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Old 03-14-2013, 02:26 PM   #21
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Linny, welcome to the forum and I'm sorry to hear about your mom.

I became an adult orphan at 43. After my mom died I met a grief counselor (quite by chance) and one great piece of advice she gave me was not to make any major decisions for 6 months. I think that was wise counsel.
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:32 PM   #22
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I have some debt, the car and a loan. Don't own a home, have no children and spouse.
Do you have savings? Can you pay off the debt? Since you have a pension, what is key is your cash flow. Will your pension cover your expenses, and do you have enough set aside in savings to cover those unexpected or large expenses that won't be covered by your monthly cash flow? If you don't have the cushion to stretch past your monthly pension when needed, or your pension and expenses are nearly equal, you could find yourself living "paycheck-to-paycheck" without much breathing room.
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:47 PM   #23
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Yes, Chains - you are right - I will basically be living monthly pension check to the next. As I won't have debt I was planning on doing some hefty saving for a year in retirement. After I cash out my 457 I will have some money in savings, maybe $10 to 20k depending upon my living situation.
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Old 03-14-2013, 03:00 PM   #24
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I hesitate to ask, but - How safe is your pension?
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Old 03-14-2013, 04:06 PM   #25
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Luckily I work for a very solvent City, they have always been conservative and new contracts make it even more so for the future. I'm not worried about my pension.
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:38 PM   #26
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Welcome to the forum!

I completely agree with your line of thought to leave and take care of your health. Does your pension allow for you to take a part time job in the future if you really need something to do? (Barnes and Noble?).

How much is in your 457 plan? You should consider waiting until you're 59.5 and them withdraw this in little bits until you can take Social Security
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:42 PM   #27
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Yes, I can work full time anywhere but only 960 hours a year in a PERS job. My 457 will have about $80k and I will not have a penalty for withdrawing. I can withdraw anytime after 50. I will be paying a 20% fed tax and 5% cal tax when I withdraw it. It is money I need to buy into the co-op. So you could say - this is my savings.
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Old 03-14-2013, 07:47 PM   #28
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Co-op buy in? I'm not following


However, my advice remains about the same, that's a really nice pension income for the rest of your life, go take care of your health and enjoy it, then consider something part time later
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:00 PM   #29
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Linny, my condolences on the loss of your mother. Being an orphan is painful regardless of the age you are when it happens. I've worked much of my career as a registered nurse in hospice and there is truth to some of the messages telling you to take your time in deciding as you have had a major loss. But on the other hand, your attention is focused on the preciousness of each day and six months is a long time to be unhappy. One trick I've tried is to make a decision and then to carefully note what my gut "feels" like. Am I relieved, jubilant, sad, disappointed, scared? Your instinct may help point you in the right direction. Good luck!
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:09 PM   #30
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Linny, I'm very sorry for your loss. Have you considered a grief support group?

Snow White, that was a really nice first post. I hope you stick around.
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:31 PM   #31
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Yes, I can work full time anywhere but only 960 hours a year in a PERS job. My 457 will have about $80k and I will not have a penalty for withdrawing. I can withdraw anytime after 50. I will be paying a 20% fed tax and 5% cal tax when I withdraw it. It is money I need to buy into the co-op. So you could say - this is my savings.

If you take all of that 80K in one year on top of your nice pension you will be paying 25% or more in federal taxes on it. Is that 20% figure the amount that they will withhold from it? If so you may end up owing more taxes and possibly also penalties for not withhold enough. Taking money out of a 457 is just like taking money out of a 401 or traditional IRA. You need to look carefully at the tax consequences before you take anything out of them. I know nothing about California income taxes but withholding 5% would come up a little short here in Georgia.
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:26 AM   #32
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Sincere condolences. You might still be suffering some depression from your loss.
So a grief support group or other might help you to feel better.
If you are not a talker, there are some good books out there how to overcome such loss.

Even if the financial side of your ER might be ok - do you have something to retire to, rather than retire from?
How do you want to spend your time? What would be your next goal?
If you do not have answers yet, I would not take irreversible decisions yet but try to draft a map of your retirement and make some plans.
I would not want to be lonely, depressed and retired.

Also, I would first try to live on my estimated post retirement budget (or less) for several months as a kind of test drive.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:21 AM   #33
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I'm sorry for your loss. Even when one knows it's coming that doesn't make it any easier.

