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Old 07-25-2012, 07:38 PM   #61
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This thread is priceless. Thank you imoldernu.
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:40 PM   #62
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I am bumping this because I look at retirement not only as a planning process, but as a philosophy, a broad overview of life for the later years.

While retirement starts out with excitement, enthusiasm, relief, and happiness, only the ultimate optimist will really believe the golden years will be an uninterrupted adventure of travel, total financial security, good health, and personal fulfillment. Doesn't mean it shouldn't be a goal, but along with the good things, it's important to recognize the bumps along the way. Speaking from some experience with friends in my Illinois and Florida retirement communities, "NOT" planning for those bumps can be devastating and life changing.

While some bumps can be financial, more often than not, the worst problems come from unexpected physical or mental health issues... especially when onset is sudden.

In our case (bride and self), we early on, spent uncomfortable hours discussing the 'what if's'. With my cancer at age 53, and her stroke at age 57, we began the preparedness early on (20 years ago) and continue today, with a high probability that either or both of us will face Alzheimers... probably in the relatively near future. (genes... family history).
.................................................. .........................................
Backing up a bit, we have seen many meltdowns and terrible tragedies... of couples both older and younger than ourselves... where one spouse has met with misfortune where the other was not mentally prepared to cope.
Stroke death on a cruise
Lou Gherig's Disease
Brain tumors
Pancreatic cancer
Rapid progression Alzheimers
Irreversible spinal problems (wheelchair)
... and hundreds of other debilitating or sudden death instances that put an end to idyllic dreams.

It's one thing at age 85+, and another when it happens in the 60's or 70's.
.................................................. ..........................................
So now, we take it one day at a time, and spend a little more time thinking about ways to adjust for the "if and when" events. It's not always the simple things, like who handles the accounting, or how do you fill up the car at the gas station, or whether to sell the house and move into an apartment, or back where the kids live. Some of the situations involve finances, others involve emotions and mental health.

To begin with, the problem of Alzheimers may be one of the most challenging, since it is not a trauma like sudden death, or a physical disability that can be resolved with rationale, or with a short period of grief... And that is the main point of this post.

I commend this article to your reading, as it deals with not just the physical and emotional problems, but the financial burdens, and some early on actions to be taken to avoid unnecessary costs. In particular, there are some very important links to websites that provide further insight and advice.

Kiplinger.com

If you are in your 50's, this may seem far away, and low down on the list of worries. If you are 60 or older, maybe not so much.

Not to dwell on negatives, but unless you are very financially comfortable, setting out on a retirement plan will include much more than money planning, especially if the planning is for two persons. Simply having a bucket list of things to do before you die, is not the same as building a philosophical approach to the coming 10 to 40 years of life.

Your mileage may vary, but my old Infantry Officer Training mantra was PPPPPP: Proper prior planning prevents poor performance. It ain't always about the money.
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Old 10-02-2012, 01:04 PM   #63
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I want to say that I was directed to this thread by your reply in a different thread, and I just read through the whole thing.

Being younger for these boards, and looking toward the future of ER, I enjoyed every word.

Thanks.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:06 PM   #64
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I am using this thread to do some introspection on some subjects that are missing in the daily action on the forums. It may or may not be interesting or of use to you. Simply some ruminations on our years in retirement, and hopefuully some insight into our plans for the future.

First... the subject of health and retirement. Not the "money " part with medicare or insurance, but the physical part.
Normal healthy persons who are looking to retire early, or even "on time"... look for a place to settle, the mental peace that comes with adequate financing, and a time to live the American Dream. It's a time to learn the joys of independence, and to fulfil all of those "bucket list" plans. Travel, Sports, Music, Hobbies, Social pleasures, and that wonderful feeling of getting up in the AM, without having to go to work.

Introspection indeed... All of the above. The past 23 years have allowed myself and my bride to experience everything that we wished for, and then some.

At the same time, we have lived in senior communities for 20 of those years, which has given an opportunity to see others who are the same age, as well as older and younger. Folks who had somewhat less money than us, and those who had many multiples of our worth. While we all live our lives in our own way, there is one common thread that affects all of us to one degree or another.

