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Need Advise on if I should retire
Old 10-28-2003, 06:31 AM   #1
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Need Advise on if I should retire

I'm hoping there is a wealth of experience on this board that can help me with the very important decision on should I retire early? I know you can not give me a definitive answer. What I am looking for is how to make the decision for the right reasons. So if you can point me in the direction of books, or an advisor (psycologists?) or from you experience it would be much appreciated.
Let me give you a little background and you might see why I want to make sure I'm not making a large mistake that I might regret latter.
As I type this I'm 49, single, work for a large company, good salary and benefits - $140,000 salary, head of my department so low pressure - I tell people what to do, computer, internet and television in my office. Financially in good shape - home paid in full, no debt, and about 1 million cash and I spend or need a lot of things. Why do I want to retire early? I'm not sure. I've been working since I was a teenager and I don't get any satisfaction from it. It is a labor to get up every morning and go to work.

Here are some of the questions I've been asking myself and haven't had much luck with the answers:

1. Am I crazy for giving up this job?
2. Has anyone in my position negociated a severance package from a company? If so, how?
2. What would I do if I quit? I've worked all my life and I can't say I have many interest. The one good thing about work is that it fills up my day.
3. Do I have enough money to live if I never worked again? (Wasn't there a calculator on this board that was all encompassing?)
4. One of my fear is that I live, work, die and do not enjoy life.

So as you can see, I'm looking for some guidance on how to evaluate my options.
Thanks in advance.



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Re: Need Advise on if I should retire
Old 10-28-2003, 07:59 AM   #2
 
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Re: Need Advise on if I should retire

Don't quit you job until you know all of the answers to your questions.

You mentioned you wanted to enjoy life. What is your definition of that? - From what I've seen, when I was working, If you are not enjoying life right now, quiting your job would only make you more miserable.

Do you have any life passions? - If not you might want to visit a Psychologist to help you define a passion/mission for you.

I am a similar age, with similar assets and financial situation and Er'd 2 years ago. I was enjoying life then, but did not enjoy the politics of the job. It was time for me to get out.

My wife still works for Medical Coverage and she is 8 years younger than myself. Health care coverage is something you need to work out. You need to work out a financial plan as well as life plan.

Also if you have not seen the movie 'About Schmidt' do so. It depicts about 60 million Americans today in retirement. It will get you thinking. It's not an 'action movie' - It's not supposed to be.

Good Luck!
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Re: Need Advise on if I should retire
Old 10-28-2003, 10:03 AM   #3
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Re: Need Advise on if I should retire

Quote:
So if you can point me in the direction of books, or an advisor (psycologists?)...As I type this I'm 49, single, work for a large company, good salary and benefits - $140,000 salary, head of my department so low pressure - I tell people what to do, computer, internet and television in my office.
Hello Dex,

I am with Cut-Throat on this. you need to be very careful. You are unhappy, but you have what psychologists refer to as "resources". You have a good salary, a relatively unstressful job with a lot of autonomy, and good benefits. And although you didn't mention it, there is probably a degree of prestige that comes from your work. There is no reason to think that your job is responsible for your unhappiness; in fact it may be keeping you out of a more unhappy or depressed state than you would otherwise be in.

Without saying too much, I can tell you that your writing sounds a bit depressed. Before burning any bridges, I would definitely see a skilled and well recommended mental health practioner. It may be that you are clinically depressed. Plenty of depressed people have quit their jobs, only to find that it is even more difficult to be depressed and out of work.

Best wishes,
Mikey
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Re: Need Advise on if I should retire
Old 10-28-2003, 10:19 AM   #4
 
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Re: Need Advise on if I should retire

That about sums it up Dex. There are some intangible things you need to get in touch with. But I'll lay the tangible "tough love" thing on you. If you're 49, single, make 140 grand, have worked all your life, and have ONLY a lousy million in cash I would suspect you need a lot more bread to retire on. Now, maybe IF you retired you'd find your "Buddha Nature" and no longer need so much money live on and be happy. Maybe you only spend it all now BECAUSE work makes you unhappy.

But what happens if you retire and that doens't make you happy? Now you're jobless and living as a relative pauper . I'd rather work in that case.

(Fortunately I'm happy as a relative pauper, but I knew that while I was working)
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Re: Need Advise on if I should retire
Old 10-28-2003, 10:26 AM   #5
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Re: Need Advise on if I should retire

Quote:
I'm hoping there is a wealth of experience on this board that can help me with the very important decision on should I retire early? *
You're right, no one can give you a definative answer. But as others have said in their replies, your posting gives no reason to believe you will enjoy retirement. From your post it sounds like you are saying, "Work's okay, but I wonder if retirement will be better?"

Many of the people who seem happiest with retirement seem to have reached a point where work was getting in the way of the things that they valued doing most.

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Re: Need Advise on if I should retire
Old 10-28-2003, 04:17 PM   #6
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Re: Need Advise on if I should retire

Hi Dex,

FWIW, here are my comments:

1. Am I crazy for giving up this job?

Yes, absolutely crazy. At least right NOW you are.


2. Has anyone in my position negociated a severance package from a company? If so, how?

If you quit, you quit. Why would they negociate to give you more $$ to take with you? What's in it for them? Now, if they were laying you off instead, then you have some leverage. Some.


