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Happy Birthday to me - I'm now 56
Old 12-17-2016, 06:10 AM   #1
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Happy Birthday to me - I'm now 56

Good Morning Gang,

My name is Michael and I am happily married and 56 years old (today.) The first thing I did this morning was to pay off the last $24K of our mortgage. We are now debt free. We purchased our retirement home (55 + community) a little over two years ago and we transferred our existing equity into this home, thus it was rather easy to pay down $50K.

As of today, I have set my prospective retirement date for December 15, 2017. So, 363 days to go. My wife and I have booked a Celebrity Cruise for December 16th to celebrate. I have been agonizing for the last two years of when I should retire and psychologically it just feels right to "seal the deal" at the end of this year.

Now here is the money part - you know, the stuff that we all worry about. Do I have enough?, do I need more?, What am I going to do?, etc.

Cash/Brokerage = $125,000
IRA = $475,000
Roth = $125,000

Over and above that, I will be receiving a monthly check beginning at Age 60 - in the amount of $2,600 per month (more than I spend now - and that is including making 1/2 of Principal payments.) I'm frugal as hell, so I have never been bothered with material things.

Now the wife is an over-achiever (RN) who works in a hospital - so I will piggy back on her health plan for three years ($300 month) until my retirement health kicks in, age 60.)

You know what my biggest decision is going to be..... Do I work at CPA firm exclusively during tax season to make a few extra bucks OR do I work at the local minor league ballpark as a Greeter/Usher during the summer months?
What a great problem to have

Looking back on my life, one of the most enjoyable experiences that I ever had was going to the ballpark with my father in Pittsburgh and watching the Pirates play baseball.

Anyway, I'm just stopping by to introduce myself and am interested in learning from you guys/gals how to make the most of my retirement. I define 'most" as enjoyment.

Michael A
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Old 12-17-2016, 09:21 AM   #2
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So my questions would be:

How old is your wife and how long will she work?
What is her salary?
Is the $2,600/mth what you both live on or just your part?
What is your AA?
Is the $2,600 net of taxes?
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Old 12-17-2016, 10:29 AM   #3
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is the 2600 inflation adjusted?
Are those assets just yours, or do they include hers? (no 403b or 401k, so maybe just yours?)
Do you expect to have your spending stay mostly the same as now in retirement--both for the first three years, and after wife retires? (Some of us will have very different spending models post retirement, while others won't!)

E.T.A.--why 12/15, rather than close of day on 12/31? Vesting for plan at your employer? (If you are in a 401k, you could possibly lose the 2017 employer contribution by leaving before end of year--depends upon particular plan language.)
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p.s.--forgot to say, CONGRATS on the birthday, the loan payoff, and the retirement selection date!
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Old 12-17-2016, 11:21 AM   #4
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1. Yes, the $2,600 + monthly adjusts with inflation and begins at age 60. The 700K + is in my accounts.

2. Once again, I'm planning to max out my 401k next year, so that will be an additional amount.

3. Technically, my last day would be 12/31 but, I'd be using annual leave & holiday time to cover the period 12/16 - 12/31. 12/16/2017 is the date of our cruise - so really don't want to return.

4. Wife has 350k in her 401k + a $400 month pension with the State. She also has fulfilled the requirements to receive free healthcare via the State at Age 60 as she previously worked for the State. Wife has no intentions of retiring until age 62 - so she will work for the next 5 1/2 years. She makes 90k a year and will continue to max out her 401 k.

5. Regarding our joint spending, we both contribute $1,000 each to our joint account each month and that covers our fixed costs. My personal discretionary expenses run about $500 monthly. We both live very modestly and are always looking for bargains when it comes to travel.

I have actually travelled to 50+ countries and am thrilled to be more of a homebody.

6. Lastly, I am a former smoker (29 years,) have pretty severe arthritis and am cognizant of the fact that I will not live to 90. My fathers quality of life started declining when he turned 65 and I recognize that my best retirement years will probably be from 57 to 70. Thus, it's important to recognize and enjoy quality of life.

Michael
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Old 12-17-2016, 12:14 PM   #5
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Happy shared birthday, youngster. And welcome.
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Old 12-17-2016, 12:15 PM   #6
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Per your update, you look great and have planned well. Enjoy!

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Old 12-17-2016, 12:39 PM   #7
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Well done, relax and enjoy the ride.

BTW, sounds like you can always go back to seasonal work if you wish. Nice parachute if ever needed. But I bet you won't need it..............
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Old 12-17-2016, 12:41 PM   #8
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It sounds like you are covered (non-qualified accounts + wife's health benefit) up through age 60 at which point they will continue to be more than covered by your pension + retiree health. If your expenses really are as low as you indicate, you are good to go on schedule. You might never tap your qualified accounts until RMD-Day.

There is a caveat, however. It's one that I have yet to settle in my own mind as I approach my own countdown. You indicate a VERY low spending load today, but keep in mind that during the years of employment, the best hours of each week are committed to toiling in the sweatshop. It's easy to spend nothing when you are busy w*rking. Once you escape, you will fill those hours with discretionary activities which may entail discretionary costs.

For me, this is the biggest uncertainty. I have tracked our current expenses, and I know roughly when I will have enough to meet them, but who knows what mischief I might want to get up to once I am free to cause chaos every day?

Make sure you have made provision for funding whatever hobbies and bucket list experiences that are likely to present themselves. There's no point in retiring without the means to do the fun things you've always wanted to do.

