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Old 12-30-2017, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
3,203 posts, read 3,196,256 times
Reputation: 2031

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I dream of retiring one day and I read the threads here often.


My idea of retirement is changing as up until my mid thirties I thought retirement would mean exiting the workforce early and not working (at all). However, lately I've been thinking that some form of work is actually very healthy for me and I probably need to be doing 'some'thing come retirement time. Ideally it would make some money but I know after a certain age I might not have the ability to do things that generate an income.


I digress...


The real purpose of my thread is I'd like some/any advice from those who are already retired. It can be any type of advice (personal, financial, health-wise, etc etc) but mainly I was hoping moreso for things you would have done differently in life leading up to retirement....it could be anything.


I don't have a goal yet of a specific retirement age because I don't have much in retirement funds and hardly any assets, so honestly right now I'm thinking I have to work until full retirement age. Basically I would like to be financially independent enough to pay all of my bills from investments, SS (I include getting 50% of projected benefits as an estimate in my future budget) and maybe a few gigs here or there by age 57ish.


I will admit here that sometimes I think I read a lot of retirement forums and threads because deep down maybe what I really need to focus on is creating a life I don't want to retire from (those that can relate will know exactly what I'm talking about). I want to make sure I'm balancing having a good life and fun now with making sure I have a plan for when I get older...I mean I'm almost 40 and really need to start thinking about what life will look like for myself when I'm 60+.


By the way I'm currently single, no kids (no plans to have any), live in the southeast and work full time from home. Any questions, ask away. So with that said, tell me: what are some things you would have told 38-year old you that could be advice applicable to me for the future? What are some things you did right that have led to a good life in retirement? Did you have worries going into retirement that aren't worries now that you're actually retired? Any insight/advice at all you feel like sharing, please do...
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Old 12-30-2017, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,768 posts, read 4,827,803 times
Reputation: 19395
1) Pay off your debts and stay out of debt.

2) Put money away every month, preferably 10-15% of your income, and put it on auto-pilot (like a 401k, or similar, deposit). If that seems like a lot, think about where you're spending money on things you could do without, or ways to make things you do want to spend on cheaper. For example, do you really need to pay over a hundred dollars for 800 channels when you only watch 8 or 10? Could you cut the cord with an antenna plus Hulu or Netflix and save $50 a month? Do you need to eat lunch out 5 days a week, or could you bring something from home (microwave dinner, a sandwich and fruit, or leftovers) a few days a week and save $25 bucks a week? Could you find a cheaper cell phone provider? So many creative ways to find some cash to stash. Focus on index based, no load, mutual funds.

3) Don't be tempted to continuously upgrade your car, house, etc, to keep up with your friends.

4) Balance your need to save with reasonably priced fun/ travel. All work and no play can make a person cranky.

5) Most important, take charge of where your life is going. You're on the right track by asking these questions NOW, and not discovering in your 50's that you've got only $10,000 in your retirement account. The magic of compounding is your friend and the earlier you start, and the more you can throw at it in the beginning, the better off you'll be.
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Old 12-30-2017, 09:49 AM
 
Location: Sierra Nevada Land, CA
8,392 posts, read 9,136,940 times
Reputation: 13030
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShadow View Post
1) Pay off your debts and stay out of debt.

2) Put money away every month, preferably 10-15% of your income, and put it on auto-pilot (like a 401k, or similar, deposit). If that seems like a lot, think about where you're spending money on things you could do without, or ways to make things you do want to spend on cheaper. For example, do you really need to pay over a hundred dollars for 800 channels when you only watch 8 or 10? Could you cut the cord with an antenna plus Hulu or Netflix and save $50 a month? Do you need to eat lunch out 5 days a week, or could you bring something from home (microwave dinner, a sandwich and fruit, or leftovers) a few days a week and save $25 bucks a week? Could you find a cheaper cell phone provider? So many creative ways to find some cash to stash. Focus on index based, no load, mutual funds.

3) Don't be tempted to continuously upgrade your car, house, etc, to keep up with your friends.

