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Old 10-23-07, 08:26 PM   #1
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Who knew retiring would be so scary?

I'm almost 63, and hadn't planned to retire for another two or three years. I like my job, make enough money and hardly ever dread going to work.
But there's a but: They offered me a buyout this week. Complicated formula, but what it amounts to is I can work three or four more weeks, then get pay and benefits through the end of 2008. I'd have about a year of health insurance to pay for before I qualify for Medicare in January 2010, a tough nut ($1000 a month or so, probably) but we can do it.
The alternative: I stay on at regular pay, which really means (since I can get a year's worth for nothing) I'd be working at half salary. There's a small chance of layoffs in 2009, but I'm very unlikely to be involved. I work for a newspaper, and that business is changing dramatically in ways I don't like--my job will be much less fun in six months than it is now, and even worse in a year. It's much worse now than it was six months ago.
It's financially possible for us, and my wife, a writer, has just signed a book contract that will keep her working (and money coming in) for four years. There's really no reason NOT to do it, but I'm sort of freaked about it. I didn't realize how much I identify with my job (not healthy; I never wanted to be one of those guys), and I'm not sure WTF I'll do with my time once I get the house whipped into shape.
I know nobody can answer my personal questions, but anybody have stories of their own about this?
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Old 10-23-07, 08:28 PM   #2
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All I know is that none of my retired friends are starving, and all of them report that they are busier than when they were employed full-time. My own plan is to step off the corporate rat race in a few years and to go into partial retirement, teaching and consulting.
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Old 10-23-07, 08:34 PM   #3
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I was going throught this when I was getting ready to retire, because of insurance cost. It did cost about 750 to 800 a month, but now that I got over the hard part, I wish I went sooner.
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Old 10-23-07, 08:45 PM   #4
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Retirement is getting up in the morning with nothing to do, and going to bed with half of it still not done! Two years, and I'm still not bored. The bike will help keep you busy, and the honey-do list will continue to grow! Should have done it sooner.
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Old 10-23-07, 09:05 PM   #5
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I think I sort of retired. I don't have a job, just a business. And we tend to do that kind of halfway serious anyway! Jobs are way over rated.
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Old 10-23-07, 09:07 PM   #6
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I have more interests to pursue than I ever thought I could. It took me about 6 months before I could actually say, "I am retired." It just didn't fit with my image of myself.

Right now I am once again studying for my personal trainer certificate, but my wife's continuing bout with postherpetic neuralgia is keeping me pretty occupied. I have a men's singing group, sing in two choirs, have a major concert coming up which I arranged, sing at nursing homes, am active in politics, do my biking, walking and weight lifting, and we have managed to travel a bit. I am amazing myself that at almost 68 yo I continue to be able to lift even heavier weights (I set a PR this am), I walk faster and longer, and of course I ride my bike.

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Old 10-23-07, 09:16 PM   #7
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I retired at 57 and have advised all my friends to retire as early as possible. You need a hobby to get you outside (cycling) and a couple of interests to keep you motivated so you don't just sit around. Since it sounds like your retirement pay will be acceptable and will cover expenses, remember that even a very part time job that brings in $500 a month is a big deal and good for extras. I worked at a newspaper doing fun stuff for about 3 hours a week and got a $50 paycheck every two weeks and loved it. (Since I have moved, I have had to quit that job.)

I say go for it.
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Old 10-23-07, 09:57 PM   #8
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I think it's normal to be a little scared when faced with such a situation after a career with some stability. My earliest retirement age for full benefits was 58. Because of the way things worked out as a result of some upcoming changes in the retirement system, I was faced with:
1, retiring one month early, at 57yr, 11 mo, at a loss of $32.00 per month in benefits.
2, retiring at 58, under the new system, at a loss of $345.00 per month in benefits.
3, working an estimated additional 8 - 10 years under the new system in order to bring my fund's earnings up to par with the monthly benefit of retiring at 57yr,11mo. I would, of course, have had an additional 8 - 10 years of income.

With much trepidation (there was no going back) I took the plunge and retired at 57. I have not been sorry for one minute. In hindsight, it was the right call. I was diagnosed with cancer two years after I retired and although it looks good as far as curing the cancer is concerned, the side effects of the surgery would not have allowed me to continue at my previous job and so I would not have been able to build up my retirement fund up to the level it was at when I retired early.

In the end, you have to make your decision based on your unique situation but I would recommend talking it over with your family and a trusted financial adviser with an eye toward retiring as soon as is feasible.
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Old 10-23-07, 10:23 PM   #9
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My first advice would be TAKE THE DEAL. The first deal you get offered (to quit, leave, retire, or whatever you or the corporate office wishes to call it) will almost always be the best offer you're going to get. After all, they're getting ready to downsize. No one is irreplaceable. They have just told you that they don't mind if you leave.

Management, even dumb management, will only make an early retirment/buyout offer to those employees that they can do without or replace for less compensation. And if they are making you an offer to leave at this time they may be telling you later on (i.e, layoff) no matter what it seems now.

