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#314039 - 08/20/19 09:54 PM Re: Retired ? Is it what you thought it would be? [Re: Jim D (FreeThinker)]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 17116
I haven't gotten to the garage, yet. Off to do that now.

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#314041 - 08/20/19 10:51 PM Re: Retired ? Is it what you thought it would be? [Re: NW Ponderer]
itstarted Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/27/03
Posts: 6428
Loc: Florida/Illinois
You don't have to read this... wrote it 8 years ago on another forum... was when we were still snowbirding. Didn't want it to go to waste... ROTFMOL
...........................................................

Having kept some notes on our retirement, I am thinking to share them here as an overview of the ways my bride and I managed to stay out of the working world since 1989. We live simply, with no travel, and apart from any expensive social life, though our life in retirement communities FL and IL, is very social.

#1
___
Everyone has different ideas on what retirement should be. One size does not fit all.

I have some thoughts and experiences to share, not as recommendations, but just as food for thought.

First, we've been retired for almost 23 years, so a lot of our experience will not be the same as yours.

With no pension (assets from pension plan were used for starting a small business... no net gain or loss) retirement started out as "give it a try"... if it doesn't work out, go back to work... Retirement prompted by a cancer scare.

Age 53 to age 65 was tough from the health insurance angle... Even then, before medicare kicked in @ age 65, we paid about $11,000/yr... BTW... medicare is not free... we still pay about $8,000/yr (2 persons) for medicare and supplement, and another thousand for basic Pharma.

Social Security... Important to check with SS for your expected benefits. Just a phone call or visit to SS office. Has to do with how much you put in... Husband and wife... Higher income sets base SS for couple... If the smaller payout is less than 1/2 of the larger, that spouse gets 1/2. If the second income is over 1/2 of the larger, then that amount is paid. In my case, even though my wife worked, her calculated SS would have been less than 1/2, so she gets 1/2 of my payment. (Even if she had never worked, she would still get 1/2 of my SS. It's just the way the rules are written.)
In my case, I had always maxed the pay in. We took SS at age 62 so it was a reduced amount. We began receiving checks in 1999, and currently receive (2 of us)(with cumulative COLA's) a total of nearly $23,000/yr. $15K for me, $7500 for my bride. That was the max at that time... it's higher now of course.

At the time we decided to retire, we had a detailed plan... a budget... income and outgo... and looking back 22 years, despite huge variances from our initial plan, we are almost exactly on the budget.

There are hundreds of financial planners on line where you put in your estimates of assets, and return and inflation, and come up with the amount you need to retire. In our case it doesn't work... All of the planners make the assumption that you will want to maintain your asset capital until you die... In our case, had we followed their plan, we NEVER would have retired.
We just decided to die at age 85... dead broke. Made our planning much easier. Personal decision of course, but if you plan to spend down capital assets, it makes planning easier.

Our plan is extremely simple... On the spending side, we have three different budgets that we can adjust as circumstances warrant. Best case... Nominal... and Austerity.

On the Asset/Nest Egg side, We boil our assets down into three categories.
1. Fixed assets... house, auto, and other valuable non cash items... real property, jewelry, . We do not count household goods... (experience tells us that this is not realistic)
2. Non Income producing assets... bank accounts, cash, cash value life insurance policies.
3. Income producing assets... stocks, bonds, annuity.

All of these items are kept on a spread sheet and periodically updated. It's easy to come up with a total value... and then to average the income from the total...

To calculate where we stand in our retirement plan, we add
a. Social security amount.
b. Amount of interest earned on income producing assets.
c. ... and add the Total Assets divided by the number of years between now and age 85.

That establishes how much we can spend, which we then adjust to our best/nominal/austerity budget.

Sounds funky, but it works,and it takes about 2 minutes to tell if we're on budget or not.

The second part of this budgeting thing, is that we've been blessed by not having any debt. All of this makes for very simple accounting. One more thing... we don't try to calculate for inflation. In fact, it has not been a problem over the past 20 years. This may have to change.
.................................................................
since then, added about 20 more chapters...
_________________________
Life is Good!

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#314042 - 08/20/19 10:55 PM Re: Retired ? Is it what you thought it would be? [Re: itstarted]
itstarted Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/27/03
Posts: 6428
Loc: Florida/Illinois
.... went back and read my second post, so will bore you with that too.
('cuz I'm bored, and need company.)
.............................................................
When we first retired, we thought to use a financial planner, and had him draw up a plan. His calculations had us "short" in capital to the tune of about
$200,000... which would tell us we had to work for another 10 years. We spent a month or so agonizing over this, before deciding to give it a try anyway. Best decision ever... We're ahead of his plan too.

