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VERY indecisive on semi-retirement
Old 12-17-2009, 12:34 PM   #1
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VERY indecisive on semi-retirement

Hi everyone. I am a 52 yr old divorced male living in Texas. I spent 38 years of formal education including two doctorates getting to the place where I am now. The problem is I hate where I am. I work as an independent contractor but I hate the place where I work. I have worked other places, but feel that I am getting to the age where don't know if I would adapt well to a new work environment. I hate where I am since I feel I get no respect, and have people who have no education, experience or training in what I do, trying to tell me what to do, or not respecting what I think needs to be done. On the other hand, I earn a very good stable income, and am frightened to lose the security of this income. These opposing factors pull me in differing directions on an hourly basis.

I want to semi-retire ASAP so that I can do the things I like. These include seeing my 11 year old son more who lives in another state half-way across the country, and traveling to places I love, or places I would love to go to. When I semi-retire, I could do part-time work, and pick and choose where and when to work. Ideally, I would like to keep my current large home in Texas (300K equity and balance of 56K), and puchase another home perhaps in Las Vegas which is driving distance to my son (he lives in CA but dont want to pay CA 10% income tax) .

The financial facts are the follows:
500K retirement assets (414K cash and the remainder equities (indiv. stocks/mutual funds)
500K investment assets (200K cash and the remainder equities)
The reason that I have so much cash is that I have a strong belief that the stock market is going to re-crater. Further as a hedge, I am investing as follows:

130K/year retirement contributions to purchasing equities/mutal funds.
100K/year investment contributions to purchasing equities/mutal funds.

I have no credit card debt, and make payments of 2500/mo to my mortgage, and 1700/mo child support. No other debt/obligations.

I am torn on a daily basis between simply quitting where I am, and do temp work where I could make 300K/year full time, or going perhaps part-time and earn less, and cut back on saving.

I think that I am scared of losing luxury of having a high income, but know that money does not buy happiness. In the past year, I planned to get to 2 million assets (which I think I could achieve in the next two years perhaps) but my frustration level at work makes it almost unbearable for me. With my current 1 million in savings, I think I will not starve as long as I dont touch it for 10 years, and I work half-time or more. This would allow me to quit my current job, and do alot more of what I want to do
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Old 12-17-2009, 02:17 PM   #2
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Check out for a few days with a basic pad of paper and a pencil, draw a line down the middle of it and label them Pro's and Con's. After a few days without others noise the answer should be clear and if not then flip a coin. Take some time once decision is made to mentally try it on. Even once you move on in life, it is still ok to change your mind or direction. It's your life and you only get one, happiness comes in many many forms.
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Old 12-17-2009, 05:02 PM   #3
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Agree with crazy connie, but I'll add one thing. When my daughter was 11 she moved halfway across the country with her mom. I didn't cut to part time until much later, but I did set my job up where I could telecommute and have flexible hours. The penalty is that I essentially stalled my career and knew it would be tough to move forward out of there. No advancement, and as it turns out, no raises.

That was 9 years ago. I don't regret that decision one bit. I have a great relationship with my daughter and shared a lot of great times with her. You can never get those years back.

That was my situation. Yours sounds somewhat similar but I'm sure there are differences that could make for a different decision.
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:12 PM   #4
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I wanna know what kind of temp work you can get for $300k a year?? ....or was that $30k a year?

R
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rambler View Post
I wanna know what kind of temp work you can get for $300k a year?? ....or was that $30k a year?

R
Me too. I'm retired, but I might consider going back to temp work for half that amount of money...

eh....the $300k that is....
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:58 PM   #6
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I had similar qualms about quitting my corporate job years ago. The pay was petty good, but the stress and the hours not so much. I worked too many hours to keep the job and raise a family, so I ended up quitting the job. But it was a really scary decision to make at the time and it meant doubling our family size and having our income cut in half.

Eventually we ended up starting a home business that now makes more than my corporate job would have for a small fraction of the hours and a tiny fraction of the stress. A lot of the other people in my field start out by working on their businesses in their spare time and keeping their day jobs. It is tough having two jobs for awhile, but when the side businesses start to make more than the day job, or at least enough to live on, they quit the day jobs. It is just one approach to consider to gently ease into a new career.
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Thanks to all
Old 12-18-2009, 08:24 AM   #7
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Thanks to all

I have alot of suspicion about people in general, but at the same time, I am also very impressed when people give of their time with no expectation of gain. Therefore thanks to all who gave me their perspective.

As I mentioned, 38 years of education has given me a combination of certifications, licenses, and degress, that allows me to earn top dollar, so that I can earn $300,000 a year doing temporary jobs (assuming I do it for most of the year).

Happy holidays to all!!
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:18 AM   #8
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You're like most people. All we can give you is rules of thumb, not a definitive answer. Much like supply vs demand, only you can know the equilibrium for your personal:
  • annual expenses
  • net worth
  • job dissatisfaction
  • unknowns
I suspect we all ultimately determine "when" based on when job dissatisfaction crosses with our incremental expenses/financial security in one way or another. Even though our focus is on "the number," in the end the number is more elastic than the job factor. For most people it seems like a net worth of 25X annual expenses is a decent rule of thumb.

