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Social Butterfly

Re: Retiring early - share your experience! Please!

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Message 11 of 135

Hi pattyecalling - I had a great job and was planning on retiring at age 56 with 31 years of service. The company was going through a series of downsizings annually so those nearing their 30 year anniversary were nervous every year. Sure enough, 7 months short of my 30 year anniversary I was notified. Luckily, I'd been saving up for my retirement and had 3 IRAs, a money market with enough savings to live on for 7 months + a retirement savings plan and a pension (although because I didn't make 30 years I'd only get 87% of it each month when I reached age 62). The company had a good separation plan, too, so I wasn't too worried. Since this company had been the largest employer in the city, there were not too many jobs to be had, so I made the decision to use the separation funds to live off of for a year while I went through everything in my house and checked the real estate market to see if it was a good time to sell and move. I also took some courses, since the company had a tuition package as part of their separation plan.

 

I sold the house and moved 4 states away into an apartment figuring I still had my 7 months of living income in my money market fund, so could settle in, find a job, look for a house - and then the first recession hit, plus I found out the financial planner I'd had on one of my IRAs had been committing fraud and was going to prison. Between those 2 things I lost 1/3 of my savings and couldn't find a job. I ended up having to use some of the cash I'd put aside from the sale of my house to use to buy a new house to live on. It took a year of looking at house before I decided to get what I wanted I'd have to build. I found a builder to work with me as long as I promised 30% down. Since it cost less to buy a lot and build by moving west a few counties I moved again, found the lot and just when I was closing on the house the 2nd recession hit. I lost another 1/3 of my retirement savings + because I'd started taking money out of my 401k before age 59.5 I was accessed a 10% tax penalty. Talk about being scared!

 

Luckily I found a job and could stop taking money out of my 401k for most of the next year. Still I had to pay a 10% penalty on what money I did take out of my retirement savings that year, too. In the meantime I'd started crafting and selling some vintage items I had to make some money. That year I turned 59.5, so I'd no longer be penalized for drawing my retirement money.

 

I've always had a quizzical mind and been an avid reader, so had no problem starting up conversations with people. I made new friends no matter where I moved to and became involved with AARP volunteers in several capacities, as well as opening a booth at a crafters' mall. I also designed and worked on all the garden beds I wanted to surround my new home. After 10 years, its almost done. I have no problem keeping busy without any family, kids, grandkids, etc. Oh, yes, then there's the trilogy I'm writing in my 'spare' time.

 

What did you like to do as a child? There are so many activities to choose from. You can start as a volunteer doing something to see if you like it, then go from there. Or, look online or at bulletin boards for courses you're interested in. Try making pottery, knitting, crocheting, quilting, floral arranging, painting, coloring books, scrapbooking, taking day trips, arrange a neighborhood get-together, catch-up with reading some books you always wanted to read. Before you know it, you'll wonder how you ever had time to work with everything you have going on in your life now. Above all - HAVE  FUN !!!

Cee
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Info Seeker

Re: Retiring early - share your experience! Please!

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Message 12 of 135

I understand your anger.  In recent years, it has become fairly common for older workers to be either effectively forced into early retirment, or let go, ostensibly as part of a "re-organization".  There seem to be a lot of upper management people who view older employees as either or both more costly to keep (higher salaries generally) and less efficient/effective.  I hope that you will be able to get past your anger.  

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Re: Retiring early - share your experience! Please!

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Message 13 of 135

I had a job that I loved and did well in 2013. I planned to stay there for several more years. Then I was let go without explanation. I was 53. I wanted to work but just couldn't take any more applications and rejections. I don't care about making lots of money. All I wanted was stable employment and to be treated fairly. I am not sure such a thing exists, so I am opting to not look for work anymore. 

 

Although I am still very angry about how I was let go from my previous job, being semi-retired has been great. I work part-time and temp jobs when I feel like it. Being frugal comes naturally to me, so finances have not been a problem. It also helps that I have some rental income. The duplex that my husband and I own brings in about $1000 a month net gain and is very little work.

 

I mostly spend my time on my hobby, which is saving the world. In specific, transitioning to a sustainable economy. There is so much to do, I will never get bored!

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Re: Retiring early - share your experience! Please!

