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Waiting to make the leap.....
Old 06-23-2005, 05:42 PM   #1
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Waiting to make the leap.....

Good Afternoon All:

I have been an interested reader of the forum for about 6 months now. My wife and I have been wrestling with the mid-life-crisis since we were both in mid-life, about a decade ago. For the past 6+ years, weve been living in Alaska where we moved when I took a job that I hoped would last me until retirement at age 65. The move was financially successful and we have enjoyed many great Sourdough adventures that we never would have dreamed about prior to the move. However, winter here in the Interior starts in early October and lasts until late April and boy is it cold and dark from November through February typically 20 below at night and only about zero during the day in December and January, with occasional excursions to forty or fifty below accompanied by mile visibilities in ice fog. My wife has been basically unhappy with our location since we moved here. Im emotionally worn out and feel like Im just going through the motions most days at work, and even feeling a little guilty about not really earning my generous paycheck.

The problem is that Im about to turn 58 and my wife is 54 and I cant decide if its too early to pull the plug and head Outside for retirement.* Weve been able to put away about $700,000 in 401-ks and IRAs and have another $300,000 in real estate and other assets. But assuming we spend $150,000 on a used diesel pusher Class A and invest the remainder at 5%, we will go from living on $250,000 per year to $45,000. If I stayed at work until 65 1/2 , Id be able to put away another $700,000 and qualify for about $29,000 in Social Security. That would be a nicer retirement package, but theres no way well last another 8 years up here. If I bail at age 62, I will have another $400,000 socked away, but that additional asset will only throw off another $20,000 annually when invested at 5%. I am not sure its worth another 4 years with nose to the grindstone for an extra $1,300 a month in income after taxes.

As I read this posting, I feel a little embarrassed I have a damm good deal and I should stop my whining! However, I know that once I get off the work treadmill, Ill never be able to get back on at much above minimum wage, so Id better get this right the first time. My health is excellent and so is my wifes today, but shes had breast cancer 8 years ago (hopefully cured) and 2 malignant melanomas in the past decade (also caught early and cured). We both exercise vigorously and aside from sore old-fart knees, we seem to be doing OK right now. We love to hike, bike, garden, kayak, fish etc and have no doubt that well stay active and engaged once we pull the pin.

Were struggling with this daily and if I had to guess today, Id guess that well stay another 2 years, to fatten up the savings and then buy the RV and hit the road in late 2007. Any advise from those whove been down this road before us?* Wed appreciate hearing from anyone with an opinion to share thanks!

Brian
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....
Old 06-23-2005, 06:33 PM   #2
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....

Don't buy the Diesel pusher until you 'know' you are hard core.

We were 'always' going to upgrade our pickup/tow behind to a motorhome after 20 yrs of roughing it during our working years. Middle ground might be a 5th wheel rig or truck convert. After a couple years into ER - to our surprise - settling in on the bayou so to speak became attractive. I get* the twinge once in a while - but the big urge to roll down the road is gone.

Looks like you have some reasonible numbers to work with - on Fircalc, ORP, and - you can get a variety of opinions here as to retirement portfolio's that work.

I'm 15-20 yrs out of date - but the number I remember for a full time motorhome road warrior was 40k/yr after the cost of the rolling stock.

You are in the ballpark - work up/refine your plan and decide together when and how.
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....
Old 06-23-2005, 06:49 PM   #3
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....

Brian,

I used to think that I could withstand any job - as long as it paid well and had decent benefits. However, after just a few years working for a family-run construction company and having far more mouthfuls of crap from general contractors, suppliers, unions, et. al., I'm starting an MBA and calling it quits as soon as I have my degree because I found out that I'm not as crazy invincible as I once thought.

If you truly don't enjoy the weather/area, then by all means move as soon as you've had it. While it is great to save up that much for retirement, it is still several years of your life that is being used up. However, you also must weigh your fabulous adventures that you've had over the past few years, and ask yourself if that has been worth a significant deal.

I presume that your company only has an opening for you to work full-time in Alaska, and not some of the time in Alaska and others (i.e. winters) in the continental US?

By the way - just curious...what industry are you in?

Peter
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....
Old 06-23-2005, 07:08 PM   #4
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....

Unclemick2:

Thanks for your thoughts. We've been RVing for about 10 years, first renting Class C's and once a gas Class A, and lately a 12 foot Lance truck camper on a dually diesel pickup. As a matter of fact, next week we're driving down to Haines and taking the Alaska Marine Highway ferry to Bellingham and then driving back up the Alcan for 10 days in the camper. We've driven or flown to 49 states (only missed the Dakotas) and have always found the lure of the open road irresistible. If we can afford the cost of diesel at about $2.35 a gallon, wed probably be happy traveling 3 - 5 days a week, at least at the outset. So well probably go with the used diesel pusher for the extra room needed for full timing. I do admit that Ill miss the garden and the deck, but I hope the adventure of endless new horizons will make it worth while. If the real estate market on the West Coast continues to boom for the next 5 years or so, well have to settle for a small house when we finally do put down roots again. But the bubble may get deflated during that period and we might be able to settle somewhere on the North side of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington in a nice home with a view of the water. Well just have to wait to see the answer to that one..

Brian.
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....
Old 06-23-2005, 07:21 PM   #5
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....

Peter:

I appreciate your views on the issue. We have had some wonderful adventures, including snowmachining 400 miles (round trip) through the wilderness and down the Yukon River to Dawson Yukon Territory last winter. We also have an airplane (hence the mediocre retirement savings!!) that we fly around the state whenever possible. But we've found that the 30 - 60 days a year that we really enjoy just don't outweigh the bad weather, remoteness of Interior Alaska and my wife's boring job. I manage medical clinics, and finding jobs is tough, which is why we're in Alaska in the first place. Frankly, Im pretty burned out of this business even though I'm pretty good job at it. It just feels like its time to move on, if we can manage the financing and find some sort of health insurance for my wife. We'd be OK for 18 months after leaving work because of COBRA, but after that it will be tough getting her any coverage. That's probably the most difficult issue we face in making this decision.....
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....
Old 06-23-2005, 07:46 PM   #6
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....

