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So close we can taste it: FIRE in 2013
Old 02-12-2012, 09:28 PM   #1
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So close we can taste it: FIRE in 2013

I've been lurking and reading here for almost five years now. This forum helped me sleep at night when I would snap awake in a panic at 3 am, worried that I would end up a homeless widowed bag lady someday. FIRECALC, your advice and time have put those fears to rest (mostly).

I'm refining our plans for what I hope will be DH's ER in early 2013. I have a million questions which I'll post in separate threads, so for now I'd like to introduce us.

I'm 54, DH is 52; both in fairly good health; no kids; affordable mortgage with no other debts. We're the classic "Millionaire Next Door" types: mostly frugal with the occasional extravagance. We live in PA, which means no state/local tax on pensions and IRA withdrawals, although our property taxes and utility bills are outrageous. One day we might downsize and possibly manage to make a profit and slash housing expenses, but we're happy to stay put for now.

DH is a federal employee, eligible to retire later this year, although he plans to stay at least through 2012. I'd like to target early 2013 if we can swing it. He'll retire with a partly-COLA'd pension that will cover about 30-40% of expenses, and lifetime health benefits. (And thanks to this forum, I now know exactly how rare and valuable that is).

I'm a corporate refugee. During a reorg/ downsizing / merger fiasco in 2001, I negotiated a layoff package from Megacorp. Instead of getting another full-time job, I pursued my dream of downshifting (as it was called then) and started a solo consulting / freelance business in my industry. Between my various severance packages and contracts from former colleagues, I did reasonably well at first—a major cut in income but an enormous increase in satisfaction. Eventually most of the work dried up but I still have a steady client that offers me a few projects each year. I love what I'm doing and plan to continue as long as someone will pay me.

Between his TSP and my IRA, I'm pretty sure we've accumulated enough to fund a comfortable retirement, barring any disasters (and I'm planning for those black swans and personal catastrophes as much as possible). When all of our income streams are online—his partly-COLA'd pension, my small non-COLA'd pension, a deferred payout from Megacorp and two SS's—we should be in good shape after age 70, with a WR of less than 3%. I've been tracking expenses for years and just finished a detailed cash flow/ budget plan with the most conservative assumptions I could imagine, and it still looks okay.

My more immediate concern is stretching our after-cash funds to carry us from his retirement (and lowered income) until I hit 59 1/2 in about five years. I have some ideas for that to share in another post. For now, I just want to say hello and especially thank you, especially to the long-term members who keep answering the same questions over and over and providing detailed advice, even in the absence of feedback. I promise that if you respond to my questions I'll answer you back, perhaps to the point where you'll be begging me to go away!

Looking forward to meeting all of you soon.
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:33 PM   #2
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Welcome Wendy! It is always nice when a long-time lurker decloaks, especially when they have a great story to tell like your intro...
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:38 PM   #3
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Good to meet you too! Yours is one of the names I recognize well from your many helpful posts. I look forward to getting advice from the seasoned members here.
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Old 02-13-2012, 02:24 AM   #4
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Welcome, Wendy.
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:17 AM   #5
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Welcome aboard Wendy, and congrats on closing in on your well thought out plans! We like these success stories here...
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:51 PM   #6
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Welcome Wendy. I like your avatar. Look forward to further posts.
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Old 02-13-2012, 07:03 PM   #7
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Hi Wendy. I'm glad you've joined the conversation.
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Old 02-13-2012, 07:52 PM   #8
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Welcome!
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:08 PM   #9
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Welcome to the forum.
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:09 PM   #10
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Thank you everyone for the warm welcome! Another sleepless night planning, and getting ready to post my first question.
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Old 02-13-2012, 09:51 PM   #11
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Howdy! I'm a fed too, and will be retiring sometime in 2013. I'm eligible in January, I'm leaning towards going out then, but there's a possibility I could stay a few extra months, so I can add some more to my TSP and accrue a few more hours of annual leave. Sounds like your husband is probably in FERS. I'm older and will retire under the old CSRS. Looking forward to reading more of your posts, and hearing how things are going.
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:03 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martyb View Post
Howdy! I'm a fed too, and will be retiring sometime in 2013. I'm eligible in January, I'm leaning towards going out then, but there's a possibility I could stay a few extra months, so I can add some more to my TSP and accrue a few more hours of annual leave. Sounds like your husband is probably in FERS. I'm older and will retire under the old CSRS. Looking forward to reading more of your posts, and hearing how things are going.
He is! Eligible in few months. I'm already thinking ahead to the "best day to retire" strategy, for taxes, TSP, leave pay-out, etc. I found several good websites that run through the numbers pretty well.
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