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Old 10-06-2013, 05:43 AM   #21
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When younger I used to spend a month at a time during the summers driving around the US in my VW van seeing all the sights and camping out. My retirement dream was to backpack around Europe. Not knowing when I might cash in I even researched for just the right kind of gear and bought a couple of good quality backpacks for my wife and I about 10 years ago. Unfortunately a little over 3 years ago problems resulting in a fused back and chronic pain put an end to that dream. The packs are in the closet still unused with tags. Time to shift gears and find another affordable way to travel.


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Old 10-06-2013, 05:50 AM   #22
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Because I worked part-time for 7 years prior to fully retiring, I already had a good idea of what ER would be like. And I had a peek at what what working PT would be like even when I was working FT when (I was nearly 35 at the time), for 7 weeks, I used most of my vacation time one year to take a breather and work PT (3 days a week) while still being paid for working FT. I eventually resumed working FT but only for 3 more years.

Otherwse, I can't say my retirement dreams changed much over the years.

Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

"I want my money working for me instead of me working for my money!"
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Old 10-06-2013, 06:35 AM   #23
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Didn't have as solid plans as you did. 20 years ago puts us in the early 90's, just before the boom years, just saving and trying to pay the bills. In the years we all thought we'd be retired by 55 and could afford whatever we wanted to do, but still no real plans. The 2000's took care of the idea of 55, just hunkered down and saved as much as possible hoping to retire some day. Late 2000's, started dreaming of getting an RV of sorts to see the country once we retired, 60-62 seemed doable. 2013, decline in job satisfaction due to layoffs and associated workload increases, during one layoff they asked for volunteers and I took it, age 56. Shortened career means the new $ RV is out, the small one we have will suffice for now. That and living on a bit less then planned are the only changes to our dreams at this time.
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Old 10-06-2013, 06:56 AM   #24
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While we never wanted to travel extensively we did (and hopefully will) be able to take a few more trips but for the moment, like some others here, we are looking after an elderly parent and that is a huge time sink. It was part of why I went back to work for a while with DW's time being taken up with that responsibility. She has said many times that the best gift I've ever given her was the free time to attend to that without having to think about a job.

Early on after retirement I tried to talk DW into a travel trailer and drive across the country but she didn't have any interest in that. And although it would be fun to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge, at the same time I rather doubt the experience would be radically different than driving across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge so it's not like I'll be forever feeling like I missed something important if it never happens. There is plenty of history and interesting things to do locally so there are lots of alternatives.
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Old 10-06-2013, 07:50 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
...Along the same lines, we decided Mystic was unnecessarily expensive (nice place to visit...)
This thread, especially Midpack's story, is interesting to me as a young person trying to look 20+ years into the future. My wife and I dream of ultimately settling down in a certain place that is similarly expensive, living in a small condo in an urban center, walking to the store/park/library/etc. I often wonder if we'll continue to feel the same way, especially since none of the older folks we know seem to be interested in such a lifestyle.

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Old 10-06-2013, 08:42 AM   #26
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ER'd at 50 in 2000 with very young boys, hence my handle. They were 4 and 2 at the time. Planned for the day when they were old enough I would home school and go RV/camping and backpacking across the US and into Alaska for a six month trip.

But life happens. Early on had an elderly parent situation (passed in 2005) but the boys got involved with Boy Scouts and soccer which pretty much, along with school, dominates the family scheduling. And as an older Dad, energy level and physical issues have made some things more difficult. Still get out backpacking but on a much much less ambitious scale.

But little regret. I'm so proud of my Eagle Scout whose hard work was noticed this Fall as he caught the eye of the school's varsity soccer coach and moved from JV to a varsity starter in a magic two weeks. And his younger brother is just starting his Eagle project and made the JV team (they are less than two years apart in age but one year in school).

Still would like to RV across US and to Alaska, but it likely will not be as a family, just the DW and I. But we did a lot of camping with the boys, just more local and short durations. Just last week accompanied the Boy Scouts camping.
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:52 AM   #27
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Like Tim, I found this thread so far to be interesting as a planning tool itself.

I had just met and married DH 20 years ago but even then we wanted an unconventional life. It started out looking pretty conventional though--I think I was the only one of my peers with a mortgage and life insurance at the time, though they caught up quickly!

We see retirement in stages, with doing as much travel while we can, hoping we don't get stuck in the eldercare trap, and then eventually selling our higher maintenance house for something in an urban setting that is convenient to services.

I never had one of those rocking chair dreams where I envisioned some serene stopping point. I always guessed I'd be on some kind of continuum of work and fun and maybe some more work and then more fun. That's what I think will really happen. What I call the "Travis McGee" plan after my favorite fictional character.
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
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Old 10-06-2013, 06:34 PM   #28
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I've enjoyed the stories you've all shared, thanks.

