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Old 08-02-2012, 08:44 PM   #15
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I'm 31. 3 years ago, my husband and i were at the peak of our careers - but working too hard, making too much money and taking on too much debt.

We hated it. We didn't want to live like that for 20 more years. we also didn't want to wait for retirement to enjoy ourselves and our airstream.

We paid off all our credit cards, sold the house with a big mortgage and moved to NC (see the screen name? the plan worked!) we're in NC now with a very reasonable monthly payment on a 15 year mortgage. Hubby quit his job and became an organic farmer. I work 20 - 30 hours/ week and I'm self employed.

We're planning our winter trip, 30 - 45 days out west and back. My yearly taxes are now what my monthly taxes were in NJ. Overall, we have a better quality of life. My commute now consists of a front porch, a rocking chair, and watching the chickens act like idiots while the sun goes down over the mountains behind us.

Here's what I learned;

Society made us think we had to have nice cars and houses to be considered successful. Society is wrong. These things are expensive, which means we have to work more and enjoy life less.

For us, this is retirement. We are living life now, not waiting for "one day" to come.

Bravo, I did a similar thing on a smaller scale but just as important: The Army was chewing me up, made a lot of rank, good money, senior officer, all the trappings. It made me sad. I retired and will start a BS degree in Music in January with the GI bill. I am no longer "The Man"
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Old 08-02-2012, 09:08 PM   #16
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(( We just really crunched some numbers-- repeatedly-- prior to retiring: how much our pensions would provide, and what would be our living expenses. We are super lucky to have pensions indexed to inflation. ))

A pension? What's that? Today company's are for going pensions for 401k's which count a lot on the market. Saving for most is like throwing salt over your shoulder and crossing your fingers and toes. But for those who retired well more power to ya. I'm hoping to be as lucky. Time to get back to work.
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Old 08-02-2012, 11:04 PM   #17
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After over 30 years with my agency, I retired at 55, my wife at 48. We bought the new Airstream and TV before retiring, and paid for both in full on the day of the sale, because we had a feeling we'd never be able to afford these things on my pension. I get an adequate pension, and very good health care for both of us. We made sure everything was paid for well before retirement. We never liked debt, either.

This was a goal we set many years ago, so we also saved some capital to be used only for contingencies, like the new heating system (two years ago), a fuel efficient vehicle (last year), the new water well (last week). So far, we've stuck to that plan. It was easier than I thought. I recall a discussion with a retired colleague, who said I'd be surprised how little I could live on by not having to work. I didn't quite get it then, but I do now. We never lived extravagantly, and still don't, but we're having a blast. This was our plan, our dream, and we are living it. No regrets. Best move we ever made.

Road trip!

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Old 08-02-2012, 11:59 PM   #18
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Old 08-03-2012, 12:58 AM   #19
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Live below your means.

Hi,

(1.) Pay off house.

(2.) Have good health insurance.

(3.) Pay credit cards in full every month.

(4.) No vehicle payments.

(5.) Try to spend less than you have coming in. [taxes, insurance bills, and DMV fees sometimes come at/or almost at the same time]

(6.) Make no monthly payments for anything. [like car or house insurance, pay the bill in full]
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Old 08-03-2012, 07:43 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi,
...

(5.) Try to spend less than you have coming in. [taxes, insurance bills, and DMV fees sometimes come at/or almost at the same time]

(6.) Make no monthly payments for anything. [like car or house insurance, pay the bill in full]

Exactly. 1-4 are important, but the 5-6 is the key for us. If we can't afford to pay cash, we don't get it.
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Old 08-03-2012, 07:45 AM   #21
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Health insurance. Have a policy signed and ready to go into effect when you retire. I did not and found due to previous conditions that no coverage was available for me. Had to go on Cobra but that only lasts for 18 months, so after that time I will have no health coverage for a year until I teun sixty five. My fault, but life goes on. Do not let any Existing coverage lapse, see an agent, get it in writing and then take your health insurance and ENJOY YOUR RETIREMENT. Jim
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Old 08-03-2012, 10:37 AM   #22
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Health insurance. Have a policy signed and ready to go into effect when you retire. I did not and found due to previous conditions that no coverage was available for me. Had to go on Cobra but that only lasts for 18 months, so after that time I will have no health coverage for a year until I teun sixty five. My fault, but life goes on. Do not let any Existing coverage lapse, see an agent, get it in writing and then take your health insurance and ENJOY YOUR RETIREMENT. Jim


