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So Far, Retirement Sucks!

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  • So Far, Retirement Sucks!

    First, I will explain, my employer, a large Insurance company went through a leadership change a couple years back when the President and CEO of 30-something years retired and the new guy who had been groomed took those spots. Those in the know have seen this insurance and financial services behemoth, has been hemorrhaging billions over the last couple of years, so it came as no surprise that most of the general departments started implementing austerity programs the latest of which have been transition programs through which the high-waged, long term employees are jettisoned and lower waged employees are hired to replace them. Of course, those are not stated as goals, but that is the outcome, nonetheless.

    In March, my wife and I took a trip of a lifetime to Israel. We discussed that, upon our return, I would announce my retirement. We had run the numbers and we figured we might have to tighten our belts some, probably sell the house for something smaller (eventually), but we would make it. However, while we were on our trip, a large package was delivered to the house announcing my department was going to begin our transition program. The packet described the reasons for the transition (none of which, BTW, were we need to jettison you high wage earners because that sounds too much like age discrimination), and included information about severance packages available. So we decided I would delay my announcement JUST TO SEE if I might qualify for severance... now, I could not very well tell my boss hey, dont offer me a job so I can retire and collect severance so I limited my communication to hints that they neednt worry about me, and it worked out: I got the call back in July that I would not be offered a job, but I had to stay until 10/31 in order to retire and collect the involuntary severance.

    this is where the suckiness begins.

    i am a 29-year employee who, once upon a time, had fiduciary responsibility over $500,000. I have taught leadership to all management, and developed and delivered training to all levels of the organization. Suddenly, I am to retire, and I cant be trusted. As of receiving notice I would not be offered a job, something I wanted, I am not allowed to send emails outside the company firewall, I am not allowed to use any data transfer mechanisms (such as flash drives, FTP websites, or DVD writers...), and my accesses are all restricted.

    10/31 comes around, and my supervisor has to ESCORT me out of the building, through Security where I have to hand over my ID badge. And, 11/1, I get an email telling me my benefits have ended. and a second email telling me I have to sign and return an Agreement and Release stating I will not sue my, now, previous employer before I can get the severance money..,

    so far, retirement sucks,

  • #2
    If I remember correctly, you knew this was going to at least have the potential to be ugly. Personally, I'm glad your out of it.

    From the sound of things you WILL get the severance but, per usual, they want their last pound of flesh before you go. My recommendation is to play nice, get what you earned and just be shut of them,

    As far as retirement, I recommend either hobbies or volunteering. Or both, but that tends to cut into the "retirement" aspect.

    The one thing you have to watch out for is that sometimes one's wife can suddenly decide that with all your free time you really should build an addition on the house, go nuts with the gardening and jump into a completely crazy social schedule. Just sayin'

    Anyway, best wishes to you and, as always, if you don't have a plan yourself God will come up with one for you.


    • #3
      David, how are doing with medical insurance? If you've got that covered (hopefully not COBRA or equivalent), and your other financials are good, I wouldn't worry.

      The "friendly goodbye" (sarcasm) treatment is a reminder that the larger the company, the smaller the importance of each employee. I was among 7k other employees when administration let us know a change of policy would make part of a paid leave balance disappear by the end of the fiscal year. That balance was typically used as the lion's share of the severance package, so I bailed before those hours (converted to $$) went away. I wasn't escorted out, maybe because I wasn't in charge of large financial sums or confidential corporate information. But I did get a clear "ex-employee" feel about the whole affair. I could have used an extra few months to manage a downgrade in staffing and services within my section, as well as arrange for a better retirement profile to increase income. The last part wasn't my immediate supervisor's fault, and he was otherwise pleasant about my decision even after the "are you sure you wanna leave" speech a month prior to retirement.

      In short, it worked out fine, compared to your experience. That was almost 10 years ago, my employer did have a matching program for their med insurance premiums (very important, since I was over 10 years below the age for Medicare). Wife and I scaled up a hobby into a self-employment scheme for extra income (part time, most weeks), and that paid the bills until I qualified for other sources of retirement income, even before social security kicks in.

      My sister made this observation before she retired -company loyalty to the employee went into the hole over time, as her employer (a software company) was sold by the family, went public, and grew in size. I'm sure there are exceptions, but the rule for young people entering the workforce is this: Accept employment with the giants, but don't trust them to return your loyalty. Be loyal all the same (it's a critical work habit), but prepare for the day when they chop your career off at the knees. Have something waiting for you when (not if) that happens.


      • #4

        a week before my retirement date, son wrecks moms car... no injuries, but repairs cost $3200. Hes only 17, so dont turn it in to Insurance co.

        my first full day of retirement, Son breaks his ankle in 3 places, needs surgery to correct. (He is at the surgery center when I read noice from employer Benefits Admin myhealthcare has been terminated). Fortunately, we had enrolled them in a different employer program because Im now on Medicare, but they arent. So we should be out only the out-of-pocket, which will be hefty.

        last night, my wife tells me HER bone guy is pushing her to get a knee replacement... of the knee HE repaired 3 years ago.

