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Hello... Surprise ER for Me!!!!!!
Old 01-06-2013, 09:38 AM   #1
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Hello... Surprise ER for Me!!!!!!

What a year 2012 has been and 2013 appears to be even more interesting. Severances galore and now even more! Only this time I will take one! I will be 58 in a few weeks, my wife of 34 years (as of today) will be 54 in June. We are not FI but it looks like I will be RE at the end of this month.

I work for a large electric utility company that is restructuring. I had planned to retire in 2015, but with 60 weeks of severance pay, I will end up RE by about year. My wife is a special ed teacher who doesn't want to retire until she is 63 to ensure her pension is solid.

The only debt is our home mortgage and the typical monthly expenses that are associated with living. FIREClac indicates we are 100% good to go and so do my financial advisers. However, I am still anxious about the sudden RE event!

With the surprise severance package, we will not have any huge change in lifestyle right away. We have enough money to continue paying our monthly expenses while not making a draw from our investments for a few years at least.

We are both in very good health. We live in a woods and I enjoy cutting fire wood to heat our home. That alone will keep me busy, plus I can sell fire wood too. I planned on using the basement finishing project as part of my future retirement plan, so I will also have that to keep me busy. My wife says we would be retired long ago if I didn't have so many hobbies, so I don't think boredom will be the issue. (I am a private pilot, hunt, fish, bicycle, brew beer, make wine, shoot, reload, read, compute, cut lots of firewood, woodwork, perform maintenance on our home and vehicles & the list goes on.....)

As you can tell from my short story, I have concerns. Any advice from the veteran ER folks on how to quickly adjust to my new environment is very welcomed!
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:43 AM   #2
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Welcome. Too bad that pesky job was keeping you away from all your hobbies for hours at a time. Sounds like you've fixed that and can enjoy your nice severance package while doing what you love. Glad to meet you.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:52 AM   #3
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Welcome aboard, Rickochet.

I see you cut dryer sheets into quarters. You'll fit in here just fine.

It sounds like you are good to go. Perhaps you are apprehensive as this situation was sort of sprung on you, rather than having it be a choice.

Moving from working to retiring is definitely a huge change in one's life, even if it is planned for. It looks like you've got lots of things to keep you busy, which alleviates a concern that some people have with the idea of retiring.

Please post any questions you may have, as there's a ton of helpful and knowledgeable folks on this board.


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Old 01-06-2013, 01:15 PM   #4
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Can you get health insurance coverage through your wife or getting them as part of your retirement package? If so, that's a huge load off your shoulders as an early retiree.

The way you have it laid out, you have plenty of time to adjust to your new circumstances without having to worry about the nest egg. Pretty soon you'll wonder how you ever had time to work a regular job - as demanding as your hobbies will be.

Sounds like you are made for this change! Congrats!
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:22 PM   #5
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I had been working towards ER when I was laid off a year ago. Even though FireCalc indicates I am at 100%, I too worry about finances, but I've crunched the numbers and I don't think that worry is logical----I think it was just that I hadn't 100% planned for ER. The truth is that I'm lucky I was laid off because I'm not sure I would have taken the leap on my own. I may never have been convinced I had enough to retire. Even after a year, I'm still a bit giddy that I don't have to go to work and it almost seems too good to be true.

Please enjoy this time. Track your expenses closely and make sure your investments are setup safely and if the numbers say you have enough, believe them.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:45 PM   #6
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FIREcalc @100% doesn't mean there is nothing to worry about, it means the finances are secure and now you can worry about other things. Some examples here FIRECalc Like Audrey said, get your health insurance lined up and you will find ER is very easy to get used to.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:04 PM   #7
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I also am experiencing the 'surprise' ER factor a bit, since a Nov 2012 reorg eliminated my position effective March 2013 -- just four months! Although never labeling it such, I had been de facto working towards FI for the last 10 years or so for my eventual retirement security (I'm 57), but I had honestly not thought of RE as a realistic possibility (although it was something I'd occasionally muse about when particularly annoyed with w*rk! ). While I had done some estimates of future SS and pension income, I frankly didn't even systematically run the retirement calculator numbers until a few months ago, and just 'assumed' I needed more of a nest egg, and that I'd work until at least 62 or even longer, etc. -- to keep saving, because of inertia, etc. etc.

