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Limping to the finish line at 55
Old 08-07-2019, 11:42 AM   #1
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Limping to the finish line at 55

Some of you may recognize me from other FIRE and financial sites.

I am 55, single, a furious saver my entire career. House paid off years ago. I have ~$3M split about 1.8/1.2 taxable vs deferred. The taxable side throws off about $70K/yr in tax-qualified income (dividends from conservative stocks which regularly increase). My minimal lifestyle while working costs about $20K/yr. (Which no one believes but it's true.) So even adding health insurance and a lot of "fun", I know I'm good using dividends alone. Without even considering the IRA's (I'll do Roth conversions to reduce eventual MRD's), without considering SS, and hopefully without ever selling any shares. I've been running tools like FireCalc and Fidelity RIP since my mid 40's and they've always told me that I could retire at any time, starting in my late 40's, even with pessimistic inputs. Health insurance worries me since I'll need to buy my own for 9 years after Cobra ends. I'm way above the ACA subsidy cliff already, if ACA even survives.

My company makes it hard to pull the plug because they pay bonuses and stock compensation every 3 months. ("OMQ" syndrome, not "OMY".) There are no retirement benefits or pension, it's a "don't let the door hit you on the way out" kind of place.

My boss used to be a friend, but our relationship turned toxic about a year ago and I don't know why. I still like my work but the boss situation has made it intolerable. I am still healthy but the stress is really getting to me.

I had previously set a date (to myself) of 7/1/2020 but things are so bad that I'm trying to get to 9/1/2019 (to get a stock distribution), and then I'll pull the plug totally unannounced. They'll get 2 weeks notice (I don't owe them even that) and no more.

I ought to be happier, but I really hate going out on such a bad note. I'm hoping my mind will clear and the violins will play on Retirement Day One but I fear it will take a while.

Thanks for reading.
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:47 AM   #2
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Welcome Larry

I don't get the dissatisfaction... in 24 days or so, once you receive the next quarterly bonus, you get to stick "the man" in the eye and announce that you are leaving in two weeks and get out of a toxic work environment.

You should be

If you still like working you could always then sign up with another employer and see it that is any better.

I presume that you hav visited healthsherpa.com or healthcare.gov to get an idea of how much health insurance will cost.... you are way overfunded so think of health insurance just as part of your price of freedom.
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Old 08-07-2019, 11:57 AM   #3
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You have the financials to retire now. It sounds like the relationship issue is what's bugging you the most. Have you tried asking your friend/boss what happened or changed?

Sept 1 is just around the corner, take a deep breath and plow through. You will love retirement, each day is your own!
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Old 08-07-2019, 12:01 PM   #4
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Welcome Larry

I don't get the dissatisfaction... in 24 days or so, once you receive the next quarterly bonus, you get to stick "the man" in the eye and announce that you are leaving in two weeks and get out of a toxic work environment.

You should be
+1

Larry, you have run the numbers, you are good to go (probably times 2).

Don't let OMQ keep you there. No matter when you quit, you will be leaving money on the table. We all did.
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Old 08-07-2019, 12:09 PM   #5
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Have you tried asking your friend/boss what happened or changed?

I think something changed in his own life but no one knows what. He has always been a poor manager, the kind of manager who needs a whipping boy. He's run off others over the years; his superiors are aware of it. I've tried to mentor him from time to time in the 7 years I've worked for him, but it appears that he just won't ever grow up. He seems stuck in a first-line manager job, probably won't ever move up, and can't or won't move down to being an individual contributor again. Not. My. Problem.
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Old 08-07-2019, 12:13 PM   #6
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Your boss...David Letterman?

Looks like you are good to pull the trigger! Use time off to shorten the number of working days til 9/1 if you can.
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Old 08-07-2019, 12:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryMelman View Post
Some of you may recognize me from other FIRE and financial sites.