Health

It's a matter of time. Beginning with our first month of retirement to Florida in 1990, a couple our own age moved in next door. He was two years older than me... 56, and was mowing lawns to supplement his retirement. A month later, with no warning, he died from a heart attack, leaving a 55 year old widow.

We don't... can't... plan for these things. Living in a normal mixed age neighborhood with kids, schools and working folk, death or catastrophic illness is rare. Only when the age spread tightens, like from 55 to 85, do the odds change. We don't often hear about actuarial interruptions to retirement.

On a recent thread, there was substantial discussion about living in structured retirement communities like The Villages in Central Florida. Most of the attention was paid to the busy community of people doing things.. clubs, golf, travel, shopping, sports golf carts, etc., and the downtown activity centers busy. "Liesureville" (the book) played up a young vibrant community. Yes, it is. What is never seen, is the older and less healthy part of that community, perhaps half...that are not actively involved in most of these things. The huge medical presence in the villages, is almost equally busy. Offices, clinics, specialty centers and hospitals are permanently full. In a community of nearly 150,000 people there is a wide spread of health levels.

In my own case, in the early days of retirement, we were not really aware of any possible interruptions to our retirement dream. My colon cancer was cured and only a blip in memory... And then,at age 55, my bride suffered a stroke, and except for a magnificent emergency operation by Florida's premiere surgeon, might well not be here today.

Yeah... I realize this is a downer... but hopefully some points to make a reader more aware of the positives, while being mindful that each day of retirement is a gift.

A few more points... In 2001, my best friend and neighbor (we bonded on first meeting and did everything together) spent a full day on Jet Skis in Wisconsin... and had plans to get together in Il at the end of the week. A phone call from his wife delayed the visit, two days later he was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer, and two weeks after that died.

In 2002, we became close friends with a young (age 52) couple from Canada. They were visiting us in Illinois in late September 2003, touring the area and Lake Geneva. He had a mild cough, but non debilitating. On his return to Canada, it was diagnosed as lung cancer, and he died on my birthday in early November.

This litany of misfortune serves no purpose, but to make real those interruptions to life in the later years. Without being too morbid, in our community of 350 homes... since 1990, we have lost more than 150 friends... dying of old age, in nursing homes, or moved north to be with family because of infirmities. Others remain, but are housebound or wheelchair bound. Just a fact of life.

So now, we live our lives normally, not dwelling on death or infirmity, but aware... We talk about the possibles and the probables for the future. In previous posts on this thread, I mentioned our map for the future, involving living in a full service senior community... Houses, an apartment complex 60 units, an assisted living complex 45 units, a rehab center, and a 65 unit nursing home. Not needed today @ age 76, but likely in the future.

We spend less time travelling, and more time on the computer, and watching TV. We'll give up our camp on the lake in another year or two, and instead of owning in Florida, will probably fly back and forth and rent... and maybe not even do that.

As I previously stated, we have done our "due diligence" for wills, health directives, power of attorney etc.

As part of this introspection, some personal things that lead us to realistic about the future... Despite biking and canoeing, and our "forced marches" in the local mall, we're facing some unsteadyness, arthritis, mild muscle weakness, vision issues and now, for me, periperal neuropathy... a progressive, aggravating though not seriously debilitating disease.

...AND the old worry about dementia, as we both have history in the family. All tests and our kids say no, but when literally "Losing" words... it's a cause for worry... Again... this is not intended to depress anyone, but for any possible interest...Here is an excellent, no punches pulled article:
Things to know about Alzheimers/dementia
http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upl...s_dementia.pdf

And one more information article that deals with the possibility of nursing home home care... odds and cost. Our Nursing home insurance was discussed in previous posts.

Long-Term Care Insurance: The Risks and Benefits | Nolo.com

There... quite a divergence from the financial parts of retirement, and not much in the way of advice.

