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Introducing the LemonFools Personal Finance Calculators

First day of FIRE

Including Financial Independence and Retiring Early (FIRE)
Quint
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Re: First day of FIRE

#129442

Postby Quint » April 2nd, 2018, 11:27 am

Dod101 wrote:
YeadonLad wrote:There is far more to life than work.


It all depends. I was coming back from Singapore a week ago sitting next to a guy who was clearly working and had what I hope was a sensible conversation with him about work etc. I still feel a slight tinge of regret that I am not working. I enjoyed my work and it fired me up to speak with him. I do not understand those that want to stop working asap, even by the age of 40. In fact I feel sorry for them. I am sure there are many people who enjoy working and we retirees need to ne grateful to them because they the ones keeping the world going round.

Dod


I agree with your comments Dod. Some people are fortunate to have jobs doing things that they enjoy where as some have jobs purely to fund doing the activities they enjoy (the very fortunate get both). The latter I find becomes unsustainable for a lot of people as the work experience becomes more depressing increasing desire to spend more and more time trying to get away to do the things they enjoy. That was the position I found myself in.

You then have two options either put your nose to the grindstone to gain the wealth you need to break free or look for a career change. For me and my wife we found that our jobs were giving us no satisfaction, in my case I was an IT infrastructure engineer for a large German Multi National but my only real interest was networking and firewalls (this is where I hold most of my qualifications) but this area of the work was becoming less and less and I was being expected to spend more and more time doing menial tasks that I had no interest in. It also meant that keeping my skillset up was becoming harder and harder.

Also being on an on-call rota 24\7 one week in four for 14 years was starting to wear thin. We did not often get calls but the restriction of having every fourth weekend where you could not get away or do anything, especially during the summer is something I do not miss at all.

Also we found more and more work was being outsourced to a supplier that was totally useless and causing our team massive issues that we were expected by local management to solve while not having any access or visibility of large areas of infrastructure where the people that were actually getting paid for the work just washed their hands of the issues.

This added to a culture of bullying, politics, back stabbing and blame game combined with endless powerpoint slide shows, political correctness and diversity courses pushed me to the stage where I went to bed sometimes hoping I would not wake up in the morning. This had to end.

The plan we made a few years ago was that we would stick It there until we reached FI and then this would give me the freedom to leave the security of full time work and look for contract work where I can work specifically in the areas that interest me. I am hoping that it will re-ignite the passion I had for the job. If not then It only needs to get me to the stage where I can access my SIPP and then I can look at doing something else purely for interest and enjoyment.

For somebody who has a job that interests them and they get to work with good people then that is great, if it were me I may well have kept on going. I realise that I was fortunate that the job I had while giving me little pleasure did give me a good enough pay package to get me to a position where I now have options. I know too many that have neither and are faced with another 15 - 20 years in a job they hate with no prospect of earning enough to change things. I find that thought depressing.

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Re: First day of FIRE

#129463

Postby SalvorHardin » April 2nd, 2018, 12:07 pm

Dod101 wrote:It all depends. I was coming back from Singapore a week ago sitting next to a guy who was clearly working and had what I hope was a sensible conversation with him about work etc. I still feel a slight tinge of regret that I am not working. I enjoyed my work and it fired me up to speak with him. I do not understand those that want to stop working asap, even by the age of 40. In fact I feel sorry for them. I am sure there are many people who enjoy working and we retirees need to ne grateful to them because they the ones keeping the world going round.

I retired just before turning 40. The pension mis-selling review was coming to an end and Actuaries who had spent the last few years working in it were going to see their incomes fall off a cliff. Our employability would go from being able to pick and choose employers and clients to having to scratch around for work because our mainstream Actuarial skills were a bit rusty and we lacked experience.

The thing is that I had planned for this day for about five years. My main client was surprised that I was the only Actuarial contractor who worked for them who hadn't asked them for a job. It turned out that one of their clients wanted to hire me; the problem for them was that I had made more investing in the last twelve months than three times their gross salary offer. So I declined.

