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Thinking about when to RE
Old 12-18-2015, 11:31 AM   #1
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Thinking about when to RE

Hello all.

I discovered this site a couple of days ago, and registered yesterday to really give it a go. I noticed that a lot of users hung around as a guest for a long time before signing up, but I thought it was important to post as part of the experience.

Regarding my user name: I am not a doctor in either sense; thatís just my initials. It is something that a work friend called me and I went with it.

The background story: I am a very happily married (33 yrs.), empty-nested, mid 50ís chemical engineer. Our 2 adult sons (late 20ís) share an apartment nearby. We own our home and have no debt. We like to travel, and regularly vacation around the US, Canada, and Europe. My favorite hobby is photography, which I mostly do on these trips. I sometimes like to collect things, and have been through phases of acquiring coins, glass paperweights, and rock/mineral specimens.

My VDW stopped working a few months ago. She doesnít call it retirement, but does not want to go back to work either. She was a part-time bank teller for the last 10 years, but after the second bank takeover, the new company had a policy that she could no longer take unpaid time off to travel. That was unacceptable to both of us, and because we didnít need the income, she quit.

I have a secure, long-time job with good pay and a lot of independence, but after working 34 years I am getting tired of the stressful periods. We are discussing when I should retire. Iím eligible for a modest pension that would cover 3/8 of our desired income, and retirement medical. I have always practiced LBYM, even before it had a name. We have never needed a budget, and over the years I first saved 10-20% of my income, spent less than the rest, and then saved the leftover too. We now have a fortunate portfolio of investments that are currently 75% indexed funds/ETFs and 25% bonds & cash. Due to my age, the pension would be slightly reduced. If I wait another year and a half, it will peak out and provide another 3% of our target income, so that is in a sense free $ to wait.

Our default position is for me to keep working to full pension, and DW is not quite ready to give up the security of the paycheck (Iím not sure I am either). Even so, FIRECalc gives us 100%. I have a friend who retired before his full pension with a smaller nest egg than me and is quite pleased that he did. I can make up the balance of our target income with a <2% draw on the portfolio.

Thatís my story, and I am looking to exchange thoughts with others that have similar interests or experiences including photography, travel, investing for income instead of growth, and making that RE decision.
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Old 12-18-2015, 11:50 AM   #2
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Looking good. With no debt, you can do it. Congrats. If you can't wait a year, then you can retire now. If you wait a year, then you could always postpone it for another year and then another year. And it drags on. If you feel like you have enough to retire on now, maybe you should seriously consider it.
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Old 12-18-2015, 12:52 PM   #3
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Welcome, DrRoy, and congratulations on being FI. That's really the goal here because once you are FI you can RE on your own terms when you are ready, and only you will know when that is. If you haven't already, you might read one or more of Ernie Zelinski's books about retirement - How to Retire Happy Wild and Free (or something like that) and The Joy of Not Working are the two mentioned most often here. Also you may want to consider what kind of notice period you would like to give (there are several threads on this, you can search for "notice"). Finally, you may want to check out some of the "OMY" (one more year) threads so that you can avoid that dread disease.

We'll look forward to your contributions, particularly in the photography and travel threads!
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Old 12-18-2015, 01:23 PM   #4
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It seems to me that if your WR is less than 2% then the ultimate effect of your continuing to work is simply to further enrich your heirs and charities.

Wouldn't you rather spend time doing what you want and having fun?
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Old 12-18-2015, 05:03 PM   #5
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Welcome to posting!

If you retire today, is retiree medical there for you? Or does it vest in the year and one-half?

If it is there for you now, there seems to be no economic reason to continue working. But, as long as you enjoy it more than traveling and photography, there is no reason to stop. (DW is budding photographer, particularly underwater. We differ from you mainly in not having retiree medical or insurance; thus, we are working to top off our portfolio and make sure that her replacement is on board for her medical group before we start traveling in earnest.)
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Old 12-18-2015, 05:25 PM   #6
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Welcome! It sounds like you've built a steady foundation and are FI and ready to RE whenever you want. I can understand the desire to max out the pension, particularly if it's not that long and you still mostly enjoy your job, but I can also see the risk of OMY syndrome. I suspect you'll know when the time is right for you, and it definitely sounds like you have a number of interests you'll want to pursue with your free time.

I hope you continue to post - I'm looking forward to hearing more about this next stage.
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Old 12-18-2015, 06:00 PM   #7
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Welcome. I'm sure you will find a lot of information (mostly good) that will interest you on this board.

