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Anyone Feel Guilty?
Old 06-04-2014, 09:03 PM   #1
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Anyone Feel Guilty?

Hello All -

First off - great website. I have enjoyed the exchange of information across many different topics. Up till now, never posted.

My status. After working for federal gov't for 34 yrs, I have decided to go out at the end of year. Financially between my pension, wife pension, SS, and investments I am pretty sure we can live a comfortable retirement as well as help out our children and various charities.

I am at the peak of my profession, will not find a position after retiring that pays as well. Once I leave federal gov't, there is no way to get my old income back. I am not sure what I want to do after retiring but for sure I know the income will be less.

Here's my question to those who retired. Did you feel guilty about retiring??

I could stay and work till I am 75 and bring more money in and help out many in our immediate family as well as give more to charities, so many of them deserving. Just the idea of no longer working after 34 yrs, I almost feel that I am being selfish and should help others.

Curious how others felt.

Thanks
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:06 PM   #2
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Guilty Are you kidding?!
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:15 PM   #3
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There was a recent thread that discussed this. You're not the only one who has felt this way kannon.

No doubt there are other threads on this, and similar subjects.
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:18 PM   #4
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Hell, no. I suffered plenty during my career, this is just desserts. Even to this day I find myself fending off job offers.
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:19 PM   #5
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I retired from working for federal gov't 7 years ago, have never felt guilty.
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:26 PM   #6
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You probably need to be asking yourself if you will enjoy retirement. I didn't see you mention anywhere that you are looking forward to it. Although you may not be able to help family members by continuing to work, you sure will help someone else by opening up a government position somewhere that will assist in their future retirement.


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Old 06-04-2014, 09:28 PM   #7
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The rest of the world should feel guilty for making me have to work.

There. I said it.
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:45 PM   #8
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I was FERS. I left at the earliest date I was told I could. My only "regret" is the wife will not also walk, and wants to keep working.
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Old 06-05-2014, 05:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kannon View Post

Here's my question to those who retired. Did you feel guilty about retiring??

Just the idea of no longer working after 34 yrs, I almost feel that I am being selfish and should help others.

Curious how others felt.

Thanks
Guilty? No.

I have volunteered continuously since FIRE and have helped many others.

Not w*rking does not mean that you are selfish.

Rich
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:32 AM   #10
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Guilty? No.

I have volunteered continuously since FIRE and have helped many others.

Not w*rking does not mean that you are selfish.

Rich
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:59 AM   #11
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I do, a little. Yes, I worked hard and didn't buy every flashy thing that caught my eye but that's true of many people who retired with less but weren't gifted with the same marketable skills or who had setbacks such as major unreimbursed medical expenses or prolonged unemployment. We touched base with the realtor who sold us our house in 2003 to talk about downsizing- a smart, hard-working woman who knows the market- and she said she spent most of her retirement savings for living expenses during the recession. There but for the grace of God...

We've also donated generously to charity over the years. My highest earnings were in 2011 (extraordinary bonus at work, didn't get that in 2012, then moved to a job paying 10% less in late 2012). We still increased our church pledge every year. Now, with little or no wage income in 2015 (I may do some temporary gigs for amusement), we may cut back. DH has no problem with it but I feel bad- a small increase wouldn't kill us. OTOH, I'm free to do real hands-on work and I'm really happy about that.
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:27 AM   #12
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:30 AM   #13
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Money is just one way to give back. Qualified people are not easy to find and many organizations would consider the gift of time of a skilled professional to be even more valuable. Once financial independence is reached anyone feeling the desire to continue giving should have no difficulty doing so after retiring.
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:49 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by kannon View Post
... Just the idea of no longer working after 34 yrs, I almost feel that I am being selfish and should help others.
By retiring, you are creating a job opening for someone else - that's helping the unemployed.

