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Semi-Retirement?
Old 09-04-2002, 11:39 AM   #1
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Semi-Retirement?

I'm a software engineer at a large company and I'm ready to do something else. I would love
to fully retire, but I want to make sure that I don't run out of money. I have used all of the
calculators and I think I have enough to make it, but I'm not 100% confident in my estimate of
how much money I need in retirement. Also, health insurance worries me.

I'm almost 48 and if I stay in my job until 55, I can start drawing my pension. Also, I could
participate in the group health insurance. I not sure the health insurance is a good deal. I have
talked to some of my retired friends and their premiums are really high. Also, I'm not sure I
can take this place any longer. If I quit now, I would probably wait until 65 to start getting my
pension.

What I have considered doing, is quitting and getting a lower paying low stress job that has
health insurance. I do a lot of crafts, so I though maybe I could work at a craft store like
Michaels.

Has anyone had experience with transitioning to a totally different type of job? If so, how did it
work out?
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Re: Semi-Retirement?
Old 09-06-2002, 06:25 PM   #2
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Re: Semi-Retirement?

I'm afraid that a job at Michaels would be very low paying, and that would make early retirement a distant dream.

Can you think of a way to use your software skills to enter an industry or area you respect. Maybe something non-profit (although they can be pretty demanding) or just different from what you are doing now. It is always safer to build on what you have - looks better on the resume. Perhaps moving sideways into a similar position but with another company would be a start. Different companies have different cultures, and new co-workers, new boss, and a new schedule might be what you need rather than a complete change. If that doesn't work, then try the craft idea.

Little steps.

arrete
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Re: Semi-Retirement?
Old 09-07-2002, 04:18 AM   #3
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Re: Semi-Retirement?

Lauraf13,

I can appreciate how you may be feeling regarding your current job. Sounds like burnout to me and I know the feeling. I pulled the plug two years ago at your present age and right now have no regrets.

However, you really need to be conservative in your planning about what it will take to make the next 40-50 years. Don't be too optimistic about your return on assets, or underestimate your future expenses. Fully understand what you will be giving up by leaving your current employer at this time.

You mentioned about health insurance. For me, this is my number one concern in early retirement. From what I have read on this board and from other references, having access to a group plan can significantly reduce your costs. But that doesn't mean it still isn't obscenely expensive. My costs have doubled in two years, and my ex-employer pays at this time over 1/3 of the monthly premium.

I don't know anything about health care benefits available as an employee with a major retailer, but I can't believe that they would be all that great. I wouldn't rely on that kind of job as a significant source of benefits. A job at someplace like Michaels is at best a way to spend your time, not a major source of revenue.

Good luck,

Red


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Re: Semi-Retirement?
Old 09-08-2002, 01:24 PM   #4
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Re: Semi-Retirement?

Thanks for the advice. I do agree that I'm burned out. I just
finished a project that was not well run and much to my dismay,
I find that most of the other projects that are available are not
managed any better and some worse.

Jobs for software engineers are few and far between right now in
Dallas. Between the DotComs and the Telecom industry, there is a
glut of software engineers. Also, any software development job is
going to be high stress with overtime. I would like to get away
from both.

I'm looking for a job that I would enjoy that has health insurance.
Michael's does provide full benefits for their employee's, but as
was pointed out, the pay would be some what lacking.

I realize the great benefits that I have at my present job, including
the high salary. I may not be able to work until I'm 55 due to a lay
off. We have had several and I have survived, but you never
know when your number could be up.

I'm really just exploring my options at this time.

Thanks again for the advice.

Laura
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Re: Semi-Retirement?
Old 09-09-2002, 05:50 AM   #5
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Re: Semi-Retirement?

My suggestion would be to hang in there as long as possible. If the company has another layoff, perhaps you may be able to pick up a few extra perks. Until then, you'll be building additonal retirement equity.

