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Is it time to go?

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by Seabacon1964, Oct 5, 2018.

  1. Seabacon1964

    Seabacon1964 New commenter

    I've been teaching for 29 years, for most of that time in a HOD role. I was signed off for the first time ever this week with stress and depression and prescribed antidepressants. I've always loved my job but I've been finding it increasingly difficult and now it could be making me ill, I'm 55 in January, should I start thinking about early retirement?
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    If you feel you could manage financially then possibly yes. The job is no longer what it used to be and much more stressful, so if it's affecting your health, now might be a good time to consider all your options.
    phlogiston likes this.
  3. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    Start considering options as even knowing that it is possible to go will reduce the stress a little. But also consider other options. What about something like a flexible working request to a three day week without HOD responsibilities? The income is likely to be as much as your pension would be and you can leave the pension alone for a bit longer whilst still adding to it. You’ll take a big hit by taking it early at 55 and there is a very long way to go to state pension age. Do some sums and begin to understand the various options.
  4. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 Occasional commenter

    Yes, I second that, Sundaytrekker. Although a colleague of mine went 0.8 and it really didn't make much difference; 0.6 was better but obviously a bigger financial hit.
    We really should be able to use flexible working arrangements in circumstances like this.
  5. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Yes, but...

    It sounds like now is the time to start thinking about stopping working as a full time teacher in a HoD role in a school.

    But the options aren't just working as full time HoD or retire. There are many other things people can do that are neither one nor the other of those. A sort of job 'down-sizing' if you like - but make sure you know what impact that might have on your TPS pension. Get advice - your union should have a specialist able to help. I've no idea what those options could be for you personally but I'm sure if you asked for ideas here you'd get many suggestions and others' experiences.

    As Lara says, you need first to do your sums before making any decisons. Get projections from TPS for what your pension would be. Look at your overall household income and outgoings, could you manage? There's a thread on this forum a couple of months ago about how living expenses change after retirement. Have a look at that too.

    I'd find retirement stressful if I had to live hand to mouth, no holidays etc. Do your budgeting first.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
    stopwatch, Lara mfl 05 and phlogiston like this.
  6. Artworks0688

    Artworks0688 New commenter

    Yes, ! You won’t regret it I promise.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  7. 50sman

    50sman Lead commenter

    As I have said before - if you have to ask the question then it is time to go.
    I job down sized first, then supply, now on one year temp contract but to be honest may go at Xmas and go back on supply.

    Do your sums - how much money do you need?
    Lara mfl 05 and phlogiston like this.
  8. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    At 55 I said I would stay as long as I could. I lasted 3 years. It was tough but worth it for the pension. Starting a plan will cheer you up.
  9. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 Occasional commenter

    Agree - having choices gives us a feeling of having at least some control.
  10. stopwatch

    stopwatch Lead commenter

    I like SundayTrekkers point of considering part time, so that you are on a similar salary to your pension. That way stress is reduced, you earn an income, you contribute to your TPS and, when you take it, it is more than it would be now.
  11. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    Certainly check to see if you can afford it. As someone once said, if you end up not being able to pay the bills then you're just replacing one form of stress with another.

    But if work is so bad that it's making you ill, then it's almost certainly time to stop.

