Author Topic: Another miserable professional - what should I do?  (Read 7911 times)

StaggerLee

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Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« on: July 25, 2015, 07:20:08 AM »
First, let me say that every word you are about to read is true with one exception: I am not a "business consultant." I've disguised my job description to protect the wild, the innocent & and ... well, you know.

I am a 64 yr old business consultant in a major U.S. city. I am a partner in a mid-sized firm.  My wife, who does not work, is 62.  Our daughter, 21, is entering her junior year of college.

We live in a wealthy suburb in a northeastern U.S. city.

Our house is worth ~$750,000. 

We have ~$4.7 million in financial assets: 401K, Roth 401K, IRA, Roth IRA, HSA, after-tax account.  These assets are about 50-50 between pre-tax/after-tax monies. Roth assets about $500,000.  The financial assets are approx. 55% stock, 35% bond, 10% cash.  They are mostly in index or low cost/low turn over funds, Paul Merriman/Bogleheads-style diversification.

We have no mortgage, but we do have a $180,000, 3.25% fixed HELOC with 8 yrs left to pay. This is "elective" debt. 

So, (financial assets + real estate) - HELOC = ~$5.2 million.  It's OK to say approximately, since with about $2.3MM in stock investments these assets easily fluctuate by $100,000 one way or the other from month-to-month.

Plan at present is to tap spouse's SS at 66 ($15K/yr., spousal benefit), mine at 70 ($35k/yr).

We just paid our daughters junior year, first semester tuition from her 529 Plan. She has three semesters left to pay, we can pay two of those from her 529.  She has no college debt. We will pay the last semester from our general funds.

We spend a lot of money - about $200,000/yr., not including tuition. Almost half of this is spent on housing and health care. Home repairs, maintenance, property taxes, insurance premiums, dental are the biggest items.  We are very frugal, and don't spend money on vacations, fancy clothes, luxuries. It just costs a lot to live up here. The cost of a tooth implant and crown (which my wife had this year) is $6,000.

Now, lets leave the boring part and move on.

I am really sick of my job situation.  I have been at this firm most of my career, but I've had a lot of conflicts with my partners over various management and practice issues.  I don't much like them, and I'm pretty sure they don't much like me.  I suspect that they are just wondering why I don't retire. They can't toss me out unless I do something truly awful or illegal, which is not going to happen. However, they have reduced my compensation over the last few years, and we have had disagreement over that.

In addition, I don't like the direction the business is going in terms of industry focus, strategic planning decisions, and a variety of other issues that are unique to consultants and immensely boring to anyone else (and even us).

I have a lot of interests outside work.  I actually like the area of business I'm involved with (it's the partners and clients that are a pain), and if I "retired" I would not stop writing and, perhaps, advising clients in this area in a limited capacity, but it would probably be breakeven or a little more - I'm not confident I could build a practice (or a practice I would enjoy) at 65.  I have a number of hobbies outside work.  I'm not worried about having nothing "do do."

But, I am scared to death of retiring.  I keep saying, "just a little more" - a little more money (get to $5MM with 0 debt), another year of work (that's one less year our assets need to support us).  Just a little more "security". (Yes, I know there is no security, but yet emotionally .... ) 

I'm uphappy, but I just can't pull the trigger.  I'm like a man standing on the edge of a cliff, afraid to jump into the water.  What if there's a huge bear market? What if there's a huge unexpected personal expense?  What if we live into our 90's (as 3/4 parents did)? What if? ....

What about health insurance? I know I could use 18 months of Cobra, but that would leave a 9 month gap during which we'd have to use ACA insurance before my wife is eligible for Medicare.  How would that work out?

After making and saving money for almost 50 years (I opened my first IRA, at my father's urging, when I was 16 yrs. old), the thought of spending down a lifetime of savings is ..... just. too. damn. hard. !

I am stuck, and I know it.  Just reading back over this shows how crazy and neurotic I am about this situation. Any thoughts, encouragement, discouragement, sympathetic anecdotes, criticism, whatever, would be appreciated. I hope Mr. MM doesn't highlight this post in one of his blog posts and beat me up - believe me, I'm doing a good enough job myself.

Staggerlee























Dee18

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2015, 07:43:51 AM »
I am truly wondering how you can spend $200,000 a year, especially when you don't travel.  You mentioned the dental work, but that still leaves $194,000!

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2015, 07:47:44 AM »
Dude, just pull the trigger.

If you move to a lower COL area,  you can easily live on the the $188k that your stache will bring in (4% of $4.7M).