Hopefully, with the indulgence of the moderators, I can drop back with more on our decades of retirement. In the meantime it's a chance to organize thoughts, and prepare for tomorrow.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:37 PM   #65
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Thank you all for sharing your wisdom. I just retired at 61 in July. Living alone and in good health my main thoughts have centered solely on money. Reading these notes drives home the point that there's a whole lot more I need to think about.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:05 PM   #66
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What is never seen, is the older and less healthy part of that community, perhaps half...that are not actively involved in most of these things. The huge medical presence in the villages, is almost equally busy. Offices, clinics, specialty centers and hospitals are permanently full...
Thanks for sharing the sober thoughts and real-life experiences that you have seen with your friends, whose retirement did not last as long as any would have predicted. Though we are much younger than you are or other posters here, because we were involved with the care of our parents, and have been to so many hospitals, convalescent homes, and nursing homes, we have seen plenty of invalid or sick people who are not all that old.

I have to keep thinking of these more somber possibilities, as I start my early retirement. Yes, I tend to spend too much time thinking about my investments, because it is the only thing I seem to do able to do anything about, yet charting the course of the ship does not mean assurance of the wind to get me there. Health risks can be minimized, but are a lot less under our control than we would like to think too.

Call me pessimistic, but I have slowly realized that I'd better spend more time to live than to count money, or to worry too much about anything.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:23 PM   #67
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Wow...

After reading your accounts I too realize I am spending WAY too much time focusing on only the money part of retirement...but your account does reinforce my desire to proceed with early retirement if only to have some time to enjoy life while still able to..

Just so many summers, and no guarantee you'll be healthy enough to enjoy them, let alone wealthy enough...and then won't one regret the time they spent worrying about tomorrow instead of savoring today...

Thanks....
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:49 PM   #68
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While we are in a somber mood, I will tell this story which I might have told before.

Some time ago, at megacorp, when we were shooting the breeze, I said that I loved to travel, so that I would not have regrets when I was on my deathbed.

An older engineer, 20 years my senior, shook his head and said "Most dying patients just want the pain to stop".

That left me speechless, and stuck with me till now.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:03 PM   #69
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Thank you for passing on the wisdom of your years. I have enjoyed reading and pondering your words. It is too easy to be focused on the money and find that life just keeps going on. Looking forward to reading more.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:15 PM   #70
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I'll have to read this thread as im-older-than-u has a lot of wisdom I want to soak up. I've just read the last few and so much rings true.

One of the major reasons I'm here is because a co-worker dropped dead at 57. I don't know his situation, but I was baffled that he ignored two extremely generous packages my MegaCorp offered. On top of that, I'm looking at assisted living options for my dad, nearly 90. Dad didn't ER, but has had a good retirement, but he's beat the odds to get this far. He's now declining rapidly.

In any case, it is tough making the decision on ER. Without a pension, and having to rely on my own financial wits, it is a balance of getting out now or building that financial cushion. That's why I'm here, to gather info about the decision.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:23 PM   #71
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Without a pension, and having to rely on my own financial wits, it is a balance of getting out now or building that financial cushion. That's why I'm here.
If you haven't already seen it, here's a thread that might be worth your time: Handling the "just one more year..." syndrome

Keep in mind than when it comes to living on less than you'd like to have, it is far better it be money, not time.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:37 PM   #72
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If you haven't already seen it, here's a thread that might be worth your time: Handling the "just one more year..." syndrome

Keep in mind than when it comes to living on less than you'd like to have, it is far better it be money, not time.
Thanks. More reading to do.

Part of my problem now is MegaCorp has done this package thing every 2 years or so. Next year "could be the year" again. Or maybe not. I've decided to take it if it comes available. But I have to guard against just waiting for it, year after year after year after year after year.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:29 AM   #73
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Thanks for sharing the sober thoughts and real-life experiences that you have seen with your friends, whose retirement did not last as long as any would have predicted. Though we are much younger than you are or other posters here, because we were involved with the care of our parents, and have been to so many hospitals, convalescent homes, and nursing homes, we have seen plenty of invalid or sick people who are not all that old.

I have to keep thinking of these more somber possibilities, as I start my early retirement. Yes, I tend to spend too much time thinking about my investments, because it is the only thing I seem to do able to do anything about, yet charting the course of the ship does not mean assurance of the wind to get me there. Health risks can be minimized, but are a lot less under our control than we would like to think too.

