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At a crossroad
Old 10-17-2016, 11:06 AM   #1
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At a crossroad

Hello all, been lurking a while, time to come out. I'm at a crossroad in my life, and at the risk of this being TL DR for everyone, here's my info:

Age 54. Burned out in current career. Been thinking over the last year about going in a totally different direction with my life/career ( but where?), and planned on maybe pulling the trigger on that decision later this year, when I would be eligible for retirement from my employer. But, said employer chose to screw me by laying me off a few months short of my retirement date (this happened in May). Caught by surprise, I've been half-heartedly looking for a job in my line of work, but my biggest worry is that I'll actually find one and have to go back again to being in a job I hate and dreaming about what to do next.

The time off has given me some time to evaluate the financial situation:
No debt. Married, two kids, one just started college (financed mostly by scholarship & loans from me), second child is age 16. Spouse doesn't work. ~1.1M in a brokerage account, plus ~1M in IRAs (mostly non-Roth) and another 200K or so sitting around in short term CDs etc. I expect a 17K (non-COLA) pension to start when I turn 65. Our spending is around 70-80K per year, I think we can reduce this, but then I'll also be needing to buy health insurance out of my own pocket for the first time starting next year, so that's going to be a new burden.

Entering this into FIREcalc or cfiresim gives me pretty good percentages, depending on whether or not I think I'll actually get SS, etc. etc. But still I think it's too risky - with the stock and bond markets at peaks - to place a high confidence level on this money lasting for 40 years.

What I need most in my life right now is more free time - I hated working 40+ hours in a week - and a change of scenery (different career than what I had been in). I don't necessarily feel a need (yet) to be in full-time retirement. So, I'm thinking, maybe spend the next year or two picking up a new skill/hobby/degree/whatever that (1) I'll enjoy doing, and (2) gives me the possibility for more income - with flexibility - should I need it. I don't think I need a lot of money, just something to help keep me from drawing down on my investments too much, especially in bad years. Or put some extra money on the table for splurging on something. (On the other hand, there's a part of me that says go back to work full time, and keep padding the IRA until I'm 100% sure I can just go to full time retirement).

I guess I should throw in some specific questions here:
Can I still be part of this group if I'm only planning on partly retiring?
Has anyone else gone this route - move into a second, part-time career once you have ~ enough money to retire? What was your experience?
What do you guys have in place as 'backup plans' in case the nest egg starts getting drawn down too fast, or you just want some extra cash?
Any 'second career' or 'extra money' suggestions?

Thanks all!
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Old 10-17-2016, 12:10 PM   #2
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So, you have about $2.3 million in liquid net worth, which should fairly easily generate the $70-80 in income to meet your current expenditures. Plus you'll get a $17k pension in 11 years (at 65) and presumably be eligible for SS (if needed) in 8 years.

Sounds to me like your "issue" is less about finding a new job and more about figuring out what you want to do and where you want to do it. Whether that means full-time work, part-time work (at something old or new) or just playing, it sounds like you have enough resources to do it.

So, I'd start there. From what you're saying, that may mean taking at least a one or two year "sabbatical" to explore new interests, acquire new skills and/or dabble in part-time work, rather than taking a full time job!

Good luck!!!
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Old 10-17-2016, 01:13 PM   #3
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Old 10-17-2016, 03:36 PM   #4
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Your introduction could have been written by me. Your situation is mine. Well into middle age and burned out on current career. Spawn not yet fully launched. Not interested in looking for another j*b that would be indistinguishable from the old one. My numbers are close to reaching target, but I'm squirmy about markets being overvalued. Murphy's Law says expect a bear market to start the day I walk out the gate.

But I only include the above comments to reassure you you're not alone. Chin up, shoulders back, walk with a confident step. There are at least two of us on the same path.

