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Old 01-23-2017, 04:54 PM   #41
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Drumgal,

I feel your pain. DW is an artist and I'm a musician. The corporate world was killing me, so I left when I was 45. We had saved enough money for 4 decades of living, though.

I agree with others that your safety margin is very small. So I agree that it's absolutely critical to go in to SS to determine exactly how much you will receive.

It sounds like you are REQUIRED to work after you current job just to survive. Hopefully, you'll get enough from SS to fully fund total expenses at some point, so then earning money becomes purely optional.

It looks like are able to enjoy cheap travel. Still, travel represents typically a small part of most budgets. Home and car are others big items, given that you have decent health insurance options. Have you considered downsizing your home? An apartment or condo could save a ton of money, but places some constraints on music-making. Or perhaps rent out room(s) in your house to help cover expenses.

Would it be possible to build up your emergency fund to at least 6 months of expenses (including mortgage)? Single family homes can get very expensive...
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Old 01-23-2017, 04:55 PM   #42
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How much will it go up if you work three more years? What will it be if you work until 62 and take both pension and SS at that time? How much could you save in the IRA and 457 plan if you continued to work? Have you tracked your expenses to insure you are being realistic in your calculations? All these are questions I would look at before I made a final decision.
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Old 01-23-2017, 04:55 PM   #43
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I will lose some of my health benefits if I move out of the area, and I think it would be hard to find a rental for less than what my monthly mortgage payment is! I've looked! I DO want to keep my house. That is why I refinanced for a lower monthly payment.
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:00 PM   #44
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I have transferred within my department 7 times over the years. I am grandfathered in because I do not have a degree, only years of experience. Library positions now require an MLS or equivalent. Little college leave me ineligible for most county positions. I DO have some part-time work lined up after I retire. I have an appointment with SS. If I work another year at this job my pension will only go up $100 a month.


Well, if you can get more paid into SS with your part-time "substantial" earnings (something like $22,000/year), you may also decrease the WEP impact when you take SS later on.
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:06 PM   #45
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I will lose some of my health benefits if I move out of the area, and I think it would be hard to find a rental for less than what my monthly mortgage payment is! I've looked! I DO want to keep my house. That is why I refinanced for a lower monthly payment.
Okay, good reasons to stay where you are. I understand about the housing expenses, when I was divorced in 1984 I strapped myself to buy a SF house. Five years later the rent on a one-bedroom apartment was half again what my house payment was and I had foreseen that coming.
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:13 PM   #46
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Thank you! Your words are encouraging...I'm hoping for more posts like these that focus on how I CAN rather than why I SHOULDN'T. *sigh*
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:20 PM   #47
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OK, assuming you are a librarian with Washoe County, the website says you make a decent salary. You are done with the child raising expenses - what are the reasons you have not saved more money? We know the job sucks, but with just a house payment, how much could you put away if you went to work for a few more years with cotton stuffed in your ears and a smile on your face? That's the approach I would likely take in your shoes.
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:45 PM   #48
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Hi Drumgal, we also live in Reno. Rents have been really skyrocketing here along with house prices. If things get too tight you could always sell your house and buy a condo that is cheaper. That's our plan if we ever need some of our house $. We are both PERS retirees and government can be very toxic indeed.
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:46 PM   #49
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Check out Financialducksinarow.com for info on WEP. The have a quick and dirty matrix from what I remember.
I mentor seniors who find themselves with too much month left at the end of the money. My first suggestion is to really look at what you spend, have spent for the past few months. Secondly, think about getting a roommate, this can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:47 PM   #50
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I am not a "Librarian", but a "Library assistant." Pay is ok. Not great.

I did awesome things with my money, like travel the world. Nope. Didn't save much, but what great experiences I've had! Do I have regrets? Not entirely. Well, sometimes. And so here I am! Not much I can do about that. I did what I had to do while I was still young. I could never do now what I did then...backpack the Amazon, Safari in South Africa, etc.

My fake smile is starting to crack...I know you are right. I COULD save more, but I want OUT! I need to find a way to make this work
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Old 01-23-2017, 05:52 PM   #51
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Thank you! I will check out the site... The SS website leaves me a bit confused. I have an appointment, but it's a month away.
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:04 PM   #52
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Welcome aboard, Drumgal. You've got a lot on your plate right now and I hope you aren't getting overwhelmed by us. I certainly understand the need to preserve your sanity, and I think the fact that you have part-time work lined up is a big plus. I have just a few random thoughts.

1. Have you calculated the exact amount of your pension. If I understood correctly, you will be leaving roughly 3 years before your normal retirement age. In my current position, there is a 6% per year (.5% per month) deduction for taking a pension prior to normal retirement age. You should make sure of the amount of deduction for your own plan.

2. I presume the social security will come from credits from employment other than your county job. You can get an estimate of how much social security you will get by going here. https://www.ssa.gov/retire/estimator.html You can calculate the WEP reduction by looking at this https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/anyPiaWepjs04.html

3. You mentioned you were a single mother. Were you ever married, and can you get Social Security benefits on the basis of your ex husbands record? Look here https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html Note that you may be subject to the Government Pension Offset. See here. https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10007.pdf
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:05 PM   #53
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Thank you! Your words are encouraging...I'm hoping for more posts like these that focus on how I CAN rather than why I SHOULDN'T. *sigh*
You among friends here - we love to see people retire early. But if people here see a legitimate concern, they will say so and that is why I have so much respect for this community. Sometimes it is tough love, but it is love never the less.
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:17 PM   #54
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Thank you! I am a bit overwhelmed, but determined to take all into account.

