Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

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Colorado13
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Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by Colorado13 »

The post about increasing responsibilities at work with no increase in pay has been on my mind for a few days because it resonates with me a lot.

I'm becoming disillusioned with my job and past posts will show this isn't the first time this has occurred. I tend to be the "work before fun" kind of person, so I work long hours and periodically become resentful about it. (I know this is a choice...I need to change my mindset.)

I have about 35x expenses saved, but there is some uncertainty around healthcare costs. I would like a bigger cushion before I retire but it's been another very difficult work week...

So, I'm wondering if taking a break in my 50s (a year off?) is the kiss of death for my career/dumbest idea ever? I'm a single income wage earner. I have worked since approximately age 13 and what I really want is probably unrealistic: a 40-hour week job. Working long hours with minimal raises is frustrating, so I wonder if a break would be the attitude adjustment that I need? Or do I just do what most people do and suck it up? Has anyone found professional employment after taking a break in their early 50s?
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by livesoft »

I don't know what most people do, but many people take a break and at the end decide they will just stay on permanent break and won't go back to work.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by Kenkat »

At 35x expenses, you have the luxury to make some changes. Just stop working such long hours. Start scaling back; if they fire you, so what? You’ve got enough saved that you can either find a new job or retire now.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by whodidntante »

I've always been a hard worker and driven. I survived when I saw some good people around me not survive.

But sometimes I think that getting fired could be a fun way to retire. And I wonder how long it would take if I was not obstinate and said all the right things, was a team player and competent, but merely dialed the effort meter back to a pleasant 3 or 4, occasionally leaving early to rest up. It seems a lot of people set the effort meter around there for their entire career. I've also seen several people "retire on the job" or at least try to.

So I'm guessing it would take the next downturn at least, which is currently scheduled for sometime in October according to financial news networks.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by 7eight9 »

I took a break (involuntarily) at age 53. I guess it was kind of voluntary because I stuck it out until the sale. I knew my job would end but was provided a pretty good incentive to stay through the close. Five months later I'm unemployed. Not a lot of prospects. I've been ghosted after every interview (one in person the rest either by phone or video conference). Probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone. At this point I'm giving very serious consideration to calling it quits early 2020 and retiring. I'm actually considering just driving a taxi for the next few months while my wife works to get her 40 quarters of Social Security (done in 1Q20). I drove outer borough livery one Christmas break back in the 1980s. It actually was one of my most enjoyable jobs.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by Raymond »

What kind of work do you do (in general terms)?

Is it possible to stop doing or delegate some of the tasks you currently perform that are of minimal or no value to your employer?

If you can, just stop doing the Mickey Mouse stuff (maybe clear this first with your supervisor, if you have one) and focus on the tasks that are important.

Now, if you're (for example) a pediatrician, and you intensely dislike children, then I can't help you there :P
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by PhilosophyAndrew »

OP, my opinion: At 35X expenses, you can afford to take a risk. If you would benefit from taking a sabbatical year or two, lack of financial resources shouldn’t hold you back, regardless of whether or not you would find it easy to re-enter the workplace later on.

Put slightly differently, toy could retire today if you wanted to. Therefore you can certainly stop working for a year or two if you want to.

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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by willthrill81 »

At 35x, almost any decent AA has a very high historical likelihood of lasting the rest of your life, especially with SS benefits in addition to that.

As such, I'd go for it. There doesn't seem to be much downside risk to you.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by illumination »

You have the financial cushion most don't have and will be fine, but honestly, yes, I think in many industries it can be a kiss of death.

Finding a job to move to with a 40 hour week should be the goal while you are currently employed. You're better putting the time in now for your career and retiring early than taking a break now and trying to restart your career and delaying retirement.

I've never really seen it work out when someone tries to make a big transition in their 50s, it usually ends up with an early retirement and then the person regretting they didn't save up for a few more years as then they really are shut out of any sort of "career" type job.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by fuddbogle »

Colorado13 wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:05 pm ...what I really want is probably unrealistic: a 40-hour week job.
Just do the 40-hour week now. As previously noted, the worst thing that can happen is they fire you. Then collect unemployment.

