pair of golden handcuffs for me. I just did the calculation…if I work until 45 (in my dream that is my FIRE age), my pension would be half of what it would be if I worked 10 more years. But my main issue is that I live in NYC and it would be hard to leave (family and friends here). It would be much easier if you were to move to a lower cost area. And if you’re able to find a side hustle that can earn some income that would help too. One option I’ve considered (not sure my employer would allow it) is to work part time. While you will still have to work, you’ll have a lot more flexibility and freedom with time.

    • I think Dave Ramsey does a fantastic job when it comes to debt management. Huge fan of his in this area!!! Now when it comes to his investment advice…I’m not nearly as impressed. 🙁

  22. Personally, I won’t be able to motivate myself to get up and go to a job I don’t like, specially if I don’t have to. When given a choice between time or money, nine out of ten I’ll choose time. But only you know know the inner workings of your financial situation. Either way, it’s a better problem to have than not having enough. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing.
    Francis J. recently posted…41 Epic Ways to Boost Your Income and Resuscitate Your BudgetMy Profile

  23. can you take a year off then and ‘come back’ if you decide that was not for you, or do you forego your benefits then?

    I keep reminding myself ALWAYS – FIRE is not just about having enough money to retire but to learn how to be at peace and live with ‘enough’ – to me the hardest part.

    I will just add, only you will know what you are comfortable with but I can tell you without a doubt, the day we both quit our jobs to ‘reverse retire (temporarily)” to be with our kids or to do our MAs, those I still count as the best years of my life.

  24. btw I would have been able to FIREd in about 3-5 years for good had I not taken that time off – just something to consider as an alternative path to retiring. Taking a break can be the right choice to ‘test it out’ – though in your case, I can see why these particular benefits are difficult to give up.

    For me – I want to travel and live a nomadic life, which i dont think will be too possible with kids before college (after we already moved them a bit, I want stability) so for me when they go to college is my target (though reserve the right to change my mind) and keep me entertained to then be able to completely break free…. I am so glad I took time off in between but I would have been bored had I stayed home without working not being able to travel due to school.

    So again – completely personal decisions as to what is important to you and what you are looking forward to the most by quitting.

    • Thanks for sharing your perspective. My son is only one so college for us is definitely a long ways off 🙂 I can’t imagine that we’d travel a lot with him so it may make sense to wait awhile before I settle down. Who knows where I’ll be in a couple of years with my thought process but it’s definitely fun to think about 🙂

  25. Great problem to have! For me, it would depend on my annual spend post-FIRE. For example, if I planned to RE at 40 because I could then live on $100,000 per year, then the extra money (~$30,000pa) from working an extra decade wouldn’t be worth it. But if I was retiring on just the $18,000pa then I might consider the value of the extra years.

    Reality is likely in the grey area in between. I’m not actually planning to RE as such, but have the benefit that I not only enjoy the business work I do, but it’s also potentially quite lucrative without needing much work post FI.

    • That’s an awesome position to be in Jacob. I would love to have the same passion and joy that you have in your line of work. Unfortunately I feel like it’s less of a career and more of a job. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!!!

  26. Well it sounds like you work for the federal government, if it were a local or state government I wouldn’t be so sure the pension is secure as the are woefully underfunded future liabilities….but the federal government can’t print their own monopoly money so I would say it is more likely to be safe. I am self employed but have my wifes health benefits which saves us a ton. I have heard horror stories very recently about people paying exactly double for their obamacare then they were 2 years ago. I think that’s a huge ? mark in any early retirement scenario….even in 60yrs old instead of 65 medicare. Thing is, if you don’t love your job then you owe it to yourself shop around. It shouldn’t be retire or stay there…a 3rd option could be see what else is out there. Maybe it’s internal, maybe it’s not. If you are FI by 2020 then, working somewhere you love for slightly less pay shouldn’t be an issue. If you love your job it doesn’t feel like a job. My quest for FI isn’t to quit working,it is to have the ability to dictate (not ask) when and what I work on. 2020 sounds like a good target for me too. Best of luck…love the site.

