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Should I keep my options open?
Old 05-10-2009, 08:58 PM   #1
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Should I keep my options open?

Hey All...Here is my situation:

1) Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer. Spent 20+ years doing Supply/Logistics/Purchasing/Inventory. Steady retirement pay is $1880/mo and COLA adjusted.

2) Currently working 20-30 hours a week at the local Air Force base golf course. Pay is $7.50/hr.

3) Referee/Umpire local high school/junior high sports. Pay is $25-$55 per game. I made $2200 in 6 weeks doing baseball, and $600 in 4 weeks doing basketball.

4) 3 semester hours short of a Bachelors Degree in Opeations Management from Thomas Edison State College.

5) Have 35 months of GI Bill remaining for use for Master's Degree/another Bachelors, etc..

6) Have < $45K in TSP, < $10K in IRA

7) TRICARE medical $230/yr, Retiree dental $31/mo

8) Don't own home, currently renting with fiancee and 3 teenagers. She gets over $2K/mo in child support.

9) Have 2 car payments. No other debt.

Here is my dilema. I really enjoy being semi-retired. I believe I am living the work less..live more lifestyle, but will this run out? Do I need to get another job to stay marketable in case I need to go to work? I don't live a rich lifestyle, as my clothes are good enough for me. I am a homebody. If I can play golf, I am happy!

I am 40 years old, and don't want to burn my bridges too soon and be 45 and non marketable.

I wish I could just keep working at the golf course and keep going to school. It is fun, and doesn't even feel like work, but lately I have been thinking will this last me forever or do I need to make sure I look elsewhere like government job, contracting, etc..

After 20+ years of the hustle and bustle of military life, I have really enjoyed the almost stress free lifestyle of having my hair long, waking up when I want, playing golf when I want. I really could do this forever and not be bored at all, but will my finances be enough forever?

Thanks for the advice,

Erik
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Old 05-10-2009, 10:20 PM   #2
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Well only you can decide this, but here are some things to consider:

-When do the teens move out?
-what happens when child support runs out? DW2B going to work (if not working now?)
-are you comfortable never owning your own home? (some folks are, some aren't).
-What are DW2B's expectations? Does she want nice long vacations? or happy to camp and/or visit relatives?
-What will you do with your time? Hobbies take money. Are you able to do what you want within the limits of an $1880/mo pension (after expenses, even after DW2B retires or no longer has other support?) You said you "could do this forever"...can you really? Will the golf course job last forever? what if they close the base?

I teach a career class at a local university, and the one of the first topics is about goals. I always ask them what their longer term goals are, and then ask them to break those down into steps...what they have to do to reach the goals. Then I ask them 1) do they understand (fully) the implications of their goals, and 2) if they are willing to do all of the steps required to achieve their goals. The point here is that maybe you need a goal, and maybe you don't. I guess the question seems incomplete to me. I don't know what you "want" to do, or accomplish...and then there are the missing pieces of the puzzle (what does DW2B want??).

I guess that looking at it from my perspective (which is certainly not the same as yours) that I would certainly be uncomfortable with the size pension you have given that there are few other assets allocated to living (home with lots of equity or paid off, retirement savings/investments). If it were me, I would want to work pretty hard (after taking some time off to decompress, which it seems you have now done), for a few (maybe 5-10) solid years. What the heck, the military pension check still comes, so you could live off part of your work earnings, save part of them, and save the pension check. If you did that for 3-5 years would you be more comfortable (because your financial base is more sound) or less comfortable (because you spent your time in a cubicle or other stressful work environment).

What say ye?

R
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Old 05-11-2009, 09:26 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxkicker View Post
Hey All...Here is my situation:
1) Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer. Spent 20+ years doing Supply/Logistics/Purchasing/Inventory. Steady retirement pay is $1880/mo and COLA adjusted.
2) Currently working 20-30 hours a week at the local Air Force base golf course. Pay is $7.50/hr.
3) Referee/Umpire local high school/junior high sports. Pay is $25-$55 per game. I made $2200 in 6 weeks doing baseball, and $600 in 4 weeks doing basketball.
4) 3 semester hours short of a Bachelors Degree in Opeations Management from Thomas Edison State College.
5) Have 35 months of GI Bill remaining for use for Master's Degree/another Bachelors, etc..
6) Have < $45K in TSP, < $10K in IRA
7) TRICARE medical $230/yr, Retiree dental $31/mo
8) Don't own home, currently renting with fiancee and 3 teenagers. She gets over $2K/mo in child support.
9) Have 2 car payments. No other debt.
Here is my dilema. I really enjoy being semi-retired. I believe I am living the work less..live more lifestyle, but will this run out? Do I need to get another job to stay marketable in case I need to go to work? I don't live a rich lifestyle, as my clothes are good enough for me. I am a homebody. If I can play golf, I am happy!
I am 40 years old, and don't want to burn my bridges too soon and be 45 and non marketable.
Your post reminds me of the first post I made to this board-- "This is too much fun and it seems too easy. What's the catch?" After seven years of ER it's still fun and it still seems too easy, but I'm not nervously looking over my shoulder as much.

