Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Winds of Change Are Blowing

This is probably going to sound strange, but last winter it occurred to me that I could really retire in the not too distant future.  Retirement had always seemed like a remote possibility, something "out there somewhere" that I saved for but didn't do much more about.

Starting around March or so, I started paying more attention; studying how I might retire.  In April, Major Avionics Corporation brought in a representative of MetLife to do four one hour seminars on retirement planning, one each week for the month.  Those really got the wheels turning and I spent more time trying to figure out how I could retire next year.  The two target dates were possibly early February when I turn 62, or on my service anniversary, April Fool's Day.  It was starting to look like I could really do this.

In many ways, Mrs. Graybeard and I have been preparing for this for years - besides the obvious savings plans like 401ks.  To begin with, we got ourselves debt free.  We paid off our house early, and within the last two years, especially, have been systematically going over the house and doing anything we could to preempt any major expenditure in the next year or two.  Two years ago we embarked on a four year plan leading to retirement in 2018.  That was the counterargument to retiring in '16; I have a plan so part of me says "plan your work and work your plan". 

In the last three or four weeks, all of that planning has been upset and thrown by the wayside.  The company announced that we've become overstaffed due to a slowing in the small jet sector (example): both the smaller business jets like the Gulfstreams and the 50-100 seat regional jets like the Bombardier models in that previous link.  To cope with that unbalance, they decided to offer incentive plans and a cash bonus to accelerate retirement for older workers who were within a year or two of leaving.  I qualify for the plan and put in my papers this week.  No, I don't have as much saved as I'd like, but I wonder how often that happens in real life.  It will be a reduction to our lifestyles, but not something we haven't been anticipating and planning for. 

The aviation industry, really like all of industry,  is trying to come to terms with how they're going to handle the loss of experience and knowledge they're going to see in the coming wave of baby boomer retirements.  Our company has apparently decided to just get it over with; just rip off the band-aid quickly, to use the old cliche'.  Hi.  I'm your band-aid.

I'll be leaving before the end of this year: December 18th.  I'll be retired well before my February birthday.  I don't have any real plans, other than to play more, fish more, and not be sleep deprived all the time.
(I took this in October of 2002)


  1. Welcome to The Retirement Club!

    I'd talked about retiring "early" with my wife, and then last summer decided to do it. I had planned to give my two weeks notice two weeks before my birthday in late August, but then the company started talking RIF the first week of August, so I kept mum.

    So, I got laid off a couple of days before what would have been my last day there, and collected unemployment for 6 months.

    And, I'll tell you something that everybody told me before I officially careful about managing your time! I found out that if I'm not extremely careful, I'll let myself get "overbooked", and won't have the time to do all those things I've planned for retirement.

    I've since backed out of several "volunteer obligations" to free up more time for the things I really want to do, but it took me a year to do it.

  2. Thanks Jim!

    I never expected something like this offer to come around, and I spent a long time trying to find a reason, any reason, not to take it. I just can't find any.

    After doing it for 40+ years, it's going to be strange to not have an alarm and a place to go every morning, but I have enough hobbies to keep me distracted.

  3. Now the fun part begins...How you choose to spent that free time....
    And don't be surprised if after a while you receive an invitation to return to work ..Then you can call the shots as to hours and pay...
    It took my old company about 6 months to request my RTW to handle/finish up some knotty EEOC cases that were heading to possible trials.

    Life without stress is very,very good....

  4. I retired at 56 16 years ago. Have never looked back. I encourage you to buy a motorhome/trailer/van and travel the USA. get a golden age card and visit the national parks. Find some free or very cheap places to camp; Quartzite Az is an example. almost empty in the Summer and 50,000 people in the winter. Find some trips (vs locations) to take. We love to drive to Alaska for a few weeks in the late spring. The drive is the best part, bear, moose, Mountain sheep, etc. Meet interesting people, Ironically our last trip (we just got back) we met mostly Europeans on vacation here. Too much to see, so little time.