    • You’re right I really should check out my other options and see what’s available. I really like the hours that I work now so I’ve been hesitant but it probably makes sense to look around. Thanks for sharing and pointing me in the right direction 🙂

  27. Definitely leave early. Money is not everything… experiences are, though. You can always make more money and it sounds like you have a lot of credentials and talents to offer the world. Do what you love and set a good example for your children!
    Primal Prosperity recently posted…Are You a Hunter or a Farmer?My Profile

  28. Sorry I’m late to the party, just recently discovered your awesome site and thought I’d give my input. First of all, not a bad situation to be in, that’s great!

    The problem with going all in on retirement at 2020 mentally right now is that life changes quite a bit with a young one in the house. Hard to predict what your expenses will be a few years down the road then and after that. I have two young kids of my own and I’ve found it constantly changing. Heck, you may want to have more children, you may want to move to a different school district, who knows? The good thing is that it sounds like it’s your decision to make. Keep hustling to get to FI (and beyond) and continue to develop whatever other income streams you have and see what the situation is when you get there. You’ll definitely make the “right” decision based on what makes sense.

    Personally I’m going the route of gradual retirement. As my monthly cash flow from other investments increases, I’m slowly reducing time at my day job. I figure I’ll just keep doing this until I reach a good balance. Luckily I love what I do, but I know the balance is somewhere in the middle between what I do now and retiring completely.

    • Thanks for sharing your perspective especially as someone in similar shoes. You are definitely right though. 2020 is a long ways off. Who would have thought in 2012 that Donald Trump would be elected President 🙂 So lots can change and surprise me between now and then.

      Thanks for stopping by again and sharing!!!

  29. My quest for ‘FIRE’ was started by 2 things. #1 After > 30 years with the same company a change of management decided they didn’t need my father’s service any more and he was restructuctured into early retirement before the age of 60. #2 I read an article about the consideration to up retirement age / social security age to 67. On average of my 4 grandparents they lived to 72. 5 years of retirement? They were able to retire in their mid 50’s. They had -years- of adventures and time with friends and family. Sure, we have better medical technology and current life expectancy is longer than past generations, but why risk it?
    The lesson from #1 is you can’t count on your employer anymore (especially to go along with your plan). For the 2nd, I don’t like being told what to do, and working til 67 doesn’t sound like my thing.
    My suggestion is give it til 2020 and evaluate. Part time work, time off to raise your kids, go back for a second career. $2M sounds like a lot, but ya can’t take it with you, and I appreciate the memories with my grandparents, my mom being a stay at home mom, dad working for a place where he was home on summer nights when it was still light – out more than money.
    I am targeting more FI to be able to set my schedule, where to live, to enjoy life while working a job for basics, but it not being a stress. For my industry the jobs that pay well are in metropolitan areas, with high cost of living…being able to live lower cost of living because I saved diligently is one of my goals. I also figure I have at least 10 years before I’m close, so I’ve got time to work it all out.

    • Thanks Jacq for taking the time to share with me. Such great insight. You raised some really interesting points that I will definitely be pondering. The good news for me is that I still have a couple of more years to think about it 🙂 but I am definitely leaning towards what you’re saying!!!

      Thanks again for sharing!!!

  30. It’s good to hear a story from someone who is in the transition phase and doesn’t have what I like to call the “early retirement a**hole syndrome” where their posts are just gloating about being retired all day and how great it is. I am in a similar boat in that I could leave my job in the next year but I also have a young son. I was able to attend the college of my choice due to my parents diligent saving and I feel a sense of duty to pass this on to the next generation. That will take upping my passive income or staying at my job, which is not my favorite thing, a little longer. It’s a balance but I will add this, I stayed in college for much longer than I should have, until I was 25. Sure I have 3 degrees but the real experience I value from that time was studying abroad twice and becoming fluent in Spanish. Even if I could go back and retire even earlier, I probably wouldn’t have given up those experiences for more money sooner. So my take on this is to retire sooner and see where it takes you, as many people have shown us, retiring doesn’t mean not making money, it just means not having a normal day job.

