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Depending on when you were born in the '50's you're getting near, if not already there, to the new "official" retirement age of 66. I was born in 1951, just turned 65, which used to be the "official" age for retiring and getting some of your Social Security money back. I was debating retirement before Bunny passed, but now I'm almost thinking "What's the point?" I'm not sure I'm prepared to be completely by myself all day.

I have a secure job, been there for nearly 20 years. In addition, I'm a musician and I've been writing a bit lately, so I could go back to some type of music career (I was a full time musician until the age of 45) and being free from a daily job would give me the time to explore writing more seriously. And I'm blessed, financially, to be able to retire ... I'm far from rich but I live within my means and was lucky to be married to a good "money person" who taught me how to handle the dollars we do have responsibly. If it were left up to me to handle the finances all of those years I'd probably be living in a cardboard box somewhere ...

What's the opinion, '50's folks? Who is ready to quit the daily grind? Or, have you already done that?

Peace, Ed

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I am a few years behind you, but had started trying to figure out how to retire so we could travel more, etc.  I was able to reduce the number of hours I worked per week - right before he got ill.  Now I would be afraid not to work - like you said, what's the point.  I need some structure right now, and a chance to figure out who I am now.  While I relished the thought of staying home all day gardening, etc. I think I would go nuts if I did that right now.  

We had been planning a trip to Ireland next year and Australia the following year. I have no desire to do those trips on my own ... I agree with you, I think I would lose my mind if I did either of those trips right now.

Good topic, thanks!

I just turned 61.  After remodeling the house my husband and I lived in (new flooring, kitchen, bath) and thinking I would stay for a while, I realized that the house just made me too sad.  That and a neighbor who was angry with me for being friends with his ex-wife and sending me veiled threats via his son's Facebook page, and I moved up my timetable and moved to NC from NJ last December.  I was lucky in that I was allowed to work remotely from home, so I have my same job, same pay, same benefits.  Presumably I can do this as long as I want to, though they could rescind the arrangement at any time.

Right now my plan is to work until I am 63 and have 10 years with the company.  Unless they change things, this would allow me to stay on the company health insurance till Medicare kicks in (assuming Medicare even still exists then).  I would have to pay the full cost, but it is very good coverage.

I am feeling myself starting to "wind down."  My job is pretty stressful and it's aggravating.  The stupid can be strong there.  I see the retirees in my neighborhood getting together for walks and I want to join them, but I'm sitting in my house with a headset on, attending teleconferences.  I find I care less about my work than I used to.  I want space and time in my life.  I want to volunteer, to get a culinary certificate from the local tech school, to sleep in, to sit on my porch and read.  I want to BE.  I worked 7 days a week the first five years in this job.  When he was getting treatments, I was over at Panera Bread working.  When he was dying in the neuro ICU, I was there with my effing laptop and a headset on my head attending teleconferences.  I hate, hate, hate that I had to do that.  No one would cut me any slack except letting me work from outside the office I don't want to be sitting in a doctor's office being told I have Stage IV cancer and THAT is what I spent my time doing.

My husband was a network administrator.  He had "aged out" of his career; individual networks being replaced by multi-company server farms -- fewer jobs and none of them going to older guys.  He was scrambling from contract to contract, always on the same trajectory -- exhilaration upon getting a job, depression on ending it.  And then he had cancer.  And then he had moyamoya and needed brain surgery.  And then he was sending out resumes to headhunters again THE DAY BEFORE HIS STROKE.  It is only now, nearly three years later, that I am not cleaning out recruiter spam out of his e-mail account every day.  I don't want that to be me.  

Obviously the longer I can work, the better my financial position because I have a good 401(k) match and it's that much longer I don't start tapping my retirement funds.  But it's a balancing act.  I don't want to wait too long.

First, congrats on getting out of Jersey! That's an accomplishment all by itself, one I'm not sure I'll ever be able to do now ... I'm jealous!

My job is definitely challenging, irritating and loaded with stress, but I've become accustomed to it (sadly).  To the credit of my firm, they have always been highly supportive of my time away from work when Bunny was in various stages of treatments over the years. No deduction from paychecks, no loss of vacation days ... it's a very family-oriented firm and I'm lucky to have been with them for so long. I, too, have a nicely matched 401K which has been wonderful to be aware of when looking at retirement.

You make wonderful points to consider. I certainly care much less about the job, too ... it all seems so unimportant to me now, the petty disputes, the successful contract awards, all of it ... who cares at this stage of my career. But like you, a few more years to cushion the retirement accounts seems reasonable, too.

I can't imagine having to try to work while you were caring for your dying husband!   You are more dedicated and talented than I.  I took unpaid leave, and am glad that I was able to do that.  Intermittent at first, then full time the last months.  It was a hard hit, but I wouldn't change a thing.  Then 3 days (3 days?!?!) bereavement, so I used some vacation time after that.  I have 18 years with my company but when I go I get nothing other than my 401k.  It's an international consulting company - I would have thought they would do better, but it is what it is.  My neighbor just had her fourth baby (a lovely young family) and her husband got 4 weeks paid leave!  I think that is great.  The way it looks now, I will probably have to work until medicare kicks in -- if only for the health insurance.  Six years seems like an eternity to me now.  Luckily I don't hate my job - don't love it, but don't hate it either.  I used to spend a good bit of time in NC for work and loved it.  Loved reading your blog posts -- you should do more...