Just remember how you felt physically at 50 and compare that with what you feel at 62. You will notice that you are slowing down and cannot do things you used to do. You have a few years left to enjoy, so go ahead and do so.

Just do it!

pbkmaine

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2015, 07:55:26 AM »
This might be a good case study, with a detailed breakdown of expenses. You also might want to cross post on The Early Retirement Forum, where assets and living expenses are more likely to be in your range. Do you have to stay where you are? DH and I live in central Florida in a very nice area on much less.

Rezdent

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2015, 07:59:30 AM »
Welcome to the forum.
I get the impression that you have run your numbers and logically you are ready, but emotionally not so much.

There will always be an element of unknown about the future.  This is true whether you are working or not.

I suggest you focus and speak with the spouse on what will you do upon retirement.  What dreams, hopes, plans are there?
If you can't name them, work on that.

Because it is better to retire toward fulfilling those dreams than it is to retire from a job you no longer love.

forummm

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2015, 08:09:56 AM »
You're financially independent. You have a crazy amount of money, plus SS+MC on the horizon. You don't need to work anymore.

StaggerLee

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2015, 08:10:59 AM »
Pencile Stashe: I'd be happy to post my detailed expenses.  Can't paste a spreadsheet in here, though.  Staggerlee

StaggerLee

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2015, 08:13:37 AM »
Oops, sorry PBKMaine - just getting used to this forum.  Not sure what the "second" handles are for

Abe

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2015, 08:31:30 AM »
I understand why you would be scared of retirement, since you've been used to working for so long. Maybe it's better to transition into retirement by working part time? I think once you get used to not making as much money, you will be less afraid of finally walking away from the business. I do think decreasing your expenses will significantly reduce your fears. Your housing expenses seem quite high since your mortgage is already paid off and the HELOC rate is so low. Are there fixed costs you are spending on that you don't really need? Would those costs persist in retirement? Try to determine what expenses are secondary to your (I assume) busy work schedule and thus disappear in retirement. That may also reduce your concerns.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2015, 08:32:33 AM »
Maybe take six or twelve months off work and then see how you feel about retiring :)

Also how in the hell can you spend nearly $100,000 on housing and health care, when you've got very little housing debt? I get that property taxes are high in parts of the States, and health insurance is insanely expensive, but seriously?
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 08:34:45 AM by alsoknownasDean »

forummm

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2015, 08:56:28 AM »
Pencile Stashe: I'd be happy to post my detailed expenses.  Can't paste a spreadsheet in here, though.  Staggerlee

You can attach a spreadsheet to your post. When you click on "REPLY", on the next page click on "Attachments and other options" below the text box.

Oops, sorry PBKMaine - just getting used to this forum.  Not sure what the "second" handles are for

Those are just categories based on how many posts people have.

StaggerLee

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2015, 09:03:04 AM »
Housing expenses - yeah, tell me about it.  How about living in a fenced-in one acre lot?  Our house is quite small - 2700 sq. ft.  But maintenance is hell.  Every year there is some major expense.  Here are 2014 expenses:

Maintenance          $1,703
HELOC (interest only) $6,900
Property Taxes          $8,873
Oil   $6,375
Lawn/Gardn/Snow      $9,255
Housekeeper            $3,600
Homeowners Ins.       $3,857
Electric                  $2,677
Appliances Major   $2,025
Other                  $147
Capital Improvement   
(new deck flooring)   $13,590

This totals $59,000.
We've lived in this house for 23 yrs, and re-floored the deck twice.  Not sure a deck can last more than 12 years without problems.

Appliance was a new dishwasher.  Old one finally failed after 23 years.

Of the $9,000 lawn/garden/snow, $6,000 was tree removal.  That doesn't happen every year, but SOMETHING happens every year. :)   Fence repairs, new roof, septic, basement flooding ... something.

Yes, I realize that moving out of this house is the answer.  But my wife loves it.  And, it's not the worst investment in the world.  It is appreciating at around 3%, tax free (with $500K exemption on appreciation), which is a bit of an offset against these expenses. 




Rezdent

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2015, 09:14:10 AM »
The housing costs do look expensive, but I'm not sure moving is an obvious answer.
As long as your retirement income can cover all of your costs, you could elect to stay.  Or you could cut other costs to equalize spending.

Your wife loves the place.  How do YOU feel about it?

Zamboni

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2015, 09:19:09 AM »
Thank you for posting.