But like Delaney, after becoming reasonably comfortable about my financial situation (thanks largely to what I've learned on this forum, BTW!), I now likewise feel very fortunate that RE has 'happened' to me via layoff -- because without that I never would have discovered just how feasible it is and certainly would have stayed working for quite a while longer!

Still, I would not necessarily have chosen the timing exactly this way, either, because only having four months to make the transition from a full income/saving approach to a retirement/drawdown approach isn't ideal, especially for doing things like changing asset allocation or other step-wise financial adjustments I always intended to make before officially retiring. In fact, this feeling a little gipped on the transition time might (repeat might) even make me take some part time w*rk for the first few years just to get the investments where I want them to be. Or not.

Anyway, you're very lucky to have the full year of severance to 'transition' -- financially and psychologically -- and also that you have a spouse who's still working, and you are apparently able to cover your costs. Please do keep us posted on how the transition is going, though!
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:45 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of the wisdom and encouraging responses. Fortunately at this time, the company provides retiree medical benefits, but at an increased rate. When I was working as a FTE, I would pay 20% of the overall total cost of premiums. Now at retirement (man that word sounds so strange to use) a formula of years of service and age increases the cost to 32%. The insurance is Blue Cross Lumenous with great coverage, no/low deductible, dental & vision for $468 per month. I will say the insurance is going to be a sizable chunk of our monthly expenditures. Do you fellow retirees (there's that word again) have any suggestions for less expensive medical insurance.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:04 PM   #9
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Sounds like you have the financial end of things taken care of pretty well. The fact that your retirement was unexpected will probably be the biggest thing you will have to deal with, in your mind, and that will take a little time. But, the fact that you have lots of hobbies and activities to keep you busy should help a lot. You sound like the type of person that likes to keep busy, so my advice would be to just immerse yourself in some of the activities you mentioned, at least for a while. As time goes by, you will start to relax and realize that things worked out just fine, and you will be okay.

By the way, we have several things in common.......I also cut and burn firewood, make beer, make wine, shoot/hunt, maintain my home and vehicles, etc. (and we basically live in the woods, too). I retired 3 years ago at age 54 1/2, and it was the best thing I ever did. We're not rich by any means (my wife is younger than me, and works part time), but money has not been an issue for us, as we are both pretty frugal. We really have everything that we want (and more). Life is good!
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:49 PM   #10
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Welcome Rick!

From what you write, your HI cost looks quite reasonable to me. BTW- Paying 32% of the premium as retiree sounds SWEET to me. I pay ~50% of HSA-level (high deductible) premium & I'm still w@rking FT
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:38 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickochet View Post
When I was working as a FTE, I would pay 20% of the overall total cost of premiums. Now at retirement (man that word sounds so strange to use) a formula of years of service and age increases the cost to 32%. The insurance is Blue Cross Lumenous with great coverage, no/low deductible, dental & vision for $468 per month.
That's almost exactly where we are with the health insurance and based on what I've seen others here paying I feel very lucky to have that. When I retired there was a choice of paying 20% of the premium but it would only last for 29 years (one year for each year of service) or pay 30% to keep it for life. We chose the latter. That choice seemed a no-brainer. Like most it becomes secondary to Medicare at 65.
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Old 01-11-2013, 08:42 PM   #12
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Try to focus on social activiities, group events, outings, volunteer, teach - until DW retires. And if you are cutting wood protect your hearing! What
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:18 PM   #13
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After a more in-depth review of my severance package, I will be taking the Cobra insurance for 18 months.... at the current employee paid portion. So for the next 18 months instead of paying $468, I will be paying only $340 for HI. Then I will be back on our typical retiree medical plan. I'm not complaining---Hey when you're retired, those hundred dollars add up---saving OR paying.
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Old 01-27-2013, 07:28 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Rickochet View Post
After a more in-depth review of my severance package, I will be taking the Cobra insurance for 18 months.... at the current employee paid portion. So for the next 18 months instead of paying $468, I will be paying only $340 for HI. Then I will be back on our typical retiree medical plan. I'm not complaining---Hey when you're retired, those hundred dollars add up---saving OR paying.
Congrats!
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:59 PM   #15
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Welcome to the forum.
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Very conservative with investments. Not ER'd yet, 48 years old. Please do not take anything I write or imply as legal, financial or medical advice directed to you. Contact your own financial advisor, healthcare provider, or attorney for financial, medical and legal advice.
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