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How have you guys determined what direction you’ve gone?
Old 11-14-2016, 08:47 AM   #1
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How have you guys determined what direction you’ve gone?

The reality of ER is creeping up for me and my spouse, 55 and 57 respectively. It looks like we can go in the spring 2017 if we want. At present we are both working full time. We have an FA and meet occasionally to discuss our situation and based on our expenses and portfolio and such we are in good shape. We estimate we would want about 80 - 100k post tax to live on in retirement. Sometime that figure seems high but we would rather plan a bit high and not need it. Now the question is what are we gona do? There are so many options for the next phase of our lives so were trying to come up with a plan and it’s starting to get real as opposed to in theory.
How have you guys determined what direction you’ve gone? We’re thinking about downsizing and relocating to a warmer climate, as were in NJ now, but not absolutely sure about that. We enjoy our home not too big /small (about 2600 SF), but taxes can be a killer.
Another idea was to sell pretty much everything and travel to places we are interested in. Take a 6 month lease or something like that and live there to see if we like it or not. But the reality of trying to do something like that can be a bit difficult. Like what do you do with your car registration/insurance? Also we are both used to having our own car so how do you handle that? Take one car and rent, so many options.
In any event just wondering how to sift through all of the options out there and of course enjoy it!
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:23 AM   #2
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We made the decision to FIRE and to downsize at roughly the same time. We took about 7 months to get our 3600 sq ft. home in shape to sell. We found we only used three rooms. We also had some travel plans so we decided to combine these goals. We downsized into an 8X8X16 container which we placed in storage. We did not want to maintain a house of this size, pay the taxes, utilities, upkeep, etc. We had no emotional attachment to it.

We traveled for six months, came home, and rented a furnished apt. Our intent was to buy. After six months of travel and three months of living in a furnished apt we found that our tastes and wants in a new home had changed. Then the bottom started to fall in our local economy. We moved to a larger rental condo and have been renting for 3 years. Plus lots of travel-about 5/6 months per year on average. We are happy renters thought we do plan to buy where we live or continue to rent and buy something in a warmer climate where we can live for six months or so per year. Currently we spend our winters travelling 2-3 months to warmer climates. There are enough warm weather winter locations on our travel bucket list to keep us busy for the next several years.

We had two cars. We kept both for a year then gave one away. We live in an area that is close to rapid transit and we can walk to the grocery store, library etc. Our plan was to rent a car should we need a second one. So far, we have not had to do that. Our lifestyle has changed. If we can walk, we do so. We are putting far less mileage on our car than we have prior to retirement-with the exception on one cross country car trip. While travelling we lent one car to our son and stored the second. We reduced the insurance on the stored car to fire and theft only. Prior to leaving we changed as much of our snail mail to email as possible. It also proved to be a good time to renew our wills. We did a fair amount of shopping for out of country medical insurance. We selected a policy directly from a carrier with a 3K deductable that reduced the premium by 30 percent.

Downsizing was good for us and we like the lifestyle. We are thinking of moving to another city. If we do, we will rent for a year or so first and then consider buying. Depends on the market. We have owned our home all of our adult lives. Renting has actually given us a great deal more flexibility and changed how we view our lifestyle options and the options for where we would like to live. It has been very liberating.

When we traveled for six months it was not all go go so to speak. We had a did a Med and a transatlantic cruise. We had a week in a condo in Daytona Beach, plus a last minute Caribbean cruise over Christmas. Then a month in a condo in Costa Rica. These served to break up the travel. We spent time in Europe and in Africa.
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:37 AM   #3
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We did it in stages. Downsized in 1995 to 1BR rental. Then tried 2BR. Finally 3BR Penthouse in 97 and are still there. But the downsizing to 1BR taught us about all the crap we were keeping. Partial FIRE in 2002, completed in 2005. including getting off several Boards. Lot of travel to evaluate alternatives. Finally bought a snowbird condo in 2007.

At one point we had zero cars then gradually bought one for north and one for south. Total miles driven about 3000 a year (so the cars are a luxury).
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:38 AM   #4
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For me it came down to setting priorities, and that took some time to get them in the right order before making any changes.

I moved to a different part of FL for better social environment for my kids while staying in a lower cost state. Noodled on that one for about 6 months. Rented initially, then bought a house after being confident the new location would work for us.

