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Old 03-08-2015, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,213 posts, read 54,678,928 times
Reputation: 66697

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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
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.
Yes, thank you for posting your story. You sound like a survivor.
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Old 03-08-2015, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,213 posts, read 54,678,928 times
Reputation: 66697
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.....
Thanks for this post.

Wow, that's great about the house (and those incredibly low taxes!!!)

Obsession with retirement seems to be working for you. I think I am beginning to become obsessed with retirement, and that's why I've been on this forum so much lately.
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Old 03-08-2015, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,121 posts, read 12,697,923 times
Reputation: 3771
Quote:
Originally Posted by old_cold View Post
Happy Texan mentioned a school paraprofessional. That isn't a position I am familiar with from our school systems so I assume it's not the same as a substitute teacher but did make me think of that as an idea.
IIRC, the requirements aren't very stringent and those that have done it would tell me they had enough opportunities to work that it could have been full time if they accepted them all.
The pay was good, too. And really good in tough schools, after all, it could be considered combat pay!
Since Escort is still in the field perhaps he knows more about current situation concerning subs since my knowledge may be very outdated.
A paraprofessional would be like an instructional assistant or teachers' aide.
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Old 03-08-2015, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,213 posts, read 54,678,928 times
Reputation: 66697
Quote:
Originally Posted by Travelassie View Post
I

Just a couple questions. Have you (a) maxed out the pension amount you will get when you retire at 36 years on that job? If so I'd guess that's why you figure looking for another, higher paying job while you collect that pension would work for you. And are you (b) eligible for Social Security along with your pension? If so that would add a pretty good amount to your monthly income once you reach the age where you can collect it. I know you're looking for something to reduce your current debt, and this wouldn't do it, but it would give you more income later if (a) isn't the case and (b) is.

I can relate my husband's experience, what he did was similar to what you're proposing to do, and it worked out for him. He was a federal employee ( Veteran's Administration as biomedical engineer)- he had, counting his 10 yrs military service ( which he had to pay into the FERS retirement system to add those 10 years) made a total of 38 years in the FERS. So he retired in 2003, and went to work for a semi-governmental private non-profit company ( with his office three doors down from his old VA office) and left there after working with them for 7 years. So he was collecting his pension, the income from the new job, and I was working as well. This additional income allowed us to accomplish a lot of goals for our retirement, so I can see where you'd want to do something like that too. My husband's experience with the VA made the qualifications he brought to the new job ( service officer with the Paralyzed Veteran's Association) pretty unique, and they were happy to have him. The new job also enabled him to save additional money for retirement ( 401K's and similar), and also to contribute to the Social Security pot. Between that and his early consulting days when he worked for the VA, he also had 17 years in the SS system, although the windfall provision preventing federal employees in the old retirement system (prior to 1984) from collecting all of their earned SS from other jobs in retirement. He gets 40% of what he earned in SS, but that's more than we ever expected he would get, so we're not complaining.

Do you have any ideas as to the nature of a job you might take in the event you retire early? If you take another public sector (I'm assuming that's a government job) job, there may or may not be limitations on what you can collect with your pension while you are still working. That was the policy with the state employees in Florida, but perhaps other agencies ( I'd hope) are more liberal about that sort of thing. I guess in your boat, if you're able to do this, I'd keep an eye out for other public sector jobs for which you'd be qualified- they might be interested in someone dependable, and experienced, and don't care so much about your age ( and you're NOT that old) or your education.

With 36 years on the job, I'd imagine that gives you lots of experience in your field, and I know a lot of government employees get into consulting when they leave those jobs. Is something like that possible for you? Look at your job description, your accomplishments and the skills you use everyday in carrying out that job. Are you a good writer? Do you excel at computer skills? Are you a people person, are you involved in conflict resolution? Perhaps the municipal court system in your area might have use for some of these skills?

Just some thoughts here from a stranger. I could easily be in that situation myself, and that's what I'd do. I wish you the best of luck.
Travelassie, I like what you said about serendipity in your other post. Yes, I am doing as much as I can to figure this out on my own, and sometimes something does come up out of nowhere when you're looking the other way.

Thanks for sharing your husband's story. I'm not exactly in government, it's public transportation, but we're in a state pension system. The restriction is that I could not work for another entity that is in the same pension system while collecting a pension. No, I haven't maxed out the pension amount, but it can only rise 1.5 percent a year, and with not having to pay for health and for commuting if I find something closer to home, or if I end up having to move, that might not mean much. Yes, I can collect Social Security when I get to the appropriate age.

