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Workin' for nuttin' and hatin' it
Old 03-07-2010, 07:12 AM   #1
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Workin' for nuttin' and hatin' it

Brewer's thread about "We Really Are Different" caused me to think about a situation that is a little different, but takes the notion of continuing on the treadmill to a level that seems really foolish.


I work for a company that has traditional pensions and still provides retirement health care.

I know people that have worked longer than it seemed they should. Of course, one never knows their financial situation... but if they continued to work because of lack of basic planning then it provides a little insight into the behavior .

In the extreme, I have seen people continue to work ( and I know they hate their j*b from listening to them rant). Work past 62 and even past 65 when they could get retirement healthcare and a pension that would replace almost 80% - 100% of their earnings... (if one includes SS). Long-time employees with 40+ years. The way the pension works, they get no additional benefit after so many years of work (an amount so low it is not meaningful).

Go figure.

I often wondered it they realized that they are working a job they dislike for FREE?
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Old 03-07-2010, 07:44 AM   #2
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In the extreme, I have seen people continue to work ( and I know they hate their j*b from listening to them rant).
I know people who's favorite job it to rant Better that they rant at work than join the HOA board
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Old 03-07-2010, 09:19 AM   #3
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I often wondered it they realized that they are working a job they dislike for FREE?
Military veterans serving for longer than 20 years are frequently accused of working for less than half their paycheck, which is misleading but entertaining.

Many of those veterans are also trying to rebuild assets after a divorce, which frequently would involve handing over a substantial portion of the pension if they were drawing it. It just doesn't seem to occur to them that they could leave the service via retirement (admittedly giving up some pension to do so) and get a higher-paying civilian job that the ex-spouse would have no claim on.

I guess in in some cases the decision "not to retire" is more emotional than financial.

Spouse says I don't have to worry about divorce laws, so I'm ignorant. Can divorce courts award shares of civilian pensions to ex-spouses?
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Old 03-07-2010, 09:25 AM   #4
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....... Can divorce courts award shares of civilian pensions to ex-spouses?
Yes. Google "QDRO"
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Old 03-07-2010, 09:28 AM   #5
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Spouse says I don't have to worry about divorce laws, so I'm ignorant. Can divorce courts award shares of civilian pensions to ex-spouses?
Yes. 401k and any pension have to be split. A coworker of mine was in this situation. The problem was to value his pension, which he is not yet eligible to draw for a number of years. He wanted to give half of the present value to his wife and called it done. But the megacorp would not provide him with a cash value. So, he had to find a way to estimate it and to get his wife to agree to it.

PS. I do not know how one handles the tax issues with these accounts. What a mess!
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Old 03-07-2010, 09:39 AM   #6
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Go figure.

I often wondered it they realized that they are working a job they dislike for FREE?
I am in sales and I talk with a lot of people who are 55-65 and working - often we'll talk about retirement. Seems like there's 4 categories of people:

1. People who can retire and have many interests outside work - these people retire early and leave interesting / fulfilling retirements (my personal goal)

2. People who can retire and do not have outside interests - these people keep working - sad situations because these people have resources to live much richer lives.

3. People who cannot retire and have many outside interests - these people work because they have to - but do their best job to "live richly" outside work

4. People who cannot retire and do not have outside interests.- these are "working drones" who don't know any better.
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:00 AM   #7
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I often wondered it they realized that they are working a job they dislike for FREE?
Probably not.

An in-law was a little surprised when I explained the same concept to him. He's eligible for retirement in a couple of years at half-pay. He won't accrue any more benefits for working longer. He hates his job (and with good reason, it is a really bad job). You could see a little light bulb go off when I told him he could take a 50% pay cut to take a job he liked and be no worse off financially than if he kept the awful job he has.
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:06 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Delawaredave5 View Post
I am in sales and I talk with a lot of people who are 55-65 and working - often we'll talk about retirement. Seems like there's 4 categories of people:

1. People who can retire and have many interests outside work - these people retire early and leave interesting / fulfilling retirements (my personal goal)

2. People who can retire and do not have outside interests - these people keep working - sad situations because these people have resources to live much richer lives.