You have time to sort things out with our spouse, and maybe you do some of that after you have hung it up. From my experience, smaller details like car registration (and there are many others) will fall in line once you get the top 2-3 priorities set and start to act upon them.
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Old 11-14-2016, 09:41 AM   #5
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We had planned to move to another state when we retired. But once we retired, and had shed a lot of stress and relaxed a bit, we found that we no longer had as much desire to move.

So, my suggestion would be to retire, and spend a year relaxing and de-stressing before you do anything. You can always do whatever seems like fun later on. There's no need to rush, no schedules during retirement. You will have all the time in the world.
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Old 11-14-2016, 10:30 AM   #6
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We determined our direction through lots of research in respect to our likes/dislikes. We bought a condo in Arizona in 2002 while we were still working. I semi retired and then DW and I both retired in 2014. We still have our primary house in Illinois, and spend about 4 months a year in our condo. We are talking about selling both places and buying a small house in Arizona.

Ttvjef- I recommend making a plan of your future retirement needs. Housing, spending, geographic preferences, lifestyle, etc. After retirement, keep your house for a while and "practice" your retirement plan. Rent a place in your planned geographical area and live your planned lifestyle for at least a few months to see how well you like it. Make sure you experience it during all 4 seasons. Make changes to your plan to adjust to your likes/ dislikes as needed. Once you find nirvana, sell your house and move to the place that best suits you.
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Old 11-14-2016, 10:39 AM   #7
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Yeah, don't do anything too fast. Take your time, go visit different areas.
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Old 11-14-2016, 11:04 AM   #8
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As an aside, we found that six months of travel and three months of living in a small furnished apt. in our home city changed us.

The first change was eating habits. After travelling we found that we far less red meat, lots more fresh produce and fruit, and almost no prepared foods. We feel much better for it. We started to notice the 'chemical' tastes in some prepared foods whereas before we did not.

Second change was how much space we wanted. It is less now, and we don't want any wasted space. Open plan, 1200-1400 sq. feet is plenty for us. Don't know what we would do with some of the 1700/1800 sq ft. places that we were previously looking at.
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Old 11-14-2016, 11:26 AM   #9
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Yeah, don't do anything too fast. Take your time, go visit different areas.
+1

I've only been retired 7 months now and seriously, all the things i swore I would do immediately no longer have that "pressing" desire to do. AND about 5 additional avenues have opened up.

So I'm going to echo all the other advice, I wouldn't do any thing radical for a year, get your retirement sea legs under you.

case in point, my friend Donnie who retire maybe three years ago. last day he had his car packed while driving out the gate on his way to Florida. less than a year later Donnie was back in Wilmington DE. wife did not realize how much she would miss her old area until she was gone. they had visited and stayed in the area they moved to but found that living there 24/7 was a bit different than downsizing the saving grace was they had not sold their old home.

get use to not working first. that's what I'm doing.
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Old 11-14-2016, 11:40 AM   #10
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We thought we would downsize and travel but in the end decided we weren't ready to give up our yard and the extra space we have now, at least not yet. Plus after running all the numbers we would not save too much in our current metro area as smaller homes are in very high demand.

We ended up staying where we are at and are fixing up our house. I found some Netflix for live events kinds of subscriptions so that has been a lot of fun. We can go out frequently and it doesn't cost much. But pre-retirement I didn't know those kinds of subscriptions existed so I guess how we've ended up has been just trying different things and seeing what works. At first we thought a condo on a beach in a tropical location would be best but then we realized we like hiking in wooded areas more and we had that where we were already living.
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Old 11-14-2016, 12:32 PM   #11
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At first we thought a condo on a beach in a tropical location would be best but then we realized we like hiking in wooded areas more and we had that where we were already living.
Yes we had stayed on the beach on vacation but decided to own on the side of a mountain. It is a 12 minute walk to the beach but only 3 minutes to the jungle. Has fabulous views on all 4 sides, including the bay.
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Old 11-14-2016, 01:28 PM   #12
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Yes we had stayed on the beach on vacation but decided to own on the side of a mountain. It is a 12 minute walk to the beach but only 3 minutes to the jungle. Has fabulous views on all 4 sides, including the bay.
Sounds great! If the ACA gets repealed and we can't get health insurance in California maybe you can show us around Mexico.
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Old 11-14-2016, 04:54 PM   #13
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You can always get insurance. Just sometimes your frugal ER ways won't allow it. But if you make it to PV, let us know. We go tomorrow and meet all our snowbird friends. Very social. My doctor asked if it was a strain on my liver and I admitted that it was.
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Old 11-14-2016, 05:06 PM   #14
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We just played it by ear.

