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Repeatedly trying to retire
Old 03-18-2011, 07:42 PM   #1
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Repeatedly trying to retire

Howdy ya'll. I've been reading the boards for a couple of years now & I've learned a lot. Thanks to everyone for the information on this board. I'm 53, my husband just turned 60.

I stopped w*rking when my job was eliminated in 2009. My husband has been repeatedly trying to retire. I think this time it will take as his job is being outsourced. I'm so thankful that we're financially able to retire instead of looking for w*rk.

Since it will be at least 2 years, & hopefully 6, before he draws SS, my husband has had a hard time mentally moving from the accumulation to the spending phase. Has anyone else had difficulties with this? Any suggestions as to how to deal with this?

thanks & I'm looking forward to participating on the board.
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:24 PM   #2
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Welcome, and congrats on your FIRE status!

Not being retired yet, I'm not the best person to offer advice on switching to the "spending" mentality, so I'll leave that to others. Do you know what in particular concerns your husband about it? Other than that, what do you plan to _do_ all day?
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Old 03-19-2011, 12:01 PM   #3
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What do I do all day? DH coworkers ask him that all the time. He just laughs. I volunteer at church and the library, go to the gym, kayak, hike, 4WD and take my dogs on long walks. I have time to cook proper meals, so we won't have the same health problems our parents had. I have time to have face to face conversations with people, instead of trading voice mails.

I have a life!

My husband is just having a hard time switching gears from "can't touch that money" to harvesting enough to meet our needs. Our financial advisor says we're ready, but we're having a meeting with him to go over details. Perhaps that will put his mind at ease.
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Old 03-19-2011, 12:55 PM   #4
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Do you mean that it's hard to no longer see your net worth increase in leaps and jumps and instead have to see it stabilize or even decline?

That was actually one of the hardest thing about quitting my job. I used to derive a lot of happiness from buying shares and just getting wealthier for the sake of getting wealthier.

I don't really have the solution other than telling myself that accumulating money for the sake of accumulating money is a silly thing to get so excited about.
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:05 PM   #5
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I understand the reluctance. One of the things I did was to have an invested source of funds that I did not consider part of my portfolio and have a much larger then usual balance in my checking account.
Then I took some from a CD some from the IRA and some from my cash cushion. Instead of taking money out every month I am just keeping those accounts at a level keel. All a mind game really. And I'm not feeding the "old lady"(my investment accounts)-the portfolio has to live and grow on its own.
Have you run Firecalc? link at bottom of page. Those positive lines can be very comforting. And make sure you add in SS on other sources page In the FAQ list is a link to another calculator from hell source to play around with.
Good luck with the journey ahead!
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Old 03-19-2011, 01:35 PM   #6
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When I retired at age 55, I never felt like I was changing gears. I had always been someone who looked to save money and make good investments - and the pattern never changed. I had a planned monthly income when I retired, and the money was deposited in the bank every month, just like my former paycheck.

I had always kept my monthly spending budget on a spreadsheet in Excel, with line items for both mandatory and discretionary spending. Of course I had to delete the "retirement savings" line item, that no longer applied. In its place I put an item called "extra money" which was kind of a slush fund if I had an unusual expense. This was necessary because it was tough to catch up if I over-spent one month. Credit cards are dangerous too. You probably have a high limit now - and it is easy to charge things on a whim like you did when you worked. When you are retired it is darn tough to pay off a high credit card bill.

In my case, I lent money to a friend as a partner to start a hobby shop. I enjoyed helping out and "talking business" with my partner. My partner later payed me back half the book value of the store (ie, inventory). I made a good profit and had a good time doing it. I still do investment projects for fun and profit. It kind of fills the void of not going to work everyday.
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Old 03-19-2011, 02:10 PM   #7
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It's hard to stop saving for retirement and start spending. My question is will I have enough if I live a long time. Vanguard put a post up 3/1/2011 tryint to answer that question. It was written by Coreen Jaconett. They suggest 3 methods settling on a Hybrid method that takes a base amount and then sets a maximun increase/decrease based on market conditions and the growth of your portforlio. If you have an account with Vanguard, just go into it and find it. If not, get access via the web and read it.
I'm still putting in, I know I have enough, I know I'm OK and I still worry. Why? I've focused, like your husband, on saving for two many years. But, there comes a time to just do it and the Vanguard article will give you confidence to move ahead. good luck!!!!!!!! You're lucky.
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Old 03-19-2011, 04:57 PM   #8
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I am thinking about putting a years worth of living $$ in a MM account once a year from post tax accounts and just not touch the 401k/IRAs just watch them grow. I know that the MM account will not pay much in interest, but it will make it easier to pay bills and not see the other accounts go down.
We have enough with pensions and about 3k/monthly withdrawal from MM to live on until SS kicks in then stop drawing from MM.
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Old 03-19-2011, 05:59 PM   #9
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Thanks for all advice. Jacob, you hit the nail on the head. I agree that accumulating money for it's own sake is pointless.
Lemming, I have run Firecalc and those on TRPrice and Fidelity several times. They all say we're there.
Hobo, we've never carried a balance on credit cards, we paid off our mortgage in 2007, and haven't been in debt since. I would like to be involved with a project, I keep my eyes and ears open for an opportunity.
Jerome len, I do have a Vanguard account, I'll take a look at that post, I must have missed it.
DFA, we're trying to delay taking our pensions until age 65, but taking them earlier is an option. They're not COLA'd. If the economy stablizes and inflation doesn't take off, our portfolio should grow once DH gets his pension & SS.
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:18 PM   #10
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There is no reason to stop accumulating. It is just done at a lower rate while you are drawing down. You need to set up a financial plan and then see how well you track to it. You will make some errors initially but eventually the plan will be pretty good.
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Old 03-20-2011, 04:23 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by jacob View Post
Do you mean that it's hard to no longer see your net worth increase in leaps and jumps and instead have to see it stabilize or even decline?