Things I do not miss about work: office politics, commuting, paying National Insurance, unpaid overtime, "presenteeism" (see below) and being paid much less than people who add far less value than me.

The people who I've met over the years who find it hard to retire seem to have financial committments that mean that they can't afford to retire, or their identity and lifestyle is so closely bound up with their work that it would be awful for them to lose it. I was never one of these people.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presenteeism

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Re: First day of FIRE

#129466

Postby Aprilfool62 » April 2nd, 2018, 12:09 pm

My late husband was one of the unlucky ones who never made it to retirement. He had a good but stressful job in the city with a hard commute. He enjoyed his work but it was spoiled by the culture of those above looking out for themselves and he couldnt wait to retire (having invested for years) 55 was his goal, but it wasnt to be. I would say get out as soon as your able - or at least eliminate stress from your life as much as possible.

April

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Re: First day of FIRE

#129477

Postby DiamondEcho » April 2nd, 2018, 12:50 pm

Dod101 wrote:It all depends. I was coming back from Singapore a week ago sitting next to a guy who was clearly working and had what I hope was a sensible conversation with him about work etc. I still feel a slight tinge of regret that I am not working.


What do find you miss, the status pursuing a career brings? IME social interaction is far simpler when you're say 'DE the bond-trading management accountant who works at XYZ Bank Inc.', rather than 'DE who does something in IT and works from home'.
Or how being employed, working from a office, creates an externalised enforced rhythm to the day/week/year? ... and perhaps hands you a social network/life on a plate too.
Or the regular income, or sense of achievement, or potential to grow with your career? IDK, I suppose there are many different reasons people might have. But on the flip-side many reasons why people might aspire to getting out earlier. 'Getting out' from what though, the big-employer career, perhaps into an alternative or self-employment? Many people don't have the choice, it'd be interesting to see a graph of age vs headcount employed in the City, IME it's a minority still there past say 35, and a small fraction of that by 50. If you aren't actively figuring out a plan-B by your mid-30s when the next predictable wave of redundancies hit 'you might well be the dead-wood' that gets your P45. Pity those who get spat out that have no plan-B, the fall-out is wider than just that career, it can hit the home, marriage, the lot.

Dod101 wrote:I enjoyed my work and it fired me up to speak with him. I do not understand those that want to stop working asap, even by the age of 40. In fact I feel sorry for them. I am sure there are many people who enjoy working and we retirees need to ne grateful to them because they the ones keeping the world going round. Dod


...perhaps because many people don't enjoy their job, but need it to pay the bills. Who perhaps see the youngsters 'with 5 degrees' who are apparently loving putting in 100hr weeks who'll soon be taking their jobs on half the pay as a fast approaching threat. I 'feel sorry' for those who get spat out of that kind of competitive career too, but for most it goes with the territory. IME I didn't enjoy getting spat out at c40, far from it it felt like the end of the world, but having a plan-B and given time once I'd adjusted to it it opened up new avenues which I enjoy far more. Would I want to still be trying to daily compete for survival in my former career - you must be joking, in fact I pity most of them esp those whose lives/identities are en-slaved to their careers.

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Re: First day of FIRE

#129481

Postby swill453 » April 2nd, 2018, 1:02 pm

Dod101 wrote: I do not understand those that want to stop working asap, even by the age of 40. In fact I feel sorry for them. I am sure there are many people who enjoy working and we retirees need to ne grateful to them because they the ones keeping the world going round.

Er, I consider I'm helping to keep the world go round by spending money. If everyone only earned money and didn't spend any, the economy would grind to a halt.

I may have arranged my affairs to pay as little income tax as possible (why wouldn't you?) but I spend plenty on VAT, excise duty, fuel duty, alcohol duty, council tax, insurance premium tax, air passenger duty etc. And I also contribute to the profits of the suppliers of the various goods and services I buy, which is likely to be taxed itself further down the line.

Gratitude should flow both ways :-)

Scott.

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Re: First day of FIRE

#129494

Postby Dod101 » April 2nd, 2018, 1:38 pm

I did not expect this set of interesting responses to my comments. Thanks to all.