Brian, I'd recommend first looking for a job somewhere else, including internationally. You're a skilled worker and while you may face a pay cut it probably won't be as bad as working for minimum wage. If that's just not feasible then have a look at your expenses. Will $45k cover it? Figuring out how much you need to live gives you a good idea how much longer you need to tough it out. If its mostly your wife that dislikes Alaska maybe she can take a month or two every winter and live elsewhere (relatives?).
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....
Old 06-23-2005, 08:03 PM   #7
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....

Looks like the sticky wicket might be the wife's medical insurance - not to wag the dog - but solving that problem may prove the most difficult to get something acceptable for ER.

You have more wiggle room on your other stuff.
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....
Old 06-23-2005, 08:12 PM   #8
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by unclemick2
Looks like the sticky wicket might be the wife's medical insurance - not to wag the dog - but solving that problem may prove the most difficult to get something acceptable for ER.
Agreed. Couldn't get an individual health policy for DW (57) without exclusions for skin cancer (2 years past). On COBRA now and will likely go to the state high-risk pool for her when no longer COBRA eligible.

REW
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....
Old 06-23-2005, 09:00 PM   #9
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....

Brian, what do you do that makes you feel that you would go from $250,000 a year to minimum wage if you changed jobs? It doesn't make sense. They must be paying you what you could get elsewhere, maybe minus the hardship pay for Alaska.

Ha
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I love San Antonio
Old 06-24-2005, 07:13 AM   #10
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I love San Antonio

Wah0000000000:

Spurs over Pistons in 7th. game.

(Amazing how a wager will make the game a little more exciting.)

We did it, Eagle-43!

What makes it a little sweeter, is I'm playing golf this AM with the guy I made wager with.

Life is beautiful!
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....
Old 06-24-2005, 07:20 AM   #11
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....

Wait a minute

I thought Bangladesh beat the Aussies in cricket for the first time ever.

What the heck are you guys talking about!

Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh
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Re: I love San Antonio
Old 06-24-2005, 08:37 AM   #12
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Re: I love San Antonio

Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-Jarhead
Wah0000000000:

Spurs over Pistons in 7th. game.

(Amazing how a wager will make the game a little more exciting.)

We did it, Eagle-43!

What makes it a little sweeter, is I'm playing golf this AM with the guy I made wager with.

Life is beautiful!
I love it when someone uses my moniker when something good happens...

"Spurs Win Title in SB3 Center"

REWahoo!
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Re: I love San Antonio
Old 06-24-2005, 05:13 PM   #13
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Re: I love San Antonio

Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-Jarhead
Wah0000000000:

Spurs over Pistons in 7th. game.

(Amazing how a wager will make the game a little more exciting.)

We did it, Eagle-43!

What makes it a little sweeter, is I'm playing golf this AM with the guy I made wager with.

Life is beautiful!
Bet him double or nothing on the match! Yeah, Duncan finally acted like.. well Duncan. Makes me very happy! Watched it thru the MVP award!
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....
Old 06-25-2005, 06:43 AM   #14
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....

On the insurance issue, I suggest doing some investigation as to what state you will want to be a resident of when you retire for purposes of purchasing health insurance. Try www.healthinsuranceinfo.net for state by state information.

The medical business is growing in my area of the country and there are jobs that come up fairly frequently for clinic managers. This is northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, so it still is cold and dark in the winter but not as cold or as dark.

Good luck.
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....
Old 06-25-2005, 10:10 AM   #15
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
This is northern Minnesota and Wisconsin, so it still is cold and dark in the winter but not as cold or as dark.
Ah, I've been waiting for the starter's pistol.

OK, Brian, Martha, here you go: "How cold was it?"
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Re: I love San Antonio
Old 06-25-2005, 04:39 PM   #16
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Re: I love San Antonio

Eagle43, Ex-Jarhead:

The city of San Antonio is throwing a huge party tonight to celebrate the Spurs NBA championship. Starting at 6, the team will parade down the SA River surrounded by an estimated 350,000 fans. Then to the Alamodome where another 65,000 are waiting for them. All the local TV stations are interrupting network programming to carry the whole thing live, all 4+ hours of it.

We do love our Spurs!

REW

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Re: I love San Antonio
Old 06-25-2005, 07:39 PM   #17
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Re: I love San Antonio

Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-Jarhead
REW: I only had a $100.00 wager, so can't afford to make the trip.

Texas seems to give all their teams great support.
Sorry you can't make it, you're missing one heck of a bash.

Yep, Texans are big sports nuts (as well as gun nuts, God nuts, and just plain nuts) especially when it comes to HS football. I'm sure you are familiar with "Friday Night Lights", both the book and the movie. Pretty much tells the story.

I grew up in a small TX town, population under 5,000. After 75 years, they won the State Football Championship for the first time last year. The town called in police coverage from neighboring counties during the title game, since the town was vacant, including the police and county sheriff depts. There were 20,000+ in attendance. It was a nail biting barn-burner, with a final score of 49-47. The town celebrated for weeks after the victory.

And as we speak, The University of TX baseball team is defeating the University of Florida in the CWS...

REW

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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....
Old 06-25-2005, 08:27 PM   #18
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Re: Waiting to make the leap.....

I'm watching that celebration on tv. Congratultions, and the Spurs are the best. BTW: San Antonio is a great town, no matter what the people in Austin, Dallas or Houston think. Love the riverwalk, esp.
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