Now that you can be responsible for your own entertainment, you're hitting your stride and finding out what you enjoy doing. The challenge is taking your big-picture data and turning it into a long-term lifestyle.

One set of questions/data seem to be financial, and now that you've segued into a lifestyle you enjoy it's a good time to revisit your income against your expenses.

You know your monthly/annual retired pay down to the penny, and you can try to estimate the rest. Is the golf course work seasonal or year-round? What happens with the kid's sports seasons, or can you umpire/referee all-year round too? How "lumpy" is your income, and do you need to save up that income during some parts of the year for occasional or year-round expenses?

How much more will you be paying for your college courses? The kids are teens, so child support is for a limited time only. Who's paying for their college(s)? When are the cars paid off? Do any of your employers expect you to have liability insurance, or to pay for clinics, or to buy your own equipment? And the most sensitive expenses question of all-- how much are you spending on your golf addiction habit?

If income exceeds expenses, and if you can keep doing that until you get to Social Security, then you'll probably be fine. The trick is being able at any time to cut your expenses to less than your pension, and to only expand your lifestyle after you have the income to support it. Usually the biggest dangers in these low-savings situations are big expenses (replacing a car), healthcare costs, and mortgages/car loans-- you've avoided those pitfalls so far.

Right now your life seems pretty light on expensive assets. About the only issue you might face is some huge expense requiring $20K-- a replacement vehicle? Without more savings, you'd have to resort to loans or credit cards.

Beyond your pension, it would greatly improve most people's sleep if they had another $300K-$500K in savings. How much do you want to pay for that? Would you be willing to work for another 5-10 years to make that happen? Do you want a 15-year career as a civil servant or a captain of industry? Or would you be happier with a series of part-time/seasonal jobs? The former may be easier before you're over 45, but the latter can be done at just about any age.

I see minimum-wage jobs everywhere-- not enough to live on by themselves, but perfect for someone like us with a pension/healthcare. Hardware stores, retail, community centers, handyman, sporting events, lifeguard, security, NJROTC, community college, teaching, military bases… even bagging groceries.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxkicker View Post
I wish I could just keep working at the golf course and keep going to school. It is fun, and doesn't even feel like work, but lately I have been thinking will this last me forever or do I need to make sure I look elsewhere like government job, contracting, etc..
After 20+ years of the hustle and bustle of military life, I have really enjoyed the almost stress free lifestyle of having my hair long, waking up when I want, playing golf when I want. I really could do this forever and not be bored at all, but will my finances be enough forever?
A second set of questions seem to be lifestyle:
“You're too young to be put out to pasture. You have so much ahead of you!”
“Can't you find a real job?”
“Who wants to spend all day golfing?”
“You'll lose all your friends!”
“You'll lose all your contacts, and you won't be able to get a job!”

You've never seemed to struggle with those issues!

I think once you sort out the finances to your satisfaction, then you'll have no problem adapting your lifestyle to your income-- or working temp/part-time when you want the extras. Like me, you certainly do not seem to be motivated by the thrill of climbing the corporate ladder…
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Old 05-11-2009, 09:49 AM   #4
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Only 3 credits short of a bachelor's degree? That's awesome,I would get that finished up ASAP, it will NEVER hurt you.......

Nords is one of the main "point men" for early retired military folk. Listen closely to his sage advice........

What are your fiancee's job skills? In 5 or 6 years, when the child support ends, and you are married, it might be quite a shock income wise if she's not working........
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Old 05-11-2009, 10:15 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies....

Nords, I sure as heck am tired of "working". 20 years of Navy did that to me! I would love to just sit back and enjoy life on my pension and part time work at the golf course. I work with a retired Air Force TSGT, who has been working at the golf course for 5 years and he has no other job. That would be awesome!

