Does it seem like a sacrifice or not?
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  1. #1
    Registered User KathyB's Avatar
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    Default Does it seem like a sacrifice or not?

    I am one of those people who wants to retire on the early side. I am aware that I could be financially better off waiting more years. But by my rough calculations my husband and I should be doing okay financially. Not at the level of traveling all over the world or eating in fancy places, but I am okay without having that.

    I read an article by someone who had the opposite view as me. He said he saw the sacrifices made by people who retired early and were living frugally. He wanted no part of that. He was working extra years so he could “live life to the fullest” when he retired.

    To me if seems like the bigger sacrifice is working years you do not have to. My hobbies and interests tend to be cheap to moderately priced. What I long for currently is not more money for hobbies and entertainment. It is more time for hobbies and entertainment.

    We are frugal now. Maybe on the moderate side of frugal compared to some here. (Some coworkers might disagree with that assessment, but that is another story.) But my lifestyle does not seem like a sacrifice. I have been dirt poor a good chunk of my life. So right now I feel like I am living pretty good even though it is below my means.
    KathyB

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    yes I think your wants make a big difference in your retirement. and if you are still paying off debts too. if you are a content person who is happy with less then that makes a world of difference

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    Registered User KathyB's Avatar
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    I feel like we live in a culture of "more." I feel at odds with the world sometimes.

    Well maybe it is just that my "more" is different than most. It comes down to time for me right now. I can easily afford more craft supplies a year than I have time to use up a year. I can say the same thing about books, games, jigsaw puzzles.

    For example, right now I working on a small felt doll. It costs less then $1 in craft supplies. I could afford to make 50 or more of them a month. Working on it off and on it will take me almost a month to finish just one.
    KathyB

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    Registered User NikoSan999's Avatar
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    I think maybe a lot of it is dependent upon how much you like/hate/tolerate your job and the people you work with.
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    Registered User KathyB's Avatar
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    I am kind of going through a rough patch at work right now. But even before that I felt the same.

    Even a good job is not as enjoyable to me as the time I spend on my hobbies and other activities I do for fun. I prefer the company of my husband and friend over my coworkers. Which is not to say I dislike my coworkers.

    I know some people find deep fulfillment on their jobs. I think they are more the exception than the rule.

    I feel kind of worn out lately. Sometimes a full week at work seems a little too much. Sometimes I do not have much energy on evenings or weekends to do what I want to do. Maybe I am getting old. Maybe that will change when the situation changes a little at work.
    KathyB

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    I think there are several factors here. Priorities comes to me first. Sometimes money and wants are the priorities and that person does what they can to get those. For others, it may be relaxation. So, it's not a money issue, but a stress issue. Health can be draining. Lack of not having a social life can be depressing....

    Retirement can come earlier if the desire to (fill in the blank) is great and the financial issues aren't much of an issue because you desire less anyways at that point. Sometimes enough really is enough. If you think that you have enough money to retire early, then you do.

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    Registered User CPA-Kim's Avatar
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    As long as you can afford good health care and are out of debt, I would agree that retiring early can be wonderful.
    Kim
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    Registered User KathyB's Avatar
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    Well I think we are pretty lucky as for health care because we will be able to keep the healthcare from work after we retire. We are almost out of debt. We should finish off paying the last credit card sometime this year. After that we just have the mortgage. I think we will be a couple years away from paying for that when retire. However, we could easily toss some extra money in it and be done with it before retirement. We are doing the snowball method with credit cards. So after this last one is paid we should have an extra $2000 - $3000 a month.

    Our salaries are average to below average for the high cost of living area we are in. But they are well above the average earning for the US.

    Stress is a factor as well for me. I am an introverted homebody by natural temperament. Just coming into work and dealing with coworkers all day can be emotionally draining for me. This is not to say that my coworkers are difficult people, just that interacting with people can take a bit out of me. Large numbers of people outside when I am walking can be a bit draining too.
    KathyB

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    I have worked at my job for 28 years. I have 2 more years here. However, I have seen a lot of people retire..then not be around to enjoy it. Just found out our maint. man who retired 4 years ago, has inoperable brain cancer and is paralyzed on the one side. ~4 years is all he had to enjoy his retirement. So sad.
    Same thing happened to a couple secretary's here...they retired...and within one year were no longer around to enjoy it.
    My advise is..if you can afford it, by all means retire early. ~You never know what can happen around the corner.

