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Community Work & Retirement
10-23-2017 08:58 AM
Mjl, you have lived as checkered a life as I have. You misunderstood me. I never thought you would become a Walmart Greeter. People who have multiple demanding careers tend not to take menial jobs. Now that I have an idea what they were I am well impressed. The leap from Chem and math to immunological & biochemical research is quite a jump. I was a bio major and a chem minor.
I completely agree with you that if you opt to retire early you need to think it through carefully. Health and wealth are two important factors. You need to have a good plan for wat you intend to do or the rest of your life.
You disagree with the fact that your ability to learn diminishes over time. Why do you think the adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” exists? It is a fact. I am a computer programmer and saw part of an algorithm to assess your IQ after taking the test. Your IQ is higher at 70 for the same test score at 20. My IQ has actually gone up over the last decade or two. That is not because I am smarter than I was. I know I am not. I am a computer programmer. We are mental laborlores. Most programmers age out in their 50s. This is one profession you can’t BS your way. If your code has too many bugs you are gone. I have written code in my mid 50s that I couldn’t even understand it in my late 50s. If you pump iron daily your body doesn’t atrophy as fast as everyone else your age. The is the same with heavy lifting mentally. I have been losing ability since about 40 but the change has been gradual. This is an advantage of retiring late. You stay younger longer because you are forced to give it all you have or face getting fired. BTW… crossword puzzles don’t help much keeping you sharp. Taking up a new hobby does more to keep you mentally your than crossword puzzles.
Several organs or structures in your brain undergo atrophy as you age and accelerates in your 50s and later. This is why seniors have senior moments. Your hippocampus shrinks over time. This brings on dementia. Your focus and nerve speed starts degrading in your teens! That is why athletes age out. It is not that they are not strong enough to compete but their brain and body doesn’t react quick enough to beat their competitors. Some gymnasts age out in their teens because they need cat like reflexes. Other types of gymnastics age out later.
Fluid intelligence peaks during adolescence. This allows the you to learn new tricks faster and easier.
Crystallized intelligence, peaks at 60. This relates to wisdom. You problem solve using past experiences. This is why judges tend to be old.
I went to college in the late 60s and what is now a 60k+ school was exactly 2K my first year I can remember the sticker shock when it was 2,500! Education is all about supply and demand. Even though tuition rose in the 60s and 70s it wasn't until the government invented student loans did the cost of college rapidly increase.
I wish you the best! It sounds like you made the right choice for you.
10-21-2017 02:38 PM
10-19-2017 12:41 PM - edited 10-19-2017 12:47 PM
RonMesnard: I got my first degrees in Chemistry & Math, spent 12 years in immunological & biochemical research. My second degree (while still working in research) was in Organizational & Management Development and spent 12 years in that field. During all of this, I wrote & edited scientific & professional papers.
So, no, I was never and never expect to be a WalMart greeter. Yes, I worked jobs that were satisfying, stimulating, and remunerative. No, I don't agree that our IQ or ability to learn new skills diminishes over time. Yes, I do agree that hiring companies are short-sighted in not hiring people with more perspective and experience than those straight out of school.
I CHOSE to retire as early as I did because I had other plans for my life. Keeping that in mind, I worked to make it financially possible. The real advantage I had was being the first-born of parents who expressed no limits in my abilities, going to college at a time when it was still affordable without going into the incredible debt that so many face today, and knowing early in life that living in different cultures was incredibly important to me.
I congratulate you on having work that you enjoy and appreciating the responsibility you have. It sounds as if you may have gone to school at a time when tuition, books, fees, & other expenses were significantly higher than mine. I believe you're correct that the market is very tremulous right now. I went through the market crash of 1987, but it rebounded by 1989. I held my breath for the entire 2 years.
I wish you the very best and agree with previous posters that it is crucial to know what you want to do when you retire. It won't work successfully if the only reason you want to get out of a job is because you're chafing at it. Again, I wish you the best.
