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Old 10-31-2018, 09:03 PM   #1
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"Old" soon to be early retiree can't wait to start!

Hello to all. I've been in here reading posts for a few weeks so figured it's time to say hi. I'm a 61 year old Army officer (O5) planning to retire with my wife in 15 months (at that point, 20 yrs & 2 mo of service). Rejoined the military at 46; really enjoy my job but Soldiers can't serve forever. Quick financial profile: Estimated pension of $58.6K/year with COLA at retirement; SS estimated at $3250/month at age 70; currently have $132K in tax-deferred accounts & $33K in CDs; now living in HCOL area in home now valued at around $440K (plan to have mortgage paid in July '19), considering purchasing home for $150-200K in LCOL area; planned retirement expenses of $3630/month. Some questions I have for retirees: 1) How long did it take you to settle into retirement and how is retirement going for you? 2) How has your place of residence (e.g., house, condo, retirement village) worked out for you in retirement? 3) What are 3-5 of the best things you like about retirement? So far I think this website is super & I look forward to interacting with many of you.
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Old 10-31-2018, 09:56 PM   #2
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1. My retirement took about 4 hours to fall into the swing--about long enough for a good afternoon nap. My father retired early, and he was a great example of how to live.
2. We had moved 5 years earlier to an ultra LCOL area and had the house just about paid for. After 12 years, we actually traded up to a 5 br/5 bath house--because R/E prices and property taxes here are so cheap.
3. Most liked features about retirement--Doing what we want to do when we want to do it. Time for international travel. Time to give back to the community. Ability to follow hobbies like our RV and boating.

Congratulations on your retirement. You have certainly earned it by giving back to your country.
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Old 11-01-2018, 04:22 AM   #3
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Not to be cliche, but thank you for your service.
I settled in right away. I have hobbies that fill my time nicely.
We thought we would move at RE to build a new house, but we are staying where we were and will remodel instead.
I mostly like having control of my time, no commuting, lower stress, better sleep.
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Old 11-01-2018, 06:07 AM   #4
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Congrats.
Been retired 15 months and loving it. Settled right in (after decision was made not to look for work anymore after accepting a package).
Love being able to do whatever we want whenever we want for the most part. Every day is just another day.
One thing about a LCOL area vs. a HCOL is that the surrounding amenities and culture can be different, so please check out these aspects first.
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Old 11-01-2018, 06:56 AM   #5
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Timesprecious, I fully retired at 62 1/2, so I don't think you are old. I appreciated and enjoyed my retirement from "Day One", but it did take a while for it to feel "natural".
We had two homes, one in a small town in Upstate NY we (DW and I) worked, and a small year round cottage on a lake in The Finger Lakes. We sold the place in town last May and are living full time on the lake, now.
The house in town wasn't worth a lot of money, we got about 90K out of it, but it sure was handy to get that much. We owe about 85K on the lake house, but at 2.75% I'm in no hurry to pay it off.
Our situation is different from yours in that we have no pensions. I took SS at 62, and DW will as well, she just turned 61, and other than that we fund our retirement on the proceeds of our IRAs.

It's worked out great for us, we are very happy. The best things are the obvious things: doing what we want, when we want, no stress from running a business, and after years of dreaming about it, this year we will leave NY State winter behind and snowbird in Florida, leaving around Christmas and returning in April. I am very excited about that.

Enjoy! You've earned it.
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Old 11-01-2018, 07:11 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
1. My retirement took about 4 hours to fall into the swing--about long enough for a good afternoon nap.
In my case, it was a long bike ride after I got home on my last day! I was also 61.

Housing: DH and I moved to a smaller place in the same general area one year after I retired. It wasn't as small as we'd intended but there's plenty of room for DS, DDIL and the grandkids to stay when they visit. They live 3 hours away. Overall costs also significantly lower.

