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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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What $ is enough for you to retire?
Old 10-01-2009, 09:09 AM   #1
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What $ is enough for you to retire?

This has probably been done, but not that I recall over the past few years at least. Please feel free to answer whether you've retired already or not yet.

I get the impression (name of forum, duh) that the majority here want to retire as soon as possible and they're willing to accept lower living expenses/less security to do so. OTOH, I know people who reached FI long ago and continue to work, some because they just love what they do, want to leave a big inheritance, want the added security and/or they plan to live it up in retirement by having a nest egg that's well beyond their projected needs. Some here have intimated (or said outright) that their nest egg was as much as 2X what the 4% SWR model would suggest they needed.

There is of course, no "right answer."

No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:14 AM   #2
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2 million.

Hopefully, with a mix of stocks and bonds I can generate a 5% return without touching principal.........HOPEFULLY.

I can live off of $100 K per year...

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Old 10-01-2009, 09:24 AM   #3
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I chose the second option because I tried to reduce my expenses and save until expenses and projected ER income would match. The more I despised working, the more intensive my LBYM efforts.

Then the unexpected occurred (I came into an unexpected windfall) and now I am trying to figure out how to spend more. Not only that, but my previous somewhat abusive working situation improved markedly due to getting a new, ideal, supervisor.

Edited to add: Once I had saved enough that my expenses and projected ER income matched, I had to keep working until eligible for medical benefits in retirement. So, neither accumulating that money, nor getting the windfall, meant that I could retire. Pulling the trigger was not a result of reaching any particular savings goal.
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:45 AM   #4
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We are both retired at 51 and 55. In order to retire we wanted/needed to be debt free, become pension eligible and have MegaCorp medical benefits...oh and a million dollars.

This enables us to pay our bills, have some fun and have a buffer for unexpected expenses. We have no problem cutting back on the fun stuff if there is a need. Cutting our expenses is better than going back to work.
There's no need to complicate, our time is short..
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Old 10-01-2009, 09:52 AM   #5
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I chose the second option because I was never a big spender before retirement so there's not much room for reducing my living expenses now, other than moving (which I don't want to do at this point).

To be honest, I probably would have worked longer than necessary to increase my sense of security in retirement, but getting laid off gave me the push I needed to realized I'm FIREd.
(retired 2009, age 48)
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Old 10-01-2009, 10:00 AM   #6
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Still working- Don't want to run afoul of the FIRE 4% SWR rule...
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Old 10-01-2009, 10:30 AM   #7
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Ideally, we want to have $2M+ and a paid-for house at retirement so that we could net about $60K annual with a 3% SWR (no pension, not counting on SS).

Currently we are spending roughly:
$20K a year on basic expenses (groceries, utilities, gas, car repairs, pets, medical co-pays, home repairs, property taxes, car replacement etc...): those expenses will remain in retirement.
$16K a year on home mortgage and life/disability insurance: those expenses will disappear in retirement but will likely be replaced by healthcare costs.
$24K a year on discretionary spending (travel, dining out, clothes, etc...): those expenses will remain in retirement.

So our plan is to wait until we can match our pre-retirement living expenses with a 3% SWR. If we are looking at healthcare costs beyond $16K a year, we will have to work longer as we do not want to reduce either our basic or discretionary expenses.
42 y/o, married, retirement portfolio = 43 x annual expenses
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Old 10-01-2009, 10:44 AM   #8
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I always planned on retiring in my 50's so for me it was more an age thing then the money . I was FI several years before I retired . I had more than matched my pre retirement income but I was not mentally ready . I 'm glad I had over accumulated since I retired into the great downturn .
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Old 10-01-2009, 10:50 AM   #9
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I went for door number two, considered myself FI and planned retirement when my PF equalled 25+ times expenses. 13 months into retirement, Iím living as well as ever with a revised budget. There is cash left over in my checking account after a 4% withdrawal. I keep an eye on the cushion part of the PF which of course fluctuates and as of the end of the third quarter is up from about one year (when I retired) to slightly over two years extra expenses.
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Old 10-01-2009, 11:04 AM   #10
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When I can lose $7 billion or $10 billion and it doesn't make any difference -- to me or anyone else.

Richest Americans lost a total of $300 billion in a year - Sep. 30, 2009
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Old 10-01-2009, 11:10 AM   #11
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I retired when I could match my pre-retirement spending (plus a safety margin). The CPI (as used for Soc Sec) now determines our "raises" each year. We switched to CPI a couple of years before retirement to try it out, with extra income going to savings. That was a good way to avoid overly inflating the budget just before we retired.
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Old 10-01-2009, 11:14 AM   #12
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None of the above. FIRED in 2007.