I don't know the in's and out's of ACA but I believe after a year of not earning much (live off savings) you would qualify for a substantial reduction in cost. Use your savings (or unemployment) for a year and pay COBRA. Then ACA after that first year.

If at some point you get the itch to work again, do that.

With 35x savings, you're not in a precarious financial position.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by DanMahowny »

I took a "6-month break" when I was 42. I'm now 52 and my "6-month break" is still ongoing.

Go for it man.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by willthrill81 »

illumination wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:28 pm You have the financial cushion most don't have and will be fine, but honestly, yes, I think in many industries it can be a kiss of death.

Finding a job to move to with a 40 hour week should be the goal while you are currently employed. You're better putting the time in now for your career and retiring early than taking a break now and trying to restart your career and delaying retirement.

I've never really seen it work out when someone tries to make a big transition in their 50s, it usually ends up with an early retirement and then the person regretting they didn't save up for a few more years as then they really are shut out of any sort of "career" type job.
Did those people have 35x saved?

Why should she feel badly about potentially losing a job that she's disillusioned with?
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by Dave55 »

Colorado13 wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:05 pm The post about increasing responsibilities at work with no increase in pay has been on my mind for a few days because it resonates with me a lot.

I'm becoming disillusioned with my job and past posts will show this isn't the first time this has occurred. I tend to be the "work before fun" kind of person, so I work long hours and periodically become resentful about it. (I know this is a choice...I need to change my mindset.)

I have about 35x expenses saved, but there is some uncertainty around healthcare costs. I would like a bigger cushion before I retire but it's been another very difficult work week...

So, I'm wondering if taking a break in my 50s (a year off?) is the kiss of death for my career/dumbest idea ever? I'm a single income wage earner. I have worked since approximately age 13 and what I really want is probably unrealistic: a 40-hour week job. Working long hours with minimal raises is frustrating, so I wonder if a break would be the attitude adjustment that I need? Or do I just do what most people do and suck it up? Has anyone found professional employment after taking a break in their early 50s?
I don't think "it is the dumbest idea ever" to take a year off. It could be the smartest thing you ever did - only you can answer that, or explore that and find out. Most people can't do it at your age because they don't have 35X. You can. You have the money, the essential tool for that precious freedom.



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David Jay
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by David Jay »

Yes. (In reply to thread title)

You will almost certainly not return to a regular, salaried, long-term position in your previous career. Nobody wants to hire a 50-something. You may be able to branch out into consulting in your career field (someone who needs your expertise may want to use your experience for 3 months or 6 months), but not a regular, salaried position.

On the other hand, with 35X expenses in your portfolio, you don’t need to come back.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by tesuzuki2002 »

Do you have any thoughts on working for yourself?? at 35 X saved... I'm guessing you can easily take a few years off and start up a small business that say earns 50% of what you make now... but at this point it sounds like you don't need to make much... just a little income to sustain and let the market grow your worth..

Maybe start venturing into some gigs outside of work...
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by vitaflo »

My wife and I just did this (mid-40's). She quit her job, I stopped taking clients (contractor) and had 6 months off, two of it on a road trip. Best thing we ever did. We're not near 35x expenses (~22x currently).

Part of the reason we felt we could do this is because we are in pretty high-demand careers (tech). But the reality is that it hasn't been as easy as we thought it would be to get a job when we decided to return to work. I finally did get another client, but it took me 2 months of hunting to do so. My wife is still looking and hasn't really been able to get past the HR firewall. That said we've both been fairly picky about who we work for, especially since we probably have another 7 years or so left of work and want to get done ASAP (ie, higher salaries). Would have been easier if we just applied at whoever would take us.

So yes, the risk is there. Especially if you have a year missing on your resume. Employers may think you've been looking for work for a year, which could throw some red flags (obviously you would not have been but people make assumptions because most people don't just take a sabbatical on purpose). Might want to say you were "consulting" for the year you take off so as not to risk suspicion.