I guess my inability to predict the path our retirement (even though I was "sure" I knew years ago), it's probably hereditary in my case. My Dad said he was going to buy an RV and travel the US for two years, he never did - though my Mom told him "have fun, I'm not going with you" which may have something to do with his failure to follow through. He was also planning to grow a beard, never did that either. My Mom was going to get a poodle, but no dog, and it's too late now.

So it's not my fault we missed our guess, it's Mom & Dads - yeah, that's my story...
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 10-06-2013, 07:48 PM   #29
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I find this a very interesting thread, and hope to see more stories added.

We are currently in the stage of tweaking and refining the dream, and preparing to FIRE within the next few years (pending resolution of parent care). Our dream really only got kick-started about three years ago, though we had been saving for a good number of years prior. Before that we only had some vague ideas based on what our parents were doing, much of which we wanted to do differently. About a year ago we took a leap and bought what we intend to be our retirement home, on the opposite side of the country. These days I find myself growing more impatient with work, and growing more eager to hit the FIRE switch and initiate the plan. I wonder how our dream will evolve once we start living it.
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:00 PM   #30
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During my working career my savings/investing goals transitioned from just having an emergency fund, to investing a 401k but still figuring the Megacorp pension would fully cover retirement needs (it was rather generous then), to having kids and realizing we needed to get more get serious about budgeting and planning for the future in terms of child expenses and college educations, to Megacorp cutting the retirement plan and realizing that I couldn't depend on a pension alone if I did want to retire.

Then seeing Megacorp layoff and off-shoring jobs, and not assuming that SS would be around, along with a half-dozen co-workers die in a 2 year time span in the early 2000s for various reasons made my "dream" of not working until 66 (full SS eligibility age) really take priority. I was sweating it out until 2009, as making 30 years with Megacorp was going to be a huge factor in FIRE due to the pension amount bump. But once I hit that milestone the FIRE dream became feasible, and continued steady saving/investing, along with various financial modeling/forecasting/planning guidance, now has that "dream" seem like a reality I may be able to enjoy soon.
Current target FIRE date: June 2018 - locked and loaded!
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:43 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post

We see retirement in stages, with doing as much travel while we can, hoping we don't get stuck in the eldercare trap, and then eventually selling our higher maintenance house for something in an urban setting that is convenient to services.
This is where we are today. We didn't see it coming though. I think we kind of stumbled into it.
"The four most dangerous words in investing are 'This time it's different.'" - Sir John Templeton
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Old 10-06-2013, 08:53 PM   #32
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Little less than 2 years in. When I retired it was because a) I could, b) my BS bucket overflowed, and c) I recognized I no longer enjoyed the technology requirements of my job enough to be willing to keep current. My thoughts on what retirement would be were therefore less than well thought out ahead of time, beyond knowing it would no longer include the daily grind. So far, so good!
"The future's uncertain, and the end is always near. Let it roll, baby, roll." - The Doors
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Old 10-08-2013, 02:18 PM   #33
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Twenty years ago, I thought I'd be working past "normal" retirement age, but as time passed and numbers firmed up, I realized we didn't need our retirement account to be as big as I first thought and I'm now retiring at 60. DW will work a few more years to pay back student loans that weren't in the plan.

Twenty years ago, we thought we'd move closer to family in the PNW on retiring. Today, DW decided she doesn't like moving and we may end up staying where we are. We actually went from staying here because our friends are here, but many moved away. We then planned on living on the coast, but then we thought of medical needs and being closer to a big city. As mentioned we're back to staying put, but I don't think the merry-go-round has stopped.

Twenty years ago, I though we'd do more traveling that involved walking, hiking, biking, camping, etc. Today, the body doesn't work like it used to, so while we'll still do some traveling, it won't involve much of the above. Also, DW decided against elder hostel traveling, so fewer, more expensive trips.

Twenty years ago, I thought I'd continue to volunteer as we've done through the years. Today, I think we will do some volunteer work, but it will be on our schedule or not at all. I don't want it to become another job.
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Old 10-08-2013, 05:11 PM   #34
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My father semi-retired at 52 soon after DH and I were married, and he and my mother traveled a lot - RV, cruises, trips with friends. Summers up north and winters down south, seemed like a good plan to me. So I always planned to ER at around 57 when my Megacorp pension wouldn't be penalized.

One thing we didn't plan on was a 4-year expat assignment for both of us in Germany when the kids were elementary-aged. Overall a wonderful experience, and turned out to be a blessing in another way.

Fast forward to 2006 - DH, who is a few years older, is forced into disability retirement (MS) while both kids are still in high school. Travel is no longer fun for him, although we still did a few cruises and family visits. By 2010, my BS bucket overflowed, we had the kids' college taken care of, and I realized we were FI without counting on the pension, so that was it.

