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Can one take “early retirement” when there is no pension to work with?

Only you can answer this question. What other savings do you have? Will they be enough to support your lifestyle in the years to come (20-30 years)?

Can severance packages be worked out for multiple years with a tight non-compete, which I would consider? Otherwise, three months severance is not enough to keep me from going to work with a competitor.

I can only speak for my experience in the tech industry. Severance packages usually limit people from working with the same company for the period that the package is supposed to cover but does not limit people to work with a competitor. There is non-disclosure agreements, of course. It could be different in other industries and in higher positions. Can you start looking for another position somewhere else?

- zol
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