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Retirement Anxieties shared
Old 05-27-2019, 05:00 AM   #1
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Retirement Anxieties shared

Ok – I finally did it. Turned in my retirement notice last week after working 33 years at the same power plant (A rare feat these days). Gave 30 days’ notice followed by 30 days’ vacation to give time for turnover if succession planning is implemented (not my problem). Up to the point of turning in my letter it felt like it was jumping out of a perfectly good airplane with a chute that I had never before packed. Next day, the birds sang more, the sun shone brighter, and I knew it was the right time. HR wanted an announcement. Congratulations and disbelief were the expressions from coworkers, some of whom exclaimed that I was not old enough. To them I worriedly asked if there was a minimum age to retire. Others asked what other contractor or company would I be headed to next? Clearly, these are the unlucky or the short sighted.

Stayed true to our life goal of not moving during my career while DW and I raised a family in a beautiful part of Florida by deliberately turning down several promotions (and inevitable relocations down the road) and polite demurral from taking corporate positions.

The timing was right: got grandfathered full retiree medical in March, paid off SS taxes in April (with 35 years wages), and in May the CEO announced no Early Retirement Packages this year. DW had a car accident in February and I just got through a health scare – these events coupled with recent deaths of coworkers brought home the reality that life is finite. DW is disabled, so we already know that good health is finite.

Am deeply grateful for this forum – has been a wealth of experience of teaching in the home stretch to FIRE – and for providing a great source of references on retirement so I could form opinions and make informed choices. You have also forecasted my FIRE anxieties, which helped me process them more logically. Otherwise, I might have felt more like Binkley from Bloom County looking at a Snorklewacker coming out of the closet every night.

Here were/are some of my bigger anxieties – What were yours?

At 58, did we retire too early or too late? (Also known as – have we saved enough?)
Corollary- Is it a mistake to turn off this fabulous paycheck (knowing I can’t go back)?
What is our expiration date, and when will decent health be forever gone?
DS and DD are doing great for now, but will some event send them home?
Is the next great recession just around the corner bringing on the dreaded SORR apocalypse?
What is the best AA for us in retirement (currently conservative)?
Will our marriage become more or less fulfilling (pretty darned good after 31 years)?
Do we really know our own bucket lists at this point or will they change?
For the men only – why did god give us prostates and why the heck does mine feel the size of a Georgia peach sometimes?

Regards - atom
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DW and I are 58. FIRE August 2019 (previous goals were 2021 and 2020). Non-cola pension available but will remain untouched until mid sixties to grow, max SS for DH at FRA. Mega retiree health available. 401k is AA 35% stocks, 10% cash and 55% split between MM & T-Bills.
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:19 AM   #2
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I believe you already know the answer to the most important question. Health for you and DW are the most important concern. I retired in 2016 due to my DW's Ovarian cancer diagnosis that she had already been fighting for a year. She was able to obtain remission, and we traveled for most of the 2 1/2 years before she was diagnosed with Esophageal cancer in October 2018. That one was unrelenting and I lost my one love exactly 3 years to the day from when I retired.

The time you are able to spend together will be the overbearing factor of a happy retirement. There are things to worry about, but they seem insignificant compared to your health and time spent together.

Best to you in retirement,

VW
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:30 AM   #3
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What a great post and a good decision; may you have a wonderful retirement!
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:34 AM   #4
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VanWinkle - my heart goes out to you.
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DW and I are 58. FIRE August 2019 (previous goals were 2021 and 2020). Non-cola pension available but will remain untouched until mid sixties to grow, max SS for DH at FRA. Mega retiree health available. 401k is AA 35% stocks, 10% cash and 55% split between MM & T-Bills.
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atmsmshr View Post
....At 58, did we retire too early or too late? (Also known as – have we saved enough?)
Corollary- Is it a mistake to turn off this fabulous paycheck (knowing I can’t go back)?
What is our expiration date, and when will decent health be forever gone?
DS and DD are doing great for now, but will some event send them home?
Is the next great recession just around the corner bringing on the dreaded SORR apocalypse?
What is the best AA for us in retirement (currently conservative)?
Will our marriage become more or less fulfilling (pretty darned good after 31 years)?
Do we really know our own bucket lists at this point or will they change?
For the men only – why did god give us prostates and why the heck does mine feel the size of a Georgia peach sometimes?

