Ruth Bader Ginsburg And The Importance Of A Strategic Retirement

When Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on September 18, 2020, at 87 years old, the first person I thought about was my 9-month-old daughter.

I thought about how RBG fought her entire career for women's rights so that daughters, mothers, and sisters everywhere could lead better lives. Thank you RBG!

I'm not sure if you're aware, but I've been writing about the importance of gender equality for a very long time on Financial Samurai. Here are some of my posts throughout the years:

Someone Has To Give Birth: Why Women Shouldn't Be Penalized For Being A Mom (2009). A wakeup call for people who get snippy when women take maternity leave.

The Government Is Sexist And Nobody Seems To Care (2010). Discussed the absurdity of the marriage penalty tax and why it came to be.

The Gender Wage Gap And A Solution To Gender Inequality (2012). A no-brainer solution that should be adopted by all firms.

Over The Hill At 40: A Discussion On Age Discrimination In The Work Place (2014). Argued why people over 40 rock.

Sexual Harassment At Uber Reminds Me Why HR Is Not Your Friend (2017). Highlighted how the company did nothing after repeated complaints by one brave female employee.

The Marriage Penalty Tax Has Been Abolished, Hooray! (2018). Reviewed the new tax laws that are essentially a victory for higher-earning, career-focused women who wish to get married.

How To Negotiate A Severance As A High-Performing Employee (2018). Showed how my wife was able to negotiate a severance after getting passed over for a raise and a promotion gotten by two other guys.

Each post's existence originated from the deep frustration I have about the lack of gender equality that has made its way into our systems. If our systems were governed by a more balanced group of people, our systems would treat all people more equally.

My goal is to bring about more awareness so that we can all speak up and take action to level the playing field.

My Dear Mother

Unless you don't have a mother, sister, girlfriend, wife, daughter or female friend, it makes no sense to not want gender equality.

My inspiration for writing about gender equality comes from my mother. One day, as an 6th-grader, I visited her at the American Embassy In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and realized for the first time she was a secretary. She was organizing the magazines at the waiting room when she greeted me with a big smile and a warm hug.

Before my realization, my mom had told me she had wanted to be a scientist growing up. Instead of accepting a scholarship to Duke University, she decided to marry my father and support his foreign service career.

Years later, when my mother was in her mid-50s, she shared with me her hope to retire soon and finally pursue her true interests. Her lament motivated me to ensure that she could.

Right after she turned 60, I clearly remember her asking me whether I thought it was OK for her to retire sooner instead of waiting for several more years to get a better pension.

I told her, “Go for it mom! Retire earlier! Dad and I won't let you down.

Although I'm happy that my mom met my dad, I also wished she could have pursued her career to the fullest while also being a parent. Let’s not hold back on our dreams because we feel pressure from society to be and act a certain way.

RBG And The Importance Of A Strategic Retirement

Losing RBG hurts the many people who support her views. I hope a woman who is as passionate about gender equality will replace her. I'm sure RBG was fighting hard every day to live long enough to see who would win the election on November 3, 2020.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg And The Importance Of A Strategic Retirement

With her passing, Donald Trump has nominated originalist, Amy Coney Barrett as the next Supreme Court Justice nominee. Barrett was a mentee of the late Supreme Court Justice Scalia.

If you are a Democrat, you may not be very happy. And if you are a Republican, RBG’s passing may be one of your greatest hopes of a different future.

Some could argue that a Supreme Court Justice is more powerful than the President given there is no term-limit. One vote could change the law for millions, forever. In fact, here are 30 Supreme Court cases that were decided by just one vote.

Therefore, in retrospect, it may have been better for Ruth Bader Ginsburg to have retired at 80 when President Obama was in office. If she had, the Democrats would have been able to nominate her replacement, who would have then gone on to serve for decades.

On the flip side, perhaps Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death emboldens the Democratic base to turn out and vote because even more is now at stake.

It is my belief that a bird in the hand (retiring when your party is in power to find your replacement) is better than two birds in the bush (the potential for your party to win the presidency again).

Here's a good article about Ruth Bader Ginsburg's key cases that paved the way for financial equality.

What's important to remember is that Supreme Court Justices are not supposed to be political. They are supposed to faithfully do their best to objectively interpret the Constitution and the law. However, history shows that Supreme Court Justices typically vote along party lines.

What Is A Strategic Retirement?

A strategic retirement sounds calculated because it is. Nobody should retire without a plan. In fact, if you do retire without a plan, that probably means you were laid off or fired.

Thinking ahead is free. Do not look down upon those constantly plan for the future.

Here are the three core principles of a strategic retirement:

1) Leave your work in good hands.

After a life's work, the last thing you want is for your replacement to undo everything you've done. Instead, you ideally want your replacement to be someone who believes in your work and who will do an even better job.

You also don't want to retire without a proper successor because this will leave your company in the lurch. It often takes months to find a suitable replacement and then months more to train your replacement.

I was OK with retiring in 2012 because I had hired my replacement two years prior. He was a nice, hungry guy, who I knew could easily take over the business because I trained him. He didn't go to a fancy school and was stuck in a dead-end role before he joined. As a result, he was very appreciative of the opportunity.

When you retire, you want to feel peace of mind that everything will go on fine without you. You also want to feel the joy of giving your successor an opportunity to succeed.

2) Leave on your terms.

One of the most gratifying things about negotiating a severance or leaving when you want to is that it is you who made the decision to leave, not your boss. We all have a certain level of pride we want to maintain. Leaving on your terms gives you the ultimate sense of pride.

