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Financially speaking... are you living like you thought you would be living?
Old 09-18-2017, 05:40 PM   #1
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Financially speaking... are you living like you thought you would be living?

I suppose this question is for those of you who have been retired (I define as no earned income coming in) for a min of 5 yrs, but ideally 10 plus years (road thru recession/recovery). You have done all the saving, set your AA, run Firecalc, set your desired annual spending needs/wants, and made the launch. Assuming you were mentally prepared otherwise, are/have you continued to fund the lifestyle you planned for? Did you miss on somethings that you wished you maybe would have stayed in the game another year or so? Or, did you determine you over planned and wish you would have launched sooner? While I know market returns can definitely affect the answers here, im more curious as to how your financial plan has over/underfunded your planned expenses over the years and the good/bad surprises you may not have seen coming (or dare I say ignored in your plan). I think there are many of us Greenhorns suffering from OMY syndrome that could use the encouragement from you weathered veterans! Pass the wisdom on!
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Old 09-18-2017, 05:53 PM   #2
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I suppose this question is for those of you who have been retired (I define as no earned income coming in) for a min of 5 yrs, but ideally 10 plus years (road thru recession/recovery). You have done all the saving, set your AA, run Firecalc, set your desired annual spending needs/wants, and made the launch. Assuming you were mentally prepared otherwise, are/have you continued to fund the lifestyle you planned for? Did you miss on somethings that you wished you maybe would have stayed in the game another year or so? Or, did you determine you over planned and wish you would have launched sooner? While I know market returns can definitely affect the answers here, im more curious as to how your financial plan has over/underfunded your planned expenses over the years and the good/bad surprises you may not have seen coming (or dare I say ignored in your plan). I think there are many of us Greenhorns suffering from OMY syndrome that could use the encouragement from you weathered veterans! Pass the wisdom on!
I have been fully retired for 8 years. I was planning for a frugal to moderate retirement, assuming a market crash, massive inflation, and every other obstacle that I could think of. Ironically I ended up with a lot more money than needed for the lifestyle I planned for.

I would not have retired earlier because I retired on the first day that I qualified for retirement benefits (mainly my mini-pension and access to employee/retiree health insurance).

Do not ignore luck as a factor. How could anyone have predicted the prolonged bull market that has been in place ever since my 2009 retirement? And I got a completely unexpected, moderate, very welcome inheritance (still, would rather have my mother and miss her so much). And then, I had never realized when planning that I could get half my ex's SS without causing him to receive any less, so I have had four years of unexpected SS from age 66 to 70 (when I planned to claim mine).

Of course, luck could work the other way. Maybe a kid would unexpectedly need money for college or marriage, or your spouse could have big medical bills, or SS could stop paying retirees, or who knows what. I guess my point is that all we can do is the best planning we can, and then do the best with what we end up with.
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Old 09-18-2017, 06:09 PM   #3
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Im spending way less than I thought we would. My personal situation turned as such I cant even leave the house except for early in the morning when my mom is sleeping for church, and then a quick stroll to the bakery, butcher, fruit stand etc. I skip the stores if its my day to work over the heavy bag at the gym. I worked way too many years for our spending. Note my signature line.
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Old 09-18-2017, 06:14 PM   #4
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Retired 6 years ago at age 56. I had an Excel based retirement plan that I kept. Our nestegg today is 123% of what I thougt it would be and is 122% of what we had when we retired, and that is after buying a winter condo for cash, a new truck and demolishing our one-car garage and replacing it with a 2-car garage with a bonus room/loft. If I adjust for those three items, our nestegg today would be 136% of what I planned and 135% of what we started retirement with.

I concede that investment returns over these 6 years have been very good and that is reflected in the results.

We have increased our spending by 35% from what we planned but could easily dial it back to the plan at any point id necessary. Life is good.

No regrets about working as long as I did as I enjoyed my work and colleagues and clients and did not have any of the toxic work environments that I read about here. My decision to retire coincided with moving into our retirement home (demolished and rebuilt our lakeside vacation home) and selling our main home. I had been working part-time about 5 years before I retired.
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:24 PM   #5
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ER'd 15 years ago at 52. We lived in a mega urban high stress jobs environment (San Francisco Bay Area). Changed the lifestyle completely by moving to a rural 7 acre wooded area in SW Oregon - critters (chickens,goats, geese, turkeys, ducks, donkey! horses) and a huge garden and no traffic and no commute - totally the opposite of where we were before. Loved and still do, but scaled back critter wise ( that's a lot of work). Financially, the cost of living was so much lower than what I anticipated that our kitty is about 2 1/4 what it was when we retired (not adjusted for inflation). We probably could have done it earlier but I was not mentally ready and as it turned out I was still working thru the slow mo stock market debacle of 2000 - 2002 which helped a lot as I ER'd at the end of 2002.
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:43 PM   #6
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I have been retired for 8 years with no earned income. I never thought it would be as good as it is. Our home is paid for, and property taxes are about $400/year.
We just got rid of DW 1998 Cadillac and my 2003 Hyudai. We now have a 2017 Mazda CX-5 and a 2016 Hyundai. Both cars were bought with cash. It is the first time in her life my DW did not have car payments.
Since we have seen all we wanted to see in Europe, our travel budget has dropped considerably. We used to spend 30 to 40 K a year traveling. Now we limit ourselves to shorter domestic trips. However, we are flying First Class to Hawaii for our 10th anniversary.
Life is good!
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Old 09-18-2017, 07:51 PM   #7
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I retired nearly 9 years ago at age 45. One condition for doing that was that there would be no changes to my everyday lifestyle. That has come true.


