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Avoiding OMY Syndrome Article
Old 08-11-2013, 08:19 AM   #1
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Avoiding OMY Syndrome Article

The following article that makes suggestions on how to avoid one-more-year syndrome. It doesn't contain information that has not already been posted here, but provides a good summary.
How to Avoid Working One More Year - On Retirement (usnews.com)
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Old 08-11-2013, 12:35 PM   #2
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Here's one. It's in the archives as well.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 08-11-2013, 04:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_by_the_Bay View Post
Here's one. It's in the archives as well.
Oh My !

I saw my old post in that link from 2006 describing my angst of retirement. Here I I am, some seven and a half years later and I'm still working with no immediate plans to retire. Is there a seven and half year syndrome !

Rich, Thanks for posting that link
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Old 08-11-2013, 10:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
Oh My !

I saw my old post in that link from 2006 describing my angst of retirement. Here I I am, some seven and a half years later and I'm still working with no immediate plans to retire. Is there a seven and half year syndrome !

Rich, Thanks for posting that link
Yes - a trip down memory lane. I tapered from work then ultimately quit in 2010. That thread was among the most oinfluential for me.
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:27 PM   #5
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Thank you for linking that thread. It was one of the first threads I read when I joined this forum, and I thought it was excellent -- filled with great contributions and stories.
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Old 08-12-2013, 12:58 PM   #6
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The thing about the article hiker88 linked is that, while reasonable, it covers only the financial issues. Rich's thread is much broader. The reason I liked it so much -- found it so useful to read -- was that it talked about health issues and how little time some of us have left. We like to delude ourselves that we'll live to 80 or 90. Well, maybe, but fact is, no one knows when they will die, and plenty of us will die before we hit 70. Given my family and personal history, I suspect I may be one of them.

So to me, the thread was a wake up call: seize the year. I may have only 10 or 15 healthy ones left; heck, I may not even have that. Is putting in another year on a stressful job really worth the money? Is it worth sacrificing a sizeable percentage of my remaining life, for a little extra money? This is where Joe Dominguez' book title really applies -- your money or your life. When it comes to money, when is enough enough? When you have stockpiles of gold sufficient to fend off any potential catastrophe? What about all those stories of people who worked and saved, only to drop dead in their 50s or 60s? What if I'm one of them?

I concluded that while it would be a unfortunate to retire prematurely, it would be a tragedy to retire too late. The former would mean (for example) that you might have to cut expenses or go back to work. The latter would mean you sacrificed years of retirement freedom for a little extra money, only to die or be derailed by serious health problems before you could enjoy that retirement. I would have some painful deathbed regrets about that decision. They say no one, on their deathbed, wishes they would've worked more. I wonder how many wish they would've worked less.
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Old 08-12-2013, 01:46 PM   #7
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My wife and I were already in progress with making Apr 1, 2014 the day. Then we decided to move forward with a retirement home that is double the expected budget (it was the only way we were BOTH going to be happy. Either one of us could have been happy individually for half the money). So, one more year at least, maybe two. The idea is that 100% of this income can go towards the house, as we were not planning on earning it anyway.
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Old 08-12-2013, 02:41 PM   #8
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Only recently pulled the plug to ER, but found this very useful as a reminder to stamp down those few lingering doubts. How much $$ is "enough"? How much stress/BS is "too much"? NO j#b has the right to suck the life blood out of ya!!!
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Old 08-12-2013, 10:25 PM   #9
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I'm wrestling with OMY (or 2MY) as I hoped to have kids' college savings in good shape by the time I hang up on work. It also makes me nervous to be just so barely over the threshold I set for retirement savings when markets are at record highs. It feels like self selecting for retiring at a market top is adding risk to the plan.

Then today I learned that a friend's father in law slipped and fell, broke a bone, caught pneumonia in the hospital and died in less than a week. Went from working around the house to invalid instantly without warning and passed away only days later. Anecdotal, but still a reminder that I don't know how many years are left, so think carefully before spending one (or more) of them working.
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:32 PM   #10
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Not to diminish job burn-out or mortality issues...

But I wonder, looking back on that old thread from 2006. Many of the posters were on the lower cusp of their FIRE number and (apparently) chose to retire. I wonder how many of them would have changed their mind if they knew that in less than 2 years the markets would crater during the Great Recession.

