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So, I think this is it
Old 08-23-2012, 11:07 AM   #1
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So, I think this is it

Hi all --

I just found out that I'm being let go from my job at a New York PR agency. I've been there almost 2.5 years and the growth just isn't what it needs to be, so oh well.

Anyway, some of you may remember my posts a few years ago when I was debating whether to go back into "corporate life" or to try teaching or something that would be more fulfilling for me. (I have been passionate about reading and writing my entire life, and completed my MFA in creative writing last summer, which makes me eligible to teach at the college level.) However, in 2010, I was offered this big job (300k salary) so decided to take it to save more money for a couple more years, which I was able to do.

So, now I am 42 years old, I have $2,000,000 in a diversified taxable portolio, $200k in a 401k, a house in Westchester county, NY, which is worth $1,000,000 and totally paid off, and a $100,000 cabin on a lake which also has no mortgage. My partner is 53 and is retiring in June and will have a full-salary pension and excellent healthcare insurance for the rest of his life.

So, I think I know the answer to this, but AM I READY to bite the bullet and consider this the first day of my retirement or at least retirement from corporate life? I don't want to spend months debating what to do this time, and need to either call a few headhunters or just enjoy what I have accomplished and pursue my passions. I think i would love teaching one or two college adjunt courses per semester at a nearby school (lots in the NY metro area) while getting serious about my own writing and trying to get published more regularly. My partner is planning to start a dog care business (his passion) when he retires in the spring, and we've been talking about leaving the NYC area.

I guess what I'm looking for is either a reality check or a pep talk from you all - is this the time?

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Old 08-23-2012, 11:32 AM   #2
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midlifeguy, sorry about your job loss, but good that you saved what you earned. It's difficult to answer without knowing what your budget needs are, but I am tempted to say "no" just based where you live. Once upon a time I lived there and the cost of living is just too high, especially property and state taxes.

You do probably have enough to pursue your dream of writing and teaching class if you can relocate to a lower cost of living area. A little more detail on your spending needs will help answer.

I still miss that area, especially the Jacob Burns center and a little independent coffee shop around the corner. Sigh...

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Old 08-23-2012, 11:36 AM   #3
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So... doing a conservative withdrawal rate - 3% - you'd draw down $66k from your 2.2M nest egg.
Can you live on that?
I like the idea of pursuing teaching... that provides income, but gives you summers off.
I have a number of teachers in my family (elementary to graduate school level). They seem to like the challenge. My step mom is in her 80's and still teaches graduate level nursing because she likes it too much to quit. She's part time... but she says it keeps her brain sharp and engaged.
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:42 AM   #4
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I think it shouldn't be too hard to live off the combination of your nest egg's earnings (awesome nest egg!!!) and your partner's retirement benefits. How nice if you're ready mentally/emotionally/spirtually/etc. (fill in random new-age emotion here) to retire at the same time as your partner. And this:

I think i would love teaching one or two college adjunt courses per semester at a nearby school (lots in the NY metro area) while getting serious about my own writing and trying to get published more regularly. My partner is planning to start a dog care business (his passion) when he retires in the spring, and we've been talking about leaving the NYC area.
sounds like a wonderfully full life.
Go Cubs
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:49 AM   #5
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It may be a little unsettling at present, but I suspect that before long, being let go by that PR agency will seem like the luckiest thing that ever happened to you.

Congratulations! Whatever you choose to do, you are entering a new, and probably happier and less stressful period of your life.
"You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." - - - C. Columbus
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Old 08-23-2012, 12:13 PM   #6
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As others have said, it depends on what your living expenses are. Awesome job of building up that nest egg!! Keep in mind that since you are only 42, your portfolio may have to last 50 or more years.
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Old 08-23-2012, 12:19 PM   #7
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Thanks for the comments so far. In terms of my budget, I was already trying to live off $5k per month automatically withdrawn from my portfolio, and had most of my paycheck automatically deposited in my portfolio. Kind of like a trial run at retirement. That worked out okay, although now and then i would pause the paycheck deposit for a given month if we had an extra big expense or wanted to do something to the house, etc. So, I'm not too worried about the financials (although we'd have to live more simply - thankfully my partner is VERY fiscally conservative). By the way, we have no kids, just three dogs. I think what worries me right now is the uncertainty - am I ready to totally give up a lucrative career? What if I have regrets? What if teaching doesn't work out? Etc. etc.
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Old 08-23-2012, 12:50 PM   #8
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Congratulations on an outstanding portfolio! Your situation is one that is answered best by yourself, because of its relative uniqueness, concerning a strong desire to pursue your passion and possibly incorporate it into a future career, along with your young age. I retired from something, not to something which is a big difference. This is why I continue to take part time work to build up the nest egg, though I probably don't need it. But it nice on days like today when my a/c went out and I can just write a check for a new unit instead of dipping into my reserves!
Its a good thing you are not me, as the choice would be simple. Play the old gunslinger, and go back for one last big kill. I am sure you know this but some of those type of teaching positions don't pay much if you were counting on it for income. I have 2 friends who teach graduate classes and get around $1500 per class per semester.
Of course you also have another financial weapon at your disposal, that being your house. You mentioned a desire to possibly move. If it is to a lower cost living area, you could add a lot of money into your portfolio. Good luck in your decision making process!

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