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So much for retirement(?)

Posted by $ Abaco 4 months, 2 weeks ago to Economics
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Been here in my Gulch location for over a couple years. Took a part-time engineering job that has been very enjoyable and keeps burger and beer money coming in. But, I've been repeatedly looked up by those in my past wanting me to do something called "work". It's not stopping. Job offers. Work offers. It's an interesting thing. Lately, it's been pouring down. Yesterday I lunch with a former colleague who is now a manager of an international engineering company and they offered me a job doing whatever I want to do. Basically, asking me to write my dream job description. I've never had one like that. As I was sitting down mulling it over today I got a call from another former colleague asking me if I want to work on a cutting edge hospital project. This has been very strange. Had a forensics career (not just a job) repeatedly offered by a former colleague I really respect. There was a good chance I'd be making burgers, teaching science or driving a school bus after coming here. But as the old saying goes, "They keep drawing me back in!" I've still got the energy but would only work full-time with a big pile of green incentive so large it'd choke a horse. Not a complaint. As Biden would say, "Not a joke!" But it's an interesting conundrum. I remember back a few decades ago when one couldn't buy a job. Anybody go through that in the past recessions? Where I'm at now the management isn't quite old enough to have experienced the full bite of the past recessions (you know...when you have a car payment, mortgage and kids to feed). I know these busy times are not permanent. That's a factor...isn't it? Anybody else experience this kind of thing - wanting to quit in a time when there's a shortage of good people? We're living in interesting times...


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  • Posted by Exitstageright 4 months, 2 weeks ago
    I hear you Abaco,
    I built a company from scratch in the 80’s to 5 branch locations in 3 states and sold it in 2009 after I saw what resident Zero was doing and bought a 1000 acres of undeveloped land in the middle of Tx. Spent a year building my Gulch and got enticed to running a large wind turbine facility (wind turbines suck btw). Did that for 3 years until they talked me into going into their solar division. Wound up installing systems on literally every continent on the planet the next 3 years. I got back from Capetown 2 years ago this month, and my wife asked me if she could see my passport. She took it into her office here at the house and shredded it.
    ( a subtle hint I figured).
    But I have been clobbered with offers, including a head engineer job running Powerwall, from corps eager to hire 68 year old codgers who know their ass from a hole in the ground. I stay busy running this ranch and livestock and maintaining collectibles like my copper jacketed lead assortment, plus I install solar powered water wells for ranchers and preppers. I could make more $ going back to work in the corp world or starting another company, but as the the old saying goes
    “how much money did he leave” when he passed away?”
    The answer is, “all of it”.
    So I’m happy with what I planned for all these years.
    Gone fishing…..
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    • Posted by $ 4 months, 2 weeks ago
      In my past work I looked at wind power siting (and payback). I recently co-authored a white paper on solar thermal. That was presented in Greece. I find that stuff interesting. I'm a realist, though...and haven't drank the Greeny's cool aid. That said, renewables have a place. I get frustrated when close-minded engineers just shrug it off like it's a communist plot....haha. You probably have experienced that. People are funny.
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  • Posted by curtisdunne 4 months, 2 weeks ago
    This is very interesting. My wife and I both semi retired when we moved to our current location a few years ago. Just last week, we went back to our former stomping grounds to see old friends etc. it was the first time we had gone back since we left.

    Before we left on our trip, we were discussing how bored we both were. We are both very productive people and we had both enjoyed our careers, me a software engineer and she worked at a large utility.

    Cutting to the chase, while on our trip last eek, my wife mentioned to a former colleague over drinks how she may want to go back to work. This colleague apparently made a few calls and my wife has had 4 interviews since we got home last weekend. She has another one tomorrow.

    I had a similar experience with a former colleague as well. He has a couple of large projects and would hire me in a minute.

    So this thread is indeed serendipitous. We are 66 and 64 (I’m younger) and after dealing with know-it-all young engineers that really didn’t know much at all and certainly had a tough time getting any project to the finish line, it gives me a warm feeling all over that these companies realize that they need us older guys to actually get anything done. Yes, I’m generalizing, but that has been my experience over the past 10 years or so. Funny how the pendulum swings back when the rubber meets the road.

