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second chance?
Old 03-24-2011, 04:40 AM   #1
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second chance?

When megacorp let me go a year ago, I sensed that it would be nearly impossible to get an equivalent job in the market due to my age and high unemployment rate in US.
So I ran Firecalc, read many of the books mentioned in this forum, built an expense tracker spreadsheet, did zillions of what if scenarios, and concluded I was FI with a lesser but still decent lifestyle.
Made mile long lists of things I wanted to do once I had all the time in the world and a little play money.
I then decided to RE. DW balked in the beginning but ended up accepting that it might be about time.
It lasted 10 months.
Two things happened:
1. I was feeling insecure, anxious about money running out before time, friends seemed to have vanished, and I wasn't doing any more of the leisure things I liked than when working full time.
2. DW got a job after 4 years away from the market (we spent these 4 years abroad in a work assignment and she couldn't get a work visa there).
Result: she loved going back to work and kept talking me into going back as well, or at least taking on studying full time for a new career.
I tried the latter, and right after I took my College Aptitude Test, and was preparing to send out applications to the local universities, I was offered a full time job.
I took it for the money sure, but also because I was bored and unhappy, feeling all the time that something was wrong and that society had marginalized me.
Now 6 months into the new job, I'm enjoyng it, but already shooting for a new retirement date, this time planned, and not result of contingencies. I turn 60 this year, and neither megacorp or I will benefit by extending this job for very long.
Given the past (bad) experience in REing, I know I will have butterflies in the belly as the new target date (Oct 2013) approaches.
Any suggestions as how to get better prepared this time? Anyone with similar experience?
Just a note, DW plans to work as long she gets jobs or are physically able to, and she probably will prefer that I do the same.
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Old 03-24-2011, 06:57 AM   #2
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I think you really need to spend some time figuring out what you will do with your time. If you need some structure in your life, then figure out how to get it. Maybe start a small business that makes pin money and keeps you occupied? Find a volunteer commitment?

I will eventually be facing a similar challenge, since years of long commute, work, kids and house chores have bled a lot of what used to pass for hobbies out of me.
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:59 AM   #3
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Sounds like you were let go while abroad so you returned to the US after 4 years away, and lost your social network. Now that you're back, you should still have friends around after leaving work, right?
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Old 03-24-2011, 09:15 AM   #4
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For me, retirement has been like a wonderful long weekend, but better because I don't have to worry about having to go back to work on Monday. I never had adjustment problems since I had so many things I wanted to do with my time, and going to work wasn't on the list. But others really need a plan.

Maybe you need to make some tentative plans for how you will be spending your time in retirement. It sounds like you were interested in going back to school, so maybe that would be interesting for you. Or, maybe you enjoy travel. Zelinski's book, "How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free" has helped other forum members to adjust to retirement so you might want to pick up a copy and look through it.

Just knowing that you have a big enough nestegg to retire without worries could really improve your state of mind in retirement.
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:30 AM   #5
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I retired at 59 from a full time, stressful job and thought life would be great. I found that after working full time all my life and raising 2 children with all their activities, I was bored. I tried a part time job and enjoyed it but that job ended. Playing with the grandkids was nice but I needed more. I went to my grand daughter's classroom to take some papers to her and ended up talking to someone who mentioned that the school had no teacher/librarian due to funding cuts. This is a rural area and the cuts really hurt. After talking to the principal I am now working in the library 3 afternoons a week and love it. There were boxes of books to be catalogued into the computer system and put on the shelf among other things. The children (my 3 grandkids included) come in with their class to check out books and ask for help or a book recommendation.I'm in heaven! I stumbled into volunteer job that I love. The school appreciates the help and I now also help the teachers grading papers etc. This is much more rewarding than any work I have ever done and also keeps me involved with the community.
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Old 03-24-2011, 11:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toreornot View Post
Two things happened:
1. I was feeling insecure, anxious about money running out before time, friends seemed to have vanished, and I wasn't doing any more of the leisure things I liked than when working full time.
... I was offered a full time job.
I took it for the money sure, but also because I was bored and unhappy, feeling all the time that something was wrong and that society had marginalized me.
Given the past (bad) experience in REing, I know I will have butterflies in the belly as the new target date (Oct 2013) approaches.
Any suggestions as how to get better prepared this time? Anyone with similar experience?
Just a note, DW plans to work as long she gets jobs or are physically able to, and she probably will prefer that I do the same.
Surfing lessons. (Just kidding.)

