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Old 06-01-2014, 11:20 AM
 
Location: NH Lakes Region
351 posts, read 1,417,884 times
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Since I am getting closer to my projected retirement date (only a couple years out), I have been reading with interest a lot of the retirement threads - financial, recreational, time-management, health, and various other aspects. There has been a lot said: thought-provoking, helpful, and also a bit scary.

I was wondering if anyone had comments to make about retiring in winter versus summer, etc.?

I have seen many articles about "timing" once folks decide to pull the plug - i.e. the end of the year, the beginning of the year, the first of the month, the end of the month... but I was curious if maybe I should factor in the time of year (i.e. seasons/weather) to be making the big "lifestyle change". I have to admit I am really looking forward to retirement and am trying to tamp down any inflated expectations, but there is a nagging worry that the adjustment may be really stressful. I have a lot of plans, but I don't want to jump into things until I get a feel for what will be of interest with fewer time constraints - not wanting to replace a work schedule with something equally as restrictive. If I follow conventional wisdom on retiring in winter and since I'll be in a cold-weather climate (I have NO wish to move south), I'll be starting to spend more time at home during a time of year when having outdoor activities may be limited due to the weather (if I were to try learning to ski, I'd be dead in a week). Since I haven't been able to spend large periods of time at home over the past decade, I'll be adjusting to not only a more unstructured lifestyle, but also a "new" location as well.

So, I'm starting to weigh the financial factors against the psychological:

Plan A: Work till the end of the year and cash out the maximum days/hours of leave and have the payment for them paid in the following year to minimize the tax hit. This will maximize TSP and income for the year but will mean an extra 3-4 months of work stress.

Plan B: Pull the plug as soon as eligible (end of August or September) and have a month or two of good weather to adjust to the unstructured time and have indoor and outdoor options before the inclement weather sets in. I can still max out the TSP, but this will mean a reduced income for the year (so maybe the tax hit on selling back my leave will not be as great as anticipated).

In either case, the overall impact on my pension (and TSP) should be minimal, so I've been dithering over whether it is worth working the extra couple months at all.

So, did anyone feel weather/time of year impacted how well (or poorly) you adjusted to your retirement lifestyle?
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Old 06-01-2014, 05:24 PM
 
Location: Idaho
4,627 posts, read 4,468,721 times
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My birthday is in August, so my "official" retirement date would be a September 1st. I've decided that when I retire in a couple more years, that I would do so on a March 1st. Two reasons that I decided this:

1.) My anniversary date at work is February 14th, and the year I retire, I will have "celebrated" my 35th year working for the place. This is the silly reason because nobody but myself thinks that 35 years at one place is anything special. It would be nice to get that little, crappy certificate that I can hang on the hallway wall.

And, 2.) I expect my income to be greatly reduced once I retire and to minimize the tax bite, it would be "better" to retire at the beginning of a calendar year instead of at the end of it.

I'll be 66 and a half when I retire, but depending on how the satellite instrument is operating, I just might stick it out till September when I'll be 67. If the instrument is still strong, and I can get somebody trained to take over its operation, then there isn't much sense sticking around. It depends. Heck! The thing might fail in the next year, then I just might have to take an early retirement.

I will be leaving my current state of residence and my birth state for a different state that has an overall lower cost-of-living. Haven't really thought about the ramifications of the season I move. I still have three years before I hang it up and am still deciding on exactly where I want to locate.

As far as adjusting to a different lifestyle in retirement, I don't expect much of a difference, other than not having to wake up at 4:15 every morning that I have to head into the lab. I'll be able to sleep in until the sun comes up. I expect to be pretty busy in retirement.
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Old 06-01-2014, 08:06 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,740,386 times
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To the OP (Snafu): Since I live in the Los Angeles area, time of year did not play much of a role in the timing of my retirement. LOL!

So why am I responding at all, you may ask? Just to say that the question you have posed is so hugely personal that I don't think any rules of thumb can be applied to it.

Understandably, you are worrying about getting cabin fever if you retire in the middle of the winter, before being able to get used to having a lot of free time on your hands. Whether this will be a problem depends on you: Do you have inside projects at home that have been on hold? Do you like to read? Have you been wanting to do any travel to warmer climes? Have you been considering any volunteer work which could easily begin during the winter?

Hopefully some other posters will come forward with experiences relevant to your situation.
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Old 06-01-2014, 09:28 PM
 
7,928 posts, read 5,042,332 times
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The OP mentioned TSP... presumably you are a federal government employee covered by FERS? If so, then there is a powerful financial incentive to retiring during the last pay-period of the calendar year (which typically spills over into the next calendar year). Why? Because this maximizes your paid annual-leave days. The maximum, if you take zero leave during the previous year, works out to around 440 hours... a nice cash lump-sum.

Many government retirees enroll in an "emeritus" program, where they no longer receive a paycheck, but retain their office and come into work essentially as tourists. This might be a useful way to wean oneself from working to not-working, turning the step-change into a smoother function.
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Old 06-01-2014, 10:41 PM
 
10,817 posts, read 8,065,019 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
The OP mentioned TSP... presumably you are a federal government employee covered by FERS? If so, then there is a powerful financial incentive to retiring during the last pay-period of the calendar year (which typically spills over into the next calendar year). Why? Because this maximizes your paid annual-leave days. The maximum, if you take zero leave during the previous year, works out to around 440 hours... a nice cash lump-sum.
Many private companies also have plans that financially impact date of retirement. DH would have lost vacation pay plus a healthy 5-figure incentive bonus had he retired prior to his chosen March 2 date. When he was within several months of planned retirement, he worked closely with his company's HR staff to ensure he wasn't missing anything.

I retired in mid-November and sacrificed several paid holidays, but I had family issues to deal with so it worked for me.

Just imo, those - financial and/or family - issues are way more important than any seasonal or weather matters. If I lived in an area with extreme winters, I might feel differently.
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Old 06-02-2014, 11:01 AM
 
223 posts, read 274,669 times
Reputation: 443
Hubby planned to leave his job at a specific time of year to maximize his bonuses. However, he is now considering leaving sooner and working someplace else until the designated time. This would allow him earlier access to the retirement funds to begin doing what we've planned for and he'd still have a paycheck.
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