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The Five Years BEFORE You Retired?
Old 08-26-2018, 10:17 AM   #1
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The Five Years BEFORE You Retired?

How did you spend your last five years before retirement?

1. No change, business as usual.

2. Worked harder, saved more.

3. Worked less, took a less demanding position, and enjoyed life more.

Mentally we are ready to retire today. Financially, we have to wait five more years. We're getting impatient and, after my my wife's recent health scares, we're a little worried about our health failing before we get to enjoy retirement.
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Old 08-26-2018, 10:24 AM   #2
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I am not retired, but should be within the five year period. I am also financial independent since early this year.
We have increased our spending a little bit. We started experiencing retirement, i.e., do something that we expect to do in retirement to see what it looks like. In particular, we have increased our travel (visited 11 countries so far this year), which is the major thing that we want to do in retirement. So we take out some items off the retirement list.
The reasons that I do not retire now are health insurance issues, my son's college education, and the desire for some buffer in portfolio.
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Old 08-26-2018, 10:28 AM   #3
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1 for me. My husband didn’t plan on retiring but got laid off and couldn’t find a job. Ended up taking his pension early.
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Old 08-26-2018, 10:30 AM   #4
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Probably 2. I saved and invested like a man possessed.
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Old 08-26-2018, 10:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mountainsoft View Post
How did you spend your last five years before retirement?

1. No change, business as usual.

2. Worked harder, saved more.

3. Worked less, took a less demanding position, and enjoyed life more.
For me it was a combination of 1 and the second half of 2.

Five years before retirement saw the last one leave the nest - graduate from college, find employment and get off the payroll. Work didn't change, yet we probably saved more in those last five years than we did in the previous ten, and paid off the mortgage to boot.
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Old 08-26-2018, 10:38 AM   #6
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It was 08, my head was in the sand.

We did cut back and saved more. The closer we got the more we saved. Our last year was living on our retirement budget, about 50% of our take home.

There was a lot going on at Megacorp too. The original CEO was stepping down and the new "management team" was taking over. It wasn't a good time. I was reminded today by an article about from a local KC perspective. I'm very happy to have left that toxic place.
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Old 08-26-2018, 10:40 AM   #7
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I also worked much less.
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Old 08-26-2018, 10:45 AM   #8
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The 5 years before I retired in late 2008 were very important ones in many meaningful ways.


The 5 years began in late 2003, just when my company ended my open-ended, mostly telecommuting arrangement I had for slightly more than the previous 2 years. I could still work part-time, I just had to fulfill my ~20 hours per week at the office. This returned much of the horrors of the long, tiring commute which I had been so glad to rid myself of, even going from 1 trip per week to 3 trips per week.


I knew at that time that this would be by ultimate undoing. That is, it would eventually force me to leave the company. I wasn't sure when, I knew it would happen. I began ramping up my ER plans which included a key spreadsheet I created to estimate my income and expenses for the next 15-20 years.


I put up with the expanded commute through 2004, 2005, and 2006 until I had to do something big about it. In those 3 years, the value of my company stock was exploding (more than tripled) and nearing what I had considered a "magic number" to what I would need to retire. In early 2007, I asked to have my weekly hours reduced again, this time from 20 to 12. This eliminated one day per week from the dreaded commute and got me home one hour earlier on the 2 days I did work.


Doing this, however, made me ineligible to remain on the company's group health plan. I went onto COBRA midyear which would last me 18 months. I was told at the time that thee was no guarantee I would be able to return to 20 hours per week if I wanted to. I was fine with that because I was pretty sure I would be able to retire by the end of 2008. In early 2008, I investigated the possibility of either getting back onto the company's group health plan (I would pay 100% of the premium) or to get them to extend COBRA beyond 18 months. They balked at both options.


The markets began crashing in 2008, but the value of my company stock kept growing, albeit slowly. Furthermore, the bond fund I was watching to invest the proceeds of the cashed-out company stock was, to my utter delight, dropping quickly.