    • Thanks for sharing Alex. Glad to hear I’m not the only one in this boat 🙂

      I think one of the biggest regrets I have is not studying abroad when I had a chance in college.

      I still think from time to time how much fun it would have been to have studied in Switzerland for a semester or done a semester at sea when I was in college.

      Hopefully I can make up for it and travel a little more when the baby gets older 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!!!

  31. I think you’ve gotten a lot of fantastic feedback. I thought of a friend of mine. He was a teacher with 8 years in the system. 7 years away from a half pension, nearly 1/3 of the way to a full pension. He started tutoring on the side. Next thing I knew he bought his own learning center. He has since, opened a second location and is in the process of starting his own private school. Maybe you might want to keep your day job and start a side project. See what you can develop it into.
    Dividend Seedling recently posted…Tiny Recent Buy Unilever and Flower Foods.My Profile

    • Wow your friend sounds like he’s doing some amazing things.

      Four years off is definitely a long time away so I’ll be curious what is going on in my life. But it’s fun to think about.

      Thanks for the great advice!!!

  32. As someone who left my job at age 34 in 2012, I have ZERO REGRETS. Absolutely ZERO of living so soon. There’s a plethora of ways to make money if you need to. I’d stick things through until 2020 not so far away and be done for good.

    Life is truly amazing in FIRE. I don’t write about how amazing it is on FS b/c I don’t want to piss people off who are stuck with jobs. But here, I cannot emphasize enough how much your happiness will rise no longer working at a job you aren’t passionate about.


  33. Wow look at the comments on this baby 😉
    Nice one MSM haha!
    I’d personally say that it sounds like you’ve considered a lot of the alternatives, options etc and it’s gotta be about pursuing your passion rather than sticking around for another 10 years.. The caveat I’d throw in there is you’ve gotta be financially stable with the reduced income although who knows you could possible earn more by “retiring” early

    • Haha…thanks Jef!!!

      I definitely would love to pursue my passions now rather than later. But I guess we’ll see what happens in the future.

      It’s hard to give up something guaranteed for a chance. But sometimes a chance pays off 🙂

  34. This has probably been addressed in the comments, but why not find a job that you are passionate about (e.g. become a Dave Ramsey financial coach). This way you can get health insurance, have a salary and work that is steady and you like, while also finding fulfillment?
    Jason recently posted…Are 94 Million People Out of Work?My Profile

    • Funny you should mention that. I am currently interviewing and looking at new positions.

      Hopefully I can find one that is better aligned with my perceived skill sets and passions.

      We’ll see what the future holds but I’m hoping to have a blog post shortly in the future 🙂

  35. 10 or none, seems a bit extreme. I think you are already replying…writing is thinking and you are thinking a second act already. Go for it¡ it does not nave to be tomorrow . . . . But as soon as possible, that is my motto, along with following your dreams. My thoughts are similar than yours, I,m just 10 years away from your position basically, but in 10 years time I,ll have to answer the same question as you. Thanks for sharing, I,ll follow you and when the time comes I,ll ask you the same for my case…. keep on dreaming.

    • Thanks for the encouragement ASAPRetire!!!

      There is definitely something nice about getting feedback from the PF community.

      I always get insightful comments and it goes a long way towards a final decision, which admittedly is still a couple of years away.

      Thanks for your feedback, I definitely appreciate it!!!

  36. For me, I don’t trust the government’s pension or any company’s pension. It’s too unpredictable. If I get any pension at all, I’ll just treat it as icing on the cake when I retire. I’d prefer to have two million in net worth (money that’s in my control) when I retire. So at that age, if you have that amount of money, then I’d say it’s time to do what you love. I am actually in a very similar situation as you, but my FIRE date is about 10 years from now. Freedom 48 🙂
    – Leo

    • Thanks for sharing Leo!!! While I’m hoping the government pension is there I have seen the fallout from Greece so it’s definitely not something that I’m banking on.

