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Old 03-08-2015, 11:26 AM
 
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So are you thinking of this as even retirement? Are you thinking about getting a part-time job -- or you want another full time job, which is really a full-time career change with the added benefit of your pension check from the first job? (It's not about true retirement (or should I say working less)...it's about making more money, and the pension from the current job allows you to leave still get paid, and find another job.)

You don't have to say here if you don't want to, but (you) knowing how much you want to make from your "semi-retirement" job would possibly help in in terms of direction..... Do you want to be practical -- and get a job for the money....or ..... work based on your own personal interests, enjoyments and pursuits.

I can see your thinking.....if you can't make OT in your current job.....then you can retire, get 67% of your pay -- AND get ANOTHER job to add to that and it would (likely) be more than you're making now. Of course, that depends on the real math of the jobs and pension. But, unless I'm missing something it DOES seem to make perfect sense.

Last edited by rdflk; 03-08-2015 at 11:46 AM..
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Old 03-08-2015, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdflk View Post
So are you thinking of this as even retirement? Are you thinking about getting a part-time job -- or you want another full time job, which is really a full-time career change with the added benefit of your pension check from the first job? (It's not about true retirement (or should I say working less)...it's about making more money, and the pension from the current job allows you to leave still get paid, and find another job.)

You don't have to say here if you don't want to, but (you) knowing how much you want to make from your "semi-retirement" job would possibly help in in terms of direction..... Do you want to be practical -- and get a job for the money....or ..... work based on your own personal interests, enjoyments and pursuits.

I can see your thinking.....if you can't make OT in your current job.....then you can retire, get 67% of your pay -- AND get ANOTHER job to add to that and it would (likely) be more than you're making now. Of course, that depends on the real math of the jobs and pension. But, unless I'm missing something it DOES seem to make perfect sense.
Thank you! Yes, that's exactly it. I thought I made that pretty clear in my OP, which says:


Due to earlier life choices/circumstances, I have no savings and quite a bit of debt. I am fortunate in that I am in a defined pension plan, and I actually could retire now because I have the age and years, but the pension is on the cusp of being a monthly shortfall or just barely making it.

In order to retire more securely, my plan is to retire from my job of 36 years, find another job, and work hard to knock down the debt faster than it would be possible to do staying at my job for another ten years.


The whole point is to try to collect the pension AND work so that I can retire for real in, say, five years instead of ten. I have done the math.

Please understand that the premise of this thread is not just about me but about for people like me who are close to retirement age but looking for strategies that will move them closer to retirement.

As noted, this thread was born from the other thread where someone asked where the people are who don't have enough money to retire, as the forum seems filled with people who've got a million or two in the bank and did everything right in their younger years so that they are either securely retired now or can securely retire on the schedule they planned.

This thread is for the rest of us who DON'T fit that scenario to share our stories and our plans and maybe give one another ideas. And some of you have been giving me good ideas. Thank you.

Last edited by Mightyqueen801; 03-08-2015 at 12:42 PM..
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Old 03-08-2015, 12:26 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
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Originally Posted by modhatter View Post
My advise is to make sure you secure your next job before you leave your current one. Job opportunities are much greater for people who are gainfully employed. A long work history at one job looks good on the resume also, which you have. Also, you mention that you have insurance covered. I am assuming that is part of your pension package. I hope it's a good one, cause as you age, you are going to start developing things you can't even pronounce . And if you haven't heard, health care is expensive.

Trying to select a second career at 55 can be challenging, but definitely doable. If you have any savings, you might be able to go to school for a relatively short time to become a LPN (licensed practical nurse 1.5 yrs.) or a medical assistant (one year) or a phlebotomist (six months school) Pay isn't terribly high starting out, but higher than retail for sure. Don't know how much you need to make so hard to recommend. . Should check with your nearest community college to see what programs they may offer. Community college can be very reasonable.

The problem with seasonal rentals is that they are seasonal. To have steady income you would need to be able to lease year round, and that is usually commission. You know thinking about real estate, a profession that pays pretty well is working for a Title Company (you know doing closings) Now I don't know where you can get trained for that. Probably good to get your real estate license for starters. One of my tenants does this, and she makes a livable wage at it. Should look into that possibly.

You say you work in the public sector. Is there some part of your job description that could apply to other jobs? I can't help feel you are making considerably more at your current job than you would at a new job. Your pension at 55 may be close to your current salary, but staying at your job longer increases your pension doesn't it? Is it just that you are tired of what you are doing and want a change?
That's what I would prefer to do--have another job lined up before I go. I think I already made it clear in another post that I will take my insurance benefits with me with the change that I will not have to pay for them in retirement, as I do now. I have one of the best health insurance plans in the country.

