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Post-ER surprises
Old 01-10-2005, 03:50 AM   #1
 
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Post-ER surprises

Having ERed without a lot of planning, I probably had
more surprises than most here. Anyway, here they are.
The good, the bad and the ugly

I was able to control my income so as to pay no federal income taxes, without dipping into my "base".

I was able to put together an arrangement where we
could own 2 homes (snowbirding).

Although I bought reluctantly (I was renting), our house
and condo have worked out very well. Both bought right
and values up quite a bit already.

No withdrawals on my IRA as yet.

Switched from almost 100% CDs to almost 100% bonds
with my non-real estate money.

My net worth increased significantly in ER and I found I could control spending pretty well without a formal budget,

I remarried in 2001 after being single over 3 years.

Very difficult time finding and affording health insurance,
while I was developing some health "issues".

Spent a lot of time and money in court on post-divorce
issues which I thought were all behind me.

The main leisure activities I planned for ER have been
dropped or cut back, partly for health reasons.

The really good news is that overall, ER is even better
than I expected, all things considered.

JG


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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 01-10-2005, 09:04 AM   #2
 
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Re: Post-ER surprises

Hi John, can you give me some specifics on your expenses (food, travel, medical, phone, internet, cable tv, utilities, automotive) I would love to see how you can live on such a small amount of money and keep two households.
Thanks Jeff
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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 01-10-2005, 10:06 AM   #3
 
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Re: Post-ER surprises

Hello Jeff. Well, I have posted my "guessimates"
several times before, and since I don't keep a detailed
budget, it would be "work" to be more precise,
so..................

I will give some tips though. First no cable TV and little
investment in on-site entertainment equipment. I have posted before that just one of Cut-Throat's cars is worth more than 100% of all our personal property,
vehicles included. Minimal insurance on everything
that we insure, so in a sense we partially self-insure
everything. The house is small and we only heat about
750 SF in the winter. My wife handles the grocery
shopping and she uses coupons and shops carefully.
Buys large quantities when she finds a bargain.
Your second household question is the easiest. Although I bought the condo for our personal use, so far
it is just a rental (but a good one). Bought right and
excellent cash flow. The plan is to use it in the winter
once I can get my spouse at least semiretired, and then
rent it out the rest of the time. I am fortunate to have
an excellent on- site realtor to manage it. The property
produces a nice income even net of her fee.

If I have a day when I get bored, I will go back and
reconstruct our expenses. I am sure some others
would be interested also. But the regulars know I got
to this point by relentless downsizing.

JG
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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 01-10-2005, 10:11 AM   #4
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Re: Post-ER surprises

Quote:
Hello Jeff. *Well, I have posted my "guessimates"
several times before, and since I don't keep a detailed
budget, it would be "work" to be more precise,
so.................. * *

I will give some tips though. *First no cable TV and little
investment in on-site entertainment equipment. *I have posted before that just one of Cut-Throat's cars is worth more than 100% of all our personal property,
vehicles included. *Minimal insurance on everything
that we insure, so in a sense we partially self-insure
everything. *The house is small and we only heat about
750 SF in the winter. *My wife handles the grocery
shopping and she uses coupons and shops carefully.
Buys large quantities when she finds a bargain.
Your second household question is the easiest. *Although I bought the condo for our personal use, so far
it is just a rental (but a good one). *Bought right and
excellent cash flow. *The plan is to use it in the winter
once I can get my spouse at least semiretired, and then
rent it out the rest of the time. *I am fortunate to have
an excellent on- site realtor to manage it. *The property
produces a nice income even net of her fee.

If I have a day when I get bored, I will go back and
reconstruct our expenses. *I am sure some others
would be interested also. *But the regulars know I got
to this point by relentless downsizing.

JG
*
JG: Also you don't play golf
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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 01-10-2005, 10:21 AM   #5
 
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Re: Post-ER surprises

Hi Jarhead!

That's right..........no golf! I still enjoy watching it on TV though and I have not played since 1975.

JG
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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 01-10-2005, 11:56 AM   #6
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Re: Post-ER surprises

Golfs cheap around here Jarhead!

My dad was paying $40-45 a round at a muni course in MA. He's paying a buck a hole around here at much nicer semi-private courses. And has 27 holes in his backyard

My biggest surprise in ER was how easy it came to me. I'm a type-a's type-a. When I took a 3 month sabbatical 4 years ago I figured to be climbing the walls. I found joy in hand picking weeds, tweaking my cars, long walks with the dogs, drinking guiness with my feet in the lake and reading bad fiction. I didnt want to go back, work and its silly pointless politics seemed crazy, and I ER'ed a year later. Every once in a while I have a "work dream" where one of my old bosses is giving me something "really important" to do and I work away at it for what seems like hours, but is probably minutes in REM sleep. I consider these more like nightmares than dreams.

My second biggest surprise was that I didnt know if I was going to be able to sustain an ER when I quit, but after learning more about investing, making the right moves (divesting myself of the mcmansion, two of my three cars, quitting eating out, making my travel local and by car), its clear that I'll live well without working for the rest of my life.

