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Old 06-07-2013, 10:30 AM   #61
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Live And Learn....you need to get over to the Life after Fire Forum and join the Class of 2015. I'm 50, FI and planning to RE in 2015 when I'm 52. Sounds like we are in the same boat. I just want to vest in my pension. Instead of OMY syndrome, I got 22mm syndrome (22 more months).
Well .... it looks as if that other job is about to fall through so I may be retiring in 2013 after all. My life feels like a low key soap opera right now. I should know more in the next few weeks but right now I have a foot in each door (2013 and 2015).

I SO COMPLETELY understand Shawn's dilemma, although I am borderline FI and Shawn apparently is very FI (is that even a term) ? Unretiring can be difficult (but not always). Being able to afford something really nice (even if you'd never really buy it in reality) is very nice feeling. Have a vet emergency and saying "do it !" to the doc, rather than "OMG I don't know - how much will it cost ?" is a VERY good feeling. In Shawn's shoes I'd probably take the buy out since I could probably spend alot more than I'd ever want to anyway, and still be able to handle alot of those "what ifs" (like Mom's house).

BUT, Shawn, as others have said to me - if the decision doesn't come easy, then you probably should wait until you are emotionally ready. Keep reading the forum - folks here have a way of making us feel better about the scary ER possibility !
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Old 06-08-2013, 01:02 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Shawn View Post
An analogy would be a person building a house when young, living in and improving the house for 35-40 years, and then selling it. Their life is inside the house. It will be difficult to sell, even if the selling price is very good.
Let me offer a different analogy: You’ve spent 35-40 years building a house you haven’t lived in. Retirement will provide you with the opportunity to finally furnish and enjoy that home you’ve worked so long on.

Thanks for the thought-provoking post. In fact, I’ve been thinking about it for days. For what it’s worth, here are my ideas.

There are hidden currents here...

You know how a couple might go to a counselor thinking that the issue is X but it’s obvious to the counselor from day one that the issue is actually Y and her task is to make the couple come to that awareness? I’m going to play counselor and not necessarily take everything you’ve said at face value.

Judging by your evident thoughtfulness and self-knowledge, I think you realize there might be hidden motivations to uncover. You’re highly introspective -- it goes hand in hand with being introverted, which most early retirees are.

At first glance, the long list of reasons you give for staying in a job seems like you’re trying to convince yourself out of taking the buyout and retiring now, particularly since you say you’re hesitating. However, a careful reading of each reason clearly shows that you’re making the best case possible for dismissing each one.

You're a giver...

You indicate you enjoy the idea that you could spend a substantial amount of money to help others, like your mom and pets. I suspect you’re a “giver” personality type (e.g., in the Enneagram personality system). That explains your concern about your co-workers. But they’ll be fine without you. In my years in business I’ve seen how seemingly the most irreplaceable individual is ultimately quite replaceable. Your co-workers are responsible for their own lives and careers, and whatever discomfort they experience at your departure might actually be necessary for their own growth.

As a “giver” you likely reject any actions that might seem selfish and contrary to your self-image. But there are hints in your posts that you might be susceptible to some consumerism (the McMansion reference, for one). No judgment here, but none of this aligns with the $15,000 in expenses you mention.

Consider a new budget that will excite you...

I think you should forget the idea of a $15,000 budget, because that’s helping to dampen your retirement enthusiasm. Instead, determine a more generous budget, one that it would excite you to have in retirement. Check FireCalc. I suspect you’d still have a 100% success rate with your new budget – even if you lost 50% or more of your savings in a stock market drop – particularly since you have a COLA’d pension (you lucky dog).

You are making a fantastic salary and that can be hard to give up (I make a lot less than you and still wonder about that too). However, remember that once you get to a certain amount of savings – and you’re well past it – it’s appreciation and income that make the difference and your salary plays a much lesser role. You could pay for your mom’s house with only a little portfolio appreciation.

