On the cusp, unsure what to do

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
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On the cusp, unsure what to do

Post by IlliniDave »

I wasn't sure where to put this. I touched on it in another thread, but it was pretty well buried.

There's a lot swirling around in my head so I'll do my best to stay on point and be efficient.

Last week I was told my position at work is being eliminated at the end of October. That doesn't necessarily mean I'll be laid off at that time although it is a possibility. Even in that situation, there is the potential I can find somewhat equivalent employment, although I might not be able to replicate salary and will lose out on a healthy fraction of the retirement benefits I had looked forward to.

What I'm struggling with is a reluctance for any sort of perturbation within the arena of full-time employment. Even should I find an alternate position with my present employer, I don't know that I want to make the change. I guess I'm a person who doesn't much like change that is thrust upon me by the vagaries of the universe while being willing enough to embrace self-directed change.

All that adds up to a reexamination of my situation with an eye towards what happens if once this assignment runs out, I just bow out of the fray. Worst-case financially is the case where I simply resign at the end of my present gig. It appears that I'd be able to manage a steady spending level of about $2250/mo (real dollars) and still be somewhat wealthier at age 80 than I am today (meaning among other things that I'd have an appreciable capital reserve throughout). That's only about 57% of the spending potential that I'd been targeting, and I'd be nominally cutting the amount I'd hoped to pass on to my heirs in half.

$2250/mo is a couple hundred below what my spending has been of late, but with a bit of effort I can probably drive the average below that (I'm not the most financially efficient person in the world today, but have a lifelong habit of rising to challenges in the face of necessity). There are a lot of in-between things I could do to add some margin and "smooth" the transition--continue "professional" employment (in the likely case that's an option), even in an undesirable position/with new employer, sell my cabin, work part-time/low wage post-retirement, etc.. But contemplating a less-than-clean break feels vaguely distasteful. It's probably worth noting that part of what's been driving me is a desire to relocate close to my aging parents while there is still the opportunity. That is difficult to factor in to what is otherwise a largely mathematical problem.

I'm interested in ideas for criteria on which to base the decision. Since the decision is not obvious to me, I find myself wondering if there is something I'm overlooking.

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Re: On the cusp, unsure what to do

Post by saving-10-years »

I did not change jobs often when I was working full time but what I felt when I did was totally drained by the amount of learning that I needed to do when I changed. I was usually exhausted. Everything needed to be learned and even within the same organisation there was a huge wrench from being the person who knew to the person who needed others to explain things. I needed to make new relationships with people and try to find out how to work with them (INTJ aversions coming in here, I might like change but I don't particularly like having to leave a familiar team and make a new one). I can understand why you would not want to spend that mental energy on change that you have not sought and is not bringing significant benefit.

Consider whether (and how) your spending will be different when you stop working full time in current employment. Its gone down a lot for us because we have time to plan things and do things like cook and shop (just simple things) more efficently and make decisions about purchases and doing work on the house that are more optimal than previously.

Consider whether you might do some work. Which might be completely different from what you did before and which might yield some income. Personally I think you should consider writing. You write well and have some fans on this forum.

What (other than money) will you miss about not working as you do now. Can you replace that with something else? If not is it a problem? This might be social things but could also be the structure of the week or the security of good healthcare.

Good luck with the decision.

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Re: On the cusp, unsure what to do

Post by jennypenny »

Does some of the decision depend on how the Supreme Court rules on Obamacare subsidies? Are you counting on them to pay for health care?
Can you live with your parents for a while to save on expenses?
Does your company routinely offer early retirement packages? Is it worth taking another job within the company to stay eligible for one?

My initial reaction is to prepare for pulling the plug, but be open to accepting a new job offer within the company. It's hard to pre-judge what the offer might be and whether it will be worth it. If they offer moving expenses as a part of a job offer, would that mean that the company would cover some of the expenses you would have incurred anyway by pulling the plug?

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Re: On the cusp, unsure what to do

Post by Scott 2 »

If this is a mass layoff - it takes a special type of constitution to work through it, without the negative energy from the office flooding into your home life. I'd consider moving on immediately, then taking some time to decide what you want to do. You've never been more wealthy or skilled than you are right now. Use it

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Re: On the cusp, unsure what to do

Post by Dragline »

In terms of simple optionality, I think it would be better to take the new position at the same place (or different one) if it is offered, and then decide whether you want to stay in it after a trial period (give it 3-6 months or so).