Trust me in this, I've been on the management side of several corporate downsizings.

Last edited by Vieja Cabra; 10-23-07 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 10-23-07, 10:30 PM   #10
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You live only once, you may be dead tomorrow . . . so retire NOW!
Was also in the newpaper biz (union printer) and quit it in 1978 as handwriting was on the wall . . . more 'puters less workers. Started a new carreer and retired at age 63.
You can be as busy/active as you want to be; been retired 13 years and LOVE it!
Life is too short to not enjoy it.
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Old 10-23-07, 10:41 PM   #11
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I'm 59, and if I could retire, I would do it in a nanosecond. But I agree you need to have stuff to keep you busy and social.
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Old 10-24-07, 12:05 AM   #12
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I believe that the whole key to a successful retirement is having goals as opposed to having money. What I mean is, you have to have something to replace the job that took up 1/4 of all the hours in the week. That is a big hole in your life and it needs to be filled. Many people fill that big hole with lots of activities, many with just one or two. But if you don't fill that hole, you'll become a hermit.

I was fortunate enough to be able to retire young. The first time I tried it, I became depressed and low-energy. When I realized what was happening, I made some calls, got some interviews and started working again. That lasted for three years. Then I found something that I really wanted to do and I retired again. Now I'm doing that but I'm also teaching part-time at the local university as a way of both filling my time and giving something back. I am now incredibly busy and loving it.

My advice to those who are about to retire is to make sure to take care of the things that need taking care of and then find the things they always wanted to do and pursue them with all the energy they can muster, even if they aren't successful at first. It's the pursuit that counts, in my experience.

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Old 10-24-07, 05:21 AM   #13
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If you have always seen jobs that looked like fun but didn't pay enough to take......part time bike consulting work.....etc, now would be the time to take one. For the next year, the money made is extra and can be banked to cover the gap. You might find that its actually fun to go to work part time again.

I was caught in a large downsizing about 15 years ago and had all of my early retirement plans dashed. After bouncing around in the cold cruel world for a while I suddenly found that my services were more in demand then I could have belived. Now I get to work at what I like.....

If you are capable of really doing will fall all over themselves to hire you.
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Old 10-24-07, 05:24 AM   #14
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I've been in the printing business (similar to working at a newspaper but actually quite different) for 48 years. It's the only job I've had since being a lifeguard and soda jerk in my teens. Starange as it seems, the older I get, the more that I enjoy my work It was a family business and I've been the sole owner and manager for thrity years. I've had a good living but technology has just about killed all the small printers in the country, myself included. I've been on SS and Medicare for nearly a year and have been trying to hold out until I can get my wife on Medicare since she has some health issures and her insurance alone is about $600 per month for bare bones coverage. I will probably close my business in mid-year of 2008 and just hope that I can sell the property and equipment for enough to live comfortably. I'm just thankful that I have cycling, hiking and other outdoor activities to keep me busy and am healthy enough to be able to enjoy them.

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Old 10-24-07, 05:27 AM   #15
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I retired on a buyout at 54 and had no trouble staying busy. However, my wife, family doctor, and cancer doctor all felt like I should do something besides ride a bike and work around the house, so now I work about 20 hours a week for a consulting company for six months out of the year.
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Old 10-24-07, 05:40 AM   #16
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I hope all these responses allow you feel it's okay to retire now. We've been through dozens of such offers where I work and all my friends that left are all very well adjusted to leaving. I'll be faced with the same decision in a year or so, and hope it comes with a similar severance package. The timing will be perfect.
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Old 10-24-07, 05:45 AM   #17
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- i'd go for it... i retired for the first time at 41, then for the second time at 50... at first, it was hard dealing with the open time, but now i'm back to hobbies i enjoyed nearly 20 years ago (starting to build my third boat)...

- money is a real issue facing lots of folks, but for me, the best investment i've made is in my health... after a number of sedentary years, i've found it has been a long, hard road back towards fitness - but every mile on the bike feels like a step closer to staying fit and healthy...
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Old 10-24-07, 05:51 AM   #18
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I can really identify with this guys problem. I recently applied for a newly created position at work. Much of it is what I am already doing and have been doing for 15 years. They gave the job to a guy of 24 [we were interviewed by 2 women. One who dislikes me anyway] who has only had one job and graduated 2 years ago. They said that he was the better candidate. After a huge row I walked out and my doc gave them a note saying I was suffering from work related stress. I am now thinking of opting for retirement. No pension till 65 and then only a useless basic state one. I have a beautiful partner who is totally supportive whatever I do, loves her job and we will have enough funds to live a simple but comfortable life until god willing I reach the age of 80. After that we will still own our property that we can sell and live a decent lifestyle in a rental. Here in the UK we have the protection of free health care. Can be slow but it works, so I don’t see that as a problem. Each day I think should I go back to work? 60 mile a day commute, job that is 30% stultifying boring and at least one power mad, ageist, sexist [not the new one, but other 31 yr old, I have 2 managers] girly graduate manager. My big boss over the whole department wants me back as they are struggling without me but others have treated me like s..t. Mostly because of my age. Job is decently paid but I don’t need that level of income to live. I think it is a gamble. How long have you got? Do you make the most of it while you can? Different if you love your job and enjoy each day. I just miss the company and will need to build a routine that I enjoy to fill the days. At work you cannot choose the company that you have to spend your days with. At my age [59] the days become more precious. Good to get that off my chest. Not made a decision yet. Any advice?

