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Life is too short

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  • Life is too short

    Well I'm forcing my hand to retire. Calls coming in but referring them to other good people I know. I have my final WC audit next week and I'll keep everything else current until I can close out one job that I need C of O's for. Lots of stuff I'm selling on CL but will keep my bread and butter tools and equipment. How can a carpenter part with his routers, saws and chisels. But siding brake, Tile saws, Scaffolding, doubles of tools, ladders etc. are all going. Whatever I fit in my Van all at once I'll keep (almost)

    I'm a modest guy and don't need much in life besides God, family, freshwater fishing, my guns, hiking, camping, good beer and one friend that I call my brother. The kids are established and as much as I feel I should still work I ask myself for what? Life is too short and there are no guarantees in life. I'm getting up there in years and still in excellent health and want to enjoy what I love doing.

    Wife is kind of freaking because she loves this house, I do to but I'm not emotionally attached to a house. Staying close to family and her doctors is here Biggest concern so I suggested one hour outside NYC which keeps us close to family and cuts our living expenses down drastically with the added plus of being closer to the great outdoors and away from this rat race pace of life with traffic throughout every minute of the day

    Shes's still not fully on board but as I said, I'm forcing my (her) hand. If I don't make the move now, I'll be stuck in this rut and never get out of it.

    It was a great ride and funny thing is it got so much easier as the years past, I guess learning from all your mistakes pays off, it should anyway.



    Gary

  • #2
    Best of luck to you Gary, I think you are making the right decision. Those things you mention related to the outdoors are all somewhat dependent on the health to do them, since I love the same things I'd do exactly what you are doing. Except I have 2 more college educations to pay for.

    Where are you thinking? We drive the Delaware Water Gap when headed through the area as we are usually towing a trailer and try to avoid the city. Its beautiful. Also love the Catskills and the Adirondacks. The Cats are further then an hour, the Adirondacks are beautiful but you have to drink a lot especially in the winter.

    "First we finish the game, then we’ll deal with the Armada!"

    Sir Frances Drake

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ted
      Those things you mention related to the outdoors are all somewhat dependent on the health to do them,
      This is a good point, I waited until 80 when I had to start paying myself out of my pension fund, if I had continued to work I would have been paying the maximum tax rate on money I had contributed in the past when taxes were at a lower rate. I do have health problems now that limit what I can do, mostly statin drugs destroying leg muscle so I can't walk far or hike, my best friend retired from the law at 70 because statin drugs were limiting his mental abilities. He retired early and is building a new home in Nevada where there are no state taxes. I sometimes think that I would be better off had I never gone to a doctor in my life, or course women can't stay our of doctors' offices.

      A structural engineer has asked me to build another very complex steel home, but at my age I may not live long enough to get the permit, I have considered starting the permit process and passing it on to some younger guys I know, handling all the neighborhood, design review, and planning commission meetings, of course I have to figure out a way to get compensated without taking money that I would have to pay taxes on.

      Gary may I ask how old you making this decision?
      You will ask what goal the U.S. is pursuing? .... their external debt is huge, and ruining other countries is their customary method. Even ownership of the global 'printing press' is no longer helping. Nor is full control over NATO, None of that if enough for the 21st century colonizers. They don't just need to preserve the dollar as the only global currency but also to get their hands on the economic wealth of other large powers and regions. - Sergei Naryshkin

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      • #4
        Good luck Gary, I'm about 4 years away myself if the economy holds up.

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        • #5
          I am sad to hear this. You have been a good contributor to this forum and I hope you don't retire and never check in with us. How about writing a book about your life as a contractor?

          I think you are wise to do this while you can. I have seen several over the years in all kinds of jobs who stick around and never have any fun. I would like to think I could do this in about another 3 or 4 years but don't know. It is not the kids, not the wife, it's me. I like to work. I think I might call it retired and only take on a job for someone that I have had as a customer that I really like and only if the job is something that I really wanted to do. For me travel would be maybe more important than a relocation. I like my house a lot, like my neighborhood a lot. But travel to see some places I have only seen on the Nature Channel seems like a nice thing to do.

          At least keep us informed as to what happens as you work thru this....

