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Old 12-10-2013, 06:01 AM   #21
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The biggest surprise for me has been how fast the time has gone by since my 4/1/13 retirement. The last few years of working dragged by as I dreaded each day of work and the endless meetings. Now it's important to plan your activities because otherwise the day will fly by before you know it, and you'll not have accomplished everything you wanted. But, I guess there's always tomorrow!
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:37 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
The only thing I can think of that might be useful is an admonition to think seriously about how you will spend your retired days/weeks/months. The "perpetual weekend" phase only goes so far, so those who don't already have a number of interests to keep them engaged can drift into a a severe case of ennui. That's literally a slow death, so be aware of it.

OTOH, those of us (most here, I think) who maintain a lively interest in things are so busy we never even think about what might be next on our list.

In other words, it's all up to you.
+1. Retirement is not just a financial decision, it's a dramatic change in daily routine that will impact you emotionally/mentally - good, bad or neutral. While fortunately some people adapt effortlessly, at the other extreme some retirees suffer from boredom, depression or worse. I have no idea what % of folks fall into each category, but it's well worth serious thought before pulling the trigger to try to avoid being in the latter group. For me, simply doing the Get-A-Life Tree exercise in How to Retire Happy, Wild & Free by Zelinski was the final reassurance I needed to retire. Reaching $ FI alone is not enough...

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Originally Posted by Options View Post
Not even FIRE'd yet, and already don't miss it.

Good Lord, that's not going to be a problem for me. First couple of years after FIRE I have tons of catch up things to do that I have been unable to attend to while w*rking. Didn't w*rk due to illness for a couple years in the 1990's, and even while sick, I always had more than enough to keep me occupied.
That's great, seriously.

But you haven't crossed that bridge yet, and IMO it's good advice for anyone considering retiring to give 'what will I do all day' some serious consideration first.
  • I know folks who thought they would just play golf or go fishing every day, and that got old fast, and they went downhill from there. Some fall into boredom, depression and/or alcohol.
  • Or early retirees who realize too late that all their peers are still working and they don't want to hang out with real "seniors" so they have no one to "play with."
  • Some folks don't realize how much of their identity comes from their work until it's gone, and once retired they are lost with no way back. It shouldn't be that way, but some transition planning is needed for those folks.
  • We've all read the stories of retiree spouses driving each other crazy once thrown together after working apart for 30-40 years.
As they say, it's important to have something better to retire to, it's not enough to just retire/escape from something (a bad work situation)...
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:45 AM   #23
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The biggest surprise (unplanned for) was the cost of dentistry. We have spent many $k on implants, bridges, etc.
I didn't think of dentistry either ! May I ask how much you spent and over what period ? Was there a "lost cost" option to what you choose ? (ie: bridge insteand of implant) ?
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Old 12-10-2013, 09:56 AM   #24
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I didn't think of dentistry either ! May I ask how much you spent and over what period ? Was there a "lost cost" option to what you choose ? (ie: bridge insteand of implant) ?
A low cost option to dental care, if there is a dental college nearby call them. Yes it will be a student, with an appropriate amout of supervision. My BIL was very grateful to those that came in.

A good friend had major dental issues, by using the local dental school she saved thousands. Couse this only works if you live in the area.
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:28 PM   #25
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We are surprised at how much we enjoy our day to day life - just doing normal things like cooking, exercising, socializing, local entertainment, eating out etc. While we still take 3-4 long trips a year, we thought we'd be traveling more. But we're happy with the way it turned out.

Denver was not in our ER plans - yet, here we are and very happy with the move.

I'd say -be flexible about everything. Your vision of your ER may not be what it turns out to be, but with the right, open mind-set, you'll be able to enjoy it.
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:31 PM   #26
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I didn't think of dentistry either ! May I ask how much you spent and over what period ? Was there a "lost cost" option to what you choose ? (ie: bridge insteand of implant) ?
I had a dental implant this year, and for me the total cost breakdown and dates of payment were:

$435.00 bone graft surgery 12/2012
$13.49 pain medications and other implant-related medications 12/2012
$1800.00 implant surgery 4/2013
$1200.00 crown 8/2013

$3448.49 TOTAL

I could have chosen a bridge instead and you are right, that would have been lower in cost.