Things I like about retirement:
-Not having to set the alarm clock
-Not having to count how many vacation days a planned trip will take up. I had 4 weeks when I left but that's still finite.
-Having a couple of good years with DH before he died 2 years ago. He was 15 years older and I knew that this was a likely scenario. Also very glad that I was able to take care of him near the end without trying to hold down a job.
-Being Grandma. Two weeks after DH died, my second granddaughter was born and I was free to go help out for a week. I just took the older one (age 4), who was born just a month before I retired, to Chicago overnight, a short nonstop plane trip from their home. Great fun! The third is due in May or June- early yet, still keeping it off FaceBook.
- Volunteer opportunities. They'd take up my life if I let them, but I'm on the HOA Board, the Church Finance Committee, active in the Garden Club, and just recently was part of a group digging a 20-foot ditch to put in a french drain around the church property. I also started donating platelets and plasma, which is time-consuming but badly needed.

Welcome to The Other Side (almost)!
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Old 11-01-2018, 11:07 AM   #7
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Welcome to the forum and thank you for your service! You will find that there are quite a few of members here that are retired mil (myself included) and even more that have served at one time or another. Now, my answers to your questions...

1) How long did it take you to settle into retirement and how is retirement going for you? About 15 minutes. In all seriousness, it was a bit easier than I had imagined. I did have a few days in that felt like I was AWOL or that I *should* be doing something for Uncle Sugar since I had been in that mode for 22 years. For many of those years, I HAD to be available by phone, or even had to call in twice a day to make sure I wasn't scheduled for a mission. So, there was a little bit of adjustment to NOT having to answer to someone. I also got a few phone calls after I retired about issues that I was familiar with...but I did my best to re-direct those calls by flat out refusing to help; I wasn't trying to be an ass, but there were/are people that were as qualified as I was to help them out...and besides, once I retired, I was no longer qualified (technically) to help them anyway. All in all, I settled in very easily.

2) How has your place of residence (e.g., house, condo, retirement village) worked out for you in retirement? We stayed put until recently. The main reason was that I was the primary caretaker for my Dad who was getting up in the years and needed some help. When he passed away, we decided to move to "flyover" country to be close to DW's family. The few blood relatives that I have are scattered all over the country, so it made sense to move where most of the DW's family is. We originally were going to build our forever home, but happened to find an "almost perfect" house that is more than suitable to age in, so if the inspection goes well...that will be where we settle. It is larger than our last house and has a pool, so those are two things that I wasn't "planning" for in a forever/retirement home. Nonetheless, it's on a large lot (about 2 acres), has no stairs, and plenty wide doors for wheelchair access. We are technically "in the country" but can get the city (population about 600,000) and excellent medical care in about 20 minutes, which is *very* important to me. We really lucked out being as close to the city as will be without all the city headaches. Our last home was about 15 miles from downtown Atlanta, but it could take well over an hour to get there...and the huge population influx over the last 20-30 years made it absolutely miserable to get around.