The flip side is being asked to leave. If so, your ego will be crushed, at least for a little while until you find something new. Finally, the other scenario is having to retire due to an uncontrollable health issue.

Retiring on your terms is like walking through a door and into an expansive field of absolute freedom. After so many years of laboring, we forget what it's like to be a child again.

“To make my own mistakes is all that I wanted.” – Mance Rayder, is an exercise on what it means to be a free man or woman.

3) Think about the repercussions.

Leaving your work in good hands (#1) is mostly thinking about yourself. You want to feel good knowing that your work will continue to make an impact. You also feel good that the company that granted you a pension or a severance package will not suffer because of your departure.

The next step is to think beyond yourself and ask what type of repercussions there will be if you don't retire. Perhaps deep down you know that your performance is not as it once was, but your company keeps you on out of respect. Maybe it's time to retire and give a new talented person the opportunity.

Some questions to consider for your strategic retirement:

  • What if I die young and retire too late? Will I regret not retiring and doing everything I wanted?
  • What if I die old and retire too soon? Will I have something meaningful to retire to?
  • Who benefits and who suffers if I don't retire?
  • How will my life change after a strategic retirement?

I knew I had to retire because my heart was no longer in it. It wasn't fair to my firm, my junior colleague, the rest of my teammates, and myself to keep working if I couldn't give 100%. Therefore, I made my way out.

I'm not sure how well my business did without me for the first year. However, I do know my junior colleague got a promotion two years later. My old colleagues probably enjoyed having a hungrier guy around. Finally, I was able to do 100% what I wanted with my life. Everybody wins.

A Strategic Retirement Requires Planning

None of us knows what the future holds. We may die young. Our investments may take a 32% hit in one month as they did in March 2020. Life is so unpredictable that we must do our best to appreciate every minute of the present.

A strategic retirement requires extensive planning well before you actually retire. I only planned to retire about five months before I did, which robbed me of some financial upside. If I had planned for two years in advance, I probably would have walked away with a couple hundred thousand dollars more and probably enjoyed a nice going away bash.

The last thing you want to do is wake up one day and tell yourself, I'm going to quit my job today! Instead, circle a retirement date at least a year or two into the future and do the following:

Things To do Before Your Strategic Retirement

  • Make sure you achieve everything you want in your career. This includes asking for a promotion and a raise, asking to relocate to a different office, and asking for a new role.
  • Identify a successor. If you can't identify a co-worker, then it's time to search outside your firm. If you don't have the authority to hire the person before you leave, provide a list of candidates to your boss when you negotiate a severance.
  • Build good relationships with your HR manager, immediate bosses, and colleagues so that when the time comes to ask for a severance package, they can't help but want to help you.
  • Read perspectives from people who did retire and what they'd do differently. I promise you that your actual retirement life will look different than what you had imagined. You will feel different and do things differently. The easiest way to overcome, “If I knew then what I know now,” is to simply learn from people who've already been there.

We will all retire one day, whether we want to or not. Let's plan to retire on our own terms. If you do, I promise you will feel much more fulfilled.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quotes

My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.

I said on the equality side of it, that it is essential to a woman's equality with man that she be the decision-maker, that her choice be controlling.

Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.

Thank you Ruth Bader Ginsburg for all your service! May your successor be just as great.

Strategic Retirement Planning Recommendation

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After you link all your accounts, use their Retirement Planning calculator to estimate your expected retirement cash flow. To have a successful strategic retirement, you must constantly monitor your expenses and income.

I’ve been using Personal Capital since 2012. In this time, I have seen my net worth skyrocket thanks to better money management.

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About The Author

58 thoughts on “Ruth Bader Ginsburg And The Importance Of A Strategic Retirement”

  1. This is my first time commenting, big fan of your blog, thank you for all your hard work. As another commenter already pointed out – thank you King Mastodon for a very nice overview, I learned from it – justices are supposed to do their job based on law, not their personal affiliations.

    To all those criticizing RBG for not retiring sooner – and I am not an expert on politics, but just from reading the news – I seem to remember President Obama not having an easy time with the Senate those days. It was a Republican Senate and they blocked him at every turn. Lets say RBG had agreed to retire; and once you commit, you probably cannot take it back – there is no reason to assume that an Obama nominated Judge would have been confirmed. We might have been left with another open seat for Trump to nominate at that time.

    On another note, I do not believe that anyone should be telling a woman of her level of commitment and capacity that she is done working for her country because she is old. That is ageism, if not sexism, at the very least. I want to think she was very aware of the risks, and she didn’t retire because she thought that was not the best move, and she had earned her right to make that call, being a consummate professional that she was.

    I am grateful she did not retire. I know this is a FIRE blog, but as you have pointed out earlier Sam, the point of FIRE is the freedom to do what you love. Her job was what she loved. She deserves better than people speculating the date of her demise and she does not owe anyone to politely roll over and fade just because someone else decided she is inconvenient.

    As a nation, we should focus on making our process more just, not commit injustice against others for some perceived benefit. This is how democracy does really die.

  2. I deeply respect RBG and her legacy, but it is confusing to me why there is not more respect for what ACB has accomplished – she has a very successful career, great marriage, mother to 7 and from reports she is a kind and generous person. Her accomplishments should be recognized and I want to applaud her success. She is doing it all – isn’t this one version gender equality?

