Early Retirement Achieved – my ex-boss’ perspective

I got news last week that an old boss of mine has successfully Retired Early at the age of 55 – not that early but he’s retired on too.

I had him as my boss about 15 years ago and I remember him planning his 40th party (party plus golf holiday) and since we were in close quarters, I got to know him reasonably well.

We weren’t close, it was a working relationship as so many are in the rat race.

He started and finished his career with the same company that he joined when he was 16/8, straight out of school. He was part of a cohort of kids who were recruited to work in industry and if he’d have come from a better part of town, he’d maybe have gone on to university but he didn’t and this was the opportunity that came a knocking.

Working first as an apprentice and getting trained up, he put in his time at the coalface. By the time I met him he was a second in command and managed a team of 20 technicians working in shifts away from home for weeks at a time. Not easy work. But he knew his stuff and people knew that – became higly respected.

I only worked with him for a few months before our paths diverged, he stayed in that role for a few more years before coming into the head quarters for a few years. Speaking to him in the office one day, he said that he missed the old life (lots of time off) but he was a dutiful company man and did what he was told. I suspect that if you are good and know it you can leverage that position to make the company work for you.

Over time, he was promoted and paid more and more. He drove a very expensive German car with a personalised number plate – the plate alone cost more than my car!

Personal Life

One of the things that got me was how he had an extensive network of friends who were like him – started at the same time, worked at the same company or industry and they were all probably at each others stag parties, wedding and their kids were all born around the same time, went to the same birthday parties, school…

Their wives formed an invisible incestuous network that bound them all together and since many worked together in the office, it was a tightly knit community (where I never felt that I fit in).

Finances and the Final Salary Man

My suspicion is that after 30+ years on a final salary pensions, at the age of 55 my old boss is retiring with a generous lump sum and an annual pension that will test the LTA.

Add on a bit of house price inflation, stock price inflation and a paid off mortgage and things are looking pretty sweet.

He had a kid who might already be grown up, educated, employed, married, deposited and no longer a lingering liability.

So I’d say that he’s comfortably financially independent – real FATFire territory. Money is no object anymore to sustain his current lifestyle.

But what’s the point of working for lots of money if you already have enough?

His CV will make him a shoe in for a lot of jobs and the value of his experience is an intangible asset that companies will pay through the nose for.

Also, will spending all day with your wife when you’ve grown used to not being together for long enough to piss each other off. It’s a puzzle for any careeraholic.

What Next?

I suspect that he’ll tire of retirement relatively soon. Hey, it happened to RIT (Retirement Investing Today) and he’s going to be back in a job before long.

I’ll maybe call him in the new year and keep an eye out on LinkedIn to see what he’s up to. He’s deserved everything he has got in his career – and I can’t believe that at 55 he’ll go softly into the night.

But at the same time, I am not sure he can do anything other than what he’s done for the last 20+ years.

Thanks, GFF

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