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Old 03-08-2015, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,124 posts, read 23,000,049 times
Reputation: 35318

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdflk View Post
(Sorry it's long but....)
You asked about others' situations as well...being in that middle ground of not "SET big time" for retirement but not impoverished either. I'm sort of there as well. I'm 55 this year and will (have to) work until at least 62.

I'm in the age group that has a plan...and I'm just waiting for years to pass to I can get to retirement already! Of course, life can throw us curve balls we could never imagine, bad ones....but barring that, at least I have a plan.

A financial planner has told me I'll be fine even if I retire then. But my full retirement age for Soc. Sec. is 67. So IF I start Soc Sec, at 62 I'll take an even bigger hit on the reduction. BUT, Lord willing, when the time comes, I'll have:
-- a pension (reduced more the younger I take it)
-- 401K (which has now more in it than my mom EVER had, and she made out great with just a pension and Soc Sec.,))
-- a little money in a Roth IRA
-- and Soc. Sec. -- which, again and like the pension -- will vary depending on when I start taking it.
-- I'll be moving to the paid off family home (which I already own, through inheritance) Taxes: 15 -HUNDRED a YEAR!
-- And I'll sell the house I'm living in now and have money from that
-- And I'm due soon for about a 10K inheritance (which I'll use to pad savings, and pay utilities on the family home until I retire)
-- I DO HAVE about 10K in very low interest credit card debt.

Thanks to others here I've learned about the advantages of waiting until 70 to take SS so I MIGHT do that. We'll see. I just talked with a co worker last night, who started getting his at his FRA of 66. I asked if he thought about holding off -- since he's still making more than enough to live on withOUT his SS, and he said, "NO, absolutely not. You never know how long you'll live so even though the SS is being taxed and event hough SS is holding back because he's over an earnings limit. He wants what he can get NOW." So I am torn between the two schools of thought on that.

Until just this past year retirement to me meant NOT WORKING - PERIOD. But I've learned here about the concept of 'semi-retirement (working seasonally or part-time year round). And I could handle that too. But full time work I want to quit as soon as I feel I can still live the life I want to lead in retirement.

As for lifestyle, I admit I'm spoiled, single, no kids, eat out ALL the time, time is my own, except for work.

My strategy now is save and invest what I can -- but NOT kill myself with OT, since I don't think it would SPEED UP my retirement, just allow me to have more money IN retirement. So it's not worth spending more time at work, when I don't want to even be there in the first place.

Without being toooo crazy, I'm putting off all BIG travel trips -- like anything over 2K. I want to put that into the retirement saving/investing pool. But I'll still take vacations to visit friends, do family reunions, stuff like that. But an Australia or South Africa tour, or Scandinavian tour...off the table until retirement. Limited holiday spending, no more tchotchkes for the house, no more new clothes. Only home maintenance as needed. I'm obsessed with retirement.

My decision then will be:
-- 62....and take reductions on pension and SS (work part time) I THINK not working would be too tight financially for me. NOT TO MENTION I wouldn't qualify for MEDICARE yet. So I'd likely be working to cover health insurance.....or NOT take Soc Sec. and start tapping retirement accounts, so Soc Sec can still grow.

-- 65 -- same as above -- but at least I can get Medicare (IF they don't push back the age for THAT TOO! (My pension won't grow after 65)
-- If I work until 66 I might as well wait until 67...for full Soc. Sec.
At this point I'm thinking it's either 62 or 65 for me. I do NOT see working past 65....now whether I work part time or at all, that will depend....and whether I hold off until 70 for Soc. Sec. also.

I'll actually be BETTER in retirement than I am now. I just need years to pass to MAKE IT to retirement...and know what the numbers will really be.....
Great post.

OP, I saw you put out a call for more people to share their stories here. I was forced into early retirement due to disability, but I'll just share one thing that has improved my life, and I know you don't want to do it. But, for others, it may be an option. I filed bankruptcy last year. And what this has done to improve my life, is that after a year, I now have credit again. Having credit again, means I have a back-up now for emergencies, which I did not have before, and this has given me enormous peace of mind.

I had to use my credit cards to live on until I got my SSI disability, which is why the debt was there. I was not awarded all of the back pay I was expecting, and which would have been enough to pay off the debt. That was my plan. I spoke to a bankruptcy attorney who advised me to just let the debts get charged off - as they would fall off my credit faster than a bankruptcy.

I didn't touch credit for 6 years, and then some junk debt buyers bought my debt and got judgments. SSI is judgment proof, but this meant my credit would be horrible forever. Judgments last 10 years and then they can be renewed for another 10. My only way out was bankruptcy.