I've thought of working for another public entity. I've spoken to a few people I've met at industry functions, and I check in with them from time to time to see if anything's going on for which I could be useful to them. I am just now starting to step up the networking. I had a major project going on for the past two years and it's winding down now, so it's a good time to move on. One issue is that our contracts and agreements prohibit the firms contracted with us to offer jobs to our employees, so it's a little tricky to approach them without putting them in an awkward position. You CAN go work for one of those firms as long as you don't work on any agency business for at least one year, and in some cases, there are lifetime bars.
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Old 03-08-2015, 05:00 PM
 
Location: SoCal desert
8,093 posts, read 13,245,924 times
Reputation: 14870
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
I think I am beginning to become obsessed with retirement,
Warning - it will get worse the closer you get
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Old 03-08-2015, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,121 posts, read 12,697,923 times
Reputation: 3771
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandalara View Post
Warning - it will get worse the closer you get
I've started and I figure I have about ten years to go yet.
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Old 03-08-2015, 05:24 PM
 
48,516 posts, read 84,010,700 times
Reputation: 18050
But in the end you do what you have to do.; and look to your future goals.
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Old 03-08-2015, 05:24 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,213 posts, read 54,678,928 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
I've started and I figure I have about ten years to go yet.
I might have ten years to go also. Or I might have five or six. I'd like to try to make it five or six.
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Old 03-08-2015, 07:54 PM
 
2,421 posts, read 3,728,573 times
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I posted this by mistake in a different thread, and was told to just move it over here and my old one will be deleted. So if you saw it before, understand the back story, cause I'm not losing it that much.

New Story

About 4 years prior to my official retirement, I sought advice in two different formats, or at least hoped to. I ended up on the Early Retirement Forum (though early retirement was not my goal) and instead of general retirement living talk, I found a great deal of financial information there to do with stocks and investing in which I was a newcomer to. I had accumulated most of my assets through real estate (which I wanted out of), so the stock market was new to me. But I bought a number of the books recommended and started reading, and continued to read the posts there, and I learned a great deal from it. I also learned about Bogleheads from that forum, and that was also financial of course.

But, I was looking for more than just asset allocation. I wanted to know about being retired and how people were faring on all budgets. I was nervous about not having the money I felt I needed to leave for my son who would need continued help after I past, so I needed to learn how to conserve and live more frugally, which admittedly was new to me, and not second nature to me as it is with others who learned and practiced it their entire life.

So then I discovered this forum, which did discuss more of a variety of subjects, but when it came to finances, it did seem like way more of the people posting were pretty well financially secure and the conversations centered around the things that mathjak usually likes to address. Other than the "Living on a literal shoestring" thread (which went to other extreme in some cases) There seemed to be little input for others who might be caught in the middle of those two scenarios. Not that I didn't enjoy reading the shoestring thread. I did enjoy it immensely and would like to see kept alive for all the newcomers.

I was not destitute by any stretch, but now out of the blue about 8 years ago, suddenly my circumstances changed and instead of my assets having to last me 30 years, now they had to last 60 years, and as they say that is a horse of a different color. My son was used to the good life, always living in the nicest houses in the nicest areas, a live in maid, lots of dinning out.

But suddenly I had to put the breaks on and learn a new life, and adjust to a new life, and most importantly try and teach my son that the old way was gone and teach him how to be frugal too. This "new life" was also compounded by the fact that I had a mother and a disabled brother who I have been helping support since I was 20 years old and had to leave school to help support. (long story)

So my quest for learning the frugal life was made more difficult by that added responsibility and expense of my mother, and the need to support two households. This year however, my mother went into a nursing home, and my brother is in a group home, so I finally have some financial relief, and can try and get going on that frugal (but enjoyable) life that I am pursuing for myself now and my son.

To my surprise, I don't miss what I had as much as I might have thought. I find that I am just as happy with my new life style as my old. (though I wouldn't throw back an extra million or so if someone offered.)

My concerns and worries are strictly for my son. I seemed to have adjusted to my somewhat frugal life style just fine. Learning how to cook and shop to save money has turned into a fun hobby for me as well as other things I have learned. So the moral of my story I guess, is we really all have it in us to adjust when we need to, and often times it's really not as bad as you might have thought. It's Good People.....

Last edited by modhatter; 03-08-2015 at 08:51 PM..
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Old 03-08-2015, 08:09 PM
 
Location: on the edge of Sanity
14,269 posts, read 15,924,968 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandalara View Post
Warning - it will get worse the closer you get
It's even worse when you get there! Trust me.

I don't even know what "retirement age" means. It really depends on your lifestyle. Some people have a lot to retire on when they turn 50 or maybe they inherit money. Others work until they're 90. Some people work because they can't pay the bills and others just want to keep working. I know plenty of people who go on cruises or spend a lot on clothing, cars and jewelry, but they're not wealthy, so they collect Soc Sec and continue to work to support their lifestyles.

I worked in a furniture store about 10 years ago (I'll be 64 soon) with an 81 year old woman who was collecting her late husband's survivor benefits and pension (more than $4,000 a month) and was the most aggressive salesperson in the store. It was weird, since we weren't even on commission, but she just had get the attaboys and bonuses that came with being #1. She owned her home (no mortgage payment) and said to me one day, "I just never feel there's enough." OTOH, I know lots of people who live comfortably on less than $2,000 a month. So there's really no answer to "do I have enough money to retire?" It depends on where you live and how you live and, of course, your health.
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