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Retirement ages for engineers
8

Retirement ages for engineers

Retirement ages for engineers

(OP)
In your experience, at what age do engineers in these professions retire? Do you find engineers start getting forced out / laid off at 50-55? If that happens, has it been easy to get a new job?

Asking because I had always planned to aim for FIRE at 45 because I hated the first 5 years of my career but it's gradually getting better and 10 years in I actually enjoy my profession and reckon I might want to work until 60 or 65 if my brain holds up but I have heard mixed things about late career engineering

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I'm a young guy, but some advice I would offer is:

1) If you are a technical guy, and not upper management level, DO NOT ANNOUNCE YOUR RETIREMENT EARLY. Upper management will funnel projects away from you and HR will prepare paperwork to efficiently pull the rug out from under you. Even if you are a principal or chief engineer.

2) No matter how much your company values you and how friendly you are with management, they will almost always try to pull some funny stuff w/ accrued vacation/paid-time-off at retirement. It's always a "hard time" for the company once you ask for a pay-out or god forbid you try to use your paid leave directly before retirement. And you will get taxed like a m*********er on the lump sum they will eventually plop in your lap.

Saw this happen to a retiring Fluor employee who had been with the company for about 32 years. After he got put through the ringer, he was just happy to get out and retire to his Florida shanty at 62.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Don't think there's any one answer as too many variables based on your profession, your company, your countries employment laws and retirement provisions ( you come as being based in New Zealand?), the state of the industry you're in etc.

I see two routes / areas - one is the long time employee with good pay and benefits, some sort of company pension, but past 55 the axe starts to get raised every time there is a downturn or some new mgt theme comes in to reduce the cost base. The it can be case of stopping and "properly" retiring / stopping work al together.

The second is where I've gone which was to try something new at ~50, didn't work out due to the industry tanking, but moved into consulting / contracting based on contacts and experience being needed for short term roles. Not many companies will hire a full time person over 55, but are very happy to get your experience on a project by project basis.

Now I'm approaching 60 I would like to reduce time a bit, but still work projects that excite me and maintain my interest.

A lot depends on your outgoings, your dependants and your personal circumstances.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

It seems like most of my colleagues retire at 65-70. I can't think of any who retired before 65. I've known a few who are still pretty active at 75.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I started to see the rug pulled from under me a few years ago (I'm 60), and gained a student to teach. But because of the retirement plan I gain about 4% in retirement for every year I stay, so staying until 65 or 67 seems a no brainer.
Besides, I still have a year or two before my daughter finishes her BS degree, for which I am paying for.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I was 68+ when I retired after a 49+ year career. My boss wanted me to stay at least another year, but I had already given him a one-year notice, which ended-up stretching out to 14 months. In a couple of weeks, that will have been six years ago.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I started my current job when I was 58. I am sill working full-time and will turn 70 next month. No plans to retire anytime soon as I enjoy my work, still have the mental skills to do it and I am the only one in the company who does what I do. It took this company almost a year to find me through head hunters and the job market for someone with my skills is still pretty limited.
There are a few others working either full or part time here who are over 65. The industry is specialized so resources are limited in the business overall, not just my job.

"Wildfires are dangerous, hard to control, and economically catastrophic."

Ben Loosli

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I'll probably 'pop-off' at my keyboard. I like the work...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Ditto, I like my work, but we positioned ourselves to retire and do more travel. Only engineer I recall being "forced" out was constantly at loggerheads with the VP of engineering, to the point where he once stopped us in hallway and asked the engineer, "What can I personally do to make sure you retire on schedule?" Other than that extreme case, most companies I've worked for were relatively generous when it came to sloughing off the older engineers, through increased severance or credits for the pension plan. One big issue, particularly with a small organization, is that the longer an engineer stays in place, the more likely there isn't a replacement for them when they leave, either voluntarily, or not.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I've been applying for voluntary separation packages ever since I got here 32 years ago. No joy so far. It's not that I don't like the work, it's just I know I can pick up the occasional project from my network, and probably don't need to financially these days, since I was FIRE before it was invented. However, about the time I could have pulled the pin on FIRE, when I was 50, I got married instead, which kinda delayed things a bit (ie threw spanner in works). So now I'm 61 and wondering how this is going to play out. The longer I wait the better my super looks and the main reason to retire is to travel for extended periods, which at the moment is not on the table, and I've got heaps of leave which we use when it suits us. Official retiring age in Oz is 65 (or more, and you don't have to go), I'd say most engineers retire before then.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Well since most here seem to be in the 55-65 year old range heres another factor that deserves serious consideration. Since I turned 62 I've been somewhat disappointed to recognise the number of ex colleagues that have suffered a stroke or other serious health issue. Travel plans tend to get reorganized if your confined to a wheel chair!! I you suffer kidney deterioration , you cant be much more than a few miles away from a dialysis machine if you need two or three sessions per week. Depending on the health care systems in the country where you chose to call home , you may suddenly have costs that you never budgeted for.

The older you are, the more these things need due consideration

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Yes, in retrospect, I should have taken my boss up on staying another year as it would have put me into a time frame where they offered the older crowd a voluntary severance program. I had had an opportunity to take advantage of an earlier one, but I was just shy of qualifying for Medicare so I passed. I should have figured out that they did one of these about every five years so I could have gamed the system. Oh well, that all water under the bridge.

That being said, I had an issue with my heart about nine months after I retired and if I had still been working, it could have happened while on some customer visit in some other hemisphere so I'm glad it made itself evident while I was home. Besides, if I would've had the surgery, to replace an aortic heart valve, while I was still under company insurance, there would have been a hefty co-pay, but I was now under Medicare and we had the best supplemental that was offered so my new heart valve, and pacemaker that went with it, didn't cost me a dime. And my surgery was performed at Ceders Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles by same the team that had helped prefect this particular type of procedure. They say that Ceders Sinai is the hospital for the movie stars, and I have to say, during my five-day stay they really did treat me like a movie star.