Of course, you can continue to explore the semi-retirement options so that if you fall victim to a layoff, you'll have a plan for your next stage of work life.

Just don't jump too quickly unless you feel confident about the outcome!

Red
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Re: Semi-Retirement?
Old 09-09-2002, 04:09 PM   #6
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Re: Semi-Retirement?

There is a long gray area between maybe having enough and no way in hell I could ever run out. It is almost always possible to think of a scenario where you run out of money at the worst possible time.

But you also need to consider the other side of the equation. The sure fire way to not outlive your money is to die young. Working until you collapse renders the question of whether you saved enough for your retirement mute. Not taking any risks for your retirement could mean no retirement at all.

Low wage plus benefits could be a happy medium, providing a margin for error that lets you relax and enjoy your life. On the other hand, you could decide to militantly enoy your job until someone screws up enough nerve to fire you. Ignore the stupid things, apoligize profusely if anyone notices while you continue to ignore them and go home on time. If you get fired, hey, you were ready to quit anyways, otherwise you may become so productive that they can't afford to fire you. You might find the movie "Office Space" inspirational.

Regards,

Baanista
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Re: Semi-Retirement?
Old 09-10-2002, 09:37 AM   #7
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Re: Semi-Retirement?

Baanista,

I agree with what you are saying. I have for the past 10 years not worked very much overtime.
I have just refused, but sometimes, due to the planning of another, I get stuck working overtime.
I have never worked overtime because I could'nt meet my schedule.

During this time, I have been given the highest performance rating in my group and I have
even been given an award by my peers for technical ability. I have continued to get good raises
and get good performance reviews. Just goes to show you that working overtime does not
always buy you that much.

I guess I'm having trouble cutting the apron strings from my job, I've done it for almost 24 years
and at the same company (if you don't count buy outs and mergers). I like the idea of a more
fun job that has benefits. I would also not have to withdraw as much from my savinge hopefully letting my nest egg grow.

I guess one of these days I will have had enough and call it quits. Hopefully, I'll find the right
job that will make me want to quit my current job.

Thanks for all of the advice,
Laura
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Re: Semi-Retirement?
Old 09-11-2002, 12:32 PM   #8
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Re: Semi-Retirement?

I retired as a marketing manager from a telecom (RBOC) one year ago at age 48. I had been there for 29 years and did get my medical benefits when I retired. However I did take a big cut in my retirement payout since I left before age 55. But believe me, I have never looked back!! I have taken a part-time job (working 2 1/2 days - 20 hours per week as a receptionist in a doctor's office). My salary is 1/8th of what I was making when employed, but I love the job. It's fun, stress-free and the people I work with are great. I don't spend as much money as when I was working full time - I don't need too - my commute is now 4 miles round trip - (versus 40 in my previous job), dress is casual, get free lunches almost every day (courtesy of the drug companies). We've taken cost cutting measures by refinancing the house, using coupons, shopping the grocery store sales (have the time to do this now), growing vegetables. When you are not working full time you have lots of time to use to save money and it's fun to be creative about spending and saving.

I'll mention too that my husband retired for years ago at age 51 (from a major telecom). He gets a little part-time income from consulting. Our total family income is about 1/4th of what it was when we were both working. We have a nice nest egg in our retirement accounts, but haven't had to use any of it yet. So far we are able to live on our part-time income.

Life is great, even though I have less money I'm happier now than I've ever been in my life. Although I'm working part-time I feel like I'm fully retired, I'm so relaxed. I think I'd live in a tent before I'd ever go back to working full time in a corporate environment.

My part-time job provides medical benefits although I haven't taken them since I have benefits from the RBOC. Around here (the DC area) many part-time jobs provide medical benefits.

When I see my friends who still work for the RBOC, they all look so worn out and haggard. Especially after 9/11 I realize life is fleeting, you should enjoy whatever time you have left. Working at Michael's would be a fun job that probably wouldn't even feel like work to you - I say go for it.
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