Regards - atom
My take:
1. No, but I retired at 56.
2. No. Mega and I had talked about some possible consulting when I retired... but thankfully they didn't call me and I didn't call them so all is good.
3. If you figure out a way to know the answer to this, please let us all know.
4. Not in our case... but my solution is an old-fashioned idea called rent.
5. I doubt it but if so we'll still be in better shape than 99% of our peers
6. I prefer 60/35/5.. but the reality is that anything between 40/60 and 100/0 will probably do the trick... but 55/45 to 70/30 seems to be the sweet spot (see below). IMO 30/55/10 is too conservative.
7. For us, better for sure.
8. What's a bucket list?
9. I don't even wanna think about it.

Good luck and congratulations on your decision. Change is hard.
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Old 05-27-2019, 06:36 AM   #6
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To the OP, congratulations! I retired almost a year ago. Overall, my key response to the anxieties you listed are "take it one day at a time". Focus on the day, enjoy the choices that are available to you. Tomorrow will always brings worries of its own.

My take/opinion/ramblings on the anxieties you listed:

At 58, did we retire too early or too late? (Also known as – have we saved enough?) - I retired at 60, and a number of things, including money, converged at the right time. Despite all the analysis one does ahead of time - you may never feel like you have enough - but for me, after close to a year of retirement, I feel MUCH better about things.

Corollary- Is it a mistake to turn off this fabulous paycheck (knowing I can’t go back)? - That was a concern. But for me, my great paycheck at this stage was mainly building for a comfortable retirement (our savings/investing rate was very high), and though I loved my job had me spending a lot of time working on it and not on things I would choose. Now I am fortunate to have a pension that, though only about 38% of my paycheck, I do not have to do anything to get. It still covers our regular expenses so we can use what we saved/invested for splurges.

What is our expiration date, and when will decent health be forever gone? - Life has no guarantees. Even with great health the proverbial truck can come along. We have seen healthy retired friends die through accidents and violence. The best I can do is to make an effort to keep as best in health as possible. I find it easier since I retired since I have more time to focus on it. I do things to keep moving. the day will come when I will not be able to run, or walk fast, or walk, or stand, or throw, or swing... so I am doing as much of it while I can.

DS and DD are doing great for now, but will some event send them home? - Again, no guarantees. We just try to make it "uncomfortable" for our kids to spend any length of time home. They have enough sense/desire for independence to do anything they can not to live at home.

Is the next great recession just around the corner bringing on the dreaded SORR apocalypse? - Yes it is. So eat, drink and be merry in the meantime . Seriously, the best you can do is to structure your AA and evaluate it against a "worse case" - if you are comfortable with the results, you do not worry. For example, we have enough in case to not to have to draw on any investments until we choose to take SS (and now even a few years beyond). We are willing to trade off potential gains for that type of security against downturns.

What is the best AA for us in retirement (currently conservative)? - only you can decide that, based on the level of risk and return you want to pursue. As in the previous point, if your AA allows you to sleep at night regardless of what the market is doing, then you are fine. Even though with pensions and (in the future) SS we could take a lot more market risk, we choose not to.

Will our marriage become more or less fulfilling (pretty darned good after 31 years)? - my observation (I am certainly not an expert) is that if you have a good marriage and like to be around each other, retirement can only enhance it. For my DW and I, we have enough in common to enjoy spending time together, and enough different interests so that we do not drive each other crazy.

Do we really know our own bucket lists at this point or will they change? - I am moving to the view that "bucket lists" are overrated. I try more now to enjoy the journey, and whatever may come up that we think of, in whatever time we have left. I cannot think of anything I have not done that is making my life less fulfilling than it is.