3) What are 3-5 of the best things you like about retirement? No alarm clock. No schedule. Freedom to do damn near anything I want, when I want. No need to get dressed if I don't want (still wearing my Old Navy pajama pants and it's a little after noon). Bottom line...freedom, freedom, freedom.
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Old 11-01-2018, 11:20 AM   #8
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Hello to all. I've been in here reading posts for a few weeks so figured it's time to say hi. I'm a 61 year old Army officer (O5) planning to retire with my wife in 15 months (at that point, 20 yrs & 2 mo of service). Rejoined the military at 46; really enjoy my job but Soldiers can't serve forever. Quick financial profile: Estimated pension of $58.6K/year with COLA at retirement; SS estimated at $3250/month at age 70; currently have $132K in tax-deferred accounts & $33K in CDs; now living in HCOL area in home now valued at around $440K (plan to have mortgage paid in July '19), considering purchasing home for $150-200K in LCOL area; planned retirement expenses of $3630/month. Some questions I have for retirees: 1) How long did it take you to settle into retirement and how is retirement going for you? 2) How has your place of residence (e.g., house, condo, retirement village) worked out for you in retirement? 3) What are 3-5 of the best things you like about retirement? So far I think this website is super & I look forward to interacting with many of you.
Good day and congrats on your upcoming retirement. I retired from the US Navy as your Army CSM equivalent and started working for the government, and like you will finish up in 15 months with a second small 6K annual pension. All in all, DW and I will walk away with about 90K annually (after taxes) between our pensions and her SS. We were able to put away 750K in our TSP and 401k accounts. Not a lot compared to the folks on this site, but on an enlisted man's salary it was a struggle. We also have about 150K in cash for upcoming travel, new car, and home emergencies. We will NOT have our home paid for (owe 188K, so congrats to you on that as well) although, with our income we should be fine. Our only concern is LTC and the cost of what that will be in the future? My wife has a LTC plan from work she may keep that is relatively cheap $45.00 monthly that will cover some of it so I happy for that.
The things that I will like with retirement:
-spend more time with grandchildren
-no alarm
-more travel
-And, just moving around on our schedule and not anyone else's.
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Thank you all.
Old 11-01-2018, 11:46 AM   #9
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Thank you all.

I'm really enjoying reading all your responses; thanks so much.

Bamaman - wow; trading UP, to a LARGER house! I don't think many retirees do that! My lady and I are still working on what sized place would be ideal. She thinks we'll be housing lots of people including kids & DSIL. I'm thinking moving from 2200 to 1600-1900 (?) sq. ft. would be ideal. Guess we'll have to see what "shakes out." Also, I kind of envision I'll adapt to retirement like that - lots of hobbies and things to do in mind, and ... (oh my!) ... naps! Can't wait to start traveling.

DrRoy - yep; I LOVE the idea of lower stress (and, better sleep)! I'll certainly try to keep it that way. And by the way - I don't view thanks for my service as a cliche; I'm always glad and thankful to hear it. I know many of my brothers who fought in previous conflicts were spit on and distained - I'm glad the sentiments of many these days are far more kind-spirited.

Dtail - Thanks for the congrats and the tip - I'll certainly check those things out. And wow - isn't freedom and independence the BEST thing about retirement?

HadEnuff - thanks for your age-related comment; that's comforting. It seemed I was sharing this website with almost all 30-55 year olds - can make one feel a bit bad that I "creeped" in at 60-plus. But - there was a time after being laid off in my 40's when I didn't know if I'd GET to retire! So, I don't care much about my age - I'm just thankful for the opportunity. And, wow - on the lake in upstate NY! Nice! I love that area of the country. I also plan to do some "snowbirding" - looking forward a lot to that! The only two times I went far south during the winter I didn't want to return.

And Athena - my oh my, so nice to have grandkids, right? I hope to have that privilege sometime in the future. I wish you a ton of joy and fulfillment with that! Man, I just can't WAIT to not have to get up with the alarm! That privilege in ITSELF is a motivation to retire! And, I'm sorry to hear about your husband. My lady has had a lot of health problems; she fought cancer for many years - so somehow deep in my soul I have the feeling I'll be the one in my marriage who lives longer. Not looking forward to that (as I'm sure you weren't) - I'm hoping we can pass on together. But - so glad you're enjoying your retirement now! I'm also looking forward to volunteering - I have some opportunities in mind.

Again, thank you all for your comments. I look forward to talking more with each of you in the future.
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Old 11-01-2018, 11:53 AM   #10
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Retired 6 years ago at 58. Within 7 months I was asked to teach a online college class and love it. I can do it from anywhere. We downsized to a 1400sq ft house. We have 3 bedrooms plus a RV so room for guests. Love living in a smaller space.
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Old 11-01-2018, 12:50 PM   #11
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Welcome and thanks for serving.

