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Old 12-29-2011, 03:04 PM   #41
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1. I went from part time work to full time.
2. My husband took a part time teaching job - more money than substitute teaching. We tried several things to earn more money and they all worked!
3. My husband inherited enough money to make a difference but not enough to make a huge difference. Though we knew this might come, we preferred that my husband's folks get the best living situation possible in their last years and so knew that it also might end up spent. We never counted on it.
4. And though you asked for just 3 - We stayed the course through a personally and nationally turbulent time. The best decision of all.
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:45 PM   #42
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..... I have a landline phone that has unlimited long distance calling on it and it might be better to drop the unlimited long distance calling and just pay for the long distance calls I make. ....
Check out Ooma, I've had it for about months and am very happy with the service. While I have some extras, my two lines with unlimited domestic calls is only $13.50/mo. If I really wanted to economize I could make it $3.50/month. May look into that in 2012.
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Old 12-30-2011, 06:59 AM   #43
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It's great to read about so many people prospering financially. Motivates me to stay the course.
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:45 AM   #44
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1.) I decided to work a bit longer, as nothing compelling is drawing me to ER at this point, plus I can tell that my wife would appreciate a bit more financial security before I leave.
2.) Market Volatility was killing me, as in heavy angst. So, I'm adjusting all my retirement money as follows: a.) keeping 3 years worth in local credit union money market account for years 1-3 of ER, b.) keeping 4 years worth in an asset manager fund 80bonds/20stocks for years 4-7 of ER, c.) all the rest in a 50/50 asset manager fund.

That was mostly it. As you can tell, I don't want to manage money myself - I'm no good at it, and don't enjoy it. My plan probably looks very simplistic to many, but I am sleeping much better now with this strategy in place.
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:24 AM   #45
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Market Volatility was killing me, as in heavy angst. So, I'm adjusting all my retirement money as follows: a.) keeping 3 years worth in local credit union money market account for years 1-3 of ER, b.) keeping 4 years worth in an asset manager fund 80bonds/20stocks for years 4-7 of ER, c.) all the rest in a 50/50 asset manager fund.

That was mostly it. As you can tell, I don't want to manage money myself - I'm no good at it, and don't enjoy it. My plan probably looks very simplistic to many, but I am sleeping much better now with this strategy in place.
Nothing wrong with your plan at all. If it meets your needs with a satisfactory probability of success as you define same, it's perfect for you. IMO, the goal is to take as little risk as you can afford to, not the most you can live with.
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Old 12-30-2011, 08:57 AM   #46
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After a nearly 25% increase in my individual HI pemium (and that followed a 20% increase in 2010), I decided to switch to a less broad but much cheaper hospital-only plan back in May. The premum is $512 less per month, so as long as any OOP costs which were previously covered are $6,000 or less per year I will come out ahead. And I am not married to this new policy, if the ACA offers me broader coverage for not a lot more per month (like before those huge increases), I can always switch back in a few years.
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:21 AM   #47
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Biggest move for me was to have my car transmission repaired instead of buying another vehicle. About $1000 for the repair vs about 20K buying a moderately new used vechile. Since the repair, my car with the rebuilt trans has gone about 10K miles and runs fine.
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:45 AM   #48
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1) Refinanced
2) Completed wind mitigation analysis on home in Fl, saved $800 per yr on home owners insurance.
3) Stopped paying on a whole life policy, dividends on it now pay the premium due.
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:13 PM   #49
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Dropped cable (well actually Nov '10)
Switched TSP to totally bonds and started withdrawing money (what was I saving it for?)
Gave away gobs of money.
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Old 12-30-2011, 04:52 PM   #50
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1. Closed dpl stock drip plan because of cash buyout. Note to self: Call first to compare sell commission($121) vs getting stock certificate ($15). ouch.

2. Closed another stock drip plan to create loss which will offset item 1 gains.

3. Increase individual stock % in ira and roth accounts.
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Old 12-30-2011, 06:34 PM   #51
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1. Refinanced home twice. Closing now on 3.875% 30 yr fixed. Never would've believed a few years ago payment would be so low.

2. Company bought out ESOP shares. Moved into IRA with a low cost DFA advisor.

3. Very fortunate to get a promotion and raise.

Overall, things went very well in 2011.

Here's to a happy and prosperous New Year to you all....
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Old 12-30-2011, 11:41 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by pimpmyretirement View Post
I am curious what the most productive financial changes are others have made over the past year.
"0." Spent nine months with lawyers & medical specialists to gain probate court appointment as my father's conservator. It didn't cost me anything but it's cost my dad over $10K. Now I'm embarked on an equally frustrating mission explaining to financial institutions why they have to pay attention to a court order. I've concluded that it's much more expedient to violate fraud & perjury statutes in the higher moral pursuit of family fiduciary fidelity.

"-1." Bought a 2005 Prius and gave away our '97 Nissan Altima. We were going to hang onto the old car for two more years but it would have meant adding its third alternator.

