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Hello from another new early retiree!
Old 01-28-2004, 11:52 AM   #1
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Hello from another new early retiree!

Hi folks...My wife and I are both 52 and took early retirement last year after long careers at the local phone co... We really hadn't expected to do so; but the company changed, work was no longer fun and they made us offers too good to refuse...It's only been a couple of months for me and I am still getting used to it...We've worked out a good budget...but I find myself kind of obsessing a bit about $ (trying to track virtually every penny we spend,etc.)...Is this a normal reaction? I am trying to ease up a bit and relax...In the meantime, I have been enjoying the posts and look forward to many exchanges with you all.
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!
Old 01-28-2004, 12:37 PM   #2
 
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!

Hi tpjs,

Quote:
but I find myself kind of obsessing a bit about $ (trying to track virtually every penny we spend,etc.)...Is this a normal reaction? I am trying to ease up a bit and relax...

Welcome to the forum ! It certainly was normal for myself to do this. I did not learn to relax until about 6 months.

Running tools like FIRECalc and developing a Budget, helped me relax. I do track things with Quicken, but it is kind of automatic, so I don't have to think about it. I put everything on the Charge Card and download the transactions and they are automatically categorized. After 2 1/2 years, I have enough history so I don't fret about it at all.

Obviously, the more money that you have, the more you can relax.
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!
Old 01-28-2004, 01:12 PM   #3
 
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!

I don't have a big pile to work with which may be why
I still fret and stew . But, although I tried budgets
pre-divorce, as a single, and after remarriage, they
never worked for me partly due to laziness I confess.

Now, we have no budget at all (kind of on autopilot).
I would probably be more comfortable if we did, but
don't want to bother with it.

John Galt
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!
Old 01-28-2004, 02:01 PM   #4
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!

I spent about 4 or 5 months after FIRE with an obsession about tracking every cent. I had made a detailed budget estimate before retiring that seemed generous, but I wanted to make sure we were really going to be able to live within it. I still track spending in detail now 9 or 10 months into retirement, but it is fairly mechanical, and it is clear that we are living well below my projected budget levels.

I expect I will continue to track our spending this way for the forseeable future. I suppose there will come a time when I am comfortable enough with our investments and spending to stop bothering, but I would guess that it will take at least several years.
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!
Old 01-28-2004, 05:48 PM   #5
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!

Before we retired, I always had a "loose" budget...I didn't track everything, but I knew what I had to spend $ on each month...now I feel that until I get used to this, I need to track everything to see if my estimates are realistic or not...the idea that I/we might outlive our money if I'm not careful concerns me, but I also don't want to have a ton of $ when I'm 80 and be too old to enjoy it...I know there is a balance to be found...!
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!
Old 01-28-2004, 08:23 PM   #6
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!

There's a balance. While I worked I blew money on whatever twinkly thing caught my eye, and I continued that for a while under ER. This year I pulled in the reins, sat down with a nice full feature consolidated budget sheet and made a list of what really mattered to me, and where I could substitute my time for money...and preferably with pleasure.

Out with the big house. Out with the fancy cars. I found maintaining a single simple truck more than compensation. Plus when someone dings me at the grocery store I simply feel sorry for the other guys probable damage.

Learn to cook. At this point I can make a meal better than most professional chefs at a fraction of the cost. There is probably no better money saver.

Local vacations are the best. Find the dozen places within a days drive that you havent enjoyed yet, pack up the family and go explore it. If your local area isnt loaded with interesting locales, drop the big house and move to one that is. We pack up the dogs and my dad once or twice a month and take a day trip to someplace interesting. Cheap, no airplanes, no hassles, no suitcases, a couple of hours of driving and a half day of pure enjoyment.

Welcome to being FI/RE'd.
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!
Old 01-29-2004, 02:46 AM   #7
 
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!

Hello TH. My experience was just like yours. I bought
"stuff" willy-nilly when I was working. Picked up big dinner tabs, bar tabs, took expensive vacations, drove
luxury cars, etc etc. Took some time in ER to adjust
and backsliding was always a danger. Much easier for me now, but I still have to be on guard. The more
cash I can lock away so that it is inconvenient to access,
the easier to resist tempation. However, in today's climate where everyone wants to shower you with cash,
at rates down to -0-, it's pretty tough not to take it. I told my
wife that if this continues, pretty soon they
(banks/credit card cos. etc) will just pay us to take their money .

John Galt
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!
Old 01-29-2004, 03:51 AM   #8
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!

Hello tpjs1,

"but I find myself kind of obsessing a bit about $ (trying to track virtually every penny we spend,etc.)...Is this a normal reaction? I am trying to ease up a bit and relax..."

I think this is a normal reaction to any major change. I am not retired (young dreamer), so I can't specifically comment on ER, but I have had similar reactions to major events like marriage, purchase of a home, new baby, etc.

Congrats on the ER!

Chris
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!
Old 01-29-2004, 05:01 AM   #9
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!

Back in 1993, I also tracked every penny and explored new ways of cutting expenses, etc. Time passed and the confidence level slowly increased - now only do a 'hand grenade level' budget every year. I got lazy.
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!
Old 01-29-2004, 06:52 AM   #10
 
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!

Hi unclemick. You and I retired the same year and we both now basically blow off the budget as being too much work. Maybe this is typical except for those folks that just enjoy number crunching and obsessive-
compulsive types. I honestly wish we had a budget.
I'm just not sufficiently motivated. I also wish I was
organized with my personal records, whcih are a mess.
I suppose one thing that helped me drop my feeble
attempts at budgeting was that my ER worked out much
better than I originally anticipated. In 1998, (I was
single then) I moved from an apartment renting for $335
a mo. to a brand new one with water frontage for
$425 a mo. (this is the boonies folks). I recall I had some angst over the extra $90 rent although with hindsight the new place was absolutely delightful
and just right for a single guy.

John Galt
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!
Old 01-29-2004, 07:51 AM   #11
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Re: Hello from another new early retiree!

It sounds like we handle it a little bit differently than some of you all. I set us a SWR, and the money gets transferred each month from our brokerage accounts (read retirement portfolio) to our checking and savings accounts. Savings is for short term savings for big items, and checking is the month to month bills. Credit cards are handy, and get paid off each month.

We think of it much like living on a salary or budget, but we don't track the details too carefully. It's pretty obvious when the savings balance is dropping or growing over a few months. It's the way we were used to, and seems fine to me.

Wayne
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