Decided...this is my last year!


Full time employment: Posting here.
Apr 17, 2006
Been reading this forum for quite a while...saving alot longer. I have been with the same company for 23 years and will turn 50 later this year. Started as a sales rep (pharmaceuticals) and for the last 10 years - a regional manager. Burntout - having a very hard time playing the game and dealing with so many people I do not respect. I plan to pull the rip cord and retire Jan 1st 07 (if I can take it that long!) I have been maxing out my 401K from the start, saving more on the side in mutuals and purchased property that has done very well. I have saved a nice sized buffer ($100,00) for surprises, laddered CDs for 5 years and plan on selling one of my properties in around 4 years and ladder that to get me to 59.5 so I can start to pull from my 401K
( is there any way to start pulling from 401K earlier w/o the 10% penalty??).
I own my home - way to big, worth about $900,000 - I plan to sell and move to a smaller place or travel ALOT in about 10 years(lots of travel before that as well!)
I have worked so hard to get to this place in my career - but just do not enjoy it any longer. I am finding it SO hard to walk away from the money and benefits(would have to stay on 5 more years to get the Bennies). I have decided my life and health are more important than saving more money that I probably would not spend anyway....
I plan to continue reading this forum and hope to jump in w/ my opionion from time to time! I can not wait to not get that pit in my stomach every Monday morning - and not have to travel(for business) every week!! It is great to have this group to get info is kind of cool to be a newbee at something again.....retirement!
Please let me know about the 401K thing - have to be 59.5?
Welcome to the board, Donzo!
Donzo said:
Started as a sales rep (pharmaceuticals) and for the last 10 years - a regional manager.
Sure hope they give you a break on health insurance...

As for the 401(k), most ERs roll it over to an IRA and start a 72(t) if necessary. Another summary of the process is at John Greaney's website:

If you have a Roth IRA you can also withdraw your contributions at any time.
Donzo said:
Burntout - having a very hard time playing the game and dealing with so many people I do not respect.

I agree completely, having respect for your peers and company values is key to tolerating the game. When that is lost, burnout sets in and the stress induced by continuing to play the game while sacrificing your internal values takes a large toll both psychologically an physically.

ESRBob's early retirement book is a great source of information. Consider things carefully, plan, and exit on your terms. Good luck!!!!!!!!!
Some 401k plans allow withdrawals at 55 if you retire from the company. Might be worth a look.
Donzo why are you thinking about taking money out of your 401k?

The sale of your $900k home and your CD's should put enough money in the bank until you pass the 59 1/2 mark.
Thanks for the replies thus far! Sorry I have not responded sooner had to fly out Sunday for an Early morning Monday meeting. I looked at the info concerning SEEPs and that makes sense.....kind of-really have to make sure you make a good calculation...or pay the price in fines.

I will get no break concerning health insurance. I work for a 20b+ company and if you ain't 55 with at least 10 years w/ the co. you are SOL.
I don't plan on taking funds from my 401K. I have 5 years in CD ladders now and plan on selling some property in the SanDiego area that I will also ladder in CDs to get me to 59.5. I guess I want to have less to worry about in case I run short and do not want to sell my primary residence yet. The 401K early is a last ditch move. It is good to know that there is a way to withdraw early....if necessary.
I plan on continuing to add to my buffer, 401K etc for the rest of the year - I can't wait to give notice and leave the BS and BSers behind!
I love that attitude of yours to get out. It is so raw and real. but the post above is right, if you feel that way about the company and the people it is time to go. I really don't know why more people don't feel the way you do. Working for the man sucks. To much BS, way to much bs to have to deal with. Sounds like you are doing great.
Congratulations on having the courage to pull the rip cord at 50! I wish you much happiness in the future.
Thanks again for the positive feedback - the bs continues...I had to terminate someone for being VERY dishonest. Now this person is making accusations about me and the company. These accusations have to be investigated and
I am having to write volumes on the issues this person brought to the co. table......I could not care less - I am so happy/relieved and suffering from less stress because I have light at the end of the tunnel -ER!
It is actually amusing to read some of the co E mails zapping in on a daily basis. The intensity of the banter, how serious every one is about them selves and the "salt mine". Makes me save more money!!
Good luck with leaving the rat race. Also working for a major drug company, but need to hang in there until I'm 55 [3 more years]for the health bennies... DW is fighting cancer and it would be financial sucide to leave before then. My greatest fear is the f'ing company will have a work force reduction before then and I'll be a casualty.

This industry sure has changed, especially in the last five years. Company is now run by the lawyers, and senior management has no backbone. Fortunately, my regional manager is a good guy and the reps within our team are great people, but its hard to get excited about this job. This job used to be about physician education and patient care -- now its about being a puppet and an expensive waiter (doing those lunches suck) , pull the string and the recorded company message is played.

The end is in sight...congrats and enjoy your decision.

Pharma. is not the same today as it was a few years ago. Don't expect it to won't. The days of easy money in the industry are gone and the future will only be worse than today. Everything is moving to India then China and then ....maybe Africa or South America. Sales reps. are a dying breed with the current way drugs are marketed. Big Wholesale is where it's at and those contracts are done by lawyers...not reps.

Good luck on getting out.
When I started in the industry 23 years ago it was like a country club. I made my calls discussed my drugs and recieved alot of support. We had several exclusive drugs and a niche. Now all the major drug co. have full line products and butt heads in every account. My home office is very non supportive. I am a regional manager and always under the microscope. I even got a nasty E mail for not being hard enough on my people. I have one of the most tenured teams because I give my group room and don't micro manage. It seems that large co. have forgotten how valuable tenured people are even if they are having a tough year( after many good years). I used to love my job and this industry

I was in Big Pharma for over 30 years. I am now in generics and it is a different world. Think WalMart of pharma. manufacturing. We have almost no direct salesforce. Our contracts are all with major distributors or with other major direct providers (Walgreens, CVS, etc.). Our margins are shrinking every year and what little benefits we have are always being reduced or the cost "shared" more with employees. No pension, a very low match on the 401K, constantly increasing medical costs for insurance and copays, loss of stock options, loss of ESOP plans, etc. No one retires from just stop working there unless you are laid off (more on the way in a month or less...have have 4 waves of it in the past 2 years) or you are age 65.

Management is increasingly clueless and some of the recent decisions on products, company direction, dealing with FDA, R&D direction, and acquisitions have all been questionable. The stock price is in the cellar and has been for several years. We don't make our numbers because management has not figured out that even if you sell more product at a lower and lower price it does not create an increase in profits...only an increase in sales.

I was never in sales so I can't relate to the Country Club experience. I have always been in manufacturing or related areas so we only saw more and more cost cutting, staff reductions, greater regulatory demands but fewer people and funds to keep up.

This is my last year is the industry too. I have had enough. This is my third company and 8th place to live in my 33 years in this industry. I considered consulting but the thought of continuing in this industry even at that level makes my stomach churn.

The US drug industry is shrinking. Manufacturing is already headed to India. R&D may stay here but the high cost operations are headed off shore. Even intermediate and active ingredients are being sourced off shore because they represent 80% of the cost of most drugs. India makes these much cheaper than in either the US or Europe.

Hang in are counting down to the end.
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