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Old 04-30-2014, 12:56 PM   #1
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Long time lurker finally stepping up...

Hello all, this forum has been very informative and a good way to be retired vicariously through all the fire'd folks that fill the pages. After 27 great years with the Austin Fire Department at age 52, I'm hoping to leave the firehouse one last time in early 2015, but could chuck it to em today if I need/want to. It's just that there is a bit of a financial carrot dangling in front of me. A bit more money in my DROP (deferred retirement option program) account and if I wait til after Dec. 31st, I can take an additional 35k catch up plan from my 'drag up money' (vac/sick leave) to put in my deferred comp account. The drop program is very handy in that I can take a lump sum of up to 7 years and have my monthly annuity adjusted accordingly.

On the financial side, AFD has a great retirement plan (Austin Firefighters relief and retirement fund). I am feeling a lot more comfy after consulting with 3 different financial advisors and hiring one of them. I used a fee only advisor whom I felt was most in touch with my financial situation. After showing her a few of my scenarios with the DROP account, I was very surprised when she showed how, because of my other accounts/assets, (Ed Jones, TD Ameritrade, Money Market, etc) I would be just fine with only a two year drop, thereby raising my monthly annuity. I will leave that money in the fund since it is paying at a nice guaranteed 5% rate. She feels, especially since my little abode on the river is paid for, and I am thankfully debt free, that I am diversified well, though I might dial it back a little to some more conservative allocations in the future. Age appropriate ratios of course.

On the emotional side, I'm not quite as comfy, but still feeling pretty good. Just normal jitters about a big life change. I will decompress for a while and enjoy not ever having my sleep interrupted by the tones going off and jumping on the truck again! I'm a bit introverted, but thankfully not one to get bored easily, which seems to suit a lot of people here. However I have lots of stuff planned to do at my leisure and pace. Lots of interests and since I like to road travel so much, I may even try doing the U-Ship thing for a while, since it would be pretty much on my terms on when and where to haul/deliver goods with my truck and trailer.

Before I hired on with the AFD, I was a brakeman/conductor with the Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad for about 7 years. The being on call 24/7/365 wasn't much fun, but I really enjoyed riding those trains. Must have stemmed from when my Dad took me on an Amtrak trip when I was a kid. That being said, I'm thinking of giving myself a nice leisurely trip on a sleeper car around the country by Amtrak as an atta boy for a job well done in the fire service.

Sorry for the rambling, but glad to be on board with ya'll, pun intended...
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:48 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard, johnnyfuego!

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Old 04-30-2014, 02:52 PM   #3
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Welcome.
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Old 04-30-2014, 03:13 PM   #4
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Welcome. That leisurely trip on an Amtrak sleeper car around the country sounds like a great way to reward yourself for 27 years of work!
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Old 04-30-2014, 07:31 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum, and spend some time reading past posts about hiring financial advisers. This stuff isn't rocket science as most FAs would have you believe and you can manage it yourself for perhaps an hour a year. Lots of people spend less time than that.

Then you can take a few more Amtrak trips on the money they would have received from you.

As for the emotional side, that's a big adjustment for most but not all. Some are just ecstatic to escape a prison, others (like me) liked their jobs but left for other reasons.

I'm retired law enforcement. Not sure how it works in Austin but we got along well with the fire service guys. When we got to know them they'd give us the combination to the back door so we could stop in to use the facilities, etc. Greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-30-2014, 07:43 PM   #6
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Too many carrots will turn your skin orange. Enjoy your retirement!
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:31 PM   #7
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Hey johnnyfuego! First Welcome to here! Second.....I used to live in Bastrop! About 10 years, to be exact. Wife is from Smithville, and I know you know where that is. I worked at Bergstrom AFB for 15 yrs until it finally closed for good. Small world, huh? I loved Bastrop & hated to leave. When I first moved there in the 80's, I think there was just one stoplight. It's waaayyyyyyy bigger now, lotsa traffic. I lived in Tahitian Village, and also at one time a house out on 304.
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Thanks all!
Old 05-01-2014, 09:38 AM   #8
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Thanks all!

Thanks for the welcomes and Marty, it is a small world. When I worked for the Katy, though I worked all over the state, Smithville was my home terminal. I lived there in the early 80's, but had to find a more stable career. Cut off a dozen times in 7 years. Funny thing is that if I had stayed, I would not have been cut off again in the last 27 years. Maybe living in Fort Worth, but would have still been working. Oh well, all the old guys from the Katy say I made the right move, lol. Chances are that your wife and I have a lot of shared aquaintances, seeing as I am a 5th generation Bastrop county son. I also have relatives there. Kimbroughs, Claibornes, and Kellars. I hope your old home in Tahitian was not destroyed by the 2011 wildfires. My current assignment with AFD is at ABIA driving a crash truck. Still all the responsibilities of structural firefighting, medical, etc with the added task of Aircraft firefighting and rescue.

Walt, I always had good rapport with the APD guys, especially the motor guys, since I ride a Harley-Davidson Roadking...
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Old 05-01-2014, 08:52 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by johnnyfuego View Post
Walt, I always had good rapport with the APD guys, especially the motor guys, since I ride a Harley-Davidson Roadking...
Nice bike!

I just couldn't take the price tag on one of those but I'm happy with the Suzuki C90T. Since I only weigh 145 lbs the bike hardly knows my skinny little butt is on it.
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Old 05-01-2014, 09:41 PM   #10
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Welcome! I had the pleasure of visiting Austin earlier this year. It reminded me a lot of my town - Denver. We loved the music & the young vibe of the place... and yes, the bbq.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:19 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by johnnyfuego View Post
Sorry for the rambling, but glad to be on board with ya'll, pun intended...
LOVE that rambling JF! Congrats and keep us posted.
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Old 05-05-2014, 02:56 PM   #12
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Welcome aboard, retired in 2006, moved to SE Arizona and the urban interface. Just renewed my red card as a wildland firefighter and aced the arduous pack test at age 63, because if I don't do it no one else will. We are so remote our department doesn't do structure, most of the time we just try to keep fire out of the next section. We do parades real good.

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Old 05-07-2014, 08:21 AM   #13
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Hey grasshopper, nice rig! How far away are you from Happy Jack, AZ? One of the guys on my crew retired a couple of years ago from AFD and since has taken the Chief's position up there. Those double dippers, I tell ya!
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:47 PM   #14
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Looks like about 6 hours away.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Early Retirement Forum mobile app
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:53 PM   #15
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Welcome and thanks for your service! Lots of good info here to help you with the transition - enjoy!
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