And now, on to answering your specific questions:
  1. Since the contributors to this forum range from retired-for-decades to still-decades-away, you will still fit in fine even in a partly retired state.
  2. I have not taken the path you suggest... yet. For me retirement will mean not having to wake up at oh dark thirty and commute to the sweatshop. It does not mean I wouldn't embark on a second career with a flexible schedule. However, since my preferred second career is more likely to be satisfying than lucrative, I am holding off retiring from megacorp until the $$ issue is settled.
  3. Since I haven't FIREd yet, my backup plan today would be OMY (or TMY, or FMY, or SMY ). Once I do FIRE, my backup plan would be to take SS early if needed.
  4. A favorite second career dream j*b for me would be brewmeister at a microbrewery. W*rk three days a week surrounded by what I do as a hobby for free.
I don't have any advice about your numbers. They look good enough to me. But reading this forum shows me that as often as not, it isn't about the money as much as getting one's head aligned with retirement. The posters with lots of experience typically tell those newcomers with a reasonable chance of success to go for it and start enjoying life on the other side of the paycheck. Good luck!
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Old 10-17-2016, 03:45 PM   #5
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"Can I still be part of this group if I'm only planning on partly retiring?"

Based on my experience, this need not be on your worry sheet.

Granted, I did plan (and still do!) to fully retire. But then I got an offer to come back 2 days a week at my old salary, no benefits, doing something I'm very good at (which wasn't always the case when I worked full-time. Always being asked to do things I wasn't that good at, referred to as "stretching yourself.") Despite mentioning this situation several times on the forum, I haven't been kicked off yet. :-)
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Old 10-17-2016, 03:57 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
Can I still be part of this group if I'm only planning on partly retiring?
Has anyone else gone this route - move into a second, part-time career once you have ~ enough money to retire? What was your experience?
What do you guys have in place as 'backup plans' in case the nest egg starts getting drawn down too fast, or you just want some extra cash?
Any 'second career' or 'extra money' suggestions?

Thanks all!
Plenty of people, myself included, have had second jobs after retirement. What makes a huge difference and gives you a whole different attitude toward work is that you have earned your KMA* hat and don't have to work. This means your BS bucket is very shallow or nonexistent.

I retired at 52 (law enforcement) and stumbled into a nearby low-stress security job that paid almost as much as much as I was making before. At the time DW was spending a lot of time looking after her father's elderly issues, sometimes nearing the hours of a full-time job. I worked afternoon/evenings, had a decent supervisor and could get time off when needed without difficulty, and really only "worked" about four hours a day because when the building mainly cleared by 6:00 PM there was little for me to do and I like to read so it was a good match. After I exhausted what the library had to offer Amazon.com just loved me!

And when things went south at the job I had the freedom to quit.

*Kiss My A**
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Old 10-17-2016, 04:30 PM   #7
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Welcome, curmudgeon! You are indeed welcome here - we tolerate people who did ER, didn't ER, are still thinking about it, or who failed at it and went back to w*rk - as long as you are civil you are more than welcome.

Trying out some PT w*rk just to see if it makes you feel better to have a bit of extra cash isn't a bad idea. We'd also suggest you track your expenses closely for the next year or so to see if your projections are realistic.
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Old 10-17-2016, 05:33 PM   #8
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"Can I still be part of this group if I'm only planning on partly retiring?"
"Part of this group" meaning this board? I hope so! I'm still w*rking and they haven't kicked me out yet.

Welcome, Curmudgeon!

I'm close to your situation. You have company. I haven't been laid off yet, but sniff it in the air as a possibility.

Burn out? Yep. Dreaming of doing something completely different with less hours and more flexible? Heck yeah! You are not alone.
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Old 10-17-2016, 07:20 PM   #9
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We have plenty of curmudgeons already... I won't name names.... so one more is no problem. Welcome.
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Old 10-17-2016, 07:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jerryo View Post
So, you have about $2.3 million in liquid net worth, which should fairly easily generate the $70-80 in income to meet your current expenditures. Plus you'll get a $17k pension in 11 years (at 65) and presumably be eligible for SS (if needed) in 8 years.

Sounds to me like your "issue" is less about finding a new job and more about figuring out what you want to do and where you want to do it. Whether that means full-time work, part-time work (at something old or new) or just playing, it sounds like you have enough resources to do it.

So, I'd start there. From what you're saying, that may mean taking at least a one or two year "sabbatical" to explore new interests, acquire new skills and/or dabble in part-time work, rather than taking a full time job!

