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      10-29-2019, 02:11 PM   #1
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Those that retired or partially retired early: How did you decide?

I'm 45, married, and two kids (11 and 15), and where I live the cost of living is low. I've got a pretty good job, my wife is pretty much a stay at home wife/mom and brings in around $10K/yr (this will likely not change), my kids college accounts are well funded, we don't carry debt, our house is paid off, and my wife and I have a brokerage account, numerous retirement accounts, and about 18 months take home salary for the rainy day fund. I have a good amount of life insurance in case I get by a bus. For someone our age in the Midwest, I think our net worth is probably considered high.

I'm a bit burned out with my job, but it's a good job and I really can't find something better that would pay more or offer the flexibility of my current job. I have the option to go part-time which would be 30 hours a week with 75% of my benefits. My goal has been to fully retire by 55, if not sooner. I've always had it in head that I needed $2M in net worth before considering retirement or partial retirement. Not sure why $2M is the number in my head. LOL I haven't considered social security into my retirement other than it would just be gravy once I'm eligible to receive it (assuming it's even there). I will also inherit my mother's estate once she passes which could be significant, but again, I'm not factoring that in because you just never know what may happen. She could die tomorrow or live another 20 years and use up all her savings.

My wife and I are pretty good at investing (learned most of it in the past 6 years), are good savers, and we don't live beyond our means. It has paid off for sure. However, it's a bit daunting for me to take the retirement plunge knowing that I'd be tapping into the nest egg plus I know we are due for a market shift in the next 24 months which I think could be knock out to 20% out of net worth in the short term.

For those that retired or partially retired early, how did you decide? Are you happy with the choice? Was it a mistake? I know there are professionals that deal in this sort of thing, but my experience with them if they often are trying to sell me something plus I'm a DIY kind of a person. Any input would be appreciated plus any simple to use programs or websites that may be helpful.
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      10-29-2019, 02:56 PM   #2
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I also love this topic. I turn the big 50 next year and it has started creeping into my head as well. Every time I see someone die in their 60's I panic. I have zero fear of dying, but I have a LOT of fear of being cheated out of the retirement that I have sacrificed for my entire adult life.

I have no kids, so that helps me a ton, and I like you have always had the 2 mil mark in my ear. BUT I would love to know it from those that have done it - what they would have done differently.

I am not debt free - but I am close. I am 80% done with my house and other than that I am debt free. I have some land and a house left to me that I own jointly with my sister, but we would never sell it unless we just got crushed. She too is in good shape. It has a house on it, I have even thought about moving there when it is time.

Best thing about me - I can live cheap. Very cheap. Years of stuffing 1/2 of what you make away gets you into that mode. I also don't think I ever want to be 100% not working. I could see me flipping houses or renting a few doors to keep me active and a little cash coming in. We cash rent the farm, so I get a little play money from that twice a year as well....which I of course invest. LOL

I of course don't want to run out of money, but anymore the thought of losing out on my retirement time scares me worse. I ignore SS as well, but if it does happen to still be there it will be a plus and likely pay my month nut by itself.

I agree I will have to survive another stock market correction, but that comes with the beast.

Love to see who has done it and what they would do if they had it to do again.
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      10-29-2019, 02:59 PM   #3
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I'll retire on the day I die
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      10-29-2019, 03:07 PM   #4
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i'm not close to retirement, but i'm setting my wife and i to be done "having to" work at 50. thats 18 more years for us.
i'll probably still do something for spending money when i retire, but that will 100% be by choice. however, retirement isn't an age- its a number. think of what you'll be happy with and work it forwards and backwards with conservative calculators and see if your vision is possible or what you may need to adjust.
a recent book i completed on the subject is "retire inspired" by chris hogan. check it out if you're into that sort of thing.
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      10-29-2019, 03:10 PM   #5
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Like the OP, was just shy of 50 and really burned out in my investment banking job. The house is paid for, no debt etc.

Walked away and now consider my self semi-retired as I teach finance at a local university. Being non-tenured track I don't have the "publish or perish" pressure so summers are free, long breaks for spring break, holidays etc. Would have likely totally retired but I have two kids and one is a type 1 diabetic. The cost of an Obama care insurance policy would have been prohibitive so I took the teaching job. By the standards of my investment banking life I very much consider this a part time job though it is a "full-time" teaching position.

