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To retire or not to retire?

(59 Posts)
tanith Sun 29-Jan-12 19:29:07

I'm already retired through ill-health at 58 I'm now 63 , OH is still working he's 62 , we have a very small mortgage that will finish when he retires at 65 . Now we have some savings , enough to pay the mortgage off so that OH could retire now and if he took his small private pension we could probably manage fine but would of spent more than half our savings paying off the mortgage.
He works long hours and is finding it harder every week to drag himself out of bed in the mornings although he does enjoy his job and I find I'm feeling guilty being at home while he still works.

I would like others opinions on whether I should be encouraging him to take his pension early, and enjoy some extra years of retirement while he can , there is a history of early death in his family although he is fit and healthy at the moment.. it would mean we would be struggling a bit till his State Pension kicks in and would leave us with less than half of our meagre savings...

Any thoughts would be good..

greenmossgiel Sun 29-Jan-12 19:42:10

tanith, you would manage! My husband retired at 65, and he was more than ready by that time! He'd had to get up really early for work for most of his life. He was a lorry driver and was finding that the stresses of driving in heavy traffic was bothering him a lot as he got older. I retired a couple of years ago at 60. We'd already paid off our small mortgage with my occupational pension's lump sum (I was able to take this while I was still working). We're both in receipt of the State Pension, and the small occupational pension that my husband receives more or less pays our bills.
I'm glad we're both retired now. Life can deal nasty blows sometimes, and it's amazing the money that you DON'T need to get by, if you're reasonably careful!

tanith Sun 29-Jan-12 19:49:21

Thanks greenmossgiel, a nasty blow is what I am worrying about . One thing that does bother both of us as we have discussed him retiring early is that we wouldn't be able to afford to run two cars as we do at present and OH has several hobbies , golf, bowls etc that means he would need the car for whole days leaving me stuck without and I do need it for visiting a housebound friend quite frequently plus other family. Its going to be a balancing act and that's a fact..

Carol Sun 29-Jan-12 19:52:38

Yes, yes, yes!!! Retire early and discover the benefits of not having to:-
drive through the rush hour, attend endless meetings, humour miserable colleagues, shell out for someone's leaving present every week, run yourself into the ground so you're too tired to do anything when you get home, and find new contentment in:-
growing more of your own food, cooking from scratch, pursuing hobbies, meeting up with friends and family, getting a dog, reading and gardening when you feel like, taking off for a holiday when you feel like, instead of when work dictates, having an afternoon snooze.....I could go on and on.

When I was going to retire, at 61, having been dedicated to my job and socialising with work colleagues, people predicted I would be bored and want to return. None of that! I haven't looked back, don't identify myself in terms of my job any more, and 2 years on I still feel like it's the honeymoon period. It gets better all the time.

I took some of my pension lump sum and converted some AVCs I had saved to pay off my mortgage, so now my lower income is equivalent to what it would have been if I was working and paying the mortgage. I'm not well off, but I can do what I want and need to, and because I am at home, I can save on petrol, convenience foods, work clothes, lunches out in between meetings and so on. It's much cheaper to live in retirement for me, so I have no regrets at all. Glad I did it.

jeni Sun 29-Jan-12 19:58:30

I took early retirement on health grounds at age 49. My dh was made redundant with an enhanced pension at 50. This was at the same time. He died at age 59. We had had 9 years together( although we both worked part time )
He had had a kidney transplant and we knew I would outlive him . We spent those 9 years doing what he loved most, saint our Sadler 29 to France and back.
I don't regret a moment of it. This was 9years ago in April
I still miss him.

greenmossgiel Sun 29-Jan-12 19:58:35

It's a great thing that your husband has so many hobbies, tanith - he'll enjoy his retirement without a doubt! We got rid of our car last year, as we're on a really good bus route, and as our daughter and son-in-law were needing a newer car, it seemed the right time to get rid of ours - to them! We visit our sister-in-law regularly, who's more or less housebound, too. It takes a couple of buses, but we have all day to ourselves and there's no hurry any more. It costs nothing to use the bus! smile

em Sun 29-Jan-12 20:56:37

Absolutely no regrets about early retirement at 58.5. Had I still been working I'd have missed spending most days with Mum during her last 18 months and don't know how we'd have coped with DD1's 2 toddlers and her ongoing health problems. Add in meeting friends for leisurely lunches, doing what I choose to do instead of what I had to do, holidays being taken in term-time........you know doubt get my gist. I also agree that you can exist on far less cash. Would suggest it's well worth using part of any lump sum to clear the mortgage, just because it gives peace of mind and a sense of achievement! I'll follow this discussion with interest and I'll be very surprised if I read a post where someone says they regret retiring and wish to be back in full-time work!

Granny23 Sun 29-Jan-12 21:08:37

When DH retired at 65, I decided to retire too, although I was only 58. DH had approx. £50 per week added to his state pension for me as a 'dependent', until I turned 60 and was able to claim my own state pension and very small private pension. Perhaps you can also claim for your DH as a dependent on your state pension?

