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Old 03-08-09, 10:36 AM   #1
Road Fan
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Retirement or ??

I'm finally really faced with the retirement question. Got laid off from my engineering job last week - notice on Wednesday, termination on Friday, unemployment office tomorrow, and meet with my financial planner on Wednesday, I hope.

Our income has just taken a hit of over 50%, so I really gotta think about expenses, income, working, and what do I want to be when I grow up this time?

I'm not bummed, just thinking about this change, and what to do to deal with it.

Thanks for listening!

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Old 03-08-09, 11:10 AM   #2
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I never looked at retirement as kick back and don't work time. I always planned my retirement to be enough income so that I could afford to go to work at a less stressful job. This could be working the the hobby shop or bike shop that I always wanted to but couldn't afford, or it could be working less than a 40 hour a week (or 50 or 60) job.

I can't picture going without work, because I enjoy it. My wife is a lot younger than I am and will be working for quite a few years after I retire. Her job provides all of the medical insurance. Perhaps I will take a low hour teaching or substitute teaching job at her school.
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Old 03-08-09, 11:54 AM   #3
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Your engineering background provides the skill set to make a reasonable and sound decision. I'm sure whatever you decide to do, it will be in your best interests, feasible and fiscally sustainable.
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Old 03-08-09, 12:25 PM   #4
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Got laid off from my engineering job last week...
...and again in 2009 there will be 88,000 foreign nationals allowed into the USA under the special H1B visa program to do engineering and computer science jobs. Of course, they're all younger than you and are willing to work much cheaper.

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Old 03-08-09, 12:27 PM   #5
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I enjoy engineering work, too, and I intend to find another job. I don't think I want to be in automotive, although some niche skills are hiring, such as active safety systems, systems engineering, and hybrid powertrains. Plus I'm kind of recognized in some areas of transportation engineering, so maybe some consulting? Lots to think about.

Mrs. Road Fan teaches, but does not recommend high school teaching for me (she might want to see me taking Home Ec!). She might or might not be right, but I know there are a lot of places I can look for work. There are certainly good reasons to take her advice .

AlleJet, thanks, I've been thinking the same thing. Starting in on this feels like the first few weeks of a new design project.
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Old 03-08-09, 12:56 PM   #6
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...and again in 2009 there will be 88,000 foreign nationals allowed into the USA under the special H1B visa program to do engineering and computer science jobs. Of course, they're all younger than you and are willing to work much cheaper.

Best,
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My former company wasn't hiring foreign nationals in the US, just transferring jobs to new engineering centers in China.

I'm not saying it's easy, just that I have a lot of rocks to look under.
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Old 03-08-09, 01:11 PM   #7
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OK, your wife teaches. That was going to be my suggestion for you, to get a teaching credential and teach HS science. I did engineering work for 20 years, then made the career change to teaching HS science and math, 4 years ago.

Why does your wife think you shouldn't teach? I love teaching. Does she think you don't have the right personality for teaching?

When I retire, I think there's a very good chance that I'll continue to help out in classrooms, as a volunteer tutor. It makes a HUGE difference to a teacher in a difficult classroom, to have an extra adult there to help out. It doesn't usually require anything more than a background check, and any school would love to have you there. You might even get paid a little bit for doing that.
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Old 03-08-09, 01:42 PM   #8
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Yes, Galoot, I think that's it, she says kids are very different than they were.

My dad taught HS math, and to find that was good for him. He was a business type, more on the quantitative side of marketing, but offices were not good for his personality.

I don't have classroom experience, but I have given many presentations and training-sorts of things. I've been mainly a systems engineer where I lead discussions among peers to find out what they think needs to be in a new specification for a product. Plus I was a really good math and science tutor as a side job when I went to a community college 30 years ago. I'm a pretty good communicator those ways.

Regarding classroom assisting (para-teacher?), I think I'd like that when I really retire, but I haven't decided to do that yet. I'd like to find full-time employment, and save up money for the next 10 years.

She also says that No Child Left Behind has imposed a lot of restrictions on teacher credentialling, so a lot of the professional transition-to-classroom programs, that facilitated the conversion of technical professionals to filling the hard-to-fill math and science classroom positions. Teachers need to have a major in their academic field, so engineers would have to get actual math degrees to become math teachers.

