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Vet looking to retire in 9-10 years
Old 09-29-2016, 10:00 AM   #1
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Vet looking to retire in 9-10 years

Hi all

I was in the Navy for 12 years until a medical discharge and have been working in the civilian power industry for the past 8 years now, I'm now 39 years old. My 3 service connected disabilities are currently being rated/reevaluated, but it looks like it'll either be a 90% or 100% overall rating now.

I'm single and have no kids. Current base income (not including overtime) is ~$84k. My current living expenses include a mortgage that I plan to have paid off in ~9 years (less if I get the 100% rating). If the mortgage was paid off today, my monthly expenses minus "fun" (but including TV/internet) is $2,200/month (rounding all the bills up). My vehicle is paid for and I have no debt outside of the mortgage. That $2,200 includes putting money away for home maintenance/repairs as well as saving for my next car.

My plan currently is to semi-retire in about 9 years. My job (technical writing as a SME) is one which there are numerous contract positions (most 2-4 months) that I could likely get each year to supplement my early retirement income. I should be able to earn ~$30-40k/year if I average 3 months of contract work/year.

I have $198k in investment assets currently. 401k total contributions each year are ~$21k with company matching and I put ~$13k/year in my brokerage account invested mostly in a stock ETF (VTI). By my estimation, that should put my investment portfolio at ~$700-800k by the time I'm looking to retire. ~$125k of that will be available in my brokerage account to supplement my retirement costs until my 401k can be used without penalty (assuming I don't utilize any of the "loopholes" for accessing it early). Unfortunately, I wasn't investing while I was in the military because I thought I'd have a retirement check (and I was young and stupid), so I've been playing catch-up for a while .

Being able to utilize VA medical care for free will save me a significant amount as long as I'm willing to generally forego seeing other doctors (which I am).

My VA rating should provide a minimum of $1743/month (a shortfall of ~$400 from covering all my expenses). When I get 100% rating (my conditions get worse over time, so it's only a matter of time until the overall rating gets to 100% if it isn't granted now), then that will go up to $2,906/month which would cover all my "post-mortgage" expenses and allow for ~$700/month fun money.
Contract work at $30k/year should provide a take home of at least $2,000/month after taxes (averaged out). This will be replaced by SS and my 401k withdrawals when I turn 62.

That alone will cover all my expenses and allow sufficient money for me to enjoy fairly regular rounds of golf, relaxing, reading, and a couple vacations a year by my estimation.

I have a friend, also single with no kids, that is also considering doing the semi-retire thing around the same time (within a year or so).

FIRECalc results were:
Quote:
FIRECalc looked at the 29 possible 50 year periods in the available data, starting with a portfolio of $198,000 and spending your specified amounts each year thereafter.
Here is how your portfolio would have fared in each of the 29 cycles. The lowest and highest portfolio balance at the end of your retirement was $198,000 to $16,099,129, with an average at the end of $6,167,346. (Note: this is looking at all the possible periods; values are in terms of the dollars as of the beginning of the retirement period for each cycle.)
For our purposes, failure means the portfolio was depleted before the end of the 50 years. FIRECalc found that 0 cycles failed, for a success rate of 100.0%.

So, I figured this would be a good place to track my progress and get any advice on other considerations I may have overlooked. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on my plan.
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Vet looking to retire in 9-10 years
Old 09-29-2016, 05:43 PM   #2
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Vet looking to retire in 9-10 years

I'll confine my comments to your decision to rely on the VA for your primary health care. My husband is rated 100% due to service related(Agent Orange) Parkinsons. Although the VA has been excellent in responding to his disability claims, I would not want the VA to be his primary health care provider. The VA has limited resources. My DH gets all of his meds from the VA (at no cost) which is a terrific benefit but there is no way that they could provide comparable health care to what he receives from the private sector. He sees a VA neurologist and primary care physician annualy as required in order to have his meds covered at no cost but those annual appointments are regularly cancelled and resceduled. Last year his annual neurologist appointment was cancelled three times at the last minute. He finally saw the neurologist three months after his original appointment. If my DH had a need to see a doc quickly, either for his underlying diagnosis or a more general complaint, like a bad cold, etc., I think it would be difficult to receive timely service. YMMV


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Old 09-29-2016, 05:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golden sunsets View Post
I'll confine my comments to your decision to rely on the VA for your primary health care. My husband is rated 100% due to service related(Agent Orange) Parkinsons. Although the VA has been excellent in responding to his disability claims, I would not want the VA to be his primary health care provider. The VA has limited resources. My DH gets all of his meds from the VA (at no cost) which is a terrific benefit but there is no way that they could provide comparable health care to what he receives from the private sector. He sees a neurologist and a primary care physician annualy as required in order to have his meds covered at no cost but those annual appointments are regularly cancelled and resceduled. Last year his annual neurologist appointment was cencelled three times at the last minute. He finally saw the neurologist three months after his original sppointment. If my DH had a need to see a doc quickly, either for his underlying diagnosis or a more general comlaint, like a bad cold, etc. I think it would be difficult to teceive timely service. YMMV


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Thanks for the insight. I've been using the VA as my primary health care provider for about a year now and the clinics around here seem to be really good at responding to issues. Getting a regular appointment is generally a 2 month lead time for scheduling, but when I wanted to get seen for an urgent matter they had me in the same day, seen by the doctor within 15 minutes of arrival, and had a tele-consult with a specialist within an hour.

8 years ago I paid everything out of pocket because the savings weren't worth the time to get seen by the VA, but around here they seem to have gotten much better and I hear 3 more clinics are in the process of being brought online in the area. I'm sure the experiences must vary greatly based on location, which is a concern for me as I would probably like to do some traveling and do have significant medical issues that could need care so it's probably good to remember that not all areas have the same good care that I've been experiencing, so thanks
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