However, I understand the cost is about twice as much in parts of the country that have a high cost of living. So, one's location should be taken into account.

I also got new glasses and sunglasses this year, and my prescription cost went up, and I started paying for Medicare Part B (but also pay the same for my basic FEHB health insurance) so my medical expenses are going to be higher this year, ugh.
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:33 AM   #27
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My biggest surprise is that DW decided to work another year. She loves her work. My part is to do the shopping and make dinner. I stopped feeling guilty about playing golf while she was at work after about a month! Seriously. Getting used to letting stuff flow in its own natural pattern instead of jamming it into the weekend was something I had to learn. Like watering the garden and weeding when it ended it instead of when I had time.
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Old 12-11-2013, 06:50 AM   #28
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Years ago I cracked a molar root, the tooth was extracted, and the alternatives offered me were implant, or bridge. NO WAY did I want the perfectly good teeth on either side of the cracked one, ground down and turned into pillars for a bridge!

Unfortunately, a second exam showed that my upper jaw was too flimsy to support an implant, and so, 15 years later, I am now on the second bridge (first one failed this year). Sooner or later I will need a denture, since there is a limit to the number of times you can re-use the bridge teeth. I hate all this more than I can say.

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Originally Posted by W2R View Post
I had a dental implant this year, and for me the total cost breakdown and dates of payment were:

$435.00 bone graft surgery 12/2012
$13.49 pain medications and other implant-related medications 12/2012
$1800.00 implant surgery 4/2013
$1200.00 crown 8/2013

$3448.49 TOTAL

I could have chosen a bridge instead and you are right, that would have been lower in cost.

However, I understand the cost is about twice as much in parts of the country that have a high cost of living. So, one's location should be taken into account.

I also got new glasses and sunglasses this year, and my prescription cost went up, and I started paying for Medicare Part B (but also pay the same for my basic FEHB health insurance) so my medical expenses are going to be higher this year, ugh.
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:19 AM   #29
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I'll be two years in a couple weeks. Others are right that you need to explore the non-financial aspects of retirement and what you will do all day. During the spring/summer/fall I golf and have developed a couple different groups of friends to golf with. In the winter we enjoy ice hockey and skiing.

The time freedom has allowed me to do some things that I probably would have had difficulty doing while I was working - like serving as guardian for my great aunt and sorting through her estate, traveling with my Mom and aunts to visit their brother on the west coast, etc.

The other surprise was how little I pay in income taxes. The last few years that i worked I paid between 15-24% of my AGI in federal and state income taxes (the 24% year was a bit of an anomaly, usually 15-19%). Last year I paid ~3% and this year will be between 3% and 10% depending on whether I harvest capital gains or do Roth conversions.

I have probably spent more time than is really necessary on tax planning and investments but it is now sort of a hobby since I have more free time. Early on, I also spent some time looking at all of our expenses and made some adjustments that provided the services we need and use at a lower cost. For example, we now have prepaid cell service rather than an expensive 2 year or month-to-month plan from a major carrier and have the same service that we need at less than half the cost.

The other surprising thing is that when i was working I hardly ever went anywhere without my Blackberry/cellphone. It was anchored to my hip and my lifeline to work. Now a days, I frequently go out and don't at all think about my cellphone and frequently have to call it from my home phone to find it.

The final surprising thing for me is how laid back I am (and it frustrates DW a bit). When I was working I was very goal oriented and had to get certain things done within a certain time and was a slave to my to do list. Now that I am retired, whatever doesn't get done today will get done tomorrow, or the next day or the day after that. Que Sera, Sera.

I've actually been pleasantly surprised that I can be quite content just lounging around puttering and not doing much of anything.
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Old 12-11-2013, 01:00 PM   #30
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I'll be two years in a couple weeks. Others are right that you need to explore the non-financial aspects of retirement and what you will do all day. During the spring/summer/fall I golf and have developed a couple different groups of friends to golf with. In the winter we enjoy ice hockey and skiing.

