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early retirement proposal by employer
Old 06-29-2009, 11:36 AM   #1
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early retirement proposal by employer

Hi I'm 54. Wife is 2 years older. Both of us are employed. We have one son who is a senior in high school and we plan to pay for his college expenses.
I'm a public employee and work for city government. Ordinarily I would not be eligible to retire for another 2 years with about 65% of my pay, but because the city wants to reduce the number of employees they are most likely going to offer an "early out" proposal that would allow me to take the 65% retirement this year.
I am pretty much on the fence about this. My original intention before this "early out" thing came up was to keep on working until at least my mid sixties when I could get closer to 80% of my pre retirement income.
The reason I am posting is that I thought I might get interesting feedback on the issue. I lean towards keeping on working. I think I would have enough money to get by on if I retired early so this is not primarily a money question. I just feel this is an opportunity I need to consider.

If anyone has been in a similar situation of considering an early retirement offer and cares to weigh in in would be glad to hear from you.

Some more info about my attitudes: My job satisfaction level is about a 5 on a ten scale. Some days are stressful and I hate my job. Some days I'm glad for the structure of having a place to go everyday.

I do have hobbies, etc. but another consideration is how I would make use of all the free time.
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:50 AM   #2
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Some questions that popped into my head:

Do you have health insurance available through your wife's job (healthcare was my no. 1 question for DH and myself as well)?
Is your spouse on board with the idea? What are her retirement plans--to leave when you did (at the 80% time), sooner, later?
If you're offered the early out and choose not to take it, are you likely to lose your job anyway?

You would be amazed at how nicely the free time gets filled, but some people even take a part-time job.....
“Would you like an adventure now, or would you like to have your tea first?” J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:55 AM   #3
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The first question above all else is: If you took the retirement incentive, would you still have health insurance, either through your own retirement or your wife's job? If not, I'd tend to think that's a deal-breaker.

If you would still have secure and affordable health insurance in place, then it's worth considering. It sounds like you may be concerned about boredom and lack of structure. Is there anything else you'd like to do for a "second career" which might be enjoyable to you? If you have health insurance and a pension paying 65% of your salary, you don't need to worry as much about how it pays or whether it's full time or part time -- find something you might enjoy and see if you can get a foot in the door.

The other question is: How secure would your job be if you passed on the early out incentive? If it still feels insecure, I'd lean more towards getting out while you are being offered carrots.

Welcome -- and good luck!
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:29 PM   #4
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I would retain health insurance if I retired early. My job is civil service and given my seniority, my job would be secure if I remained.

Once the early retirement package is approved by the union we will have 45 days to take it or leave it.
So naturally it is something to consider.
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Old 06-29-2009, 12:52 PM   #5
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I'd be inclined to take it, especially with job satisfaction relatively low. Medical and other assets are a consideration.

If you do not take it, do you risk layoff, and then what type of retirement might you have? What is the status of your pennsion funbd? That too may be an element to consider.

We are 53 and out (at the moment yet anyway) at 55. My husbands pension is now officially in default status-- and that was before the market crashed last fall. As it stands now, we will only get about 80% of what we planned. You may want to check the health of yours-- better to access it early and get grandfathered....
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Old 06-29-2009, 02:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ranchoparque View Post
Some more info about my attitudes: My job satisfaction level is about a 5 on a ten scale. Some days are stressful and I hate my job. Some days I'm glad for the structure of having a place to go everyday.

This is the library I go to on the rare to never occasions when I want to hang out in an office-like setting. I’ve been there about four times since retiring nine months ago, but mainly to check out books. I might go there more often but it disconcerting to see all the people working in the library and others who have to hurry back to their j*bs. If I were to miss my j*b even more, I could go to the same lunch and coffee break places I went to while emplo*yed, haven’t done that at all. The second photo is another option, a public library where people still quaintly read newspapers. Third photo is in a library at a nearby college--honestly, I’d rather be the guy in the fresco than to have continued w*rking.

Today, my day is somewhat structured so that I can show up at the swimming pool at that most special time when children are not allowed; in fact, that's how I know it is summer. I also show up at stuff like movies and plays when they start, isn't that enough structure?

A j*b with accruing bennies isn't the only choice but it is up to you. Let us know how it goes.
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