The "R" Word

153 21 0
This kinda doesn't fit in any particular category, but here goes.

As many of you may or may not know, I work as a Youth Counselor* for the Wisconsin Department of Corrections at Lincoln Hills/Copper Lake School in Irma. Irma is located in a remote part of the state; if you draw a line between the Twin Cities and Green Bay, I'm located north of that line - by a good hour or so - right in the middle of the state.

As such, I am about three hours from the heavily populated part of the state, and three and a half hours from where I used to live - in Waukesha.

Backing up a bit: in case the comments all got archived, I was somewhat forced to move back in 2011 after the State of Wisconsin decided to close my former facility, Ethan Allen School for Boys, in Wales/Delafield. I had a choice: wait to take a job in the adult system, or go with the job up here to Irma. Guess which one I chose.

Since moving up here, life has gotten miserable. In case you haven't noticed, I haven't been online here much for a while, and there's a reason: ordering. As in, "I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to order you to stay for an extra eight hours, we don't have enough staff to fill out our schedule, here's crappy-position-to-work 1, crappy-position-to-work 2, or crappy-position-to-work 3." And, because of that other thing that happened in 2011 in Wisconsin**, management has decided unilaterally that they can do this twice in a row before not forcing you a third time.

This has been the case for the last three years now. We've had brief respites where we've hired a lot of staff, but with the population we're dealing with***, the desire for people to work up here in the middle of nowhere for what can essentially be described as minimal with no benefits is extremely low. The lawsuits and investigations over the last three years have not helped, obviously.

So - what does this have to do with me?

Welp, as a Youth Counselor, I am considered to be part of the Protective Service part of the state's operations. This means that, as long as I have 20+ years of service in and am 50 or older, I can choose to retire early.

The "R" word from the title, you might say.

I'm not as old as Dave, but I do turn 50 next month. And I hit 20 years of continuous service back in 2013.

I am planning, as of this writing, to retire on January 6, 2018. However, there are some huge logistical issues between now and then:

1. Insurance. I have NFC as to what will happen to my group insurance next year. It is entirely possible that my monthly benefit (which is about 45% of my current monthly pay) will be mostly eaten up by insurance premiums.
2. Location. I want desperately to get as far away from this state as practicable. The current plan is to move to Arizona - but the month that I'm planning on doing so (January) is... well, look back at some of the comments Krisken and others from my state have said about the weather around here. It'd be like some of our Canadian residents choosing to move to Arizona in January.
3. What's next. Unlike this last move, I don't have anything lined up down in AZ. I'm essentially going to be moving down to where my dad lives in the East Valley, without anything set in advance. (I am planning on going down in December for a holiday visit, but that may be more to find someplace to live than to find job prospects.)

So - tl,dr version: my job sucks but I can retire after the 1st of the year; but I have no idea what to do next.

* - Yes, it's a glorified job title for "Juvenile Corrections Officer." I realize it.
** - This isn't the political thread, so just Google "Wisconsin Act 11" for yourself.
*** - More physical, more mental issues, more entitlement, more ugh.
272 67 7
It seems that anything you do will be better than what you've been doing, and you've long wanted to leave Wisconsin. At this point anyplace else will be better for you, though I understand about the weather issue. As long as you've got air conditioning and a vehicle with working AC, it's not that bad.

You could move to a more moderate Midwest state, but I think there's a great deal of value moving closer to family.

Beyond that, do you have to do something? Are you in a position where you could really retire, or do you need to continue to work for your living?
153 21 0
I would need to continue to work to pay for living expenses. Because I've finally pretty much eliminated credit card debt, the only thing we have to pay off is the wife's car.

The greatest benefit of AZ is the family connection. Her parents live there year round, while mine are there for the winter (but it's possible my dad might go full-time if I move out there).[DOUBLEPOST=1505072564,1505072442][/DOUBLEPOST]
I don't get it. What's the problem?
Think about it. Would you want to be moving everything you own in sub-zero temperatures, where there's a risk of several inches of snow on the ground?
152 26 1
Think about it. Would you want to be moving everything you own in sub-zero temperatures, where there's a risk of several inches of snow on the ground?
True. But I do find January has lots of clear days here, I'd rather move with snow on the ground than move while it's raining.

Plus, it would be glorious motivation for hauling all your stuff to the truck - knowing you're leaving it behind for good.
153 21 0
True dat. :)

There is that one other little thing that I'm going to have to broach this week: technically we have a no-move-out clause between November and March. Sorry, but I'm not gonna wait 59 days just so I can get all my crap down to the 480...
240 134 1
True dat. :)

There is that one other little thing that I'm going to have to broach this week: technically we have a no-move-out clause between November and March. Sorry, but I'm not gonna wait 59 days just so I can get all my crap down to the 480...
I moved to Colorado in January with 2 feet of snow on the ground where I started. It wasn't fun, but it wasn't the worst.
153 21 0
The major block right now is the insurance. Next month is our "choice" period for 2018; I'll find out what my deal will be, or if I will have to look after private insurance.
153 21 0
...and that news wasn't good.