Call me pessimistic, but I have slowly realized that I'd better spend more time to live than to count money, or to worry too much about anything.
I like the seafaring metaphor. I like the thread, too.

Friends of our decided to move to one of those retirement villages. They gave us a tour of the beautiful grounds and facilities. Beautiful pool, manicured golf course and very large, nice club house with a variety of activities scheduled. One other thing that made an impression on me was that on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, there was no one using any of this. It was as if a neutron bomb hit. I was not shown the medical facilities.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:45 AM   #74
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There are hundreds of financial planners on line where you put in your estimates of assets, and return and inflation, and come up with the amount you need to retire. In our case it doesn't work... All of the planners make the assumption that you will want to maintain your asset capital until you die... In our case, had we followed their plan, we NEVER would have retired.
We just decided to die at age 85... dead broke. Made our planning much easier. Personal decision of course, but if you plan to spend down capital assets, it makes planning easier.
I still keep our plan (as a reminder of lessons learned) from Fido that said we would be liquidating our 401k by now. Their predictions did not figure in the epic financial collapse of a few years ago or they would have been even more dire.


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Our plan is extremely simple... On the spending side, we have three different budgets that we can adjust as circumstances warrant. Best case... Nominal... and Austerity.

On the Asset/Nest Egg side, We boil our assets down into three categories.
1. Fixed assets... house, auto, and other valuable non cash items... real property, jewelry, . We do not count household goods... (experience tells us that this is not realistic)
2. Non Income producing assets... bank accounts, cash, cash value life insurance policies.
3. Income producing assets... stocks, bonds, annuity.

All of these items are kept on a spread sheet and periodically updated. It's easy to come up with a total value... and then to average the income from the total...

To calculate where we stand in our retirement plan, we add
a. Social security amount.
b. Amount of interest earned on income producing assets.
c. ... and add the Total Assets divided by the number of years between now and age 85.

That establishes how much we can spend, which we then adjust to our best/nominal/austerity budget.

Sounds funky, but it works,and it takes about 2 minutes to tell if we're on budget or not.
There is genius in simplicity. How many on this forum can define their financial plans in so few words?
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:17 PM   #75
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We'll be heading south in another month... A friend just sent a picture he took from my neighbor's plane.. showing our Florida Community, so I'm sharing it here.

When one thinks of Florida, it's usually coastline, beaches and "salt Water". Not so. There are thousands of lakes (actually 30,000) in the state. This picture is our community of mobile homes. Center is our community clubhoudse and pool, and in front of that our 55 slip marina. We're on a 9400 acre 7 mile lake that connects with five other lakes with a total shoreline of 212 miles, as well as river access to the Atlantic ocean. (Harris Chain of Lakes).

With a somewhat lower cost of living, and less trafficked, less crowded atmosphere, being away from the coast, (and hurricanes)... There are many parts of Florida that potential retirees might consider and still be on/near the water.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:41 PM   #76
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Is that the Atlantic Ocean on the horizon?
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:26 PM   #77
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In the front, Lake Griffin
In the back (Big) Lake Harris
The other lakes in the connected chain are Lake Dora, Little Lake Harris and Lake Eustis... total over 50,000 acres.

Almost dead center Florida... 415 miles to Pensacola, 430 miles to Key West, 62 miles to Daytona Beach on the east coast, and 59 miles to Crystal River on the west coast.
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Old 10-27-2012, 04:16 PM   #78
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Don't fool yourself about being away from the hurricanes. We thought that and got slammped by 3 of them in one year (2004) living in Lakeland, FL!
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:43 AM   #79
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Imoldernu, thanks so much for your thoughts.
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:22 AM   #80
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Well I am glad you decided to give it a bump, as I missed it somehow when it first ran. Lots of great insights that I enjoyed reading this morning. Our plans are still not fully formed, but we share a lot of the same ideas. Thanks for sharing, that's the kind of thing that makes this forum so worthwhile IMO. The more actual long term experiences we read about here, the better (vs 'I retired 6 months ago and it's great...you should too!').
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