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Old plan vs new plan
Old 05-14-2012, 12:26 PM   #1
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Old plan vs new plan

My husband and I had both planned to retire at 55 so we could spend time enjoying life. We are currently 47 and 48. Financially we have 500K+ in stocks, 457b, 401k, etc. Home is worth approx 180k and we have no mortgage. Both sons have completed college and are on their own. We have no debt. Current income is 120k combined. Estimated income needs in retirement are 50-55k gross as we live pretty frugally. The big question for us has been the cost of health insurance. Our backup plan was that I would continue to work part-time after age 55 for the insurance. I can stay at my current organization and reduce hours while still being benefit eligible.

Our plans may have changed. Husband has had a change in responsibilities with his company and now has the opportunity to work half-time. Our thoughts are now that we would reduce our hours in two years (or sooner!!) to 20/week for him and 24/week for me. The insurance costs are better for me if I work 24 hours vs 20 hours. The decreased income would drastically reduce the money we are currently able to save for ER but would be plenty as to not use any of our nest egg. It would also mean that we would be working at least until age 59/60 or longer depending on the health insurance. On the upside it will give us at least five extra years that we wouldn't be working full-time.

Neither of us "hate" our jobs. We both have very tolerable positions with great supervisors. We just want more time to spend enjoying life - travel, gardening, visiting out-of-town children, etc. We carpool daily and have a fairly short commute.

What do you think? Would you give up 5 years of full retirement for 5+ additional years of not having to work full-time?
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:30 PM   #2
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What do you think? Would you give up 5 years of full retirement for 5+ additional years of not having to work full-time?
I'd say Yes. Unless I really hated my job... or it was bad for my physical or mental well being.

If travel is a huge priority though... you'd want to consider if you'd be able to achieve enough of it to satisfy you while working part time.
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:37 PM   #3
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I worked part-time for about 6 years prior to ER as it allowed me to have a lot of flexibility, employer subsidized medical coverage, avoided drawing on the nest egg (in fact actually contributed to the nestegg), gave me something interesting to do, etc.

Since you seem hesitant, perhaps you can do it one at a time or on a temporary basis, etc and see if it works for you.
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Old 05-14-2012, 12:38 PM   #4
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What do you think? Would you give up 5 years of full retirement for 5+ additional years of not having to work full-time?
Yes, it will give you the chance to "practice" retirement. More free time and less income, the two biggest differences between working full time and retirement !
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Old 05-14-2012, 02:05 PM   #5
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If travel is a huge priority though... you'd want to consider if you'd be able to achieve enough of it to satisfy you while working part time.[/QUOTE]

Travel is a priority with us. We still would have time off benefits so could take two or so weeks off a couple times a year. We really enjoy trips 4-7 days but would like to increase the frequency of them.
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Old 05-15-2012, 01:58 PM   #6
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Neither of us "hate" our jobs. We both have very tolerable positions with great supervisors. We just want more time to spend enjoying life - travel, gardening, visiting out-of-town children, etc. We carpool daily and have a fairly short commute.

What do you think? Would you give up 5 years of full retirement for 5+ additional years of not having to work full-time?
Yes, I wish I could do this and if it remains constant for the next 5-10 years. Hopefully your supervisors don't have plans to quit any time soon. Change in management could turn your plans upside down.
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by boolandk
My husband and I had both planned to retire at 55 so we could spend time enjoying life. We are currently 47 and 48. Financially we have 500K+ in stocks, 457b, 401k, etc. Home is worth approx 180k and we have no mortgage. Both sons have completed college and are on their own. We have no debt. Current income is 120k combined. Estimated income needs in retirement are 50-55k gross as we live pretty frugally. The big question for us has been the cost of health insurance. Our backup plan was that I would continue to work part-time after age 55 for the insurance. I can stay at my current organization and reduce hours while still being benefit eligible.

Our plans may have changed. Husband has had a change in responsibilities with his company and now has the opportunity to work half-time. Our thoughts are now that we would reduce our hours in two years (or sooner!!) to 20/week for him and 24/week for me. The insurance costs are better for me if I work 24 hours vs 20 hours. The decreased income would drastically reduce the money we are currently able to save for ER but would be plenty as to not use any of our nest egg. It would also mean that we would be working at least until age 59/60 or longer depending on the health insurance. On the upside it will give us at least five extra years that we wouldn't be working full-time.

Neither of us "hate" our jobs. We both have very tolerable positions with great supervisors. We just want more time to spend enjoying life - travel, gardening, visiting out-of-town children, etc. We carpool daily and have a fairly short commute.

What do you think? Would you give up 5 years of full retirement for 5+ additional years of not having to work full-time?
I would go the full time route. At least for a few more years. I say this because I think you will find that working part time will still have many of the drawbacks you find in working full time. It's unlikely IMO you will get half the "pleasure utility" from full retirement by working half time. Now if you worked 1 mo on 1 mo off that would be ( to me ) more interesting
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Old 05-16-2012, 02:21 AM   #8
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This is what I am planning to do also. Working a few hours a week at a couple of clinics after I FIRE, that's all. I need my 40 quarters for SS anyway, which I have not reached yet since I started to work in the US only a few years ago...
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I worked part-time for about 6 years prior to ER as it allowed me to have a lot of flexibility, employer subsidized medical coverage, avoided drawing on the nest egg (in fact actually contributed to the nestegg), gave me something interesting to do, etc.

