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back from years ago, changes in situation
Old 07-27-2012, 09:50 PM   #1
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back from years ago, changes in situation

I used to hang around the boards about 6 or 7 years ago. Here's my stats, wondering if you would pull the trigger on ER:
- nearly 49 years old
- wife died unexpectedly 2 months ago, at 46, leaving me with 200k insurance that payed off my mortgage

- 2 kids, 16 and 11
- I get social security of 1650 per month, per kid, until they turn 18. So basically 3300 per month for the next year and a half, then 1650 per month for about 5 years after that.
- If I were to quit working, I'd get extra SS as the caring surviving spouse, so I think I'd get $3800 per month until my 11 year old turns 18

Assets:
tax-deferred stuff: $820k
college 529: $58k
taxable savings: $85k

I'm torn in that I make > 100k from a work-from-home engineering job, but at the same time I'd love to be totally free from any responsibilities other than raising my 2 daughters.

The big unknowns to me are college and health care.... and would I be an idiot to leave a real good engineering salary where I work from home.

Ugh. Any thoughts? My wife's heart essentially just turned off while she was riding a friend's horse, due to some heart issues we had no idea she had... so of course that has been a bit of a large thing to deal with to say the least. But being it's "just me" and the kids now, I kind of feel I have more freedom to, say, chuck the salary and live under a bridge if I so choose, so ER is again in my thoughts.

- John
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:03 PM   #2
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Ruchman, what a shock. I am so very sorry for you loss.

My advice is to not make any major decisions/changes in your life for a year or so. You and your daughters have suffered a terrible loss and it takes time to truly begin to come to grips with what has happened.

Also, your numbers look a little light to pull the plug at your age. Those SS payments are temporary but will help you grow your nest egg quickly over the next few years. I say wait and take another look at your situation in a year or two.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:04 PM   #3
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Sorry to hear about your wife. What a shock.

All depends on your expenses. Could you live off just the SS? how much do you need to pull from your portfolio? Certainly many of us could do fine in your situation. But, you won't be replacing >$100k income any time soon.
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Old 07-27-2012, 11:56 PM   #4
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I w*rked from home the last 12 yrs or so of my w*rking life. Unhappy is unhappy, whether it's at home or in an office.

I've never regretted my decision to pull the plug.
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Old 07-28-2012, 07:55 AM   #5
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If I were in your shoes I would keep working and use the extra funds to insure all opportunities were afforded to my girls to give them the best chance to be successful adults while still having a wonderful middle school -- highschool -- college experience --- It would be sad for me to ever have to tell them I couldn't afford to make something happen just because I left work and needed to live a meager lifestyle to insure future financial viability.
But that's just me , father of two college age girls. Sorry for you loss and I wish you three the best!
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:20 AM   #6
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Sorry for your loss, runchman.
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:50 AM   #7
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I'm so sorry for your loss. My ex died along time ago and I received social security for my two children, too. I kept working and saved nearly all their social security for them to use during college and after. Since one child received tons of scholarships, she used her money for a used car and later towards a house down payment. My son used it for a car and college through grad school. Neither have student loans. So while it would be nice to retire, you might weigh that against what the SS money could do for your children if saved. Could you find part time work?
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:59 AM   #8
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I'm so sorry for the loss of your wife.
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:08 AM   #9
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Ruchman, what a shock. I am so very sorry for you loss.

My advice is to not make any major decisions/changes in your life for a year or so. You and your daughters have suffered a terrible loss and it takes time to truly begin to come to grips with what has happened.

Also, your numbers look a little light to pull the plug at your age. Those SS payments are temporary but will help you grow your nest egg quickly over the next few years. I say wait and take another look at your situation in a year or two.
+1. Don't make any major decisions right now.
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:08 AM   #10
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runchman,
No one can change the past, unfortunately.

I think you need time with decision making, but also can put into place some help right now to guarantee success. I'm thinking you should continue to work at home, but need to adjust a couple of things.

While my kids were growing up, I ran my own business, and wife went to work each day in the big city. Depending on the business circumstances I was either available for the endless taxi duties for activities, or not. Mostly I was, but my income was less for that reason. You can't run a business and keep client(s) happy without putting in a great deal of time.

To succeed, you need help. 1) You need to find an assistant outside your family to help with business paper work, and keep you on track with schedules and appointments. 2) You must include your children in the total picture, meaning older child assumes running some part of household, and younger child gets some designated responsibility appropriate for her age.
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:12 PM   #11
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I agree that you should probably wait a few more months before truly making any changes.....but from what you mentioned, I personally would look at my work-from-home job and see just how much time it's taking away from my daughters.

They're both teenagers, in school, with various things going on. If you didn't have your engineering work, how much additional free time would you have with them? Do you have to work 80+ hours/week to have that salary? Or is it just roughly 40-50 hours, and those hours are flexible? Is your work-from-home setup really taking away time that you could be with your daughters (every evening and every weekend day)?

If you're projecting over $3k/month in SS for the next 1 1/2 years, I'd keep the work-from-home gig and bank the SS. And then re-evaluate things when the oldest goes off to college.

