[Looking for a reason to retire]

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HENRYGRUGER
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[Looking for a reason to retire]

Post by HENRYGRUGER »

[Moved into a new thread from: What prompted you to pull the plug and retire? --admin LadyGeek]

Maybe this should be in a different thread, but I thought I would start with it here.

I wish I could find a reason to "pull the plug."

I planned to retire 12-31 2020. My 70th birthday was in October 2020, and I began collecting my SS and my wife (age 66) converted from her smaller SS to the larger spousal benefit. Then March 2020 happened and I withdrew my notice. (I am a college faculty member and I had given a years notice, out of loyalty to my institution.) My Dean was happy to hear it, and I kept on doing what I love, teaching young and not so young aspiring financial professionals.

My situation isn't like many I have read about in the two threads on Retirement. I have no commute...I work form home and teach 100% online. I make a low six figure income. I have a great 403b plan with 6% match at 100%. I have full medical coverage for my wife and me. I get 8 weeks vacation annually, and I have almost 300 hours "in the bank." Last year, I conducted an experiment and proved that I can travel, out of state, and teach my classes from a hotel room, from anywhere, with quality Internet. I don't "hate my boss." I actually have a great deal of respect for many of my peers and members of the Executive Leadership of my institution. I do not like the politics of academia, but in actuality, I am not really exposed to most of it. The rest, I ignore. I do not like the state of political correctness these days, but that is NOT exclusively restricted to academia. All in all, I enjoy my job and I love the feeling that my students, by and large, appreciate my efforts and state so in class surveys, repeatedly.

Financially, we are comfortable and currently feel free to spend as we desire. My salary and additional compensation varies between $130,000 to $160,000 annually. Our SS is $59,472 annually. Our Portfolio, 100% in Vanguard, except for @$5,000 in BRK-B, is $996,000.(33.75 % Taxable, 29.19% Deferred, 33.75% Roth) My 403b is $61,000. (95% Roth, 5%, deferred) I did an inservice distribution last year, transferring $331,000 into my Vanguard IRA, anticipating retirement. I have $60,000 in cash, outside of the portfolio. We have a Paid For 2016 car and a new 2021 SUV, with $37,000 owed on it, at a 2.25% rate.

Out house is on a Reverse Mortgage, so we will never have a house payment as long as one of us is living, and then the equity will go to our children. Our current Annual Expenses total $42,996.00. I estimate our expenses in retirement will be slightly higher, including Medicare B & D and a Med Sup Plan G for each of us. I am forecasting @$52,056 annually.

With our Social Security and a meager 3.5% of our portfolio, we would have @$96,000 a year income, to start. All "the numbers" say I am able to retire...financially...today. But I keeping asking myself, WHY?

Each year I work allows my Portfolio to grow. My 403b also grows and allows me to save another $32,000 ($26,000 contribution, $6,000 employer match) annually, and it puts off another year of having to spent $10-12,000 on Medicare Expenses. I get 8+ weeks of vacation a year, which I have never taken before, but this year I have three, two week vacations scheduled, and I am contemplating taking off the entire month of December.

If I did retire, I would undoubtedly begin volunteering for a few different organizations, like Junior Achievement, a Veterans Group or two (I am a Viet Nam Vet,) and something to do with helping younger students in 3-5 grade. I was a Big Brother earlier in my life, and my wife was a Guardian ad Litum, for children in foster care. We both can see ourselves in those roles again. Neither of our children appear to have any plans to make us grandparents, so that important role is unavailable to us. My wife's parents and my parents are all deceased, and my children seem to be self sufficient, so we do not see any excessive demands of financial support in our future.

Everything I read says the most important thing in retirement is to "have a purpose." Well, as long as I am teaching, I am fulfilling a very valuable purpose...and I am being paid to do it, so why should I retire?

If any of my fellow BH see something I am not seeing, or once found themselves in my position, please share your thoughts and wisdom. As a "teacher," I know there is always something you can learn, if you are open to learning.
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Re: What prompted you to pull the plug and retire?

