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Age 56 ? What should I do?

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by shipscat, Sep 6, 2015.

  1. shipscat

    shipscat New commenter

    I am almost 56 with around 29 years’ service currently on U3 with a special needs allowance and I am starting to think about transition to retirement.

    There are a couple of reasons why I am starting to think about this even though I have four years to go my original intended retirement.

    First I have developing caring responsibilities for an elderly parent who lives with me and could do with some additional support in addition to that which can be given before and after work, therefore, I could do with being at home more to undertake household tasks at present I am sometime struggling to find time for myself and keep up on top of work. I am the sole carer.

    Secondly there have been many changes at work in the past 12 months. A move to a new site, new SLT with some new and potentially more-demanding requirements in terms of paperwork, planning, monitoring combined with the likelihood of challenging new pupils.

    However I am not sure as to what route to take.

    The two options I have been considering at present are:

    1. Request to go part time from August 2016 – four days per week – ideally requesting Wednesday off as this would be the most useful day of the week. If I took this option I might consider working beyond 60 it may be that the one day extra off mid-week would help provide time for additional caring duties and provide me with a break from the stresses of school.

    2. Quit altogether next August (I will be almost 57) and claim my pension, take a few months out and then look for a new part time job not necessarily in teaching – or perhaps even try to develop some online interests and go self-employed. Fortunately no mortgage to pay, a few very small easily covered debts and some savings!

    I am posting here as I am sure there must be other people out there who have faced similar decisions in their later years of teaching. I appreciate that what works for one might not necessarily work for someone else but I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has faced a similar situation.

    Many thanks

    “Ship’s Cat”
  2. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    There simply is no right answer. At 55 i decided to go on for as long as I could and finished at 58. Every day added to my pension and that made the last grim year or two bearable. Once i finished I turned my back on the job. My intention was to keep my options open for as long as possible. You could do that by trying to negotiate part time and if you get it then see how it feels. If it isn't right for you you could take your pension after a year. It really is about deciding what you want to do not finding the magic right answer - IMO
  3. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    We can't tell you. Weigh up everything, especially the finances, and then come to a decision. It'll be the right one.
  4. tim2101taichi

    tim2101taichi New commenter

    Depends on where you live and the availability of part time less stressful employment. Generally part time teaching staff still work in their 'free' day. It is the nature of the job - and or you will be thinking about it. Stepping down to a part time - its over when you leave the building - type job is far less stress and with your other commitments provided there is a possible job to go to seems far more preferable. Do the maths and take the plunge if you can afford it believe me leaving the paper chase is a tremendous weight off!!
  5. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    This is often bandied about ....


    You only get one life, so make the right choice!

    How much do you need to live off to cover all bills each month? How much would you get from the pension? What savings do you have? Will working the extra two or three years really make such a huge financial difference to your pension income and quality of life? How much extra will you have each month for the extras, to make life fun? Could you stop work and life off savings or other income until you are 60, so there is no actuarial reduction? What / when state pension?

    Do you have the energy to continue? There are endless changes. Your brain slows down. You can't be bothered in the way that you used to. Moronic data collection is getting worse. Pupil Premium is yet another layer of education requiring data collection on an industrial scale.

    You owe it to your parent(s) to help them out. They'll be gone soon. Luv 'em while you can.

    What are you not doing that you always wanted to? You never have time to do those things whilst working, and soon, your own body and health will start giving up, slowly at first but then faster every year. And people do drop down dead at your age. Teaching is highly stressful and the longer you do it, the more you may be straining your body and mind.

    You can ask to go part-time, but there is no right you'll get it. Neither do you have the right to have a particular day off.

    What do you teach? Supply might be an option if you're determined to keep your hand in for a few years yet. It will give you lots of flexibility doing short contracts and maternity cover and you don't need to use an agency. Just set up a limited company - I know many supply teachers now who avoid agencies altogether by contacting schools directly but it all depends on your subject, the area, your marketing skills etc.

    Is the school your social life or do you have a wide group of family and friends outside of the school?

    I hit 51 last year and to be honest, I'm seriously thinking of going at the end of this year, when I'm 52, after 29 years of working. I just can't / don't want to keep working like a dog every day. I can't do it any more and I want to see a bit of the world, sleep in, get drunk at night, go walking up mountains etc. Like you, I have some savings and could easily do supply for a few months here and there.

