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Old 03-23-2015, 04:28 PM   #41
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I have not held either job, Ha. But, I would imagine that driving a Microsoft Connector bus involves picking up well-behaved professionals in nice Seattle neighborhoods and delivering them to the Redmond campus.

A King County Metro bus driver has it much, much tougher. Assaults and verbal abuse directed at you, could be almost expected. Folks dependent on public transportation tend to be lower socioeconomic, with more frail elderly; teenagers; and physically or mentally disabled.

I have observed our bus drivers in action. Sometimes they need to be social workers, while keeping tight schedules and flawless safety records! In Seattle traffic, no less!

The two jobs are not comparable, in my opinion. True of many jobs which, on the surface, look like they would demand the same knowledge, skills, and abilities.
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:20 PM   #42
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I don't even know if a colad 40K pension is worth a million - depends on the discount rate and cola assumptions as well as the age of the annuitant(s) and form of payment
For a 40k annual pension to be worth a million, it doesn't matter how old the annuitant(s)are, what matters is how long they collect it.
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:23 PM   #43
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For a 40k annual pension to be worth a million, it doesn't matter how old the annuitant(s)are, what matters is how long they collect it.
of course it does

say you're 98 years old and I give you a choice between $40K (no cola) pension a year and a million bucks - what would you take?

say you're 50 years old and I give you a choice between a $40K (5% automatic cola) pension a year and a million bucks - what would you take?
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:32 PM   #44
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But some working in the lower paying schools are just very content too. Smaller class sizes, more rural, more relaxed, sometimes its just a less important second family income, or simply just getting tenure and being happy where you are at and not wanting change.
We see that a lot in at least this part of WV, about 1.5 hours from Washington, D.C. and it was the reason we moved from that area. My dentist mentioned that he's here because he loves the area and had had his fill of big cities. He has about a 10 minute commute and life is laid back and relaxed. Could he make lots more money elsewhere? Sure. But quality of daily life matters too.

Similar stories abound.
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Old 03-23-2015, 06:47 PM   #45
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I don't even know if a colad 40K pension is worth a million - depends on the discount rate and cola assumptions as well as the age of the annuitant(s) and form of payment
I'd think that a COLA'd pension would be the same as having $1MM in a well balanced portfolio. Most calculators would agree that a ~4% withdrawal --including increases for inflation-- would last a lifetime.
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Old 03-23-2015, 07:09 PM   #46
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say you're 98 years old and I give you a choice between $40K (no cola) pension a year and a million bucks - what would you take?

say you're 50 years old and I give you a choice between a $40K (5% automatic cola) pension a year and a million bucks - what would you take?
depends..... there are a great many life scenarios why someone might not choose what you think is so obvious.
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Old 03-23-2015, 08:37 PM   #47
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Hi bclover, and welcome.



What has worked for me in the past, has been to ignore all the doom and gloom articles and the professionals, and instead to just look at my own financial situation, to figure out exactly what I would need in retirement, and then to plan how to get it.

My brother once told me, "Nobody cares about your money and your future any more than you do." After hearing that I decided that while I am not a financial guru, I could work really hard to learn and understand more about my situation than anybody, and go from there. I have only been retired 5 years, but so far so good....

Try using out free retirement calculator, FIRECalc (link at the bottom of each page). No calculator is the "be all and end all", but it's a starting point if you want one.
+1, though I've only been retired 2.5 years. A happy retirement costs less than the financial service industry ads would have you think. (Though, I must confess to having 2 pensions and S. Security......due to the hard work of DH. I only earned one of the pensions.)
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Old 03-23-2015, 08:54 PM   #48
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My dentist mentioned that he's here because he loves the area and had had his fill of big cities. He has about a 10 minute commute and life is laid back and relaxed. Could he make lots more money elsewhere? Sure. But quality of daily life matters too.
I lived and worked in toronto, L.A. and san jose. Three cities that are routinely on the top 10 worst traffic lists and driving really sucked at times. The nice thing though (as someone who is hunting for a more permanent FIRE location) is that traffic everywhere else seems like a breeze.

My mother-in-law hates going shopping at certain times in small town iowa (because it's too crowded) but even at busy times much of the state feels like a ghost town to me.
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Old 03-23-2015, 09:53 PM   #49
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I lived and worked in toronto, L.A. and san jose. Three cities that are routinely on the top 10 worst traffic lists and driving really sucked at times. The nice thing though (as someone who is hunting for a more permanent FIRE location) is that traffic everywhere else seems like a breeze.

My mother-in-law hates going shopping at certain times in small town iowa (because it's too crowded) but even at busy times much of the state feels like a ghost town to me.

Ha! Its all relative isn't it? I can have to wait for three cars to pass by before I can pull out onto a street and feel like I am in a traffic jam.