My dad worked hard and was very successful but I watched him work until the day he died. Not because he had too but because he enjoyed it, so much so that he really had no outside hobbies. I was not going to do that given my financial situation allowing me to not have to.
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      10-29-2019, 03:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by upstatedoc View Post
I'll retire on the day I die
I wish it were that easy for me, but I have plenty of things that could occupy my time without work.
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      10-29-2019, 05:04 PM   #7
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I am 51, and left my "day job" in April. I have been in construction all my life, a carpenter by trade and the last 15 years as a superintendent for a major home builder. My wife and I opened a restaurant about 5 years ago, and that has gone well enough for me to step away from the daily fray. Her world has always been restaurant management, and I am lucky enough to have her 100% want to run the show. As she likes to tease, I am a kept man. I am always available to help, and I have a very light job description that allows plenty of free time. Tuesday is my heaviest day by far, and I was pretty much done in about 6 hours. Unless something breaks, I really have no commitments at the restaurant more than 1 or 2 days a week to help when our manager is off. Even though I own 50% of a business that employs 38 people and am ultimately (along with my wife) responsible for paying their checks every 2 weeks, I consider myself semi-retired. I don't miss working daily in the least, and would not change a thing if I could. The one thing I will say that is a detractor is sometimes when I am ready to go do something fun, the boss has work to do and can't go play with me. Doesn't mean I still don't go play! I told somebody the other day that since April 5th, my life has pretty much been like Christmas every day. If you can swing it, do it!
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      10-29-2019, 05:31 PM   #8
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42 months before I can retire in 2023. My kids will be 16 and 21. They can be on my medical till 26. My oldest is 28 now so heís on his own.
My exwife has agreed to put the younger two on her medical if I split the cost (right now the kids are on mine) so I can retire on time (need age 48 and 25 years). I will be 48.5 when I get to 25 years. Full pension.
Iím set up to be able to live off my pension.

But if I work another 5 years, I could have 350k+ in an annuity fund. Or work another 8 years (the max) and have even more and retire at 56.5. Iíd lose that money if I work more than 8 years.

Decisions, decisions. Not sure if I want to work another 5 or 8 after Iím eligible to retire. This is a young personís job.

I already have two grandkids and one on the way. Iíd like to be able to visit them more than three times a year (my son is stationed at Fort Bragg, NC).
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      10-29-2019, 06:10 PM   #9
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I’m 45 and retired at 43. I was part owner is a company that we sold in 2016. My wife is an exec at a Fortune 500 co and therefore has the healthcare and such for us. I decided to retire so to give back. I volunteer at a Christian nonprofit and work on managing and developing passive income streams. It sometimes difficult as I miss running my own company but it’s worth it to give back.
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      10-29-2019, 07:06 PM   #10
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I'll retire on the day I die
Feet first, as it were.
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      10-29-2019, 07:35 PM   #11
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I was just texting with my ex-boss today. He retired a couple of years ago. One thing we share in common is we're both married to younger women. My wife is 10 years younger and enjoys her job, so she'll work probably another 10 years at least. I'm hoping to retire in 5 years or so. I mentioned to my ex-boss today that I've been wondering what I'll do when I retire and my wife is still working. We're in very good financial shape and have no kids, so I *could* do some traveling on my own. But running off and leaving her with all the household duties won't be an easy sell (and frankly, I wouldn't blame her). He replied that retiring well before your wife is not as good as he thought it would be. I suspect he's not filling his days well. I'm worried I'll fall into the same trap. Not a lot of options out here in the boonies.

Then, of course, there's that constant worry about the markets. I won't come anywhere near maxing out my pension because I got into the system way late, so I'm counting on my supplemental retirement plan (403B) to cover the rest. Always a question of when to make the move to low risk/low yield for security.

I'm a good bit older than the OP, but if I were considering retirement at age 55 I'd want a pretty good idea of what I'd do to fill up what could be another 40 years or more (although since he has kids, that would change things a bit). I hope to travel a lot, but who knows how much that will be possible.

As I've always done, I guess I'll just wait and see where I'm at when the time comes. Knowing what other folks do in this situation is helpful and food for thought, but it hardly ever relates to my circumstances. Still, a worthy discussion.
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      10-29-2019, 08:30 PM   #12
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OP, you will need a firm post-retirement financial plan, including healthcare costs and how you will invest and draw from your nest egg before thinking seriously of retiring. Going into it with a chunk of money and no plan would be a mistake. In fact, I’d say it’s more important to have a financial plan in retirement than leading up to it. Earnings can mitigate financial mistakes early in life but once you retire and can’t count on earnings, planning needs to be pretty solid, particularly if you retire early. It would suck to realize partly into it that you need to figure out how go back to work for more earnings.

