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Old 12-14-2009, 09:26 PM   #41
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It hasn't been a lot of fun though...living on a sailboat, fulltime RVing, living in foreign countries.
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I'm sure the writer would call what you did being a galley slave, living in your car, and being banished from the country.
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:52 PM   #42
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I actually know lots of people who would not retire and could. I am an attorney and the vast majority of over 60 attorneys that I know who are in good health (and some who aren't) continue to work. Some take on a more reduced role and work fewer hours others not so much. In my experience the vast majority continue to work. In fact, even after 30 years in the practice of law I can't say that I personally know any attorney who has actually voluntarily retired.

I think we can suggest a few reasons for this:

1. Enjoys the work. I know plenty of attorneys who love their work. They find it interesting and meaningful.

2. Lack of outside interests. Many are used to working very long hours and putting their practice first. They never developed strong outside interests or had to subordinate them to work. These are people who would be lost without their work because their work is also their hobby.

3. I would guess that for some they are used to power, prestige, making a difference...whatever you want to call it. I think they would see retiring as giving all of that up.

4. A feeling of not having enough money. Some of these people earned very high amounts of money. They have an inflated idea (IMO) of what it takes to retire. I was talking to someone a couple of years ago and he told me his number for retirement was $5 million. He wouldn't even consider it for less than that. Some just can't imagine a lifestyle that didn't require that kind of nest egg.
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:57 PM   #43
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Maybe it's just the nature of my job, but I see too many people in financial (and other) misfortune every day for me to feel smug about their need to keep working. There's a story behind each one, often worth hearing.
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Old 12-14-2009, 10:58 PM   #44
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Well, personally I WANT to work, even though I've been retired for 3+ years. I'm one of the majority. I'd be working right now except I'd have to get dressed, and I'd probably have to get up before 9. Plus there's that interview thing. And having to show up every day. Not to mention the really crappy attitude I have about people telling me what to do and when to do it. And they certainly wouldn't pay me enough to have to wear a tie. But other than that, I REALLY want to work. Seriously. I do.
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:20 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
I actually know lots of people who would not retire and could. I am an attorney and the vast majority of over 60 attorneys that I know who are in good health (and some who aren't) continue to work. Some take on a more reduced role and work fewer hours others not so much. In my experience the vast majority continue to work. In fact, even after 30 years in the practice of law I can't say that I personally know any attorney who has actually voluntarily retired.

I think we can suggest a few reasons for this:

1. Enjoys the work. I know plenty of attorneys who love their work. They find it interesting and meaningful.

2. Lack of outside interests. Many are used to working very long hours and putting their practice first. They never developed strong outside interests or had to subordinate them to work. These are people who would be lost without their work because their work is also their hobby.

3. I would guess that for some they are used to power, prestige, making a difference...whatever you want to call it. I think they would see retiring as giving all of that up.

4. A feeling of not having enough money. Some of these people earned very high amounts of money. They have an inflated idea (IMO) of what it takes to retire. I was talking to someone a couple of years ago and he told me his number for retirement was $5 million. He wouldn't even consider it for less than that. Some just can't imagine a lifestyle that didn't require that kind of nest egg.
Hey, I resemble these comments!

#1 I used to enjoy it. I still like parts of what I do. But I like other things better and detest the hours.

#2 I have enough outside interests and a bucket list to keep me busy. I'm more concerned with the fact that the vast majority of my social life is connected to work related people.

#3 Some truth here, but I have no issues with giving up the corner office etc. Retireing early is more prestigious than staying in the work force.

#4 We have a budget for retirement and know how much we need to generate that level of income. Add a safety margin. When we hit that number, that's it. Time is more valuable to me than posessions. But you're right - I know too many members of our profession who just don't know when to stop. They may talk about it but they just don't do it.

I have to admit I cannot think of too many lawyers who retired on a voluntary basis. Most keep going until they get pushed out or reach mandatory retirement age or have health issues. Maybe I'll be setting a precedent.
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:31 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
I actually know lots of people who would not retire and could. I am an attorney and the vast majority of over 60 attorneys that I know who are in good health (and some who aren't) continue to work. Some take on a more reduced role and work fewer hours others not so much. In my experience the vast majority continue to work. In fact, even after 30 years in the practice of law I can't say that I personally know any attorney who has actually voluntarily retired.

I think we can suggest a few reasons for this:

1. Enjoys the work. I know plenty of attorneys who love their work. They find it interesting and meaningful.

2. Lack of outside interests. Many are used to working very long hours and putting their practice first. They never developed strong outside interests or had to subordinate them to work. These are people who would be lost without their work because their work is also their hobby.

3. I would guess that for some they are used to power, prestige, making a difference...whatever you want to call it. I think they would see retiring as giving all of that up.

