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Hi, I'm hoping to retire in 17 months
Old 03-17-2013, 12:08 PM   #1
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Hi, I'm hoping to retire in 17 months

Hi, I came to this forum because it was mentioned in a book, "Work Less, Live More." I just arrived yesterday and have been impressed at the civility and intelligence of the discussions I've seen. One of them -- the one on how you know when you're ready to retire -- made a significant impact on me. I tend to get wrapped up in the money side of the equation, but that thread reminded me that I don't know how long I will live, and putting in another year of on-the-job stress for some extra cash just wouldn't be worth it.

That, along with increasing problems on the job, solidified my decision to take early retirement next year, when I turn 53. It won't provide much of a pension (about 8K/yr), but I have about 800K in investments that will produce much of what I need to live off. I have never lived a lavish lifestyle and my expenses tend to be about 20K/yr. I have been reading a lot of early retirement books lately, for inspiration and information, and I think I'm on track.

It's been funny to watch my planned retirement date move from 59 down to 57, down to 55, and then down to 53, which is the earliest I can qualify for early retirement on my job. As I've learned more, it's become clearer that I can retire earlier than I'd hoped -- which is a godsend, since I'm getting really sick and tired of my job. The egos and the dysfunction are just getting to be too much for me. I'm not learning or growing any longer. It's not good for my health (I'm on two blood pressure medications now and I've gained considerable weight). There are good things about the job, too, but it claims too much of my time and (especially) my mental and physical energy.

I have given a lot of thought to what I'd do, after retirement. I have no shortage of ideas. I consider it a chance to re-invent myself and to "find" my real self. I'm not someone who has invested much of his identity in work, so I don't think I'll have too much trouble leaving that behind.

Anyhow, I don't want to make this post overly long. I just wanted to introduce myself and say thanks for the forum. I look forward to spending a lot of time here.
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Old 03-17-2013, 01:45 PM   #2
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Welcome!

Another book that I can highly recommend is Your Money or Your Life, by Joe Dominguez and Vicky Robin.

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I'm not someone who has invested much of his identity in work, so I don't think I'll have too much trouble leaving that behind.
You will have lots of company here!
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:18 PM   #3
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Thanks, Milton. I read Your Money or Your Life about 20 years ago, when I was struggling to get out of student loan debt and develop a more financially responsible lifestyle. It's a good book. I was discouraged by the amount of money they talked about needing (somewhere near a million, if I remember right ... I only had a few thousand in the bank at the time), but I liked the point about trading money for time, and the benefits of containing your spending.

That book and others on living a simple life helped me a lot. It's the spending that keeps us locked in our jobs, and it is the spending that we have the most power over. It's something I've been relearning, lately, as I approach retirement. There is a lot of talk about the savings and investing, but the issue of spending is crucial, at least for me. "The more you possess, the more you are possessed."

How to Retire the Cheapskate Way and How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free were also helpful. They helped me to see that, as long as you don't buy into the consumer culture, a lot of standard beliefs about retirement (e.g., that you will need 70 to 80% of your income) are just not true.
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Old 03-17-2013, 03:30 PM   #4
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I just finished reading How To Retire the Cheapskate Way, and I'm half way through reading How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free...so we must be thinking a lot alike. I thought the Cheapskate book was great to address the financial needs of retirement, and Happy, Wild and Free looks like it will address the emotional needs of being retired.

As for your situation ER Eddie, it sounds like your ready to leave your job as soon as practical. Whether you are ready to leave the workforce entirely, or perhaps just do something else that is more enjoyable and less stressful, is something you can think about over the next year. You sound like you've learned not to fall into the consumption trap of wanting more and more stuff, so I suspect you will have no trouble easing into ER when the time is right. Just be sure that you want to be full time ER, rather than doing something enjoyable, even if it pays less money, and perhaps is only part time, just to make the transition a bit less jarring.

Good luck with it!
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:26 PM   #5
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Our pensions are not huge either, but we also realized these last few years that the lower we keep getting our baseline expenses, the pensions are actually covering a greater and greater percent of our annual expenditures.

Simple living has also been very key for us to retire earlier than we previously thought possible.
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Old 03-17-2013, 07:13 PM   #6
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I just finished reading How To Retire the Cheapskate Way, and I'm half way through reading How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free...so we must be thinking a lot alike. I thought the Cheapskate book was great to address the financial needs of retirement, and Happy, Wild and Free looks like it will address the emotional needs of being retired.
Yeah, I like how spirited Ernie Z is and he how emphasizes autonomy and independence -- those have always been core values for me, and a big reason to aim for financial independence and ER.

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Whether you are ready to leave the workforce entirely, or perhaps just do something else that is more enjoyable and less stressful, is something you can think about over the next year. [....] Just be sure that you want to be full time ER, rather than doing something enjoyable, even if it pays less money, and perhaps is only part time, just to make the transition a bit less jarring.
Oh, I do plan to work part-time at something. I will probably spend the first 3 to 6 months just recuperating, resting, and getting healthy -- "detoxing." But after that, I'm going to do something part-time that will hopefully bring in a little income -- freelance writing, for instance, or working part-time in my field in another job. I'm looking forward to working for the enjoyment of it, not because I have to. I'm just starting to sift through my options.