When I said we should be grateful to those still working I meant that it is just as well that they are because if no one was working the world would sort of grind to a halt. I do my bit for the economy just like swill453.

The attraction of work to me was the satisfaction of solving problems, working with people I liked as people as well as work colleagues, the social interaction, meeting new people in the same line of business and so on. All sounds very different from the careers that some people have had and no doubt things have changed in the last 20 years since I was given early retirement (and a good package to go with it) . My chat with the guy on the aeroplane would suggest not that much because he sounded happy in his job and many of the problems he was discussing were much the same as I had at the same age.

Each to his own and I am not being critical just slightly bemused.

Dod

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Re: First day of FIRE

#129502

Postby moorfield » April 2nd, 2018, 1:52 pm

Dod101 wrote: I still feel a slight tinge of regret that I am not working. I enjoyed my work and it fired me up to speak with him.


I hope and expect to be working until I drop, but a little less full time in later life (ie. more than 25 days leave a year!). For now (mid-40s) I am focussing on getting the mortgage killed off asap - before 50. Then I should be able to walk away from the London commute and find something different to do. Academic/research-related appeals, but the main worry is changing work in 50s. My (HYP) pension projections target a comfortable income from age 58 but I'd want to put off drawing on that until late 60s/early 70s.

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Re: First day of FIRE

#129510

Postby Quint » April 2nd, 2018, 2:23 pm

Dod101 wrote:I did not expect this set of interesting responses to my comments. Thanks to all.

When I said we should be grateful to those still working I meant that it is just as well that they are because if no one was working the world would sort of grind to a halt. I do my bit for the economy just like swill453.

The attraction of work to me was the satisfaction of solving problems, working with people I liked as people as well as work colleagues, the social interaction, meeting new people in the same line of business and so on. All sounds very different from the careers that some people have had and no doubt things have changed in the last 20 years since I was given early retirement (and a good package to go with it) . My chat with the guy on the aeroplane would suggest not that much because he sounded happy in his job and many of the problems he was discussing were much the same as I had at the same age.

Each to his own and I am not being critical just slightly bemused.

Dod


Hi Dod,

I think most see where you are coming from but it seems your experience of work was better than a lot of people on here (which may be partly why they are on this forum in the first place).

I think one of the main problems is workplace culture has in my experience gone downhill a lot in the last 20 years. I believe this to be caused mostly by the quality of management being well below the level it used to be and needs to be.

This seems to be the biggest driver in people looking for an early get out, which is sad and I think in the longer term is causing damage to business as they are losing good people at the time when they should be reaching the peak of their career and have so much to offer.

Funny your hear the same culprits complaining about not being able to recruit good staff, but then you look how they treat the staff they have and think, why can they not see the issue.

Anybody remember the days when the boss had earned your respect because he knew when he needed to tell you but he also knew when he needed to listen to you. :)

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Re: First day of FIRE

#129530

Postby DiamondEcho » April 2nd, 2018, 3:44 pm

Dod101 wrote:When I said we should be grateful to those still working I meant that it is just as well that they are because if no one was working the world would sort of grind to a halt. I do my bit for the economy just like swill453.

If no one was working I expect the population would be much lower as without means to acquire food many would die. More seriously I reckon a good proportion work through necessity rather than choice. Since you're familiar with Singapore how about the 'aunties/uncles' clearing tables in food-courts? I doubt many relish clearing the trays + spat out bones of the ungrateful; some of them seem to still be hard at work into their 80s. With little/no social welfare they often have no choice.

Dod101 wrote:The attraction of work to me was the satisfaction of solving problems, working with people I liked as people as well as work colleagues, the social interaction, meeting new people in the same line of business and so on.

I back-filled other activities for similar goals. I took up SCUBA diving and followed that through to Divemaster level (beyond which it gets $$$). Challenging, very social, something new, brilliant excuse to travel to 4-corners, lots of fun. I also enrolled in accountancy courses [AAT], and ironically belatedly got the formal quals I'd been using daily in my previous career. Both SCUBA and AAT were also quals I could use to earn an income if the necessity arose, but both had great interest/value etc in their own right.