4. A feeling of not having enough money. Some of these people earned very high amounts of money. They have an inflated idea (IMO) of what it takes to retire. I was talking to someone a couple of years ago and he told me his number for retirement was $5 million. He wouldn't even consider it for less than that. Some just can't imagine a lifestyle that didn't require that kind of nest egg.
Well, I'm sure there are some other lawyers on the board who are seriously thinking about retirement at least. I remember a 41 y/o International lawyer posting he was retiring (wonder how that went, it was right before the 2008 fallout). And I have certainly seen some other lawyers post on here. But, this forum is certainly a concentrated collection of those who are interested in retirement. From my (very limited) experience, lawyers at medium/large law firms are much less likely to be thinking about retirement, or retiring early, but I did meet one at the place I worked. But, law firms, especially large ones, only makeup a fragment of the legal profession. There are also the small/solo practitioners, government lawyers, public interest, and in-house lawyers, which are all very different environments.

Edit: I was writing this before traineeinvestor posted!
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Old 12-15-2009, 12:23 AM   #47
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When I first switched from F/T to P/T back in 2001, I also switched to a mostly telecommuting arrangement instead of having to haul my sorry a$$ from Long Island to the office in Jersey City, New Jersey. At the time, I still liked the work and could do it from the confines of my own place. I did have to haul my sorry a$$ to the office once a week which was not fun but at least I knew after returning home that I did not have to go back there for another week. I also regained my personal life with outside hobbies and volunteer work.

In late 2003, my company did away with open-ended telecommuting. I could still work P/T but had to haul my sorry a$$ from LI to NJ 3 days a week to fulfill my hours. I knew at that time that this would become my eventual undoing, and I accelerated my planning towards an ER. This change also made it tough to maintain my outside activities when I telecommuted.

Besides the return of the horrors of a commute, even only 3 days a week, I also had to endure just being in the office more often. While I still liked the work (actuarial supervisor but with lots of computer programming, like an IT person within an actuarial division), that was beginning to erode over the next few years. By 2007, I could not stand it any more and asked to reduce my weekly hours from 20 to 12. This shedded one day a week of my lousy commute and got me out of the office at 5 PM instead of 6 PM, also helpful.

While it did ease my discomfort for a little while, it did not solve the problem - I still had to haul my sorry a$$ from LI to NJ more than once a week. The erosion of my liking of the work continued and the only way I felt I could solve this was to retire. By 2008, I was putting the pieces into place so I could retire. This included visiting a Fidelity advisor to make sure I wasn't missing anything. I had also been tracking a Fidelity bond fund (Focused High Yield) which could provide me with adequate income using the rapidly growing company stock (ESOP) in the retirement plan. I also found an affordable health insurance plan.

Once these pieces fell into place in late 2008, I gave them my notice and retired. I told the HR guy in my exit interview that I was sooo burnt out from the commute that even if they DID offer a resumption of the old telecommute deal AND allowed me to enroll in the group health plan (I was disqualified from it in 2007 when I switched to 12 weekly hours) that I would have rejected it anyway. The work I had at one time enjoyed was no longer enjoyable to me. The damage had been done. I had no choice but to leave and I do not miss the work one bit.

I can see how someone reading this might feel sad that something I once liked to do and got paid well for it was being rejected outright. I could very easily live on 12 hours a week. But the dang commute even two days a week was not just one day too many (versus my old telecommuting) but was now TWO days a week too many.

So I took the ESOP money (before the ESOP tanked for a while) and left. It generates nearly the same $$ as when I was working 12 hours a week!

No regrets.
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Old 12-15-2009, 01:35 AM   #48
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Hey, I resemble these comments!

#1 I used to enjoy it. I still like parts of what I do. But I like other things better and detest the hours.

I particularly agree with this. I don't hate my work. It is often enjoyable particularly on a day to day basis. The hours, well, not so much.

And, it is just that I can think of tons of other things to do. I was talking to my mother today (she is 85) and have mentioned that we are thinking of retiring in the not too distant future. She told me that when she retired (at normal age) she found it hard to adjust to because she kept feeling like she was wasting her time at home and felt like she was throwing away the money she could have earned. She has told me before that she gets bored. Me? I can't imagine feeling like I was wasting my time if I was retired. And I have a very long list of things I would like to do.

I do understand the throwing away money part of it since I do have a good earning capacity and it is easy to get sucked into just one more year syndrome....
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Old 12-15-2009, 07:17 AM   #49
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I think I may have stumbled on other reason while people continue to work when they don't need to financially while talking to an older peer at lunch yesterday. Bob is a 79 with 58 years in at our company! He is in a managment role of a small group of professionals that has largely been unchanged for the last 25 years. I mentioned this topic and forum and he told me the reason he continued to work was he didn't want to spend all day at home with the DW!
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Old 12-15-2009, 07:22 AM   #50
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I mentioned this topic and forum and he told me the reason he continued to work was he didn't want to spend all day at home with the DW!


