Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide?

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solarascent
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Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide?

Post by solarascent » Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:28 pm

I've been trying to help my parent consider her options and help her weigh her retirement options. To start off, the way I am thinking about this is the following: that in an ideal scenario my parent would want to continue working for two more years to receive her full pension, however she is not in ideal conditions at the moment. So whether it's work retaliation or what not, she was placed into a night shift a year ago (context last time she was expected to work nights was two decades ago) and is working on a project where she is expected to be outside pretty much the entire day with loud noise, the elements, cold temperatures at night, driving to and from, etc... My parent is almost 60, so of course these conditions are not ideal so she's been having a tough time thinking whether it's worth it. Although she was temporarily shifted due to morning schedule due to corona, it's still outside and it still seems to be hard on her.

So just the past couple of days, she let it be known to me that she was maybe thinking of retiring in a matter of months, which surprised me because last year when we spoke, I had been hoping if she can just make it 3 more years to make it to thirty years to reach her full pension and have no penalty. It looks like she is seriously considering that she can't do it. She has two more years to go at this point, but each time we speak about it (very rarely tbh), she seems to be more demoralized. She wants to do her house yard work and do her other projects, she's very sleepy and not getting enough sleep, daily tasks are becoming a bit harder for her, never enough time, etc... etc... I think the night shifts aren't great for old folks.

With that being said, I've worked out all the scenarios for her and had a long chat with her about her options. Retiring today, retiring in half year when she reaches her next birthday (~3k a year more), retiring 2 years from now (~11k a year more). I gave her all the present value calculations of what the money she would be losing out is worth today (is working seven more months worth 67k lump sum today), trying to educate her about retirement savings account (that it's still not too late) and if she really wanted to retire today but was sad about the lost income, we can get her on an investment plan that can make her feel a bit better about her decision, etc...

Ideally, I would like her to get her full pension, but I'm not working in her conditions so I'm neutral in the matter. Whatever decision she's happy with I support. And now she knows a bit more of the financial details about all her scenarios after I calculated it for her and discussed it with her. But I wanted more knowledgable folks to weigh in if there is something I'm missing here. She seemed to have wanted advice from me about what I would do in her scenario, and I gave her the best answer I could that although I worked out the financial aspects, since I'm not exposed to her working environment, I don't have access to key information to lean her any way or the other. I told her, of course more money is always better, but health, life expectancy, and happiness is a factor too. I think that whatever she decides to do, her finances would be decent for any scenario. THANKFULLY. And she should be proud about that.

Her lowest paid scenario is if she retires now she gets 40k a year, 3 years from now will jump to 55k a year from SS, and a uncertain 5k a year more through her divorce. Making it a potential total of ~60k annually for the next 30 years. post tax. Conservative estimate is 55k annually.
Retiring later can make that jump like 11k more so 71k annually.

Is there anything else I'm missing here or that I'm neglecting to mention that can help her with her decision? Is 55k vs 66k or 60k vs 71k a very extreme financial difference during retirement? She does have a mortgage that will take a chunk of that and wants to live in her home country for a while, and from what I'm getting she wants the flexibility to joint live in her home country while being able to visit united states and her home here when she wants.

typical.investor
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by typical.investor » Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:34 pm

The night shift assignment is their way of trying to not pay the pension perhaps.

Anyway, it’s really great you ran through the numbers with her. Now she can properly decide!

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by sport » Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:40 pm

Can she ask her employer for another assignment, or part time work?

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solarascent
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by solarascent » Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:48 pm

sport wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:40 pm
Can she ask her employer for another assignment, or part time work?
I don't know the full details about why she was placed night shift last year. From what I gathered, I believe my parent was doing her job too well and wasn't letting some folks on the field get away with risky work, and so perhaps due to that, her new project assignment reflected that. So, politics.

But good suggestion. I'll suggest to her that before she makes the final decision, that it's worth bringing it up to her boss if there are any other options for her. I do not believe they have the option to put her on another assignment, but perhaps part time could be available.

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:52 pm

Sounds like a town position. Police officer? Can she find another job with the town, if my assumption is correct? I'd think here pension is based on something like the average of the 3 highest paid years. If that's the case, heck, she could be a janitor in a school. All she'd have to do is work for the same entity to put in her time.

Some things to maybe consider.

On the other hand, $55k for a single person is very high. It's enough to take care of an average family of 4 in the US. So perhaps it's not all that bad to stop now.
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by calmaniac » Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:56 pm

solarascent wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:28 pm
She wants to do her house yard work and do her other projects, she's very sleepy and not getting enough sleep, daily tasks are becoming a bit harder for her, never enough time, etc... etc... I think the night shifts aren't great for old folks.
She may also be depressed or feeling isolated from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is this a private company pension? State or local gov't pension? Or federal pension? Is she also eligible for Social Security? Does her pension have a COLA adjustment?

You've listed a number of figures for potential pension, so it is difficult to know exactly what is what. But it sounds like her staying put would result in ≈$11k/year addition pension. Is that correct? That is a lot of money for most people!

A pension is a huge asset in retirement, as it effectively addresses longevity risk. She will never run out of that cash flow. Walking away from what you've described as about one-sixth of the maximal pension seems like a bad decision to me. That is money she will receive every month for the rest of her life, which will give her a great deal of freedom.

She should meet with the HR people at work to discuss the exact parameters of her retirement, so she will understand what she is giving up. It might be a good idea if you attended the meeting as well.

May also be worth her asking to better understand why her hours were shifted. There seems to be a lot of mysteries here.
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by delamer » Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:00 pm

A really deep dive into her expenses and ways she might be able reduce them (say through a different home with a smaller or no mortgage) would be very helpful in making her decision.

Retirement, like all of life, is best when income is greater than expenses

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solarascent
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by solarascent » Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:05 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:52 pm
Sounds like a town position. Police officer? Can she find another job with the town, if my assumption is correct? I'd think here pension is based on something like the average of the 3 highest paid years. If that's the case, heck, she could be a janitor in a school. All she'd have to do is work for the same entity to put in her time.

Some things to maybe consider.

On the other hand, $55k for a single person is very high. It's enough to take care of an average family of 4 in the US. So perhaps it's not all that bad to stop now.
Ahh, perfect. This is why I asked this question, I knew there was something I was missing. She does work for the state. Does it work like that? That any state job she can find, that it counts as part of the total years worked for her pension? I will mention this option to her too next time I chat with her and do some research myself.

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by solarascent » Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:14 pm

calmaniac wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:56 pm
solarascent wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:28 pm
She wants to do her house yard work and do her other projects, she's very sleepy and not getting enough sleep, daily tasks are becoming a bit harder for her, never enough time, etc... etc... I think the night shifts aren't great for old folks.
She may also be depressed or feeling isolated from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Is this a private company pension? State or local gov't pension? Or federal pension? Is she also eligible for Social Security? Does her pension have a COLA adjustment?

You've listed a number of figures for potential pension, so it is difficult to know exactly what is what. But it sounds like her staying put would result in ≈$11k/year addition pension. Is that correct? That is a lot of money for most people!

