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Periodic Contributor

Retiring early - share your experience! Please!

I am planning on retiring in April 2018 when I turn 62. I have worked for the same employer for 33 years and am fortunate enough to have a decent retirement. I won't be doing a lot of travelling or buying a new car but I should be comfortable, making a little more than I am working!  I have 3 grandchildren that I really want to spend more time with before Grandma isn't "the bomb" anymore, be a little more involved in my church, and open to other things. But after just taking a week off from work, I'm afraid I will be bored.  I'm so used to having a specific purpose every day; I'm used to being surrounded by great people with lots of laughs (lots of crap too!) and great working relationships.  I am not a highly motovated person and am afraid I'll spend way too much time in front of the TV, especially in the winter months!  I really don't want to work any more.  33 years is a long time to give to one organization. It's now time for ME.  (Besides, I can't keep up with the changes in technology and all the young people around me).  My retirement is all contingent on what Trump does with health care and economy.  I have budgeted a nice monthly sum for insurance premiums but it may not be enough or change over the next three years until I can get on Medicare.  It all frightens me. I'm a single woman supporting myself.  Anyway, would love to get some feedback. Thanks.

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Periodic Contributor

You have asked about retireing early.  Economics made the choice for me.  I went back to school at age 54, graduated when I was 57.   For the next 54 months I looked for work onaverage 35+ per week, all documented. 7,560 applications, only 12 interviews.  Age discriminatoin is real.   I had financial help from BWC.  At age 62 I started living off asvings when BWC stopped,and as my savings eroded, I took early retirement.  If you do the math, retireing early is actually better. Most people will not reach the break-even stage till age 77 and who can say we will live that long. Even if we do, our buying power will be better buy going out early, as for maybe 5 years you will be drawing earnings that you can spend now when prices are lower.  It's not easy living on SS, I get the equalivent of about $7.78 in wages.  Plus still having to pay for medical.  It's not easy, lots of economizeing and doing without, but I have no regrets.

Contributor

 I was laidoff at 61, very difficult finding another job.  Insurance is outrageous, high premiums, high deductible and nothing to live off of for food, housing and utilities.   To young to retire and to old to get another decent job.

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Regular Contributor

This happens to so many people, there is a great deal of discrimination regarding age, even if your the most qualified, I had a similar situation and ended up working part time minimum wage for a senior employment service called : Experience Works. I know they are not in every state but if you can get by it’s better than nothing,. I wish you all the best, I truly think that SS should be fully funded for all at 62 with no cuts to the benefit.

Conversationalist

@VickiB209855, I can share your pain!

 

You may find useful info in a different discussion.  That one is more about job hunting while being descrimiated against than retiring.

 

Most of the people I know who retired early because they thought they could make it fine are having trouble.  Only the ones that knew they would be fine are doing so. If in doubt DON'T!  Once you have been out of work for a few years will likely need to settle for minimum wage.

 

https://community.aarp.org/t5/Work-Jobs/Age-Discrimination-in-Job-Search-and-the-Workplace/m-p/19710...

 

Good Luck!

 

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Trusted Contributor

I understand fully what you are saying about high insurance premiums and deductibles Vicki. The high cost of living in the U.S. has become a burden for many families. For those reasons, I retired at 58 and my wife & I moved to Mexico to live. We qualified for Seguro Popular, the Mexican health plan at NO premium. We have access to fresh fruit/vegetables/seafood, etc had very reasonable prices & it's plentiful year-round. Our mild climate does not require central heat or air, so utility expenses are low. People might ask if Mexico is safe to live in...I ask if the U.S. is safe anymore?--just look at the recent South Florida school shooting & it is reported as the 18th incident so far in 2018. I'm shocked every time we return to visit in the U.S. and grateful we made the decision to retire in Mexico.

Regular Contributor

We have thought about Mexico and possibly Belize, would you mind sharing where in Mexico your living? We have visited Puerto Vallarta and Zhiuantenao, both very nice with many Americans living there.

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Trusted Contributor

We retired to live at Lake Chapala in the Mexican state of Jalisco, about 4-5 hours by car/bus inland from Puerto Vallarta. We are an hour south of Guadalajara, Mexico's 2nd largest city and about 35-40 minutes from the Guadalajara airport. Amazing year-round climate and reasonable cost of living. Go to YouTube and search Expatsinmexico/ajijic and view my 12 minute video (David Huff) on retirement here. It will answer maybe some questions. Leave a YouTube comment & I'll respond.

