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Retiring to the country. Much appreciate suggestions our plans to invest
Old 05-18-2016, 10:22 AM   #1
Dryer sheet wannabe
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Retiring to the country. Much appreciate suggestions our plans to invest

Just starting to be organized about retiring. I am 49 and husband is 53. Due to an illness that recurs, I am making plans to be able to retire between 59- 60. I really love what I do, but it requires my need to be super focused. Not able to do that as well as before treatment. As my illness will come back, I want to be prepared. I love what I do and the people, but it is definitely hard to stay on task more now.

Brief summary
House will be paid in 3-4 years with a good chunk of excess monthly cash accomplishing this goal. House is in country with 10 acres.
I max out my 401K and have for years.
Husband is late to game Professor. He will have state pension with 26-33% of his current salary depending on when he retires
We also have investments in dividends and some cash.
I have been thinking of investing more in dividends stocks, but I am trying to find a good balance. I am also reading up on Vanguard which may be a good choice to split any extra money between the two. I am not pleased with our current advisor as he has left cash for too long and not bought dividend stocks as I suggested.

Suggestions on tweaking my plan to pay down the house, save a bit more cash and invest in dividends or stocks? Are we better off slowing the pay down of the house and investing? Our interest is under 3% on the house. When cancer requires treatment which it will, I don’t want my husband left with a house payment. His salary easily covers expenses, but want him to have peace of mind.


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Old 05-18-2016, 10:42 AM   #2
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Without knowing your specific numbers and if your investments will be expected to cover your retirement expenses, it is hard to say if you should devote more energy/money to additional investments or to paying down the house more aggressively.

Taking over some (or all, when comfortable) of your own investing is a good plan, and Vanguard is a good place to start. Is your advisor in charge of your 401k as well as your taxable investments? Depending on where the 401k is custodied, you can make changes to that asset allocation yourself, leaning more heavily on dividend producers.

I hope you have many more illness-free years ahead, and welcome to the forum!

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
Gerard Arthur Way

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Old 05-18-2016, 03:01 PM   #3
Dryer sheet wannabe
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Thank you Sarah. 401K has just under $400K. $250K in dividend stocks. $80K in cash. Firecalc has a win on the 25 year scenario with SS, pension and investments. We owe just under $300K on the house and expect to have it paid by 2019. The advisor has the dividend stocks with Schwab. Work 401K Mass Mutual.
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Old 05-18-2016, 05:15 PM   #4
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Welcome ecowtent.

Some factors to consider. Have you looked at the plan with you dying sooner (and the impact to SS). Have you looked at it with DH dying sooner (and impact to SS and pension.) I never found a good way to model that in firecalc - but modeled it in a spreadsheet (deterministic rather than volotile market returns). Sometimes the early death of one member of a couple can really mess up good retirement plans.

That said - I think you've got the right focus - get the fixed bills down (by paying off the mortgage) while trying to focus on health and reaching your goal.

Best of luck in your treatments and longer term health!!! (I hate cancer, both parents, my brother, and 3 of 4 grandparents died relatively young from cancer.)
Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
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Old 05-18-2016, 06:54 PM   #5
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Welcome Ecowtent and good luck with your health and plans.
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Old 05-19-2016, 11:24 PM   #6
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Welcome aboard!
It's hard to give specific advice, but I think reading and posting on this forum will help a lot.

There's the general rules of thumb around the 4% rule as well.

For my own part, in addition to looking at how to find out a good investment strategy (i.e. asset allocation) I'd also look at the things that are within your control: taxes and fees.

Taxes can be hard to control, but there's a number of things you can do to maximize income.

Fees are very easy to control once you know what they are.

The way I think about this is if you nave $730,000 in investable assets... that should provide you with roughly $29,000 of annual income (using the 4% rule).

So if you consider that your income stream, how much of that are you spending on various things before you can spend it on your life. That's where taxes and fees come in.

Fees are easy... if you are paying on total assets (say 1%) then you are paying $7,300 per year in fees. Divide 7300 by 29000 and you get 25%.

If you have that money in ETFs or mutual funds with an average fee of 0.15%, you will pay 1095 or or 3.7% of your income. So you can raise your income by quite a bit if you happen to pay high fees and you move to lower fees... and that's without taking any market risk (actually you'd most likely be lowering your market risk as well ).

There could be similar benefits via tax optimizations, but that's case by case and if you look at some threads here as well as asking questions, people on the boards are very knowledgable and someone has seen almost any situation!

All the best!
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Old 05-20-2016, 07:18 AM   #7
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We have two acres in the country and I'm ready to give it up. We have over 100 trees and it's just too much work mowing around the trees and dealing with the leaves in the fall. My husband does most of the lawn care and but he's not there yet. I have multiple flower beds that I maintain, I am slowly reducing their size. If we're going to live here I want the place to look nice but am tired of the work this home requires. We winter in AZ, I kind of like having a gravel yard!! If you have 10 acres, you might want to rethink staying there with having an illness.
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Old 05-20-2016, 10:14 AM   #8
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My wife has had continued physical problems with tendonitis, arthritis and spinal stenosis. She had been told by her doctor to apply for disability at age 28, but somehow worked (in misery) until about 50 years old.

When her legs started buckling and she was falling down steps, I pulled her off her job and prepared for a long, hard battle to get her on social security disability. She was turned down 2x for disability and we got an attorney and went for a formal hearing. With a strong paper trail and going part time on he job for awhile, she was finally approved. 2 years later, she was on Medicare with a supplementary policy.

If someone has sustained health problems, it's often best to go ahead and apply for disability. Otherwise, they may try to starve you into giving up. It took us 2 years+ to go through the process.

Now my wife is having debilitating pain from mid foot arthritis. We don't know her future prognosis--being able to walk without serious pain.

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