A pension is a huge asset in retirement, as it effectively addresses longevity risk. She will never run out of that cash flow. Walking away from what you've described as about one-sixth of the maximal pension seems like a bad decision to me. That is money she will receive every month for the rest of her life, which will give her a great deal of freedom.

She should meet with the HR people at work to discuss the exact parameters of her retirement, so she will understand what she is giving up. It might be a good idea if you attended the meeting as well.

May also be worth her asking to better understand why her hours were shifted. There seems to be a lot of mysteries here.
Yeah, staying put 2 more years adds on 11k. I know it's a lot of money. I thought she was going to tough it out for a few more years, but all of a sudden she mentioned it on the side in our last chat, and that's when I realized she was seriously considering this and it's perhaps becoming too hard.

Yeah, it's a bit higher than 1/6 of her maximal pension she will be walking out on. Good way to put that. I'll mention the HR thing as well, that before any final decision is made she should chat with the HR one more time and if a third party can be there. Although I feel like my brother can command more authority than me. Still look quite young although I'm in mid twenties. But yeah, I'll add this to my thoughts. She didn't seem to want to talk about why her hours are shifted last year. It stresses her so I don't push the topic.

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by Golf maniac » Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:16 pm

I was in a similar situation 5 years ago. I was at my full retirement age, but only 56. I had planned to work 4 to 6 more years but the job became unbearable for me. The only thing that matters is can she live on the pension that she will get today. Is there a COLA and when does it kick in? A detailed retirement budget will tell her if she can retire early. Increase the budget annually for future inflation and see where she stands.

The living in a different country while maintaining a home here is a complication. I would focus on expenses here and then see if living elsewhere part of the year will work.

To be blunt, a pension is worthless if you develop significant health issues from stress over several years of work. If she can afford to retire now and live a happy, comfortable life, she should do it.

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by HomeStretch » Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:17 pm

Her job sounds hard.
Can she live on $40k per year?
Does the pension receive cost-of-living adjustments?

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by Mordoch » Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:22 pm

As a practical matter, while just asking first may be the best approach, especially if the benefits are as significant as they appear for just 3 more years of work, I would further question is she really wants to go meekly into retirement given the recent apparently significant change in job assignment. (If she works for the state government, generally any other state job will do and it is just a matter of finding one that works with the main issue probably being how the final salary impact the actual pension)

If she does not get her assignment adjusted by any way just by asking, she always has the option especially if she has any evidence of bringing up an age discrimination suit if they refuse to accommodate her in any way and then fire her or take other obvious retaliatory actions designed to force her to quit, with racial discrimination being another possible question depending on her home country. At least in my experience making accommodations to someone her age would generally be much more attractive to the managers making decisions than going through the comparatively huge headache of dealing with this kind of lawsuit, and they would be highly likely to be inclined to find a solution if she makes it clear she only should be staying around to hit her 30 years. In other words this is another kind of politics.

Having said this, obviously if she feels no discrimination is involved or anything else that would possibly warrant a lawsuit is involved, she may feel that bringing this is up as a possible threat is not an option, but generally finding another state job she had tolerate for three years would appear allot better financially speaking based on what you have told us so far.
Last edited by Mordoch on Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by Christine_NM » Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:27 pm

Be careful with the part-time work option. It usually reduces the growth of a pension. So, working for a year half-time would only accrue as much pension as six months full time work. My employer is good about pointing that out, but I can imagine that some employers would let her go half-time and present her with the bad news at the time she retires.

Is there available healthcare for between now and Medicare? Does she have debt, like a mortgage or car loan? Too many unknowns to give a specific recommendation. Happiness is important but not sure she would be happier with low income that doesn't meet needs. 40k sounds low, 71k sounds high.
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by galawdawg » Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:32 pm

Does her workplace provide retiree health coverage benefits if she retires with a full pension? If so, will she still be eligible if she retires prior to full pension eligibility?

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by SandysDad » Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:38 pm

solarascent wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:48 pm
sport wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:40 pm
Can she ask her employer for another assignment, or part time work?
I don't know the full details about why she was placed night shift last year. From what I gathered, I believe my parent was doing her job too well and wasn't letting some folks on the field get away with risky work, and so perhaps due to that, her new project assignment reflected that. So, politics.

But good suggestion. I'll suggest to her that before she makes the final decision, that it's worth bringing it up to her boss if there are any other options for her. I do not believe they have the option to put her on another assignment, but perhaps part time could be available.
The cynic in me see's huge red flags on the part of the employer. I think she is being set up.

YOU need to find an expert employment disability and employment law lawyer, who will work with you and her, and THEY will find an appropriate doctor to get involved. Mom needs to keep her head low and say nothing (even if asked).

Bottom line is I would bet 5-1 odds, your mom expects the company to behave ethically. I would also bet 5-1 there are execs / hr folks at the company pulling strings that her immediate management may not realize (so anything she says about "Bob or sally would not do this", may be correct, but Bob or Sally may not be doing it).

With less than 2 years to retirement she needs to have a lawyer involved who can guide her so the company does not weasel out of this.

Any company that has a pension, probably has a disability plan. Worked the right way, she can have a legal / medical way to get a softer assignment for her last two years, or perhaps even leave on disability in a way that does not effect higher pension.

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solarascent
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by solarascent » Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:40 pm

Golf maniac wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:16 pm
I was in a similar situation 5 years ago. I was at my full retirement age, but only 56. I had planned to work 4 to 6 more years but the job became unbearable for me. The only thing that matters is can she live on the pension that she will get today. Is there a COLA and when does it kick in? A detailed retirement budget will tell her if she can retire early. Increase the budget annually for future inflation and see where she stands.

The living in a different country while maintaining a home here is a complication. I would focus on expenses here and then see if living elsewhere part of the year will work.

To be blunt, a pension is worthless if you develop significant health issues from stress over several years of work. If she can afford to retire now and live a happy, comfortable life, she should do it.
HomeStretch wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:17 pm
Her job sounds hard.
Can she live on $40k per year?
Does the pension receive cost-of-living adjustments?
From my research, her pension does receive COLA adjustments. But It's only applies to a certain amount of her pension (like less than 20k) and it's half of actual inflation rates. Also, from what I understand social security also receives COLA as well. So she is somewhat shielded from inflation, but not to its full effects.

Yeah, she definitely does want to live in her home country for a while and do potential joint living in retirement. That's definitely her dream retirement (from what I understand) because that's her home but her staying in the US for a long time makes this her home now too.

But yes, we haven't worked out a detailed retirement budget. I only have a sense of what she wants. The mortgage + tax is a bit higher than what I would assume other retirees typically pay as they usually downsize I think. But I think she definitely wants to have a permanent place to stay in the U.S. too but yes she's thinking of all her options if she can afford the house while living in another country, or will she have to sell it, who's going to maintain it when she's away, can she afford renting/buying in another country as well. I told her that her children can chip in for the house here, but I agree that it's a lot on her plate and her lifestyle should be sustainable.