Or maybe, just maybe, his DW couldn't stand having him hang around the house all day. Just sayin'....
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Old 12-15-2009, 07:54 AM   #51
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I mentioned this topic and forum and he told me the reason he continued to work was he didn't want to spend all day at home with the DW!
When I retired I had an FI colleague who continued to work because he didn't want to be home with his kids all day!

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Old 12-15-2009, 08:20 AM   #52
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...the reason he continued to work was he didn't want to spend all day at home with the DW!
There's one of those with the police dept. I retired from, with over 50 years there now. He set a new departmental record. Twenty years ago he could have retired and made more money selling t-shirts out of the back of a pickup truck. But he also has about the lowest-stress job available - court coordinator.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:51 AM   #53
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Here's a recap of my retirement for the last few weeks. Golf game suffering as a result, but still beats the heck out of working.

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Old 12-15-2009, 10:00 AM   #54
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But, law firms, especially large ones, only makeup a fragment of the legal profession. There are also the small/solo practitioners, government lawyers, public interest, and in-house lawyers, which are all very different environments.
As to the question of 60-70 year old lawyers voluntarily retiring, I think they have self-selected the sample of 60-70 year old lawyers. By the time they are 60 and still practicing law, they have probably been at it for 35 years. If they aren't burnt out by then, then they probably love it. My guess is that over the decades, the people for whom the passion to practice law was not present left the law firms for greener pastures. Only 6 years out from law school for me, and I have already seen some folks slowing it down a notch by going from firms to government or in-house, or some non-practicing corporate role. And others who have stated this slowing-down as a goal. Those who survive the trial by fire and don't mind the stresses of practicing at a big firm are exactly the people most likely to want to do it forever.
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:01 AM   #55
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Studs Terkel said it better than anyone I've heard in his 1972 book, Working. He deals with the two seemingly oopposite sides of working: the degrading, destructive side and the side that is meaningful and nourishing. Mostly interviews with a group of people from all walks.

The Chicagoans in the group probably remember him. A great read.
Reading all the comments above, I think this is the key to many.

If your job has lots of the "meaningful and nourishing" you will probably want to continue, especially if you can arrange part-time and flexible hours.

If your job has lots of "degrading, destructive", you want to get out as soon as possible.

There was a poll on this board last year on the topic "What made you pull the cord?" (or something like that). The common thread that I saw was people quit when something happened that shifted the balance from the m&n above to the d&d.

Genesis has a great take on this. Adam had a job (he was the gardener) even though he lived in paradise. When he got kicked out, he did the same kind of work, but now the "thorns and thistles" would afflict his work. I often thought of that when I was working and had to deal with those human thorns.

I was happy to retire because I was tired of playing the "protect your career from the newest CEO" game. But, I would have continued working, even at that company, if I could have gotten about half my pay for parttime work on projects that I chose.
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:04 AM   #56
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Another slightly different semantic slant on the original article's wording (I should disclaim that I didn't read the thing. My blood pressure was pretty low yesterday and I'd like to keep it that way.): "I want to keep working because I want all this consumerist junk in my life and I can't figure out a way to keep paying the credit card bills without a j*b."
I wonder if the same number of respondents would have indicated a desire to continue working if they would have posed the question as follows: "If you could receive your same pay and benefits as at your current employer by simply sitting on a beach all day lounging around, sipping margaritas, and observing scantily clad young beauties, would you still want to continue working your old 9-5 job?"
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:57 AM   #57
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For some it's not about the job, it's about doing something else.
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Old 12-15-2009, 01:44 PM   #58
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If your job has lots of the "meaningful and nourishing" you will probably want to continue, especially if you can arrange part-time and flexible hours.
Or to paraphrase E.J.Zelinski...

Besides the obvious benefits of income and (possibly more) income security work provides:

1) A sense of purpose

2) Structure in your life

3) A sense of community

These are the things that the article was refering to or should have referred to.

It's not all about the money.
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Old 12-15-2009, 02:49 PM   #59
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I don't deny that all three may be what keep some working, but for me, and I'll wager many on this board;

1) A sense of purpose - I was not my work. Being a good husband and dad was enough purpose for me, and still is.
2) DW provides plenty of structure around here
3) Coming from the military, a new community was formed about every other year. We have now formed a new 'retirement community'

So while I don't disagree that those may be things that keep some working, I still think security is their chief concern. (excluding the small percentage of Dr., Lawyers, and Indian Chiefs.)
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:17 PM   #60
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If your job has lots of "degrading, destructive", you want to get out as soon as possible.
This describes the environment I was working in and the reason I needed to get out as soon as possible. It's sad, really, because I genuinely enjoyed the work on those rare occasions where I was able to just do the work without the ill effects of the environment.

But the upside to it is that it spurred me on to figure out what I needed to do to escape at the earliest point and time, and I have no regrets now.
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