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Coasting or powering into ER
Old 01-09-2013, 11:17 AM   #1
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Coasting or powering into ER

I'm in the lucky position of having a job choice at 52, just 3 years away from the possibility of ER with health benefits and a comfortable income.

My current job is well paid and has fantastic benefits, 5 weeks holiday, inexpensive health insurance that I can continue after 55 until Medicare starts. But it isn't my dream job and some days I find myself longing for ER. the work is reasonably interesting, but doesn't stretch me and can be slow sometimes.

I have the opportunity of another job working on some amazing technology that will be very exciting. But it would need me to relocate from MA to MD. I own a house that I like a lot and I'd have to rent it out and live in a condo. I'd have to leave good friends behind and I'd miss all the cultural things I can easily do in MA; there just aren't as many of those in MD. The MD job salary is $10k more, but the benefits are far less, 3 weeks time off that includes sick AND vacation, health insurance is worse and won't be available after 55.

My dilemma is whether to push myself professionally and intellectually and deal with the hassle of a major relocation and being an absentee landlord or accept that my career has peaked and stay in my current easy job knowing that I can coast into ER and be assured of inexpensive health insurance in 3 years time.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:36 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
I'm in the lucky position of having a job choice at 52, just 3 years away from the possibility of ER with health benefits and a comfortable income.

My current job is well paid and has fantastic benefits, 5 weeks holiday, inexpensive health insurance that I can continue after 55 until Medicare starts. But it isn't my dream job and some days I find myself longing for ER. the work is reasonably interesting, but doesn't stretch me and can be slow sometimes.

I have the opportunity of another job working on some amazing technology that will be very exciting. But it would need me to relocate from MA to MD. I own a house that I like a lot and I'd have to rent it out and live in a condo. I'd have to leave good friends behind and I'd miss all the cultural things I can easily do in MA; there just aren't as many of those in MD. The MD job salary is $10k more, but the benefits are far less, 3 weeks time off that includes sick AND vacation, health insurance is worse and won't be available after 55.

My dilemma is whether to push myself professionally and intellectually and deal with the hassle of a major relocation and being an absentee landlord or accept that my career has peaked and stay in my current easy job knowing that I can coast into ER and be assured of inexpensive health insurance in 3 years time.
Accept that it peaked. You will have to at some point anyway. Why not now? After you have been retired a short time you will no longer worry about what your career was.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:41 AM   #3
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I have nowhere those kind of benefits, similar age, and I've accepted my peak. I'm totally comfortable with that. It has been difficult to do so, but I'm finally there.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:45 AM   #4
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Three years seems like such a short time! Probably since I'm looking at much more. Especially since you love your home and are fairly settled. Moving to a new state seems disruptive, and the ability to continue your health insurance after retiring at your current place is huge! And finding a tenant? What a pain.

It seems like the sensible thing to do is stay put. You don't have to be sensible though. In your shoes, I'd stay and ride the wave right out the door.

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Old 01-09-2013, 11:58 AM   #5
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I'm a coaster. Especially if the new job is going to be for just three years. How much will thinking about your great last job be worth to you after you retire?
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:05 PM   #6
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It is interesting to see what some people want out of work...

I had my review the other day with the CEO (small company) and he said... you must be really bored. I tell people that TP is so effecient at his job he can sleep in the afternoon and still get everything done. He admitted that there just is not enough work to keep me interested, and is worried that I will look for another job...

Me, I think I have had my time with the stress etc. that comes from being at a big mega who will work you to death... I just do not need it anymore...

I remember a recruiter who said it best... RIP.... retire in place....
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:12 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Animorph
I'm a coaster. Especially if the new job is going to be for just three years. How much will thinking about your great last job be worth to you after you retire?
Everyone's making a lot of sense. Also my taxes would almost double as in my current job I max out 3 separate tax deferred retirement accounts so I reduce my taxable income by almost $70k. The new job just has a 401k so $22.5k would be my max deferral and the company match is 3% vs 5% in my current job. I also figure that the health benefits between 55 and 65 are worth around $100k. The thing is the job is working on some space hardware with lots of good folks and really nice geeky engineering tools. It might give me the "juice" to work for longer that 3 years. In my current job I'm really just biding my time.

