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Pleasant Surprise
Old 11-08-2019, 09:37 AM   #1
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Pleasant Surprise

I sometimes lament that almost all the unexpected things that seem to happen to us are negative. If it's something good, it's probably something we planned for and worked towards.

Last week we found out that by our FIRE goal date DW will have enough years of service and be old enough to qualify for Megacorp retiree health benefits! This is huge, and not something we had anticipated.

Let's get some feel-good feedback going. What FIRE-related pleasant surprises have you experienced recently?
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:45 AM   #2
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I got a letter last week telling me that they had miscalculated my pension when I retired a little over 5 months ago and that I should have been receiving $17.25 more per month. So going forward I'll get that, and they also sent me a check for the prior 5 months' shortfall. Hey, it's a bottle of wine a month.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:00 AM   #3
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I got a letter last week telling me that they had miscalculated my pension when I retired a little over 5 months ago and that I should have been receiving $17.25 more per month. So going forward I'll get that, and they also sent me a check for the prior 5 months' shortfall. Hey, it's a bottle of wine a month.
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:09 AM   #4
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I sometimes lament that almost all the unexpected things that seem to happen to us are negative. If it's something good, it's probably something we planned for and worked towards.

Last week we found out that by our FIRE goal date DW will have enough years of service and be old enough to qualify for Megacorp retiree health benefits! This is huge, and not something we had anticipated.

Let's get some feel-good feedback going. What FIRE-related pleasant surprises have you experienced recently?
As of this June, I am also qualified for the employer's health insurance benefits. But if I retire this year, our (my wife and I) monthly health insurance premium with this benefits would be about $1,340 per month, which is probably slightly more than that of unsubsidized ACA premium. I am wondering if such a retiree benefit is really useful in my case.

I understand that ACA may change, but the employer health insurance benefits can also change. But I could probably control my income to get ACA subsidies.

Any ideas about health insurance in a similar case?
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Old 11-08-2019, 10:20 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by HenryD View Post
I sometimes lament that almost all the unexpected things that seem to happen to us are negative. If it's something good, it's probably something we planned for and worked towards.

Last week we found out that by our FIRE goal date DW will have enough years of service and be old enough to qualify for Megacorp retiree health benefits! This is huge, and not something we had anticipated.

Let's get some feel-good feedback going. What FIRE-related pleasant surprises have you experienced recently?
Great news. I knew about my retiree health insurance, but I didnít count on it to retire. In my case, itís a significant benefit. Always a little nervous that they will discontinue it, but the closer me a DW get to Medicare age, the less that would impact us.

Good thing you learned about this. Would have really sucked to retire just before DW vested.
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:10 AM   #6
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When I retired at 58.5 years, MegaCorp allowed me to purchase their retiree insurance @ $425 per month until age 65. Luckily, I had enough in a Retiree HSA to pay the premiums until 2 mos. short of age 65. Then we went onto a Medicare Supplement purchased through MegaCorp.

We were just notified: "Your current health plan ends on 12/31/2019" and Via Benefits Insurance Services will work with you to enroll you in new Medicare coverage.

There were 2 Supreme Court rulings last year where MegaCorps can withdraw healthcare insurance previously promised to retirees. Our MegaCorp is paying $571 into a HSA for deductibles and co-pays and Via Benefits is helping us make decisions on what kind of Medicare program suits us best individually.
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:38 AM   #7
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Great news. I knew about my retiree health insurance, but I didnít count on it to retire. In my case, itís a significant benefit. Always a little nervous that they will discontinue it, but the closer me a DW get to Medicare age, the less that would impact us.

Good thing you learned about this. Would have really sucked to retire just before DW vested.
Glad to hear it's working out for you.

I don't know yet how significant a benefit ours will be, but if it's anything like the employee plan it will be generous IMO. Even if it's not great it's still better than no option, and we were/are not counting on it.

And yes, the vest date is close enough to FIRE date that we could have missed it, or worse had to have DW w*rk an unexpected extra period to qualify.
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Old 11-08-2019, 11:40 AM   #8
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There were 2 Supreme Court rulings last year where MegaCorps can withdraw healthcare insurance previously promised to retirees.
I know ours has made changes in the last few years, for the worse, so we won't depend on it. It's just nice to know it will probably be an option at least, even if not a great one.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:02 PM   #9
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I retired at mid-year, 2017. Since I worked a half year, I took half my annual vacation prior to pulling the rip cord (assuming that was my entitlement). Three months later, I suddenly receive a sizable check for 10 days salary.