It seems like you have some awfully high discretionary expenses associated with your home. You are spending tens of thousands per year on lawn care and housekeeper; most here would categorize those as a luxury. $2K per year for appliances? My house is the size of your house and I've replaced the water heater once to the tune of $1K; that's all I've spent on appliances in 5 years. And I cook every single day, so it's not like my appliances don't get a workout.

I'm going to be honest and say that your burn rate on some of these things baffles me. Have you read any of the MMM blog?

In your situation I would retire today, and I wouldn't have to sell the wonderful house, but I'd sure change some of those expense line items.

StaggerLee

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2015, 09:33:41 AM »
Zamboni - no, I do not spend time trying to minimize expenses.  I have never had the time to do that.  When you're working full time+++, and making $400,000 - $600,000 a year, trying to save a few thousand dollars here and there is just not on the radar.  Overspending (and knowing your are overspending) is just a fact of life.  However: I am 100% ready, willing and able to do this in the future (present?).

pmkmaine - maybe I'll attach a pdf spreadsheet showing expenses for the last two years by category, if for no other reason than to satisfy prurient interest. I think I'm anonymous on this site, but this is, after all, the WWW.  On the other hand, as Larry Ellison pointed out long ago,  "you have no privacy, get over it," or something like that.

Geez, I'm starting to think friends/acquaintances could recognize me just from my music and technology quotes :)

StaggerLee

Terrestrial

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2015, 09:52:09 AM »
I think you will find you could cut your expenses by quite a bit, especially when you are not working.  Your wife doesn't work now, and you spend 300/mo on a housekeeper?  How much of the 9k of garden/lawn could be reduced cutting your own lawn and doing some gardening, which you would have time to do, if you were retired, and probably dont take up a ton of your time when you are not working 50+ hours a week after considering commuting time etc.  My parents live on an acre plot and probably spend 4-6 hours a week on the lawn/garden...so about the same ammt of time as a monday morning from when you get your coffee until lunch. 

How much of the rest of your 200k of expenses are similar things, stuff you might be hiring out now that are either going to be unneeded in retirement (suit dry cleaning?, commuting dollars?, etc) or you will finally have the time to do your self instead of paying someone else.    It doesn't seem crazy to think that with no mortgage and no costs associated with working that you can get your expenses down considerably, to the point where almost $5m in assets can easily support you. 

Also - you dont really make this clear if your NW includes any equity stake you have in your business...have you included the $$ you would receive from being bought out of your partnership?  If there is no such buyout, would it be worth it to your partners to throw you one in order to make everyone happy??

You also dont really explicitly make it clear if you are really worried about running out of money (the odds are very low) or if you trying to be able to live out your life and still leave a substantial sum for your daughter (that changes things).  If you aren't worried about any inheritance type stuff...quit, you have more than enough money.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 09:55:51 AM by Terrestrial »

bsmith

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2015, 10:01:25 AM »
Dude, move. Now.

lbmustache

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2015, 10:08:18 AM »
StaggerLee, I am a bit confused by your health care spending. Can you break that down for us too? $6k for dental stuff sounds ok, especially if you have a cheaper plan. But, doesn't it cap at some point? I have one of the cheapest plans through Kaiser Permanente (HMO health insurance in California and a few other states) and my maximum out of pocket is $16k in a given year. I have a cheap plan  because I am young and don't go to the doctor - but they have other plans at around $500/month (my parents are around your age) with zero deductible and like $2k max out of pocket. Is there something similar available in your area, or a different PPO plan?

Zamboni

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2015, 10:16:46 AM »
The classic book Your Money or Your Life has a great section on the costs associated with working that go away upon retirement. There are obvious things like commuting and wardrobe, but other perhaps less obvious things like suddenly having time to do more things around your house instead of paying others large sums to do it for you.

It has a method for converting a lot of calculations from dollars to "amount of time of your life energy." So I realize it's probably all or nothing in your career in terms of hours worked per week, but you are indeed presently having to spend some of the limited hours of your life on the lawncare/housework/house repairs; it is just indirect time since you are working to earn the money that you are paying someone else. You might not be thinking that you are spending your time on all of these things, but in fact that is exactly what is happening.

You might want to check that book out. Just ignore the investing advice, which is dated and won't work anymore. Good luck to you!

lhamo

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2015, 10:38:09 AM »
I'm sure there are plenty of mustachians in your community who would be delighted to take over your lawn and garden care and housekeeping for less than $12k/year -- that is just a staggering amount to be spending...  And $2k+ on a DISHWASHER?  Does it make dinner, too?  Boggles the mind, at least my mind....