That would have been very stressful for me and (I suspect) many others as well. As it was, I was stressed out enough watching the nestegg crack while gainfully employed.
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:54 AM   #11
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I happened to quit "cold turkey" last year, after I rushed home from a trip because my son came down with a life-threatening infection. I then realized life was so precious, and I was getting old enough that things might happen to me although I had been healthy.

It was easy for me, because I was working sporadically and part-time anyway, but I can see how a person may have a harder time leaving a full-time job. It would be too abrupt a change.
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Old 08-13-2013, 05:28 AM   #12
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It was easy for me. I could see that things at my last job were going to go downhill so I and 18 others left at the same time.

Interestingly, I've talked with a couple of guys since then who stayed and I'm sure glad I left and had the freedom to do so! The culture at the new company that took over the contract is that people are expendable commodities who shouldn't expect restroom breaks or (gasp!) meal breaks. They're all working 6 or 7 day weeks and 12-hour shifts.

No problem at all for me to avoid OMY under those circumstances.
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Old 08-13-2013, 07:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
Oh My !

I saw my old post in that link from 2006 describing my angst of retirement. Here I I am, some seven and a half years later and I'm still working with no immediate plans to retire. Is there a seven and half year syndrome !

Rich, Thanks for posting that link
I thought I was the poster boy for OMY.

When I first found the forum, I had just lost my "important" job and had found a contract position paying about half of my prior salary. I was pretty down on my future. With what I found here and elsewhere, I discovered that I had enough money to retire although it was not with much extra left in the budget.

My employment life soon got much better. I was soon making more than the job I lost in 2002 without the stress and the 24/7 responsibilities. Since 2006, I've been paid piles of money to do usually interesting and challenging activities. Everyone is pleasant. I can pick my hours although I think I might have some problems if I only picked 20 hours per week.

Every year I continue, my potential future retirement spending leaps upward. I now have more than enough for retiring at 120% of my current after tax salary with a 3% withdrawl rate.

Clearly, money should not be the issue but there is always the nagging "what if" floating around in my head. I remember calculating when I first got out of college that if I ever could save $200,000 I would be set financially for life. What if my current stash sounds that silly in a few years?

I have loyalty to my current boss who really took a chance on me. He's primarily responsible for me having the chance to prove I could do what I do. Hence the easy money without much personal angst or effort. If I left, he'd have a hole to fill and we have plenty of clients to keep everyone busy. It would be so much simpler if he'd just retire. He's 68!

I have enough accumulated PTO to literally walk out the last week of September and be paid through the end of the year. So, I am once more in the decision process of OMY - to be or not to be.

So, on I go. The SERP payout makes it advantageous to leave at the first of the year. The next month is my decision period.
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Old 08-13-2013, 08:16 AM   #14
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Since I decided to put a stake in the ground and target next year for ER, the OMY syndrome has definitely increased for me.

Pert of me feels working for a few more years would be nice. I enjoy my job field (IT consulting/support). My salary is well above what we need to live so raises don't matter anymore. Our biggest known expense is our youngest child starting college this fall, and it would be nice to cover that cost from salary without ever having to touch savings (even though we do have college money saved for this). It is also nice to be able to help others at a whim, and not worry about unanticipated expenses having much of an impact.

On the other, and bigger hand... DW and I are both is good health and physical shape now - but nothing is guaranteed. We bought have lost friends who went from good health to major/sudden illness and died before reaching 60. There's not much history on my side as my Dad was an orphan and from another country, but he lived until his early 70s - never spend a day in the hospital for anything until he got cancer and then was gone six months after the diagnosis. So conservatively I'm giving myself the same time (but planning for longer) - and if I have just 17 years of good health left I'd rather be doing things that I choose to do.

While I enjoy my work, the quantity and demands to keep "raising the bar" are now getting to me. There seems to be an increasing number of "directors" - folks building presentations, setting strategy, making promises, etc. - and fewer and fewer "doers" like me - folks who actually are implementing and carrying out things. I was on a conference on a situation where, of the 10 people on the call, just me and another person hand direct hands on experience with the situation while the 8 others where there to get updates and "strategize". I pointed out "do you realize if there where 8 of us who could work on this and 2 of us 'strategizing' how much more productive we would be?" No one disagreed - but no one else stepped to become a "doer", suddenly it was "those skills are hard to get".

So OMY is there, but I'd say "only" at the 35% level... we'll see what happens.
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Old 08-13-2013, 10:22 AM   #15
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This is the hardest decision about ER for all the reasons described in each posting, including the archived post:
Quote:
Here's one. It's in the archives as well.
The closer you get, the harder the decision gets unless life knocks you upside the head and makes the decision for you.