But yeah 40K a year will be tight for her due to her mortgage. But 55k (once social security hits) a year is definitely sustainable I believe.
Last edited by solarascent on Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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solarascent
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by solarascent » Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:41 pm

galawdawg wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:32 pm
Does her workplace provide retiree health coverage benefits if she retires with a full pension? If so, will she still be eligible if she retires prior to full pension eligibility?
Eh, I don't know. I haven't even thought of that.

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by OnTrack2020 » Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:55 pm

OP, you are in your 20s, your mother is in her late 50s. There are certain jobs that a person in their late 50s is not cut out to do anymore. And working outside in the elements at night is one of them. Help her figure out a way to retire in the next few months if that is what she wants. If she gets the lower pension amount and it doesn't cover her expenses, she can always find a part-time job somewhere else if that's what she wants to do--something easy to make up some of the difference. Am assuming she will file for social security at 62?

No amount of money is worth it if she's tired and doesn't like her job. Working nights really messes with the sleep cycle. Will she have health care when she retires?

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by solarascent » Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:59 pm

Mordoch wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:22 pm
As a practical matter, while just asking first may be the best approach, especially if the benefits are as significant as they appear for just 3 more years of work, I would further question is she really wants to go meekly into retirement given the recent apparently significant change in job assignment. (If she works for the state government, generally any other state job will do and it is just a matter of finding one that works with the main issue probably being how the final salary impact the actual pension)

If she does not get her assignment adjusted by any way just by asking, she always has the option especially if she has any evidence of bringing up an age discrimination suit if they refuse to accommodate her in any way and then fire her or take other obvious retaliatory actions designed to force her to quit, with racial discrimination being another possible question depending on her home country. At least in my experience making accommodations to someone her age would generally be much more attractive to the managers making decisions than going through the comparatively huge headache of dealing with this kind of lawsuit, and they would be highly likely to be inclined to find a solution if she makes it clear she only should be staying around to hit her 30 years. In other words this is another kind of politics.

Having said this, obviously if she feels no discrimination is involved or anything else that would possibly warrant a lawsuit is involved, she may feel that bringing this is up as a possible threat is not an option, but generally finding another state job she had tolerate for three years would appear allot better financially speaking based on what you have told us so far.
SandysDad wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:38 pm
The cynic in me see's huge red flags on the part of the employer. I think she is being set up.

YOU need to find an expert employment disability and employment law lawyer, who will work with you and her, and THEY will find an appropriate doctor to get involved. Mom needs to keep her head low and say nothing (even if asked).

Bottom line is I would bet 5-1 odds, your mom expects the company to behave ethically. I would also bet 5-1 there are execs / hr folks at the company pulling strings that her immediate management may not realize (so anything she says about "Bob or sally would not do this", may be correct, but Bob or Sally may not be doing it).

With less than 2 years to retirement she needs to have a lawyer involved who can guide her so the company does not weasel out of this.

Any company that has a pension, probably has a disability plan. Worked the right way, she can have a legal / medical way to get a softer assignment for her last two years, or perhaps even leave on disability in a way that does not effect higher pension.
I don't know the full details of the new placement last year. To be honest, I'm not sure if she would be willing to share it with full details even if I poked. But I can see what I can gather. But yes, she only has two more years (not three) before she receives her full pension.

One option for us to do as you suggest, is see if she can apply to another state job. Although she is getting up there in age I'm not sure whether she has the momentum for this process after working for so long, but we can try. And her qualifications are pretty specific, too from staying at her employer for a long time.

Another option as you both have suggested, is to find out more about the details and potentially getting a lawyer involved for them to weigh on the matter. I will admit this route is not an easy task, as one, I wouldn't know the first step on what to do for that and usually the lawyer route is not as simple if someone doesn't have the connections, resources, time and otherwise, etc... to get it done, from what I understand. They are expensive and and the legal process appear to work for the people who probably wouldn't find themselves in this scenario to begin with. But, again, I'm not informed on this so I do think it's an appropriate suggestion and I'll look into that further.

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by solarascent » Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:03 pm

OnTrack2020 wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:55 pm
OP, you are in your 20s, your mother is in her late 50s. There are certain jobs that a person in their late 50s is not cut out to do anymore. And working outside in the elements at night is one of them. Help her figure out a way to retire in the next few months if that is what she wants. If she gets the lower pension amount and it doesn't cover her expenses, she can always find a part-time job somewhere else if that's what she wants to do--something easy to make up some of the difference. Am assuming she will file for social security at 62?

No amount of money is worth it if she's tired and doesn't like her job. Working nights really messes with the sleep cycle. Will she have health care when she retires?
Yes, she will file for 62 since 40k a year will be tight for her with her mortgage+taxes, and house management. Yeah, I agree, night shift isn't ideal. :( ... I'll do research about the healthcare as I do not know the answer to that. But yes, just trying to work with her so she can make an informed decision and have gotten good suggestions in this thread already, so thank you.

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by FoolMeOnce » Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:07 pm

solarascent wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:05 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:52 pm
Sounds like a town position. Police officer? Can she find another job with the town, if my assumption is correct? I'd think here pension is based on something like the average of the 3 highest paid years. If that's the case, heck, she could be a janitor in a school. All she'd have to do is work for the same entity to put in her time.

Some things to maybe consider.

On the other hand, $55k for a single person is very high. It's enough to take care of an average family of 4 in the US. So perhaps it's not all that bad to stop now.
Ahh, perfect. This is why I asked this question, I knew there was something I was missing. She does work for the state. Does it work like that? That any state job she can find, that it counts as part of the total years worked for her pension? I will mention this option to her too next time I chat with her and do some research myself.
Not necessarily any State job, though perhaps that is so. Some states have a few different pension plans and different offices or departments are in different ones. Often it can be just some narrow outliers, like a special pension plan for judges. So if she goes this route, just make sure she applies to jobs that use the same plan or that service under the different plans can be combined.

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by Mordoch » Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:10 pm

solarascent wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:59 pm
Another option as you both have suggested, is to find out more about the details and potentially getting a lawyer involved for them to weigh on the matter. I will admit this route is not an easy task, as one, I wouldn't know the first step on what to do for that and usually the lawyer route is not as simple if someone doesn't have the connections, resources, time and otherwise, etc... to get it done, from what I understand. They are expensive and and the legal process appear to work for the people who probably wouldn't find themselves in this scenario to begin with. But, again, I'm not informed on this so I do think it's an appropriate suggestion and I'll look into that further.
One key point to note again is especially if we are talking about state government, the mere threat of a lawsuit may be sufficient so that is not remotely as expensive. This is the kind of thing which would be huge headache to management and potentially damage that manager's future job prospects within the agency even if the state government wins. Unless it is a state operating under different rules than I am familiar with, it is certainly not "at will" employment and sticking her with conditions designed to force her to quite is potentially actionable. By the way, on top of her documenting everything she can at this point, including especially any verbal comments or something written down which sound like age or racial discrimination, if you do seek a lawyer it would be strongly preferable to try to find someone familiar with representing state government employees and the unique legal and other options which might apply in this case. One other major detail I did not cover yet would be getting a union involved if her apparent level as a supervisor does not prevent this or the job in question simply lacks a union.