If you'd like a bit more info on my experience in all of this, I posted a thread back in 2017 when I had the surgery and it's still online:

https://www.eng-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=419979

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

When my wife was in hospital for a couple of months, my grandkids were up visiting. The nurse loaned them her stethescope. They checked me out and couldn't find a heartbeat...ponder

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I retired in January 2016 and the plan was to go to Hawaii for our 50th wedding anniversary the following year. However, my heart surgery and the recovery period afterwords put the kibosh to that. So we delayed it a year and visited the islands in the fall of 2018, celebrating our 51st instead.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

(OP)
Very interesting comments, thanks for sharing

Yes I am based in NZ now but originally from Canada and the jury is still out on whether I end up back in Canada or perhaps in Australia, the UK, staying NZ or perhaps temporarily in the United States. I've noticed in NZ older engineers tend to work until they're 70+ if their health keeps up (unless they really hate their jobs) and forced retirements seem less common. For comparison in Alberta it seemed like no engineers other than the 'top dogs' had careers that survived past 55

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Same as dik....when my head hits the desk. I'm 69 and enjoy what I do. Since I work for myself, not likely to be forced out!

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Come March when another associate retires, I will be the oldest salaried employee in my company (age 61). Past experience suggests that I will eventually be considered a liability. I expect to get whacked in the next couple of years. I only hope that they offer a decent severance package.

Brad Waybright

The more you know, the more you know you don't know.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

IME stateside most have been offered an incentive and retired in their mid-50s, which coincides with ~30 years service. The few that are rehired or try to continue on generally only last until they start seeing health issues in their early-mid 60s.

Given that the OP is rather young tho in OZ, its worth noting that stateside we will likely be seeing some big changes in retirement norms over the next few decades. Unlike today's retirees, younger generations have not had much opportunity to participate in defined benefit pension plans. With social security likely to go bust in the very near future that means saving for retirement is entirely on the individual and IME that is something most have been terrible at for generations.

Personally I’m planning to retire asap, hopefully 50-55. I enjoy engineering but can get that in my own shop while having more flexibility for fun.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I understand that, Ron. I'm into tekkie stuff, not business stuff. Currently waiting for the new ASUS Intel motherboard to come out so I can assemble my 'final' computer. About 10 years back decided the computer at the time was my 'final' build.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I enjoy this too much. I'll probably get forced to retire, somewhere north of 70.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I am a few years away from thinking about it too much, but my plan is to work until I am about 70.

Most people in my company leave at about 62-65, though did have one guy leave at 55, but he and his wife had saved their whole lives and had the finances to do it.

I was told by my boss that he could not ask me when I planned to retire due to HR issues. He can ask me what I see myself doing in 5 years. If I say, I see myself on a beach somewhere, then he can "plan for that".

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I'll be 50 this year... I plan to work until I'm ~60, then I'll wind things down and only work on stuff I truly care about. I thoroughly enjoy my work, which is why I'm unlikely to stop completely, but sometimes it's easier on the mind to pick and choose the fun stuff.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I just turned 62. I want and need to work but cannot find anything. I hear so much about the unusual employment climate we have now but I see no evidence of any company needing employees. I see lots of job openings at various companies for engineering or related positions but I get a lot of silence and the very rare rejection email. So, if they need people to work, you cannot prove it by me.

After getting my health problems lined out, I rode up Mt. Evans last Labor Day. I averaged 6+ mph, which isn't too shabby for a 61 year old. In the last few weeks, I've hiked 30+ miles, with a 15# pack on my back. I clearly have the energy and strength to work.

I enjoy engineering but my career seems to have ended and no one told me. big smile

I know it is not isolated to me. There are young people, 18 years old, looking for entry level jobs to the workforce that experience what I do. I don't understand what is going on.

Personally, I think I aged out at 44 because that's when my Director of Engineering told me I would get no more training. I would have to learn everything on my own. There was still important work to do and I needed the fundamentals as a foundation to continue learning but that was not possible. I was cranking out good work, with high ROIs, but that was not the point.

I'm going after projects through my company, too. I am told repeatedly I am too expensive even though I quote rock bottom pricing. So, I don't understand what is going on.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Sorry for the dumb question but what does FIRE mean?

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I had to google it too - probably because I'm a long way from that goal.
FIRE = Financial Independence, Retire Early

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Pamela , " I dont understand what is going on" really strikes chord with me. I basically retired on health grounds about 3 years ago but try to stay educated about what is happening in my primary industry, underground mining. I'm grateful that I'm not actively looking because there seems to a severe lack of opportunities for my skill set. Theres so many aspects to life these days that our previous life experiences have not given us the skill sets to move forward. This may be a manifestation of age discrimination but I dont know. I'm not complaining but I have a lot of sympathy for persons in your predicament. In your opinion, is it something semi unique to the Denver area or this nation wide ?

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Pamela - it could be the industry you are in. I see next to your username you have (electrical) shown. If you were in the civil, structural, or geotechnical fields there is a lot of work out there. With the latest government infrastructure plan nothing is going to slow down either. My phone has been ringing off the hook with folks I've worked with over the years trying to get me to make a move. I've been told that COVID has also caused a mass exit of engineers in these fields that finally decided to retire so the demand is even higher. I'm in the New York/New England part of the US.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

FIRE is the idea that if you live frugally while working hard and investing then you can build up enough capital to retire early, typically (tho not in my case) to a low COL place where hopefully your nest egg will continue to grow, and then move back to a first world country when bits start falling off your body.


Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

It's not that frugal people live longer, it's just that life seems so much longer. pipe

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

(OP)
FIRE is Financial Independence Retire Early. It means different things to different people. I got into it via a website called Mr. Money Mustache but there are also various forums on reddit and other websites. Some people aim to 'retire' at 35 on 24k a year and travel, others at 50 on 100k / year. The gist of it is based on the trinity study and similar research which shows you can withdraw 3-4% of the starting balance of a large investment of the total stock market indexed to inflation and have an extremely high chance of the entire balance lasting in perpetuity. Note that the people aiming to retire extremely young (like 30 or 35) often don't mean ' retirement ' in the conventional sense of the word.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

My wife retired about 11 years ago and I retired six years ago, and we've managed to continue without making any real changes to our life style. At least until the pandemic, we went out to eat about as often as when we were working. We still have relatively new cars; my wife drives a 2018 Mercedes C300 and I have a 2021 GMC Terrain. We take one big trip (two to three weeks in duration) each year, with a couple of shorter ones thrown in for good measure. I've continued to invest in my coin collection and I've kept-up my camera gear so that it pretty much represents the state-of-the-art. We continue to donate a fair amount to our church and I make a big gift to my alma mater each year. We've even helped to pay one year of college for one of our granddaughters.

And with all of that, there's more money in our IRA's today than there was when I retired.

So while we didn't meet the 'RE' part of 'FIRE', I think we've done OK in terms of the 'FI' portion.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Whenever I've looked at FIRE it looks like those that succeed don't have any kids. If you want something to drain your income and the ability to work like a dog then it's the small ones, who have a habit of growing in terms of height and amount of cash they burn.

Pamela, sorry to hear that. I don't think many companies directly employ anyone much over 50. One you get past that and been "let go", then it's contract roles or nothing. I think a lot of people in O&G let go in the last downturn in 2015 at that age have really struggled to find anything otherthan liw level stuff like driving or been forced away from home for weeks on end for less than they were on before.

Supply must be in excess of demand or your "rock bottom" is too high for the local market.



Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I have to wonder how many FIRE proponents come to regret choosing the (likely small) amount of money they believed they could retire on... say, 20 years down the road and not being able to have as much fun as they once thought they could. Once you cross that threshold, climbing back up the hillside to make money again has got to be 10x worse than if you had just stayed in the game a few more years.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

We have three sons and all three of them had jobs while in high school, and in all cases, their experience led to their careers today. We told them that we would pay for four years of college under certain conditions. We'd pay their tuition and they could live at home for free, but they had to pay their own personal expenses. In other words, no allowances. I went to school on scholarships and school loans. I got virtually nothing from my parents. My wife got even less from her parents and went to school and worked at the same time.

Anyway, our oldest went into the Army right out of high school and served four years before returning to work for the same company he was working for in high school. He's 51-years old now and still with them today, having risen to an executive level position.

Our second son, he took us up on our offer and attended Cal State Fullerton and got a Bachelors in Psychology. He lived at home for the first three years and he also worked in the evenings as a pastry chef. After graduating, he went to culinary school, which he paid for with a student loan (I cosigned but he never missed a payment). He's 51-years old and is a production manager at a large specialized bakery in L.A.

Our third son, who's 43, works for an IT company that helps corporations and organizations recover from being hacked or being hit with ransomware. He learned everything that he knows either on-the-job or taking specialized training classes and getting certified by companies like Apple, Microsoft, etc, most of these courses having been paid for by his employer at the time.

All three of them have their own homes, and in two cases, families of their own.

Perhaps my wife and I were lucky, but we worked very hard to instill the work ethic in our kids at an early age and it's paid off.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Good parenting may have had a little to do with it. Ever consider that? ponder

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Missed the boat on FIRE, but planning on retiring next year. The 3-4% withdrawal rate stirs up some controversy in the FIRE community; YMMV, since much depends on timing, total capital pool, and just plain stupid luck. Another good retirement blog: https://www.caniretireyet.com/how-much-is-enough/ He's a retired engineer, so he loves to dive into a lot of math. One issue with the 4% withdrawal rate is that the original estimate was based on a very limited scenario. Another good read is https://earlyretirementnow.com/2020/10/26/low-infl...

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I'm young enough I don't have to think about retirement much. Since my wife and I both work professionally and she's even got a defined-benefit pension, we have a decent nest egg already and still 10-20 years to go, depending on the retirement ages we pick. So that makes us VERY lucky, I'd say. Before I choose an age I want to retire, I would choose the conditions of my retirement - since I can easily see myself consulting full-time or part-time after I leave any particular employer.

Lacajun,
Your experience isn't as rare as you might think. In attempting to change jobs my wife has been met with tremendous indifference to her skills. Her time with a major energy company was extremely well spent, but it didn't paper her wall with little certificates. As she looks for work now, the recruiters (or should I say "computer algorithms") can't check a box, so she doesn't get a call. The only way she can find work is to have direct personal contacts.

I'm actually in a similar boat. I have an underwhelming pedigree, on paper. People who don't know about the special schools I attended would not realize that I can run circles around MSc's and PhD's. When I look for work, I know I have to use my network of contacts, which includes a large cohort of people who attended that same school program.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote:

https://www.caniretireyet.com/how-much-is-enough/ He's a retired engineer, so he loves to dive into a lot of math.

Slight typo; Mamula loves math, but he's a retired physical therapist; Darrow Kirkpatrick, the founder of that site, is the retired engineer.