And as others stated, you need to think about how you’ll spend your time.
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      10-29-2019, 08:59 PM   #13
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I'm barely in a committed relationship, but my mom retired when she was 45. Well, tried to. Her plan was to live a quieter, slower life after spending a great chunk of her life as an anesthesiologist, took her maybe 6-7 months to give up on the "retired" life.

My dad is still working at 51, running his company and all. Last I heard from them was they were thinking of moving to Portugal after they send my brother off to college (2ish years) but knowing both I'm sure neither would be able to give up on the high-stress, high-strung life...

Then you have me. My plan is to work for someone until I have enough capital to start my own business, and see where that takes me. Ideally by 45ish I'd just look into passive income methods but that's 2 decades away so we'll see... Plus, most of the stuff I see myself doing instead of working kinda does require me to be physically young.
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      10-30-2019, 09:12 AM   #14
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When I was young I thought I would retire early, but kids, college and other life choices were prioritized ahead of retirement savings. Then, as my career progressed, I thought I would work until I die, literally die in my chair. In my late 50s I began to think about retiring when I’m about 70. Now, I am thinking of retiring from my current job (9.5 years tenure, C-level) within 2 years.

Two things matter to me in thinking this through. One is time, and the other is money. Money is the easiest one - it is just math. If I need $90k/year pre-tax income (including a reasonable assumption about medical costs and inflation) and believe I can reliably generate 3% returns on invested funds, I need $3 million saved. That is in addition to non-investment assets like cars, house, and other stuff. So a higher net worth. If I have a house payment built into that number, and can either pay off the house or downsize and eliminate the mortgage, I can lower the requirement. Many possible scenarios, just math.

Now to be more precise, and aggressive, I can think about my portfolio as an annuity. Suppose I plan for 40 more years on the planet (wife and/or me), and want $90k/year to spend. At that same 3% return, but using some of the principal each year, I can get by with a lower initial invested amount, maybe $2.1 million. Change the assumptions, change the target.

So money can be figured out (add in Social Security when optimal, etc). Once the target is attained, retirement is possible.

Time is harder for me. I am not ready to sit in a rocker all day, so my options are (1) another full-time, full stress job but with different challenges, etc, (2) stay where I am (which is good for me but hinders those who would like to progress if I was to leave), (3) volunteer or other community work, or (4) something different like part-time work, interim/consulting work, corporate board service, etc. I’m thinking of things that will keep me engaged and use my core skills, but maybe at a lower level of intensity. And of course if it pays, that can make the money equation easier to solve or provide more cushion.
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      10-30-2019, 09:39 AM   #15
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Guess I need to live in someone basement rent free to be able to retire, ever.
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      10-30-2019, 09:56 AM   #16
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Someone define "retire" for me. It's a term that can interpreted differently depending who you ask.
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      10-30-2019, 10:11 AM   #17
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Something I don't see mentioned and is a huge expense later in life is both medical care both for yourself and possibly parents. This can be a very, very large expenditure that quickly eclipses your current retirement budget.

We've done 2 parents, 1 relative and 1 friend and it's pretty scary how expensive it is for health care later in life. Medicare and Medicaid (US) can provide some relief, but you need to have planned out your income/savings many years prior to needing help (5 years for Medicaid). This is assuming they're still both subsidizing at the same levels as now.

Assisted living & Nursing care can easily run upwards of $5-10K per month (unsubsidized) with numerous add-ons as the care increases. Additionally, there's your time (which can be substantial) to either care or monitor either a spouse or parent.

We've allocated all of the proceeds from our home/property (in a trust) to be used for our later health care (~$500K) and I'm not sure that will be enough. That/this time of life is where it's good to have had children
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      10-30-2019, 10:14 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by 1MOREMOD View Post
Guess I need to live in someone basement rent free to be able to retire, ever.
I've only had 1 job my entire life since a teen, my customers are friends literally some to my home for a cookout, my suppliers send me xxx rated funny pics (think donkey show Tijuana) my son comes with me on some projects out of town on long weekends (bbq ribs and some face time with the owner with my boy is hard to beat

If I stop working I'm sure my body will quit on me, Up @ 5am no matter, ice cold shower to wake up and start my day, RETIRE? my dad did it @ 50, he got sick and gained weight, started work again couple years later, know he has a feeling of purpose and feels great, takes my mom on dates every week full of energy, he's 63 now

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      10-30-2019, 10:20 AM   #19
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My retirement plan is simple, easily mapped out.