Over time, I've seen posts of most of the things you are interested in. Investing of course is a major focus and many issues/topics are discussed daily. Since you are interested in travel, I suspect you have already found the travel section of this forum. If not, check it out. Also hobbies like photography and coin collecting are discussed from time to time. Would be happy to hear about the type of coin collecting you are interested in (as a collector myself).
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Old 12-18-2015, 06:08 PM   #8
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Welcome DrRoy
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Old 12-19-2015, 05:15 AM   #9
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Car-Guy, the main part of my coin collection is a fairly decent US type set. I also have a smattering of Canadian and British types, State proof quarters, silver rounds on a space exploration theme, a few of the new 5 oz America the Beautiful, etc.
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Old 12-19-2015, 08:19 AM   #10
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Car-Guy, the main part of my coin collection is a fairly decent US type set. I also have a smattering of Canadian and British types, State proof quarters, silver rounds on a space exploration theme, a few of the new 5 oz America the Beautiful, etc.
Excellent.... Some years ago, I put together a complete Type set of US coins minted in the 20th century. All PCGS slabbed with an average grade of ~MS 63. It's probably my favorite set and it can be built relatively easy and inexpensively. My main focus these days are certified Morgan CC's.

It's a great hobby and I'm happy to discuss anytime (open forum or PM)
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Old 12-19-2015, 11:37 AM   #11
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Welcome to the Forum. According to what you described financial status you are ready and can pull the plug any time you want to.
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Old 12-19-2015, 12:23 PM   #12
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If I wait another year and a half, [the pension] will peak out and provide another 3% of our target income, so that is in a sense free $ to wait.
I don't think you should look at it as "free money". There is a definite cost to waiting, since you'll be sacrificing many days of greater freedom and lower stress in order to get that extra 3%. Ask yourself, what is the opportunity cost of continuing to work for an additional 18 months? Might be hard to put an exact dollar amount on it, but it's far more than $0.
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Old 12-19-2015, 12:28 PM   #13
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I don't think you should look at it as "free money". There is a definite cost to waiting, since you'll be sacrificing many days of greater freedom and lower stress in order to get that extra 3%. Ask yourself, what is the opportunity cost of continuing to work for an additional 18 months? Might be hard to put an exact dollar amount on it, but it's far more than $0.
+1 . It is a lot easier to tack years onto the beginning of your retirement than on to the end and they are much better years. You can't totally control your or your DW's health, but you can hedge your bets.
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Old 12-19-2015, 12:35 PM   #14
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Welcome to the forum, and congratulations on being FI. You are only working because you want to. Think about that, and some of the suggestions here. We are obviously biased to being retired and not working, but there are many experienced folks with good advice and wisdom.
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Old 12-21-2015, 01:36 PM   #15
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I also have a very firm intention of seeing if I could go to a 3 day work week with 6 months to go. It would give me time to build up activities for RE.
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Old 12-21-2015, 04:39 PM   #16
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I think only you can determine the date.

I suspect it will either come to you one these days and you will be ready to walk.

If it doesn't then you probably are not ready. Revert to the penalty free pension date.
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Old 12-21-2015, 06:09 PM   #17
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I wanted to add to the welcome committee. Welcome!

I kept thinking I'd stay at work till various milestones were reached - even though Firecalc and every other calculator said I was good. One day I realized I didn't want to be there (at work) anymore. Some have described it as having 2 buckets... one in each hand... One has your money, the other is the BS from work. When either get full enough - it's time to retire.
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Old 03-31-2016, 01:52 PM   #18
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So, an update. I keep pondering my situation (1st post above), and I have decided a few things. First, I am going to forget the part time option. When I leave Megacorp, I want the phone to stop ringing completely, not just do so less. Also, it is not necessary to get the last dime out of the pension which peaks out next year in July. In June 2017 we already have plans to visit Yosemite, and I don't want any phone calls then either. The year's bonus pays in March, so it would be nice to have that as a sendoff. That leaves me to declare that today is my first and only OMY and I will be Class of 2017 next March 31.
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Old 03-31-2016, 01:58 PM   #19
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Congrats, Dr Roy.

As someone who is now PT, you have a good point. I did it to make sure I wanted to ER and ease into it. However, even with PT there are many hassles that carry over to the days off. Thus I'll be fully ER'ing next year.
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Old 04-01-2016, 08:20 AM   #20
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DrRoy,

I'm in a similar situation to you. I'm in IT, tired of the game, tired of being on call. There aren't that many callouts in my department, but, even if you don't get many calls, it is still draining, since you never know what catastrophe is lurking around the corner.

I also thought about the PT option (my company has a formal plan for pre-retiree PT), but decided against it. My department is so ridiculously understaffed, after so many downsizings, that PT would not go over well. Plus, I'd still be on call. And even when I'm off work, unwelcome thoughts of work keep popping up in my mind. I can't make them stop!!! So my days off if working PT would still have that "overhanging work component".

So I decided to do full time until the end. The planets seem to align for me next spring. I'll then have 35 years of relatively high earnings for SS (the SS magic number), bonus pays out, accrued vac takes me to mid-year (works out well for taxes, since the last half of the year is taxed more heavily than the first half).
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