Post by TravelforFun »

HENRYGRUGER wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:22 pm If any of my fellow BH see something I am not seeing, or once found themselves in my position, please share your thoughts and wisdom. As a "teacher," I know there is always something you can learn, if you are open to learning.
I maintain that people in our age (65 and older) work because: a) they need money or b) they want more money. I don't care how much you love your job, you wouldn't show up for work if the company didn't pay you. It's about the money. Sorry but that's the truth.

I retired in 2019 at age 68 after I hit my financial number and my wife turned 63.5. The 18 months of COBRA from my employer covered my wife until she was qualified for Medicare this year. I retired from a job that I loved and could work for many more years (civil engineer here) but I pulled the trigger and that was the best life/career decision I ever made.

There is more to life than work, folks.

TravelforFun
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Re: What prompted you to pull the plug and retire?

Post by JoeRetire »

HENRYGRUGER wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:22 pm Out house is on a Reverse Mortgage, so we will never have a house payment as long as one of us is living, and then the equity will go to our children.
Interesting. Can you talk about why you did this?
Everything I read says the most important thing in retirement is to "have a purpose." Well, as long as I am teaching, I am fulfilling a very valuable purpose...and I am being paid to do it, so why should I retire?
As long as you and your spouse are happy with the arrangement, you should continue to do whatever makes you both happy.
That may change over time. But for now, it appears you are doing exactly what you should.
Just remember: it's not a lie if you believe it.
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JoeRetire
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Re: What prompted you to pull the plug and retire?

Post by JoeRetire »

TravelforFun wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:56 pm
HENRYGRUGER wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:22 pm If any of my fellow BH see something I am not seeing, or once found themselves in my position, please share your thoughts and wisdom. As a "teacher," I know there is always something you can learn, if you are open to learning.
I maintain that people in our age (65 and older) work because: a) they need money or b) they want more money. I don't care how much you love your job, you wouldn't show up for work if the company didn't pay you. It's about the money. Sorry but that's the truth.
If you said "most people" or "some people" I might agree.

Since I'm married to someone who doesn't fit your statement, I have to tell you that it is not truth for everyone. Sorry, it's not always about the money.
Just remember: it's not a lie if you believe it.
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Re: What prompted you to pull the plug and retire?

Post by Sandtrap »

JoeRetire wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 4:44 am
TravelforFun wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:56 pm
HENRYGRUGER wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:22 pm If any of my fellow BH see something I am not seeing, or once found themselves in my position, please share your thoughts and wisdom. As a "teacher," I know there is always something you can learn, if you are open to learning.
I maintain that people in our age (65 and older) work because: a) they need money or b) they want more money. I don't care how much you love your job, you wouldn't show up for work if the company didn't pay you. It's about the money. Sorry but that's the truth.
If you said "most people" or "some people" I might agree.

Since I'm married to someone who doesn't fit your statement, I have to tell you that it is not truth for everyone. Sorry, it's not always about the money.
+1
Very true.
Depending on the person, of course.

IE: My older brother, and internist MD, closed his busy medical practice in a busy city and moved to a country home, newly built, farther away, and is working at the local clinic/hospital extension as a "country doctor", something he has always wanted to do.
I asked him once, why he worked if he didn't have to (financially). He said he just loved helping others and in that area, they've never had an Internist for many many years, which is all the more rewarding.

OTOH: I know an older fellow in a large pension, etc, who's life revolves around the "country club", who thinks that most "all" seniors work at Wallmart/etc, for long hours, because they just love to work and are mostly all financially secure. (which seems to be somewhat myopic?)

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Sandtrap
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Re: What prompted you to pull the plug and retire?

Post by Sandtrap »

TravelforFun wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:56 pm
HENRYGRUGER wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:22 pm If any of my fellow BH see something I am not seeing, or once found themselves in my position, please share your thoughts and wisdom. As a "teacher," I know there is always something you can learn, if you are open to learning.
I maintain that people in our age (65 and older) work because: a) they need money or b) they want more money. I don't care how much you love your job, you wouldn't show up for work if the company didn't pay you. It's about the money. Sorry but that's the truth.