10-19-2017 12:12 PM
I was gaining a few pounds every year and never lost any. I was diagnosed with diabetes and was needing my hips replaced at 50! I made a decision to live healthier and make an effort to learn about health and diabetes. I was lucky that my hips were going bad since I blamed both diabetes and my hips to being overweight. The diabetes medicine helped me with weight loss. Because I lost a significant amount of my excess weight, I never went on insulin like most did way back then. As my Dr explained, we were in the dark ages. We were advised to eat a high carb diet and just avoid sugar. Now, we classify sugar as a medium risk carb. We are now supposed to avoid or cut down on high risk carbs such as some potatoes and some rice. The total carb count is what we are supposed to watch now. Needless to say, I am healthier now than I was 20 years ago. I was even able to pick up some more life insurance at a bargain rate not so long ago. It did take the forever to approve me since I let them go through my extensive health history. Being a diabetic so long helped my case. Since I have been very good for 15 years it was likely I wouldn't go to hell in the next 10 years that they are locked in for. I have an insurance company betting I will live to at least 76. I also forced myself to learn about finance. I had just lost a small fortune in the tech bubble burst circa 2000.
In almost 20 years later I am doing great in both areas thanks to knowing right from wrong.
There is good reason to fear retirement. The best and truest fear is once you give up your job there will be no going back. I have a friend who decided to retire from the federal government. He got cold feet when he was interviewing his replacement. He claimed they were all way smarter than he even though he is a mensa member. He knew I was in and out of jobs and asked me how was the job market. I told him it was worse than a nightmare. That is when he filled me in on his revelation. He told his boss he decided not to quit.
When you retire that is likely the last good paying job you will have unless you have skills that are in great demand.
You should be happy since you should have no worries. However, once you have calculated that you really don’t need the job anymore, your job stress goes way down. You can just say no when you are told to do something that has not good end. Your boss gets caught it the trap of his own making. I have a typical nasty commute for Washington DC but other than that my job isn’t stressful. If their job is their life, why not let them be? Remember that your job wasn’t your life so what made you happy might not work for them. Even though it would be nicer to have friends you could travel with it will not be too long before some of them retire.
I hope that they are maxing out all their contributions to any tax-free investments. I know you stated they were but my wife who had been maxed out whenever she set up her contributions last, now can contribute more. Anyone over 59 should be doing that. If you need the money you can just withdraw. Your friends need to find interests outside work. They may not be the one who decides when they will retire.
We all can take comfort in we lived a great life when the USA was at its peak. I suspect we are headed for the mother of all disasters. I believe the DOW could hit 30,000 – 40,000 within a decade. The price to earnings P/E was only been this high once and that was 1929 and it crashed shortly after that. Being so inflated so many years from its peak is bone chilling. This is a great time to be in the market. It is time to get out when people believe the market will continue to rise so there is little to no risk to gambol in the market. I remember when some financial ‘expert’ claimed portfolio balancing was a waist of earnings. The tech market is just wide open. If persons did the opposite of that info they would not have lost their shirts like I did. Big losses are a powerful learning experiance.
10-18-2017 01:06 PM
@julsm5 Congratulations on realizing that your health is your wealth.
I wish I could persuade some of my former colleagues--who are still working AND HATING it--to just let it go (work).
Money is not the issue. A few of them make at least twice what I was making, and we all supported each other in learning and sharing informatiin about ways to maximize our 401k, Roth IRA, and other retirement savings accounts.
They are simply afraid to retire. They do not have much of a life or an identity/sense of self worth without their careers/profession.
Whenever I occasionally see them, they are always surprised at how "happy" I am. They have stopped asking me what do I do all day...because I always remind them that I had/have a life outside of work.
10-18-2017 12:14 PM
I have reinvented myself 5 times but once you hit 55, I believe your learning skills and intelligence greatly diminish. I know your IQ is age adjusted. The adjustment gets larger in your 60s. Yes, an old dog can learn new tricks but the effort is immense to learn anything significant. Unless you are an exceptional being, you will not be able to train up to a more challenging position. I am sure all of us have what it takes to be a Walmart greeter. Is this the job change you had in mind or was it to be a neurosurgeon? If you so enjoyed your job, why did you retire so early? I know for some of it is you could. 20 years in the military is a huge help. It is nothing you can live on well but it sure makes it easier to make a comfortable retirement with a second or even 3rd career.
