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Old July 22nd, 2008, 07:44 AM
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Default Retirement

I was thinking that although it took me a number of years, I am finally enjoying retirement. By retirement, I don't mean retiring from one job or profession and then segueing into another. I mean full fledged retirement.

As President of a local humane society, the writer of a popular newspaper column and fulfilling speaking engagements associated with the society not to mention that I also read voraciously, I definitely have a full plate and am rarely if ever, bored.

I was wondering if those of you who are similarly retired are content with your retirement, if income in your retirement is sufficient for you to maintain pretty much the lifestyle you enjoyed prior thereto and has retirement been fairly close to what you had expected it to be? Finally, for those getting close but not yet retired, what pitfalls do you think you'll encounter when you do retire for which you might seek advice from those who have already (as we used to say "on the job"), "pulled the pin."

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Old July 22nd, 2008, 08:01 AM
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Good question Todd....
My DH put in his application for retirement (3 months notice) on May 1st.
He has subsequently been home on sick leave ever since, due to an unfortunately-timed medical problem.
So he is experiencing "unplanned retirement", and is more or less stuck at home and limited in what he can do, therefore bored out of his tree at this point.
His original plan was for us to move and be settled in a new place shortly after he retired, and he looked forward to exploring new things, volunteer work, or even dabbling in a new career.
However, all that has been put on hold for the moment, until his medical problems are sorted out.

All of which proves to me, I am not ready to retire! I'm convinced that I will probably end up volunteering in my field if I ever decide to retire, because I will HAVE to do something!

donna
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 09:21 AM
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I've been retired since the turn of the century, pulling the plug a few months before I turned 55. Terry retired earlier than that, but did some consulting for a few years afterward. We both began planning for our retirements as soon as we were married in 1969. We maxed out all our tax-deferred retirement savings options, and invested well beyond the limits of those accounts. We made other investments with an eye to putting our kids through college, and they both graduated from private universities (at which we paid full fare) with no debt.

I'm just as busy as I ever was when I was working, except now everything I do is on my terms. Obviously, we travel extensively, I write and produce a couple shows a year for people I know and love and care about, and we have a glorious amount of time to devote to family and our blessedly wide circle of friends.

Because we planned well, even economic crises like we're going through now don't affect us much on the personal level, although we're very concerned about what's going on at the macro level. WIth the help of good financial planners over the years, our early retirements were foregone conclusions, and the intervening eight years have yielded no financial surprises. Our lifestyle hasn't changed (except maybe for the better), because contrary to the standard advice, we did not plan to live on less in retirement. We knew that what we didn't spend on clothes, commuting, Social Security taxes, etc. would be offset by big increases in our travel budget and other retirement activities.

Bottom line: if you've planned well, jump in. The water's more than fine.
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 10:10 AM
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Quote from AR
"Bottom line: if you've planned well, jump in. The water's more than fine".

Have to agree on that. Have been retired for 6 years and love it. Having the time to travel is probably the best part for us. 8)
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 11:17 AM
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Good question, Todd!

It sounds like AR's strategy and ours were very similar, but on a smaller scale. I retired on my 54th birthday, at the end of 2006, and DH retired 3 months ago, at age 61. We have been planning for our retirement for many years, and early on, I simply couldn't see how it could happen. Even when we had very little money to invest, we met with a Financial Planner, to talk about what we wanted when we retired, listened to his advice, and stuck with the plan. I believe that these steps are essential to being able to retire! How on earth can you retire if you don't know how much you will need, or whether or not it is attainable!

We also decided that we wanted a larger monthly income, once retired, because we anticipated spending more on travel. Although I have been shown that we will be secure during the market fluctuations, I still keep an eye on everything. This is still new to us.

I love retirement and the freedom it gives me. Our main limitation on travel, at this time, is that we stay close to home to keep an eye on my 102 year old MIL. I don't want to be gone for a long period of time right now. But I still have the benefit of doing all those things during the week, that I couldn't do while working!

Yep, the water is fine!
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 01:37 PM
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Thank you so much Donna, AR, ScurvyDog and ready2gonow for your input.

I was the village idiot when it came to planning for retirement. In a nutshell, I really didn't. I was blue collar (law enforcement) and knew I had a good retirement plan. I never, however, supplemented it other than some real estate investments in the condo market in the Hudson Valley which we planned to be our "supplement." I ended up probably being the only individual in the Hudson Valley that lost his shirt and then some in real estate. I had also in the back of my mind the possibility of a rather substantial inheritance from the proverbial "rich Aunt." That didn't plan out for reasons that I could write an entire book about and you'd still never believe it. I hadn't, however, hung my future on such a thing (although such would have, believe me, guaranteed Fran and my financial futures) and therefore wasn't "crushed" when it didn't occur (although I think Fran was a bit upset as she doesn't have any retirement from her career managing a small answering service and admits she kind of hoped for something some day).

