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thinking of early retirement at 56 or is it too early?

  • 07-01-2022 2:35pm
    Registered Users Posts: 8

    I'm nearly 56 years old soon and I'm tired or have lost allmost all my enjoyment/commitment to my work .....either way it's a drag now! I work in the higher education sector which is well known for systemic and toxic management/bullying/disrespect and I feel I'm about done with that. Pension won't kick in till i'm 68 yrs.

    I have done my mortgage, own my house and am debt free. I'm single with no dependands and I have 285k in cash savings. As I have mostly worked in the civil service I have contributed to a defined benifit pension for about 27 years and have about 31 years of PRSI stamps. After tax I have about 3K per month and I spend roughly half of this monthly and save the rest in a low interest bank account. I also drink two bottles of wine a day total (sometimes upto 30 euro a day) but this is probably due to my unhappiness at work .....but I need to stop that booze. Despite Covid pandemic, I think living in Spain seems attractive although I have no spanish. My house has an attached granny flat where i could return to as a Irish bolt hole when I need so I could rent out the rest of the house while i'm in spain.

    Do you think I should go to Spain or hang on at work a bit longer?

    Thanks for your opinions.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,197 ✭✭✭BrianD3

    If you have worked for 27 years in the CS your minimum pension age is surely 60? Or 50 with actuarial reduction.

  • Registered Users Posts: 28,594 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78

    not always an easy decision but your health truly is your wealth, and it sure sounds like you re very unhappy in your job, id jack it if at all possible. was unfortunately at a funeral today of a friend who recently retired from the public sector, his retirement didnt last long at all, and he was roughly your age, you just never know! lifes really too short! best of luck with whatever you chose

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,815 ✭✭✭ozmo

    A relative of mine was retired (job closed) early 50's - and he was never happier - but he kept busy - catching up on college courses he missed out on, traveling the world and picking up new and improving skills like photography and woodwork.

    Moving to Spain could be lonely if you don't have anyone over there. Does sound tempting though. Eating into your savings is going to feel odd with no new income to replenish it as you must have been saving hard all this time.

    Would you consider looking for another job - even voluntary, find somewhere your help is appreciated - and if possible cutting back on work hours or work from home if they let it?

    “Roll it back”

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,442 ✭✭✭✭cnocbui

    Go to Spain, though you might want to check out the property prices and retirement incentives in Greece first.

    If you can afford it, do it.

  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Regional East Moderators, Regional North West Moderators Posts: 11,843 Mod ✭✭✭✭miamee

    I'd say talk to a financial advisor to go through how long your money will realistically last or how to make the most of what you have before you jack it all in and live off your savings. For a start a low interest savings account for over €200k is crazy, there have to be better ways to make that money work for you.

    From the work perspective, can you take a year off, a career break, a shorter working year and head off to Spain or wherever? It might be worth trying it out that way before jumping in at the deep end. Or would reducing your wokring hours work for you?

    If I could afford it, I'd retire at any age I could too so I envy you having the choice :)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 214 ✭✭pdpmur

    Life is short and uncertain. Do whatever makes you happy while you still have your health.

    +1 to @miamee suggestions above.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,835 ✭✭✭ari101

    A very interesting and subjective topic, and maybe not a good idea for everyone. I think you need a really good understanding of yourself and a realistic plan.

    Think about... what are you going to do to keep your mind stimulated and keep yourself physically active? Are you a person who will look after themselves (do take time to get some help with the wine), get out, do stuff, see people, etc. if the structure and routine that you have now goes away.

    I think most people who thrive in retirement make sure they still have things to fulfil them. Are you the kind that is sufficiently outgoing that you are happy to join an ex pat community in Spain, put yourself out there, to do things to meet people (maybe you have lots of existing hobbies and passions that will lend to a successful retirement).

    Just don't let yourself find the job is gone and you are sitting at home alone with the wine for company and getting out less and getting old before your years. I can think of two relatives; one who stayed working til early 60s and probably would have been even better leaving earlier - has two/three days of work a month in a side job they still maintain, great for taking care of themselves, has hobbies, etc. The other retired early 50s, stopped work entirely, did some of travel initially and had one good healthy hobby, but let it slide, became very sedentary, too attached to the wine etc. and health has deteriorated since.

