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View Poll Results: When $ will you/did you retire?
I accepted a reduction in living expenses to retire as soon as I could. 55 34.81%
I waited until I could match my pre-retirement living expenses. 86 54.43%
I worked as long I could to increase my retirement living expenses or security. 17 10.76%
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Old 10-01-2009, 03:00 PM   #21
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Hmm - none of the above. I just have to wait until I am old enough for my employers to send me monthly pension checks! (military & state) 11 more years to go!
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Old 10-01-2009, 05:06 PM   #22
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I picked 3, although I'm not yet retired.

My annual living expenses are on the order of $15K-$30K, depending on whether or not my mortgage is included (which I could easily pay off). I had enough to retire many years ago. However, I wanted to wait until I had retiree health benefits from my employer. This will happen at the end of next month, when I turn 50. There are a few more financial-related milestones in the next 2 years, so I plan to retire sometime between 2 months and 2 years from now. Either way, my available income (pension plus 4% withdrawal of investments) will be 4-6 times my current annual expenses. Having that additional financial security will provide a greater feeling of freedom.
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Old 10-01-2009, 05:30 PM   #23
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I picked 3, although I'm not yet retired.

Either way, my available income (pension plus 4% withdrawal of investments) will be 4-6 times my current annual expenses. Having that additional financial security will provide a greater feeling of freedom.
That's terrific! Now you wil have time to fnd yourself a DW to help you responsibly allocate that excess cash flow.

Ha
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Old 10-01-2009, 05:34 PM   #24
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Nothing fits for me so I selected #3. I was fired, looked for a j*b, failed to find a new one that paid real $, took another look at my finances, realized that I had a ton of $ saved up and several pensions due me and could probably never spend it all (all prior to 2008/9)~accepted ER and have not looked back since.
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Old 10-01-2009, 05:51 PM   #25
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None of the above. I'm still working. I could retire but I have a pretty cushy job and am still padding my pension and have been spoiled rotten by my Cadillac health plan(hope they don't start taxing THAT!). Also, I'm boring. There is nothing I have a burning desire to do at this stage in my life so I might as well keep my shoulder to the oar. If something changed with my last surviving Aunt's health and she needed me I would throw in the towel. Or, if a miracle happened and my son got married and I became a grandmother I might want to be of some help in that quarter. I will have more income in retirement after age 59 and a half than I have now.
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Old 10-01-2009, 06:24 PM   #26
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Door #1 for me. I had originally planned on retiring at 50, w*rking for the same company my entire career, but instead I FIRE'd at 47. At 50 I would have had more pension and employee health benefits. But the Megacorp which I worked for thought otherwise. One moment, I was a steady employee all my career, the next moment several from my department get an email, "if you choose to stay employed, congrats...you are now outsourced..you are now a contractor." I could have tried roughing it out 3 more years to reach 50. But when I spoke to my heart of hearts, 3 more years felt like 30 more years in an unpleasant enviroment. So I decided to call it a career and set myself free!
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Old 10-01-2009, 07:16 PM   #27
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......My plan had been to retire at 30 years. It seems for some reason, it was a badge of honor to do so. Not sure that's logical or rational, but there it is.
The result was that we had more than enough to sustain our lifestyle with a bit of luxury added in. It helps to be one of the dinosaurs that still have a pension......
Kind of similar here....I had a plan, and worked that plan....plus I'm one of those "dinosaurs" as well. I knew when I hired on when I was 19, that I could retire @ 55 with a full DB pension (and health/dental insurance for life). So that along with dumping money into IRA's (and later into Roth IRA's) and various and sundry other odds & ends for many years, I was on track for my planned departure at 55.

Then the employer threw in an early retirement incentive package when I was 49. I threw my hat in the ring, bought 5 years of service credit, and bailed out @ 50 with the full pension and ins. bennies. (I would have liked to have been able to continue to fund my Roth IRA for 5 more years as I had originally planned, but I wasn't about to deal with 5 more years of B.S. to do it!!!)

I haven't cut back on expenses at all....I still spend about the same, and sometimes more, than I did while employed. However, the expense categories have shifted.....as there is NOTHING "work related" anymore....and a great deal MORE hobby related now!!!