That isn't to say that there has been nothing unexpected in regard to finances. I did not expect my individual HI to rise by nearly 50% in the first 2 years, forcing me to be underinsured for a few years until the ACA's exchanges began in 2014 and I was able to resume being covered with an affordable, comprehensive policy and not be underinsured any more.


Retiring in late 2008 while the market was in free-fall has was a blessing, a nice, unexpected boost to my ER plan. I had cashed out my company stock which had taken only a mild hit and was able to buy 25% more shares in a bond fund at bargain-basement prices. This increased my monthly dividend income by 25% which was very helpful, and having all of those extra shares has been an ongoing aid to my monthly budget.


The monthly dividends per share from the bond fund has taken a beating in the last 9 years, so buying/having more shares has offset that decline. Also, a few years ago I began taking as cash the quarterly stock dividend from a stock fund to supplement my bond fund income. This was always a possibility in my ER plan and in no way affects my day-to-day lifestyle.
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Old 09-19-2017, 05:53 AM   #8
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Nearly 16 years of retirement and it's WAY better than expected.
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:17 AM   #9
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I'm not quite to 5 years yet, but way better!! I'm glad I worked first. If I had know how much fun it is to not work or work very little, I would have wanted to do it a long time ago. No regrets here at all.
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:25 AM   #10
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12 years for me and 7 for DW and we are spending less than anticipated. I still worry about some calamitous economic event so I stay cautious (but not spartan) with expenses. At some point I expect I will let loose and figure what the heck. Maybe in 6 years when I'm 75. Even now, if I saw something moderately expense I was really interested in I would feel free to splurge.
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:33 AM   #11
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Ten years in and I would say better than planned. My first few years I lived a very frugal life mainly because I was looking after my mom and aunt and simply couldn't get away much. So that worked to my advantage financially. I will admit, I was a little nervous during the 2008 crash but fortunately..... that all worked out.
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:40 AM   #12
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Assuming you were mentally prepared otherwise, are/have you continued to fund the lifestyle you planned for? !
Twelve and a half years in, we've been pleasantly surprised. We started out watching every dime and working hard at economizing. Coupons, bargain hunting at Job Lot etc.

As time went on we found that we were doing a whole lot better than planned and now fear leaving too much on the table. Eight years of unplanned good terrific market returns sure helped!

(I just went out yesterday and bought a new Mercedes)

I've said it before, this forum helped us get there in countless ways.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:42 AM   #13
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12 years for me and 7 for DW and we are spending less than anticipated. I still worry about some calamitous economic event so I stay cautious (but not spartan) with expenses. At some point I expect I will let loose and figure what the heck. Maybe in 6 years when I'm 75. Even now, if I saw something moderately expense I was really interested in I would feel free to splurge.
Is this because you RE'd or were you always this way? I think thoughts about spending are pretty ingrained by adulthood. That why if I see new posters saying I spending 15K a month now but when I RE I'm budgeting only 5K I tend to be skeptical that will be the case.
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Old 09-19-2017, 08:49 AM   #14
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15 year for us. Initially it was tight due to alimony and having half but DW contributed more than I expected. In 2007, we purchase a snowbird place, cashing in equity before the market swoon. Living costs dropped in half and gave us the extra room we needed.

Just in the last 2 years, we have started to spend more while still LBYM. Life is good!
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Old 09-19-2017, 09:07 AM   #15
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59y old, 11 years in, things going somewhat better than expected. Spending more than planned and enjoying it. All paid for by stock dividends in my IRA. The 2+ years of OMY syndrome before I retired made a big difference in my perceived margin of safety.
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Old 09-19-2017, 11:08 AM   #16
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Better for us. With more free time we've found many ways to cut our overhead while improving our standard of living.
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Old 09-19-2017, 11:23 AM   #17
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I'm only 3.5 years out and the market has certainly helped, but I'm at least as well off as I expected, probably better. Net worth is up over 8% despite the fact that I haven't filed for SS on my own record yet. A downsizing two years ago helped; utilities and other housing-related costs are lower now that I'm done with all the improvements on the house. Another, which I wouldn't have wished for but knew was likely since DH was 15 years older and had health issues, is that I'm now a household of one. Not only has that decreased some expenses, but it also eliminated the scary scenario of DH developing Alzheimer's (his mother had it) and spending years in expensive memory care. Fortunately we made the best of our years together and did a lot of travel to wonderful places. I'd figured that if we saved all our travel plans for after I retired at 65, he'd be 80 and that was dicey. I am SO Glad I retired at 61 instead.
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Old 09-19-2017, 11:38 AM   #18
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I'm only 10 months in but can already see that we probably accumulated more than needed before we RE'd. Spending has been as expected so far but market performance has been better so NW has increased despite living off portfolio. Haven't started pension or deferred comp payments yet and probably won't for another couple of years.
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Old 09-19-2017, 02:02 PM   #19
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The OP asked "Are you living like you thought you would be living?". The question is geared towards financial expectations.

Yes. But it is not surprising given the recent market performance.

My last earned income was deposited on 2012/5/18. The Dow was at 12,369. It closed yesterday at 22,331. That explains why I have quite a bit more money now than when I stopped my part-time work. And I have been spending more than I expected when I retired for real. If I stopped work in 2000 or in 2007, I would not be so comfortable.
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Old 09-19-2017, 02:13 PM   #20
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7 years for me (10 for DH) and things are financially much better than I expected/planned for. Obviously the market is a big factor, as is the fact that our retirement home (that we purchased a year before I ER'd) cost a whole lot less then than it would now (it's probably appreciated 40% over the purchase+remodeling costs). Even though in hindsight I could have ER'd earlier, it was the right time for other reasons.
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