Working at the golf course and talking to the guys who work on base (either as civil service or contract) has made me wonder if I should network with them to see what is available. Cannon AFB has just moved the fighters out and now AFSOC has taken over and you know SPECOPS always has money, so they are expanding the base and workforce in both civil service and contract. Part of me says do it...but part of me says, I haven't enjoyed being retired as yet!

I am just about to finish my last class for my Bachelors and after this class I still have $46,296 in GI Bill to use. I want to get a Master's in Sports Management to just do learn about something I enjoy...SPORTS! I would love to work for a pro, college, or High School team and do athletic stuff. Even working in a community running recreation would be fun! My ultimate job would be to work as a Manager at a Golf Course!

The kids dad works overseas and he makes good money. Being where he is, I know that we might get the call (GOD forbid) and the money will just cease. That scares me! Their mom works at a middle school making less than $1K/mo, but she enjoys it. The cost of living here is low compared to other parts of the country, and I like it here.

I like golf, and playing golf on base only costs me $12/round, so that is cheap by normal standards. I figure working 2 hours at the course, pays for a round! I don't need anymore equipment except for the occasional replacement balls that go in the pond on #15!

Referee/Umpire income is year round to a point. I work football, basketball and baseball in town, and a guy I know runs the referees for the intramural program on base, so that is more income.

I am really content as to where I am. Working in the corporate world doesn't interest me at all. I am not a cubicle kind of guy nor do I want to travel to far off lands to work. I had enough of that in the Navy.

I just wanted some feedback. I live a pretty frugal lifestyle, and enjoy it. It would always be nice to have some savings built up, but I really don't want to bend over backwards and WORK to get it. I enjoy being retired military and having a steady paycheck and health care/dental that is pretty inexpensive.

I guess I am kinda worried, and I should enjoy what is in front of me. I have it pretty good. Even a part-time golf course job working 25 hours a week is paying me $750/mo and it is easy and enjoyable.
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Old 05-11-2009, 11:49 AM   #6
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You don't mention if you and the fiancee are interested in having any additional kids together. Since you don't mention it, this may be something that you've already excluded from your future plans. But more kids would have a big impact on your expenses.

It sounds like you're happy doing what you're doing and financially it works for you. So don't worry about what the rest of the world expects from you. A lot of people would be thrilled to be able to say what you said, "I am really content as to where I am."

If later you're not so content you can make a change if needed. Finishing the college degree sounds like a great idea since you're so close.
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:07 PM   #7
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Sue,

Thanks for the reply! No more kids for us! I don't have any, and she has the 3 (Boy-16, Girl-14, Girl-13). They keep us busy already!

I am beginning the last class I need for my BSBA in June. Will be done in August. Then I will probably begin the Master's.

I am happy right now, and enjoy being laid back and mostly stress free! I worry about the future, but mostly I think too far ahead and I am being too pessimistic.

At the moment it is working great and I don't miss the drag of a full-time job. Working 25 hours a week is perfectly alright with me!

Take Care,

Erik
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxkicker View Post
The kids dad works overseas and he makes good money. Being where he is, I know that we might get the call (GOD forbid) and the money will just cease. That scares me! Their mom works at a middle school making less than $1K/mo, but she enjoys it. The cost of living here is low compared to other parts of the country, and I like it here.
So how do you feel about you and your family relying on your predecessor being willing, able and alive enough to risk his life every day to support you lifestyle?

I think if I were that mule I would consider getting lost somewhere in Indonesia.

Ha
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:28 PM   #9
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So how do you feel about you and your family relying on your predecessor being willing, able and alive enough to risk his life every day?

I think if I were that mule I would consider getting lost somewhere in Indonesia.

Ha
Let's put it this way...

Back in 1999, while he was married and had 3 young kids (6, 4, 3), he decided that being a local police officer here wasn't enough, so off he went to Kosovo to work to train the police force there.

While he was there, he was a stud and the ladies loved him and he loved them back. Come to find out, he got a gal pregnant while he was still married. The wife found out and he decided divorce was the only option. So they divorced and he agreed to the child support agreement.

Since then he has married again, had another kid again, and divorced again.

I met his folks, and brother and they are good people. Funny thing is he worked with my brother overseas. Small world!

He likes what he is doing, and the money is OUTSTANDING!

I don't feel sorry for him. He agreed to it!

PS....He also had 2 kids from a previous marriage, but he signed over any custody and child support a long time ago. So yes...count em...He has 6 kids and is paying child support for 4 (16, 14, 13 & 6)
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