One thing that's definitely clear, you need a plan for what to do during retirement; some people can't deal with all that free time and nothing to fill it.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

It would be nice if there were something in-between. Less than 40 hours per week of work, and more free time to do other things.

For most companies that math does not compute. Maybe IT people can't do math very well.
Or maybe in my case, the retirement plan people, who can't math half time workers.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

That's between you and your (prospective) employer; some FIRE participants are basically doing that, i.e., part time work and spending more time doing other things. However, as was recently pointed out to someone in my company, part-time, particularly at the 20-hr/wk level, precludes us from getting ANY time-off benefits, like vacation, sick-time, medical insurance, etc., although we are supposedly still allowed to contribute to the 401K. My recollection is that we need to be at the 32-hr/wk level for that. So, no medical would incur upwards of $10k/yr, depending on your exact plan and deductibles, which has to go into your calculations vis-a-vis lifestyle sustainment.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote:

I have to wonder how many FIRE proponents come to regret choosing the (likely small) amount of money they believed they could retire on... say, 20 years down the road and not being able to have as much fun as they once thought they could. Once you cross that threshold, climbing back up the hillside to make money again has got to be 10x worse than if you had just stayed in the game a few more years.

Early retirees aside, its very common for "regular" retirees to underestimate how much they need bc false optimism sells books and garners tv ratings, reality does not. Compounding the issue is the fact that expenses increase significantly over time, spiking in our later years when folks need to hire out everything including minor home and auto maintenance before taking a plethora of pills prescribed by increasingly necessary doctors. They dont change their lifestyle at retirement bc they mistake it as frugal, and the normal bit of growth in retirement accounts over the first decade makes them believe that they're "doing fine." A few years later they're wishing they'd worked longer and changed their lifestyle before changes were forced upon them. Between the VFW, my folks' friends, and retired mentors I've heard the same story 100x like a broken record.

My wife and I are planning to retire in a rural area for enjoyment and cheap living. Our healthcare needs are already covered under the VA, we will both have defined govt pensions, and if trends continue we will have far more in savings than most, plus multiple rental properties for semi-passive income or sale and our other side businesses.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Part of the allure of the "RE" part of FIRE is the notion that you can get a "side gig" like blogging, etc., but the landscape is pretty well filled at this point; do we really need ANOTHER FIRE blog? To some degree, this is reminiscent of the supposed shortage of engineers that got a lot of wannabees into engineering, only to find that employers wanted more than just a warm body.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

(OP)
For a contrarian perspective, check out Frank Vetesse's book. It seems that most people - especially outside of the United States - over-estimate how much money is needed in retirement, the point that associations that represent people who collect government union pensions try to hide spending data of their participants because they have so much excess cash.

Think about it - in your working years, you spend about 30% of gross on tax, 30% on a house, 10% on savings, 5-10% on cars, and the rest on food, entertainment, etc. Once you retire you don't need the 10% savings, the house is paid off, probably ok with one car instead of two, and tax is usually a much lower percentage. Data also shows that (at least in civilized places with state sponsored healthcare) retirees expenses tend to decline, usually at least as fast, or faster, than inflation. 80 year olds don't buy new couches or travel to Fiji for the most part.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Luckily my employer has a scheme for near retirees to work fewer hours, in my case 20 hours a week. All benefits gets pro rata-ed by 50%. When we have crunches I still do heaps of hours but flex time off later.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote:

the house is paid off

Your last point is possibly contentious; since paying off your mortgage must come out of your total retirement savings, and locks up the capital. If you ostensibly can earn more from investing the capital in something that makes more than the interest you'd pay on a loan, that could be a tipping point.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

When I was an active share investor there was a school of thought that said you should rent a house and invest the capital. I can only wish that my shares have done as well as my house! Due to the current silliness it is up around 200% in 7 years.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

(OP)
IRStuff - yes this is true, and for personal reasons I agree because I like moving around every 3-4 years which rules out home ownership unless I want to become a property baron. Vetesse's book(s) is based on what most people do, which is buy a house and pay it off.

https://www.frederickvettese.com/books

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Windwright and LaCajun - I tend to agree with you that one you get past 45 or maybe even 40, it is pointless applying for positions you haven't been invited to (i.e. by the recruiter) or without the "in" from someone you know or have worked with. They may not (in some countries) be able ask how old you are or what your DOB is before you join, but they can work it out pretty well. Companies want experience and competence without paying too much and not too many days off sick or inflexibility in terms of going somewhere shitty to work for weeks on end. People 30-40 generically fit that profile - 45+ and certainly 55+ and you don't get past first base. Life sucks.

It is where Linked In can come in handy to update your profile every now and then with a come and get me plea as it alerts all your contacts of a change in circumstance or that you are still "available" and that may fit their bill.

When I was looking after being made redundant in early 50's, I started a spreadsheet with everyone I even vaguely knew and noted when I had sent any message to make sure I didn't overload them more than once evert 2 months or so or to follow up any vague - call me in 3 months type replies. in the end went contract and worked at a place i had been for several years beforehand. Now works well for me - i avoid the office bull shit and intrigue / magt guff and get to do work when I like. Whether I'll actually be able to slow down and choose projects to do for a while and then not do things for a while I don't know. I've seen others try and fail and either end up working all week or get too involved in their other hobbies and interests.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

miningman and WindWright, I don't think it's restricted to just CO. I've applied for jobs all over the country with multiple companies and get nothing. A PE, Civil applied for about 75 jobs and got one through a company she knows and didn't apply to. She called for a reference and they offered her a job. Her son, a very bright Computer Science UT, Austin graduate in his mid-30's, applied for about 75 jobs before he got one. There are many looking to make changes for the better but they're not finding it easy to do so.

