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Contemplating early retirement - advice appreciated.

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by Cakemate, Mar 14, 2012.

  1. I have come to realise in the last few months that I am getting truly disillusioned by the way that education is going and so have started to seriously contemplate early retirement.
    Next year I will be 55, by which time I'll have been a Headteacher for 13 years and will have accrued 33 years service.
    Looking at the financial side of things, there would obviously be a huge drop from a salary of around £60K to a pension of just over £20K, if my information is correct. I'm also concerned about leaving a profession that has been an enormous, and defining part of my whole adult life.
    However, I don't want to hang on until 60 and run the very real risk of ending up hating a job that has brought me a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction over the years. I would rather leave 'on a high', but I must confess that I am also quite nervous about the whole situation.
    Has anyone who has had a similar experience, or who may be in the midst of their own decision-making, any pearls of wisdom to share on this subject, please?

     
  2. I have come to realise in the last few months that I am getting truly disillusioned by the way that education is going and so have started to seriously contemplate early retirement.
    Next year I will be 55, by which time I'll have been a Headteacher for 13 years and will have accrued 33 years service.
    Looking at the financial side of things, there would obviously be a huge drop from a salary of around £60K to a pension of just over £20K, if my information is correct. I'm also concerned about leaving a profession that has been an enormous, and defining part of my whole adult life.
    However, I don't want to hang on until 60 and run the very real risk of ending up hating a job that has brought me a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction over the years. I would rather leave 'on a high', but I must confess that I am also quite nervous about the whole situation.
    Has anyone who has had a similar experience, or who may be in the midst of their own decision-making, any pearls of wisdom to share on this subject, please?

     
  3. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Looking back through this forum you'll find lots of posts from people who have agonised over this huge question. Many Retirement regulars respond with encouragement because they are enjoying their retirement so much. Leaving teaching does leave a huge hole in your life and the money side is obviously important but there is life after work. However, if you can choose, why not go on for a bit longer. - e.g. an extra year. Spend this year cutting back financially, thinking about future work maybe and building up another year of pension. I think it's better not to rush if you have a choice. You must know of other heads who have continued to work part time after retirement. Put out feelers as the time approaches and you might pick up something to give you a really useful transition from work into retirement. I hung on for 3 years (not a head) and life got quite grim at the end but 55 seems too soon for me unless you're really unhappy or under impossible pressure and you did not say that.
     
  4. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    A pension of £20K? Go for it! Especially if you have no mortgage.
    Most classroom teachers have to manage on a much smaller pension. I'd be thrilled with that. Try living on my pittance!
     
    Lara mfl 05 and Nebka like this.
  5. Why is 55 too soon?I retired in September 2011 aged 55.I started teaching in 1979. My life has never been better.I don't miss teaching at all.I certainly have far less than 20k as a pension.I wake up every morning and feel so lucky to be away from what teaching has become.
     
    psycho-mum, Nebka and frangipani123 like this.
  6. Im looking forward to that, too!
     
  7. montyjacs

    montyjacs New commenter

    I'm SMT and just turned 53 two weeks ago - hanging on by a thread till I'm 55. I've started planning what I will spend my time doing when I finish and I'm not having too much trouble deciding. It's obviously a personal choice with lots of factors to consider but the key is making sure you do everything you can to think through what you will do each day, how you will feel etc. My husband retired at 55 two years ago when he was made a financial offer to go and has had a very unhappy couple of years while he got his head round it. I'm sure I will be fine!
     
  8. My pension is only half of your £20K although I do have some property income too. I have continued to do some supply work as well.
    I cannot believe how great I feel now compared to when I was in my final year of full time teaching. I would say go for it.
    But as a previous poster wrote perhaps you should do another year, knowing from the start it will be your last, and plan how you will cope with your retirement. Get plans in place, look for other earnng opportunities if necessary and consider where you can save money. Look back at some recent threads here for ideas of how and where you can save money.
    Good luck. Retirement is great. Even semi-retirement.
     
  9. Thank you to everyone who's posted so far - other views would still be very welcome.
    As my current thoughts are for retirement on 31.8.2013 I feel that I've got time to adjust to the idea of a very different life-style and to give consideration to whether I would seek part-time work, be it paid or voluntary.
    Obviously other posters are enjoying 'retirement' in its various hues on far lower pensions than mine would be, so I do realise that in that respect I'm very fortunate.
    I'll keep an eye on other threads here too - having looked back, there's lot's of good advice to be had.
    Thanks again,
    Cakemate

