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Old 08-01-2011, 06:10 PM
Location: SW MO
23,605 posts, read 31,524,402 times
Reputation: 29082


What prompted yours? Was there a turning point in your life that made you decide - some seminal event - an epiphany - that told you it was time, or did you simply follow a long-decided upon plan and reach the ultimate goal?

Here's my answer and I'll ask your indulgence regarding its length up front.

I had long-planned to retire at age 64. I had crunched the numbers and that seemed to be the best age and time. Of course, I could have continued to work until later and grown my Social Security and pension accounts but 64 seemed just optimal.

At age 61 I received a significant promotion. While the pay was nice, it took me out of my comfort zone and it didn't take long before I realized that accepting it was ultimately not in my best interests but for the retirement aspects. Nonetheless, I was doggedly determined to persevere until that magic age of 64.

One Wednesday afternoon I took my wife to hear Garrison Keillor (A Prairie Home Companion radio show and creator of Lake Wobegon Days) speak at a downtown theater an easy walk from both my work and our home. We thoroughly enjoyed his Midwest wisdom, droll delivery and ready wit. At the end of his presentation he entertained questions from members of the audience and several were asked. One of the last ones was very revealing.

A woman asked how he did all the things he did - write and perform the radio show every Saturday for 35 years without ever missing an episode, author nine books, go on speaking tours, attend book signings - how in the world did he manage his time and get everything done?

Mr. Keillor paused for a moment then explained that his schedule had, at a point in time, become very hectic and trying. His solution was to take stock of his life. On the one hand he listed things he enjoyed, people whose company he valued, things he still wanted to achieve, matters that made him happy. On the other hand he considered things he disliked doing, people with whom friendship or acquaintance had grown stale, matters that brought him little or no pleasure and pursuits that really weren't necessary.

At the end he cast out the items in the second hand and found that he was left with more than enough time to concentrate on the important things in the first hand and especially those that brought him pleasure.

His words stuck with me and on the way home I rather pensively mulled them over in my mind. Upon reaching our home I opened the door and let my wife go in. Following her I reminded her of the question and Keillor's answer. I then told her that I no longer enjoyed my work and I was going to retire at the end of the year. Seven months later, at the age of 62 I did just that. It's turned out to be one of my best-decisions.

Your turn!
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:32 PM
Location: Bar Harbor, ME
1,922 posts, read 3,783,225 times
Reputation: 1292
Plan based on when certain finacial circumstances fell into place.
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Old 08-01-2011, 06:54 PM
Location: Grass Valley,CA.
1,147 posts, read 2,178,251 times
Reputation: 614
Not fully retired yet but was forced out of my job. No job offers yet so I may have to scrape along until age 62 and collect SS. That's if the Tea Party hasnt taken it away by then!!!
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:19 PM
434 posts, read 993,011 times
Reputation: 389
I kept updating a spreadsheet with my Plan A and Plan B for several years. Plan A was to work until I had saved enough money to live comfortably. Plan B was how I would live on less in case I couldn't stand it any longer and had to quit sooner.

There were several reorgs, but I still liked my job. Then there was a reorg that gave me the worst boss ever. A month later, my best friend at the company quit suddenly and I had no one to talk to and laugh with. It wasn't fun anymore and when an obnoxious person with a braying laugh moved into the cubicle next to me I decided life was too short, so I gave my notice. By then I had been there long enough that my financial ducks were in a row.
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:59 PM
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,765,919 times
Reputation: 32309
Default Balancing act between mental health and financial security

I was able to hang on in a stressful job until the moment of my choosing (chosen a number a years ahead of time) and was glad I did, especially as I lucked into a final year that was enjoyable and fulfilling. But a colleague who took early retirement told me his sanity was more important than a bigger pension and who can argue with that? We don't want to retire way too early because eating dog food and wondering how to keep a roof over our heads in retirement will make the miseries of the job seem like small potatoes. But after a certain point money is not everything.

It appears our OP in this thread struck an intelligent balance. I congratulate him and wish him continued hapiness.
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:00 PM
48,516 posts, read 84,032,619 times
Reputation: 18050
I retired because the number where there. My wife is 5 years younger . That allowed us to do so mnay thigns having freed up my time.It allowed us to trvel o her shcedule instead of having to tryo to fix vacations at same time. It also as she said took alot of time needed fro my doing alot of shared duties. But when I did the numbers when the recession hot I realised her pensio was goig to grow much in next year and a half ;so she retired. This turned out to be a blessing has she was able to spend three years of more time with her mother more until she passed.Actually the finances have worked out even better than I estimated and we are enjoying life at our pace doing more than we have for years while still young enough to enjoy and do them.Niether I or she hated our joibs but after 30 years+ each we saw a opportuntiy to do other things we wanted to.I retired at 52 she retired at 53.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:34 PM
Location: Lakewood OH
21,698 posts, read 23,700,326 times
Reputation: 35450
I wanted to work longer for financial reasons but had to retire due to health reasons. Sometimes we don't have an option.

But I am content to be out of the rat race.
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:54 PM
13,345 posts, read 25,601,842 times
Reputation: 20596
When finances allow. However, health insurance is a huge issue, no matter what, but certainly if I retire before Medicare age.
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:17 AM
Location: Central Florida
973 posts, read 1,491,236 times
Reputation: 1098
I could have retired last year, but decided to work one more due to financial reasons, however, if I worked just 3 more years, I would have had enough money to pay off my house due to Florida's DROP program for state employees. But ya know what?? I can't do it. I am burned out and I came to that decision last year when I kept seeing the changes our state/county was making in regards to education and the idiocy expoused by Duncan. I just do not agree with any of them and want out of this mess (plus the fact that I am burned out in regards to grading papers). So I am going to make this year a GREAT one and try to make it as memorable for my students as it will be for me.
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:12 AM
8,089 posts, read 4,429,397 times
Reputation: 3074
The Plan calls for working until 66. I'll be 64 in October, and I'll tell you this year has been a chore. I work contract and my current contract expires 12/31/12. Not stressed or pressured, and don't even have an awful boss. Just having trouble with motivation. Call it lack of interest.

But, and this is a big but, need to downsize before or at retirement. Too much house and yard and mortgage not paid off. But, I don't think the housing market is going to be viable for selling until at least 2013. So, that is holding us back. If we can't sell until 2013, then I will probably try to hang in through 2013.

In a state of ambivalence in case you couldn't tell. DW is more or less there with me. So, this time next year we'll either be re-upping for another year and fulfilling The %$##@$ Plan, or moving on to the next phase.
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