  5. Welcome aboard ! My plan changed when I was "offered the opportunity" to retire almost a year earlier than I had planned. The "for sale" sign was in my front yard the next morning, and I've never looked back. Way back when my old man told me "someday you'll be old and tired and want to retire, plan for that" and I heeded his words. Dollar saved and all that.

    FYI, run your numbers on social insecurity; my planning included filing at the earliest opportunity (the original plan was to retire at 63 1/2 but that got moved up) because the spreadsheet showed that even though there was a lower payout for filing earlier, I wouldn't start "losing money" on the deal until I was 78 and 4 months. Assuming a reasonable rate of return (meaning "plan on extremely conservative results") on those funds (you can still invest up to $6K in your choice of IRAs (regular or Roth) or similar retirement vehicles) and whatever tax advantages you can wangle, extend that date; my "break even" date on SS now is three months past my 80th birthday, assuming I even live that long.

    Florida sounds attractive because there's no personal income tax, but everything else in FL is expensive, so don't rule out moving. I left because 21 years of nothing but hot summer was enough. The cost of several visits a year is much less than the savings I got from moving (plus I like mountains more than the beach).

    And don't worry about getting bored. The universal sentiment is "I have no idea how I found time to work."

  6. Good luck. I agree with the others: if you have hobbies and take naps. you will seldom be bored.(Mounts high horse)Spend some time and effort taking care of yourself! Going to the gym or playing tennis two or three times a week will not be enough. Try to do something (at least a long walk) every day. "Add life to your years" and all that. It's a truism for a reason. ( Retired at 58, now 65 and waiting for the wife's retirement date. Can't remember being happier.)

  7. I have to echo the rest, Graybeard. Retired at 57, with a small retirement from California Highway Patrol, plus my wife's small retirement from the VA (she had been a Medical Technician for over 40). WE both had decent 401k's, plus sold our house on the star of the downside of peak, getting double our purchase price. That gave us a big chunk of equity (we had paid the mortgage down to about 1/4 of purchase).

    I ran the numbers on Social Security, too, at a friend's suggestion. Much, much better to take 62 and run. They love the folks that wait longer and die before even getting to the "break even" point.

    My wife and I traveled cross country, visiting family in New England, and then up and down the Eastern Seaboard looking for a good used catamaran. Found what the surveyor told us was a good one, and spent eight months living aboard, down at Boot Key Harbor, Marathon and then four months at various locations in the Bahamas. Turned out the boat - which had been in the rental market for a while before the guy we bought it from - was a lemon. I was having to make repairs on various systems almost weekly. Got tired of it (including paying a 45% fee to the Bahamas for every part "imported"
    into the Bahamas, on top of shipping and handling), so we took the boat to Vero Beach and put it up for sale.

    We traveled by car while it was up for sale, and when it sold, we bought a good used fifth-wheel trailer and traveled around the West and Northwest, trying to decide where to live. Ended up settling on a 20 acre patch of mountain land in Montana, and glad to be here.

    Traveling and seeing the country by RV is a good way to go. Much less expensive than staying in motels and eating in restaurants. When we found a place that interested us, we would rent an RV space and use it as a home base while we traveled by car to explore the countryside. Sometimes just to see the wonderful sights and sometimes to explore for a potential home.

    If you do go that route for a while, consider a mail forwarding service. For X-dollars a month, they will be your legal address (so good to pick one in a state with no sales tax - we used one in Jefferson, Oregon). Supposedly, they will ease the registering of a vehicle and some other chores like that. We already were Oregon residents, so our vehicles were good to go. There are some in Florida, too, and that might work out better for you. A state with no state income tax would probably save you more than no sales tax.

    One place that used to be a favorite with cruising sailors was St. Brendan's Isle, although I haven't looked into them for a while.:

    Whatever you do, you will end up wondering how you could work full time and still have the time to do everything you now find yourself doing. Short story is that you will actually be doing more things than you did when you were still working (including medical appointments, home repairs, remodeling, etc.)

    But you _will_ enjoy it a lot more than when you were working for someone else.