Hardly.  He was in the neuro intensive care unit being cared for by excellent doctors and nurses.

In fairness, I think the work gave me structure and distraction in the face of chaos.  Still -- it would have been nice for them to give me some time off without me having to apply for family leave (which in NJ is only "paid" as if you're on unemployment).  I needed the money to pay the bills.  

Jojen, like you, I only got 3 days bereavement leave and then had to burn vacation days.  I also have no pension, just my 401(k).

To the extent that there is family leave, it is only about babies or adopting a child -- at least that's how it is at most companies.  I don't know what other companies do, but in NJ there is six weeks "paid leave", which as I said -- is not your full salary, but it's like being on state unemployment, which is a fraction of what my income was.

Dear Ed, I think you've already answered your own question.  You said that you're not sure you are ready to be completely by yourself all day.  If you like your job, keep it. I does sound like you have options.  That's always a good thing.  I started a business for my husband and I to do when my husband retired.  We had 6 wonderful months working it.  I figured I would have to sell it and my home when he passed away.  Fortunately I didn't have to do either and the business has given me a reason to get out of bed.  There were times I would have sold it, but I didn't and it has been a good thing.  You'll figure out what you want to do.  Just don't rush it or let anyone else rush you.

Peace, Marilyn

I am so sorry for your loss, no words make it better.    I resigned my position in 2013 when my husband was going through his first chemo.  Also, my Mother needed me to start being more involved in her care, driving, finances, etc.    We had bought our retirement "project" home in 2011. The diagnosis of colon cancer came in 2013.    

It's been almost 8 months now.    My husband didn't want me to go back to work and did leave me provided for so I have started teaching painting classes from my home.  I have no desire to move from our mountain manor.  Never get tired or bored, in fact, there never seem to be enough hours in the day to do the things I need to do, should do and want to do.  I am continuing the dream of restoring this old stone house and gardens and can escape to my studio for my art.

I can only advise you to go with what your heart is telling you.   Art has been my salvation from drowning in grief, music may be yours.  If you have the means to live and it sounds like you do, then I would immerse myself in artistic endeavors, the music and writing.

Life is too short, we need to dance while we can......     

Hi Ed.....I;m sorry you're here .....but will welcome you ...I retired when Bill was dx....he was 51 , I was 54 and had 25 years in to collect a good pension...he passed 3 1/2 years later and we spent pretty much every minute together...I was his advocate, caregiver..learned a lot about medicine and how to administer certain antibiotics, how to be a would care nurse...we decided he wanted to be at home as long as he could and preferred me caring for him....that being said...I have no regrets....I;m 62 now...he has been gone 5 + years.....and no it was not easy....my first year...I spent going to grief groups,. maybe having coffee or lunch with some of the people....then I went into more..I took classes, attended lectures, volunteered at a stand alone Cancer treatment facility for 2 years, tried to date, joined meet up group, spent time with my daughters (I also lost a daughter) my husband passed on her birthday...my grandchildren have been a true mender of a shattered heart....the wounds scar over in time......now I take care of me and do what ever I feel like doing....I find I don't like being committed...in case I just want to do my thing that day...but we';re all different....that's my story Ed...I wish you the best with your decision....mine was made for me ...I would have another 4 years to work ..and am very happy I don't have to....PEACE my friend...Angel

Amen!!!   I cherish every second of the two precious years I got to spend with my husband without my job draining the life out of me.    Going with him to Doctor visits, chemo and scans. I drove him everywhere when he became unable to and cooked whatever he felt like he could eat.  He worked as long as he was able, I think that helped him live as long as he did.   I made sure that when he got home, he didn't have to lift a finger if he didn't want to.  He could have a nap, read or watch TV until he felt like he could eat supper.   I planted the gardens and got up everyday last summer at 6 a.m. to water the flowers because I knew how much he loved his gardens.  I don't regret any of it.  

Amen is right sunfeathers....I have no regrets....if he wanted a dixie cup for breakfast that's what he got...I went to every appt with him , and learned how to infuse antibiotics in 2 different ways, and how to be a wound care nurse...there was nothing I wouldn't do for him except overdose him when the pain got unbearable.....I was taught how to dose him every hour with something different to keep him comfortable....and I will admit once I made him brownies with a little pot in them.....well not telling him he ate 3 of them and I went up to take a shower ...and he ate 3 more.....I had to tell him when I came down and he said he was hungry for the first time in over a month....so I told him anything he wanted but no more brownies......he spent the next 3 days in bed, napping, watching old westerns, eating anything and everything, sleeping.....I was so happy I did what I did..and would do it over again in a minute...had I known it worked so well I would have done it sooner.....I will always be grateful that I was in his life for the good memories and to care for him the last years of his life.....PEACE my friend...

Thank you all for your replies and insight. Valid points made all around and I think that's what makes any decision so uncertain. One minute I am completely ready to just walk away from it all, and then the next I look around at my empty life outside of working and it makes no sense to just be alone. Writing is an extremely solitary endeavor, as I'm sure many here already know (based on the quality of a lot of the posts and blogs.)  And the playing live music scene here in the NYC/NJ/Philly corridor is either a mad house or very unprofessional. Most of my music ventures these days involve arranging or supply electronic bass tracks to an emailed file. Again, solitary.

Much to consider, and I appreciate all of the sharing!

Peace, Ed

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