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Retiring (for now) to pursue passions!
Old 09-20-2011, 04:45 PM   #1
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Retiring (for now) to pursue passions!

I've grown to appreciate time. My children (10 and 7) will not stay young forever and I want to be even more involved than I already am. My stay at home wife has taken wonderful care of our children since they were born while I made a good living in a corporate career. But I feel it's my turn to do what I have longed to do - and, that is, to be the stay at home parent while our children are still young.

After much discussion, we have agreed to switch roles in 2012. My wife can earn more than enough as an optometrist, our mortgage is paid up and the kids' college expenses thankfully are covered through inheritance. Through prudent financial decisions made throughout our relationship and a fairly frugal lifestyle, we are fortunate to be able to make this decision.

After almost 19 years in the same utility company, I am ready to call it quits so I can be more fulfilled by taking care of the house and children. And, I will have the time to pursue my next passion of being an elementary school teacher! So, while I am retiring from one career, my heart is set on starting another one in 3 or 4 years.

I stumbled upon this site an hour ago and have already learned about the FSA loophole. I look forward to learning more from all of you as I count down the 114 work days before our target date of April 2. I chose this date because our fiscal year ends on March 31 and I would be entitled to a full year's bonus by staying through that date. It would also give me time to contribute almost $15K to my 401K in 2012 and get my company's ~$4K match.

I haven't told my employer yet and don't plan to until a month or two prior to my target date. In the meantime, I plan to enjoy being off the career track after being on it for 18+ years.
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:51 PM   #2
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Sounds like a plan! Congratulations and welcome to ERdotOrg.
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:00 PM   #3
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Welcome Henry. We'll be interested to hear how it works out for you.
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:28 PM   #4
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Well done, Henry.
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Old 09-21-2011, 02:41 AM   #5
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That reads like a great plan. Please keep us updated how it works out for you.
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Old 09-21-2011, 04:46 AM   #6
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That's great! What a good plan. All the best!
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:44 AM   #7
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Thank you all for the supportive posts. As much as I have enjoyed my corporate career, I've wanted to be a stay at home dad for years. Earlier this year, I realized that the time to do so is running short. I reviewed our financial situation and future income requirements and presented to my wife. She understands, is supportive but is a bit apprehensive of returning to work full time.

For me, I am trying to enjoy these last six months or so as much as I can without leaking my happy news to my organization. For starters, I am thrilled to be selected as Class Parent for my daughter's 5th grade class and I am committing to teach Junior Achievement to my kids' classes. I am more comfortable now taking time off from work knowing that my next performance appraisal is mostly a moot point.

Any ideas on how or what I should do in my remaining 113 work days? I thought about making a weekly journal so I can look back at this special time in my life. What did you do?
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:53 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by henryserves View Post
Any ideas on how or what I should do in my remaining 113 work days? I thought about making a weekly journal so I can look back at this special time in my life. What did you do?
Do a journal AFTER the 113 days are up. Chronicle the time you are going to spend with your family, and when the kids are grown up you'll have lots of good reading. Best of luck!
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Old 09-21-2011, 11:15 AM   #9
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I would be careful about telling a boss that I plan to leave PRIOR to them giving me my annual bonus... there is not incentive to give me a good one if they know that I will be leaving...
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:11 PM   #10
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........ What did you do?
I stole enough pens and staples to last me the rest of my life.
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Old 09-21-2011, 12:28 PM   #11
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Henryserves......

Just curious, how long are you planning for DW to work full time as an optometrist? Is this just a quick cameo appearance for her? Or are you folks planning on her pulling the plow for a long time prior to you both enjoying retirement status?

I ask only because my DW, who has numerous opportunities to work, suggested that my mental status was in need of adjustment the last time I suggested she return to employed status......

We're much older than you folks (long time empty nesters) and FIRE'd so the situation is much different. Still, anytime a fellow can get DW back behind the plow, I gotta tip my hat and ask how it's done!
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Old 09-21-2011, 02:44 PM   #12
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Do a journal AFTER the 113 days are up. Chronicle the time you are going to spend with your family, and when the kids are grown up you'll have lots of good reading. Best of luck!
That is a great idea. Thanks for the support!
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Old 09-21-2011, 03:49 PM   #13
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I would be careful about telling a boss that I plan to leave PRIOR to them giving me my annual bonus... there is not incentive to give me a good one if they know that I will be leaving...
That is a point I've pondered as well. Our annual bonus is mainly dependent on the financial performance of the company at fiscal yearend (March 31). An individual's performance rating does play a factor in the specific amount. I'm aiming for a good midyear rating in November with written documentation from my manager on what I need to do to maintain that rating for the yearend. Of course, I will work towards a good final yearend rating. But, since ratings are not finalized until May (and I hope to leave in April), it will be good insurance in case my organization decides to screw me after I walk out. My boss is quite fair and I do not expect any issues but just in case...

As for my reason to choose April 2 as my departure date: I would have to stay past June 30th to be eligible for any of the next fiscal year's annual bonus. With end of school year activities in May and June, especially my daughter's last months in elementary school, I don't want to stay at work til July.

