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Retiring Army Soldier
Old 03-14-2008, 01:43 AM   #1
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Retiring Army Soldier

I have 16 months to retire at the age of 46. Single, no kids (or college educations to pay for), no home yet, approximately $500k in stock mutual funds, a gov't pension of $48,000 (before taxes) - plan on retiring early in tax-free FLA. I have a Masters Degree in Nursing.

I'm an avid golfer, play some tennis, attend as many professional sports events (NFL, MLB, PGA) that I can, enjoy exercising, going to the beach, traveling around the USA.

Concerned that I'll be bored stiff at retirement - but have a difficult time finding enjoyment in my field. I hate to waste the education that I've acquired in health care.

Plan is to move to Tampa area, rent an apartment, contemplate life and go from there -

Do you think I can retire early with current finances?

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EDIT: Nevermind. I just have spent the last 4 hours reading Nords' posts - some up to 2 yrs ago - of course I should be able to retire on $48k/yr. What was I thinking?


NORDS - from one retiring soldier to a retired Naval Officer, thanks for all the information! I'll be waiting for your book.
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Old 03-14-2008, 07:11 AM   #2
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welcome to the board. (i'm assuming you're new)

and thank you for your service to our country.

i am a FIREd former federal civil servant and am living on roughly the same before taxes. i am in NY but in a rural area, so COL is very low. i have a deferred FERS retirement waiting for me to collect at age 56. not much but it will compensate for inflation.

i saw a post here somewhere about calculating COL and inflation, but can't find it.

can someone else here help out with that?
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Old 03-14-2008, 09:06 AM   #3
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From one new guy to another...welcome and thanks for your service..

48k? May be doable but inflation even when mild is a killer. Does your pension provide for a COLA?
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Old 03-14-2008, 09:10 AM   #4
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Ditto, thanks (seriously) for your service.

It sounds like you're FI, but no one can answer for you without knowing what your budget/spending will be. If your expenses are going to be $100K/yr (exaggerating to make the point), you're not ready...

As for being bored stiff, I am 2-4 years from ER, but I have the same concern. I read How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free and Work Less, Live More and it made me take stock and think about what I am interested in so I have ideas on what I'd like to do with all my free time in retirement. Some of it may seem hokey, but it got the process started for DW and I. You could wait and contemplate what to do next after you retire, but why not start thinking about it now. There are certainly others, but maybe one of the books I suggested might help you start the process.

Best of luck whatever you decide...
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Old 03-14-2008, 09:20 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by oma View Post
Concerned that I'll be bored stiff at retirement - but have a difficult time finding enjoyment in my field. I hate to waste the education that I've acquired in health care.
Oma, welcome aboard! It does sound as if you have retirement funding nailed.

I've always thought that one advantange of having nursing skills is that you could have tremendous flexibility in employment. Or volunteer work, for that matter. Is it in nursing you have a difficult time finding enjoyment?

Coach
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Old 03-14-2008, 01:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oma View Post

EDIT: Nevermind. I just have spent the last 4 hours reading Nords' posts - some up to 2 yrs ago - of course I should be able to retire on $48k/yr. What was I thinking?
Sounds like you have already answered your own question. I haven't read all of NORDS' posts, so don't know exactly what info you got from him, but here are a few things from my perspective as a retired USN officer:
- The COLA is a really good deal. My pension has gone up between $1K and $2K every year I have been retired;
- If there are plenty of health care providers in your area who accept TRICARE, it is a much better plan than many give it credit for. I use Standard with a MOAA in/out patient supplement and I have been very happy. (I personally avoided TRICARE Prime because it is worth it to me to choose my own docs, even if it costs a little more.) There are no bases here in Vermont, so using MTF's is not an option, but even if it were, I would probably still use TRICRE Standard.
- In Tampa I believe you will have access to commissary and exchanges (which I don't have in Vermont.) Frankly, I haven't really missed them as much as I thought I would (although when we go someplace like Newport, RI, we stock up on all the stuff that is a deal in those stores.) With the cost of groceries rising, commissaries may become an even better deal.
- I've personally found volunteering to be a good way to fill my time (in addition to all the outdoorsy and workout stuff I routinely do.) I've been told it's easy to get roped into doing more and more, but I have been very up-front with the organizations with whom I volunteer that I will do what I've signed up to do but not any more and it's worked out well. I would think that in the medical field, there would be more than abundant volunteer ops.

