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Retired 3 years ago at 52
Old 03-30-2015, 11:20 PM   #1
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Retired 3 years ago at 52

Hello all,

I was fortunate enough to have retired 2 weeks shy of my 52nd birthday three years ago. There was nothing special I did really. The right job with the right defined benefit pension, and 30 years later, voila...here I am retired. I recommend doing it if you can swing it as it's quite liberating. No more alarm clock, no work stress, and only commitments I want to make.

As I indicated I count myself as fortunate. The indexed pension pays me $4,300 a month after tax and after medical/dental premium (more to come from the government when we turn 67). A paid off home, no other debt and modest savings round out the picture. Severance that I received upon retirement remains untouched.

The biggest issue going into retirement, in my opinion is to have all of your debt taken care of. After that, save for all your big expenses using automatic deductions into savings accounts so that when you need something, or have to pay a yearly bill like property tax or car insurance, you have it in the bank and can pay it without blinking.

A little bit of planning goes a long way. Best of luck to those of you contemplating making the move to retirement.
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Old 03-31-2015, 01:02 AM   #2
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Congrats. I pulled the plug around a year ago today at 52 as well. It is quite liberating. The thing I've found is that I enjoy my hobbies more now because of no work related time constraints.
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Old 03-31-2015, 02:55 AM   #3
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I also was a "52"-er three years ago. I had no defined benefit pension, but I did walk off with a "parachute" that made it easy to decide not to look for full-time work once my employer of 25 years and I parted ways. It wasn't a golden parachute but by my standards the gold plating made it very shiny! The three years have passed very quickly. Better health, better sleep - much better sleep - lots of fun, no stress. Basically it is the life I want. Long may it continue! Living below our means for 25 years pre retirement, living below our means (with " means" defined as a classic 4% swr) post retirement, yet not feeling like we lack for anything. Truly blessed.


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Old 03-31-2015, 07:21 AM   #4
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Welcome CarlosV! Our situation seems similar to yours.

My DW's employer also offers a very nice pension after 30 years service and also subsidizes ER (via both a temporary payment until age 62 as well as only 3% per year reduction for early pension draw for her case starting at age 52). There is no indexing or inflation-adjustment to the pensions in our case however. She will have her 30 years in at the ripe young age of 52 in 2 1/2 years from now.

My former employer in the same industry, on the other hand, decided to cease accruals in the DB pension plan a few years back. Since my pension will be he same if I continued to work or stopped immediately, I chose to ER (at age ~47). Three years into ER, this appears to be one of the top 5 decisions I have made in my lifetime - YMMV.

Welcome aboard and congratulations!

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Old 03-31-2015, 08:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlosV View Post
...........
The biggest issue going into retirement, in my opinion is to have all of your debt taken care of. After that, save for all your big expenses using automatic deductions into savings accounts so that when you need something, or have to pay a yearly bill like property tax or car insurance, you have it in the bank and can pay it without blinking...............
Thanks for the enlightenment. Most of us here have never considered such things.
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Old 03-31-2015, 08:31 AM   #6
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CarolsV.... welcome.

travelover.....quite the warm welcome there...... give the newbie a break.
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Old 03-31-2015, 09:17 AM   #7
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No DB pension, but similar here. We found that reducing spending for non-essentials (and then adding back important things) our living expenses plunged. Hitting the reset button makes us think about what is important prior to spending.

Also frees you from worrying about taking a 40 day trip to Europe...
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Old 04-01-2015, 03:56 PM   #8
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Wow! Glad travelover didn't hit me like that on my intro.
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Old 04-01-2015, 04:41 PM   #9
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Wow! Glad travelover didn't hit me like that on my intro.
I don't recall you posting that water is wet.
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Old 04-02-2015, 08:07 PM   #10
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Welcome CarlosV! I also retired at 52. While I "fell off the wagon" for a few years when things went south at the 2nd job it was easy to walk away. I felt for the guys who had no choice but to stay but that is a cost of debt that the lenders don't mention.

I simply started at a public safety job at age 22 and even stayed a few years after I could have retired because I enjoyed the work. But traffic and bureaucracy got worse so I bailed.
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Old 04-02-2015, 10:59 PM   #11
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Welcome to the forum. Sounds like you have a good pension and plan for the future.
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Retired 3 years ago at 52
Old 04-03-2015, 12:07 PM   #12
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Retired 3 years ago at 52

Welcome CarlosV, I am same age and jealous of your success. I agree with your strategy points of debt free, it's my plan as well. Some argue using funds to pay mortgage versus keeping them invested is debatable, but I like the idea of a smaller monthly commitment. Let us know how the transition goes, and congratulations on achieving your plan. I hope to be able to join you in debt free retirement soon.


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Old 04-24-2015, 01:04 AM   #13
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Thanks for the enlightenment. Most of us here have never considered such things.
travelover....Perhaps (okay, clearly) my advice was too obvious for forum members here, but my experience is that a lot if folks have yet to figure this out...

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Old 04-24-2015, 06:19 AM   #14
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CarlosV, Welcome and congrats on the early out. Your comments would seem to be common sense but if they really were that common, then why do so few people do them.

Stick around, this is a good place with lots of great folks.
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Old 04-24-2015, 07:38 AM   #15
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travelover....Perhaps (okay, clearly) my advice was too obvious for forum members here, but my experience is that a lot if folks have yet to figure this out...

Welcome and consider yourself initiated.
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Old 04-24-2015, 07:53 AM   #16
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Welcome CarlosV. Thanks for the posting. This forum has a wide variety of people, many need to hear the basics to reinforce what's really important. I myself have gotten a lot of value from many such postings when I lurked around for about a year before joining.

I'm of the same thinking that getting rid of debt is highest priority. My DW and I agreed to do that about 11 years into our marriage when we decided to pay off house mortgage ASAP. Took quite a change in thinking / spending habits but we did it. What a change in our financial life! After paying off the house, we were used to saving for mortgage payments rather than spending them so turned those into savings for cars, college, etc... So after our house was paid off, we quickly paid off our remaining loans on cars and started savings for college. Put three kids through college without loans....just a huge drop in savings! When A/C broke (an absolute necessity where I live), it was fun to realize we could just write a check and move on with our lives. When kids needed money to get through hard times, we were happy and able to assist. Bottom line is financial stress basically disappeared for us when all debt was eliminated.

Fast forward many years and when work / home things changed a bit and I wanted to retire early, it was a no-brainer to retire at 55 yrs old, many years earlier than I had been planning.

Like you, I've given thought to those bigger expenses through the year. When I look at our expenses each quarter to ensure we are within our plan, the big yearly expenses are accounted each month as if we pay monthly for all of them. And the funds moved to our checking account each quarter are set by our normal monthly expenses plus the upcoming bigger yearly expenses which are documented in a "look ahead" spreadsheet.

Thanks again for your post!
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Old 04-24-2015, 09:41 AM   #17
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Congratulations. Debt reduction definitely is the key--I keep reminding my DH about that! Goal this year is to finish the mortgage and then retire next year after saving a bit more.
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