Up, Up & Away … Early Retirement

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A terrific thing happened at work yesterday.  One of our very capable managers came in my office and said, “I’m retiring!”

It was the first time in my 27 year career that anyone on my team had retired (that will tell you about the MegaCorps I have worked for).  I was SO excited for him.  He’s probably 8 years older than I am, with grown kids (and grandkids), but retirement plans were something we had discussed together quite a few times, but in the abstract – like “Someday I’m going to …”.

But now he is off for real.   His last day at MegaCorp will be the end of the month (next Friday) and then he and his wife are heading to warmer temps and sunshine in Florida, where they bought a beach place a few years ago.  They’ve been going to the same area for 20+ years and his wife’s sister lives just down the beach from where they are at.

I didn’t talk specifics about my plans, but mentioned that “I wasn’t that far behind him”.  I said my plan was to make an early exit sometime in 2016.  I wanted to keep the focus on his excitement and his plan, since this is his moment to shine after a long career!

A couple things we discussed I found interesting …

  • He originally thought about leaving last summer.  He found some reasons to stay plugged in over the last 6 months since he wasn’t in a hurry.  Eventually he was close enough to the end of the year that he wanted to make sure he locked down his bonus by staying through 12/31.
  • Like me, he felt pangs of guilt as the team made plans for upcoming projects.  He was being asked to lead projects that involved future travel and leadership that he knew he wouldn’t be here for.  Eventually, he said he felt like he had to tell “the truth” and give his notice, even though he knew he didn’t owe the company anymore than it owed him.
  • He’s made a lot of fun plans for retirement, but mostly just wants to goof-off and enjoy himself.  He’s joined the board of his condominium association, but it didn’t sound like he is looking for a part time gig or anything else.
  • He’s in great shape and runs every morning.  He’s looking forward to running on the beach in Florida.  We talked about the slate of musicians we grew up with that had recently passed away – Bowie, Cole & Frey.  We all have to be mindful of how many good years we have left in us.

The BIG NEWS for me was revealed as we were talking.  I told him before he announces his last day, he needed to think about how our 2015 annual bonus accrues.  The copy of MegaCorp’s policy on this that I had is written in thick legalese.  My understanding having talked to a couple people in the last year was that you had to still be employed on 3/15/16 in a “must be present to win” scheme or you forfeited your bonus.  Some companies have these horrible clauses.

My soon-to-be-retired friend pointed me to a different MegaCorp document that was quite CLEAR that this was NOT the case – to my great surprise.  It stated that as long as you worked through 12/31/15 you had FULLY accrued your bonus.

BINGO for him, and BINGO for me!

This just cut a full MONTH off of my plan to give notice and probably a month off my planned retirement date.   As happy as I was for him, I was positively elated at the thought that I could now make an smooth MegaCorp exit, give my boss plenty of notice (45 days planned), and not worry about anything going wrong that might compromise my bonus payment.

In fact, I immediately scheduled a meeting with my boss for Tuesday, 2/9/16 to officially give notice.  (I had wanted to give notice over the last few weeks but many people talked me out of it based on my understanding of the bonus situation).

So it has been a fun 24 hours wishing my friend well and getting SO much closer to the end-game for my own departure.  I’m looking forward to hearing more about his experience as his last few days wind down!

Image Credit: Pixabay

17 thoughts on “Up, Up & Away … Early Retirement

  1. You buried the lead on this one! What this should really say is “I just hacked a whole month off my remaining work!!!!” 😉 What great news! I hope you’ll give a *very* detailed report back after the 9th when you give your notice. Can’t wait to hear how it goes.

    When our time comes, we’ll face a similar web of timing questions re: 401K match/vesting, year-end bonus, and a long-term retention bonus. (That last one I will certainly forfeit, because it means sticking around until Aprilish — it’s timing is always a little different each year because of my MegaCorp’s cash flow.) We had originally been thinking we would be done by Dec 31 of our chosen year (most likely 2017 — not looking like the markets are going to give us any help to make it this year!), we get our year-end bonuses in mid to late December, and are now thinking we may give notice after we receive them. If it all plays out that way, we’ll probably work a month or two into 2018, but not forfeiting any of our compensation for 2017 would make it worth it. (Plus, it’s not like we’ll work the same kind of hours after we’ve given notice! If we need to sneak out for a ski morning mid-week, we can do that.) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes – I guess I did bury the lead. I guess I’ve waffled so much on when to give notice, I’m afraid things will change again. It has been a lot more awkward situation than I expected. As my manager said yesterday – “I felt like I was living a lie until I spoke up.” It feels bad not to give notice until after you are paid, but that would be my recommendation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s so exciting! It’s so fun following your journey… we’re not far behind… ahem, but “not far” I mean… 6 years behind you! Sounds like it will be a lovely chat and a great way to end the career. Can’t wait to hear all about it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fantastic update! That’s great news! I started getting that feeling of “living a lie” months ago… half-agreeing to leading some trainings on the east coast in February and March, possibly presenting at a conference in April, etc. I tried to be non-committal as much as possible to save people from scrambling later, but I also didn’t want to look completely checked-out or like I didn’t want to help the team. Even just a week before I broke the news, our CEO and I were running through a list of objectives for 2016 and planning where I would be most valuable on each. Ugh!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess when you get down to it, it’s as simple as early retirement doesn’t align with anything MegaCorp cares about. So it feels more and more “disloyal” the closer you get and make commitments that go beyond your runway. Like you, I’ve never really quit a job before – so it’s a strange experience.

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  4. Yay MrFireStation! That is excellent news all around. It is wonderful that you have gained that extra time for retirement. I am excited for you! I also commend the 45-days notice. It’s very generous of you. Your ER date will be here before you know it :).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks & good to see your post today! I’ll be curious if my MegaCorp will want the full 45 days, or just say “why don’t you just leave at the end of the month.” (Or end of the day!). I would guess that I’m going to feel pretty useless to them as soon as I announce.

      Liked by 1 person

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