      I think the smart move is probably to continue to work and save up in the meantime.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!!!

  37. Your post is great and very timely for me as well. I have a pension that stopped funding about 5 years again and is valued at $1,900 a month at 65. I have the option to pull it after I leave the company in a lump sum valued at $113,000 today. I am 46. I’m using MO (Altria) as the investment choice for rate of return (20.11%) and dividend growth rate (8%). I’ve run the math on a spreadsheet and the lump sum kills the monthly payout at 65 and even the $325,000 lump sum at 65. Basically, I would take the $113,000 today (or when I FI), invest it into a dividend growth stock for 19 years, I end up with a $3,673,522 lump sum generating $132,246 just from dividends annually. Or $11,020.56 monthly. The $11,020.56 will also grow by 8% annually and you will still have the $3,673,522 for your kids. And the $3,673,522 will continue to grow annually as well. I know that this is a lot of math for a comments section, so I’ll do a more detailed posting on it in the future. I think it needs more details on the math and a side by side comparison. Keep up the great work on your site!
    FI Warrior recently posted…Our $1,182,742.41 MistakeMy Profile

    • As a math nerd I appreciate all the figures. I am definitely following along with you and the math makes sense. I think if you believe that Altria is going to continue to grow by 20% that it’s a no brainer. When I was computing the math I was a bit more conservative but can understand where you’re coming from based on the analysis that you did on your website.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!!!

  38. Tough decision ahead. If it’s not your passion, I doubt you will stay. My wife graduates this semester and will be teaching next year. 194 days in service and accruing 2% of highest salary per year of service will definitely help our retirement situation. I also recently interviewed for a Florida school district finance director position, which offers a pension, but did not get.

    • You’re probably right that if it’s not my passion I won’t stay. It’d definitely make the decision much easier if I found something that aligned with my passion at work. I’m still a couple of years away so we’ll see.

      Sorry to hear that you didn’t get the finance director position. Sounds like it would have been a nice role with a pension.

  39. Of course another prudent strategy is to move your life offshore to a location with far cheaper monthly living costs, and then continue actively investing online. Investing, and especially active trading, is far less stressful when your monthly expenses are a small fraction of what they used to be.

    Here is an article that I wrote to prompt American investor to start thinking outside of the box:
    Thai Shares recently posted…Thai ETF Dividends: Are They Paid to Foreigners?My Profile

  40. It’s an easy decision for me! Here is my thinking ..
    You don’t enjoy your work, so why continue to work?
    You will have $1,500/month upon retirement.
    So, now build another stream of income whereby you get $1,500/month in income and there are many avenues of achieving this. I personally like real estate and have been a landlord for over 25 years, so I would build an income stream via rentals. Alternatively, you can generate the income stream via crowdfunding investments, which I have not done as yet, but seriously considering. Just my thoughts ..

    • Such smart advice Naren!!! Building up a 2nd stream is definitely something that I have thought about it and am actively trying to pursue. It’s not going as quickly as I hoped but hopefully that will change in the future 🙂

      That’s fascinating that you have been a landlord for 25 years. You must be incredibly savvy to be able to sustain yourself. Have you noticed any differences from when you started 25 years ago?

  41. I think the question is a bit based out of fear of loss. It sounds like ten years more at your job would be just trading time for money, when you don’t necessarily need that money? So is the bigger cushion just making you feel safer, or is it needed to accomplish a particular goal?

    I think about Jeff Bezos of Amazon who quit his good paying job at age 30 to pursue something he felt much more authentic doing. If you have something that will drive you to work harder because you believe in it 100%, you might even have the opportunity to make more than the $2 million.

    Here’s a good article about Jeff Bezos and his decision.
    Ryan @ Planting Dollars recently posted…Don’t Buy Stuff With Money, Buy FreedomMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Ryan!!! I think you’re right with the fear and I often times struggle with what I am retiring to instead of answering what I’m retiring from. So it will definitely be an interesting in a couple of years.

