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Things to do before I hit the road
Old 01-01-2007, 03:47 PM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Things to do before I hit the road

Hi Y'all

I'm trying to hang in and keep working 6 more months until I FIRE (or at least take a long sabbitcal) for some travel and adventure. I'm thinking of things I should/can do while still gainfully employed. Hopefully these will keep me sane and give me some goals while trying to endure.

Some things I've thought of are:
Take a night class in Spanish
Get all my medical/dental checkups done
Get mutual fund allocations in order
Sell unneeded stuff on ebay/craigslist
Get certification in my IT area
Request and examine credit report
Read up on places I plan to travel to

Any thoughts on things I might want to accomplish while still working would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: Things to do before I hit the road
Old 01-01-2007, 03:52 PM   #2
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Re: Things to do before I hit the road

From Engineering Your Retirement, Chapter 8:

It is never too late to start planning for your retirement, but once you have left the building, it may not be possible to go back in. Not all technical professionals are given the luxury of choosing the day they exit the workplace. Many are walked out of the building at short notice due to corporate layoffs or dark corporate politics. If you are fortunate enough to be able to pick the date of your exit, don’t waste that opportunity. Think ahead and take advantage of your last days, weeks, and months to put things in order. Some of the office related issues you should plan for are listed below:
• Take all of your personal possessions home before your last day. You will be busy and want to focus on the paperwork, exit interviews, goodbyes, etc. Packing and juggling boxes is not the best way to spend that time.
• Review your computer files. If you have any personal files on your employer’s computer, make personal copies and delete them from the computer.
• Take any vacation, personal holidays, or leave time that will be forfeited once you leave. This depends on the policy of your employer. Some organizations will pay you for unused leave days, others will not.
• Learn what your organization will allow you to do with your 401(k), 403(b), or 457 investments. You may be allowed to keep your money in the plan, roll it over, or be forced to take it out. Make sure you understand the options and the tax implications of those options. Be ready to execute your choice. You should also consider having extra deductions taken from your pay check and placed in these plans to ensure that you get your maximum allowable contributions for the year.
• Learn the details of any pension plan you are vested in. You may have a cash balance due to you. You may have annuity choices to make. Determine the options, the amounts, and tax implications.
• Learn your alternatives for any stock options you have. Are they exercisable? Are they under water? Can you take them with you? Do you understand the tax implications?
• Put a medical insurance plan in place. If you are not getting a medical benefit as part of your retirement package, this process should be started more than 6 months prior to your retirement (see Section 4.1). If you are not prepared with your own plan on retirement day, check on COBRA transitional insurance. Federal COBRA law requires that you be allowed to keep your existing group insurance for up to 18 months. It may be expensive, but it will buy time for you to find your own solution.
• Surf your employer’s internal web sites for any information you may need after you have left. Make a hardcopy or a soft copy, but do not violate corporate policy.
• Compile the contact information (phone, address, email, URLs) for HR representatives, benefits personnel, and other offices. Make sure you know who to contact with future questions about pensions, tax-deferred investments, medical benefits, stock options, and any other future benefit.
• Collect a list of email addresses and phone numbers of any friends and colleagues you wish to keep in touch with.
• Draft a letter or memo of resignation. Keep it simple and keep it professional. See Table 8.1 for an example.
• Say farewell to friends and colleagues. Everyone and every situation is different. You may prefer to speak privately with a few people or slip out the back door unnoticed. Your office mates may want to have a party on your behalf. You might be asked to give a farewell speech. You might want to develop a farewell letter for distribution. However you choose to say it, you probably want to articulate four things:
o Thank-you. Thanks for being fun to work with, for helping me with some aspect of the job, . . .
o I respect you. I have learned to respect and value your insights and opinions, your dedication, your genius, . . .
o I’m sorry. . . if I have failed to help you as much as I should or if we have had misunderstandings in the past.
o Good-bye. . . and good luck.
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Re: Things to do before I hit the road
Old 01-01-2007, 06:13 PM   #3
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Dec 2006
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Re: Things to do before I hit the road

Thanks sgeeeee .. those are great ideas. I will do my best to follow through on these - especially thanking every one of my co-workers. And you are right I've been very fortunate to be able to pick the day of my departure.
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Re: Things to do before I hit the road
Old 01-01-2007, 07:10 PM   #4
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Re: Things to do before I hit the road

Originally Posted by CheapSinceBirth
Any thoughts on things I might want to accomplish while still working would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Welcome to the board, Cheap.

You've hit the high points-- and there's more here:

Co-author (with my daughter) of “Raising Your Money-Savvy Family For Next Generation Financial Independence.”
Author of the book written on "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement."

I don't spend much time here— please send a PM.
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Re: Things to do before I hit the road
Old 01-01-2007, 10:21 PM   #5
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Re: Things to do before I hit the road


I am in a similar situation. I started a thread like this awhile back over at raddr's ER board, and so I will add these things to the lists which I got off that thread ( :

* Apply now for your credit and debit cards you will need

* Make any bank account changes now (like there may be lower fee alternatives for overseas ATMs, etc.)

* Link together bank accounts for ACH transfers, if necessary. Go to total e-notification for brokerage accounts, so you have no dependency on snail mail whatsoever

* Your investments will probably become less tax sensitive after retirement, also your asset allocation may be changing to be more conservative, so think about those changes now

* Scan and archive medical and tax records, encrypt anything you carry with you. You will need detailed medical records to apply for health insurance in the future, too. [actually I am putting this off until after ER, but other folks might not]

* Just yesterday (last day of year) I made a big donation of clothes to Salvation Army because I wanted to get rid of them to a good cause and it was the last time I might ever be eligible for charitable tax deduction. I tried on every single piece of clothing that I own during this process. Of the other clothes that are left, I am getting buttons added, coat sleeves taken in that are too long, basically everything that I own must fit and be functional or it is out, no exceptions, but I will probably put that process off until right after ER.

* Discuss plans with close friends and relatives

* Stop buying consumables that will last too long

* If you are doing extensive traveling, you may want to call the bank and get replacement ATM cards about 6 weeks before leaving, with hopefully longer expiration dates and unscratched/unscathed magnetic strips.

* I have started sampling foods of some places I plan to visit but with which I am unfamiliar

* Investigate mail forwarding and state residency issues, if this applies to you.

* If you plan to file your taxes overseas in the future, practice this year with whatever software you will use. I plan to do this with my 2006 taxes.

* I stopped contributing non-deductible contributions to my IRA since this does not make a lot of sense in my particular situation and being close to FIRE, I had been doing this previously

* Max out retirement stuff in 2007. I can max out my 401(k) in just a few months by getting the max withheld.

I am putting a lot of stuff off until after ER. Like selling my stuff, packing, downsizing, etc. But my situation is pretty simple, just a small apartment with inexpensive furnishings. Also, I will still be above the 15% tax bracket for 2007, otherwise I would be making investment changes now, like changing my money market from the non-muni version at Vanguard, etc. I will wait to do that until late 2007 to get ready for low earnings in 2008.

I do not want to be in a rush when I ER. So I don't mind putting some stuff off. I am juts trying to do things that need to get done before ER.

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Re: Things to do before I hit the road
Old 01-03-2007, 03:02 PM   #6
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Re: Things to do before I hit the road

One more (if you own a home)...

Add a HELOC as a safety net.

Rates will be higher (IF approved) without an income.
FIRE'd since 2005
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