So, now I have several thousand dollars in credit card limits that sit there in case of an emergency. And for someone on SSI, this is very important - because we can't have assets over $2,000. So, if I save over $2,000 in the bank, I can lose my benefits. Now, if there is a tsunami here, which I don't have insurance for (way too expensive), I can get out the credit card and check into a hotel. Or if my dog needs surgery, or if my car dies, etc., etc., etc.

So, I know my story isn't perhaps exactly what you were after in this thread, but maybe it will be helpful for someone else who is facing what I faced. FWIW.
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Old 03-08-2015, 01:18 PM
 
Location: SW Florida
9,764 posts, read 7,047,160 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
Thank you! Yes, that's exactly it. I thought I made that pretty clear in my OP, which says:


Due to earlier life choices/circumstances, I have no savings and quite a bit of debt. I am fortunate in that I am in a defined pension plan, and I actually could retire now because I have the age and years, but the pension is on the cusp of being a monthly shortfall or just barely making it.

In order to retire more securely, my plan is to retire from my job of 36 years, find another job, and work hard to knock down the debt faster than it would be possible to do staying at my job for another ten years.


The whole point is to try to collect the pension AND work so that I can retire for real in, say, five years instead of ten. I have done the math.

Please understand that the premise of this thread is not just about me but about for people like me who are close to retirement age but looking for strategies that will move them closer to retirement.

As noted, this thread was born from the other thread where someone asked where the people are who don't have enough money to retire, as the forum seems filled with people who've got a million or two in the bank and did everything right in their younger years so that they are either securely retired now or can securely retire on the schedule they planned.

This thread is for the rest of us who DON'T fit that scenario to share our stories and our plans and maybe give one another ideas. And some of you have been giving me good ideas. Thank you.
My goodness, not everyone over at that *other* thread fits that definition- I don't, for sure! We have nowhere near that amount in the bank, our retirement is comfortable mostly because of defined pensions ( like you have, although I imagine mine is much less), social security from working for many many years ( like you have), and taking steps ( like you want to) to get rid of our debt. And living relatively frugally as we always have.

And it sounds like you're aiming to head in that same direction. I suspect there are any number of folks in that same boat, although most of them don't have the defined pension you're looking forward to. But you'll make it, because you're looking realistically at what might keep you from the retirement you want, and taking the steps you need to get there.
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Old 03-08-2015, 01:19 PM
 
11,938 posts, read 20,403,689 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
No, bankruptcy is not for me. First of all, I CAN pay my debt. I pay everything on time and more than the minimum. I just want to pay it off faster. Secondly, bankruptcy would go against my personal values. I went into this debt with eyes wide open and have no regrets. The bulk of it is loans that helped my only child get through college. Yes, she pays her own loans (someone inexplicably always asks why she isn't paying the loans I took out to help her), but there is a limit on the amount a student can borrow, and having not had an opportunity to save money during her childhood, I took out the loans during her college years to get her through. I didn't go to college. It was very important to me that my only child get a good education. She graduated with two degrees and lives and works overseas, but she is just starting out and so supporting herself and paying off her own school loans is about all she can do at the moment.

Other debt is credit card/personal loan stuff that mostly had to do with my condo. New HVAC, windows, blah blah blah. Something always goes.
Good for you for doing the right thing! In your current job, do you come into contact with outsiders? You can network with them to find your next avenue.

That's sort of how we ended up owning a janitorial company. I became friendly with a guy who owned his own company, became good friends, and he showed my husband the ropes after my husband lost his job.
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Old 03-08-2015, 01:28 PM
 
Location: SW Florida
9,764 posts, read 7,047,160 times
Reputation: 14300
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallysmom View Post
Good for you for doing the right thing! In your current job, do you come into contact with outsiders? You can network with them to find your next avenue.

That's sort of how we ended up owning a janitorial company. I became friendly with a guy who owned his own company, became good friends, and he showed my husband the ropes after my husband lost his job.
That's serendipity, I think, and you just never know. Serendiptity is also how I think I came up on the contract work I've done with the medical continuing education company for the last 15 years. I used this company for my own CEUs for a number of years. One day ( in 1999) as I perused a new catalog I'd gotten from them I thought about what a good company they were, but their new offerings were sparse and I thought they could maybe use some help in finding new material to use for CEUs. So I emailed them asking if they could use that help and offering my own services. About two hours later I got an enthusiastic reply from the owner, with a "probationary" offer, a request for a current resume, and that began our relationship. My duties with this company have expanded over the years, and since I retired from my full time job nearly 4 years ago, I have more time to work at this job.

