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Old 01-06-2011, 09:20 PM   #1
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Yeah, weird, I know.

Hi all,

I've been lurking for a while enjoying the good advice and interesting discussions. I'm very impressed with the civil and thoughtful interaction on this board, congrats to all of you for creating such a great environment-- it's a bigger deal than you may realize.

At any rate, here's a little about me. I'm 45, hubby is 44, no kids other than a sweet Golden Retriever. Here's my problem. It's that I kind of don't have a problem. We could afford to retire today. But, we just aren't. Hubby is working in a pre-IPO company, and figures he's got 2-3 more years at the grindstone before some kind of liquidation event can happen, either the company going IPO, or preferably selling it. And I just don't feel right retiring while he's still in the throes of it. My job is well paid, and cushy, so I'm not even afforded the dignity of having any valid complaints about it. I'm just incredibly bored because I've been doing it for 20 years now. So I'm kind of in "one more year" hell, with the added pitchfork of "and it's my own decision" poking me right in the a$$ with it's shiny little tines.

One thing I could use some advice on. In my mind (which is where my ideas generally work out the best) I tend to think of financing our retirement in two phases. The 65+ phase being funded by 401k money, and the time prior to that being funded with all of our non-401k assets; real estate, company stock, precious metals, etc. I tend to think we've got the 65+ portion sewn up tight, that should be very well funded by the time we're tapping into it. For the pre-65 portion, I think we've got plenty of assets, but we need to develop more of a plan of how gracefully convert them into a cashflow. Oh, and I hate annuties. Never. Going. To. Happen.

Anyway, nice to meet you all!
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:35 PM   #2
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....valid complaints... incredibly bored

....
Anyway, nice to meet you all!
Likewise! Welcome to the board.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:53 PM   #3
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Welcome BizzyC!
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BizzyC View Post
Hi all,

I've been lurking for a while enjoying the good advice and interesting discussions. I'm very impressed with the civil and thoughtful interaction on this board, congrats to all of you for creating such a great environment-- it's a bigger deal than you may realize.. I'm just incredibly bored because I've been doing it for 20 years now. So I'm kind of in "one more year" hell, with the added pitchfork of "and it's my own decision" poking me right in the a$$ with it's shiny little tines.

One thing I could use some advice on. In my mind (which is where my ideas generally work out the best) I tend to think of financing our retirement in two phases. The 65+ phase being funded by 401k money, and the time prior to that being funded with all of our non-401k assets; real estate, company stock, precious metals, etc. I tend to think we've got the 65+ portion sewn up tight, that should be very well funded by the time we're tapping into it. For the pre-65 portion, I think we've got plenty of assets, but we need to develop more of a plan of how gracefully convert them into a cashflow. Oh, and I hate annuties. Never. Going. To. Happen.
Welcome aboard. Some random thoughts:

While it's a very personal decision, your retiring before your DH could be looked upon as beneficial to him, too. You will have more time to plan things you enjoy together; maybe easing up his schedule by tweaking the domestic division of labor, whatever. Can you come up with any reason it would hurt him for you to bail out first? He might be thrilled.

As to your two-phase retirement income plan, your sequence of withdrawals is sensible to optimize the benefits of tax deferral. Your brief description makes the phase 1 portfolio sound pretty volatile to count on for short term living expenses, unless you have other fixed investments to tone it down. I'll leave further comment there to the experts.

FWIW, as a former "just one more year" victim, I have found post-retirement life to be so enjoyable thus far (initially part-time and several months full-time) that I have already deferred or scuttled about a million things I thought I'd do in retirement just because the leisure is so astounding. Now when I say "just one more year" I'm usually referring to some worthy or "character building" activity I decided to forgo.

Glad you introduced yourself here, and I look forward to hearing how your decisions evolve.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:10 PM   #5
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Welcome BizzyC. My two cents...

Firecalc, of course. Link at the bottom of the page.

Don't feel anxious about being anxious. Picking a retirement date ain't easy for most of us. I am several years older than you, been on the forum for a few years, and I'm not yet close to getting my head around the idea of zeroing in on "my" date.

