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Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-05-2005, 10:40 AM   #1
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Balance between ER and living for today

My ex-boss just retired at age 58. A month into her retirement she was diagnosed with brain cancer. She is in the hospital and isn't expected to live more than two weeks.

She could have retired two years ago, but hung in there for a little extra income for retirement. She was really looking forward to spending more time with her grandkids, her church activities and her many hobbies.

This has really rocked me. I feel so bad for her and her family.

It also has me thinking about my own life. I think my main regret is that I have not traveled enough. I have chosen to spend most of my vacation time over the years with my parents and I don't regret that a bit, especially since losing my Father 1.5 years ago.

I'm thinking an optimal solution may be to take a leave of absence for six months and travel. Now would not be the time, but maybe in four years when I am four years from ER.

How about the rest of you - do you feel like you are balancing living today with plans for ER ? For those of you that are close to ER, what will make you decide you have enough money to pull the plug ?

-helen
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-05-2005, 12:24 PM   #2
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

Its weird...two other managers I worked with also got cancer and died within months of retiring early.

Makes ya wonder. Would they have been better off getting off the payroll earlier and enjoying retirement or was the work they did more rewarding...
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-05-2005, 12:59 PM   #3
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

Other than heart disease, cancer is the second leading cause of death. I do not think there is a correlation between delay retirement and cancer. However, there is no way to predict death. Therefore, enjoy every moment as you can and live each day as if it was your last.
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-05-2005, 04:50 PM   #4
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helen
How about the rest of you - do you feel like you are balancing living today with plans for ER ?*
This is a frequent topic of discussion at home. My wife is 45, I'm 50, and the magic date is in 5 years (she will have the points req'd for pension with medical coverage then). Four kids, one out of the house (3 grandkids), one currently in college, one begins next year, and one the year after.

So there's lots of life happening that can't be forecast real well over the next 10 yrs with college bills and college graduations and weddings, etc. But as I cast a look back, forecasting human behavior has never been my forte.

The house is paid off now, and I suspect we'll be at about 1.2MM when we bail. Lots less than articles on retirement suggest, but lots more than anyone in our families ever had.

We always believed in LBYM without being overly frugal - the teens see to it that we see more movies on the big screen and dine out more frequently than I would bother, if it were up to me alone. My wife likes to buy new cars from the dealer, but we drive them until they die (generally 10 yrs+) and suffer sticker shock over whats happened in the mean time.

Our "extravagence" is vacationing. We dearly love Kauai, so we spend a couple weeks there every-other year (Kauai costs are built into the retirement model as well). We spend spring breaks on the beach in Florida, and the non-Kauai years typically either in the Adirondacks or Arizona (slightly different locales).

Now if we dumped the cost for the family to vacation in Kauai into our retirement account and drive to a campground in an adjacent state, would we save money? You bet. Would we retire any sooner on those savings? Nope - its 5 yrs to hit the magic number of points. Wouldn't the extra cash provide a better buffer for retirement? Yes, but I'm not concerned about it enough to sacrifice those trips that we really want to take today.

That's our comfort zone for balancing today versus an uncertain tomorrow. I think much of the comfort factor comes from our background. Neither my wife nor I had much growing up, and we don't see ourselves needing much going forward.
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-05-2005, 05:09 PM   #5
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

nm
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-06-2005, 09:20 AM   #6
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

Sorry to hear this

Have they checked out gamma knife surgery?

As for the balance between ER goals and now(), I think i'm tilted too much towards the ER side.... as mentioned previously, i'm gonna get a seadoo... next summer.
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-06-2005, 09:29 AM   #7
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

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Sorry to hear this

Have they checked out gamma knife surgery?
Thanks Marshac. Yes, unfortunately it is a really aggressive cancer and is in the tissue. A lot of the tumor was removed and grew back even larger within a week of surgery.

