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Early retirement experiences?
Old 11-27-2013, 02:08 PM   #1
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Early retirement experiences?

Greetings from brisky South Louisiana where it's expected to get down to 27 tonight. I have been lurking, thanks so much for this trove of information! The advice you guys post has been very valuable to me.

I am looking to retire in October of 2014 when I turn 60. My plans are to use a series of small pensions and saved money to get to age 62 when I will take SS early. Looks like I'll have sufficient money at 62, so I think the money part and health care is taken care of. my concern is the unexpected.

I am soliciting your story-what happened that you did not expect? What were your challenges that you did not foresee? Besides money, what else should I prepare for?

Thanks in advance, and again, thanks for the past postings.


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Old 11-27-2013, 02:17 PM   #2
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Retirement is as good as you want it to be. My biggest surprise was how little I missed working.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Ticker View Post
Greetings from brisky South Louisiana where it's expected to get down to 27 tonight. I have been lurking, thanks so much for this trove of information! The advice you guys post has been very valuable to me.

I am looking to retire in October of 2014 when I turn 60. My plans are to use a series of small pensions and saved money to get to age 62 when I will take SS early. Looks like I'll have sufficient money at 62, so I think the money part and health care is taken care of. my concern is the unexpected.

I am soliciting your story-what happened that you did not expect? What were your challenges that you did not foresee? Besides money, what else should I prepare for?

Thanks in advance, and again, thanks for the past postings.

Probably my biggest surprise was a divorce. You don't say, but you sound as if you are single, so no problem there. Really, by definition surprises will be surprises, thus not capable of being foreseen. Unless you just made a list of all the disasters that occur at times to humans. Biggies might be illness or accidents or street crime. Second might be hurricanes where you are, and earthquakes where I am.

But do you really want to try to proof yourself against these, since it basically cannot be done anyway? Keep gas and a flashlight and extra water and spam on hand, and maybe a handgun.

Buena suerte!

Ha
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:43 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 11-27-2013, 03:49 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum. Just retired 5/1/13. So far its been just been predictable expenses, truck repair.

Since I'm going off COBRA on to ACA that process has given me heartburn. Benefit is I know lots more about healthcare shopping.

Best wishes,
MRG
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:00 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:49 PM   #7
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Wow, thanks for all of the quick responses! I have poured over the spreadsheets, and feel that the only thing I don't know is what I don't know. DW & I have been socking away money and downsizing for the past year. we plan to get rid of one of the cars, and should enter the process debt free.
Got lots to do once I pull the trigger, even took a little time off last year to practice. It was great, and made me envy many of you even more. I am hoping to do a little domestic traveling, and could probably spend a year with the little projects around here.
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Old 11-27-2013, 04:56 PM   #8
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We got hit by COBRA premiums and the post COBRA conversion policy premiums skyrocketing for less than stellar coverage, then a family member needing surgery. Total cost this year will be $40 - $50K with premiums, deductibles, co-pays, etc.

Our max potential health care costs with the ACA next year should be much less.
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Old 11-27-2013, 05:01 PM   #9
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I have poured over the spreadsheets, and feel that the only thing I don't know is what I don't know. ..........................
Absolute perfection, you will be OK.

Best wishes,
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Old 11-27-2013, 07:02 PM   #10
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I'm not even retired yet but got hit with a $3k estimate to redo the duct work in my house. The inspectors didn't mention that during the home inspection 3 months ago. I understand that the inspectors can't inspect everything so I've now set aside $25k for the "things I didn't think about". I can only hope it's enough but it should be.
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Old 11-27-2013, 07:11 PM   #11
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With regard to unknowns, retirement is just like any other stage of life. You should have an emergency fund (cash) and you should consider how much you could cut back in a worst case scenario. There are short term risks, like a hurricane or a house repair. There are long term risks like a health problem or recession that makes your town go bankrupt (it's happened in CA).
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Old 12-09-2013, 05:49 PM   #12
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Just saw your post.

Greetings to another Southern La. member - we live about 30 due miles west of you.

Haven't pulled the plug yet, so can't add any wisdom gleaned from experience, but it seems as if you're in good shape. While there is always the possibility of another Katrina, hopefully where we are is far enough north that the risk is somewhat mitigated.