    Decisions decisions .....
    bevdex, phlogiston, johnberyl and 2 others like this.
  6. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    A few months after I had left full-time teaching, and I had recovered my sanity, I looked back on my last few years of my working life with horror. I kept asking myself, "How the **** did I do it?"
  7. shipscat

    shipscat New commenter

    Thanks for the various comments.

    I am a bit cross that I feel the need to start thinking about quitting.

    It is the recent changes at work that have started to get to me combined with extra duties at home.

    I feel as though I could cope with the domestic situation and if requirements had remained the same under the old leadership there would be no problem chugging along to almost 60 or perhaps even longer.

    Suddenly there has been a deluge of new requirements / initiatives from a new leadership which will seriously impinge on my time.

    Furthermore I am totally puzzled as to why all this change is required as we only received an Outstanding from OFSTED In 2014. Not as if anything was broken.

    A steady hand on the tiller and the odd small tweak here and there would have been fine. But the number of changes announced in the past fortnight is making me feel overwhelmed and I feel certain I will be taken to task if I don't live up to the demands.

    Perhaps I should just hang in there until they kick me out or I finally crumple just to boost the pension. But as things stand I can't see myself working full time beyond next summer.

  8. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    I retired at nearly 57 just over 2 years ago. I therefore took quite a 'hit' on my pension, but (because I'd been working for over 30 years) I did leave with a good sized lump sum (I took the maximum as it is untaxed) and a small, but reasonable monthly pension. I did think I might do some supply/PT work...

    2 years on, I am so pleased I don't have to work, and I haven't needed to seek out supply etc. With no mortgage, less travelling expenses etc (& being able to take holidays outside school holidays) my pension has gone further than I expected.

    Of course everyone's circumstances are different. But all I can say is I don't regret early retirement one iota - in fact it is one of our great bonuses as teachers....
    johnberyl and eljefeb90 like this.
  9. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    What you describe sounds like my last school. When it went academy and the new SMT started flexing their muscles, change started off being continual and very soon became continuous. By time you had learned the latest set of tricks, they were outdated and you needed to learn a whole new set, and so it went on. If you are finding it difficult to cope with home and school now, it will only get worse, much worse, as time goes on. If you can manage it, get out on the best terms you can. If you stay on, you will find that your health, your sanity and your home life will suffer. As you are an experienced teacher (read: expensive) you might well find yourself being the subject of competency proceedings to get you 'off the bus'. One of the consequences of this can be a poor reference, which might compromise future employment.
  10. shipscat

    shipscat New commenter

    Five years or so ago a colleague decided to go at 55.

    He reckoned that retiring early one would probably end up getting more pension in the long run as one would likely live longer, I can't get that out of my head.

    As for getting a poor reference would I want to do anymore teaching?

    Well I am sure it is unlikely but would they still give a poor reference for a non-teaching job? I have seen commented elsewhere that they only have to comment on capability if asked is that true?

    I know I have gone above and beyond the call of duty on many occasions, and am currently saving them money by doing some other work normally done by a non teaching member of staff this is adding to my woes. An excellent attendance record with only around three weeks sick (non in the past 13 years) and 9 days for bereavement / family circumstances. I am hoping that might count for something.

    Currently been modelling various scenarios on the TPS early retirement calculator to see the effect of spinning things out a bit rather than just going!

  11. Viane

    Viane New commenter

    I took phased retirement last year, working 4 days Mon to Thurs with a three day weekend - or so I thought. Sounds great! In reality, I worked four very long days in school, did some work each Friday and also the usual Sunday prep. My days off, therefore did not free me from the stresses of school. I did five days work in four and more!

    My advice is be very careful about workload/timetable/responsibilities if you reduce your days. It is a job which you can't leave behind when you leave the school building, as we all know. Phased retirement is excellent in principle as long as you restrict work to your working days. I took full retirement from September. I now have a wonderful sense of freedom!
    johnberyl likes this.
  12. old_dobbin

    old_dobbin Occasional commenter

    It's all to do with money. Work out how much you will save by not having to go to work. In my case it was quite a lot because I was spending 160 a month on travelling there and back , 60 a month on sandwiches / meals plus when I retired I used some of the lump sum to pay off the remainder of my mortgage, saving about 250 a month.

    You don't pay NI on your pension income , which helps too.