Another time, I hope to get in to some specifics that we've discovered that have allowed us to stay ahead of the game... like starting off with very affordable housing... buying the right cars... older deluxe with low mileage ... food savings, drug price savings... taking advantage of state plans for seniors that few even know about... keeping entertainment costs very low... planning for nursing home... advantages of owning a house, insurance savings, medical and dental and optical savings... tax advantages.

All in all, I believe that retirement may be more affordable than you may think.

On "SIMPLIFY"
Our own simplification is not in throwing things out... egad... I'm a hoarder, but under control. I keep "Stuff" that I may need for repairs, for replacement... Like all kinds of paint, wood pieces, computer parts, plumbing stuff and like that.

Our simplification is in our lifestyle. First, our house(s) inside... spartan... easy to clean less to walk around. Outside, very unfancy... perennials... very limited Halloween/Christmas/Seasonal flowers, and other decor.

The more important simplifiction part of our lifestyle is in intrapersonal relationships. Having lived in some 22 different houses and locales since our marriage, we realized early on, that "staying in touch" with neighbors and friends was an impossibility, so we don't spend a lot of time with phone calls, emails and things like "get togethers" and Christmas cards. 25 years ago, we came to a mutual agreement with our kids, all boys, not to spend time in each others' lives. We have a great relationship that is always upbeat, and happy. We don't exchange cards or gifts... not because we don't care, but it's just so much simpler.

I realize that much of what we do is different, and many of our friends don't agree with our laissez faire approach, but it's like "different strokes"... and it works for us.

In the Winter months, we live in a very active manufactured home, Senior (over 55) Park (Community) of 350 homes in Florida.. There are dozens and dozens of activities going on all the time. The best part of this, is that it provides all of the entertainment we could possibly handle... and yet we can pick and choose, without having to make commitments. Out time is our own... We are free to do what we want, and when we want, and we are extremely protective of that freedom.

In the early years 1991 through 2002, we still had commitments, like bowling or shuffleboard, and I taught computer classes. We volunteered in short term projects... building fixing repairing and organizing and running major parties for the community... pot lucks, and car caravans to Daytona Beach... and other Florida beaches. Since then, we pick and choose.
Now... (except for my bride's bridge games) we come and go with the wind... Having a large, heated, community swimming pool and hot tub is great!
Entertainment is basically free... Even our parties... with endless beer, wine and incredible food... along with great local band entertainment for dancing... cost between $10 and $15/couple... (used to be $4 to $6 couple), but you know... inflation. In the winter, there is a party almost every week. "Economies of scale".


Edited by itstarted (08/20/19 10:58 PM)
_________________________
Life is Good!

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#314050 - 08/21/19 06:03 AM Re: Retired ? Is it what you thought it would be? [Re: Jim D (FreeThinker)]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 8788
Loc: North San Diego County
Sounds like fun! We've been living in a manufactured house for about 15 years now. Cheapest house in the neighborhood by about a factor of 10! Works fine for us. We don't entertain a lot. We live a ways from family & friends, so we meet at restaurants in between. We NEVER buy new cars. We usually keep them running for a decade or more. We have maxed out 401Ks and IRAs, saved about 15% of my income, and rented out houses instead of selling them when we need to move.

When I got Medicare, my last job terminated me and I was quite happy. I was just working because I figured they needed me. They probably made double my salary on my work, and it would have been even better with Medicare instead of group coverage. Oh well, their loss and my gain.

I have made a very comfortable retirement for us. I don't think we will ever need to touch the principal, so we could afford to be retired forever, in the off chance they make fantastic progress with medical care!

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#314074 - 08/22/19 05:33 AM Re: Retired ? Is it what you thought it would be? [Re: pondering_it_all]
Greger Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 15512
Loc: Florida
I've lived on this property for 40 years. The first seven years in a double wide and then I built this house. Literally, I built it. With my hands. Pretty nice place too, 2100sqft living and about another thousand in porches and garage, 2 bath 3 bedrooms. It could use a coat of paint but the roof will last as long as I do. Other than a few hospital stays I haven't spent a single night under a different roof in over 20 years.

Government takes complete care of me, even pays my Medicare. If there are any medical emergencies Medicaid jumps in and covers what Medicare doesn't. I've got no debt so all I really have to spend money on is utilities and groceries. I've taken advantage of every state and federal program available to help out a crippled old man. I got my property tax cut in half this year, from $1300 to $650. Because I'm 66, poor, and have lived in the same place for over 25 years. When I'm finally forced into a wheelchair property taxes disappear completely. Probably some other programs I haven't looked into yet.
Can't remember the last time I paid income tax, I don't even have to file anymore so I don't much think about it. There are no savings or annuities, IRAs or 401Ks to complicate my life, Just a check on the 3rd.