Good luck!!!
I wouldn't put "easily" in front of generating $70-$80k from that nest egg. Not in today's market.
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Old 10-17-2016, 09:36 PM   #11
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Entering this into FIREcalc or cfiresim gives me pretty good percentages, depending on whether or not I think I'll actually get SS, etc. etc. But still I think it's too risky - with the stock and bond markets at peaks - to place a high confidence level on this money lasting for 40 years.
If you put your money in a TIPS ladder or equivalent, even at zero real return, you could take out 2.5% a year before the money was depleted (100 / 40 years = 2.5%). That would give you $57.5K a year in retirement income with not much chance of additional gain but also no sequence of returns risk. Add in two SS checks, your pension, part-time work, hobby job income and optimize / lower your expenses if possible and you might be happy with the results. If you are interested, there is more on the pros and cons of a matching strategy here:

https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Matching_strategy

And if you can find a way each year to keep your taxable income before Medicare age under the ACA cliff, your health insurance premiums may be quite reasonable.
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Old 10-17-2016, 10:35 PM   #12
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Welcome to the forum. I don't really have a second job after retiring, I am part-time retired though. I changed my same job to be working 3 days/week vs the previous 5 days/week. It has been working out great for me. Basically the previous 40% savings is now minimum to get the company match, and I have approx the same take-home net. This saves me from any withdrawals out of savings.

Between your savings and then projected pension and SS, it seems you could fully retire if you want. No need to work from financial perspective. Yes there would be need to watch spending and to do some structuring of allocation so you can make the nestegg last.
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Old 10-18-2016, 06:02 AM   #13
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"What do you guys have in place as 'backup plans' in case the nest egg starts getting drawn down too fast, or you just want some extra cash?"

Your back up plans can be future pensions, SS at 62 (if needed) for you and DW, reduction in health insurance at 65.

(Also, research Obamacare (ACA), and see if your planned income is under the limit for (family) tax credits. BIG savings. It's worth talking to your CPA about if you have questions).

Finally, I have a new hobby/business since walking away from past career. Flex hours, decent pay and work from home. Plus I love it.
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Old 10-18-2016, 06:03 AM   #14
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change to "reduction in health insurance premiums" (Medicare).
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Old 10-18-2016, 07:25 AM   #15
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"What do you guys have in place as 'backup plans' in case the nest egg starts getting drawn down too fast, or you just want some extra cash?"

Your back up plans can be future pensions, SS at 62 (if needed) for you and DW, reduction in health insurance at 65. ....
My backup plan is to take SS earlier than FRA or 70 if investment results lag or turn sideways... that and some belt-tightening on expenses.
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Old 10-20-2016, 07:39 PM   #16
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Shortly after I retired a p.t. job teaching college course online feel into my lap. 4 years later I love it and can do it from anywhere with internet.
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Old 10-20-2016, 07:50 PM   #17
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I'd love to teach at the college level, and have looked into this a bit. I left academia years ago because it seemed that much of my time (as a grad student) was helping to write grant proposals (or other grant-related documentation), and that didn't seem like much fun. Teaching, though, I think I would really enjoy. Unfortunately, this seems to be tough to get into without any prior teaching experience, and I've heard the pay - when you're just adjunct - is lousy. Any tips?
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Old 10-21-2016, 06:13 AM   #18
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Trust me, grant proposals are not much fun! I got to be good at them, but one thing I know is that post-retirement, I will NOT be helping my fav nonprofits with grant proposals. I will be doing something completely different. Adjunct pay is terrible. The only reason to do it is if, like Teacher Terry, you love to do it.
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Old 10-21-2016, 07:29 AM   #19
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Looks like you're in pretty good shape. I can understand your concern about having enough 'stash' to last a lifetime. We all do. I thought I might get a part-time job for a period of time in retirement, but never did. I retired at 52 and now 62, so nice knowing I can pull the trigger on SS at anytime.

If you do decide to get a part-time gig, find something fun or interesting to do. I have a friend who works a few hours a week at Lowe's and another who delivers pharmaceuticals for a drug store. The jobs gives them some extra pocket change and keeps them occupied. Lot's of things to do if one has the desire to work.
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Old 10-21-2016, 07:39 AM   #20
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Looks like you're in pretty good shape. I can understand your concern about having enough 'stash' to last a lifetime. We all do. I thought I might get a part-time job for a period of time in retirement, but never did.
+1

I retired at 58 and thought I'd get a part-time job as well, primarily to get medical coverage (this was pre - ACA). I actually went to an employer and started filling out a job application form when I suddenly broke out in a cold sweat and asked myself "What the Hell are you doing?!"

Threw the application in the trash, walked out and never looked back.
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