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Old 05-30-2010, 11:40 PM   #21
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Rambler,
I understand the desire for comfort -- who wouldn't want to live off 2% SWR if we could? But the desire for more and more safety margin in the SWR can become a way (an excuse?) to keep working long past when we might need to. I'm all for having a margin of error and extra cash lying around, but trying to get down to 3% or lower SWR seems like leaving a lot of fun and lifestyle years on the table. And we'll probably end up giving it to grandkids anyway. Ten years in, through 2 bad patches in the market I still feel 4% is fine. Of course if you like your work and it isn't toxic then by all means stay on and sock away the extra income, it's always nice to have.
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Old 05-31-2010, 12:04 AM   #22
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Thanks Bob, loved the book and still refer to it from time to time. I understand what you are saying. I stay for several reasons in addition to the SWR issue. One is that it isn't toxic, I am really good at it, I have not found a successor yet (I have agreed to do this), I have kids in college, and I like the lower SWR. If I had no kids in college and did not have the succession planning issue, I may have made alternative decisions.

Thanks,

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Old 05-31-2010, 01:04 AM   #23
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Something I would entertain is giving private music lessons to a handful of students. There would be much less money in that than what I do now, but the money it would bring in would be secondary to the enjoyment I would get out of it. It would be more of a paid hobby than a job.
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Old 05-31-2010, 06:40 AM   #24
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I ran into an old friend yesterday who retired from a big city police force after 32 years. Super guy with plenty of interests and friends, but he is divorced. He said, "well I'm 6 weeks out and I want to go back already."
Ha
Retirement was a much bigger adjustment than I thought it would be at the time. I sometimes do miss the people I worked with, the vast majority were hard working, dedicated, and deeply offended by injustices. There is a level of cohesion not often found in other jobs because often each other's lives depended on what we did. And sometimes, seeing a news story and having been in similar situations, I think "damn, it's a wonder I'm still alive". That's a pretty intense environment to come out of.

But I don't miss the Washington, DC area traffic and the bureaucratic BS that goes with any large organization, especially government ones.
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Old 05-31-2010, 08:12 AM   #25
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Rambler -- ah yes, the college expenses!
Actually that explains a lot about wanting to stay put a little longer. With our first one finishing off his first year in college I have a visceral understanding of what those big checks can do to the brokerage account balance --- even though it was all set up for them before ER, the numbers are still attention-grabbing. Good luck with your plans, and glad you found the book helpful.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:25 AM   #26
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I haven't received a paycheck since leaving Megacorp in mid-2006. But so far I have avoided a number of expenses regarding our home, cars and hobbies by doing chores and projects myself that I would have paid for were I still "in harness." That seems like the equivalent of a part time job to me.

Decorating, landscaping and routine yard maintenance, minor car repairs and upkeep, minor house repairs, hobby related projects, etc. It adds up.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:41 AM   #27
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It has always surprised me how expensive results to go to University in the USA. Is it true to both public or private. Here in Spain this isnīt a major issue: Of course we donīt have your Princeton, Yale, Harvard or Columbia... But even so.
We like to say that no talented student goes without the possiblity of going to the best University.
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:22 PM   #28
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I am planning on going a bit too early myself at 54. If they offer VERA next school year I think that will do it. Cutting it a bit close, but we figure we should be able to average about $45k spending a year (no mortgage). If we need more money or I get bored (can't see it...but there is only one way to find out) there is a local school I guess I could sub teach at...but the plan is for no working. As I have said before....I have seen quite a few folks work until they are financially comfortable....retire....and then die within a couple of years. Now if I could only get the gods to tell me what is going to happen 20 years from now..........
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Old 05-31-2010, 02:53 PM   #29
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I've told my story before. Was still w*rking because I found myself in an assignment I liked and which used my talents. When that assignment was yanked, I could have stayed, done a p-poor job for a couple of years just to sweeten my retirement pot, but would have hated every minute of it (and myself for doing the p-poor job). So I RE'd with FI (Guess we call that FIRED.)

