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I can, am conflicted!!
Old 03-02-2012, 04:10 PM   #1
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I can, am conflicted!!

I consider myself to be incredibly lucky. 61, same great wife for 42 years (yes, we were young and it is STILL working!), two grown successful kids, three grandchildren, we're all healthy. Kids both work overseas, which is awful when it comes to remote grandchildren.

I took my government retirement last year at just over 60 and then returned to private sector. I'm miserable but just can't seem to commit to leaving; if I do it will likely be the end of my professional career which I'm frankly tired of (engineering: water supply). Money isn't the issue, or it shouldn't be. We've always lived WAY below our means; house paid for and spend about $70k a year to lead what I consider a nice lifestyle. That includes trips to London and Africa to see kids.

I currently get $72k cola'd pension and we have $1.85mm invested, a bit more than half in IRAs. If you run that through the Fidelity calculator it says that with SS after tax we can spend over $144k a year till we croak at 92. So why on earth am I still working at this job I don't like? It pays over $160k a year and has insurance (which I can get from former government job at about $10k a year). The life long "save all you can" guy finds it hard to turn my back on it, even though the way we value money we likely can't spend what Fidelity says we can already.

To end the story we care for the mother in law, which makes relocation or travel very difficult. I didn't expect this new job to not work out, so I'm not really prepared to hang it up, but am about ready to just do it and figure it out later. I've read a lot of books on "following your passion" and all that, but can't seem to put my finger on it; the caregiving boat anchor is a big negative to whatever I come up with.

So I guess I don't really have a money problem, it's a commitment to a plan I have yet to identify problem!

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Old 03-02-2012, 04:16 PM   #2
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Do you have any friends or relatives that died early and suddenly?

That does it for a lot of us.

Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:35 PM   #3
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I had many similar issues - had enough money, didn't like my last (very well paying) job, had a hard time deciding to hang it all up. Anyway, I took the plunge last year and haven't looked back. Yes, there are good days and bad days, even in retirement. And I will be honest and say that once in a while, I am bored. But all I have to do is think back to how miserable I was in that last job, and i know I made the right decision.

Even if you can't go back to your old profession, and make the same kind of money, you can find other work, or volunteer, should you decide to do that. And it's all a new challenge, without much pressure, which is great.
Retired on 5/31/2011 at 54
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:04 PM   #4
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There are others here with similar stories, you, me, Packman and many others - have been fortunate to do well and worked beyond FI. I felt better about quitting a great paying job that I'd just grown tired of (also an Engineer) once I really thought about what I wanted to do with my time in retirement. I didn't have a "passion" epiphany either, but I identified about 50 things I wanted to do, most I hadn't had time for while working. And I might find another passion, life is long. Some people adjust without thinking and can 'just figure it out later,' some need a plan. Most books will tell you it's important to have something to retire to, it's not enough to just retire from something.

The good news for me, I haven't had any trouble keeping myself occupied, and I haven't resorted to my list yet, though maybe I will someday since I just hung it up 8 months ago. And like Packman says, some days are better than others (often weather related for me), but I can't say I've been bored.
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:11 PM   #5
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Punch out man!

I am one to talk; not retired yet but, recently FI. Have to admit that I have some of the same reservations you do. So, I should heed my own advice, right? My only excuse is that I'm younger than you so (as I tell myself) I still have time. I think that's "one more year-itis" in disguise.

Anyway, don't be like me. Spend time with the grandkids. Stay with the kids until you get hints to leave. Tour your beautiful state (N Carolina; my DW's home). Take a cruise.

Punch out.......and, write the forum how great it is and inspire me to do the same.
You may be whatever you resolve to be.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:28 PM   #6
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You have done very well! You have been dedicated to making money and LBYM and now you can't get your head around the idea of spending more than you currently do. Put on your engineer thinking hat and come up with some outside the box ideas to do what you want to do. Could you pay someone to come and stay with MIL while you travel? Could you send MIL to stay with other relatives while you travel. Could you pay travel expenses to have your kids come visit you rather than you visiting them?
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:30 PM   #7
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just got back from dinner, appreciate the comments. I find that whether it's with the wife, my few good friends, or my kids, or folks like you, it helps to get outside my own mind. Problem with the friends is their mainly younger previous co-worker employees, still suffering because they have to, and it's hard to get much understanding!
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by H2ODude View Post
I'm miserable but just can't seem to commit to leaving
Stare at this image:

Now go quit your job.
And if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know.
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Old 03-02-2012, 10:55 PM   #9
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One of the things I learned from hanging around this forum is the need to retire to something, rather than just retire from something.

Figure out what you enjoy doing, then decide whether you want to:

1. continue doing something you don't enjoy; or

2. go and do the things you will enjoy.
Budgeting is a skill practised by people who are bad at politics.
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Old 03-03-2012, 12:17 AM   #10
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If you need a forum to push off the two feet high wall and into the soothing waters of a retirement jacuzzi you have come to the right place.

