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I've had a dream...
Old 11-22-2015, 03:10 PM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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I've had a dream...

Haven't we all? The thing is, I've been involved with a profession for over 25 years, and have been really good at it, and have enjoyed it, but I'm quickly reaching the point of "I'm done." Where things in my job in the past have been fun/enjoyable/stimulating, they have now become WORK. I've always hated work. To work is that thing you HAVE to do to earn a living. I have difficulty functioning in that environment; have never been good at it. Thank God I landed in a profession where I got to use the things I was passionate about, and so it was vastly enjoyable. Well, now I'm just tired of working, but I have no choice. My profession does not pay all that well, and the money I've made has been enough to pay the bills, and save a LITTLE, just not very much. Plus, I'm not a numbers guy (bad at math) and the whole thought of retiring early comfortably causes my eyes to glaze over. I really DO NOT want to work until 65+ and then retire on a fixed income where I make ends meet, but that's it. I'm kind of a "slave to the man" at this point and see no alternative. Would love to break that chain. I joined this community to see if I can find help with that very thing. Cheers.
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Old 11-22-2015, 03:26 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum!

To figure out whether you can retire requires you to know what your income will be and what your expenses will be. Will you have a pension? Health insurance from your former employer or are you going to have to buy that on the open market?

Here are some other issues to think about:

Some Important Questions to Answer Before Asking - Can I Retire?
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Old 11-22-2015, 05:21 PM   #3
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Plug your numbers into Firecalc. (see quick links to the right). Basically, your yearly expenses x 25 is a good guide of what you need to withdraw 4% for the next 30 years. So you need a firm handle on what your expenses should be. Firecalc also has a place to put in your estimated social security earnings to add to your savings. If you have a pension too, great.

As for expenses, don't forget taxes, insurance (home, car, health) utilties, food and an amount for emergencies and planned replacements of things (car, roof, water heater, furnace, etc), plus more flexible "extras" like clothing and entertainment.

One of the things I'm finding it hard to get around in your post is that you say your profession has given you enough money to pay the bills with a little saved over (implying you were on a pretty fixed budget before), but that while you want to retire, you don't want to retire in similar fixed circumstances. If you haven't saved a lot and after 25 years you feel "done" - meaning you want to retire soon, then it seems to me that you have to change professions to something more lucrative and also commit to more stringent savings pre and post retirement.

I'm sympathetic to your emotions - I also feel done. And I might be able to retire, based on a withdrawal rate I consider reasonable and allows for some flexibility -- with understandable uncertainties regarding health care costs. No one really knows what is going to happen to the ACA and plan costs are jumping. Right now it rather favors retirement. But who knows if it will survive another year.

I'm a couple of years from being eligible for initial SS benefits. Sure, I'd have a lot more discretionary funds if I worked for 2 more years to partial SS eligibility (having that to offset withdrawals, if I chose), 7 more years to Medicaid (not having to purchase healthcare on the marketplace, or 9+ more years to full SS benefits. Whether you value time and freedom over more discretionary spending and potential security is a choice based upon your level of "doneness". Some consider that once they hit the magic number, they are done and out. Others want more of a cushion. You have to decide what number you need and if you have hit it.

Another famous retiree, Mr. Money Mustache has said 2 things are required to retire early. 500K in assets and a paid up house. But that includes living on a careful budget - which you indicate is not something to which you are enthusiastic about.
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Old 11-22-2015, 09:03 PM   #4
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sansha - I should be more clear: We ARE and have been living on a careful budget for most of the last 25 years. Still, there are certain expenses that cannot be skipped - food and clothes for kids and ourselves, phone plans, internet, etc. We are at a place where there really isn't enough money to stop at the pub for a couple of beers, or Starbucks for coffee. We have very little (if any) discretionary spending money. My wife and I tonight were just arguing over if we could afford to go see a movie next weekend. It has been many months since we have done that. We have actually LOST discretionary spending money over the last 10 years rather than gaining it. I haven't gotten even COLA increases to my income. Money is going out faster than we can save it at this point and all we are doing is paying necessary bills. I have bought some clothes recently, but I need that for my job. I'm thinking of cancelling our cable TV and getting a HD antennae, maybe cancel our landline and the paper too, but all of that will not save us much. I feel really backed into a corner. I could consider your suggestion to change careers, but I'm 53 and don't really have any other marketable skills other that what I'm trained for. Feeling kind of desperate...
Oh, I should also point out that we have been paying extra on our mortgage to try and pay it off sooner, and we have a less that 3% APR rate.
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Old 11-23-2015, 09:11 AM   #5
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Stress can really take a toll on people, and make things that wouldn't be problematic at other times become a much bigger deal. This forum has a lot of great people and good information, but it can seem discouraging to read about people your age who are able to retire when you don't feel ready. But everyone has their own path, and a lot of people would be happy to have had a job they really enjoyed for 25 years.

