Longtime lurker checking in
Time to finally check in after years of lurking. I’m 55 years young geologist, married 30 years, two kids (1 gone, 1 almost), and have been saving and planning for E.R. since 1982. Six months after I started working in the oil industry, I survived the first in a series of “Staff Reductions”. Very eye-opening. The euphemisms changed, but the end result was that every 18 months over the next 20 years between 10% and 20% of the technical staff magically disappeared like the bunnies in Watership Downs. After the first “staff reduction” we started building our nest egg. Over the course of twenty years, 95% of the geologist had been “reduced”. I survived, and the nest egg grew.
In October, 2007 we felt confident that we had reached our “belt and suspenders” number, and I retired. It took the first 4 months to catch up on my sleep and to realize that I was now free of corporate (fill in the blank). After six months, I bagan to miss poking holes in the ground, and I was lured back into the w*rkforce by an interesting job. Timing was great – the market kept sliding, but we continued to live on our retirement funds while we banked my salary separately. After two years, we gained confidence that we could have survived the fall, plus we have two additional years of savings as a cushion. So far I’ve really enjoyed myself, but every month I still think about whether I’m enjoying myself, and make my decision.
The benefit of having gone back to work and lived on our nest egg has been two-fold. 1) We gained confidence that we could survive on our savings despite a huge drop - the “belt and suspenders” became just the “belt”, but the pants didn’t fall, and 2) it gave us time to readjust our retirement plans. After Katrina, the plan was to retire to a log house we own in Virginia, but upon reflection and lots of heart-wrenching discussions, we really liked living in the New Orleans area, don’t like the cold (defined by temperatures less than 50 degrees, we discovered) and didn’t want to have to uproot and re-establish ourselves in a new area yet again. So we have found an amazing place here which we are in the process of buying, have a contract on our existing house, and are planning to sell the place in Virginia. Evacuating for hurricanes is a concern - while we’ve gotten the evacuation routine down to a system (my wife and kids evacuated from Saudi when Saddam came for his little visit to Kuwait, and we all evacuated from New Orleans for Katrina), it’s a skill I’d really prefer not to have to utilize. Think the new place is far enough north, but time and Mother Nature will tell.
Anyway, thanks to Dory36, ReWahoo, Nords, HaHa, UncleMick, CuteFuzzyBunny, Martha,W2R and all the rest of you for your insights, information and humor – it really helped during the long journey.
And my apologies for writing such a long missive – as Lincoln said, “He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.”