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Newly retired at age 55
Old 01-12-2011, 04:06 PM   #1
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Newly retired at age 55

Howdy y'all,

I've been lurking on this forum for quite awhile, and I figured it was time to take the plunge and make a post...

I'm 55 and I retired a few months ago after working for 20+ years for a local government. Actually I'm still doing some part-time contract work for my ex-employer (basically training my replacement) so it doesn't feel like I'm completely retired yet. But I'm really enjoying all the free time that I have now -- I'm getting more sleep and watching more sports on TV ....

I'm getting a pension of about $32K per year, plus I get to keep my health care benefits in retirement (altho I have to pay 30% of the premium). Thanks to LBMM for many years, I've got a nest egg of about $475K; but my plan is to leave that untouched if I possibly can, and just live off my pension. Based on my tracking of expenses during my pre-retirement years, I think that's very possible. I don't have a wife and kids to spend my money ... ... and I have no debts (I sold some Vanguard index fund shares last summer to pay off the mortgage) so I feel quite confident in my ability to just live on my pension income.

For me, it was just time to retire. I was constantly saying to myself, "I don't want to work anymore." Work just felt like a grind. And like most state and local governments, my ex-employer is struggling. There were budget cuts in recent years, and more are coming. Also, I'm one of those people who tends to get depressed and anxious. Over the last 2 or 3 years of my working life, I was taking anti-depressant / anti-anxiety medication. I was tired of taking pills, and that was another reason for leaving. I'm drug-free now!

I don't really have any questions for y'all. I just want to say that I enjoy this forum very much; I take inspiration from everyone's stories. If anyone has any advice on do's and don'ts, please let me know!
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:12 PM   #2
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cyberdude, I'm glad you decided to come out into the open :-) Congratulations on your retirement, and continue enjoying it! I wish I'd been as smart as you so I could have managed 55 too.

Welcome to the forum, and I'll be looking forward to your posts.

Coach
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:31 PM   #3
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Welcome cyberdude! Glad you decloaked :-)
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Old 01-12-2011, 04:33 PM   #4
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Good for you! We retired at 55 because (1) we could and (2) we wanted to be young and healthy enough to enjoy an active retirement. We have never regretted the decision.

You were smart to dump the last of your debt.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:05 PM   #5
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welcome and congratulations! lot's of good folks and good info here.

enjoy!
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:18 PM   #6
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Welcome to the boards--and just ask away if you need any help exceeding your budget since you don't have a spouse to "help" you do so
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:36 PM   #7
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Congratulations on achieving freedom from debt and work!

Is the pension COLA'd? If not, what are your plans, if we hit a period of high inflation?

Amethyst

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyberdude View Post
Howdy y'all,

I've been lurking on this forum for quite awhile, and I figured it was time to take the plunge and make a post...

I'm 55 and I retired a few months ago after working for 20+ years for a local government. Actually I'm still doing some part-time contract work for my ex-employer (basically training my replacement) so it doesn't feel like I'm completely retired yet. But I'm really enjoying all the free time that I have now -- I'm getting more sleep and watching more sports on TV ....

I'm getting a pension of about $32K per year, plus I get to keep my health care benefits in retirement (altho I have to pay 30% of the premium). Thanks to LBMM for many years, I've got a nest egg of about $475K; but my plan is to leave that untouched if I possibly can, and just live off my pension. Based on my tracking of expenses during my pre-retirement years, I think that's very possible. I don't have a wife and kids to spend my money ... ... and I have no debts (I sold some Vanguard index fund shares last summer to pay off the mortgage) so I feel quite confident in my ability to just live on my pension income.

For me, it was just time to retire. I was constantly saying to myself, "I don't want to work anymore." Work just felt like a grind. And like most state and local governments, my ex-employer is struggling. There were budget cuts in recent years, and more are coming. Also, I'm one of those people who tends to get depressed and anxious. Over the last 2 or 3 years of my working life, I was taking anti-depressant / anti-anxiety medication. I was tired of taking pills, and that was another reason for leaving. I'm drug-free now!

I don't really have any questions for y'all. I just want to say that I enjoy this forum very much; I take inspiration from everyone's stories. If anyone has any advice on do's and don'ts, please let me know!
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
Congratulations on achieving freedom from debt and work!

Is the pension COLA'd? If not, what are your plans, if we hit a period of high inflation?

Amethyst
Yes, the pension is COLA'd... If it wasn't, I'd probably have a big chunk of my nest egg invested in TIPS...

By the way, thank you all for the warm welcome; I am much obliged. I should mention that I'm a regular on the Bogleheads Forum -- my handle there is "johnny". So perhaps some of you already know a bit about me...
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:45 PM   #9
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Congratulations!
I'm another "retired at 55" person, and I've been extremely happy with that decision. Here's hoping you will be, too.

You were very smart to begin tracking your expenses sooner rather than later, so I'm sure you have your situation well in hand.

Watching all that stress just melt away is a fantastic experience; enjoy it to the fullest.

My only comment is that now is the perfect time to start a real physical fitness program. There's no reason you can't be in the best shape of your life (age-adjusted, of course) before the end of this year. Not only does that help melt away the accumulated stress, but you'll be amazed at how good it makes you feel.
If you already know this, disregard my enthusiasm. Just making what might be a helpful comment.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:08 PM   #10
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Welcome! Please share your experiences - financial & otherwise - as you transition into full retirement.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:11 PM   #11
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
Congratulations!
I'm another "retired at 55" person, and I've been extremely happy with that decision. Here's hoping you will be, too.

You were very smart to begin tracking your expenses sooner rather than later, so I'm sure you have your situation well in hand.

Watching all that stress just melt away is a fantastic experience; enjoy it to the fullest.

My only comment is that now is the perfect time to start a real physical fitness program. There's no reason you can't be in the best shape of your life (age-adjusted, of course) before the end of this year. Not only does that help melt away the accumulated stress, but you'll be amazed at how good it makes you feel.
If you already know this, disregard my enthusiasm. Just making what might be a helpful comment.
braumeister, that's definitely good advice. I'm getting better about exercise, mainly in the form of taking walks in my neighborhood. The development where I live was built into the side of a hill, so when I go for a walk I'm going up & down the hill all the time. I just need to be more consistent about doing this. I may eventually join a gym, if I can get a membership at a reasonable rate (I'm cheap, as I suspect many of you are)...
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:53 PM   #12
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Welcome cyberdude and congratulations.
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Old 01-12-2011, 07:05 PM   #13
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Welcome to the boards! Always good to see a lurker decloak...
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