Best of luck in your retirement!
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:17 PM   #7
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[quote=oma;628533]

Do you think I can retire early with current finances?
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oma,

Welcome, you should do fine on $48K/yr (with COLA) plus returns on $500K investments. DW is (RN) retired 6 months ago (10 year wait for start of her pension). I have a pension from the military and civil service. We live comfortably on $36K/yr (not including federal taxes).

Retired for 1.75 years and not bored yet. Should have retired earlier.

We have been happy with Tricare Prime. For any specialty service we are able to see civilian doctors. With DW being an RN, she is able to screen to make sure we get good doctors.

While Florida does not have a state income tax, I believe they tax certain investments. This would be an area to question Rich in Tampa about.
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Old 03-14-2008, 02:46 PM   #8
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EDIT: Nevermind. I just have spent the last 4 hours reading Nords' posts - some up to 2 yrs ago - of course I should be able to retire on $48k/yr. What was I thinking?
NORDS - from one retiring soldier to a retired Naval Officer, thanks for all the information! I'll be waiting for your book.
Welcome to the board, oma!

They got surfing in Florida, too, so I think you'll be just fine...
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:33 AM   #9
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From one new guy to another...welcome and thanks for your service..

48k? May be doable but inflation even when mild is a killer. Does your pension provide for a COLA?

It does. I guess my main concern is living in Tampa, FL where there's no income tax, but the housing costs can be expensive (Home Assoc Fees, Developer Fees - CDD). Goal in retirement was to finally buy a comfortable home in a nice community near family. FLA's inflated housing prices over the last three years have thrown a wrench into my plans. Will look for a dip in the market in 2009, hopefully, as a time to buy.
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:46 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Coach View Post
Oma, welcome aboard! It does sound as if you have retirement funding nailed.

I've always thought that one advantange of having nursing skills is that you could have tremendous flexibility in employment. Or volunteer work, for that matter. Is it in nursing you have a difficult time finding enjoyment?

Coach
I will look into volunteering in the Tampa area after spending a month or so relaxing. In my 20+ yrs in health care as a young medic and later as an Army nurse, the best experiences were taking care of folks less forturnate - in Central America, Balkans, and Afghanistan. I think I can get that same good internal feeling from helping others in something like a free clinic. Much better than the stress and daily pains supervising 40-50 people like I do today.

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 03-16-2008, 01:48 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by friar1610 View Post
Sounds like you have already answered your own question. I haven't read all of NORDS' posts, so don't know exactly what info you got from him, but here are a few things from my perspective as a retired USN officer:
- The COLA is a really good deal. My pension has gone up between $1K and $2K every year I have been retired;
- If there are plenty of health care providers in your area who accept TRICARE, it is a much better plan than many give it credit for. I use Standard with a MOAA in/out patient supplement and I have been very happy. (I personally avoided TRICARE Prime because it is worth it to me to choose my own docs, even if it costs a little more.) There are no bases here in Vermont, so using MTF's is not an option, but even if it were, I would probably still use TRICRE Standard.
- In Tampa I believe you will have access to commissary and exchanges (which I don't have in Vermont.) Frankly, I haven't really missed them as much as I thought I would (although when we go someplace like Newport, RI, we stock up on all the stuff that is a deal in those stores.) With the cost of groceries rising, commissaries may become an even better deal.
- I've personally found volunteering to be a good way to fill my time (in addition to all the outdoorsy and workout stuff I routinely do.) I've been told it's easy to get roped into doing more and more, but I have been very up-front with the organizations with whom I volunteer that I will do what I've signed up to do but not any more and it's worked out well. I would think that in the medical field, there would be more than abundant volunteer ops.