Dod101 wrote:My chat with the guy on the aeroplane would suggest not that much because he sounded happy in his job and many of the problems he was discussing were much the same as I had at the same age.

What is the philosophical theory?... 'There was none as liberated as the slave, as vs the free man he uniquely knew the limits of what life could offer, and so could thus give up striving for more.' [x-ref: de Botton/Status Anxiety, etc. (youtube on 'status anxiety alain de botton' for various versions of that series/concept)*] .
I think ego/self-worth is so closely bound together with status, few passing strangers are going to volunteer that they're working in their 50s and hating it. If I sat next to someone who had a similar job to that I had in the 90s I'd likely miss 'running with the tribe too'. That said I have one remaining friend from back them who is hanging in there, now very senior. Luckily financial products have changed so much these days that what he does bombs my knowledge instantly out the water. Unlike the person you chatted to, my friend's daily tasks are simply gobbledegook to me.

* Here's one he gave on the topic [38mins, but he gets into it promptly], I still find it a very thought provoking 'thesis', and really should read the book again. - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoShQEhl1ek

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Re: First day of FIRE

#129593

Postby Dod101 » April 2nd, 2018, 8:41 pm

This is developing into a very interesting exchange and thanks DE for Alain de Botton on Youtube. I must say though that status has never bothered me very much and I have always felt, to use the Scottish expression, that 'we're all Jock Tamson's bairns.' Basically what de Botton was saying that when we die it is the great leveller.

It is certainly not status or the lack of it that makes me feel I would like to be working, in fact now of course I would not, but nevertheless I enjoyed my job and positively looked forward to going into work to get things done, but for a start we are all different and are looking for different things. I was very fortunate to work for an outfit that was demanding but utterly fair, and I was well looked after, meaning that I was well paid.

It is a great shame that there are not more people who enjoy their work considering the time most people must put into it.

Dod

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Re: First day of FIRE

#129598

Postby Itsallaguess » April 2nd, 2018, 9:51 pm

I consider myself very lucky indeed to have had rewarding and fulfilling jobs throughout my working life. I'm still in work, and will be for some time yet, and I continue to push myself to learn new skills, and in turn I generally find that this gets rewarded in itself and opens new doors and career options. There are very few occasions when I've not looked forward to going into work, and for that alone I'm grateful, given the number of people I know that actually hate the job they do.

With the above said, however, I've for many years planned for a 'Plan-B' strategy, and looked to reduce my large financial commitments such as mortgages and loans, and have most probably 'gone without' when others have not, in the pursuit of that goal. I didn't do this because I 'wanted out', as I didn't and still don't, but one thing I have found is that as my dependancy on a working wage has reduced over the years, the work/life pressure has also similarly reduced. This may of course be a coincidence of timing, but I think there is something in the fact that not 'having' to work, in a purely 'to pay the bills' sense, does allow me to enjoy it more for the genuine reward of a job well done.

But for me, I think the ideal situation is one which I hope to achieve in a few years, where I'll be in the position of choosing to continue working because I want to, rather than because I need to.

Choice is a wonderful thing, and is something I've worked very hard to give myself. Whilst I still enjoy my work now, like many others here I have seen, and continue to see, a changing workplace landscape, and rarely for the better. I'm aware that things could change quite quickly for the worst in some key respects, and to have proper choices available to me is a very important aspect of my future plans.

What is it that they say?

Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.....

I always enjoy reading these types of threads, with posts from people that have lived a good, long, working life, and have now made their escape and continue to enjoy fruitful lives. It gives the rest of us hope, so please keep on reminding us that you're all enjoying it!!

Cheers,

Itsallaguess

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Re: First day of FIRE

#129654

Postby SalvorHardin » April 3rd, 2018, 11:05 am

I should add that I was exceedingly happy in my final job. It was interesting highly paid work where if I worked 70 hours in a week I got paid for 70 hours. Unlike my clients’ staff who typically worked 50 to 70 hours a week but only got paid for 35. Whilst they had the carrot of possibly making partner one day as the saying goes “making partner is like winning a pie-eating competition only to find out that the prize is more pie”.