I think part of the problem is the lack of recruiting by companies. Too much of it has been outsourced, to me. It seems that your engineering talent pool should be done completely by your own HR people. They know the business best.

I've gone after projects with smaller manufacturers in the area but ultimately I am told I am too expensive. Part of that is due to, what I would deem, unfair competition. But that's not what everyone thinks so I am stuck, at least in CO. I can look at their equipment, trends, etc. and know they need help but they won't engage me.

As an example of a rock bottom price, I quoted $250k for an energy project to provide 300+ loops sheets, several P&IDs, data sheets, scope of work, on site management of the stick build (anticipated to be 3 months in duration), hiring a construction company in another state, etc. They needed all of the design work to be done by a PE because it was a DOE project. The company is full of young engineers with no experience in industry because they're all PhD research types. You need the education and practical experience to do industry projects.

Another company hired me to some automation. When I began to submit my invoices, they complained about cost. What they really were after was a free scope of work from me for free. I explained why that wouldn't happen and I was nice about it. It's business; not personal. There were other problems, on their part, but it's best to not divulge those.

I may be old but I am not dead and still know quite a bit. I have contacted people I've worked with in the past but I haven't gotten any help. I think part of the problem is that I have a master's in engineering and I am licensed. They don't. A female friend, who did technical sales, told me that another female wouldn't help me, ever. She would view me as a strong woman and too much competition. I don't see things that way but others do.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote:

Think about it - in your working years, you spend about 30% of gross on tax, 30% on a house, 10% on savings, 5-10% on cars, and the rest on food, entertainment, etc. Once you retire you don't need the 10% savings, the house is paid off, probably ok with one car instead of two, and tax is usually a much lower percentage.

That's the idyllic stereotype the personal finance talking heads want us to believe, but at least stateside it usually isnt true. Half of retired Americans (sorry, selfish focus/knowledge) owe on a mortgage. Most carry large consumer debts. And bc they have more free time, younger retirees aren't spending less than they did during their working years but more. They're home more so utilities are higher. They can drive more, and do. Its also not uncommon for them to splurge on more or nicer things than they would've previously bc they're now focused on enjoying life rather than deferring it. Many also get hit hard with inflation and cost of living increases over time.

Regarding ageism, I concur that its a very real problem however the flip side of that isn't just older employees' cost and expectations but also their abilities. IME its rare for engineers over ~50 to be able to run CAD and analytical tools to a high competence, release designs, and do the same job that younger counterparts do daily. Hopefully things will improve over time but many managers see elders as stuck in 1990 for good reason, bc they need 2-3 bodies (engineer, designer, and/or analyst) to do the job of one, and extra/unnecessary bodies on a project is like waving a red cape at management bulls. The consulting world compounds the technology issue bc customers today often turn up their noses at step/"common" "dumb" files, engineers are expected to know a big variety so they can work natively in the customer's chosen software. That said, elders with modern software skills should highlight them bc it could be a major differentiator.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote (CWB1)

Half of retired Americans (sorry, selfish focus/knowledge) owe on a mortgage. Most carry large consumer debts. And bc they have more free time, younger retirees aren't spending less than they did during their working years but more. They're home more so utilities are higher. They can drive more, and do. Its also not uncommon for them to splurge on more or nicer things than they would've previously bc they're now focused on enjoying life rather than deferring it. Many also get hit hard with inflation and cost of living increases over time.

Mortgages, consumer debt, splurging, and inflation are all problems in retirement if you spend zero time and energy planning it.

The FIRE community is filled with people planning this stuff out 15 years in advance, so none of those things are surprises.

Insurance and medical costs however...those are the actual question marks

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

One would think that as engineers, we would know how to handle money. credit or whatever else passes for money.
The actual green pieces of paper have no value, except what we place on it.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote (lacajun)

A female friend, who did technical sales, told me that another female wouldn't help me, ever. She would view me as a strong woman and too much competition

100% correct. I have seen this many times.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote:

One would think that as engineers, we would know how to handle money. credit or whatever else passes for money.

We can design the money, i.e., crypto, etc.; we just don't know how to manage the money and its attendant consequences. Not unlike the crypto depository where the CEO was the only one with the passcodes and croaked, leaving their customers in the lurch.

But, spending rates don't necessarily diminish with "normal" retirees; they expect to do a lot more traveling, visiting kids, visiting/spoiling grandkids (I wishflame), finally blowing money at Hell's Kitchen or Chez Panisse, etc. Index funds did 20+% last year, so keeping a mortgage, even at 4%, wasn't necessarily a hard decision.

However, as a "normal" retiree, the probability of sudden illnesses and medical expenses do dictate trying to hit something like $5 million in retirement savings, etc., and knowing that this figure is only going to go up over time, at much faster than the CPI is going, even now. That's another reason to keep assets more liquid; it's just not clear that reverse mortgages are that good of a deal, since their LTVs are limited by their risk/actuarial calculations, while current refi's could get you nearly double the LTV.

$5 million also means that even a "SWR" of 4% is feasible, and cutting down to 3%, supplemented by SS and pensions is viable.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I think engineers know how to plan for the future. I certainly did and was on track. What I didn't plan for was Lyme disease, with 6 coinfections, parasites, EBV, heavy metals, Roseola, and CIRS. When I learned about all of that, I consistently thought I would rebound quickly because I have always been a fast healer. I have good genes, mostly, and I have a healthy lifestyle. Even though I knew others took years to recover and some never do, I thought I would be different. I only have one gene that makes me susceptible to mold, it took a year+ of concentrated treatment to eradicate it and for my body to heal. I am in the last stretch to make my body begin producing antidiuretic hormone again. It's producing melanocyte stimulating hormone again as well as vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, etc. You cannot plan for events such as this in life. The burden is heavy because insurance doesn't cover much of it. You cannot imagine the expense of treatment for those. Binding the heavy metals was $2500 and insurance doesn't cover it.

