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Full time to part time...to no time!
Old 10-30-2013, 08:17 PM   #1
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Full time to part time...to no time!

Not FIRE yet, but oh so close...17 months and counting

I'm a registered nurse (57), DH is a railroad conductor (60). Neither of us will have the "golden ticket" (big pension/paid healthcare) if we retired today or at 66. With that said, after working full time my entire life, I just went down to 24 hours a week as I wind down to retiring altogether when DH can fully retire from the railroad at 62.

On the flip side we've been diligent savers, living a very frugal - and happy - lifestyle. No debt, no mortgage. We've managed to accumulate >$850K in investments, and purchased a ski condo (for cash) which is expense neutral since we rent it out a good portion of the time in winter. My biggest concern, as I'm sure it is with most ERs, is health insurance.

I hope to learn a lot of investing strategies from this site, especially investors who started out as novices. We currently have our investments in a "Balanced Fund" at a large banking institution where we pay well over 1% management fees. Just when I start to think I can manage our retirement savings myself, I get cold feet. There's just so much to know though I'm the first to admit I don't know much at all when it comes to the what/where/how of investing.

Compared to most of my coworkers, friends, and family, who have lived way - WAY - beyond their means and will probably have to work well into their 60's or 70's, we'll be considered "early" retirees!

Cheers!
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:03 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard & congrats on your successes!
IMHO- Being an RN gives you solid options for adjusting your w#rk hours to match your needs/wants over coming years.
Might want to check out some of the forum's active discussions on ACA to follow developments re individual HI.
Feel free to jump in with questions/comments.
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Old 10-30-2013, 11:52 PM   #3
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WestcoastRN, when I read the subject of your introductory thread, it sounded a lot like my path to ER. After wokring full-time for 16 years, I switched to working part-time, reducing my weekly hours worked to 20 in 2001. But after 6 years of that, it was still too much for me so I reduced those hours again from 20 to 12. But that was also too many hours, 12 hours too many in fact. So I reduced my weekly hours worked from 12 to 0 in 2008, retiring 5 years ago today!

Enjoy your similar path to ER as I did.
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Old 11-01-2013, 02:23 PM   #4
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ERHoosier: I've asked for PT for 2 years, finally got approved. I no longer work floor nursing, leave all that heavy lifting to the younger nurses! I work in the corporate setting in denials & appeals, writing clinical analysis to defend and justify the care we delivered. Since insurance companies deny EVERYTHING now, whether it was medically necessary, warranted care, or the physician's judgment to admit the patient, it all gets denied. If the general public only knew...it's just shameful.
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Old 11-01-2013, 02:45 PM   #5
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Scrabbler1: Our work volume increased 40% in a 1-year timeframe without an increase in staff, just told not to take lunches or breaks and work 10 hours a days to get through the timely due dates. Raises are non-existent. That saying "The beatings will continue until morale improves" has become our mantra. How long can one work in crisis mode, day in and day out? That's when I said enough, life is too short. After approval of PT status, I saw a huge shift in my attitude because I don't get involved in the BS at work, and don't have nearly the meetings or the nightmare assignments. I'm no longer the "go-to" person, which has probably been the biggest adjustment so far (that's my ego talking). But all that aside, going PT was the best decision for me and my sanity.
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:15 PM   #6
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Why would a nurse ever want to retire? Oh, now I remember. Welcome to the forum.
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Old 11-02-2013, 08:15 AM   #7
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Welcome.

If you are a novice investor, don't be overwhelmed by some of the more sophisticated discussions here on the board. You will be ready to get started with a transition to more DIY approach to investing once you have a basic grasp on expense ratios, asset allocation and tax efficiency.

First, dig into the particulars of your current investment. What are the holdings? What is the asset allocation?, i.e. % stocks vs. bonds, % domestic vs. foreign. What were the distributions and how are they taxed? (And what are the expenses, which you have already identified).

Second, go to Vanguard's web site (or Fidelity or T Rowe Price), and find similar funds. Study the similarities and differences. At Vanguard, three funds that fill the bill are STAR, Wellesley and Wellington.

Once you feel comfortable that you understand the pros and cons of the current investment vs. the alternatives, making the switch is easy. Just give the new firm a call and they will help you through the paperwork to transfer funds.

Save the more complex DIY strategies for later. (Or not... Search the site for "Wellesley" and you meet many here that are perfectly content with very simple investment strategies.)
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Old 11-02-2013, 06:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jclarksnakes View Post
Why would a nurse ever want to retire? Oh, now I remember. Welcome to the forum.
Seriously! After going PT, my manager said "But if you retire you'll lose your nursing license!!" I replied "And your point is...??"
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Htown Harry View Post
Welcome.

If you are a novice investor, don't be overwhelmed by some of the more sophisticated discussions here on the board. You will be ready to get started with a transition to more DIY approach to investing once you have a basic grasp on expense ratios, asset allocation and tax efficiency.