In any case, if I was in your shoes I'd retire. 35x + SS would be more than enough for me to pull the plug.
Last edited by vitaflo on Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by Beehave »

Regarding taking a leave (or quitting) and coming back to the workforce in your 50s:

If the economy is strong it may not be the kiss of death (but it's probably akin to a 1st date with the Grim Reaper of Employment). If the economy gets bad, then it's probably curtains (and may be even if you don't take a leave of absence.

Are there any post retirement lifelong benefits you'll be giving up? If so, think hard about this.

I would have two concerns about the leave of absence:

(1) The 35 years of expenses saved should grow and hopefully cover 35-plus years of retirement. But a bad sequence-of-returns (for example, a market crash followed by a period of inflation or stagflation) could leave you in not such good shape.

(2) My experience (in IT) was that in a downturn after age 55 or heaven help you age 60-plus you are toxic. The post above describing getting interviews because of your sterling resume and then getting ghosted ring 100 percent true to me.

Here's my bottom line thought on this. Your mental and physical heath are priceless. So do what you need to do to protect them. You can always cut back on expenses and you'll very probably be okay financially regardless of what you choose to do. But keep this in mind regarding feeling undercompensated or underappreciated at work. If you leave and then get rehired somewhere else, possibly in a different field, you will be lower on the totem pole and even less in control and less appreciated than you are now. So if you can find a way to enjoy your work and coworkers while keeping compensatuion out of your mind where you are now it will probably better than what will happen if you leave and then get work elsewhere later.

Hope this is helpful. Whatever you do, try to find peace within yourself when you do it. You've done very well to take care of yourself financially and should be very proud of and happy about that.

Best wishes.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by yohac »

Finding a new job would be a long shot. But you are in a position to roll the dice at your current job. If you told your manager you were burning out, maybe you could work out a less stressful arrangement. Or if not, at least you'd know how little you are valued.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by KlangFool »

Colorado13 wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:05 pm The post about increasing responsibilities at work with no increase in pay has been on my mind for a few days because it resonates with me a lot.

I'm becoming disillusioned with my job and past posts will show this isn't the first time this has occurred. I tend to be the "work before fun" kind of person, so I work long hours and periodically become resentful about it. (I know this is a choice...I need to change my mindset.)

I have about 35x expenses saved, but there is some uncertainty around healthcare costs. I would like a bigger cushion before I retire but it's been another very difficult work week...

So, I'm wondering if taking a break in my 50s (a year off?) is the kiss of death for my career/dumbest idea ever? I'm a single income wage earner. I have worked since approximately age 13 and what I really want is probably unrealistic: a 40-hour week job. Working long hours with minimal raises is frustrating, so I wonder if a break would be the attitude adjustment that I need? Or do I just do what most people do and suck it up? Has anyone found professional employment after taking a break in their early 50s?
Colorado13,

You are the source of your problem. If you do not need the job and you are willing to quit the job, what is there to stop you for working only 40 hours per week on your current job?

Just say no to anything that takes more than 40 hours per week or do it next week.

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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by Watty »

Colorado13 wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:05 pm I have about 35x expenses saved, but there is some uncertainty around healthcare costs. I would like a bigger cushion before I retire but it's been another very difficult work week...
Plus Social security and maybe home equity if you own a house too.

You can crunch the numbers but you have a lot more than 35 years expenses saved up since the expenses you need to pay out of your savings will go down once you start Social Security.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by visualguy »

yohac wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:58 pm Finding a new job would be a long shot. But you are in a position to roll the dice at your current job. If you told your manager you were burning out, maybe you could work out a less stressful arrangement. Or if not, at least you'd know how little you are valued.
Dangerous conversation to have with the manager... Typically these don't work out, and you end up in a much worse situation because now you still have to do the same work, you are more under the microscope, and your manager starts thinking about getting a replacement for you.

