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WSJ Retirement Blues
Old 02-16-2009, 07:23 AM   #1
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WSJ Retirement Blues

Before I get to the purpose of my post, I want to offer a few comments. I left off visiting these forums sometime in September 2008, partly because of growing snarkiness and incivilty from some posters (the looming election and financial doom and gloom provided an abundance of fodder!), and partly because DH and I needed to deal with some family and financial matters. When I returned early this month, I discovered that the Soapbox was closed, and one of my favorite posters both for humor and information (CuteFuzzyBunny) was gone (as in, the online presence sense). Apparently much has happened in these forums.

As to the financial matters, and the purpose of my post. Sometime in November, DH and I reviewed our portfolio and ran some numbers. Our financial sheet was rather bloodied, but we were still within our retirement zone. However, our comfort zone, the financial padding, was gone. In other words, DH could remain retired, but our future looked less comfortable and care-free, especially if we lived well into our 80's (as I hope we do!) and especially if this downturn proves rather more long-term than short-term. At roughly the same time, the company he retired from contacted him and asked if he'd be willing to come back to work part-time. Now, this company would contact him once or twice a year during the three years he had been retired, and ask him to return. DH had always refused, but this was the first time they had offered a part-time position. He decided he would be foolish to pass up the opportunity to restore our financial security. Now, he's back at work 3 days a week, at the same salary level (adjusted to 3 days a week, naturally) with the benefit of a company car.

We have calculated that working for 2 or 3 years will provide more than enough financial padding (barring Armageddon) for us. BTW, DH is 58 and I am 50. DH had retired early at 55.

Sorry this is getting so long. Here is a link to an article in the WSJ this weekend which reflects some of what we have experienced.
There Goes Retirement - WSJ.com

Has anyone else gone back to work just for "padding" the retirement numbers? Do you think it's worth it?
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Old 02-16-2009, 07:33 AM   #2
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Link didn't work. I only worked a few weeks to help out my old boss in a tight. But the money did help out in the short term. Not planning to work again, but never say never.
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Old 02-16-2009, 08:02 AM   #3
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I went back to work last spring, for a variety of reasons. The biggie was that retirement wasn't as much fun as I thought it would be. I found that one can only spend so much time building radio controlled model airplanes, fishing, going for walks, going to the park, visiting with relatives, watching TV, posting on Internet forums, etc. DW and I are not much for extensive travel, although we do like day trips and/or shorter trips with one or two night stays. In the winter we generally go into "hibernation mode" since neither likes cold weather much. DW went back to school to finish her BA degree and will have that in May, then plans to look for a job. We realize it will probably take a while for her to find one but we've been through that before.

As with others, the padding in investments took a beating in the last year but we didn't take as heavy a loss as so many others did.

So I took a job doing armed security work (I'm retired law enforcement) that pays almost as much as I was making before retirement. I usually work 8-hour days or evenings, four days a week. There is no heavy lifting involved, and for what I do the pay is absurdly high. Often the hardest part is staying awake. On the plus side, the commute is 3.4 miles, and I have a passionate loathing of having to deal with heavy traffic and tight schedules so that is a huge plus for me. The people I work with are with one exception (there's always at least one!) easy to get along with, and I only see the jerk for about ten minutes once about every two weeks so I can deal with that.

So I figure I'll continue on there for another two to four years, or whenever I don't feel like working anymore, whichever occurs first.
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Old 02-16-2009, 09:28 AM   #4
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I retired at the end of March 2008 and have done some infrequent consulting for my previous employer. I could essentially work full-time this way but I retired for a reason so I limit the work to less than ideal times for travel/play (winter mostly). The nice thing is that I can continue to contribute to my Roth if I have earned income, and it keeps me in touch with old friends.
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Old 02-16-2009, 09:58 AM   #5
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LP: Welcome back. For me the link worked and was interesting as those in the articles are in my age bracket. I have no intention of ever going back to work but the stories were interesting. Thanks for posting the article.
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Old 02-16-2009, 10:12 AM   #6
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Welcome back!

As was true for people described in the article, a lot of people here have had to put off ER or return to work, due to the unprecedented downturn of our economy that took place in recent months. This is disheartening and sad. Just making ends meet has been difficult for many.

Even those of us whose plans are still intact, are thinking about "Plan B" in case things get a lot worse. Hopefully they won't, and with any luck the market will start to recover in the next year or two.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:07 AM   #7
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Has anyone else gone back to work just for "padding" the retirement numbers? Do you think it's worth it?
No, and uhm, no.

I don't object to work. I object to all its ancillary crap, which quickly sucks all the putative value out of the "pay".

Even if that crap was somehow removed (you'd think that would be a priority by now) then I'd still be concerned about deadlines and adequate time off for surfing.
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Old 02-16-2009, 11:12 AM   #8
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As was true for people described in the article, a lot of people here have had to put off ER or return to work, due to the unprecedented downturn of our economy that took place in recent months. This is disheartening and sad. Just making ends meet has been difficult for many.
And it's not *only* sad for the people who want to retire but can't; it's also unfortunate for people who need the jobs to open up. Retirement is good for reducing the jobless rate, but unfortunately the times people don't feel comfortable about retiring are the same times more job seekers need for people to retire.

Kinda sucks all the way around.
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Old 02-16-2009, 01:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
Welcome back!

As was true for people described in the article, a lot of people here have had to put off ER or return to work, due to the unprecedented downturn of our economy that took place in recent months. This is disheartening and sad. Just making ends meet has been difficult for many.