My projected monthly benefit is about $150 below what my monthly insurance premium would be for next year. Which means that if I stay with my health plan, I will end up having to pay about that much (or more, depending on taxes) a month just for insurance.

And I will have a net income of zero.
153 21 0
And, of course, this comes on the heels of our wonderful congress critters wanting to do away with the ACA. Guess I'm going to be looking for other options for health care.
153 21 0
Officially a member of AARP now.

Going to go poke around the HC Marketplace for some possibilities for 2018.

Next major hurdle: someplace to live in AZ. Nothing against my parents, but I really don't want to be living there for more than a month or two.

The last major hurdle will be getting a meaningful job that pays bills down there.

All of that may preclude my internet surfing time, btw.
282 34 0
Honest question, have you considered Pittsburgh?

*waits for the laughter to subside*

*comes back several weeks later*

*still waiting*

*months later...*

No, really. Have you?
153 21 0

1. Cold weather.
2. Rivers everywhere.
3. COLD weather.
4. People's Republic Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
5. Have I mentioned COLD?
6. Hills/moutains.
7. COLD. I am freaking TIRED of the COLD.
8. Same ZIP code as Sidney Crosby? Uh-uh.
9. COLD.
10. No family within a 100-mile radius.
380 76 2
...dummy me forgets Monday is a federal holiday, which means no mail, and no post office. :facepalm:
It turned out good for me. I need to call the bank but I can't until tomorrow. It wasn't until I read your post that I realized I would've have gotten anywhere anyway. thanks.

153 21 0
Hitting a few small snags.

1. Found out today my CU doesn't do home loans on "manufactured homes" (aka "mobile homes/trailers").

2. Because of a miscommunication between our scheduling software company and department management, I can't block off the first week of January for vacation. Apparently the state didn't tell the WorkLoud people that "Yes, we do allow staff to take the first week of the year off if it's partially in the other year", and so the software doesn't allow it.
272 67 7
You won't be able to get a "home loan" from any institution for a manufactured home. It's a differently type of loan entirely since it depreciates and you (typically) don't own the land its on. It's much more like a vehicle loan.

And similar to vehicles, shop around, don't buy new (it loses a lot of its value once owned), and plan for constant maintenance and repairs.
153 21 0
Looks like the pre-approval for a loan is out. Darn pesky "deciding to retire changes your financial situation" thing.

Meanwhile, tomorrow means a call to the Health Care Marketplace to try to get some sort of insurance once I'm retired in January.
153 21 0
Marketplace Good News - a decent plan with decent premiums, that covers my medications.

Marketplace Bad News -'s in Wisconsin.
153 21 0
In an attempt at wishing away this horrid weekend that I had in the cottage that is the poster child for "what is wrong with LHS", I did some mapping out of possible routes for our drive out to Arizona in December.

Right now, the current routing plan is to take I-39 south to I-55, then go the "Route 66" way to Albuquerque - and then drive into the Phoenix valley by whatever way the weather allows.

HOWEVER... there is a routing that is a bit intriguing, if only a tad bit unsettling because of the time frame in which we are driving. It would involve heading over to I-35 from Wisconsin, then down into Iowa, Missouri, Kansas and finally into Oklahoma, where we'd take the I-40 route to Albuquerque.

BUT. There is another route that would involve us driving a different route into ABQ - I-35 to I-80 west, then cutting down I-76 into Denver, then down through Santa Fe into ABQ.

There are three big negatives to this routing: first, I am VERY unfamiliar with the route from Denver down to New Mexico. Second, I am too familiar with that stretch from Des Moines into Nebraska. "Nothing" is the descriptor I'd give it (sorry, @Dave). Third, from what I do know about that area, it would probably NOT be a pleasant drive during the middle of December (we're talking 17-19 December at this point). We'd essentially be hugging the Continental Divide that entire way, and it would probably put at least an extra day in our travels.

The intriguing part of this, of course, would be something I've yet to do on this board - post to the Official HalForums Meetup thread. (And scoring the big meetup with our Fearless Leader himself.)

I think I'm likely just going to chicken out and go the Route 66 way, mostly because of the car and the familiarity. But man, if the possibility of meeting up with Dave and @Dei weren't intriguing enough..
240 134 1
Well, I would avoid the mountains as long as possible and take I-25. Colorado winters are mild most of the time if you aren't in the mountains. We occasionally get a decent amount of snow, but most of the time we're in the 50s/60s. Of course, now that I said that, it'll snow.


Staff member
323 80 1
The mountain pass from Colorado to New Mexico through the pass is white knuckle at times. If there's snow I'd avoid it. And go during the day or you'll be REALLY white knuckling it!