Especially if she needs to stay on merely 2 more years, it generally would be vastly more attractive for management to find some way to accommodate her for just that long rather than face a lawsuit, so generally my focus would be on threatening a lawsuit and then giving management allot of opportunity to find some way to back down since that would seem such a likely outcome. (Of course as I said starting by asking nicely generally should be the first option, although she should specifically document the denial as part of preparations for other potential steps.)
Last edited by Mordoch on Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Global100
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by Global100 » Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:33 pm

solarascent wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:28 pm
...she's very sleepy and not getting enough sleep, daily tasks are becoming a bit harder for her, never enough time, etc.
she could spend some of her earnings to hire a housekeeper, and/or other laborers to reduce or eliminate her routine work around the home. More of her time outside of work becomes free time by hiring out some of the chores.
Last edited by Global100 on Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

bayview
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by bayview » Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:36 pm

By the way, OP, I would hold off having any conversations with HR until a clear plan has been laid out with understanding of various consequences.

HR works for management, not for employees. When there is any possibility of legal action to support her optimum separation/ retirement, you do NOT want HR involved until various i's have been dotted and t's have been crossed.

Best of luck to her!
The continuous execution of a sound strategy gives you the benefit of the strategy. That's what it's all about. --Rick Ferri

mnnice
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by mnnice » Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:06 pm

The handbook (usually available as PDF) of the your mom’s pensions website is usually the best source of information.

I think it is germane to figure out how much of the difference in pension amounts is due to the fact that if she has two fewer years of service credit and how much does the plan penalize her for taking it early. People sometimes forget that you can quit a job if your vested in the pension and not start taking it.

Also sometimes you can buy service credit. It would be worth investigating if that is an option and how much it would cost.
Last edited by mnnice on Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Topic Author
solarascent
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by solarascent » Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:07 pm

Mordoch wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:10 pm
solarascent wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:59 pm
Another option as you both have suggested, is to find out more about the details and potentially getting a lawyer involved for them to weigh on the matter. I will admit this route is not an easy task, as one, I wouldn't know the first step on what to do for that and usually the lawyer route is not as simple if someone doesn't have the connections, resources, time and otherwise, etc... to get it done, from what I understand. They are expensive and and the legal process appear to work for the people who probably wouldn't find themselves in this scenario to begin with. But, again, I'm not informed on this so I do think it's an appropriate suggestion and I'll look into that further.
One key point to note again is especially if we are talking about state government, the mere threat of a lawsuit may be sufficient so that is not remotely as expensive. This is the kind of thing which would be huge headache to management and potentially damage that manager's future job prospects within the agency even if the state government wins. Unless it is a state operating under different rules than I am familiar with, it is certainly not "at will" employment and sticking her with conditions designed to force her to quite is potentially actionable. By the way, on top of her documenting everything she can at this point, including especially any verbal comments or something written down which sound like age or racial discrimination, if you do seek a lawyer it would be strongly preferable to try to find someone familiar with representing state government employees and the unique legal and other options which might apply in this case. One other major detail I did not cover yet would be getting a union involved if her apparent level as a supervisor does not prevent this or the job in question simply lacks a union.

Especially if she needs to stay on merely 2 more years, it generally would be vastly more attractive for management to find some way to accommodate her for just that long rather than face a lawsuit, so generally my focus would be on threatening a lawsuit and then giving management allot of opportunity to find some way to back down since that would seem such a likely outcome. (Of course as I said starting by asking nicely generally should be the first option, although she should specifically document the denial as part of preparations for other potential steps.)
Okay, I will keep this in mind as well. This is all helpful analysis for me. I wouldn't have known much about state laws and the climate surrounding state workers that and stuff like that. I think from reading everyone's responses is that I have something beyond being a finance calculator to offer her. I can help a bit more on how to get her to her ideal scenario (full retirement) and not give it up as easily considering it does seem like she's at the end of her ropes here.

1. We can just apply for other jobs in our state system in the meanwhile and give that a shot. Best case scenario is we're able to find something and she can work the rest off in better conditions and keep her pension, because fortunately for her they take her highest paying years to calculate her pension.

2. While applying, I can tell her to talk to her boss about the assignment and perhaps if there is any other assignment she can get on that is less rough conditions. Again, I don't know if it's possible in her work, but it's worth it to try as you mentioned. Another option is also ask if she can do 6 hours a day if no other assignment exists as that's the minimum for her to be considered full time for her pension.

3. If 2 doesn't work and 1 isn't successful yet, then have a lawyer introduced into the situation and have them give me their thoughts on what happened with her shift change (again if my mother is willing to share, not guaranteed that she would even be on board with this as she would probably refuse this altogether as being too much headache, but maybe...) and see if they would be able to give any guidance on the matter.

Hopefully it doesn't get to 3. But essentially there are other things we can consider to get that extra 11k. I should reframe her thoughts and my thinking that her retiring today as the worst case scenario if none of the options mentioned above pan out. One thing I've tried to steer clear of doing is somehow make her feel guilty if she decided that she is not able to work the two years because she's worked long enough in that job in conditions I wouldn't be able to sustain myself at my young age.
Global100 wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:33 pm
she could spend some of her earnings to hire a housekeeper, and/or other laborers to reduce or eliminate her routine work around the home. More of her time outside of work becomes free time by hiring out some of the chores.
I liked your previous post, I wish I saved it as I thought it was helpful. But yes, I can put that as an option for her as well that she can consider and if it will help. She is a bit set on her ways but she definitely needs a bit more reliable help around the house as she always has some project going on.

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solarascent
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by solarascent » Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:37 pm

mnnice wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:06 pm
The handbook (usually available as PDF) of the your mom’s pensions website is usually the best source of information.

I think it is germane to figure out how much of the difference in pension amounts is due to the fact that if she has two fewer years of service credit and how much does the plan penalize her for taking it early. People sometimes forget that you can quit a job if your vested in the pension and not start taking it.
See, I forgot that myself. Another good point. You are so right. Although she has mortgage, taxes, utilities to pay, and I doubt she has much savings, she is in a lucky position that some of her children owe her money, and I personally can help with with some portion of the mortgage if I agree with her retirement plan. The penalty is whats taking up most of the money since she's about 3.5 years from full retirement.

So, another scenario that I didn't even think of and that I'm certain she probably hasn't considered is that if all the other suggestions people mentioned above doesn't work (asking for better work conditions, small legal push, applying for simpler state job). And she can't bear to stay working at her job for much longer, what we can consider is have her take 6 months off to do some of what she wants and sleep all day or walk around and do her yard work. Basically relax after 28 years of work. With that time she can still try applying for jobs in participating employers of her retirement plan and see if anything hits. And her kids can potentially help with some of her fixed expenses mortgage, taxes, etc... Anything we can do to reach her to another birthdate where the penalty is lower. And hopefully by that time, she might have found another state job that helps with adding two more years to her service years and have her reach full retirement age. And with the extra 8-11k she would be able to pay people back in like 5-10 years.

Thank you for your insight! This gives me another great perspective.

