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Old 04-21-2011, 12:27 PM   #21
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1) Read A Random Walk Down Wall St.

2) Wish I'd read it much sooner.
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Old 04-21-2011, 12:37 PM   #22
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1. What's the one thing that you did in preparation for your retirement that you are all so glad you did?

2. What's the one thing that your kicking yourself in the butt wishing you'd of done it before retiring?

1. I am glad I started to hang around ER.org and read retirement books well before retiring. It made the transition to retirement that much smoother.

2. I would say that the health care situation in this country is probably the only note souring my decision to retire early. Health care is my biggest source of worry and frustration for the future. So, in retrospect, I should have focused more on retirement benefits when I was looking for jobs. I turned down a job at a state university because the pay was subpar. I think it may have been shortsighted.
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Old 04-21-2011, 12:51 PM   #23
 
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1. Bought a house when prices were low and sold it last year at an excellent profit (on the first day it was shown).

2. I wish I had started earnestly investing at a much younger age.
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Old 04-21-2011, 01:16 PM   #24
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1. Discovered the idea of frugality and LBYM. I am also glad i started planning the non-monetary side of things. I have no shortage of things to keep me engaged, in fact maybe too many

2. Wish I would have discovered it sooner. I also wish I would have saved more, but one was prevented by not discovering the other.
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Old 04-21-2011, 01:41 PM   #25
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1) Buying service retirement years to start pension early.

2) Not creating a meaningful tax free revenue stream to supplement pension with Roth IRA money.
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:40 PM   #26
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1) Bought and remodeled our "downsized house" and sold our previous house. Actually, I did not seriously consider ER until that was complete and all the bills paid - then realized we had enough assets for me to ER.

2) I worried too much about what other people would think. We live comfortably in a nice neighborhood but definitely LBYM in a community of credit card spenders. Turns out most people either don't care or don't ask.
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:47 PM   #27
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1- tracked my expenses for several years pre retirement
2- making friends outside of work to smooth the transition
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:33 PM   #28
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Why there rather than in qualified?
Plan was that our pension income would pay the bills and allow for cash flow of expenses. This would have worked but we decided to buy a lake front property and had to come up with the down payment, selling stock near market lows.... Then had to fund some major renovations, then a new roof. Pretty much cleaned us out. I learned my lesson, and have virtually zero equity exposure in my taxable accounts and have built up a cash cushion (cds, money markets) (hmmm maybe working on another down payment...)

I'm glad I maxed out IRAs and TSPs before I retired, just wished I would have been a little more cautious in my outlook regarding my taxable investments.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:35 PM   #29
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1 - I read extensively on the internet about retirement, investing and financial matters in my last 4 years working. I really learned a lot and consider myself much more knowledgeable about such matters than the average person but I guess that not such a big deal considering the average person can't stay out of debt or balance their checkbook!

2 - I wish I'd put more into taxable. Also I wish that I decided to pay off my mortgage before I retired rather than thinking I'd just pay the mortgage in retirement which would have been for 26 years. I wish I found this site and the BH before retiring as it may well have changed how I did some things.
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:34 PM   #30
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Scrabbler, would you mind elaborating a bit on the catastrophic plan? I am thinking of making a switch as my premiums have also increased 50% over about the past 3 years. I'm looking at higher deductibles with lower premiums, but also have to factor that none of the higher-deductible plans available to me are eligible for an HSA.
I switched to a hospital-only plan, one which covers only hospital services, not medical services. Prescription drugs are not covered, either. It is offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield.

A lengthy hospital stay is one which I fear the most financially. If I have to pay out a few thousand dollars for doctor bills that won't break me. But tens of thousands of dollars (or more) for a hospital stay due to illness or injury does scare me.

An emergency room visit would have some of the charges covered (relating to the hospital) but not others (such as individual doctor bills). I have not been a hospital patient since 1980 when I was a teenager. I have had one prescription for drugs in the last 30 years.

I am not married to this plan, of course. If Obamacare offers me a better premium or a subsidy to a broader coverage, I can always switch to it.

The premium for the BCBS policy is about $500 less per month so as long as any bills for medical services previously covered do not exceed $6,000 per year I will come out ahead.

And I am still covered for any car accidents from my auto insurance (PIP) policy, probably the most hazardous activity I undertake on a regular basis.

I can live with this, at least for a while.
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:37 PM   #31
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1. Started investing outside our 401K's in 1995 to bridge the years between 56 and 59.5. Smartest thing I've ever done, money wise.
2. Nothing yet.
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:54 PM   #32
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1. What's the one thing that you did in preparation for your retirement that you are all so glad you did?
LBYM and save a bundle in preparation
Quote:
2. What's the one thing that your kicking yourself in the butt wishing you'd of done it before retiring?
Know during the 1st 4 years of FIRE what I know now.
... for example, REALLY KNOW your risk tolerance
also keeping your investment choices as simple as you can ... i.e. etf's and mutual funds that represent the total market instead of individual stocks and esoteric investments.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:05 PM   #33
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1) Buying service retirement years to start pension early.
Oh I gotta add that to my response. I bought five years of service when I was 23 and paid only $14,000. Best money I've ever spent.
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Old 04-21-2011, 11:01 PM   #34
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1. DH and I mapped out a plan together and stayed the course.

2. Nothing.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:11 AM   #35
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1. Had zero debt two years before retirement.

2. Given more thought to what I was going to do with all that free time.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:28 AM   #36
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Oh I gotta add that to my response. I bought five years of service when I was 23 and paid only $14,000. Best money I've ever spent.
Wow, that is planning in advance for ER. How were you sure enough you would/could stay at your employer long enough for that to pay off?
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:13 PM   #37
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I'm reading all of your responses and taking notes!
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:37 PM   #38
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1. What's the one thing that you did in preparation for your retirement that you are all so glad you did?
Surfing lessons.

Quote:
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2. What's the one thing that your kicking yourself in the butt wishing you'd of done it before retiring?
I should've left active duty for the Reserves at the 10-year point when I thought it was a good idea to go to a shore staff billet.

My mistake was thinking that family would have a higher priority than working nights, weekends, holidays, and midwatches. Everything eventually worked out OK, but they were two of the most miserable years in my life.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:36 PM   #39
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The best thing that I did was paying off the mortgage. Everything started falling into place after that. I am still working (semi-retired), however, I do it because I enjoy getting out of the house a few morning a week.
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Old 04-23-2011, 01:49 AM   #40
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Regarding the insurance scrabbler1 posted- BE very careful...some medical care as an outpatient can be unbelievably expensive--cancer treatment for example...most outpt procedures, xrays etc....you could go broke very fast if you ever need them.
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