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Intro - Scott
Old 09-14-2013, 07:18 PM   #1
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Intro - Scott

Hi folks, just stumbled onto this site recently, thought I would introduce myself. I am 49, wife is 47 and we have 3 kids, 1 out of college, 2 to go.

I left my tech director position at MegaCorp in April as my former C level boss retired and my new one turned out to be a complete snake. I was forced out essentially. I took a position for half the money with a non profit and am having loads of fun as I am working with friends and doing something meaningful. There were several people that I used to work with that died from stress that were younger than I am. I decided that doing something rewarding was more important than the money.

My salary now basically keeps the bills paid, without much extra in terms of discretionary income. I took this position in my mind as a gradual slow down into retirement. I wanted to enjoy work again instead of hating every day I had to drive into my former prison camp.

Here is a rundown of my assets and my plan. I have read through many posts on the forum and realized that I am not in the strongest financial health, but here goes:

1. I have 675K in my IRA.
2. I have 175K in my brokerage taxable account
3. I have 250K in equity between my house in PA and my vacation/retirement home in Florida.
4. My wife works, but she does not make much money and has essentially no retirement savings on her own. She has great medical benefits and loves what she does.
5. Because I have 2 running households, I have 75K in stuff that I will get rid of when we consolidate down to one house.
6. College: I still have 2 kids to put through school yet, so I am expecting to deplete 75K out of the taxable account while I continue to work for the next 6 years. That will essentially negate most if not all of the growth in the rest.
7. I would like to retire when I am 55. I am continuing to contribute, but not at the pace, so I expect to be somewhere around 1.2-1.3M conservatively when I turn 55. I may extend my working days another 3-4 years and try to get my net worth closer to the 1.7M number. Our house in Florida is low cost, low tax and paid for. I am estimating my expenses in retirement to be 50K annually, not adjusted for inflation.

Would like to hear thoughts about my plan. I think I am cutting it close, but I grew up frightfully poor and don't think I will be in that kind of shape again.

It has been an interesting 4 month journey leaving my big job and working for a tiny non profit. I felt at times (and still do occasionally) that I failed my family, but I was not a very good father or husband those last few years. If I had hung on for another 5 years, but I am not going to think about that. I like who I am now, I love what I do, and my family enjoys having me around the house again.

Modern day corporations are like meat grinders to me. People start as a steak and wind up like hamburger. I will never work for a Mega company again.

I ran through the FIRE calculator and it looks pretty good for me in 7-8 years, but my biggest concern is health care. My wife will work for at least a few more years after I hang it up, but I don't think its enough. Would like some suggestions there.

To close, I think this is a wonderful forum and that people really give of themselves in offering guidance. I appreciate in advance all of the input. It is very cathartic just to talk about it I suppose.
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Old 09-14-2013, 08:41 PM   #2
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As another Scott, welcome!

Though a long way from retirement at 26, I share a similar distaste for mega-corps.

I want to work where I know I am making a lasting contribution.

Inspirational to read all about everyone on here's different journeys.
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Old 09-14-2013, 09:52 PM   #3
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Don't second guess yourself as a father and provider. You did damn well surviving the meat grinder that long.

Do not sweat healthcare. Obamacare is gawd's gift to the ER. Do a bit of research and you will feel better.
"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

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Old 09-15-2013, 06:18 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
Don't second guess yourself as a father and provider. You did damn well surviving the meat grinder that long.
+1 on that! You're no good to your family if you're dead from the stress. Sounds like you're in good shape and have your priorities right.
When I was a kid I wanted to be older. This is not what I expected.
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Old 09-15-2013, 07:03 AM   #5
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Thanks for all of the kind words and encouragement. What a great resource!
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Old 09-15-2013, 09:21 AM   #6
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Sounds like you have a good grasp of your priorities. You will be fine.
If you need confirmation, read through the my job is killing me threads.
Compared to the parenting I received you are a saint. Good job.
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Old 09-15-2013, 10:26 AM   #7
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For health care, obamare will help...Subsidy Calculator | The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
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Old 09-15-2013, 10:55 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
Don't second guess yourself as a father and provider. You did damn well surviving the meat grinder that long.