    I am prochoice so obviously disagree with her position, but if Roe vs Wade is overturned, the states will regulate this. It will be messy if it happens, but the USA could use a referendum (like Ireland) to let the people decide. I am just stating this since I think the situation on this issue may not be as dire and scary as reported by the media.

    1. Probably because we don’t know as much about ACB yet, whereas RBG has been serving for decades.

      I’m glad ACB is a woman. Let’s see what she has to say during confirmation hearings.

  3. It’s noteworthy the unabashed sympathetic tone regarding women rights due to your personal experiences while the same cannot be said for past articles regarding racial inequalities .

    1. Thanks Kenny for the reminder that I should do more to write about the racial inequalities in America. In this regard, I’d love for you to share your story and advice as well. It’s important we all pitch in and take action.

      For now, here are some race-related articles for you to review:

      Dear Minorities, Use Racism As Motivation To Achieve Financial Independence Every Day

      Your Chances Of Becoming A Millionaire By Race, Education, And Experience

      Income By Race: Explaining Why Asian Income Is So High

      Silent Threats In The Night

    2. Kenny, your comment is rude and unhelpful. What have you done recently to help others or improve society? I’m guessing nothing since all you have to say is negative.

    3. It’s always interested to see people judge others without doing anything themselves. Well done.

      This is why some people get way ahead and others like yourself fall way behind.

  4. This is a great point that RBG should have thought of retiring when there was a favorable president in office for the kind of appointee she would have liked to replace her. She could have taken on projects like writing a book or whatever after she retired if she wanted to continue working in the field.

    1. That would be [perceived as] playing politics. And maybe what she wanted to do was keep doing her job on the court. What’s the point in could have/should have-ing her life? Not very respectful.

  5. Some thoughts from Julie Gunnigle a student of Amy Coney Barret at ND:

    While she had a reputation for collegiality and excellence in the classroom, the biggest lesson she taught me was that a person could be kind and civil while embracing an ideology that regards some individuals worthy of fewer rights and less freedom.

    Make no mistake about it: Judge Amy Coney Barrett is an extremist pick. Her record on reproductive rights, coverage for preexisting conditions, LGBTQ+ rights, and the dignity of work is abysmal.

    In Amy Coney Barrett’s America, women will be prosecuted for abortions, Americans will be stripped of healthcare coverage, we cannot marry who we love, and unions will be gutted. While I respect her record on teaching, she is unfit to fill the seat of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

    With her nomination to the United States Supreme Court, the overturning of established precedent like Roe v. Wade is all but guaranteed.

    That means the Maricopa County Attorney will have the discretion to prosecute people for their own private healthcare decisions.

    Our government does not belong in these intimate spaces.

    1. If she is an extreme pick, will she therefore not be confirmed?

      Anybody hav thoughts on Serena Joy Waterford’s character in The Handmaid’s Tale? How did she go from being so brilliant and powerful to willingly losing so much?

  6. Being a woman, I appreciate the first wave or two of feminists. But please don’t think that we all love RGB. I’m not oppressed (54) and much of what has been accomplished was done before RGB was on the SC. So much of what passes for ‘gender equality’ today is leftist cr@p.

    She should have retired years ago. That she didn’t because she wanted to make history with Hillary, well, things have a funny way of working out. I’ve read many articles stating that she fell asleep on the bench, was very frail, etc. Worrying about her legacy in an appointed, not hereditary, position just demonstrates her arrogance.

  7. KingMastodon

    I understand that the main point of this article is wisely choosing the best time to retire, but I just want to clarify what seems to be a pervasive and fundamental understanding of the relationship between the Supreme Court and the parties that appoint its members.

    The Supreme Court (and the other federal courts) were created to be, by far, the least political branch in the federal government. This is actually why federal judges are appointed for life-it insulates them from popular opinion that could otherwise pressure them from interpreting laws as they were written (or implemented-google stare decisis). The courts are not supposed to write legislature; that is what Congress is for (and this is part of what makes landmark decisions such a big deal).

    While the Supreme Court (and, to a much lesser extent, lower courts) has been increasingly politicized over time, the court itself has actually done a pretty good job at keeping itself insulated from politics. This is why nominees do not discuss how they would decide specific cases during congressional hearings, why Supreme Court trials are not televised, and why Justices do not clap or react whatsoever during the President’s State of the Union.

    This is finally where RBG’s decision to stay on the court comes in. Supreme Court Justices do not base their decisions based on the opinion of the party who nominates them; they decide cases based on their opinion on what the law means. Therefore, while Justices can (and almost certainly do) have political opinions, the Democratic party is not “RBG’s party” with respect to her duties as a Justice. This is why she always intended to stay on the court on the condition that she was physically and mentally fit for the job. In a way that I don’t think many Americans understand, I think RBG’s death was about as “strategic” as ending a her career could be.

    I think this is the first time I’ve commented on Financial Samurai. Sam, if you’re reading this, I’ve been a fan for years!

    1. Thanks for the reminder that supreme court justices are supposed to be impartial and just interpret the law. However, we all know which way some justices lean.

      What are your thoughts about the nominee Amy Coney Barrett?

      1. KingMastodon

        Before I talk about Amy Coney Barrett, I just want to mention that only about 20% of cases are decided 5-4. I should have put that in my original comment.

        Barrett’s selection is no surprise regarding her approach to the law. Barrett is an originalist (she tries to interpret the Constitution the same way the founding fathers did). Republicans generally favor textualists (of which originalists are a subset) vs judicial activists, and Barrett is the third of three orignialists that Trump has nominated to the Supreme Court. For what it’s worth, Trump did go out of his way to nominate a woman this time. This strikes me as an uncommon nod of respect to his opponents and what they stand for.

