Hello! Want To Retire in 1 Year Or Less
Thanks for the replies everyone. It really helps me to think through the issues better. Heck, even the process of creating my earlier post has helpful as it was not until then that it occurred to me that I really have *two* decisions to make, not one (before then it was just one jumbled mess).
Responding to the points raised in the above posts:
I like the idea of continuing to work on a limited basis, at least for a little while. One of the stumbling blocks I have run into is just being able to let go of the business emotionally. It is my baby, I built it from nothing and nurtured it for 17 years through many ups and downs.
I don't really want to be a landlord either, especially in this town. After expenses and taxes, my monthly net income on the condo would be $1500 tops assuming no vacancy or capital expenditures. Not horrible, but not great either.
Yes, I could probably have retired sooner. I am frugal too and the truth is that things have changed a lot for me in the last 2 years. I turned my business around from near failure, and my net worth increased dramatically due to aggressive personal and business cost cutting, an increased savings rate, giving Merrill the boot, and significant appreciation in the stock and local housing markets. I've worked very hard to get where I am, I also know I have been lucky as well and I am grateful.
I am using a 401k plan and a Defined Benefit Plan to defer as much income as possible. As a 50-year old business owner with only a few employees I am a perfect fit for a Defined Benefit Plan. The costs to administer such a plan are fairly high and I've had to cover all of my employees in the plan as well. All in all I think it was a good choice given my situation. I'll know for sure at RMD time!
No key employees are interested in purchasing the business unfortunately. I had one candidate 2 years ago but he quit when the business hit a rough patch.
Assuming I cash out of both properties I would either rent for the duration or until the next correction to buy something modest. Not sure where, the Bay Area is nice -- perhaps I will get to see more of it if I retire or at least work less. ;--)
I live relatively modestly for the area, annual expenses estimated about $60k per year give or take.
What I am going to do with my time once retired is the most difficult question!!! I am definitely one of those who retire "from" something. Almost my entire adult life has been work, work, and more work. I am very driven and like to stay busy so 70-80 hour weeks with no vacations for years and years were the norm. It has only been in the last year or so that I have slowed down to a more "normal" schedule and started taking vacation time as well. So I have some significant self-discovery to do! Off the top of my head I would like to do the following:
fix up the house for sale
get in shape (i currently do not exercise enough)
take care of myself better
develop emotionally and spiritually
eat better, cook at home more
study and play music more (I play bass)
watch the waves roll in
cultivate new friendships
develop some new hobbies
Thanks for everyone's help, I appreciate it.