I have never regretted the early retirement. It is amazing the amount of money you save when you no longer have work expenses eg travel, lunches, coffees, work clothes, contributions to presents and the never ending sponsorship requests on behalf of children, cousins, etc. We managed to fit in a cruise and a trip across Canada before the DGC arrived and our lives changed again. Seven years of retirement now and I still relish cold, wet Monday Mornings when I can simply close the curtains and slip back into bed - Bliss. (Or sunny Monday Mornings when we can be up with the lark and off to the hills or seaside!)

Carol Sun 29-Jan-12 21:31:14

Yes, Monday mornings - that special time when I open the curtains and see the long line of traffic in the distance, heading for the motorway. I sit down with my cup of tea, switch on my laptop, and have a look what's happening in the world from the comfort of my armchair. I especially do not miss having to scrape ice off the car windscreen before I set off to join that queue. It's worth retiring just for that!

Ariadne Sun 29-Jan-12 21:35:13

Carol my own feelings exactly!

Tanith I think at our stage, we do have to acknowledge that we don't know what's round the corner. If you can manage financially, then retirement is a gift; that is what we have found anyway.

Hope you find our comments and thoughts helpful, anyway! thanks

gracesmum Sun 29-Jan-12 21:37:18

I have not heard a single person say your DH should stick it out at the "workface" - I wonder why? smileI retired at 62, actually didn't feel ready at 60 but 2 years on I realised that I could not juggle my very demanding job, DH's deteriorating health which involved at best hospital visits in London and at not so good several periods of hospitalization, added to that a feeling of disillusion with Education and all the "initiatives", plus our DD was having her first baby. Enough was enough and I would say live your lives, do what you enjoy doing and do not put things off. 1 car? 2 cars? unless you are still paying one off, does it matter? You will probably manage fine with 1 but it may be that for the sake of your independence you choose to keep both (I often find myself lending mine to youngest DD)
Paying off your mortgage if you can, gives you security and you can manage on less - going out to work can be so expensive. Sadly although we now potentially have the freedom to go away, DH's hospital visits plus our reduced income, mean we don't actually do itas much as I would like, but we enjoy our garden, days out and just "living". A colleague suggested that retirement meant "working at living instead of living at work."
Crux is - does he want to?

tanith Sun 29-Jan-12 21:42:42

Am enjoying reading all your views thank you food for thought indeed. I agree with all of you about enjoying my retirement I couldn't be happier , I mentioned this thread to OH earlier and his retort was I won't be able to afford my golf, bowls etc if I retire now. I see I'll have my work cut out..lol

I do travel on buses or bike locally but my housebound friend lives 70 miles away and relies on me to do a large shop + sleepover once a month not something I could do on the bus or train.

Granny23 I'll have to take a look at claiming for a dependent I have never heard of that..

I do agree its heaven to listen to all the neighbours scraping on a frosty morning, and turn over and snuggle down.

jeni Sun 29-Jan-12 21:49:49

[gracesmum]we did not let I'll health stop us. We sailed to the isles of scilly with my husband on capd. Picked up extra capd bags at st Mary's and sailed back.couldnt take many clothes because of storage space for the bags but managed! (imagine me with limited clothes?!!!)

Carol Sun 29-Jan-12 21:54:42

tanith could your large shop be reduced to something a lot smaller by doing an online shop and having it delivered to the door? Any shopping outings could be more manageable that way, and visits to your friend could be more pleasurable

If your DH budgets, or picks where he can play golf and bowls at concessionary rates perhaps he could continue?

gracesmum Sun 29-Jan-12 21:55:09

I hope you made sure you had room for a couple of cocktail dresses at least!grin
I suspect I have taken the easy way out, but the many occasions when he has zoomed off with a flashing blue light have made me too cautious to go out of the country! We travelled abroad up to 2007 but his perforated bowel and llymphoma, then aortic aneurysm plus the flare ups of cholangitis just made life too complicated.

tanith Sun 29-Jan-12 22:01:10

Carol I take my friend with me to do the shop I take her to a large Tesco or Sainsbury where she can browse from a wheelchair and buy replacement household goods/books and clothes too should she need them.. I always stay overnight and the next day we will go to a garden centre or park for some time outside the house. OH plays for a local 'team' with his bowls so wouldn't be able to change 'clubs', but I'm sure with some juggling we could manage the fees.

