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Old 07-05-2015, 07:05 AM
Location: Colorado Springs
4,833 posts, read 4,947,484 times
Reputation: 17302


I've been reading this forum now for about 6 months. Although many thoughts are repeats, I've become grateful to learn from the collective wisdom at this site.

My list in no order:

- If you decide to "file and suspend" your SS, make sure you have a tax plan. The "tax torpedo" can create very high marginal rates when you need to take the Required Minimum Distributions from your IRA starting at age 70.5

Social Security tax torpedo: How to blunt it before you turn 71 | OregonLive.com

You can estimate your taxes looking forward by using this handy site: https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tool...ors/taxcaster/

- When you retire, make sure you have something to do. Many pre-retirees focus too much solely on saving and upon retirement discover that after a few months of perpetual vacation, they become bored. For most of us, work provided an interesting problem to solve and rewards and recognition for a job well done. When that's gone, many people can't cope.

My wife, who worked as an RN in the ER at a hospital remarked that many of the incoming heart attack or stroke victims had recently retired. If your plan is to sit on the couch, drink beer and watch TV, you're a good candidate to die quickly.

- It's a good idea to delay retirement at least to age 65 so you can qualify for Medicare. Although you can now get guaranteed coverage prior to age 65 due to the Affordable Care Act, that coverage is still way too expensive.

Most of my friends on Medicare really like it. They say the best plan is to get traditional Medicare with Medigap plan F and the drug plan D. If you don't elect plan D when you start Medicare you could be hit with enormous drug charges later. Traditional Medicare gives more freedom to choose health care providers which can really be important if you decide to relocate.

- Become debt free prior to retirement. Reduce your fixed costs. Get rid of your junk.

- Spend your money on experiences, not stuff. A memorable trip will provide much more satisfaction than that new car.

Anything to add? Your ideas?
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:12 AM
1,769 posts, read 2,441,374 times
Reputation: 5159
I've learned that we are all very different and what works for one is not suitable for another. I've also learned to appreciate what I consider to be a "comfortable" retirement without obsessing about SS, funds, expenditures, a mortgage, etc.
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:12 AM
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,729,443 times
Reputation: 32304
I've been reading this forum for about five and a half years, and I have learned a lot. (Some of the following I already knew, but it has been re-enforced here, so for convenience and simplicity I will use "I have learned....")

I have learned a lot of specifics about Social Security. I have learned how varied peoples' attitudes are about a lot of things. I have learned that people can agonize for years about relocating (and I mean agonize) but still remain in the same area at the end of the day. I have learned that a rather large number of people absolutely hate(d) their jobs and believe that the living of life only begins upon retirement, but that other people don't know what to do when they no longer have a job and decide to go back to work. I have learned that a certain subset of Retirement Forum posters (fortunately a pretty small minority) have a generalized, underlying hostility paired with very thin skin and are ready to lash out at the slightest excuse. I have learned about the surprising breadth and variety of the government and private safety nets for the elderly poor. I have learned that many people have suffered tragic reverses not of their own making, such as serious automobile accidents with on-going consequences. I have learned that 55+ communities are extremely popular, but that they are not everybody's cup of tea. I have learned that the variation in the cost of houses in different areas of the country is beyond amazing - it is unbelievable.

This one deserves a new paragraph because it is perhaps the most striking thing I have learned and it keeps "striking" me almost every time I log into City-Data even though I have learned to ignore it to a certain extent, and that is the enormous number of people who are interested in posting absolute trivia about the most banal, boring details of their daily lives and in reading the absolute trivia posted by others. If people could limit this to the Chat Thread, it would be one thing, but it surfaces all over the place. For example, adopting a cat (and I mean one single poster) was discussed in three threads: in its own thread, in the Chat Thread, and in the "Where are you relocating and why" sticky thread. I fail to see the interest in what someone ate for breakfast, in what the weather is doing in a given place, etc., etc., ad nauseam. There are whole threads dedicated to that sort of thing, but at least I can see from the thread title I am not interested, so I don't even click on them, but the trivia is invasive everywhere. My amazement at this knows no bounds.
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:36 AM
1,226 posts, read 1,258,991 times
Reputation: 4309
My list, in no particular order, and probably forgetting a lot:

- work with a CFP who charges an hourly fee to make a plan for my future. Discuss how much money I will need in savings, how much money I will be able to spend annually, at what age I can retire, and at what age(s) I should purchase the DIA/SPIA, and laddering annuities vs purchasing 1 annuity, discuss at what age to apply for social security benefits.

- read Pfau and Kitces blogs

- purchase the DIA and SPIA annuities/this can replace the bond/cash portion of my portfolio, insure I never run out of money, and prevent my assets from being stolen in their entirety should my cognitive abilities fail.

- work with an accountant to do tax planning. Discuss converting traditional IRA to ROTH IRA. Review possible future tax consequences of traditional IRA, DIA, SPIA, pension, and Social Security Retirement Benefits.