    Thanks for this thread. Good luck to everyone stepping back into this.
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    • Posted by $ gharkness 4 months, 1 week ago
      There's no small satisfaction, also, in just knowing that you remain useful, even though Gen Z thinks we're "half dead." Hate to think what it'll be like when there's nothing left but them....
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    • Posted by $ 4 months, 1 week ago
      Similar story. I knew an engineer at the firm where I work now from my previous work. We used to solve some issues over the phone. A month after I hit my Gulch region I joined the guy for lunch, mentioned that I was already getting antsy and a week later they asked me to join them. It has worked out very well, for the most part. Good people.
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  • Posted by $ gharkness 4 months, 2 weeks ago
    Yes, absolutely. This very same thing happened with my engineer husband, except he's not really all that happy unless he's contributing, so it was a no-brainer for us to pull up roots and head West to Tucson, when he got the offer.

    Mind you, this is the SAME company that flew him out here 8 years ago for an interview and "found a better candidate," who was, probably, 40 years younger. So, he was 64 then, 72 now, and NOW he's a very valuable, SENIOR level employee. They spared literally NO expense moving us here, paying for house selling and buying expenses. You name it, they did it. They did, along the way, mention in "passing" that they had discovered they needed "more capable" (aka more experienced) employees. And he tells me he's not even close to being the oldest one there.

    Hiring recent kiddy kollege graduates just doesn't work all that well in the end, unless it's a company that does nothing more important than Amazon does. When it comes to national security, we actually need people who know what they are doing.

    We of course know it's not permanent. Can't be - we're in our 70's, so we are making hay while the sun shines, and hoo boy does it ever shine in Arizona these days!
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    • Posted by $ 4 months, 2 weeks ago
      I almost settled in Tuscon. Figured I'd take my aerospace brain and move to Oro Valley and find some fun work in Tuscon. Good for you guys. I'm 57 now and still have some pep in my step. I love to contribute and that's my problem. I enjoy teaching young engineers how to apply theory to real-world applications....because they've never heard that stuff.... I was just invited to join a board for a new high school aviation/aerospace program. Just getting started. I've told them (as my full-shrug job) that I'd get credentialed and teach if it was needed. It looks like it will be needed because there is a massive shortage of teachers for such topics. Your husband and I have seen a massive brain drain...
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      • Posted by $ gharkness 4 months, 1 week ago
        Oro Valley, oooh, the High-Dollar suburbs! I actually haven't even driven up there. Hub's job is at the airport, which means it's nearly an hour to get to/from Oro Valley from there. He has a hard limit of 30 minutes drive time at his age (because life's too short), so we moved to Corona de Tucson, an unincorporated berg right smack in the desert. I am literally just down the street from open desert. Had a herd of javelinas grace my driveway and front yard just a couple weeks ago. Really cute little one scampering along behind momma, but they sure can be destructive!
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  • Posted by mccannon01 4 months, 2 weeks ago
    This calls for self examination no one here can give you, Abaco. Are you happy now or is happiness within grasp with what you are doing? Will your happiness increase with a return to former vocation?

    I had a similar choice years ago. If I'd "gone back" my bank account would be fatter, but already having one "fat enough" turned out to be good enough. I'm busy all the time, just not busy doing what I'm told by others. My job would have me flying all over the country and world living out of hotels working 12 hours a day 6 days a week and I'd already missed out on the people I loved more than the average bear. For me, I would not increase happiness going back. I made a good choice for me. You need to decide for yourself.
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    • Posted by $ 4 months, 2 weeks ago
      Yeah, I appreciate that. I could easily get back into the flying/hotel/suitcase thing if I'm not careful and I know it. I'm working part-time at a very good firm now, having fun. But, I find myself nosing my way into business development, pushing things technically, etc. Lately, I'm doing an energy compliance calculation for a very large commercial building and it's a mundane pain in my tookus.
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  • Posted by Ben_C 4 months, 2 weeks ago
    With Age comes Wisdom. Most companies prefer people who do not try to reinvent the wheel. "Been there done that" is the motto. In my profession I think I have seen most all of Mother Natures curve ball and I am sought out for the suspected weird cases. Right. Just another day in paradise. I have been told by many people that I am not allowed to retire. I am 78 and tell people when my hands, brain, and back stop working I am done. Time will tell.
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  • Posted by freedomforall 4 months, 2 weeks ago
    Is this a job you could do outside the US?
    If so, I'd move to a country that doesn't tax world wide income immediately.
    You could then get about $120,000 Foreign Earned Income Exclusion
    against your taxable income living overseas, and up to about $120,000
    more write-off against US taxable income for living expenses overseas.
    (iirc, you must live outside the US for 330 days of 12 consecutive
    months to get those reductions of income.)
    So you can still avoid supporting your enemies in D.C.
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  • Posted by freedomforall 4 months, 2 weeks ago
    Assuming i'd enjoy the work experience, I'd only be interested in a big pile of gold off-books secretly delivered to a Cayman bank held by a nominee. ;^)
    After many years of long hours, I stopped working to support my enemies (D.C.) in the 90's. Thanks, Ayn.
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  • Posted by CaptainKirk 4 months, 2 weeks ago
    Peter Zeihan who is like a broken clock. Right twice a day...