That was actually one of the hardest thing about quitting my job. I used to derive a lot of happiness from buying shares and just getting wealthier for the sake of getting wealthier.

I don't really have the solution other than telling myself that accumulating money for the sake of accumulating money is a silly thing to get so excited about.
+1

Continually buying shares helped to make me feel better in down-markets, as the decline in my portfolio's value wasn't so steep.
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:25 PM   #12
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I have been doing exactly the same thing, spreadsheet and all for 6 years. I have created what I call a 'Virtual Savings' where I move all the 'extra' cash each month (Income - Spending=). Then I use it when I am short.
It is a must to pay off the Credit Card balance each month - Interest is too high, it will suck up your precious retirement income.
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Old 03-21-2011, 02:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Major Tom View Post
Continually buying shares helped to make me feel better in down-markets, as the decline in my portfolio's value wasn't so steep.
IOW throwing you money down the pit made it seem less deep!
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Old 03-21-2011, 02:14 PM   #14
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I don't really have the solution other than telling myself that accumulating money for the sake of accumulating money is a silly thing to get so excited about.
That reminds me of this quote:

Quote:
Money is much more exciting than anything it buys. ~Mignon McLaughlin
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Old 03-21-2011, 02:19 PM   #15
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IOW throwing you money down the pit made it seem less deep!
That's one way of looking at it
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Old 03-21-2011, 04:28 PM   #16
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People who haven't accumulated enough retirement savings would probably find this thread amusing. I, however, feel your pain.

I started scaling back last year. At a year older than your husband, I understand completely what he is going through. My wife is 5 years younger and generally very, very thrifty, but it is really hard for either of us to take money out of those untouchable accounts. For instance, she had stashed some money in an investment account that she intended to use for some home improvements and didn't. We decided to replace the kitchen in our 21 year old house and are pulling that stashed money out to help pay for it. It's hard!

My wife is already not working and next year is the year we plan on me going less than full time. We will have to start decumulating a little bit, but we'll still max out the 401k and that stuff. It's scary but all the calculators and the financial people say we can do it.

Keep us posted on how you do in this phase!
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:04 AM   #17
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Going from the accumulation into spending modus might get difficult for us, too.
We both have tendencies towards hoarding.
The plan is to use pensions and interest for the normal expenses and earmark some of our investments for travel, car replacements, home improvements etc.
As we have been tracking expenses for ages we know that the plan is doable.
The main portion would remain untouched as long as possible for the big unknown: nursing home, special needs and inflation.
We will see how that works, starting ER in 2012.
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:26 PM   #18
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As one who is now 64 and retired 10 years ago, I look back and think "You can't take it with you"! Money put into savings after you have retired is done at the expense of forgoing fun or pleasure. Your money is working for some big company, or for other people. You are denying yourself of a trip to Asia or the Caribbean, or some fancy car that you have always wished you had.

IMO, over-saving for retirement is cheating yourself of the fun that is supposed to come when you retire. Believe me, the number of things you are physically able to do grows more limited as you grow older. And birthdays come a lot quicker when you turn 60! A lot of ugly things can happen that will hamper your lifestyle as you grow older. Enjoy life to the fullest while you can.
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Old 03-22-2011, 02:42 PM   #19
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Excellent advice from Hobo. And the Mayans say the world is ending next year anyhow, so why not?
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Old 03-22-2011, 05:23 PM   #20
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Hobo, thanks, I'm going to share this thought w/ my DH. He does like to have fun!

"over-saving for retirement is cheating yourself of the fun that is supposed to come when you retire."
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