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57 yr old - hesitant ????
Old 06-02-2009, 03:13 PM   #1
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57 yr old - hesitant ????

Hi, I'm 57 yr old gov't worker eligible to retire after 33 yrs. on the job. My wife is a teacher with 4 more years to eligibility. I am at the point of diminishing returns in my retirement plan. My pension will now fund 85% of my working pay so if I continue to work it is mostly for diminishing returns. I will pay $360 per mo. in retirement for health insurance, home is paid for, small farm paid for, $250K in 457 plan. One son graduating from college another just starting, but has a scholarship that will pay most of the costs. Live in the midwest in a small town farming comunity. It appears to me that I have most of the things in place as I have planned for years, but I seem to be having a hard time signing my papers. I'm not sure what the reason is. Many of my retired friends tell me I will love it. I am in good health and have lots of hobbies - but I remember as a child, seeing my father flat broke and in the best of times we didn't have much. I vowed to myself that when I grew up I would never be in that situation. I went to college and got my present gov't. job 2 weeks after graduation. My wife tells me that I should be excited and to "go for it". I find myself thinking maybe I should work a little longer, but I can't think of a good reason why. Is retirement really as wonderful as my friends tell me?
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:23 PM   #2
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YOU BET!

I have a similar childhood. There were five kids, and while we did not have a great deal of money, we got by. I retired about three years ago, and have not regretted a day of it. I will say I still look at the pension income, SS, and investments, but know I have more that required to make it to the end. I is more a habit that a concern, even in the present market.

So my advice would be go for it and never look back.
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:30 PM   #3
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Is retirement really as wonderful as my friends tell me?
Is this a trick question ?

Retired at 59, well into my third year of "bliss".

However, you are incorrect in your statement; retirement is better than your friends told you (at least mine is )...
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:39 PM   #4
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Is retirement really as wonderful as my friends tell me?
No. It's better.

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Old 06-02-2009, 04:11 PM   #5
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Hi Avian, and welcome!

I'm only two months into my retirement, and it's pretty wonderful so far :-)

I see you wife is supportive of you retiring now, but I wonder if that's part of your thinking -- do you want to spend four years with her working and you retired? Particularly if you have lots of ideas about stuff you'd like to do together (travel, for example), four years on your own might seem a bit daunting.

On the other hand, for a lot of couples, retiring at different times has some real advantages -- you could take over some of the household duties your wife now does, so she'd benefit from your retirement as well.

Or might it just be "one year more syndrome"? Here's a great best of posting on that subject you might find interesting.

I'm glad you've joined us!

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Old 06-02-2009, 05:07 PM   #6
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It appears to me that I have most of the things in place as I have planned for years, but I seem to be having a hard time signing my papers. I'm not sure what the reason is.

I find myself thinking maybe I should work a little longer, but I can't think of a good reason why. Is retirement really as wonderful as my friends tell me?
It's probably worth contemplating why you can't bring yourself to sign the papers.

Some here will (vocally) disagree, but you shouldn't retire just because you can. It's important to have activities and a life to retire to, it's not necessarily enough to retire from...you could end up bored and disappointed after the initial vacation sensation wears off. Some peole drift into retirement and love it, but there are many who feel lost because they don't know what to do with themselves or their identity was wrapped up in their work (if so, it can take some work to make the transition). Listen to other retirees, but it's your life and you have to live with, no one else. I'd defer to retirees you know personnally, any recommendation from someone here or others you don't even know based only on what little you've written here --- no harm in reading it but it shouldn't carry much weight.

FWIW, I'd recommend you check out and read Work Less, Live More (Clyatt) and How To Retire Happy, Wild & Free (Zelinski). Time well spent for a big decision, you can go back to work, but probably not at the job you'd be giving up so be sure about that. You will know when is best for you...best of luck.
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Old 06-02-2009, 07:27 PM   #7
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Need a nudge ? Ask the missus to give you one every single morning when the alarm goes off.
Practice ignoring the alarm clock. Show up late to w*rk. Take longer lunches.
Stage frequent vehicle breakdowns on Friday afternoons.
We all have different reasons to retire (YAY Hoorah Yippee) or keep w*rking (shudder groan grimace).
You have to find the best reason for yourself. I will second getting a copy of Zelinski's book. It is an eye-opener.
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Old 06-02-2009, 07:52 PM   #8
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Hi, I'm 57 yr old gov't worker eligible to retire after 33 yrs. on the job. My wife is a teacher with 4 more years to eligibility. I am at the point of diminishing returns in my retirement plan. My pension will now fund 85% of my working pay so if I continue to work it is mostly for diminishing returns. I will pay $360 per mo. in retirement for health insurance,
Holy smokes, Avian. Don't know what govt you work for, but I work for the Federal govt and would need to work for 42 years for my pension to equal 80 per cent of my salary! That is when most of the "lifers" retire because, as you said, it becomes a matter of working for 20 percent of your paycheck.

For me, 33 years = 2/3 of high 3.... Your health insurance premium is also quite reasonable, by my standards. Perhaps the premiums are lower in farm country because the stress level is also lower??