But there are also a lot of people who have changed careers or learned new skills in their 50's If you're going to be working for many years to come, it's worth exploring how your skills could be applied in different areas. Sometimes even a similar job in a different setting can revitalize your interest. I know one woman who worked for years at a small company that gave her a lot of freedom and provided a lot of qualities she enjoyed. But eventually she realized the downsides of the job had started to outweigh the positives. She had worked at the other company for a long time and enjoyed being in a comfortabe environment, but she knew her attitude about work had changed in a negative way. She found a similar job at a different company and her attitude has changed a lot just being with new people and having some new challenges.

Good luck finding something you enjoy, but sometimes it's easier to deal with a job that isn't ideal when you can see how it's contributing directly to you goals.
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Old 11-23-2015, 11:07 AM   #6
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I hate to say it, since I've also been in a situation where I've felt trapped by work, but it sounds like the OP may need to figure out a way to tolerate work for a few more years. If his family are barely getting by then now probably isn't the time to just drop the regular paycheck.

Cutting spending can help, but it sounds like the OP has already been living pretty frugally. Some folks here can help with things like ideas for cheaper cell phone and internet plans, but these sort of changes probably aren't going to make a huge difference in the "how much longer do I need to work?" equation.

If there is potentially another job that would pay better and/or be more tolerable then it doesn't hurt to look. Be careful though, retirement benefits available in new jobs are generally a lot worse than those for jobs that started 20-30 years ago. If you're grandfathered in to one of these more generous plans it may be worth it to hold your nose and stick it out.

The best approach may be to find a way to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Is there a pension waiting for you anytime soon and/or Social Security (potentially as early as 62)? Will your mortgage be paid off in a few years? Watching yourself get nearer to these goals and anticipating the relief they will bring can make the intervening hardship more bearable.

There are more radical approaches to living on very low income, and some do manage to make this work - working all the public assistance angles or in some cases living cheaply overseas. For me though, even removing the stress of an unpleasant job wouldn't be worth the increase in financial or personal stress such an approach would entail. Other than that, if your retirement assets aren't there yet then trying to tolerate some more time in the saddle is pretty much the only game in town.
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Old 11-23-2015, 07:02 PM   #7
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....

The best approach may be to find a way to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Is there a pension waiting for you anytime soon and/or Social Security (potentially as early as 62)? Will your mortgage be paid off in a few years? Watching yourself get nearer to these goals and anticipating the relief they will bring can make the intervening hardship more bearable.

... even removing the stress of an unpleasant job wouldn't be worth the increase in financial or personal stress such an approach would entail. Other than that, if your retirement assets aren't there yet then trying to tolerate some more time in the saddle is pretty much the only game in town.
These are very good points. And remember some people make less than you do working at jobs that are not satisfying--you are lucky to have worked at something you lve.

Kids do grow up and their expenses will be gone. Also, if one of the parents has been staying at home, at some point it might make economic sense for that parent to work outside the home so that salary can be banked.

Cutting the landline and cable are really good psychological first steps toward saving money imo. Also take a look at sites like Mr Money Mustache where frugal daily living is almost a passion, I believe.
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Old 12-01-2015, 05:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by hawkfan View Post
sansha - I should be more clear: We ARE and have been living on a careful budget for most of the last 25 years. Still, there are certain expenses that cannot be skipped - food and clothes for kids and ourselves, phone plans, internet, etc. We are at a place where there really isn't enough money to stop at the pub for a couple of beers, or Starbucks for coffee. We have very little (if any) discretionary spending money. My wife and I tonight were just arguing over if we could afford to go see a movie next weekend. It has been many months since we have done that. We have actually LOST discretionary spending money over the last 10 years rather than gaining it. I haven't gotten even COLA increases to my income. Money is going out faster than we can save it at this point and all we are doing is paying necessary bills. I have bought some clothes recently, but I need that for my job. I'm thinking of cancelling our cable TV and getting a HD antennae, maybe cancel our landline and the paper too, but all of that will not save us much. I feel really backed into a corner. I could consider your suggestion to change careers, but I'm 53 and don't really have any other marketable skills other that what I'm trained for. Feeling kind of desperate...
Oh, I should also point out that we have been paying extra on our mortgage to try and pay it off sooner, and we have a less that 3% APR rate.
Cutting all those little expenses add up. Cable, newspaper etc. Maybe try not eating out and getting a free movie from the library. Red Box rents movies for $1.50 or less. No eating out. Eat before you go out. We have been doing this for years and it enabled us to raise to kids, put them through college and retire early. You have to be willing to do whatever it takes to make it work. Good Luck!
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Old 12-01-2015, 05:38 PM   #9
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If you successfully launch your kids, and pay off that mortgage, your expenses will drop dramatically. Hopefully you can achieve both soon.
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