I retired in 2019 at age 68 after I hit my financial number and my wife turned 63.5. The 18 months of COBRA from my employer covered my wife until she was qualified for Medicare this year. I retired from a job that I loved and could work for many more years (civil engineer here) but I pulled the trigger and that was the best life/career decision I ever made.

There is more to life than work, folks.

TravelforFun
+1
Great points!
I agree.

I've told DW and others, the true test is if a working "senior citizen" was given 10 million dollars, and ensured a more than adequate financially secure retirement, "would they continue working at thier present job"? I venture that "most" (not all) would not.

Depending on the financial "need" and job satisfaction, etc, of course.

For example (if continuing to work):
IE: My older brother, and internist MD, closed his busy medical practice in a busy city and moved to a country home, newly built, farther away, and is working at the local clinic/hospital extension as a "country doctor", something he has always wanted to do.
I asked him once, why he worked if he didn't have to (financially). He said he just loved helping others and in that area, they've never had an Internist for many many years, which is all the more rewarding.

And, the "point of view" of the non working senior toward a working senior can be objective or not.
Fore example:

OTOH: I know an older fellow in a large pension, etc, who's life revolves around the "country club", who thinks that most "all" seniors work at Wallmart/etc, for long hours, because they just love to work and are mostly all financially secure. (which seems to be somewhat myopic?)

Many self employed successful business owners (sole proprietors) that I've known, work or are involved in thier company far beyond the age when they might have "retired" and exited the company or sold it off.

OTOH: Many wage earners, employees, with far less autonomy, waiting for full pension eligibility, etc, retire as soon as they are financially able to, and never look back.

So, it depends.
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Re: [Looking for a reason to retire]

Post by LadyGeek »

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Watty
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Re: [Looking for a reason to retire]

Post by Watty »

Looking for a reason to retire
In that other thread a common response was something like "I did not enjoy the work as much as I used to and I knew that it was time to retire."

You obviously are not there yet and you have plenty of free time to do other things like travel so I don't think there is a real good reason for you to retire yet.

One consideration though is that you might want to eventually retire while you are still well regarded and will be missed. I worked in a different field but I have seen people stick around too long and eventually be forced out and they were often bitter about that instead of being able to look back fondly at a good career.

HENRYGRUGER wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:22 pm Out house is on a Reverse Mortgage, so we will never have a house payment as long as one of us is living, and then the equity will go to our children.
One possible problem with this is that you might want to move someplace like a condo or retirement community someday especially if you or your wife survives the other. Reverse mortgages can have a role in retirement but typically they are sort of a last resort.

This is a VERY unusual choice but it might be better looked at in a separate thread where you post more of your information using this suggested format as a guideline.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6212
HENRYGRUGER wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:22 pm ....and a new 2021 SUV, with $37,000 owed on it, at a 2.25% rate.
You post was not real clear but it sounds like you have well over million dollars in the bank. Why do you have a car loan?
HENRYGRUGER wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:22 pm .....and I kept on doing what I love, teaching young and not so young aspiring financial professionals.


It sounds like you teach financial classes so I would really love to hear your logic in using the reverse mortgage and car loans like you do.
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Re: [Looking for a reason to retire]

Post by HENRYGRUGER »

Watty wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 10:02 am
Looking for a reason to retire
In that other thread a common response was something like "I did not enjoy the work as much as I used to and I knew that it was time to retire."

You obviously are not there yet and you have plenty of free time to do other things like travel so I don't think there is a real good reason for you to retire yet.

One consideration though is that you might want to eventually retire while you are still well regarded and will be missed. I worked in a different field but I have seen people stick around too long and eventually be forced out and they were often bitter about that instead of being able to look back fondly at a good career.