Best of luck in your retirement!

Thanks Friar. Several good points. Usually haven't used the commissary much - but will likely use it more in retiree life (MacDill AFB is near where I'll retire). I like your MOAA suggestion.

Thanks for taking the time to post.
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Old 03-16-2008, 04:38 AM   #12
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Hello and welcome.

Sounds like you have things thought out. As mentioned, Rich in Tampa may be about to help you out since he is in the healthcare field.
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Old 04-12-2008, 02:32 AM   #13
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Ditto, thanks (seriously) for your service.

It sounds like you're FI, but no one can answer for you without knowing what your budget/spending will be. If your expenses are going to be $100K/yr (exaggerating to make the point), you're not ready...

As for being bored stiff, I am 2-4 years from ER, but I have the same concern. I read How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free and Work Less, Live More and it made me take stock and think about what I am interested in so I have ideas on what I'd like to do with all my free time in retirement. Some of it may seem hokey, but it got the process started for DW and I. You could wait and contemplate what to do next after you retire, but why not start thinking about it now. There are certainly others, but maybe one of the books I suggested might help you start the process.

Best of luck whatever you decide...
I decided to pick up both Clyatt's book as well as Zelinski's. Both very good retirement books, IMO. I will take a few months after military retirement to plan the next chapter. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:19 AM   #14
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.........Five months to go to retirement. You'd think that I could relax knowing that work production, whether good or bad, probably won't be important to me once 30 June (my retirement date) comes around.

Looking forward to returning home to the Tampa Bay area and start the next chapter of my life...
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Old 01-11-2009, 06:35 AM   #15
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OMA: You should do just fine with your Army Retired Pay and your investments. I retired from the Army a good while ago (as you can see below). I had DW and 4 kids (and a dog) at the time and did just fine. Unless you like Casinos or otherwise like to gamble, that is.

We lived in NE FL (Jacksonville area) for 19 years. We moved north a few years ago to be near family. My Father lived in the Tampa/Saint Pete area for years before he passed. Florida is a great place to be as there must be a billion golf courses and where your mentioned going lots of water.

While prices may appear high you should be able to find something you like there. Just take it slow and spend some time looking - don't jump at the first thing you like.

Sincerely, wish you good luck in the NEW life after the Army.
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Old 01-11-2009, 08:40 AM   #16
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Oma: welcome, thanks for your service. I don't have any info on Fla. But being single the retired pay should do you well. DW and i doing on a bit less than that, in southwest PA, yet we are very comfortable.
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:11 PM   #17
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You said you like to travel, so perhaps travel nursing would work for you.
DD has done this for several years and generally takes 90 day assignments.
Has been all over the US as well as St Thomas. Depending where you go and your specialy, the pay can be outstanding. (she is EM)
On the downside, the current economy has stifled demand quite a bit, but I'm sure it will be back before too much longer.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:14 PM   #18
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Thanks the advice. I hope that retired life will be so enticing and enjoyable that I can resist the urge to go back to w**k. But travel nursing is a very interesting option.
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Old 01-13-2009, 01:23 PM   #19
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.........Five months to go to retirement. You'd think that I could relax knowing that work production, whether good or bad, probably won't be important to me once 30 June (my retirement date) comes around.

Looking forward to returning home to the Tampa Bay area and start the next chapter of my life...
Countdown commences...what a great feeling that must be.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:58 PM   #20
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Causes a bipolar type of mentality at work - sometimes I'm very carefree, devil-may-care, happy-go-lucky attitude. Other times, very serious as you don't want to be remembered as the guy who "phoned-it-in" during his last half year of work.

Can't say, FIGMO (Finally I Got My Orders) yet.
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