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DH's job not renewed. He's RETIRING!!
Old 03-26-2010, 08:27 PM   #1
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DH's job not renewed. He's RETIRING!!

DH lost his job on Jan 29. He has 21 years in our county's social services and another 5+ years at another county agency so with a total of 26.667 years he will be retiring as of June 1, 2010. He's in the state public employees retirement system for Ohio - OPERS. He's 54, turning 55 in April. Minimum age to retire is 55 with 25 years.

We've known the job loss was probably coming for about 18 months. Things changed at work and his misery level increased. Recently they moved most of his tasks to his boss, another dept. or a committee. He won't be replaced.

About 3 years ago my first post here Update - Buying back years of service credit (was - Hello, I'm new here) was about buying back his 5+ years from another agency that we had cashed in in 1981 in order for him to go to graduate school. We did buy back his time and know we made the right decision.

On Jan 29 they called him into the HR dept and told him his contract was not being renewed. Not a big surprise. We were very prepared. They told him that they would honor his contract which ends May 31, 2010, but that he was done. Go home, don't come back.

So he's been home since Jan 29th with full pay and full benefits until 5/31/10. He's even still accruing vacation time and sick time which will be paid out in June. He'll have 600 hours of vacation time and over 200 hours of sick time (payable at 50% of his pay rate) so this will be a nice chunk of change.

We took a trip to the state capital last month and met with a OPERS retirement counselor who verified the estimates we had calculated online and answered some of our questions.

Basically, it comes down to this. Unless he can find a job in the same pension system (or a few other state systems) and add to his years of service, there's no reason NOT to retire and take the pension. He's applied to a few counties but there are very few job postings. Anything that's publicly funded around here has been drastically cut. The recession here is pretty bad. He had one promising interview and today he got the letter saying that it's been filled.

We're taking the reduced pension with 100% to the survivor. It's COLA-ed 3% a year. It works out to be about 66% of what his current take-home pay has been while employed. This will cover our monthly living expenses without reducing our already LBYM lifestyle. We are not big spenders and we've been big savers. The pension plan also provides health insurance for both of us. Being that he has less than 30 years he will be given an allowance equal to 86% (59% for me) of the "Enhanced Plan" cost and we can choose whether to use the allowance on the Enhanced, Intermediate or Basic plan. Enhanced or Intermediate would cost us a monthly amount to make up the difference but with the Basic plan we will get a monthly credit into a RMA. The Basic plan has a higher deductible and higher co-pay. We will set aside enough to cover at least a year of medical co-pays and deductibles. We both have already talked to our doctors about lower cost prescriptions and they were very cooperative.

We are very close to being debt-free. The cash is there in savings, we've just been on HOLD while this major life change all shakes out. We will enter official retirement debt-free. House has been paid off for a few years and so have the cars.

It's taken him a few weeks to get used to this new life. He's sleeping like a rock, no longer waking up at 4:22am with work worries. He's been puttering around the house and also taking daily walks at the park. He felt like he was suddenly unplugged, left things at work undone and goodbyes unsaid. At first he missed the daily contact with his staff and interaction with people. He's much happier now, very relaxed and enjoying what's yet to come. Today he asked me for a "honey-do" list, he's ready to get going on moving on. He's planning a garage sale and eBay sales and a vegetable garden.

I'm still working part-time and will continue to do so. I like the daily routine and the income which has all been for savings. My jobs don't have any benefits.

He may work again in the future. Maybe not. We'll have to see how we like things this way for a while. I'm also 55 but in the future I'll get a little Social Security if it's still there. He has not completed his 40 credits so if he can do that he may get something but it will be reduced because of his pension.

I've learned so much reading this forum. Mostly it's been reassuring to hear from people who retire successfully. Even if you're not a millionaire. Even though the financial pundits say it can't be done.

So that's what's new here. Big changes. We're going to be OK.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:04 PM   #2
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So that's what's new here. Big changes. We're going to be OK.

You are definitely going to be okay ! My SO was also lost for a little while when he retired and now he has a million projects going . Good Luck !
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:14 PM   #3
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I retired from a municipal retirement system the first of this year also.
I've now been adjusting for about three months.
All I can say is I'm loving every minute of it.
I don't have to wake up at 4:00am anymore either.
With the cost savings on gas, taxes and other work expenses. I think we are going to be OK.
I did finish my required 30 years of service though.
Steve
PS. I haven't even started on the honey do projects yet.
Well not the big ones, anyway.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:25 PM   #4
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The abrupt manner in which they handled this may not make it feel like congratulations are in order, but...

CONGRATULATIONS!

It's going to work out great.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:25 PM   #5
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Wow - how nice to get off "early" yet still paid through end of contract - sweet!!!!

Congrats!

Audrey
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:29 PM   #6
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It sounds like you are going to be okay financially, and once the dust settles I think you are going to be okay mentally.

