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surprise early retirement
Old 02-19-2006, 06:47 PM   #1
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surprise early retirement

We are age 56 and 58. My husband took a new HR position in Arkansas, worked eight weeks, then on the day the moving van unloaded all our stuff from North Carolina, he got fired. I had quit my school teacher job to join him here. Our house in NC is on the market, and we are thankfully renting here. For the first month we were in shock. We wanted to retire early, but were not quite ready for this.

Any advice from others?
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Re: surprise early retirement
Old 02-19-2006, 06:53 PM   #2
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Re: surprise early retirement

I wouldn't want to retire early (or late for that matter) unless it was on my terms.

But, with that said, you need to figure out what you have for investable assets, how much income you can derive from those assets, how much you need in gross living expenses, and take it from there.
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Re: surprise early retirement
Old 02-19-2006, 06:59 PM   #3
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Re: surprise early retirement

Sometimes a catalyst is needed.

I wasnt planning on ERing either. Then the company stock dropped 80% and a few weeks later they offered a years pay and benefits to anyone who wanted to 'voluntarily separate'.

I volunteered. Figured worst case I could go back to work there (or somewhere else) after a years paid vacation.

If you're financially stable and can make a go of it, try it for six months. Or a year. If you're not financially viable for the rest of your forseeable life, then get the help wanted section out!
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Re: surprise early retirement
Old 02-19-2006, 07:10 PM   #4
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Re: surprise early retirement

What launches retiement really* doesn't matter, nor does your age.* It still comes down to the means test.
That endless list of needs from health insurance, where to live, and the all important stash of cash that must be sufficient to carry you for perhaps 40 years.* Personally I don't like the idea of trying it for a while to see if it works, especially as it relates to resources.* I would much rather return to the work pool out of desire than financial need.*
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Re: surprise early retirement
Old 02-21-2006, 06:59 AM   #5
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Re: surprise early retirement

Quote:
Originally Posted by arkie
We are age 56 and 58. My husband took a new HR position in Arkansas, worked eight weeks, then on the day the moving van unloaded all our stuff from North Carolina, he got fired. I had quit my school teacher job to join him here. Our house in NC is on the market, and we are thankfully renting here. For the first month we were in shock. We wanted to retire early, but were not quite ready for this.

Any advice from others?
First, figure out where you want to live. Do you want to move back to NC? If that is the case, you should take the house off the market. Identify if you have sufficient funding to retire. If not, return to the work force.

Hang in there - sometime a setback may turn out to be an opportunity in disguise.
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Re: surprise early retirement
Old 02-22-2006, 07:11 AM   #6
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Re: surprise early retirement

First, I would go looking for a Lawyer who specialises in Illegal Dismissals .
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Re: surprise early retirement
Old 02-22-2006, 07:20 AM   #7
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Re: surprise early retirement

wow, tough break I suppose that it is an option to move back to NC (sounds better than arkansas ) I suppose you can talk to your landlord about breaking the lease and get them looking for another renter now.
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Re: surprise early retirement
Old 02-22-2006, 07:47 AM   #8
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Re: surprise early retirement

That's a bummer, arkie, but you're not alone--and this may be your ticket to a better*life. Imagine what you would be doing if you were completely free...

We're now 56, and my husband was laid off in Silicon Valley 4 years ago. I asked him if he really wanted to do it agian (hire a development team and manage it)--he said not really. And my software company had already had a couple of big layoffs so I felt insecurely employed myself. My father died the same week *, and it took me a day to decide to join my Mom & brother in South Carolina. We could've both retired and made it off of our portfolio (although I didn't know it at the time--it took me a while to find sites like this one). But my husband always thought he'd enjoy teaching and got a job as a computer science instructor at the local state college. He's very happy--with great colleagues and mostly great students, 4 months of vacation a year, no 10-hour days, a pleasant commute, and essentially no stress, he's a happy camper. I telecommuted part time until I decided to retire completely last summer. I didn't have anything in particular I wanted to do other than to be free. So far I'm doing a little volunteer work, a lot of reading, better cooking and housework, spending more time with my 80-yr-old Mom, visited one of my adult children, hosted major holiday celebrations and planned Mom's 80th birthdsay bash (a large and elaborate affair), and am helping my daughter plan her wedding here in a few months. I'm happy, but looking forward to my husband retiring so we can travel more easily to warm places in the winter (he gets a month off, but with Christmas in the middle of it, plus he needs some time to prepare for the next semester). I'm one of those married women who loves having her hubbby around the house.

