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Old 12-22-2017, 05:32 PM   #21
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[*]When to retire and how much do we really need (depends on our budget and spending habits) Keep track of your spending. Once you know how much you need, it will probably take you about 1 second to decide on a retirement date. I'd suggest picking a backup date just in case.

[*]Do we plan for a legacy, or if it happens that is just a nice thing for the kids I pretty much just had/have a rough idea. Beyond that, it seems to be taking care of itself.

[*]When is the best time of year to retire (after annual bonus for me)
This one is easy. The best time of year to retire, is the first day when you can retire and support the standard of living you plan on having. Don't work a day longer! So what if you leave money on the table - - don't let greed take the rest of your life away from you when you already have enough.

[*]Pension or lump sum annuity with joint survivor (a 6.4% payout on an overfunded plan makes it an easy choice)
Yep, sounds easy. So you've pretty much got this figured out IMO.

[*]Healthcare before 65 (lucky to have a retiree medical vested)
This is a big deal. Good thing you already have it taken care of.

[*]Healthcare after 65 (don't have a clue yet)
This needs to be studied. For me, my federal retiree health insurance converts so that it supplements Medicare, now that I'm older.

[*]Long Term Care planning (To insurance or self insure is the question - DW is disabled)For me, this was easy. My mother had a great LTC policy with a highly regarded company, and they refused to pay a dime once she needed it and was eligible. Finally her grandson (a hotshot NYC lawyer) leaned on them and then she was magically able to collect. I don't have anyone to advocate for me so I'm self insuring. In your case, you might want to bring a trusted attorney into the picture due to your wife's disability.

[*]When to collect Social Security, 67 or 70?
Why not keep that time frame in mind, and then decide when you are 67? Your decision may be influenced by whether the market is good or bad.

[*]Payoff the mortgage (at 3.125% we are carrying that one to the grave)
See? You already decided on several of these issues.

[*]Which withdrawl rate strategy to use (currently favoring Boglehead VPW tweaked with minus 0.5% of age but changing my mind monthly)
I like the one where you take a percentage of your 12/31 portfolio on 1/1, and then rebalance. Simplicity is a Big Deal to me when it comes to withdrawing from my portfolio.

[*]Do we use Megacorp matching funds for Net Unrealized Appreciation for capital gains (voting yes on that one) Luckily it sounds like you decided.

[*]Defining the optimum Roth conversion strategy

[*]Tax optimization strategy You can work on this issue and the last after you retire.

[*]To use or not to use changing spending patterns in retirement for planning Just be realistic. That is what is important. I did not plan to spend less as I age because being old is bad enough without being short of money.

[*]Optimal asset allocation (leaning towards 70/25/5 considering we will have a safe floor covering 90% essential expenses)Yet another decision that has been made, of many in the list that you have already taken care of.

[*]QLAAC or no (leaning towards no) I have no idea what that is.

[*]How to invest the Social Security bridge (TIPS seem like a good idea) Yep, sounds good. Yet another decision already made.

[*]What amount to save for the Fickle Finger of Fate? "“You’ve got to ask yourself one question. Do you feel lucky? Well do ya punk?!” - - Clint Eastwood, in Dirty Harry

[*]What else to get DW for Christmas??
Diamonds are a girl's best friend.
Basically it sounds like you have already thought about most issues. I don't think anyone is ever given a "how to retire" handbook. We all sort of stumble along. For me, reading this forum every day for 2 years and 10 months before retirement, plus reading a half dozen books from the Bogleheads book list so that I felt more confident in my investment planning, provided me with all I needed.

We put a lot of thought and effort into deciding what town to live in after retirement, made up our minds, and then a year after we retired we changed our minds and stayed put.
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Old 12-22-2017, 05:34 PM   #22
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Jane Bryant Quinn's "How to Make to Make Your Money Last" covers many of the topics that were listed in this thread. The others probably aren't really that important for folks who don't worry too much by their very nature.

As long as you are not cutting it close, your portfolio will just go up so much every few years that you will be simply amazed.
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Old 12-22-2017, 07:47 PM   #23
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Our unknown turned out to be financial support for relatives with health problems.

You may consider adding that to your list.
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Old 12-22-2017, 10:32 PM   #24
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One option that might give you peace of mind is to hire a CPA or FA on a one-time, fee only basis to validate your modeling/thinking and help ensure you’ve thought of “everything.” Cost is much less than an ongoing AUM arrangement and you would likely get some value from it. I viewed ER as an irrevocable decision, knowing that I was giving up mid six figure comp forever, so it was worth it to me to have multiple sources review our specific details and confirm we had a solid plan.
+1

I am fortunate that Megacorp provides us with free access to financial planners. I have used them twice to check my retirement assumptions and plans, and that has been very helpful as a sanity check to ensure I had thought of all the bases to be covered.
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Old 12-23-2017, 05:09 AM   #25
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It's not all financial. How do you think you will spend your time? Socialize?
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Old 12-23-2017, 05:36 AM   #26
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Yes, your list sums up the million things I think about too as I move toward retirement. I'll just add what amounts to my first-ever post on this forum:

--how to get over bag lady syndrome
Just googled this and discovered for the first time it is an often discussed topic!
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Old 12-23-2017, 05:41 AM   #27
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It's not all financial. How do you think you will spend your time? Socialize?
If I can figure out how to hit into the financial fairway and stay out of the rough most times during the course of FI, then we will better enjoy the real benefits of RE: Wellness, spirituality, outreach and giving back, personal growth, relationships, family and recreation.
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Old 12-23-2017, 05:42 AM   #28
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IMO this is "paralysis by analysis" as we used to say during my work days.