There were other events I couldn't plan for and I don't know how I or anyone could. I have no control over tick bites or what they carry. I had no control over aspen trees.

Many in the US think we have a bloated social safety net. My experience says it's really hard to get help because I couldn't get any aid from social security. Thus, I shouldered all of the financial burden. So, if you've not had burdensome health problems, count your lucky stars. I will never discount luck again. It plays a huge part, from your parentage onwards.

The value of money is only gained when you don't have it. So I understand how some people really suffer.

Most of my employers had designers to do the basics of drawings, BOMs, etc. because they are much lower cost than engineers. They had engineers managing designers as well as others on their projects, while they engineered multiple projects. They thought that was the best use of the resources and costs. Perhaps they were wrong but they're large corporations so they must be doing something right.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

dik - just a thought, but you have not only your name at the bottom of that picture but what appear to be the names of other patients who maybe don't want them posted online within a medical context..

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Thanks pham... didn't notice that.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

The whole problem with retirement savings is not knowing how long you're going to be around! Ideally, my wife and I would like the last cheque we ever write to bounce due to insufficient funds, but neither of us wants to jump out the exit door from this life any sooner than circumstances demand...So sure, you tend to err on the side of caution, i.e. thinking you need more money than you actually need. That's just betting on a long life and having a little more "fun money". If you like your work, it's a good bargain. If you don't...well, no amount of money in retirement is worth putting up with 40+ hrs of hell every week.

My dad lived to 100 yrs and 1 month old...he always said that his biggest financial error was living past 70 yrs old, when in Canada you must convert your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) savings into a registered retirement income fund (an annuity) or take a big tax hit on it.

In the old days, we had a mandatory retirement age here in Canada. That made it clearer when someone had to leave, and the company could be rid of them without paying a severance. It also eliminated the temptation for companies to turf people in their 50s unless things really were going poorly. But in our stupidity, we eliminated that provision, quietly and without any significant debate about the implications of that decision. Now there is no certainty for anybody. For individuals with a long service history with a firm, it's great- they can stay on until the company gets fed up with them and fires them with a big severance, or comes forward with a negotiated settlement to encourage them to retire. Getting rid of someone for "cause", on the basis of reduced performance due to age, i.e. without paying much of a severance, is hard to accomplish.

I once saw that as a big disadvantage for our firm. I'm now seeing it as a huge advantage for me personally!

(www.spitfireresearch.com)

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

molten metal. We have something similar in the UK. The big difference was that about 10 years ago they scrapped the requirement to buy an annuity with your tax advantageous saving. You can take 25% of your "pot" tax free, then pay income tax on the remainder as you take it, or indeed buy an annuity - but sales have fallen through the floor.

Indeed the mandatory retirement age went a few years ago as well - in part due to discrimination legislation and in part because people just wanted to work longer and were complaining that they were being kicked out before they wanted / could afford to. But yes, if you're in an employee situation then yes, wait for the pay off / retirement options..

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

(OP)
LittleInch - very interesting about the annuities. A big part of Vetesse's argument is that most people would be fine with government pension + annuities that equate to maybe 50% of pre retirement income - mainly because spending in retirement declines faster than inflation so having inflation protection is much less important than having longevity protection.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote:

spending in retirement declines faster than inflation so having inflation protection is much less important than having longevity protection.

Possibly, but there's some controversy about the "inflation" value, since the government figures are for a single combination of goods, services, etc., and no single person's expenditures are necessarily reflected in the mashup of costs the government uses. And medical costs continue to increase as you age, and inflation for medical costs has almost always exceeded inflation by a sizable amount

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

This is what makes up the contents of the Consumer Price Index:



While this might be relevant for the average middle-class working-age family, I don't think it reflects the expenditures of older, retired people. Certainly, the medical component would seem to be smaller than I would expect it to be. Also, housing is much bigger than I would think it would be for most retirees.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I've watched a number of older people get clobbered by unexpected medical problems. You just never know what lurks around the corner, brush, tall grasses, etc.

I retired at 50, went back to work at 53, then had a major medical issue that left me unemployed – ‘There’s no such thing as a safe amount of money’ for retirement

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

lacajun,

Here is an interesting question. Joe (or Josephine) Blow retires at fifty. The universe does not unfold as they desired and anticipated, and they are looking for work at sixty. what do you think of their professionalism and work ethic?

--
JHG

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

drawoh - there's not even remotely enough information available to answer your hypothetical. There's nothing unprofessional about wanting to retire young, and I'd say that to even come close to having a shot at it your work ethic would have to be pretty amazing (unless you're incredibly lucky, born rich, etc.).

Now if you burn all your bridges on the way out, then that's a problem. And if you've done well enough to retire 15 years before the "normal" retirement age, I would find it odd that you don't have a network large enough to make a couple of calls and have a spot. Of course if you're coming out of a niche field and your old spot was filled and there's really no use for you, then you might be up a creek.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote (drawoh)

what do you think of their professionalism and work ethic?
No more/less than in any other situation. I might question how long they plan on staying with my company if they've already retired and have to come back, but then that's why face-to-face conversation are important.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote:

Many in the US think we have a bloated social safety net. My experience says it's really hard to get help because I couldn't get any aid from social security.

Most of my employers had designers to do the basics of drawings, BOMs, etc. because they are much lower cost than engineers.