By the way, I'm surprised that a few on this thread (including the OP) seem to think that 35X is not quite enough to retire in your early 50s. I'm actually also one of those who wouldn't feel safe-enough with that. I would shoot for something like 33X plus a reserve of maybe $1M (but I would take into account social security and medicare).
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by stlutz »

First off, I would "know thyself". Why do you put in the hours that you do? Some jobs you have to--being there is more important that what you do while you're there (e.g. manning the store). Are you a people pleaser? Those people can quickly turn a 40 hour job into a 50+ hour one. Do you work efficiently? I had a boss one time who was a good boss but his time management was horrible. He put in a lot of hours at the office, was stressed, but probably did 40 hours worth of actual work in a week (he has since improved in this regard). How good are you at prioritization? If you worked fewer hours, would you get the most important or the least important things done? How important are bonuses, an increasing salary etc. to you? If you worked fewer hours would you put your job at risk?

It's easy for an internet poster to say, "Just work 40 hours at your current job," but life is rarely that simple.

People in their 50s change jobs, take time off, downshift careers all of the time. But be realistic about the fact that there is a good chance you would not come back to working a job at the same pay/seniority level.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by JoeRetire »

Colorado13 wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:05 pmSo, I'm wondering if taking a break in my 50s (a year off?) is the kiss of death for my career/dumbest idea ever?
That depends on many factors - job market, type of work, etc, etc.

When faced with someone who dropped out of work for a period, hiring managers will often wonder if you will decide to stick around, or if you will drop out again soon. You would need to convince them that you are over with your "break" and will really stay this time.
I'm a single income wage earner. I have worked since approximately age 13 and what I really want is probably unrealistic: a 40-hour week job.
There are many, many jobs that are solely a 40-hour work week. You may need to change professions.
Working long hours with minimal raises is frustrating, so I wonder if a break would be the attitude adjustment that I need?
It's not clear that a break followed by returning back to long hours and minimal raises would change anything. Why would it?
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by White Coat Investor »

Colorado13 wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:05 pm The post about increasing responsibilities at work with no increase in pay has been on my mind for a few days because it resonates with me a lot.

I'm becoming disillusioned with my job and past posts will show this isn't the first time this has occurred. I tend to be the "work before fun" kind of person, so I work long hours and periodically become resentful about it. (I know this is a choice...I need to change my mindset.)

I have about 35x expenses saved, but there is some uncertainty around healthcare costs. I would like a bigger cushion before I retire but it's been another very difficult work week...

So, I'm wondering if taking a break in my 50s (a year off?) is the kiss of death for my career/dumbest idea ever? I'm a single income wage earner. I have worked since approximately age 13 and what I really want is probably unrealistic: a 40-hour week job. Working long hours with minimal raises is frustrating, so I wonder if a break would be the attitude adjustment that I need? Or do I just do what most people do and suck it up? Has anyone found professional employment after taking a break in their early 50s?
Who cares? If it's the kiss of death, you're already WELL past any reasonable definition of FI so you can just retire completely or do an encore career.

You want to take a year, take a darn year. You've certainly worked hard enough to deserve to do whatever you want at this point.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by naples09 »

It depends - as others have pointed out - but I just went through this at age 45.

My wife was promoted - which required a move to another new city for us. We moved from our hometown in 2011 to a new city - then again in June 2018. The move last year was to an area that is booming in the East with many companies in my specific industry. We thought it would be pretty easy for me to find a job. Yet I didn't get hired until late March 2019.

I had too many screening calls with HR to count - and more than 30 phone or in person interviews with the management teams. Yet it still took almost a year for me to land a gig. And the only reason I was given a chance is because they recently lost 3 employees in a month.

It was a long a stressful period for both of us. After all was said and done - we have decided this is the last move because it will be very hard for me to find another job while not working in the future. Either we don't move or she has to make enough for me to stop working - which I'm not really ready to do. I thought I was good not working anymore until - I was not working - and bored out of my mind for that year.

Best of luck to you with your decision - it's def not an easy one to make.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by cbeck »

Yes, the kiss and the smothering embrace of death. In our 50's is when we can build up the retirement fund, because the income is still high while the expenses are likely to be lower. Thirty-five times earnings may not be enough to retire as early as one's 50's, in my opinion.

My advice is definitely to stick it out. The long vacation will start soon enough.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by EdNorton »

Watch the movie, "Office Space", take that attitude, let them fire you if they have the balls, enjoy your last few years of employment.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by NoFred »

I agree with staying on - you have the income stream in hand and it’s definitely not a guarantee to get it back.