Although my feelings about my job have soured, it's really an exciting time for me. As I'm sure people here know, our jobs consume so much of our lives and demand that we twist our real selves into fake selves, ER allows us an opportunity -- our last -- to create a life that reflects who we really are, what we really care about and enjoy. I am inspired by that. Although I'm escaping from a workaday world I've grown to dislike, the more important motive is my desire for a life that reflects my most important values.
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:16 PM   #7
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Welcome to the forum. You said, "our jobs consume so much of our lives and demand that we twist our real selves into fake selves." I don't think I fully understood how true that is until I had been ERed for about a year, so I think you are way ahead of me in understanding the value of ER. And your wise words are already adding value to the forum for me, so thank you.

I feel so bad for people who are trapped at w*rk with no escape plan at all. I think you are ready and your only problem may be that there will be times when 17 months seems like a long way away.
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:03 PM   #8
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Thanks, Delaney. My "wise words" are mostly borrowed ones, so I can't take credit, but I appreciate the compliment.

As for "times when 17 months seems like a long way away," yes, I know what you mean. I've had some of those times lately. I console myself with the thought that, not long ago, I thought it would be 7 1/2 years before I could pull the plug. Now it's only 1 1/2 years. I do need a year or so to prepare, so all in all, the timing feels decent.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:12 AM   #9
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Hi ER Eddie. How exciting that you've been able to bring your ER date so close !

I always wonder how people are able to keep their expenses so low. Can you share some tips and tricks ? Do you have healthcare expenses covered in your 20k ? How about home maintenance and car replacement / repair ?
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:32 AM   #10
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Hi ER Eddie. How exciting that you've been able to bring your ER date so close !

I always wonder how people are able to keep their expenses so low. Can you share some tips and tricks ? Do you have healthcare expenses covered in your 20k ? How about home maintenance and car replacement / repair ?
+1 on the health care expenses (inc. premiums, deductibles, co-pays). Even if your employer covers HI for ER's, often those retiree benefits tend to be among the first corporate expenses cut during financial downturns. Twelve yrs is a long time until Medicare, and it doesn't cover everything.
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Old 03-18-2013, 11:35 AM   #11
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Welcome Eddie! Congrats on moving your date so close! I'm trying to prioritize my health over my job right now, which is hard. Hope you can do some of that even before you retire.
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:14 PM   #12
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Welcome, Eddie! You seem to be in great shape. Even if you withdraw 2%, that would provide (with your pension) more than what you need. Hopefully, your portfolio will grow in the 17 months until you retire. Have you run your numbers in FireCalc?
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Old 03-18-2013, 01:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Live And Learn View Post
Hi ER Eddie. How exciting that you've been able to bring your ER date so close !

I always wonder how people are able to keep their expenses so low. Can you share some tips and tricks ? Do you have healthcare expenses covered in your 20k ? How about home maintenance and car replacement / repair ?
I'm no guru when it comes to frugality, but I shop carefully, try to avoid eating out much, get my TV/movie needs via Netflix rather than cable TV, have my house and car paid off, buy used cars and drive them until they're old, own a dumb but not a smart phone, and just generally enjoy keeping my expenses low. I don't think I have any secrets. I'm single (divorced) with no kids, one dog. I live in a small 2-bedroom house, so the utilities, home insurance, and property tax are all pretty low. I live in a low cost-of-living state (MS).

The 20K figure is low, though, because it doesn't include health insurance. I'm figuring on an additional 5K/yr., but I'm still trying to figure that piece out. I did set aside a modest amount for home and car repair, but not for car replacement. If I included that, it would be another 1K/yr or so.

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Welcome, Eddie! You seem to be in great shape. Even if you withdraw 2%, that would provide (with your pension) more than what you need. Hopefully, your portfolio will grow in the 17 months until you retire. Have you run your numbers in FireCalc?
Thanks, David. I haven't checked out FireCalc yet. I'll do that.
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:53 PM   #14
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I'll be leaving megacorp within the next twelve months. I am using the time to handle the logistics of planning. Last year and this year will be IRA/Roth conversions, this year to prep the Texas home for sale (Fl beach condo already purchased), and lots of effort going into the downsizing process. One book I read that I thought was thought provoking was DIE BROKE. It helped me realize I need to make the switch from accumulator into FIre that can get comfortable with spending down the fruits of a lifetime of labor. Best to you in your planning! Joe
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:15 PM   #15
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I'll be leaving megacorp within the next twelve months. I am using the time to handle the logistics of planning. Last year and this year will be IRA/Roth conversions, this year to prep the Texas home for sale (Fl beach condo already purchased), and lots of effort going into the downsizing process. One book I read that I thought was thought provoking was DIE BROKE. It helped me realize I need to make the switch from accumulator into FIre that can get comfortable with spending down the fruits of a lifetime of labor. Best to you in your planning! Joe
Thanks, Joe. I'll check that out. I forget where I read it (Ernie Z?), but "the goal is to have your last check to the undertaker bounce." lol.
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:15 PM   #16
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Welcome to the forum, Eddie.
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:50 AM   #17
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Thanks for the warm welcome, folks. I plan to visit these forums daily, for inspiration and information. I hope to participate in the discussions. See you around.
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:05 AM   #18
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Sounds like you have done your homework. The mental prep is just as important as the financial aspects. Best wishes and welcome to the forum.
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