The time freedom has allowed me to do some things that I probably would have had difficulty doing while I was working - like serving as guardian for my great aunt and sorting through her estate, traveling with my Mom and aunts to visit their brother on the west coast, etc.

The other surprise was how little I pay in income taxes. The last few years that i worked I paid between 15-24% of my AGI in federal and state income taxes (the 24% year was a bit of an anomaly, usually 15-19%). Last year I paid ~3% and this year will be between 3% and 10% depending on whether I harvest capital gains or do Roth conversions.

I have probably spent more time than is really necessary on tax planning and investments but it is now sort of a hobby since I have more free time. Early on, I also spent some time looking at all of our expenses and made some adjustments that provided the services we need and use at a lower cost. For example, we now have prepaid cell service rather than an expensive 2 year or month-to-month plan from a major carrier and have the same service that we need at less than half the cost.

The other surprising thing is that when i was working I hardly ever went anywhere without my Blackberry/cellphone. It was anchored to my hip and my lifeline to work. Now a days, I frequently go out and don't at all think about my cellphone and frequently have to call it from my home phone to find it.

The final surprising thing for me is how laid back I am (and it frustrates DW a bit). When I was working I was very goal oriented and had to get certain things done within a certain time and was a slave to my to do list. Now that I am retired, whatever doesn't get done today will get done tomorrow, or the next day or the day after that. Que Sera, Sera.

I've actually been pleasantly surprised that I can be quite content just lounging around puttering and not doing much of anything.
This is what I want for my ER (in 2016?). I did set a goal to reduce my golf handicap and playing golf will continue to be the dominating hobby for me and DW in our ER. Traveling, catching up on books, catching up on relatives, looking in on aging parents, getting back on gardening, ..... I think I will be busy (the good kind) in my ER for a while.

Outside of work, I don't carry cell phone (am refusing to join Smartphone crowd).
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Old 12-11-2013, 05:51 PM   #31
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[QUOTE=pb4uski;1389633
The final surprising thing for me is how laid back I am (and it frustrates DW a bit). When I was working I was very goal oriented and had to get certain things done within a certain time and was a slave to my to do list. Now that I am retired, whatever doesn't get done today will get done tomorrow, or the next day or the day after that. Que Sera, Sera.

I've actually been pleasantly surprised that I can be quite content just lounging around puttering and not doing much of anything.[/QUOTE]

That's about where I am now too, although it bothers DW not a bit. She likes that change! I make a not-always-successful effort to keep the old-fashioned cell phone and don't worry about it when I forget to carry it.

BTW, did you know pay phones cost 50 now? Found that out last year when I couldn't read DW's writing on a grocery list.
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:01 PM   #32
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The final surprising thing for me is how laid back I am (and it frustrates DW a bit). When I was working I was very goal oriented and had to get certain things done within a certain time and was a slave to my to do list. Now that I am retired, whatever doesn't get done today will get done tomorrow, or the next day or the day after that. Que Sera, Sera.

I've actually been pleasantly surprised that I can be quite content just lounging around puttering and not doing much of anything.
Whew! Thought I was the only one.
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:21 PM   #33
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Whew! Thought I was the only one.
Me too.
The oddest other change; I've not worn a watch since the day I retired. The watch and Megacorp went together. I always had acces to the time, with green screen devices, or PCs. Didn't matter, there were times I'd be on my commute, turn around because of no watch. I never had a watch that cost more than $50, it wasn't status, probably OCD.

Now I just don't care what time it is, I'm on time for appointments, I just gave myself permission not to obsess.
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:27 PM   #34
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The biggest surprise for me is how much our taxes went down and all the aid available to people with middle class or lower incomes.

Between our early pensions, reduction in SS + income taxes, ACA subsidies, expenses we would cut from having DH at home, tax credits, college tuition reductions and college financial aid, I think financially next year we will actually more than break even from when DH's had a full time job and salary.

