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Involuntarily retired--but I think I like it!
Old 01-11-2006, 10:39 AM   #1
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Involuntarily retired--but I think I like it!

Hi, I've read some of the postings and it seems I have a bit of a different entry into early retirement. I'm a 52 year old disabled veteran/RN. I was fighting with trying to stay employed despite chronic pain from injuries suffered in the line of duty and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of some of my career experiences, such as reponding to terrorist attacks.
My work career started when I was 11--delivering papers. At 18, I was in the Army and worked full time from then on, including going to college. I'm married to a wonderful woman and we raised wonderful kids who all have college degrees and are in helping professions.
I now have enough to pay my bills and not work. Although I don't own my home, it's on a low fixed interest 15 year mortgage. We have so much equity that if we sold our house we could pay off every debt and have a nice nest egg. My health is better now that I'm not working. Part of me wants to shout "Yippeeee, let's play!!! " and the other part says that I've got to find some sort of work and not be irresponsible . But I don't want to work! I want to pursue other interests. As part of my searching out my new path, I'm taking art and woodworking courses--something I always wanted to do. I'm planning on volunteering at a national park near my home, too. We're also planning a cross country road trip next summer. My wife may leave her teaching job next year so that we can play more.
As long as the government stays solvent, I should get my pension & be able to live OK. My health care and prescriptions are taken care of, too.
But I'll tell you, it's scary. Can I really do this? Have I really paid my dues enough to deserve this? That's where I'm coming from right now.
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Re: Involuntarily retired--but I think I like it!
Old 01-11-2006, 10:59 AM   #2
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Re: Involuntarily retired--but I think I like it!

Sounds like you've more than paid your dues. As for what you deserve, you "deserve" what you've earned through your work and sacrifice. If you'd like to post more details about savings, expenses, etc., I'm sure many of the board know-it-alls veterans can and will offer advice and encouragement.

Welcome!!
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Re: Involuntarily retired--but I think I like it!
Old 01-11-2006, 06:49 PM   #3
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Re: Involuntarily retired--but I think I like it!

Welcome to the board, Handyman.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdhandyman
My work career started when I was 11--delivering papers.*
At 18, I was in the Army and worked full time from then on, including going to college.*
I'm married to a wonderful woman and we raised wonderful kids who all have college
degrees and are in helping professions.*
I now have enough to pay my bills and not work.*
We have so much equity that if we sold our house we could pay off every debt and have
a nice nest egg.*
My health is better now that I'm not working.*
...the other part says that I've got to find some sort of work and not be irresponsible .* But I don't want to work!* I want to pursue other interests.*
My health care and prescriptions are taken care of, too.*
But I'll tell you, it's scary.*
Can I really do this?* Have I really paid my dues enough to deserve this?
Sounds like you've been more than responsible enough. You've served your time, you've paid your dues, and you've been paroled before execution of a life sentence. Aside from family, it doesn't sound like you owe anyone any more of your time or effort!

When I was retiring I felt like the military bureaucracy was "executing" a full-court press to encourage me to start a second career. We didn't get any training or support for ER, we had to figure that out for ourselves. Was that your experience too?

You've solved an ER's two biggest problems-- healthcare & inflation (with a COLA pension, right?). You sound like you're capable of being responsible for your own entertainment. Isn't that working hard enough?

Party on. You've earned it.
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Re: Involuntarily retired--but I think I like it!
Old 01-11-2006, 08:53 PM   #4
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Re: Involuntarily retired--but I think I like it!

Hey, if you are inclined, contact a health insurer for part time customer service work.
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Re: Involuntarily retired--but I think I like it!
Old 01-12-2006, 05:41 AM   #5
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Re: Involuntarily retired--but I think I like it!

You and your wife deserve it all!
Go play and enjoy as long as both of you still can.

However I would try to build some savings apart from the equity in the house. You would not want to sell the house if the car breaks down, but consumer credit or new mortgage may not be easily available for you then.
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Re: Involuntarily retired--but I think I like it!
Old 01-13-2006, 07:50 AM   #6
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Re: Involuntarily retired--but I think I like it!

Thanks for the encouragement!
Fortunately, my wife & I started IRAs before I was injured, so we have a chunk of money that we each now have in one of the Vanguard Target retirement funds. We both continue to sock away money into those funds. She also has a TIAA-CREF pre tax 403b that she contributes to. I dropped my whole life insurance policy in favor of a term policy, since my wife can get a widow's pension after the term policy lapses if I kick the bucket before she does. My pension does have the COLA provisions, too.
After I was injured & medically discharged after 11 years of service, I was basically on my own to figure out what to do with the rest of my life---I literally walked away from my home base with a cane, a bottle of valium for muscle spasms and a bottle of Darvocet for the chronic pain syndrome I'd developed. That was '96. After thousands in out of pocket expenses and innumerable doctor & therapist visits & a few corrective sugeries, I'm now able to walk without a cane or crutches and rarely have pain! The benefit of ER for me is that being able to control my life also controls activities that can bring on the symptoms.
You're right, Brat, I could find some sort of part time medical work if I find I need or want it. But for now, I want to go for being an artistically-inclined outdoorsman!
Thanks again, everybody.
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