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Periodic Contributor

I'm proud of your strength and desire to care for your mom!!!

Continue to enjoy your life to the fullest.

Contributor

I am 55 years old and was forced to retire early. I was a Police/Fire Dispatcher for approx 33 years along with serving 6 years in the Air Force. I was also a 15 year Vet of a volunteer fire department in Ohio. I was forced to retire early from my last job as a police dispatcher because I was calling out sick a lot due to rheumatoid arthritis in both knees (possibly from the firefighting career searching on my knees a lot.) I also have other medical issues which prevented me from doing my job and assuring the safety of the police officers and the city residents. I decided to take early retirement because a supervisor who already had it out for me told me I was abusing my sick leave and he needed someone reliable. I took early retirement instead of giving him the opportunity to have me fired and loose everything I worked for. Right now things are not working out very well for me. I used to bring home approx $4500.00 a month but now only getting approx $1800.00 a month which only pays for rent and my car payment. I am forced to look into food pantries and social services to help pay utilities. My work place retired me on disability, but the Virginia Retirement System denied my disability request because I didn't meet their rules and I just sent in an appeal for that. I have an law group working form me on Social Security disability which I was denied for also for not meeting their rules for disability. They tell me it will take about a year for that appeal process to go through. I have filed for financial assistance from my doctors office and now  attempting to get veterans assistance but all is going to take awhile to process. Now I am about to have utilities turned off, unable to pay cell phone bills, which is the only device I use for phone. So taking early retirement isn't working out very well for me at all. Oh, and I forgot to mention I have a disabled 20 yr old son with autism and has a mentality of a 10 year old. So if anyone has any suggestions on how to better my life, please, all suggestions would be gratefully appreciated. 

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Periodic Contributor

A suggestion:

If possible, can you work from home for Amazon or AT&T Customer Care for extra income. It's online and telephonic customer service.

 

I hope your life turns around for Good for you and your child!

Newbie

I'm very sorry for your situation.  I hope your disability appeal comes through.  In the meantime, does your son qualify for benefits such as SSI due to his disability? And if so, he might be entitled to an increase because your income has been reduced.  I recently learned of a family that has a 10 year old with a disability and he eligible for over $900/mos in social security benefits because his father just retired.  My 19 year old only gets $600/mos because we are employed. 

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Contributor

Does anybody know if you get full retirement benefits when you get to actual retirement age or are we stuck with what we have????
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Regular Contributor

I assume you retired prior to your full retirement age. If true, what they give you now is it. The only increase you'll see would be a COLA and only if Congress elects to give it to you. Next year, all Social Security beneficiaries will see a 2 percent COLA. But that is likely to be offset by an increase in your Medicare premiums that are automatically deducted.

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Regular Contributor

I assume you retired prior to your full retirement age. If true, what they give you now is it. The only increase you'll see would be a COLA and only if Congress elects to give it to you. Next year, all Social Security beneficiaries will see a 2 percent COLA. But that is likely to be offset by an increase in your Medicare premiums that are automatically deducted.

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Bronze Conversationalist

I'd been working two jobs simultaneously on split shift -the main job in an office, and the second job  teaching fitness classes at a local YMCA .  At age 59 I had major surgery and had to go on disability, which meant taking leave from the office job and quitting the fitness teaching job.  After surgery I was ready to return to the office job, but since I had so much vacation time coming (years of it), I was able to stay home and collect my regular part--time salary and keep my health benefits.  So I actually stopped working at age 59.  About two years later I decided I wanted to work.   In the interim we'd moved to another area.  I took a part time at another gym that was closer to my new home, but this time doing child care and working at the front desk.  In addition to getting paid, I had free use of the gym whenever I wanted it.  I stayed at that job until I was 70 years old.  The gym closed in favor of the owner renting the building to a hardware store.  The entire staff was fired at the same time!   I "almost" miss working, but I've found that there are lots of other ways to spend time.  My application to be a volunteer at the local library has been accepted, so I'll be working whenever I want.  So, I retirned early but still work.   It's a good feeling.