A lot of that though has come from him analyzing our taxes and helping review our expenses, which weren't exactly well under control when we were both working full time.
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:45 PM   #35
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+1. Retirement is not just a financial decision, it's a dramatic change in daily routine that will impact you emotionally/mentally - good, bad or neutral. While fortunately some people adapt effortlessly, at the other extreme some retirees suffer from boredom, depression or worse. I have no idea what % of folks fall into each category, but it's well worth serious thought before pulling the trigger to try to avoid being in the latter group. For me, simply doing the Get-A-Life Tree exercise in How to Retire Happy, Wild & Free by Zelinski was the final reassurance I needed to retire. Reaching $ FI alone is not enough...


That's great, seriously.

But you haven't crossed that bridge yet, and IMO it's good advice for anyone considering retiring to give 'what will I do all day' some serious consideration first.
  • I know folks who thought they would just play golf or go fishing every day, and that got old fast, and they went downhill from there. Some fall into boredom, depression and/or alcohol.
  • Or early retirees who realize too late that all their peers are still working and they don't want to hang out with real "seniors" so they have no one to "play with."
  • Some folks don't realize how much of their identity comes from their work until it's gone, and once retired they are lost with no way back. It shouldn't be that way, but some transition planning is needed for those folks.
  • We've all read the stories of retiree spouses driving each other crazy once thrown together after working apart for 30-40 years.
As they say, it's important to have something better to retire to, it's not enough to just retire/escape from something (a bad work situation)...
Couple of things: as I stated, I did "cross that bridge", for a few years even, while off work in the 90's and had none of the issues you stated above. That said, yes, it's extremely important IMHO to consider all aspects of retirement, particularly non-financial. Being me, I've read too many books on the subject, filled out too many exercises, and thought way too much about all of it in general. So no, "not being bored" is not my concern at all.

BTW, best book I read on the subject was "What Color is Your Parachute for Retirement". Excellent, as it pulls in the latest research on retirement location/lifestyle, social/emotional aspects, and health/longevity. And yes, I did all the exercises in the book...
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:06 PM   #36
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I was surprised at how little money I am spending. As has been discussed elsewhere, a lot of my expenses were bribes to myself to keep my nose on the grindstone.
Eastern New Orleans - 'in da camp'. Expenses were quite low.

And then there was Katrina - we now live in Kansas City ABOVE the wide Missouri.

heh heh heh -
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:28 PM   #37
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Shortly after retiring last April I found out my youngest son eloped to Las Vegas. We decided to give them a $10K cash wedding gift to help them get started. Now we just found out our other son is getting married next year and they want a big wedding. The bride's family has no money, so we get to pay for it. The cost of the wedding is looking to be around $30K, and I wouldn't be surprised if a wedding gift and honeymoon get thrown on top of that. Now our first married son is asking for some money to have a honeymoon. I have to admit, having two boys I never planned on this type of expense for their weddings, wedding gifts and honeymoons. Did I mention I have no say on the wedding plans or cost?
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:32 PM   #38
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Eastern New Orleans - 'in da camp'. Expenses were quite low.

And then there was Katrina - we now live in Kansas City ABOVE the wide Missouri.

heh heh heh -
Enjoy, great place to live. Of course there is that New Madrid fault thing. Tornados, ice storms, -22 F degree temperatures. Hope you don't get stuck with the 1% earning/KC resident tax.

I do love KC, the Chiefs this year, Sporting KC, and the Royals year. Arthur Bryants, or the gas station, plaza lights, Google fiber, Ealge days at Squaw Creek, and some of the friendliest folks in the world.

Can't even begin to imagine the difference in what happened in Katrina to the minor issues I've seen here.

I'm sure folks have said it, but welcome to KC.
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:35 PM   #39
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The bride's family has no money, so we get to pay for it.
Why isn't your son and daughter-in-law paying for it themselves?
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Old 12-11-2013, 10:41 PM   #40
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Why isn't your son and daughter-in-law paying for it themselves?
I guess times have changed. We paid for our wedding. DW's mom helped us out with the cost of the meals but that was all she could afford and we understood that and decided to shoulder the rest. It helped with the budget that we were spending our money and not someone else's.
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