A successful couple who spent 30 years building their careers agonized over retiring for 2 years before they found the right time
Courtesy of Jim and Fernanda Dorsey
- Jim and Fernanda Dorsey both had long and fulfilling careers. Fernanda worked at Disney's Glendale Creative Campus, while Jim worked as an account manager in the apparel industry.
- They both enjoyed their work, but as retirement age crept up, they started struggling with the decision to retire.
- Fernanda ultimately left her job for a retirement life that excited her, while Jim was ready sooner, and waited until they could retire together to travel the world.
- Read more personal finance coverage.
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Retirees Jim and Fernanda Dorsey both had long and successful careers before retiring. Leaving their work behind wasn't an easy decision.
Fernanda, 52, worked as a product manager for 24 years, spending the last four years of her career at Disney's Glendale Creative Campus. Jim, 65, worked in the apparel industry managing accounts for name-brand athletic and outdoor wear for 31 years.
"I had the perfect job working for one of the most positive brands in the world, with amazing people and driving only two miles to the most beautiful Disney campus," said Fernanda.
Jim's experience was similar. "I had a lot of significant clients that I had built up over the years, and I managed the accounts for a lot of major brands," Jim told Business Insider. "I had 15 or 16 employees whose livelihoods, to some degree, relied on the activities that I had with the company."
Both Jim and Fernanda had spent years building their careers, and giving them up wasn't an easy decision.
It took them two years to finally decide that the time was right to retire - they were both feeling ready for a change at the same time, and wanted to travel and enjoy life sooner than later.
They had different reasons, but retired at the same time
The time finally came in May 2019 for Jim, and September 2019 for Fernanda. While they both realized they wanted to retire in the same year, they had different reasons for making the decision when they did.
Above all, the two wanted to retire together, but a 13-year age gap made that difficult. "If you look back the four years that Fernanda was with Disney and I was trying to make a decision two years ago, leaving then meant she would would have only been with Disney for two years. She wanted to put some more years on the board with Disney. So that played into our conversations," said Jim.
For Fernanda, timing her retirement meant striking a balance dealing with burnout at work and putting in her time. "I could feel I was tired and not giving 100% anymore," she said. "The idea of leaving work to travel, build an online business, and grow together invigorated me."
For Jim, however, three decades of working life had him ready to move on. Though his long relationships with clients made him want to stay longer, he decided that age 65 was time for him to go.
"After 31 years, it wasn't so much about a number of years, it was the feeling that it was time to go," said Jim. "It was hard to give up the relationships that I had developed with these clients. The years had already passed, so for me, I think it was just a commitment to the clients."
The two decided to not only leave their careers behind, but also the home they loved in Los Angeles in order to travel in retirement. They have since channeled their spare time and business expertise into building a blog and online business that they run while traveling.
After retiring, they both said they felt a sense of accomplishment and excitement. "In retirement, you feel empowered and just feel like you're more in control of life and when you had a job, I think," said Fernanda.
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