It Was The Right Time!

Originally at Sort of Retired on 9/15/11

When I was going through my Google Reader this morning, I was reading Satisfying Retirement and Bob had re-published his post on How Do You Know When to Retire?

I read through it, thought for a minute and it struck me that he had described many of the reasons for my retiring, better than I have, so I copied the ones that apply to me and commented below them in green.
The parts in black italic were written by Bob Lowry at Satisfying Retirement

You know it is time to retire when….

You dread going to work everyday. You are tired and dispirited. Everyone has an off day or a few days every now and then. But, if that feeling is present pretty much all the time, you may have reached your limit.

Pretty much my last six months of teaching.

You feel the essential “you” is slipping away. There isn’t enough time for you to do what satisfies you and makes you happy. You find yourself doing things that make you uncomfortable. Your world has shrunk to work-sleep-work.

I was becoming more and more one-dimensional – everything was related to teaching.

You complain to anyone who will listen (and even many who will not) about work. Spending your energy and life in a negative place increases your stress and shortens your life. It is also a quick way to get fired.

I complained at home and at work put on the happy face, I disagreed with the direction we were headed, but was careful about who I spoke to.  I was no longer myself and felt stressed all the time, the joy I had felt before as a teacher was gone.

You have saved enough to live without a regular paycheck. You have run the numbers so often your calculator is melting. There are solid income streams that make you feel you can do this. You have thought through contingencies. You have thought about worst case scenarios. The numbers still work. You feel confident in your financial planning and long term situation.

We ran the numbers and while it might be tight, we are not high-needs and lived pretty frugally before retiring, now we will live just a little more frugally 🙂  I might have to get a part-time job somewhere or do some subbing over the next 5 years or so, but those are not the end of the world scenarios.

A loved one is very sick and you’d rather spend your time with that person while you can. Whether a parent, child, relative, or best friend, there is no do-over if that person isn’t likely to be with you through your retirement. Do you feel strongly that person needs you right now?

Doing better, but it was a factor in our decision.

Your health is beginning to slip and you have things you want to accomplish while you still can. In this case you are on the other side of the fence. You are sure you will not be physically or mentally able to do what you’d like to do if you wait too long to retire. You decide it is more important to enjoy your freedom while you have it, even if it means a more limited lifestyle.

The stress of the job was taking a toll on my health, I was overweight and getting fatter, the other numbers were going in the wrong direction and I was so tired all the time that I didn’t really feel like doing a lot else.

Surprisingly, my health has improved considerably since I decided to sort of retire.  The headaches are gone, my eyes are clear, I am not tired all the time, I laugh a lot more and I have even lost 14 of the 30 or so pounds that I wanted to lose. Each year I know that I will lose a little more of my health, but at the same time, I really believe that going into my sort of retired status will at least slow that decline, compared to how I would be if I had continued working.  You don’t realize how much stress working places on you until you stop.

You have affordable alternatives for acceptable health insurance and care. This question is hard to answer at the moment. Everything seems to be in a state of flux. But, if your health coverage through work will continue, or your Medicare and supplemental policy are working well you are better off than many. Plan to spend much more than you think you will. If the budget still works you have dealt with one of the biggest hurdles to a satisfying retirement.

Yes

You are excited about making a major change in your life (where you live, how you spend your time) Change is life. A life without change is in a rut. Change can be stimulating, exciting, terrifying, and necessary. Sometimes you just have to shake it up and that thought gets your blood racing.

The more I thought about retirement, the more excited I got about the different things that I would have the time to do, beyond doing survival maintenance around the house (doing just enough to keep things going), get back in shape and the many things that I have started to do.

Your self-identity isn’t defined by your job. You have a life and and sense of self worth not dependent on work. This is important. There are few things sadder than someone who retires and discovers he has no life outside of work. If you have at least some friends who are not co-workers, enjoy hobbies or other activities you are much closer to being ready to leave the job.

I have never been “who I am at work” once I leave work, but the 24/7 lifestyle that teachers live in today’s world, gave me little chance for life beyond being a teacher.

What do you want to do with the rest of your life? When do you want to do it? Aren’t those the most important questions? When you can answer them you may be ready.

I really don’t know the answer to this question, but I tend to take it one day at a time and try to prepare for the future a bit.  Yes I am doing “it” a little earlier than most folks, but at the same time, I was ready and wanted to take advantage having time being my own, not someone else’s, now instead of later.

I urge you to go over to Satisfying Retirement and read Bob’s post How Do You Know When to Retire? to see which ones of his descriptions apply to you.

Just about the entire list that Bob described in his post How Do You Know When to Retire?  applied to me when I decided to resign from teaching on June 1st.

A couple that applied to me directly also were that:

  • I disagree with where Education is headed in the United States.
  • My chosen profession had become a 24/7 lifestyle when school was in session.
  • Finally, the negativity directed at the teaching profession by political leadership, corporations and the media was a constant drain.  I felt as though my hard work was not enough and that I needed to do more and more, but as I went down that slippery slope, I just got burnt out.

No I can definitely say that most of the things on Bob’s list were pretty spot on about knowing when it is time to retire. There is no doubt for me when I look back, that it was time for me to leave the workplace for all the reasons that he listed and a few others of my own.

I live much more simply, I am not ruled by the clock and my biggest stress is if the wife decides for me which honey-do item she wants me to work on that I really didn’t want to do today.  We work it out 🙂
You know something else, I am very glad that I did sort of retire when I did.