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Hi from newpond, with the retirement planning blues
Old 07-08-2009, 10:00 PM   #1
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Hi from newpond, with the retirement planning blues

Hi,

I've been looking into retirement issues for a couple of years now, and during one of my regular internet searches looking for inspiration and clarification, etc I came across your forum - looks like many others are mulling over similar concerns to mine!

At age 56 I am eligible to retire now on the excellent superannuation scheme I am in, on a good pension, despite the recession ... so why haven't I retired?

Well the issue for me is not that I can't retire (although the longer I put it off, the greater percentage of final income I will receive as a pension), but my fears that I may find I have issues with feeling not useful, everything being rather pointless, etc.

OK, I enjoy reading, could try to build up skills in a few hobbies (rather than the fumbling effort in spare moments over many years!), could go on holidays, do lots of walking, etc, but I have the feeling that this is probably all too self-serving and perhaps what is the point at this age? Perhaps work has so dominated everything for so long that as 'freedom' approaches it is difficult to handle it.

Maybe it is better to keep on working as long as possible, but then again perhaps those who are old enough to go should move out to create opportunities for the young ones looking for work - perhaps it is greedy to stay on too long??

Any others feeling like this?
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:05 PM   #2
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Any others feeling like this?
Some have posted similarly; but most of them have moved on from this forum.

Ha
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:11 PM   #3
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Newpond, welcome to the forum. Here are a few threads you might want to read:

Handling the "just one more year..." syndrome
(FAQ archive) But... what will I do all day?
(FAQ archive) "How much is enough?"
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:15 PM   #4
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This is not something I struggle with, but it is not uncommon. I think that it might be worth spending time thinking about what work is for and what role it plays in your life. If you give the question time and thought and decide that work is important to you, then think about how you would want to work and where you would want to do it if money were not an issue. If you decide that you do not need to work to be fulfilled, then you will have to think about what you want out ofthe rest of your life and how to pursue it.
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:24 PM   #5
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Hi newpond, and welcome to the forum!

Your question is one that many of us have pondered. As a matter of fact, we even have an FAQ on the subject "But...what will I do all day?" You will find interesting ideas on the posts included in that FAQ.

I guess the answers are as varied as the participants on here. We tend to be our own financial managers, so most of us have that to do. Many of us love to travel and and are happy to finally be able to do it seriously. Getting exercise and into the best shape we've been in in years is popular. We have some serious golfers. We have a lot of folks who do volunteer work.

Self-serving? I guess so. But perhaps one reason we work most of our adult lives is to earn the opportunity to spend some time being self-serving.

Good luck as you consider your choices.

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Old 07-08-2009, 10:49 PM   #6
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Newpond, welcome! Are you from Oz by any chance?

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Thanks for your thoughts
Old 07-09-2009, 12:52 AM   #7
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Thanks for your thoughts

Thanks everyone for your thoughtful ideas and for suggesting the very relevant and interesting links which I have spent the last hour enjoying reading. Certainly reading and net surfing about the retirement issue means there is always plenty to do in pre-retirement!!

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Old 07-09-2009, 02:22 AM   #8
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Hi Newpond. What sort of w*rk is it that you are considering continuing?
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Old 07-09-2009, 04:41 AM   #9
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Retirement is going to happen sooner or later so why not do it while you are young enough and healthy enough to fulfill any dreams you've had,get into new activities,develop new passions or fulfill old ones ,or if you like your job then keep working for as long as you can,Going from the phase in your life where you are working to retirement can be an enormous mental change for some and they end up staying at the job until they are forced out perhaps wasting many years that could have been spent in retirement. Only you can decide whether retirement is going to be an exciting new challenge or a lesson in irrelevance.

"but my fears that I may find I have issues with feeling not useful, everything being rather pointless, etc.
but I have the feeling that this is probably all too self-serving and perhaps what is the point at this age? Perhaps work has so dominated everything for so long that as 'freedom' approaches it is difficult to handle it."