Upon retirement from the Department in '96, I moved back to Tennessee where my retirement is more than most blue collar people around here make. I soon took a part time (meaning part time pay but I put in over 40 hrs. a week) job managing twin subsidized apartment complexes with mostly elderly residents until I found something better. It didn't pay anything at all to speak of but I fell in love with the people and we were pretty much like a gigantic family. I never broke any rules but I moved mountains on behalf of the elderly and mostly quite poor residents (many with gross annual maximum incomes of much less than $10,000). I of course could never bring myself to leave.

That decision was made for me because of severe health problems (cardiac -- I'm a member in good standing of the local medical helicopter "frequent flyer program") by my doctor (and dear firend) who was after me to stop working beginning in '98 at the time of my first heart attack (I lost an identical twin two days following our 46th birthday in '93 from a coronary). He kept telling me, "But Todd, you don't understand that you're at extreme risk of sudden death" to which I always (and still) reply "Just so long as it's sudden, JR." I finally filed for SS Disability in '06, a filing that was approved in minimum time.

I tell everyone, that personally I am among the most contented people one could ever meet. The only "800 lb. gorilla" in the room is Fran's Lymphoma and Leukemia that was diagnosed two yeas ago (she is in remission, thank God). As a retiree from New York State Service we have an absolutely top shelf health insurance plan and while Fran has been on Medicare, I just received my card and it takes effect October 1st.

With all of our problems and despite the fact we cannot afford to travel as much as do many of you and with Fran's awful disease over our heads, I still (and always shall) believe that we have been richly blessed.

If any of you are animal people, you may like to to go to gchumanesociety.com, click on "Animal Talk" and read some of my columns. I have been writing the column weekly for eleven years and have only missed one week (during one of my heart attacks and the %@*% wouldn't allow me to have my laptop in CCU). Of course the most difficult part is that I'm writing about the same subject every week and had to find a "shtick" to keep it interesting. I decided upon humor, usually of the self deprecatory variety. I currently have to post four columns that were in the paper when I was away on our cruise (thank Heaven's for wireless on the ship and in the hotel) and they'll be up shortly. The publisher of the paper (another close friend) says the column is wildly popular. I'm glad only because it does generate income (occasionally considerable income) for our animals. That's my "volunteer" obligation to the community (an obligation instilled in me when I was young).

Todd
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 02:33 PM
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Todd, sounds like you have it figured out. Everything is relative. The amount that Don and I chose to live on, would probably not be enough for someone else. It has to do with our everyday expenses, lifestyle and the cost of living, for our area.

The big factor you touched on is health. Don had cancer in 2004, but has been cancer free since, and I have not had major health problems. The cost of medical care is such a big factor!
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 07:02 PM
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I think it goes without saying that if one wants to retire, he/she must do the math with a fianancial planner and see if enough revenue will be coming in. I would say that's a given.

I tried retiring a little over 4 years ago. After about 3 or 4 months of leisure, I became very bored. After dinner, I would think about my day and think, "What did I do today?"

In my case, I just couldn't stand wasting day after day of doing nothing. I went to part time work. Some days are more like full time. Whatever you do and if you have any energy left over, make sure you do something worthwhile.

I'm not avocating going back to work part time but, do plan on doing something worthwhile so you don't feel you wasted the day.

Bill
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Old July 22nd, 2008, 10:56 PM
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My husband, Rob, plans on retiring in the middle of April of 2009. He is fortunate, because not only does he have a 401k and pension through his work, but he also gets a nice retirement from the Navy, with the great medical benefits of Tri-Care. I will continue to work, on a part-time basis, for the next few years providing my health holds up. We have a small mortgage payment, by today's standards, and have never lived beyond our means. We are taking a transatlantic cruise on April 25th to celebrate Rob's retirement!
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 02:09 AM
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I hadn't planned to retire for a few more years but I am now semi-retired. I have a decent income from my retirement and I am comfortable because I have always kept my finances in check. I don't make enough from my retirement income to cruise as I want to so I am working part time to supplement that.

I was completely retired for 5 months and I went bonkers. I slept all the time and had no initiative about anything.

I hope yours is fabulous!
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 11:47 AM
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We are very comfortable in our retirement, and we can afford to cruise anywhere, anytime. Our house and cars are paid for, and our children are both educated, married and successful. This is not any kind of boasting but a simple fact.

