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Old 10-28-2007, 01:25 PM   #1
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Hi everyone. I retired last year at age 55 after working 34 years in business. I spent the last 18 years as an international finance executive moving my family every years with little time to do anything else in my life. My children are now on their own, and as I didn't have the desire to accumulate more things, I was confident that my wife and I could live off our investments.

Having now been retired for over a year, I miss the interaction with my business collegues, but am very happy with my decision. Having finally settled in one place, my wife is now pursuing her calling as an inter-faith minister, I'm becoming more involved in my local community, am in the best physical shape of my adult life, and we both have all the time we want to spend with our first grandchild.

I do have some views that I want to share in the forum, as I see many of my friends making two major mistakes that keep them financially insecure. First, having their personal identity being so tied into their titles/careers, and second, their myopic approach to investing.

I look forward to learning and sharing with others who have or are contemplating moving to their 'second life'.
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Old 10-28-2007, 02:34 PM   #2
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Welcome Grandpa!

I never really thought about my personal identity being to tied up with my career identity. But I think I have suffered some of that, looking back on the past 10 months of retirement. I maintain an office at my old job, a perk as an "of counsel" lawyer. Late last week I spent a few hours in my office and helped a few people out who were overwhelmed with work. There was a nice feeling about coming in, deciding what to do with an issue, telling everyone what I thought, and being respected for it. It was a nice ego boost. But I sure wouldn't want to go back to working day in and day out!
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Old 10-28-2007, 02:35 PM   #3
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Welcome, and congrats on your early retirement! Sounds like you're in a good place. I too see a lot of people making their career their primary identity, and it's certainly not something I'd want to do myself. Curious, what do you see as examples of myopic investing?
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Old 10-28-2007, 04:38 PM   #4
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One of the best bits of advice I ever got as a young employee was to "never confuse WHAT you do with WHO you are." In other words, don't identify yourself solely by your job as one day that will go away...

I have a neighbor who has been retired for probably ten years. When I first met him, he handed me his old business card on which he had carefully printed "retired" after his old title. I thought it odd at the time, but soon learned that his job WAS his identity, even a decade later. How sad.
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:05 AM   #5
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Welcome Grandpa!

I never really thought about my personal identity being to tied up with my career identity. But I think I have suffered some of that, looking back on the past 10 months of retirement. I maintain an office at my old job, a perk as an "of counsel" lawyer. Late last week I spent a few hours in my office and helped a few people out who were overwhelmed with work. There was a nice feeling about coming in, deciding what to do with an issue, telling everyone what I thought, and being respected for it. It was a nice ego boost. But I sure wouldn't want to go back to working day in and day out!
I understand completely. I went in for a few hours yesterday to work with my replacement. Will work off an on for the next 3-4 months. Kind of nice knowing that I'm respected for my opinion, plus seeing all my old friends is nice. I'm sure I will always be in touch with them, but glad I'm not working everyday.

Time to get ready to go play golf. Oh yes, Welcome Grandpa!
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:29 AM   #6
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What's so 'wrong' with someone identifying with their career? What if they were really proud (or even moderately pleased) with their accomplishments? I agree, it should not be the only thing that 'defines' someone. You don't want your eulogy to be 'he went to the office, ummm, that's all folks'.

I see a few sigs or names that reference a military career. Why add that if one was not proud of the affiliation and 'identify' with it, to a degree?

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Old 10-30-2007, 08:44 AM   #7
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If you are the boss or the Big-Shot, you just may be surprised after you retire, that nobody laughs at your jokes anymore !

I agree with Acheiver51: "Don't confuse what you do with who you are"

I am not my job
I am not my car
I am not where I live
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:53 AM   #8
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Welcome

Welcome to the board. I am a new member myself and find most information very useful.

I am soon to be retired and quite frankly am a little concerned about the lack of interaction with business associates. I have never felt my career was the only thing that identified me; however, it has nevertheless been a very important part of my life and who I am. I worry a bit about how I will get that ego boost that a job oftentimes give us.