3. People who cannot retire and have many outside interests - these people work because they have to - but do their best job to "live richly" outside work

4. People who cannot retire and do not have outside interests.- these are "working drones" who don't know any better.
We can all agree that the fortunate Group 1 is the most happy bunch. But, but, but for the sake of argument, wouldn't the Group 3 be most miserable, because they "know" how good life can be outside of work, yet have not reached FI to fully experience it? By the same reasoning, Groups 2 and 4 may just be too "dumb" to know they should be unhappy.
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Old 03-07-2010, 11:56 AM   #9
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By the same reasoning, Groups 2 and 4 may just be too "dumb" to know they should be unhappy.
People who are unhappy with their lives because of their jobs are the dumbest. Chosing to spend their most precious resource, time, in activities they hate to achieve some mythical goal of "retirement security" is pathetic.

Most everyone spends their limited time on earth providing for themselves in some way, shape or fashion. Doing this is a manner which causes you pain isn't an indicator of "brightness."
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Old 03-07-2010, 12:05 PM   #10
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Military veterans serving for longer than 20 years are frequently accused of working for less than half their paycheck, which is misleading but entertaining.

Many of those veterans are also trying to rebuild assets after a divorce, which frequently would involve handing over a substantial portion of the pension if they were drawing it. It just doesn't seem to occur to them that they could leave the service via retirement (admittedly giving up some pension to do so) and get a higher-paying civilian job that the ex-spouse would have no claim on.

I guess in in some cases the decision "not to retire" is more emotional than financial.

Spouse says I don't have to worry about divorce laws, so I'm ignorant. Can divorce courts award shares of civilian pensions to ex-spouses?
1984 was a busy year for lawmakers on this issue...
Google both "Spouse Equity Act of 1984" and "Retirement Equity Act of 1984". I'm not certain what these laws mean for the private sector domain, but they are monumental for military and federal civil service.
dh2b is under court order to surrender a portion of BOTH his military retirement (currently) and his civil service retirement (future).
No further comment.
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Old 03-07-2010, 12:42 PM   #11
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I heard yesterday on the radio that Chuck Berry had his lawyers draw up a sex agreement that he had his friends and pick-ups sign. He then took a Polaroid and got the lady or ladies in question to sign it, thus demonstrating that they were at least somewhat sober and not being doped.

Maybe should be adapted to today's world too?

Ha
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Old 03-07-2010, 12:48 PM   #12
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I should clarify my initial post... this does not seem to be a common problem with most people . I know of two people that have done this.

- One person did it because they claimed they like their work. It was a fairly menial job that probably did provide some gratification. Bottom line, the person had been around so long, no one expected much from them. I think this person liked the social aspect of their job. OK reason by me. But they were either losing money working (considering expenses related to work) or at best making a few $ a day. This person would have been better off retiring and coming back as a part-time worker.... and here is the killer part. The company would do that deal!!! I know it for a fact!

- The other person, when asked why they had not retired yet told people - everybody in my family worked past retirement age. The only thing I can figure that makes any sense is conforming to the family norm for bragging rights. This is another one of those deals where the person was at best making a few $ a day... probably less when work expenses were factored in. This person probably could not retire and be hired back part-time. Weak performer (did just enough) that frequently complained.
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Old 03-07-2010, 01:23 PM   #13
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Well, there are lots of reasons to keep working, I just don't find them persuasive. In the small 22 person office in NASA where I worked we had 3 folks with 50 years! Now there is no benefit after 42 years. These folks had no promotions, no step increases only the occasional COLA pay adjustment but their retirement would have been COLAd as well. And one of them, a retired AF Col, drove 40+ miles each way for what must have been minimum wage pay after deducting the work pay from retirement pay. Now I gotta say, this was a great office, I really liked working there but I watched 2 guys & 1 gal work until they died which I suppose if OK as they liked their work but I felt it was time to do something else with my life.
And then there is a friend their who did retire and then went to work for the state for 5 years to qualify for their retirement. Now he is back as a clerical(!) contractor to that office. Now I understand his position, he just cannot stay home with his wife. Talk about a depressing proposition.
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Old 03-07-2010, 01:47 PM   #14
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I heard yesterday on the radio that Chuck Berry had his lawyers draw up a sex agreement that he had his friends and pick-ups sign. He then took a Polaroid and got the lady or ladies in question to sign it, thus demonstrating that they were at least somewhat sober and not being doped.

Maybe should be adapted to today's world too?