I am a retired E-8 that took a strange path to get here (other option was rather bleak). I had just about 15 years active when I accepted a RIF package in the early 90's. I completed my time doing another ~15 years in the Army Reserve. Here's where it gets a little silly. I still get the RIF check annually for another couple of years. AND, DFAS is withholding 40% of my retired pay until the RIF is paid back 100% (and I am completely okay with this arrangement).

I worked at a mega-corp long enough to build a decent egg, and retired at 60 with two pensions (and the egg). Tricare is a big help as well. You'll read many post here of people not able to retire (med ins), or dealing with substantial insurance costs.

I was ready to retire and it has been grand. Adjustment was over by the time I got to the parking lot.

We settled in NC. The army dropped us off at Fort Gordon (last station before RIF). Columbia county was a great place to raise a family, but DW and I both fell in love with NC and took a corporate relo to get here.

We're staying in our modest 3/3 2000 sf home in the burbs until we age out. Then a 55+ comm or a CCRC. TBD.

Like some others here, we were part of the "tip of the spear' in keeping this country the best place on earth. Now, like others, I bask every day in my latest version of freedom.

This time of the month is pretty cool. I log on and see that my Mil and Civ pension checks arrived, and that my monthly distribution from Fido plopped in my CU account. In a couple years, we'll add SS checks to the kitty and reduce tapping the egg in a significant way.
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Old 11-01-2018, 01:24 PM   #12
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I can't answer your questions since I'm not retired, but congrats on your upcoming retirement and welcome!
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Old 11-01-2018, 01:57 PM   #13
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Welcome to the forum. I used to work with a lot of O-5, as well as O-4 and O-6 before retirement. Thanks for your service and congrats on making it to the 20 year mark to get those nice retirement benefits.


1) How long did it take you to settle into retirement and how is retirement going for you? I am still settling in, but only because I sold my house and moved 1500 miles immediately after my last day of work. In fact I hot the road and drove 300 miles away on my last workday since last day was out by noon! Built a new house and big detached garage, but had to wait 6 months to move into it. Lived in my motorhome for those 6 months. Once moved in I have been real busy working on house, yard and garage. Great having the time and I do all of the work myself, except the in-ground pool and patio. I would say I am settled in quickly to retirement, do not miss work at all. But since I am busy with all the activities and projects on new place, I am not in the settled in equilibrium phase yet.



2) How has your place of residence (e.g., house, condo, retirement village) worked out for you in retirement? New house is great, getting it all set up has been work though. We moved to be near family which has been nice. Before this in my working days we lived around the country for work in several states. Best part of the new place is my big detached garage where I will be able to spend a lot more time on my old car hobby. We live out in country a bit on 2.5 acres, I love it. I could never live in dense urban city, just not my thing.



3) What are 3-5 of the best things you like about retirement? So far I think this website is super & I look forward to interacting with many of you. Except for scheduled appointments, I just work on whatever needs to be done. No firm deadlines. No alarm clock. Enjoy being able to go out in middle of the day during the week with less traffic and less people. Looking forward to being able to take longer motorhome trips. I think the best part is just the freedom and flexibility to do what I want and when I want.
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Freedom, freedom, freedom!
Old 11-02-2018, 09:02 PM   #14
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Freedom, freedom, freedom!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExFlyBoy5 View Post
Welcome to the forum and thank you for your service! You will find that there are quite a few of members here that are retired mil (myself included) and even more that have served at one time or another. Now, my answers to your questions...

1) How long did it take you to settle into retirement and how is retirement going for you? About 15 minutes. In all seriousness, it was a bit easier than I had imagined. I did have a few days in that felt like I was AWOL or that I *should* be doing something for Uncle Sugar since I had been in that mode for 22 years. For many of those years, I HAD to be available by phone, or even had to call in twice a day to make sure I wasn't scheduled for a mission. So, there was a little bit of adjustment to NOT having to answer to someone. I also got a few phone calls after I retired about issues that I was familiar with...but I did my best to re-direct those calls by flat out refusing to help; I wasn't trying to be an ass, but there were/are people that were as qualified as I was to help them out...and besides, once I retired, I was no longer qualified (technically) to help them anyway. All in all, I settled in very easily.

