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I may not retire early, but I'll retire ready
Old 02-10-2014, 04:38 PM   #1
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I may not retire early, but I'll retire ready

Hi I'm Tom, 51 married with one child who is eight years old. I'm 7 to 10 years from retirement. I waited 6 years after high school to go to college, so I started my career late, then I got married at 40 and started my family late. So it's probably good that I can retire on time. I was probably 2 years closer to retirement before the recession, but lost my job and spent a big chunk of money not working for over a year. We live in Southern California where housing prices are ridiculous, and we just bought a house last year which cost much more than we wanted to spend. I'my interested in learning how to plan and control expenses better, as well as learning what I don't know about planning for FI.

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Old 02-10-2014, 05:14 PM   #2
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Welcome. Another late starter here - didn't graduate college until I was 28, but I knew why I was there and was directed thereafter.
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Old 02-10-2014, 05:16 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum Tom. Southern California is definitely expensive, but it's a great place to live! Hopefully you can stay in the new house for a long time and let Prop 13 work for you by limiting the amount that your property taxes can increase over the years. This has been a great help to us in controlling anticipated inflation costs, since property taxes are the single biggest line item expense in our budget.

Feel free to ask questions as they come up.

All the best.
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Old 02-10-2014, 05:27 PM   #4
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I've got you guys beat by a long shot. I didn't graduate from college until I was 35. Got married at 30 and we had kids at 40. People have always told me I was kind of slow! Tom, you can put a lot of money away it 10 years so you should be in good shape. Good Luck and welcome to the forum!
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Old 02-10-2014, 05:32 PM   #5
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Welcome Tom. Last I checked normal full retirement was somewhere between the ages of 65-67. Looks like you are ahead of game already with a projected age of 58-61. Congrats and enjoy the forum!
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Old 02-10-2014, 05:38 PM   #6
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Welcome Tom.

Like you I got a late start on things. Didn't graduate college till 26, didn't get married till 38. First kid at 39, last kids at 41. I'm 52 now... and looking to retire at 55 at the latest. My husband retired a few weeks ago.

I didn't get super serious about saving till I got married. And knowing that retirement would happen before or around the time the kids went to college made funding 529's a priority from an early age for them. It's reassuring to see a nice stash per kid. I've modeled my retirement budget to continue funding their college funds into retirement.

We moved back to So. Cal after my oldest was born. Lifestyle was a big factor. Housing is definitely pricey - but we've been diligently paying down the mortgage and it should be done by late this year, or early next year. Prop 13 is a bonus. Property taxes are cheaper here, for a more expensive house, than when I lived in suburban Philly.

It's possible to catch up on a late start on savings. You have to live frugally and don't let lifestyle creep sneak in. Over time I've ramped up the savings so that I'm maxing the 401k (including catchup), I'm contributing $12k/year towards the 529s. I'm paying an extra $1200/month towards the mortgage. It means I bring my lunch to work every day, drive older cars, and wear clothes till they fall apart. And I enjoy my life, despite not spending a lot of money on "stuff".

It's doable with kids... and I figure I'm teaching them financial responsibility, the importance of saving, etc.
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Old 02-10-2014, 05:53 PM   #7
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Thanks for the welcome. Thanks to some stock options, and putting money in the 401k we have a good start. We have tentatively planned on selling this house and downsizing when our son goes off to college in 10 years. As long as the RE market doesn't go south again we should carry over some nice equity, we put a sizable down payment on this one. We have a 529 plan started for my son, it's about 25% of the target.
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:06 AM   #8
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Welcome Tom.

Many of us here are professionals who studied many years before "working". Nothing wrong with this.
Very conservative with investments. Not ER'd yet, 48 years old. Please do not take anything I write or imply as legal, financial or medical advice directed to you. Contact your own financial advisor, healthcare provider, or attorney for financial, medical and legal advice.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:04 PM   #9
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After thinking about it for a few weeks, I've decided to shoot for class of 2024. If savings meets my projections we should be ready a couple of years before that, but my son will graduate HS in 2024, so it would be harder to really take advantage of retirement until then. Also if I retired before then my DW would need to work beyond that date ( she's 7 years younger). However if I work a couple more years, then it's optional for her to work.
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Old 03-04-2014, 11:00 PM   #10
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Welcome Tom!

It's never to late to start planning. Your target date seems very reasonable. Plus a milestone helps you stay focused on it while making the journey. Since you have been consistently late on everything in life that should work out well at the end when you will be late to your own funeral.
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