I’d seen and worked with several people who burned out through work-related stress over the years, having previously worked at accountants and solicitors’ firms. That wasn’t going to happen to me. So just before my earnings fell off the proverbial cliff I retired. I had already had been monitoring my expenses for several years so I had an extremely good idea as to what I would need to live on.

To keep myself busy I signed up for a Law degree, changing from being an Actuary to a Student. It’s vital to keep yourself occupied when you retire otherwise it’s all too easy to slip into a lifestyle where you slob out and watch daytime TV all the time (I’ve seen enough unemployed people fall into this trap). Law was a backup just in case I ever had to find a job (I didn't); the other backups focused upon teaching Maths, Physics and/or Economics though I quite like the idea of becoming a professional gambler (Actuaries have a good skill set for this and I have been thrown out of a casino for card-counting at blackjack (a badge of honour).

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Re: First day of FIRE

#129657

Postby OLTB » April 3rd, 2018, 11:31 am

This is a really interesting thread and one I've been giving a lot of thought to since I started to take control of my retirement savings in mid 2016. I've been studying my expenses regularly to try and establish what income I will need to meet my current lifestyle. I am very fortunate in that I really enjoy my job, and at the moment don't wish to/can't consider retiring for a number of reasons:

1. All my savings are in a SIPP so I can't get to them until I'm 55 (I'm 48 at the moment).
2. My retirement savings pot isn't at a level which could support my expenses (large outstanding mortgage being the most dominant) and won't be for a long time.
3. I enjoy my work and would miss it if I left.
4. I wouldn't know how to fill my day currently (I need to get interests outside of work)
5. Our youngest is only 8 and although regular breaks/holidays would be nice, I couldn't take him out of school to enjoy these.

I think that my attitude might change when I get to 55+ as our youngest grows and becomes more independent and perhaps I start to feel a little more tired of work, but until then, I shall keep going as I'm one of the lucky few who has a job I enjoy with no real stress as some have mentioned above (I don't work in the City and have no desire to - although I'm not tired of life!). I really need to focus on reducing the mortgage as I think that is where I will get the biggest effective pay rise!

Cheers, OLTB.

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Re: First day of FIRE

#129668

Postby vrdiver » April 3rd, 2018, 12:10 pm

I remember explaining to the then Mrs VRD that no, I wasn't having an affair; I really had been working until 4 a.m. because I'd lost track of the time! Those were the days when I was deeply into programming and would happily stick at a problem until I had a solution.

Work almost got that good a decade or so later when I was a solution architect. It was stimulating, challenging and fun, as well as working with people who were my equal, if not usually smarter than me (which kept me on my toes).

As the lure of greater pay drew me into more management oriented roles, the fun receded and there were more and more days when I was bored with being a cog in the machine. I still enjoyed work overall, just that there was more and more unenjoyable stuff to go with it.

The acid test (for me) was when even the fun bits no longer compensated for the hoops I had to jump through for the rest of the job. When FI came, it was an easy decision.

Fast forward to today: I am in Scotland looking over a loch and the snow-capped hills beyond. The dog is snoozing after her morning walk and we're discussing where to have lunch (Mrs VRD and I, not the dog). Contrast that to my last working Easter where we were in crisis mode, management huddled around a set of abysmal reports, discussing how we were going to get out of a thoroughly predictable mess without admitting fault or impacting project timelines. No feelings of nostalgia at all, none.

VRD

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Re: First day of FIRE

#129671

Postby OLTB » April 3rd, 2018, 12:15 pm

vrdiver wrote:
Fast forward to today: I am in Scotland looking over a loch and the snow-capped hills beyond. The dog is snoozing after her morning walk and we're discussing where to have lunch (Mrs VRD and I, not the dog).
VRD


Where did it all go wrong VRD? ;)

Lovely story and perhaps I'll be telling a similar tale in ten years or so....