I am 55, single, a furious saver my entire career. House paid off years ago. I have ~$3M split about 1.8/1.2 taxable vs deferred. The taxable side throws off about $70K/yr in tax-qualified income (dividends from conservative stocks which regularly increase). My minimal lifestyle while working costs about $20K/yr. (Which no one believes but it's true.) So even adding health insurance and a lot of "fun", I know I'm good using dividends alone. Without even considering the IRA's (I'll do Roth conversions to reduce eventual MRD's), without considering SS, and hopefully without ever selling any shares. I've been running tools like FireCalc and Fidelity RIP since my mid 40's and they've always told me that I could retire at any time, starting in my late 40's, even with pessimistic inputs. Health insurance worries me since I'll need to buy my own for 9 years after Cobra ends. I'm way above the ACA subsidy cliff already, if ACA even survives.

My company makes it hard to pull the plug because they pay bonuses and stock compensation every 3 months. ("OMQ" syndrome, not "OMY".) There are no retirement benefits or pension, it's a "don't let the door hit you on the way out" kind of place.

My boss used to be a friend, but our relationship turned toxic about a year ago and I don't know why. I still like my work but the boss situation has made it intolerable. I am still healthy but the stress is really getting to me.

I had previously set a date (to myself) of 7/1/2020 but things are so bad that I'm trying to get to 9/1 (to get a stock distribution), and then I'll pull the plug unannounced, and pull it hard.

I ought to be happier, but I really hate going out on such a bad note. I'm hoping my mind will clear and the violins will play on Retirement Day One but I fear it will take a while.

Thanks for reading.
You've got more than enough to enjoy retirement comfortably with some big increases over your current spending. Sorry about your toxic situation at work. You're less than a year from your already-planned retirement date. Enjoy your retirement and let your boss sulk all he wants while you're living well.
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Old 08-07-2019, 12:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by RunningBum View Post
Your boss...David Letterman?

Looks like you are good to pull the trigger! Use time off to shorten the number of working days til 9/1 if you can.
Bwah-hah-hah-hah!
I have a Melman avatar somewhere; I'll upload it here too.

Yes, between vacation and sick days I can fill in quite a bit of what's left in August. Or I could tough it out and get paid for it at the end. But no more than that. No more OMQ or OMM. Just not worth it.
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:10 PM   #9
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...between vacation and sick days I can fill in quite a bit of what's left in August. Or I could tough it out and get paid for it at the end. But no more than that. No more OMQ or OMM. Just not worth it.
It's the 7th. Take two weeks off or so (now, the 21st)...That would give you only 7 more w#rking days, even if you don't call in sick. Since you don't need the money, I wouldn't worry about trying to get paid for your vacation time after you retire. This year, I decided to tough it out for at least 9 months, but I told my wife we'd be taking a lot of vacation time. In March, we spent 3 weeks in a campervan travelling the North Island of New Zealand! We have trips planned this year for Okinawa, California and Texas.

Hang in there (or not), and enjoy your well-earned freedom!
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Old 08-07-2019, 05:30 PM   #10
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+1

Larry, you have run the numbers, you are good to go (probably times 2).

Don't let OMQ keep you there. No matter when you quit, you will be leaving money on the table. We all did.
Ditto on that CardsFan, Pick the day and don't look back.
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Old 08-07-2019, 06:06 PM   #11
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Good for you.
I think you feel bad because you've lost a friend, and by retiring, you're finally admitting the friendship is not something you can fix.
You're also moving on to an unknown part of your life. You're going to have a lot of different emotions, and some of them may be grief for a while.
If they go on too long, look into therapy, but either way, I think you'll be fine.
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Old 08-07-2019, 07:10 PM   #12
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You're almost there, man, hang in there. You're certainly in good shape financially. I know what it's like to drag yourself through a job that is difficult to bear. Just keep your head down and your eyes on the finish line. It's almost over.

Your boss sounds like a narcissist to me (e.g., always needs someone to sh*t on, doesn't learn from experience, etc.). It can be very hard working under those kind of people, and it may take some time after retirement to get your spirits back, depending on how much of an ass he was to you and how long it went on for. My best to you. Take good care of yourself.