My wife ER'ed first at the age of 50. Then, I quit for real at 56 after working part-time for 8 years. So, for several years before retiring, we already fooled around, did some foreign travel, bought a 2nd home, then a motorhome to see what RV'ing was all about. Children are grown, and now established.

Don't know what we are going to do next, but I see no reason nor urge to relocate or do anything that drastic. Just surfin' the Web looking for travel deals or interesting places to drive my motorhome to is enough to keep busy on. Or just putzing around.
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Old 11-14-2016, 06:22 PM   #15
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In our case we waited one year after DH retired before buying a second home close to the ocean, about 30 miles from our bay area house. We thought we would use the vacation place for entertaining family and rent it out on AirBnB or VRBO when we weren't using it. Within a year or so we found 1) that we really liked living near the ocean, and 2) that owning two homes was a drain on the monthly budget. The cats weren't too fond of the arrangement either. So we sold the bay area house in summer 2015 and used the proceeds to make the beach house our dream home. We have been living in the completed house since May and we have no regrets about the move or the remodel. We are not frequent travelers (the cats don't like that either) and we are loving living in a smaller city where we can walk or ride bikes to most of the places we want to go. We will be going from two cars to one this summer, and I don't anticipate that it will cause any problems.

I suppose we could get to a point where we wanted to downsize, especially if the stairs cause a problem in the future. But for now we are healthy and active and our location suits the activities we most enjoy.
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Old 11-15-2016, 07:44 AM   #16
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Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies! My spouse and I talked about all of the options that were put out there. It helps to hear ER’s progression from w*rk to the next phase of life.

Several take always from the thread:
1) Take our time. I guess I don’t need to put the house up and load up the car on our official ER day :-)
2) Figure out where we what to go and what we want to do, for real, in our retirement years. Sounds like this is a prime decision that probably gets adjusted over time.
3) I kind of like the idea of being un-encumbered by possessions for a while. Need to figure out how to go about that in a reasonable fashion.
4) Like the idea of keeping our place for a while and see if our budget can withstand renting in one of our desired locations. We both like the west coast of Florida and I would like to investigate further west. Maybe AZ.

Now that we’re getting kind of close our talks are getting more and more real. We are trying to get the most out of our early retirement time.
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Old 11-15-2016, 07:54 AM   #17
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I am going to travel in a fifth wheel. Not full time, but maybe for 2-3+ weeks at a time, 6-8 times a year.

I have been doing some travel already, as soon as the weather dips I have a few more trips planned.

I started downsizing, but I have a lot of stuff I can sell. So, I will do that slow but sure. No plans on moving, MN is a great state for 6 month's out of the year. I may change residencies when I start to take a pension.

I am slowing making changes to my tax situation as well. The goal, pay $0 in taxes at some point in the future. A 1031 exchange will happen at some point too, I think.
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Old 11-15-2016, 09:10 AM   #18
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Selling, downsizing, and travelling can be a nerve wracking process for some people. Selling was not an issue for us because we had no emotional ties to our hose. Downsizing was not an issue, Took us three of four go rounds but we did it. DW is looking forward to buying some new furniture when and if we move again or buy.

Travelling for an extended period is a little different. You will be together all of the time, often in much closer quarters. Also, you have to be the flexible type and have no issue changing plans at the last minute. Some people might have trouble with this. After quite a few trips we have found our 'sweet spot' in terms of consecutive travel-8-10 weeks is about all the DW wants from now on.

Our first two years of condo rental were a challenge for DW. She loved the condo,location ,etc. but there seemed to be this nagging desire to become a home or condo owner again. It was though renting meant instability. This desire has passed to a great extent but it took some time. Plus, in our travels we met many people who were making or in the process of planning to make similar changes in their lifestyle. Just yesterday we spoke of doing something similar. If we decide to buy we will have an extended transfer date. Move out of the rental, put our things in storage, and then go an stay in someplace like Malaga, Spain for two or three months and use it as a base.
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Old 11-16-2016, 02:41 PM   #19
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If we decide to buy we will have an extended transfer date. Move out of the rental, put our things in storage, and then go an stay in someplace like Malaga, Spain for two or three months and use it as a base.

sounds interesting. Why Malaga?
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Old 11-16-2016, 04:01 PM   #20
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