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Old 10-31-2013, 08:07 PM   #41
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That brings up the start of another good mini thread:

"During your w*rking years what was the average wake up time during the weekday before getting ready for your w*rkday?
I generally got up at about 6:00 AM and for a while at 5:30 AM and visited the gym before heading in to work. Now my reduced cost membership only covers the civilized hours of 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:14 PM   #42
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Excellent book for those of us who are trying (not so successfully; see below) to shift out of the over-planning mindset and into a more spontaneous, exploratory one:

Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art

Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art: Stephen Nachmanovitch: 9780874776317: Amazon.com: Books

Good customer reviews. I am only a few chapters in, but I like it quite a bit. It certainly helps to bring me back into the present moment and see the potential for creativity there, rather than always fussing about the future.

However, I'm also back to my usual analytical ways, looking at all the states and cities where I might live, narrowing the list down based on a cornucopia of factors. I think it's worthwhile. Analysis has its place.
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Old 11-03-2013, 04:17 PM   #43
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Financially I planned our retirement for years and then DH retired two years sooner than I thought he would. (I was already retired a lot sooner than I had planned...long story) Worked out fantastically!
DH then decided he wanted somewhere to go and something to do so he went back to work part-time. It's been 8 years and he is still loving the work and the schedule is fantastic. (5 days on/9 days off)
Have been spending time planning approx. 3 semi-long and 5 mini vacations each year and then the children/grandchildren threw a wrench in the plans by living in areas of the country we didn't expect or plan for. I can only say that new adventures have been wonderful and we are anticipating even better adventures in the next few years!
What a great ride!
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Old 11-03-2013, 05:21 PM   #44
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I wonder if anyone else has had the experience of realizing that their planning for retirement was taking the fun out of retirement?

...

It was an odd thing, to realize that my retirement planning was actually draining the life out of my retirement, robbing it of its sense of adventure and exploration.

So, I have learned to put down the lists, the analyses, the multiple files and documents ... to stop over-planning for retirement. I am leaving well enough alone. The rest, I will make up along the way, once I get there.

Ever since I made that shift, I have felt a sense of joy again about anticipating retirement. Lesson learned: you can definitely over-plan for retirement, to the point where you drain the fun out of it...
Count me among the few here who underplanned his retirement.

I was just plodding along, thinking that I would do some part-time contract (W2) and free-lance (1099) work forever. Then, one day I wondered if I had enough to stop work. The search for that SWR on the Web led me to FIRECalc, and this forum.

OK, so 4% it is. Well, cut it back to 3.5% to be safe, and there's future SS too. That ought to be enough margin. No, couldn't do that yet as my children were still in college, and I wanted to give them a headstart without student loans. Meanwhile, I started to track my expenses with Quicken to see what they were. Whoa! I spent a heck of a lot more than 3.5% of portfolio. Better keep working...

Then, last year, when my son was out of school, and I happened to see that our ongoing expenses for the same living conditions were exactly 3.5%, plus I felt a bit tired with the work politics, I simply decided to stop work.

No spreadsheets ever. All I did and am still doing now is to look at my Quicken screen every so often. If it's 3.5%WR, I am doing OK. I also look at the discretionary expenses to see what I can cut back if things get tough again.

That frees up a lot of time to me to think of places to take my RV, or to look for random things on the Web, to finish reading my books, etc...
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Old 11-09-2013, 10:04 AM   #45
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Count me among the few here who underplanned his retirement.
...
This is great news to me since you seem to be having a very successful retirement.

I stopped spreadsheeting and worrying about the last .x% some time ago; of course, I have not been able to pull the plug either way. But, I am sure I will next year...Just one more year of income and I am sure I will feel better about this whole ER thing.
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:14 AM   #46
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We planned to a certain degree. We were conservative on the financial side.

The only real plan we made was to sell our large home, place everything in storage, travel for 6-9 months , and then come back and buy a new home.

So, we have found that many of our plans have changed. For one, we are very happy in a downsized rental condo, down from 3600 plus sq feet to 1350 sq. feet. We no longer accumulate.

We thought that we would keep 2 vehicles. One has gone. We were very certain about the type of home that we would buy on our return. That has gone out the window. Our priorities and preferences seem to have changed over a relatively short time period.