    As I've said before, if this is due to unnecessary workload from an uncaring SLT I'd not hand my notice in tomorrow, either. I'd play them out as long as I could, but we all have different opinions on that.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  12. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    As people have suggested look at all your options and going forward it may not just be either stay f/t as HoD or take early retirement. there are so many options these days and a School may well be keen to retain you, but at a different pay scales/ responsibilities, which may give everyone the best of both worlds.
  13. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    WRS takes months not weeks to recover from so don't consider going back to work until at least January. Don't make any big decisions until then. But, I was a majorly fed up HoD at 50 after 20 years and was certainly stressed out and ready to collapse. I stopped work for a few months on doctors orders, then jacked in the full-time job, did about three months a year for 5 years doing one or two contracts a year in different schools and the rest of the time was me time, and finally quit completely last year at 55. It is really great having loads of free time, going on hols when you like, choosing if you work or not, having time to eat well, socialise, exercise, have holidays, see family. What is your subject? If it is a shortage subject and have some savings and few big commitments like the mortgage, you could consider just having a career break for six months or a year and see how you get on. You can always go back if you get bored (not likely). Take your time, do your sums and choose life.
    eljefeb90 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  14. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I guess that you couldn't get another job and continue paying into the pension scheme - or into another one? I'm far and away from retirement conditions today but I'm very concerned about the stress you have. As you get older, this stress could lead to serious health damage which will cause you big problems later. Anything is worth getting away from something that is seriously wrong.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  15. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    Firstly, you are not alone. I have known very many teachers whose mental health has been adversely affected by the job. I was not as ill as you, but I knew I had had enough at 56 . I could not move schools as I was too old and too expensive. I felt trapped in an untenable situation. I did my sums and planned to leave soon after my 57th. birthday. The last nine months were doable as there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Obviously, it all depends on your outgoings and whether your partner works. Go on the TPS website and see what lump sum and pension you would get . It is certainly a viable option, especially if you are mortgage free. When you are better, you could supplement your pension income with supply work or with other work as I do. I am no worse off now nearly three years into my retirement as early retirement coincided with the end of my mortgage and with my kids fleeing the nest. Indeed, I feel I have a higher disposable income.
    Before you explore the early retirement option , I would get in touch with occupational health as your employer needs to make reasonable adjustments to your working conditions. Stepping down from your HoD responsibilities and going part time would lighten your load. You would not take such a hit on your pension when you did retire.
    Dorsetdreams and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  16. poppy45

    poppy45 New commenter

    My advice would be to go as soon as you can. I retired this summer at 56 with 29 yrs in the pension pot. The monthly pension more than covers my outgoings and then there’s the lump some and my saving which means I have something to fall back on if necessary. I’ve seen plenty of part time and temporary teaching jobs I could apply for and have already been offered short term work without even applying. When you can start jobs at short notice it opens up so many opportunities that don’t involve all the stress of a full time permanent position. Life is great now, I feel very happy and relaxed and have the time to do what I want to do. I was like you, stressed out with the job but worried about taking ARB and not having enough money. The demands and pressures of teaching today are intolerable, jump off the treadmill, I promise you won’t regret it.
    eljefeb90 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  17. heldon

    heldon Occasional commenter

    We stopped in the summer and life is great!!!!
    Stress levels way down.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  18. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Star commenter

    I can only echo the advice of the other posters: if you can afford it, go! It was certainly the best thing I ever did. Bear in mind the caveat about being able to afford it, though. However, it's amazing how many options there are once full time work becomes untenable (eg downsizing). I wish you the best.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  19. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    Quite true. Finishing your mortgage makes a huge difference. I don't get a teacher's pension as I was a part-time teacher, and because of this, although I paid a first-class NI contribution, I only get half a state pension, but with the mortgage gone and my husband's pension and without travelling costs to work etc etc we live quite well. We've just had the U3A book come out with all the things you can do in your town: You'd make lots of friends where you live and the cost of living isn't that high with mortgage gone. You'd be surprised at how well you could live without teaching and all the stress would disappear I'm sure.
    Lara mfl 05 and eljefeb90 like this.
  20. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Seabacon1964 have you checked out your figures on the TPS website? Your benefit statement should give you a good idea of your average salary at the moment. I assume you are also a transition member between final salary and career average? I tried some dummy runs assuming your average salary was say 46000K (Also assuming you have a decent TLR for your HOD role and making allowance for inflation) I was getting back figures of just over £14000 for 29 years after the reduction for taking ARB at 55. Would that be enough? A lump sum of 42000K on top. As I say just guessing!

    As others have suggested consider part-time, less responsibility or even phased retirement. I took the later at 55 giving up some of my responsibilities and taking 50% of my benefits.(16 years) I continued full time for another 3 years before taking the rest at 58.(Another 19 years worth) It worked for me and gave me about £3000+ more a year pension then taking it all at 55. I also maximised my lump sum. However I believe my average salary was higher than yours. It could be the way to go.

    I am now teaching part-time and paying into the new scheme, but that's another story.
    All the best with your calculations and plans.
    eljefeb90 and Lara mfl 05 like this.

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