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Should I stay or should I go...there's a song in that...
Old 01-25-2009, 07:16 PM   #1
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Should I stay or should I go...there's a song in that...

And it keeps running through my head. I have been lurking around the edges here for a while and thought I'd join in. I am in my early 50's but I have more than 30 years in with a state goverment job. I am eligible to retire with full benefits, and most importantly, with my health insurance intact. I am totally burned out at work, and long for a change. Unfortunately, I'd have to figure out how to live on slightly more than 1/3 of my current salary, which means I'll probably have to relocate. The problem with that is that I am sort of a weenie about change (how else could I have stayed 30 years at the same job, and my whole life in the same community?)

And now, to make things even more complicated, when I confessed to my boss that I was seriously thinking about retiring, she intimated that I was being considered for a pretty lucrative promotion. Now what? Part of me feels very intrigued, but the other part of me recognizes that as burned out as I am now, I am not sure that I'm up to the challenge. Should I hang around and see what happens, or just go with my heart and move on to the next phase of my life?

I know I have to make the decision myself, and there are tons of other considerations that I don't want to get into. But maybe hearing from others who have been in a similar situation may help.
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Old 01-25-2009, 07:26 PM   #2
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Welcome.
If it were me, I'd ask for real information about the promotion, not just hints. If you're considering a major life change you need facts.
I'd also ask myself why I'm spending so much money just to live. Maybe you know already but most people have no idea where their money goes.
Just my two cents.
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Old 01-25-2009, 07:30 PM   #3
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I'd have to figure out how to live on slightly more than 1/3 of my current salary, which means I'll probably have to relocate. The problem with that is that I am sort of a weenie about change
Welcome Janet. Based on the above, you have work to do before making your decision. Have you verified your expected post RE income? Do you have a COLA pension? Have you used FireCalc? What's your monthly budget? What are the opporrtunities to reduce it? Do you want to relocate, or is your current community very important to you? If you are OK with relocating, where do you want to go? etc, etc.

Consider that the promotion will be a change. Could it be the change you are looking for?
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Old 01-25-2009, 07:35 PM   #4
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I'd ask for real information about the promotion, not just hints.
To quote the song lyrics -- "It's always tease, tease, tease . . .". I'd make sure that it's not just a tease before committing.
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Old 01-25-2009, 07:40 PM   #5
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Welcome Janet. Based on the above, you have work to do before making your decision. Have you verified your expected post RE income? Do you have a COLA pension? Have you used FireCalc? What's your monthly budget? What are the opporrtunities to reduce it? Do you want to relocate, or is your current community very important to you? If you are OK with relocating, where do you want to go? etc, etc.

Consider that the promotion will be a change. Could it be the change you are looking for?
The pension includes COLA's, which is more than I can say for my current position. What with Maryland's economic situation, there are no COLA's or increments (increases based on longevity) for state employees contemplated for at least the next year - probably longer. I have made several trips to Florida looking at real estate (I have family there), and I should have enough equity in my house to be able to buy outright and live mortgage free in the areas that I am considering. That's the major barrier to living on my pension.

There are also rumors about changing the health insurance coverage for FUTURE retirees, meaning if you are already retired, it won't affect you. That is causing a lot of people in my situation to seriously think about getting out now.

And honestly, I doubt that the promotion would be much of a real change. It's still the same agency, with the same issues, and I would be responsible for the same employees, just more of them.

Hmmm, I see where I'm going with this...
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Old 01-25-2009, 07:49 PM   #6
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Oh - just to clarify - the promotion is because 2 of the administrators above me - my manager's boss, and then his boss, are both retiring June 1st. So that opens up 2 promotional opportunities. But they won't be filled until AFTER these 2 guys leave, and I had planned to leave May 1st. So if I hang around to see what happens, I'd need to stay until at least 30 days after a decision is made (I have to give that much notice to retire). And if I'm going to go, I'd rather not go any later than July 1st, because the COLA's are paid on July 1st but you have to be retired a full year to get one. Does this make sense?
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Old 01-25-2009, 07:53 PM   #7
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Just a data point: my pension was 1/3 of my working gross. I have managed to live on that.

It was worth every dollar of lost income to be free.
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Old 01-25-2009, 08:01 PM   #8
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....

It was worth every dollar of lost income to be free.
I've only been out of the workforce five months, but ditto to that.