Just for fun, I looked for part time w*rk. Turns out, in my very specialized talent area, there was simply nothing available. So, I found a very limited PT j*b of driving used cars to the auction. So, just for something to do, I tried it. For something like $6/hr, I found a job that had more politics than the one I left where I earned 10 X that much. Go figure. Imagine the 80 year old guy who'd been doing this for 25 years (and worked for his BIL) being the "lead" driver of a dozen cars. You were supposed to keep in line, stay together, arrive at the same time, leave together in a van (assigned seats) and then stop (aka waste time) at a diner on the way home (we were actually paid by mile, not really by hour).

Only part of the j*b I loved was the occasional trip to another dealership to pick up a new car. DW and I could make a morning or afternoon of it. We each made about $7.50/hr because we weren't following a string of 12 cars lead by a power-mad 80 year old! If we wanted to stop for lunch we could. If we wanted to drive 80 we could. In short, other than the pay, it was a fun way to spend some time with DW.

Eventually, when local economy was tanking, the "plum" assignments dried up and we quit. Still, it just goes to show that the remuneration is secondary to enjoyment of a w*rk situation.

Of course, YMMV.
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:03 AM   #30
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I have really been enjoying this thread. I think mostly because I didn't realize that so many of you are in the same boat as myself; and, as they say, misery loves company (apparently even when it is not true misery).

My current situation:
  • Good at my job: Not bragging; just saying...If I weren't, I would have been unemployed long ago. (I am not a nice person to work with: Too honest, too little patience, etc.)
  • Relatively well paid: Not doctor or Wall Street salary but still in top quintile for US workers.
  • Minimally FI: I believe I could stay in the US and live very frugally or relocate to Central America and live relatively well without working any longer.
  • Really want my SWR well under 3% for peace of mind: Financially conservative by nature and nurture I guess.
  • Still finding enjoyment in parts of my j*b that I would do for much less money:
    • Supporting brilliant PhD's who are fun and interesting to work with
    • Working with executives at our customers to make multi-million dollar changes in their business
  • Much of my j*b is just an annoying grind:
    • Less and less constructive work: Lots of drawing pictures and yelling at people for not doing their jobs.
    • Long hours
    • High stress (Granted, mostly self induced as I am driven to produce good results.)
    • Endless meetings, conference calls, etc. that I detest
I keep toying with the idea of quitting my current j*b and trying to find something part time where I could manage a small, talented IT development group and/or get my hands dirty with real design and development again. But, I have been too mentally exhausted to do much looking for this kind of position to see if it even exists (demand for my specific skills, at the salary/billing-rate, with the working conditions, etc. which would interest me).

The thought of starting my own, independent consulting practice is appealing on some levels; but, this also seems like it would entail a great deal of the kind of w*rk (marketing, sales, collections, etc.) that would quickly sour me on the whole thing.

Well, I guess this is enough rambling for now. But, I would definitely appreciate any other postings from folks who have made the part-time thing work. (Yes, I have read and enjoyed Bob's book; but, I just can't seem to make myself take the plunge.)
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Old 06-04-2010, 06:28 PM   #31
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My wife and I retired 2 years ago from our university positions, but we are authors of a college textbook that is now in its 7th edition and that we can continue to revise and update, if we choose to do so. It's great "part-time" work, very rewarding emotioinally and financially. But for the current revision, we brought on board a new coauthor, who is willing to take over the entire project in case we choose to remain totally retired. When the book needs revising again in about 3 years, we'll decide what we want to do. My guess is that we'll decide to let it go and stay completely retired.
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Old 06-07-2010, 01:51 PM   #32
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It has always surprised me how expensive results to go to University in the USA. Is it true to both public or private. Here in Spain this isnīt a major issue: Of course we donīt have your Princeton, Yale, Harvard or Columbia... But even so.
We like to say that no talented student goes without the possiblity of going to the best University.
Private schools are more (VERY) expensive - but the good private schools have a lot of scholarship money and they give it out. Many don't look at financial need until they decide if they want to accept the student. Then they help find the money.