So I chose "B" as it was the closest to my situation.
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:00 PM   #28
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DW and I have lived under a wide variety of financial circumstances in our lives. Everything from negative net worth due to huge student loans and low/no paying jobs to both working at good paying jobs simultaneously and saving heavily. So we had the moxie to be flexible when MegaCorp booted my sorry butt out onto the street three years ago. We just called what we had enough, adjusted expenses and life style to match what we had and, well, here we are three years into retirement.

None of the choices match but I picked #1 as we're definitely living on a lower income than when last w*rking.

So far, so good.

Since OP was looking for a number, if I had the decision before me today, the choice to keep working or not, and had zero pension and little faith in SS, I'd want a $3 million retirement portfolio. I'd consider $2 million if health insurance became cheap and guaranteed available. If we had to, we'd know how to live on $1 million but $40k/yr for two people here in the Chicago suburbs with the high property taxes, health insurance premiums, etc., would be pretty austere.
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:38 PM   #29
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55 years old, not retired yet eventhough I have 2x the $ amount needed for retirement based on 5% withdrawal rate because

1. Still contemplate using my saving to buy a dream home, this is a want not a need. Buying my dream home would deplete 75% of my net worth and would set me back about 10 years.

2. Greed, can't seem to give up a relatively high income (income jumped during the last five years), relatively easy job that I have been doing for about 25 years now (management). Job provides a car with all expenses paid including auto insurance. Health insurance benefit for me and my wife, and 401k contribution. The security of a pay check every week is such a strong comfort that is quite difficult to give up.

3. Stock market crashes both in 2000 and 2008 shook my confidence.

4. Fear of not being able to obtain or maintain health insurance on my own, no pre existing conditions that I know of but often hear of policy cancellations by insurance companies when major claims are submitted. Retiring at 55 means 10 years of self reliance on health insurance. I believe the fear is blown out of proportion.

I think it boils down to number 1 and 2 as my main reasons for not retiring early, at least, not yet. Very undecisive.

mP
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Old 10-01-2009, 08:50 PM   #30
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55 years old, not retired yet eventhough I have 2x the $ amount needed for retirement based on 5% withdrawal rate because

1. Still contemplate using my saving to buy a dream home, this is a want not a need. Buying my dream home would deplete 75% of my net worth and would set me back about 10 years.

2. Greed, can't seem to give up a relatively high income (income jumped during the last five years), relatively easy job that I have been doing for about 25 years now (management). Job provides a car with all expenses paid including auto insurance. Health insurance benefit for me and my wife, and 401k contribution. The security of a pay check every week is such a strong comfort that is quite difficult to give up.

3. Stock market crashes both in 2000 and 2008 shook my confidence.

4. Fear of not being able to obtain or maintain health insurance on my own, no pre existing conditions that I know of but often hear of policy cancellations by insurance companies when major claims are submitted. Retiring at 55 means 10 years of self reliance on health insurance. I believe the fear is blown out of proportion.

I think it boils down to number 1 and 2 as my main reasons for not retiring early, at least, not yet. Very undecisive.

mP
I think you are wise to keep working if you basically feel ok about your job and are making meaningful money. We can't know the future.

I have never bought the rather binary proposition that retirement equals joy and pleasure, work equals vice and torment. I know too many happy working people, and too many worried or bored or emotionally challenged retirees, particularly men. I met a recently retired radiologist at a party last weekend. He was mid to late 60s, but clearly not a happy camper in his retirement so far, as he spent all his time telling me how very important he used to be. Until I managed to escape to talk to some young woman.

Suck it up baby, you ain't important no more! No more telling wifey, "I can't do dishes, I've been saving lives all day." You've been killing time all day, now get that apron on!

Ha
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:01 PM   #31
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Nothing fits for me so I selected #3. I was fired, looked for a j*b, failed to find a new one that paid real $, took another look at my finances, realized that I had a ton of $ saved up and several pensions due me and could probably never spend it all (all prior to 2008/9)~accepted ER and have not looked back since.
Layed off age 49, 1993. I learned to put the cheap in cheap SOB. Was a jobshopper for a yr in total for the big bucks, sold a rental duplex, a small pension at 55, early SS at 62 badda bing, badda boom and now I'm a regular old retiree.

Mr Market in the 90's didn't hurt either.

heh heh heh - I was a legend in my own mind when it came to cheap, frugal, tightwaditis, etc.
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:04 PM   #32
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Usually in the minority in this type of discussion, I am probably FI if willing to reduce expenses a bit. But confusingly, I like my work very much and dislike it very much for other reasons.