  42. This is a tough one. Hopefully we can all come to that crossroad one day and have to make that option. This is often the syndrome of many workers with pension, the one more year syndrome. Again, you are correct that not everyone is so lucky to have one. If I were in your situation, I would definitely take that $200 and pass go, (and never look back). The reason we all go on this journey, is because we value our time. Time is something you can never get back with any amount of money.

    You should take the opportunity to explore other things in life, and explore what the world have to offer.

    Also, quick question. Does this apply to pension we have to pay into? Our employer forces us to pay into our pension, but they contribute a percentage back into it. This is pertaining to new employee only, as the pension system is severely underfunded.

    • Thanks for the great advice Micro Dividends!!! It will definitely be interesting as I get closer and the decision that I make. Hopefully by that time I can say I’m retiring to something instead of from something 🙂

      The pension that I have, I have to pay into. I think it is fully funded and I don’t have to worry about it in the future. But I know a lot of companies, local and state gov’ts are severely underfunded and it will be very interesting to see what happens.

  43. I would definitely say retire at 2020! you have the means to! Don’t worry about all the extra money you could make if you worked longer. If you have hit your financial goals then go ahead and celebrate! You have worked your while life to reach this point! I’m so happy for you! I still have awhile before I hit FIRE.

    • Thanks for the great advice Diligent Dividend!!! I am definitely leaning that way, especially if I can figure out what I want to retire to. I can’t imagine sitting by the ocean somewhere. I feel like I have too much that I still want to contribute to the world. So hopefully I can narrow it down 🙂

  44. Don’t you have to have 25 years of creditable service to retire under FERS? I thought that a federal employee would lose their pension if they did not serve for 25 years. Am I missing something here?

  45. I wouldn’t underrate the security of the position you hold.

    Once you leave that position, you might not be able to get back in to something so favorable. Our household’s employer has grandfathered in it’s older employees; recent hires have good retirement benefits, but nowhere near the benefits of those hired 10 years ago.

  46. Wow that is a really good question. I deliberately chose no to enter our pension for this reason. However, I am going to miss out on the health insurance. For me, it came down to leaving a legacy for my kids. Could/would I want to take that money and leave it to them. Now it sounds like you are doing both. Do you have to take the pension when you are at an 80% range. Can you take it earlier for less of a benefit and also get partial health insurance?

    • I should receive 1% for each year that I work. That would mean that I would roughly get 15% of my current salary once I turn 57 if I leave in a couple of years. If I stay I would receive 30% with full health benefits.

  47. children and their needs is the real wild card here, I think it is too early to retire given the unpredictability of raising kids until age 18 or so

  48. Good and thoughtful comments all. I love the various insight from the PF community. You have this tension between the seeming certainty of math versus the uncertainty of life. You may unexpectedly have triplets or roof might collapse. Who knows? We’re terrible at forecasting the future.

    I hit my retirement number a few years ago but still work. Why? Because I can’t forecast black swan events or calamity that I haven’t mitigated, am oriented toward working anyway, so why not keep working in a job that gives me more dollars per hours of effort than anything else.

    Plus, I think there’s something to be said about having your children see you go to work everyday to pass on hard work habits. I want my children to have memories of me working hard during the day, spending time with them in the evening, then spying me working on my side-hustle (my blog) after they sneak out of bed so that they can be fully brought into the narrative of work hard now to have fun later.

    If they only see their (and your) great lifestyle without the right preceding chapters of your working life, they might think they too can achieve this life without any effort.

    Anyway, you’re in an enviable position. If I were you, I would revisit this question in 2019, when you have better information. In the meantime, keep building up this side hustle!

    • Thanks for sharing your experience JT!!! It’s something that I’ve been thinking about off and on and I really appreciate your insight. I definitely want to model good behavior for my son and like you said be prepared for a black swan event in the future or at least as prepared as I can be. Thanks for stopping by!!!