For me, the decision became clear when I ran the numbers for benefits from employer. The magic happens at the 30-year mark. On that magic day, my pension jumps another $300 a month, COLA'd for life. So, I picked that day (December 1, 2014).

Picking the day to RE was the best thing for my mental health that I've done in a very long time.

But, how do you pick that day? Even though it seems painfully obvious to me now, it didn't for years 'cause all I wanted to do was quit my stupid, stressful j*b that was killing me.

A comment from the article (posted on Yahoo Finance at: How to Avoid Working One More Year - Yahoo! Finance) pointed out this important info that may help others pick their RE day:

Quote:
be clear on all the "magic numbers" contained in your companies benefit plan. Like working 30 years instead of 29 with your company in order to max your pension. Or if you're 59 and you need to be 60 to get your full pension besides in addition to having the correct total number of years employed for that pension.. Our, on the off chance you can retire at 54, that you could still get company paid health care if you stay until age 55. Or waiting to retire at 62 instead of 61 so you can start SSI, if that makes sense for you. The 59 1/2 year rule for IRAs. There can be quite a few things where and extra year can make a sizable difference. I'm 58 with 27 years at the same company and you can bet I'm not retiring, unless I have too, until I hit 30 years employment and 60 years of age, so a little over two years of extra employment makes a big difference even though if necessary I could retire now.
Review your "magic numbers" and pick a day to quit! Life gets much happier after you do.
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Old 08-13-2013, 11:22 AM   #16
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IMHO- Those "magic numbers" for corp pensions/benefits make the OMY Syndrome easier to manage by offering a logical ER target date. If you have no corp pension or retirement benefits, once you reach FI one arbitrary ER date becomes no different than another. The "Inertia Syndrome" can set in and lots of good years can slip by before you know it. My FP said he posed a big question to his clients fortunate enough to achieve FI..... "If you knew you had a year left to live, would you spend it at w#rk?"
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Old 08-13-2013, 11:55 AM   #17
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No OMY Syndrome here. I have to get closer to age 62, for SS reasons and pension reasons. I wouldn't be comfortable with the WR I'd need without that extra income.

However, my BS bucket is pretty full, and there is also some doubt that the grant money that pays my salary will hold out that long, so it could be earlier, but likely NOT later.
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Old 08-13-2013, 12:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
It was easy for me. I could see that things at my last job were going to go downhill so I and 18 others left at the same time.

Interestingly, I've talked with a couple of guys since then who stayed and I'm sure glad I left and had the freedom to do so! The culture at the new company that took over the contract is that people are expendable commodities who shouldn't expect restroom breaks or (gasp!) meal breaks. They're all working 6 or 7 day weeks and 12-hour shifts.

No problem at all for me to avoid OMY under those circumstances.
OMG! That sounds unbearable. But it begs another question....How could you afford to retire early working on the assembly line of a Chinese sweat factory?
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Old 08-13-2013, 04:58 PM   #19
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I hope that my way of avoiding OMY will be what motivated me to get serious about FI/ER in the first place.

Dad wanted to retire probably 15 years ago. He continued working for various reasons, not the least of which was a relatively paltry savings despite a pretty healthy income. Dad continued working, and was finally able to pull the plug (still working full time) two and a half years ago at age 76.

January 2013, at age 79, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, giving him a 6% chance of surviving beyond age 84, and less than 50/50 shot at seeing 2014.

Fortunately, he's had great docs, great treatment, and is getting along pretty well. I still don't know if he'll be around five years from now, but I'm much more certain that he'll be here for Christmas and beyond.

That kind of perspective helped frame my view on what I want out of life. My wife is more driven by professional ambition than I, but for now she understands and supports my mindset and our drive to ER. At age 36, I'm gunning for ER at 45, if not sooner.

The past six months have been a lot of reflection on what I want out of life, what working provides me and what it takes aaway, how I can make my money actually support my way of life (rather than my way of life having to support how I make money). I have a pretty good idea of how I'll spend my time as a retiree, and what DW and I want to do together. I hope the reflection now serves as my "mid-life crisis" and I can glide right on through to ER confident that I know what I want thanks to my dad.

Now we just have to decide if we want kids!! I hear that changes things...
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Avoiding OMY Syndrome Article
Old 08-13-2013, 10:09 PM   #20
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Avoiding OMY Syndrome Article

Look, if you are really serious about avoiding the OMY Syndrome Article, simply don't click on the link.
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