Me, I will probably work until 70. I actually do like my job and am fortunate I am still smart enough to do the work. Most programmers age out in their 50s. The problem with programming is your mistakes rarely go unnoticed. They show up as bugs that are documented and need to be fixed. On the other hand, NO ONE EVER MESSES WITH A COMPETENT SENIOR PROGRAMMER. That is what makes a job unbearable. You can even be politically stupid has long as you can keep your operation running smoothly. I have over 100 persons depending that I do everything correctly.
It is great to live under your means. That is what we will do. With the stock market doing crazy well and me working well past when I thought I would be retired we are accumulating more money than I ever dreamed I would have. Right now, I am working for my kids. We are leaving them in a terrible place (the US economy), so they will need the money so they will be able to retire with a roof over their heads. Many indicators seem to suggest an economic apocalypse for the US in 5-10 years. Already, the P/E ratio is the highest it has ever been except for 1929. That it is so high and still at least 5 years from the crash is frightening, if true, so my kids will need that money. The predictions of the DOW peak range from 30,000 to 40,000. The P/E could be as high as twice that before the great depression. The higher the P/E before the crash, the greater the crash so twice that of the great depression is an economic apocalypse.
10-18-2017 10:53 AM
i think we get to create our own luck/destiny.
i know this discussion is about early retirement and everyone on the thread is probably 50+; however, i've noted after reading several posts that many folks settled or got stuck with jobs they didn't want and i have a couple of simple answers to that: (1) find a job you like; (2) reinvent yourself to find the job you like/want.
i had 3 career changes in my work history (USMC; Oil/Gas Exploration; IT) and i had to retool/retrain and reeducate for two of them. i was blessed in that i enjoyed all 3 careers, for the most part.
i'm very happy for retiring early and leaving the 'rat race' but primarily because i was fortunate enough to plan my retirement well. i have few regrets and one of them is that i didn't plan for retirement when i was 25 so i preach to my kids and the grandkids (and to anyone who'll listen) to get ready soon, and the more education the better.
i witnessed my grandparents who had to survive on their Social Security and i praise God that i don't. all my needs are met while retired yet i continue to live under my means, i still save, and i still invest. i wish everyone well.
10-18-2017 10:39 AM
I knew at the start of my career(s) that I would neither stay with one organization nor would I reach traditional retirement age. There was just too much traveling to do. I had work I loved and did well, socked away what I could and have had a long-term relationship with a terrific financial management team, learned that it's easier to reduce out-go than increase income. I retired at 49. 21 years later I've lived aboard a houseboat (4 yrs) & traveled the rivers of the U.S., lived aboard a wonderful sailboat (16 yrs) and sailed to Europe 3 times (realized that I didn't really want to sail around the world), explored England, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Eastern Seaboard & Gulf coast of U.S. Broken hearted when lost it in a storm & a container off a ship cracked the hull like an egg. On the verge of buying a second river boat ... and the journey continues
10-18-2017 09:16 AM
You make great points but sadly most of us don't get to descide. The current job culture is all about the young not the old. In the last great layoff in NYC over 60% of those laid off were older than 50. Once you get out you can't get in because you are too old to hire. I did manage to secure a job but that was mostly luck but without deturmination, perserverance and going the extra mile I would not have been at the right place and time to have the opportunity to get lucky.
10-18-2017 03:41 AM
I retired from the Air Force at age 44 after 25 1/2 years of service, 10 years enlisted and 15 1/2 as an officer, and have only worked about 6 1/2 years in the last 38. There are two questions you need to answer before you retire at any age because your retirement won't be enjoyable if you don't. The first one is, how are you going to live on a reduced income and the second is what are you going to do with all your free time. During my working years I always set my standard of living at no more than 60% of my military pay so, in effect, I was always living on a reduced income. My wife and I travelled extensively after I retired and my retirement was never boring. We made two trips to Europe and two to Hawaii and several cross-country trips here in the States. She had only been in nine states before she met me and had been in 49 states and 23 countries on three continents when she passed away in 2011. I quit working completely at 55 1/2 and we lived on just my military retired pay from then until my Social Security and civil service retirement kicked in at age 62.
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