Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Thinking Along Those Lines


Juvat's post the other day reminded me of something I've been thinking about lately.

Thinking about rather a lot really.

Retirement.

Won't be the first time I've done that. Did it 18 years ago when I finally hung up my Air Force uniform after 24 years. Yeah, it's been that long since I was on active duty. I've been back on civvie street just six years shy of the time I spent in uniform.

This is the longest I've lived in a place since I was a kid, back when I was living under my parent's roof.

Let me tell ya, at first that was pretty weird, staying in one place for so long. We bounced around a bit in the Air Force, not as much as some, but enough where once we hit a certain point we started thinking about what was next. Back then it was wondering what base we'd go to next, what country.

Now, well there really ain't a "next." This is it.

So while I retired once, I will retire again. But this next one will be the last one. I won't be retiring from any other job again ever.

Feels funny, and I don't mean funny in an amusing way.

On the one hand, more free time, no schedules (other than my own) to march to. On the gripping hand though, there's the less money, getting elderly thing to cope with.

I don't really listen to "financial experts." If they are so expert at managing finances, why are they still working? Hhmm?

While I don't dismiss such things out of hand, I have to remind myself that after I retire the days of pay raises are probably a thing of the past. Can you say, "fixed income?" There, I knew you could.

I feel that we'll be okay in retirement, three pensions (Air Force, company, and Social Security) should be sufficient to keep us active and fiscally healthy. Sure it's a pay cut but all the extra stuff Andrew's comment on Juvat's post about those "other expenses" were something I had never considered -
But, don't forget to tabulate all the non-expenses you will now have. No more work clothes, no more killing your vehicle working for the man (unless you're getting mileage, travel to and from is a big unaddressed expense.) No more having to do things for work that cost money (like buying lunch or breakfast or dinner out, or coffee machines, snack machines, etc.) It is amazing how much your job really nets you in income. Like how little you net after considering all the costs of the job.
That right there, while not exactly balancing the before and after retirement balance, certainly does help. Probably to the tune of a hundred bucks a week. (Okay, I drink too much coffee, and not the cheap stuff either, also I buy my breakfast at work. Yes it would be cheaper to buy the fixings and eat at home but the time investment to do that doesn't work out. I can eat at my desk and work, if I ate at home I'd have to get up earlier to make up the time. Yes, I have given this some thought, a lot of thought actually.)


But really, why do I want to retire?

Is the work boring? No, it's actually quite fascinating, probably some of the most interesting (to me at any rate) work I've ever done. (I read somewhere today that bad writers overuse dashes - and parentheses - in their writing, where a comma would serve just fine. Nope, I ain't buying that. Not supposed to use "ain't" either, right?)

Anyhoo, the work is still interesting but...

It's a grind. I'm on the company's schedule (which is fine, they are paying me, quite well, for my time) and there is a fixed number of hours I'm required to work every week. Not daily, it has to all add up to 80 hours at the end of a two week period. Again, they pay me, I do what they want. Seems a fair deal. Compared to my last job there is no "willing to put my life on the line" clause in the contract.

Still and all, I want to do what I want to do when I want to do it. I have lots and lots of things that I want to do but I don't really have the time to do now.

Write a book. (Re)learn to play the bagpipes. (Not that the cats will enjoy that, perhaps the neighbors won't either. But I can find a secluded place in the woods if need be. We have a lot of woods and empty space in New England. Though much of the empty space is between our elected representatives' ears. Ta-dump, tissshhhh. (Which is my drum and cymbal noise written out... Say it out loud, especially with other people around, you'll know what I mean. Well, maybe not with other people around.)

So I won't be one of those old farts planted on the sofa in front of the tee-vee. For, as Joe mentioned in the comments of the aforementioned Juvat post -
I was retired somewhat ahead of my preferred timeline and people asked me like it was the worst thing in the world, "What are you going to do with your time?" Like this was a huge problem. Maybe for a workaholic, but I can do nothing better than anyone. I do with my time what I want to do with my time (mostly, there are still occasional social obligations) I stay up way late and watch an old movie if I want, or I get up early (before 10) to play golf. I took up writing and have made $75 on two books that only cost me $3000 to publish, started blogging mostly every day, and have learned to play a mean guitar (make that mediocre playing). We travel, we just relax, I work out, and have found that there just aren't enough hours in the day for me to do nothing...but then as I said, I was born to do nothing, it is my gift.
I share Joe's gift, unlike the Highlander, there can be more than one.

But, if you see this...


...happening in an old building near you...

It's just Joe and I discussing how many people can share the gift of doing nothing gracefully and with purpose. I've gotta tell ya, I've had stints of having to do "nothing," and I'm pretty damned good at it.

Challenge accepted.

In two years.

That's the plan anyway.

That's the plan.