When you reduce your expenses to practically nothing and live frugally $7.20 an hour is plenty to get by on. I even managed to raise a kid that wasn't mine for the last ten years. It was hard when I had to buy her clothes and shoes and whatnot but once she got old enough to work I was off the hook for all that.

Did I mention I was an empty nester now? The kid just moved out a couple weeks ago, an already laughably stress free existence just got even easier. I miss her, but not all that much, y'know? I'll save money on groceries now.

Ah, the life of a hippie......

_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#314075 - 08/22/19 03:36 PM Re: Retired ? Is it what you thought it would be? [Re: Jim D (FreeThinker)]
NW Ponderer Offline
Moderator
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 17116
Yesterday I received a call letting me know my application to be a volunteer at the senior activity center had been approved. Starting tomorrow I will be assisting in the computer lab teaching seniors how to manage computer tasks, like email, writing, photos, etc. Today I intend to join the genealogy group, and next week, the writing workshop. I'll let y'all know how those go.

Also, yesterday, I did a very dangerous thing. I took my honey on a tour of retirement community open houses. We visited three, bringing our "total" to five. Oh, if only I were a decade or two older...

They all sound so warm and caring, and expensive. I'm not cheap (frugal won't even speak to me), but I don't want to waste money paying for something I already have. Like It we saved for retirement, like Greger and Jeff have stayed out of debt, and like Julia retired earlier than intended for medical reasons. "Here" sound just fine as a place to retire to, in my book. I'm listening to the sound of the new roof being applied as I write.

My wife, I think, is "thinking" older than I am. She's not even 62, yet, but is withdrawing and looking at older people (70s and 80s) as "peers." I look at contemporaries and next gen folks and think of the possibilities for their futures - and want to do something about it, to take this time to get involved and make a difference - to expand. I may not be up to skiing anymore, but I still have functioning bikes, motorcycles, tools and skills. I want to put them to work, not lament their loss. Ours is a conflict of desires I am trying to navigate very carefully...

So, my friends, I'd like some advice: How do I keep myself involved in community, and activity, when my honey is hermitizing? She is overly dependent on me for daily tasks she's capable of doing herself (like dishes and laundry), and complains of being lonely whenever I go off to the hardware store or am out doing other routine chores. This is not like her. She's always been supremely independent, as the song goes.
I'm really worried about this. I am devoted to her, obviously, but I don't think this withdrawal and obsessing about downsizing (which I consider a process, not a task) is healthy - for either of us. Any suggestions?

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#314077 - 08/22/19 06:15 PM Re: Retired ? Is it what you thought it would be? [Re: NW Ponderer]
Greger Offline

Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/24/06
Posts: 15512
Loc: Florida
Uh...I'm gonna recommend counseling, you need to get a handle on this fast. When you're getting older and your health isn't good it's easy to tip over into depression. Withdrawal and a loss of interest in daily routines are widely recognized symptoms.

If her mental health is fine then you two need to compromise and work out some goals for where you both want to be ten years from now.

I, of course, recommend the rural life. Fresh air, a dog, some chickens...absolute silence during the day and darkness at night.
But close enough to town for pizza delivery and fast internet.(**sighs**)

I'm glad I'm single with only my own welfare to look out for.
_________________________
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." Oscar Wilde

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#314078 - 08/22/19 06:50 PM Re: Retired ? Is it what you thought it would be? [Re: Greger]
Jeffery J. Haas Offline

It's the Despair Quotient!
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 14335
Loc: Whittier, California
Originally Posted By: Greger
Uh...I'm gonna recommend counseling, you need to get a handle on this fast. When you're getting older and your health isn't good it's easy to tip over into depression. Withdrawal and a loss of interest in daily routines are widely recognized symptoms.

If her mental health is fine then you two need to compromise and work out some goals for where you both want to be ten years from now.

I, of course, recommend the rural life. Fresh air, a dog, some chickens...absolute silence during the day and darkness at night.
But close enough to town for pizza delivery and fast internet.(**sighs**)

I'm glad I'm single with only my own welfare to look out for.



Agree with Greger one thousand percent.
Karen is disabled as all of you know but I am constantly watching for signs of the same thing...you know, her slipping into a hermit mode, tipping into depression, etc.

