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Frugal New Member, still learning about finances
Old 07-25-2014, 09:22 AM   #1
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Frugal New Member, still learning about finances

Hello all, I have been reading off and on here for a year, as well as other personal finance sites for a few years. I'll soon be 52, single (though with a steady girlfriend for 3 years), and I am IT professional working at the local government. I'm probably retiring at 60 (when I can get a full pension from my employer). I know that's not early retirement, but good considering where I was not too long ago.

My finances, while better than many out there, is poor compared to the heavy lifters on this site:

457 plan: 350K (35K is Roth-ified)
Roth IRA: 100K
Stocks: 50K
Other Savings Vehicles: 30K

As I am with a large employer, the 457 plan options have very low fees and seem to be doing well, so I see no need to worry about pulling the money out fast when I hit retirement. I carry no debt, a paid off house (approx. $350K value) & car. My current job has a pension (its very well funded - if this area goes bankrupt the whole country is in serious trouble) that will most likely pay me ~$50K annually if I retire at 60.

I am happy with my progress, considering that 18 years ago my net worth was $0 , and in the following years I was unemployed for over a year and had to untangle myself from a very financially bad marriage (her spending and lack of earnings overcame any attempts to save). I'm currently saving about 60% of my post tax earnings.

My expenses are very minimal, I do most everything for myself (built & refinished most all my furniture, fixed up the house {windows, roof, doors}, and my last project was just finishing re-roofing my mother's house). I go to yard sales weekly and find most everything I need like new (except food!).

I started working out daily a decade ago to keep my health costs low and just be happy with my health. I went from 250 and no muscles to 180 and very fit.

In the past 3 years I have upgraded my life with my girlfriend. She has gotten me to do many things I wouldn't have considered doing. And she is as frugal as I am. Her retirement accounts are over 650K, no debts, though she doesn't have a house. Her job is with the Feds, and is trying to transfer to my area (we're a 3 hour drive apart). She should also get a pension similar to mine, but can retire earlier at 56 (she's my age).

I guess that's about it. Not complaining, its been (and is) a good ride. I would love to retire now, but don't feel comfortable doing that now, even with my low expenses (maybe $20K per year). Problem is once I hit the eligible retirement date at my job, I will go from not having enough to having too much. I guess there are worse problems to have.

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Old 07-25-2014, 10:33 AM   #2
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As a frugal person you have many long term advantages. Like many others you may struggle a bit to loosen up when you become FI.

"A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do" --Bob Dylan.
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Old 07-25-2014, 11:12 AM   #3
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Welcome. It looks like you've come a long way!
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Old 07-25-2014, 02:37 PM   #4
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Welcome! Lots of friendly and helpful folks here as you've already probably figured out. Sounds like you've got LBYM down pat and will be able to loosen up and enjoy your retirement years. In the meantime, keep an eye on things and you may decide not to wait for your full pension - make sure you understand exactly how much you do (or do not) give up for each year you retire before 60. That way if your BS bucket fills up, you know your options.
"One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute." William Feather
ER'd Oct. 2010 at 53. Life is good.
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Old 07-25-2014, 02:47 PM   #5
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While not early retirement, it's not late either and it sounds like you're well on your way to recovering from a bad situation and have a good plan to get there. Congratulations!
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:34 AM   #6
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I'm just a little younger than you, and I think you are doing great. I'm married but it really seems like divorce can really destroy RE but you've recovered nicely. I think the next 8 years will fly by and as long as the job is manageable, I would stay. But most importantly, congrats on the weight loss, that is something that money can never buy, and I am sure you just extended your life by 10 years.

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Old 07-31-2014, 08:05 AM   #7
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Age 60 retirement is nothing to sneeze at, especially when it's a comfortable and secure retirement. Sounds like you've made impressive progress and will be well-positioned once you are eligible for your pension benefit. Congrats!
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Old 07-31-2014, 07:02 PM   #8
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Congrats on your achievement, according to SS and most people 60 is early retirement. Regardless you should be proud of what you've done and who knows, maybe they will offer early packages and you will be the one prepared who can take it.
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Old 08-01-2014, 09:30 AM   #9
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Thanks all. It has been a hard road at times, but it is getting easier, especially with the paid off house (no mortgage to slow my savings down).

Our latest project is to have a week vacation in Florida this fall for free (Gas & food paid with gift cards from Swagbucks, Timeshare free from mom in exchange for roofing her house, and park admissions paid for by credit card sign up bonuses ).

Its going to be cool to go do all of that, have no expenses for the week (no mortgage, utilities will be turned off while we're gone, etc...), and come back to work with a full paycheck awaiting me (I will have finished funding my 457 plan by late August this year, so no deductions from the paycheck either!).
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Old 08-03-2014, 04:19 PM   #10
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Hi Phrugal! Welcome. I'm a newbie here too

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