I’m not a follower of the bucket system, but it might work best in your case, going by how your mind appears to work. Since the expenditures you want to be able to do are large, you could set aside a few million for that purpose and consider the rest your actual income-generating portfolio.

But I'm not a financial planner -- only you can decide what works for you.

Retirement lets you give like never before...

If you are in fact a “giver,” keep in mind that retirement opens up numerous opportunities to give more than you’ve ever given before. Does that not excite you?

Can't wait to hear what you end up deciding, Shawn.
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Old 06-08-2013, 01:23 PM   #63
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I've been pondering fully retiring for a couple of months. I've been semi-retired going to the office once or twice a week for 3 years. As I get closer I keep thinking about why people don't retire and I know that some of the things here don't apply to me. I'm not at all worried about what I'll during retirement, for example. I have plenty of things I want to do.

So for me it is 3 things:

1. Do I have enough? Obviously, working would give me more but do I have enough now. I ran Firecalc (again) last night. I used some fairly unfavorable numbers and I come out fine with room to cut. Now, all of this is based upon DH and I receiving SS. DH is already on SS and I'm 59 so I think it is reasonable to think we will. We could handle some cuts as long as they weren't more than, say, 50% (we could handle more than that but wouldn't want is a better way to put it). So reasonably, while I could clearly have more by working longer, we have a long.

2. Do I enjoy the work? I don't really love it, but I haven't hated it for the past 3 years. I did a part-time deal 3 years ago which left me with the parts of my job that I like the best. There are some somewhat onerous things about the work based upon a long commute (I spend 3 hours in the car on work days) and on some of the scheduling (with work bleeding into more days than I want it to even when I'm home -- I get paid for it well but still...) I think there is a decent chance I could get an agreement for me to work solely from home and could change some of work so I only had to do work on very limited days. But, the bottom line I realized is that I just don't want to do what I'm doing any more. I'm just of done with this profession and don't want to do it any more.

3. Fear of finality and not being able to handle the unexpected. I realized that this is the real reason I drag my feet. I've had an open invitation the last 3 years to return to work full-time. I always knew that if the investments went south or something bad happened I could go back. And, if expenses were higher than anticipated (we still have adolescents at home) then I could always work a few more hours on my part-time basis and cover them. Once I quit, that isn't a realistic option any more. Sure I could probably find a part-time job but not at the $113 an hour that I make now. Still, it isn't so much that I need that $113 an hour but that keeping this job keeps my toes in the water to go back. It is a real security blanket. To quit is scary since that seems so final and I have no flexibility if something happens.

On the other hand, I know that really isn't true. I've run various budgets. DH and I could make some changes and live on much less money than we spend now. We have even thought about what we would do if we suddenly had to live on half as much money. So we know it could be done. And one or both of us could probably get a part-time low paid job to bridge any gap. So there are options out there. It is just that continuing to work part-time is an easy option in that I am well paid for not much work and I have free rein to increase my level of work.

Nonetheless (unless I change my mind) I am giving notice next week.
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Old 06-17-2013, 11:20 PM   #64
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Shawn: What did you end up doing?
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:29 PM   #65
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Shawn: What did you end up doing?
I decided to decline the buyout offer meaning that I did not retire last week. I was going to post about this but wanted to first let my thoughts settle (introvert thing).

Initially, I signed up for the buyout / retirement but had the option to decline late in the process. I waited until the last 30 minutes to decide. It was a difficult decision but not an agonizing decision. It probably would have been OK either way. Sort of like, "should I pay off my mortgage now or invest the money instead." Since I was conflicted, I decided to retain the status quo and keep working. That was the default decision. I can always retire "tomorrow" but I would not have been able to return to my job if I retired and had subsequent regrets.

