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Hi - I'm 55 years old, could retire financially, just can't do it
Old 11-26-2014, 05:16 PM   #1
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Hi - I'm 55 years old, could retire financially, just can't do it

Hi,
I read on another site this is a great place to ask retirement questions. So, here I go. I saved most of my life and now I'm very financially secure. I could live with 1-1.25% withdrawal rates on my savings. Plus I have a pension of 26.5k/yr that begins at 65. I plan on deferring Social Security till 70 years old.

But I still work full time and really don't like my job. It has become progressively worse the last few years and now it's nearly intolerable. It's bizzare but for some reason I just can't quit and I can't put my finger on why. One thought I have is I might not be able to fill up all my free time in retirement which leads to boredom. Or I've thought that I make a very good salary so why give it up? Was hoping some of you here had similar thoughts about being hesitant in pulling the trigger on retirement and how you overcame them. Thanks!

Francis
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Old 11-26-2014, 05:31 PM   #2
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Hi Francis welcome

I can't really help you in some respects. I can't wait to get out (also 55 and FI but retirement needs to wait for a few things to get done, it will happen in July). I can make a comment or two
1. On the "I make a very good salary so why give it up?" - what would you do with the extra money. If 5 years from now your health declined and you could not travel (as an example) you you regret not having left so you could. Given the withdrawal rate and the pensions it seems to me you could have a fairly good early retirement traveling etc. If on the other hand you are planning to give a lot of $$ to family or charity then sure continue to work to give them as much as possible.
2. On the "One thought I have is I might not be able to fill up all my free time in retirement which leads to boredom". This is potentially a problem if you have no interests outside of working. If you are just not sure if your interests will be enough maybe consider a Leave of Absence to test drive retirement.

And final look through this list and see if there are some answers there if you haven't already

Some Important Questions to answer before asking can I retire
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Old 11-26-2014, 05:36 PM   #3
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You should continue working BUT doing something you really like.

1) Park Ranger in National Park.
2) Selectman in your home town.
3) Tour guide in Paris
4) Take care of 4 acre avocado farm.

Look at it as time when you can work on whatever you like instead of something you do not like. And maybe you need to try few things....before you find it.
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Old 11-26-2014, 05:40 PM   #4
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Francis, there is a link on the "Best of the Boards" that covers the OMY (One More Year) Syndrome. You may find some wisdom, related to your issue, at the post in that thread. I know I did....

Here is the prologue to that thread, with the link highlighted in red.
- No matter when you FIRE, there is always some set of reasons why you should wait "just one more year." Yet this also seems like a psychological trap - you can always justify waiting, and in the meantime precious years of FIRE go slipping away. Click here to learn how other's knew when the time was right.

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Old 11-26-2014, 05:43 PM   #5
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I had no problem calling it quits at 56, but DW had been more hesitant. She now has a boss she hates and will likely leave soon. But if you don't have the desire to quit and like your job, there's no reason to leave. Happiness is what it's all about, so you'll know when it's time.


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Old 11-26-2014, 05:56 PM   #6
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I felt exactly the same way before I pulled the trigger 3+ years ago, even though I'd reached FI years before. Having a steady paycheck is nice regardless of FI, so I wanted to make sure I was retiring TO something better than work, and not just retiring FROM something.

Reading Work Less, Live More by Clyatt, Encore by Freedman and How to Retire Wild, Happy & Free by Zelinski - and especially completing the Get-A-Life Tree Exercise in the Zelinski book were what I needed to finally get comfortable with giving up a well-paying job. I found out there was plenty I wanted to do while I was still physically and mentally able! And so far, no regrets.

You're smart in not retiring until you're 95% comfortable with the decision (I doubt anyone is 100% sure), it's a significant milestone in life, and typically not reversible. There can be some downsides to early retirement. For me having no one my age "to play with" weekdays is a challenge, sorry but I don't want to hang out regularly with retirees decades older than me. And being retired is great for me 9-10 months of the year, not as much in the dead of winter.

Some people are actually happier working (don't hold your breath waiting for them to post, they're not here), and an encore career after one reaches burnout in the first career can be a better choice until full on retirement beckons.

Best of luck whatever/whenever you decide.
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Old 11-26-2014, 06:09 PM   #7
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Francis,

I have exactly the same issues.

I can afford to retire financially but then what do I do with myself all day?

I don't hate my job, but I cannot say I love it either. I am basically self employed and do enjoy trying to solve problems for certain clients - but hate dealing with other.