But if you can’t reshape your week to less hours, put in the same effort but force yourself to start taking every or every other Friday off. You can keep going all out, just do it for fewer days.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

KlangFool wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:07 pm Colorado13,

You are the source of your problem. If you do not need the job and you are willing to quit the job, what is there to stop you for working only 40 hours per week on your current job?

Just say no to anything that takes more than 40 hours per week or do it next week.

KlangFool
100% agree to this. Working extra can get you ahead.....but at this point.....who cares? At 5:00 and zero seconds, you should be out the door.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by tibbitts »

We need to keep in mind that a lot of "40hr" jobs include 9hrs at work (lunch may not be optional - may workplaces are 8-5) plus say 90min of commuting daily (40min each way.) So a lot more than "40hrs."
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by tibbitts »

NoFred wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:37 pm I agree with staying on - you have the income stream in hand and it’s definitely not a guarantee to get it back.

But if you can’t reshape your week to less hours, put in the same effort but force yourself to start taking every or every other Friday off. You can keep going all out, just do it for fewer days.
Difficult to do if you only earn 1 or 1.5 days off per month.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

Why not take a break WHILE keeping your job? It takes alittle work and soul searching.

First, start looking at the things you do at work. Start focusing on the 20% (the important stuff) and try to ignore or stop doing so much of the 80% (busy work, stuff that has little or no effect on the 20%). It's HARD but it's a good place to start. We all get caught up in doing things we've always done weather we need to do them or not. You might be able to lighten your load by not doing so much busywork. (I'm fairly confident you are doing some busywork or that you are agonizing about someone else not doing busywork. It's something nearly every one does - especially women who work lots of hours for their employer because they want to do 'the job right' or they feel that the job isn't done until all the i's are dotted. And that's not true. Jobs are often done/completed/successful when they weren't done the right way or when not all the i's were dotted.

Second, pull out your calendar and set up a scheduled event for one night a week starting in two weeks. You are basically scheduling an appointment with yourself. It means you HAVE to leave work at 5:00pm, no if, ands, or buts. Now keep thinking about how you HAVE TO LEAVE on time those days. It's important that you leave work on time. Now, when you are scheduling yourtime at work - keep reminding yourself (and your boss) that no, you are leaving at 5pm on that day (and into the future) and your deadlines will have to be adjusted accordingly.

Third, start to distance yourself from office drama - this may be hard if your only "friends" are your coworkers - you don't have to cut them off, but maybe spend alittle less time with them at work chatting (and if talk goes around to how horrible the job is - start changing the subject).
If you aren't "friends" with your coworkers - stop caring so much about the stupid things your coworkers do and say. Remember that we tend to take on the emotions of the people we are with. Be the 'calm' person. Don't feed any emotional fires.

Plan to do something on your weeknight off of work. Maybe start planning out some fun things to do on the future nights off. Start adding more nights off (or if you are working weekends) start scheduling really important personal stuff for a Saturday or Sunday... slowly wean yourself off working so many hours.

This might take a month or two to accomplish - but DO IT. The pros are you still have a paycheck, you probably get your coworkers to notice a change, and you might discover some important things about your self and what you want your future to look like.

What's the worst that could happen? They fire you???

IT's better to make life changing decisions when you aren't bitter, burned out, and exhausted.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

One more thing, I don't think a break will change the way you approach work. If you get another similiar job I suspect you'll repeat the "working long hours" and "not getting raises". I'm skeptical that it's your job (I'm assuming some sort of office type job) or your company or your boss or your coworkers that are causing your long work hours and lack of pay increases. I think it's a mindset that gets us into this cycle. You have to change your mindset to break the cycle.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by Speckles »

I’ve taken several breaks in my career. They have been 3-12 months each. The last few times, I’d been employed in consulting, so it was pretty easy.
Each time I was scared to death that I would never find a professional, well-paying job again. Each time I was wrong, even in my 50’s. I came back refreshed and energetic. I had new ideas. It was well worth it.

If you do decide to take a year off, talk to your boss about a sabbatical. That way maybe you can have the best of both worlds. Time off and (hopefully) a job if you come back. I’ve also had good luck asking to work a reduced work week 30 hr/week is still full time with benefits).