I have had the calculations sent to me by PERS and I am aware of the reduction for early retirement. It is pro-rated monthly at 4% for each year under 60. I worked a full 20 years contributing to SS before I became a gov't employee. (Those calculators leave me a bit confused.) I DO have an appointment with SS. I'm thinking I should have some credits, but how WEP affects them, I do not know exactly! Yes, I have been married and will check those possible benefits as well. I'm so grateful for all of this information! Relaxing has been difficult lately...much to think about!
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:20 PM   #55
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I am not a "Librarian", but a "Library assistant." Pay is ok. Not great.

I did awesome things with my money, like travel the world. Nope. Didn't save much, but what great experiences I've had! Do I have regrets? Not entirely. Well, sometimes. And so here I am! Not much I can do about that. I did what I had to do while I was still young. I could never do now what I did then...backpack the Amazon, Safari in South Africa, etc.

My fake smile is starting to crack...I know you are right. I COULD save more, but I want OUT! I need to find a way to make this work
Everyone has things they regret doing or not doing in life, such is the nature of being human and not having the perspective of being old and young at the same time. My opinion is that the choices already made are why I'm who I am today and I wouldn't change them because I kinda like who I am.

As for your situation, I think it was said best earlier in that you should look at this less as a retirement and more as a change in career path. You're moving from a steady job with a steady check and moving to a new life where you're still earning money for a while (months, maybe years) by working but the work and the money is less set in stone. You're moving from working in the library system to working in music and other positions you find (such as the data entry) to fill your time and help bring in some income. Your pension is there to supplement your income until you do retire at some point in the future.

There's nothing wrong with changing careers, and the pension should hopefully afford you the financial latitude to explore these new, less taxing, potential sources of income until you can afford to fully retire.
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:27 PM   #56
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Hello! I have recently announced my retirement from a County position where I have worked almost 20 years in a public library. My last day will be the first week of July this year (2017)

<snip>

Sounds great perhaps? I hope so, because now that all is said and done I am experiencing major anxiety! Did I mention I hate my present job? Well, I've known for a long time that I needed to leave for health and sanity reasons. I have been enduring this for years.

<snip>
Drumgal, welcome! I have read through this thread and agree with another poster about approaching this as a job change instead of a retirement. I would continue with your plans and look for a full time job that you can work at for another year or two that you might enjoy more and can help you live a better retirement lifestyle.

Also, no disrespect meant to you but when I read your post, this is the first thing I thought of:

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Old 01-23-2017, 06:33 PM   #57
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Hi drumgal, Welcome to the forum.

Here is my take - When you retire, you will have plenty of time to make enough money to more than cover your former salary. You might want to bring in enough money to add to your kitty by say $5k or $10k per year at least until SS kicks in. That might mean cutting expenses as well as working more. Cutting expenses could mean budgeting and living more frugally than you do currently. If you have the determination to live a lifestyle below your current means, you can do alright. As others have suggested, make sure you understand your future income and expenses plus add in some emergency cash to see where you are at and where you should be in the future. Then see if you can trim your spending without making a major dent in your lifestyle. Some folks think it is a fun game. Check out Mr. Money Mustache. The folks on that forum have made an art of living well and spending little.

Good luck on your future RE and, with a little income help, your FI!
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Old 01-23-2017, 06:56 PM   #58
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You will drop to something less than 75 percent of your nominal job income in pension. The good news is FICA and whatever you were paying into the pension plan will go away so maybe your net from the pension will be little better than 75 percent of your current net from the job.

You will pick up a job that might bring you closer to your current net job income. You stated you wanted to live on your pension and save the other income. On your current income, you have not been able to save much. What will be different in your spending that will allow you to accomplish this? In your shoes, I would start the savings plan now, before I retired, to see how much income I can really do without.

The reason I push so hard is that I worked in local government and over the years observed a number of employees retiring before they were financially capable. A few of the better ones (better because we could pick and choose) came back as short term contract employees. They didn't do it because they missed the workplace. They needed the money because they miscalculated their income needs or some unforeseen event undermined their original plan.
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:02 PM   #59
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I would go slow on switching to an HSA. I paid into mine for several years and it was great to have it build up. Then, about 8 years ago, they 'found something' at an annual physical. Fortunately, there is a drug that basically cures it, but I will take that for the rest of my life. We are working at getting the January prescription filled. It will be $4900. Then in February we will pay the rest of the $6000 max out of pocket. If you want to sign up for a high deductible, make sure you have a plan for how to pay that deductible.

FYI, the company contributes $1300 each year towards the HSA. The monthly premium is quite small. I am very fortunate to have the healthcare as part of my retirement benefits. You just need to recognize what the potential total cost can be be.
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:21 PM   #60
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I think a central question for you is how much do you need to live in your current lifestyle? If you are currently living from paycheck to paycheck, then it is roughly your annual take-home pay.

Once you have that answered, then what would your annual pension checks be (presumably after taxes) and how much of a "gap" is there? Would your likely earnings from music and data entry be sufficient to fill the gap?

We don't want or need numbers, but I think you get the drift of the things you need to think through.

I think a lot of the discomfort that you sense in some of the responses is that many people here have quite a bit of redundancy in their retirement plans so to have so little (which I suspect is not uncommon in general) is hard for for some of us to navigate.

I think in the end that you can find a way to make it work... particularly given your great attitude.
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