Thanks for the thought and allowing me to provide more detail on my thinking.
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Old 09-21-2011, 05:04 PM   #14
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.......... But, since ratings are not finalized until May (and I hope to leave in April), it will be good insurance in case my organization decides to screw me after I walk out. My boss is quite fair and I do not expect any issues but just in case....................
Not sure of your company culture, but in the MegaCorp that I retired from, anyone that had announced their departure was a dead man walking. They regularly got screwed on raises, bonuses and other opportunities unless they had a specific (high ranking) person looking out for them. If you are unsure, I'd leave after the bonus check cleared the bank.
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Old 09-21-2011, 05:05 PM   #15
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That is a point I've pondered as well. Our annual bonus is mainly dependent on the financial performance of the company at fiscal yearend (March 31). An individual's performance rating does play a factor in the specific amount. I'm aiming for a good midyear rating in November with written documentation from my manager on what I need to do to maintain that rating for the yearend. Of course, I will work towards a good final yearend rating. But, since ratings are not finalized until May (and I hope to leave in April), it will be good insurance in case my organization decides to screw me after I walk out. My boss is quite fair and I do not expect any issues but just in case...

As for my reason to choose April 2 as my departure date: I would have to stay past June 30th to be eligible for any of the next fiscal year's annual bonus. With end of school year activities in May and June, especially my daughter's last months in elementary school, I don't want to stay at work til July.

Thanks for the thought and allowing me to provide more detail on my thinking.

Is there some formula for the bonus

IOW, how would you qualify for next years bonus if you stay past June 30th And how would you get it paid if you left July 1? You would not be working there the following May when you say annual bonuses are paid..

My old mega used to pay bonuses in late Jan... if you left prior to them actually cutting the check (actually the processing of the payroll), they could take it away from you... Most people I knew who wanted to leave waited until the deposit was made and then gave notice...

In reality they were mostly finalized in early Dec as there were a lot of approvals to get and the board had to approve the payments...

When I was let go, they gave me my notice in Dec but said I was still getting a bonus.... but it was only about 20% of the previous year... most of the time they gave notice by the end of Oct so they did not have to give bonus and could book the whole severance in the existing year...
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Old 09-21-2011, 05:17 PM   #16
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A few thoughts since I recently went through a planned ER from a long time job. First, I don't know enough about your employer, but in most companies bonuses are discretionary - meaning that if you give notice at (say) the beggining of the year for 4/2, you may not get the bonus, or you may get the ax. So be careful on that topic.

Second, once you have made up your mind to leave, it gets somewhat difficult to really do a good job anymore. I decided to ER about 4 months before I gave my 90 days of notice and those months were NOT great. Every day that something negative happened at work, all I thought about was getting out sooner. When something good happened, it made me wonder if I was making a mistake. It was a roller coaster and can be a difficult situation, so just be aware.

Good luck. Based on your first post, it sounds like you are making a good decision for the long run, but the short term may be bumpier than you think.
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Old 09-22-2011, 04:07 AM   #17
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When I ER, I gave 2 months notice and then agreed to stay on another 1.5 months. During that time, I did a lot of office housekeeping, briefing and updating my assistants and leaving a good audit trail of work in progress for my successor. So, I guess I was Ms Goodie Goodie and a lot of people took me out for farewell lunch. I enjoyed myself as any new projects which came in, I sort of did them together with an assistant with the understanding that the assistant has to take it forward and I was just as support. It was overall quite an enjoyable time and I left office punctually almost everyday.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:02 AM   #18
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Henryserves......

Just curious, how long are you planning for DW to work full time as an optometrist? Is this just a quick cameo appearance for her? Or are you folks planning on her pulling the plow for a long time prior to you both enjoying retirement status?


We're much older than you folks (long time empty nesters) and FIRE'd so the situation is much different. Still, anytime a fellow can get DW back behind the plow, I gotta tip my hat and ask how it's done!
Thanks for the reply and chuckle.

DW will work full time for at least 3 years until I earn a teaching degree and get a job as an elementary school teacher. With an expected starting teacher's salary near $50K, she will have to continue to work but only part time.

While our plan is coming together over nine months from the time we committed to switching roles, we have talked about doing such for years. We both agree the time our children are young is valuable and irreplaceable. We want to devote as much with them while they are young even if that means loss of income. So, while we giving up chances of retiring from all work earlier in life, we are both comfortable with the thought of working when we are empty nesters.
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:20 PM   #19
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Good for you! Sounds like a terrific plan.

Things to do before you ER (these are mostly for the last month or so):
- get e-mail addresses for people you want to stay in touch with, and postal addresses for any great bosses you want to write a personal note to after you retire;
- take a picture of your office before you start packing it up;
- make sure to stay on good terms and have contact info for HR folks, especially those involved with COBRA, pensions, etc. (whatever applies)
- develop and rehearse an "exit statement" so everyone hears exactly the same thing - tell your boss first and then others as appropriate. I told my boss two weeks before my coworkers, which she appreciated to have time to plan before the word was out. YMMV
Good luck with the transition!
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Old 09-22-2011, 02:24 PM   #20
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I would not resign until the bonus for the current period hits your bank account. I would be in the bosses office the day after to share the good news of your impending departure.

DH is planning on resigning in the near future, however he will not do so until the day after his RSUs vest and we sell. He is only going to give the mandatory 2 weeks notice, because in his company peeps who have resigned have been told well you may as well finish up now.
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