This is how we got to where we are now. Neither of us ever was a CEO or had a very high paying job, but we both worked. My wife taught school for over 30 years and I had two careers, retiring from the military and then teaching for 17 years.

We saved something every month for the whole time, never paid any interest on a credit card and bought only things that we could afford.
Our investments in stock and real estate were generally busts, but we did invest in IRAs and annuties as well as CDs. As a result, our retirement income is greater than it was when we were both working. It is summertime "and the living is easy."

Enjoy yourself, but don't spend money that you don't have!!!!!!
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 12:59 PM
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I am retiring in about a Month. Interesting to here peoples comments. I have saved so not to concerned about money, but I wish the market was better. One thing people never talk about is time. I am concerned about the next 20-25 years. If I live to be 90 I am willing to bet that my activity will be some what limited. We will most likely move into some sort of assisted living place like Caroles parents. In the mean time I plan to Golf, Garden, travel, and possibly work part time in Caroles business. Because of her business we can only be away about once a quarter. With any luck we will do two or three cruises a year and one or two road trips. Europe is out for a while until the exchange rate improves. Carole likes to shop and now is not the best time. Mike
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 05:31 PM
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The only thing I would caution any couple (excepting of course, those of you fortunate to be millionaires) in reasonably good health, is extreme caution if not retiring with a guaranteed (and I mean exactly that) pension that also involves their spouse. With the option I selected, my wife gets my same monthly check if I die unless the State of New York goes bankrupt, and if that happens we're all in much deeper doo-doo than any of us imagined. We also have enjoyed outstanding medical benefits that rolled over as a Medicare Supplement plan with tremendous pharmacy benefits. The reason I emphasize this is the result of knowing a marvelous elderly couple in New York who, while they planned very well at the time for their retirement, because of their lifespans (both lived to over 25 years following their retirement at 65) and the rate of inflation, they actually outlived their retirement and watched as their standard of living drastically declined.

I don't mean to sound as if I'm an "hysterical annie" over this, but what happened to that elderly couple was heartbreaking.

If nothing else, beat it into you children! SAVE!!! SAVE!!! SAVE!!!

Todd
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 06:21 PM
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Absolutely right. Factoring in the cost of medical insurance/care is a huge part of retirement planning.

Getting your kids started early is really important too, as you say. The easiest (and best) way to do this is to teach by example. Make your kids aware (in general terms) of what you're doing, and it's likely to seem only natural for them to do it too.
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Old July 23rd, 2008, 10:00 PM
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I was fortunate enough to spend my entire career with a corporation which had a standard pension plan. I retired the day I turned 50. Although it was a reduced pension I had planned in advance and opened a restaurant and bar at age 40 and by the time I retired the restaurant and bar was earning 3X what my corporate job salary was earning.

While working both jobs I was working 90 hours (no exaggeration) per week and sleeping 5 hours a night. Now I work 50 hours a week and sleep at least 8 hours. But I love what I do.

These economic times are tough on my business, but I will survive while my competition folds because we positioned ourselves to withstand tough times. I hate to see them fold and lose their investment, but I can't help them.

Last summer, in '07, I put the business on the market to sell so we could retire completely. Once the buyers started coming in and the realization set in that I would be departing my "child" I got cold feet and took it off the market. I wasn't ready to move into the sedintary life.

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Old July 24th, 2008, 10:47 PM
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Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting. I went to the store the other day. I was only in there for about 5 minutes. When I came out there was a city cop writing out a parking ticket.

I went up to him and said, "Come on, buddy, how about giving a senior a break?" He ignored me and continued writing the ticket.

I called him a name. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tires. So I called him a worse name. He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes. The more I abused him the more tickets he wrote.

I didn't care. My car was parked around the corner and this one had a bumper sticker on it for a candidate of whom I disapprove. I try to have a little fun each day now that I'm retired. It's important at our age.
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Old July 25th, 2008, 12:21 AM
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AR....... You're BAAAAAD! HAHA

Yep, it's those little things that keep us entertained, isn't it?
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Old July 25th, 2008, 03:10 AM
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Hi all, i would like to join your forum and become an active member since i am retiring next month. I am looking forward to the excitements and problems of retired life. I am planning to start a management consultancy of my own within next 6 months. I cordially invite interested partners.

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Old July 25th, 2008, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AR
Absolutely right. Factoring in the cost of medical insurance/care is a huge part of retirement planning.

Getting your kids started early is really important too, as you say. The easiest (and best) way to do this is to teach by example. Make your kids aware (in general terms) of what you're doing, and it's likely to seem only natural for them to do it too.
I am very, very fortunate that the county government is carrying my full health insurance for me at no cost to myself! I have the exact benefits I had when I was working.
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