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18 months to go... does the fear go away?
Old 01-14-2019, 10:03 PM   #1
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18 months to go... does the fear go away?

Hi all, been lurking for a while and decided to post. The time is getting closer and I have run fire calc etc, but just canít get over the fear. A little background: 53 yr old teacher. Dh recently disabled after 35 yrs working and on disability. Take home, about 2700 m. Me making 83,000 a yr, and putting about 17,000 away a year. Live in CA so the cost of living is high, but will have house paid off by the time I retire, though right now paying about 2000 m. That leaves me with only about 1500 m. Have about 400,000 in a 403b, and will be getting a pension of 2,600 m. When I add everything up, it seams I will actually have more after I retire. My goal is to not have to touch the 403b until they make me take the mandatory minimum disbursement at 70. Btw, my work pays for healthcare until 65. Can I really do it? Am I missing something??
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:16 PM   #2
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I don’t know what expenses DH’s disability raises, but I could live pretty comfortably in most parts of CA with a paid off home on $2600/mo.

You seem to be doing quite well for yourself, so take pride in that. What are you retiring to? Perhaps focusing on retirement plans could help with the anxiety.
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:31 AM   #3
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Won't comment on the financials, but I wonder if, like many here, the fear is more psychological than financial.

Triple check your numbers, run FireCalc and a few others; try some worst case scenarios. Maybe check with a fee-only FA. If all that gives you a green light, remember that just about everyone on this forum had a bit of hesitation and concern over 'can I really do this?'.

After 35+ years of saving and having a job and an income, suddenly having no job is indeed a scary thought; you're shifting your income source too. But it does go away after a year or so and you suddenly realize that your plan is working.

Trust your budget and your spreadsheet. Please keep us posted on your progress. Lots of good, talented folks here eager to help you along your journey.
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Old 01-15-2019, 05:04 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum! Marko's comments are spot on.
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Old 01-15-2019, 05:07 AM   #5
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I found that after eliminating RE savings (~28%) from my pre-RE budget, and reduction in FIT, we can indeed spend more in RE then before.
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Old 01-15-2019, 07:00 AM   #6
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"fear is more psychological than financial" - very true

It's a big move but you'll do just fine. A little perspective from a early retiree. I left at 52 now 68 - it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Time really does fly so do what your heart thinks is right. Enjoy the fruits of your labor, you've earned it.
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Old 01-15-2019, 09:12 AM   #7
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Welcome CrysMos! If you haven't found them already, we have a helpful list of things to think about before you make the leap:

Some Important Questions to Answer

It sounds like financially you are pretty solid, so it's all about getting ready. I have a teacher friend who is retiring at the end of this school year and she has enjoyed this final year very much, savoring what she loves about it and ignoring all the stuff she hates about it knowing at this time next year it won't matter. I wish the same for you!

Posting here helped me (and many other members) get over the fear of RE, so we hope you'll continue to stay active and keep us posted on your progress.
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:26 AM   #8
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BTW, What subject did you teach?

Mike D.
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Old 01-15-2019, 10:45 AM   #9
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Welcome! Glad you found us.

I retired last year, and it was terrifying. Seriously. Fire Calc and my fee only advisor said we were good to go a couple of years ago, but I was too worried about health insurance. We got DH on Medicare last year, so that helped my decision.

I will tell you that the fear decreased almost immediately - flopping around in bed until ~9 a.m. helped with that. Now I have new fears due to the market gyrations just as I'm readying to make our first withdrawal.

We haven't had to eat cat food yet, and I'm confident we'll be fine, but I think "worrying" is just something women seem to be especially good at (at least I am anyway) so even if I had 10x the money saved, I'd still find something to stress about.

Do your homework and make sure your numbers are good, as suggested above. Then get the book "How to Retire Wild, Happy & Free" and start to think about what you want YOUR retirement to look like. I'm still figuring that out, but it's nice to have the time to ponder such things.

Good luck to you, and looking forward to seeing your posts!
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Old 01-15-2019, 12:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by MikeD View Post
BTW, What subject did you teach?

