A MN Lurker


Confused about dryer sheets
Sep 16, 2003
I've been reading here for quite a while, so finally decided it's time to introduce myself.

I'm a local government employee in Minnesota's largest metro area (does my membership double the number of Minnesotans in this forum?). My pension rule of 90 date is July '05, but I'm struggling with working until then. Fully expect to leave before then, & my challenge will be to decide whether to start collecting pension immediately, thereby incurring a permanent reduction of 12% of my rule of 90 amount, or waiting until I reach rule of 90, which would then be extended beyond July '05 by the the number of months I leave before that time.

I've used Quicken's Retirement Planner to analyze different scenarios, and projections seem to be fine under virtually all options. What worries me a bit is how different projections can be using different programs - FIRECALC, MS Money's planner, ORP, Fidelity's retirement planner, etc. I suppose I shouldn't be too concerned, as some of these programs show us to have millions left when we're both gone, while Quicken indicates amounts ranging from 5 to 6 figures.

When we retire we're planning to move permanently to Florida, most likely to an active adult community. We've been looking in the Ocala & Leesburg areas, with one non-age restricted community in Lakeland on our list as well. We'd love to be closer to one of the coasts, but higher costs, congestion & the possible need to evacuate have persuaded us to look further inland. I would really like to hear from anyone with any knowledge or experience with active adult or deed-restrricted communities.

Oh, one admission I do have to make: We rarely use dryer sheets, & when we do - here it comes - we only use them once! I do hope this does not result in my immediate banishment or ostracism.

Hi Bill,

I live in Plymouth, 2 blocks from Medicine Lake.

Oddly enough, I used to live in Ocala about 30 years ago, when I was in the Navy. I had the change of seasons in my blood then and Moved back to MN. Of course this time of year, I'm ready to move back to Florida, But those nice days in April and May keep me here another year. This is a Minnesota Trick!

I also use Quicken, FIRECalc and have used Microsoft Money. The different answers between Quicken and FIRECalc are easy to explain becuase FIREcalc is based on Historical Real Data and Quicken uses a constant rate of Inflation as well as Income growth.

You also have probably noticed that increasing Growth by 1% over 40 years in Quicken makes a Huge Difference.

If possible you should try to hang on till July 05 - It's not that long and 12% is a lot!
I have noticed the difference in Quicken changing the rate of return can make. I had neglected to include the maximum 2.5% COLA in my pension, & once I made that change my outlook brightened considerably.

I know I should wait 'til I can collect an unreduced pension, but reading about how much all of you folks are enjoying ER has given me the itch. As one of my co-workers mentioned just yesterday, "You really have moved on, haven't you!" He's right. I'm just waiting for something to push me to pull the trigger (figuratively, not postally). Maybe we'll make a committment on our next visit to FL this summer...

We live in So. Minneapolis, about 5 blocks from Lake Harriet. Nice city & neighborhood, although taxes are high, & I don't like the direction the city & state seem to be headed. Plus, the return of a winter more reminiscent of yesteryear has greatly encouraged us to look south!
Well I have to jump in too. We live in Duluth.

Over the past year or two I have used a variety of financial calculators to see how we are progressing to our retirement goal. One is financial engines, which my employer pays for as part of our retirement plan package. The other is through Yahoo (http://finance.yahoo.com/). I like using Yahoo finance to keep track of our entire net worth and goals as you can enter that information on their money manager page. I also like how detailed you can be in entering information. Both financial engines and yahoo finance do Monte Carlo simulations. I also recently tried FIREcalc for another type of analysis. Financial engines seems to have the most conservative results, but not all that different from yahoo.

Bill, I too am not thrilled with where the state is heading over the last couple of years. I have always thought that even though Minnesota taxes are high, you get what you pay for and we have had a state with a very high quality of life. I also did not appreciate the 30 below weather we had this winter and the fact that this morning it was 8 above and snowing.

For convenience sake, you folks can rent a bus and all come out to CA and escape the winter. We're topping 80 today, I just had to come in for a glass of lemonade.

Billart, you can go ahead and splurge on the dryer sheets, but that UAW behavior isnt going to get you to ER.

UAW<> united auto workers, UAW is the book "The Millionaire Next Doors" 'under accumulator of wealth'. I know this because I just read the book and they say it 37,249 times.
Cut-Throat, Martha, TH, et al:

Hey, did I just get chastised for profligate dryer sheet usage by someone who lives in California? That seems a bit like the pot calling the kettle black...