Since you seem hesitant, perhaps you can do it one at a time or on a temporary basis, etc and see if it works for you.
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:37 AM   #9
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I would jump at the chance to work part time. Of course that's partly because the thing I hate most about my job is the lack of flexibility, and not having enough time outside of work for all my current interests. We also have a big enough nest egg and a long enough time frame that if we could just let it grow without touching it for 7-10 years, we'd probably be at our "number".

I think it really depends on how much you want to be completely retired. Good luck with y our choice!
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:52 AM   #10
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I do not see the math? It looks to me that you will almost stop saving for your retirement when you go part time....so at 59/60 you would have 700 k maybe todays dollars...so where is your 55/60k plus health coming from that first year of retirement?
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:18 PM   #11
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I worked part time at my job for a couple of years. They were the BEST years of my employment ! I was working 3 days a week and on the 2 I didn't work I never even thought about the job - it was there when I went in the next day. I would love to go part time at my job again. It was the best way I found to relieve job stress. I actually ENJOYED my job when I was part time .... not so much now that I'm back to full time.

PS: the reason I went back to full time was a change in Management (aida2003 hit that nail on the head !)
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:17 PM   #12
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DH retired fully and I went from full time to part time. I started out averaging about 10 hours a week and 2 years later it has inched up to about 15 hours a week. I go in to the office twice a week and I like that I don't have to go in every day. One thing to consider on a part time schedule is whether you spread it out over 5 days or work full days on a few days a week. My work is such that I can do a lot of it at home so I usually go to the office for two short days (arrive at 10 and leave no later than 4) and then I do a few more hours from home. I have liked that schedule a lot. Originally I went in one full day a month arriving at 9 and leaving about 6 and then did the rest (if any) at home. With increasing my hours some I've found that I like the 2 shorter days better.
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Old 05-17-2012, 12:24 PM   #13
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Thanks for the replies. We are still weighing the pros and cons of going part-time and will continue as we do have some time on our side.

We are adding to our retirement savings as much as we can. Now that son #2 has finished college our available cash will go up as we no longer are paying tuition, books, family plan health insurance, etc. Even at part-time work we still will be able to contribute some to the nest egg along with our mandatory WI state retirement.

We're not concerned with my ability to continue part-time work as it is very common in my field (healthcare). The majority of my coworkers work less than 40 hours a week. DH's situation is a bit different. He works in a traditional full-time salaried environment. With budget cuts positions have been reduced/redefined and now many are part-time that used to be full-time. He has a strong skillset and has made himself very valuable to his employer (IT for local government). No job is truely secure but both of ours are on the upper end of the scale.
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Old 05-17-2012, 05:55 PM   #14
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This is what I am planning to do also. Working a few hours a week at a couple of clinics after I FIRE, that's all. I need my 40 quarters for SS anyway, which I have not reached yet since I started to work in the US only a few years ago...
Won't your malpractice insurance make that a very expensive proposition?
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:48 PM   #15
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Since you are comfortable in the security of your positions and you think the money situation will even out if you work longer I would say go for it. Hopefully the reduced hours means reduced days too. I retired and worked part time the past 2 years, it was 15 hours, but 3 hours a day. I did not mind it, but it does fritter away the day. I was going to quit altogether, but then I got an offer this fall to work about 20 hours a week with substantially more money, but only 3 days a week. So I will actually have more days off. I am retired and drawing my pension, but I still do like to work some. I have plenty of free time and when I want to travel I always have the flexibility to rearrange my work schedule or just skip it until I return. If you enjoy your jobs, you will enjoy them even more doing it half time!
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:55 AM   #16
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I am not planning to move to Florida :-)
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Won't your malpractice insurance make that a very expensive proposition?
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:06 AM   #17
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OP, I am new to this forum, so forgive me as I am not trying to judge, but how is 50-55k/yr in expenses "frugal"? Are you counting healthcare in that or not? Maybe you live in a very very high COL area?

It might be worth re-examining how your expenses would change in retirement. If your figure came down even 10k, you might see things differently.
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:04 AM   #18
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The 50-50K estimate is very generous for us and includes healthcare expenses. We are also considering inflation in that estimate. I would much rather estimate high and have "extra" money than run short.
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:07 AM   #19
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The 50-50K estimate is very generous for us and includes healthcare expenses. We are also considering inflation in that estimate. I would much rather estimate high and have "extra" money than run short.
Well, you should be able to figure in inflation as your retirement plan goes along. Your plan should figure out what costs are for the year you are planning to retire, and add in inflation each year to your expenses. I can see where adding some "padding" could help with your well-being, but don't get too crazy and add 20%
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