"-2." Spent way too much a significant percentage of our ER portfolio on a familyroom renovation... and a few more "might as wells" to get the house tweaked up just the way we like it. We're almost done... no, really... just a little more paint and maybe a new weatherproof coating on the front lanai roof and then that's it, we're finished and we mean it.

Our top three financial changes for 2012 are going to be to stop making the changes we made in 2011.

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2. Reduced health insurance premiums $200/mo by me becoming Medicare eligible.
What's the etiquette for this milestone-- congratulations or condolences?
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Old 12-31-2011, 10:59 AM   #53
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1. Changed j*obs in pursuit of a better quality of life. Now earning less than before. Put DC pension fund from former employer into LIRA.
2. Sold home, moved long distance, to a home I had previously purchased and rented. Some moving costs reimbursed. Cash realized on home sale used to pay off new home, pay down other debt, and subsidize living expenses, thereby avoiding further withdrawals from Corporation.
3. Became 100% an independent contractor. Only employment is with my own corporation. This will require restructuring of cash flow, which will be a good rehearsal for RE.

I guess it was quite a busy year LOL!
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Old 12-31-2011, 01:31 PM   #54
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So how are you going to handle going from DRIP/dividends to a total return approach? Collect VT lots and sell off specific lots as needed?

DW has her IRA in Wellesley & VG Star funds, pretty easy for her to drawdown. My 401k/IRA is 2/3 indexed but that third is a collection of dividend stocks, foreign funds, REITs, foreign bonds and a couple brilliant guesses on my part (MGM:face palm . Someday I need to draw down the 401l/IRA and I have no idea how that will go. Funds left unexpended for the year need to go somewhere so I have been buying a dividend paying stock or EFT maybe a couple times a year. Once I have a collection of them I will have to figure out what to do with them. A VG total world fund or ETF may be a good idea. Let me know how it goes for you.
Yes sell specific lots. We're talking less than 10% of total portfolio. I use ORP to give me handgrenade ideas as to do withdrawals which I loosely follow. The use of broad index EFT is to lower my div taxes and give me some more flexibility once mandatory RMD arrives.

heh heh heh - SS, small pension, some Roth, a lot of IRA, and a few good stocks to juggle. Plus I vary my year expenses quite a bit - because my 'core' buget has been 40% of total in recent years - LYBM carried over into the first decade of ER roughly speaking.
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Old 12-31-2011, 03:06 PM   #55
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1. Being self-employed and having our best year ever (go figure), I opened a Solo 401k at Vanguard in August and maxed it out for both of us (Wellesley and Total Bond). This will balance out our more aggressive SEP-IRA accounts and help move us towards a 60/40 stocks/bonds when we ER in 6-7 yrs (fingers and toes crossed).

2. Learned how to use a spreadsheet (Excel and Numbers), using online tutorials from lynda.com. I created a spreadsheet in Numbers of all the major tax forms so I can predict accurately how much additional taxes we'll owe for 2011. This really shows that opening the 401k helped us stay beneath the cut-off for the Roth contributions. So all in all, learned a lot about how income flows thru the various tax forms.

3. Refinanced our mortgage from 30 yrs (28 left) to 20 years. Payments are a little higher, but we'll now be done by DH's 70th birthday, if not before.

In 2012, my goal is to start building spreadsheets planning out savings for the next 5-10 years, as well as withdrawal rates for year 10 and later, and how they impact taxes due, SS, etc. Also glad to be done with all the major upgrades in our house (asphalt, windows, roof this year).
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Old 12-31-2011, 03:32 PM   #56
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I stayed the course. Lived frugally (expenses = 3k per month on average, spent thousands more on medical missions abroad, and saved about 150k-200k for the year). No other changes.
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I am curious what the most productive financial changes are others have made over the past year.
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Old 12-31-2011, 03:47 PM   #57
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1. Refi'd primary house at 4.8% with a 7/1 ARM. Intent is to pay off entire amount during the fixed rate period and rid myself of a mortgage.
2. Took advantage of depressed Arizona real estate prices and picked up a nice patio home in the Scottsdale area.
3. Recharacterized a Roth IRA conversion made last year back to a Traditional IRA as the value had dropped enough that it made no sense to pay taxes on the orgiginal converted amount.
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:09 PM   #58
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1. Sold house, now live full time in location closer to family in a home purchased in late 2010. Travel lots more for work, but I am now where I plan to retire.

2. Got a higher paying (higher stress) job within the same company.

3. Used the "one more year" card, due to high allocation in low performing company stock, international, and small caps.
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:24 PM   #59
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+1. I decided that my conservative short-term bond VBISX position was so darn close to cash that I would move my holding into my cash allocation. Which means I'll be buying more of my intermediate bond funds to complete my bond allocation.



Audrey
Basically doing the same, only at Fidelity. Stay pretty much the course with everything else.
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