What you are describing is just a matter of negative perspective find some way to get an attitude adjustment, for me it was tough leaving a company i worked for for over 30 years but if i wanted to fly i had to jump out of the nest,i still miss some of the social dynamics of the work place but i wouldnt have lingered at the job after i got to the position of retirement.Now i have all the time to do anything i want,those 2 week vacations are now indefinite,hobbies can be worked on indefinitely etc.. sure i have some boring days but i used to get them at work now i can just go have a nap
You certainly have discovered the right forum.

Good luck and welcome to the forum
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Old 07-09-2009, 06:31 AM   #10
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Welcome to the forum
I would suggest making a list. It will help you consolidate your thoughts by writing them down.
One half of the list is the reasons you like w*rking (hope it's short ) and the other half is reasons you don't like w*rking.
Keep this list going for a few weeks or months.
Review and change it periodically. Good luck with the exercise.
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:10 AM   #11
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Hello & welcome aboard newpond,
I find my self thinking about some of the same things you mention as I approach my retirement. One thing I caught my self doing recently was in counting the cost of retiring. I kept thinking about how I would be making about 25% less money on monthly income and wondering how I might make up the difference. All of a sudden the thought hit me, if you continue to work, that means you are getting up at 4:00am every morning for only 25% of your pay. Would I do that? When you turn things on their head it all looks different. Hope I worded this well enough to make my point? Of course there are other benefits and perks I will lose that I have to consider also. But getting out of bed at 4:00, getting ready for work, driving 20/25 miles and dealing with what ever comes down at work. Plus I'm only gaining 25% over what I could get staying home, is about as dumb as a box of rocks.
That little tid bit has me thinking a little different.
Just think things through, turn them every way you can, it will all come together for you.
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:36 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newpond View Post
Hi,

I've been looking into retirement issues for a couple of years now, and during one of my regular internet searches looking for inspiration and clarification, etc I came across your forum - looks like many others are mulling over similar concerns to mine!

At age 56 I am eligible to retire now on the excellent superannuation scheme I am in, on a good pension, despite the recession ... so why haven't I retired?

Well the issue for me is not that I can't retire (although the longer I put it off, the greater percentage of final income I will receive as a pension), but my fears that I may find I have issues with feeling not useful, everything being rather pointless, etc.

OK, I enjoy reading, could try to build up skills in a few hobbies (rather than the fumbling effort in spare moments over many years!), could go on holidays, do lots of walking, etc, but I have the feeling that this is probably all too self-serving and perhaps what is the point at this age? Perhaps work has so dominated everything for so long that as 'freedom' approaches it is difficult to handle it.

Maybe it is better to keep on working as long as possible, but then again perhaps those who are old enough to go should move out to create opportunities for the young ones looking for work - perhaps it is greedy to stay on too long??

Any others feeling like this?
Right now, you are only 56. It is very possible that during the next ten years or so, as you become older, you will find that working is much more physically draining for you than it presently is. You may also develop health issues and become more aware of how brief life is, and realize that there are things you haven't done yet and may never have the opportunity to do without retiring.

You say that you "have issues with not feeling useful" and perhaps should retire "to create opportunities for the young ones looking for work" and are worried that retirement would be "too self serving". Living for the benefit of others may be admirable to a reasonable extent, but there comes a time when it becomes an excuse not to think of what YOU need and desire from life. Providing for yourself (and I don't mean just monetarily) is not a selfish act. It is the responsible thing to do.

Even if you are not yet ready to retire, I recommend becoming financially independant as soon as possible if you are not already. Then, you will only be working because you want to, not because you need to, and you will be able to quit when the time comes.
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:41 AM   #13
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Lots of members here FIREd from careers that were at best unrewarding, and at worst toxic and unbearable. Understandably, they did whatever they needed to do in order to move ahead with retirement - quite a few with great success.

For those of us who enjoy large parts of our career but would like to balance it differently, some of the challenges are different.

It's all good, but you're not alone in feeling a bit more ambivalence than many of our forum friends. You'll figure it out. Probably about the same time I do (the instigator of the "one more year" thread).
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:50 AM   #14
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Not sure what your job is but is there a possibility of gradual retirement like going to a 3 or 4 day work week for a few years in advance of total retirement.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:34 PM   #15
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So the basic questions are:

Why are you working, if you don't need the money?
Are you working to provide money to someone else, such as a favorite cause/charity?
Are there opportunities you have never been able to take advantage of because of your time commitment to work?