I had no plan at all either. I had a big lump of cash that seemed like it should last for 10 years or more. My company was offering all employees a decent buyout plan to bug out. I had considerable real estate assets in the mcmansion. I wanted some time off. Worst thing that would happen, I figure, is a 2 or 3 year sabbatical and I go back to work. Very worst thing is I take some entry level decent job making $50-60k a year and work my way back into a big money management job in a couple of years.

Which is why I tell people "LEAP DAMMIT!"

Ok, I can only procrastinate from painting another room at the wifes old house for another few minutes. Please stop asking interesting questions...please!!!
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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 01-10-2005, 05:42 PM   #7
 
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Re: Post-ER surprises

I'm glad TH is back also.

Jarhead..........any thoughts on seeing the end of a
favored activity coming down the road? I've been
there (am there?), and I don't like it one bit.

JG
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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 01-10-2005, 06:05 PM   #8
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Re: Post-ER surprises

Aw you guys are making me blush!

Well Jarhead, you can afford it...you're a rich guy. If I remember right I tried to get you to adopt me a while back.

Couple of other sort of surprises that have occurred to me. I'm going to paraphrase a couple of PM's I've been swapping with people.

I was surprised at the parasitic symbiotic relationship I had with my work. When I was separated from benefits, a steady income stream, and the mental and physical abuse...it was eye opening. But still very co-dependent...it was hard to have to rely on myself and my own machinations for certain things. Once I got my own medical insurance, did the 9 ways from sunday analysis to see that I could pull this off (most likely), and got used to the idea of not depending on "the job", it got a lot easier. Sort of like dancing on a precipice there for a while though. I do think that clearing myself of debt made it easier to swallow though, knowing that even a modest job would more than pay my bills, and anyone willing to work a couple of days a week at odd jobs can make the 10-12k it'd take for me to muddle along through a hard time.

The other thing was maintaining the network of friends. I thought at first I'd have an even more active social life as I would always "be available". Turns out most people counted on me to do the legwork to get together and do stuff. Our jobs do bind many of us together and I found that many valuable relationships dulled and were lost. Moving an hour north didnt help that either.

Being in a completely different financial situation also creates some barriers. At a minimum, there isnt much common ground to talk about things; at the other end of the spectrum there's jealousy and resentment. One of the things that made discovering this place such a joy for me...bunches of people who are in exactly the same situation and want to talk about the same things.

Its been good to have some time to come back and chat, although I'm breaking my own rules...I've been taking just saturdays and sundays off from working on the house. Friday and Sunday nights now have some meaning again for the first time in four years. Oh well, I see the light at the end of the tunnel and there are no train tracks in the vicinity.

Speaking of lights at the end of the tunnel, I've just been informed that its time for me to make dinner...
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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 01-10-2005, 10:10 PM   #9
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Re: Post-ER surprises

Quote:
I'm glad TH is back also.

Jarhead..........any thoughts on seeing the end of a
favored activity coming down the road? *I've been
there (am there?), *and I don't like it one bit.

JG
JG:
I think it was Art Linkletter that said "getting older isn't for sissies"
Actually, regarding golf, I'll probably never give it up entirely, unless I'm a total basket case. (Which could happen).
What I do see coming to a close though in the next 3 years or so, is being able to compete in tournament play. I will certainly miss that, but there are some pretty good players at my local club, and I also enjoy that.
So, anyway, JG, let's use the term "modify", when we talk about a favored activity coming to an end
Of course, it would be pretty hard to "modify" riding motorcyles. It probably shows good mental health on your part to be grateful that you were a good enough rider when you were younger not to get "racked-up" good, and to quit pushing your luck. (You want to be around to enjoy your snow-birding years).
Another quote I am beginning to appreciate is Clint Eastwoods, "A man's got to know his limitations".
Jarhead
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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 01-11-2005, 09:47 AM   #10
 
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Re: Post-ER surprises

Hi Jarhead, in a previous life I grew up at a country club. I was a 1 handicap, won the club championship 8 times and finsihed in the top 20 in my state amateur.
That was then, now because of finances I have not played golf in over a year. I miss it some, but not as much as I thought. If I played now I would probley have trouble breaking 90.
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Boomeritis
Old 01-11-2005, 10:14 AM   #11
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Boomeritis

Boomeritis: injuries caused by an aging body doing things it could do in its youth that it can't do anymore.

(Written during the background noise of the board's "more senior" members guffawing at our naivete:)

What surprises me about my 40s is the swift rise in ibuprofen consumption. It seems to follow every surfing session, tae kwon do workout, 20-mile bike ride, free-weights workout, or yard work.

No big surprise-- sprains, bruises, knee braces.

Completely unexpected-- overall soreness, reluctance to haul my butt out of the recliner, and barely able to stay awake past 9 PM.

I guess the reason I never noticed this before is that I wasn't anywhere near this physically active when I was "working"...
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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 01-12-2005, 02:04 AM   #12
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Re: Post-ER surprises

Another quote I am beginning to appreciate is Clint Eastwoods, "A man's got to know his limitations".