- figure out where I will be living as an elderly widow with no (living) children or family to help me. Investigate CCRC in various states... particularly Florida (because that is the home of my heart)

- come up with an idea for things I would like to do i.e: educational tours around the USA, college courses I might like to audit, Learn ASL, ceramics class, rug hooking,

- figure out what state I want to retire to

- start downsizing now/declutter

- figure out what age I can retire
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:42 AM
Location: Florida
19,786 posts, read 19,886,317 times
Reputation: 23202
Being exposed to the thoughts of more seniors than one might come across face to face has proven that advanced age does not equate with wisdom
Such as still not having heard of, or perhaps just unwilling to recognize the truthfulness of some old adages such as .........
“When you point your finger at someone, three are pointing back at you” .

When it comes to what others post about, I'd rather read about someones cat than someone elses trivial complaints about that kind of topic.
What's not important to some may be very important in someone else's life.
Forums such as these are for everyone.
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:45 AM
28,237 posts, read 39,879,137 times
Reputation: 36740
People have differing views. Some are downright weird. You may include me in that list if you want to.

There is a lot of obsession with money in our group.

There is a lot of obsession with moving in our group.

There is a lot of obsession with the age of our neighbors in our group.

There are a lot of really nice people here.
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:58 AM
Location: Idaho
1,452 posts, read 1,153,447 times
Reputation: 5482

I agree with everything you wrote in the first part. About the second part, even though that I think your observation is dead on, I am neither amazed, bothered or upset by the pervasiveness of trivial posts and topics.

Even though most of the time, I am not interested in the trivia and have not participated in the chat thread. I have spent some of my spare time reading this mega thread and especially the other 'sticky' long thread: "Men and women retiring alone...". Granted that many of these posts were about 'banal, boring details of posters' daily lives' but these details and the genuine interests shown in these 'trivia' speak volume about the community spirit, about the bonds and friendships which some posters have formed with each other. I have no doubt that some posters have found their much needed support network here among their peers, people who share similar concerns, people who are facing similar life challenges be it health, financial, relationship or emotional issues (losing a beloved pet and trying to adopt a new 'baby' is an important and serious issue for a senior who is living alone!).

Although quite a few of the posters in the "Men and women retiring alone..." thread no longer participate in the cd-forum, reading their posts, learning about many aspects of their lives, key issues along with trivia, made me feel like I 'know' them. I learned a lot about life in retirement, about issues, uncertainties, decisions, losses, gains and most of all about the community spirit, the friendly and supportive atmosphere of this 'virtual' retirement community. Few months ago, I spent a good weekend reading every posts in this thread, decided that cd retirement forum was a nice place to hangout and became a more regular poster and participant.

Although the down side of the preponderance of 'chattiness', not being limited to the chat thread but spilling out to new topics and thread drifts is the appearance of 'clickiness' and banality, I think posters who want to read only meaningful, informative and serious posts can easily skip what they consider frivolous or uninteresting ones. It does no good to complaint or protest. To me, dismissal, disparaging, mocking comments (or creating parody threads) can be quite harmful and damaging to the community spirit.

Last edited by BellaDL; 07-05-2015 at 09:07 AM..
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:43 AM
Location: CO
2,455 posts, read 2,624,075 times
Reputation: 5196
Until I started reading this forum I had no idea so many retirees were moving to or trying to find their ideal retirement spot. It never occurred to me not to retire in place and my view was pretty narrow. I can't imagine uprooting and making a huge move to the "unknown" and applaud their spirit. Note to add that I am fortunate to live in a place I love and will be staying here.

The Social Security angst - I'm glad I had already chosen what to do before I started reading this forum. So much advice!

What to do when retired - really? Enjoy life on your own terms, travel or not, pursue new hobbies or not, there's no handbook. I'm also surprised to learn many retirees miss working.

As for the trivial chatter on the forum, I think it's fine. Some is interesting, some not, but we can choose what we read. Overall, I think it's a very interesting and diverse forum!
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:07 AM
48,516 posts, read 83,901,398 times
Reputation: 18049
Originally Posted by LivingDeadGirl View Post
I've learned that we are all very different and what works for one is not suitable for another. I've also learned to appreciate what I consider to be a "comfortable" retirement without obsessing about SS, funds, expenditures, a mortgage, etc.
Pretty much what over all I have learned ;we are different and want/value different things. Really we stay the same in that regard as always.
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Old 07-05-2015, 10:13 AM
Location: NC Piedmont
3,911 posts, read 2,876,920 times
Reputation: 6291
It is really easy to overthink the "when to start SS" issue. For the vast majority of us, it won't make a lot of difference.

Lots of people are doing fine with far less than the experts say we need.

Community is more important than climate when choosing where to retire, but not by much. You need to find a place where you feel miserable, whether it is the weather or the company (or lack of) that causes it.

I agree about not retiring without Medicare though my plan remains to do the COBRA bridge (retiring at 63.5) if it is an option for me.
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