MrDrinkingWater
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by MrDrinkingWater » Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:53 pm

solarascent wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:28 pm

<SNIP>
.. I think the night shifts aren't great for old folks.
<SNIP>
I read through your message and this thread. There's a lot of great advice being given. I have to agree that working night shift is hard for nearly everyone, except for those who love the night shift. Is there any policy statements at her employer that might allow her to provide a physician's statement that could exempt her from working the night shift? I wanted to make sure this question was asked.

Just being old is likely not enough to exempt anyone from working the night shift. Perhaps getting a complete physical and medical work-up might reveal a condition that her physician (with your parent's permission, of course) could provide to the Medical Department at her employer. There may be a legitimate medical condition that could exempt her from working the graveyard shift. A lot of our better employers make accommodations for their workers, even if the employee's immediate boss isn't a better employee of the organization.

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by Chadnudj » Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:57 pm

One more thing to consider, given today's coronavirus environment -- will likely changes to society (permanent, or even in the short-to-mid term) impact her job such that things might become better?

Your mother's job sounds like something relatively physical and outdoors, but if people are driving less/out less/working from home more, is it possible that whatever her job is becomes less demanding/taxing, with less need for night shifts, etc? We're also just about to get to summer -- again, I know nothing about your mother's job, but would the work be better in the summer/fall (warmer nights but comfortable in most of the country) such that she could push through for awhile longer to see if things change post-corona (or even if a few more months could help on the pension front)?

I'd also get a handle on your mother's paid time off/vacation accrual. Maybe, if she's accrued enough vacation, a lengthy vacation (even of the stay at home type) might let her recharge her batteries and push through a while longer to get more of the pension, or else be a way to "fast forward" to the pension date (i.e. use unused vacation time as the end of her employment to get her to a pension level, even as she does not have to work those last X weeks/months).

Finally, we really have no clue how things are going to shake out in the post-corona world. It might make sense to try to push forward into 2021 if possible, just to see how things might change -- real estate markets making it impossible to downsize, or easier? Expanded/improved Social Security benefits? Expanded Medicare eligibility for those over 60 rather than 65? -- and how that could really drastically impact your mother's finances/plans. Good luck.

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by BeneIRA » Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:49 pm

I was going to post something similar to Chadnudj above. It seems like it hasn't been discussed that your mother is now working the day shift that she presumably likes better. Yes, it's still outside, but presumably summer is coming around the corner which will solve for the cold? Could she bring ear plugs to deaden the sound? No one knows how long the Coronavirus is going to linger for. Your mother could be on the morning shift for another month or another two years, which I would think plays a big role in how much she can stand the job. Numbers haven't been provided, so no one can give perfect advice, but from the sound of it, she has no savings. This pension plus Social Security sounds like her entire nest egg. She has to work for as long as possible if that's the case and if her expenses would be more than the money she is bringing in, then she needs more money.

At the very least, she has to work another half a year to get that $3,000 extra per year. If she lives until 80, that would be about $60,000 pre-tax she is leaving on the table by not continuing to work. She should find another job when things have settled down a bit and work until at least age 62 to smooth out until Social Security kicks in. If she is in the U.S., then health care is going to be somewhat expensive until age 65. Worst case, she can sell the house and downsize or rent something she can afford down the line. Best of luck.

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tetractys
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by tetractys » Sat Apr 18, 2020 11:05 pm

No union support?

Mordoch
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by Mordoch » Sat Apr 18, 2020 11:08 pm

solarascent wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:07 pm
2. While applying, I can tell her to talk to her boss about the assignment and perhaps if there is any other assignment she can get on that is less rough conditions. Again, I don't know if it's possible in her work, but it's worth it to try as you mentioned. Another option is also ask if she can do 6 hours a day if no other assignment exists as that's the minimum for her to be considered full time for her pension.
I do think I should comment a bit on this one since you've said a version of it a couple times. I don't know if cultural or similar issues are at play here, but generally it would be pretty weird for you place this request instead of your mother and her boss might find it strange enough just to say no for that reason, so she should ordinarily make the request. It also might be harder to convince a jury in a lawsuit that her superiors behaved unreasonably if there is something strange like this about who made the request and her boss could argue he didn't know if she actually wanted this accommodation herself. Generally it would be best for your mother to make the request herself, or alternately you could assist her with putting a request in writing or email form with her having the final word on what it says and putting her name to it. (If in physical letter form, definitely keep an extra physical copy and note when the original was received by or mailed to her boss.)

I would also note that if she actually gets to the point she is otherwise going to just quit and retire early with the pension hit, you have the option of threatening to sue even if it is in reality a bluff. If all a law firm is doing is basically sending a few letters that is way less expensive than actually taking a case to court. Basically there is a good chance that her superiors or those higher up the chain will decided with less than 2 years left until she planed to retire anyways (at some point she could let her boss know this) offering some sort of settlement is simply the easier option because they don't know it is a bluff. Worse case scenario she is in effectively the same position as if you never filed a lawsuit if her bluff is called and the state/ agency does not back down so she drops the suit and just retires.

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by gr7070 » Sat Apr 18, 2020 11:20 pm

Just because your mom wants to leave her job doesn't necessarily mean she's leaving a good pension behind.

It's the same argument in another pension thread on this forum.

Of course it depends on the specific conditions of the pension, but they can almost certainly leave this job at 60 and keep the exact pension benefits they're entitled to (today) and go work somewhere else for 5, 10 15 years and add to their retirement plan through that employment.

*Presuming* common pension provisions, there's no reason to stay, enslaved to a poor job for a couple *added* years of benefits. The benefits accrued still exist and remain.

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solarascent
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by solarascent » Sat Apr 18, 2020 11:33 pm

MrDrinkingWater wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:53 pm
Just being old is likely not enough to exempt anyone from working the night shift. Perhaps getting a complete physical and medical work-up might reveal a condition that her physician (with your parent's permission, of course) could provide to the Medical Department at her employer. There may be a legitimate medical condition that could exempt her from working the graveyard shift. A lot of our better employers make accommodations for their workers, even if the employee's immediate boss isn't a better employee of the organization.
Thank you for this suggestion. I'll mention this to her, although, knowing her history, she will probably there is not enough time for her to go to a doctor... But the advice is a good one.
Chadnudj wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:57 pm
One more thing to consider, given today's coronavirus environment -- will likely changes to society (permanent, or even in the short-to-mid term) impact her job such that things might become better?