You know someone who is a good illustration of the importance of knowing your limitations? Bob Dylan. The guy has an incredible talent. He also has some serious weak spots. He has learned to make use of the talent despite the weak spots for a long, long time. Dylan has had more "comebacks" than anyone else I can think of.

The guy obviously does not work for the money. But in his 60s he keeps to a concert schedule that puts a good number who are in their 20s to shame. He has endured time-periods when audiences were booing him off the stage. He has endured divorces and addictions and other personal stuff that have knocked down lots of others. He shows up when there are 30,000 in the stands and he shows up when there are 300 in the stands. I love this guy's work ethic.

His rule seems to be: "You gotta show up and you gotta put forth an effort." He wears people down. Eventually they give up and acknowledge, "Oh, I guess his stuff is not so awful after all." He leaves them no choice, and he doesn't win them over with cheap compromises either. He keeps his eye on the long-term. In some respects I use him as a model for the work I do here. Anyway, the Dylan thing has been on my mind of late and when I saw the Clint Eastwood reference, I took it as a sign that I should say something about it.

Don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters. So true!
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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 01-12-2005, 06:12 AM   #13
 
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Re: Post-ER surprises

I think Bob Dylan is an acquired taste. I agree he is
quite talented and he does get a lot out of what he has.
Speaking of acquired tastes, years ago I bought a
Joanie Mitchell audio tape. I thought it was just awful.
However, I kept it in my car and on long trips I would play it out of boredom (unless Bob Brinker was on the radio ). Anyway, I became so fond of that tape
that I played it until I literally wore it out. I've also
worn out some Gordon LIghtfoot tapes. Once I was
going to name one of my boats "Cotton Jenny" after a
Lightfoot song. My neighbor said that sounded like a
tampon. Decided to come up with something else

JG
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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 01-12-2005, 07:57 AM   #14
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Re: Post-ER surprises

I thought it was just awful. However,...I became so fond of that tape that I played it until I literally wore it out.

Was it Hejira? That one took a long time to kick in, but it was worth it when you finally got to the other side.

You can get to like just about any kind of music if you listen to it enough. I had a job once that involved four hours of driving in one direction in the morning and then four hours of driving back later in the day. I didn't have a tape deck, so all I could listen to was the car radio. Every song that was out that summer has been permanently etched in my memory, and I'm a little bit fond of them all.

I think of "The Pina Colada Song" as one of those. I used to go to Pizza Hut on Saturdays to work out the calulations in my Retire Early plan. They must have only owned one tape because they played that song every darn Saturday! I hate it on principle but I can still listen to it because now there are these memories of other things tied up in my memories of the song.

Here's one that it amazes me to recall. I didn't like "Hey Jude" when I first bought the single. I kept saying "Why did they put 'Revolution' on the flip side, it just doesn't make any sense!" Now I prefer "Hey Jude." I either matured or regressed. Some piece of my brain has been altered in an important way, that much is clear.

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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 01-12-2005, 11:10 AM   #15
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Re: Post-ER surprises

Play doo wop on webtunes while surfing/posting - just as bad as I remember from high school(liked folk - the Kingston Trio) but it's getting better.

No snow ski's since 1974. Left them in Colorado.
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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 02-23-2005, 07:54 PM   #16
 
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Re: Post-ER surprises

Hey *****, I just noticed your January 12 post.
Yes, it was 'Hejira'-Good guess! I should replace it as
it has been years now since Joanie kept me company
on long road trips.

JG
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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 02-28-2005, 05:49 PM   #17
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Re: Post-ER surprises

I'm "semi-ERed, but my biggest "surprises" have been positive:
1) I don't miss daily work. I didn't THINK I would miss it---but everyone warned me that I would I didn't. Okay--maybe that means it wasn't a surprise. Disregard point 1.

2) Biggest pleasant surprise was how much more I enjoy my free time. When I was working and had a day off, I was constantly thinking of work left to be done on the job (big projects I was behind on, evaluations waiting to be written, etc.) This was a tremendous emotional burden that snuck up on me. Only after I left "daily work" did I recognize/remember that in my early career I had been mostly carefree in my time off, but the responsibilities had gradually made even my (less numerous) hours away from work a lot less enjoyable.

samclem
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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 03-03-2005, 07:32 AM   #18
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Re: Post-ER surprises

JG,
I have to play golf - at least twice a week. That is a requirement of life.
Ben
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Re: Post-ER surprises
Old 03-04-2005, 09:10 AM   #19
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Re: Post-ER surprises

I had big plans when DH and I RE'd a little over a year ago. I thought I would take yoga classes, learn a foreign language, take a sculpting class, maybe do some writing, volunteer...

I don't have time for any of that.

And I really don't care that I don't. The days have a natural rythym to them. We get plenty of sleep, walk our dogs every day, go to the gym most days. We watch movies a couple times a week. We spend time preparing food and cooking.

We recently had a crisis at home and got so involved in solving the problems that we were spending hours a day working on it ... a lot like work. If we were working, we would only be able to spend a small amount of time each day on the problems, but since our days are free ... it was very difficult to limit the amount of time and worry spent.

All work friends have vanished.
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