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      10-30-2019, 10:34 AM   #20
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Something I don't see mentioned and is a huge expense later in life is both medical care both for yourself and possibly parents. This can be a very, very large expenditure that quickly eclipses your current retirement budget.

We've done 2 parents, 1 relative and 1 friend and it's pretty scary how expensive it is for health care later in life. Medicare and Medicaid (US) can provide some relief, but you need to have planned out your income/savings many years prior to needing help (5 years for Medicaid). This is assuming they're still both subsidizing at the same levels as now.

Assisted living & Nursing care can easily run upwards of $5-10K per month (unsubsidized) with numerous add-ons as the care increases. Additionally, there's your time (which can be substantial) to either care or monitor either a spouse or parent.

We've allocated all of the proceeds from our home/property (in a trust) to be used for our later health care (~$500K) and I'm not sure that will be enough. That/this time of life is where it's good to have had children
Not to mention that Medicaid is difficult to qualify for benefits. Anyone counting on Medicaid in retirement should probably not be thinking of retirement unless physically unable to work. There are Medicare supplements but they can be complicated and expensive. Healthcare costs and long-term care costs in retirement are serious issues to plan for.

We looked into long-term care insurance and found 2 kinds. One you pay a lump sum between $50K and $100K upfront (or finance over 10 years) and the other has lower monthly premiums (that are not locked in and could increase) that you pay until you trigger benefits or die. In both cases, you receive fixed amounts of benefits for a fixed period of time (subject to some features like inflation adjustment and one spouse using both benefits if the other doesn't use their benefit in some plans). In both cases you are subject to long-term financial health of the insurer (like life insurance), running out of benefits and potential need to battle over claims when you need to tap into benefits (like health insurance).

We ruled out the monthly premium approach since it was susceptible to increases and payments could last until death if long-term care was not needed. They claimed they do not anticipate needing to raise rates, but there is nothing contractually locking in the price. I feared paying premiums for 20 years and then seeing rates jacked up when we no longer have income from working and close to needing benefits. Clearly the premiums are counting on some people cancelling before claims are paid (like term life insurance) but not interested in going on that ride. We thought about the lump sum approach. However when you do the math, you are not really better off vs. self funding unless you need benefits earlier than expected. If you don't use the insurance a beneficiary who is still alive will get the premium refund, but no interest / earnings. There are no easy answers except accumulating as much money as you can and not worrying about leaving some behind when you die.
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      10-30-2019, 10:36 AM   #21
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I just turned 50, and have about $5M on investment plus another $5M tied up in a company that I cannot easily liquidate, but hopefully it grows over the coming years rather than tanks. I have a massive home loan on the house I'm building, but I'm ok with paying 3.375% on that while earning 11% having that money invested. Pretty much all my investment is in that fund returning 11% or 2 classic cars that *cough* are not good investments, but I don't care. I have no other retirement nor 401K accounts or anything like it. No pensions, and being a foreigner no social security either.

I've actually just looked at retirement. According to my spreadsheet, if I draw $140K after tax (with a 4% increase every year) out of my investment, it will still compound at a greater rate than my drawings so I'd never run out - its a real possibility. I just don't know what I'd do other than drive my cars and drink myself to death.
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      10-30-2019, 11:05 AM   #22
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Someone define "retire" for me. It's a term that can interpreted differently depending who you ask.
It's whatever you want it to mean. I have seen a lot of arguments that if you still have an income from something you do, then you are not retired. This comes up a lot in the Mr. Money Mustache community. He says he retired at 38 but he still runs a blog that makes him $400k a year. Is that retired? Who cares, it sure beats working 100 hours a week.

I retired from the military in 2008. Had a great run of 20 years flying fighter jets. What a blast. I got a job as a military contractor selling stuff to the military. Been doing that for 12 years and I am ready to retire from that @ 55. What's next? Not sure yet. The numbers say I'm FI (financially independent), so that's a good thing. But I want to help others and really want to save dogs. So I am searching for the next phase. I will never stop doing something. But I will have retired twice.
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