Welcome, Janetvj.
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Old 01-25-2009, 08:03 PM   #9
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Thanks for the welcome. It's reassuring to hear from those who have taken the plunge and have no regrets. But is there anyone out there who wished they had stayed?
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Old 01-25-2009, 08:04 PM   #10
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I am eligible to retire with full benefits, and most importantly, with my health insurance intact.
I find it interesting that your quoted statement is accurate, perhaps more so, if you eliminate the word "insurance".

Considered taking a break for a year or two then working part-time at something you enjoy? You might want to check out the book "Work Less, Live More" by Bob Clyatt.
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Old 01-25-2009, 08:09 PM   #11
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I find it interesting that your quoted statement is accurate, perhaps more so, if you eliminate the word "insurance".

Considered taking a break for a year or two then working part-time at something you enjoy? You might want to check out the book "Work Less, Live More" by Bob Clyatt.
You're right - I have no real health issues now, but who's to say how long. I should enjoy life while I can.

The problem with just taking a hiatus is that I need to have an income. And some of the rules with my retirement are goofy - for example, I have about 30 weeks of sick leave saved up, and that will be added into the calculation of my years of service (without these hours I have about 31 1/2 years, so this will get me over 32). But in order for the sick leave to count, I have to retire without having a break in service, or I'll just lose the sick time.
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Old 01-25-2009, 08:33 PM   #12
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Welcome to the forum ! Unfortunately only you can make the am I ready to retire decision . I live in Florida and now is certainly a great time to buy real estate here . It is dirt cheap but otherwise Florida is not a low cost of living area . Property taxes are not cheap and part time jobs pay pitiful wages .
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Old 01-25-2009, 08:39 PM   #13
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The problem with that is that I am sort of a weenie about change (how else could I have stayed 30 years at the same job, and my whole life in the same community?)
Is it really the same job with the same function for 30 years?

Can you give some more info about why you feel you are burned out and when that happened?
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Old 01-26-2009, 10:36 AM   #14
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Is it really the same job with the same function for 30 years?

Can you give some more info about why you feel you are burned out and when that happened?
No - that's a bit of an exaggeration. I have worked for the state for 31 years, and for the last 25 years with the same agency. I started as an auditor, and then was promoted to hearing examiner. About 5 years ago I was promoted to Assistant Manager of the Hearings Section, and 3 years ago to Section Manager.

The burn out is mostly the result of having to handle a drastically increased caseload but with significantly fewer and less experienced staff to handle it. The pressure of having to juggle everything - placating the appellants (who are all angry about being in their situation and are demanding an immediate resolution to their problem), supporting and mentoring the young and inexperienced staff, while trying not to dump everything on the few that are experienced, having to answer to my superiors (who could care less about the challenges; they just want results. And even though I never bring up a problem without offering a solution, nothing ever changes) - all while working for an elected official that only cares that he looks good to the voters. I find myself short-tempered and frustrated with everyone. It has just built up over time, and I don't know that being a little further up the food chain is going to make much difference.
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:14 AM   #15
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No - that's a bit of an exaggeration. I have worked for the state for 31 years, and for the last 25 years with the same agency. I started as an auditor, and then was promoted to hearing examiner. About 5 years ago I was promoted to Assistant Manager of the Hearings Section, and 3 years ago to Section Manager.

The burn out is mostly the result of having to handle a drastically increased caseload but with significantly fewer and less experienced staff to handle it. The pressure of having to juggle everything - placating the appellants (who are all angry about being in their situation and are demanding an immediate resolution to their problem), supporting and mentoring the young and inexperienced staff, while trying not to dump everything on the few that are experienced, having to answer to my superiors (who could care less about the challenges; they just want results. And even though I never bring up a problem without offering a solution, nothing ever changes) - all while working for an elected official that only cares that he looks good to the voters. I find myself short-tempered and frustrated with everyone. It has just built up over time, and I don't know that being a little further up the food chain is going to make much difference.
Thanks,
I asked about the burn out since some people use the term for some other unidentified issue. The "short-tempered and frustrated with everyone" can be an aspect of burn out. Before, going directly to ER it is sometimes a good idea to play the "if I could change my job any way I wanted" what would that be and would I continue working? If the answer is I don't know; then consider talking about it with your manager on options and how you could make your job better - without giving away the idea that you are thinking about ER. Also consider long vacations and a leave of absence.

