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Just retired at 61- early for me!
Old 05-11-2014, 07:14 AM   #1
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Just retired at 61- early for me!

Hi!

This all happened really fast but in a way I've been preparing for it since I started my first job straight out of college. I grew up with good examples- Dad started investing in stocks in his 30s, well before 401(k)s, the Internet and discount brokerages. I also saw him get edged out of a job at age 57 after a corporate acquisition. He and Mom left Chicago, paid cash for a little house near the ocean, and are still doing well in their early 80s.

I've been saving and investing my entire adult life, survived a 13-year marriage to a spendthrift, and married my best friend 11 years ago. We moved to a LCOL area for my job and that, plus some nice gains on the houses we sold when we left NJ, really helped the retirement savings.

I'd set a mental finish line of 65, but over the last few months political conditions at my job got really ugly. Last Monday we came to an agreement on the conditions of my departure and Friday was my last day. As it all sinks in, it feels more and more like a good decision- DH is 75 and won't live forever, and I always wanted to see Australia, preferably with him but without the constraints of vacation time. Now I think that will happen.

If I'd worked to 65, our net worth under some pretty reasonable assumptions would have been $1 million more. Sigh. My estimate is that we can meet our current living expenses by drawing down 1.5-2% of the assets every year till I collect SS and then, presumably, we'll need less, so I think we'll be fine even though people in my family tend to live forever.

I'm looking forward to hearing everyone else's stories and maybe offering some advice!
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:32 AM   #2
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My estimate is that we can meet our current living expenses by drawing down 1.5-2% of the assets every year till I collect SS and then, presumably, we'll need less, so I think we'll be fine even though people in my family tend to live forever.
Congratulations on your retirement.

Assuming you don't keep your investments under a mattress, your withdrawal rate seems unnecessarily conservative, even if you live another 40+ years. Give some consideration to loosening the purse strings a bit more while both of you are young and healthy enough to enjoy traveling without restrictions.
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:36 AM   #3
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Congrats!!!

Time >>>>$$
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Old 05-11-2014, 08:19 AM   #4
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Congratulations on your retirement.

Assuming you don't keep your investments under a mattress, your withdrawal rate seems unnecessarily conservative, even if you live another 40+ years. Give some consideration to loosening the purse strings a bit more while both of you are young and healthy enough to enjoy traveling without restrictions.
Don't worry- the trip to Australia will be in Business Class, no matter what that costs. DH said a few years ago that he couldn't take transatlantics in Coach anymore; besides being 75, he's over 6 feet tall and his back sometimes gets creaky. I'm going to do what I can to reduce the costs (may be able to use airline miles for part of it, for example), but in the end, that's what were going to do.

For the most part, we have very simple tastes and low monthly expenses, so I'm not planning on budget cuts. I lasted a little over 24 hours without the iPhone my employer had provided before I bought my own yesterday! Oh, yeah- we're also taking a cruise from Juneau to Ketchikan in a couple of months on a 73-passenger ship- up close and personal with nature. We took the opposite itinerary 2 years ago and just loved it.

The two things I want to be able to afford 20 years from now are a good retirement community if I need it, and helping with my grandchildren's college educations. Our first grandchild is only a month old and DS (my only child) and his wife are likely to have 2 or 3 more if all goes well. They don't expect that help, but I'm proud of getting DS through college without student loans and want my grandkids to have the same freedom.
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Old 05-11-2014, 09:05 AM   #5
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Congratulations! Enjoy!
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Old 05-11-2014, 09:54 AM   #6
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Congratulations athena53! It sounds like you have been planning for this your entire life and now you find yourself in a situation where you are in complete control. As Rewahoo stated, you could easily splurge quite a bit and be just fine, but if your simple tastes don't require that, nothing wrong with that either!

The cruise sounds like a lot of fun. We did an Alaskan cruise last year as well, but on a big ship. A small boat sounds very intimate. I'm sure you will enjoy it!
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Old 05-11-2014, 12:20 PM   #7
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Oh, yeah- we're also taking a cruise from Juneau to Ketchikan in a couple of months on a 73-passenger ship- up close and personal with nature. We took the opposite itinerary 2 years ago and just loved it.
I retired this January at 59, DH is a year younger and has been retired 3 years now. We're also looking forward to a small boat Alaskan cruise, leaving in about 10 days. One week will be from Sitka to Juneau, and the second from Juneau to Ketchikan... the first BIG splurge trip of our lives! We've traveled a lot, but usually on cheap big ship cruises, camping trips, and international trips fueled by frequent flyer miles.

We've done a lot of soul searching about when and how to use our money, and decided that we would be just fine in our later years with just his federal pension and my social security -- so we're being a bit more aggressive in our spending, at about 3.5%. We can also cut back in years when the market is down if necessary. We love to travel, so we're going to do as much of it as we can while we are still healthy and active.

Congratulations on getting out of a bad situation at work... these years are precious and it sounds like you will make the most of them!
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Old 05-11-2014, 12:50 PM   #8
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Congratulations! You have a great attitude!

Wishing you many happy years of ER.
(from another NJ expat)
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Old 05-11-2014, 01:52 PM   #9
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We're also looking forward to a small boat Alaskan cruise, leaving in about 10 days. One week will be from Sitka to Juneau, and the second from Juneau to Ketchikan... the first BIG splurge trip of our lives!
Sounds like the UnCruise line- that's what we're taking! We took the Ketchikan-Juneau route 2 years ago and loved it, so we decided to take them again.
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Old 05-11-2014, 03:44 PM   #10
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Congratulations! Enjoy your well-earned travels!
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:41 PM   #11
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Sounds like the UnCruise line- that's what we're taking! We took the Ketchikan-Juneau route 2 years ago and loved it, so we decided to take them again.
Ms G and I took the Wilderness Discoverer (Un-Cruise Adventures) in June during the solstice, Juneau-Ketchikan. We also did the Fairbanks- Anchorage Denali package, had an outstanding time. We liked Un-Cruise so much we went on the Hawaii cruise in February, for our anniversary, another excellent time. We have first crack at a new, not yet released trip to the Galapagos Islands, maybe in 2015. Sorry if I sound like an advertisement for them.
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Old 05-11-2014, 06:43 PM   #12
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Congratulations and enjoy your retirement!
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Old 05-11-2014, 07:24 PM   #13
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Congrats on your early retirement, and best of luck.
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Old 05-11-2014, 09:04 PM   #14
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Look into premium economy on qantas or the really cool bed seats with New Zealand air where you get three seats and they fold into a bed, at a very reasonable price. I spent a couple of years in Perth if you want info about the west and Margaret River, we can have a chin wag.
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Old 05-12-2014, 08:06 AM   #15
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Look into premium economy on qantas or the really cool bed seats with New Zealand air where you get three seats and they fold into a bed, at a very reasonable price. I spent a couple of years in Perth if you want info about the west and Margaret River, we can have a chin wag.
Thanks- I hadn't thought about NZ Air but heck, we're planning on seeing NZ as well, so no reason we couldn't fly in and out of Auckland. I'm thinking September of 2015 so it will be awhile.
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