Seriously, I retired at the age of 48 and have never felt guilty or that it was the wrong thing to do. In my former career, I was pretty good at what I did, but I learned a long time ago that no one is irreplaceable. If I'm not there to help the team, someone else will fill that void. And now that I'm retired, my days are so much more enjoyable.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:17 AM   #15
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Question -
Do you look at others who've retired as selfish, or as people who should feel guilty?
If so - why?
If not - why do you feel guilty when you don't judge others?

I'm happy for my coworkers who've retired early. (3 within the past 6 months!)

That said - several coworkers have talked about how "lucky" they were. Yeah - lucky that they lived below their means, paid off their mortgages, saved more than they spent. One of the gripers actually said it was "lucky" that one of them lost his dad (and inherited). I know for a fact the inheritance was small and not a factor, and he'd MUCH rather have his dad around. Lucky.... um, not.

People who aren't able to retire tend to find ways to suggest it can't be done without a windfall. There are enough posters here who prove them wrong.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:33 AM   #16
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That said - several coworkers have talked about how "lucky" they were. Yeah - lucky that they lived below their means, paid off their mortgages, saved more than they spent. One of the gripers actually said it was "lucky" that one of them lost his dad (and inherited). I know for a fact the inheritance was small and not a factor, and he'd MUCH rather have his dad around. Lucky.... um, not.
An old boss once told me, "Luck is the distillation of effort". And inheritances can be squandered. It's a conscious decision to invest it instead of spending it on a new Escalade.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:49 AM   #17
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This does sound like a question you will have to answer for yourself. We are all different, as can be seen from the responses above.

If you feel a strong responsibility to continue earning so that you can help others financially, you may not be happy if you are not able to do that. If you're only feeling slight guilt at the thought of retiring though, perhaps some of the replies here will help you get over it!

It sounds from your original post, that you will still be able to help others out, just to a lesser extent. If you can be comfortable with this lesser amount of giving, go ahead and retire.

In retirement, as in my working life, I have thought mainly of myself. I'm not married and have no kids, so have no direct family members that I feel a responsibility to. I have volunteered a little as well as given to charity (small amounts commensurate with my low income). I have also helped out friends financially on occasion, once with a fairly substantial sum. However, there are other friends I have helped in the past who, if they need help again, may need to be turned down, as I have to think more carefully about what I do with my money now. I am OK with this.

It's all up to you. It's hard to know how things will be when you're retired but if you'll still be in a position to give, do you think you can be comfortable still giving, but to a lesser extent? As others have said, you can also give of your time.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:57 AM   #18
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Nope. Like others, I volunteer more. I can also spend more time with family, plus it's debatable whether helping them financially is really helping them with life. Even so, I'm still able to help some of them somewhat, especially my own son. I also didn't think my job was providing much benefit to society anymore. A lot of it was similar to doing "Office Space"-type TPF reports. Everyone's situation is different, but I feel no guilt.
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:18 AM   #19
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I may be jaded right now. One of my former co-w*rkers just died of a heart attack at age 51. I've seen far too many go at even younger ages. So no I don't feel guilty. I can't help anyone from the other side, I firmly believe stress is a major contributor to disease.

I can identify with being at the top of your earnings potential. I had to come to terms with that. I did the OMY thing for a year or more, then the stress pushed me out last year. If it hadn't, well who knows? Your post says you still plan on helping others, I'm not sure a bigger dollar amount equals more help. Maybe, for me, it is about the quality of help.
In the end only you'll know when the time is right.
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:21 PM   #20
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Our Pastor often talks about Time, Talent and Treasure. You'll have a lot more of the first two, and can spread it around to your heart's content. There are lots of people (and children) who could benefit from both.

But to answer your question, yes, I often feel guilty when I look at those around me who work hard, yet struggle mightily. Right now I have guilt about our net worth (go ahead, shoot me). I imagine it will magnify when I retire.

Congrats on a long, valiant career for Uncle Sam, and best wishes for an enjoyable, fulfilling retirement. Try not to let the guilt impact that.
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