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Having some trouble with this phase of life we call 'retirement"
Old 09-23-2013, 01:45 PM   #1
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Having some trouble with this phase of life we call 'retirement"

I, like many folks on the board, worked for Mega Corp, in banking. I had a high level job, which for many years I loved and I accumulated a decent nest egg which, according to the calculators I have used, I cannot outlive. No debt, no kids, a nice house and medium seven figures of liquid assets. My wife works and will for a couple more years.

I experienced all the crap that Mega Corp bestowed on many of us and a couple years ago, said "screw it". To be fair, when the taxpayers have to bail out a whole industry, one shouldn't expect the medicine to be delicious. But, it stopped being fun for me so, knowing I could retire, I bailed out.

I ended up having other opportunities and worked in a couple of similar jobs. but, I never could get as engaged in work as earlier in my career. And, I had plenty of time off between engagements to experience the joys of working on the house, going to the gym whenever I want and for as long as I like. I enjoy my freedom but, inside I feel like I should still be least for a few more years.

I know, sounds goofy but maybe I'm not ready to retire. Problem is I'm not sure if I want to work. I am now sixty and have been offered a well paying position which, three years ago, I would have jumped all over. Now, I'm not sure I have the energy and I'm uncertain if I should accept or back away. At my age, this may be my last shot. But, at the same time, I haven't been able to feel as fulfilled, when not working, as others who have retired and posted, here on this board, of their new found satisfaction.

I feel as though I have one foot in the working world and the other in retirement but am comfortable in neither.

Anyone else feeling anything remotely similar and, if so, can you offer advice?
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:58 PM   #2
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I have friends who feel the same way. Some people simply aren't cut out for retirement; they have a real need to feel that they have a purpose in life and are being useful to the world. Some can meet those needs with non-paying roles, but others need more formal structure.

Nothing to be concerned about. Just follow your heart. Sounds as if you might honestly need to take the position you've been offered. It certainly can't hurt to give it a try, given your ambivalence about your current situation.
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:59 PM   #3
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In my 6 years of being retired, I have never had those feelings. Of course I'm lazy laid back by nature. I can see how some might have difficulty in adjusting to retirement. Perhaps a part-time job or volunteer work might be a way for you to slowly adjust. Many do that.
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Old 09-23-2013, 02:14 PM   #4
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Hi Tracy,

It depends on whether you might like to go back to work, or if you world rather quit. If you would just as soon work, do it, you get money and you remove the problem you are having. Soon, age will remove these feelings anyway so it will very likely take care of itself in the mid-term future.

OTOH, if you really would rather walk away, anything can be looked at from many different angles. A little thought will give you many counters to the idea that you, or anyone else for that matter, has any need or benefit for himself or for society in working, other than a needed paycheck.

Most work is wheel spinning. Even things considered very worthy and socially useful are rarely seen that way by everyone, or even most people.

Most opinions, including this one, are nothing more than blather anyway.

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Old 09-23-2013, 02:17 PM   #5
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What you're feeling is not going to be common on this forum by definition (early retirees gravitate here) - so you're less likely to find kindred spirits here. You will find more folks who (strongly) prefer work to retirement for any number of reasons among the broad population - I have no idea how common either preference is. FI is a universal goal, ER is just one of several options, they're not linked.

After just over two years, I have not ruled out going back to work. Some days it sounds like a great idea (esp winter), other days not. I'd say I'm probably 70:30 prefer retirement vs work FWIW.

When I retired, my ideal path would have been career 1 for the money first, sabbatical (presently), then career 2 for the satisfaction first and foremost. There are several books along those lines. Best of luck...

Encore: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life: Marc Freedman: 9781586486341: Books

Work Less, Live More: The Way to Semi-Retirement: Robert Clyatt: 9781413307054: Books
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Old 09-23-2013, 03:44 PM   #6
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I have not had this issue but meet monthly with a group from my Mega Corp who all retired early. One expressed the same feeling you are expressing. She went back to work and within a year quit. She then spent some time identifying what she missed about her ex work environment. She really enjoyed the coaching and training aspects of her job but hated the high pressure dead lines, endless meetings, and the excessive travel. She now is a substitute at a local business school and loves it.
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Old 09-23-2013, 06:49 PM   #7
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I'd take the job and study what you eventually want to retire to. Retirement is the time to do what you want to do rather than what a boss tells you to do.

I'm still finding my way but I still have my old office when I need to get away. I'm sure there are seminars you can should on planning for retirement. I remember my Dad hated.....really, really, hated when he was forced to retire. But, 6 months later he had learned to putz, help the neighbors, and absolutely loved retirement. No way would he have wanted his old job back. So, write a plan, know it will take some adjustment time and go for it......when you're ready and it doesn't sound like you're ready.....really ready with a plan yet.
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Old 09-23-2013, 08:22 PM   #8
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SemiRetired in Feb. I'm missing the challenges of work, but not the BS or the commute. I applied for a contract job today that will have some travel and hopefully work from home. Now I'm wondering why I did that.. Just can't seem to be comfortable working, or not working. I don't know what I want and I'm lucky enough to just sway in the wind for a while...
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:39 AM   #9
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Hi Tracy,

It sounds like you quit your mega corp job because of all the BS and not strictly because you were ready to retire. If you take the new job maybe you'll love it and if not what do you have to lose? Maybe after working awhile you will be better able to make a decision regarding retirement. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 09-24-2013, 08:25 AM   #10
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What the heck. Take the job and give it your best for a year. At that point you can make an informed decision whether to stay or go. I don't think anyone owes a new employer more of a commitment than that.
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:59 AM   #11
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I like working just not office jobs with rigid, full time hours. I have a hobby type job I'll keep doing as long as I can. You can try the job or maybe you could do something more in between, like part time work, a business that doesn't require long / set hours or consulting work. I would just suggest trying different jobs / activities / volunteer work until you find something that clicks for you. There is no failure in trying out different things and then discarding what isn't working.