    Mentions that as the Global World Order Collapses, we (USA) will have to be self-reliant again.

    I think many companies are realizing that they don't need warm bodies. They need actual brains making decisions.

    I think this is the beginning of the shift over the next 10-20 yrs when America either FAILS, or becomes a willing isolationist country that succeeds...

    FWIW, I've had a few of the biggest quotes I've ever put out in the last 2yrs and it's increasing. I am not even looking for new/more clients. Although I am over a decade behind you.
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  • Posted by $ blarman 4 months, 2 weeks ago
    I'm still a few years from retiring but both my wife and myself don't anticipate there being anything left of my 401K to retire on. And certainly nothing from Social Security. So I'll be working until I drop not because I haven't tried to save my pennies, but because government STOLE my retirement from me through taxes, inflation, and greed.
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    • Posted by $ 4 months, 2 weeks ago
      That's what government does, certainly. I call social security a Ponzi scheme...
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      • Posted by $ gharkness 4 months, 1 week ago
        It actually is a Ponzi scheme, but you may be able still to benefit from it. We have managed to save up, since we started taking SS, MANY thousands of dollars simply by banking/investing it as it comes in - all after the time when we both thought it would be "gone."

        I would, however, HATE to have to depend on it to live on. As a "bonus," though - it's pretty nice.
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  • Posted by jimslag 4 months, 2 weeks ago
    Well, I am retired, no fat bank account and barely scraping by thanks to the inflation, oops, sorry, upwardly adjusted outgo, set income. I moved to lower my outgo for things like like rent and utilities. Anyway, not an engineer but a Technician who knows Engineering. I keep busy, sometimes hard but I try. I know what you mean by kidding college, I see them all the time and it seems as if they are in over their heads in whatever they do. I wish you guys well and I hope you find the happiness you are seeking, I am still searching for mine.
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  • Posted by $ jlc 4 months, 2 weeks ago
    I am in agreement with mhub; I too have that experience in my background. I also do not intend to retire.

    I am in medical software: sold a company I co-founded to a bigger guy during Covid. Work is not so fun any more.

    Wm (ex-co-owner, also in Gulch) and I intend to start another company, with complexity added by the fact we now live 3K miles apart. Also by the fact that I intend to go back to school and get a PhD in Genetics (entry level quals) and seek work in that field.

    I talked to a fellow Med Tech a couple of months ago and she is unable to get a job that is not management. She wants to go and do bench work part-time, but when they see her resume, they only offer her management positions. So that is happening in another field than engineering.

    I am 71. The major input I can add to this conversation is that I reasonably expect to be able to work for another 20 years. (I can still do quasi-full-contact Medieval broadsword fighting against all types of opponents, which I did not expect I would be able to do at my current age, when I thought ahead, 40 years ago.)

    I really like the feeling of 'stretching the universe' with the work that I do and do not want to consign myself to the rocking chair.

    Jan
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    • Posted by $ 4 months, 2 weeks ago
      Thanks Jan. Good luck with all that!

      I still hike, lift and do several rounds with the boxing gloves on: double-ended bag, heavy bag, etc. Good workout. I intend to keep active until the bones and joints completely fall apart...hoping that technology will allow for easy rework when it's needed.
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  • Posted by VetteGuy 4 months, 2 weeks ago
    Sounds similar to my story. My original plan for retirement involved going part time at an auto parts store (for a good employee discount on my hobby of restoring old cars).