As for "should you do it," the others got there first ('cause they're retired, and can do Internet during the day ) and I've nothing to add their wisdom....Good luck!

Amethyst.
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Old 06-03-2009, 06:17 AM   #9
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I´ve been an early retiree for 4 years. My wife, a civil servant works. And can´t retire till she reaches 65. She´s 51.
She is a bit envious of my situation. And I have a guilty conscience. Much like the survivors of airplane crashes. I know, not the best example these days
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:11 AM   #10
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Avian I'll give you something to compare too. We share many similarities. Only you can decide when to go but I plan on going February of 2010.

City civil service pension of 70%
Health insurance 721.00 a month
small farm in Midwest paid for
one in college for which I've saved for
one in H.S. 10K a year saved for, and have enough for her first year of college.
wife no pension but will work at 20k per year.
I'm 51 y/0
The diminishing return issue is significant, I currently come to work for $10.83 hr. because of pension eligibility and taxes.
I was going to leave in August but got greedy and will stay till next year. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:07 PM   #11
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Hi, I'm 57 yr old gov't worker eligible to retire after 33 yrs. on the job. My wife is a teacher with 4 more years to eligibility. I am at the point of diminishing returns in my retirement plan. My pension will now fund 85% of my working pay so if I continue to work it is mostly for diminishing returns. I will pay $360 per mo. in retirement for health insurance, home is paid for, small farm paid for, $250K in 457 plan. One son graduating from college another just starting, but has a scholarship that will pay most of the costs. Live in the midwest in a small town farming comunity. It appears to me that I have most of the things in place as I have planned for years, but I seem to be having a hard time signing my papers. I'm not sure what the reason is. Many of my retired friends tell me I will love it. I am in good health and have lots of hobbies - but I remember as a child, seeing my father flat broke and in the best of times we didn't have much. I vowed to myself that when I grew up I would never be in that situation. I went to college and got my present gov't. job 2 weeks after graduation. My wife tells me that I should be excited and to "go for it". I find myself thinking maybe I should work a little longer, but I can't think of a good reason why. Is retirement really as wonderful as my friends tell me?
i'm thinking if you were to retire today you wouldnt even take a pay cut (and therefore you are working for free). you would no longer be paying anything into your retirement fund or your 457 account and your income taxes would be less so you might even get a pay raise! good luck with your decision and welcome.
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:49 PM   #12
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I.... My wife, a civil servant works. And can´t retire till she reaches 65. She´s 51.
....
Is she allowed to quit? Just kidding. Does she have alternate plans like saving like mad and quitting before age 65?
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Old 06-03-2009, 02:12 PM   #13
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On the other hand, for a lot of couples, retiring at different times has some real advantages -- you could take over some of the household duties your wife now does, so she'd benefit from your retirement as well.
This happens to be the case, for us. DW/me planned to retire at the same time in early 2007. I did; she didn't. When it came time to pull the plug, she had "issues" to contend with such as loss of structure ( yes, I know), a "constant paycheck" (habits die hard), and feeling that she was "cheating" by retiring at an early age (before 60) while her fairly large family continued to work beyond "traditional age" (whatever that is).

Anyway, her passion is travel (not mine; one of the reasons I retired early - had to do too much of it while wor*ing) and we planned to travel in retirement just as we had during our "productive years ".

So we still travel (leave for "down under" in a few days), only for her, it's a "vacation"; she has to "shoehorn" it into her w*rk schedule. For me? It's just a trip (you don't get "vacation" in retirement).

As far as "delayed retirement"? It's worked well. I do a lot more housework than I ever did. Also prepare some simple meals (never cooked before - and I'm not saying that you could call it "cooking", but I try ).

I also volunteer a couple of times a week, in addition to contributing blood every eight weeks. Things to "give back" for the life we have, and since I now have the time, it's no imact to me (time is now my friend).

Just our story, as a "split couple"...

Life is good...
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Old 06-03-2009, 02:12 PM   #14
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Retirement is great. Of course I play lot's of golf, so that keeps me busy. If you do have hobbies you enjoy that you want to do on a regular basis, you should be fine. I dropped by my old office Monday to have lunch with a buddy. I looked around and just couldn't imagine being there all the time anymore.