    My attitude was that there was not much point in retiring early only to find I couldn't really manage on the pension and then feel forced to do less well paid work that I didn't really like to supplement my income. Also, if you have to work to supplement your pension, the work is likely to be more insecure than your current post.

    You will lose a substantial potential fraction of your pension if you go at 57 because you will lose the three years you could get from 57 to 60 plus the actuarial reduction-perhaps a total of about 5.5 to 6 years. On the other hand , if the reduced pension will be enough to live on with a bit left over for holidays, house repairs and emergencies, why not go for it?
    johnberyl likes this.
  13. shipscat

    shipscat New commenter

    Well I am not going to save much money from cutting out the commute to school, it's around 12 miles a day and the car is quite fuel efficient. Can't save much on lunch costs either have always work through lunch with just a few minutes break for a coffee or mineral water.

    I am fortunate that I don't have a mortgage to worry about.

    Personally I wouldn't find taking lower paid less demanding work a problem, the question is what work.

    Any ex teachers care to comment on non teaching jobs they have taken up after retirement?

    Having never been in the jobs market before I do find that prospect a bit daunting.

  14. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Exam marking? Supply teaching? Applying for jobs in schools that aren't teaching - office? Administration? Library? TA? CS? Exam supervision?

    Or, sell home & downsize?
  15. old_dobbin

    old_dobbin Occasional commenter

    I think I underestimated the number of years you would lose if you took an AR pension at age 57. According to the TP website, you would have a 13% reduction in your pension for life which I think means you would lose 3.9 of your 30 years, plus the three years you wouldn't be working to age 60, so a total of almost 7 years less pension.

    I applied to do exam marking when I retired but when it came to it, I just didn't want to spend hour after boring hour marking for low pay. I did supply teaching in between jobs before I retired and certainly wouldn't do it now unless I was desperate for money. But-each to his own.

    I think it depends on a number of factors personal to you. One suggestion is to look at how much you regularly save now on your current salary. If you don't save much , how would you manage on less income?
  16. shipscat

    shipscat New commenter

    Thanks for the feed back - having spent a while thinking about things I decided that part-time would be the best option.

    An initial inquiry about the possibility of dropping one day was met with a positive response a few days ago and apparently may well fit in with SMT plans for one of the subjects I teach anyway.

    Furthermore, it looks as though they can accommodate the day I was looking for as I am not looking for the usual extended weekend which could lead to timetabling difficulties.

    It has been agreed I can a have a while to think further about it until planning for the next academic year starts.

    A younger colleague who is a part-timer suggests one feels much fresher and is consequently more effective and suggests a win-win situation for both school and myself.

    Last edited: Oct 14, 2015
    okram1 likes this.
  17. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    I decided to retire last March and will be leaving in December. I was, and am, working in excess of 60 hours a week and I came to the conclusion it wasn't sustainable (or appreciated). I'm the sole earner in my family so it wasn't an easy decision but I'll forsake part of my pension in order to get my life back. I'll be 57 soon and have taught for 34 years. Obsession with data and the unrelenting pressure and workload is making the job increasingly unfeasible. Needless to say, my school have been unable to replace me . What do I say to parents at next month's Year 11 parent's evening?
    thistledoo and bevdex like this.
  18. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    If the fact that you are leaving isn't known, say nothing. If it is, ask your HoD/line manager what they want you to say.
  19. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    Thanks, folk fan. My job was advertised on the school website 'due to the retirement of the current postholder' , so I think one or two may know. I don't want to say anything as it'll be unsettling , although I can't resist feeling a bit of Schadenfreude.
  20. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Oh dear - how unhelpful.

    My advice (and I did leave a few schools, incl. at Christmas when I taught mostly exam classes*) would be, as said earlier, to check with your HoD/line manager - 'what would you like me to say'? That way they can't be angry with you later!

    If they won't/can't give you a script to follow, then I would be as positive/optimistic as I could be (without lying!) to reassure Y11 pupils/parents: 'I have met the new teacher, Mr.... and I'm certain the hand-over will be smooth', or 'I know that there is a good field of candidates for my post, and I'm sure a good teacher will be appointed', and 'I will be liaising closely with the new teacher to ensure that Year 11 doesn't lose out' etc

    Hope it goes well .

    * On this occasion, I did - by email - monitor A Level coursework and actually marked it as the new teacher had no experience of that course. But that was more than a decade ago! Not sure teachers have time to do that today....

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