Mike D.
I teach Science and Math. Used to love it, but the atmosphere in schools has really changed over the last 20 years and too often I feel like I am babysitting
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Old 01-15-2019, 12:42 PM   #11
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What are you retiring to? Perhaps focusing on retirement plans could help with the anxiety.
We have a house on some acreage in NCal. Right now it's rented out, but will be able to sell the house we are in and pay it off. Looking to expand the garden, grow food, chickens etc. Can't wait to get started!!
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Old 01-15-2019, 03:54 PM   #12
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"Does the fear go away?" I wouldn't know...I've been in OMY syndrome since 2013, and have almost doubled the retirement assets.
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Old 01-15-2019, 05:12 PM   #13
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Iím coming up on 4 years of being retired. As a federal retiree, my financial situation seems similar to yours with pension & savings. It took me a few months to relax to be honest, but now Iím pretty confident Iíll be ok & wonder how I worked all that time. :-). I track everything monthly & that seems to help with any financial worrying so I can focus on making the most of this new phase. Best wishes.
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Old 01-15-2019, 08:17 PM   #14
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Been almost 6 years since I had a paycheck. The nerves get much better.

Measure twice cut once, a saying in many industries. Sounds like you are doing that. Your numbers look good.

Do the pensions have a cola adjustment?
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Old 01-16-2019, 01:17 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by DrRoy View Post
I found that after eliminating RE savings (~28%) from my pre-RE budget, and reduction in FIT, we can indeed spend more in RE then before.
Well said.

BTW, OP, what is the worst thing that can happen when you pull the trigger? You may have to bring in a little income (it may be very little, run the numbers), for a short period of time until the economy settles down/financial emergency is resolved. Even a small amount of "extra" income can make a huge difference on conserving your "nest egg". If you HAD to, how much could you make subbing 2-3 days a week? Tutoring? Add those modest numbers to your expected cash flow and see the difference.

(My mortgage is not paid off, but I know I could sub (former teacher) 2-3 days a week if I had to, and still make a house payment in an emergency.)

Not that you WANT to sub, or tutor, but it is nice to have a back up plan in your hip pocket. You most likely will not need it.
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Old 01-16-2019, 02:32 AM   #16
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When I was a kid the only thing I knew about money was we didnít have any. My Mom struggled and the stress was terrible. That is why I had such a hard time pulling the trigger. I never wanted to live that way again. My fear was without basis -We have enough and 10 days into retirement Iím relaxing more and appreciating ďhey I donít have to rush to go to workĒ and ďif I want to close my eyes for a nap thatís ok tooĒ.

Yeah its good to be cautious but the fear will subside. Keeping busy helps greatly.. exercise, reading, pt job, tutoring what ever. Enjoy every day.
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:11 AM   #17
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Your situation is similar to my wife and I. She was a teacher with a pension and healthcare, who retired 9 years ago. She found the pension covered all expenses, and hasn't needed to dip into the retirement accounts yet. I retired a few weeks ago. Everything is fine.
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Old 01-16-2019, 10:59 AM   #18
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+1000 on what Marko posted. I was worried as well, but pulled the plug at 60 with a couple of modest pensions and decent, no premium, healthcare.

This site, and a few blogs got me to "religion" on retirement FI. In the ~5 years or so when I was getting interested in retirement, I was a defeated man. All the FI sites and FI pundits shouted and screamed that you need 80-100% (if not more) of your gross income or 25X of income to safely retire. And that is all bullsh!t

The very simple answer learned here is: income must = or > expenses. That's it.

BTW, congrats ans welcome!
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Old 01-16-2019, 11:13 AM   #19
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Does your pension have a survivor benefit for your husband? Would you be able to survive if your husband passed, ending the disability payments? Just a couple of things to consider. Otherwise, congratulations!
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Itís so nice to get confirmation!
Old 01-16-2019, 06:50 PM   #20
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Itís so nice to get confirmation!

Thank you to those who replied. It really helps hearing from all of you that Iím not ďcrazyĒ and can do it! I do have an auto cola on my pension as well as survivor benefits. If Iím doing the math right, and Iím usually good at math, the only reason I will need to get into my 403b is if my DH predeceases me. One of the good things about the rental we will be moving into is that there is a small attached apt. That could be rented if necessary that would also cover his household contribution. I also grew up in a ďpoorĒ home, and I think that is one of the causes of my worry. I have so many plans and things I want to do, instead of going to work!!
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