I don't have much faith in an LPN program. My sister is an LPN and there weren't many opportunities out there when she was just job-hunting about five years ago, and she's has decades of experience. In addition, she just got cut to 25 hours a week. She's just hanging on until next year when she turns 66 and can collect her Social Security.

I like the RE/Title company suggestion. I was seriously thinking of getting my RE license. I know there's a school nearby that offers the courses regularly and they have Saturday classes. Going to look that up.

There are several factors in wanting to leave. A big one is the 3 hours a day commute. NO, moving closer to work is NOT an option. I live where I do because it's affordable for me. Except for ghetto areas, in general, moving closer to NYC is more expensive. Besides, I owe on my mortgage approximately what my condo is worth now, so it wouldn't make sense to try to sell and then go rent somewhere more expensive. I want to stay here. I've got an affordable, one-story place with no steps in front. I can get old and decrepit right here!

Another reason to leave is that being in the public sector, the politicians tend to cut our benefits to show the public that they are clamping down on those greedy public employees in the hope that this will buy them votes. Of course, they can't touch the unions so the non-represented employees are the ones they make an example of. We've had no raises in six years, and they've taken away 7 days of my annual vacation time. People who looked forward to getting the benefit I'm getting--taking the health insurance benefit into retirement--got that pulled out from under them last year if they had fewer than 25 years. I'd like to get out of Dodge before they cut more.

You are right--I make considerably more at my current job than I would at another job. I am not qualified to work at the job I have, technically, because of my lack of a college degree. I worked my way up from the clerical ranks decades ago when it was possible to do that. It will be nearly impossible to find something comparable because I lack that degree. But that's OK, it will still work.

Let's just break it down into easy numbers. Say my current salary is $100K. My pension therefore would be $67K. As previously noted, I won't pay $4K or so a year in commuting costs if I don't go to the city, and I will not pay about $5K in health benefit premiums. If I work in my own state, I also will save a couple of thousand dollars because of the difference between NYS income tax and NJS income tax.

So, even if I find a job closer to home that only pays $50K, I'm ahead of the game. I can knock down the debt more quickly and work as long as I need to in order to position myself better for actual retirement.

That's the plan.
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Old 03-08-2015, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeerGeek40 View Post
Learn how to play poker....really well. LOL
Seriously, keep your options open, but don't leave what you have until you have something else.
Now there's an idea! Hahaha. Atlantic City's only an hour and twenty minutes away...

Oh wait. I was married to a compulsive gambler (drinker, druggie.., which is part of the reason I am where I am), so I already know how that works out!
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Old 03-08-2015, 12:40 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
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Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
I was thinking maybe a real estate agent. You could sell properties and possibly also manage rentals on the side, if there isn't a conflict with the broker. The down side to this is you can be out money for gas, etc., waiting for the next sale. But, it's something that you can learn to do and it doesn't matter how old you are. In fact, if there are retirees who regularly visit or want to move there, they'd feel comfortable with an older person. Also, because you'd be older, people will assume you've been doing it a long time :-)

I think people are confused about why you want to retire and get another job. My understanding is that you would then have 2 incomes instead of one. The pension plus the new job, as opposed to just the old job. And that financially that works out to more money than staying in place.

Someone else asked what type of debt you have. Just to throw the B word out there - maybe bankruptcy could be your saving grace?
No, bankruptcy is not for me. First of all, I CAN pay my debt. I pay everything on time and more than the minimum. I just want to pay it off faster. Secondly, bankruptcy would go against my personal values. I went into this debt with eyes wide open and have no regrets. The bulk of it is loans that helped my only child get through college. Yes, she pays her own loans (someone inexplicably always asks why she isn't paying the loans I took out to help her), but there is a limit on the amount a student can borrow, and having not had an opportunity to save money during her childhood, I took out the loans during her college years to get her through. I didn't go to college. It was very important to me that my only child get a good education. She graduated with two degrees and lives and works overseas, but she is just starting out and so supporting herself and paying off her own school loans is about all she can do at the moment.

Other debt is credit card/personal loan stuff that mostly had to do with my condo. New HVAC, windows, blah blah blah. Something always goes.

Last edited by Mightyqueen801; 03-08-2015 at 12:49 PM..
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Old 03-08-2015, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,081 posts, read 22,924,480 times
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Makes perfect sense. Sounds like RE could be for you - maybe even a front desk position while you get your license? It seems like RE offices are always looking for a front desk person. Some RE offices will even pay to train you to get your license. Or they used to anyway. I actually got my RE license a million years ago - 1978 - and just after I got it, the market crashed where we were living in Seattle, and life took me another direction. I, much later, ended up in property management. But, since you are already a homeowner and have an interest, I bet learning the RE law and passing the exam will be a piece of cake for you.

