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Newest Member of Class of 2011
Old 12-06-2010, 07:23 PM   #1
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Newest Member of Class of 2011

I have to admit that I'm somewhat surprised to be here. For 32.5 years, since graduating from college, I've worked for the same MegaCorp (although the name has changed). In the back of my mind, I had aimed to RE after 35 years, maybe later if I was enjoying the work. DW and I have always LBOM, using the unspent $ to save for retirement primarily through regular contributions to my 401(k), diversified mostly in equity MF, with some additional contributions to a spousal IRA. In recent years, we have accumulated quite a bit of cash as well. Retirement portfolio would be supplemented by DB pension (which went away a few years ago for new hires, but thankfully was not terminated or frozen for existing employees as long as they stayed with the company). We have no debt other than mortgage which will be paid off in 2.5 years.
Earlier this year, due to changes in my work situation and family life, I begin to evaluate the option of an earlier exit. Like anyone in these times who is contemplating imminent retirement, I turned to the Web as a resource for research on the feasibility of RE. Initially, I was looking for good retirement calculators. The search led me to FIRECalc which eventually led me to this forum. I've been lurking about for a few months and have picked up a lot of good information on retirement planning and recommended resources.

As a result of my research, I prepared a detail estimate of expected expenses during retirement extrapolating from annual expenses for last 5 years. [I've use Quicken for 20+ years to track all my income, spending, investments, etc. So it was easy to generate a report with detail data to work from.] I then estimated retirement income using a <4% SWR from retirement portfolio + DB pension + eventual SS for spouse and myself. Then I used FIRECalc, other calculators, and my spreadsheets to run various scenarios to ensure that we would not outlive the money. All this calculating showed that as soon as I turned 55 this past Halloween and became eligible for early pension, I have been WORKING FOR FREE! [My post-retirement income would currently exceed my pre-retirement expenses.] This revelation was a tipping point for me. Knowing that I can retire -right now- has colored my world. I don't hate my job, but over the last few weeks I've begun to resent it. I have taken this as a sign that it is time to go.

My current plan is to RE in mid-2011 after youngest child completes graduate degree, and hopefully, this time, is able to find a job. [Actually, I hope the MegaCorp will let me volunteer for layoff during the next year, so I can collect on a hefty severance. MegaCorp has laid off more the 10K employees in last 2 years, so it could happen. Part of the change in work situation referenced earlier.] Meanwhile, I look forward to conversing with other members of the class of 2011 as well as the upperclassmen, underclassmen, and alumni.
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Old 12-06-2010, 07:50 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Southern Louisiana
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Well, Southern Geek, welcome to the forum and class of 2011. Looks like we'll be class mates. Sounds like you have done your preparation and homework so you have high confidence in your decision. You and I have similar situations with Megacorp employment, years of service, pension etc. Hang around on this forum and you will learn a lot.
I once opened a fortune cookie that said "he who is talking is not listening" and I find a lot of truth in that, so I read much more than I post here for sure.
Officially retired........Class of 2011
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Old 12-06-2010, 08:04 PM   #3
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welcome aboard classmate...
I am FIRE'd... :)
contract on the house, bought an RV and now traveling across America
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:22 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum. All the best.

What is your plan for health insurance? And what do you plan to do with all the free time? And finally, is DW on board?
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Old 12-07-2010, 01:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by walkinwood View Post
Welcome to the forum. All the best.

What is your plan for health insurance? And what do you plan to do with all the free time? And finally, is DW on board?
MegaCorp provides subsidized health insurance for retirees. However, they froze the subsidy back in 1996. As a result of the growth in HC costs since then, the current cost for Retiree+1 is ~$1000/month.

My usual answer to your second question is 'Whatever I want!'
More serious answer is that in the near-term I expect to spend a lot of time helping my DW take care of her elderly parents who live 45 minutes away. I will also be spending more time with my parents who are also getting up there in years (but don't yet require the care that my in-laws need). I also have some projects I want to work on, and some new skills I'd like to acquire.

As for DW, once convinced that neither of us will spend our last years destitute, she has been supportive of decision. DW became a full-time Mom when our 1st child was born. Have been kidding her that she effectively 'retired' when youngest child started college. In reality, as an only child, she has transitioned from full-time care of children to full-time care of her parents. Recently, when I talk of retirement, I see a gleam come to her eye. I can tell she has plans for me.
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Old 12-07-2010, 08:56 PM   #6
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I am new to this forum since last summer. I have a very similar situation. I am 55 yrs old and have worked 30 yrs at an employer with a defined benefit plan. Once I saw my estimated benefit it changed my outlook on working there completely. My last day of work is Friday of next week.
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