Know Your Retirement Variables

retirementJay’s not ready to retire – yet. He’s only 55. Plus, two of the kids are still going to college. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t figured out what our financial picture looks like – both now and in the near future – in case he wants to/has to retire. There are rumblings that the company he works for are making plans to get rid of his group. He’s in a union and maybe the company will simply let them attrition out, steadily reducing the core work force. Or maybe they will simply cease negotiating future contracts. Either one is possible. And we’ll be fine either way although we’d far prefer the first scenario.

Some of Jay’s coworkers are already retiring or planning to retire shortly. One of them reports that he should have retired years ago as he’s better off now. He seems to think he’s making more now than he used to. When he was working he was a) earning a salary, b) adding to his 401K, and c) increasing his pension fund. Now that he’s retired he’s not earning an income, not increasing his 401K and drawing an annuity based on what his pension balance was when he retired. Clearly, he has no idea how the numbers work. This is the same guy who refused to participate in the 401K plan for 20+ years because he felt there was some trick behind it.

Another guy is retiring next month. He was surprised to find out that the company doesn’t pay for unused sick leave. He was expecting a check for his 2,000+ hours of sick leave.


He also isn’t willing to wait an extra month to retire in order to get the $1,500 seed money the company is going to deposit into the new HSA plans being set up for everyone now that they are going to an HDHP in January. Nope – not going to wait, even though he’s not even going to work anymore. He got a doctor’s note and is using up as much of his sick leave as he can, now that he knows he can’t take it with him.

Even though Jay is in one, ask us what we think about unions. He works his butt off. And so do many of his coworkers. But too many of them hardly do anything. No wonder the company wants to get rid of them.

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