Would it be possible to work part-time? Are you self-employed or working for someone? When the oldest starts college, maybe working 20-30 hours/week from home would still give you plenty of time with your youngest, while still socking away a good chunk to enable you to fully retire in your early-mid 50s?
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:30 PM   #12
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My deepest sympathies Runchman. I concur with all thoughts above. Just want to add a little monetary thought concerning your kids. One of the biggest and satisfying gifts you could give your children in honor of your wife would be a paid for college education. The $56k you have presently saved would certainly not cover one let alone two (unless your state is significantly different than mine is). I dont see how you could safely assist with your other funds as they will be needed to fund your long retirement, unless you planned on reentering the workforce at a later date. Best of luck in your future!
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:59 PM   #13
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Runchman, so sorry to hear of your loss. It must be a challenging time for you and your daughters.

I would echo what others have already said. When my BiL passed away in his 40's I spent time with my sister and her two young children with multiple week-long visits. Over that time - about a year - her thinking evolved significantly and she didn't make any of the choices she considered early on. As in your case, she paid off the mortgage with the insurance proceeds.

Take your time, keep your job and steady income. You never know - the best way to help your daughters now, in addition to being a father, may be to help them get through college and enter the work force debt-free.
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Old 07-28-2012, 04:28 PM   #14
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Runchman, so sorry to hear of your loss. It must be a challenging time for you and your daughters.

I would echo what others have already said. When my BiL passed away in his 40's I spent time with my sister and her two young children with multiple week-long visits. Over that time - about a year - her thinking evolved significantly and she didn't make any of the choices she considered early on. As in your case, she paid off the mortgage with the insurance proceeds.

Take your time, keep your job and steady income. You never know - the best way to help your daughters now, in addition to being a father, may be to help them get through college and enter the work force debt-free.
I am so sorry for your loss. I'm going to echo MichaelB. Right now you are in shock - whether you think you are or not. Having your daughters get through college debt free would be a great tribute to your wife.
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:02 PM   #15
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One of the biggest and satisfying gifts you could give your children in honor of your wife would be a paid for college education. The $56k you have presently saved would certainly not cover one let alone two (unless your state is significantly different than mine is). I dont see how you could safely assist with your other funds as they will be needed to fund your long retirement, unless you planned on reentering the workforce at a later date. Best of luck in your future!
According to this site Tuition, Costs and Fees - Missouri State University the state university in your state would cost approx. $15,000/yr. That includes living on campus. If the OP lives in commuting distance they could live at home and save $7000/yr minus gas costs. So he has about enough for the first daughter and the other one is at least 6 years away so there's plenty of time. I'd use the SS checks to fund the daughters college and a quality used car for each of them and continue working at least a couple more years.
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:17 PM   #16
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Sorry for your loss. What a shock that must have been.

Without knowing your expenses I don't have any advice for whether you can pull the trigger. Would you be able to take 3 or 6 months off work to give you time to get you and your girls life (somewhat) back on track? How about working part-time? As your probably finding with the oldest, kids do a lot with their friends. As long as you have some flexibility to go to their events you may find that work doesn't interfere so much with raising them.
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:36 PM   #17
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Thanks to all for the thoughts, you pretty much told me what I know deep down and probably needed to hear from outside sources - i.e. don't be a fool, bank a bunch of money and put the kids through college debt-free.

My job is pretty flexible schedule-wise, and not hard-core hours, so it's kind of a no-brainer I guess.

Thanks again, good to hear everyone's perspective.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:05 PM   #18
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So sorry for your loss . I also lost my husband suddenly and frankly work was my anchor for a few years . The best thing you can do is no sudden changes for at least a year and really two may be better . Take care ! It does get easier .
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:55 PM   #19
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Ruchman, what a shock. I am so very sorry for you loss.

My advice is to not make any major decisions/changes in your life for a year or so. You and your daughters have suffered a terrible loss and it takes time to truly begin to come to grips with what has happened.

Also, your numbers look a little light to pull the plug at your age. Those SS payments are temporary but will help you grow your nest egg quickly over the next few years. I say wait and take another look at your situation in a year or two.
I too am very sorry to hear of your loss. AGgee with ReWahoo advice though....
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:15 PM   #20
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Ruchman, I am sorry for your loss. My wife passed away at age 47 about 10 years ago and I became a single dad of a son 10 and a daughter 19 at the time.
we also had a 200k life insurance policy. I did not make any big decisions for over a year as others have suggested. I was unemployed at the time so I was able to collect survivors benefits for my son and myself. I went back to work within the year as I felt that I could not yet retire. It was the best decision that I made. I took a job with smaller company and they were flexible on hours and working from home. I banked the money I received from Son's social security for college. Daughter was too old 19 to collect benefits but she was on scholarship. I worked full time for a few years and then requested a cutback to 30 hours/week to spend more tome with my children. The job finally ended about a year ago due to company having financial problems. I am now retired and just applied for survivor's benefits no that I am 60. I was able to put an extra 9 years contribution to my 401k and also contribute to social security so my benefits are greater. My son is off to college in 2 weeks and I have the money saved to pay for it. He also had some health problems which made having the employee health insurance a great thing. Daughter graduated from engineering school and went on for a master's degree in engineering and a law degree and now working in the area of patents. I was able to help her out financially and all student loans are paid.
Your daughter can collect SS until age 19 if she is still in high school. You will have to fill out more paperwork when she turns 18. I believe that you can only collect until she reaches age 16 if you decide not to work.
I would keep the gig that you have now and reevaluate things each year. You might not be able to get another work from home paying as much. rely on others as necessary to do the tasks like house cleaning, grass cutting etc.
Best of luck in rebuilding your life.
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