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It's (mentally) hard to sell my investments
Old 01-09-2022, 09:28 AM   #1
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It's (mentally) hard to sell my investments

We are 61/59 years old and retired in Oct 2020. We have a good budget and are hitting it and are at 100% on all the calculators that I have run, etc.

We are using our after tax brokerage account as our financial engine until we start drawing SS (at age 70) and taking RMD's (at 72). So drawing $$ from our brokerage account requires selling off investments in that account (currently 75/25 AA in that account). We are getting an ACA subsidy, so that requires managing which assets get sold for capital gains management.

ANYWAY, my personal issue is that I've spent the last 30 years or so putting money into those accounts and managing them to grow. Taking money out seems backwards and wrong. I know I put it in there so I could take it out later.

Just trying to rationalize to the inner saver in me.....
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Old 01-09-2022, 09:34 AM   #2
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Someone here once wrote this (sorry, unable to remember who):

"You are no longer in a savings mode
You are now in a slow spend down mode"

I have that written and placed by my desk as a reminder. It helps quite a bit.
After all, what did you save it for but to live in your retirement ?
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Old 01-09-2022, 09:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tominboise View Post
We are 61/59 years old and retired in Oct 2020. We have a good budget and are hitting it and are at 100% on all the calculators that I have run, etc.

We are using our after tax brokerage account as our financial engine until we start drawing SS (at age 70) and taking RMD's (at 72). So drawing $$ from our brokerage account requires selling off investments in that account (currently 75/25 AA in that account). We are getting an ACA subsidy, so that requires managing which assets get sold for capital gains management.

ANYWAY, my personal issue is that I've spent the last 30 years or so putting money into those accounts and managing them to grow. Taking money out seems backwards and wrong. I know I put it in there so I could take it out later.

Just trying to rationalize to the inner saver in me.....
I can relate to this problem.... I've been retired for almost 6 years and still find it hard to sell in my taxable account. The only real "spending" I have done is to pay for Roth Conversions from my Taxable account. I will follow this thread to learn how those that are spending from their taxable investments are able to pull the trigger and spend.
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Old 01-09-2022, 09:36 AM   #4
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Do some searching on this forum and you'll find numerous threads/posts on this subject. Bottom line: it's a common problem that time will remedy.

Also, please note this is definitely a first world problem.
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Old 01-09-2022, 09:38 AM   #5
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The Retirement Answer Man has a few good podcasts on this subject. It’s real for a lot of folks. It is very hard and actually more complex to spend down than it is to save.
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Old 01-09-2022, 09:40 AM   #6
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This may sound weird, but part of the way I fixed this was to use part of my dividends and gain income in my taxable account as an opportunity to buy more equity funds.

It felt like I was saving, even though I was drawing down in other accounts or maybe even with a sale in that account at a different time.
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Old 01-09-2022, 10:09 AM   #7
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It hasn't been hard for me, because I focus on the value of my portfolio, as opposed to how many shares I own. My portfolio is worth far more than it was when I began withdrawals around 10 or 11 years ago. Taking a small chunk of it doesn't diminish the value by much. Another thing that helps psychologically, is that the entire portfolio value (including cash holdings) is listed on my broker home page (Vanguard allows me to enter holdings in outside accounts). That way, when I sell shares in one of my funds to generate living expenses, the portfolio value I see on my Vanguard home page is still the same, just with a little more in cash, and a little less in a stock fund. During this bull market we've been having, that value doesn't even go down from month to month on average, so I quickly forget that I sold part of one of my funds.

Besides, the thought of having to go back to work is far more painful!
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Old 01-09-2022, 11:01 AM   #8
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Taking money from my accounts once I retired was always my plan so is wasn't that hard for me to do.. It did seem a little odd at first but soon it became the new "norm".. So ~ten years later, and now that I'm finding my NW is higher than I had projected at this point, I just don't think much about it anymore.
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Old 01-09-2022, 11:01 AM   #9
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Most of the reason I decided not to convert my tax deferred to Roth is that I realized with my reluctance to sell, anything I converted to Roth would never, ever be spent by me. On the other hand RMD's from my tax deferred deposit directly to my checking account so I have no problem spending that, or with dividends and Cap Gains from my taxable account. I fully realize its not the most efficient use of my funds in retirement but it works for my warped psyche.
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Old 01-09-2022, 11:05 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tominboise View Post
We are 61/59 years old and retired in Oct 2020. We have a good budget and are hitting it and are at 100% on all the calculators that I have run, etc.