At least this is what I'm hearing. I got a lot of research to do.
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Old 03-08-09, 03:29 PM   #9
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Yes, Galoot, I think that's it, she says kids are very different than they were.

My dad taught HS math, and to find that was good for him. He was a business type, more on the quantitative side of marketing, but offices were not good for his personality.

I don't have classroom experience, but I have given many presentations and training-sorts of things. I've been mainly a systems engineer where I lead discussions among peers to find out what they think needs to be in a new specification for a product. Plus I was a really good math and science tutor as a side job when I went to a community college 30 years ago. I'm a pretty good communicator those ways.

Regarding classroom assisting (para-teacher?), I think I'd like that when I really retire, but I haven't decided to do that yet. I'd like to find full-time employment, and save up money for the next 10 years.

She also says that No Child Left Behind has imposed a lot of restrictions on teacher credentialling, so a lot of the professional transition-to-classroom programs, that facilitated the conversion of technical professionals to filling the hard-to-fill math and science classroom positions. Teachers need to have a major in their academic field, so engineers would have to get actual math degrees to become math teachers.

At least this is what I'm hearing. I got a lot of research to do.
Where I last taught, we had a guy with a sort of engineering degree trying to get certified to teach middle school. He had a great math background - far more than one would ever need to teach sixth grade math (his temporary position), but he was never able to successfully pass the math subject matter exam - designed for high school teachers of math at an advanced level.

So, he finally left teaching and went on to something else (after marrying the teacher in the classroom next door).

Me - I was grandfathered in (no test required), and I had sufficient math courses in college and my doctoral program to meet the requirement - but just barely. But, heck, how much math do you really need to teach 6th grade math??

It made no sense to me, but then, little in buraucracies ever made sense!
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Old 03-08-09, 03:41 PM   #10
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I majored in physics, and never even minored in math, but I was able to get credentialed to teach both physics and math. The Praxis II test for the math credential isn't easy, but it isn't terribly difficult either. I passed it, but I didn't ace it. I did ace the science test, though!

It isn't that difficult to get a credential. Concordia University offered an evening class credential program, it cost around $9k and it took me 10 months (while I was still doing engineering) to complete the coursework (which is almost all BS work). Then I had to do student teaching for a semester. I delivered pizzas for most of that semester, and was able to keep paying my mortgage out of my savings, plus the pizza income.

I love the career change. I found I wasn't self-motivated anymore to do engineering work--I was also a systems engineer by that time, and I had grown to hate it. As a classroom teacher, I *cannot* be lazy, I have to be ready to teach when the bell rings!

I've found that I'm a very good teacher, if I can brag a little. Of course, the first year was a struggle, but it has gotten much easier every year since then. And at age 46, I'll probably have to continue to teach until I'm 65. That's ok, I love it.
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Old 03-08-09, 07:31 PM   #11
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I have liked engineering, and probably my first choice would be to get another engineering job (but not in the automotive industry), rather than teaching. Better salary at my career stage, if I can get such a job. My wife's job and retirement will provide us with good medical benefits, so I could even go as a non-direct employee or LLC.

Lot's to think about.
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Old 03-08-09, 07:46 PM   #12
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we had a guy with a sort of engineering degree trying to get certified to teach middle school.
I'm just curious. Can you elaborate on that or provide some further description? As a registered professional engineer in several states that seems like "sort of pregnant". No pun intended.
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Old 03-08-09, 07:52 PM   #13
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retirement

9 years ago,when I joined the club I'm with, most of the retirees did not work..aside from the special projects and honey do lists.
At the potluck held last weekend, I have to say; 80% had found some form of part time employment.
Wasn't because they needed more to do either.
Costs are going up on everything.
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Old 03-08-09, 07:56 PM   #14
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I'm just curious. Can you elaborate on that or provide some further description? As a registered professional engineer in several states that seems like "sort of pregnant". No pun intended.
Nope - I'm not even sure it was really engineering. Was just trying to make a point - sorry to not be more specific. This was 4 years ago.
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Old 03-08-09, 08:22 PM   #15
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I'm just curious. Can you elaborate on that or provide some further description? As a registered professional engineer in several states that seems like "sort of pregnant". No pun intended.

