U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Retirement
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 10-25-2011, 12:15 PM
 
174 posts, read 257,981 times
Reputation: 389

Advertisements

Sorry for the length of this post, but it began as an "essay to myself" as I pondered a possible retirement at 62 in a few months. For those who are willing to wade through the 1,000 words, I'd be curious to know whether you think my decision is a no-brainer or whether you see any issues that I don't. Thanks for any feedback.

My current job situation as an in-house lawyer for a county government is demoralizing and depressing. My job consumes my life from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (including preparation and commuting time), five days per week. I drive 37 miles each way on the interstate. Upon my arrival, I have nothing or virtually nothing to do, day after day. Often I have zero work; most days I answer an e-mail or two and perhaps a phone call or two, but this seldom takes more than an hour or two in total. Not more than two or three times a year do I have a project that is actually interesting and makes use of my analytical and writing abilities, and those projects seldom require more than a few hours of my time.

This situation has existed for nearly four years. (Iíve been here 15 years.) I used to be quite busy and heavily involved in all activities because the former head of my department referred almost everyone and everything to me, but this has absolutely dried up since the arrival (election) of my new supervisor 3+ years ago. My new supervisor is extremely political and publicity-hungry and keeps me uninvolved and under wraps. When Iíve gently suggested that Iím not busy and would welcome additional work, he cheerfully tells me to ďenjoy it while it lasts.Ē The county administration is delighted to be able to ignore me because they are an ďethically challengedĒ group and I am intelligent enough to see through their schemes and not afraid to point out the illegalities. Just observing their shenanigans and hearing about them from my lower-level clients is quite demoralizing and depressing in its own right.

Despite all this, I'm one of the highest paid employees in the county government at $109,000. The situation is so extreme that I no longer even feel good about receiving my paycheck.

The county government center is three miles outside a tiny rural town with close to nothing else to do in the vicinity. Iíve wracked my brain for things to do to occupy my time, from exercise programs to novel writing to home budgeting, but none of this is really comfortable in an office environment. Iíve now surfed the Internet and contributed to various message boards until Iím sick of it.

The only reasons to stay here would be financial Ė the income, continuing to grow my 457 plan, continuing to grow my state pension and Social Security, and not having to spend the $1,100 per month on health insurance that Iíll have to spend in retirement. Iíll be 62 and eligible for Social Security in four months. At that time, Iíll be in better financial shape than I had anticipated being after making some bad decisions earlier in life: Social Security of about $21,000, defined benefit state pension of about $44,000, very conservatively invested nest egg of about $140,000 that produces 3.5% interest, paid-off house in excellent condition and zero debts. My little 40 mpg car will be two years old with about 40,000 miles on it, and Iíve been stockpiling retirement clothes to such a degree that I probably wonít have to buy any for 15 years. So basically, an income of $69,000 for my wife and me with no debts or family obligations. Iíd obviously be in even better shape if I continued to work one to four more years, but I find this prospect so depressing that even one more year seems like more than I could bear.

I have numerous interests and no fear of being bored in retirement. These include physical fitness, hiking, photography, golf, puttering around our little 70-year-old house, and extensive reading in the areas of theology, philosophy and metaphysics. My wife is from Belarus and has only been here with me for three years, so I also want and feel an obligation to spend time with her and show her around the country. My wife and I are both extremely fit and active, and one of my key retirement goals is for both of us to quickly return to the level of fitness we were in not that many years ago. Weíre also both very religious and trust that a higher power has been and will continue to be looking after us.

It seems to me that my income will surely be adequate for ten years or so, especially since our health care costs will be reduced when I turn 65 and my wife will begin receiving a percentage of my Social Security (35%) when she turns 62. There is no guaranteed COLA increase with my state pension, although the trustees can declare an increase under the right conditions. My hope is not to tap into my $140,000 nest egg at all and allow the interest to accumulate unless there is a real need. Our ďfail safeĒ plan if we ever find ourselves in a real bind is to move to Belarus, where my wife has a daughter and a large family and owns a tiny apartment in downtown Minsk. $69,000 in Belarus would make us close to ďrich.Ē I have no objection to this and am actually more enthusiastic about it than is my wife. My real hope is that after 3-5 more years here she will be ready to return to Belarus even if we arenít in a real bind.