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          • #6
            Thank you Ted. I’ve always had my heart set on the Adirondacks, yes winters can be long and harsh but I’m a beaver at heart and always have things do to. Finding a small place and settling in was my dream but in plain English NY can go screw itself and I refuse to spend my retired money in this state due to the corruption in my county (Nassau) and throughout the state, not to mention how the politicians pissed on the 2A via the so called “NY Safe Act” Believe or not NY State population is shrinking and losing its productive citizens and there’s a reason for it. I want to stay close to family, especially now my daughters are starting their own families. I want to be able to jump in the car at 4am so I wouldn’t have to deal with NYC traffic and be with them in two hours. PA is in the mix right now.

            Dick how true is that “” I sometimes think that I would be better off had I never gone to a doctor in my life, or course women can't stay out of doctors' offices.” That’s why my wife wants to stay close to her doctors not to mention family. I do have to thank her for making me go for checkups, all is good but who knows what tomorrow may bring and that is why I am making this move. I’m pushing 60 dick and if I wasn’t married I could have made this move earlier in life. Of course I’d live a modest life, but to me life is what you feel not what you have because we will all end up in the same place naked with all your belongings being played with by somebody else.

            TWhite thank you and best to your plans. My best advice don’t chase that next dollar and make a cutoff date.

            Beezo write a book? Funny you said that, I have a very close friend who is a builder at the very high end. He’s a writer but not one book is about construction. Truly I don’t think I’ll fully retire. I’m thinking about wherever I settle in I may contact some upper end guys and throw out my resume to them and see if they need a pm, crew supervisor or somebody that can fill in “clean” shoes on a temporary bases so there is no commitment to one another. Would I pick up a tool belt? Sure but only for 2-3 days max on a temp bases and the money would have to be enough to sooth my sore muscles. Otherwise I’ll put my fishing vest on and grab my pole.

            I know I haven’t been coming in here recently been busy with lots of what life throws at you, but I’ll never leave this place. It’s like the old neighborhood bar, you have to stop in every once in a while.

            Thanks again for the good wishes
            Gary

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            • #7
              Sounds like a good plan Gary. Best of luck to you.

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              • #8
                Our company is five people most of the time. Two of my co-workers retired recently, seventeen and twenty years of working together.
                I'm an only old dog in the yard now.
                Imagining I'll kinda fade away. Eventually contributing at preconstruction and then standby while the young men build the work.
                Hopefully, I'll enjoy Dick's endurance.
                Last edited by aptbldr; 05-19-2017, 03:01 PM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by LIHR50 View Post
                  Truly I don’t think I’ll fully retire. I’m thinking about wherever I settle in I may contact some upper end guys and throw out my resume to them and see if they need a pm, crew supervisor or somebody that can fill in “clean” shoes on a temporary bases so there is no commitment to one another.
                  Gary, if you have worked for yourself for a long time I think completely retiring would be hard. Maybe ok at first, but after a few months I think you might become bored. Your idea of working as a pm might be a good idea, or even consulting or just another set of experienced eyes for a busy GC might be something you could do. But take a few months off, clear yourself of the stress of this business, reevaluate and decide what you want to do.
                  ============================================

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                  • #10
                    I'm hoping when I turn 60 I can slow down. Ideally, I'd hike, fish, ski, hunt, and travel the west. That would last less then a year, then like Allan said, I'd get bored. Unless I could make a business out of it. Ideally I wouldn't want to go back to what I'm doing now, but I'd love to do some low key work, they have a name for that forget what it is. I think I'd like to design a build furniture or something. Some thing you like doing and can make some dough, but nothing that controls you on a daily basis. Maybe Dick and I could write some poetry or something, we could plagiarize some of those greenies taking over his neighborhood.
                    "First we finish the game, then we’ll deal with the Armada!"

                    Sir Frances Drake

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                    • #11
                      Ted. years ago I thought I wanted to do something much less harsh on my body and looked into the idea of doing the craft fairs making furniture, knick knacks, turn bowls. So I kicked it around a bit and then talked to several guys who were doing it. I was reminded of it when you said do something low key..build furniture.