Monborracho, I suspect Denver is referring either to BT engineers who received their bachelor's in the practical side of engineering, or to BS engineers who did not choose or find a career track that exercised advanced high school geometry, college algebra and elementary calculus (to say nothing of their diff eq or solid analytic, but I don't think those would figure into most HS math requirements). I think I've been lucky to use all my math on a fairly consistent basis, even had to teach myself some new branches. Sounds like you are, too.

In line with this, I doubt Denver is referring to a registered PE such as yourself. I'm not one.

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Old 03-10-09, 08:01 AM   #16
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. . . and what do I want to be when I grow up this time?
I think that's exactly the right question.
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Old 03-10-09, 09:01 AM   #17
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If you have a masters degree, you should be able to get a job teaching at a local community college. This was always something I wanted to do way back when I was in school. I went into engineering instead. High School is a zoo. At the community college level, you have people there who want to learn, and want to better themselves.

The community colleges around here are converting from full time staff (with medical benefits, etc), to part time instructors. A good way to take out significant costs on their end. And it creates opportunities for people looking to work part time.

I am now working part time at a community college. Certainly not as financially rewarding, but I really enjoy the work. Its a good way to keep your brain engaged as well. And I found that I could relearn math (last taken over 30 years ago), despite not using much of it in my career in operations management.

Its a question as to whether you financially can make such a step. We had been living on my wife's salary for many years, so stepping back was not a problem financially. Plus we have lived for many years debt free: no mortgage, no credit cards, no car debt. Makes decision making much easier. And my kind of work would have required relocating and giving up my wife's career. And I am not talking about relocating to some garden spot if you know what I mean.

For what it is worth, I am a PE in several states as well.

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Old 03-10-09, 01:00 PM   #18
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I certainly feel your pain, Road Fan. I have three college degrees, four patents, and a continuous successful 32-year career in electronic engineering and management, and I have been teaching one or two courses per year at UCSD Extension, but I have been out of work for almost 10 weeks now. I have about given up my aspiration to move into community college or state university teaching of physics, math, or engineering because of California's dire budgetary crisis. I am networking aggressively as I try to build a consulting/contracting career of some sort, but I don't see hiring of any kind picking up until late in the recovery from this recession. I am looking into green energy and medical equipment as alternatives I would enjoy.

tcs, don't assume the H1B visa crowd will work that much cheaper than I am willing to go during Depression 2.0. Everything is on fire sale pricing right now, including my services.
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Old 03-11-09, 10:52 AM   #19
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I feel your pain. I am 61 and lost my quality engineering job 5 months ago. It appears that there is no job market and I am too young to retire and really don't want to at this point. Like others here my personal retirement plan has shrunk by 50%. Regardless of the discrimination laws, there is still age discrimination. I have some major decisions to make shortly and none of the options are very appealing. Good luck
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Old 03-11-09, 01:03 PM   #20
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Hmm, dit, Tennessee, are you near Oak Ridge Lab, ORNL? No possibilities there?

I had a DoE project job once (Superconducting Super Collider), and ... well, it was great while it lasted.

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Old 03-11-09, 01:08 PM   #21
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I vote for buying a new bike and riding to Alaska and back
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Old 03-11-09, 01:19 PM   #22
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First I get my unemployment filed, then I get my pension filing, then I receive my severance check, then we can see if I'm buying or building a brevet bike. I guess it really should be a tourer, since I can't really credit-card tour all the way to Alaska, with my current finances!!!

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Old 03-11-09, 01:20 PM   #23
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Let me say thank you, all, for the kind, helpful, and sympathetic words. It helps a lot!
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Old 03-12-09, 01:14 PM   #24
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I suggest you go here: http://www.early-retirement.org

And post details about your situation on one of the forums. You may be able to retire and not know it.
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Old 03-12-09, 03:07 PM   #25
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I'm finally really faced with the retirement question. Got laid off from my engineering job last week - notice on Wednesday, termination on Friday, unemployment office tomorrow, and meet with my financial planner on Wednesday, I hope.

Our income has just taken a hit of over 50%, so I really gotta think about expenses, income, working, and what do I want to be when I grow up this time?

I'm not bummed, just thinking about this change, and what to do to deal with it.

Thanks for listening!

Road Fan
I wasn't forced into retirement but I had to make some of the same choices as you. I took a hard look to see if I could afford to live on 50 percent less. I spent time paying everything off that I could. We sold our house in a resort area and bought a place in a small desert community. With no bills and a close watch on what we spend we did find we could make it.
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