Seriously, you have a bunch of challenges here.

First, you could change nothing and just plan to work until your spouse feels comfortable with retiring. While that may make her happy (and preserve precious marital harmony), it's hard to tell whether it'll make you happy. But if you're working for her happiness then you'll also certainly avoid those worries about "being marginalized" and "running out of money".

ER means being responsible for your own entertainment, however you choose to do so. Feeling "marginalized" could mean that you're focused on someone else's expectations of how you're supposed to entertain yourself. Or it could mean that you haven't (yet) found an activity that you truly enjoy. In addition to Zelinski's most excellent book (and its "Get-A-Life Tree" at Retirement Planning Wisdom That You Won't Get from Your Financial Advisor: The Get-a-Life Tree: A Great Retirement Planning Tool!) you could browse the links in the FAQs ((FAQ archive) But... what will I do all day?) for other inspiration. You could also try the "tough love" approach of the My Next Phase - Personality Tailored, Non-Financial Retirement Planning, Counseling, and Coaching Services crew, especially reading their newsletters. Another option would be Bolles' "What Color is Your Parachute... for Retirement".

"Worried about running out of money" is usually an issue with education or asset allocation. By the time 2013 rolls around hopefully you'll have ramped up your savings, done some reading (An updated FIRE recommended reading list (with a military twist)), and found an AA that makes you confident you'll never run out. Another option would be annuitizing a portion of your retirement income with an SPIA. Then instead of worrying about you running out of money, you can worry about the insurance company running out of money.

Personally I'd be a tad concerned about your spouse's "work until you die" attitude, including the lost opportunities for travel and spending more time with family. Worrying about boredom and poverty may pale next to noticing how many of your co-workers have catastrophic health crises (or even death) disrupt their "someday" retirement plans.
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Old 03-24-2011, 08:41 PM   #7
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I retired after forty years in Nursing and I enjoyed the leisure time but I still needed something more . I started selling on ebay . I first did it to see if I could do it and then I got hooked . I sell Women's ( 30 -45 yr olds ) dresses and business clothes . I do okay and some months I do great . I don't do it for the money as much as I do it for the challenge . Next challenge writing a short story & getting published . It's fun to try something new when you really can't fail ( Not making money Who cares ) ( Not getting published Oh well )
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Old 03-24-2011, 10:44 PM   #8
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Next challenge writing a short story & getting published . It's fun to try something new when you really can't fail ( Not making money Who cares ) ( Not getting published Oh well )
In retrospect the "writing" is a lot easier than the "getting published"...
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Old 03-25-2011, 02:33 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone.
I will check out the books and articles suggested here.
It's comforting to know that others have gone through similar situation, and that they did retire happily ever after.
Maybe 4 years away is too long, I have nore contact with people we met there then the ones we had left here. Somehow it's not the same thing anymore.
It seems that my situation is far from unique, I've checked some of other threads. I'll keep on browsing this forum for encouragement and suggestions.
And, yes, Nords, my wife not being on the same page does concern me. Nevertheless, I think someday she will realize that she does not want the obligation of getting up early and commute to work anymore.
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:40 PM   #10
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toreornot,

Don't worry about it. You both seem to enjoy the work you are doing now. You already have experienced an extended period of not working, so it won't surprise you again. You will figure it out when you feel like it.
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Old 03-26-2011, 12:15 AM   #11
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Thanks ED. I think you're rigth, we will figure it out when it is time.
What concerns me is that it may well surprise me again. It probably will.
My takeaway from the first experience is that leaving the workforce for good requires a whole lot more psychological preparation than I thought then.
People that have gotten there may laugh at this statement, but this time around I'm trying to get in shape for this marathon. And quitting work on my own terms may be a big part of it.
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Old 03-26-2011, 12:44 AM   #12
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My takeaway from the first experience is that leaving the workforce for good requires a whole lot more psychological preparation than I thought then.
Bingo! It is a shock to a lot of people. You have an edge now.

It is a good idea to talk it out with your spouse as an intellectual exercise. Go through a timetable. Go through the financial steps that will have to be taken. etc.
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