HENRYGRUGER wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:22 pm Out house is on a Reverse Mortgage, so we will never have a house payment as long as one of us is living, and then the equity will go to our children.
One possible problem with this is that you might want to move someplace like a condo or retirement community someday especially if you or your wife survives the other. Reverse mortgages can have a role in retirement but typically they are sort of a last resort.

This is a VERY unusual choice but it might be better looked at in a separate thread where you post more of your information using this suggested format as a guideline.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6212
HENRYGRUGER wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:22 pm ....and a new 2021 SUV, with $37,000 owed on it, at a 2.25% rate.
You post was not real clear but it sounds like you have well over million dollars in the bank. Why do you have a car loan?
HENRYGRUGER wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:22 pm .....and I kept on doing what I love, teaching young and not so young aspiring financial professionals.


It sounds like you teach financial classes so I would really love to hear your logic in using the reverse mortgage and car loans like you do.
Watty,

Yes, we are members of the 2 Comma Club. (Heard that here for the first time.)

Why the car loan? 2.25% rate vs. 25+% earnings on my brokerage account last year

Why Reverse Mortgage? I actually have what is known as a HECM for Purchase. We had a new home built in 2018. The home appraised for $392,000 and cost was $322,000. (I paid cash for a 125 yd rifle range and a "She Shed" for my wife, separately.) We made a "down payment" of @55%, and we now own a home worth a little over $400,000 (not taking the current raging market into account.) The loan is a non-recourse loan, and as long as one of us is living, we will reside here, and have no house payments. We only have to maintain the property, pay the property taxes and keep HO Insurance on it...all of which we would have to have done regardless of what mortgage (or lack of mortgage) was in place. Could we pay it off? Certainly, but that would also make no financial sense. The home is in NC. Neither of our children live here, or would want to relocate here, so there is no motivation to have the "paid for house." When we pass on, they will get the remaining equity if there is any but NOT be responsible for any shortfall, if there were to be any, which is highly unlikely.

Advisors always differ on whether or not one should pay off a home or pay cash for depreciating assets, like car loans. As you know, there is never ONE right answer. I believe that as long as my $40,000 is earning more than the 2.25 in interest I am paying, it makes sense to keep the payments.

As to the HECM Mortgage, the loan is a 3.25% mortgage. My investments have averaged slightly over 9.7% over the past 15 years. I am 70. If I live to 90, there will still be equity in the property. However, I am not foolish. I am not one who gets overly attached to "things." We are going to spend 10 days on Vacation starting Sunday. We have an appointment with our realtor to appraise the property when we get home. If we can sell the property and make a significant profit, we will most likely sell and relocate to TN, in anticipation of retiring in a few years. Otherwise, we will stay here and enjoy our home and travels.

Happy Vanguard Investing.
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Re: [Looking for a reason to retire]

Post by Cruise »

OP: My wife is your age and a tenured full prof who is now working at one of the most senior levels of administration in her university. Our assets are many times yours, and if she retired she will get a pension that most full professors would love for 11-month salaries. But she continues to work. Why? Apparently, she likes what she is doing.

You have the ultimate flexible job that gives your life meaning and good compensation. Enjoy it while you can. Good luck.

[I do wish my spouse would retire so we could do more together, but I'd hate for her to retire and I then croak, leaving her without the structure she so desires.]
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Re: [Looking for a reason to retire]

Post by climber2020 »

If you make 130 to 160k per year, only spend 43k a year, and are 70 years old, how do you have only a 1 million dollar portfolio? Based on those numbers, it seems like you should have way more than that. Is the high income something recent?
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Re: [Looking for a reason to retire]

Post by Watty »

HENRYGRUGER wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 1:41 pm As to the HECM Mortgage, the loan is a 3.25% mortgage. My investments have averaged slightly over 9.7% over the past 15 years.
A couple of things.

1) There are lots of threads about considering a mortgage as a negative bond in your asset allocation that you can look up. If you subtract your loan balance out of your bond asset allocation you may have a lot more aggressive asset allocation than you were planning on. If you have $200K in bonds and your mortgage balance is $200K then you are in effect borrowing $200K at 3.25% only to be loaning it out at around 1 to 2 percent.

