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Decided to bail four years early
Old 07-25-2007, 03:59 PM   #1
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Decided to bail four years early

Hi everyone,
I've been reading this forum for a while now, but this is my first post. First, I want to say You guys are terrific! There's so much knowledge and experience out there, and you're all so willing to help us newbies figure out this whole retirement thing.
DH and I were planning to RE at age 55 (in four years), because that's when he can take full retirement from AK PERS. AK PERS will provide us with full paid health benefits for both of us--prescriptions included!
When we discovered he could actually retire at 50 with the health insurance, but a little less money, we decided to bail out earlier. March 31, 2008 to be exact.
W**k is suddenly even more unbearable than it had been before.
I don't know how anyone can stand those last few months of w**k.
Retiring earlier will mean living off taxable investments and savings for a few extra years until the various other retirement income streams start up. (We have two small OR PERS pensions starting at ages 58, and 60. Social security at 62 and 67--probably--And about $320000 in 401(k), 403(b), 457, IRAs, Roth IRAs). Everything added up should be about $48,000 per year, and we currently live on about $2800 per month.
Firecalc says "GO!", Fidelity.com says it's 95%, and my own math says everything should be OK, too.
But...we'll end up with a little less money per month overall if we stop early. This worries me... My gut feeling is that I'd rather have a little less money than a whole lot more stress and worry from a j*b I hate. Has anyone out there pulled the plug earlier than expected? Is there anyone out there who regrets not w**king a few extra years?
ps: The money difference is significant--close to $1000 per month.
Rocketdog
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Old 07-25-2007, 04:15 PM   #2
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Welcome and congrats!

I hope to do the same at age 53 (3+ years from now). Of course I could also hang on a few more years for more money, but I don't think I will.
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Old 07-25-2007, 04:15 PM   #3
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I had planned to work longer and of course was thinking of the increased pension and savings, but saw the handwriting on the wall if I stayed.

In retrospect, how do you put a value on your life? Retirement is pure enjoyment and I'm still in my fifties. Those stress backaches and tension are history.

Just go and never look back.
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Old 07-25-2007, 04:29 PM   #4
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Thanks Sam, and travelover,
I guess I just need the reassurance...
Folks seem to assume if you are retiring early, you'll be taking world cruises and buying vacation condos on maui.
Why do I feel inadequate for not living up to someone else's retirement fantasy...
rocketdog
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Old 07-25-2007, 04:42 PM   #5
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I'd been planning, since I started w*rking there at age 19, to retire at 55 (full pension is available at age 55 with 35 years service). But they offered an early buyout, and I took it! I could have stayed for the other five years, and made and saved a bunch more green backs, but all of the B.S. wasn't worth the pay!

I bought 5 additional years on my pension, figured at my final rate of earnings (FRE). The only hit that I actually took on the deal, is that any pay raises during these next 5 years, would have increased my monthly pension (slightly) if I waited until 55. I got pension estimates based on my actual FRE, as well as with estimated pay raises. There wasn't a lot of difference, maybe an additional $75 per month at most.

IMHO, the B.S. factor definitely wasn't worth that paltry sum! So I grabbed that buyout with a death grip, and hopped on the first stage outta Dodge!!!
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Old 07-25-2007, 04:59 PM   #6
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I bailed 5 years early (6/06 - its been a year....already!). Had I stayed - I would have gotten the bennies -- crunched the numbers- and the thought of giving 10% more of my life to megacorp....led to my jumping. I have no regrets -- other than the bennies....and you have that covered :>).

Outstanding!
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Old 07-25-2007, 05:30 PM   #7
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Thanks Sam, and travelover,
I guess I just need the reassurance...
Folks seem to assume if you are retiring early, you'll be taking world cruises and buying vacation condos on maui.
Why do I feel inadequate for not living up to someone else's retirement fantasy...
rocketdog
My older brother gave me excellent advice when I retired - he told me that my first task was to get over the ridiculous idea that I need to work. I took that advice and it has made my retirement much more enjoyable.
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Old 07-25-2007, 06:40 PM   #8
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I took a big financial hit on my pension by leaving more than three years before my optimal retirement date. I worried about how to tap my retirement accounts.

Guess what? I'm not spending all my pension and I haven't touched the accounts.

All things considered, I'm not sure I would have survived to my optimal retirement date. Stress can kill.
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Old 07-25-2007, 07:48 PM   #9
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All your comments are music to my ears--
rocketdog
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:52 PM   #10
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Welcome to the board Rocketdog.

Congratulations on your descision to bail early. Many here have done so and have enjoyed every minute of freedom they have earned. Early retirement is of course relative to your concept of retirement and what is early vs regular retirement. What you do is not as important as doing what YOU want to do.