Your mother's job sounds like something relatively physical and outdoors, but if people are driving less/out less/working from home more, is it possible that whatever her job is becomes less demanding/taxing, with less need for night shifts, etc? We're also just about to get to summer -- again, I know nothing about your mother's job, but would the work be better in the summer/fall (warmer nights but comfortable in most of the country) such that she could push through for awhile longer to see if things change post-corona (or even if a few more months could help on the pension front)?
Good points mentioned. Corona makes getting a new job and everything else a bit more difficult to plan for. We chatted about vacation days before, I don't think she has much left. She recently took a stay at home vacation, and that doesn't appear to have helped. But she has just started working day schedule again, so maybe once she readjusts to it, it'll help. But yes, that its becoming summer and that she is working is day will definitely help her loads. She mentioned the cold in a few conversations in the past when it was becoming winter, so I know being outside in the elements is tough. And not being able to do her house projects with her time. Thanks for your insight.
BeneIRA wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 10:49 pm
I was going to post something similar to Chadnudj above. It seems like it hasn't been discussed that your mother is now working the day shift that she presumably likes better. Yes, it's still outside, but presumably summer is coming around the corner which will solve for the cold? Could she bring ear plugs to deaden the sound? No one knows how long the Coronavirus is going to linger for. Your mother could be on the morning shift for another month or another two years, which I would think plays a big role in how much she can stand the job. Numbers haven't been provided, so no one can give perfect advice, but from the sound of it, she has no savings. This pension plus Social Security sounds like her entire nest egg. She has to work for as long as possible if that's the case and if her expenses would be more than the money she is bringing in, then she needs more money.

At the very least, she has to work another half a year to get that $3,000 extra per year. If she lives until 80, that would be about $60,000 pre-tax she is leaving on the table by not continuing to work. She should find another job when things have settled down a bit and work until at least age 62 to smooth out until Social Security kicks in. If she is in the U.S., then health care is going to be somewhat expensive until age 65. Worst case, she can sell the house and downsize or rent something she can afford down the line. Best of luck.
Yes, I think I've decided from everyone's posts here that whatever she does at least let not her officially retire before her next birthday in half a year. If she does decide to quit now there's definitely enough money within the family to support until her birthday so at least the penalty is a teeny bit lower, and that she can try applying for other state jobs and/or relax. And if she can't find other state jobs, maybe if she just finds a job local in her town or nearby and work until 62, then the penalty would not exist, and since she's already worked for a long time, her pension will be almost a full pension anyway. But again, these are all hypothetical scenarios and I'll discuss all these new options with her to see which one she likes the idea of.

Yes, see my response to the above poster. Summer and working in daytime will be a MUCH better experience for her. Perhaps she just needs to readjust to this new shift and evaluate how she's feeling then after her these new conditions set in. And maybe I can hire someone reliable to help her with her house projects or something. Thanks for the suggestions. It is all helpful.
gr7070 wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 11:20 pm
Just because your mom wants to leave her job doesn't necessarily mean she's leaving a good pension behind.
Yep, someone earlier made that clear for me above which has definitely given us more options to consider. She can find another state job to work for two more years or perhaps find another local job and see if is able to work until 61, 62 or something removing the penalty, before officially retiring. Thank you for sharing.

tibbitts
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by tibbitts » Sat Apr 18, 2020 11:39 pm

solarascent wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:41 pm
galawdawg wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:32 pm
Does her workplace provide retiree health coverage benefits if she retires with a full pension? If so, will she still be eligible if she retires prior to full pension eligibility?
Eh, I don't know. I haven't even thought of that.
You've completely missed possibly the most important issue for most people. Except that living outside the U.S., she will probably have no coverage from her employer no matter what, so in fact it may not matter. She could buy travel insurance for the brief times she returns to the U.S.

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solarascent
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by solarascent » Sat Apr 18, 2020 11:42 pm

Mordoch wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 11:08 pm
solarascent wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:07 pm
2. While applying, I can tell her to talk to her boss about the assignment and perhaps if there is any other assignment she can get on that is less rough conditions. Again, I don't know if it's possible in her work, but it's worth it to try as you mentioned. Another option is also ask if she can do 6 hours a day if no other assignment exists as that's the minimum for her to be considered full time for her pension.
I do think I should comment a bit on this one since you've said a version of it a couple times. I don't know if cultural or similar issues are at play here, but generally it would be pretty weird for you place this request instead of your mother and her boss might find it strange enough just to say no for that reason, so she should ordinarily make the request. It also might be harder to convince a jury in a lawsuit that her superiors behaved unreasonably if there is something strange like this about who made the request and her boss could argue he didn't know if she actually wanted this accommodation herself. Generally it would be best for your mother to make the request herself, or alternately you could assist her with putting a request in writing or email form with her having the final word on what it says and putting her name to it. (If in physical letter form, definitely keep an extra physical copy and note when the original was received by or mailed to her boss.)

I would also note that if she actually gets to the point she is otherwise going to just quit and retire early with the pension hit, you have the option of threatening to sue even if it is in reality a bluff. If all a law firm is doing is basically sending a few letters that is way less expensive than actually taking a case to court. Basically there is a good chance that her superiors or those higher up the chain will decided with less than 2 years left until she planed to retire anyways (at some point she could let her boss know this) offering some sort of settlement is simply the easier option because they don't know it is a bluff. Worse case scenario she is in effectively the same position as if you never filed a lawsuit if her bluff is called and the state/ agency does not back down so she drops the suit and just retires.
Yeah its getting late, so excuse me for the unclear responses. Yes, of course she will have to talk to her boss herself, that's what I intended to write. And yeah, she's been in the U.S. for a very long time now, but I wouldn't doubt that maybe that maybe there is more of a lax attitude towards her due to ethnic cultural symbols that she still exudes and that she's been a long term employee. However, she does like her colleagues on her shift from what I've gathered, so that was good to hear for me.

But yes, I will take your latter paragraph in mind. If she is comfortable with me getting legal assistance on her behalf, then I will get legal assistance on this if she decides she actually does decide wants to quit and retire.

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solarascent
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by solarascent » Sat Apr 18, 2020 11:46 pm

Anyway, I just want to thank everyone who responded to this thread. I've throughly exhausted myself trying to plan this out, but I am really glad I decided to post here on a whim, as I have been informed of many different options that I probably would not have been exposed to myself. Although I've been trying to do research on my own, multiple minds are greater than one. All of this will be helpful information for my mom to consider and I hope this can add even more clarity to her decision and help her realize that there are other options out there if she decides she is not able to continue to work this specific job even with the new day schedule and warmer conditions coming up.

So thank you for that. I will still be reading comments tomorrow and any other new advice. But at the moment, I am off to bed. Thank you!

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by musicmom » Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:56 am

OP, just want to say how lucky your mom is to have you on her side as she plans her next step.
You sound like a very caring son.

One question I didnt see answered:
What will your Mom do for health insurance until Medicare kicks in at 65?
Will she have any retire coverage from her employer?
Or purchase privately?

I was pretty much in the same place last year. Great job with good employer for 40 years.
Great co-workers.
All wonderful until it wasnt.
At age 62, I couldnt tolerate the rapid changes in the workplace that were badly affecting staff morale, schedules, policies.

Left with a nice lump sum pension that I rolled into an IRA.
Had saved in 403b for many years. Claimed SS at 63 this year.

Still, my numbers wouldn't have worked out if i hadnt earned retiree health coverage.
Tiny monthly premium covers me as primary until Medicare next year. Then it will become secondary for both me and DH.

I left a few dollars on the table leaving 'early' (after 40 years!)
It was absolutely the right decision for me.

Best wishes to your Mom.

musicmom
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by musicmom » Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:59 am

OP, did I assume incorrectly you are her son?
Maybe you are a very caring daughter!!!
💗

Lalamimi
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by Lalamimi » Sun Apr 19, 2020 2:12 pm

As someone who was laid off a few years ago at age 64, It does sound like they are trying to get her to quit before her pension is fully vested. Can she document facts that might help her with discrimination if necessary?