4) Balance your need to save with reasonably priced fun/ travel. All work and no play can make a person cranky.

5) Most important, take charge of where your life is going. You're on the right track by asking these questions NOW, and not discovering in your 50's that you've got only $10,000 in your retirement account. The magic of compounding is your friend and the earlier you start, and the more you can throw at it in the beginning, the better off you'll be.
This is good advice, but know that retirement is a big life change. Time of adjustment that for many is not easy and takes time to find one’s way. Honestly you can’t really create a life that you won’t retire from, because Work will get in the way. You won’t have the time until you retire.

But you can do a few things for starters. Develop interests outside of work. Develop friendships outside of work. Join a Service club. If you can, establish yourself in the area where you plan to retire. We did 14 years before I retired and it was great having friends and connections in my retirement town when I retired!
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Old 12-30-2017, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
3,203 posts, read 3,196,256 times
Reputation: 2031
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShadow View Post
1) Pay off your debts and stay out of debt.

2) Put money away every month, preferably 10-15% of your income, and put it on auto-pilot (like a 401k, or similar, deposit). If that seems like a lot, think about where you're spending money on things you could do without, or ways to make things you do want to spend on cheaper. For example, do you really need to pay over a hundred dollars for 800 channels when you only watch 8 or 10? Could you cut the cord with an antenna plus Hulu or Netflix and save $50 a month? Do you need to eat lunch out 5 days a week, or could you bring something from home (microwave dinner, a sandwich and fruit, or leftovers) a few days a week and save $25 bucks a week? Could you find a cheaper cell phone provider? So many creative ways to find some cash to stash. Focus on index based, no load, mutual funds.

3) Don't be tempted to continuously upgrade your car, house, etc, to keep up with your friends.

4) Balance your need to save with reasonably priced fun/ travel. All work and no play can make a person cranky.

5) Most important, take charge of where your life is going. You're on the right track by asking these questions NOW, and not discovering in your 50's that you've got only $10,000 in your retirement account. The magic of compounding is your friend and the earlier you start, and the more you can throw at it in the beginning, the better off you'll be.
1) Debts are currently paid off. I have several credit cards I put all my bills on for travel points and pay off religiously. (I'm a baby credit card churner for travel purposes). I'm a renter though and think I will buy a home at some point (?). I'm very torn on this (rent versus buy calculator says I'm in a "you should buy a home" city. But on average I've moved every 18 months since I was like 22 so right now I just prefer to keep my mobility options open and not commit to a mortgage in case I need to move for job purposes at any point which has happened in the past. Any thoughts on this? I feel like I need to have a paid for residence in retirement and there aren't many years left to do this.


2) Just bumped 401k up to 10%-there's currently 40k in it and my goal is to get it to 15% in 2018 and start maxing it in 2019 (baby steps although yes I know I don't have many years to max it). No IRA at the moment. 10K in emergency fund and putting 5k a year into that fund going forward annually. Oh, forgot to mention-no car. Places to cut in my budget: mother's bills (just started paying some of them as she's been unemployed for 4 years now), travel expenses (here's where I need to get better at credit card churning) but for me the biggest issue is how much I spend on food. Always has been. I've been using Mint this year but it was very sporadic so in 2018 I need to commit to tracking *every* dollar.


3) This is hard. But with no car I think I'm doing ok-no pressure to upgrade the car. Also, I work from home so no pressure to buy nice work clothes. I've become a homebody so not many pressures to upgrade lifestyle at all right now. The friends I do have are mostly low key so that helps. I will say that I'm getting house fever though as I'm getting to be the last one without a home and mother is making "you have nothing to show for yourself in all your years of work" comments so social pressures make it difficult. I pay wayyyy more in rent than I did 5 years ago which I cannot stand but the rental prices in Atlanta are just on the rise which is an issue.


4) My vice is travel. As mentioned, the card churning will help. I could save so much by not paying for travel but I place a very high value on it. So gotta get really creative there. Point 4-which is about balance-is a GREAT point. Right now I feel that with 40k in 401k and nothing else perhaps I am putting too much money into the 'fun' part of my life? I can post an actual budget if you like.