I think you learn and teach differently when everyone in the room is very intelligent - which makes it different from a state (public) college where the admissions standards are different. Of course, they have to do the work... Still, I have learned that my learning experience at private universities was different from the experience of friends who went to big public schools.
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:05 PM   #33
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I think you learn and teach differently when everyone in the room is very intelligent - which makes it different from a state (public) college where the admissions standards are different.
Yep, there's no way you can compare the quality of education you'd get surrounded by unintelligent students at slacker public schools likeWilliam and Mary, University of Virginia, UCLA, Penn State and Rutgers with the folks in a small local private college.

Many public schools have higher admission standards than many private schools.
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:33 PM   #34
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Yep, there's no way you can compare the quality of education you'd get surrounded by unintelligent students at slacker public schools likeWilliam and Mary, University of Virginia, UCLA, Penn State and Rutgers with the folks in a small local private college.

Many public schools have higher admission standards than many private schools.
Many do - not higher than the schools I went to. Those aren't "slacker public schools" that you mentioned. But there are plenty of large public universities that accept everyone that applies. Quite different from U of Virginia etc. and I've heard from students and teachers about the type of learning experience you get. Generalities always have exceptions - the OP asked a general question and the system IS different here than in Spain.
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:00 PM   #35
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But there are plenty of large public universities that accept everyone that applies.
As do many small private schools--if you can pay, you get in.

Your argument lost a lot of its power when you attempted to distinguish between the classroom environment in public colleges vs private colleges. The classroom environment/instructional approach is much more heavily influenced by the selectivity of the school (public or private) than by how the school is funded.
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Old 06-07-2010, 03:52 PM   #36
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... and glad you found the book helpful.
Bob - I just want to tell you that I read your book a year or two before I left megacorp, and it was really instrumental in my taking the leap. I had planned for years, but your book really got into the nuts and bolts of both the financial and emotional planning, and convinced me that I could do it. The book and this forum were the only places I ever saw discussions about what I wanted to do. Most people in my "real life" commented about how young I was (47) when I left the j*b. But everything has turned out great and I have no regrets. Thanks!
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Old 06-07-2010, 07:11 PM   #37
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I'm still interested in people's real-world experiences. Were you able to find or create the part-time work you wanted after retiring from your main line of work?

Here is my informal count of replies so far:

Stay until fully FI, hard to find part-time work: 4
Go, easy to find agreeable part-time work: 8
Go, you will naturally reduce your expenses: 3

So those who say go early and trust it will work out are in the majority.

P.S. There was some question about my use of the term "safety margin" in the OP. I wasn't speaking of an emergency fund: I have several years in cash and short-term bonds. What I meant was that unexpected long-term expenses could take us above a 4% SWR.
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Old 06-07-2010, 07:23 PM   #38
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I'm still interested in people's real-world experiences. Were you able to find or create the part-time work you wanted after retiring from your main line of work?
I had some pt work lined up before I left megacorp. In fact, it was something I was doing while I was working full-time; I was teaching a class one evening a week, and made arrangements to ramp that up a bit before I left.

I think the ease with which you can find pt work depends on how particular you are. There are plenty of pt j*bs out there, and I think a mature adult who has left full-time employment will often be viewed as an attractive candidate. The question becomes what are you willing to do, and for what price, and is *that* easy to find?

I also have to agree with the comments that it's easy to lower expenses in retirement, at least it has been for me. I was already leading a fairly simple, frugal lifestyle so was surprised at how much some of my expenses have dropped, without really trying.
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:34 PM   #39
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If you retire early, collect Social Security, and then work part time, isn't it true that the government penalizes you one dollar for every three you make?
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Old 06-07-2010, 08:38 PM   #40
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If you retire early, collect Social Security, and then work part time, isn't it true that the government penalizes you one dollar for every three you make?
From SSA.gov:

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If you are younger than full retirement age, $1 in benefits will be deducted for each $2 in earnings you have above the annual limit ($14,160 in 2010).
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