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Old 07-17-2012, 04:33 PM   #1
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I've been considering a life transition and wanted to see if anyone else has considered, has had the courage to make the move or have an opinion of my idea.

I am considering leaving my six figure job for something with less stress, travel and hours (maybe a 3-4 day work week). Sort of like a partial retirement! Really looking to enjoy my life a bit more, have less stress and anxiety. My father died in his late 50s and grandfather died in his early sixties, just don't want to following the same trend. Hoping this change also extends my life expectancy a bit longer.

The following are some facts that contribute to the discussion:
- I am currently 44 and my wife is 41
- We have two kids, 11 and 13
- we both work, I make considerably more then her, we could NOT afford our annual budget on her salary alone.
- We owe 85k on our mortgage and have apprx 350k in equity
- Investments breakdown as follows:
401k/IRA - $510k
Cash pension plan - $131k
- college savings
529s - $77k
Taxable invest - $130k
-Expenses:
Annual budget - $115k
Could easy decrease annual budget to - $90k

Thanks for your responses and thoughts.
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Old 07-18-2012, 02:08 AM   #2
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Have I thought about it? Yes. Will I do it? No. We are 33 and 35 with no kids.

All choices have pluses and minuses, I suppose. There are times when I'm tempted to kick off our high powered jobs and live cheaply and with more free time. Then I remind myself:

1. We've worked really hard to get to this point in our careers. (I have a successful small business, DH is in mid-management)
2. We make good money, but the gravy train won't last forever. Why not take advantage of it while we can? These are our peak earning years.
3. We are fortunate to have good jobs and a good life. We should appreciate it.
4. FIRE is important to us, and staying the course will get us there.
5. While we both crave leisure, we also enjoy our work. This is no small blessing.

So while the temptation is ever present, we always come back to working and investing. That isn't to say you need to make the same choice, but if I were in your shoes I'd look hard at what you could earn part-time and see if that squares with your lifestyle and goals.
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Old 07-18-2012, 03:55 AM   #3
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Welcome. Have you entered your numbers in Firecalc ?
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Old 07-18-2012, 07:11 AM   #4
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This is so hard to know without an "offer on the table" ... I have thought that I could revamp EVERYTHING if offered a VERA (voluntary early retirement authorization) from my Federal job and figure out a way to "make it" .

A VERA for me would mean guaranteed supplemented health benefits as if I had stayed onboard until the normal (57yo) retirement age but would result in a small (22K) pension that received no inflation adjustment until age 62. My 22k pension would be down to about 16k after my share of Health premiums and Survivor benefit plan reductions but I have about $360k in 401k that I could 72t and get about $9k a year or so ---- That would mean living on a $25k a year budget which could be supplemented by part-time work .

To me it would be doable (especially since my home is paid for) but I think I would only actually do it if things at my job were miserable ... With only 12 years left until I can pretty comfortably retire on *at least* double that budget I just would really need some negative things to be in existence to push me down that path.

I am hopeful that working conditions remain tolerable or better for another 12 years. Not being offered an early out makes it easy anyways as the golden hanfcuffs remain firmly in place.

Course, You have the longevity issue working in the mix so that could be a very big factor in your decision process
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:41 PM   #5
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Oh, you scared me there. The only time I see anything about life transisitons here in Savannah is in the obituaries.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:49 PM   #6
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Looks like a ways to go to FI, depending on what your DW makes and what your income ends up at. You're probably trading off working like crazy for working longer. Given your history, that might be a great thing to do.

Check with FIRECalc to see how close you are to FI. I'd guess at 1/3 to 1/2 of the way there. Reducing you spending will help you save more and requires lower withdrawals in retirement, so that's your best bet.

Also run a calc of what happens if you die early, with status quo and with job change. This may be harder to accommodate than a live-forever case. Same thing for DW. And with kids, same thing for both you and DW, though that seems like less of a problem with your numbers.
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pharmmgr View Post
I am considering leaving my six figure job for something with less stress, travel and hours (maybe a 3-4 day work week).
Can you find a part time job in your field (pharmacy?). For some specialties it's very rare to find less than full-time positions.
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pharmmgr View Post
I am considering leaving my six figure job for something with less stress, travel and hours (maybe a 3-4 day work week). Sort of like a partial retirement! Really looking to enjoy my life a bit more, have less stress and anxiety. My father died in his late 50s and grandfather died in his early sixties, just don't want to following the same trend. Hoping this change also extends my life expectancy a bit longer.
As photoguy suggested, have you looked around for a possible part-time gig, or even just a different employer w/ your current career type? I don't know if you're more into sales, or the management side (at first I was thinking a pharmacist, but then thought you might be a drug rep).

It can be very difficult to find part-time gigs in some careers, but it's certainly worth a shot to try and find something paying a decent amount/hr with your current skill set, versus something casually related or completely new at the much lower rung on the compensation scale.

Also, you should already be dropping that annual expenses to $95k - you have a bit more time to work before getting enough stash to calling it quits for good.

One other bit of advice: when I changed careers 5 years ago, I left an intensely stressful situation working with family, in the construction field. I accepted an engineering position, but quickly found out that the grass is not always greener (it was my first time working for a non-family employer, and no relatives as co-workers).

Evaluate just what it is you can't stand about your current position. Perhaps it might take something as simple as a different way of looking at things (i.e. when those problems come up, look at it as an opportunity to fix something, rather than something being 'dumped/forced' upon you), or perhaps focusing on some of the positives of your situation (having the company pay for your travel and meals) might help you overlook the negatives....because finding a part-time/other job elsewhere will be GUARANTEED to have its own things that make you shake your head. Don't be running from a building that has a little smoke coming out of the roof, only to realize that you didn't notice the street outside is packed with stampeding bulls.
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Old 07-28-2012, 02:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Animorph View Post
Looks like a ways to go to FI, depending on what your DW makes and what your income ends up at. You're probably trading off working like crazy for working longer. Given your history, that might be a great thing to do.

Check with FIRECalc to see how close you are to FI. I'd guess at 1/3 to 1/2 of the way there. Reducing you spending will help you save more and requires lower withdrawals in retirement, so that's your best bet.

Also run a calc of what happens if you die early, with status quo and with job change. This may be harder to accommodate than a live-forever case. Same thing for DW. And with kids, same thing for both you and DW, though that seems like less of a problem with your numbers.
+1

You have usable assets of ~$770k ($1.1M with home equity), which is not enough to generate $90k/yr. If you're in/near your peak earning years, I'd stay put at least until you pay off your Mtge. That, plus perhaps a lower cost of living location (don't know where in PA you live) would help lower your annual expenses, as well as enable you to add to your savings.
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Old 07-29-2012, 10:08 AM   #10
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Can you ask for reduced hours with your present employer? I did this years ago and I worked part time for 5 years until I retired at age 59 last year. I was great. Just 20-30 hours 4 days a week.
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:17 AM   #11
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Other people here can tell you all about your options and the money calculations. I'll ask, will it make you and your wife and kids happier ? That's the most important question. I also come from a family with low life expectancy (especially on the male side) and I have seen first hand the awful toll stress can take on your health and your quality of life. If you have a feasible way to reduce your stress, your hours and still make the money you need (not want), do it. Years from now the improved health and extra time with your kids will be worth more than a bigger number on the screen.
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