Iím very tired of the legal profession and the "system" in general and would prefer not to work at all after I retire. If I do work, Iíd like it to be something completely different Ė even Wal-Mart sounds more appealing right now, although my real talents are in the areas of writing and analysis. The only thing I have on the horizon right now is a possible full- or part-time teaching position at a nearby law school. If I chose to go this route, which Iím only mildly enthusiastic about, Iíd delay taking Social Security as long as the teaching job lasted. Iíll know whether Iíve landed this job a couple of months before I turn 62.

So this is my ďdilemmaĒ in a nutshell: To continue the daily grind here for a few more years solely for financial reasons, paying whatever personal price this entails, or embark on a new life now even though my financial situation might be precarious if I live to be 85? (I have little family data to go by - my parents were both alcoholics who died early, but my brother is now 73 and my sister is 71. My wife is less of a concern since I have $500,000 in life insurance in place until Iím 71, her brother in Belarus is quite successful, and she remains eligible for free health care and social services in Belarus.)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 10-25-2011, 12:35 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,537 posts, read 62,253,689 times
Reputation: 32267
I'm seeing all sorts of rather good reasons to leave what you're currently doing.

If your 15 years of service aren't enough to qualify you for benefits...
maybe a transfer to some other (even a lower paying one) within the County will suit?
Or if there is such latitude to another County or the State?

My first though was working for one agency in particular...
or maybe even faculty at the Community College.

hth
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-25-2011, 12:43 PM
 
5,825 posts, read 13,326,782 times
Reputation: 9303
I worked for a Fortune 500 company after 20+ years in the military. Usually if the company wants to get rid of someone, they give them little or unmeaningful jobs to do. Apparently they can't lay you off, due to age and possibly job restrictions. It sounds to me as if they fear possible problems with their unethical and illegal business practices, and you seem to know where all the bodies are buried.

In the company I worked for we had ombudsmen, who we could go to for unethical and illegal business practices. I know of several high paying people who were fired after being investigated. Not sure if you want to take that approach.

If you are that unhappy and depressed, and you sure sound that way, I would pack it in at 62. It appears you will have plenty to occupy your time. Your health will start to suffer if you stay in a job which is unfulfilling and stressful. You're the only one that can make that decision, but if it were me, I would say, "adios."
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-25-2011, 01:02 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,891 posts, read 25,343,932 times
Reputation: 26389
If I was in your place, I would volunteer at legal aid or perhaps teach a course or 2. I would keep the high paying no brainer job as long as I could and look for my satisfaction outside the work place.

You have a skill people need and can't afford. You are in a position where you could really help people. Especially since your other job supports you and you wouldn't need to make a living off your clients.

I would see myself as being in the catbird seat. Lots of things I could do to make my life rewarding outside the office!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-25-2011, 01:03 PM
 
174 posts, read 257,981 times
Reputation: 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
I'm seeing all sorts of rather good reasons to leave what you're currently doing.

If your 15 years of service aren't enough to qualify you for benefits...
maybe a transfer to some other (even a lower paying one) within the County will suit?
Or if there is such latitude to another County or the State?