    If it's right for you and you can make the numbers work, no one can tell you not to! But if you feel you would still like a career/academic pursuit, just something different. You are young and enough and seem financially sorted to look into that too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 310 ✭✭FromADistance

    I guess it all depends on what your retirement date is and if your DB pension would be effected. If you plan to go ahead, I would rent your house room by room if you could and claim under the rent a room scheme (up to 14k per annum tax free)... less hassle and you maintain control of your house however you have to be resident in Ireland 183 days to be classified as 'resident'... plenty of time to live in Spain. Keep one of the rooms aside as yours. Renting a whole house under a tenancy would likely mean that the Granny flat could be out of bounds but you'd have to check that out. I'm sure with the rental income and your savings that you could live happily in Spain without much hassle.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,835 ✭✭✭ari101

    P.S. If you work in public sector a career break may be an option to try it out, just make sure you check the t&cs re returning/pension etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5 PocFada

    Suggest you take the shorter working scheme, up to 13 weeks unpaid and a job to come back if you want....if you like the time off, then take a career break (up to 5 years)

    Go somewhere nice, do lots of activities (hiking, cycling, walk the camino), and quit drinking all that wine every day

    Best of luck & carpe diem

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  • Registered Users Posts: 257 ✭✭Irish_wolf

    My Dad retired at 58, good redundancy package, built a second home as an investment property (holiday home by the beach) during the good times (now it's his retirement property) and had his pension sorted. Smartest decision he ever made, all he does is play golf, goes swimming at the beach and then maybe a spot of fishing, bit of greek island hopping with the mother every summer too, he has no regrets. If you have all your **** together to withstand any financial hiccoughs then 100% go for it. Life is too short to be slaving away at the grindstone. If you have a passion that is also your job you could stick that out till you're dead, but that's not where you are.

    That being said, my honest advice is to sober yourself up first. Get off the drink for at least 2 months so you have a clear head and plan your escape. Alcohol is a depressant and will compound any current issues you're having. Get away from that first before you make a decision that could screw you over in later life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,393 ✭✭✭stooge

    "I also drink two bottles of wine a day total (sometimes upto 30 euro a day) but this is probably due to my unhappiness at work"

    I would start by cutting this down or out...otherwise whatever retirement you have may well be short lived. Then short out the work problem.

    You seem very secure financially. Possibly you could retire now and do some charity work that you felt passionate about...or pick up a new hobby.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,049 ✭✭✭Trigger Happy

    Absolutely go for it. Life is too short. I would do it tomorrow if I could.

    But be sure that you have enough going on to keep yourself busy and away from the sauce. 2 bottles a day when unhappy at work can easily become a bigger problem when you are home alone and bored in a foreign country.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,384 ✭✭✭billyhead

    OP, Would you not do a 3rd level course in something you've always wanted to study?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,626 ✭✭✭wersal gummage

    Similar to other comments already made, could you consider :

    1) get off the booze for maybe 3 months before finalising any decisions (off to Spain now and could the 2 bottles possibly become 3 if you remain unhappy and have no job to be getting up for in the morning? You also mentioned 30 euro so if money is relevant presume you'll get some nice rioja etc much cheaper there too) , not being judgemental or preachy here, just a suggestion to consider, there's a risk you could take some of your problems with you and even exacerbate them

    2) can you take a career break for maybe 2 years? If you wanted to return you'd be 58 and could go till 65 or more?? Is there any chance if you took a career break you'd be reassigned on return too which might be a positive option?

    3) I'd rent somewhere, having researched your options first. Rent out your own home (yes there are risks etc and could be a disaster, but minimise them etc having researched).

    4) having lived away for the 2 years you could review things and make permanent or otherwise.

    5) do you have any hobbies or could you get into any that you might keep up in Spain? Cycling, sea swimming, walking? Just something to put some structure in the days?

    Best of luck anyway. Life is definitely too short to stay in a miserable job

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    While I would be biased towards early retirement/severance, I'd strongly urge you to do three things (and possibly two others) before committing yourself. They've probably already been suggested, but here goes anyway.

    First, you should stop drinking the amount you've described - in fact, you need not to drink at all for a couple of months. You need that to keep a clear head for making really significant decisions.

