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Old 01-26-2011, 11:28 PM   #1
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So unsure, so I came to this forum

Hi all, just found this forum tonight and have been glued to it for a couple of hours now. I could use some advice. I'm 54. I have been planning my retirment since my late 20's stating that I would RE at 50. I'm financially savy and I believe I am now FI. I make great money, but don't really like my job any longer - stress, long hours, losing some skills, etc. I've been with same employer for 22 years - but no pension. My DW (age 52) will probably work for another 5-7 years, at least. I planned to resign in March and give a 60 day notice. So why am I having such a hard time making that final decision?? I'm very independant, but what if I am bored? Will it work for me to RE and for my DW to keep working (she wants me to RE). If I decide to get back in the workforce, I will likely make less than 50% of what I earn today. What's the secret to the big decision and being happy about it?

Looking forward to participating here.
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:59 PM   #2
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Welcome and good luck...

I am sure others will give you advice on the final step... I am not there yet, so can not...
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:50 AM   #3
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Will it work for me to RE and for my DW to keep working (she wants me to RE).
Some people on the forum have doen this and report good results.

Personally, I think it has problem written all over it, unless you want to greet each day with a list of chores. If that will be fine with you , it shouldn't present problems. Read some of the threads, particularly the posts by the working wives with stay at home husbands. Don't take it as gospel, but more as testimony to be evaluated on and between the lines.

My former wife went back to a demanding graduate program after we had retired. It wasn't in the budget, so I told her that it was on her. That didn't sit well with her, nor did it sit well with me that I was expected to add all the work she formerly did to all the work that I did.

But as they say, ymmv.

Ha
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Old 01-27-2011, 01:55 AM   #4
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What's the secret to the big decision and being happy about it?
That's easy. If employment feels like being stomped in the face, over and over again, by a large boot, while your best and healthiest years slip away from you, then you will probably prefer retirement. I know I do!

If you don't mind the w*rking world, then I'm sure the decision is trickier, though I certainly can't speak from experience.
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:11 AM   #5
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Welcome Packman. What about this? You and your DW could work maybe 2-3 more years and retire together?? Can you last that long? Will your skills hold out that long?

Just an idea. But if sticking it out means a heart attack or stroke or some other physical problem that is stress related, and you are able to bail, or to semi-retire to a lower stress lower paid role, why not do that go a fe year while your DW finishes up her career...

Good luck.

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Old 01-27-2011, 07:07 AM   #6
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It depends.

If your wife is OK with working after you retire, that is a huge hurdle cleared. In my case, my wife likes her work still and I take a lot of the load off her by doing most of the chores, which probably consume an hour a day - a little more when I have a project going like painting or yard work.

Some people do have a boredom problem, though I would say most here have learned to relish their free time and leisure. It is a new way of thinking that you grow into. If you find that you need to work, but can afford not to, what difference does it make how much you make? Lingering pride? Just find a low stress job that you enjoy or volunteer. Once you hit their radar, nonprofits will knock down your door.

Lastly, are you sure that you can afford to retire? Many come here to get a second or third opinion to bolster their confidence before they jump.
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Old 01-27-2011, 07:12 AM   #7
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Packman, if you haven't seen these old threads they might be of interest to you:

Handling the "just one more year..." syndrome
(FAQ archive) But... what will I do all day?
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:05 AM   #8
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I'll be retiring in 23 months, and my wife will work about 3 years beyond that. As of right now, neither of us thinks it's going to be a problem. I expect to pick up some of the housework that she does, and I'll spend some time out on the lake fishing. As long as she doesn't have a problem with it, I think it'll be ok. If friction comes up, we'll make some adjusments.
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:38 AM   #9
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My wife kept working for several years after I ERd (for similar reasons as you). It worked out fine for me but then I was always the cook and gladly picked up a good deal of logistical support taht made it easier for her to continue work. The extra income (large) made the transition during a major recession easy and I didn't resent the extra chores. She is now essentially retired (still associated with her firm to a limited extent) and on an equal ($ wise) setting with me.
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:57 AM   #10
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:16 AM   #11
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My husband is still working. I consider myself "still working" although not in the traditional sense. Since he works outside the home...I take care of yard, house, most of the cooking and house maintenance issues. I strip and treat the 3 decks every year, repaint rooms, get the yard back in shape after winter, repaint fences. I do hire others to do things I cannot do - like power washing the 2 story home as I will not get on a ladder that high. The way I figure it, there will be a day when I can not physically do those things. When that day comes, I will pay someone...but until then I do what I can to keep that money in the family...especially since people charge an arm and a leg for the work. I also spend time...on our finances always searching for ways to "buy down" our services such as cable, phone, insurances...etc. It was not until I stopped working formally that I realized how much money I was throwing away each month..just because I did not have the time and was simply "writing the checks" and flying out the door. Also...I had the time to read the financial books and figure out what my broker was doing with my money. It was because I was reading the Wall STreet Journal that I was able to cash our of the market BEFORE the thing crashed. (I've been back in for over a year +).
It became a challenge for me to see how cheaply we could live and to learn how to grow our money. Next step is to get rid of the broker...maybe.
There is work to be done in retirement so it's a matter of perspective. Do I get bored? Have to admit I miss the socialization and the "daily purpose" that came with work. I've replaced that by going to our local YMCA..etc. I do not miss...always being in high gear and having a "to do" list a mile long that had to be done AFTER putting in hours at work.
Just some thoughts....
Sandra
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:46 AM   #12
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Welcome to the forum

I FIREd in 2007 with a voluntary resignation to escape a toxic w*rk environment. I was a high achiever career girl type A, who walked away from what many would consider the "perfect j*b". It was anything but....

After the initial euphoria, it took me quite a while to get over that "not w*rking" (for a paycheck) mentality.

So I personally had to rethink what "w*rk" really meant.

My conclusions were...
W*rking for a paycheck is so different than w*rking for the good of the household. Each has its own value in its own context.

Lots of dialogue is needed for you and DW to define what each of you consider to be "w*rk". Your post indicated she wants you to RE. Go from there...
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:49 AM   #13
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DH ER'd a little over a year before I did. It was only supposed to be 5 months, but my work asked me to stay another 7 month to finish the contracts I was working on. The money was good, so I stayed. DH was a sweetie and took over almost all of my responsibilities at home. It worked out really well for us, but it was a relatively short period. Had DH not assumed the majority of household responsibilities, our path would have become really rocky, really quick.

I was asked to take another 3 year contract at work, still excellent pay. When I told DH about the offer, he told me I could stay and work if I wanted but he was going to proceed with our retirement plans to travel. I declined the contract and we began our official retirement...15 years ago.

Like you, neither of us had pensions. We live on the earning of our assets. You didn't say what plans you have made for medical insurance...perhaps provided by wife's employer while she continues to work. Medical insurance was not a major cost for us when we retired at 49, but as we got older, premiums increased sharply. Fortunately, we have been healthy and have never filed a claim, but premiums have gone up 205% during the past 15 years.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:50 AM   #14
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What's the secret to the big decision and being happy about it?

Looking forward to participating here.

The secret is to be 100% ready to retire . Welcome !
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:47 AM   #15
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Whether you are psychologically ready to retire or not, only you can tell.

Quote:
My DW (age 52) will probably work for another 5-7 years, at least. I planned to resign in March and give a 60 day notice. So why am I having such a hard time making that final decision?? I'm very independant, but what if I am bored? Will it work for me to RE and for my DW to keep working (she wants me to RE).
I have been retired 6 months and DW will continue working a couple more years. I take care of the household stuff and she can totally relax when she comes back from work. She hates doing household chores and I hate working. I don't mind doing the household chores and she enjoys working. So it has worked great for us so far.

But... She confessed that, had we not become financially independent before I retired, she would feel too much pressure as the sole bread winner for our current arrangement to be successful.

As far as boredom goes, it was never a concern of mine. I have picked up a few hobbies since I retired and with all the work that has to be done around the house, there is never a down moment. I don't even have time to turn on the TV during the day. But all of this is so personality-dependent, it's impossible to generalize.
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:12 AM   #16
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Welcome to the board, Packman.