I'll admit 12 years into my retirement I still haven't found my passion, but lower stress, not having to put with corporate BS, and the time to pursue what I want to do more than make up for the small psychic benefits of not collecting a paycheck.

Now if you really liked your job I could understand the reluctance but you have grandkids to visit and you aren't getting any younger.
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Old 03-03-2012, 04:41 AM   #11
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Go read the obits buddy. Start thinking about what you're missing.
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Old 03-03-2012, 06:20 AM   #12
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Hi H2O - I hear ya and I understand. Its almost too hard to believe that you really can do it, even though a ton of research and calculators says you really really really CAN !!!! Being careful and frugal is so ingrained that its hard to see another way.

I agree with the other posters. Go see your grandkids more often !! You can figure out how to care for your MIL while away - you're a smart person

I know its hard to give up the security of a well paying job, but its not worth being unhappy in life for if you dont have to !

Go for it and keep us posted on your ER life !!
"For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." ~
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Old 03-03-2012, 06:52 AM   #13
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Like many people here, I had to experience several premature deaths of loved ones combined with even more life altering illnesses of other friends and relatives. The combination convinced me that there was no longer a good reason to delay doing what I want and putting up with the pressure and aggravation of the work place. My 2 cents. Take what you wish and leave the rest.
The worst decisions are usually made in times of anger and impatience.
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:10 AM   #14
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Well, from someone who can not yet retire, take this for what it is worth...

Why subject yourself to something you do not like on almost a daily basis

If it were your wife who made your miserable every day of you life, would you stay married to her?

If it were a friend who changed and made you miserable every day of your life would you schedule time to see them?

So why put up with it at work?

I can understand people in your situation who say "I love my job" and do not want to give it up... you know, like William Shatner who in his 80s continues to act, or Betty White in her 90s... they seem to get a lot of benefits from doing it.... it is not for the money...

But with out those benefits..... why do it
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:43 AM   #15
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I am in the same boat, however, I do know that the reasons for me staying are excellent pay and health insurance. I think I feel more insecure than I should.

Ask yourself if you had to do the same job without pay would you continue? You may find the answer why you are still working.
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Old 03-03-2012, 04:27 PM   #16
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We seem to be in a similar position but my children are in the States right now. If you are interested in volunteering, you have some great skills, especially for many parts of Africa. I served in the Peace Corps in S. Africa and know first hand that expertise in water management would be very helpful to many countries, either through the Peace Corps or other volunteer oppotrunity. In terms of the States, lots to do here as well in many areas. I have become involved in a community safety project. I knew nothing about crime prevention before I started but three years later, I have learned a lot and feel I am making a contribution. I do it on my own time and terms but having said that, it does require a commitment. My retirement goal was to have control of my own time and projects. I have achieved that objective by doing a little bit of consulting work, volunteering in my neighborhood, and taking vacations without time frames. Last year was a cross country bicycle trip. This year was a few weeks visiting our children and soon another long bicycle trip. My working goal was to accumulate enough wealth to be able to control my own time. While you never have total control, I think I am able to direct 90% of my time. And, while I play with my retirement calculators way too much, I have decided to trust them and like you to continue to happily live below my means (I also do not need much) . This approach to spending is my personal insurance policy.
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:49 AM   #17
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I agree with davef - have you looked at volunteering ?
Originally Posted by H2ODude View Post
So I guess I don't really have a money problem, it's a commitment to a plan I have yet to identify problem!
Very conservative with investments. Not ER'd yet, 48 years old. Please do not take anything I write or imply as legal, financial or medical advice directed to you. Contact your own financial advisor, healthcare provider, or attorney for financial, medical and legal advice.
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:40 AM   #18
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Hi H2O - congrats on your luck and success.

The MIL care will probably keep you close to home or limit time away. Maybe test the waters and see if a different, lower stress job is available in your area or volunteering.
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:33 AM   #19
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Appreciate all the responses, a lot of good points.

As for the volunteering, I'm definitely considering that. I think for me whether it's finally pulling the plug or looking into volunteering it's one of simply doing it. As in getting out of the rut. Previous job was one of making a lot of high profile decisions, so I can do that in the job. It's just the personal life/commitment thing that seems to hang me up. I think I'm moving to jumping and accepting that no, it won't be exciting and gratifying immediately, even taking perhaps years to get there as I've read. But wringing my hands trying to do work I'm not cut out for for more financial security than I need just isn't worth the pain.

Oh, and this morning I looked over the obits and while there were a lot of really old people there were more than a few contemporaries!
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:09 AM   #20
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Something to think about from a less than a year guy, have your wife's and your goals somewhat similar or you may have conflicts of being together 24/7. We're figuring it out, but this one is important Imo.

Make sure you are emotionally on the same page regarding MIL...

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