I still have 1 school age child so I think I am stuck working for the next 3 years until she finishes school. After that we can pack up and travel etc.
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Old 11-26-2014, 06:12 PM   #8
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Yep know the feeling. I keep doing the sums;

- Firecalc tells me all is good 100% success rate (as do half a dozen other calculators)
- been living on a 3.1% drawdown equivalent for 6 months and even managed to save £400 a month out of that...

I am imagining like its a parachute jump; you can keep checking over the lines, your chute, your harness, check the weather is good, the landing site is clear but fear means you still you hesitate to jump

Sometimes you've just got to feel the fear and do it anyway!

My FIRE Jump is scheduled for March 2015 lets hope I don't bottle it - maybe I should get sponsorship and do it for charity as extra incentive
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Old 11-26-2014, 06:25 PM   #9
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Just sharing what I observed with my parents. My mother had long been retired due to health issues, and my father really didn't have any interests - he went to work, he came home, rinse and repeat. When my father retired at 65 they didn't have much besides a small pension and SS - so traveling or other costly activities were off the table.

Yet once he did retire, he found a plenty of things to do that kept him busy and that he enjoyed. Once the stress of his mundane, repetitive job was gone, he really perked up and found new interests. And he wasn't able to fuel those interests with money.

I am sure that was not something unique to my father. I think many people don't realize how much an unpleasant (OP, your description was "nearly intolerable") job can permeate someone's behavior. I can very much relate to "why give up a good salary" when you know it will never be yours again, but if I was looking at a sub-2% WR in my mid-50's and working at a nearly intolerable job, I would bring my resignation to work on the next Monday. I am so looking forward to being able to apply my skills/experience in volunteer roles where I know they will make 10x the impact that I have at my current job.

Perhaps the distaste for the job is clouding your decision-making?
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Old 11-26-2014, 06:59 PM   #10
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My DH seems to have the same problem. So we are calling his retirement "semi-retirement" on Feb. 3rd, 2015. He says he is retiring on my birthday. Feb. 3rd is a Tuesday. I told him he should "semi-retire" on Jan. 30, 2015 as it is a Friday. But no he wants to go in on Monday and Tuesday. Go figure. We will then load up and take about a week or two to get everything together then head out on the road for a retirement vacation. No time limit set. So excited. Took me about (3) years to finally talk him into it. Hard for him to accept that we finally get to start spending instead of saving. So funny.


Good luck with whatever your decision is. I am retired 4 1/2 years now and nothing, nothing to regret. I volunteer 2 or 3 times a week at our local community center.
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Old 11-26-2014, 07:05 PM   #11
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Welcome Francis!

As you now know, you are not alone!

You've already received a lot of good advice here. If you truly loved your job, most of us wouldn't try to talk you out of it. But if you are FI and miserable in your job, we'll cheer you on to "just do it".

A good look at the "what did you do today " thread will give you some comfort that you'll find ways to spend your time that will be satisfying and enjoyable- and that you will find activities that you didn't even consider while w*rk occupied most of your waking hours.




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Old 11-26-2014, 07:13 PM   #12
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Wow, thanks everyone for taking the time for posting the great replies. I wish I had the time to respond to everyone separately. I will read the links given to me. I think I'm one of those affected by one more year syndrome.

The job was good for years then went downhill about 5 years ago and now is at an all time low. It's not going to get better. I know it's a problem when my job affects my personality and even my time off. I like the idea of looking for jobs that I would enjoy doing. Even if things don't work I could always find a place to work a few hours - I'm a pharmacist. I haven't done much volunteer work in my life, maybe that's something I should explore too.

Francis
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Old 11-26-2014, 07:18 PM   #13
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Ditto here. Have my own company and could have retired years ago. Now 54 years old. I have just not been able to pull the trigger to allow my senior people to initiate a buyout. I really do not love what I am doing nor do I now hate it. But I am tied to the firm and have never had more than 5 business days off in a row since I finished school at 25. I want to travel and read and pursue various areas of history for my own enjoyment.

I picked June, 2015 as the date I would start the transition because that is the date my youngest finishes high school and is off to college. Hoping I can stick to it.
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Old 11-26-2014, 07:37 PM   #14
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Welcome to the Forum,

I had a similar situation, financially able to quit and in a job I developed a hatred for but not wanting to stop working.

I struggled with "One more year" syndrome for 2 years after vesting of the minimum years for a 50 % retiree medical insurance subsidy. Those 2 years were terribly corrosive on my mental well being , and that was time I could have spent helping my father in his last years of life.

Instead , I squandered the precious, non-replaceable time staying at a job I no longer found tolerable, just for a little extra money.