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LilyFleur
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by LilyFleur » Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:08 pm

Health insurance in early retirement is the wild card. And it's a big one. If she can pay for it pre-tax (having it withdrawn from her pension check), that is much better than having to buy it on the open market with post-tax dollars. How much of the health insurance premium will her employer pay? Will she be able to get ACA subsidies? This is a complicated and big part of her financial plan. Health insurance in early retirement can cost as much as a house payment.

Will her home country give her health insurance when she is living there?

I think it's time to do a retirement budget with her. Having two homes is not cheap. It would be much more affordable to be able to pay rent on a second pace if her home in the U.S. was paid off. Can she start renting out a room in her home to help pay down the mortgage?

It is not easy to look for work in your late 50s. Ageism is real. Been there, done that, and the only decent employment I could find was from a friend of a friend, and even those have been very low-paying.

As a long-time state employee, doesn't your mom have a generous allotment of vacation time and sick time every year? Maybe she needs to start trying to take a day off every other week to rest and do a bit around her house. Maybe she could get "sick" more often and stay home and rest to try to push through to a bigger pension.

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solarascent
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by solarascent » Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:16 pm

musicmom wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:56 am
What will your Mom do for health insurance until Medicare kicks in at 65?
Will she have any retire coverage from her employer?
Or purchase privately?
Thank you for your suggestions and I am glad your plan has worked out! I realized that I didn't factor in health care coverage yet. So figuring out ways to increase her maximum pension can definitely help with providing more cushion for healthcare expenses. I will mention this to her, because I am not certain what she's planning for that as we have not discussed it. She would have to purchase privately until medicare kicks in, I suppose. And nope, am a daughter, and thank you.
Lalamimi wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 2:12 pm
As someone who was laid off a few years ago at age 64, It does sound like they are trying to get her to quit before her pension is fully vested. Can she document facts that might help her with discrimination if necessary?
Yes, I've had some very similar advice above from previous posters which has made me put a gentle legal action on the cards in a worst case scenario. Although, I do not know if this is something she will like to even consider, so I will definitely pursue other options first and then if nothing hits in time, I'll bring it up with her.

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LilyFleur
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by LilyFleur » Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:58 pm

She would have to purchase privately until medicare kicks in, I suppose
I would not assume this. Many state agencies give retirees the chance to purchase group health insurance in a retiree health plan which most likely offers more benefits for a lower cost than buying insurance in the marketplace. Each agency will have differing amounts that they cover monthly for the health insurance, and the retiree thus has a different amount due each month out of their own funds, depending on their agency and on the plan they select. Also, it is an advantage tax-wise if the agency subtracts the insurance premiums from the retirement check on a pre-tax basis. You save a lot of money by doing it that way rather than getting your retirement check and then buying insurance in the marketplace with post-tax dollars.

Lots of research to do!

Your mother is fortunate to have your help, and you did the right thing by posting here. This website offers a wealth of information. You are a good daughter :happy

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gr7070
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by gr7070 » Sun Apr 19, 2020 4:02 pm

solarascent wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:16 pm
Lalamimi wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 2:12 pm
As someone who was laid off a few years ago at age 64, It does sound like they are trying to get her to quit before her pension is fully vested. Can she document facts that might help her with discrimination if necessary?
Yes, I've had some very similar advice above from previous posters which has made me put a gentle legal action on the cards in a worst case scenario. Although, I do not know if this is something she will like to even consider, so I will definitely pursue other options first and then if nothing hits in time, I'll bring it up with her.
Do you know how her pension benefit is calculated?

For many it's multiplied by the number of years worked. Therefore there isn't necessary a "fully vested" amount.

However, it might be reduced if retiring before a "minimum" age.

The term vested could mean many different things. For my pension I am "vested" after 10 years. There is no "full retirement" as it's increased for each year I work there.

Have you posted who her employer is? Knowing what pension it is may help you make informed opinions. Right now it doesn't appear you have a true handle on her pension.

Having an employee leave "early" doesn't necessarily save an employer huge amounts in pension pay. If they've worked there 30 years, leaving now instead of in two years will save them 6%. However, that 6% would have to be paid to someone to do this job. Even if it's to a cheaper employee the employer is still paying someone that 2 years of earned pension benefits - assuming common government pension. So they're not really saving much of anything.

Additionally, many employers with pensions like the government don't have an owner to benefit from the employee leaving.

If this is a government employer this is almost certainly not a grand scheme to get the employee to leave.

Maybe a rogue manager has it out for her and that may be legally actionable.

There is lots in this thread that is unknown especially the OPs knowledge of the pension and its inner workings.

If this is a corporate, private pension much could be different.

donall
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by donall » Sun Apr 19, 2020 4:19 pm

Study your mom’s pension plan handbook!!
Most state jobs have accrued sick days that count towards the years needed for retirement. Often they can count up to one year. Some pension systems have more. Vacation time may also accrue and can be counted. There may be special early retirement programs, buy-ins, etc. Are positions available in the pension system or other reciprocating systems?

Also look into health insurance programs offered through the pension system or the state, as they may also be tied into years of service.

With physical jobs, there are traditionally good options to transfer to a less demanding position. Where is the union that represents her?

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solarascent
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by solarascent » Sun Apr 19, 2020 4:25 pm

LilyFleur wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:08 pm
Health insurance in early retirement is the wild card. And it's a big one. If she can pay for it pre-tax (having it withdrawn from her pension check), that is much better than having to buy it on the open market with post-tax dollars. How much of the health insurance premium will her employer pay? Will she be able to get ACA subsidies? This is a complicated and big part of her financial plan. Health insurance in early retirement can cost as much as a house payment.

Will her home country give her health insurance when she is living there?

I think it's time to do a retirement budget with her. Having two homes is not cheap. It would be much more affordable to be able to pay rent on a second pace if her home in the U.S. was paid off. Can she start renting out a room in her home to help pay down the mortgage?

It is not easy to look for work in your late 50s. Ageism is real. Been there, done that, and the only decent employment I could find was from a friend of a friend, and even those have been very low-paying.

As a long-time state employee, doesn't your mom have a generous allotment of vacation time and sick time every year? Maybe she needs to start trying to take a day off every other week to rest and do a bit around her house. Maybe she could get "sick" more often and stay home and rest to try to push through to a bigger pension.
Many good points. Health insurance is a expense that I guess retirees need to plan. The employer does not administer any programs, and I guess she would get travel insurance to cover out of country. But doing more research, once medicare kicks in, they will reimburse premiums, so that is a plus. But yes, from all the questions asked here, a estimated budget should be calculated so she can better get a handle on what the retirement income can mean w.r.t. her planned expenses. And it's sad to hear about the age-ism... That makes the possibility that she will find another job (that I was hoping can be promising direction for her) to be a bit lower. :( But still worth a shot if she does decide to quit but wants to wait and work a bit before she reaches full retirement age to reduce penalties.