So my goal is to ESR with enough earnings to meet expenses and then work half time or less, with an emphasis on what I love (patient care and teaching) and avoidance of the bureaucratic and political pieces.
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:14 PM   #33
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That's terrific! Now you wil have time to fnd yourself a DW to help you responsibly allocate that excess cash flow.
Yeah, right. Maybe in another universe (like the anti-universe where Mr. Spock has a beard).
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:32 PM   #34
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Usually in the minority in this type of discussion, I am probably FI if willing to reduce expenses a bit. But confusingly, I like my work very much and dislike it very much for other reasons.

So my goal is to ESR with enough earnings to meet expenses and then work half time or less, with an emphasis on what I love (patient care and teaching) and avoidance of the bureaucratic and political pieces.
I certainly respect your decision....

however, I'm living for the day you are 13% retired.
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Old 10-02-2009, 12:48 AM   #35
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I've been retired for exactly 2 years. I retired when the market was at it's highest, about 2 years ago. In some respects, we're lucky because I was too scared to "jump" into the market at that time with the lump sum I received when leaving my job. As a result, I waited and the market went down and accidentally avoided some losses.

I chose door #1. I don't begrudge those who want to drive to the theatre in a Mercedes. That's their right. For me, I can drive there in a 4 year old Nissan Altima. it's ok, we both get there safely and on time.

I can live with less to be retired. Although, I must admit (after we retired), we were fortunate to sell our house and downsize. We have no mortgage. Yes, our current house is smaller, but we're past the Ozzie and Harriet stage. The downsized house allows us to have a slightly higher standard of living now.

FWIW, I worked for a Fortune 500 company and when my "possible" retirement date came up, I did all the calculations and asked my wife "can you live on this amount?" She said "yes" and we both retired, even though it meant a slightly lower standard of living (at that time).

There's an old expression that says " I'd rather be lucky than good". That somewhat applies to us. On the other hand, there are those people that are never prepared and therefore never become "lucky". There' also an expression that says " Luck, is when preparation meets opportunity". We were prepared.
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Old 10-02-2009, 03:39 AM   #36
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Still drive a 1997 car that I bought used in 1999. Wife drives a 2005 car we bought used in 2006.
Being frugal with cars won't cut it. One of my friends is still working at 69. He drives a 1959 MGA that he bought new in (surprisingly) 1959. Financially, two divorces are much worse, ask him.
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Old 10-02-2009, 07:53 AM   #37
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Financially, two divorces are much worse, ask him.
There are some horror stories out there. I only had one divorce but I was "lucky" in the sense that there was no child support, alimony or any other stuff. And in fairness to the ex, it was one of the more amicable divorces I've ever heard of. There was none of the "revenge-seeking" that is so common. But still, when the dust settled at age 35 everything I owned fit in a small U-haul truck and I had about $7k in the bank. But that left me in a lot better shape than many others I knew.

Back to the original thread, my net income went up a little when I retired. I was maxed out on deferred compensation (sort of a 401k) and after retirement I wasn't paying into the retirement system and SS. So option 2 fits.
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Old 10-02-2009, 08:45 AM   #38
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Walt, your divorce sounds just like mine. I came out of it in good financial shape, can't say the same about my emotional shape though. Anyway my ex didn't even want her share of the retirement accounts. They're worth over half a million now....go figure, but if I die I still have her as the beneficiary. She doesn't know this, but it somehow seems like the right thing to do.

back to the original question. My house will be paid off in 4 years and when that expense has gone my monthly outgoings will be $2500. The house produces $1400/month rent so all I need is $1100/month. So at 4% annual withdrawal I'll need $333k. Of course there's tax to be considered too, so I'll be ok on $500k as my ER nest egg once the mortgage is gone.

Also I'll be getting a company pension at 62 and will qualify for both US and UK state pensions so as soon as the mortgage is gone I'm ERing.
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:37 AM   #39
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Chose 3. The reference to "...work as long as I could...." to me means "..work as long as I comfortably and healthily could...". I won't work if I think my health is suffering or working becomes too much of an ordeal. I can always live with less.
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Old 10-02-2009, 11:41 AM   #40
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I chose 2 because I wanted to wait until 55 to get the megacorp pension and retiree Health insurance. If health insurance was not an issue I'm sure I would have RE'd 3 or 4 years ago.
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