And now - we have the RV, customized to be accessible to DH even though he is now unable to walk. So even though the dream changed, it turned out closer to the original than I could have ever hoped - we traveled extensively when we lived in Europe and now we can drive our motorhome around the US.
"One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute." William Feather
ER'd Oct. 2010 at 53. Life is good.
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:02 PM   #35
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I didn't visualize retirement until about 20 years ago I figured out that I had over-estimated my ROI and consequently under-funded my retirement and it was a little late to fix. Anxiety and depression followed. I imagined us living under a bridge.

This got me working on a Plan B, leaving the country. Things have improved dramatically and now that is Plan C. Now we expect to stay in the same house until we move to a condo and do some traveling (visit kids and friends, etc.).

As far as what to do, I have always looked forward to just doing what I want to do during the day.
my bumpersticker:
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:48 PM   #36
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MidPack Thank you for this thread, it's inspiring to read eveyone's journey. Back in the 80's I had a choice, as a Federal employee, to stay in CSRS (DB) or switch to FERS (DC) plan. I listened to an old-timer and stayed with the DB which will cover all of my expenses. I didn't have a dream back then, however, as time moved on I thought I'd get married & have children....didn't happen.

By the late 90's my Mother moved to Texas and lived with me, I was her caregiver. My dream then, and hers too was to move to New Mexico.....we vacationed there for a few years and fell in love with the Land of Enchantment. Now she's gone and I'm in a house that is way too big.

I retire in ~ 88 days and I don't know if I should follow my dream alone or stay here. I plan to spend the 1st year (2014) decluttering my house and getting it ready to sell. I then have to figure out what to do next. I like Alan's idea of "lock & leave"..... And I need to get a small social life :-) as I've been a loner & workaholic. Thanks for reading, & keep the stories coming please...I find them comforting.
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Old 10-09-2013, 10:12 AM   #37
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Wow. Being 38, I had no dreams of retirement at 18, but when I started at megacorp at 20, I knew enough to put as much as possible into my 401k from day one.
Even now, I don't dream about retirement as much as I do about being FI. I do want to do some gardening around the house, and have time to spend with my mom and nephews, but I'm actually looking forward to trying out some other jobs and side businesses. I'm starting to think it's really just job burnout with my current company rather than ER that I'm really worried about.

Thanks for the topic, it really made me think, and hearing other's dreams is really interesting.
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Peter Gibbons: I wouldn't say I've been *missing* it, Bob.
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:42 AM   #38
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We retired earlier than we thought and had more financial resources that we thought we would. For some reason I was always concerned that we not have sufficient resources. We are fortunate to live in a country that has universal health insurance so this was not an early retirement issue for us.

We downsized to a rented condo and it felt oh so good to get rid of so much stuff. Not certain if we will buy again. We want to be able to lock and go. Second car is about to go to our son. Don't need it and it became a millstone. So, we are actually spending less in retirement on living. We seem to have broken the accumulation habit-by chance rather than design. The last four books that we have bought were donated to our local library when we finished with them...we did not want them hanging about. Our eating habits have changed. We eat less, a lot less red meat. Not by design. Also spending less on clothing, etc. since I stopped working.

We are travelling much more. We thought of buying in somewhere like Costa Rica, or perhaps Cuba when it opens up completely. But we do not want to be tied down to one location so that is on the backburner. We travelled for nine months, home for a few months, just came back from the Carolinas. We have a South American land and cruise trip planned for Feb/March but we always have our eyes out for a last minute deal to somewhere warm in the Caribbean-cruise or AI.
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Old 10-09-2013, 11:44 AM   #39
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Hell, my retirement dreams have changed half a dozen times over the past year.
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Old 10-09-2013, 04:23 PM   #40
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Let's just say the plans and dreams have slowly morphed - the basics have remained the same, just the details have changed. Although I haven't retired yet (plan is either in 6 minutes, 6 weeks or 6 months), it's getting close enough that I have a better idea of what it will be like than I did 25 years ago, when we started making plans.
1) Dreamed about retiring to acreage in the country - originally thought it would be Virginia (even bought the place), then the concept morphed into moving to the country outside of New Orleans.
2) Originally figured we would need an income of X, with Y in assets to cover that, and assumed a 10% withdrawal rate (okay, stop laughing - I was young!). Inflation (and kids, less simple lifestyle, loss of expected retiree medical coverage after a merger, etc.) caused the original "income needs" assumption to increase to 10X, then realizing that a 3 to 4% withdrawal rate was more realistic changed THAT number to 30X. Fortunately, we started early, and with such a low starting number, we never doubted we could reach our goal, which helped motivate us. As each realization hit, we simply made a minor adjustment upward. One step at a time - sort of the "frog in a frying pan" approach, as it turned out.
3) Possibly naively, I expected to be with the same girl I married in 1979 when I retire. Fortunately, that part has NOT changed.
So, all in all, the big picture has remained constant, it's just the implementation that has changed

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