About the nursing jobs - they're very physical, too. Exhausting. Would be a rough job even part time, physically.

I bet it will feel like heaven to not have that commute anymore! All those lovely extra hours not in the car :-)

Here's wishing you the very best.
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Old 03-08-2015, 12:57 PM
 
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(Sorry it's long but....)
You asked about others' situations as well...being in that middle ground of not "SET big time" for retirement but not impoverished either. I'm sort of there as well. I'm 55 this year and will (have to) work until at least 62.

I'm in the age group that has a plan...and I'm just waiting for years to pass to I can get to retirement already! Of course, life can throw us curve balls we could never imagine, bad ones....but barring that, at least I have a plan.

A financial planner has told me I'll be fine even if I retire then. But my full retirement age for Soc. Sec. is 67. So IF I start Soc Sec, at 62 I'll take an even bigger hit on the reduction. BUT, Lord willing, when the time comes, I'll have:
-- a pension (reduced more the younger I take it)
-- 401K (which has now more in it than my mom EVER had, and she made out great with just a pension and Soc Sec.,))
-- a little money in a Roth IRA
-- and Soc. Sec. -- which, again and like the pension -- will vary depending on when I start taking it.
-- I'll be moving to the paid off family home (which I already own, through inheritance) Taxes: 15 -HUNDRED a YEAR!
-- And I'll sell the house I'm living in now and have money from that
-- And I'm due soon for about a 10K inheritance (which I'll use to pad savings, and pay utilities on the family home until I retire)
-- I DO HAVE about 10K in very low interest credit card debt.

Thanks to others here I've learned about the advantages of waiting until 70 to take SS so I MIGHT do that. We'll see. I just talked with a co worker last night, who started getting his at his FRA of 66. I asked if he thought about holding off -- since he's still making more than enough to live on withOUT his SS, and he said, "NO, absolutely not. You never know how long you'll live so even though the SS is being taxed and event hough SS is holding back because he's over an earnings limit. He wants what he can get NOW." So I am torn between the two schools of thought on that.

Until just this past year retirement to me meant NOT WORKING - PERIOD. But I've learned here about the concept of 'semi-retirement (working seasonally or part-time year round). And I could handle that too. But full time work I want to quit as soon as I feel I can still live the life I want to lead in retirement.

As for lifestyle, I admit I'm spoiled, single, no kids, eat out ALL the time, time is my own, except for work.

My strategy now is save and invest what I can -- but NOT kill myself with OT, since I don't think it would SPEED UP my retirement, just allow me to have more money IN retirement. So it's not worth spending more time at work, when I don't want to even be there in the first place.

Without being toooo crazy, I'm putting off all BIG travel trips -- like anything over 2K. I want to put that into the retirement saving/investing pool. But I'll still take vacations to visit friends, do family reunions, stuff like that. But an Australia or South Africa tour, or Scandinavian tour...off the table until retirement. Limited holiday spending, no more tchotchkes for the house, no more new clothes. Only home maintenance as needed. I'm obsessed with retirement.

My decision then will be:
-- 62....and take reductions on pension and SS (work part time) I THINK not working would be too tight financially for me. NOT TO MENTION I wouldn't qualify for MEDICARE yet. So I'd likely be working to cover health insurance.....or NOT take Soc Sec. and start tapping retirement accounts, so Soc Sec can still grow.

-- 65 -- same as above -- but at least I can get Medicare (IF they don't push back the age for THAT TOO! (My pension won't grow after 65)
-- If I work until 66 I might as well wait until 67...for full Soc. Sec.
At this point I'm thinking it's either 62 or 65 for me. I do NOT see working past 65....now whether I work part time or at all, that will depend....and whether I hold off until 70 for Soc. Sec. also.

I'll actually be BETTER in retirement than I am now. I just need years to pass to MAKE IT to retirement...and know what the numbers will really be.....
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Old 03-08-2015, 01:01 PM
 
Location: SW Florida
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I
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
Coming out of the "Where are the people who don't have enough to retire" thread, I thought I'd start one for people like me who are approaching retirement age but will have to do some maneuvers to get there.

There is the "shoestring" thread, and people in that situation are welcome to post here, of course, but I was looking for others who are in my situation--not quite impoverished, but not having a ton of savings/investments, either.

Here's mine--already posted on the other thread but repeating here to start off.

Due to earlier life choices/circumstances, I have no savings and quite a bit of debt. I am fortunate in that I am in a defined pension plan, and I actually could retire now because I have the age and years, but the pension is on the cusp of being a monthly shortfall or just barely making it.

