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Who has tried this? (Living on a fixed amount to prepare for retirement)
Old 02-08-2012, 12:21 PM   #1
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Who has tried this? (Living on a fixed amount to prepare for retirement)

Good idea

Retirement reality check
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:26 PM   #2
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I have a target amount that I'll spend in retirement and I've been living off that for years and saving the rest. I track my spending so I can see where the money goes.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:14 PM   #3
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I think it's a very good idea to do so. DW and I reduced expenses to match what we projected for retirement several years before retiring just to be sure we would be content at that level of spending. We are (and we've allowed for future health care & substantial major purchases like cars, major home repairs, etc.), so I retired 7 months ago.

Now the money just has to hold out...
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:21 PM   #4
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I thought this was how one retires, and something everyone does. Work as hard as as possible on increasing savings and decreasing spending (nicely complementary efforts, BTW). When you have proven to yourself that your savings are enough to support your spending, plus any additional you might be planning for travel etc, then retire.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:21 PM   #5
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We have a recent, real life example of trying out the retirement budget, here Nearing the End of a Military Career
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Originally Posted by Parr0thead98 View Post
Morning to all. Officially, the family finished Jan living on my projected retired pay and still had $111.00 left over...woo-hoo :-) Found we spent more on food and eating out so we're eyeing that for Feb. The Airman & Family Readiness Center on base is having a lunch time speaker from the VA coming in next week to teach about your VA benefits and how to file claims. I'm already signed up!

Wife has been researching nursing jobs in NC...don't think she's going to have anyyyy trouble finding work in that field! ;-)
In this case it seems to be working.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:26 PM   #6
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A year before I retired, I let my normal monthly spending habits become my monthly budget and tracked it. I didnt trust myself to put myself on a budget and then not adhere to it. Expenses stayed about the same each month, and since that amount was about 75% of my take home pension, I felt comfortable enough to retire. Child support will end in 2 years freeing up another 15%, so I should be ok, even though I am on the hook for many years of individual health insurance premiums. Oddly enough, I budget more now than I ever did. Probably because I have more of an interest in it and time to do it.
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:41 PM   #7
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Haven't tried it but I'll be okay. A lot of my spending/saving habits are as a result of Gail Vaz-Oxlade's TV show "'Til Debt Do Us Part". She meets with couples who are horrendously in debt and shows them how to live on cash, plan expenditures and dig themselves out of debt.

Who says TV is a bad influence
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Old 02-08-2012, 01:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W2R View Post
I thought this was how one retires, and something everyone does. Work as hard as as possible on increasing savings and decreasing spending (nicely complementary efforts, BTW). When you have proven to yourself that your savings are enough to support your spending, plus any additional you might be planning for travel etc, then retire.
+1

I couldn't imagine ER'ing without knowing how much I needed, and know better way of knowing it can be done than by actually living on that budget for a while.
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:02 PM   #9
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I couldn't imagine ER'ing without knowing how much I needed, and know better way of knowing it can be done than by actually living on that budget for a while.
I know a guy who retired without actually test driving the retirement budget first (bad idea). After 2+ years, they are doing fine, though his DW has taken over all spending & budgeting in their household to make it work. He gets an allowance, and that's it.

He also gained about 30 pounds in the first year. She now decides what he can/can't eat as well, and he's taken the weight back off. Can't live with them, can't live without...

Ah, retirement bliss...
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:12 PM   #10
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I am in this process and have been doing this for a couple of years. I can get by on our retirement amount, but am not completely comfortable with the smaller amount after health insurance is accounted for. It has been a self revelation education. I surpassed our original "number", but meeting that goal has increased our spending.
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
+1

I couldn't imagine ER'ing without knowing how much I needed, and know better way of knowing it can be done than by actually living on that budget for a while.
+2

For me, any other way would be like jumping into an unlit pool in the middle of the night and not knowing (or worrying) if there is water in it.

Mr. Conserative here ...
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:43 PM   #12
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I retired 31 Dec 2010. I had reduced our after-tax spending so much before retirement that we ended up with a $1700/mo raise (after tax) when I retired. So far we are doing OK but it is hard to tell. The first year has one-time costs (at least it did for us).
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Old 02-08-2012, 03:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan View Post
+1

I couldn't imagine ER'ing without knowing how much I needed, and know better way of knowing it can be done than by actually living on that budget for a while.
Another +1.

1.5 years out from my planned ER date, I put my 6 month budget into a special checking account every 6 months, minus what i planned to spend on health care plan after selecting one ahead of time, and paid for everything out of that account. Primitive scheme, but it removes a lot of the doubt about what your "core" budget really is if you don't wan't to rely on yourself for scrupulous accounting.
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Old 02-08-2012, 03:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
I know a guy who retired without actually test driving the retirement budget first (bad idea). After 2+ years, they are doing fine.
I retired without test driving my retirement budget. MegaCorp threw my sorry ass out one day and as I skidded across the parking lot towards my car, I figured I might want to call this retirement. So, I went home and started living a retirement lifestyle on a retirement budget. DW and I were both 58 and empty nesters. She had retired earlier at 55. It's been almost 6 years. So far, so good.

Unless your RE budget is going to be substantially different than your working budget, I don't think an actual "test drive" would be all that important. You get tossed in the water, you learn to swim.

Now ya know 2 guys.........
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Old 02-08-2012, 04:18 PM   #15
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I went part time (27 hours/wk) at 55 to see how living on ~66% of my normal salary would be. After 2 years of this experiment (still with no real budget to speak of), I found that I was still living on about half of my new reduced income (~33% of my full time salary). So in Jan 2008, I had the confidence to pull the plug for good !
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:01 PM   #16
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While I got caught up on the thread subject thinking this is what I'm trying to do! However the article seemed to be addressed to those Canadians thinking of retire at 65 with no pension or savings. It says Max govt. Payout is like $1500/month.That would sux.
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Old 02-08-2012, 06:30 PM   #17
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We've never been much on budgeting per se. I did the back of the envelope method of determining what we spent in 2011. This year, I'm actually tracking everything we spend and where we spend it. I find it tedious, but I guess it has to be done.
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:40 PM   #18
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Whose tried this? (Living on a fixed amount to prepare for retirement)
Works pretty good when you're saving for retirement, too...
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
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+1

I couldn't imagine ER'ing without knowing how much I needed, and know better way of knowing it can be done than by actually living on that budget for a while.
Another + 1

Quiet fankly, I thought that the article was a statement of the blindingly obvious.

We've been tracking our spending for several years and are confident that when the time comes we won't be at risk of either being forced to make adverse lifestyle changes or risk going back to w*rk. This is one of the reasons why I've just fallen victim to "just one more year syndrome" - I'd rather work a well paid extra year now at age 46 than have hunt for a much lower paying job in my fifties or sixties.
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:40 PM   #20
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We did not do this, but I did not figure out a lot on my own years ago. When DH retired last July, we took an $1100/mo cut (teacher pension) and just adjusted. All we changed was to find a gym for $30 less/month.

When I retire this July, it will mean another $1000 cut. More re-adjusting, but it looks do-able on paper. We plan to suck it up and use savings for big expenses that come up, including fun trips.
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