You never know.
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Old 03-08-2015, 01:42 PM
 
2,429 posts, read 3,227,010 times
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NoMoreSnow, I find your posts helpful...and INSPIRING!
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Old 03-08-2015, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,124 posts, read 23,000,049 times
Reputation: 35318
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdflk View Post
NoMoreSnow, I find your posts helpful...and INSPIRING!
I can't rep you again, but thanks. Not everyone agrees with you, but I know there are lurkers with stories like mine. I'm Irish enough to speak up and face the critics.
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Old 03-08-2015, 01:46 PM
 
11,938 posts, read 20,403,689 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travelassie View Post
That's serendipity, I think, and you just never know. Serendiptity is also how I think I came up on the contract work I've done with the medical continuing education company for the last 15 years. I used this company for my own CEUs for a number of years. One day ( in 1999) as I perused a new catalog I'd gotten from them I thought about what a good company they were, but their new offerings were sparse and I thought they could maybe use some help in finding new material to use for CEUs. So I emailed them asking if they could use that help and offering my own services. About two hours later I got an enthusiastic reply from the owner, with a "probationary" offer, a request for a current resume, and that began our relationship. My duties with this company have expanded over the years, and since I retired from my full time job nearly 4 years ago, I have more time to work at this job.

You never know.
Not really serendipity -- you saw a need and had the wherewithal to follow up. You could have just as easily said -- they need to do such and such and dropped the catalog and walked away.

I overstated the simplicity of what our journey was to owning our own business, but contacts are important.

As are circumstances. And serendipity...my husband's layoff was at the same time our friend found himself in dire straits from an employee having to leave due to a family emergency. That qualifies as serendipity.

My husband worked for our friend for a year or so, before our friend said maybe my husband was ready to spread his wings...which he did. He was terrified, but he took the jump.

Which was good because within a year our friend gave up janitorial for home remodeling. Probably more money in home remodeling, but money is steady in janitorial, at least for us.
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Old 03-08-2015, 01:51 PM
 
2,421 posts, read 3,726,764 times
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I would just like to add that having a pension (especially a pension with continued health benefits) is better than money in the bank. I would much rather have a $30,000 pension with insurance than a $1,200,000 portfolio. Bump that pension up to $50,000 with insurance provided, and you have closer to $2,000,000 in the bank. The stock market can crash, but your pension most likely won't.
Though admittedly, I'd like to have both.

I would add, that it is always advisable to have some level of cash though ,in addition to your pension for life's emergencies, cause they will come.
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Old 03-08-2015, 02:01 PM
 
29,784 posts, read 34,885,423 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter View Post
I would just like to add that having a pension (especially a pension with continued health benefits) is better than money in the bank. I would much rather have a $30,000 pension with insurance than a $1,200,000 portfolio. Bump that pension up to $50,000 with insurance provided, and you have closer to $2,000,000 in the bank. The stock market can crash, but your pension most likely won't.
Though admittedly, I'd like to have both.

I would add, that it is always advisable to have some level of cash though ,in addition to your pension for life's emergencies, cause they will come.
Bada Bing! Truth be told we really don't have a grasp on the finances of folks in the forum and how much and where their money comes from.
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Old 03-08-2015, 02:09 PM
 
Location: Jamestown, NY
7,841 posts, read 7,336,499 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
I'm not going to lose my house (I have no equity, bought in 2010). I bought with my pension estimate in mind. The mortgage is not an issue and is not the debt I have to deal with. I will likely die before the mortgage is paid off!

A better-paying job is not likely, but that's ok. It's not what I need. Retirement will be 67% of my salary. I just need a job that makes up the difference plus a little more. Also, I will no longer have to pay for health insurance and I'd like to work closer to home closer to home to save 3 hours a day and $4k a year in commuting cost.

What types of online continuing ed are there that would help one get another job?
  • Can you continue to accrue pension credits if you stay 6 more years at your public sector job (ie, retire with more than 67% salary -- I'm assuming you would start collecting SS at 62)?
  • Is it likely that your public sector job will have enough pay raises over the next 6 years to increase your pension more than a few dollars?
  • What about health insurance when you retire?
I chose to work an extra 4 years to FRA after I reached 62 because between improved SS and extra pension accruals, I will get about $1000 extra a month when I retire in 2016. That does not include calculations on the improvement in my 403b investments as well as my improved debt situation (as in I've paid down more on my house).



For public sector employees, I don't think it makes much sense to retire early only to take a crappy job just to make up the difference between your regular salary and your pension. If you had a well paying gig lined up or were going to start your own business, that would be a different story, but I don't see the point of giving up a good paying position along with additional pension accruals to work at some job that pays a couple of dollars over minimum wage. Keep in mind, too, that age discrimination remains alive and well, despite laws and court rulings against it.
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