        AND the hits just keep on comin


        • #5
          Originally posted by DavidSF View Post

          a week before my retirement date, son wrecks moms car... no injuries, but repairs cost $3200. Hes only 17, so dont turn it in to Insurance co.

          my first full day of retirement, Son breaks his ankle in 3 places, needs surgery to correct. (He is at the surgery center when I read noice from employer Benefits Admin myhealthcare has been terminated). Fortunately, we had enrolled them in a different employer program because Im now on Medicare, but they arent. So we should be out only the out-of-pocket, which will be hefty.

          last night, my wife tells me HER bone guy is pushing her to get a knee replacement... of the knee HE repaired 3 years ago.

          AND the hits just keep on comin
          I thought my insurance was mediocre, but in comparison to yours, I''ll admit I should be thankful. Although my monthly premiums are a lot higher than they were when employed, I can deduct a portion from my state taxes -about a 10% discount on premiums paid. One 6-month period it got pretty tight financially, when the wife needed surgery on her hand. We got a break from state Medicaid (local office compared big surgery bill with income), then they dropped us after that crisis was over. The other good thing that happened was the wife recently qualifying for SS retirement, to augment her former employment retirement plan.

          It makes me grateful I paid attention to the FDR administration's, "3 legged stool" advice. SS isn't supposed to be the only source of retirement income, it is at best 1/3, with the other parts being personal savings and a personal/employment retirement fund. I first read that advice when I was about 30 years old, didn't think much about it at first. But I chipped into employer's matching fund, and felt more reassured about building equity in our house.

          Your situation sucks because your son won't be covered under Medicare. Have you checked with Medicare or SS, to see if he can be covered as a student? Wouldn't hurt to ask.


          • #6
            He gets a stipend under my SS, but no medical. They ARE signed up for the BC/BS policy that my former employer provides for split families (where only the retiree is eligible for Medicare)... we cant find out just what is covered under this new policy, though.


            • #7
              BC/BS is one of the giants. I've had to call them more than once to find out if they will cover pricey diagnostic or procedures suggested by my docs. I get a letter that rejects or accepts, and definitely save that puppy in my files. Most of the time they accepted, it seems fair enough.


              • #8
                Originally posted by radcentr View Post
                BC/BS is one of the giants. I've had to call them more than once to find out if they will cover pricey diagnostic or procedures suggested by my docs. I get a letter that rejects or accepts, and definitely save that puppy in my files. Most of the time they accepted, it seems fair enough.
                BC/BS is much bigger than most people think. It is a octopus with tendrils and tentacles in most every pie in the country. It is very labor intensive so I might try it now that Im a gentleman of leisure, but it would be eye opening to figure out just how massive this behemoth is.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by DavidSF View Post

                  BC/BS is much bigger than most people think. It is a octopus with tendrils and tentacles in most every pie in the country. It is very labor intensive so I might try it now that Im a gentleman of leisure, but it would be eye opening to figure out just how massive this behemoth is.
                  Good thing you now have leisure time, you'll need it. Dealing with "Big Blue", I've found some improvement by saving receipts on service dates, and allowing any over-billing to stack up to about 3 cases. I then called the rep, who then made corrections, but asked that I call them right away on each bill. I replied it was more convenient for me to let it stack up, give them all the information and let them backtrack a few months on their mistakes. I thanked the rep (rather than blaming her) and asked her to let her supervisor know about their company's failure to keep proper track of copays and other costs before sending me the final bill. She was happy to do so. I noted person's name and date/time of the call on the bill, in case it was needed (and it was, one time).

                  As a result, they got their act together on my bills. It was a lesson in bureaucracy, not getting upset about it, and placing the burden of documentation where it belongs. Yeah, you're probably going to need that leisure time, but with some planning it can be a short-term hassle, rather than one that never ends.


                  • #10
                    To recap and add to my perspective that, so far, retirement sucks,
                    1. Retirement (R) <3>: Son wrecked wifes car, $3200 repair (no injuries)
                    2. R1: Son fell off skateboard, breaking ankle in three places.
                    3. R2: Surgery to repair sons ankle (10 screws, 1-6 plate). I get BC/BS notice my group health policy was cancelled 2 days ago (fortunately I HAD already signed the dependents up for a continuation that is NOT COBRA).
                    4. R8: Wife takes Son to Orthopedic Surgeon for 1st check up and she gets injection in knee that has been bothering her. Surgeon stipulates injections might not work this time...might need a new knee.
                    5. R13: Wife wrecks wifes car, might be totaled (waiting on Insurance determination)...

                    AND the hits just keep on coming.