You're overthinking things. As a few have noted, you can't prepare for every contingency that life throws at you 5, 10 or 20 years from now.

And yes, I wouldn't pay a FA 1% but in your case, I WOULD pay a few hundred bucks for a fee only adviser who can set you on a RE course.
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Old 12-23-2017, 05:47 AM   #29
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+1

I am fortunate that Megacorp provides us with free access to financial planners. I have used them twice to check my retirement assumptions and plans, and that has been very helpful as a sanity check to ensure I had thought of all the bases to be covered.
Same benefit here with my Megacorp and FIDO - once I have a plan will use them to check my assumptions. Feel like I am getting close enough in understanding basic mechanics to have a meaningful dialogue with a planner soon.

Scuba - The suggestion to hire a fee based CPA for tax planning and Roth conversions is an excellent idea.
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Old 12-23-2017, 05:50 AM   #30
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IMO this is "paralysis by analysis" as we used to say during my work days.

You're overthinking things. As a few have noted, you can't prepare for every contingency that life throws at you 5, 10 or 20 years from now.
I am trained as a nuclear engineer with an MBA - its what I do for wages.
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Old 12-23-2017, 08:19 AM   #31
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The more I read about financing retirement the less I know. Every time over the past two years something starts to click, a new or completely unknown perspective pops up...
I know the feeling. And really, it's a good thing. Just keep reading, learning, and adapting. No adviser is going to do as thorough a job as you will.

This forum is a great resource. About a year before I retired, I started scanning topics in the "FIRE and Money" subforum every day. I already had a fairly detailed retirement spreadsheet that was mainly geared toward answering the question, "Do I have enough?" But every time I ran across a new topic that I thought might be relevant to our situation, I started researching. I then made changes and adapted the spreadsheet accordingly. We made many changes as a result... AA, tax efficiency, mortgage, pension decisions, withdrawal strategy, spending projections, how much cash to hold, Roth conversions, wills/beneficiaries/TOD, and many others.

I'm now 4 years into retirement and the only real decision still pending is when to take SS, so I still read those threads with some interest. Everything else is pretty-much on autopilot and any changes are just minor tweaks. Obviously there's still a lot of uncertainty and things that change like the tax code. So I adapt as best I can. But the seemingly infinite number of topics has been wrestled to the ground... or at least I've researched enough that I'm confident in my decisions.

I still read this forum and a couple others regularly and occasionally a financial topic pops up that I hadn't considered previously, but that's becoming somewhat rare. So if I'm a typical case, there is an end to some of the uncertainty, but it took about 5 years in my case.
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Old 12-23-2017, 09:05 AM   #32
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I am trained as a nuclear engineer with an MBA - its what I do for wages.
I suspected as much when I read your OP.

You'll have to lose the '51 scenarios' mentality if you want to retire with minimal worry.
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Old 12-23-2017, 10:01 AM   #33
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I just had the thought that the lists made in this thread would be just as long if not longer for folks who are not retiring early and have to keep working.

Example:

When is the best time to start working?
Healthcare while working?
...
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Old 12-23-2017, 10:42 AM   #34
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I'm with you there LOL!
The rest of the world must be worrying itself sick over our predicaments.
Talk about 1st world problem, these are top 10% of the first world problems!
FI doesn't cause uncertainty, it reduces it.
RE is an option. Shame we have so many options for our life's.

(Disclaimer - Is see a therapist and many of our discussions revolve around my stressing over which options I should persue.)
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Old 12-24-2017, 06:47 AM   #35
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I can comment on the LTC planning. My wife and I just went through this. Usually you will want to apply for LTC insurance in your late 50's....early 60's.

What you want is a traditional LTC policy ( use it or lose it). Unfortunately, many insurers no longer offer this type of policy. They are now pushing life insurance polices with a LTC rider. STAY AWAY FROM THESE!!! They are single premium payments of up to $100,000 !!!
Look for a company that is solid financially that still offers a traditional pay as you go type plan. The premiums can increase over the years but you should still be able to manage this if you have the assets that warrant shopping for a LTC policy.

Now, one thing you may not be aware of is that you MAY have no choice but to self insure! According to the agent who sold us our policy.....approximately half of those who apply for LTC coverage are denied due to pre-existing medical conditions or overall health parameters. You mentioned your wife is disabled. This may exclude her coverage anyway. Also, of the half of applicants who are approved there are 3 rates that apply depending on your current health status: Ultra ( the lowest rate), Preferred, and Standard. Of the half of applicants who are accepted...only 15% get Ultra status and the lowest rates since these individuals are deemed o be "healthiest" at the time of application. I received "Ultra" rates at age 58 ( Brag....pat on the back). My wife received the Preferred rate.

Another reason this particular policy appealed to us was that it is a "partnership plan." MEaning we will be able to shield assets up to the amount the insurance pays for our LTC. For example, if in later years, if the insurance pays out $1,000,000 for my wife and myself for LTC needs.....$1,000,000 will remain in our estate (to pass to our heirs) and we will STILL qualify for MEdicaid in the future. It is the state rewarding us since we planned ahead for any future LTC needs. Our policy is also "portable" meaning all but about 2 or 3 states will honor (or reciprocate) the partnership feature of the plan if we someday move to another state. Good luck.
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