I think 75% of my decision was financial in the sense that the majority of my thinking was based on financial considerations / number crunching. The buyout offer itself was modest at only 5 months of pay. It's complicated, but due to the way my pension increases in value and the fact that I can use my 2 1/2 months of accumulated vacation to add to my service credit and age factor by retiring in a normal manner (not true with the buyout), I will "break even" in about 2 months. So essentially, I will work for free for two months and then my financial net worth will resume its $400K/yr increase (salary plus pension). Most important to me is the growing pension value. While anything can happen, I like the guarantee of steady income. But hopefully I will not work for even one more year.

Another significant consideration was that I was not mentally (and logistically) prepared for such a rapid departure from the workplace. This seems odd since I had been waiting for the buyout for many months. But it still seemed to arrive quickly, with limited time to prepare and decide. So tentatively, I plan to retire next February. This will give me more time to create the concept of finality. February is an optimal month for me to retire and my pension payout will grow by about $10K/yr due to the extra months of work. Also, I want to enjoy the next several months knowing that retirement is eminent. Unfortunately, I use the word tentatively. I hope that OMY syndrome does not show its ugly head at the beginning of next year.

Also, my departure would have had significant impact on my work area. This is especially true considering all the federal budget issues, but in the opposite sense. My work area actually has "too much" money. My continued employment helps spend it. This is important as we close out the federal fiscal year (September 30). If we do not spend the money this year it is likely that we will get less of it next year. Also, I am PI (Principal Investigator) on a few pending proposals. Support decisions have yet to be finalized but it is likely that these proposals will be funded. This status would be in jeopardy if there was a sudden change in the PI. Overall, this is about $1M of potential impact. Not huge by government standards, but not trivial either.

Last Thursday was the last day of work at my employer for those people who accepted the buyout (about 7-8% of employees accepted the offer). It was a little difficult watching these people pack up and leave knowing that I could have been one of them. They all seemed so gleeful. But there were no major regrets on my part. Minor ones, yes, but not major ones.

I really appreciate all the comments in this thread. They were very helpful. Some were "right on the money." I wish I could take the time to thank everyone personally, but some of us poor suckers still have a job to do.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:35 PM   #66
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I wish I could take the time to thank everyone personally, but some of us poor suckers still have a job to do.
You shouldn't be surprised when you get little sympathy from us on the above statement....
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:48 PM   #67
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Another significant consideration was that I was not mentally (and logistically) prepared for such a rapid departure from the workplace. This seems odd since I had been waiting for the buyout for many months. But it still seemed to arrive quickly, with limited time to prepare and decide. So tentatively, I plan to retire next February. This will give me more time to create the concept of finality.
As somebody who is usually a bit rattled by unexpected sudden major changes, I can relate to your wanting some time to adjust and prepare. Besides, February is just 8 months away.
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:52 PM   #68
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You shouldn't be surprised when you get little sympathy from us on the above statement....
Well, I hope you took it for the sarcasm it was (complaining about work when I gave up a "perfect" opportunity to retire).
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Old 06-21-2013, 05:34 PM   #69
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Retirement has been the happiest years of my life. I hope that you have a similar experience with it.
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Old 06-22-2013, 11:17 AM   #70
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Hi Shawn. I've gone through the same process as you, and I am now negotiating a work from home arrangement. If I get it, I will continue working. I've read on the board "if it doesn't feel right, don't do it". In your situation, with many times over the income you need, I would have probably retired - but the real point is, if it doesn't feel "right" to YOU, then you made the best decision for yourself. I think you and I will have several days of kicking ourselves in the behinds when we have a bad day at work, but I'd rather kick myself over that then stay awake at night because I didn't budget enough for one (non-discretionary) thing or another.

When the time is right you'll know it.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:40 PM   #71
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Read the thread with great interest, particularly since I'm in a somewhat similar position. Work needs me at least for a year or two, I think, although I will qualify for ER in about 12 months. And another year or two will help the numbers; it's not nearly as much as a slam dunk as your situation.