    But before I got out the door of my engineering job, I was offered a work-from-home consulting position (and this was in 2009, before it was so popular). I also taught some classes, and even did a couple of gigs at my former employer, who suddenly discovered I knew something after all.

    I did that for about 6 years, made way more money than the original plan, and "fully" retired.

    Remember, time is irreplaceable. If you have things you want to do in retirement, (hobbies, travel, etc) you might want to do that while you are still fit. However, far too many people get bored in retirement and would actually be happier working.

    Right now my time is split between traveling, and planning the next road trip. No time for boredom!

    Good luck with whatever you decide. Since you are here in the Gulch, you will obviously think it through and make a thoughtful decision. That puts you way ahead of the pack.
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    • Posted by JakeOrilley 4 months, 1 week ago
      "Time is irreplaceable". Truer words were never written.
      Had everything planned, and when.... just has never worked out. Still working my company and another job... Have to keep in mind..."time is irreplaceable".
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  • Posted by $ Stormi 4 months, 1 week ago
    My husband reitred as a CPA for a natl. firm just as things tightened up, but we still have an acct. practice at home. We also did quite well investing for retirement. It takes getting used to how it all works, but become enjoyable, even in bad times. Everything apid for, thank goodness. Got a new Camaro this year, paid cash. All to avoid the EV takeover, whch now GM has cancelled. We stay busy with husband in civic org. and we have regular coffee pals for good ole rousing alk each mroning, quite diverse and all hating Biden's lying and ignorant policies. So we share, then we go out and share what we all larn. We are the guardians, we ae the last age who grew up knowing that capitalism ws good and how to make it work. Young people are so uninformed and do not seem to care. Now companies find they cannot do things, cannot communicae and so need AI, but as we said when I originally got my first degree in computers, "Garbage in, Barbage out!" Such is what AI will be, only as good as the access to all learning without the liberal limitations it is likely to be taught. I was lucky, my cad was a retail mgr. weho tlaked business at the dinner table, and taught me to save up and how capitalism owrks, and well, if you do as you should.
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  • Posted by $ Thoritsu 4 months, 2 weeks ago
    Sounds like my brother's thing at NASA. They don't want him to leave because he is one of a handful who know anything. The rest are typical, useless, GS, HR placeholders.

    Unless your hobbies are real good, why not keep going a bit? Need to keep mind and body active!

    I really have to get out of the full-time grind. Pay and IC are really good, but am responsible for too much scope. It is consuming my mind all day & night. Consulting or part time sounds REALLY good.
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  • Posted by $ Stormi 4 months, 1 week ago
    My husband a CPA, retired at 80 from a Natl. corp. Six months later they called and asked if he would like to come back part time. No Way! We did not need the money, it had become way to high pressure, and as they hired more young folks, it got worse. I worked in finance at a natl. tool and die company hdq. for years, but as people left or retired, the young folks wee clueless how to do the work. I knew all the jobs from payroll, to accts. payable, but my job was accts. rec., collections, sales tax for all divisions, reconciling all accts to gen. ledger, doing adjustments. But they hired people who could not do hose tinks, so when I walked out tired of it, collections ent undone, taxes were not paid for several months, and they had a bar maid doing accts. payable, who I told the Treas. had no clue what she was doing before I left. I used to do the payrolls when the plant closed for vacations for the local crw and our other divisions, not sure who had to stay and do that. I decided to go back to college at that point and besdie having college in computers and accounting, did something for myself, major in English, but soon had also a mjor in philosophy and loved it, and the also one in biology. The head of science dept. came to me twice to get me to go into cince, but I new that would be a big city job, and I loved my country wooded retreat with lots of wld animals, and my husband was still working also. So, I stayed with majores in all three, and just did it for myself, loved every minute of every class.I stupidly went to work for the local paper, and became the person who worked over 50 hours a week and covered all areas from business, schools, to obits and human interest. My doc said I should give it up as my BP was up and I rarely saw my wonderful woods. Best thing I ever did, just give it up, and let the morons who cannot tell if a person is qualifed cover the slack!My health went back to very good and I started enjoying life, even the debates of the political nature, as that is actually fun for me.Having once worked in a Congaressional office, I know how flawed the employees are even there, and that they need to be held accountable, and that is fun.
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