Also in 2008, I had found a decent, affordable individual health insurance policy which fit into my budget once COBRA ran out. That, and the company stock value hitting my "magic number," were the last pieces of my ER puzzle.


I put in my notice at the end of September and left the company a month later. hat was nearly 10 years ago.


But those 5 years leading up to my 2008 ER were crucial in so many ways.
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Old 08-26-2018, 10:52 AM   #9
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It was mostly your #3 -
I Worked less, and enjoyed life more. I stopped working weekends and we started taking longer European vacations. We also decided it was time to hedge our health bets and start enjoying life more while we both could. Having seen co-workers or their spouses not making it to the finish line I really can't stress the importance of this - even if it might mean you may need to work a year longer - you have to enjoy life while you can.


As to work, I did not demote myself, but I did actively work on making my position less demanding by delegating more to my staff and stopped fighting the battles to prevent other areas of the company from making mistakes or shirking their duties - I took on the attitude that they needed to start learning from their own mistakes, as I wouldn't be around forever to act as a check valve.
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:09 AM   #10
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1 for me. My husband didn’t plan on retiring but got laid off and couldn’t find a job. Ended up taking his pension early.
Variation on the above. Took a package but then couldn't find work. However discovered we are at FIRE and did it.
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:18 AM   #11
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Probably 2. I saved and invested like a man possessed.
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:38 AM   #12
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1984 to 1989... doesn't fit into 1,2 or 3.

'84 to '87... A bittersweet period. A new assignment as Project Manager to close down 2400 company stores. Sad, after of years of enjoyable time in management with regular promotions, but then, three years of travel all over the country, working directly with people that I knew through phone calls and correspondence. A challenge, but some satisfaction in being able to empathize with those who would be out of jobs they had held... sometimes for many decades.
Mid '87, I had worked myself out of a job, but with a plan to open my own business, which I did, working out of my home initially, with two of my sons. At the exact time when we had put together plans to massively expand into an industrial park... (our business was signmaking). Financing in place and already with a substantial number of regular customers, on the very edge.

Cancer put a hold on that in 1989, and while there was a recovery, who knew what the future might bring. At age 53, with not enough to retire, we did, anyway.
It meant moving from our 2500 S.F. home in Lisle, to our Woodhaven Lakes campground, and a revision of our budget, but in retrospect... just a great part of the learning experience.

A five year experience that definitely changed our lives... and now, 30 years later, wouldn't change a thing...
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:54 AM   #13
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2) I worked and reworked the numbers to set the correct date to retire.
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:59 AM   #14
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Worked the least I could to just get by. Jacked the 401K to max with the catch up extension.
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Old 08-26-2018, 12:03 PM   #15
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#3. Totally. For the last 2 or 3 I went part time, but even before that I was cruising, not looking for any extra work or recognition. A nice glide into retirement life.
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Old 08-26-2018, 12:10 PM   #16
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I also did the full catchup 401k when I met the age requirement. and the max personal Roth IRA contributions for the last couple years where I took a easier job closer to home that put me slightly under the income limit for contributions
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Old 08-26-2018, 12:16 PM   #17
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Same pace when I was there (there wasn't really an option) but scaled back on days worked.
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Old 08-26-2018, 12:20 PM   #18
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Upped our savings rate. Worked an extra year just to have an extra, extra cushion.
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Old 08-26-2018, 12:28 PM   #19
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I took a lateral position that meant a bit more travel, but the ability to work from home the rest of the time. I knew it also was the kind of role that would limit future advancement, but that was never my plan anyway.

We had no health issues to consider, but the WAH thing really helped me balance vs. the 2 hours a day I was spending commuting before that.
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Old 08-26-2018, 12:33 PM   #20
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Attended retirement seminar given by pension board to understand our pension, upped deferred comp from 10% to 15 % for both DH and myself, really started honing in on current budget and what would/could change in retirement. Set a date and marked our calendar, put the nose to the grindstone and plowed through! We left a bit early, DH by six months, me by one.
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