Congratulations, welcome to ER or ESR
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:30 PM   #7
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I read through your post and it looks like you will be all right. Cheers!
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:48 PM   #8
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It's been such a strange feeling, he's home yet the direct deposit paychecks still show up like they always have. Yet we see the end of the gravy train coming. I'll miss being able to save large amounts of money every month but I'm determined to save a little something and we'll see if later he feels the need to work part-time.

Now that he's worked through the bad taste of how it all ended he's almost giddy about all this.

My other post got so long, I forgot to mention that our younger son graduated from college in Dec 2009. No more college expenses (or tax credits). We cash flowed his college expenses so there are no loans. He and our other son (graduated 2006) both live here and pay a "contribution to the household" that's a percentage of their income. That's a nice bonus and it's always gone toward savings. When they are gone we will be on just the pension and my PT income but the grocery and utility costs will drop!
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:07 PM   #9
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We're taking the reduced pension with 100% to the survivor. It's COLA-ed 3% a year. It works out to be about 66% of what his current take-home pay has been while employed. This will cover our monthly living expenses without reducing our already LBYM lifestyle. We are not big spenders and we've been big savers. The pension plan also provides health insurance for both of us.
[...]
So that's what's new here. Big changes. We're going to be OK.
Sue, that is WONDERFUL!!! Congratulations to both of you. I am sure you are going to be fine, especially with no more college expenses. Time for the two of you to celebrate!! You have both earned this retirement and it's time to enjoy it.
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Old 03-26-2010, 10:50 PM   #10
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Very possible you are millionaires when you count the value of the pension. How much would you be required to have in savings such that the pension equals a 4% withdrawl rate?
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Old 03-27-2010, 03:09 AM   #11
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Today he asked me for a "honey-do" list, he's ready to get going on moving on.
Congrats!, but your DH needs to learn to never ask for a "honey-do" list.
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Old 03-27-2010, 03:32 AM   #12
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Congratulations! Sounds like you two will be just fine.
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Old 03-27-2010, 07:20 AM   #13
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Congrats!, but your DH needs to learn to never ask for a "honey-do" list.
+1 He clearly hasn't adjusted yet

It sounds like your planning helped make this a positive transition. Congratulations.
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Old 03-27-2010, 07:44 AM   #14
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Congratulations!

It sounds like you've both prepared for it and it will work out for you.

Agree with Ronstar though. He needs to learn about the "honey-do list". Those things have a way of expanding:

When I got engaged I thought it would be nice to paint the master bedroom for DW2B. I was working shift work at the time and used a smaller room because it had dark paneling and room-darkening shades, taped to the window frames so no light could get in. She hated it because it "looked like a cave in there", which was the whole point.

So I do a great job, spending two days on preparation filling nail holes, replaced electrical outlets and cover plates, trim in white enamel, new door hardware, etc.

She was very pleased, but then dropped the bomb. "Dear, just think of how nice it will look when you finish the rest of the house."

Huh? Who said anything about painting the entire house?

But, he'll learn....
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Old 03-27-2010, 07:59 AM   #15
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Yes, congratulations. I also left before I was 55 and I have come to realize that I won the lottery. Around here if you win a million dollars, you get $50,000 for 20 years. Well, with a pension, it is for life!

It can be a little hurtful to get the bum's rush, but once you dust yourself off, you realize that you have been given a wonderful gift - the ability to do anything that you want to do while you are still in the prime of health. Enjoy!
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Old 03-27-2010, 08:48 AM   #16
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Thanks, everyone! I knew you folks would understand what he's going through and where we're headed.

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Very possible you are millionaires when you count the value of the pension. How much would you be required to have in savings such that the pension equals a 4% withdrawl rate?
When you include the monthly allowance for the health care insurance we would have to have saved about $1,050,000. Without the insurance the savings would have to be around $800,000. Wow. I'm a darn good saver but we never could have accumulated that much by 55.

I also realize there is risk involved in accumulating that much on your own. Ohio's pension funds appear to be in much better shape than some states. Of course we have no control over it vs. controlling your own investments.
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Old 03-27-2010, 09:19 PM   #17
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Congratulations. I am glad to hear that he is adjusting. He will be thriving in no time at all. Enjoy life.
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Old 03-28-2010, 12:16 AM   #18
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I also realize there is risk involved in accumulating that much on your own. Ohio's pension funds appear to be in much better shape than some states. Of course we have no control over it vs. controlling your own investments.
A steady income from the state is much better than withdrawing living expenses from a portfolio that is subject to market volatility.

BTW - Congrats.
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Old 03-28-2010, 10:13 AM   #19
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Congratulations. I think you may find your husband's adjustment period is longer than you think. I have been retired over 3 years and still have dreams about work. Not every night. Still retirement is great.
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Old 03-28-2010, 05:55 PM   #20
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We're taking the reduced pension with 100% to the survivor. It's COLA-ed 3% a year. It works out to be about 66% of what his current take-home pay has been while employed.
This is incredible. A percentage that high and COLA'd. Wow. Double Wow.

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Congratulations. I think you may find your husband's adjustment period is longer than you think. I have been retired over 3 years and still have dreams about work. Not every night. Still retirement is great.
You mean "nightmares" not dreams, right ?
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