    Secondly, you should talk to a financial advisor ASAP. You need that to figure out exactly what your "after" and "before" income figures would look like, and to work out the best use of the money you've saved.

    Thirdly, you should do a pre-retirement course sooner rather than later. Your employer might offer them (but then they'll get wind of your thinking), or you could just pay for one and do it yourself. You need that to give you a framework for working out exactly what the gains and losses are from giving up your current work, and for what it is you might want to do when you leave.

    Points 2 and 3 above were what tipped the balance for me. I didn't go at 56, but I went early and I don't regret it one single bit. In fact, I've never met anyone who regretted going early.

    There are two other possibilities you might consider. One is to use the shorter working year or job sharing scheme to change your work pattern or get some time off. See what it feels like to have nothing to do for 3 months, whether in Ireland or Spain. Another possibility, weird as it seems, is to get another job. If you took a career break and did something else for a while, you might find that there's something else you enjoy doing. If it's something you get craic out of, so what if it pays less? You might even find it useful to get a sense of what it would be like to live on a lower income for a while. If you didn't like it you'd have the option to go back.

  • Registered Users Posts: 169 ✭✭babyducklings1

    Get off the booze, book a few weeks in Spain during Easter or summer holidays. Use the time now to research Spain, look at expat sites etc, thinking about an area you might like to live in and what you could do there. As someone said maybe you could do volunteering or maybe there are new hobbies you could take up. Life is short, you don’t need to make a rash decision but try it out for a few weeks and/or over the summer. Could do a few Spanish classes before you go and maybe a few while there. Get financial advice as well though you do seem to be in a good position. Good luck in whatever you decide.

  • Posts: 25,611 ✭✭✭✭[Deleted User]

    Someone else said about looking elsewhere, why not try and find somewhere else or part time or slightly different area etc.? Take your time, you're comfortable and secure whatever happens so get to looking.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,059 ✭✭✭the whole year inn

    As long as you get your money out of work ,I would say so go for it .

    Would you sell your house up altogether if there is nothing keeping you in Ireland?

    Would you go to Thailand , your money would go a long way there .

    Are you sick of working altogether? Would you take a parttime job somewhere , could you do grinds ?

    Maybe take a few holidays first and take stock of what you really want .

    What ever you do good luck with it !!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 352 ✭✭Snugbugrug28

    Regardless of your situation and the reasons for anything, your absolute priority right now is to deal with the 2 bottle a day alcoholism issue. That isn't going to go away just because you leave work and it certainly isn't going to go away when you're looking to make friends in Spain.

    Personally I don't think 285000 is enough for what you're looking to do. You say youve been saving 285k, if that's true I think you've missed a trick not making AVCs with that. Theres still time though. If I were you I'd stay another couple of years in work, make the AVCs (I think it's 35% of salary tax free), build up a pot then retire at 60 to Portugal having kicked your alcohol habit, where I think tax on pensions is about 10%.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,108 ✭✭✭Viscount Aggro

    58 is too late to be called early retirement.

    Earlier than most, but late.

    You need to have a pension pot of 2 bar, considering inflation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 352 ✭✭Snugbugrug28

    What's 2 bar? 2 million?

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,059 ✭✭✭the whole year inn

    You be surprised what you would live on to make some one happy. People throw big numbers about some of which needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,815 ✭✭✭ozmo

    Yes but the salary you get from a huge pension fund seems to be absurdly low.

    “Roll it back”

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 9,811 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007

    No one wants to retire to the poverty line and deliberately under estimating the financials is just fooling yourself. A person who is used to have a 30k p/a spending power is not going to be happy living on 15k p/a for the rest of their life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,860 ✭✭✭Pissy Missy

    Very true, when you're used to living a certain way it's very hard to adapt to reduced spending

  • Registered Users Posts: 352 ✭✭Snugbugrug28

    I would say that will change in the upcoming world of high interest rates

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 9,811 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007

    It’s a pity that inflation will wipe any gains!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 519 ✭✭✭freddie1970

    At 56 yes i would go for it ...thats not even early retirement. I would make sure to get hobbies to fill your day though ..Cycling golf hiking etc..I often thought if i retired i would play golf every second or 3rd day and hike or cycle the others ..then one or 2 days a week for reading and relaxing sure then u would never be bored ....