-helen
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-06-2005, 10:44 AM   #8
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

I was just thinking along the lines of this thread... I realized last Friday that I have over 200 hours of unused vacation. Time with the kids is so short, and I've spent those 200 hours working when I could have been home or on vacation. I was thinking, how would it be if I croaked tomorrow? What good would those vacation hourse be? What good would extra money in the bank be? Heavy stuff...
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-06-2005, 10:51 AM   #9
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

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Originally Posted by Mountain_Mike
I was just thinking along the lines of this thread... I realized last Friday that I have over 200 hours of unused vacation. Time with the kids is so short, and I've spent those 200 hours working when I could have been home or on vacation. I was thinking, how would it be if I croaked tomorrow? What good would those vacation hourse be? What good would extra money in the bank be? Heavy stuff...
I have 128 hours and must be used by the end of the year. My plan is to take two weeks off in July and one week off in Xmas.
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-06-2005, 10:55 AM   #10
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

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The house is paid off now, and I suspect we'll be at about 1.2MM when we bail. Lots less than articles on retirement suggest, but lots more than anyone in our families ever had.
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Which articles have you been reading? A 4% wothdrawal would provide 48,000 per year (before tax). Is that enough?
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-06-2005, 10:56 AM   #11
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain_Mike
I was just thinking along the lines of this thread... I realized last Friday that I have over 200 hours of unused vacation.* Time with the kids is so short, and I've spent those 200 hours working when I could have been home or on vacation.* I was thinking, how would it be if I croaked tomorrow?* What good would those vacation hourse be?* What good would extra money in the bank be?* Heavy stuff...
Kinda makes you want to retire early and enjoy your family more doesn't it? *That's a major reason I semi-retired. *Many people don't realize this until it's too late. *There's no turning back the clock.
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-06-2005, 11:08 AM   #12
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helen
I'm thinking an optimal solution may be to take a leave of absence for six months and travel.* Now would not be the time, but maybe in four years when I am four years from ER.

How about the rest of you - do you feel like you are balancing living today with plans for ER ?* For those of you that are close to ER, what will make you decide you have enough money to pull the plug ?

-helen
Absolutely. As TH can verify, a sabbatical is the best way to check your ER suitability-- or at least to practice until you get it right.

You know when it's time to go. For some it's a definite date because of statutory limits or a buyout/layoff or a pension's "magic number of points" or the company's guarantee of medical insurance.

For those without the assistance of a swift kick toward the door, I think it's usually the sabbatical. It's tough to judge whether you're ready to ER when you're sleep-deprived & work-crazed. However after a couple stress-free weeks with plenty of time for introspection...
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-06-2005, 12:22 PM   #13
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

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Absolutely. As TH can verify, a sabbatical is the best way to check your ER suitability-- or at least to practice until you get it right.
Ayuh...thought I'd be champing at the bit to go back to work. Not only did I feel like it was time to go "back to school", all the trappings of political horsepuckey had fallen away and 90% of what I had to do and deal with looked plaintively stupid.
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-06-2005, 06:16 PM   #14
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

Hi Helen,

Sorry to hear about your ex-boss. I have been experiencing similar situations with friends dying too young or having serious medical problems. It has caused me to question my timeframes and not take too long to ER or at least spend my time doing work that is more fulfilling.

JoJo
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-06-2005, 10:03 PM   #15
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

Helen -- sorry to hear about the boss. Believe me, I know what a tizzy that can throw you into. My own story, over the last two years:

Coworker (and friend) Mary, early 50s, suffered a massive stroke in the middle of a webcast she was presenting. Dead before the paramedics got to her house. Vested, plenty of money to retire, but stayed in "for the social aspect."

John, also early 50s, left work on Friday happy as a clam, had a heart attack and died in his sleep. Two months from the retirement he was going to spend "with the grandkids, and traveling."

Jim, late 40's, in great shape, an avid jogger, dead of a heart attack.