Is it a risk? Of course it is. Every time. Your field of expertise is probably different than mine. Times change too. But I can only speak for myself and my experience. Far more people do this than is noticeable - until you start looking. Then you see the people who have and do. Ask them for their tips. I’ve had 2 people follow my lead and ask for a year off. Both were granted and both were successful re-entering the workplace.

Good luck - and let us know what you decide and how it goes.

Specks
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ClevrChico
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by ClevrChico »

I've thought about the same thing. For now, I use some of my vacation for many three day weekends. That helps a ton.

I'm a 40's tech worker and don't like the idea of being an "old" guy in the job market.
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tooluser
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by tooluser »

7eight9 wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:15 pm I'm actually considering just driving a taxi for the next few months while my wife works to get her 40 quarters of Social Security (done in 1Q20). I drove outer borough livery one Christmas break back in the 1980s. It actually was one of my most enjoyable jobs.
Consider driving a limousine instead of a taxi. I have a friend who does that and meets very interesting people. He is a people person, and is usually the one who starts the conversation. I think he enjoys it immensely.
crazygrow
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by crazygrow »

I’m 40 with six kids and we are doing a family gap year next year. I’m leaving my job and my wife will continue to run her business which should support us ok. Lots of risk to it as I’m a tech executive but the time with my kids at their current age is more important. I also cut back to 40 hours a week maximum about a year ago.

We don’t have nearly your savings but my life is so much happier and we have enough.
edgeagg
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by edgeagg »

ClevrChico wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:21 pm I'm a 40's tech worker and don't like the idea of being an "old" guy in the job market.
A story that shows some of the challenges one is likely to face in tech: Am now 56 and recently left a very large social networking company (after my startup was acquired by it and I'd gone through my vesting period). Going up in the elevator one day with the rest of the kiddies, there were some visitors from outside in the elevator as well. One of them says: "We are so glad to see that not everyone who works here is a 25 year old". I wasn't sure how to take that statement :? . They probably meant it as a compliment.

I'd take this as a time to explore something that you've always wanted to do. You've only one life anyway. Why have regrets? It is amazing how liberating it is when you don't need to conform to a narrow path - which you likely don't at 33x. You're kinda in the "The Places you'll go" phase (Dr Seuss) :-).
chipperd
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by chipperd »

You have more than enough to leave, or stay, on your terms. Check out some of the early retirement/F.I. or FIRE websites/blogs/podcasts (early retirement now for example) to balance out some of the advice on this site.
One thing is for sure, you have enough to go and not look back.
"A portfolio is like a bar of soap, the more it's handled, the less there is." Dr. William Bernstein
TheNightsToCome
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by TheNightsToCome »

Colorado13 wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:05 pm The post about increasing responsibilities at work with no increase in pay has been on my mind for a few days because it resonates with me a lot.

I'm becoming disillusioned with my job and past posts will show this isn't the first time this has occurred. I tend to be the "work before fun" kind of person, so I work long hours and periodically become resentful about it. (I know this is a choice...I need to change my mindset.)

I have about 35x expenses saved, but there is some uncertainty around healthcare costs. I would like a bigger cushion before I retire but it's been another very difficult work week...

So, I'm wondering if taking a break in my 50s (a year off?) is the kiss of death for my career/dumbest idea ever? I'm a single income wage earner. I have worked since approximately age 13 and what I really want is probably unrealistic: a 40-hour week job. Working long hours with minimal raises is frustrating, so I wonder if a break would be the attitude adjustment that I need? Or do I just do what most people do and suck it up? Has anyone found professional employment after taking a break in their early 50s?
"Has anyone found professional employment after taking a break in their early 50s?"

I burned out as a cardiologist in my early 40s and left practice with no plan. I spent a few years reading accounting and finance texts (among other pursuits) because I was interested in investing. During that time, I read a publication by a professional investor and wrote him with a few suggestions. He invited me for an interview and I became a healthcare equity analyst in my mid 40s.

