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Hello from Louisiana, advice requested
Old 12-14-2013, 01:00 PM   #1
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Hello from Louisiana, advice requested

I am new to this forum (or any forum), so I am not sure what to do. I will be 63 next month and hope to retire in 2.5 years (primarily because of health problems), and I am really scared. I am divorced (ex died 10 years ago). Because I have a defined retirement benefit, I was told by SS that i am not eligible for any of his SS even though we were married 14 years. Estimates are that my teacher retirement will be $38,000 a year. My house is paid for (last year), and taxes run $800 a year and homeowners ins. is $760. I have $370 car note for 2 more years. I have $100,000 in investments and $50,000 in savings. I had to bring up and educate 2 children without any child support due to my husband's disability. I have no idea if I will be able to manage. Any ideas will be really appreciated!!

Gretchen (afraid in Louisiana)
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Old 12-14-2013, 01:08 PM   #2
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Welcome to the site Gretchen. I hope you don't mind, but I started a new thread and moved your post as it was on the end of a thread called "Advice". I figured that more people will see it here and be able to offer the advice you seek.
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Old 12-14-2013, 01:23 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Katie51 View Post
I am new to this forum (or any forum), so I am not sure what to do. I will be 63 next month and hope to retire in 2.5 years (primarily because of health problems), and I am really scared. I am divorced (ex died 10 years ago). Because I have a defined retirement benefit, I was told by SS that i am not eligible for any of his SS even though we were married 14 years. Estimates are that my teacher retirement will be $38,000 a year. My house is paid for (last year), and taxes run $800 a year and homeowners ins. is $760. I have $370 car note for 2 more years. I have $100,000 in investments and $50,000 in savings. I had to bring up and educate 2 children without any child support due to my husband's disability. I have no idea if I will be able to manage. Any ideas will be really appreciated!! Gretchen (afraid in Louisiana)
Hi Gretchen. Welcome and congratulations on your upcoming retirement. How much are your usual expenses, and how much will you need for health insurance? These are probably the most relevant questions to be asking yourself. We are lucky in that it doesn't cost much to live in Louisiana compared with some states. However, health insurance can be a big hit for some retirees, although you may be on Medicare by then. Also, you might be hard pressed to pay for extensive first class international travel if you had that in mind.
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:19 PM   #4
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Welcome Gretchen ,
Hopefully your pension includes health benefits . You can take $4,000 a year out of your investments and add that to your $38,000 . I would keep the $50,000 for emergencies .Without a mortgage you will probably be fine . I would track my budget for the next two years and re-check with social security . Congratulations on putting two children through college.
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Old 12-14-2013, 06:17 PM   #5
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Welcome Gretchen ,
Hopefully your pension includes health benefits .
If she is 63 now, she will retire in 2.5 years and so will be 65 which right now is Medicare eligible. Medicare isn't free - you pay a premium (income dependent - she would not have to pay more than a minimum) and then pay for the prescription drug plan and a supplement. Again, those are not all that expensive.
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Old 12-14-2013, 08:59 PM   #6
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Estimates are that my teacher retirement will be $38,000 a year. My house is paid for (last year), and taxes run $800 a year and homeowners ins. is $760. I have $370 car note for 2 more years. I have $100,000 in investments and $50,000 in savings. I had to bring up and educate 2 children without any child support due to my husband's disability. I have no idea if I will be able to manage. Any ideas will be really appreciated!!

Gretchen (afraid in Louisiana)
You should be fine since you have the biggie (mortgage) paid off and you'll have the car paid off by the time you retire and enough to replace it when that time comes. Given good maintenance it's not uncommon to get 200k miles out of a car anymore. As W2R wrote unless you have extensive first class travel in mind you should be okay.

A number of forum members live in Louisiana and will have a better grip on cost-of-living issues there, although I'm sure it varies widely depending on where in the state you live, just like here in West Virginia.

One thing to do is get a good grip on what your expenses are, and draw clear distinctions between necessities, I wanna-but-could-live-without, and luxuries. About once a year for a month or so my wife and I keep a log of literally every penny that we spend for just that purpose. It's more work than most want to do constantly but occasionally surprises creep in, are found, and a joint decision made about what to do about it.

What this will do is tell you, and reassure you, that you really will be okay on retirement income. Or if not, you then have a "heads up" and can make a plan on either reducing expenses or increasing income.
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Old 12-15-2013, 05:54 AM   #7
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You might benefit from a reverse mortgage. There are pros and cons, so you'll want to understand both. Here are some links for your research:
Reverse Mortgage Pros and Cons
Top Ten Things to Know if You're Interested in a Reverse Mortgage - HUD
http://moneyover55.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=moneyover55&cdn=money&
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Old 12-16-2013, 01:07 PM   #8
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Welcome! I am not clear on why you wouldn't be able to collect some SS benefit from your ex. Perhaps you should dig into that a little further.
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Old 12-16-2013, 02:28 PM   #9
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Hi, I think you'll be fine, as well. I live in Bossier City, and am nearing retirement from my federal job. 2 of my kids live in Shreveport. My pension will be a little more than yours, however, I also have a new $1223 mortgage. That puts you & I pretty much even as far as monthly income goes, since your property taxes are around 1/2 what mine are, and your homeowner's insurance sounds maybe $200 less than mine. I think you'll be fine, based on the numbers you've given. I'll be 56 next month, and will receive maybe $200 in SS when I reach age 62, based on SS covered work I did back in the '70's & 80's. My wife is qualified on her own to receive a small SS payment (probably $500-$600) in several more years, but I think when it comes to survivor's SS after I'm gone, I think the WEP will affect her just like you're hearing it will affect you. Anyway...very nice to finally have someone else from the Shreveport-Bossier area on the board. Welcome!
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:33 PM   #10
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DFW_M5: This hit my sister, who retired from her teaching position in Louisiana. Teachers in La pay into a State Retirement fund, and, for some reason, are not eligible to draw Social Security. Even though she had worked out of state and paid into Social Security, she gets Zip/Nada. She's not eligible for drawing her on her ex's Social Security, either.

I can't explain why, but BOY! She can.
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Old 12-16-2013, 03:43 PM   #11
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Welcome! I am not clear on why you wouldn't be able to collect some SS benefit from your ex. Perhaps you should dig into that a little further.
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DFW_M5: This hit my sister, who retired from her teaching position in Louisiana. Teachers in La pay into a State Retirement fund, and, for some reason, are not eligible to draw Social Security.. . . She's not eligible for drawing her on her ex's Social Security, either.

I can't explain why, but BOY! She can.
The Government Pension Offset is the reason.

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf
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Old 12-16-2013, 05:55 PM   #12
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The Government Pension Offset is the reason.

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf
Yes, the GPO. I referenced the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) in my reply above, but it's actually the GPO that affects the surviving spouse.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:23 AM   #13
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The Government Pension Offset is the reason.

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf
Wow, that really sucks and doesn't seem fair.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:31 AM   #14
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Wow, that really sucks and doesn't seem fair.
Yep. If that young wife of mine had just stayed home like a good little woman should, she'd get social security based on my record. But nooooo. She had to get all fancy and get that degree and go into teaching. We can't be toleratin' that, can we?
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