        In my opinion, Barrett’s background is much more interesting. Should Barrett be confirmed, she would be a black sheep among the justices with respect to education. All of the current justices went to law school at either Harvard or Yale (Ginsburg transferred from Harvard to Columbia, and was tied for valedictorian), and all but one (Thomas) went to college at an Ivy League school. Barrett did not attend an Ivy League college or law school. Considering the emphasis that the legal field places on educational background, this is an intriguing detail. What’s even more fascinating is that, despite not attending a top-ranked university, she went on to clerk for Scalia (generally, only Thomas accepts clerks that did not attend such institutions). Several of Barrett’s mentors have stated that she is brilliant, and this seems to speak to that. I want to note that elite educations are relatively new on the Supreme Court (maybe about 30-40 years?), so Barrett isn’t necessarily an unprecedented choice in this regard. Beyond education, Barrett’s experience in private practice, as a law professor, and as a circuit judge is a bread-and-butter path to the high court, so she is much more conventional here.

        I’d be a broken record if I talked for too long about the political ramifications of this nomination. I would like to note that, should Barrett be confirmed, it would supersede both Gorsuch’s (Gorsuch is an originalist who replaced an originalist) and Kavanaugh’s (Kavanaugh is an originalist who replaced the justice who was considered the “swing vote”) confirmations in terms of political importance. Should Barrett, an originalist, be confirmed, she would replace an activist. From a president’s perspective, the opportunity to nominate 1/3rd of the Supreme Court in one term is titanic on its own, and the opportunity to replace someone a president completely disagrees with is rare indeed. Trump has already had success with filling the courts, and if Barrett is confirmed, he might become the most influential president in terms of changing the judiciary in this half-century, even if he isn’t re-elected.

        It’s hard to say what altering the composition of the court to five textualists and three activists (Roberts is the new “swing vote”-he wrote the opinion that upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare) could do to America’s legal system. Those who have gained rights under Roe (abortion) and Obergefell (same-sex-marraige) would have reason to worry about Barrett. However, from the perspective of stare decisis, reversing those decisions (particularly Roe-decided in 1973) would have disturbing effects on society. Perhaps this shift will provide some clarity to the justices over the responsibility they hold. However, in my opinion, only time can tell whether such landmark decisions are truly liable to be reversed.

        I’ve rambled long enough-you can probably tell I can go on too long about this stuff.

        1. Amazing analysis. Thank you.

          20% of court cases decided 5-4 is still a lot.

          I’m not sure if being a originalist is a good thing given so much has changed since September 17, 1787.

          There is no way our founding founders could have foreseen all that has happened since then.

          The Constitution of 1787 failed to abolish slavery. So how the heck can we follow and believe word-for-word everything our homogenous founding fathers believed in back then as it relates to now? We can’t.

          You are obviously very knowledgeable on this subject. What is the process by which supreme court justices can reverse prior decisions?


          1. KingMastodon

            You’re welcome, your respect means a great deal.

            You raise an excellent point with the Constitution’s relationship with slavery. It is true that the conventional interpretation of “inalienable rights” was much narrower in scope in 1789. However, even though the Constitution, as drafted by the founders, did not guarantee freedom from slavery, there is not a single (legitimate) originalist in America who would argue for its constitutionality. The 13th amendment expressly prohibits slavery; furthermore, the 14th amendment (ratified days after the 13th) explicitly guarantees that no citizen of the U.S. shall be deprived of “life, liberty, or property”.

            Even though most of the Constitutional amendments weren’t written by the founding fathers, that doesn’t give them a free pass from the perspective of originalism. In fact, at the risk of sounding too meta, the procedures for amending the Constitution are part of the Constitution. This means that originalists must interpret the amendments as part of the Constitution, even if they replace sections written by the fathers themselves (as the 13th amendment did). I’ll return to this detail later when I talk about overturning a Supreme Court ruling.

            The founding fathers knew full well that a Constitution that couldn’t change wouldn’t last very long. Many Americans forget that the Constitution is actually the second fundamental legal document that the United States created. The Articles of Confederation, which preceded the Constitution, was a document that made the American government so weak that it was scrapped entirely. This was a lesson learned-the Constitution is a much better framework than the Articles were, but the founders did not anticipate the work to end when the Constitution was signed.

            To answer your question about what it takes to overrule a Supreme Court judgement-there are two answers: a subsequent, contradictory Supreme Court ruling, or a constitutional amendment. Decisions made by the Supreme Court are often (but not necessarily) made as a direct interpretation of the Constitution. There is no rule of law in the United States that is greater than or equal to the Constitution. This means that a Supreme Court opinion made in the name of the Constitution overrides documents such as: presidential proclamations, executive orders from the President or any governor, bills signed into law by any state, rulings made by lower courts, and even federal legislature (the bills that both houses of Congress pass and the President signs). Because new rules of law replace old rules of law, it follows why the Supreme Court can reverse itself in this way. However, this is discouraged if done excessively, as it could cause inordinate disarray in the legal system if done too often (I think this is the third time I’ve mentioned stare decisis). Constitutional amendments are a different matter; the Supreme Court cannot contradict an amendment. In fact, the court is bound to uphold any amendment. Remember, the Supreme Court only interprets the Constitution, it cannot edit it.