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Originally Posted by Packman View Post
I'm financially savy and I believe I am now FI.
You "believe" you're FI? Have you taken any action to verify that, like running your assets & expenses through FIRECalc or another calculator?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Packman View Post
So why am I having such a hard time making that final decision?? I'm very independant, but what if I am bored? Will it work for me to RE and for my DW to keep working (she wants me to RE). If I decide to get back in the workforce, I will likely make less than 50% of what I earn today. What's the secret to the big decision and being happy about it?
The secret is to have a spouse who supports your goal of being responsible for your own entertainment.

Usually we see the other problem, where one person wants to ER and their spouse doesn't think it'll work, or doesn't want to cut back on the gravy train lifestyle.

If you're not going to ER then you have essentially three choices:
- continue working at your current job until something happens to change your employment (like a health crisis or a forced retirement).
- get a different job (including reduced hours at your current employer).
- take a sabbatical of at least six weeks.

The first choice leaves the decision up to anybody but you.

The second enables you to find a job you love. But if you've been planning to ER for the last three decades then you'd hope that would've happened by now. I should point out that if you take this choice then you don't care what percentage of your former income you could earn. If you're financially independent then you can work because it's fulfilling, not remunerative.

The third choice gives you a chance to practice being ER'd. Don't try to remodel the house or train for a triathlon or write the Great American Novel. Instead just chill for a couple weeks-- take lots of naps & long walks. When you're feeling human again then start thinking & discussing with your spouse how you'd like to design your new life. As a kid you probably never had any trouble being busy from sunrise to sunset, so seek out those old interests and try some new ones. Read Ernie Zelinski's "How to Retire Happy, Wild, & Free" and brainstorm his "Get-A-Life Tree". When you return to work after your sabbatical, it's quite possible that you'll have lost all tolerance for the workplace and would rather be in charge of your own life & time.

"But what will I DO all day?!?" is one of the top three concerns of every ER. After ER they all wonder what the heck they were worrying about.
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:50 AM   #17
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I'm in a similiar age/situation as the OP, the difference is my DW had been unemployed for over 3 years but just recently found a new position that has good pay and benefits. She plans on working at least 4 or 5 more years. I was planning on FIREing this spring anyway, but this now makes the decision much easier.
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Old 01-27-2011, 02:10 PM   #18
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I have, maybe, one of the worst cases of "one spouse still working" to deal with in this Forum. In my case the worker is my wife. When I e-retired in April 2005, she still had almost 20 years to go. With the about-to-be passed retirement law, she will be facing 15 years more of work if she wants a full pension.......

Apparently, she doesn´t mind my ER. Apparently. But most days she does hate her job. She a Psychologist/civil servant.
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Old 01-27-2011, 02:35 PM   #19
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You have been given good advice here. Run your numbers and track your expenses. Maybe your DW will want to stop earlier once you leave and the numbers are perfect.

Lots of couples here retired in first one, then the other fashion. It probably doesnt have much of an affect on the relationship unless there are other factors undermining it.

Unrelated--NOVA, you have the cutest avatar ever! Is that you?
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Old 01-27-2011, 03:13 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Packman View Post
Hi all, just found this forum tonight and have been glued to it for a couple of hours now. I could use some advice. I'm 54. I have been planning my retirment since my late 20's stating that I would RE at 50. I'm financially savy and I believe I am now FI. I make great money, but don't really like my job any longer - stress, long hours, losing some skills, etc. I've been with same employer for 22 years - but no pension. My DW (age 52) will probably work for another 5-7 years, at least. I planned to resign in March and give a 60 day notice. So why am I having such a hard time making that final decision?? I'm very independant, but what if I am bored? Will it work for me to RE and for my DW to keep working (she wants me to RE). If I decide to get back in the workforce, I will likely make less than 50% of what I earn today. What's the secret to the big decision and being happy about it?

Looking forward to participating here.
Hello Packman! The second to last sentence you wrote might bear some reflection. Why are you worried about a 50% paycut if you are already FI? Does the status and prestige of your position matter to you personally? If you got bored and went back to work could you get satisfaction from another job/career area that provided self satisfaction minus the money? Definitely something to think about before you serve retirement notice. Good luck with your choice(s)!
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