You have a couple of more days for a free download of Otar's book on retirement saving and spending strategies. (Thanks LOL!) I haven't read through it, but Otar and his calculator are highly recommended by many here. The link to the free download is on the left side of the page:
otar retirement calculator

Learn about the 72(t) option for withdrawing retirement funds from your non-taxable accounts. It's an option not always listed in published "strategies."

Leveling out the taxes paid over the various phases (retirement to 59-1/2, 59-1/2 - SS age / SS age to 70-1/2, etc.) of an early retirement is important, but not always easily captured in a homemade spreadsheet.

One calculator tool I like because of it's flexibility in scheduling the withdrawals from various sources is a free program called Forecaster. It helped my understand some of the tax and other variables involved. I can't recommend it on mathematical accuracy or the strength of peer reviews, but I know it helped me better understand some of the math for various ER withdrawal options.
"Forecaster" program - any opinions?
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
FWIW, as a former "just one more year" victim, I have found post-retirement life to be so enjoyable thus far (initially part-time and several months full-time) that I have already deferred or scuttled about a million things I thought I'd do in retirement just because the leisure is so astounding.
The board needs to preserve this statement as proof that with proper treatment, this terrible mental illness can be overcome.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:43 PM   #7
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Thanks Cuppa and Gumby!

Rich, you make some good points. Here's kind of the thought process (or what passes for thought when I do it). As for as the household stuff, I'm already doing 90% of it, and I'm FINE with it. He's busting his butt in an indescribable way trying to make this thing go, and I'm delighted to do anything and everything I can to lighten his load at home. My job really is pretty cushy, and it's not a huge burden to me to do this. At the end of the day, it is *my* decision to keep working for now, and I'm settled on that decision. But, we have talked about the fact that whether his thing goes or not, within 2-3 years I'm pulling the plug, and I'm going to want him to do so at a similar time so we can get on with the master plan of moving to Maui. (Gonna have to invite Mr. and Mrs. Nords over for a glass of wine next time they're over!) And he's 100% down with that plan. Having an endpoint helps.

And yeah, you're absolutely right about the phase 1 plan being too volatile as it stands today. I have kind of put off thinking about it in more detail up till now, but I do need to start getting it hashed out.

Ha, yeah, I have been lurking for a while and I'm aware you're the "one more year" poster child! Your comment about putting off pre-retirement character building restores my faith in humanity! Excellent!
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Htown Harry View Post
Welcome BizzyC. My two cents...

Firecalc, of course. Link at the bottom of the page.

Don't feel anxious about being anxious. Picking a retirement date ain't easy for most of us. I am several years older than you, been on the forum for a few years, and I'm not yet close to getting my head around the idea of zeroing in on "my" date.

You have a couple of more days for a free download of Otar's book on retirement saving and spending strategies. (Thanks LOL!) I haven't read through it, but Otar and his calculator are highly recommended by many here. The link to the free download is on the left side of the page:
otar retirement calculator

Learn about the 72(t) option for withdrawing retirement funds from your non-taxable accounts. It's an option not always listed in published "strategies."

Leveling out the taxes paid over the various phases (retirement to 59-1/2, 59-1/2 - SS age / SS age to 70-1/2, etc.) of an early retirement is important, but not always easily captured in a homemade spreadsheet.

One calculator tool I like because of it's flexibility in scheduling the withdrawals from various sources is a free program called Forecaster. It helped my understand some of the tax and other variables involved. I can't recommend it on mathematical accuracy or the strength of peer reviews, but I know it helped me better understand some of the math for various ER withdrawal options.
"Forecaster" program - any opinions?
Hi Harry,

Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

Your point about using the 72(t) option is primarily as a way to equalize the 401k distributions over more years, in order to try to keep under a certain tax bracket each year? Yeah, I have thought about that. We may well be in a position where that would be important for us. I'm in the camp with many others in that it's hard to imagine that taxes won't be going up in the future.
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Old 01-06-2011, 11:52 PM   #9
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The board needs to preserve this statement as proof that with proper treatment, this terrible mental illness can be overcome.
Too soon to tell. . We may be seeing the start of a beautiful new career--as a writer or motivational speaker.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:04 AM   #10
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Too soon to tell. . We may be seeing the start of a beautiful new career--as a writer or motivational speaker.
MMND?
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:07 AM   #11
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Welcome BizzyC.
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:33 AM   #12
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Hi all,

I've been lurking for a while enjoying the good advice and interesting discussions. I'm very impressed with the civil and thoughtful interaction on this board, congrats to all of you for creating such a great environment-- it's a bigger deal than you may realize.

At any rate, here's a little about me. I'm 45, hubby is 44, no kids other than a sweet Golden Retriever. Here's my problem. It's that I kind of don't have a problem. We could afford to retire today. But, we just aren't. Hubby is working in a pre-IPO company, and figures he's got 2-3 more years at the grindstone before some kind of liquidation event can happen, either the company going IPO, or preferably selling it. And I just don't feel right retiring while he's still in the throes of it. My job is well paid, and cushy, so I'm not even afforded the dignity of having any valid complaints about it. I'm just incredibly bored because I've been doing it for 20 years now. So I'm kind of in "one more year" hell, with the added pitchfork of "and it's my own decision" poking me right in the a$$ with it's shiny little tines.

One thing I could use some advice on. In my mind (which is where my ideas generally work out the best) I tend to think of financing our retirement in two phases. The 65+ phase being funded by 401k money, and the time prior to that being funded with all of our non-401k assets; real estate, company stock, precious metals, etc. I tend to think we've got the 65+ portion sewn up tight, that should be very well funded by the time we're tapping into it. For the pre-65 portion, I think we've got plenty of assets, but we need to develop more of a plan of how gracefully convert them into a cashflow. Oh, and I hate annuties. Never. Going. To. Happen.

Anyway, nice to meet you all!
While I can't relate to the issues relating to being married, I can relate to the two-phase ER scenario you predict. [I can relate to some of your job issues but that is a more personal choice as to whether to leave the job or stick around longer.

Having retired 2 years ago at age 45 (see my signature line), I had to create a financial plan to get me to age 59 1/2 when I can begin to tap into the first of what I call my "reinforcements." That is, all the big items I have waiting out there for me at different times in the future. Besides being able to tap into my IRA (rolled from my former 401(k)), I also have a frozen pension from my old company, and SS.

This means I have an income-generating portfolio for my non-retirement assets but a growth-oriented portfolio for the IRA. While I am generating more dividends than I need today from the non-retirement assets, I realize that it may not always be that way. But as long as I don't run big deficits as I near age 59 1/2 (and the plan doesn't have me doing that), the reinforcements will kick in to save me in 12 years from now. I surely don't want to tap into the IRA beforehand and risk penalties but that is a Plan B, and an unlikely one at that.
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:44 AM   #13
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The board needs to preserve this statement as proof that with proper treatment, this terrible mental illness can be overcome.
I'll take care of that. Whenever.
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:46 AM   #14
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MMND?
Aaaaaaarrrrggghhh!
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Old 01-07-2011, 08:59 AM   #15
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FWIW, as a former "just one more year" victim, I have found post-retirement life to be so enjoyable thus far (initially part-time and several months full-time) that I have already deferred or scuttled about a million things I thought I'd do in retirement just because the leisure is so astounding.
This would explain my not having de-cluttered the house yet, I guess - despite my good intentions... the freedom is wonderful although the clutter will get to me at some point. I could fill my day just with this E-R board..
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:11 PM   #16
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This would explain my not having de-cluttered the house yet, I guess - despite my good intentions... the freedom is wonderful although the clutter will get to me at some point. I could fill my day just with this E-R board..
Thought I was the only one having too much fun! After 31+ years of corporate America's schedule, being able to set my own schedule most days since I ERd last October 1 is wonderful. I have a to-do list that is now over 4 yellow-pad pages, have managed to cross off about half of them. Won't get much done for the next month or so as I have overcommitted on some volunteer activities. But my original thought that I would be itching to get back into some part-time w*rk ( consulting and/or teaching) by now just couldn't be farther from the truth.
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:43 PM   #17
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This means I have an income-generating portfolio for my non-retirement assets but a growth-oriented portfolio for the IRA. While I am generating more dividends than I need today from the non-retirement assets, I realize that it may not always be that way. But as long as I don't run big deficits as I near age 59 1/2 (and the plan doesn't have me doing that), the reinforcements will kick in to save me in 12 years from now. I surely don't want to tap into the IRA beforehand and risk penalties but that is a Plan B, and an unlikely one at that.
This seems like the way to go. My only comment is that the income-generating portfolio does not need to be strictly for income. It still requires a 20-year investment horizon and the principal is expected to be fully dissipated at the end of the period. Therefore, I would treat this portolio separately from the other (and you can start shifting the other into income as you get closer to 65).
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:06 PM   #18
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Thanks Cuppa and Gumby!

