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I am...struggling
Old 03-14-2013, 10:50 AM   #1
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I am...struggling

My mother died in January and that has left me an adult orphan at 53. My plan HAD been to retire at 55 but lately I have been so sick of everything at work, my health is none to good (diabetes, heart issues), I am just tired, plain tired. I know that part of my restlessness has to do with my mom's death but I am now seriously thinking of leaving at the end of 2013. I do get a pension and paid medical but by leaving 6 months early I would lose about $148 a month. Still, I feel like the money is not worth the time and peace that I will receive. The pension will be approx. $5675 a month before taxes if I leave at the end of 2013. I have some debt, the car and a loan. Don't own a home, have no children and spouse.

Just wondering if anyone else said - that's it, I may be short just a bit but I am going for it? I can hardly stand to be at work now, let alone here for 15 months and 9 months SOUNDS so much better! Thanks!
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:59 AM   #2
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Will forgoing that $148 ($1,776/yr) have a significant impact to your financial security in retirement? If you draw your pension for 30 years after retirement working the added six months will mean a difference of $53,280 in total income. Only you can decide if it is worth it.
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:04 AM   #3
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Good point! I do get a 2% COLA and will get a very small (maybe coffee money) SS. This is so hard!!!!!
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:08 AM   #4
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Do you know what your spending needs will be in the future?
Have you tried working through FIRECalc?
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:16 AM   #5
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Can the FIRECalc work using a pension? Isn't it about returns on investment? My needs will be less than they are now as I will be pretty much out of debt by end of 2013. I live a pretty simple life and will continue to do so.
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:21 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forum. You don't give enough information for anyone to give a specific answer to your question but I do see one red flag. You posted that you have debt and you do not mention any savings or investments. . If you have debt and no savings that would indicate that you have been spending more than you have been making. If you spend more than you make now it may be a problem for you to retire and try to live on a pension that I would assume would be less than your current income. OTOH, retiring soon to reduce your stress and improving your diet and also exercising may help with your health problems. Figure out how much you now spend and how much you need to live in retirement and run numbers thru Firecalc or other tools and perhaps you can get an idea whether retiring this year is doable or not. Good luck.

EDIT: I was writing my post while you made your last post. Firecalc works fine with pension income. Getting out of debt before the end of the year would be a great thing to do and would indicate that you can live with less than what you are currently making but you still need to figure out how much you will need in retirement.
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:24 AM   #7
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Can the FIRECalc work using a pension?
Yes. You can put zero in the "portfolio" amount on the "start here" tab, then add your pension on the "other income/spending" tab.
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:35 AM   #8
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I am so sorry to hear about your mother. It was awful when my mother died so I know how you feel. Maybe you can take a week or so off from work to grieve and then it will be easier to make your decision.
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:54 AM   #9
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I used every hour of sick leave and vacation when she was ill in the hospital last June and then for various things regarding my mom til her death. I was her full-time caregiver and I worked full-time. You are right - I need a break but it will be awhile until I have one. I'm going to dial back my anxiousness and think about this again in June after I turn 54. Thanks for all your responses
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:00 PM   #10
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I used every hour of sick leave and vacation when she was ill in the hospital last June and then for various things regarding my mom til her death. I was her full-time caregiver and I worked full-time. You are right - I need a break but it will be awhile until I have one. I'm going to dial back my anxiousness and think about this again in June after I turn 54. Thanks for all your responses
Can you take 2 or 3 weeks as an unpaid leave of absence and "get-away" somewhere? While you would be without income for 2-3 weeks and a get-away might cost some, it might be good for your mental health - and your financial health if it helps you stick it out to 55.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:03 PM   #11
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Good point! Thanks!
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:05 PM   #12
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Sorry to hear about your mother...

But, if it were me I would not make such a major decision right after a loss of a loved one.... you are feeling depressed and alone, which is natural.... I would look for some counseling or a grief group where you can talk with others who have gone through the same thing...

When my BIL died, my sister went to one and it took over a year for her to get rid of her depression (she did not have it all the time, and it was a gradual change)....

Right now I would think a routine (even work) would be a good thing.... then when your mind is in a better state, make the decision... that could be in 3 months, 6 months... heck, the dreaded one more year... who knows...
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:09 PM   #13
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Welcome linny727! The loss of your mom is a huge change in your life, especially since you were a caregiver. Try to take care of yourself for a while, and don't make any big changes right away since you're still in shock. (my mom's rule is one year - I lost my dad in January, so she's doing this now).
I would also recommend thinking about anti-depressants/anti-anxiety medications, they can really help with the funk that you're feeling, especially if your frustration with work is recent.
You have time to decide, looking at it again after your birthday is a good idea.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:19 PM   #14
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I know - though I have support from friends, I am going through a major change. I am going to be participating in a grief support group next week. Having been her caregiver for 9 years I am back to the high school years of "who am I"? Haven't had to think about that for a long time.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:27 PM   #15
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Welcome to the forum! I can relate to the "adult orphan" moniker. My parents died within 10 months of one another (to the day!) about 5 years ago. I made a couple of unwise financial moves during the grieving process, so I agree with other responses that say not to do anything too hastily.

I'm incredibly jealous of your generous pension with COLA.

Be nice to yourself, get some massages, take an exercise class, read a new genre of book, and just take it easy. You'll know when the time is right, but don't let the grief dictate it.

And, yes, do get out of debt first. That is huge (in my book anyway).

Good luck to you, and stick around. It's a great, helpful group.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:36 PM   #16
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SumDay - the funny part about the pension is I didn't even realize what it was until about 5 years into my job. I was young and was just concerned with my monthly paycheck. 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, but I am also not a person who has any more assets other than my pension.
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Old 03-14-2013, 01:13 PM   #17
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If you can stand to be without that $148 per month, I would leave the job. Life is just too short. The system already tries to extract the very last ounce of life out of us, to the point of death if it could.

It seems to me $148 is a very small percentage compared to your total monthly pension, which these days is very good and you can feel proud of achieving. Another big plus you have is that medical coverage is provided if you retire.
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Old 03-14-2013, 01:35 PM   #18
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Similar thought had crossed my mind.

IF you are highly confident that even without the extra $148/month you will never run out of money and leaving it on the table won't bother you, why not leave now?

In that situation, the extra $148 would either be a splurge or part of your estate and since you have no spouse or children, perhaps it doesn't matter if your estate is $50k less.

Another thing would be to run Firecalc with each scenario (retire now with lower pension or retire later with higher pension) and see how much of a difference it makes.
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Old 03-14-2013, 01:58 PM   #19
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Similar thought had crossed my mind.

IF you are highly confident that even without the extra $148/month you will never run out of money and leaving it on the table won't bother you, why not leave now?

In that situation, the extra $148 would either be a splurge or part of your estate and since you have no spouse or children, perhaps it doesn't matter if your estate is $50k less.

Another thing would be to run Firecalc with each scenario (retire now with lower pension or retire later with higher pension) and see how much of a difference it makes.

The only problem I see with this is she would be making the decision without a rational brain... if her mother had not recently died and she had not been a caregiver for 9 years making her whole life turned upside down.... I would agree with your post...
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:14 PM   #20
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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. Is $148 a month worth the remaining 6 months of boredom and bs? True, I have no savings but I will by then as I am cashing out a 457 to purchase a share in a co-op. I will pay off my remaining debts (except the car) and have some money in the bank. My monthly assessment will be less than the rent I am paying now and I will gain two bedrooms and another bath.

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.
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