Do not sweat healthcare. Obamacare is gawd's gift to the ER. Do a bit of research and you will feel better.

Welcome to the forum.
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:09 PM   #9
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Welcome Scott. Our ER stories have a lot of similarities.. I too work for a MegaCorp for 25 years and I just ER'ed last May. I'm 49 as well. I had the same feelings about leaving a high paying job. Logically it made no sense and everyone thought I was crazy to leave. I felt like I was a weaker person because I could not put up with the BS of corporate life. My co-workers "seemed" to do a much better job coping with the BS. Then I realized that because I had reached FI I was able to look at my life differently. It open the door to freedom which my co-workers could not do. Humans learn to adapt to their situation and I think people who are not close to FI just learn to function and get thru the day because they need that paycheck. The downside to staying at a job you hate is to your physical & metal health. Just before I left my job a person (45 years old) I have know for 8 years died suddenly. We did not get a lot of details on how he died from his family. He was doing the same type of job I did (project manager) and I know he was under a lot of stress. I'm willing to bet the stress played a role in his death. This only reaffirmed my decision to leave.

You should be very proud that you were discipline enough to have accumulate what you have with 3 kids. We do not have kids so it was easier for us to save for FIRE. I admire what you have been able to do and you should not feel guilty at all about leaving your high stress job. No amount of money is worth giving up your health. You probably extended your life and now you will be around longer for your family. Priceless...

Question for you.. I'm jealous that you were able to transition right away to a job you like doing. I feel like I still want to work, but have no idea what I want to try. Working at a MegaCorp for so long it hard for me to think of what I can do outside of what I was doing there. How did you do this?

Thanks for sharing your story with us....
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Old 09-15-2013, 12:58 PM   #10
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Hey Brad, sounds like we had very similar experiences. I did a great deal of project management over the years with my former company, and managed a PMO as part of my director gig, the stress is a killer for sure.

It is always interesting how things work out, let me explain how I wound up at a non profit. About 5 years ago, I was approached by my former boss with a request that a local non profit needed a significant number of laptops for their work around the country. I have been involved in various charities, even served as board president for Habitat for Humanity for my local county. In this case, the non profit needed some IT guidance in addition to the laptops. We were just finishing a replacement project, so I scraped up about 100 laptops and also provided some consulting help for them to shore up their technology strategy.

Well, when I decided to leave MegaCorp, I had actually accepted another position at a university, but I was going to have to deal with a 2 hour one way commute by train every day. Riding the train isn't so bad, and I was prepared to do this, as it was a better position with better people, at slightly less money.

Well, my plan took a detour when the guy that runs the non profit called me when he heard I was leaving and basically begged me to come work for a 6 person non profit. He and I had become pretty good friends over the years. He offered me less money, but with the promise that we would have fun every day trying to save the world, or at least their small corner of it. I am a one man band so to speak, no more personal secretary, no more sitting in meetings 8-10 hours a day, no more trying to navigate the politics. I live 5 miles from my new, I wear shorts or jeans every day and we actually laugh at ourselves daily.

I have always found that giving back leads to getting back, and in this instance I consider myself lucky. I am still considering doing some part time adjunct teaching at night at one of the online schools, or I may even take a project management part-time gig as well. My new boss is my old friend and it is working so far for me.

I would suggest looking into the various non profits and joining a board for one that is aligned with your beliefs. The networking and good will are well worth the investment.

Thank you so much for the kind words and the encouragement. It is true that I did not have kids, I would be farther ahead, but I would never make the trade and really enjoy seeing them doing well.

I keep contact with the other survivors from MegaCorp and many of the official retirees have taken this 49 year old pre-retiree under their wing. They all agreed with my decision, they knew what it was like with all of the evil and the stress.

Thanks again, great to see someone that went through what I did and survived.
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