44 comments:

  1. When I pulled the plug just about every day went by without noticing the time until early afternoon, the house and lot saw to that. Winter was another matter but it was very nice not to have to rush to shovel/snowthrow early in order to leave for work, could take time to do that every snowfall. Finances are VIP, what's coming in, what's not coming in, and like you stated also what's not having to be paid out. It was great watching the TV show morning rush hour that first snowfall and not having to be on the road. Best of luck to you.

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    1. Two years to get ready for whatever retirement means.

      We shall see.

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  2. Even though I haven't been retired very long, it's worth it. For all my years working at the college I loved it and approached retirement with some trepidation but so far I've enjoyed every minute of it. This old redneck is really enjoying not having demands on his time.

    I worried about a reduced income but I'm actually making more now than when I was working. No SS, medicare, medicaid, etc, being taken from my income, you don't realize just how much that totals until it's no longer being taken away.

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    1. Hadn't thought of those last few income "enhancers". Thanks.

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    2. Russ - hadn't thought of all that stuff they won't be taking out.

      Gotta be a few hundred there.

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    3. Juvat - income "enhancer" - I like it.

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    4. Yes, as Russ said above, the net loss from retiring can be remarkably dissimilar to what the experts say. When I, ah, er, um, retired, yeah, that's the word, retired, um, my wife and I went from a two-income family with me working to a one income family. Except for covering the mortgage, my work salary went towards affording me to work. Like, seriously, I figured out my work commute and just working (with all the fees and taxes and automatic deducts for programs I never use and forced retirement payments into a fund that went tits-up before I could access it and...) was costing me 2/3rds of my gross.

      Net. It is the NET amount that counts. The net of the net (that which is left after all expenses) amount that allows you to have fun.

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    5. Net, or as we primitives like to call it, disposable income. Disposable by me, not the gubmint.

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  3. I've always felt the same way about financial advisers and wondering why they're still working. Sort of like why are the psychics who offer "readings" out of their houses still working. You'd think they would have won a few big lotteries and moved on by now.

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    1. Bingo. It's all snake oil sales.

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    2. I agree, but what they did for us, was consolidate all our incomes, investments, insurance, debts, expenses etc into one picture. That gave us an expected income/expense document that we can play with and tweak, to see the effects of this rate of inflation, or this level of expenditures. Very useful in the "enough money" part of this plan.

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    3. Juvat - As I'm the only one with an income, it's a pretty simple picture. Income versus expenditures, planned pay down of existing debt, it's something I did myself with a simple spreadsheet.

      If life is simple, so is the paperwork, I'm sure that Mrs. Juvat having a business makes your financial picture more complex than mine.

      At least that's how I look at things.

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    4. Yeah, back in the day, I did the same thing. Mrs Juvat is pretty talented as a businesswoman which is a good thing, but it does tend to complicate things (can you say Tax?)

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    5. It's always the gubmint which complicates life. Taxes, a necessary evil.

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    6. I agree with Juvat, talking with the various financial planners is a good exercise, as they do bring together the issues and make sure you've considered all the angles. I just don't agree with their Monte Carlo investment strategy analysis. Being further out from retirement due to a 13 year old son (can you say college costs? Sure you can), I'm working things so companies like Dominion Energy, Duke Power, General Mills, AT&T and Coca Cola will give me pay raises in retirement every year when they increase their dividends. Until then, they get reinvested so compounding can do its magic. Just wish I'd figured that out 10 or 15 years ago!

      /
      L.J.

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    7. Not a big deal for me, I don't invest. While I don't keep my money in the mattress, I'm not that far removed from that.

      ;)

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  4. The real trick to retirement is to continue to appear busy so others will leave you to your own devices and not mess with you.
    The toughest thing I did during my retirement is resign from volunteer position.

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  5. I can relate to this very well. Retired in '01 and went full time RV'ing in '03, until '09 when family obligations pinned us here for the foreseeable future. I "failed retirement" when the management at the RV park needed some computer help, which morphed into a part-time maintenance position. Turned in my third "retirement notice" yesterday with a two week warning. We still want to travel and hopefully will when able. I can do nothing with the best of 'em so filling my time is not a great concern. SWMBO, on the other hand, likes to stay busy and feels guilty if she's not doing sumthin' productive. It's a delicate balancing act, let me tell ya.

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    1. The Missus Herself has a need to be "doing something" so I will need an activity which simulates "being productive." Otherwise I might get dragooned into gardening. I need to think this through very carefully!

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  6. I took an early retirement and went back to school and was a pastor at a larger church in Santa Cruz (not peaching -family care, marriage counseling). Burned out after too many years and got into talk radio which paid nearly nothing. Those years were the second funnest. I love radio. Now, fully retired I have a tight schedule. Watching the clock for 1600 (which is apparently the earliest one can have a beer, except if you are at a restaurant, then you can have one at 1130) I have to check and schedule early bird specials and note what's going on in the condo from the balcony over the ocean and pool. I am on the board here and we are still playing with Lloyd's of London in our Matthew claim ($2.5M). They call me when they need an IT guy for Macs or Brighthouse/Spectrum. All this to say that life is good, God is good. We are content and happy. We travel to CA twice a year and see the kids. They come here, too, and play on the beach and eat out.