Dan, friend of a friend, was invited to Mexico last January for a group holiday but didn't go because he had "too much work to do." Diagnosed with a brain tumor two months later. First thing he said was "I should have gone to Mexico. Dead three months after that.

Coworker in PR -- early 40s, single mother of a nine-year-old son, dead of a heart attack. Again, it happened on a conference call.

I tell you, it's getting downright FRIGHTENING out there -- all but one of these people were long-timers at the same company I work for.

My solution has been to plan for retirement asap -- I'll leave my high-tech, high-stress company next year when I vest in the retirement plan (for all the good that might do me, given recent retirement defaults) and move / find less stressful work after that.

In the meantime, you will NOT find me with and excess of vacation time in my account. Up until 40 or so my adult life involved working my way through college and grad school, or studying my way up the corporate ladder. No more. I've decided that if I die early it won't be without doing SOME of the things I want. That attitude has taken me to Greece, Ireland, Italy (2x), Vienna, Mexico City, Toronto, Utah (3x for backpacking), New York for the Christo installation, and last but not least, up Kilimanjaro and on Safari after that.

I've slowed up retirement a bit, but I think it's worth it. At the very worst, the company won't be sending out one of those emails saying what a valuable worker I was and how I always gave of myself for the company.

I also have a part-time gig at work which helps me do these things. They're taking that away from me on July 1, curse them, but again, 12 months and a wakeup and I'm outta here.

Maybe you can get that sabbatical early, maybe you can get part-time work for a while (I NEVER thought I could, but I pulled it off. "You dont' ask, you dont' get!").

Whatever you do, I hope it works out for you and again, I'm sorry for the loss.

FWIW
Caroline
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-06-2005, 10:51 PM   #16
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

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In the meantime, you will NOT find me with and excess of vacation time in my account. ..
Our company has a new policy that you must take all your vacation hours or lose them by the end of the year.

Life is short, do the things that you have always wanted to do since you may not to able to do it later.

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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-06-2005, 11:12 PM   #17
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

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Originally Posted by Spanky
Our company has a new policy that you must take all your vacation hours or lose them by the end of the year.

Life is short, do the things that you have always wanted to do since you may not to able to do it later.

Spanky
That is a horrible policy- they just don't want to cash out people when they quit/retire. What they SHOULD do is cultivate an atmosphere where people feel like they can take their hard won vacation time without the fear of an enormous inbox when they return...
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-07-2005, 07:10 AM   #18
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanky
Our company has a new policy that you must take all your vacation hours or lose them by the end of the year.

Life is short, do the things that you have always wanted to do since you may not to able to do it later.

Spanky
My employer has the same policy.* However, I've been lucky to have a manager who has allowed me to roll unused vacation over into the following year.* I had to fudge my time sheets, but I did not lose the vacation days.

Would your boss be willing to do the same for you?

Mike
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-07-2005, 07:51 AM   #19
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

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Originally Posted by ascenzm
My employer has the same policy.* However, I've been lucky to have a manager who has allowed me to roll unused vacation over into the following year.* I had to fudge my time sheets, but I did not lose the vacation days.

Would your boss be willing to do the same for you?
Better yet, become your own "boss" so you don't have to worry about someone else "allowing" you to do something.

Don't go through life begging a "boss" to let you do what you want to do.
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today
Old 06-07-2005, 08:01 AM   #20
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Re: Balance between ER and living for today

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Originally Posted by ascenzm
My employer has the same policy. However, I've been lucky to have a manager who has allowed me to roll unused vacation over into the following year. I had to fudge my time sheets, but I did not lose the vacation days.

Would your boss be willing to do the same for you?

Mike
Mike,

This is a company policy -- No accurals of vacation hours and must be taken by year end. I suppose that you can always work with your boss to arrange taking vacations unofficially. For example, for some reasons if you can take your vacations by year end and lose the hours, your boss can let you take time off but not reporting it as vacation hours.

Spanky
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