2d drafting depts are still common but 3d CAD design depts (separate from engineering) went the wayside 20 years ago along with generalized CAE/analytical depts. I spent a few years at one dinosaur that was in-process of (painfully) phasing out its design dept and as quality studies suggest, the programs that had engineers creating 3d CAD and analysis themselves ran much faster and at a lower cost than programs dividing those tasks. Adding in the "cheaper" 3d CAD jockey adds steps to the process where an engineer needs to review/approve/request rework vs just having an engineer do the design work themselves.

My condolences on the health issues. Yours is an example of what I find wrong with our social security system stateside, and why the name is rather absurd. JMO but I'd much rather have a safety net starting ~50 than a poor excuse for a pension a decade+ later. IMHO its one of the best examples stateside of greed and bad politics ruining good intentions.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote:

There's nothing unprofessional about wanting to retire young, and I'd say that to even come close to having a shot at it your work ethic would have to be pretty amazing (unless you're incredibly lucky, born rich, etc.).

Eh, not sure I'd go that far. Work ethic is pretty far removed from saving/financial ability, setting up an allotment into a retirement account is pretty simple and only takes a few minutes. Having made frugal family lifestyle choices also greatly simplifies that outcome - high-earning spouse, no/few kids, cheap lifestyle, etc. JMO but retiring at 50 shouldn't be terribly difficult for most engineers but definitely takes a bit of thought at the beginning of your working years and financial awareness throughout.

Rehiring at 60 anywhere other than a previous employer would be nearly impossible IME outside of the contract temp agencies.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

The vast majority of people go to work because they want to be paid. No different from a retired person having to go back to work.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote:

No different from a retired person having to go back to work.

Possibly, although there is a small fraction that simply likes the rigor and structure of work, or can't find anything interesting to do on their own. Most of what I enjoy doing is what I do for work.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

drawoh, I don't think much about it. I've worked with people that retired in place at 30 or 40 years old. You never know until you talk, listen, and hire. There is no honor in retiring in place. There is no dishonor in legitimating retiring at 50. If someone can do the job, wants the job, then hire them.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I retired at the age of 76, even though the formal retirement age in my company was 58. I was not feeling it boring. I would have continued but for the covid. Recently I saw in the web a 92-year-old engineer working for GE aero-engine engineering department. If your health permits and if you are enjoying your daily work with passion, there is no limit until one of them fades.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I think there are too many people early in their career who need to retire from engineering and move into another field that suits them better. You know, the folks that create a net positive amount of work that are better served pursuing careers in sales.

Most of the greybeard engineers I've worked with retire approximately 12 years after they purchase a vintage Chevelle, or nice lake house; and I'm happy for them hanging up the cleats in their early 60's. Many continue to work in a part time consulting capacity for a year or two, presumably to pay off the aforementioned lake house.

----------------------------------
Not making a decision is a decision in itself

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I'm 71 now and trying to cut back to 3 days per week. So far, I've been unsuccessful.

www.PeirceEngineering.com

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I'm a little late to the game here, but I wasn't aware engineers ever retire... Based on what I have seen the ones who stick it out and stay in the field long enough to retire enjoy it too much to retire. Joking aside, I have typically seen 70 to 80 as the retirement range in my area (crap-I'm still 40 or so years away), a few engineers have unfortunately passed away due to old age while still working. I am of the opinion that you should retire when you are ready and able too as life is too short. In my area the older engineers are highly sought after for their knowledge as there seems to be a generational gap in engineers. I have seen the older engineers who were very knowledgeable and then the mid career ones who focus on project management but really don't know how to design something and then the younger ones of which a few are eager to learn but have no one to teach them properly without the old guys. I personally don't think someone would have a hard time finding another job at a small to medium size firm after they retire. I don't have have much experience or knowledge of larger firms, but there does seem to be a trend of replacing older engineers with newer ones before retirement.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote:

In my area the older engineers are highly sought after for their knowledge as there seems to be a generational gap in engineers

That partly arises because engineers DON'T retire earlier; why would you seek out a newb if you can get a graybeard, right? The sooner engineers retire, the more likely the next generation will pick up the slack and skills needed to be the next set of graybeards. Of course, that's compounded by those engineers that don't adequately mentor younger engineers, because it's a PITA, and it's no fun to watch a younger engineer struggle to do something that you could do with both hands tied behind your back. And yeah, guilty as charged.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote (IRstuff)

The sooner engineers retire, the more likely the next generation will pick up the slack and skills needed to be the next set of graybeards.

In my experience, the next generation, way too often, is not picking up the technical skills that need to be handed down to them. Blame the newbies and the graybeards. Too may newbies don't know what they don't know and, for too many graybeards, mentoring is not made a priority.

www.PeirceEngineering.com

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

The newbees seem to think some of the old knowledge is a will never happen thing, and gets dismissed.
Who need black start tools.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

(OP)
Getting newbies to listen should be a PDH course for engineers, and being able to listen should be one for newbies.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

But I thought everybody in the civil realm became a certified expert at everything after four years? Most of the elders I've known in that industry were "regulatory consultants" paid to push projects past their buddies in the local AHJ.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote (geotechguy1)

Getting newbies to listen should be a PDH course for engineers, and being able to listen should be one for newbies.
I 100% agree, although I would make it part of undergrad; far too often I see old engineers struggling to teach newbies because they lack the patience of teaching the basics again, and dealing with newbies who refuse to take notes. When teaching a newer engineer something and I see that they aren't taking notes I stop teaching and make it a point to tell them to get a pen and paper and that I expect them to take notes; I learned to be more direct with this after having to teach the same thing over and over because they weren't paying attention and/or playing on their phones. A few times I have got the opportunity to train engineers who really cared and asked great questions and question how you teach them, they are the real standouts and the ones who will go far in this field and make training enjoyable again, unfortunately these types are few and far between.