Contributor

I was with a company for 10 years when out of the blue I was "let go" at the age of 58. I spent that spring and summer trying to find a job which seems to be more difficult at an older age. I finally was hired by a government contractor. The site manager was replaced by a 30 something woman who immediately started making life difficult for me and others my age. Finally the day I knew was coming arrived and she told me I was no longer needed. So here I was unemployed again at 62. I had saved some money over the years plus I received a pension from this last company. My wife is 2 years older than me so we both made the decision to retire. Only problem was we weren't old enough for Medicare. I had been thinking about a certain job before to give me something to do when I retired. The local school system was hiring school bus drovers and they offered great benefits which included great health insurance. So they hired me, trained me and helped me get my CDL's. I have been enjoying this "new job" for over 2 years now and life is good. I work 5 hours per day and 180 days per year. Having summers off works great for traveling or just doing what I please.

Periodic Contributor

I retired at 56, in 2007, and have been eternally grateful for it 10 years in. I was and educator, and the last six years of my career, a school administrator. The economy was in shambles, 600 teachers were laid off in my district, the stress was overwhelming, and I thought if I kept going like this, I wouldn’t live long enough to enjoy my retirement. We had planned for an early retirement for me by paying off the mortgage and our debts, or I would not have been in the position to take early retirement.  I met with a retirement counselor (I receive a state pension, not social security), and to my surprise found that all my unused sick leave accounted for an extra 1 1/2 years retirement credit, so I decided to pull the plug even earlier than we’d planned, and have never looked back. We’ve travelled to Thailand, Grand Cayman and Hawaii multiple times, plus numerous road trips throughout our beloved California. My husband retired a few years ago, and we take three mile beach walks three times a week, have completed many projects around the house, lots of leisure time, drinking coffee and reading (I read 70 books last year, mainly from the library), and enjoying our family and friends. We live in San Diego, and by working hard and saving money, we are living the retirement dream. We lost a lot of our retirement savings twice, in the early 2000’s and again in 2008, but after we recovered enough to live comfortably, we transferred most of our retirement account to CD’s, as we are too old to survive another hit. With strategic planning, middle class people can retire early, even in paradise, and enjoy being a member of the best club there is-the Retirement Club.

Conversationalist

The chances are your CDs will be safe.  Too many of my friends have mostly bonds in their nest egg.  They are less safe then the stock market and don't provide much better interest than the CD.  In 2007-8 it was the bond market that collapsed eventually pulling the market with it.  The stocks that crash mostly just lost value since there was really wrong with the economy it was just very enimic.  The bad bonds lost all their value.  Nothing was done that might actually prevent that from happening again. We are now a bit worse than we were back then, more not less debt, so this is all very real.  I try to talk sence into my friends but they are too old to think for themselves in the financial world.  They think fine in other areas but not about investing.  I guess there are too many things they need to learn to make a wise decision and they just get over whelmed.  I suggest all of you start reading investment info while you are still 'young'.  That and knowing how to stay healthy are the most influencial for your 70s.  You don't need to buy anything but it took me about a decade to be able to see straight and I still pick up new concepts monthly.    

 

If you held on to your stock during the crash, they would have over doubled by now.

 

I was also forced out in 2009.  Thank God I didn't get laid off in 2008!  I had lost my unemployment by the time the job market opened up some.  I am an aging computer programmer.  No one wants old programmers.  At my first job, all my interviews were over the phone.  I was smart enough to have compiled 20 pages of possible Q&As which allowed me to blow away your competition.  I expected to retire at 65 but I may work until I am 70.  I am a government contractor and that is as long as this contract can last.  This will be my last job.  I don't mind working but job hunting at my age is punishment.  It usually winds up with getting turned down after a face 2 face interview.  It doesn't matter how well you do if the younger guy did OK they hire the younger guy.  I even was told that by my possible manager for one lost job.  She attended both interviews.  She told me I had the best  interview.  Only one other guy knew all the questions but did not answer as thoroughly as I did.   That get very old.  My current job, the manager had references checked before the interview instead of after they decide to hire you.  I kept the project I was on on schedule because I out produced the other 3 programmers combined.  2 of them made more money than I did.   I only wanted a 6 month job to last me until 66 but I will stay here till they pull the plug on me.  Our savings grew since we are still packing away max amounts in all possible ways. If you can delay retiring, your pocket book will thank you. I need a back and new knees and I hope I can hold off that long.  By putting off retirement, our combined nest egg is now producing more than my gross salary.  We have more money than I had ever dreamed we would have.  Our investments made triple what we averaged over the last 30 years.  By the time my wife retires, we may make more than we do now with 2 salaries. My younger wife will retire a few years later.  Now that we are set with a very livable retirement income and each year that grows. We are starting to take nice vacations. I used to penny pinch but not any more…