Then, in February (2018), a huge stash hits our bank account. I had completely forgotten that I was eligible for 1/2 of the annual bonus. The company had a great year and the pay out was close to earlier full-year bonus.

In both instances, no 401K, ins, HSA, or other misc deduction, so payouts were extra generous.
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
I got a letter last week telling me that they had miscalculated my pension when I retired a little over 5 months ago and that I should have been receiving $17.25 more per month. So going forward I'll get that, and they also sent me a check for the prior 5 months' shortfall. Hey, it's a bottle of wine a month.
or if you are RobbieB, a few bottles of wine a year!
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Old 11-08-2019, 12:46 PM   #11
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What FIRE-related pleasant surprises have you experienced recently?
I find out that I do not need to spend that much to be happy, while I have more money than ever.

For example, either my taste buds have died or I don't give a darn anymore, but XO Cognac does not taste that much better than cheaper grades.

Hmmm... Is that a positive development, that you care about fewer things?
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:01 PM   #12
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Hmmm... Is that a positive development, that you care about fewer things?

I think that it just part of aging .
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:22 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
I got a letter last week telling me that they had miscalculated my pension when I retired a little over 5 months ago and that I should have been receiving $17.25 more per month. So going forward I'll get that, and they also sent me a check for the prior 5 months' shortfall. Hey, it's a bottle of wine a month.
If you shop at Aldi, it's a bottle a week !
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:26 PM   #14
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I think that it just part of aging .
Yes.

And caring less about "stuff" is good (I think), aging is not.

What Khan posted the other day, do people remember?
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:37 PM   #15
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I got $300.- more in my last pension check from the Maryland Transit. Not sure if it was a mistake or real. Wait a few months to see if it is true raise or... will they send me a letter about over payment. Can't really trust the State of MD.
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Old 11-08-2019, 01:45 PM   #16
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We were in Thailand last week and DW pension check was direct deposited and included her first COLA raise. Cool to get paid while vacationing and a raise to boot!
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:49 PM   #17
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Traded in our 1999 arrest-me-red Acura Integra and some moola for an arrest-me-red 2019 Honda HR-V EX-L. Allstate reduced our insurance premium ~$50/year.
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Old 11-08-2019, 03:45 PM   #18
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When I retired in June 2018, I thought I had received all my Megacorp money. They also have a bonus cycle during the August-September timeframe, but I just assumed that since I was not there, I would not get anything. Then at the very end of July a sizable check arrives. I contact my manager, concerned that some mistake had been made, but all was well - manager said the higher ups thought I deserved a bonus for the project I rescued, completed, and set up to be taken over before I retired.

I overestimated our health insurance premium costs so planned for a worse case scenario. Instead the best case scenario has occurred and our premiums will be less than half of what we had set aside.
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Old 11-08-2019, 05:34 PM   #19
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After my Mom died, my Dad's pension went up (because he had chosen a benefit option that included 50% survivor benefits, and now had no survivor).

I planned on spending $4K out of pocket per kid per year to get the AOTC. I forgot to subtract this from the budgeted amounts from their college accounts. I discovered this with 9 kid-years of college left, so I had overfunded by $36K.

I figured I wouldn't make any money in retirement. I have.

I didn't plan on FIRE helping my brain spend more time and creativity on various things that have saved me additional money, mostly on taxes. For example, I figured out that I can withdraw money from my kids' ESAs and stick it right back in their 529s to the tune of $6K per year, and get a state tax deduction for moving money around. I also figured out that since my son is graduating in December, we can shift some of his financial assistance from spring (when he won't be in school) to fall (when he will).
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Old 11-08-2019, 05:43 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Red Badger View Post
I retired at mid-year, 2017. Since I worked a half year, I took half my annual vacation prior to pulling the rip cord (assuming that was my entitlement). Three months later, I suddenly receive a sizable check for 10 days salary.



Then, in February (2018), a huge stash hits our bank account. I had completely forgotten that I was eligible for 1/2 of the annual bonus. The company had a great year and the pay out was close to earlier full-year bonus.



In both instances, no 401K, ins, HSA, or other misc deduction, so payouts were extra generous.


This is similar to my experience. Last full year was 2014 and I had outstanding results but got stiffed at bonus time. I dailed it back the following year knowing I was leaving in Aug and thinking I had to be on the payroll in 2016 to get the bonus. Surprise! I got almost as much for working 6 months pro-rated and the head of HR sent a very nice personal letter to inform me.
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