The only part of the plan that has gone to plan is that we are very pleased with our fee for service financial advisor. I no longer pour over the market details every day or so.. We do quarterly with the advisor or as required, plus once a year with our tax accountant.

We just last week signed up for a last minute cruise. We will do the same for other trips.

Now that we are retired we find a great deal of freedom in not planning as much. We can go where we want, when we want, and for as long as we want.
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Old 11-09-2013, 11:52 AM   #47
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I think I'm in a similar boat to NW-Bound (under-planning), though I'd categorize my approach as involving much thought but not a great deal of analysis. While living on unemployment benefits as a result of a layoff, it slowly dawned on me that maybe I didn't have to go back to work. I am now living on a little less than I was pulling in while unemployed.

My lifestyle and expenditures are so simple that I have no need for Quicken (no family, no kids, don't own any property, no car), and I know how much I need every month to get by. The rest was a simple matter of deciding on an asset allocation for the portfolio and many happy hours spent running multiple (and very similar) scenarios through Firecalc (aaah, the appeal of repetitive behavior!)

The only thing I haven't figured out is who to give my money to when I kick the bucket and how to ensure that happens. I'm still thinking about that one.
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:02 PM   #48
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... The only thing I haven't figured out is who to give my money to when I kick the bucket and how to ensure that happens. I'm still thinking about that one.
I am happy to volunteer my services to willing accept anything you have left over at the end and get the needed legal documents in place.
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Old 11-09-2013, 05:31 PM   #49
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I was a late ER person as well. With hindsight...sure wish I had done things a lot differently and I would have had more $$. I just don't want to plan very much. I am still very very very tempted to just stick most of the money we have into something like the Wellington fund and let it do the thinking for me.....and probably a lot better.
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Old 11-09-2013, 07:04 PM   #50
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This is great news to me since you seem to be having a very successful retirement.

I stopped spreadsheeting and worrying about the last .x% some time ago; of course, I have not been able to pull the plug either way. But, I am sure I will next year...Just one more year of income and I am sure I will feel better about this whole ER thing.
My earned income stopped only last year, so it's a bit early to tell. However, I have tracked expenses for long enough to establish the 3.5% baseline. Once one has run FIRECalc and sees that a 3.5%WR looks reasonably safe with SS as an additional margin, what's left to do? Well, there are a few things I do consider.

On the income side, what if my stash fails to provide the long-term income that FIRECalc's past performance indicates? Well, I'll just have to scale back my expenses. Could it be up to the point of downsizing to an RV parked in New Mexico's state parks? That would be a SHTF scenario. A lot of people would be hurting not just me, so we will be all in this together. Misery loves company.

On the expense side, what if my expenses consistently run over 3.5%? But that is under my control, hence I watch expenses with Quicken. Expenses due to lifestyle creep should be detectable with enough time to correct. Extra unplanned expenses due to one-time events can also be corrected if needed by cutting back on discretionary spending. If extra expenses are of a catastrophic magnitude, then perhaps I did not do enough homework like buying adequate insurance, but that is required planning at all time, and is not part of retirement planning.

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I think I'm in a similar boat to NW-Bound (under-planning), though I'd categorize my approach as involving much thought but not a great deal of analysis...

My lifestyle and expenditures are so simple that I have no need for Quicken (no family, no kids, don't own any property, no car), and I know how much I need every month to get by. The rest was a simple matter of deciding on an asset allocation for the portfolio and many happy hours spent running multiple (and very similar) scenarios through Firecalc (aaah, the appeal of repetitive behavior!)
I use Quicken expense tracking because I tend to spend in spurt. It's easy to overspend without realizing it. Another thing Quicken does for me is portfolio performance tracking for the income side of the cash flow.

Regarding spreadsheets, I am no stranger to very elaborate Monte Carlo simulations (written in Fortran and C), having written a few myself which involved more than 100 random variables. In my work life, I dealt with scientific calculations that required very precise algorithms; the variables were under tight measurement control and their bounds were defined but together they caused variations in the outcome. Events in history are not well-defined like the above though. There are so many unknowns with not well-defined bounds, and even "unknown" unknowns.

On the personal level, as healthy as I thought I was, I got an illness that required major surgeries and it still threatens to shorten my life significantly. That came out of nowhere. I already bought health insurance for that unlikely event, which unfortunately happened. What else could I have done differently?

Me worrying about the last .x% now?
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