5) Well, at almost 40 I've lost many years of compounding already so I feel anxious all the time I will be living under a bridge. But I do want to do what I can to turn that around now while still balancing having some sort of life. Thank you for your well thought out response!

Last edited by southkakkatlantan; 12-30-2017 at 10:05 AM..
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Old 12-30-2017, 09:59 AM
 
2,215 posts, read 742,813 times
Reputation: 1376
Always pay yourself first. And when you get a raise/bonus also raise how much you put away; you won't miss it as you never had it to begin with.

If your vice is travel then temper it by saying "x trips per year". Look around for good deals in off season.
Use forward thinking...put enough money away and you can travel more after retirement.

Keep your debt in check and don't live above your means.
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
3,203 posts, read 3,196,256 times
Reputation: 2031
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
This is good advice, but know that retirement is a big life change. Time of adjustment that for many is not easy and takes time to find oneís way. Honestly you canít really create a life that you wonít retire from, because Work will get in the way. You wonít have the time until you retire.

But you can do a few things for starters. Develop interests outside of work. Develop friendships outside of work. Join a Service club. If you can, establish yourself in the area where you plan to retire. We did 14 years before I retired and it was great having friends and connections in my retirement town when I retired!
I don't know where in the world I want to retire yet!


I have thought about this soooo much it has made my head spin. But I don't think I will know until I am close to retirement age to be honest. I don't really have family I am close to outside of mom (although I do have a younger brother in another state), and no spouse or significant other. Right now I am living in Georgia because my mom is in the state next door and only a 4 hour drive away. But I'm not committed to staying here although my small circle of friends is here. Not sure what the future holds as I could be priced out of this city come retirement age, or just want a change scenery-wise or whatever (I have a bit of gypsy in me lol).


I started working from home this year and my next thought was to try to start doing home exchanges since it's nearly free and I might get some ideas about where I might want to go. Or perhaps even buying a house where I live at the moment and spending time via home exchanges in other places once I retire will give me the right balance of stability versus travel is what I was starting to think. Definitely a ways from figuring all of that out.


Thank you for the pointers! Where did you end up retiring?
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:02 AM
 
Location: New Oxford, PA
120 posts, read 59,089 times
Reputation: 464
Get a Civil Service job, and retire after 25 years with a pension and Social Security. I started my career at 21, and retired at 46. I'll have to wait a bit before collecting SS, but having maxed out my contributions in most of my years of service, I'll still qualify for the highest monthly benefit.

My friend took a little more convincing, and he didn't start his CS career until age 38. Still, he'll be fully retired at 63, and the future is much brighter than with his previous career.
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:03 AM
 
254 posts, read 131,806 times
Reputation: 646
Start saving NOW.
Don't wait.
Payroll deductions into a good mutual fund.
Do it first thing Tuesday morning.
Don't be obsessed with retiring.
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Atlanta
3,203 posts, read 3,196,256 times
Reputation: 2031
Quote:
Originally Posted by homelessinseattle View Post
Start saving NOW.
Don't wait.
Payroll deductions into a good mutual fund.
Do it first thing Tuesday morning.
Don't be obsessed with retiring.
So you're saying to start a separate mutal fund outside of my current 401k/emergency fund (that's sitting in a Cap1 360 account)?
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Ypsilanti, MI
2,436 posts, read 3,660,491 times
Reputation: 4785
Save.......Save.......Save

Invest smartly for long term appreciation and don't chase any 'Will of the Wisp' get rich quick schemes.

Invest in improving yourself. Additional degrees (I got my Masters at 41), certifications (just got my PMP this month at 61), self improvement (such as public speaking if not a strength). These will provide higher income in future years.

Keep your Resume or CV up to date and interview regularly to keep those skills sharp. Same reason as above if a different job or different employer offers a big income improvement.

Don't get discouraged by the initial slow growth of your portfolio. Eventually compounding will kick-in and your portfolio will be making more money than your wages.
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