You'll find several books mentioned in the links above, this one is my favorite, written by a Canadian, Ernie J Zelinski.

Amazon.com: How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won't Get from Your Financial Advisor: Ernie J. Zelinski: Books
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Old 07-09-2009, 07:31 PM   #16
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Hi,

but my fears that I may find I have issues with feeling not useful, everything being rather pointless, etc....

Maybe it is better to keep on working as long as possible, but then again perhaps those who are old enough to go should move out to create opportunities for the young ones looking for work - perhaps it is greedy to stay on too long??
Different strokes for different folks and all that. I found that volunteering 2 days per week (they were only 6 hour days) plus picking up all the household responsibilities that I now had time for (and my working wife didn't) worked out for me. Specifically, I volunteered as an adult literacy tutor at an inner-city learning center in Baltimore. Big culture shock for me in terms of the people I dealt with. Major learning experience for me as well. Although I had never been a "professional" teacher, this was something I knew I could do and it turned out that I was pretty successful at it.

The great things about volunteering are:
- you can try something you always wanted to do, but never did (teaching, in my case).
- you don't get paid, so you don't ask to take a day (or a week) off - you TELL them you're going to.
- you may (as I did) get a feeling of accomplishment that I somtimes got from my working career, but often didn't.
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Old 07-10-2009, 05:54 AM   #17
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Welcome, newpond! I grapple with some of the same thoughts that you have regarding taking the plunge to early retirement. I like my job most days. My duties are not too taxing, my day is short, my salary pretty good and my healthcare plan fully paid by my employer. Most of my social life revolves around long-time friends in the office. I could retire now with a reduced pension and would have to pick up a part of my healthcare plan payment(less than $200 per month until I am eligible for Medicare in 10 years). I have feelings of uncertainty about what I would do all day, but I seem to fill my time just fine on week ends and holidays. I would definitely manage my finances more actively, travel more, be of more assistance to an elderly aunt and cousin who live a couple of hours from me, spend the winters in FL where I own a house, as opposed to just a month spread over Dec-Jan-Feb. Do more volunteer work with the animal shelter. Read more. Take some cooking classes. Get to the gym daily. I guess I'm not ready since I haven't done it yet but one of these days I might just give my month's notice and walk.
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Old 07-10-2009, 10:04 PM   #18
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Thanks for new posts

WhoDaresWins -thanks for your views - sounds to me as if, when the time comes, you will probably be OK since you have already started developing some of the activities you mentioned and so will just extend your participation in them to occupy more of your time. My challenge is probably to work at broadening and developing my interests further BEFORE I take the leap into retirement, rather than getting there and then asking 'Now what will I do?'

Friar610 – I like your perspective on volunteering – believe it or not I already work in a similar field to what you enjoy in retirement, but I am thinking of moving away from it. Maybe the issue is having to do it as a job – perhaps going away, doing something different for a while and then returning to work part-time (paid or unpaid) doing aspects of the work that I enjoy doing and find fulfilling (as opposed to having to do the lot, including the tedious and administrative stuff) may be a direction in which to move.

Jambo101 – your suggestion of scaling down to say 3 or 4 days a week may be a good way to go while being unsure of whether to take the ‘big leap’ – thanks for that.

Want2retire – thanks for your thoughtful sensible reasoning about the issue – has given me a new perspective on the problem.
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Old 07-11-2009, 11:14 AM   #19
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I have the same concerns, meaningful work has a lot of appeal to me, but what's meaningful will undoubtedly change as I get older (now 55 and FI like you). I have never been able to just sit around and relax, probably never will.

I'd highly recommend you read How to Retire Wild, Happy & Free by Zelinski and/or Work Less, Live More by Clyatt for some insight on your concern, they were very helpful to me. The good news is you don't have to act until you're ready, keep your options open until you are and good luck. Big decision for anyone...
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Old 07-11-2009, 07:19 PM   #20
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....

It's all good, but you're not alone in feeling a bit more ambivalence than many of our forum friends. You'll figure it out....
I also came to this forum thinking I was not ready to retire, not ready mentally and in total disbelief that the numbers apparently finally added up to enough. I retired 14 months later.
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