2) 15 years ago was 2007 which is also the year that the financial crisis hit. The recovery since 2008 has been historic so I don't think that you can count on being able to repeat that.

3) Not that I would recommend it but if you want to bet on being able to use leverage to boost your investment returns you can get margin loans at a much lower interest rate.

https://www.interactivebrokers.com/en/index.php?f=46376

4) If your loan is at 3.25% and you have a $200K balance then that will reduce your net worth by $6,500 a year just like you wrote a check for that amount.
Last edited by Watty on Thu May 13, 2021 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Looking for a reason to retire]

Post by Dave55 »

HENRYGRUGER wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:22 pm [Moved into a new thread from: What prompted you to pull the plug and retire? --admin LadyGeek]



Everything I read says the most important thing in retirement is to "have a purpose." Well, as long as I am teaching, I am fulfilling a very valuable purpose...and I am being paid to do it, so why should I retire?

You do not have to retire for any reason. It is a personal choice. Our culture has "ideas and concepts" about work and retirement that are not absolute although they come across that way. You do not need a purpose to retire. Once retired, the purpose may find you. In my case when I retired, I had no agenda other than my daily exercise routine. I decided to favor an unstructured improvisational approach to living (going with the flow). Activities began to fill the empty time, some I enjoyed, some not. The one's I did not enjoy I discarded. I am never bored. Every day becomes an adventure this way. Of course, the way I adopted is not the only way, there are many approaches one can take.

Dave
Last edited by Dave55 on Thu May 13, 2021 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Looking for a reason to retire]

Post by sport »

Why retire? Two reasons:
1. Freedom. Freedom to do what you wish, when you wish, where you wish.
2. Lack of stress. Every job has stress. Some more than others. It all disappears in retirement.
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Re: [Looking for a reason to retire]

Post by Fat Tails »

If you want to travel and are not able to due to your work schedule, that might be a reason to retire. It is difficult to travel if one of you were to experience mobility or other health issues.

But if you love your life just as it is, why risk your happiness with such a big change of life as retirement.

Cheers
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Re: [Looking for a reason to retire]

Post by greg24 »

If you have loyalty to your institution, I think you should retire. Let the next generation take your position.
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Re: [Looking for a reason to retire]

Post by HENRYGRUGER »

climber2020 wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 5:50 pm If you make 130 to 160k per year, only spend 43k a year, and are 70 years old, how do you have only a 1 million dollar portfolio? Based on those numbers, it seems like you should have way more than that. Is the high income something recent?
Yes, my income over the past decade is greater than the Total of all years prior, added together.

HA! I may have miss stated something. I earn $130-160K annually, and my Total bills are @$43,000, but we spend considerably mor, and I have been maxing out Amy 403b for the past 5 years.
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Re: [Looking for a reason to retire]

Post by HENRYGRUGER »

greg24 wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 11:52 pm If you have loyalty to your institution, I think you should retire. Let the next generation take your position.
Now that is something to think about!

I have to admit, I have been thinking about it in the opposite manner. Since I am one of the few faculty that actually loves the teaching aspects of my profession (as opposed to those more interested in research and self promotion,) and since I am qualified to teach 3 times as many courses as the average faculty member at my institution, I have considered remaining on staff as a sign of loyalty to the institution.

I know that when I retire, it will take 1 full time and at least one adjunct to fill the roles I currently fulfill.
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Re: [Looking for a reason to retire]

Post by HENRYGRUGER »

Dave55 wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 6:59 pm
HENRYGRUGER wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:22 pm [Moved into a new thread from: What prompted you to pull the plug and retire? --admin LadyGeek]



Everything I read says the most important thing in retirement is to "have a purpose." Well, as long as I am teaching, I am fulfilling a very valuable purpose...and I am being paid to do it, so why should I retire?

