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49 year old from the Great Northwest hoping to retire soon!
Old 07-29-2008, 10:17 PM   #1
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49 year old from the Great Northwest hoping to retire soon!

Hello
I stumbled on this board and it looks perfect for my wife and I. My wife and I are both 48 (49 soon!) and our goal is to retire by the age of 55. We picked this age due to the fact that my wife will have 20 years in at her job and that allows a good pension to supplement our retirement.

Our current net worth is $2.1 million with $1.4 of that in the market and the remainder mainly in real estate. We carry no debt except our home and that is almost paid off. We have one daughter who will be starting college at our retirement age, but we have three years of her college saved in the GET program here in Washington State.

We put away the maximum in both of our 401k's and max out our ROTH each year.

My own calculations show that we can retire at age 55 and be comfortable---but there is the rub and what I have liked about this forum so far. That is the concept of 'what is retirement and what does comfortable" mean? How much is enough to retire on? That is a tough question and I am hoping this site will help me answer that question.

The other biggest concern is what will life be like after retirement. I have read some of the forums and it seems many of the folks here had or have the same struggle and I am hoping that over the next six years I can find an answer to that question as well.

so wish me luck on my journey and I am looking forward to finally meeting some likeminded people! I picked my handle because I like the attitude--no worries
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Old 07-30-2008, 05:46 PM   #2
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Hi,

Our situation is similar to yours, both in age and in financial situation, though we will not have pensions, and our children are older. About your questions, I had the same. But I quickly realize that those are mine to find the answers to. No two persons are alike in their lifestyle, their spending habits, nor the locality. Still, it is comforting to find members who retired early and doing well, both financially and spiritually. I can compare myself to other members, draw my own answers, and make adjustments in my lifestyle as needed.

Best wishes.
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Old 07-30-2008, 07:58 PM   #3
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Hey Hakuna - By my measure, you're LOADED at age 48 ... let me know if you wanna' get rid of any excess, will ya?

Seriously, I think the issue for you - like so many of us - is deciding "What's enough?" Fix that point and then just be happy; but, of course, always ...

Stay Cheap!
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Author, The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches
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Old 07-30-2008, 09:37 PM   #4
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Welcome to the board, hakuna matata. (Is that sarcasm?) What Jeff says.

If you're worried about the standard of living that you'll adopt in retirement, then start building an ER budget and try to see how much you'd spend on it. Our ER expenses are actually lower than budgeted because we have the time to be cheap do our research, take advantage of buying opportunities, and be flexible.

As for that struggle about what you'll DO all day, I'd suggest that it's one of the top three worries of any ER (right after inflation & healthcare) and that's why you see it on the boards so frequently.

But about six months after you ER you'll wonder what the heck you were worrying about. The way to test that concept is to try to take a "practice ER" of a sabbatical or at least a few weeks off. Live your life the way you'd expect your ER to be (no fair trying to renovate the entire house or take a fantasy cruise or to write the Great American Novel or to catch up on your entire Honey-Do list) and see how it's working out. If you don't have any big bumps in practice then you probably won't have any in the real thing, either.

Within a few months of ER you'll have figured out if you're going to make it work, and if not you'll have plenty of time to scurry back to the comfort of the cubicle...
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Old 07-31-2008, 09:00 PM   #5
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hakuna....I'm new in this area but my husband and I are in near the same boat...but he has lost his company's pension... they just eliminated it...so we don't know how much is enough either. good news for us is that all three of our boys will be done with college in a year. Youngest is graduating next May.
so we need to know where the cost of living will be low enough to retire on at 55..
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Old 08-01-2008, 02:26 PM   #6
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hakuna.......but he has lost his company's pension... they just eliminated it...so we don't know how much is enough either. ..
Can a company just eliminate the pension without paying out anything?!! I have a pension and profit sharing plan that I am 100% vested in--it is now my money as I understand it. So I am not sure how a company can just eliminate your pension. Could you clarify more? Or if someone who knows more about company pensions could educate me it would be much appreciated.
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pension lost
Old 08-01-2008, 04:26 PM   #7
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pension lost

Hi,
He got a payout... but they taxed it as regular income which cost us 28% of it! Plus the state tax on it on top of that... It was a pittance - about 15% of what is should have been, minus the taxes... barely worth the time... but hey, its something...meanwhile, we are a lot closer to retirement than we would like to be without it... 15 years.... Not enough time to "make it up" ...according to the retirement planner calculators online.... They say we need something like 3500 a month MORE than we are putting in already to make it up!
AGH! Not exactly possible, eh?
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Old 08-01-2008, 04:45 PM   #8
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Welcome , I retired at 59 . I was not psychological ready until then . I slept a lot for a few months and then I started forming a new life nothing earth shattering but satisfying and happy !
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:08 AM   #9
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It seems yiu can find all kinds of books on retirement that focus on the financial aspects. I too have concerns beyond this issue. Thus, I have begun searching out books that go beyond financials. Those that have helped me are the Zelinski books, Work Less Live More and to a lesser extent What Color Is Your Parachute For Retirement. Good reading to you!
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Old 08-02-2008, 08:21 AM   #10
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It seems yiu can find all kinds of books...
Yep. I understand the Chinese have huge libraries...
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Old 08-02-2008, 09:41 AM   #11
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Here's my kneejerk suggestion:

You retire immediately, and wife continues until she gets her pension.

You use your newfound spare time to support your wife, and save money by doing things yourself and having time for research, etc.

Wife comes home to a dinner cooked with fresh wholesome ingredients. You fix things around the house, change the oil in your car, and spend more time with your daughter before she leaves home. You stop wasting your time and money on commuting and office clothes.
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Old 08-02-2008, 12:34 PM   #12
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Here's my kneejerk suggestion:

You retire immediately, and wife continues until she gets her pension.

You use your newfound spare time to support your wife, and save money by doing things yourself and having time for research, etc.

Wife comes home to a dinner cooked with fresh wholesome ingredients. You fix things around the house, change the oil in your car, and spend more time with your daughter before she leaves home. You stop wasting your time and money on commuting and office clothes.
This is what we did exactly 4 years ago - Aug 1, 2004, except in reverse. DW left her $70k/year job at age 49 and does all the things around the house. (She draws the line at changing the oil).

It has worked out great, and I'm looking forward to joining her at age 55 in 19 months.

Companies can and do change pension plans, which has been a big concern of mine as we were purchased June last year by another megacorp well known for replacing DB pensions with cash balance ones. This happened to DW and when she quit 4 years ago we rolled her cash balance and 401(k) into an IRA.

It has taken a year for regulatory approvals to come through and just before they did, the megacorp filed a lawsuit against my megacorp saying that our financial situation had worsened over the last 12 months to the point the joint company would not be viable. (similar to 2 drunken men trying to support one another). My megacorp has now counter sued to the tune of $3B for liable and tortious statements. (our share price went from $25 to $10 practically overnight). The case will be heard in September.

Good news for me I think as no one expects the deal to go through now, and all expectations are that we have a very strong case, particularly since our 2nd quarter results just came out and we doing very well under the circumstances. Probably take whatever settlement we get (may be $1B) and reduce debt by 25%.
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