  11. #10
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    I retired when I was 57 and don't regret it. None of us can tell you exactly what to do; we can only share our own stories and allow you to see where the similarities are.

    I was nervous about retiring. Hubs had retired early the year before. We were not old enough for Medicare, so would have to use the insurance extended by my husband's work. And that stuff was expensive. I was also nervous about how we would meet expenses.

    So we did an experiment for an entire year before Hubs retired. We knew at that point what Hub's monthly income would be in retirement, so we lived on that amount for a year. My income and the extra from Hub's salary went into savings. We also kept a notebook on the kitchen table, and when we came home, we jotted down every penny we spent. So we had a good idea of how our money was spent in a year and how the retirement income would work. It gave us time to think thru some decisions and tweak the plan.

    We did enter retirement debt free..... completely. That was a fear..... carrying debt into this new stage of life. And I'm glad that we made sure everything was paid for.

    It's actually turned out better than we could have imagined. Hubs had been paying 13% of his salary into the retirement fund, but when he stopped teaching, there was no more of that! So that helped make up for the higher cost of health insurance. Medicare has helped immensely.

    We, too, are satisfied with a low key life.... just puttering around the homestead. But we also enjoy traveling, and were amazed to find out that we actually could afford some trips in retirement that were not possible before we retired.

    One of the smartest moves we made was getting a financial advisor so that we had professional help in managing our funds.

    Spend time talking talking talking with your spouse about your dreams and fears. I wish you the best.
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  12. #11
    Registered User KathyB's Avatar
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    I have talked with my husband previously. Luckily we are in agreement about wanted to retire early.

    My husband has health issues. I want to have at least a few years where we are retired and he is in good enough health to go places. I am thinking mostly of local places and local festivals and events. Maybe a little travel to nearby cities.

    Travel is not a huge priority for me. If we have extra money, maybe we will travel a bit. But if we wind up not doing it for either financial or health reasons, I am okay with it.

    I am not sure exactly how much we will get in retirement. Part of it I can figure out. There is a certain minimum base we will get for pension and social security. I feel confident we could live on that. Then there is the retirement funds, which will be extra. But those are based on investments and investments are hard to predict. So I am not counting on that money. But it could add a significant chunk to our income.
    KathyB

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    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    You can calculate your SS on the SS website. You have to be at least 62 to draw SS, 65 to get Medicare. The earlier you start to draw your SS, the less you get per month for the duration.

    Husby's employer's website gave info so he could calculate his pension. Don't know if yours does, but might be worth checking.

    Health insurance is the budget killer. Premiums are insane. You can get quotes from various providers to get some idea of those costs. That alone can bring on a heart attack, so get ready for a shock.

    There are some offsets to consider though. If you currently pay into a retirement account for example, you won't after you retire. Same for expenses like union dues or your portion of health insurance through your employer. If you look at your income statement, you can see which things you're now paying that will stop after you retire.

    Of course you already plan to move to a lower COL area, which should decrease your expenses drastically. It's also good you don't own cars, from a financial standpoint.

    Have you considered Sioux Falls? South Dakota has a fairly low COL and no state income tax. Pensions are not taxed either. We found real estate taxes were high compared to Minnesota, and unlike here, food and clothing are also taxed. Sioux Falls is a regional hub for health care, so you wouldn't have to travel except for worst case. That's going to be true for most any midsize city.

    It might be worth a look at Sioux Falls based on the tax situation. I haven't compared stats or amenities but I would guess Sioux Falls would be similar to Omaha except Nebraska has state income taxes. Sioux Falls does have a zoo. Not sure how it compares to Omaha's, but the two cities are less than 200 miles apart and there may be bus service between the two for the occasional trip, or even regional air service. Same for Minneapolis if you wanted to go to that zoo or some of the big Minnesota museums. Minneapolis is about 250 miles from Sioux Falls or an easy flight.

    You may find you don't have to sacrifice as much as you think since you are willing to keep your lifestyle fairly simple and relocate to a less expensive area.

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    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    I think whether or not something is a sacrifice depends if you think it is. If you don't care about traveling a lot, then it's not a sacrifice like it would be for someone whose retirement dream is to take expensive trips frequently all over the world, and could have afforded to do so if they hadn't retired early.