You can still just quit after a few months if its intolerable. It would be much more difficult to go the other way.

From what you said, it doesn't seem like you are really ready to stop working, so I think its a mistake to let this unforeseen external occurrence alter your internal decision-making clock.

In the meantime, I would also do as jp suggested and look for additional ways to reduce expenses to keep your options open.

You didn't mention if there would be a severance package. If large enough, sometimes that makes looking elsewhere more attractive than staying put.

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Re: On the cusp, unsure what to do

Post by arrrrgon »

There's always the option to get a part time job near your parents. Working 20 hours a week even at minimum wage is another $500 a month or so after taxes. (You could easily make $500 a month freelancing too)

It's definitely a tough call. Good luck.

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Re: On the cusp, unsure what to do

Post by Peanut »

Sorry to hear about these changes at your work.

I agree with Dragline, remember that you can always quit the new job or any job you take on later, and at any time. I rather disagree with the poster who said a new job is draining at the beginning. From what I've observed it takes forever to actually start doing something productive at a new job. But in your case I think this is a good thing. Take on a new job, coast during the initiation phase, and decide if it's worth keeping or not. Think of it as several months of easy income, if nothing else.

During that time I would focus very hard on keeping to the new monthly expenses figure-- $2250. Assuming it's achievable and doesn't feel onerous, you will then have a clear benchmark for evaluating your options and freedom from the necessity of work.

P.S. I thought your cabin was your retirement housing plan? Have you worked out the financials of living near your parents?

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Re: On the cusp, unsure what to do

Post by IlliniDave »

arrrrgon, yes I've got the part time job option tucked away in my toolkit. I just have a strong preference for it to be 100% optional, as opposed to something the transition is predicated on.

Peanut, the plan was to officially live in Illinois but spend late spring through early fall mostly up in Minnesota at the cabin. Unfortunately perhaps, I'm at the experience level where I'll be expected to make an immediate impact in a new role. There will be a lot of pressure on me to hit the ground running earn my paycheck right away, especially if I wind up staying with my present employer--even in a different organization within the company they have access to my entire 28+ year performance history.

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Re: On the cusp, unsure what to do

Post by Tyler9000 »

I always found starting a new job to be an invigorating opportunity to learn something new and reinvent yourself. But I also understand burnout.

My first reaction is not to make a decision in your head before you really know what the options are. Perhaps you're assuming the worst, when in reality this will be for the best. You've been there almost 30 years, so don't jump the gun. Be patient.

My second reaction is that if you truly want to leave, it may be possible to casually mention to a trusted boss that you'd be open to a package if they're trying to decide who to let go. That's a risky game, as there's no guarantee they'll offer anything like that and once you open that box you're likely gone. But if that's truly not a bad outcome, maybe it's worth a shot.

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Re: On the cusp, unsure what to do

Post by IlliniDave »

The suggestions to wait and see have won the day...sort of. I've arranged a new plan where I make every effort to be a Klingon (that's a corny pun) for 14 months after I transition out of my present role. So my new tentative ER date is the end of calendar 2016. I'm going to force myself to live on $1600/mo from 2017 until mid-2019 when my retirement annuity can start. Then I'll figure a way to live on $2000/mo (annuity + nest egg withdrawals) after that. From age 55-70 my annual systematic withdrawals from invested assets should remain below 0.5%. I will probably allow for the purchase of two inexpensive vehicles over that timespan, and the purchase of a small boat/motor, from the nest egg. If it turns out $2000/mo is not viable the burden will be on me to pick up part-time work.

If it turns out my new job (whatever it will be) is wonderful it won't be any trouble to push out my ER date. But my intuition tells me that this transition is the beginning of the end of my "career", and it's unusual for my intuition to fail me. Now I just have to figure out the optimal approach to the next 20 months to be ready for this. I'm not happy about relatively strict frugality being mandatory as opposed to optional. However, it seems to be a necessary component to reach the best balance.

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Re: On the cusp, unsure what to do

Post by riparian »

Dave! Run away! Be free!

I mean, not really. Obviously we value different things. But .5%? Can I be your progeny and inherent your fortune?

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