When we moved to the country, we bought a 3 year old house that was built to post-Katrina standards. Had it inspected; it passed with flying colors. Six months later, we noticed that the 2 story brick chimney had separated from the wall by ~1/16th of an inch. A month later, it was at 1/4". Ended up having to jack it up and put a new , deeper foundation under it to the tune of ~$10,000. Whew! didn't expect that. But..... it showed that I needed a bigger "unexpected major expense" number for my budget, despite having a relatively new house. Bumped the number up, but, like you, I have no idea what I don't know, which makes me a bit nervous, too.

On a lighter note....I'm planning on joining the class of 2014 in April - hopefully we can compare notes.
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:33 PM   #13
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Good that you are planning ahead. Since I've seen issues in the area with family/friends, I would double check your health care arrangements for unexpected "surprises". Will you have HI with your pension? If you do, what are the co-pays/deductibles/OOPmax? If not, have you looked at what Obamacare Exchange Plans might cost? (try valuepenguin.com for decent est without the hassle of gov't website). At 65 you get to Medicare, so need to think about Medigap coverage for what MC doesn't cover.

Besides $$$, I would read a good book on lifestyle & mental issues of retirement. I learned of this book here on ER forum and it was very useful-
How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won't Get from Your Financial Advisor: Ernie J. Zelinski: 9780969419495: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 12-09-2013, 08:36 PM   #14
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Retirement is as good as you want it to be. My biggest surprise was how little I missed working.
Not even FIRE'd yet, and already don't miss it.

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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.
Yep. Decaf Cafe Mochas are my bribe. At 4 bucks a pop it's a nasty spending habit I know, but better than simply walking out the door now, which without "bribes" I would surely do. Trouble is, closer I get to 2/15 FIRE date, more bribes I seem to need...

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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.
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.

A slow death is going to w*rk everyday in a bureaucracy where the end product is meaningless anyway. I'll take the retirement "slow death", thank you.
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Old 12-09-2013, 09:28 PM   #15
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A slow death is going to w*rk everyday in a bureaucracy where the end product is meaningless anyway. I'll take the retirement "slow death", thank you.
I have a friend who was a bricklayer. I was in IT. We would have conversations in our younger days where he wished he had a more "meaningful" job like me. I would tell him that in 20 years he could bring his kids to see what he had built.
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Old 12-09-2013, 09:56 PM   #16
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I retired 5 years ago at age 45. I can't say there was anything unexpected which happened. I had been working part-time for the previous 7 years, so I had already lined up a lot of things to do and had been doing in my personal life. Going from working 2 days a week to zero days a week mainly got rid of the scheduling conflicts from weekday, midday activities and enabled me to expand some of my evening hobbies, all I knew would happen.

If there was one thing which happened I did not quite expect, it was my nearly total disinterest in the work my non-retired friends did. When I was working, I at least had some interest in what they did and in their office politics. But all of that bores me now LOL!
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Old 12-09-2013, 10:21 PM   #17
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I have had no great surprises, but understand the only constant in your life is change. Health care is going to change, how much is unknown, but it shouldn't be surprising to you.
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:02 PM   #18
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Hi Ticker, and welcome to the Early Retirement Forum.

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I am soliciting your story-what happened that you did not expect? What were your challenges that you did not foresee? Besides money, what else should I prepare for?
After thinking that I was a "morning person" for my entire life, in the 4+ years since I retired I found out that I am NOT!!! What a shock. I discovered this because for the first time in my entire life, nobody is telling me that I should go to bed or get up at any particular time. (If you have a pet or spouse, your sleeping time may still be regulated for you after retirement, though.)

The biggest challenge has been trying to get myself to sleep regular hours of any kind, and while I sleep very well once I have drifted off, I haven't quite regulated what hours I should sleep.

Another thing that surprised me is that I no longer think about work very much at all, mine or anybody else's. It just seems irrelevant these days. Life is full of so many wonderful things to do and experience in retirement, that I just don't spend my time thinking about work.

Now that I have lots of free time, it is easy to work out regularly and I have done so ever since I retired. I feel so much better now. I was surprised to find out how much difference this makes, compared with cubicle life.

People at work said I would be bored in retirement, but honestly I have not been bored at all. I found that I am most comfortable with a routine, though, so I figured out a new routine within a month or two after retirement.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:12 AM   #19
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Quick questions for Daylatedollarshort: Are you going to itemize the healthcare expenses on Schedule A? I think anything greater than 10% AGI can be used as a deduction which in your case for that one year would be huge. In my mind it makes the unexpected healthcare expense a little more palatable (versus an unexpected home problem). Any thoughts?
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:37 AM   #20
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The biggest surprise (unplanned for) was the cost of dentistry. We have spent many $k on implants, bridges, etc.
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