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I retired after 32 years to get out a lump sum in place of annuity. This option was part of a deal for the current company to buy the original company I worked for. I also get an annuity from the new company post-purchase. The annuity covers the retiree health insurance cost after tax for my family, though I will have to go off that plan and on to Medicare at 65.

I was contacted by the same company a month after retirement to let me know they were set up to bring me back as contract labor. Took some negotiations but got my original salary plus cash equiv of benefits (insurance, vacation, stock savings match...). I was watching my wife spending way too much after that retirement bundle so was happy to go back to work! Plus teens heading to college.

I retired early for few reasons,
1. The lump sum retirement benefit was somehow being manipulated (they froze it for years-of-service increase, for example) and I was worried they might eliminate the option completely.
2. The lump sum increased with age until 60, but then decreased due to actuarial tables.
3. The lump sum amount was also inversally-linked to a corporate bond rate that was low, and I was afraid it would go back up.
4. They eliminated a bonus which resulted in my first-ever salary decrease. Last straw!

I chose the lump sum since I felt I could do better than 5% or so corporate bond rate that the was used to calculate the lump sum (present value of the annuity). Thanks to the Fools, that has been working out!

Just chiming in incase any of this applies to your decision.
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