I know we'll encounter some culture shock when we move to FL or anywhere else south, but the KKK?! Jeez, I would certainly hope that we see few or no vestiges of that kind of stuff.

There are, unfortunately, a few negative things about the central FL area of which I am aware. One web site, Retirement Havens, in its section on this geographic area (http://www.seniors-place.com/retirementhavens/GCoastFloridaNorth.html), says the crime rate is high, & that "In 13 of the 20 cities in this area over 30% of the residents have not completed high school. This may be the lowest level of educational attainment in the nation. " This may be based on 1990 census data (it's unclear), so I'm hopeful that things have gotten better. That would be a significant shock, moving from MN which has an exceptionally high percentage of HS & college grads.

I was in Ocala for a job interview recently & mentioned my wife's concerns about crime, & they (city officials) vigorously argued that things had gotten much better. Seems to highlight some advantages of living in a gated community.

I haven't tried Yahoo's planner - I hadn't acually found it
'til Martha mentioned it. I like Quicken's, the one it's its software program Quicken 2003. It allows much fine-tuning & incorporation of many adjustments that others don't. I use its "what if" feature a lot to see the effects of things like starting to collect my pension early, selecting different survivor options, etc.

I'll go along with MN being nice about 7 months a year. November is often pretty dismal. But the winters can be pretty miserable, & it becomes increasingly easy to decide against doing things because of the weather. I look forward to getting rid of most of my cold weather gear!


November is a gray month here, but it helps you get sick of winter fast. Therefore looking forward to the winter vacation.

When I first move to Ocala in 1973 (30 years ago, I know) - I received a letter with no return address from the "White Aryan Nation". Kind of Like the welcome wagon. It welcomed me to the neighborhood and asked if I wanted my kids to play with other Christian White Children and whether I had concerns that our society was headed in the wrong direction. I am guessing that they had a solution to society's problems.

I am sure that that part of the country has progressed in 30 years. But I am also sure that these organizations still operate albiet a little more underground.
Cut-Throat, Martha, TH, et al:

Hey, did I just get chastised for profligate dryer sheet usage by someone who lives in California? That seems a bit like the pot calling the kettle black...

Hey buddy, I have a clothes-line.

Dont make me use it...

Major downsides to Florida from my visits were 99% humidity, bugs that can carry away and devour chihuahua's, and 80 year old fat shirtless men with 50 gold chains around their necks.
Well, if we move to an active adult/deed restricted community, I think even possession of clothes line is a finable offense, so we should start practicing using & re-using dryer sheets ASAP.

And of your 3 downsides to FL - the first 2 sound like MN in the summer, albeit for a much shorter time, and the last - "80 year old fat shirtless men with 50 gold chains around their necks" - please, Lord, don't let that end up describing me! Although the shirtless part does already fit...

I forgot about the hurricanes...

I had roughly the same thing when I lived in Boston. Hot humid summers full of bugs and you better squeeze in your trips to the beach and your outdoor activities before its over, because its over quick. I wised up 10 years ago and moved somewhere where the weather is fine most of the time, the humidity is limited, the local places to visit are fine, and your pets eat the bugs instead of the other way around.

My dads Del Webb just sued a resident a few years ago for putting up a clothesline in the midst of the enron created energy 'crisis'. To be fair to the community, the thing had 7 foot tall posts and ran about 1/2 way up the houses side yard. One of those popup "umbrella" types on the back patio might have gone unnoticed...

I dont and wont live in a place with an HOA after my last experience, which was more of a passive problem. They took our money every month and didnt do anything with it.
A good read is Paul Terhorst's visit to Lafayette,LA. I remember 20+ yrs ago an airline mag.(bus. trip) article comparing New Orleans to a banana republic. Coming from the Pacific NW via Denver - the cultural shock is still amusing even after 25 yrs. and counting.

Hurricanes are an opportunity to remodel - 95,98, and 02.
I've lived in FL for all but one year of my life (the other year was in mid-GA). I've never come across a KKK presence directly. Everyone's correct about the bugs though. My favorites are the three inch long grasshoppers in the summer. And you just haven't lived until you have a huge palmetto bug fall on your head while doing yard work. The humidity is something you grow to accept I guess. Having lived here my entire life I really don't know anything any different.

I've spent most of my time in Jacksonville which is pretty well educated. That's probably due to having six colleges (that I know of) locally. There's plenty of opportunity to become educated if one desires.

Overall I'd say FL is a pretty decent place to live.
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