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    1. Sounds like what I'm shooting for. Especially the "visit with the kids" part. Home or away, both work.

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  7. One of my favorite "do nothing" things to do on the boat was to walk around with a clipboard pretending to take notes (or inventory first aid lockers). I could firetruck off all day. Ah, the freedom of E-3dom!

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    1. But there's nothing quite like the freedom of E-5dom.
      You don't even have to carry a clipboard.

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    2. Shaun - BTDT when I was a civilian back in '73. Actually discovered a warehouse full of missing parts that the company had no idea they had. Saved them a few hundred thousand. No, I didn't get a cut. Sigh...

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    3. Skip - E-7dom, someone carries your clipboard for you. E-3s carrying clipboards flee in terror from your presence.

      When I was a Master Sergeant, I understood the phrase, "It's good to be the king."

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  8. We hired a pretty decent financial planner a little after I left active duty and started up the GS gig. One thing he mentioned that might be relevant to us all is that by the time you retire your house will most likely be paid off. So in addition to the reduced work expenses, you won't have that mortgage. Looks like my wife will be going back to work here soon, doing marketing for Marriott, so that'll help the finances until then too.

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    1. Big mortgage paid off in June. Little mortgage to follow in the next couple of years. Without the house being paid off there is no way I could retire.

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    2. Look into replacing your oldest (as long as it's not some antique thingy) car with something newer/more reliable before you pull the eject lever, maybe a car with an extended warranty so the 'things that go broke right after manufacturer's warranty ends, because, well, trannys and ACs never fail after 60k miles.

      And, of course any other major planned expenses.

      Then pull the handle.

      And remember, "ELBOWS IN!!!"

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    3. Yeah, the car thing. A worry, but not a huge one. We happen to drive two of the world's most reliable vehicles.

      Yup, elbows in. Though I intend to land safely, toss the keys to my crew chief and take my wet down like a man.

      Where's the champagne?

      Delete
  9. If you are not doing so already, begin planning the what and how of your writing. Follow blogs such as "Mad Genius Club."

    https://madgeniusclub.com/

    And "The Passive Voice."

    http://www.thepassivevoice.com/

    You are going to be an independent writer and publisher, so you have to learn how that works.

    And alpha and beta readers.

    IF you are are ahead of the learning curve, then keep on keeping on.

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    Replies
    1. I'm all over it. For those who don't know, writing is HARD.

      Delete
  10. Sure is a lot of good advice posted here over the last two days, eh Sarge?

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    Replies
    1. You started something good, I just piggybacked.

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  11. "And alpha and beta readers." As I may have mentioned a time or a thousand, I have proofreading experience. I will be more than happy to be one of your alpha, beta, or charlie readers. Very reasonable rates too. ( As in, just ask. )
    BTW- thanks for the post.

    Paul L. Quandt

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  12. Pulled the plug just this last month. Hardest thing is trying to remember what day it is.

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    1. Is that required? (Remembering the date that is.)

      So how's retired life treating you?

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  13. Here is a concept I never got to try:

    If you like you job, but not the pressure of doing great, making deadlines and worrying about losing your job...and you are able to retire, Then retire, but don't tell them! A job without pressure associated with needing the job is kind of like retirement.

    Anyway good luck, you will enjoy doing nothing. BTW, my friend Frog plays the pipes and he makes a buck or two doing gigs at Weddings, Funerals and such. He says you really only need to be able to play three or four songs well, No one can take more than four songs on the pipes. Oh and you have to have a kilt.

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    1. In my line of work there are always deadlines. Ah well.

      A kilt, aye.

      Delete
  14. I am the sale of my house/land and 30 to 60 days and a wake-up from retirement. I will have a comfortable income that will support me and SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed - hat tip to Rumpole of the Bailey). We will be moving to Bandera in the Texas Hill Country near our daughter, son-in-law and two youngest grandsons. I don't think I will have the time to slow down. I will just be doing different work on my own or SWMBO's schedule.

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    1. Staying active, both mentally and physically is, from what I have been told, critical to staying alive in retirement. I knew too many old military types who retired then expired within five years.

      No, I don't want to do that.

      Sounds like you have a fine plan BillB, best of luck with that!

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    2. As to survival after retirement, there was a graph circulated around work 20 years ago showing life expectancy versus retirement age. It was supposedly based on that rather large defense contractors personnel. Seems that when it was compiled the average life expectancy for someone retiring at 65 was 18 months. It was rather linear to a point. Holy crap Batman! I hope that doesn't apply anymore.

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    3. If you don't stay active, there's that risk.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)