I suppose this is the existential decision we all have to face; when do you truly stop defining yourself through your work.
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:26 PM   #8
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I also figure that the health benefits between 55 and 65 are worth around $100k.
Could be more. Depends on the specifics of your plan. Don't underestimate it! Also, don't forget coverage after medicare. That can add up too.

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The thing is the job is working on some space hardware with lots of good folks and really nice geeky engineering tools. It might give me the "juice" to work for longer that 3 years. In my current job I'm really just biding my time.
Now I see why you might have second thoughts. Being a geek myself, that sounds really enticing! But...

I think the question comes down to your second point about "working longer than 3 years". Do you want to ER or are you looking for fulfillment through work? It is kind of fundamental. Heck, I know people who worked well into their 80s and wanted to. Not saying that's wrong. If you want more than 3 years, and feel the new job will fulfill that, then the health care differences and other stuff won't matter as much since you'll be making money longer. But do you want to do that?

In my case, I've pretty much geeked-out. I love being an engineering geek, but I want to do something else in a few years. I'm not sick of it, just had enough. Want to try something else (at a very slow pace) in life, so ER with probable class of 2018 (possibly earlier) is my goal.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:31 PM   #9
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Could be more. Depends on the specifics of your plan. Don't underestimate it! Also, don't forget coverage after medicare. That can add up too.
Yes I know. My premium would be ~$55/month, $15 co-pays, $250 for each hospital admission and I have to pay the first $250 of most tests. No deductibles....so it's a great plan. When I am on Medicare and paying for Part B the supplemental plan costs $85/month and combined with Medicare gives a similar level of benefits

Quote:
Now I see why you might have second thoughts. Being a geek myself, that sounds really enticing! But...

I think the question comes down to your second point about "working longer than 3 years". Do you want to ER or are you looking for fulfillment through work? It is kind of fundamental. Heck, I know people who worked well into their 80s and wanted to. Not saying that's wrong. If you want more than 3 years, and feel the new job will fulfill that, then the health care differences and other stuff won't matter as much since you'll be making money longer. But do you want to do that?
You've hit the nail on the head......how much do I need to be part of a major international space project. I have lots of other interests, but the project is pretty special......but so would retiring at 55 with great healthcare.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:58 PM   #10
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I held out for the retiree healthcare at 55. I had to endure some rough times in '08 & '09 but the benefit was too great. Now as I approach 57 the job's pretty good, the bennys locked in and we'll see how far the coasting will go.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:13 PM   #11
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I held out for the retiree healthcare at 55. I had to endure some rough times in '08 & '09 but the benefit was too great. Now as I approach 57 the job's pretty good, the bennys locked in and we'll see how far the coasting will go.
My problem is I can see me working until 2018 in the new job as that's when the project launches. It will be exciting, but I'll retire with no medical, I don't think I'll enjoy living in MD as much as MA, but Ill have 2 years more earnings. Or I stay where I am, survive another 3 years and ER with health benefits covered, but a little less in the bank.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:23 PM   #12
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What a tough choice, nun. Truthfully, in our early 50s we are in many ways at the top of our game - lots of experience and wisdom but still energetic. It doesn't sound like you are burned out as many of us were/are, just coasting. And that does sound like a fabulous project to wrap up your career. But the financial hit is significant.

A few thoughts:
- Are you planning to ER "to" something, or just because if you stay in your current position you will be FI in 3 years?