My first though was working for one agency in particular...
or maybe even faculty at the Community College.

hth
I think you misunderstood me. I am fully vested in my pension that will pay at least $44,000 per year for the rest of my life. Continuing to work in the system for another 3-4 years would increase it to perhaps $50K.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-25-2011, 01:24 PM
 
Location: zone 5
7,330 posts, read 13,252,205 times
Reputation: 9611
Every sentence in your post makes me think you should retire, with the exception of, "It seems to me my income will be adequate for ten years or so" (are people in your family very short lived?) and "I hope my wife will change her mind and want to return to Belarus" (not a very good foundation for a plan). I think you should try to line up some other job so that you can postpone taking Social Security and let it accumulate until you're in a little better place.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-25-2011, 01:26 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
28,537 posts, read 62,253,689 times
Reputation: 32267
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Venerable Bede View Post

I think you misunderstood me. I am fully vested...
Or I glanced through too shallowly
Thanks for the clarification.
---

Get out of THAT job and and get out of IT now!

Find some *other* way to occupy your time for a few years...
part time, seasonal, project based, etc. both to make a few schekles but also to keep active.

What doesn't matter so much.
But something that makes you want to get up in the morning is a good sign.

Good luck
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-25-2011, 01:54 PM
 
Location: WA
5,397 posts, read 21,409,976 times
Reputation: 5903
I would not spend the precious years left in my life doing something I did not want to do and after looking at the options available to me I retired early and have no regrets.

Not all of us have the resources to leave the security of a job but when you do it makes sense to evaluate the priorities in your life.

I would advise leaving the rut.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-25-2011, 02:40 PM
 
174 posts, read 257,981 times
Reputation: 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by subject2change View Post
Every sentence in your post makes me think you should retire, with the exception of, "It seems to me my income will be adequate for ten years or so" (are people in your family very short lived?) and "I hope my wife will change her mind and want to return to Belarus" (not a very good foundation for a plan). I think you should try to line up some other job so that you can postpone taking Social Security and let it accumulate until you're in a little better place.
What I meant by the "ten year thing" is simply that, with a retirement income of $69K, a $140K nest egg and zero debts, I can't imagine having a financial problem in the next ten years under ANY scenario (short of one of the doomsday collapse-of-the-entire-economy scenarios). It's difficult for me to see that I would have a problem even if I did live to be 80 or 85, but I suppose that's possible. My attitude has been that I'm not inclined to stay on the work treadmill for the best remaining years of my life - society can figure out what to do with me when I'm 85, if I live that long. The point about Belarus was simply that this is where I would LIKE to be and hope that my wife will agree that this would be fun; in no way do my current plans hinge on a return to Belarus.

What I find interesting is the point about continuing to work and allowing SS to ride. The "little better" place that I'd be in would indeed be little, it seems to me. As I'm sure you know, if one takes SS at 62 vs. Full Retirement Age, there is no net difference (i.e., actual loss) until age 75. So again I'm faced with the conundrum - do I continue to work, perhaps sacrificing the best remaining years of my life, for a potential payoff that won't pay off at all until I'm at least 75?

I'm sure my thinking is influenced to a considerable extent by the fact that dragging myself into my current job is such a soul-killing experience. But I'm also influenced by the fact that, notwithstanding the actuarial tables, my daily perusal of the obituaries tells me that an AWFUL LOT of people die at 58, 61, 64 and so on. I think the critical question for me, and anyone else, is "When is enough enough?" When my $69K income would be better than the average retiree's, my $140 nest egg is better than the average retiree's, and no one could possibly have fewer debts or live in a cheaper area, I have a hard time seeing that continuing to work in order to increase my income to $80K and my nest egg to $180K is worth sacrificing potentially the best remaining years of my life. But I do take everyone's point that finding a less soul-killing work situation would perhaps be a good middle ground and less of a "sacrifice" on my part; my thinking here has been in the vein that I'd like to really retire with no thought of future work - and if fate happens to lead me to something that I actually find more interesting and enjoyable than doing nothing, so be it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 10-25-2011, 02:52 PM
 
Location: Finally escaped The People's Republic of California
11,119 posts, read 7,573,746 times
Reputation: 6218
Retire as soon as you can, live a little more frugal if nessassary. You have come to hate your job, leave it, hell you might die next year, one never knows.......

Last edited by Cali BassMan; 10-25-2011 at 03:14 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Retirement
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top