            *The following paragraph contains something I want to mention, but it doesn’t contribute to the main point of this comment.

            If you read the amount of things that the Supreme Court can overrule, you might be shocked about how much power these 9 justices hold. Believe me, there are several checks to this power. This is fundamental to how our government operates. A crucial check is one we’re discussing right now: the other two branches of government appoint all federal judges. Federal judges can also be impeached and removed from office like the President. Also, as mentioned above, the Supreme Court must uphold any constitutional amendment, and the courts have no say in writing or voting for such amendments. However, in my opinion, the most important check on the courts is how opportunities to exercise power must come to them; the Courts cannot go out of their way to shape America in their view (this is the legislature’s job). For the court to influence the law, a plaintiff must make a case, and the court can only exercise power within the scope of a case in question.

                1. KingMastodon

                  Wow, thanks! I was not expecting such a positive reception to my post. I’m not sure now’s the best time for me to regularly commit to putting my voice out there, but I’ve never thought of that before…

                  Sam, I’ll shoot you an email if I decide to follow up. In the meantime, I’ll make sure to comment more if I think I can offer something.

  8. I am new to this site. I just wanted different perspectives on financial matters.

    I am surprised at the blatant political nature of this last post by FS.

    I am also born and raised as a Democrat, but really now feel that the party has become a party of hate and violence.

    From defunding the police (primarily negatively affecting minorities), to supporting those looting and burning down businesses in big cities (also primarily affecting minorities), whose supporters threaten violence to anyone who does not agree with them. I don’t know how rational, caring people can support this party anymore.

    But, that is the great thing about America. We are all entitled to our own opinions. At least until the cancel culture takes over.

    How about more financial perspectives?

    1. Sure, feel free to read other posts for more financial perspectives.

      What are you afraid of in this article? It talks about the importance of a strategic retirement. Can you not focus on the main point?

      Not sure if you are being congruent with thought and action when you say “we are all entitled to our own opinions.”

    2. Are you blind? Or are you just lazy? There’s a wealth of financial articles on this site, including this one about the importance of a strategic retirement.

      What made you so sensitive? And why is your comment so politically fearful when the post is not?

      We’re you bullied a lot growing up and as an adult? Serious questions. You seem like a snowflake and very weak. Not sure if you are a man or woman. But if you are a man, you’ve really got to be tougher.

      1. And clearly you are a liberal, so this is all easy for you to say.

        I have a funny feeling that if the shoe was on the other foot, i.e, this article had a conservative bent, you and your ilk would be the ones complaining.

    3. “I am also born and raised as a Democrat, but really now feel that the party has become a party of hate and violence.

      From defunding the police (primarily negatively affecting minorities), to supporting those looting and burning down businesses in big cities (also primarily affecting minorities), whose supporters threaten violence to anyone who does not agree with them. I don’t know how rational, caring people can support this party anymore.”

      Like I mentioned before, it’s not your father’s Democratic Party. Wallace has the nerve to ask a questions at the debate about white supremacy in ‘20 as if the KKK is responsible for all the rioting, burning, and looting of our cities; tearing down of our monuments, and lethal attacks/openly wishing ill-will towards our law enforcement. This is 99.9% driven by the left and the party refuses to condemn it. Not one word about it at the DNC until polls started to shift afterwards.

      Consider this, you can where a Biden shirt anywhere in the country and feel totally safe. Wear a MAGA hat and you could literally lose your life. If Biden wins, there will be no rioting, burning, looting, destruction of monuments, lethal attacks on law enforcement, etc., by the other party.

      However, if Trump wins, it’s on. Intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy. It’s some pretty scary stuff when the wealthiest and most powerful people/companies in the world (Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) are allowed to control/censor the content the American people consume at the rate which they are currently allowed. Watch social dilemma to learn about the differences in the rate of spread of fake information versus factual information, groupthink, echo chambers, etc. Eye opening!

  9. spaceassassin

    For some like RGB, business founders and other high profile job, the job is so much woven into their life and self-worth that retirement doesn’t even seem like a rational option. They aren’t leaving a job, they are leaving part of their life and self-identity behind–and its really hard to do that.

    For most? Sure, spend a year training your replacement and move on. Sure you are going to miss the work, the people, etc. but its much easier to do, for the reasons you mentioned above.

    But for RGB, I think there was a plan, it just failed. Sort of like couples planning on a divorce when “the kids are old enough to understand.” They either don’t make it or the kids never understand or appreciate the strategy.

    I think a lot of people are like the kids right now–frustrated and confused.

    1. What you say is true for a lot of people who work for decades and decades only to be faced with an inevitable choice of retiring with grace or with uncertainty.

      Even during my relatively short 13 year career, I had a lot of uncertainty and doubt before finally pulling the trigger and saying what the heck.

      And after 11 years of running Financial Samurai, it feels better to entertain offers to sell, so I won’t.

      Good analogy on trying to hang on and divorce after the kids understand.

  10. Frugal Bazooka

    I’ve been reading multiple FIRE/Personal Finance blogs for several years and have been greatly inspired by all of them in one way or another. I estimate that I’ve increased my net worth by at least (low) 6 figures due to the info I’ve gained from these blogs. Unfortunately most of the best ones seem to have run out of things to write about, or they are no longer focused on inspiring newcomers to achieve financial liberty. Has the PF/FIRE trend run out of steam? I hope not.
    I believe it’s important for all people (esp younger hard working people just starting out) to have hope that life and financials can improve w hard work and following good advice.