  8. Correction: when I said we would use an RV park as a home base and travel by car, I meant by our tow vehicle (a Toyota Tundra 5.7L with the tow package and air bags under the rear suspension, in our case). Helped with a heavy trailer-full of all those things you "need" when you are roaming - like half of your arsenal and mucho ammo ;-)

  9. A friendly warning: The downside of being retired is you never get a day off ... jus' sayin' ...

  10. God bless. Retired at 62 w/health problems (not health retirement) and have been "berry berry busy" since then. All of the projects y'all put off re-appeared and those trips y'all were planning...
    You will enjoy it. Don't go back unless you really need the cash/aggravation.

    Later retirement would be an error in my estimation. As I figured it; it seems to be that you only get as much cash total after 74 YOA as you would if you started at 62 YOA.

    Been wrong before.....

  11. Thanks for the words of wisdom, everyone. I am considering everything at this point.

    As I've written about on the blog before, in early '14 we added a "dream shop" onto the house, so that I would have lots of opportunities to build things and stay busy. I really do have too many hobbies and interests to keep track of and I can think of tons of things I'd like to work on or dabble in. Regular weight lifting and cycling are part of those, LoFan John.

  12. Urge you to put a lot of that paper wealth in gold coins so you don't lose it in the upcoming dollar hyperinflation. I can recommend the coin dealer LRC favors:

    Lots of privacy-enhanced radio type ideas could use an experienced implementer for fun and profit. Sell kits on ebay to experimenters to avoid hoops.

  13. I'll second what LF John said.

    You MUST keep physically active, or the weight will go up, and you'll start losing mobility in your joints.

    I took it a bit too "easy" my first year, and now I'm paying for it.....the daily walks were hard at first until I loosened up, and losing weight at our age becomes difficult. Way better to not put it on in the first place.

  14. Damn you! Damn you and your wonderful hobbies and interests! ;)

    I'm only an apprentice Graybeard (Salt and pepper beard) but I'm so envious I can't stand it.

    As an earlier commenter said, you won't understand how you ever had time for work. I long for that...

    If you choose to travel at all, I'll give you one suggestion: (and I don't usually do "suggestions" but I'll make an exception)

    Do the drive to Alaska. You'll never ever regret it.

    Here's your itinerary:

    1) Fly or Drive to Seattle (way behind enemy lines but hey, there are pockets of resistance here and there)
    2) Check out the Museum of Flight in Seattle (Well worth the time)
    3) Drive north to Everett and check out the Future of Flight aviation center at Boeing in Everett (also well worth the time)
    4) Drive north and stay the night in Bellingham, WA (ASICDude and Mrs. ASICDude will buy you and Mrs Graybeard dinner and beers)
    5) Cross the border into Canuckistan and enjoy the astounding scenery of Northern British Columbia.
    6) Get onto the Trans-Alaska highway and enjoy. You will never regret this trip.

    Here's a link to get you started on your planning:

    Oh, and if you decide to take the maritime route to AK (also very worthwhile), the Alaska Marine Highway southern terminus is about 8 blocks from my house so, again, dinner and beers on me!

    Man... I'm so envious I just can't speak.

    Can't wait to see what you do with all your free time!

  15. I'll echo everyone else's comments and just add that when you retire, your week is now six Saturdays and a Sunday. And no more praying for good weather on the weekend for fishing or other outdoor activities. Now I just look at the forecast and say "hmmmmm Tuesday looks like a good fishing day".
    I bailed a year and half ago and never looked back. I don't miss the stress and office politics one bit. Now 'I' choose my projects and schedule.

  16. Go to and buy the book. Do the squats and deadlifts. It is hard. You may not live much longer, but you will have a higher quality of life until the end, and be harder to kill. This goes for your wife, too.

    You can make extra money building things, or teaching the rest of us how to build things. You know a lot of useful stuff. Maybe consider this guy's book on writing how-to books:

    And continue blogging.

  17. Anon 5:37 PM That is absolutely in the plans. I have a couple of Kindle books on how to write a Kindle book, and that's definitely one of the first things that's on the list.

    Thanks for that strength training link. I'll definitely check that out.

  18. Sounds like myself at 62. Same, same. I could do it, so I did it. Never looked back. Now my time is ALLLLL MINE.