If nothing works then think about if ER is for you. Read "How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free"
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:16 AM   #16
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I'd have to figure out how to live on slightly more than 1/3 of my current salary, which means I'll probably have to relocate. The problem with that is that I am sort of a weenie about change (how else could I have stayed 30 years at the same job, and my whole life in the same community?).
Relocating is an option that many of us are exploring, for various reasons. Although I could easily afford to continue living in my present home after I retire, and had always planned to do so, the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe changed everything for me and now I am planning to relocate after I retire in November. Well, assuming that I can sell my house.

Relocating can be an adventure, and fun. Have you thought about where you might relocate, if you do? If you are thinking of relocating somewhere that is unfamiliar to you, I would urge that you do a lot of "homework" online and then visit it frequently so that you choose the right place for you. To start, try city-data.com for information on nearly any location in the U.S.
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:31 AM   #17
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Relocating is an option that many of us are exploring, for various reasons. Although I could easily afford to continue living in my present home after I retire, and had always planned to do so, the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe changed everything for me and now I am planning to relocate after I retire in November. Well, assuming that I can sell my house.

Relocating can be an adventure, and fun. Have you thought about where you might relocate, if you do? If you are thinking of relocating somewhere that is unfamiliar to you, I would urge that you do a lot of "homework" online and then visit it frequently so that you choose the right place for you. To start, try city-data.com for information on nearly any location in the U.S.
Thanks! City-Data is where I started, and someone there suggested this forum for my issues about retiring.

I am seriously considering Florida (yes, I know...completely unimaginative for a retiree). Mainly because I have family there, I've spent quite a bit of time there over my lifetime, and I'm just one of those people who really enjoys that lifestyle. I know it's different living there than vacationing there, but I still think it would work for me.

I've visited several areas in person over the last few years, and have sort of narrowed down my options. I've been in touch with lots of folks at City-Data, as well as a few other forums. If I do this, I will rent first to make sure that I have a real feel for the area before I actually buy. I know once I commit, there's no going back for probably a long while. Real esate is not moving in that part of the country.

Where will you go?
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:53 AM   #18
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There are also rumors about changing the health insurance coverage for FUTURE retirees, meaning if you are already retired, it won't affect you. That is causing a lot of people in my situation to seriously think about getting out now.
janetvj: I would look seriously at the insurance issue. It could be a real game changer. Having decent and affordable health insurance coverage is very important in retirement.
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:58 AM   #19
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Thanks! City-Data is where I started, and someone there suggested this forum for my issues about retiring.

I am seriously considering Florida (yes, I know...completely unimaginative for a retiree). Mainly because I have family there, I've spent quite a bit of time there over my lifetime, and I'm just one of those people who really enjoys that lifestyle. I know it's different living there than vacationing there, but I still think it would work for me.

I've visited several areas in person over the last few years, and have sort of narrowed down my options. I've been in touch with lots of folks at City-Data, as well as a few other forums. If I do this, I will rent first to make sure that I have a real feel for the area before I actually buy. I know once I commit, there's no going back for probably a long while. Real esate is not moving in that part of the country.

Where will you go?
Oh, good! Sounds like you have been doing your homework on this and I am glad to know that. Having family nearby will be nice.

I am planning to move to Springfield, Missouri. My companion, Frank, and I started looking online for a retirement location just a couple of months after Katrina. We identified several places that sounded perfect for us, and visited Springfield as well as Huntsville, Alabama and Hot Springs, Arkansas, and several other locations on our list. We just loved Springfield from the moment we first saw it and it was on the top of our list. We have been going up there about 3-4 times a year since then and we read their newspaper and their local TV news online, as well as going to City-Data.

Frank's family is all in New Orleans. I don't have much family left, and they all live in high cost areas such as Oregon and Hawaii. I suppose that I could live someplace like that, but the higher expenses for necessities would mean less money for fun. Springfield is lower cost than New Orleans and we really like it there, even without considering costs.
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:05 PM   #20
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Did I miss it, did you ever say weather you really wanted either of the two jobs that might be offered? What if the person that gets the other job is someone you just don't get along with. Each of us is different. For me, it was a decision I have never looked back on. FI and RE, for me, is true freedom.
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