    About moms…my mom had a high profile career in a big city when she was young and gave it up to raise her kids. I am forever grateful and when I ask her about giving up the substantial rewards of her career she never hesitated saying her job was meaningless compared to the love and joy she got from being a mom. This inspired me to “retire” at 26 (practically broke) and bring up my kids for several years so my wife could work a job that had more potential. Once they started school I went back to work but being w my kids for those years was 1000 times more rewarding than any job i had before or since.

    1. Did you want me to publish more retirement related articles or more in general? Not sure what you’re inferring as it pertains to FS. I haven’t quit writing 3X a week since 2009 and don’t plan to stop.

      I welcome a guest post from you if you want. It’s always fun to write what you want to read. Hearing about a 26-year-old stay at home father for several years would be a good story to tell.

      1. Flip side argument: I came to the FIRE blogs to be inspired. I was and changed my family’s financial trajectory. I stopped reading most of them because I no longer need anyone to tell me to search for a cheaper phone plan or up my retirement contributions. This is the only FIRE blog I regularly read because it hasn’t lost its steam and relevancy. My favorite by a long shot.

        1. Frugal Bazooka


          You make a great point – veterans of FI/FIRE World don’t need as much inspiration or new financial ideas as we once did, but I personally like to get an occasional booster shot from the 3 or 4 top blogs that used to be my daily or weekly go to for the magic. As I mentioned in my o post it’s more about kids new to the FI world getting the same advantages I got from the FI blogs once upon a time. IMO, Samurai is the only game in town right now (which is why I’m here). There was a time just a year ago when there were at least 4 decent FI blogs – now 1 or 2 on a good day. Hence my question: has the FIRE trend run its course?

      2. Frugal Bazooka

        Sorry for my rant, but actually I wasn’t referring to FS per se, but a pattern among several FI blogs that have 1. strayed far from the basic “how to” of the game or 2.drifted into areas that are not their area of expertise. Those are the ones that are even bothering to write at all. Many have basically shut down the blog and are nonexistent at this point. In truth FS is one of the last of a dying breed of blogs that once were a valuable resource for people seeking financial redemption. For that reason, I would be honored. Email me the details.

  11. I 100% agree we need gender equality as each woman needs to be given the same opportunity. As if we don’t we are not using all the brain power the world has. To make the world better this is a simple solution. I don’t know many men who gave up their careers for their woman but I do know a number of women who have.

    It is very unfortunate with the loss of RBG and what that will probably mean on the supreme court. I think it is critical to retire strategically. Think if you owned your own company or are an executive of a company you need to succession plan.

    I think it is hard for people to strategically plan their retirement as they may not know anything but their job. For some people their job is everything to them. It is to your point you will end up retiring at some point so better to look into it then wait until it is too late.

    The article indicates if you planned your retirement two years earlier you would have been able to walk away with thousands more. I have to ask, what would you have done differently to get more?

    1. If I planned two or three years ahead, I would’ve negotiated much more aggressively for a guaranteed compensation package or would have taken
      up another job offer that offered a two-year guaranteed pay package for a lot more.

      I remember interviewing in one room for four hours, with the son of the ex-Chinese premier in NYC. But if I jumped ship, then I wouldn’t have been able to get as great of a service package. So maybe it all worked out in the end.

      Planning ahead has seldom ever hurt anyone. We need to focus on the premortem more So we better know what to do when uncertainty strikes. And this reminds me, I need to prepare a death folder so that my loved ones know where to look for key passwords and people to call.

      1. Thanks for sharing! I don’t think planning ever hurt anyone as I am big supporter of planning. Once you do have a plan though, I would be very careful about sharing your plan as doing so may be detrimental. For example, I know people who plan to retire and shared that with their company so their company will not offer them a package while others secretly plan to retire and are offered a package and are obviously happy to take it.

  12. I always enjoy your articles and love the way that you give dispassionate advice to all genders.
    I am 79 and belong to the age when women were still discriminated against. I am British and when I got married, women did not own houses, serve on juries, possess credit cards. I studied chemistry at university. In science and medical courses at that time, no more than 5% were allowed to be women. Our year took 10% because the professor liked women.
    Boys were encouraged to drive the family car, not girls.
    I am extremely fortunate and grateful to have supportive parents and spouse.
    Please girls, I will add my voice to Sam and Sydney. Follow their advice.
    1) Make sure that you learn to save as a child
    2) Come out of college with minimal debt. My son joined the US Navy straight out of school, took engineering apprentice classes and was able to use the GI bill and scholarships for college.
    3) Buy a house. My youngest daughter did when she got her first job.
    4) Throughout your working life, contribute to 401k accounts and any other savings account.
    5) Make sure that you contribute to the 35 year requirement for Social Security.
    6) Make sure that you have a good medical plan.
    7) Buy houses and cars to suit your needs not impress others.
    8) I worked till I was over 70 but I loved my work and this is not always possible.
    9) Practice stealth wealth.
    10) Enjoy your life and keep your skills

    1. This is some of the best personal finance advice I’ve ever read on the Internet. I wish it was taught in schools. Thank you for articulating it in a straightforward manner.

  13. Maybe I read too quickly… but did your mom ever try the career she’d been hoping for? I didn’t really see the answer to that.

    Not to be a putz…but a gentle reminder that some men have given up their career hopes and choices the same way — not usually for their wives to have their chance, more often for their kids — but it does happen.