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solarascent
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by solarascent » Sun Apr 19, 2020 4:32 pm

LilyFleur wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 3:58 pm
She would have to purchase privately until medicare kicks in, I suppose
I would not assume this. Many state agencies give retirees the chance to purchase group health insurance in a retiree health plan which most likely offers more benefits for a lower cost than buying insurance in the marketplace. Each agency will have differing amounts that they cover monthly for the health insurance, and the retiree thus has a different amount due each month out of their own funds, depending on their agency and on the plan they select. Also, it is an advantage tax-wise if the agency subtracts the insurance premiums from the retirement check on a pre-tax basis. You save a lot of money by doing it that way rather than getting your retirement check and then buying insurance in the marketplace with post-tax dollars.

Lots of research to do!

Your mother is fortunate to have your help, and you did the right thing by posting here. This website offers a wealth of information. You are a good daughter :happy
I will do some research on the above. I've just read they don't administer health insurance programs, so I'm assuming that's what you're talking about as group health insurance? But yeah, I'll just ask her what her plan on for healthcare instead of trying to make sense of all the jargon. As she definitely will know more on this aspect. Health insurance is not my forte... But for medicare, I've read they do reimburse premiums which is good. And they do deduct premiums from pension income before medicare kicks in, so pre-tax check!

And again, thank you! This knowledge is helpful.

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solarascent
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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by solarascent » Sun Apr 19, 2020 4:52 pm

gr7070 wrote:
Sun Apr 19, 2020 4:02 pm
Do you know how her pension benefit is calculated?

For many it's multiplied by the number of years worked. Therefore there isn't necessary a "fully vested" amount.

However, it might be reduced if retiring before a "minimum" age.

The term vested could mean many different things. For my pension I am "vested" after 10 years. There is no "full retirement" as it's increased for each year I work there.

Have you posted who her employer is? Knowing what pension it is may help you make informed opinions. Right now it doesn't appear you have a true handle on her pension.

Having an employee leave "early" doesn't necessarily save an employer huge amounts in pension pay. If they've worked there 30 years, leaving now instead of in two years will save them 6%. However, that 6% would have to be paid to someone to do this job. Even if it's to a cheaper employee the employer is still paying someone that 2 years of earned pension benefits - assuming common government pension. So they're not really saving much of anything.

Additionally, many employers with pensions like the government don't have an owner to benefit from the employee leaving.

If this is a government employer this is almost certainly not a grand scheme to get the employee to leave.

Maybe a rogue manager has it out for her and that may be legally actionable.

There is lots in this thread that is unknown especially the OPs knowledge of the pension and its inner workings.

If this is a corporate, private pension much could be different.
Oh yes, I've been calculating her pension benefits (pretty simple equation) and that's how I was able to come up with the finances for all the retirement scenarios. From everyone's responses, the missing pieces here is not her pension income, but rather her retirement budget, lifestyle, healthcare. And another common suggestion is considering options to see how we can lessen the age penalty and possibly delay official retirement and what other options can exist that might either improve her work conditions, another state job (if possible), or local job that will get her closer to retirement age.

The term vested could mean many different things. For my pension I am "vested" after 10 years. There is no "full retirement" as it's increased for each year I work there.


And this is a good point. This is a nuance that I think from reading multiple topics on this where the terminology might be slightly misleading or misused. But this thread has helped me understand the nuance more. I have been using full pension to mean both (no age penalty reduction) and (getting her minimum service years that can offer her the ability to retire earlier than the official retirement age). In this case, she is almost close to that min year number, and that is why I was interchanging the two. But they are not the same, someone can get their full pension (no penalty) but not have the MAX service years possible (which in this case can be infinity I think as they might offer credit for delayed retirement after a certain age). So, this is a very important distinction. That she can still quit if she wants, but can maybe consider doing other things that can cover her expenses in order to get closer to the official retirement age.

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by Golf maniac » Sun Apr 19, 2020 6:19 pm

solarascent wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:40 pm
Golf maniac wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:16 pm
I was in a similar situation 5 years ago. I was at my full retirement age, but only 56. I had planned to work 4 to 6 more years but the job became unbearable for me. The only thing that matters is can she live on the pension that she will get today. Is there a COLA and when does it kick in? A detailed retirement budget will tell her if she can retire early. Increase the budget annually for future inflation and see where she stands.

The living in a different country while maintaining a home here is a complication. I would focus on expenses here and then see if living elsewhere part of the year will work.

To be blunt, a pension is worthless if you develop significant health issues from stress over several years of work. If she can afford to retire now and live a happy, comfortable life, she should do it.
HomeStretch wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:17 pm
Her job sounds hard.
Can she live on $40k per year?
Does the pension receive cost-of-living adjustments?
From my research, her pension does receive COLA adjustments. But It's only applies to a certain amount of her pension (like less than 20k) and it's half of actual inflation rates. Also, from what I understand social security also receives COLA as well. So she is somewhat shielded from inflation, but not to its full effects.

Yeah, she definitely does want to live in her home country for a while and do potential joint living in retirement. That's definitely her dream retirement (from what I understand) because that's her home but her staying in the US for a long time makes this her home now too.

But yes, we haven't worked out a detailed retirement budget. I only have a sense of what she wants. The mortgage + tax is a bit higher than what I would assume other retirees typically pay as they usually downsize I think. But I think she definitely wants to have a permanent place to stay in the U.S. too but yes she's thinking of all her options if she can afford the house while living in another country, or will she have to sell it, who's going to maintain it when she's away, can she afford renting/buying in another country as well. I told her that her children can chip in for the house here, but I agree that it's a lot on her plate and her lifestyle should be sustainable.

But yeah 40K a year will be tight for her due to her mortgage. But 55k (once social security hits) a year is definitely sustainable I believe.
An option may be to retire, sell her home, split her time between her home country and US and rent in both locations. That does a few thing,(1) gets her the ability to live in both locations but not have to maintain or finance The one in the US, (2) gives her money to invest and supplement income to allow her to push back when she takes social security.

She is going to have some difficult decisions, but delaying social security as far as possible is a goal I would push. I hope it works out to allow her to have her dream.

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Re: Parent is working grueling job, considering retiring just a few years before pension. How else can I help her decide

Post by Sahara » Mon Apr 20, 2020 5:23 am

Your mom is very lucky to have you help her as she explores her options.

If she does have the ability to keep her group health insurance when she leaves, keep in mind that some organizations require retirees to "officially retire.” This means that in order to retain the organization's group health insurance in retirement the employee must take the pension. This is an obstacle to leaving the organization prior to full retirement age and relying on other income for a year or two prior to taking the pension. You may want to have her read her contract or have her clarify this with HR.

Are you using an online pension estimator? Sometimes the retirement calculations have nuances. For example, if you have the required years but not the required age the calculated benefit is reduced by up to 30 percent.

For example: Average $55,000

30 years * 2% * average highest 3 years at 55 = $33,000

becomes

29 years * 2% * average highest 3 years *.70 = $22,300

Finally, one on one and video consultations are often provided as well as a variety of planning seminars. She might want to attend some of those for personalized advice.

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