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Diary of the Mis-FIRED

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By Patnbj
August 13, 2001

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I'm suspending my ER [Early Retirement] club membership and heading back to work this week to a temporary programming assignment. So, I won't be posting much for a while. I thought I'd give a brief synopsis of my ER experience. Earlier this year, fate thrust me into what seemed like a potential ER opportunity. And mostly it's been a great experience. I've enjoyed the pace of my days�I awoke without the annoying alarm clock, and there are advantages that come to those who can do things while everyone is traditionally at work and when you can travel at a minute's notice.

The two trouble areas for me were not having enough money and boredom.

Money

I always knew that while my nest egg would sustain all my essential expenses so I that I am technically FI [Financially Independent], it wouldn't support my total expenses at a safe withdrawal rate. So I had planned to find ways to generate income to make up the gap and reduce expenses.

Reduce expenses

I thought that being retired would be motivation enough for me to find a way to reduce my expenses. However since I have lived pretty frugally for many years I have found it difficult to make any major reductions in my expenses without dropping below my own personal minimum comfort level.

Income-generating ideas

I wanted to preserve my post-FIRE freedom when it came to income-generating ideas. So I looked into buying a business, with the hope that I would find one that would allow me to become a passive owner. That was very na�ve thinking! Most businesses seem to demand some type of daily involvement from the owner�be passive at your peril. For example, I looked into coin-operated Laundromats. The owner has to collect the coins on a regular basis. Even though this may be a minor time commitment out of your day�it's not one you can walk away from for a few months if you don't want to do it for a while. Also, I have a litmus test when it comes to non stock investments�they have to generate a return of at least double that of the average long term US total stock market return due to the risk/reward ratio and the PITA factor. Needless to say it is hard to find them <grin>

So, this left me with exploring self-employment opportunities. I searched for those that would be temporary in nature and I could be free to accept them for only as long as my interest was there. I started looking into what I used to do for a living, but I also looked for opportunities in those places where I spend a lot of time. It was amazing how many viable opportunities that I identified. Some are low paying, but they can easily be done at the same time as others. Whereas I found opportunities that are very time consuming, but they pay well so I can do them for a shorter duration.

Boredom

At first I found my days pretty full. As time went on, however I started getting bored. I was watching more daytime television than I care to admit. It won't be an issue for the next few months, but I got to get a better handle on this issue in my next ER round. Has anyone else faced this issue and if so, what did you do to overcome it?

So, just wondering when I'm done can I sneak back into the club??