We are using our after tax brokerage account as our financial engine until we start drawing SS (at age 70) and taking RMD's (at 72). So drawing $$ from our brokerage account requires selling off investments in that account (currently 75/25 AA in that account). We are getting an ACA subsidy, so that requires managing which assets get sold for capital gains management.

ANYWAY, my personal issue is that I've spent the last 30 years or so putting money into those accounts and managing them to grow. Taking money out seems backwards and wrong. I know I put it in there so I could take it out later.

Just trying to rationalize to the inner saver in me.....
You'll get over it... it takes a couple years.

Try not to focus on specific accounts... the natural consenquence of your strategy may be that your taxable account balances decline as you use that for spending and your tax-deferred and tax-free accounts grow. What has the total done since you retired? I'm guessing that the total has grown... if so, rest easy.
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Old 01-09-2022, 11:13 AM   #11
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This is my favorite FIRE cartoon. Period. I suggest you cut it out and place it where you will see it several times a day. It is a reminder that there are several things that are far more important than having a big pile of money - health and time. We are spending time every second of every day whether we decide to or not.
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Old 01-09-2022, 11:36 AM   #12
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Do you pour yourself a bourbon then let it sit in the glass? I don't; I sip it and enjoy.
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Old 01-09-2022, 11:37 AM   #13
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I'll make my first liquidation next Nov/Dec, I suspect my declining MMSA balance will make it pretty easy to hit "sell" but it will feel weird. Man's got to eat!
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Old 01-09-2022, 11:38 AM   #14
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I'm finally eating the birthday cake I spent so long baking. It's every bit as delicious as I thought it would be!

I haven't touched my Roth yet (all from tIRA conversions), but I know I will. If/when I decide to move and buy another house, I can use the Roth if I haven't sold my existing house yet and need cash without a large income spike, unless there's a better option like a margin loan on my investment account. Or I can buy a new car or anything else without a tax hit. It's a wonderful flexible resource for me, that I fully intend to use.

I understand the OP and other people have trouble mentally making the switch. I'm just trying to give some perspective on how I did it, in case it helps.

Another method might be to make planned monthly sells from your investment account and have it auto-deposited in your bank account, like a paycheck from your working days.
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Old 01-09-2022, 11:45 AM   #15
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You'll get over it... it takes a couple years.

Try not to focus on specific accounts... the natural consenquence of your strategy may be that your taxable account balances decline as you use that for spending and your tax-deferred and tax-free accounts grow. What has the total done since you retired? I'm guessing that the total has grown... if so, rest easy.
Yes, the total has grown a fair amount. Who knows if it will stay that way given the short term market but I have no doubt that our overall portfolio will continue to grow over the next 30 years or so.
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Old 01-09-2022, 11:45 AM   #16
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Do you pour yourself a bourbon then let it sit in the glass? I don't; I sip it and enjoy.
Great perspective. I do enjoy a good Scotch.
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Old 01-09-2022, 11:46 AM   #17
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This is my favorite FIRE cartoon. Period. I suggest you cut it out and place it where you will see it several times a day. It is a reminder that there are several things that are far more important than having a big pile of money - health and time. We are spending time every second of every day whether we decide to or not.

Great cartoon and absolutely true.
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Old 01-09-2022, 11:51 AM   #18
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^ oh man I get what you are feeling. One thing I plan for was to have cash for living life and not to have to sell investments. I have enough in MM & CD etc. so I don't have to sell and have those feeling you are talking about.

A tough thing to do but I guess that is why we saved.
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Old 01-09-2022, 11:57 AM   #19
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What I find helpful/consoling is to only spend my dividends.

Admittedly, it is a bit of mental gymnastics but you can rationalize it that you're not 'selling your investments', you're just taking the 'profits' they generate. Same amount of shares being held, year in, year out.

You might try that for a few years until you get more comfortable.
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Old 01-09-2022, 12:06 PM   #20
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What I find helpful/consoling is to only spend my dividends.

Admittedly, it is a bit of mental gymnastics but you can rationalize it that you're not 'selling your investments', you're just taking the 'profits' they generate. Same amount of shares being held, year in, year out.

You might try that for a few years until you get more comfortable.
At my age, I no longer think of "trying" anything new for a few years to get comfortable with it. Weeks or months, maybe.
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