    I also think media gears their retirement stories to people in the upper class or close to it. If you read retirement magazines, it's like they assume everyone wants to move to expensive locations, take cruises and visit luxury resorts and go to Europe all the time, play golf constantly at high end courses, buy million dollar motorhomes to tour the country, etc. Not much is ever said about those of us who like to travel in our little cheap campers so we can stay at public parks and save money cooking our own food instead of eating at fancy restaurants. IOW, I think most people's less expensive, more financially conservative retirement realities are vastly under-represented in the media, which gives the impression if we're not all taking exotic trips and spending lots of money, we're doing it wrong. Every person's retirement is different, and however you think is the right way is YOUR right way.

    Our decision to retire early came about because the sacrifices of not retiring started to outweigh the sacrifices of retiring. So far, and of course it's early days yet, it feels like the right decision. Retiring shouldn't impact our lifestyle much. We like being at home so that part works for us. We also like to travel and camp, and would like to do more long distance trips. But if that does not work for us, we live in an area where there is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to great camping destinations within 200 miles, so if we can't afford to take long trips, we can still take shorter trips and enjoy ourselves.

    Have you thought about transferring now to a lower COL area where the commute might be easier and you could save time that way and maybe have less stress? Or if you can get your current job's pension now, moving and getting a different job entirely? State govs might love to hire former feds with experience they need.

    It's a lot to think about. Lots of options, and not one of them is perfect, including continuing to work. But I have to say, only 2 months in, for us early retirement was the right decision.

  15. #14
    Registered User KathyB's Avatar
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    SD, you raise some very good points. The kind of retirement I want is not really represented in the media. If it is, it is often presented as "settling" or somehow "less than." Well I suppose it is technically less than, but not less than in a negative way. I do not feel my life is somehow not as enjoyable because I don't have the big ticket items.

    On the one hand, advice from websites is potentially useful. On the other hand, much of it is from people with with life situations, income level and values that are different than mine. But it gives me things to think about. For example I look at the downsides listed and see if those things would be potential issues for me. One downside listed was reduced influence and prestige. Umm...I really do not have any influence or prestige in my current job, so that is not a factor.

    Luckily, the federal government still pays the employers share of health premiums for retires, so I am okay there. Another thing about reduced income is that half your income is actually more than half your income. Because the top chunk of our current income is taxed at a higher rate. So we should have a little over half from social security and pension. And then whatever our retirement funds give us. Really right now we are living at not much more than half our income not counting the money we are funneling into debt paying and savings.

    Right now the city we are thinking of is Indianapolis. Now some of you might think, wait that it is still a major city. But right now I am living in the fourth largest metro area in the US. Indy is much smaller in both population and population density. There is a huge difference between a big city and really big city. Over here there are six lane busy streets in the suburbs. Big cities are downright relaxing compared to really big cities. I am basing this on my own personal experience.

    So why Indy? It is because they have a strong culture of people who play tabletop games. There are multiple games stores in the city with open gaming tables. And of course they have Gen Con. I think the crowds would be a bit much for me to do the whole con, but I would like to try a day or two or it. (These are board games and RPGs, not gambling.) It also has many of the features I am looking for, museums, art, zoo, botanical gardens and nice river walk. But there are several other cities that are not too large for me that have these. It is the gaming thing that is the deciding factor.
    KathyB

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    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    If your employer continues to pay half your health insurance, that's huge. Husby's does not, but we can stay in the pool so we get the group insurance rate. It's still enormously expensive.

    Wanting prestige is wanting to be in a position where others are envious. I don't need that either. I don't care if people think I'm boring. I can't make everyone happy no matter what I do, so luckily I have no desire to try.

    Almost everyone's retirement is bound to be less than, unless you're filthy stinkin' rich and money is no object for any whim you want to follow, which I suspect is not the case or you'd be retired already. We all have to set priorities for our money, and if you are happy with your options, then that's all the matters.

    Personally, I'm looking forward to retiring some day myself. I will know I've arrived at retirement when I get to spend most of my days sewing, reading, and doing only what I actually want to do. Right now, there are too many must-do projects around here for me to feel retired. I don't know if I ever will get to retirement, but I hope so.

    Can you go to the con in Indy before retirement to see how you like it? Did you already do that? I can't remember. But visiting a place even as a tourist can be very informative.

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