Cheers, OLTB.

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Re: First day of FIRE

#129895

Postby Quint » April 4th, 2018, 9:29 am

What an interesting thread this has become.

I am still waiting for my pension to transfer to my SIPP, having just sent some paperwork through for the second time. Useless.

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Re: First day of FIRE

#130116

Postby mickeypops » April 5th, 2018, 10:24 am

Quint wrote:What an interesting thread this has become.

I am still waiting for my pension to transfer to my SIPP, having just sent some paperwork through for the second time. Useless.


Cripes, I feel your pain Quint. Me and Mrs MP are retiring at the end of this month. We both have SIPPs and ISAs. I have three DB pensions from my current and prior employers. I have (had) four separate DC pension accounts - three legacy and my current employer. My wife has a DB pension from an ex-employer, a current employer DC account and two old DC accounts.

I've been pulling all this together - arranging for the DB pensions to commence, taking the tax free lump sums (to reinvest in ISAs / Investment accounts.) and transferring the legacy DC accounts into our SIPPs, with the current employer DC funds to follow. Some of these arrangements have been a doddle, some are being really troublesome.

Paperwork? I reckon our postman will have to go off sick with a bad back.........

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Re: First day of FIRE

#130119

Postby mickeypops » April 5th, 2018, 10:29 am

vrdiver wrote:As the lure of greater pay drew me into more management oriented roles, the fun receded and there were more and more days when I was bored with being a cog in the machine. I still enjoyed work overall, just that there was more and more unenjoyable stuff to go with it.

The acid test (for me) was when even the fun bits no longer compensated for the hoops I had to jump through for the rest of the job. When FI came, it was an easy decision.


VRD


I can completely relate to this VRD. I'm 63, and retiring at the end of this month, not massively early I know, and I could easily have stuck it out for another couple of years to build the pot up further had I wanted to. I'm in IT management for a global megacorp. Generally it's not a bad gig, but I'm just so BORED with it all - not the IT part, but as has been pointed out, the further up the management chain you get the more you leave behind the work you enjoyed - which I was really good at - and transition instead into the meaningless corporate political BS that takes over your life - at which I'm "decent" but not brilliant.

I'm just plain fed up with it all, and can't wait to hang up the company laptop and move on to something more personally fulfilling, along with Mrs MP, who is retiring on the same day.

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Re: First day of FIRE

#130123

Postby Jabd2001 » April 5th, 2018, 10:43 am

Congratulations Mickeypops.
I think its really hard to sustain a fulfilling career over decades. I think a lot of us here are smart, mainly technical minded people who have enjoyed and been good at the content of the job. This really does disappear as you move up the food chain, and I think a lot of people don't get much stimulation or fulfillment from management b*******. I am hopeless at it. So there really is nowhere to go if you want to keep your brain alive and creative, except out. Then the challenge is to find something else to get your teeth into and provide the sense of purpose, and for some, collective endeavour that work provides..

Dod, I know you miss work. I think I will miss work too. I think that's a good thing - it means that you didn't waste all that time and effort. However, I suspect you would be enjoying it a lot less if you were still doing it! There is a time to move on, but that doesn't mean that what you are leaving was terrible, or won't be missed.

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Re: First day of FIRE

#130137

Postby JohnB » April 5th, 2018, 11:52 am

In 2016 I thought I'd not enjoyed any of the jobs I'd done since 2003, so it must be me not the jobs, and off I went, and not looked back, there is no job-shaped hole in my life. I'm very happy encouraging my friends to do the same, only being cautious with those who are struggling financially. I've been invited to a university reunion, which will be full of willy-waving life updates. Not sure I'll go, but if I do I'll not have a problem with status, "Oh, I made my money and retired to potter in the garden, so you still have to work then?"

As far as pulling your weight in a socialist sense, without full employment, I'm freeing up a post for someone who wants it, paying all the tax society demands, and putting some stuff back in social causes. I could do more, but we could all give more time and money to Oxfam.

Do I miss massively-parallel supercomputers, working on the biggest machines on the planet? Nope.


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