But if you aren't sure about the job, to be fair to the employer and other candidates out there that might really want it or need it, I wouldn't take it unless you plan to stick it out at least a year or so.
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Old 09-24-2013, 11:22 AM   #12
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Welcome to the Early Retirement Forum.

What does your (still working) spouse think about your retirement?

Just thought I'd ask, since often the opinions of those close to us influence us a great deal and this could even complicate your inner conflict.
Happily retired since 2009, at age 61.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:54 PM   #13
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This is great conversation. I have some friends who are respectively 75 and 83, and they are hard at global travel and work. They wonder how someone my age 58, and retired since March can deal with retirement. I think I have shocked many in my former industry that I am not yet consulting or doing something structured. Honestly I haven't figured it out yet, but if I do anything which resembles work, it will be something I clearly have a passion for doing. Would love the extra money, but it is not worth it for me at this point. I am just happy not to be living in hotels and airports which I did for a great deal of my 35 year career.
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by TracyJ View Post
Anyone else feeling anything remotely similar and, if so, can you offer advice?
Start drinking earlier in the day?
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Old 09-24-2013, 01:59 PM   #15
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I can relate. I'm only 5 months in, it's getting better. Actually I could never go back to Megacorp(there's no reason they wouldn't rehire me), just too much water over the dam.

My plan is to start adding additional hobbies, not sure what. DW thinks tennis. I would consider golf, but as a former golfer my last round was at Pebble Beach. Kinda a good way to leave the sport. I'm just trying to take a laid back approach.

I've had a few friends that ERed and went back. Most didn't stay too long.

There is no right or wrong, the only person that can say that is you.

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Old 09-24-2013, 02:11 PM   #16
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If you think you are not ready for retirement, you should continue to work. However, if you take on a new job, give it your best and commit for at least a year. Nothing is worse than a half hearted employee.
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Old 09-24-2013, 02:38 PM   #17
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I retired at 59 and was not ready so I went back for another year at part time . That year solidified my resolve to retire . I left the day before my 60th birthday and never looked back .
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Old 09-24-2013, 04:35 PM   #18
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I worked 50% time for the last 5 years that I worked and had one foot in the work world and a lot of free time. Is a art time schedule a possibility? For me, it was the best of both worlds. Besides, anytime some BS assignment came along I would tell my boss that he only had 1,000 hours of my time each year and was that really part of what he wanted me doing with the time he had available from me and I could use my part-time status to avoid some of the BS.
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Old 09-24-2013, 06:09 PM   #19
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Hi Tracy,
Thanks for your post. I thought I was the only one trying to figure out the meaning of life after ER. I too, had a steady job in middle management working for a big corporation. Then they sprung the job relocation thing on me, and since I had already been getting somewhat disenchanted with corporate life after working in the same company for 34 years, decided to take early retirement.

Been retired now for over a year (retired at 53), taking a 4% withdrawl from my IRA to supplement current lifestyle/income needs (avoiding 10% penalty via SEPP). Stock market gains have more than made up for the distribution so far, and I'm crossing my fingers that future gains will at least cover my withdrawls (otherwise I may have to take on some part time work).

Financially, I believe I'm ok...tho, not quite as set as you. Ran FIRECALC, and it says I should be fine. Similar to you, I no longer have the same desire/drive/whatever you want to call it that I had when I was younger and other jobs have just not looked attractive. I definitely don't want to do the same thing I had been doing previously.

I go to the gym, swim and do all of the home chores, but seems like there should be more to retirement than that. I think I just haven't found a passion yet (which is probably the key, although easier said than done).

Bottom line...the ability to even take ER is something to look at with gratitude, as there are many, many folks who would switch places with us in a second. I realize some folks just aren't cut out for ER and for them, working is their life. I'm definitely not one of those, but will keep trying to make the next part of my life the best that it can be. Committed to take a trip to Europe next year and also signed up for classes to bring out the more hands on, creative side of me.

Good luck to you.
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Old 09-24-2013, 06:51 PM   #20
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Hi Tracy and all, I have been retired for 1 month now. Retired on 57th bday. I hated my work environment, for last 4 years,but loved it for prior 30 years. I planned my ER over the last 4 years. It seems THAT was my passion...the planning of being able to take ER, and knowing each day,that I was being driven crazy at work, it was a short lived torture, as I was LEAVING. I left. I am filling my day with gym, clubs, meeting new people, dog and helping with parent's day to day stuff. I hope to feel like 'this is IT, this is my HAPPY Life' soon...but I am still not there. I will probably be a math tutor next year, and know that my old job can/will offer me a contract job..BUT I don't think I have the desire to get back into that HARD mess. Kind of like them struggling without me. BUT, I am also like limbo...wondering where that extreme happiness is, that I was planning, dreaming about. Maybe after a few more months, it will HAPPEN. I hope so.
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