Quote (CWB1)

But I thought everybody in the civil realm became a certified expert at everything after four years? Most of the elders I've known in that industry were "regulatory consultants" paid to push projects past their buddies in the local AHJ.
You are close to correct, the "real engineers" who stick with the civil field tend to focus on one area ie Civil, Geotechnical, Environmental, Structural, etc.., the ones who come out thinking they know everything either become project managers who rarely seek licensing (contractors don't want licensed engineers running a project as it increases their potential liability) or they work for the government pushing paper. The older ones who specialize get quite good at getting projects through the AHJ because they know what to look for, but only do so in their specialized areas.

Quote (cranky108)

The newbees seem to think some of the old knowledge is a will never happen thing, and gets dismissed.
This is mostly not just their thinking but a reality. I have many thoughts on this, one being fees aren't high enough to cover training and companies are more and more being run by non-technical people which push profits over quality and training. Many new engineers can't make it in the field because they don't really care and aren't sure which area they want to focus on. Older engineers get tired of training over and over because companies don't always value employees forcing them to jump around a good bit. Older engineers get tired of training because they have trained many who didn't stick with the field as they weren't capable of handling the stress and workloads or they just didn't care and wanted to just use software without really understanding the designs.

Quote (IRstuff)

That partly arises because engineers DON'T retire earlier; why would you seek out a newb if you can get a graybeard, right?
This is especially true given project fees, timelines, and expected salaries. You can only get so much fee for a project which is many times due to so many one man greybeard engineer shops driving the fees down and the larger companies outsourcing to other countries. Because of this the salary ranges for many companies in my area of expertise are not what engineers come out of school expecting. You can hire an experienced engineer knowing they will cover their cost and produce a profit, or you can hire a new grad knowing you will lose money on them for at least a year. Take company size into account and it's hard for smaller companies to hire new engineers as the few (maybe even just one) experienced engineers you have will have to work harder to train and produce the profit needed to cover the new engineer. Then consider the amount of engineers who leave the field in the first few years and it's discouraging to hire new grads.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

(OP)
>But I thought everybody in the civil realm became a certified expert at everything after four years? Most of the elders I've known in that industry were "regulatory consultants" paid to push projects past their buddies in the local AHJ.

Overconfident P.E's thinking they know everything as soon as they gain licensure is certainly a problem, especially at smaller companies that advertise themselves as being able to do everything but don't necessarily have much specialist expertise. Unfortunately many disciplines of civil engineering are now so hilariously over-conservative in everything that they do that its possible to stumble through a 40 year career and not understand anything about anything. I'm not sure how the American system works precisely but in the Canadian system having a P.Eng isn't the be all and end all. Work must still be reviewed by senior / specialist expert engineers, and quality programs must be left in place. The industry self regulates which unfortunately means egos can get out of hand if they aren't checked by the disciplinary process and by rigorous vetting of P.Eng applicants for attitude.

On thinking about it, getting a P.Eng license in Canada largely depends on having three referees who have reviewed your work 'sign off' so to speak on your licensure. If someone asked me to do it now the #1 thing I would be looking for is there attitude, humbleness, willing to admit what they don't know, etc.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

geotechguy1 - it's about the same here in the US, but there's only a few states that require the senior/specialist sign off and that's usually only for critical or very large structures. For instance, I can't get an SE license in California (yet), but I can get a PE Civil license and practice small scale structural engineering - houses, small shopping centers, etc. In my home state, I can "do" everything. I know I have limits, so I'm not going to start doing high rises or post-tensioning or other things that I don't have any experience with. But the only thing stopping me is my ethical obligation to not practice outside of my realm of experience and knowledge.

As a wise man once said of experience:

"If you need it, you don’t have it. If you have it, you need more of it. If you have more of it, you don’t need less of it. You need it to get it. And you certainly need it to get more of it. But if you don’t already have any of it to begin with, you can’t get any of it to get started, which means you really have no idea how to get it in the first place, do you? You can share it, sure. You can even stockpile it if you like. But you can’t fake it. Wanting it. Needing it. Wishing for it. The point is… if you’ve never had any of it… ever… people just seem to know.”

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

awful verbose for a 'wise guy'. I'm sure glad I'm not starting out now.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote (I'm 71 now and trying to cut back to 3 days per week. So far, I've been unsuccessful.)


Keep up the good work...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

I did consider becoming an auditor, because I know where the bodies could be hidden in the documentation. I am sure I can catch several newbies/wiseguys, trying to fake it.

But, I never wanted to go to the dark side of management, so I say no to the darker side of auditing requirements.

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

dik - "wise man" was a bit tongue in cheek...that's a marketing gimmick from Old Spice from around 2010.

IRstuff - yeah, but she got caught, so really that proves the "adage" - no?

RE: Retirement ages for engineers

Quote (.that's a marketing gimmick from Old Spice from around 2010.)


Thanks... not aware of it.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Feel any better?

-Dik

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Low-Volume Rapid Injection Molding With 3D Printed Molds
Learn methods and guidelines for using stereolithography (SLA) 3D printed molds in the injection molding process to lower costs and lead time. Discover how this hybrid manufacturing process enables on-demand mold fabrication to quickly produce small batches of thermoplastic parts. Download Now
Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM)
Examine how the principles of DfAM upend many of the long-standing rules around manufacturability - allowing engineers and designers to place a part’s function at the center of their design considerations. Download Now
Taking Control of Engineering Documents
This ebook covers tips for creating and managing workflows, security best practices and protection of intellectual property, Cloud vs. on-premise software solutions, CAD file management, compliance, and more. Download Now

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