I think you should start serious discussions with your partners about a buyout.  You are unhappy both personally and with the direction the business is going, and they don't like you.  It would be better for everyone if you went your separate ways.  Have no idea what your share is worth, but I would imagine you should be able to get at least enough to cover paying off your HELOC and the last semester of your daughter's college (btw, time to start encouraging her to get a job/internship and pay at least some of her own expenses, or you are likely to have a boomerang child back in your house in two more years).  You could get the COBRA payments covered as part of the buyout, and try to get them to cover ACA payments until you are both eligible for Medicare.

If you are concerned about what ACA coverage would cost/what it would cover, just go on the exchanges and check.  I am signing up for an ACA compliant plan for myself and my son after leaving my previous position  and losing employer provided healthcare.  I'm going for a Premera Blue Cross "silver" plan, with a $1500 annual deductible.  Cost is right around $620/month for me and my son.  No subsidy as we earned too much already this year.  But that seems very reasonable to me for a decent health insurance plan.   Gold plans are more and provide more comprehensive coverage -- obviously if you were trying to get that covered in a buyout you would pick the cushiest plan you can get to present your suggested package.

Since you admit that you have just been spending mindlessly and not planning well, you can probably easily cut AT LEAST $50k off your annual spending without hardly any effort at all, and most likely could cut up to $100k by just being more conscious/planning things better (doing better maintenance of your house/health before things become a problem that needs to be fixed urgently). 

I think one of the biggest challenges here may be getting your wife on board with a lower level of spending.  I just can't imagine why someone who does not work and has no small kids at home needs housekeeping/garden service.  Sounds pretty entitled to me.  I probably shouldn't make assumptions, though.  Would be interesting to know how she views all of this.  Is she supportive of the idea of you retiring, or dreading the idea? 

wordnerd

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2015, 11:46:21 AM »
I don't doubt OP could cut spending by at least 50%, but I think that discussion is beside the point. Given that a 4% SWR of $5.2 mil is $208k/yr (if you exclude the $750k house, 4% would be $178k/yr) and he has SS just a few years off, he can retire either way. So, what's the obstacle (fear, not knowing what retirement looks like, etc.)? Figure that out, and free thyself!

MidWestLove

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2015, 01:19:28 PM »
I am in the boat (but almost 30 years younger) - certain that financially we are fine if we do not work another day in our life (and live to 100) but emotionally not yet ready. a lot of self reflection. you started that process and it is a great step out of itself - unless you want to be the richest man in the grave yard, stop now and think of this is your life that you are giving away. those days, weeks, and months will not come back.

as for spending, people are right on - you earn 10X median US family income, that is (pick your expletive) amazing! on a good side
you also manage to spend 4x entire median US family income, that is (another expletive) crazy! not on a good side.

part of the wake up could be realizing there is nothing 'normal' about your spending. take health insurance for example - how many years do you need to cover before you can use Medicare?  what the cost would be under plan bought from exchange assuming you will have significantly less income (stopped working) ? that is what ,40k a year you currently think you spend?


 

ynotme

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2015, 02:58:58 PM »
I haven't been in your position so anything I say is not from direct experience so take it with a grain of salt. I have contemplated giving up my well-paying job and can understand the fear of giving up the regular income where each additional year you stick it out allows you to build up a large amount in assets. The difference is that I'm not at a point where I could support myself for the rest of my life but you seem to be there. It sounds like this is now an emotional decision and you need to figure out how you can become comfortable with making the switch to retirement.

A few suggestions that I can think of:
  • You could look at how to set up your finances so that you have some certainty of the money you'll draw down on the first few years of retirement. It may be a cash fund that you access for the first few years without touching other assets so that if a bear market comes along you can ride it out. I think it was JL Collins who has a 2 year cash fund that he tops up each year if his investments go up for the year. For you it may be more than 2 years to give you some certainty.
  • You could set aside specific amounts for known expenses like your daughter's college education.
  • Are you concerned about living within a budget or are you unsure what budget you can live within? You obviously are a saver as you have accumulated $5 million in assets so you have limited your spending to a certain extent to save. You may just need to look at your spending over the last few years to really understand where the money goes and comfortable with how much you need/want.
  • You say you and your wife are frugal so you may just need to have faith in yourselves that if there is a year with unexpected expenses, you can cut back in other areas.