For the men only – why did god give us prostates and why the heck does mine feel the size of a Georgia peach sometimes?
- Good question! I just go with annual exams and hope for the best. Again, one day at a time.
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Old 05-27-2019, 07:01 AM   #7
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Congradulations! Love your post. Covered the main things I was considering when I retired. As I remember, the two biggest concerns I had were:


(1) Would DW and I enjoy each other as much with so much more time together? - Turns out we do.


(2) Should I take the pension as a lump sum or annuity? The annuity was what most of my retiring co-workers were taking and certainly provided more certainty to our future financial security. Taking the lump sum required management on our part but prevented 1/4 of our assets to be tied to the health of one company and allowed us to pass any unused amount to our children. - We chose the lump sum and it's working out fine for us.


Enjoy your retirement!
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Old 05-27-2019, 11:06 AM   #8
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Will our marriage become more or less fulfilling (pretty darned good after 31 years)?

For my wife and me it has been a dream come true to finally be able to spend so much time together! We cannot believe our own dumb luck sometimes. Given that your 31 year record is very positive, I'd say that you don't have much to worry about. But give yourselves time to adjust and adapt. Sometimes we catch each other saying things out loud that we used to say only in our heads (things we have to remember to do or trivial things we made a decision on). It's surprising but we've learned to laugh about it.

-BB

-BB
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Old 05-27-2019, 11:18 AM   #9
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This is such a great post. I just retired last year at 61, and have NO regrets. It took me months to unwind, and I'm thoroughly enjoying doing a whole lotta nuthin'.

I share these retirement blogger's links all the time, because they were so helpful to me in setting our asset allocation (currently 50/40/10) and how to withdraw and create a 'paycheck' from our IRA's, and recommendations for bucket strategies.

https://www.theretirementmanifesto.c...ment-paycheck/

https://www.theretirementmanifesto.c...down-strategy/

We're Vanguard folks, so this Morningstar article gave me ideas when we set our AA:
https://www.morningstar.com/articles...-investor.html

Good luck to you. Enjoy every minute of it!

P.S. DH just went through the prostate roto-rooter thing, and feels your pain, literally. He says (6 weeks later) it was worth it.
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Old 05-27-2019, 11:20 AM   #10
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VW: so sorry for your loss.

atm: congratulations on your upcoming retirement, enjoy life one day at a time, keep love and laughter a part of each day.
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Old 05-27-2019, 02:21 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
My take:
6. I prefer 60/35/5.. but the reality is that anything between 40/60 and 100/0 will probably do the trick... but 55/45 to 70/30 seems to be the sweet spot (see below). IMO 30/55/10 is too conservative.

I did a fair amount of research on this and decided on a 30/70 for Retirees (not for the accumulation stage) --- This Author has outlined his research on this as well.



https://seekingalpha.com/article/303...y-for-retirees
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Old 05-27-2019, 02:34 PM   #12
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts. After a back-and-forth process lasting many years and involving innumerable pro and con lists, I finally had a breakthrough a month ago and decided to pull the plug. Most of my anxieties evaporated as part of that decision-making process, which came all of a sudden and with 100% clarity, after many years of indecision. Funny how that works sometimes.

I don't really have financial worries or worries about the timing. I do have a couple of irrational fears that pop up from time to time, though: 1) Will I really be able to fill all my time well or will I end up eating Cheetos and watching 6 hours of TV a day? and 2) Will I be able to replace the social contacts from work and develop new relationships to replace them, or will I end up a bitter, isolated old man, scratching himself?

Honestly, neither of those things are realistic possibilities, but I tend to be a worrier, so I guess I've got to invent things to worry about.
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Old 05-27-2019, 02:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat View Post
I did a fair amount of research on this and decided on a 30/70 for Retirees (not for the accumulation stage) --- This Author has outlined his research on this as well.



https://seekingalpha.com/article/303...y-for-retirees
To each their own but that is probably more conservative than the target AA of most retired members here, but not out of range.
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Old 05-27-2019, 02:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SumDay View Post
This is such a great post. I just retired last year at 61, and have NO regrets. It took me months to unwind, and I'm thoroughly enjoying doing a whole lotta nuthin'.