You do not have to retire for any reason. It is a personal choice. Our culture has "ideas and concepts" about work and retirement that are not absolute although they come across that way. You do not need a purpose to retire. Once retired, the purpose may find you. In my case when I retired, I had no agenda other than my daily exercise routine. I decided to favor an unstructured improvisational approach to living (going with the flow). Activities began to fill the empty time, some I enjoyed, some not. The one's I did not enjoy I discarded. I am never bored. Every day becomes an adventure this way. Of course, the way I adopted is not the only way, there are many approaches one can take.
Dave,

That is an interesting thought...My Purpose will find Me....

I agree with your comment on "ideas and concepts" regarding retirement, as well.

My one goal in retirement will be to regain my health and maximize it,for the rest of my life. No excuses remain when you have nothing standing in the way of daily exercise and better eating.
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Re: [Looking for a reason to retire]

Post by HENRYGRUGER »

Fat Tails wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 11:43 pm If you want to travel and are not able to due to your work schedule, that might be a reason to retire. It is difficult to travel if one of you were to experience mobility or other health issues.

But if you love your life just as it is, why risk your happiness with such a big change of life as retirement.

Cheers
Traveling isn't the issue as much as being present to those with whom I am traveling.

This past week I was in Virginia Beach, oceanfront hotel, with wife and daughter and SIL. They all had a great time. I taught my regularly scheduled classes from 12-2 daily and 3 of the 6 evenings we were there. In reality, I am not a beach person, but my daughter graduated from college with her Master's and just wanted to see sunlight and ocean. And my wife IS a beach person, so we all went. They knew, in advance, that dad would be working most days and a few evenings.

As my wife pointed out, there hasn't been a real vacation (no student calls or teaching duties) in over a decade...probably longer. OUCH.

I am keenly aware of the mobility and health issues aspect of our aging. I am 70 and my wife is 66. Time stands still for none of us. That is a consideration I am focusing on, as I make up my mind on the right time to retire.
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Re: What prompted you to pull the plug and retire?

Post by AerialWombat »

TravelforFun wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 11:56 pm I maintain that people in our age (65 and older) work because: a) they need money or b) they want more money. I don't care how much you love your job, you wouldn't show up for work if the company didn't pay you. It's about the money. Sorry but that's the truth.
I’m self-employed, semi-retired, and 20 years shy of the indicated age. If all the customers in the central, core portion of my main business stopped paying me, I’d still show up and do what I do for them each week.

Viewed through a different lens, the reason I haven’t fully retired is that I know full well that I would get bored and start an almost identical business within 6 months if I sold or shuttered this one.

Yes, the money is nice, but some of us are lucky enough to do work that brings us joy and fulfillment, too. Maybe my tune will change in 20 years, but I hope not.
For entertainment purposes only.
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Re: [Looking for a reason to retire]

Post by btq96r »

HENRYGRUGER wrote: Mon May 31, 2021 9:57 pm
Now that is something to think about!

I have to admit, I have been thinking about it in the opposite manner. Since I am one of the few faculty that actually loves the teaching aspects of my profession (as opposed to those more interested in research and self promotion,) and since I am qualified to teach 3 times as many courses as the average faculty member at my institution, I have considered remaining on staff as a sign of loyalty to the institution.

I know that when I retire, it will take 1 full time and at least one adjunct to fill the roles I currently fulfill.
You certainly don't have to give up teaching, but you've earned the right to at least not carry a full time schedule and offer to help the institution your loyal to prepare for when you will eventually step away. I would talk to your department head about what a reduced schedule would look like. Maybe offer to help lead professional development to grow those new hires they'd need into your direct replacements. You could also mix in some of the volunteer work you mentioned in the original post once you feel they're getting the hang of it. This way you can have a hand in how the institution and students go forward when you're not there and give yourself a glide path to see how much you might like some extra free time.

I had a few professors that feel the same way you do about what the job is supposed to be. My respect and admiration for them is manifest. Very much made my college experience special.
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