Notsogrand Sun 29-Jan-12 22:07:20

I retired 5 years ago at 60. I took my watch off after my last day at work and haven't worn it since. Bliss. smile

Carol Sun 29-Jan-12 22:08:55

There's more than one way to skin a cat tanith (please - nobody put that phrase in the other thread of irritating forum phrases!!). I'm sure you'll find a way round it. There are too many pluses to being retired and very few depend on you having money.

jeni Sun 29-Jan-12 22:14:56

[gm] you're joking
Cocktail dresses and sailing NO
Grotty denims and shorts and waterproofs! Very unglam!
That's why I love dressy cruising!
We did have emergencies with dh but I coped!
He would have rather died sailing than in bed. Stressful for me but I coped and am glad I did as it gave so much more pleasure to his last years.
He Watson our boat a week before he died!

glammanana Sun 29-Jan-12 23:53:13

Tanith DH and I have no regrets in him taking early retirement when he was 55,he took half his private pension then plus a lump sum from his employers,he was so much better off financially not having to fill up the car,lunches and other work related costs.I retired at 50 but continued to pay private pension until I was 60 so had a decent amount on top of my state pension.We are lucky that we have no mortgage now as we sold our family home the year I retired and moved abroad,but our rent is affordable and we live very comfortably and run our car don't go without what we need and have no problems with bills etc.If your DH added up what it costs him to go to work he would be surprised I think,my DH says it was the best decision he has ever made.Good Luck with your decision

NannaAnna Mon 30-Jan-12 00:18:14

Well all I can say is that I don't think I'll ever be able to retire!
I didn't get a penny of my ex's pension entitlement when we divorced, and I don't think what I'll get in State pension will be worth much (as I was a full-time mum for 18 years, and prior to that, working in the public sector, I took accrued pension money when I left to have my first baby)
I'm downsizing for the zillionth time in order to get rid of my mortgage which I haven't been able to pay for several months, and as I'm moving 20 miles to one of the cheapest parts of the south coast, I won't be able to downsize further without moving much much further away from all my daughters.
Despite constantly applying for better jobs (several a week over the past 18 months) all I have is a part-time job paying peanuts. At 60, I'm looking into setting up my own small business again to try to earn enough to live slightly above the breadline rather than below it!
Retirement isn't something I can even entertain the idea of!

kittylester Mon 30-Jan-12 05:24:26

Hi tanith, I wonder if your husband could work part-time. My husband 'retired' at 59 when it was rumoured that his pension scheme was going to change (for the worse!) but he continues to work for approximately 3 days a week, and does some volunteering, on the basis of keeping his brain working. As well as giving the week some structure, he earns extra money and feels fulfilled.

shysal Mon 30-Jan-12 09:05:04

tanith You would not have to think of the one remaining car as 'his'. You would have equal say as to who used it and when. When I was married I felt I had to ask permission to use the car, which was wrong.
My main reason for divorcing was the dreadful thought of both being home all day together when we retired! (We led separate lives whilst working). If you look forward to spending more time together then I say 'go for it' I have never met anyone who regretted giving up work. You will not need a lot of money. You may even find that golf and bowls club have reduced membership fees for pensioners.
Enjoy the sunshine while you are fit enough to make the most of it.

gracesmum Mon 30-Jan-12 10:26:36

NanaAnna has a valid point for all those who through no fault of their own don't have a pension to fall back on and are trapped in having to work. The idyll of golf/lunches/ SAGA holidays/etc is a popular misconception of what retirement means to many many people. Yes, we do have the luxury of turning over in bed (bliss) but most of us also have to turn the pennies over to see if we can afford some things which we previously took for granted. I am not saying that quality of life is less important than financial comfort, but many people do not have that luxury. At a time when it would be nice to indulge grandchildren and "help out "children many of us are unable to. Poverty in old age is not confined to the few and living on a fixed income when costs, especially fuel and food, are always going up, can be a problem. Leisure activities also cost money - while walking the dog is free, if you or DH really enjoy golf/theatre/concerts - these don't necessarily come cheap.
I am not whingeing, just trying to put both sides. There is a reason for retirement - for most of us it comes at a time when we are no longer willing or able to put our career before our health or our families and we are ready to step down. However for others it may be very hard to do.For some, their career has identified their identities for so long, they can be quite "lost".
I am not sorry I retired - I wanted to, but if tanith's DH doesn't WANT to, the economies he may have to face might be harder to take.Everything in life is a compromise isn't it?

susiecb Mon 30-Jan-12 10:43:17

I'll add my twopennorth to the debate. My husband retired at 63 having gone through 17 local government reorganisations and he had had enough so took the package offered and I went with him at 57. Before he went I did some spreadsheets to work out our budget and by going down to one car, not spending a fortune on petrol and car maintenance by commuting long distances and not buying suits, lunches etc required for work as well as any socialising connected to it we actually found we were better off (we paid off the mortgage with an endowment). I did find the loss of purpose and status a problem in the first two years but now couldn't be happier. We have hobbies that we couldn't have had a work, moved to a much nicer place where the housing costs less than outer London so have some money in the bank. Sometimes I am little bored but only when its cold and wet but then I indulge my writing habit for which i have very little talent but I enjoy it and it doesn't matter if it never gets published although it would be nice and its a sort of half-goal. My advice would be take the leap and enjoy life.