I am in agreement with the others about not making any major life decisions after a major loss for at least six months or perhaps even a year.
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:45 AM   #34
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I agree with all others here, give yourself some time before making the final retirement decision. On the other hand, I would make my health then number one priority in my life NOW ! Follow your doctor's requirements and take care of yourself, you don't need any money if you are not alive. You always have the "ace in the hole" where you can make the call on retirement if that is getting in the way of your new healthy lifestyle. So start making the lifestyle changes you need now. You can do it.
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:16 PM   #35
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It's just that the more I think about it - I would much rather be doing something else - namely, taking care of my health. I have diabetes and I had a heart attack at 50.... So, while my mom's death has caused a bit of a fog, I am thinking also of the fact that having a heart attack on my 50th birthday was a wake-up call.
Fair enough; but I wonder if you really need to retire in order to be able to work on your health issues.

You say that you are a relatively low-paid librarian. In the absence of unusual circumstances, I assume (?) that you likely work no more than a 45-hour week. You have no childcare responsibilities, and now no longer have to serve as a caregiver for your mom.

Taking the above into account, you should currently have sufficient time for daily exercise, the preparation of healthy meals, and eight hours sleep each night. I doubt that the job is really preventing you from improving your health condition (while you may be psychologically fatigued, quitting work probably won't improve that issue significantly).

All of this is not to suggest that it is necessary or even desirable for you to defer early retirement if you wish: your other question ("Is $148 a month worth the remaining 6 months of boredom and bs?") remains. I am just saying that you are able to have your cake (job) and eat it (health) too, if you choose to keep working a bit longer so that you can pad your pension.
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Old 03-15-2013, 05:04 PM   #36
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Are you eligible to apply for state disability?
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Old 03-15-2013, 05:08 PM   #37
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Sorry for your loss, I'll join the chorus saying take some time before making big changes. And I think the group counseling is probably a good idea, I hope you find it helpful.

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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
I hesitate to ask, but - How safe is your pension?
I know she answered very safe, but I have to wonder about that...

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Originally Posted by linny727 View Post
I do get a pension and paid medical... The pension will be approx. $5675 a month before taxes if I leave at the end of 2013.
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I didn't make a ton of money working as a librarian and my pension will keep a roof over my head so I am forever grateful that I found this job all those years ago. I know some people get miffed when I say I will have a pension and covered medical, ...
OK, what I'm about to say has nothing to do with being 'miffed', I'm just trying to give you some perspective, and wonder if that pension is really so safe. Can your municipality really afford this?


So that's a $68,100 pension that you can take @ 54 YO? For ref, my private pension (and this seems typical) is cut in half to take it at 55. So your number is equivalent to a $136,200 annual private pension. My pension also has no COLA - a full COLA about doubles the value of a pension, yours seems to be capped at 2%, so if we say 1.5x factor, that is equivalent to roughly a $200,000 private pension. And you mention that you didn't earn a high wage - I have to wonder how a municipality can afford this? Those kinds of pensions would be associated with very highly compensated employees in the private sector.

I did earn a pretty good wage (Engineering & Management), and my pension @ 65, with no COLA will be significantly less than what you get COLA-lite @ 54. Or about 20% of what you get if we use my adjustment factors. Even that understates it, as inflation is and has been eroding the value of that future amount, so closer to 15%. Again, I'm not complaining, just trying to give you some perspective on this.

Then throw in medical? I am in my megacorp retiree plan, but I pay over $10,000/year (for family). I don't have the single coverage numbers at hand, but I assume they are ~ 1/2 the family rate (not many dependents other than spouse on average among the 55-65 age group that qualify).

It's just tough to imagine that a municipality can fund these levels. And since you have no other appreciable savings, it is something I would not want to take for granted if I were you. I'd probably want to sock a considerable amount of it away, in case it gets cut in the future? At least I have the PBGC to fall back on if megacorp defaults, I'm not aware of any municipalities insuring their funds.

-ERD50
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:00 PM   #38
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My condolences on your loss. I would say try first to take unpaid leave for a month or so (since vacation is not available) to help you get past this difficult time, clear your head, then re-evaluate these life-changing decisions.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:09 PM   #39
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Linny, my heart goes out to you. I think a six month holding period on major decision making is a good idea too. And there is no point in just worrying about the pension's solvency because you have no control over it (but glad that the plan is apparently healthy and you've obviously met the length of service etc requirements) and you need to focus on remembering your mother and taking extra good care of yourself.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:30 PM   #40
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Linny, my heart goes out to you. I think a six month holding period on major decision making is a good idea too. And there is no point in just worrying about the pension's solvency because you have no control over it (but glad that the plan is apparently healthy and you've obviously met the length of service etc requirements) and you need to focus on remembering your mother and taking extra good care of yourself.

+1

I'm retired and rely heavily on my pensions. I could have worked longer to save more as a backup to pension loss, but worrying about things like this is just not worth it.
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