Rich, you make some good points. Here's kind of the thought process (or what passes for thought when I do it). As for as the household stuff, I'm already doing 90% of it, and I'm FINE with it. He's busting his butt in an indescribable way trying to make this thing go, and I'm delighted to do anything and everything I can to lighten his load at home. My job really is pretty cushy, and it's not a huge burden to me to do this. At the end of the day, it is *my* decision to keep working for now, and I'm settled on that decision. But, we have talked about the fact that whether his thing goes or not, within 2-3 years I'm pulling the plug, and I'm going to want him to do so at a similar time so we can get on with the master plan of moving to Maui. (Gonna have to invite Mr. and Mrs. Nords over for a glass of wine next time they're over!) And he's 100% down with that plan. Having an endpoint helps.

And yeah, you're absolutely right about the phase 1 plan being too volatile as it stands today. I have kind of put off thinking about it in more detail up till now, but I do need to start getting it hashed out.

Ha, yeah, I have been lurking for a while and I'm aware you're the "one more year" poster child! Your comment about putting off pre-retirement character building restores my faith in humanity! Excellent!
Welcome to the board. You sound like a very supportive wife. Your husband is a lucky man.
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:30 PM   #19
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This seems like the way to go. My only comment is that the income-generating portfolio does not need to be strictly for income. It still requires a 20-year investment horizon and the principal is expected to be fully dissipated at the end of the period. Therefore, I would treat this portolio separately from the other (and you can start shifting the other into income as you get closer to 65).
The income-generating portfolio also includes a stock mutual fund (about 30% of my taxable accounts), a fund which has growth but also generates some dividends. Similarly, the IRA has a bond component, about 35-40%.

I don't expect the funds in the taxable account to all gone by the time I begin tapping into my reinforcements. It is likely, however, that their dividends alone won't be enough to cover my expenses so I will start tapping into principal to (hopefully) only a small degree.

I will surely be gradually rebalancing from stocks into bonds in about 10-15 years, especially in the IRA.
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Old 01-07-2011, 04:40 PM   #20
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Hi all,



One thing I could use some advice on. In my mind (which is where my ideas generally work out the best) I tend to think of financing our retirement in two phases. The 65+ phase being funded by 401k money, and the time prior to that being funded with all of our non-401k assets; real estate, company stock, precious metals, etc. I tend to think we've got the 65+ portion sewn up tight, that should be very well funded by the time we're tapping into it. For the pre-65 portion, I think we've got plenty of assets, but we need to develop more of a plan of how gracefully convert them into a cashflow. Oh, and I hate annuties. Never. Going. To. Happen.

Anyway, nice to meet you all!
We are not using 401k/IRA assets until some years from now. Our cash flow needs are met with cash reserves and income from real estate, dividends and interest. We keep 5 to 7 years of income in cash, mostly laddered CDs. You might consider gradually converting some of the non-401k assets to cash before you retire so you don't have to sell out at a bad time.
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