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Early Retirement Decision

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2018

    Post Early Retirement Decision

    Hi All - new to the board. Reaching out for feedback because I'm a bit lost.

    I'm 5 months short of my 60th birthday. Working at a major computer company in a Systems
    Engineering (technical sales support) role - actually, there's quite a large sales component - the
    pressure of forecasting business and meeting quotas. When I'm out and speaking with customers,
    that's actually a piece of the job I enjoy; but when dealing with all the administrative pieces of
    the job, that's just getting more and more unbearable. In addition, I'm feeling more and more
    inadequate as the technology world advances and I just can't seem to find the energy to absorb
    the complexities.

    Grappling with the decision for early retirement. Feel like (and my financial guy agrees), financially,
    I'm free to go anytime - even given the need to carry my medical coverage until I'm Medicare
    ready. Should mention that I'm married with 2 kids - one, 22, just graduated and is set for starting
    a pre-school teaching job in September. The other, 19, is borderline on the Autism Spectrum - she's
    working part-time and going to community college part-time, but feeling like she'll be depending on
    us for some time going forward. My wife is 14 months older than me and is working part-time doing
    childcare at the gym and substitute teaching.

    So ... to the "grappling" part.. here are some things going through my head...

    * Part of me would like to "retire" today, but something seems "wrong" with retiring before I
    hit 60. Surely I can stick it out for 5 more months. (the company's Fiscal Year ends at the end
    of January, so that seems like the right time).

    * Do I really want to retire in the winter? or should I stick it out 3 more months and retire
    in the Spring? or maybe at the end of the Fiscal Half (end of July)? By the way, if I stick it out
    that's 3 or 6 more months of income and 3 or 6 more months of the company paying for health

    * I look around at colleagues who are in my age group and most of them give no indicationg

    that they're stopping soon. OK, so some of them "have to" continue to work; but some of them
    really enjoy the job. Part of me wishes that was me to, but truth be told, at least half the time
    I'm pretty unhappy and/or stressed. Half the time, my attitude is "I have the freedom to retire,
    why am I staying in a job that's making me unhappy"; the other half the time, I'm thinking
    "might as well stay in the job - what else am I going to do? and there's an income stream coming
    in". The thought of just trying to change to a new full-time job (at this age) seems daunting and
    doesn't excite me either.

    * Once I decide to do it and when, how much notice to give?

    * Even though I see by the numbers and am told that we can have a financially secure retirement,
    even if I started today - It's scary facing the $0 income stream (not quite $0 - my wife collects a small pension)
    and the healthcare costs

    * Maybe most importantly, what will I do? Here are some things that are possibilities:
    - need to teach my 19 year-old to drive (we're her chauffeur and will continue to be
    for the forseable future)
    - we want to relocate (probably), so there's that whole project - find a place, probably
    new construction, build, pack, move,....
    - part-time work? in my field? in something that is low-stress, but keeps me busy?
    buy a franchise? volunteer work?
    - devote time to the gym - get in shape (yes, definitely)

    I kind of dread that I'll wind up sitting on the couch, watching TV all day. I want to ensure that
    there's something that comes next - but having a real trouble in finding that passion project - and that's
    pretty scary.

    OK, sorry if I've went on too long - but it was kind of therapeutic to get my thoughts down on paper. Question
    is, are all these conflicting thoughts just a normal sorting out process? Am I really ready to take the leap? Any
    other thoughts or advice is welcome.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    I think I'm in Florida, but I'm not sure any GPS blew away.
    I'm short on advice (I retired for probably all the wrong reasons, but it worked out), but just wanted to welcome you to the forum, Mitch.
    If we're ever in a situation where I am "the voice of reason", then we are in a very, very bad situation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    San Francisco Bay Area
    It's interesting that you enjoy the social aspect of your job so much. Sales is something most people are not good at, actually. Have you talked to your upper mgmt about possibly re-working your job duties? It might be an interesting segue into part-time or consulting work, which might be the best of both worlds for you.

    Sometimes it's a good idea to "ease into" retirement, rather than quit 'cold turkey' and have regrets. After a lifetime of working you should have some valuable contacts, so why not utilize them?

    Looking into downsizing/moving can be time-consuming. Sit down with your wife and make sure you are both on the same page about what to expect from full-time retirement, together AND separately.

    Make sure that if something happens to one spouse, the other is financially safe. Get all your legal paperwork up-to-date and in place. Make sure both your kids have healthcare power of attorney docs done once they're of legal age (a lot of families forget about this).