Regular Contributor

I retired 4 years ago at age 50.   I had worked for my agency for almost 30 years when it was decided our small, friendly office would be closed & consolidated with a larger office 45 miles away.   This involved a commute & more stressful environment.      With the support of my husband, I made the decision to make that commute & work for 2 more years when I turned 50 & then retire.   Although I make less money, we have our medical, dental & vision insurance & I still invest money into an account with my private financial consultant.   I am free to pursue hobbies & things I enjoy & I do not have the stress or worry like I did.   I had to get up at 4:30am each morning during the last few years of my career.  Fortunately, I could share a commute with a co-worker, so that helped on gas & wear & tear on my vehicle, but I was still tired all the time.     If I get the desire to work again, it will be something part time & local that I really enjoy.    

Conversationalist

My mother passed away when I had just turned 50, so it did not look like I could think about retiring.  My dad was still home and was diagnosed with dementia, but was not too bad at that time.  Fast forward 4 years and my Dad would take little walks when it was either 90 degrees or minus 20!  My neighbor found him and brought him to where I worked (I was only 2 miles from home) so I would take him back home and reassure him I would be back soon.  I then looked into what it would take for an early retirement (age 55 and I would have insurance that I would pay for) so at age 55 I retired to take care of my Dad.  Even though I may have not been "rich" by any means, I had a pension, I had accumulated savings and savings bonds that would pull me through until I officially retired at 62 for Social Security.  It wasn't always easy (most of my savings bonds went for property tax), I managed until his death, 2-1/2 years later.  Then I really buckled down as I still had 5 years to Social Security tightened the belt, fixed the things I could afford, sold some items that I could make  a few bucks on and soon I was 62!  It may have been hard, but the time I had with my Dad was well worth it.

Super Contributor

I decided to wait to retire.  I've been single, self-supporting all but 15 months of my life and that made me feel that I needed to be conservative. I lost my husband only 15 months after we were married and being only 23 and having a few friends whose parents waited to travel until they were in their 60s and the other person becoming ill, I chose to travel while I was young enough to enjoy it. 

 

I had also found myself unemployed after almost 40 years of working twice at age 57 and then again at 60 and that left me scrambling to find a job because I didn't want to have to start using my retirement nestegg for daily living and medical insurance premiums.

 

With 50+ years of employment under my belt, I was fortunate enough to build a decent retirement nestegg but I leave as little to chance as possible. With 9 people on both sides of my family living to age 84 and older, I had to do whatever I could to put myself in a position where I didn't feel like I was going to run out of money.  I wanted to work till age 70, but my company let me go 2 years earlier.  I decided to use my unemployment, my husband's survivor benefits and some of my 401K to get me to age 70. 

 

For the last 7 years, I'd been looking after my elderly mother who just recently passed on to a better life.  At age 71, I can keep up with people 20 years and younger than myself both in physical capability and mental capacity.  I plan to spend my retirement now visiting with the family I do have left, reading, writing, working on my websites, going to the senior center and a number of other things.  I have absolutely NO regrets at having waited.

Trusted Contributor

I retired a month shy of my 59th birthday. Both of my parents died in their 60s and never had the opportunity to enjoy retirement. My wife & I took SS at age 62 and moved to live in retirement in Mexico where the culture, lifestyle, weather & cost-of-living is far better than in the United States. We have now had 10 wonderful years in Mexico. Healthcare in our region of Mexico meets or exceeds healthcare in the U.S. and the Mexican government allows us FREE OF PREMIUM health plan coverage even as expatriates with permanent residency visas.

 

I planned my early retirement with my first job out of college at age 22. I practiced what my parents taught me to always pay myself first when paying my bills. I opened an IRA and participated fully in my employer's 401k Plan to receive full matching contributions. We now live basically off our SS which covers 80-90% of our monthly living expenses in Mexico. Planning with determination to retire early allowed us to achieve our retirement dream & goal.

Periodic Contributor

Please find out prior to retirment what you would like to do; volunteer with a certain organizatin prior to retirement, work part time with a company-find out about the company prior to retirement, travel-research the location  prior to travelling, etc, etc, etc. Plus, ensure more positive people are in your life. Staying inside the home after retirement results in a decline mental and physical health. Please keep moving; get involved with organizations or another form of work to stay mobile, mentally and physically healthy and sustain positive people in your life!!!!