In order to retire more securely, my plan is to retire from my job of 36 years, find another job, and work hard to knock down the debt faster than it would be possible to do staying at my job for another ten years.
whe
My problem with that is finding a job at the age of 56 without a college degree and with experience that's pretty much limited to the public sector where I am now. I am not 100 percent sure how to proceed, but trying to find my way.

So there's mine. Next?
Just a couple questions. Have you (a) maxed out the pension amount you will get when you retire at 36 years on that job? If so I'd guess that's why you figure looking for another, higher paying job while you collect that pension would work for you. And are you (b) eligible for Social Security along with your pension? If so that would add a pretty good amount to your monthly income once you reach the age where you can collect it. I know you're looking for something to reduce your current debt, and this wouldn't do it, but it would give you more income later if (a) isn't the case and (b) is.

I can relate my husband's experience, what he did was similar to what you're proposing to do, and it worked out for him. He was a federal employee ( Veteran's Administration as biomedical engineer)- he had, counting his 10 yrs military service ( which he had to pay into the FERS retirement system to add those 10 years) made a total of 38 years in the FERS. So he retired in 2003, and went to work for a semi-governmental private non-profit company ( with his office three doors down from his old VA office) and left there after working with them for 7 years. So he was collecting his pension, the income from the new job, and I was working as well. This additional income allowed us to accomplish a lot of goals for our retirement, so I can see where you'd want to do something like that too. My husband's experience with the VA made the qualifications he brought to the new job ( service officer with the Paralyzed Veteran's Association) pretty unique, and they were happy to have him. The new job also enabled him to save additional money for retirement ( 401K's and similar), and also to contribute to the Social Security pot. Between that and his early consulting days when he worked for the VA, he also had 17 years in the SS system, although the windfall provision preventing federal employees in the old retirement system (prior to 1984) from collecting all of their earned SS from other jobs in retirement. He gets 40% of what he earned in SS, but that's more than we ever expected he would get, so we're not complaining.

Do you have any ideas as to the nature of a job you might take in the event you retire early? If you take another public sector (I'm assuming that's a government job) job, there may or may not be limitations on what you can collect with your pension while you are still working. That was the policy with the state employees in Florida, but perhaps other agencies ( I'd hope) are more liberal about that sort of thing. I guess in your boat, if you're able to do this, I'd keep an eye out for other public sector jobs for which you'd be qualified- they might be interested in someone dependable, and experienced, and don't care so much about your age ( and you're NOT that old) or your education.

With 36 years on the job, I'd imagine that gives you lots of experience in your field, and I know a lot of government employees get into consulting when they leave those jobs. Is something like that possible for you? Look at your job description, your accomplishments and the skills you use everyday in carrying out that job. Are you a good writer? Do you excel at computer skills? Are you a people person, are you involved in conflict resolution? Perhaps the municipal court system in your area might have use for some of these skills?

Just some thoughts here from a stranger. I could easily be in that situation myself, and that's what I'd do. I wish you the best of luck.
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Old 03-08-2015, 01:05 PM
 
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MightyQueen there are a lot of considerations. But I can only tell you that many of the nicer areas in the South are full of transplants from NJ. Who are finding there retirement income to be higher than the working income of many in nice areas etc etc etc. If a possibility give the data section of City Data a look over for various areas and you may be surprised what the median income is in many metro areas and the nicer counties around them. Interstate 95 and 85 can get you North mighty quickly depending on where you are. You might be able to also start to work out some longer term financial needs and begin to plan for your later years. Phase in your SS and give your retirement a turbo boost in your late 60's.
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Old 03-08-2015, 01:09 PM
 
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So, even if I find a job closer to home that only pays $50K, I'm ahead of the game.
But how hard will that be -- given your age and who you'll be competing with to GET that 50K job?
-- Do you know any one like family or friends who have businesses? who could hire you with the "formal" application process and the rest of the hiring BS game.
-- Could you be hired under 'contractor status' with a company or gov't agency?
What other careers have you thought about? what are YOUR ideas?

At the example of 50K a year, it sounds like you want another decent-paying career, not a part-time job. You want to still make some real money. (Not that a 25-30K gig isn't real money....)
And office work unless you're a manager with people under you may not get you the 50K. Unless the cost of living is so high there that's what they pay people who answer phones....(not that there's anything wrong with that) A receptionist is on my list of possible part time gigs for retirement. But I don't think that's a 50K a year job. Office manager, yes, but I wouldn't be looking for that much responsibility in a semi- retirement gig. I'd WANT mindless. (not that receptionist is mindless, I hope you all know what I mean, without going there....)

Last edited by rdflk; 03-08-2015 at 01:23 PM..
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