I suppose that is the challenge and joy of retirement - finding some other channel that can shape who you are.
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Old 10-30-2007, 10:30 AM   #9
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One of the best bits of advice I ever got as a young employee was to "never confuse WHAT you do with WHO you are." In other words, don't identify yourself solely by your job as one day that will go away...

I have a neighbor who has been retired for probably ten years. When I first met him, he handed me his old business card on which he had carefully printed "retired" after his old title. I thought it odd at the time, but soon learned that his job WAS his identity, even a decade later. How sad.
Next time you are on the highway, take a look at the number of cars advertising where they "have been" in life. Seems a lot of people identify with jobs or prior experiences in life and their cars have become advertisements. "Schools", "military", "unions", and on and on. I guess it's hard to live life looking forward rather than looking back.
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Old 10-30-2007, 01:20 PM   #10
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Hey, I understand being proud of what you've accomplished during a career. After all, those 20, 30, 40 years comprise a huge part of your life. I know that I look back on my career with a sense of accomplishment and a feeling that I did the best job I could. Now, I'm looking forward to the next, new stage in my life.

In my neighbor's case, however, I get the distinct impression that his career is ALL that matters. Just about every conversation ultimately turns to his old workplace, how he would handle things there today, how the place went to hell after he left, etc. He confided that he used to go into the office every few days to offer his advice, but got the feeling that he wasn't welcome after awhile. I find this terribly sad; it's like he can't let go -- yet he chose to retire, he was not forced out according to his wife.
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Old 10-30-2007, 05:01 PM   #11
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One of the most solidly established anthropological/health ideas is that in primates of all sorts, including humans, one's social rank is a large predictor of health and longevity. Famous examples are the Supreme Court Judges, and major symphony conductors. These people have power and prestige, and a pretty good lock on continuing both of these things.

It seems that being high in a social hierarchy lessens cortisol secretion; being low increases it. And overall, what you want is lower secretion!

An ER takes a risk when he or she retires. Often of course they are escaping a situation where others have more power over them than they have over others, or where they are often under some sort of threat. So retirement probably is a definite help here.

But you arenít going to find many Supremes or big time conductors doing the LBYM to ER.

Doctors, judges, former military can take some of their prestige with them into retirement. They may not have much clout in their old hierarchies, but the general public is likely to carry more respect for retired Dr. Jones, or Captain Smith, or Judge Jackson or Professor Patterson than if the only prefix that these folks have is Mr. or Ms.

I don't see any problem with this. People should use whatever they can to smooth their way.

Ha
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Old 10-30-2007, 05:45 PM   #12
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It seems that being high in a social hierarchy lessens cortisol secretion; being low increases it. And overall, what you want is lower secretion!
ER has lowered both my prestige and my stress. And I don't miss either.

When I was working, relationships weren't stressful, "fire drills" weren't stressful, but, man, I hated giving presentations. I would catch a cold right before every damn company meeting and board presentation.
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Old 11-03-2007, 10:09 PM   #13
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I agree with Acheiver51: "Don't confuse what you do with who you are"

I am not my job
I am not my car
I am not where I live

Have also seen: I am not what I own.
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Old 11-05-2007, 09:35 AM   #14
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Have also seen: I am not what I own.
Reminds me of that line from Fight Club:

"You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your f**king khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world."
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Old 11-05-2007, 04:41 PM   #15
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Frankly, I can't hardly wait to get rid of the prestige. I'm in Asia, and here, no one will get on the elevator before the Chairman does, no one gets off before the Chairman, they want to carry my briefcase for me, etc. I believe in the philosophy that a leader serves his/her troops, not the other way around. But, whenever I try to do something a little kind, like help carry the lunchboxes into a meeting room during a long and arduous budget meeting, my guys and gals all go into a frenzy that I should not be doing such a "debasing" task. For me, the little things that I do to serve my people are very meaningful to ME. I can hardly wait until I can just be me, who I am, and enjoy life without the spotlight. Rank does have its perks and desirable qualities. On the other hand, when things aren't going well, the rank brings with it a tremendous weight on one's shoulders. I'm ready to give up the perks, and the fussing of my colleagues over my rank, as well as the shoulder weights.

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