    1. She wanted to be a scientist after receiving her scholarship, but she passed it up and ended up a secretary as we traveled the world as U.S. diplomats.

      I don’t want anybody to put their lives on hold. Regret is a terrible feeling.

      Therefore, it is my hope that people feel empowered to do what they want because they feel they have the right to do so and have the equal opportunity to do so.

      And not what society things they should do or be.

      Please share an example or two of men you know who have given up their careers to be a parent. I always like to read about real life stories and different perspectives. Was it your man?

  14. Election Day November 8, 2016. Odds for a Hillary victory were 98%, according to CNN. RBG wanted to be there when a female President was sworn into office. Oops.

    1. Yes, I’m sure this was part of it. Was the election odds really 98% though that Hillary would win? Perhaps only for a moment.

      Even if I retired before a woman became President, I would think I’d be just as proud of her. You’re always going to have the honor of being a SCJ.

      1. Bill Clinton appointed RBG to the SC in 1993, and Hillary Clinton was instrumental in that choice. Just a year ago in Oct 2019, Hillary sat with RBG at Georgetown Law where they discussed RBG’s plan to retire under a bookend presidency of Hillary Clinton.

        The ‘odds’ thing was a big deal for that moment, Princeton had it at 99%, Huffington Post at 98.4%, and it was part of the CNN chiron running under the election night coverage. Lots of internet scrubbing, tho, the media didn’t cover themselves in glory, then or now.

        But all I know is what I read. Am recalling you had some good-natured bets, and I was too chicken to bet you! And I still wouldn’t, never bet against Samurai!;-)

      2. Since Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans refused to do their constitutional duty and even hold a hearing on President Obama’s choice for Supreme Court Justice, middle of the road Judge Merrick Garland, if RBG decided to retire during Obama’s term in office, his nominee to replace her may well have received the same unconstitutional treatment from McConnell and the Senate Republicans.

        1. See the first post in this thread, Hillary was supposed to win and we were never supposed to know.

          First six years of Obama’s tenure, Democrats held Senate majority. RBG could have retired, but she had a ‘storybook’ ending for herself and we were never supposed to know.

          “Elections have consequences.” – President Barack Obama

        2. Mitch McConnell had a duty to the people of the United States, who put the republicans in power, to not allow that vote to hit the floor. The other party would have done the same. Elections have consequences and he used the power of the Senate, given to him via fair election, to use that power.

          1. The Social Capitalist

            This is a fallacy. Mitch had a duty to the USA? The Constitution is clear – a nominee brought before the SC is to be voted upon. This did not happen- McConnell should have been impeached.
            Moreover, we live in an archaic system that does not represent Americans equally – giving smaller state law more power in both the Senate and Electoral college effectively negates one person, one vote while strengthening the two party system that our Founders never envisioned.

            As always, one can argue it’s the system we have – but that doesn’t make it a good one nor alter the need for change.

            To end, McConnell did NOT use the power authorized for his use – debasing the Senate, the SC, and ultimately government.

            I mean, if one actually read the Constitution. Too bad, we aren’t discussing the need for more women’s rights and not less. The Constitution clearly does not protect minorities of any kind as it was designed to do the opposite where possible. It is outdated as it does not restrict gerrymandering along with aforementioned vote alteration. Only those in power gain power through its use. RBG was likely wrong in many of her interpretations of the Document, but only because she was trying to do the right thing.

            1. There is not an explicit requirement in the constitution to vote on the nominee.

              The procedure for appointing a Justice is provided for by the Constitution in only a few words.
              The “Appointments Clause” (Article II, Section 2, clause 2) states that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint … Judges of the supreme Court.” Advice and consent is to place a limit on the powers of the president, but how does one interpret this since just refusing a vote would met this definition.

              I deeply respected RBG, but the unfortunate events playing out know may stem back to Harry Reid in 2013, who invoked the “nuclear option,” which dropped he number of votes needed to overcome a filibuster from 60 to a simple majority for executive appointments and most judicial nominations.

  15. I’m a Republican and answered Sam’s question asking what my wife thinks about RBG and ACB’s nomination.

    My wife doesn’t get into politics at all. She did not really even classify herself as a liberal or a conservative until she met me. she just lived life and did what felt natural to her. Interestingly, she dated a black guy for about 5 years before she met me. Unfortunately he beat her and he went to jail for selling crack cocaine and she even visited him while he was in jail.

    To escape him and the relationship she joined the military. She joined the Air Force for four years and was shipped out to Cheyenne Wyoming to work on Minuteman missiles cooling systems. She came back to Columbus Ohio where she met me and she moved in with me and out of her parents apartment I paid all the bills for about 5 years while she was in school getting her nursing degree and ultimately her master’s degree as a family nurse practitioner.

    It took us five years to have a child we ended up having it by surrogacy. A good friend of mine had the child for us and we had to adopt her because Ohio laws are really antiquated in that regard.

    My wife doesn’t spend a lot of time worrying about women’s rights because her life has been quite blessed she makes darn good money for what she does she managed to get an education for free from the government because she gave four years of her life to the military.

    My daughter lives in extremely comfortable life and gets pretty much everything she wants. My guess is she’ll probably inherit 5 to 10 million or more depending on how sick we get as we age. But make no mistake my parents never went to college and my grandparents were Russian immigrants and my grandfather ended up dying of black long because he worked in the coal mines.

    My mom never had indoor plumbing and would have to go outside to go to the bathroom in an outhouse. They were dirt poor. My dad and mom met when they were 14 and I always had a very stable loving home to come home to and my dad always stressed education and to never steal or do anything that would embarrass our family.