I have invested more than two decades in the increased success of my workplace and have concerns shorter-term about my co-workers. Yes, it would survive my retirement or death, to be sure, all organizations must. And the stress and burn-out are not to be dismissed, yet the attraction of living a stress-free retirement (however much I may dislike stress) is not necessarily attractive, although stress can be concocted. Part-time work would be ideal but not easily obtained.
And the high amount of reimbursement you have and the pay-back period of the buy-out makes it even tougher, as you note. After working for almost 25 years in this organization, another year--to me--seems trivial, if I think I can make a difference. If not, it would be different. My wife is going through the same dilemma, with a higher reimbursement (but considerably less satisfaction in what she contributes); I've convinced her to hang on for a year and then bail, since the success numbers go up measurably after only a year, particularly since we want to move to the coast where our children have located and she can probably locate a decent job that will further improve the numbers, measurably.

Good luck to you; your post has been very interesting and hit the nail on the head.

To me, the investment is in the workplace, which is non-profit, which probably won't change the perspective of most here. But working there is a calling, not exactly subject to ROI analyses, so severance is fraught with difficulty. I may continue to work another year or two while my wife goes West, if she finds a job on the Coast.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn View Post
I decided to decline the buyout offer meaning that I did not retire last week. I was going to post about this but wanted to first let my thoughts settle (introvert thing).

Initially, I signed up for the buyout / retirement but had the option to decline late in the process. I waited until the last 30 minutes to decide. It was a difficult decision but not an agonizing decision. It probably would have been OK either way. Sort of like, "should I pay off my mortgage now or invest the money instead." Since I was conflicted, I decided to retain the status quo and keep working. That was the default decision. I can always retire "tomorrow" but I would not have been able to return to my job if I retired and had subsequent regrets.

I think 75% of my decision was financial in the sense that the majority of my thinking was based on financial considerations / number crunching. The buyout offer itself was modest at only 5 months of pay. It's complicated, but due to the way my pension increases in value and the fact that I can use my 2 1/2 months of accumulated vacation to add to my service credit and age factor by retiring in a normal manner (not true with the buyout), I will "break even" in about 2 months. So essentially, I will work for free for two months and then my financial net worth will resume its $400K/yr increase (salary plus pension). Most important to me is the growing pension value. While anything can happen, I like the guarantee of steady income. But hopefully I will not work for even one more year.

Another significant consideration was that I was not mentally (and logistically) prepared for such a rapid departure from the workplace. This seems odd since I had been waiting for the buyout for many months. But it still seemed to arrive quickly, with limited time to prepare and decide. So tentatively, I plan to retire next February. This will give me more time to create the concept of finality. February is an optimal month for me to retire and my pension payout will grow by about $10K/yr due to the extra months of work. Also, I want to enjoy the next several months knowing that retirement is eminent. Unfortunately, I use the word tentatively. I hope that OMY syndrome does not show its ugly head at the beginning of next year.

Also, my departure would have had significant impact on my work area. This is especially true considering all the federal budget issues, but in the opposite sense. My work area actually has "too much" money. My continued employment helps spend it. This is important as we close out the federal fiscal year (September 30). If we do not spend the money this year it is likely that we will get less of it next year. Also, I am PI (Principal Investigator) on a few pending proposals. Support decisions have yet to be finalized but it is likely that these proposals will be funded. This status would be in jeopardy if there was a sudden change in the PI. Overall, this is about $1M of potential impact. Not huge by government standards, but not trivial either.

Last Thursday was the last day of work at my employer for those people who accepted the buyout (about 7-8% of employees accepted the offer). It was a little difficult watching these people pack up and leave knowing that I could have been one of them. They all seemed so gleeful. But there were no major regrets on my part. Minor ones, yes, but not major ones.

I really appreciate all the comments in this thread. They were very helpful. Some were "right on the money." I wish I could take the time to thank everyone personally, but some of us poor suckers still have a job to do.
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