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Six Months Into a "Shoestring" Retirement
Old 01-04-2017, 07:58 PM   #1
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Six Months Into a "Shoestring" Retirement

Hi group! Just collected my sixth pension check, and so far so good.

I retired at age 56 after 36 years, the last 32 in IT. Unlike the majority here, I am probably not financially where conventional wisdom says I should be to retire.

I don't have a million-dollar nest egg. My pension is adequate, but not overly generous. My savings would probably last two years if all else failed. My 401k would go quite a bit longer, but it's still below what all the "experts" recommend.

Call it a "shoestring" retirement. But my house is paid for. My boat is paid for, along with the slip I keep it in. I'll have no car payments for a few years.

If all goes well, I'll be able to live on my pension for a while, supplemented from my savings if contingencies arise. If I work part-time, that's just gravy. Then when SS kicks in I'll give myself a raise. I'll give myself another when the maximum age for 401k distributions arrives.

I suspect that, after that, my needs will be a lot smaller. I can sell the boat, sell or rent the house and the slip.

So I took the chance and retired from a decent, good-paying job. I immediately took a three-month boat trip I've been dreaming about since my early 20's, and have begun to tackle some long-overdue renovations on my house. I don't know when I ever found the time to work.

Wish me luck!
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Old 01-04-2017, 08:03 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Early Retirement Forum, CaptTom.

Sometimes we've just gotta do what we've gotta do, and it sounds like you needed to retire and thought about it quite a bit before you pulled the trigger. At any rate, good luck and enjoy your newfound freedom!
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Old 01-04-2017, 08:09 PM   #3
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Welcome, Capt. Where did you go on your boat trip? I have been around boats since I was tiny, but since I get sick on wet pavement I do not own one. Still fun to live vicariously.
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Old 01-04-2017, 08:09 PM   #4
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Welcome!

DH was 55 when he retired. We are like you in that we don't have the big nest egg, his pension is adequate for our needs but not huge. We have a nice savings. The experts would probably tells us we did it all wrong.

Yet, he's been retired for 6.5 years and it seems to going just fine!

You didn't mention your health insurance situation but for us that's the biggest question for the next 3 years until Medicare age. So far we have adjusted to the roller coaster of DH's retiree health insurance and then switched to Obamacare the last few years. I'm certain we will be adjusting to something else in the near future.
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Old 01-04-2017, 08:15 PM   #5
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Welcome. Even a small pension supplements your savings significantly.
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Old 01-04-2017, 08:16 PM   #6
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Good for you, Capt! Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do! DH retires in 86 days and if times get tough, we reckon we will just do some belt tightening. Enjoy!
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Old 01-04-2017, 08:34 PM   #7
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You retired folks sure reply quickly. Thanks for the warm welcome!

Brewer, I did the "Down East Loop". Sorry to hear about your seasickness. We all get it you know, just have different thresholds.

Sue, thanks for reminding me; I left out the half-decent retirement health plan that came with my pension. I pay through the nose for it. So far my wife has used it more than I, but nothing that's really hurt us too bad financially yet.

Choices, glad to hear I'm not the only one chancing it. As for belt-tightening, I've have some experience there in my younger days. Maybe that's why I don't really fear dipping back into poverty. I know how to DO that.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:20 PM   #8
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Welcome Capt'n. Yours is a refreshing post. I think it gets back to the essence of what this forum is meant to be. Some people get too emotional about work and just say, "the heck with it, I'm out of here", without really understanding what it takes to make retirement happen. Bad idea.

Sounds as though your decision is based on a number of pragmatic approaches...$, living within your means, an appreciation of what happiness means etc. Good luck. Keep us apprised. If you can provide more details on your situation (without specific numbers) I'm sure you will find that the info AND encouragement you receive here will be beneficial
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:34 PM   #9
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Congratulations!

I am always a bit envious of anyone that retires with any kind of pension.
My longest period of employment was with Motorola which entitles me to $200/month at age 55. And it goes without saying, no access to health insurance of any kind.
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Six Months Into a "Shoestring" Retirement
Old 01-04-2017, 10:05 PM   #10
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Six Months Into a "Shoestring" Retirement

Quote:
Originally Posted by broadway View Post
Congratulations!



I am always a bit envious of anyone that retires with any kind of pension.

My longest period of employment was with Motorola which entitles me to $200/month at age 55. And it goes without saying, no access to health insurance of any kind.

Hey, but that is better than a kick in the butt, wouldn't you say? :-) That's what I say about my $370/month non-COLA pension coming to me at Age 62.

And welcome, capt!


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Old 01-04-2017, 10:23 PM   #11
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Great to read your story. I probably have two show laces instead of just a show string, but I think it's going to be tight. I just feel like it's worth it and reading about others that are doing it is encouraging. I'm probably going to work a little longer but doing my analysis (with the great help from this forum) and reading stories such as yours, I do believe I'm past the point where I need to worry about working any longer. That's a great feeling.
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Old 01-04-2017, 10:39 PM   #12
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Welcome, the key is you have matched your spending to your income from pension, so that you can be happy where you are at. Forget what so-called experts say. The fundamental rule is you need to have the assets (including pension) to meet your needs. If your needs have a lower value, you need less assets to generate that level.
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Old 01-04-2017, 11:41 PM   #13
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It sounds like you have the right attitude to make it work. Congrats and good luck!
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Old 01-04-2017, 11:53 PM   #14
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Congratulations Capt, from the Major

I like your attitude towards making do, belt-tightening if you need to, and approaching your retirement with a "can do" attitude and a sense of adventure.

Good for you!
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Old 01-05-2017, 02:59 AM   #15
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Looks like a nice, creative solution for early retirement. ER is not a one size fits all in my opinion.

Stay in touch.
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:31 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireBug View Post
Welcome Capt'n. Yours is a refreshing post. I think it gets back to the essence of what this forum is meant to be. Some people get too emotional about work and just say, "the heck with it, I'm out of here", without really understanding what it takes to make retirement happen. Bad idea.
My opinion is that this crowd self-selects more towards the OMY-end of the spectrum.

Congrats to the OP and welcome.
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:12 AM   #17
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Congrats on your early retirement. Looks like you have the smarts and good attitude to make for nice retirement. As you know.....none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Enjoy your retirement while you can!
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:37 AM   #18
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Congrats. We're on a "shoestring" budget as defined by some here (~$40k/yr for a family of 5 with a paid off house and near-free ACA insurance). Compared to staring out an office window, life looks a lot prettier from wherever we are even if we can't afford first class plane tickets.
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Old 01-05-2017, 08:38 AM   #19
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You'll like it here, Capt Tom...
As a fellow shoestringer, I can relate. You did the right thing, and your age is a safety net should a "glitch appear.

After you go through the millions of posts here on ER, you might want to take a peek at some details that made our (DW "Dear Wife" and I) retirement last, now in the 28th year. We didn't do everything right, but we're still here, happy as clams and the last thing we worry about is money.

http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...ent-62251.html


Best of luck for the first step on a long journey.
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Old 01-05-2017, 09:24 AM   #20
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I'm not to pro on what to do but it sounds like you have a plan and a back up plan. You have thought it through. You will be fine an I would bet you have more money in 5 years then you do now if you pay attention to how you live.
FIRE is a great club to belong too.
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