So, my 2 cents' worth is...figure out what you both want to be doing, where you want to be doing it, and how you're gonna pay for it--and go for it! If you care to post some info about your investment/pension/net worth situation, there are posters standing by who can help you determine if you can afford to retire and maintain your current lifestyle, retire anyway on less, and so forth. As an example, we're living just about as well as we were in San Francisco on 25% of our former income! (I'll tell you how if you're interested.)
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Re: surprise early retirement
Old 02-22-2006, 01:05 PM   #9
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Re: surprise early retirement

We have elderly relatives and siblings in Arkansas, and would like to stay here. Our house is paid for in NC, and our 401k's and IRA's are worth almost a million. We are not old enough to draw from them though. I can get unemployment for 6 months, and possibly get a teaching job after that. We feel poor because most of our assets are not liquid.

Arkansas really is a wonderful place--truly a land of opportunity!
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Re: surprise early retirement
Old 02-22-2006, 01:12 PM   #10
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Re: surprise early retirement

Quote:
Originally Posted by arkie
We have elderly relatives and siblings in Arkansas, and would like to stay here.* Our house is paid for in NC, and our 401k's and IRA's are worth almost a million.* We are not old enough to draw from them though.* I can get unemployment for 6 months, and possibly get a teaching job after that.* We feel poor because most of our assets are not liquid.

Arkansas really is a wonderful place--truly a land of opportunity!

Ah, but here is where you are in luck! The tax code contains a provision that allows you to tap your IRA before normal retirement age without paying penalties. Naturally there are some hoops to jump through, but its not that big a deal. Here is a nice summary reference: http://www.retireearlyhomepage.com/wdraw59.html

I'm also going to guess that AK is a pretty cheap place to live, right? How much dough would you get if you sold the NC house and either rented or bought an inexpensive home in AK? Enough to carry you a long way, possibly indefinately if you supplemented it with some work?

You have been given an opportunity in your layoff. Time to at least explore your options and think creatively.
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Re: surprise early retirement
Old 02-22-2006, 02:21 PM   #11
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Re: surprise early retirement

Brewer posted about taking early withdrawls from an IRA. It also appears you have a 401k. If the 401(k) is with your current employer and you resign in the year you turn 55, there is no 10% penalty, only the tax. Your other option is to rollover the 401k into an IRA and then take distributions under rule 72t as Brewer describes. The applicable IRS publication is 575. http://www.irs.gov/publications/p575
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Re: surprise early retirement
Old 02-22-2006, 04:02 PM   #12
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Re: surprise early retirement

Quote:
I'm also going to guess that AK is a pretty cheap place to live, right? How much dough would you get if you sold the NC house and either rented or bought an inexpensive home in AK?
Off topic, but...

...just remember that Arkansas is AR and that AK is Alaska. This is something I can never forget. 6 years after moving from Arkansas we found out they had a lein on me for over 10K in back income taxes. It took over two years for me to convince the AR Department of Revenues that my pay statements read AK as my state of legal residence. Getting the error entirely off the credit bureau ratings (rather than just "lein is forgiven") was a different battle.

We really enjoyed AR. Lots of great backpacking/hiking/camping, especially in the NW portion of the state. I've always wanted to go back and take a look at the Fayetteville area.

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Re: surprise early retirement
Old 02-22-2006, 04:14 PM   #13
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Re: surprise early retirement

I'm glad to hear all the good things about Arkansas. I moved here 13 years ago (after being born, raised and living in Southern California my entire life) to start our business, and I wouldn't move back to CA for love or money. Arkansas is a wonderful place to raise a family, and the natural beauty of the state is breathtaking.

One of these days I'll update my ER story. Too busy enjoying semi retirement now!

Thanks
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Re: surprise early retirement
Old 03-07-2006, 07:48 AM   #14
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Re: surprise early retirement

Sorry Arkie, it took awhile, but I split off the political discussion into a new topic.
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Re: surprise early retirement
Old 03-07-2006, 07:59 AM   #15
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Re: surprise early retirement

Back on topic, whilst waiting to not be chosen for a jury last week, a fellow prospective juror was discussing an acquaintance who had moved away from DFW, Collin Co. specifically, who bought an equivalent home in the Hot Springs area of Ark, and was paying $700/yr. property taxes...

Bit cheaper than here...
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Re: surprise early retirement
Old 03-13-2006, 09:12 PM   #16
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Re: surprise early retirement

Especially in the case of Arkansas (and Tennessee), in my limited experience, try it before you buy it. Not for everybody, but some like it fine.
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