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Is there anything you would have done differently knowing what you know now?

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by HannahD16, Aug 3, 2020.

  1. HannahD16

    HannahD16 New commenter

    I find this a really interesting and supportive forum with people willing to share their wisdom for the benefit of others.
    I am in the last 7-10 years of my teaching career and am looking ahead to my retirement. I have plans on place to ensure that financially I am ok but wondered if those of you who have already retired would share your thoughts on the last years of your careers and highlight anything you would have done, not done or done differently if you could go back in time?
  2. Baron_Hamstead

    Baron_Hamstead New commenter

    Not sure that looking back in that way is necessarily a positive thing to do. The past cannot be changed. It’s today and tomorrow that you may be able to influence somewhat.
    MrSaturday likes this.
  3. littlejackhorner

    littlejackhorner Senior commenter

    I don't think I would have changed anything in my last 7-10 years. I had always planned for an early retirement so had paid off my mortgage and every month I saved over half my wages. That built up a substantial pot of money and also helped me to try and manage on much less per month than I was earning.
    As I was in a management position I did have a good salary and so did my husband so even spending less we still had a good lifestyle.
    My only regret is that I didn't try working abroad but that would have been when I was in my 20s or 30s, not when I was approaching retirement.
    HannahD16 and diddydave like this.
  4. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I started writing the actions I took which maximised my pension but frankly it's not of relevance to anyone else. You can only do your best with the cards your dealt and try and do common sense things - don't be spendthrift, do think about what you want to do with your lump sum, do keep an eye on the pension figures so you actually know what you will get and remember things can change and leave you with a very different set of circumstances so don't imagine you're in control. Common sense.
  5. diddydave

    diddydave Lead commenter

    If I'd known as much about the scheme then as I do now there are definite changes I would have made. Taking a month out one year after any significant promotion/pay rise would have made quite a difference.

    I've posted before about the path we took in preparing to stop and there isn't much else we would have done differently in the grand scheme of things. We never stinted ourselves but equally couldn't understand why anyone would pay £000's on holidays, or wedding receptions etc.

    Cutting costs was one of the biggest surprises we had when we actually resolved to start planning for retirement. We did several blind taste tests on the things we'd always bought...Tesco Baked Beans versus Heinz, tomato ketchup, chocolate biscuits, tea bags...and were shocked that we often couldn't tell the difference or preferred the cheaper option - I think looking further back we were comparing such products to those that we had as children, for instance if the Tomato ketchup wasn't Heinz it was a watery vinegary horror ketchup - so bad I would check out if they had the 'proper' stuff before I let my parents sit down! Cutting the big cost items such as insurance is ok and worth doing, an annual saving of £150 on a policy is great but that's only the equivalent of trimming £3 a week off the grocery shop.

    When we sat and talked about stopping work the biggest fear we had was whether we could afford it, particularly as we were looking to stop well before we were 55 and so would have no reliable income. We prepared the figures and got help from the Wesleyan. Setting, and living within, a budget worked well. Forcing ourselves to put one of our wages into a separate account meant we could forget about it and really see if we could live off 50% of our normal income. Bonus of that was that after a year we realised that we had a whole year's worth of cash available and could actually stop work a year earlier than we had planned on.
  6. heldon

    heldon Occasional commenter

    Good advice diddydave, we worked out that the things that make us tick are actually really cheap. Things like walking, cycling, veg plot, cooking from scratch. Then we paid off all debt as quickly as possible and then started putting money away. We were living on 40% of our income for the last few years with the rest being used to pay off pension years buy back or investing in sipps and isas. 40% is about £1800 per month and we didn't feel we were missing anything living on that. So we stopped two years ago and are living off my sipp, until I turn 60, my wife who is only 52 will have her sipp from 55 then teachers pension from 60. No regrets, enjoying being fit and able and not having to work. Don't need a flash Mercedes or a ferrari, but might get a little campervan or caravan when I take my lump sum!
  7. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    Yes, you must decide on your red lines, those non- negotiables that make you happy or new things you want to try or do more of. You will want to continue to pursue these interests in your retirement. If these are cheap or free, then great. I go cycling and do a bit of kayaking, but, like most pre-retirees , I have all the gear already, so no big layouts necessary. I also like cooking, gardening and DIY, so I effectively save money by doing tasks myself that others would have to pay to get done.
    If , however, you tend to splurge on expensive clothes, booze/drugs , consumer goods, cars and holidays a serious look at your finances would be called for...as well as your personal value system!
    I know a lot of retired teachers , none of whom are in any way short of money. One guy gives the entirety of his state pension to his son. I was led to believe that taking retirement would be like donning a hairshirt, of scrimping and missing out. I have found that, with the kids having flown and become independent and with the mortgage paid off, I have far more disposable income now, in retirement than I ever had when I was working.
  8. eljefeb90

    eljefeb90 Senior commenter

    One addendum to what I wrote..In the lead up to my retirement, I had thought vaguely about it but had not considered it seriously. I had done no setting aside or saving(couldn't afford it). I was always slightly overdrawn at the end of each month. I still had nearly a year of mortgage to pay and my youngest in his first year of university. Events conspired to make my already stressful job intolerable and at 56 , retirement was a the only viable option. So, almost zero planning ahead or putting financial ducks in a row. It was a worry at the time and a very steep learning curve. I retired two terms after taking the decision, paid off my son's second year out of my salary as well as what little remained on the mortgage .His third year came out of the lump sum.
    Dorsetdreams and diddydave like this.
  9. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    My flippant answer is I wish I’d married another teacher so we both had pensions as good as each other. However, from some teacher marriages I know it’s not always as straightforward as that.