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Old 03-23-2015, 10:08 PM   #50
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Generally, government workers make less than equivalent workers in private industry. Pensions compensate for that. So, there's a built-in, mandatory LBYM arrangement,................
Not here in the frozen north. Canadian 'civil servants' do very well, First they are paid close to private sector wages and then they get very generous DB pensions.
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Old 03-23-2015, 10:46 PM   #51
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There are many you need a million or more to retire articles these days and not so many on the flip side - lowering expenses. The investment industry only profits from the larger the 401Ks and not when retirees lower expenses and learn to live well on less savings.
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Old 03-24-2015, 12:02 PM   #52
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depends..... there are a great many life scenarios why someone might not choose what you think is so obvious.
it would be a no brainer for me, caeterus paribus
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Old 03-24-2015, 12:04 PM   #53
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I'd think that a COLA'd pension would be the same as having $1MM in a well balanced portfolio. Most calculators would agree that a ~4% withdrawal --including increases for inflation-- would last a lifetime.
depends on your gender, age, form of payment and how the COLA is calculated
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Old 03-24-2015, 04:29 PM   #54
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My mother-in-law hates going shopping at certain times in small town iowa (because it's too crowded) but even at busy times much of the state feels like a ghost town to me.
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Ha! Its all relative isn't it? I can have to wait for three cars to pass by before I can pull out onto a street and feel like I am in a traffic jam.
Exactly. When we talk to people who have lived here all their lives they complain about the heavy traffic, and from their perspective they're right. And I'm thinking "You have no clue what heavy traffic is..."

5:00 PM Friday afternoon traffic here looks like 10:00 AM Sunday where we used to live.
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Old 03-24-2015, 05:11 PM   #55
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Is there a disconnect between real life and the "professionals"?
A pest control guy who came over and did some rat traps for us described himself as a "professional".
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Old 03-24-2015, 06:33 PM   #56
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I think there is something to that. Both of my parents retired with no savings at earlier than age 62. They live on SS + "allowance" from me. They live within their budget and they are contend. This is the case with a lot of people I know around me. Typical ER.org members are exceptions to this (they piled up money, they are financially astute & conservative, want to live well in their ER, ....). Just look at ER.org's introduction threads. If I average those folks net worth, I think it is closer to or north of $3M, and many with good SS & pension. And they still ask the question "can I retire?" ER.org is not a reality for the vast majority of folks out there. Out there, people retire at later age, and get by with what they have in retirement. ER.org folks should not have much to "rant" about their lives, at least, in financial areas.
I agree, I came here after looking up questions that directed me to this forum. But the norm here is way above the vast majority in or near retirement. If only I knew then what I know now, but would I still have had the funds with a growing family to save and invest a lot more than I already have. Not so sure about that.
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Old 03-24-2015, 06:41 PM   #57
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this is one of those topics where you ask 10 different people and you can get 10 different answers.

So it seems in the financial/investment/retirement world the message is if you don't have AT LEAST a million dollars saved that you are pretty much doomed to living your old age in a box underneath a bridge.....

Yesterday I went to a wine and cheese tasting with my sister and 4 of her friends.
topic started with wills and living wills but eventually got around to retirement.

Ages of us gals range from 52-62. ALL are retired except me.

now full disclosure 3 are retired correction officers and my sister and one other are retired NYC police officer so they all get pensions.
1 lady was also a retired military along with correction officer.
but I did ask if anyone had 1 million in savings. All said no, one young women does own a NYC apartment that generates income. 2 have mortgages, 2 do not.

I know quite a number of people who retired well before 67 and seem to be enjoying life as a retiree. Sure no one is running away with the cabana boy to live in tahiti but they seem pretty darn happy. they travel annually, have hobbies etc etc. Only one seemed interested in finding a second career.

So is all the doom and gloom about a nation of retirees about to implode media inspired hysteria?
I think a lot will be having a hard time. But blue collar workers don't live as long, many don't even get to tap their ss benefits or damn little of it
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Old 03-24-2015, 06:58 PM   #58
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It all depends on what you need to live and how much your pension and SS are/will be. Any remaining gap needs to be filled in from retirement savings. Broadly speaking you'll need 25x your gap.

But a public pension is a big leg up.
+1

All this talk about having "some number" is really irrelevant. What you need to do is replace income in order to do the things in retirement that you did in working life (pay the bills, travel, hobbies, etc, etc). That income can be in the form of pension, SS, annuities and/or savings. Clearly the bigger the pensions and/or SS the less reliance on savings.

Getting hung up on some number without taking into account other sources or retirement income is a fools game.
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Old 03-24-2015, 10:31 PM   #59
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I dispute this statement even as a generality. There are places in the US that pay public school teachers outrageous amounts of money for a relatively easy to get degree. Other places in the US pay teachers poorly. This goes through different job functions and different locations. Places that pay poorly usually also have poorer pensions. Pay and pensions for government workers are usually more closely tied to the relationships between the public employee unions and the local politicians.

In a career dark spot, I worked at NASA as a contractor. Contractors are paid well below the civil servants that they work with. Some of the CSs I worked with had technical degrees and were top level scientists. I would consider them underpaid but they wanted to be in the space program. Some of the others had non-technical degrees and very high GS levels. Some of these wouldn't have lasted a week in my organization.

Public school teachers are not government workers. They are public servants that often belong to a strong teachers union.


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Old 03-24-2015, 10:55 PM   #60
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Public school teachers are not government workers. ...


Please do explain this. I am taxed by my local government, and most of it (at least from my property tax) goes to the school district. Their largest expense is salaries (teachers and others). Those teachers, admins, etc, get their paycheck from the school district.

How are they not government workers?

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