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Message 14 of 135

We both retired at 63 after multiple careers; myself from the Air Force, then the transportation industry, and my wife from an accounting-related business. We lived below our means and and began saving shortly after marriage, starting with CD's, then moving funds into IRAs when that program became available. We always increased our savings rate upon any wage/salary increase as well as pumping funds into employer-sponsored 401k plans and Roths. As a result, we never took on long-term debt, except for real estate which was paid off early, and almost always paid cash for most other major purchases. Self-discipline and keeping wants to a minimum were major factors enabling this.

 

We still managed to own and sell multiple primary residences over the years as we relocated numerous times while I was in service. I began early draw of SSA at 63, and my wife started Spousal benefits at 66, delaying her full draw until 70. With these income sources, including my service pension, our annual gross is virtually unchanged from before retiring.

 

With our due diligence, despite the devastating market corrections, we both clocked out of the job market, holding in excess of our "magic number", living better than before, and now are full-time RV snowbirds with no anchors holding us down, and no financial burdons or worries.  We enjoy seeing friends and family and the country, and we both feel healthier than ever and look forward to many more years of retirement.

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Social Butterfly

Re: Retiring early - share your experience! Please!

1,530 Views
Message 15 of 135

You need to be conservative with your fanancial expectations too many retired persons I know are struggling with finances.  Their financial projections were pretty far off.  It is likely if they had invested their mony more wisely they would have been fine.  All of them were mostly invested in bonds.  Bonds have done poorly over the last decade and will likley do much worse in the next 5 years. 

 

Things are tight for them and after being out of the market for a few years locks them out of any job that pays what they are used to getting paid.  It is hard enough finding a job as a senior fresh out of work.  These persons are way more resirable than 'lazy persons' who retired because they 'couldn't hack work' and now don't like the result of retirement.  Unless you have a special skill that is valuable and in demand, you will be lucky to find a MW job.  

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Social Butterfly

Re: Retiring early - share your experience! Please!

1,623 Views
Message 16 of 135

I agree retireing early is a blessing.  I am retiring late but my younger wife wants to retire with me so I retire late and she early.  These last few years have been unbelievable for my nest egg.  Now I am mostly working for greed or my children.  I am reluctant to retire since this is a sweetheart of a position and  I will have 0% probabliity to re-enter the work force unless I am a Walmart greeter.

 

I plan to be a beach bum after 70 I don't care to keep busy.  If I am, I will be busy making and drinking tropical drinks.  

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Re: Retiring early - share your experience! Please!

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Message 17 of 135

Being able to retire early is a blessing and awarding for my 36 years of service. I retired at age 60 after a consult with my financial advisor and my wife. We mutually decided to relocate to my college venue and I was offered a teaching position which I accepted. In addtion, I had a consulting service and had a commitment from a client to utilize my services. The combintaion of the above made retiring a viable option and I have never regretted the decision. Again, it is critical to be financially secure and have at least part time work to occupy the mind and keep from getting bored. Good luck!


@Merrill58wrote:

It's all about a work/life balance! After 52 I said NO MORE to the 40 hour work week! I got tired of coming home completely exhausted on a Friday evening! I had basically no energy at the end of the week. I started doing a side hussel of dog boarding and dog walking and started working through a pharmacy tech agency! I work minimal and can work as much or as little as I want! I am able to plan things way in advance now and am able to handle my client's needs as well! Couldn't be happier! Life is GOOD!!!


 

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Conversationalist

Re: Retiring early - share your experience! Please!

1,712 Views
Message 18 of 135

It's all about a work/life balance! After 52 I said NO MORE to the 40 hour work week! I got tired of coming home completely exhausted on a Friday evening! I had basically no energy at the end of the week. I started doing a side hussel of dog boarding and dog walking and started working through a pharmacy tech agency! I work minimal and can work as much or as little as I want! I am able to plan things way in advance now and am able to handle my client's needs as well! Couldn't be happier! Life is GOOD!!!

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Re: Retiring early - share your experience! Please!

1,646 Views
Message 19 of 135

What do you call early? I retired at 60, now I am 66. If you are financially able, and lead a simple life do it. People say you're too young to retire, I tell them I'm not going to wait til I'm old because you don't know what the future holds. In addition, make sure you have things to keep yourself busy. I go swimming and do aquasize 2x per week, I bowl 2x per week, play cards once a week, and walk 3-6 miles 3x per week. In between, I relax.

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Silver Conversationalist

Re: Retiring early - share your experience! Please!

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Message 20 of 135

The question is really pretty simple. At what financial level are you willing to live? If your needs are great, don’t retire. If you can live simply, retire. But always remember living long is not promised to anyone. 

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