Ha
That must have been something he started after spending 4 years in prison for consorting with a 14 year old.
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:10 PM   #15
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No further comment.
Spouse has said that her divorce plan involves a 9mm something or other. I haven't been interested in learning more...
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Old 03-07-2010, 08:04 PM   #16
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In the extreme, I have seen people continue to work ( and I know they hate their j*b from listening to them rant). Work past 62 and even past 65 when they could get retirement healthcare and a pension that would replace almost 80% - 100% of their earnings... (if one includes SS). Long-time employees with 40+ years. The way the pension works, they get no additional benefit after so many years of work (an amount so low it is not meaningful).

Go figure.

I often wondered it they realized that they are working a job they dislike for FREE?
I think there are times that people just don't work through the thoughts. In some instates it may be more complicated:

1. You are included SS. Some people may want to defer SS until 67 or even 70 and so they do see a pay cut in taking retirement pay.

2. Some people may worry about the stability of the retirement pay and not want to put all their eggs in that basket. Yes there is the pension guaranty fund but benefits are capped.

3. In some instances there may be financial benefits to working even if retirement income is same as base salary. My DH works for a place with traditional pension. if he retired tomorrow (he is 62) his traditional pension if he took it single life + social security is about 90% of his base salary. If you add in children's SS benefits (we have 2 children under 18) it is about 100%.

However, there are other factors. His bonus each year varies but can be 30 to 60% of his base salary and if he retires that is money lost. There is subsidized retiree medical but the cost is higher in retirement. The cost of his life insurance will go up if he retires.

He is nonetheless planning to retire this summer (although he will take the lump sum rather than the pension)
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:16 PM   #17
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I started my c@reer at Megacorp in a small, backwater outpost of the company. Within that outpost was my relatively small work group - perhaps 35 people within our lab building. So we all pretty much knew each other's business (at least such things as years of service, retirement benefits, length of commute, estimated salary, etc.). We had a guy who had worked for Megacorp for almost 40 years. He was about 63 at the time. One day, over coffee, we all started telling him how he was probably working for something like $.25/hour (this was back in the late 70s, so $.25 was enough to at least buy a candy bar from the vending machine.) The guy was incredulous, so we suggested he talk to our local financial "guru" - one of the payroll accountants who did about 1/3 of our taxes on the side. Reluctantly the guy talked to said guru to see if were were full of it. The next week the guy turned in his papers for retirement. We were off just a little. He was working for about $.75/hour. We were all sad to see him leave 'cause he was a great guy. So we quit talking to the older guys about such things in the future - at least the ones we treasured.

The moral, if there is one, be careful what you talk about over coffee.
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:49 AM   #18
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I often wondered it they realized that they are working a job they dislike for FREE?
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Probably not.

An in-law was a little surprised when I explained the same concept to him. He's eligible for retirement in a couple of years at half-pay. He won't accrue any more benefits for working longer. He hates his job (and with good reason, it is a really bad job). You could see a little light bulb go off when I told him he could take a 50% pay cut to take a job he liked and be no worse off financially than if he kept the awful job he has.
YTG is right. Being really miserable at work can blind one to even the simplest options for making things better. I don't think I would ever have thought of looking for a different position with the same employer if it hadn't been for a remark one of my coworkers made.
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:24 AM   #19
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DW's uncle worked for Megacorp well into his 70's.

He was a multimillionaire and had a very generous pension. The pension plus social security plus the dividends from his portfolio more than replaced his pre-retirement income (according to him). Yet he refused to retire. He said he still enjoyed his job. But more than that, I think he was afraid to lose his identity (senior vice-president of well-known megacorp). He was also afraid of boredom because his entire life was centered around work.

Last year, he was finally forced into retirement. He seems to have aged 20 years in just a few months. The charismatic leader that he was has lost his swagger, he has no conversation and he seems lost. He is the shadow of the guy I knew.
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:58 AM   #20
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Last year, he was finally forced into retirement. He seems to have aged 20 years in just a few months. The charismatic leader that he was has lost his swagger, he has no conversation and he seems lost. He is the shadow of the guy I knew.
I see this all the time. Hard for me to believe someone's life and identity could be so absolutely centered around a j*b.

Maybe more sad is the person's inability to "redefine" themselves once in retirement through hobbies, charity, volunteering, couch surfing, whatever...........
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