Then, after a 13 year break, I returned to the practice of cardiology at 54 yo. The overwhelming majority of physicians will tell you this is impossible. It's not. :)

My brother quit two different management jobs in his 50s. He looked into buying a business after quitting the second position, but ultimately decided he would rather be an employee. He found a new job each time.

It's a risk, but my brother and I are happier for taking it. Your call.
jello_nailer
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by jello_nailer »

Could be the "kiss of life".
After selling a business and completing the integration at 48 I was faced with a 2 year non-compete. Spent 30 years with the pedal to the metal and felt done, like a hamster on a wheel.

So I took 2 years off, moved to Sun Valley, Idaho and did a smidgeon of consulting to keep me out there. But I mostly skied, fly fished, played golf, drank scotch, and chased women. Best thing I ever did - when I engaged again after 2 years I was motivated and worked like I was 24. That was about a decade ago.

How did it work out? Caught the girl (best thing that ever happened to me), turned around a company, sold it to mega corp, integrated, stayed on for 6 years now, and ready to do it again. I was not in this place 10 years ago.

With your dry powder,whats the downside?
EnjoyTheJourney
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by EnjoyTheJourney »

"Kiss of death" is pretty strong language. It might be helpful to consider re-framing the decision, as language that strong implicitly sets some pretty high walls in place in terms of what you're likely to consider, going forward.

Maybe "Which way forward is likely to be the most satisfying and enjoyable?" would be a good substitute for "Is it the kiss of death?", given that you have the financial freedom to experiment.
miles monroe
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by miles monroe »

i took a year off at 35 to hike.

no way i would take a year off at 55 if my intention was to find employment at the end of that year.
skor99
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by skor99 »

crazygrow wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:46 pm I’m 40 with six kids and we are doing a family gap year next year. I’m leaving my job and my wife will continue to run her business which should support us ok. Lots of risk to it as I’m a tech executive but the time with my kids at their current age is more important. I also cut back to 40 hours a week maximum about a year ago.

We don’t have nearly your savings but my life is so much happier and we have enough.
6 kids ? And I am stressed with the college expenses for 2. And according to some of my friends, it could be you are not even done after that as some of the kids need support till they are established in their careers and family life.
Kudos to you for having the confidence to take a gap year and such, but also recognize that it is a big risk. Happier now but maybe stressful later ?
Ron
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by Ron »

I took a break from my job at the age of 59. Now age 71, and I never did get around to going back to my (or any) job :oops: ...

So for me, it was the kiss of death; hopefully it will be a good amount of time until I leave the boarding platform and start that next great adventure :wink: ...

- Ron
cherijoh
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by cherijoh »

Colorado13 wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:05 pm So, I'm wondering if taking a break in my 50s (a year off?) is the kiss of death for my career/dumbest idea ever? I'm a single income wage earner. I have worked since approximately age 13 and what I really want is probably unrealistic: a 40-hour week job. Working long hours with minimal raises is frustrating, so I wonder if a break would be the attitude adjustment that I need? Or do I just do what most people do and suck it up? Has anyone found professional employment after taking a break in their early 50s?
Rather than taking a year off and facing the stress of job hunting in your 50s (especialy if the economy tanks in the next year or two!), I would either work on scaling back on your current job (easier said than done I know) or look for a job that pays benefits if you work at least 25 - 30 hrs/week. It doesn't need to be a "professional" job - just something that covers most of the bills for a few years.
rjbraun
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by rjbraun »

A lot of good advice already from posters. Your hard-earned savings provide you with financial freedom to explore and consider your life options.

I have had several breaks in my career, including in my 50s. In each instance I found another job. It wasn't always easy, but I also tried my best to enjoy the relative freedom to travel and pursue interests I couldn't always do while working. Like you, I also relied exclusively on my earned income to support myself.

As I think another poster said or implied, the various breaks have allowed me to probably feel more refreshed at work, especially later in my career, than if I had worked continuously for decades.
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by cherijoh »

Watty wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:14 pm
Colorado13 wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:05 pm I have about 35x expenses saved, but there is some uncertainty around healthcare costs. I would like a bigger cushion before I retire but it's been another very difficult work week...
Plus Social security and maybe home equity if you own a house too.