She has "gone there" for a moment from time to time but for Karen, I think Daryl's health scares as an infant boiled any prospect of that right out of her for the most part.

She had to sacrifice any chance of aggressive treatment early on in her MS in order to save his life. She took him back and forth all over the state to doctors, specialists, argued with the Medicaid people, the S-CHIP people, she basically committed her entire life to keeping that boy alive through three open heart surgeries while she was slowly losing the ability to walk.

And here he is, now almost twenty-four, still disabled, still looking at a heart transplant someday in the future but he is alive and on a relatively stable plane anyway, because she fought like a tiger to save him.

You have to somehow find something for her to latch onto...could be a cause, could be pleasant goals, could be an all consuming hobby that almost becomes an obsession (a healthy one) could be a lifestyle change, anything which lures her interests.

Do not let her slip into an age trap before her time.
And I know you will, because you love her dearly as I love mine smile
_________________________
The only people pushing the Athenian Straw Man Nonexistent Threat of Slippery Slope Windyfoggery (ASMNSSW) RE DEMOCRACY are people who have a misunderstanding/problem or hatred of democracy. (See AUTHORITARIANS)

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#314080 - 08/22/19 07:00 PM Re: Retired ? Is it what you thought it would be? [Re: NW Ponderer]
Jeffery J. Haas Offline

It's the Despair Quotient!
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 14335
Loc: Whittier, California
Originally Posted By: NW Ponderer
Like It we saved for retirement, like Greger and Jeff have stayed out of debt, and like Julia retired earlier than intended for medical reasons. "Here" sound just fine as a place to retire to, in my book. I'm listening to the sound of the new roof being applied as I write.



We DO HAVE debt, we just don't have a mountain of it.
But it is there and it makes its presence felt.
Our credit card debt is maybe a thousand or two tops.

But we have a pretty sizeable house payment of 2600 a month and a car payment of 850 a month, and we have a MONSTER health insurance bill of
750 a month for the two kids which is bound to become almost a thousand a month next year if current health insurance trends are any indicator.

There may be some relief on the way however.
Bri will have to apply for an ACA policy on her own this time around because she will be 26 years old. Based on her income, the subsidy will likely bring her monthly premium almost to zero unless she gets promoted to manager at the salon. Even then she will still be eligible for a discount and subsidy.

Daryl will most likely wind up on Medi-Cal (California's Medicaid) because pre-existing condition prohibitions will most likely be destroyed by Trump, which will make him uninsurable by ordinary means.

And based on HIS income (which is nil at the moment) his costs will go way down and off our debt.

We're not debt free, our debt to income ratio is considered to be "okay".
_________________________
The only people pushing the Athenian Straw Man Nonexistent Threat of Slippery Slope Windyfoggery (ASMNSSW) RE DEMOCRACY are people who have a misunderstanding/problem or hatred of democracy. (See AUTHORITARIANS)

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#314116 - 08/23/19 10:50 PM Re: Retired ? Is it what you thought it would be? [Re: Jeffery J. Haas]
itstarted Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/27/03
Posts: 6428
Loc: Florida/Illinois
It's good to be open. I think that's why many of us come here.

A few things:
At age 83 I am unbelievably happy. That does not mean there were no bumps, getting to age 83. Just a little perspective.

Cancer... age 53
2 months intensive care... in and out of hospital 8 times. Severe prostate near death... last year.
Afib...
... and severe BP and blood problems since resolved.
plus... genes that didn't portend well.

Dear jeanie, also bad genes. also 83, stroke at age 54, and three years ago unexplained deep depression... for six months... saved only by our lady doctor who took a chance and overprescribed a drug that brought her out of the problem. (Thankful to her for taking a chance on her profession.) jeanie came back 100%.

In between the same type of close calls that most of us go through.... Auto "total" accidents... going over a cliff in a snowmobile. Hit by lightning age 16... smile and who knows how many poisonings breaks, cuts, etc...

So... back to the money thing. While we're reasonably comfortable now, the early days were up and down, but mostly getting by by finding the good parts of life that didn't cost a lot of money. I mean, how many people live in a campground for 24 years? 1990-2014.

In the meantime, 4 kids, all college educated, moving 22 times, Not always easy. Lost one at age 39, and another is handicapped and living on state aid.

Absolutely no complaints. We are blessed and thankful. We are also very, very happy. The morning 2 minute hug is a tradition, and begins every day with a smile... even when it gets a little rocky.

BTW... first time in more than a year... took my Mongoose out of mothballs, and went for a 5 mile ride. Am on an exercise high...
smile smile smile
_________________________
Life is Good!

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