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Old 10-24-07, 06:10 AM   #19
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I retired last Christmas at age 61. My days are full and I don't know how I ever had time to go to work.

Almost everyone has doubts when retirement is imminent. There are a lot of people who are working into their 70s and even 80s, and love it, so retirement is not for everyone. But for those of us who have interests outside the workplace, it is great. Now that I have time I am developing new interests, such as gardening, and have redeveloped interests that have lain dormant for years, such as carpentry.
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Old 10-24-07, 06:27 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by bigjim1 View Post
Different if you love your job and enjoy each day. I just miss the company and will need to build a routine that I enjoy to fill the days. At work you cannot choose the company that you have to spend your days with. At my age [59] the days become more precious. Good to get that off my chest. Not made a decision yet. Any advice?

A few Sundays ago, I was talking in church with a perfectly healthy gentleman just my age, who had recently had a minor operation. That afternoon, he had a headache and his wife went to the pharmacy to get some meds. When she returned, he was sitting in his chair, dead. We don't have a clue when our time will come. My dad died when he was 61 yo. Why spend what might be those last years hating your life?

I guess if I was hating what I was doing or my situation, at our ages, I would stop doing that if there was any way possible I could do that.

That is why, 3 years ago, I walked out of the classroom one day near the end of the year, never to return. The situation had been made so intolerable by the administration that it was not worth my health and/or sanity to continue, and I officially retired November, 2004, on my 65th birthday.

I would have enjoyed continuing teaching if there had not been an administration change with an absolute idiot in charge. Thay really wanted me to stay.

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Old 10-24-07, 06:59 AM   #21
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My response to that offer would be as follows: "Thanks a lot. If you see me getting smaller, it's because I'm getting further away!". I plan to check out of the workplace at 62. I tried semi retirement once and loved it, the only reason I am back working full time now is because I could not get health insurance anywhere at any cost and I needed to be in a group. I love what I am doing and do not regret or resent being where I am doing what I am, but retirement = freedom in my mind. I have so many things that I love to do and so little time to do them, I dream of the days that I have more time to play. I hope retirement becomes a similar equation for you.
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Old 10-24-07, 07:33 AM   #22
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All of my college friends have taken early retirements and none of them has anything negative to say about it. Of course, they worked for General Motors, so retire with great pensions and medical coverage. I will be joining them in retirement next spring at age 61, but with a limited pension and no medical benefits to carry me for 3 1/2 years or so (and my wife is 10 years younger).

Fortunately we've planned for this and expect no financial problems maintaining our current lifestyle, which is pretty conservative by most standards. Even our vacations tend to center around things like walking, biking, and hiking, which cost a lot less and are a lot healthier than cruises and resorts.

By the way, you might check into one of those new high-deductible, "consumer directed" health plans with the Health Savings Accounts. My wife and I can get medical coverage for less than $400/month with one of these policies. Since we're both basically active and healthy people, it's a good plan for us.
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Old 10-24-07, 07:42 AM   #23
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not completely retired but semi.

I had been involved in sales for 28 years and do to some related health/disabilites issues from the military I left sales and took a job in operations and my wife runs the business that I had started .
The work I do is never hard and obviously not a lot of it as I post quite frequently here in B/F and some other sites.
I make my own hrs come in early an leave early @ 56 I am not completely ready to retire but before I am 60 I will.

Through investments,real-estate investments and some smart business decisons we are pretty well set right now and really don't have any worries or issues with concerns to money and our continued standard of our living.
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Old 10-24-07, 08:26 AM   #24
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I had to retire due to medical reasons I wont go into here as no one wants to hear about that stuff anyway. I would say to get out while offer is good! Newspapers are rapidly going the way of the Dodo bird, especially the liberal ones of which 98% are. I would just as soon buy a Globe or National Enquirer at the check out counter as purchase a newspaper as the newspapers have acquired the same reputation with the public at large due to the liberal bent put on everything. As an example look at Fox news on cable and satellite. All the other cable news channels combined have fewer viewers than Fox News (FNC).
As for health insurance, you can find a private sector medical insurer for much less than $1000 and then pickup Medicare at 65. Of course this depends on the state you live in. Some states force you into government healthcare, which is always a bad deal.
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Old 10-24-07, 08:45 AM   #25
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I plan to get out in about 5 years, the nanosecond I get the age+years I need. I am on a 5 year plan to develop a retirement career to keep some income going.
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