My other suggestion is to browse the Early Retirement forums below (if you haven't already found it). The portfolio sizes and situations may be more similar to your own. There are a lot of posts from people preparing to retire and how they make the decision.
http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/

You're in a great position - if you were pushed to resign right now and the decision was taken out of your hands, do you think you could make it work?
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 03:42:35 PM by ynotme »

BPA

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2015, 03:15:39 PM »
Situations like yours make me scratch my head.  You are 64 and are miserable.  Frankly, the good years are running out.  Like a previous poster mentioned, regardless of what I consider your ridiculously inflated standard of living, you can still get out now.  Do it.  How is spending one more minute miserable worth it?


brainfart

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2015, 03:39:41 PM »
I'm speechless.
I'm living in a wealthy part of Europe. People here aren't exactly starving, many take several vacations to foreign destinations (skiing in the alps, summers around the mediterranean ocean, southeast asia or the carribean), drive decent cars, some even own their apartments or houses, pay shitloads of taxes and they usually earn 5 to 10 times less than you do.
You easily could have retired 10 to 15 years ago, with some minor adjustments to your lifestyle.
Consider yourself kicked in the teeth. Hard.

brainfart

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #25 on: July 25, 2015, 03:45:28 PM »
Fuck, even MMM retired with 8 times less money. I really don't get it.

ynotme

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #26 on: July 25, 2015, 03:48:32 PM »
I'm uphappy, but I just can't pull the trigger.  I'm like a man standing on the edge of a cliff, afraid to jump into the water. 

This made me think of this post
http://theescapeartist.me/2015/07/15/how-to-quit-your-job-the-jump/

okits

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2015, 04:15:38 PM »
Get a therapist to help you through the transition.  I would have retired several millions ago.

StaggerLee

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2015, 07:27:08 PM »
Ynotme - thank you.  Great analogy.  The cliff.  Love that scene. StaggerLee

G-dog

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #29 on: July 25, 2015, 08:03:05 PM »
You say you started an IRA when you were 16 yo, and you are now 64 -- this doesn't seem to add up since IRAs came into being circa 1981 - 34  years ago.

did you use the wrong terminology? Did the internets fail me re: IRA creation date?
Or ......TROLL?

Bearded Man

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #30 on: July 25, 2015, 08:10:25 PM »
There is no reason to live in such a high cost of living area when retired. It's one thing to do it when amassing wealth, and it helps in that regard, but at this point you could sell your house, buy another one paid in full in Florida for example for 100K in a nice area. You could even buy 5 more as rental properties and have way more income than you need to live off of even having a middle class car, going out to eat, internet, smart phones, etc.

And that doesn't even count the rest of your assets. For the love of God, you are FI 500 times over, retire already. Just relocate to do it.

StaggerLee

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #31 on: July 25, 2015, 08:49:25 PM »
G-dog, we were both wrong. IRAs began 1974. I had misremembered, but hey, at this age, the years just flow by like a broken down dam.  Birth, old age, sickness, death, as the Buddists say. Save a little money along the way.

lbmustache, yes, will post medical.  We have a high deductible HSA, which I guess is good, since I save and invest that $$ - ~ $7k/yr.  Over $60k at present. Is a "super IRA"- deductible and comes out tax free for medical expenses. Plan to hold it till 80, hope to double it (at very least) in 15 yrs.  if wife and I die before then our daughter shld have no trouble paying the taxes on it :)

StaggerLee

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #32 on: July 25, 2015, 08:53:42 PM »
Lhamo, the dishwasher is a Miele.  Fancy German model.  I'm sure I could cook dinner in it. I know it boils water :) StaggerLee

astvilla

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #33 on: July 25, 2015, 09:59:39 PM »
OP is hardly Mustachian I think based off age and annual spending and lifestyle.  Sounds like someone who is knowledgeable enough to know to save, invest, makes a TON of money (way above most Mustachians or people) but doesn't seem to make any effort towards reducing spending. 

Property tax is actually really low for that level of income though. 

I always thought the Mustachian community was more middle class folks trying to actually afford retirement and hopefully retire early and coming up with badass ways to save money and scrounging around for savings by paying attention to details and maintain a low cost lifestyle because you realize what's really important in life and what you need versus what you want. 

When you retire, you will have time for all those things and will save a lot on your expenses.  I mean A LOT.  Plus your daughter will graduate.  I think others mentioned this already.  The hard part I guess is losing a source of income after working for so long you don't feel secure without it.  Maybe you don't want to retire then?  There's nothing wrong with that IMO.  Everyone on these forums is all about retirement and some people just really enjoy their work that retirement would be worse for them than continuing what they're doing. 

