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Not eligible to retire
Old 08-04-2014, 11:03 AM   #1
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Not eligible to retire

My initial goal was to RE at 55 in the year 2017. However, I'm actually well positioned financially to be able to leave next year at age 52-53. And I very much want to go! Unfortunately, to be eligible for official retirement from megacorp you have to be 55 along with having 10+ years of service.

I've worked for this company for 26 years so years of service is clearly not an issue. The age 55 requirement seems so arbitrary like many such coporate policies. It is frustrating.

The main retirement benefit is subsidized health care. Our plan is a cadillac so even with subsidies it is very expensive. I'm positive I could get cheaper insurance with a HD plan on the open market. But it would be nice to have this option. There are other retirement benefits but they are minor at best.

But after 26 years my desire to be an official retiree of this company matters to me. I know that may sound weird. But I'm bothered about leaving the company and not being a retiree of it.

Anyone else faced this situation? Am I silly for even concerning myself with it?
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:14 AM   #2
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If I was FI, ready to retire and there were no real benefits staying longer (insurance aside) other that bragging rights as an "official retiree," I would be out of there so fast it would make heads spin.

Ask yourself this: by delaying to 55 what are you giving up vs. what are you gaining? Two and a half years of your life vs.
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:16 AM   #3
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Do you still get the same subsidized medical and pension , on a deferred basis ?

I recently left "Mega-City" government at 54 with 12 years service. I will be eligible to draw reduced pension and subsidized medical at 55.

I left "Mega-Corp" at age 40, (18 years service) and get nothing on medical and a very small pension. With the Mega-corp pension plan, you must be an employee at age 55 to receive any medical subsidy.

Bottom line, I could have left employment with "mega city" 2 years ago , when I hit 10 years service. I regret not leaving as soon as I could.

You can always make more money some how, You can't make more time.
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:16 AM   #4
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I wouldn't say you are silly for concerning yourself with it. That kind of thing matters to a lot of people and that's fine. Personally, if there's no pension and I can afford to leave early then i'm gone. It's good that you will have the option to leave if you want but only you can make that decision. There's no wrong choice.
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:20 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by MuirWannabe View Post
My initial goal was to RE at 55 in the year 2017. However, I'm actually well positioned financially to be able to leave ...................................Anyone else faced this situation? Am I silly for even concerning myself with it?
Anyone else faced this situation? YES

Am I silly for even concerning myself with it? NO , not at all.
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:27 AM   #6
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If I was FI, ready to retire and there were no real benefits staying longer (insurance aside) other that bragging rights as an "official retiree," I would be out of there so fast it would make heads spin.

Ask yourself this: by delaying to 55 what are you giving up vs. what are you gaining? Two and a half years of your life vs.
+1. My 'Aha' moment came a couple years ago when I realized that, once I left my law firm partnership of 15 years, I would be quickly rendered irrelevant and then forgotten. Truth be told, almost everyone is. Basing my ER decision on how others likely would perceive my retirement 'status' ("official retiree" or something else) would be a fool's errand. For me, the most relevant consideration was my own personal integrity in making the decision. I would suggest that you measure the practical realities of staying vs. leaving early and then make a choice that honors your values. If one of those values is the ability to say to yourself, "I was an official retiree of X company," then by all means, wait.
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:36 AM   #7
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Take a 2 year sabbatical and then retire! Or can you go to part-time and hang in there to reach 55?

I think if medical is the only reason to stay, you need to do an evaluation of what that is worth to you. I do understand the psychological aspect of being able to say a retiree from company, if that matters to the point you have to stay then make that choice.

I am under the impression you do not have any pension, so that is not part of the decision?
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:39 AM   #8
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The main retirement benefit is subsidized health care. Our plan is a cadillac so even with subsidies it is very expensive. I'm positive I could get cheaper insurance with a HD plan on the open market. But it would be nice to have this option. There are other retirement benefits but they are minor at best.

But after 26 years my desire to be an official retiree of this company matters to me. I know that may sound weird. But I'm bothered about leaving the company and not being a retiree of it.
So you're staying put so (a) you'll have the option to pay for an insurance plan from your employer that, with the subsidy you "earn" by staying for a few more years, is still more expensive than what you could obtain thru the open market, and (b) you can have a retirement party?

I suppose point (a) makes sense if you have expensive health issues that make an HDHP less cost-effective than a higher-tier plan, or, if you have reason to believe you may have pricey heath issues in the not-too-distant future.

As for (b), well, maybe they'd throw a gold watch in with the deal.
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Old 08-04-2014, 01:15 PM   #9
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Beside the insurance and pension, an added consideration is your 401k. If you depart the company after age 55 most megacorp plans allow you to tap the 401k without the 10% tax penalty, otherwise you have to wait to age 591/2. Its a nice benefit, and its extra security if unexpected funds are needed, check your plan.
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Old 08-04-2014, 01:35 PM   #10
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My question is how much do you hate your current job?

If it's causing a lot of stress, and you just can't wait to retire, then go for it.

Otherwise, stick around the extra few years, coasting to get the added benefits and the retire designation.

I left a few years before my original planned time, but looking back, wouldn't change a thing. The time was right.
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Old 08-04-2014, 01:45 PM   #11
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I think you would quickly get over not being an "official" retiree of the company. I did but I would have had to stay for an additional 6 years rather than a few years so it was a much easier decision.

If you are reasonably healthy, your total cost of an individual HDHI plan plus co-pays and deductibles will probably be less than the premiums, co-pays and deductibles for your retiree plan.