I retired a month ago, and part of what I've been having fun doing is watching old clips from comedy I enjoyed back in the day. I used to watch a lot of Letterman. Here's an old Larry Bud sketch.

https://youtu.be/a-FeeOMzbys
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Old 08-07-2019, 07:31 PM   #13
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When ya gotta go ya gotta go.

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Old 08-07-2019, 08:32 PM   #14
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When ya gotta go ya gotta go.

FU on Labor Day!
Sweet justice.... eh?
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Old 08-07-2019, 10:15 PM   #15
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Good for you.
I think you feel bad because you've lost a friend, and by retiring, you're finally admitting the friendship is not something you can fix.
That's an interesting thought, but really I've been able to retire for at least 2 or 3 or 5 years and never really set a date. I just kept piling up money and blaming "health insurance" for not really being able to go. I guess this has been the incentive to finally do it, although at the cost of a year plus of high daily stress.

Another factor is that I'll become unemployable in my field almost instantly. Not a big market for 55-yo White engineers anyway, but skills go stale overnight. That said, there's a big world of possibilities out there, but I guess I'm so burned out right now that it's hard to think creatively about new things to do. I'm sure it will come.
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Old 08-08-2019, 08:15 AM   #16
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The toxic boss is a godsend. Without him you wouldn’t be retiring. Congrats!!
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Old 08-08-2019, 09:37 AM   #17
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To be living off of $20,000 takes some incredible focus. I can see why you are having difficulty with pulling the plug. You are so focused on every dime, you are not looking up at the big picture. With 3M in savings, you could easily quadruple your spending and be fine. so be fine. look up. The view is great.
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Old 08-08-2019, 10:22 AM   #18
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To be living off of $20,000 takes some incredible focus. I can see why you are having difficulty with pulling the plug. You are so focused on every dime, you are not looking up at the big picture. With 3M in savings, you could easily quadruple your spending and be fine. so be fine. look up. The view is great.
See, I've never thought that way. I don't lack for anything. My house and car are paid for. I'm very well insured. I have hobbies, I travel some, and I eat well. I even (over)pay for cable! But I have well developed habits of clipping coupons, shopping for deals, and hunting for credit card rebates.

Maybe I'll put some money into home upgrades after I retire, which is pretty common. Turn part of the backyard into a garden. Certainly more travel. Health insurance is going to add at least $10K to the annual budget. I'm resigned to that.

I plan to pay myself a monthly paycheck into my checking account, the details of my "cash buckets" yet to be determined, so that my daily cash flow management (paying bills) won't change at all.

The major reason my budget is so low is that I'm single. Not supporting kids or grandkids or exes, etc.
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Old 08-08-2019, 10:47 AM   #19
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... Health insurance is going to add at least $10K to the annual budget. I'm resigned to that.

I plan to pay myself a monthly paycheck into my checking account, the details of my "cash buckets" yet to be determined, so that my daily cash flow management (paying bills) won't change at all. ...
That additional $10k for health insurance is just part of the cost of freedom... and it is really wealth insurance, not health insurance... if you get my drift.

I do exactly what you plan to do... a portion of my retirement nestegg is in an online savings account (pays 2.0%) and I have a monthly automated transfer from that online savings account to my local credit union account that I use to pay my bills.

I also have all taxable account dividends and capital gain distributions paid to that online savings account rather than reinvested and replenish the cash account annually when I rebalance my investments.
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Old 08-08-2019, 10:53 AM   #20
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I also have all taxable account dividends and capital gain distributions paid to that online savings account rather than reinvested and replenish the cash account annually when I rebalance my investments.

Up till now, I've been automatically reinvesting all stock dividends and taking mutual fund distributions in cash (I haven't made any new fund purchases in several years), to buy more stocks. I am thinking about turning off all reinvestment for the first 6 months to a year, and filling up a cash bucket with 1-2 years living expenses. Although I have plenty of little pockets of cash distributed through my Empire.
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