My (semi-) success at megacorp was built on building a plan and then working the plan. 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. Without it, we would not be comfortable enough to be FIREd, although we could afford to do so. As it is, we are able to supplement the pension with the income producing portion of our taxable portfolio and not have to touch the 401k. It also helps that we carry on with our cheap frugal ways.

There is an (emotional) advantage to over-engineering your FIRE funding.
Life is GREAT!
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Old 10-01-2009, 11:29 AM   #13
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We live pretty buttoned down lives - old cars, no spendy trips, put off toys and just keep plugging along. I'm shooting for having a free-er spending hand after retirement, thus went for option 3. No military, federal, state, municipal, or mega-corp pensions. Diddly-squat for social security. What we got is what we got. I'm very concious that there is no backup plan and that blithely saying I'll go back to work as a new Walmart greeter is not attractive or even very plausible. I will be shooting for a higher level of security and as little reliance on others as possible. No Enrons for me thankyou.
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Old 10-01-2009, 11:37 AM   #14
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My gross pay went down but my net went up when I retired so I chose 2.
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Old 10-01-2009, 11:47 AM   #15
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I chose 1, but in realty our situation is a combo of 1 and 2. We are retiring when dw turns 57 in 2011. At that time we'll have enough to match fixed pre-reirement living expenses. But at that time we are also going to cut back on discretionary spending that I now consider living expenses
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Old 10-01-2009, 11:54 AM   #16
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Door number 1.
I'm the Lemonade story...I had intended to w*rk until 50 and do an early out with 20 yrs civil service. Life threw me a horrible curve ball and I was widowed.
My salary plus an inherited pension now made the math go very differently. The IRS was very happy to tax me at the single rate (no dependents) on both. NYS was smiling too. I sure wasn't.
A back of the envelope calculation showed me that I was crazy to keep w*rking, mostly because of income taxes and other payroll deductions. No mortgage, no debt, and had my own personal retirement portfolio well on its way.
So I ramped up my own TSP for almost 2 years, putting roughly 19% of my salary in with a 5% match. I cut expenses, bided my time, did the right paperw*rk, and I quit at age 48 in 2007.
I live cheaper, simpler and happier.
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
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Old 10-01-2009, 12:05 PM   #17
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I chose 2.

Pre-retirement planning goals used some ballpark numbers that seemed to work when I subjected them to more detailed analysis:

- $100K annual income (pre-tax)
- $1M portfolio

When a conservative w/d rate was applied to the portfolio goal and added to my Navy pension, it hit the annual income goal.

Although I knew SS would be there, I never really figured it into my planning.

As it turned out, I finally retired (at 58) a tad short of the portfolio goal. Found I had overestimated our financial needs and got by better than I thought we would on just the pension and very modest w/d from the portfolio from age 58 - 62. When SS kicked in, w/d from portfolio virtually stopped. (And was sometimes able to add to the portfolio.) When my wife's SS kicked in 18 months later, we were able to sock away even more.

Live a modest lifestyle day-to-day and week-to-week but don't hesitate about the occasional big splurge (cruise, European trip, etc.) Still drive a 1997 car that I bought used in 1999. Wife drives a 2005 car we bought used in 2006.

The one thing that makes choice 2 not entirely accurate is that our pre- and post-retirement expenses are so different.
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Old 10-01-2009, 12:43 PM   #18
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1 and 2

I took an early out offer (with much reduced pension) at age 54 when I realized my tracked spending was less than $20K/year.
"Knowin' no one nowhere's gonna miss us when we're gone..."
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Old 10-01-2009, 12:54 PM   #19
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I worked long enough that we could afford to spend more in retirement than we had while working. But, I didn't "work as long as I could". I retired at 59 and certainly could have worked longer.

So I picked 3, even though it's not a perfect fit.
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Old 10-01-2009, 01:32 PM   #20
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Plan to retire in just under 2 years at 54 about $650,000 in TSP, mutual funds etc. Pension of $16k with COLA at 62. SS Supp from 56-62.....well, short version....we are living off less than $40k right now and putting away about $50k a year. House in the US paid for and plan to live on around $45k a year. Might take a part time job if I feel like it (sub teaching? nah, probably golf course lackey). Just did our spending for Sept and it was just over $1800. I would rather (like a few others here) live cheaply rather than continue a job I don't get much out of anymore(teaching). It was a good job (if a guy has to work for a living)....but I would rather be a mandolin playing, long distance bike racing, gardening occasional beer glugging retiree.

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