Even those of us whose plans are still intact, are thinking about "Plan B" in case things get a lot worse. Hopefully they won't, and with any luck the market will start to recover in the next year or two.
I think what I'm really conflicted about is that, going strictly by the numbers, DH could have stayed retired. And I realize how blessed we are, because many retirees don't have any choice at all about going back to work.

He wasn't happy about going back to work, even though it's just 3 days a week. DH loved being retired. Honestly, he was the most relaxed I've ever known him. But his concern is that the downturn will last longer than expected, that our income from investments won't keep pace with rising inflation, and that we'll have to live a more constricted lifestyle. A very real concern is that we're still creating our last child's college fund. He's a sophmore in high school, and while his 529 has stood up better than our other investments, it still took a significant hit.

I was just hoping to hear how and if others have made the decision.
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:06 PM   #10
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Thanks for including that link - what's interesting is most of those people are working part-time for minimal money - usually $400-$1000 a month - that's worth $120K-$300K with a 4% withdrawal rate....
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:27 PM   #11
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I'm an RN so I can easily get a job if I wanted one but that idea does just no appeal to me . I like retirement too much . Luckily if I had to work I could make a decent salary with minimal work hours . No way would I want to work a minimum wage job at this point in my life .
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:39 PM   #12
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In the last recesssion I lived through, there was a lot of resentment of older workers who "hung on" past normal retirement age, thereby making it more difficult for young people to enter the workforce. Has anyone experienced that yet?

Moemg, you are in the best position. Nurses will always be in demand, at least for the foreseeable future.

Around here they are saying that the impending doctor shortage has just disappeared.
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:32 PM   #13
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....
Has anyone else gone back to work just for "padding" the retirement numbers? Do you think it's worth it?
I retired at the end of August 2008. I've been tracking the bottom line PF numbers at the end of each month. It's like a ping pong ball bouncing around within the cushion, from almost gone to higher than the original number. Of course, those fluctuations include my 4% withdrawals. It's hard to remain calm with all the economic news and market drops. I do expect the cushion to disappear at some point, hopefully after about three years out; after all the 4% rule is a spend down plan.

No, I could starve in Bombay and still not think about going back to work. To go back into the job market for a cushion? Absolutely, NO.
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Old 02-16-2009, 04:08 PM   #14
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Has anyone else gone back to work just for "padding" the retirement numbers? Do you think it's worth it?
Like Moemg I am also an RN. I also have no intention of going back to work. Sooner drive a 10 inch nail through my left hand. Even put the old license on inactive status. I look at my parents. They are too old to return to work. I look at my brother who is disabled and on a fixed income. What happens when going back to work is not an option? You make adjustments.
We do not want to go back to work and will do the same. Our plan is sound and we will make adjustments, to our plan and to our budget as needed to ride through this. My parents and brother have been doing this for years.
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Old 02-16-2009, 04:16 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ladypatriot View Post

As to the financial matters, and the purpose of my post. Sometime in November, DH and I reviewed our portfolio and ran some numbers. Our financial sheet was rather bloodied, but we were still within our retirement zone. However, our comfort zone, the financial padding, was gone. In other words, DH could remain retired, but our future looked less comfortable and care-free, especially if we lived well into our 80's (as I hope we do!) and especially if this downturn proves rather more long-term than short-term. At roughly the same time, the company he retired from contacted him and asked if he'd be willing to come back to work part-time. Now, this company would contact him once or twice a year during the three years he had been retired, and ask him to return. DH had always refused, but this was the first time they had offered a part-time position. He decided he would be foolish to pass up the opportunity to restore our financial security. Now, he's back at work 3 days a week, at the same salary level (adjusted to 3 days a week, naturally) with the benefit of a company car.

We have calculated that working for 2 or 3 years will provide more than enough financial padding (barring Armageddon) for us. BTW, DH is 58 and I am 50. DH had retired early at 55.

Sorry this is getting so long. Here is a link to an article in the WSJ this weekend which reflects some of what we have experienced.
There Goes Retirement - WSJ.com

Has anyone else gone back to work just for "padding" the retirement numbers? Do you think it's worth it?
Before I retired, I sort of considered some w*rk to pad my IRAs. After a couple weeks I realized what a stupid idea that was (for me).
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Old 02-16-2009, 06:14 PM   #16
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Those are some depressing stories. When I ERd I left lots of room to cut back since I do not want to be forced back to work. Knock on wood -- it would take a heck of a downturn to force me back into the saddle.
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Old 02-16-2009, 09:19 PM   #17
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My DW has been working past our planned retirement date in mid 2008 to recover our margin. While she may or may not have done that without the recession, it's nice to have the income now.
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Old 02-17-2009, 07:54 AM   #18
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Those are some depressing stories. When I ERd I left lots of room to cut back since I do not want to be forced back to work. Knock on wood -- it would take a heck of a downturn to force me back into the saddle.
I don't feel all that bad about going back to work, especially this time of year when the weather is too cold anyway for us to go outside and do anything fun. And the income is all "play money" that we hadn't planned on having anyway. Some went to FIL's home improvements, some went to a motorcycle, some went to entertainment (motorcycle included in that), and the rest went into savings to do something fun with later.

I suppose it's easier to deal with because I didn't have to go to back to work. It was voluntary and remains so. I still have my KMA hat. That makes all the difference in the world.
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Old 02-17-2009, 08:34 AM   #19
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I also think it's different going back to work in your 50's than going back to work in your late 60's or 70's . When I see those people working they just look tired .
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Old 02-17-2009, 08:43 AM   #20
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NO. Not now, and hopefully not ever.
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