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Quite cold in Northern NJ
Old 02-26-2010, 07:18 PM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Quite cold in Northern NJ

I am 48 and currently living in Northern NJ. This September we will have a senior as well as a freshman in High School, so that means we are done with the local schools in 4.5 years. We will stay here until my youngest is done with school then who knows. My wife has worked as a consultant for the past 10 years quite successfully from home. Though she only worked 20% in 09 and things have dried up to date, she expects to pick up work when the economy improves and can work from anywhere. I work in financial services, specifically indirectly involved with those pesky credit derivatives and subprime mortgages. I most likely will remain employed for 2010 but maybe not. If I am let go or leave there may not be severance payouts and when I leave there is no going back to the same industry. Thus, my new interest in early retirement.

My house is paid off, college funds done and retirement accounts appropriately funded ($1.1mm in retirement; $883k in savings and 529s; $1.1mm home equity; total Net Worth is approximately $3mm). Although I am in financial services, I was not great with investing and lost several hundred in company stock. Now, everything I have is at Fidelity with them actively, conservatively managing $500k with the remainder in retirement mutual funds and cash 2009 was a great year for return. Fortunately my salary is high and expenses low. I can put about $6k each month into savings/retirement.

Recently, my wife and I went to (on a lark) a show in the local Hilton where NC, SC retirement communities were showcasing their communities. It was nice to see that you can buy a new home in a nice community for $300-$400k though we are not familiar with that region. We thought we can sell our house and move out of the area in 4.5 years and leave the rat race.

I would be interested in hearing about:
  • Retirement communities in the NC, SC area; my wife does not like Florida (my folks are in Naples and I could go there);
  • What does one do about health insurance at a young retirement age;
  • What does one do in early retirement; I see myself working somewhere fun, friendly and relaxed though at low comp rates;
  • Is selling the house the minute the last child goes to college bad;
  • How do one ever know how much you need to retire early;
  • Etc., etc., etc.
Looking forward to thoughts/advice.
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Old 02-27-2010, 02:38 AM   #2
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Hi cantwait. Welcome to the forum. Sounds like you have a pretty good stash in total. Would guess many (most?) on the forum would tell you that THEY could pull the plug at that. It's obviously a very personal decision and, frankly, the money is only one of many things you need to think about. You already addressed many of the questions.

My suggestion is to use the search function (or do what I did originally and just poke around) to find most of "our" answers to your questions. Can't emphasize this enough. This is your decision and you must make it. Having said that, you'll find this bunch pretty helpful, if a little cranky once in a while (wait til your my age and you'll understand, heh, heh).

Best luck!
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Old 02-27-2010, 06:53 AM   #3
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Have you tried FIREcalc? Look at the links on the right.

...and welcome to the forum. We wanted to pull the plug when our daughter graduated HS last year, but decided to hang in there for a while longer, due to succession planning not being complete, and of course worry over what the markets would do to my stash. Now the target is year end 2012, but we'll see what happens.

I don't think FIREing right when the youngest graduates is a terribly bad idea. If you plan to move, waiting until then is probably a better idea for the kids, if it is possible to wait, given your situation. You could wait until later if you are really enjoying your work, but if not, and if you are financially prepared, why not? Only you could answer that.

If you get the plug pulled for you, it would be best to have already prepared yourself by finding a less expensive target venue to live, budgets prepared, and cash flow plan worked out. That't why I suggest FIREcalc.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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Old 02-27-2010, 08:29 AM   #4
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Posts: 389
Quote:
Originally Posted by cantwait View Post

I would be interested in hearing about:
  • Retirement communities in the NC, SC area; my wife does not like Florida (my folks are in Naples and I could go there);
  • What does one do about health insurance at a young retirement age;
  • What does one do in early retirement; I see myself working somewhere fun, friendly and relaxed though at low comp rates;
  • Is selling the house the minute the last child goes to college bad;
  • How do one ever know how much you need to retire early;
  • Etc., etc., etc.
Looking forward to thoughts/advice.

My mother moved to a wonder community outside of Greensboro, NC. And the triad region there is great. I have two brothers who live there.

Health insurance? If you are pretty young and have no illnesses and some resources, a really high deductible is one way to go. As you get older you can reduce the deductible, and then at 62 let your SS pay the premiums.

Yeah do that during retirement, or locate to a place which has lots of other seniors doing things in a Senior College type environment. Take up something that you didn't have time for such a furniture building or refinishing, or wedding or portrait photography, but find something to do that gives you money, not just busy work, or it won't feel worthwhile. I saw both: my dad who has the right idea and had all these side jobs that he did for money, and my FinLaw, who worked like a dog for life and then did nothing and just wasted away.

Money? Just have to research it; look at your budget, etc. Bottom line: you don't.

Good luck to you.

Did you want to move into your own house, or in a retirement community. I never wanted to live in a community, but near one. So the house we bought(haven't moved yet its rented full time) is near to these things but a separate house. We want all our friends and relatives to visit us.

Z
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