I just had a long term employee (who had been talking about retiring for the past 5 years) retire even though his net worth had dropped in the past two years, the job dissatisfaction finally became too much and he concluded "it's time." He finally reached the point where he didn't care about more money/security - at all. But none of us could have called that for him...
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Old 12-18-2009, 01:59 PM   #9
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I am torn on a daily basis between simply quitting where I am, and do temp work where I could make 300K/year full time, or going perhaps part-time and earn less, and cut back on saving.
If you are sure you could make $300K a year doing temp work, be able to see your son, and you hate your current job why wouldn't you just go that route?

We are going to a funeral soon for a teenager. Stuff happens and life can be short. If it were me time with my son would be my priority over money and a job I hated.
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Old 12-18-2009, 05:26 PM   #10
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If you can make 300k doing temp work and have more time to visit your son, it sounds like a "no brainer" to me.

For a 2nd home, I'd go frugal though. Maybe a very small condo. You don't need much. Just a pad to sleep in and in a decent area so it will increase over time when you are ready to sell.
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Old 12-18-2009, 05:28 PM   #11
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Also, no job, no matter how much pay, is worth it if you are miserable. You can take it for awhile, but I'd be looking for the way out. When it presents itself, and they always do.... bolt.

God Speed!
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Old 12-18-2009, 06:22 PM   #12
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To some degree, I've been in your shoes. Twenty five years ago I quit a well paying corporate job because of reasons similar to yours. Looking back, here's my quick answer to a couple of your questions: 1) If you hate what you are doing, find out what you like and do that. DO NOT become captive to circumstances or a situation that you find undesirable. Life is much too short. 2) Family comes first. Work comes second. Without family and/or a life focus, work is largely meaningless. 3) With your credentials and assets, you should take a calculated risk to achieve your goals. You are in a perfect position to do exactly what YOU want to do. Just be confident in yourself and it will work out just fine.

I have never regretted for a moment my decision to put hard firm rules for life and business in place - and then structure my activities around those rules. As a point of reflection, for the past 25 years, I've never had a backlog of work for more than 6 months long. A very humbling and focusing situation; I did that by design. I never wanted a long term "lock up" contract, because it creates a one-contract dependency that is entrapping (and has some serious IRS implications). During that time I earned multiples more than I could earn as a corporate employee. BTW I'm now financially independent, exceeding my net asset target by multiples - all accomplished from my work, not from investing in the Las Vegas crap shoot called the Stock Market.

Hope this helps.
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Update on my plans
Old 12-18-2009, 09:00 PM   #13
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Update on my plans

Today I started to look for a subcontractor to take my place at my current job (that I hate). I actually got alot more response than I expected. In a way it makes me wonder again if it is a good idea to leave my position now, when it appears that others are willing to step in (at less money) .

So the plan is too subcontract out my job and do vacation coverage for my subcontractor. I can still make almost 150K with this arrangement (because I am paying the subcontractor less than what I get paid). I want to save 50K/yr for retirement, and live on 100K.

As soon as I pay off my house, I will buy one in Nevada which is closer to my son. I can work temporary jobs to supplement income, or pay for travel, or pay off my house sooner.

Lastly, if I cant cut it at the lower income, or I get bored out of my mind, or whatever, I still can return to my old position.
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Old 12-18-2009, 11:23 PM   #14
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Follow your gut as people are more important than accumulating more financial gains.

However, the only thing that concerns me is your financial situation. Have you worked out how much you spend a year? Reason I question this is you seem to have high income but relative to that income not as much savings as I would expect to see. I know you say you can earn $300k temping but you may find it harder to be motivated to work 52 weeks of the year once you take some time off and spend time with your son.
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Yes I have Lived the life
Old 12-20-2009, 10:21 AM   #15
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Yes I have Lived the life

Yes you are right, I do not have as much money saved as I should based on my income. On the other hand I can say, at least for my expectations, I have lived the life. Fast cars, romance found and lost, travel. Yes it all was expensive, but to tell you the truth, I think I still would do it all again.
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Old 12-20-2009, 01:50 PM   #16
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When I was younger I spent too much money. Part of my rationale at the time was that I would buy the things and do things now that I wanted and that there would come a time when I wouldn't want those things and could, in retirement, be content with lowering my lifestyle. Not to an unpleasant point, of course, but just not high consumption.

And, thankfully, at 55, that is how it has shaken out. I am spending much less and have less desire for the "things" that I wanted when I was younger. And less desire for certain experiences. And, most of my interests are not as expensive. For that reason I feel comfortable with retiring expecting our gross income to be about 30% of our pre-retirement gross income.
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Old 12-22-2009, 08:51 AM   #17
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I spent 38 years of formal education including two doctorates getting to the place where I am now. The problem is I hate where I am.


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Today I started to look for a subcontractor to take my place at my current job (that I hate). I actually got alot more response than I expected. In a way it makes me wonder again if it is a good idea to leave my position now, when it appears that others are willing to step in (at less money) .
That sort of thinking is common, but do your best to avoid the trap. Just because many people want what you have doesn't mean that it is right for you.
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