    I have zero concern for women’s rights because I know that in this country if you work hard and get an education you can do anything you want.

    In fact where I work if you are a woman or a minority you are preferred over the dreaded white male. But I guess that’s a conversation for another day. But just know that I do have many hardcore liberal female friends who tell me exactly how the victimhood hierarchy works and how you can use that to your advantage to get jobs and earn success in life. As parents we want every possible advantage for our children and I will certainly be making sure that my daughter plays all of those advantages up as much as she can.

    One last example I will give you, my friend has three daughters and his oldest was trying to decide if she wanted to go to Ohio State University or the University of Miami. Her father worked in finance as did I and she decided that she wanted to do that as well because she liked the lifestyle that it would afford her because she saw all of the luxuries that were afforded to her throughout her life with her dad’s job.

    She went to Miami, liked it but decided to Go to Ohio State because it was closer to home and all of her friends were there. Miami of Ohio reached out to her and said they needed more women in finance and that they were willing to give her a 25% scholarship for 4 years if she went. She said no thank you and 2 weeks later they called her back and said they would raise their offer to 40% scholarship to go.

    If you can believe it she was so entitled and had so much money in her family that she was able to do whatever she wanted so she went to Ohio State and didn’t care about going to a better school at a lower cost.

    I find that to be a very interesting phenomenon that doesn’t happen very often on this planet but it definitely happens in the United States.

    1. There is a lot to unpack in this comment, but I’m going to focus on the last note about the girl and her college options. I can understand why she made her decision, as I went through a similar process. Granted, I’m not a woman getting offers for 25-40% tuition discounts thrown at me. However, I did change schools a couple times, during my pursuit of multiple engineering degrees. I even had offers for full tuition at two schools. I think I actually would have made money going to the one school due to the tuition offer and additional potential funding from the sports scholarship stipends. Anyway, I turned down those schools, though they were great options for Engineering programs. I recall my mom actually tried to convince me to go to one of them, as it was a cheaper option than paying for a different school. She made an example of the cost benefit, etc. I wasn’t hearing it at the time. I wanted to go to a school with a different environment and large school sporting events, etc. I will note that my parents helped with one semester of college, but the rest was on me. So, the finance burden/decision was my own.

      In the end I can tell you I ended up with some loans, and had to pay them back (which I did), but it was worth it. Sometimes, it’s not just about the money but the experience that you want to gain in life. Maybe she just wants to spend a few years with her friends, before that opportunity passes her by. Plenty of time to recoup the funds later in life.

  16. I love how your articles always help me think about new perspectives and concepts, contemplate life issues and learn new things. There’s a lot about RGB I knew very little about. And I’m impressed by all the articles you’ve written over the years on supporting women’s rights and helping to close the gender wage gap.

    Very humbling story about your mom’s career sacrifice as well. I actually have a female friend (in her late 40s now) who is a scientist herself and gave up her marriage in order to keep her career. Her ex didn’t want her to work the hours she was putting in and she didn’t want to give up what she loved. It will be interesting to see how marriages and families continue to adapt and change in the coming decades.

    And great thoughts on planning a strategic retirement. I too left my last long term job once my heart was no longer in it. The stress and cons got to the point where they consistently outweighed all the pros. Interestingly enough my entire department was halved a couple years after I left and is now totally dissolved along with our satellite office. If I had stayed I would have really felt it was all for nothing. So I feel very fortunate I left when I did to take some time off and start a new, stress free career path.

    Thanks for the great food for thought and for writing so many helpful articles over the years!

  17. Everyone (the news) is complaining that Trump will put a conservative in her place. Of course he will. Had she retired under Obama there would have been a Democrat in her place. People don’t want to hear it but RBG bears some of the blame. She was too stubborn to retire when Obama is in office. You can’t blame Trump for supporting his party. Sorry RBG, you were too stubborn to do the right thing. Now the American public has to deal with the aftermath.

    1. This is 100% spot on. The other thing people don’t want to admit (or perhaps don’t understand) is that when Obama was trying to get Merrick Garland through, he didn’t have a democratic senate. Trump is trying to get ACB through now, but he has a republican senate.

      Apples and oranges…

  18. So while a judge is to apply the law as written in the constitution many believe they need a liberal or conservative to create new law. Unfortunately that’s not what the job calls for that would be the legislature.
    Why do seemingly intelligent people fail to grasp this point.

    1. Because the Supreme Court has allowed itself to be politicized.

      The President is supposed to represent the country (I know, I know).

      Congress is supposed to represent the people, but in reality, with career politicians, a two-party system, gerrymandering, and a corrupt campaign finance system, they forget where they came from and are primarily focused on getting reelected. When they all have the same goal, there is very little they actually do differently from each other, despite what they espouse.

      And then you have the Supreme Court. It’s supposed to represent the Constitution, but they’ve allowed themselves to be politicized to the point where, when there is any leeway at all in interpretation, the way they will vote will reflect political leanings more than anything else, and the rest of it becomes rationalization.

  19. Great post! It will be interesting to see if the surviving Supreme Court Justices take your advice and think about strategically retiring in 2021 as well.

    A strategic retirement can really be one of the most selfless acts. I’m sure there’s a lot of pride on every veteran trying to hold onto their jobs for as long as possible. At the same time, it’s important to assess at what cost.

    RSG’s death really could be cataclysmic for decades to come.

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