I say go for it!
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:18 PM   #15
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Avian, I am retiring in 7 more workdays. I signed my papers and an announcement was made two weeks ago. I have had an ominious feeling of uncertainty before I signed, during the signing, again when I dropped the letter in the mailbox, and off and on ever since. I think its an anxious feeling that emerges when I see people who have involuntarily lost their jobs while at the same time, I am voluntarily giving up a good paying one. I keep thinking to myself, are you nuts? But I seems to lose sight of the fact that my retirement income totally replaces my earned income and I really have nothing to worry about. I think it is the fear of the unknown. Will the investment configuration really work? Will the economy dive again? Will inflation outstrip my purchasing power. How can I be certain that I am not going to end up making a giant mistake? Well, you know, I believe one could worry themselves into dispair. I believe I have tried that. I believe that I am trying to find excuses for not accepting this change so I can avoid the fear of the unknown. But I also firmly believe that once the retirement day has past and I see my carefully laid plans begin to unfold and work, I will feel relief. I know that I don't want to work any more. I am just sick of it. I want my freedom and I shall have it. I don't want an employers schedule interferring with my own. I want to come and go as I please. When I think that this independence is only 7 days away, a big smile comes to my face. This board has generally said over the years, Live Below Your Means, and you will be alright. Trust LBYM and you will be alright!
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Old 06-03-2009, 07:53 PM   #16
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^^ What Budman said! Budman and I will be checking out on the same day, w00t! Anyhow, Avian, if you search the forum a bit you will find lots of posts like yours...including my first few. The decision to retire is much more emotional than I ever thought it would be. Lots of obsessing, weighing, hand-wringing, waiting, etc. It took me a year to finally, FINALLY decide the time is right for me. Only YOU will know when it's time. Good luck to you.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:04 PM   #17
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Avian, I am retiring in 7 more workdays. I signed my papers and an announcement was made two weeks ago. I have had an ominious feeling of uncertainty before I signed, during the signing, again when I dropped the letter in the mailbox, and off and on ever since. I think its an anxious feeling that emerges when I see people who have involuntarily lost their jobs while at the same time, I am voluntarily giving up a good paying one. I keep thinking to myself, are you nuts? But I seems to lose sight of the fact that my retirement income totally replaces my earned income and I really have nothing to worry about. I think it is the fear of the unknown. Will the investment configuration really work? Will the economy dive again? Will inflation outstrip my purchasing power. How can I be certain that I am not going to end up making a giant mistake? Well, you know, I believe one could worry themselves into dispair. I believe I have tried that. I believe that I am trying to find excuses for not accepting this change so I can avoid the fear of the unknown. But I also firmly believe that once the retirement day has past and I see my carefully laid plans begin to unfold and work, I will feel relief. I know that I don't want to work any more. I am just sick of it. I want my freedom and I shall have it. I don't want an employers schedule interferring with my own. I want to come and go as I please. When I think that this independence is only 7 days away, a big smile comes to my face. This board has generally said over the years, Live Below Your Means, and you will be alright. Trust LBYM and you will be alright!
Budman. I have almost the same situation as you. I plan to give my retirement notice this month, a few months earlier than I had planned. Want to enjoy the summer. Having trouble making the final decision on the day to pull the trigger. It is extremely tough to do. I am financially fine based on every calculator I have used but the fear of the unknown is definitely a factor now. I too am bored with work and very distracted. Will be interested in your feelings on the last day. I likely will have pulled the trigger by then or shortly after.
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Old 06-04-2009, 09:14 PM   #18
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No one on this board is going to put your mind at ease with regards to money. If all your spreadsheets, and calculations say you are good the only thing that is going to ease your mind is to retire and wait for the pension, SS checks, or funds withdrawal checks to come in. Then it is going to take time. At some point you are going to look at what you spend and what you have and it will hit you 'I could buy just about anything I want'. You won't, in fact you will still LBYM. My guess is at some point you will break out and splurge a little. But you did not get here by over spending and the probability is you won't start now.

Well, that is how it has gone for me. I still check the spreadsheets, still watch the funds. I just don't worry as much about it. I got about a thousand dollars worth of toys I would like to buy. Just not quite ready to pull the trigger on them. Maybe next year.
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Old 06-04-2009, 10:19 PM   #19
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I left the working life in 2005 and I can not say I have ever missed it. I really struggled over my decision to retire at the age of 55 from a job and salary that I had never dreamed I would reach. Even though the retirement calculators told me that I was good to go, I kept running the numbers and dreaming about the what if's that lay ahead. Well, the recent economic down turn has been worse than I ever imagined, but I have made it thru and am still on track for a long retirement ahead.

Nothing anyone can say will make your decision easier. You will need to look at your situation and make the decision that is right for you. Good luck! And because you are agonizing about the decision I know you are ready to pull the plug on your work life but you are just afraid of the "jump".

I think you will look back in a few months after pulling that work plug and wonder why you were worried about that little leap of faith. Retirement is wonderful!
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Old 06-05-2009, 12:01 AM   #20
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You know one day while driving home from work, I drove through a fast food place for an ice cream soda. Well, the ice cream must have been bad because by the time I got home, the ice cream was insisting on being released in any way possible.

I sat on the old throne for a long time. And everytime I thought I was done, I had to go back and do a little more meditation. Finally, when I thought there was no more to give, I stood up to take a shower and promptly passed out.

I regained conciousness but was too weak to stand, so I lay there butt naked thinking that this was it, the big one. And the world was going to find me naked and dead in the bathroom. In that moment, I realized that all that hard work, career, house, etc. didn't mean squat to me. And I thought my epitaph was going to read ... died naked, on the toilet.

Next day, I went to the doc and he said it was probably just food poisoning and that I had fainted from a loss of fluids. The day after I went back to work, went in to see my boss and announced my retirement.

One month into retirement ... and I swear ... not a single regret. Hopefully, when I do go, my epitaph will read ... completed his bucket list and then some ...
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