    Welcome to the forums, and indeed it does help to put ideas onto a page (real or virtual, LOL) to clarify thinking!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Hi Mitchjav,glad you found us,welcome.I want to tell you about my experience:
    ,I took early retirement in March 2011 when I was 58,like you my financial guy told me I had enough money to do so.I seriously thought about the pros/cons taking this major step,but in the end I knew this was the right choice with no regrets. I worked 3 days/wk at local hospital as a pharm tech,was there 27 was a very stressful job,was emotionally/physically exhausted at the end of the week.I was 'burned out' I gave my boss 2 months notice
    When I was working,on my 2 days off I was volunteering in the morning at 2 different orgs,I've continued with my volunteer work
    I didn't apply for my SS benefits until last yr, feels strange in a good way that I'm now eligible and receive a monthly ck
    It took me 6-8 months not to get up around 5:30am on the days I had to go to work,the adjustment takes longer for some
    For years and I've continue to do this,I have a journal where I keep track of everything I spend each month
    One of the great things about being retired,I set my own schedule,enjoying my hobbies e.g.,reading books,going to the movies,helping my friends,volunteer work.I've kept a 'retirement journal' don't write in it every day.Its fun to go back and read what I wrote those first few months
    Mitch,I hope what I've said has helped you,sounds like you are ready to'take the leap of faith into retirement'.I wish you well,keep us posted Sue
    Walkers Take It All In Strides

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    the Thumb
    pull the plug and enjoy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    I decided to retire slowly. At the age of 58 I reduce my work week to 4 days an over the next nine year reduced it to two making my own hours. So I had a lot of the freedom of being retired but still drawing an income to support us while letting my SS, 401K and investments increase because you never know what the future will bring that can drain your savings.

    My company paid $17K each year for my medical. I got 25% of the profits as long as I still worked for them. That added $150-200K a year to my retirement savings. I had no staff and no pressure to do anything but make sure the network was up and running. I finally pulled the plug this year at the age of 67. No reason to retire early since I was off more than working and liked my job. Now I am in a position to maintain my lifestyle without having to invest a dime in the Stock Market. I have no heirs and my problem is not having enough to last me until I die, but not dying with too much money left unspent.

    Some of my friends retired at 58-60 and are fine. One had to go back go work due to having to bail out some of his kids during financial problems. One has a daughter who is a drug addict and between her 8 tries at rehab, bond and lawyers, they are tight for money. I do believe in retiring as soon as you can though since so many die or get medical problems that destroy the type of retirement they planned for by waiting too long.

    Only thing I would be concerned with right now is that the market will crash soon and to retire at a time that may be worse than 2008 where it took about 10 years to get back to where you started out in the market, is not going to be good for many. I will invest after the next crash. Buy low and sell high has worked well for me so far. Both times I listened to financial advisors I got screwed. They always make money off of what you do and that often taints their advice. I remember my first one telling me how stupid it was to move all of my money into a 5 year CD paying out 5% right before the market crash where 5% return was pretty good. My last one went bankrupt. My thoughts of financial advisors is that if they are so good at it why are they still working for a living. That is just me though. If you can swing it, do it. However do not do as I did and retire to a large retirement community of over 125,000 people because I did not fit in at 58. Most of the people here are in their mid sixties and up. Only now do I fit in and no longer feel like my friends are like my dad.
    If you obey all the rules, you’ll miss all the fun.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Nrw Jersey
    Welcome Mitch! Life is too short to be working a job that you do not like, which in turn is a major stressor. I was planning to retire at 52, but wound up retiring at 50 (one month before my 51st birthday). My colleagues, all of whom had more time in than me said I couldn't do it....but I did and have never regretted it. There's a post here asking what age we were when we retired. Apparently a lot of people were still in their 50's, which surprised the poster. So there's nothing wrong with retiring at 60! The key is finding things that you like to do, perhaps have been putting off, after retirement. You might discover new hobbies and adventures and I know it sounds cliche but you may even find volunteering rewarding.

    Shortly after I retired I bought a digital piano, started composing and arranging original music and wound up releasing my debut CD 5 years later, something I never even dreamed I'd do. I imagine the best way to find out how much notice to give is to ask your HR department. I found out from ours how much notice to give and what the procedure was. I have to reiterate...DON'T stay at a job that is making you unhappy! Whatever you do after retirement has to be better than that. Consider yourself blessed...most Americans now say they will never be able to afford to retire and that's sad.

Please reply to this thread with any new information or opinions.

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