    • Thanks for sharing Mr. FOB!!! You’ll have to let me know when you pull the rip cord!!! I still have a couple more years but I am definitely excited about the possibility.

  49. Be adventurous! Ironic that I’m reading you teach Dave Ramsey here, as I just commented that you should try that, ha! Love it.
    Another idea: you could set up a side business as a financial consultant. (Not a financial advisor, that takes more certifications.) Then you could help people with financial basics – those above and beyond the norm. And, since you don’t need the money, you could charge low/nominal amounts – enough that people will only come if they care, but little enough that people come eagerly. You run a successful blog, so I’m sure you could find the right marketing scheme for that locally (or internet). (You’ll have to check to see what you’re legally allowed to do, but you may be able to do that; it’s worth checking.)
    Just a thought…
    Finances with Purpose recently posted…How we saved almost $1,000 per year on insurance…while remaining well-insuredMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Finances with Purpose!!! I’ve definitely thought about financial consulting. I struggle with how much to market myself at. I want to help people but I also want to make it worth my time to be away from my family 🙂 I haven’t figured it out quite yet but maybe one day I’ll take the plunge!!! Thanks for stopping by!!

  50. I’m gunning for that second. If you look at all the statistics it supposedly only seven years after your first million that you are able to make the second, having that sort of security is worth at least a portion of that time to me as that means it will have grown quite quickly at that point.

  51. We must talk about Dave Ramsey. I’ve been either an ardent supporter, or a bitter critic, or an ardent supporter again over the years. Now I’m trying to understand his hostility to Boglehead thinking about no-load and low-expense-ratio mutual funds. One thing I only recently understood about Ramsey’s investment advice is that he advocates STOCK funds, not bond or balanced funds. A 100% stock mutual fund strategy with an emergency fund and low-overhead debt-free living (plus plans to not touch it for 3-5 years) will weather any recession and protect against inflation. And if you’re not turning over your investments every year, loads are less an issue. OTOH, fees to advisors and higher expense ratios still make Bogle sound better.

    • Thanks for stopping by Steve!!! I think Dave is great when it comes to debt. But I really don’t love his advice on investments. I definitely think the Bogleheads are sharing better advice 🙂

  52. I would suggest that you should stay on your job unless 1) you have passive income to duplicate most of your job income or 2) you find a better job. I find it very interesting that many people who have achieved financial independence want to retire. If you want children or have children who are not adults you have not conquered you greatest expense. Now it all depends on what you want to give your children. Let me itemize some potential costs 1) send a child to private school from kindergarten to 12th grade 2) pay for music and dance lessons 3) after school activities 4) summer camp 5) buy a car and insurance for each child 6) pay for 4 years of college 7) pay for graduate school education 8) pay for a wedding 9) help with a down payment on a house or business. I did not mention food, clothing and housing for several children because that is the minimum that parents provide.
    I must admit that I did not provide all of these items for my three children. I however did provide most of the items listed. I have had a six figure salary for more than 25 years. I never thought about retirement because I had children to raise! I did not always love my job so I changed jobs. I did love my children and kept working. I admit I am not a financial guru. I may have mismanaged some of my money. For me 1-2 million dollars is not enough money to retire early for a 40-50 years old with children to raise.

    • Thanks for sharing Happy1 I really appreciate your experience and wisdom when it comes to retirement. I would love to transition when I have reached FIRE into something that aligned more towards my passions and hopefully not sit around the house doing nothing. I don’t think my wife would allow me to do that.

  53. “without a set plan”
    … *that* concerns me. When we retired early my wife and I ran multiple budget scenarios accounting for a variety of uncertainties. We also plugged numbers into Monte Carlo simulations at various portfolio allocations and various timelines. In fact, some might think we *over-planned* – but I don’t. I love having a plan. Plan for the worst but hope for the best. I like a plan A, B, C, and even D sometimes.
    Financial Coach Brad recently posted…How much money do you need to retire?My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Brad!!! I definitely agree that you need to have a plan for retirement. Hoping that you have enough in retirement is definitely not enough 🙂

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