                      What both of them told me was pretty interesting. One is that you have to be able to deal with rejection a whole lot. Folks will look soooo interested in your items, talk to you about them and how they are made and then walk away muttering under their breath that they could make that item for way less than you are charging.
                      Then they said something that we find in the remodeling business. The trends and markets change yearly. One year anything with a heart on it will sell like crazy, the next year it needs to be a bear, the next year a pig. Furniture that could be stained one year the next needs to be painted and the next needs to look rustic.
                      The final thing they said was you need to have plenty of cash to survive. How many $100 bowls can you sell at each show and how many $10 trinkets can you sell and how many does it take just to pay your fee for a space? How do you get into the best shows, which ones are duds, how do you control the weather, are you shipping the stuff somewhere, are you taking checks and credit cards? Besides the time you have in making the stuff how many hours do you sit in your booth waiting for a sale? Then there is the set up and tear down hours, the travel costs.

                      In other words they said it was still a business that had some of the same pressures and headaches as what you are doing now. They said they made a living at it but only if every day they got up, spent multiple hours in their shop making things to have for the next show. There was no "if I feel like it I might make something today" it was a job.

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                      • #12
                        I am pretty much retired since last spring and just working on small spec stuff for fun. I have heard of people being bored but I am not in the least. I miss having the power over hundreds of employees, able to destroy them like ants, and the reverence that community members gave me, because of who I was in the community, since I had become relatively well to do and a semi public figure in our small pond. Okay I don't' really miss that stuff.

                        I do miss creating something new and exciting in communities that were not on the map and that were dying. I miss watching people come in to the new buidlings and admire them and say "we really needed" one of these "here".

                        One of my first jobs, I worked with an old timer who was always telling joke, usually old chesnuts. I must have heard 20 people ask him when he was retiring and he was just delighted each time to say, "shhhh...I already retired but don't tell anybody or they will quit paying me". (There was some truth to that joke).

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by m beezo View Post
                          In other words they said it was still a business that had some of the same pressures and headaches as what you are doing now. They said they made a living at it but only if every day they got up, spent multiple hours in their shop making things to have for the next show. There was no "if I feel like it I might make something today" it was a job.
                          Thanks for the reality check, beezo

                          Maybe I'll just start a blog about cooking over a campfire and try to sell advertising from it. I really don't know. Or maybe I'll just go skiing.
                          "First we finish the game, then we’ll deal with the Armada!"

                          Sir Frances Drake

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Life has definitely picked up pace for me as I am getting older. I left my full time commercial construction Supt job five years ago. I thought life would slow down. It hasn't. It's just taken a different direction. Whereas the last job I did while working was up at 6:00, drive 52 miles, on the job by 7:30 and rarely ever left before 7:00 at night, home at 8:00 for 16 months, now the schedule is not that demanding.
                            I was a member of a local church for about 10 years and built their school, large atrium project and balcony addition. They're now starting a $5,500,000 multipurpose building and have asked me to be the Owner's rep to the Architect and contractor. I anticipate 10-15 hours a week once it gets rolling. In addition I teach my two oldest grandsons a four hour shop class each week. Other things include working on carpentry jobs for two builder friends of mine when they get "carpentry heavy " jobs. These things plus working for family, vegetable gardening, welding projects and volunteer work keep me busy full time. I love the variety and the slower pace doing things that to me, have more long term value than the daily grind. I realize that's different for everyone.
                            I'd love to sell the house we're in and build one more but my wife of 45 years says I have a choice "one more house or one more wife" I think she'd tired of moving as this is our 11th house. At 68 she has more sense than I have.
                            My whole point is, it's great to have the opportunity to do the things that you really enjoy rather than have to be at a certain place at a certain time on a well defined schedule. That scenario will be different for each of us.

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                            • #15
                              Ted, not really trying to spoil your dream but that is what I have heard from some folks who you would think are living the dream. I am sure that there are some that can do it and enjoy it.
                              Look up Helen and Scott Nearing. Both have passed on now They homesteaded and built most of the structures on their home. They were able to work for 4 hours a day to support themselves and have the rest of the day to do as they pleased. That is how I recall it. But they also did things like heat with wood, had a large garden that provided a large portion of their food. In some of their books they talked about folks who wanted to be like them and would come to learn from them. Some made it others left disappointed at how much it took to be living off the land.

                              I think the same thing could be said about some of the retirement dreams of us.

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