You can crunch the numbers but you have a lot more than 35 years expenses saved up since the expenses you need to pay out of your savings will go down once you start Social Security.
Early 50s leaves quite a gap before one can draw SS and get on Medicare.

Health care expenses are a real concern if it is 35x current expenses based on a good employer health plan. My former employer subsidized a good chunk of benefits costs as I discovered when I went on COBRA after retirement. COBRA will be running out soon and to get a similar silver ACA plan (no subsidy), I would be more than doubling my monthly insurance costs for 2019; a bronze plan will cost 50% more than COBRA. Plus it is wise to assume that these costs will increase annually at a high rate relative to inflation. I'll only have 4.25 years on ACA; it sounds like the OP would have more than 10 years.
EnjoyIt
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by EnjoyIt »

Beehave wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:52 pm
(1) The 35 years of expenses saved should grow and hopefully cover 35-plus years of retirement. But a bad sequence-of-returns (for example, a market crash followed by a period of inflation or stagflation) could leave you in not such good shape.
35x has never failed in the US. Can it happen? Well anything could, but 35x is pretty much bullet proof.

If I had 35x and hated my job, I would either find a job I like, quite completely and do something in another field, or just retire. 35x = options to do whatever you want and don't let the fear mongering of a zombie apocalypse scare you from that.

Maybe you can take 3 months off under medical leave (FMLA) so that you can get refreshed and see how you feel after that. Maybe a 6 month sabbatical is possible with your employer. Or as I said, you can explore other options. You really don't ever have to work unless you so desire.
cherijoh wrote: Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:48 am Early 50s leaves quite a gap before one can draw SS and get on Medicare.

Health care expenses are a real concern if it is 35x current expensesbased on a good employer health plan. My former employer subsidized a good chunk of benefits costs as I discovered when I went on COBRA after retirement. COBRA will be running out soon and to get a similar silver ACA plan (no subsidy), I would be more than doubling my monthly insurance costs for 2019; a bronze plan will cost 50% more than COBRA. Plus it is wise to assume that these costs will increase annually at a high rate relative to inflation. I'll only have 4.25 years on ACA; it sounds like the OP would have more than 10 years.
I have been paying for my own healthcare for years, self employed, it is not the unknown abyss as some make it seem to be.
Last edited by EnjoyIt on Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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dm200
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Re: Taking a break in your 50s: Is it the kiss of death?

Post by dm200 »

Colorado13 wrote: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:05 pm The post about increasing responsibilities at work with no increase in pay has been on my mind for a few days because it resonates with me a lot.
I'm becoming disillusioned with my job and past posts will show this isn't the first time this has occurred. I tend to be the "work before fun" kind of person, so I work long hours and periodically become resentful about it. (I know this is a choice...I need to change my mindset.)
I have about 35x expenses saved, but there is some uncertainty around healthcare costs. I would like a bigger cushion before I retire but it's been another very difficult work week...
So, I'm wondering if taking a break in my 50s (a year off?) is the kiss of death for my career/dumbest idea ever? I'm a single income wage earner. I have worked since approximately age 13 and what I really want is probably unrealistic: a 40-hour week job. Working long hours with minimal raises is frustrating, so I wonder if a break would be the attitude adjustment that I need? Or do I just do what most people do and suck it up? Has anyone found professional employment after taking a break in their early 50s?
Yes - in my opinion.

1. In your 50's, despite regulations against it, you are subject to varying degrees of "age discrimination" already.
2. Increasingly, in my opinion and observation, any gaps in employment are detrimental to future employment opportunities

What can you do about these?

Maybe - get employment that is "low stress" and can provide this "break" benefits without an actual break in employment history.

With increased ability to track and verify detailed employment history, it can be nearly impossible to hide such a "break".

Maybe (?), some kind of "deal" with some kind of company or organization (non-profit?) where it looks like you were "employed" but you have the "break".

Maybe, also, a permanent change of employment or employers or type of job that is something you can do for the forseeable future. These kinds of "niche" jobs can be difficult to find. I am fortunate (in my 70's) to have found one like that (20 hours a week).
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