I Got a Job, So Am I Still Retired?

Well depending on the actions of the Internet Retirement Police, I may have to hand in my early retiree membership card because I just got a job yesterday. *Gasp*   And according to some people you can’t be retired if you have a job which to me always sounded so silly as I could care less what people call what I’m doing.  Call it: changing career paths or semi-retirement or what ever term makes you feel better about it.

Yet in my case, I’ve always said I would be willing to do some work in my early retirement period because honestly why not get paid to do things that I enjoy.  I called these ‘fun jobs’ and when I left work I had identified a few that I wouldn’t mind doing.  The top options were working at a brewery or a library since working to make beer which I like to drink and handling books which I love to read don’t really sound like too much work to me.  As I previously mentioned I actually work extremely casually at a brewery in town (I have put in all of four days of work there so I have  a hard time even calling it a job), but I got to do one of my ‘fun jobs.’  Now I can say I’m about to cross another one off my list.

My new job is working at public library as a Page at my local branch starting next week.  It is only a temporary contract until August for 18 hours a week but that is fairly perfect amount of time for me as I don’t want anything close to full time.  I will be the guy who shelves books, pull holds, scan in returned books and  basically do also the same work I currently volunteer to do once a week at our local school library.

I’m actually fairly sure my volunteer work actually got me an interview that occurred on Monday and the fact I took a 20 hour online course on how library’s work out of interest back in 2018.  After all nothing says I want to do this work like having over a year of experience at it and some training towards it and of course my volunteer boss at the school library  also agreed to be a reference for me.  So that is a hint for retirees looking to break into a new field as a fun job; try to get some relevant experience and if possible training towards the job.

And finally I think the other thing that really helped me get an interview is I addressed the obvious question of why the hell an engineer with my experience would want a job like this in my cover letter of my application.  I specifically noted that I have recently changed career paths to self employed writing and I had a flexible schedule.  I didn’t even mention retirement as, after all, most people could not care less.

But of course I now have a fun issue…what to do with that extra money I will be making?  I decided since this is a longer term job I’m going to break up the money into two parts.  10% of my income will go towards me saving up to buy a 3D printer (I don’t need one of those but I do want one).  The other 90% of the income will go towards our slush fund to pay for house renovations or vacations.  While my wife and I haven’t specifically decided what that extra money will go towards we are leaning toward the idea of replacing our kitchen countertops.   As that has been on my wife’s want to do list for a while.

So how do you address work in retirement?  What term do you like to call it and what would you do with the extra money?

What’s the Point of a Plan?

There is an old saying “Man Plans, God Laughs” which seems particularly true for me this week.  I had plans to do certain things and the entire week seemed to blow up with other things instead.  Not all the other things were bad, like my 185 piece Bone Kickstarter order of minis arriving about three weeks earlier than I thought, but these events rather just tossed my original plans out the window.

This got me thinking of retirement plans and how that issue also happened repeatedly to me.  I would make a saving plan and do my calculations and then things would shift dramatically by no fault of my own and then my plans won’t be useful in a year or two.  So why then do we plan out our money and time in retirement when in fact we know the plans will never actually work out that way?

In my case, I would say the point of the plan was the thought exercise.  It was asking ‘what if‘ and then trying to determine the answer.  The answer might never come to pass but the exercise is still useful as it provides you a bit more understanding about the risks, issues and problems you might encounter in retirement.

In short, you learn about things that might never come to pass but it does provide you input on the magnitude of potential outcomes.  So if you enter an extended period of low investment returns you know what that might do to your investments and you can think about how that would make you feel and how you would react to the issue.  This provides a degree of confidence to you on how to deal with the issue and by extension other issues that do come up.

Or you can plan out various ways to fill your time and realize that you feel busy enough with only using half of those items.  So you still don’t have time do do all the hobbies that you want even in retirement.  You might feel a bit guilty about ignoring things but it doesn’t stop you from changing your hobbies down the road when a current hobby ceases to be interesting.  The plan isn’t useless just because it didn’t work out the way you thought.

Perhaps the biggest shift in a plan that ever occurred to me was moving up my retirement date.  I started this blog back in 2006 fully thinking that retiring at 45 would be a difficult goal.  It was more a dream than reality when I started.  Then I did better than I thought on investments and paying off debt so I slowly moved backed my retirement date by a year or two.  Then finally when my wife mentioned she wanted to keep working for a few more years that pushed me over to revise my target down to 40 (and even then I left six months before that).

Was my retirement a good plan?  It was in theory and only time will tell if it will work out in the real world but so far things are working.  Of course, not as expected or projected but we expect that now don’t we?

So why do you plan even if you know it won’t work out?

March 2019 – Net Worth

Welcome to my net worth posts where I try to prove to myself and you that I wasn’t crazy for leaving work in the fall of 2017 to start my early retirement.   A few important notes:  we are mortgage free and our goal is have our income/investment gains exceed our spending by 102% on a 12 month rolling average (the extra 2% is a buffer for inflation).

Investments

Accounts

RRSP $59,870
LIRA $18,010
TFSA $95,460
Pension $179,530
Wife’s RRSP $95,720
Wife’s TFSA $84,980
Wife’s Taxable $42,760
High Interest Savings Account $34,510

Investment Net Worth $610,840 ($2,960 increase over last month from investments)

Home Equity

Estimate $395,000

Income

To keep things simple I’m only going to track what income comes into our main ‘house’ chequing account.  I won’t be tracking my wife’s or my businesses income as those don’t really matter until the money moves over to the ‘house’ account.  Also I won’t track investment gains since that is covered above.

  • Wife’s Monthly Payment to House: $1100
  • Child Tax: $340
  • Interest $29
  • Tim Brewery Job: $102
  • Total Income: $1574

Spending

Last Month $2976

This looks worst than it is as this month included two major grocery runs and two withdrawals of spending cash.  So overall it will equal out next month when those won’t occur.  And we also spent $377 on house items, as my wife put in an order to IKEA for some business items so we added on some house wish list items as well (new rug for the living room, new chair for my son’s desk and a few other misc items).

Results

Net Worth ~$1,005,840

This Month Investment Gains & Income/Spending Ratio = (2960+1574)/2976 = 1.53 (Target 1.02 or higher)

April 2018 to March 2019 Invest Gain & Income/Spending Ratio = (142+19155)/36652 =0.53 (Target 1.02 or higher)

Commentary:

I helped out at the local brewery again for the day which gave me a bit more cash which I added to my pile for buying all grain brewing equipment.  I’ve been saving part of my spending cash up for the last six months towards this and I’m almost ready to start ordering parts for it all.

Well this month had a nice steady gains from the bond markets mainly.  So overall it is nice to see that the 12 month ratio, while being below target, is slowly heading upwards to our target over the last few months.  Our spending was a bit higher as noted above but main of those items were one off type purchases.  For example, the new chair we brought replaces the one that I bought over a decade ago.

The new book continues to move along.  The overall manuscript is now over 50,000 words (~200 pages) and I’m closing in on finishing the first draft (I would guess I’m around 95% complete).  I’m increasingly writing less new content and just cleaning up references and adding to sections the needed some expansion.  My goal for April is to finish the first draft and switch to full on editing the manuscript which will mean the word count will start to go down as I remove repeated information and clean up the text to be easier to read.  Then after I get to a reasonable draft I’ll pass along the manuscript to some beta readers hopefully in May for some big concept feedback (what works, what doesn’t work and ideas on how to improve it).  I won’t be asking for any copy editing (grammar, spelling, etc) as I intend to contract that out.

Any questions?

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A blog about early retirement and happiness