     
  10. I'm retiring this July on a pension of £14K when I'm 60, and have a few quid in savings to live off meanwhile - I'm 53. I can't spend more than this in a year, life is too short and I love travelling so am off to Kathmandu then India in July. I have watched two colleagues drop dead in the last 18 months and 4 others get life-threatening illnesses. The job used to be fine, but now it is ultra stressful. Every head of department meeting I go to now is 'what ofsted wants' when really, I just want to get on and do the job, which I'm very good at. You have to go sometime, so go while you still have your health and can bow out gracefully. You'll miss the kids but can always do a bit of part-time teaching later if you feel the urge.
    This was posted a while back:
    Regrets

     
    Nebka likes this.
  11. To Mymoose:
    The weight of opinion on early retirement defintely seems to favour 'If you can afford it, do it!' and I'm liking that a lot.
    Enjoy your travels in India and Nepal - they're both places my husband and I have visited extensively (in school holidays of course) and have really loved.
    Like you, we also enjoy travelling and holidaying outside of peak travel times will be a big plus for my retirement years.

     
  12. davidmu

    davidmu New commenter

    What a shame that I was not a member of your staff. I am a mathematician and have been interested in finance including unit trusts, investment bonds etc for my whole career. I advised many colleagues as to how to proceed, including the HT at one time, and have seen many take early retirement with a handsome nest-egg. I always explained what I was doing and why and they could either copy me or decide otherwise. As a result my annual income in retirement is greater than anything that I earned as a teacher, even as a AHT.
     
  13. Good for you, Davidmu! Sounds like you planned well.
    I have some other 'bits and bobs' which, if needed, could supplement my pension, so I'm reasonably confident that things will be OK financially.
    I think the hardest part is deciding that you're going to make that leap into a new and different kind of life and I must admit that the more threads on this forum I've read, the more attractive it sounds!

     
  14. My pension will be £just under £9000 pa, as it looks as if my years working for ILEA have disappeared. It will be difficult to live on this.
     
  15. That's appalling, Jenny.

    I've seen other posts regarding this awful problem - is it because proof of length of service has been lost or destroyed?

    Whatever the reason, it's a horrible situation to be in. Is there no chance of redress or compensation available for you?
     
  16. I am in the same boat as you, Jenny, as are quite a few people who once worked for ILEA. My service from 1974 to 1988 has 'disappeared from the system'; so my pension would be about £500 pm. I have hung on for something to happen before claiming, as TP told me that once a pension is started, it cannot be changed, even if new information comes to light. My Union has tried to get something to happen, but without records of payment into the system, there is little that can be done. Apparently, records are patchy: some people have had no problem at all in getting their full entitlement, while others draw a blank. Somebody speculated that records might have been kept at ILEA's Divisional Offices, some being transferred, others not. It would be interesting to see if there was anything in this: I taught in Divison 9, Lambeth.
     
  17. I was made redundant in July 2010, at 54, being on the UPS. I applied for other jobs but usually heard nothing more, or I was the 'make weight' cnadidate. Trying to get work outside of teaching got me absolutely nowhere. I registered with quite a few agencies, one after the other, but little came of it. I had to take ARP when I reached 55, just to have some sort of income, although as I do not have that many years 'in', it only amounts to a few hundred each month.
     
  18. CherylSalmon

    CherylSalmon New commenter

    I'm astonished that this has been allowed to happen! It's appalling.
    Here's my advice:
    1. Pester your union -don't let them forget about it. Over the years you've paid a lot of money in subs.
    2. Get on to Teachers' Pensions and make sure that they know this is an ongoing situation. Ask what they are doing to resolve it and ring regularly asking for updates.
    3. Find evidence of your previous service - old payslips,original contracts, bank statements etc.
    4. Find out which LA "inherited" your school(s) and pester them for information.
    5. Write to the elected members (councillors) of the successor authorities and to your MP. When I worked in a LA as an education officer, if one of the politicians got in touch we had to drop everything else and deal with that issue.
    6. Consider contacting the media if you don't get any results. "Dedicated teacher faces poverty in old age due to bureaucratic incompetence" would go down well in some publications, and raises the game.
    Good luck!
     
  19. CherylSalmon

    CherylSalmon New commenter

    I went on an excellent Retirement course with NAHT. A lot of people don't realise that if you take Actuarily Reduced Benefit, you can carry on working as a teacher (part time or full time) and still get all your pension. This is true even if you take ARB a day before your 60th! If you work to 60, after retirement you start losing pension if you work again as a teacher.
    Due to a range of family issues (young grandchildren, elderly mother, busy husband) and personal ones (wanting to have a go at something else while still fully functioning) I deliberately decided to go for ARB at Christmas, because I wanted to feel I could go back if I missed it too much.
    Was it the Hay McBer report that said that heads have a huge range of skills rarely found in other senior managers? Good luck!
     
  20. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    This sounds like a good idea to me too. How about You and Yours on Radio 4 or Paul Lewis on Moneybox
     

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