Welcome to Q & A Wednesday on Millionaire Habits, where I answer one of your weekly questions for everyone’s benefit. Have a question?
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💡 Question: “I have amassed enough to retire, but I can’t get myself to pull the trigger. I’m afraid I will outlive my savings. How do I overcome this?”
A whole lot of people are in your footsteps, my friend.
In the early retirement community, we call this “Just One More Year” syndrome, where people continue working one more year to accumulate just a bit more. Then one year after that. Then another year. Then…
Before you know it, they’ve worked a traditional career and probably saved way more than they’d need.
And they missed all those OOO years because they couldn’t pull the trigger on their retirement.
This is common, but let me put your heart at ease.
How to Overcome “Just One More Year”
Again, let me emphasize that this is very common. The thought of voluntarily giving the finger to a consistent source of income, even after you’ve accumulated enough to call it quits, can be tough.
The best way to put your mind at ease is to talk about how I handled it.
I was making a nice six-figure salary as a software developer. I didn’t like my job, but it was good enough. I was paid well. Work was fine. All-in-all, I was smack dab in the middle of the job satisfaction continuum:
I hate my job ========== me ========== I love my job
I gave it all up on December 23rd, 2016. That was the best Christmas gift I’ve ever given myself, by the way. 🙂
Here’s why I didn’t let “Just One More Year” keep me at work even a second longer than necessary:
- Skills – If you’re in the position to retire early, then you probably have a set of money-making skills under your belt that you can whip out if needed. For instance, if you’re bored at home and want something to do, or if money is getting tight, chances are you can find a way to bring in a little extra dough with those skills you worked hard to acquire in your career.
- Youth – I was 35 when I called it quits. I had a lot of time to recover if quitting was a mistake. If it didn’t work out in a couple of years, then screw it, I’d go back to work at 38. Hardly a show-stopper, and in my line of work, it wouldn’t be a problem.
- Network – Throughout my career, I built up a pretty large network of professionals. That means if shit hits the fan, I could call up a buddy and ask if they know of any opportunities. This is what your network is for, after all. Don’t hesitate to use it.
- Short-term savings – Lastly, we had two years of cash sitting in a High-Yield Savings Account, ready to be deployed if things got bad. Having cash set aside gives you a months-long runway to adjust after unexpected expenses or if your lifestyle changes and requires a lot of extra money for some reason.
Even if you don’t have the youth part, you might have the other three.
Your skillset, network, and cash safeguard will make pulling the trigger easier because you have the resources to recover from anything that might happen in early retirement.
Ultimately, the only thing I regret is not quitting my job even earlier.
I hope this helps. While I can’t tell you to “go for it” because I don’t know your personal situation, chances are you have the foundation in place to give it a try, and if things don’t work out, rely on one of your fallbacks.
But of course, hopefully, it won’t come to that!
See you in your inbox on Saturday,