    I am very pleased I prioritised putting extra money into my pensions over saving separately or spending on more holidays etc. I figured that I wouldn’t be able to change my mind and access the money early so it would still be there at 60. The thing I hadn’t expected is that I would want to carry on working part time for a few years longer.
    littlejackhorner and diddydave like this.
  10. pauljoecoe

    pauljoecoe Occasional commenter

    Yes. We moved abroad and taught for 3 years prior to retirement. (Hong Kong)

    Based on our experience, (nice schools, good kids, fantastic work life balance, very good money, low tax, great travelling opportunities, a interesting cultural and life experience, plus coming back with a good retirement nest egg) we should have done it a lot earlier!
    eljefeb90, Prim and littlejackhorner like this.
  11. HannahD16

    HannahD16 New commenter

    Sunday trekker I wish I’d married a teacher too!
    I admire those who have taken the plunge to work abroad and who have experienced other cultures and ways of life. I’m a home bird myself and enjoy being near to my family. Thankfully I still have both my parents and know time is precious so am drawn to stay local.
    When I retire I want to perhaps set up a social enterprise in my locality, something that will employ adults with learning disabilities as it is something close to my heart. There is a real lack of genuine employment opportunities for these young people who have so much to give. I do intend to aim for 60 as my retirement age but who knows what might happen in those few years between now and then. Teaching is certainly a rewarding job but it comes with many challenges which can be testing to say the least and the year ahead is going to be the biggest challenge of all.
    eljefeb90 and littlejackhorner like this.
  12. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    I’d get the mortgage paid off as soon as possible, along with any other debts, cards and/or loans.
    littlejackhorner and eljefeb90 like this.
  13. frodo_magic

    frodo_magic Occasional commenter

    I started to do voluntary work abroad when I retired. I wish I'd done that much earlier in my career, maybe had gap years etc. It was far more rewarding and so much fun working with very poor children in third world countries, slum children with very little except big dreams than the unruly entitled spoilt brats (and their parents) I spent most of my career teaching in the UK. I still remember fondly teaching a song with all the actions to infants under a make shift shelter under a tree in India.
  14. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    I lost some money in oli-based investments. Crude prices crashed and we never got back all that we had put in. Ho hum!

    Yes, HannahD16, it is wonderful to have a collection of memories from different countries around the world where I have been teaching for the last twenty years (Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Romania, Qatar and China). The bad news is that I really have almost no family and friends in the UK. I don;t really feel that the UK is "home" any more.
    frodo_magic likes this.
  15. Treacle3

    Treacle3 New commenter

    Fair enough. Something I should have tried:)
  16. Treacle3

    Treacle3 New commenter

    Don't see it as "bad news". Move on.
  17. mrkeys

    mrkeys Occasional commenter

    My only regret is not 'blowing the whistle' on a couple of dreadful, scheming, cheating HT's.
    How they ever got to be HT is beyond me.
    Although one was sacked, but not before nearly 125 staff had left over about 18 months.
    The other is somehow still in post.
  18. old_dobbin

    old_dobbin Occasional commenter

    Some obvious ideas: check your state pension record and make sure you will get the maximum possible. Check your Teachers Pension record and ensure that it's correct. If you have seven to ten years to work, think seriously about buying more Teachers Pension. It's index linked and about as safe as you can get. Make sure you repay any debts and mortgage before you retire, if possible. Once retired, try to keep reasonably fit by say walking for an hour or so every day, or something similar-it doesn't have to be overly strenuous but don't become a couch potato. Ultimately, your only real security is your body, so keep as fit as you can.
    yellowclassprincess likes this.
  19. HannahD16

    HannahD16 New commenter

    Good points. I remember a now retired former colleague saying that if only she had known the physical and mental benefits of regular exercise she would have made the time for this when she was still working. She was a highly regarded Member of SLT, always available for others, worked exceptionally long hours etc etc. Put herself last in short.
    Get rid of debts? working on it!
  20. frodo_magic

    frodo_magic Occasional commenter

    I've been thinking about this. I also remember the girl I taught who got 9 As and a B in her GCSEs, the B in my subject. The **** the **** entitled, obnoxious parents put me through, the time that was wasted by everyone while an investigation they insisted must take place was carried out, while my plans for that year were forensically analysed and questioned at every turn.

    The contrast is vivid looking back. I definitely could have made more of my teaching career, made it personally far more rewarding than the constant stress of getting spoilt kids grades they didn't deserve in middle class schools. Looking back, career gap years should have happened every five years!

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