- Any negotiation possible to mitigate the financial hit? The good news is that with PPACA looking to be in place you know you will be able to get health insurance before Medicare (if you were making this decision a year ago I would have said "stay put" just for that reason). But it will cost more than your sweet current plan. My guess is that you were sought out for this position since you weren't looking, so you may have some leverage.

Good luck with the decision - remember that there are no right or wrong answers, just weigh what's important to you and make the best decision you can based on what you know, and go forward from there without looking back.
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:35 PM   #13
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What a tough choice, nun. Truthfully, in our early 50s we are in many ways at the top of our game - lots of experience and wisdom but still energetic. It doesn't sound like you are burned out as many of us were/are, just coasting. And that does sound like a fabulous project to wrap up your career. But the financial hit is significant.

A few thoughts:
- Are you planning to ER "to" something, or just because if you stay in your current position you will be FI in 3 years?

- Any negotiation possible to mitigate the financial hit? The good news is that with PPACA looking to be in place you know you will be able to get health insurance before Medicare (if you were making this decision a year ago I would have said "stay put" just for that reason). But it will cost more than your sweet current plan. My guess is that you were sought out for this position since you weren't looking, so you may have some leverage.

Good luck with the decision - remember that there are no right or wrong answers, just weigh what's important to you and make the best decision you can based on what you know, and go forward from there without looking back.
You are pretty much right on. I was called by some old colleagues as they lost some key people recently. I'm pretty burned out in my current job; nice folks, but I arrive at 9:30 and leave at 4:30 and never have to take work home, I feel that I'm not using my full potential and the new job would stretch me and get me into a big engineering group as opposed to the tiny university group I work in now.

When I ER I have plans to do some serious bike riding and volunteer with a couple of charities. I won't be earning, but I'll be occupied.

I also looked into healthcare cost on the MA state website and a plan like I'd get at 55 from my current job for around $55 would cost me at least $700
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Old 01-09-2013, 05:52 PM   #14
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You start your post with "I am lucky". You are....stay where you are at. $10k a year with significantly reduced benefits is not worth the move.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:08 PM   #15
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You start your post with "I am lucky". You are....stay where you are at. $10k a year with significantly reduced benefits is not worth the move.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:00 PM   #16
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If it weren't for the medical benefits after ER, I would jump ship as I think you would. In some previous posts, you sounded bored with your current work. To do something different and to go out with a bang would make life more interesting. Alas, giving up the beenies is tough.

However, I also recall you mentioning the possibility of moving back to England if necessary for health care coverage. Have you considered that as a factor?
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:05 PM   #17
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Rather than up-ending your existence to chase this fun-sounding job, could you do something outside of work that might give your mind some technical stimuation or challenge?...like helping students on the F.I.R.S.T. teams design a robot or college students designing solar-powered car or something similar.

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Old 01-09-2013, 07:31 PM   #18
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I also looked into healthcare cost on the MA state website and a plan like I'd get at 55 from my current job for around $55 would cost me at least $700
nun, at least you are realistic and researching the difference. This sounds about right to me. It is a big hit. Plus, there may even be more deductibles on the other plan.

I have some friends with "sweet" retirement health care plans and they have No Friggin' Clue how lucky they are. Drives me crazy.
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Old 01-09-2013, 07:54 PM   #19
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You start your post with "I am lucky". You are....stay where you are at. $10k a year with significantly reduced benefits is not worth the move.
+1

I was in a similar situation at 52. The last 3 years were a real struggle but I am SO happy that I stuck it out to get the HI benefits (and start a DB pension at 55 instead of 62)
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:09 PM   #20
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If it weren't for the medical benefits after ER, I would jump ship as I think you would. In some previous posts, you sounded bored with your current work. To do something different and to go out with a bang would make life more interesting. Alas, giving up the beenies is tough.

However, I also recall you mentioning the possibility of moving back to England if necessary for health care coverage. Have you considered that as a factor?
I will probably move back to England at some point, but that won't be for a while after I ER and the decision matrix is complex enough already.
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