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Returning to work is the ‘worst case scenario’

When you live solely off your investments, the last thing you want to see is a market downturn.

But for Steve Adcock – who retired in 2016 aged 35 – the current bear market and potential recession has not been a cause for concern.

Despite seeing his net worth drop by more than $200,000 — from $1.4 million to just under $1.2 million since last year — Adcock hasn’t even considered returning to full-time work, or even with take up a fuss.

“Absolutely, positively not. It never crossed my mind even one bit,”[ads1]; says Adcock, who previously worked in information technology for 14 years. “That’s the worst-case scenario.”

I wouldn’t go back to a job unless I absolutely had to. I would sell a lot [of stock].

Steve Adcock

Early retiree

Adcock and his wife Courtney, another early retiree, keep costs low and have a savings account with two years’ worth of expenses. If the market downturn were to last longer than that, he is willing to sell off some investments from their pension funds rather than go back to work.

“I wouldn’t go back to a job unless I absolutely had to. I would sell a lot [of stock],” he says. “I probably wouldn’t [let my balance] go down more than $500,000, but I can let it go that low.”

When it comes to staying on top while the market slides, Adcock’s secret is simple: Don’t spend too much time looking at your money. He spends less than 30 minutes a month checking his account balances because he has no plans to change his allocations.

On top of that, Adcock doesn’t like to spend much time watching financial news. Following the daily ups and downs of the market is a recipe for emotional decision-making, he says, and that’s exactly what he doesn’t want to do.

“Staying out of the dire economic news is a way of keeping us grounded,” he says. “It helps us make some more intelligent decisions that aren’t wrapped up in purely financial emotion.”

In fact, Adcock says the only thing he would change about his investments in the current bear market is that he would buy more stocks if he had some income coming in.

“For a lot of people out there who have full-time jobs and are making good money, this is definitely, definitely the time to buy,” he says. “In the last four or five years, I don’t think there’s been a better time to buy than right now. Stocks are on sale, you might as well take advantage of that.”

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