First, dig into the particulars of your current investment. What are the holdings? What is the asset allocation?, i.e. % stocks vs. bonds, % domestic vs. foreign. What were the distributions and how are they taxed? (And what are the expenses, which you have already identified).

Second, go to Vanguard's web site (or Fidelity or T Rowe Price), and find similar funds. Study the similarities and differences. At Vanguard, three funds that fill the bill are STAR, Wellesley and Wellington.

Once you feel comfortable that you understand the pros and cons of the current investment vs. the alternatives, making the switch is easy. Just give the new firm a call and they will help you through the paperwork to transfer funds.

Save the more complex DIY strategies for later. (Or not... Search the site for "Wellesley" and you meet many here that are perfectly content with very simple investment strategies.)
Thank you for the kind response and good advice. My DH and I had our Roth's and other investments at Vanguard (his railroad 401K is still with Vanguard; my work 401K is with T.Rowe Price which is no better than a savings account). I got "sucked" into this large institution's financial advisor team after my very healthy mother suddenly died from a massive stroke. My brother and I inherited a small IRA, CD, and her house. The IRA and CD were with this large institution, so they pretty much took my hand and "helped" me through the process. I was blind with grief and emotion, something in retrospect I think was preyed upon. Before I knew it our Roth's and IRA were transferred via the Advisor. Not illegally, I signed the forms. I just don't believe I was thinking clearly at the time.

Now that I've had some time to reflect, see what transpired, and no longer feel so shell-shocked, I'm doing my best to absorb the great advice and knowledge on this board. Though we don't consider ourselves wealthy, and yearly withdrawals will be small, the 1% fees (plus other hidden fees I can't seem to find in any monthly statement) will surely eat away our portfolio gains. I am familiar with Vanguard from our previous dealings with them, though I never really knew what I was doing, how to invest, or what to invest in. I think our Roth's were in a Target Retirement fund (2020??).
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Old 11-11-2013, 04:43 PM   #10
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Vanguard also offers a financial planning service which I have found to be useful--actually, the plan is fairly vanilla; however, the conversation with the Certified Financial Planner was especially helpful. They walked through the plan and explained each component and the CFP made himself available for future questions. Once you understand the basic concepts of investing, index funds etc--it is relatively easy to manage your retirement funds on your own and save significant amounts of money over your retirement life span on fees, commissions etc. Best of luck--post with any questions
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:32 PM   #11
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Welcome ! I am a retired RN .I also went from full time to part time to less part time to retirement . I just realized one day that I was burned out and ready . You can learn to manage your investments . Just start reading the Bogleheads guide to retirement planning . Keep your license for a few years just in case . I was tempted a few times to take a temp job but by the time I had coffee and did the crossword puzzle it passed.
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Old 11-17-2013, 10:18 AM   #12
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Retired pharmacist here (some retail, some hospital.) I agree that keeping your license if you can for awhile is good insurance. I keep renewing mine, though as the years progress I realize it's unlikely I'll ever use it again -- and that's fine.

Whenever I think about doing some prn shifts and a tempting offer comes in the mail, all I have to do is go pick up my refill at the local MegaRx (a former employer), shudder, and walk back outside to my car. Ah, freedom...And BP returns to normal...

Welcome to ER! (PS: Nurses ROCK!)
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Old 11-17-2013, 01:41 PM   #13
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Moemg: I am SO ready to retire, though the part time status has helped greatly reduce stress levels and my anxiety abruptly walking away from my license. I've looked into how to maintain my license, my state requires 400 hours a year working in the field of nursing, in addition to continuing education. If I let my nursing license lapse, it would be no easy task to get it reinstated should I have to go back to work. It is such a dilemma for me...

Gonzo: I've been reading dozens of posts here on taking over my investments; I think at the first of the year I'm going to go ahead and transfer accounts to Vanguard. I just finished reading the Millionaire Teacher, recommend it to anyone considering going it alone and side-stepping the unnecessary hand-holding of a managed plan advisor. Thank you for the thoughtful response.
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Old 11-17-2013, 02:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Rpharmer View Post
Retired pharmacist here (some retail, some hospital.) I agree that keeping your license if you can for awhile is good insurance. I keep renewing mine, though as the years progress I realize it's unlikely I'll ever use it again -- and that's fine.

Whenever I think about doing some prn shifts and a tempting offer comes in the mail, all I have to do is go pick up my refill at the local MegaRx (a former employer), shudder, and walk back outside to my car. Ah, freedom...And BP returns to normal...

Welcome to ER! (PS: Nurses ROCK!)
Thanks Rpharmer!

One of my closest nurse-friends is married to a pharmacist. He mixes chemo in a windowless basement below the hospital. He is constantly sick despite all the protective gear he has to wear. He has actively looked for retail pharm jobs, though he said they all seem to be hiring new grads (for entry level wages) and don't want the seasoned pharms. Same thing has happened with nurses, new grads are now working the ICU, shock/trauma units. It's crazy to me, nurses with little experience working in those environments. Cost savings through low wages, I guess.

Happy Sunday!
WCRN
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