I found out the hard way.

Trusted Contributor

When my parents died in their 60s, it motivated me even more to commit to an early retirement. Even with reduced SS benefits that we took at age 62, our monthly SS covers 80-90% of our living expenses since we retired to live in Mexico and have a safer and more enjoyable life, now for over 10 years, in Mexico than we ever experienced in the United States. We have good healthcare options here too.

Trusted Contributor

I retired at 58 in 2015, and I still consider myself in the Retirement Honeymoon phase--still figuring out and fine tuning my retirement lifestyle.  My only regret is not knowing that I would not be allowed to continue contributing to my Roth IRA.  

For whatever reasons, I simply did not do enough due diligence in understanding the difference between "active" employment-related income and "passive" employment- (pension/SS) related income.  I had planned on using my SS to continue strengthing my portfolio--which has done exceptionally well.  Income generated from my Roth IRA  helps lessen my tax hit and also serves as my emergency fund. I have now accepted that I need to figure out a way (other than going back to punching someone else's timeclock) to generate "active" income so that I can get back on track with contributing to my Roth IRA.

The ultimate irony of the active income rule?  A divorced spouse can contribute alimony funds to a Roth IRA--because of a "special" ruling...

Fey Lady
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Periodic Contributor

My wife & I left the rat race of Southern California & retired to Rosarito Beach, Mexico in November of 2014. I was 56 years old.

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Retiring early was the 2nd best thing that I ever did after marring my best friend in 1988.

Life in Mexico moves at a slower pace & the cost of living is about 80% less than living in the Los Angeles area.

We are fluent in Spanish. We are safer here in Mexico than we were in So Cal. 

We have made many like minded adventurous friends & are always doing something.

I have not wore a watch or long pants in 3 years!This is one happy lady!This is one happy lady!

 

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Periodic Contributor

My wife & I left the rat race of Southern California & retired to Rosarito Beach, Mexico in November of 2014. I was 56 years old.

Retiring early was the 2nd best thing that I ever did after marring my best friend in 1988.

Life in Mexico moves at a slower pace & the cost of living is about 80% less than living in the Los Angeles area.

We are fluent in Spanish. We are safer here in Mexico than we were in So Cal. 

We have made many like minded adventurous friends & are always doing something.

I have not wore a watch or long pants in 3 years!This is one happy lady!This is one happy lady!

 

 

 

1CB9E669-B514-4BD5-A87B-79B6027B357B.jpeg

 

Mi vida es un fiesta todos los dias!43535CF1-27A5-4A6E-8A30-6D70C374C4D8.jpeg

 

5CD1764E-12DA-4D73-9A44-63C6938AECD8.jpeg

 

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Newbie

Congratulations! What a lovely life you have! I'm going to do a quick search and find out where Rosarita Beach is. My husband and I are both retirees living in a small mountain town in SW Colorado. Even though we're surrounded by lovely mountains and we love living here-most of the time, the winters are getting a little long and snowy! We're "shopping" for a humble "snow-bird" property, perhaps in Mexico. We also have a 5th wheel travel trailer, but have been wondering if it's safe to drive it across the border into Mexico. Where do you cross the border? I am fluent in Spanish, so there should be no problem. The smaller, less touristy towns appeal to us. We are just trying to ascertain whether it would be best to drive over with out travel trailer or to rent/purchase a small home or condo. Do you own a home there? Thanks so much for your time!
Trusted Contributor

Hikermama...we retired in the Lake Chapala region of Mexico. Crossed at Laredo, TX and we're about 700 miles SW of there & just an hour south of Guadalajara. We too avoided the 'tourist' locales for retirement. Average day temp here around 73. We feel safe, but safety means different things to different people.
Trusted Contributor

To Hikermama and Nyadrn...

Thanks for the kudo--appreciate.

One thought too I failed to answer was...buy or rent? We elected to rent. We can rent here in Mexico for 25-30 years for what it would cost to buy & maintain a house. At our age, we thought renting was better in retirement. Ask yourself...if one spouse were to become disabled or die, do you want the survivor to be faced with trying to sell? If both died, we didn't want that added burden on our daughter to try to sell a house in Mexico, which might take 18-36 months unless you discount the selling price to quickly unload. It's a personal choice, but I've seen too many tragic stories when the unexpected happened & so rental works better for us & our future.
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