As Midpack brought up, consider the difference of retiring FROM something or retiring TO something.

I did the former. It was the lesser of two evils , but is not going well. I don't have a good handle on part time work, although it would be desirable.

This is a big deal, think it through thoroughly and put as much effort into your midterm future , as you currently expend working.

Just my 2 cents worth , learn from my mistakes , and the wisdom others here.

Again , Welcome.
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Old 11-26-2014, 08:59 PM   #15
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Even if things don't work I could always find a place to work a few hours - I'm a pharmacist.
I feel for you then if you're working like the pharmacists I see at the local CVS store. Those people are being worked to death, always on the phone and doing what seems to be two things at once. I can see that they will be burned out very quickly.
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Old 11-26-2014, 09:01 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Francis View Post
Hi,

I read on another site this is a great place to ask retirement questions. So, here I go. I saved most of my life and now I'm very financially secure. I could live with 1-1.25% withdrawal rates on my savings. Plus I have a pension of 26.5k/yr that begins at 65. I plan on deferring Social Security till 70 years old.



But I still work full time and really don't like my job. It has become progressively worse the last few years and now it's nearly intolerable. It's bizzare but for some reason I just can't quit and I can't put my finger on why. One thought I have is I might not be able to fill up all my free time in retirement which leads to boredom. Or I've thought that I make a very good salary so why give it up? Was hoping some of you here had similar thoughts about being hesitant in pulling the trigger on retirement and how you overcame them. Thanks!



Francis

I'm in that winding down process now and know exactly what you mean. I'm a physician in the same state as you. From the fear of loss of prestige to the transition from saving the paycheck to withdrawing from assets, from getting up at 5:00 and being worthless after 7PM it is all strange and very new. I now have 1-2 weeks off and 1-2 weeks of work at a time. There are days of boredom and restlessness, but I feel so much better physically and so much more alive in the relationships that really matter.

You might want to check those FAQs and some books about early retirement. I found that hanging out here made me realize that overall, retirement with adequate finances can be absolutely amazing. Within a week of joining this group, I made up my mind to pull the plug this year but my exit was slowed by being offered more money for less work.

The books and the FAQs made me more prepared. I hope they help you too. Life is too short to stay at a job you hate. Time does not equal money. Time > money.


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Old 11-26-2014, 09:33 PM   #17
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From your post , I see you are a pharmacist. That is where the rub comes in. You entered the field in a different era, an honorable profession, which it still is, to help people, not just make a living.

You are stuck with a mindset of Duty to help the patient. Years ago, the employer also had a mindset of duty to loyal hard working employees.The later is long gone.

The drive to reduce medical cost , and increase productivity has permanently overtaken service to the patient , and dignity for the professional. 0% chance of the old ways coming back You will need to embrace that.
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Old 11-26-2014, 11:53 PM   #18
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My mother, father, and younger brother all died young, and were still working when they went. Each of them had plans and dreams that never happened. I've always wanted to retire early out of fear that I would die at work. Once I had to perform CPR on a coworker that had a heart attack in the bathroom at work. He survived, and lasted another couple of years, but I used to think "what a lousy place to die".


My point is that you never know what's coming down the road. The old saw about nobody ever said on their deathbed "I wish I had worked more" is totally true.


I retired at 50, but even though I really wanted out I still had all the fears and worries everyone else has. But other than marrying DW and having had DD, it was the absolute best decision of my life.


If you choose to keep working, more power to you, and thanks for paying for my Social Security when I finally claim it. But if you stop, I would be willing to be that within one year you'll be wondering why you waited so long.
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Old 11-27-2014, 12:23 AM   #19
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Francis,

I have exactly the same issues.

I can afford to retire financially but then what do I do with myself all day?

I don't hate my job, but I cannot say I love it either. I am basically self employed and do enjoy trying to solve problems for certain clients - but hate dealing with other.......
I'm like this fella.
So I retired and do some part-time work for the client I like, not for the $$$, but out of a sense of commitment and I like the people.
We are only talking about 3-6 days per month.

But in many ways I kick myself, because I saved like a crazy nut, sometimes 50% of my pay went into 401K, now I realize that I'll be paying too much in taxes as I pull the money out.

So Francis you could work OMY, but what is the purpose if you don't like it, and the money makes no difference ?
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Old 11-27-2014, 01:28 AM   #20
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Francis,

I still have 1 school age child so I think I am stuck working for the next 3 years until she finishes school. After that we can pack up and travel etc.
You are stuck only if you want to be. You say that financially you can retire. It is perfectly possible to retire with kids still at home....
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