2) How has your place of residence (e.g., house, condo, retirement village) worked out for you in retirement? We stayed put until recently. The main reason was that I was the primary caretaker for my Dad who was getting up in the years and needed some help. When he passed away, we decided to move to "flyover" country to be close to DW's family. The few blood relatives that I have are scattered all over the country, so it made sense to move where most of the DW's family is. We originally were going to build our forever home, but happened to find an "almost perfect" house that is more than suitable to age in, so if the inspection goes well...that will be where we settle. It is larger than our last house and has a pool, so those are two things that I wasn't "planning" for in a forever/retirement home. Nonetheless, it's on a large lot (about 2 acres), has no stairs, and plenty wide doors for wheelchair access. We are technically "in the country" but can get the city (population about 600,000) and excellent medical care in about 20 minutes, which is *very* important to me. We really lucked out being as close to the city as will be without all the city headaches. Our last home was about 15 miles from downtown Atlanta, but it could take well over an hour to get there...and the huge population influx over the last 20-30 years made it absolutely miserable to get around.

3) What are 3-5 of the best things you like about retirement? No alarm clock. No schedule. Freedom to do damn near anything I want, when I want. No need to get dressed if I don't want (still wearing my Old Navy pajama pants and it's a little after noon). Bottom line...freedom, freedom, freedom.
Thank you, Flyguy. Yep, I'm starting to see what you pointed out - a significant sample of military here. And that's great - brothers and sisters; lots in common. Only one of several reasons I'm enjoying this website.

I can't wait for the freedom, but the no alarm clock thing - geeeez; what's not to like about that? And, about being available by phone no longer - I've already let DW know that I just may get rid of the cell phone for good. When I was the Division OIC, well, you know how it is - you're needed by both superiors and subordinates. I'm sure it'll be nice not being tied into a work network.

About 15 minutes to settle into retirement - wow; sounds great!
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Old 11-02-2018, 09:04 PM   #15
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I can't answer your questions since I'm not retired, but congrats on your upcoming retirement and welcome!
Thanks, Katie!
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Thanks. And - OUTSTANDING job with the prep!
Old 11-02-2018, 09:25 PM   #16
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Thanks. And - OUTSTANDING job with the prep!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocmmz View Post
Good day and congrats on your upcoming retirement. I retired from the US Navy as your Army CSM equivalent and started working for the government, and like you will finish up in 15 months with a second small 6K annual pension. All in all, DW and I will walk away with about 90K annually (after taxes) between our pensions and her SS. We were able to put away 750K in our TSP and 401k accounts. Not a lot compared to the folks on this site, but on an enlisted man's salary it was a struggle. We also have about 150K in cash for upcoming travel, new car, and home emergencies. We will NOT have our home paid for (owe 188K, so congrats to you on that as well) although, with our income we should be fine. Our only concern is LTC and the cost of what that will be in the future? My wife has a LTC plan from work she may keep that is relatively cheap $45.00 monthly that will cover some of it so I happy for that.
The things that I will like with retirement:
-spend more time with grandchildren
-no alarm
-more travel
-And, just moving around on our schedule and not anyone else's.
Thank you much, Cnocmmz - and, FANTASTIC prep on an enlisted man's salary! I commend you. Yes, DW and I can't wait to start traveling and spending more time with folks we care about. Right now there never seems to be enough time for those things.