We kind of hit the same thing when my partner quit her job. During the time we were on her cobra insurance, we started an LLC company and filed one LLC tax return (while still on the cobra). Then we were eligible for guaranteed issue, business group (of 2) major medical insurance. We did the LLC group insurance for 11 years, until we both turned 65.

It was spendy, but we had full major medical insurance . . . and . . . the premiums were a tax deductible business expense.
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Old 08-03-2012, 11:41 AM   #23
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...for us it was buy an Airstream ... use the deduction as a second home on taxes ...
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Old 08-03-2012, 11:57 AM   #24
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this is an interesting thread and I enjoyed reading the comments. Many are applicable to all and others to some such especially if you are in business for yourself.

that said The best advice I ever received regarding saving for retirement came from my Dad over 40 years ago. It was simple and very basic. Save 10% of every pay raise, bonus, cash gift etc. I asked why. His answer, at least to me, was very profound. You did not have the money to live on before so you did not need it and put in the bank or invest it in stocks that pay a safe dividend. Why in a bank that paid so little because many of my Dad's pay raises were in cents and not dollars as he was a Janitor and a damn good one.

By the way when he retired my parents did not lack for things as they were able to take cruises and by new automobiles when they wanted to. When my Father passed away he left my Mother a significsnt amount of money.

Why do I tell this story? It is because we are in tough times and just like my parents one can retire successfully with a plan and commitment.

John
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Old 08-03-2012, 01:12 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
Hi,

(1.) Pay off house.

(2.) Have good health insurance.

(3.) Pay credit cards in full every month.

(4.) No vehicle payments.

(5.) Try to spend less than you have coming in. [taxes, insurance bills, and DMV fees sometimes come at/or almost at the same time]

(6.) Make no monthly payments for anything. [like car or house insurance, pay the bill in full]

The above was the formula we used, and still follow.

We never went in debt for anything except our home and our business. Both were paid off ahead of schedule. We learned that from our parents.

Neither of us ever worked where there was a retirement pension. We never sought the advice of an "Investment Person" as we figured that if they really knew their stuff, they would already be retired.

Retired nineteen years, so far, so good.
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Old 08-03-2012, 01:28 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by RUMSHIP View Post
(( We just really crunched some numbers-- repeatedly-- prior to retiring: how much our pensions would provide, and what would be our living expenses. We are super lucky to have pensions indexed to inflation. ))

A pension? What's that? Today company's are for going pensions for 401k's which count a lot on the market. Saving for most is like throwing salt over your shoulder and crossing your fingers and toes. But for those who retired well more power to ya. I'm hoping to be as lucky. Time to get back to work.
RUMSHIP, I really emphasize with this problem. I have a close family member in this situation: laid off, pension became worthless when the company stock tanked, an older employee, and so on.

I worked in different places. I am not drawing on one pension yet because it is heavily invested in the stock market. Like some of the others suggested, we try to live within the means of our primary incomes now.

We had great plans to retire in the US, but after reviewing the numbers, we realized that the cost of health insurance would have killed us-- if we could even get it for Len. If you haven't paid into social security for a long time (me), there is a stiff monthly premium. And then Len (Canadian citizen) was over 65. Although he would be eligible for a green card as my spouse, you can't get private health insurance in the US if you are of Medicare age, and you can't get Medicare till your green card comes through... which could easily take over a year. Then provincial health care eligibility expires if you are out of the country for over 6 months. Catch-22. We made the obvious decision to stay in Canada.

BTW, all the retirees here have probably made use of the best camping deal going: A lifetime seniors pass for the National Parks and other federal lands that costs $10, with half-price camping in the parks. Lately this has been amounting to something like $11.25 per night to camp right in the most beautiful places on earth!

Jeanne
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