I share these retirement blogger's links all the time, because they were so helpful to me in setting our asset allocation (currently 50/40/10) and how to withdraw and create a 'paycheck' from our IRA's, and recommendations for bucket strategies.

https://www.theretirementmanifesto.c...ment-paycheck/

https://www.theretirementmanifesto.c...down-strategy/

We're Vanguard folks, so this Morningstar article gave me ideas when we set our AA:
https://www.morningstar.com/articles...-investor.html

Good luck to you. Enjoy every minute of it!

P.S. DH just went through the prostate roto-rooter thing, and feels your pain, literally. He says (6 weeks later) it was worth it.
SumDay - thanks for these links which reinforce my personal views. These links also lead me to this newsletter, which I enjoyed.

https://www.lynalden.com/investing-newsletter/

Atom
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DW and I are 58. FIRE August 2019 (previous goals were 2021 and 2020). Non-cola pension available but will remain untouched until mid sixties to grow, max SS for DH at FRA. Mega retiree health available. 401k is AA 35% stocks, 10% cash and 55% split between MM & T-Bills.
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Old 05-27-2019, 10:26 PM   #15
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for ~3-yrs prior to retiring i kept a spread sheet of average income and expenses, projected value of the 457's, IRAs and post-tax accounts, projected DB pension payments and SS benefits, etc. figured 0% increase in income and a 5% annual inflation. ran projections out to age 100 and saw nothing but positive numbers.
zero debt including the house. we both felt comfy walking into retirement at 55. wife was on disability so she just transitioned whereas i gave 6-mos notice. the day after retirement party we took off on a 13-week RV trip. in the real world back home the only anxiety i had...and i had it off and on for a couple of years...was waiting for the "other shoe" to drop. meaning what did i forget in my spreadsheet. but as time went by i relaxed as i saw that my projections were very close to spot on. other than that no worries whatsoever. relax and enjoy.
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Old 05-28-2019, 12:43 AM   #16
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I have never, never, never worried about what I was going to do every day when I retired. All my anxiety was around the worry that the market would tank in my first two years. Now that we've moved past that point I have few concerns in regards to how I'm going to survive and what my days will look like. I've been a very busy boy
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Old 05-28-2019, 03:11 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
My take:
5. I doubt it but if so we'll still be in better shape than 99% of our peers6. I prefer 60/35/5.. but the reality is that anything between 40/60 and 100/0 will probably do the trick... but 55/45 to 70/30 seems to be the sweet spot (see below). IMO 30/55/10 is too conservative.

Good luck and congratulations on your decision. Change is hard.
30/70 can be a reasonable place to start for handling initial sequence of return risk if you follow the Kitces Rising Equity Glidepath. https://www.kitces.com/blog/should-e...tually-better/
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Old 05-28-2019, 05:04 AM   #18
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Congrats OP! Your retirement concerns are shared by many of us here. And many of your anxiety questions cannot be answered simply. The answers depend on your personal situation and future events that we have no knowledge of or control over.

Your concerns will dissipate as you go deeper into retirement. You'll realize that 58 isn't too early to retire, that its ok to turn off the paycheck, and that you'll never know what the future holds for your health, family situation, and investments. Keep an eye on these issues as you sit back and enjoy the ride!
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Old 05-28-2019, 05:11 AM   #19
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30/70 can be a reasonable place to start for handling initial sequence of return risk if you follow the Kitces Rising Equity Glidepath. https://www.kitces.com/blog/should-e...tually-better/
I agree with this especially in light of where asset values are today.
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Old 05-28-2019, 06:27 AM   #20
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30/70 can be a reasonable place to start for handling initial sequence of return risk if you follow the Kitces Rising Equity Glidepath. https://www.kitces.com/blog/should-e...tually-better/
I can see that as attractive, but the way the OP framed what his AA was it doesn't sound like a rising equity glidepath is planned... but he is well positioned to do do and IMO should seriously consider it
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