I'm still trying to figure out the LTC insurance thing. I currently have an LTC policy on myself (which costs a LOT more than $45/mo these days, I can assure you!) but it's been really hard finding ANY policy for my lady, let alone an affordable one. She's had so many health problems (11+ yrs of brain cancer being only the first) - agents can't get off the phone fast enough once I start down the list! I may have to just "self-insure" her (yep, I can hear the response - $$$$$$! Mine too, believe me). But well, I'm still hoping for the best. If anyone has any good ideas concerning this topic, I welcome them.

No alarm, living on our own schedule - sounds like a dream come true. But - I think getting work out of my system ("detoxing?" ) may take a bit of time.
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Old 11-03-2018, 12:21 AM   #17
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Welcome, Timeisprecious, looks like you have income > expenses and youíre good to go.

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Some questions I have for retirees: 1) How long did it take you to settle into retirement and how is retirement going for you?
Youíre joking, right?

Before everyone retires, they worry about what theyíll do all day. Six months after retiring, they canít remember how they found the time to go to work.

Youíll have a few things that you have to do, and then you'll find things that you want to do, and then youíll find more things you want to explore, and life will throw a few curveballs your way, but boredom is highly unlikely.

It took me about 10 minutes to settle in, although I napped heavily for the first three months to recover from the chronic fatigue. 16+ years later (nearly 6000 days), I still have more things I want to do than I have hours in which to do them.

If youíre seeking inspiration then you could try Ernie Zelinskiís Get-A-Life Tree.
Retirement Planning Wisdom That You Won't Get from Your Financial Advisor: The Get-a-Life Tree: A Great Retirement Planning Tool!
Iíve had a copy laying on my desk for well over a decade but I havenít made the time to do anything about it... yet.

Quote:
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2) How has your place of residence (e.g., house, condo, retirement village) worked out for you in retirement?
We moved into this home about 19 months before I retired from active duty. Itís been a great place to raise our daughter, and now sheís launched and achieved orbit.

Today we have far more room than we need, and perhaps more yardwork than we really want, but the location and the views are worth it. My spouse and I spend our days with her in the livingroom, me in the familyroom, meeting in the kitchen for lunch & dinner, and happily being alone together.

Weíre landlording a backup ďage-in-place friendlyĒ rental property a few miles away, and I used to think that Iíd move down there when I was too creaky to handle staircases. These days Iím ready to get rid of the rental and spend the rest of my life up here enjoying the horizons.

The ďforever homeĒ is a myth, particularly among military retirees. Donít put a lot of pressure on yourself to find the perfect place as soon as you retire, and donít feel that you have to stay there the rest of your life. You may decide to travel the world on Space A, so maybe you want to rent for a year. Or two. Or a decade.

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3) What are 3-5 of the best things you like about retirement?
The most enjoyable part of financial independence is being able to exert more control over your time for your priorities.

I also like surfing, writing, reading, surfing, slow travel, surfing, and home improvement projects.

When Iím not doing that stuff then I enjoy surfing too.
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Old 11-03-2018, 02:56 AM   #18
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Number one fav: Monday is the new Saturday.
#2: naps anytime needed.
#3: no alarm clock. Insomnia? no problem. get up, read the news online. go back to bed when tired. (see #2)

Welcome, BTW.
(BIL retired 2 years ago, after 30 years in the Navy. He LOVES being retired.)
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Old 11-03-2018, 11:30 AM   #19
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Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx

In dire need of: faster horses, younger woman, older whiskey, more money.
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Old 11-03-2018, 04:53 PM   #20
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Peru
Posts: 6,218
What they all said... looks to me as if you're in great shape for years of happiness. I can't find anything wrong with your plan. We've into our 30th year of being unemployed and except for a few health blips, a wonderful life so far, for jeanie and me.
Lots of excellent memories of living in Saratoga and years of canoeing and camping in the Adirondaks. Part of my Albany job brought me right into your area in the 1980's.

You might find a bit of info about the early days, and snowbirding and housing here... too long to read, but maybe something to skip through.

Sharing 23 years of Frugal Retirement

Best of luck and years of what everyone hopes for...
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