Happy Birthday, and congratulations on achieving FI. Also, congratulations on becoming a former smoker. That's a great accomplishment as well, and will pay dividends every bit as valuable as the financial ones.
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Old 12-17-2016, 01:07 PM   #9
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I remember when I was 56.....seems so long ago. Happy b'day.
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Old 12-18-2016, 06:16 PM   #10
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Happy Birthday to YOU! Similar age here (turned 56 3 weeks ago) and on a similar trajectory - probably working 1 year longer with a higher spend rate in retirement (see my avatar).

Best of luck - oh, and the world needs more Sagittarians!!
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Old 12-19-2016, 04:37 AM   #11
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Happy Birthday to YOU! Similar age here (turned 56 3 weeks ago) and on a similar trajectory - probably working 1 year longer with a higher spend rate in retirement (see my avatar).

Best of luck - oh, and the world needs more Sagittarians!!
Thanks for the Shout Out and Nice Boat! That's a great goal and a great passion. I've tried to make it a point to "have fun" along the way - so I really do not have a slew of bucket list items, left. I'm actually partaking in my wife's list of items. This year will be Paris and Prague as well as our cruise.

I failed to mention the intangible in my early post. The intangible is that I am the sole beneficiary of my aging parents estate. They are pretty well off - but I've always encouraged them to spend and have fun - something they just haven't done.

If they don't get started soon, Fun is something we will have to do for them.

Cheers,
Michael
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Old 12-19-2016, 07:54 AM   #12
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Happy birthday Michael A!

Congrats on your upcoming retirement. Looks like you are in great shape! To me this is also a great example of it's not what you have but how much you spend. There are many that feel that have to keep working until they have many millions to maintain the same lifestyle... if you live a "careful" lifestyle while you're working it sure makes the transition to retirement much easier!
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Old 12-19-2016, 08:48 AM   #13
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You know what my biggest decision is going to be..... Do I work at CPA firm exclusively during tax season to make a few extra bucks OR do I work at the local minor league ballpark as a Greeter/Usher during the summer months?
What a great problem to have
I do the CPA tax season thing....call it my "dog days of winter" activity. Late Jan to mid April, for the past 15 years. Something to occupy my mind when it is coldest outside and the holiday decorations have been stored. As I type, it is 20 degrees, beautiful gentle but persistent snow falling, about 3-4 inches on driveway to quickly push off. The firm allows me to set my own hours but last two weeks of March, first week April are always 50+ weeks. Then suddenly one day, desk is clear and I leave not to come back for another 9 months!
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Old 12-19-2016, 09:01 AM   #14
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Congrats! Enjoy your last year and then definitely do the usher gig!

You are speaking of Forbes Field in Pittsburgh I assume when speaking of games with your dad? Have you gone to the Pitt Law school and seen the last remnants? Part of the outfield wall next to a parking lot and home plate, in the ground, in a hallway of the law school. Very cool spot to visit in my opinion.
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:04 AM   #15
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Congrats! Enjoy your last year and then definitely do the usher gig!

You are speaking of Forbes Field in Pittsburgh I assume when speaking of games with your dad? Have you gone to the Pitt Law school and seen the last remnants? Part of the outfield wall next to a parking lot and home plate, in the ground, in a hallway of the law school. Very cool spot to visit in my opinion.
Actually, I started visiting my Father in 1973 as my parents had divorced - so he took me to Three Rivers Stadium. Regarding Forbes Field, I have never been inside the stadium BUT my father was hospitalized in the Oakland VA hospital back in the early 70's and the view from his window was of Forbes Field. I heard so many great stories regarding the Buc's.
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Old 12-19-2016, 10:12 AM   #16
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I do the CPA tax season thing....call it my "dog days of winter" activity. Late Jan to mid April, for the past 15 years. Something to occupy my mind when it is coldest outside and the holiday decorations have been stored. As I type, it is 20 degrees, beautiful gentle but persistent snow falling, about 3-4 inches on driveway to quickly push off. The firm allows me to set my own hours but last two weeks of March, first week April are always 50+ weeks. Then suddenly one day, desk is clear and I leave not to come back for another 9 months!
Its a toss-up for me and either choice would work well. I may actually try both next year and see which one I'd like the best. And who knows, I may not get contacted by our local AAA affiliate after I put in my application.
Seasonal employment will definitely be my ticket, though.

Thank you for sharing that the "Dog Days of Winter" activity truly does work as it sounds good on paper to me.

Michael
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:36 PM   #17
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Just a quick update. Today, I have been approved for a voluntary buyout package from the State, which will be effective, 12/30/2017 if I go ahead and accept it.

I'll be 57 and have to cover my health insurance at $315 a month via my wife's plan for 35 months and then my State Retirement and state healthcare would kick in.

The house is paid off and the buyout would take care of two years of living expenses. The 3rd year could easily be funded out of 800k I have on the side prior to my pension beginning.

Wife supports decision to semi-retire and I'm still numb from receiving the notice that I am eligible for the buyout. It's like hitting the lottery.

Michael
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:40 PM   #18
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Wife supports decision to semi-retire and I'm still numb from receiving the notice that I am eligible for the buyout. It's like hitting the lottery.

Michael
Congratulations.
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:44 PM   #19
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congrats!
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Old 10-06-2017, 12:49 PM   #20
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Congratulations. Well done.

FN
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