If those are the only reasons for staying, then I suggest you write your resignation letter and start planning what you will do in your retirement.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:00 PM   #12
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Similar story to DW's except that she was RIF'd about 13 months before qualifying, and the qualifying numbers were slightly different. She found another job that paid into the same retirement system and officially crossed the finish line but we would have been fine either way.

Did this just creep up on you, or have you known this all along? I understand your desire to officially retire, and there is some possibility that if you wait and then retire, some time into it you may wonder why you waited.

In my situation, 6 years ago I was told to leave and not come back. This was for making a very minor mistake the type of which just about everybody has done at some point in their career. It didn't even cost the company any money or business. But take an alcoholic narcissistic business owner who is trying to make his business look more profitable so he can sell it and things like this happen -- not just to me, btw. If this event did not happen, I might still be needlessly arriving here at my desk at 6:30 AM each day to spend the day working for crazy people. We now have everything we want on a 1.7% WR while we wait a few more years for SS to kick in, which will lower the WR some more. I am still cordial with some of the former coworkers and consider all but one of them simply "former coworkers" and the other a friend. They don't miss me and I don't miss them. What I am trying to say here is that the picture in the rearview mirror may be different from the one through the windshield.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:09 PM   #13
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Given that you actually are retiring and it will not cost the company much you could always ask for an exception. A guy from my work requested this and was made an official retiree.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:24 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Lakewood90712 View Post
Do you still get the same subsidized medical and pension , on a deferred basis ?

I recently left "Mega-City" government at 54 with 12 years service. I will be eligible to draw reduced pension and subsidized medical at 55.

I left "Mega-Corp" at age 40, (18 years service) and get nothing on medical and a very small pension. With the Mega-corp pension plan, you must be an employee at age 55 to receive any medical subsidy.

Bottom line, I could have left employment with "mega city" 2 years ago , when I hit 10 years service. I regret not leaving as soon as I could.

You can always make more money some how, You can't make more time.
No pension involved. And if I'm not an official retiree (age 55) then I'm not eligible for anything on the retiree medical.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:25 PM   #15
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Take a 2 year sabbatical and then retire! Or can you go to part-time and hang in there to reach 55?
I love the sabbatical idea. Too bad it would never work
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:28 PM   #16
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Beside the insurance and pension, an added consideration is your 401k. If you depart the company after age 55 most megacorp plans allow you to tap the 401k without the 10% tax penalty, otherwise you have to wait to age 591/2. Its a nice benefit, and its extra security if unexpected funds are needed, check your plan.
I've already checked, thanks to other great threads and advice on this forum. Our plan does have the ability to tap at 55. I would be foregoing this flexibility if I leave before age 55. But I have 50% of my assets in taxable so it should not be a problem to wait until 59.5. Still the flexibililty would be nice.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:36 PM   #17
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My question is how much do you hate your current job?

If it's causing a lot of stress, and you just can't wait to retire, then go for it.

Otherwise, stick around the extra few years, coasting to get the added benefits and the retire designation.

I left a few years before my original planned time, but looking back, wouldn't change a thing. The time was right.
I don't hate my job but sure am sick of working. And it is stressful. I'm ready to begin my life of retirement. Even with the healthcare subsidy I would still be paying ~$16K per year to cover both me and DW. Plus whatever copays, etc. No health issues yet so I'm fairly sure I could do at least that good on the open market.

I believe I'm FI. In a few more months before actually pulling the resignation trigger I'll post one of those threads to see if others would agree and be comfortable with my FI self declaration.

But for now I'm just frustrated with not being able to be a retiree of the company I've invested so much of my life into and who has invested so much back to me. But as REW and others point out...is that worth 2 more years of my life? I cannot imagine doing that if I'm really FI.
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Old 08-04-2014, 02:43 PM   #18
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I've already checked, thanks to other great threads and advice on this forum. Our plan does have the ability to tap at 55. I would be foregoing this flexibility if I leave before age 55. But I have 50% of my assets in taxable so it should not be a problem to wait until 59.5. Stil the flexibililty would be nice.
That to me is the biggest deal...the flexibility at age 55. If your mental health can stand it for a couple of more years, it might be worth it. There used to be a saying about 'phoning it in' (is it "texting it in" now?). Maybe you can work from home more for a couple of years?

Regarding the insurance, one often sees news items about how some mega-corp is reducing or eliminating their promised retirement benefits, including health, after people are already retired. With the ACA, this might not be as big a deal for the retiree as it used to. So I don't see the health benefits as a permanent thing from any company.
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Old 08-04-2014, 03:58 PM   #19
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That to me is the biggest deal...the flexibility at age 55. If your mental health can stand it for a couple of more years, it might be worth it. There used to be a saying about 'phoning it in' (is it "texting it in" now?). Maybe you can work from home more for a couple of years?

Regarding the insurance, one often sees news items about how some mega-corp is reducing or eliminating their promised retirement benefits, including health, after people are already retired. With the ACA, this might not be as big a deal for the retiree as it used to. So I don't see the health benefits as a permanent thing from any company.
Thanks Timo. But phoning it in for the next almost 3 years is not an option. I lead a large group of folks. I have big projects that are on my plate from a responsibility standpoint. I'm supposed to be setting strategy for our future (always a new strategy ) but I really would rather give someone else the pleasure of doing that. But 'laying low' for 3 years is just not possible.
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Old 08-04-2014, 03:59 PM   #20
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Thanks Timo. But phoning it in for the next almost 3 years is not an option. I lead a large group of folks. I have big projects that are on my plate from a responsibility standpoint. I'm supposed to be setting strategy for our future (always a new strategy ) but I really would rather give someone else the pleasure of doing that. But 'laying low' for 3 years is just not possible.
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