I'm not entirely convinced the suggestions offered will help though.  OP has such a high annual expense and is pretty old actually.  A lot of people were forced to retire or thrown into unemployment much younger from the recession.  So the RE in FIRE is already out.  So asking OP to cut the lawn, or do a lot of physical work might not be the best advice since they're in their 60s though maybe you're in great shape so can't really comment.  If you can get your expenses down, your portfolio can make a lot of money on its own even if you do tap into it and supplement w/SS.  It would be like having a second income, though less than 400-600K/yr. 

I also thought OP might've been a troll but if you look at how a lot of people here living on 20K or less/year, you'll realize you can do it too.  If you're not interested in that lifestyle that's fine too.  With your finances, you can live on 100K/year easy...don't think it'd be a drastic cut down.  It's possible that with that income level and colleagues, maybe he's used to such an expensive lifestyle.  Here in MMM, people don't care so much about appearances and focus on necessities.  Cutting expenses will help reduce the income needed, if you're willing to cut.  Otherwise...keep working?

village idiot

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #34 on: July 25, 2015, 10:20:42 PM »
I'm assuming that with $200,000 annual expenses you must be paying your daughters' tuition and living expenses, maybe taking care of parents and helping out family, etc. That's an insane amount of expenses for just you guys.

In <2 years when your wife turns 64, I'd celebrate her birthday and your retirement at the same time with a lot of long traveling..

SnackDog

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #35 on: July 26, 2015, 02:56:49 AM »
Several things to consider, most of which others have already touched on.  I'll comment because although we're younger than you and happy at work, finances are roughly similar and expenses post-retirement may be high.

You hate your job.  This is all you need to know. Find a way to get out of it; whatever it takes. The longer you stay the worse it will get.  They hate you there and are hoping to force you out.  Don't stay in a poisonous and unhealthy situation just out of spite or to get the last word.  "Living well is the best revenge."  A therapist could help you explore this as you seem to have significant issues which may be preventing you from leaving while making you miserable and potentially even more miserable once you leave.

You are not a spring chicken anymore.  You will be 80 before you know it.  You have worked hard for a long time.  Now is the perfect time to relax and enjoy a few years of healthy retirement.  Don't delay!

You are spending too much on healthcare and that damn house.  Get out.  The northeast is fine for working but sucks for retiring.  The wife may love the house but it is a money pit and you can easily find one she loves even more that costs a lot less to operate.  Spend your first year off decompressing and looking for a place to relocate.  Could you get her to a cheaper part of the country?  Florida? Texas?  Palm Springs?  Oregon? The Midwest (gasp!).  Failing those, if she loves the current location just downsize to a condo.   It will save you a fortune on scheduled and unscheduled maintenance.  Get a 30 year mortgage with a low rate and invest the rest.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-10/greenwich-mansions-linger-on-market-as-condos-sell-fast

You should find a way to spend less than $10K/yr on healthcare.   Get the right plan with a high deductible.  Unless one of you has a chronic condition there is no reason for massive healthcare costs.  Many people pay a couple thou per year max on medical and dental.   If you have any health issues (other than the stress at work which is killing you), retirement focus should be on getting healthy.  Get a lawn mower and a snow blower and take care of the yard yourself.  The damn house could be good for you even.

You have plenty of money even given your high COL.  You only need 30 years worth at your age (if you live to 95, sell the condo, which will be paid off then) so 4% SWR will work just fine, even with the worst market drop right from the start.  You will more likely die in your 80s with $10MM in the bank, still angry at your partners.

Get to it!
« Last Edit: July 26, 2015, 03:04:41 AM by SnackDog »

Case

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Re: Another miserable professional - what should I do?
« Reply #36 on: July 26, 2015, 08:58:56 AM »
I would hand in your letter of resignation immediately.  You easily have enough money to maintain a high quality of life, and then some.
Your post is a great example of how money is not a solution (e.g. a means of obtaining happiness) if not used wisely.

Most people on these forums are around half your age, and are trying (and succeeding) to retire between age 30-40 so that they can live with freedom while they're young.  Since you're past that point, and don't like your job-life, you should retire immediately while your still can.  Who knows how long your health will last.  You're already at the point where sudden downturns in health are not uncommon.

Go, immediately!  There are no second chances.  Every instance spent not enjoying your life to the max is time wasted.