2. What would I do if I quit? I've worked all my life and I can't say I have many interest. The one good thing about work is that it fills up my day.

This is the real meat of the whole thing. Retirement is not for everyone. It may be for you some day, but it sure doesn't look like it now!


3. Do I have enough money to live if I never worked again? (Wasn't there a calculator on this board that was all encompassing?)

FIRECalc can help you answer this question, but you will have to project what your annual living expenses will be once you retire.


4. One of my fear is that I live, work, die and do not enjoy life.

Ah yes. Don't feel like a leper because you think that way. Many people do, at some time or the other. But what is "enjoy life"? It is different things to different people. If we look at commercials and a lot of the media, "enjoying life" means partying. Many younger people that I used to work with seemed to believe that. However, there is a small core of people that think using/learning some skill, acquiring knowledge, etc. is one of their life's purposes. I am one of those! No bottle required! It doesn't have to be something flashy and grand. It can be many little things in parallel. Example: I don't what much TV, but came across a black and white movie on TCM (Turner Classic Movies). Caught the last half of a movie that looked interesting. Well, after watching it, I needed to know the beginning. Went to the library and got the book. Curled up with a book for an hour a day. I enjoyed it much. The book and its descriptions, and my visualizations of them, was much better than the movie. The book was too cerebral for a direct movie translation, even back then.

I could drivel on and on about the multitude of little things that I now have time to experience, and enjoy!

In the posts above there is much good advice. I'll close with a quote here from salaryguru, as I have observed that back in the older folks where I used to work, and in my relatives too:

"Many of the people who seem happiest with retirement seem to have reached a point where work was getting in the way of the things that they valued doing most."

Maybe it's just not your time yet, Dex. Don't force it!
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Re: Need Advise on if I should retire
Old 10-29-2003, 04:33 AM   #7
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Re: Need Advise on if I should retire

First, I want to sincerely thank you all for your replies – they were very insightful. I have a lot more to think about before I make any decision.
The depression aspect is one that I have thought about and will explore further. But thinking about my past, my perceptions and actions have not really changed over the years. Is it possible to be depressed all your life?
The passion/mission one is another idea I have given great thought about. Again, I have never been able to identify it. Why? I grew up in a poor family and the focus was getting an education and get a good job. It was not an environment where you explored options or developed interests in art or hobbies. You didn’t explore ideas of what would make you happy. I was raised to work. I’ve been working full time since I was about 15 (I forged my working papers). Isn’t 34 years of work enough – I’m tired of it! Now I have the option not to work. It is a bit like training to climb a mountain, climbing it, reaching the top and saying now what? Is that all there is?
Mikey – Thanks for your insights about depression. I did some research after reading your post and I may have found a therapist. Isn’t it a bit ironic that we live in the wealthiest – materially – country in the world and there is so much depression? I think it is because our social fabric is so poor.
Steve – Thanks for the Buddha Nature comment – I read Zen early in my life. One of my favorite saying is “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.” I think I’m ready. I need to hear/listen to the lesson.
Salaryguru – Thanks for that insight about people being the happiest in retirement when work was getting in the way of the things they valued doing most.
Telly – Thanks for the honesty on quitting the job. I don’t think happiness is partying and I won’t force this decision. I think I will take the next year to explore my options.


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Re: Need Advise on if I should retire
Old 10-29-2003, 08:02 AM   #8
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Re: Need Advise on if I should retire

To dex: To the extent that you can, try to live what will become your routine life in retirement. I am not talking about taking that trip that you've always dreamed about or that project that you have put off because you have never had the time. I am talking about the day to day routine. I am also talking about budgets.

I did that. I had always had a lot of control of my activities in my work life and I was expected to come up with worthwhile things to do whenever there was a slack period. It was easy for me to fill out a day. It may be more difficult for you.

I found that it was the internet that cinched my retirement. There are a wide variety of things that you can do to fill up any void.

If I am not mistaken, there can be a very low level of depression throughout a lifetime. It is not bad enough to be called clinical depression. But it is something that a therapist (and possible small doses of antidepressants) can overcome. The success rate in combating depression is exceedingly high.

But you will never get what Lucy wanted from Charlie Brown. She didn't like life's ups and downs. She wanted ups and upper ups.

Have fun.

John R.
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Re: Need Advise on if I should retire
Old 10-29-2003, 08:32 AM   #9
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Re: Need Advise on if I should retire

To Dex and John R.

I have my "down" days but not many. I can see routines can be helpful, both to ease the transition to ER
and post ER too. I don't seem to have many routines myself. Lots of
days I have no idea what I will do when I get up and just wing it. For example, over the next 4 days I may
go on a short motorcycle trip or maybe fishing, depending
on the weather. Also, it's Family Day at my youngest
daughter's college and I might stop by there. While I am
there a Mensa (long time member) event is being held nearby , so I might pop in for a bit. Or, maybe just
park myself at Barnes and Noble, read and drink coffee
until cocktail hour. Then, I am reading 3 books at once while trying to start one of my own. And, of course,
we bought a small ranch in Texas which will
obviously suck up a lot of time. Of this there can be no doubt. I will be planted long before I run out of things
to do. Bottom line; my routine is no routine. I just make it up as I go along.







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