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-   -   Greetings from Retired and Working in Florida (http://www.early-retirement.org/forums/f26/greetings-from-retired-and-working-in-florida-41816.html)

unallowable 01-14-2009 09:12 AM

Greetings from Retired and Working in Florida
Decided to introduce myself. Have been reading here for about 6 months and love this forum. Had been in need of "talking" about ER and hard to find willing participants. I am 56, widowed female with one grown and married son. Currently have retired from state government but still working in same position. Florida offers a 5 yr. deferred retirement program (DROP) where the COLA pension accumulates in a fixed account (6.5% interest). At the end of 5 years (3.3 years to go for me) a nice lump sum will have accumulated (I would be 59 then). There is nothing to prevent me from continuing to work beyond that point if the state and I still want each other.

Other financial info: Have 3 older rental properties - mortgage free - this income is extra and nice but may not be dependable over the long term. I can always sell them but not with RE price drop. Other than the COLA pension and DROP, I have about 200K in savings/stocks. I want to live on my pension, rental income and income producing hobbies (hopefully ^-^) and use the savings to travel the world until I am too old, sick, tired or satisfied. Have a live-in SO who is 5 years younger and will probably still work after I retire (not counting on anything here). Have very little debt (could pay all off with leave payout if retired right now). House and 3.5 acres (approx 250K equity after deducting 100K mortgage). I don't forsee selling my house, want to leave it to my son someday.

SS would kick in at 62 so I think should be OK to retire at 59. The problem is I have a burning desire to quit now and begin to live. I am a cancer survivor and don't want to die still working. Sorry this is so long but thought it was time to "join up".

Coach 01-14-2009 09:26 AM

unallowable, I'm glad you decided to say hello! Welcome to the forum.

If you haven't yet, you might want to spend some time with FIRECalc -- there's a link at the bottom of every page. It's a great tool to do some "what if" retirement forcasting. What if I retire at 59? What if I retire at 56? What if I sell the rentals and invest the proceeds?

I know well the effects having had cancer has -- it makes the future look murkier and sure makes you aware of time passing.

Best wishes, and keep us up on your thoughts about retirement!


unallowable 01-14-2009 01:12 PM

Coach, Thanks, I have played with the numbers and unless the bottom falls out I should be OK either way. Other than the desire to travel, I don't have expensive habits or interests.

It is the "your money or your life" thing. I will probably hang in there for the 3.3 years. I have noticed that there seems to be some level of disdain for those with the COLA pension here at the forum. My work is very stressful and not very interesting and I now take it a day at a time with the knowledge that if it gets too bad, I could walk away.

ProspectiveBum 01-14-2009 01:16 PM


Originally Posted by unallowable (Post 771994)
I have noticed that there seems to be some level of disdain for those with the COLA pension here at the forum.

I think a more appropriate word than "disdain" would be "jealousy". ;) In the current market, those folks are still sleeping like babies!

FinanceDude 01-14-2009 01:17 PM

[quote=unallowable;771994]I have noticed that there seems to be some level of disdain for those with the COLA pension here at the forum. [quote]

Not disdain, jealousy..........;D

REWahoo 01-14-2009 01:23 PM

Some people here suffer from pension envy. Not me, of course...

Bestwifeever 01-14-2009 01:29 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Welcome to the boards!!

Yes, any disdain is quite "green" and not the environmentally friendly kind--more like this:

CuppaJoe 01-14-2009 01:30 PM

and some of us live in "pension paucity.";)

Welcome, unallowable.

Cruisinthru 01-14-2009 03:07 PM

Take it for me the DROP account can be the "golden handcuffs" as you see the money pile up and your age mount. I was in the same position as you. I wanted to leave, but walking away from that money was very difficult. I made that decision amost 4 years ago at age 55. I decided my years left were more important than what I leave my child. I had enough to live the life I want, so I walked and never looked back. Sounds like you are financially set, it's just walking away thats hard.

Moemg 01-14-2009 03:12 PM

Welcome , I'm also a widow and live in Florida . I retired last year from almost 40 years of Nursing . I started collecting SS survivor benefits at 60 . It is 80 % of late husband's benefit so maybe you could do this .Anyway welcome aboard !

unallowable 01-14-2009 03:24 PM

Cruisinthru, Exactly!! I have made some crazy financial mistakes through the years but I did do my time with the state to finish the 30 years. The DROP thing is a sweet deal. My child is college educated and debt free (at least he was when he got married last June). Unless I drain my total assets by living forever, he should inherit enough. I keep going back and forth between "life is short - go for it" and the practical "it's only a bit longer and look at how much money you would be throwing away". So, one day at a time for now.

unallowable 01-14-2009 03:39 PM

Moemg, The late husband's SS is not an option for me - another story there. Happy to be in Florida. At least I don't have to include a desire to move somewhere else in my planning.

Cruisinthru 01-14-2009 03:52 PM


I did a total of 27 years in municipal government in a very stressful job. I hated it but knew if I did my time I would walk away with a great pension. I planned from day one of that job to leave at 25 years, then came the DROP plan. It was such a blessing, but such a curse at the same time. I have a guarrantee of 8% interest on it, so as the money kept building it got harder and harder to say enough. The LBYM life echo'd through my mind and you just can't pass up that money... I then lost two friends that were younger than me and had to look at the situation. The drop allows me to be truely free. When the market is down as it is now, I am not worried about my other investments as much. I have sufficient income for my lifestyle. After four years I still live the same. I travel more and my stress level is so low.... I now look back on my working years and wonder how I got thru it. It's a balance, money you need and the years you have left. Don't let one out way the other.

unallowable 01-14-2009 04:01 PM


Originally Posted by ProspectiveBum (Post 771998)
I think a more appropriate word than "disdain" would be "jealousy". ;) In the current market, those folks are still sleeping like babies!

The "sure" thing at this point in life is nice but I have to wonder if I couldn't have had more success (more satisfaction too?) in the private sector. Can't have it both ways, I guess. :)

sailwc 01-16-2009 08:47 AM

This decision to retire is not easy to say the least. You're leaving something you've spent a good part of your life at and it's part of who you are. Like you, I have been counting the years left with the stress mounting. In my case, company offered incentives to reduce employment that was just enough to make me go through with this. We never know if we have enough money, but once the bills are paid and you know what you need to maintain the lifestyle you want, go for it. It's been two weeks now for me and I cannot believe how good it feels.

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