Good luck and best wishes.
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:58 PM   #11
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Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories. It's nice to see that NO ONE regretted taking "early RE".
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Old 07-27-2007, 09:58 PM   #12
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I left 3 years 'early' as well leaving >$1000/month of pension on the table. That was over a year ago. I have not regretted doing that for one minute. Life is worth so much more than the additional money.
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Old 07-28-2007, 10:55 AM   #13
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Rocketdog welcome to the boards. I can relate to your work issues. Once FIRECALC said I could retire and I made the decision to go, work was just a PITA to show up to for the next 6 months until FIRE. Been FIRE'd 28 days now and am having trouble remembering what day of the week it is .
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Old 07-28-2007, 01:13 PM   #14
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Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories. It's nice to see that NO ONE regretted taking "early RE".
You haven't heard the Hocu$' story yet (I think I got the name right), but then, I don't think he ever admitted any regret :-0

I just realized that his name is a forbidden word on this board. Wow, he's that famous?
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Old 07-28-2007, 07:55 PM   #15
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Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories. It's nice to see that NO ONE regretted taking "early RE".
Quite the opposite really. The young dreamer crowd -- i.e. the still working crowd -- has to painfully read through the posts about how much the ER crowd enjoys being free at last
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Old 07-28-2007, 08:40 PM   #16
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The young dreamer crowd -- i.e. the still working crowd -- has to painfully read through the posts about how much the ER crowd enjoys being free at last
So very true. But that others have done it convinces me it is doable and worth the effort. My time will come in a few short years. It only seems like a lifetime away.
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Old 07-28-2007, 08:50 PM   #17
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Been FIRE'd 28 days now and am having trouble remembering what day of the week it is .
No kidding! I never know what day of the week it is anymore. Of course most of the time it really doesn't matter in the least either! The only time it seems to matter is if I have an appointment (which is seldom), or if I'm going on a bus trip, or if it's garbage day......oh, and I need to remember or figure out when it's Thursday.....because that's the "$9 ribeye special" day at one our favorite restaurants. (a nice hunk of steak, baked 'tater, and a nice salad....YUM!!!)
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Old 07-28-2007, 10:58 PM   #18
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... Been FIRE'd 28 days now and am having trouble remembering what day of the week it is .
I know how you feel. My wife gave me a clock for my retirement party that has only the days of the week and a dot for Noon each day. I look at it to make sure I don't miss garbage day or to seen when the weekend is close to make sure I don't have to run out of the house for anything and deal with the congestion and traffic on the weekend.

Also, like Wildcat said, it can be both a good thing or a bad thing to constantly hear about how the FIRE crowd is doing in ER. I found this board in 2005 and had already ER's once at age 50. I choose to continue working for a different company in an other city for personal reasons before I finally ER'd again in May of this year. For me, my plan was already set without the benefit of the wisdom on this board to help in my financial planning to achieve FIRE. But, I did gain a great deal from the discussions on HOW to actually ER and how to address many of the personal aspects of ER that one may not realize until you pull the trigger.

I hope the "old timers" of FIRE don't get too jaded or burned out on this board so they will continue to share their experiences...good and bad... in their path the FIRE and beyond. After all, FIRE is not the end it is the beginning of a new way of living.
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Old 07-29-2007, 09:20 AM   #19
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It's sort of weird how retirement seemed to come rushing up to me. I always wanted to retire early, but on my own terms. However, it didn't seem to work out that way. It never seems to be one factor that gives a person the final push out, but a whole host of them over the years. If someone had asked me three weeks before I left if I was retiring soon, I would have said "no". A few days later I put in my two weeks notice. The main items that finished me, were that our area was threatened with being put on rotating 12 hour shift work, and also there was a possibility that we would be outsourced which would have devastated my pension, before my full pension due in four years. I decided to a take a small early retirement pension package because with absolutely no support from management or the union I figured I'd rather have a glass half full, than one with only a few drops in the bottom, and this package was due to end the day I left. It was like a safety net, but it was gone. The way things were going, I wasn't sure which was going to go first, my mental or my physical health. My wife is still working, but hopefully within the next one to three years or so, she will be retired with me. At least her employers seem to treat her with some dignity and respect, but I've told her, if her job ever starts to affect her health in any way, just pack up and leave.

I left at the age of 56 and my second anniversary of retirement is coming up in November. Do I have any regrets about leaving? None, whatsoever.
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Old 07-29-2007, 09:55 AM   #20
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My husband and I both retired early ( 57 and 48 ) from the same company. It cost us a lot of money in the long run but was totally worth it as the politics and entire complexion of the workplace had changed for the worse. We still marvel and rejoice every day at the difference in our lives and health and would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Go for it!
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