I am a Victorian Soul, live in a small townhouse that was built in the mid 1970's, not a huge Mega Mansion, with my Hubby Joe, who is a Retired Letter Carrier. I worked night shift as an RN on a Hospital based Rehabilitation( Physical Medicine) Unit for 37 years before I had Knee Replacement Surgery and officially Retired in 2019 after 41 years working in Direct Patient Care ... I am LOVING Retirement!!!!

I DABBLE IN A BIT OF THIS AND THAT!!!!

" IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO BE WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE BEEN"
George Eliot
George Eliot was actually a pen name for a woman named Mary Anne Evans......

BLOGGING FOR FUN AND FRIENDSHIP!!!!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2020

How to Retire Early......

 

 

  Welcome to Debbie-Dabble Blog!!

I am so happy you decided to stop by!!

It is almost a year since I decided to resign and quit working 6 months prior to my planned Early Retirement......

But, I was lucky and I was able to adjust my time line and leave an extremely toxic work environment after I had  and recovered from Knee Replacement surgery......

 Since I did this, I have been frequently asked......

What did Joe and I do that we were able to retire early??????

Back in 2016, when Joe was about to retire at the age of 62 years old, I did a series of posts on Early Retirement......

If you are interested in reading that Series, I have a link to the Series listed at the top of my right Side Bar that you can click on and then from there you can click on each post......

Since I did that Series, I officially retired when I turned 62 years of age in January and now I am collecting my Social Security......

But I started to plan for Retirement many years ago........

When I first found out well over 30 years ago that my employer was going to offer a 401K plan, I decided to do as much research on it and find out all I could about it......

After doing so, I decided that it was wise to invest my own money into the 401K Plan along with what my employer would put in and match.....

 After I did so, we spoke to my next door neighbor, at the time, who had lots of experience with 401K plans and investments and he guided us as to how I would distribute my investments.....

It was because of his advice that I did rather well until the economy tanked several years ago.....

That was when I moved almost all of my investments into the Fixed Account in my 401K....

Now before I go any further, I need to explain what my mind set was at the time I started thinking bout Retirement.....

My Dad had recently passed away at the age of 67 years old suddenly....... unexpectedly....

My Dad had retired but my Mother continued working while collecting her Social Security and worked for several hours in the mornings..

The last day she worked was the day my Dad died......

She always regretted that she continued to work and that they never got to spent time together when they both retired.....

She always told me to not let that happen to me and if by some chance, I could retire early, to do so and enjoy that time because tomorrow is promised to no one.....

I had been thinking about Retirement....not even Early Retirement, and realized that if I stayed with my employer, I would not have a pension as one was not offered as a benefit...

Also at the time, Joe was working in factories which also did not offer a pension so all we would have would be our Social Security which I knew would never be enough to live on....

 That is why I jumped on the chance to invest in a 401K plan......

I figured at least we would have my 401K plan in addition to our Social Security.......

I knew my Social Security check would be much more than Joe's would be and I monitored both of our estimated Social Security Entitlements for at least 20 years prior to Retirement to see how we were doing...  

Now, you can easily do this by creating an Acct. and password on the Social Security web site, which will allow you to see what your projected benefit will be at different ages....

It is actually quite simple to do!!

And you don't want to be surprised when you are ready to retire and not know what you will be getting from Social Security!!

As luck would have it, at the age of 43 years old, Joe was offered a job as a Letter Carrier for the US Post Office....

He now would get a pension when he retired and he also had a 401K plan to invest in.....

I had a co worker who always spoke about working with a financial planner and I always thought that it was through the company that handled our 401K plan...

We started to work night shift together and she started to talk about quitting work and retiring at 62 years old...

I was 55 years old and had just been told that I needed Knee Replacement surgery but I was "too young" meaning that if I had it done at that age, I would most likely need it repeated in my 70's....

If I could hold off the surgery for a few years, it would be better for me...

That is when I started to wonder if I, too, could retire at 62 years old like my co-worker.... 

I decided to look into it and was pleasantly surprised when I asked my co-worker about the Financial Planner she worked with and found out that it was through our Credit Union and was a totally FREE service!!!

I made an appointment and found out what information that I needed to prepare for the meeting....

We formulated a plan and he advised me on how to invest mine and Joe's 401K plans....

Our original plan was that Joe would work until 65 years old and I would try to hold off my surgery until 3-4 months or so before I turned 62 and retire after my surgery...

Plans change.....

Joe's osteoporosis was progressing and he had already suffered 2 compression fractures in his back so we again met with the Financial Planner to see if it was feasible for Joe to retire at 62 years old....

When he told us that it could be done, we changed our plan.....

What I will say is that I wish we would have started to work with a Financial Planner sooner than we did because we could have benefited a lot more from his expertise.....

Not only with investments but he was also able to secure Life Insurance for us as I would be dropped like a Hot Potato from the Life Insurance that I had through work once I stopped working and Joe, who would still retain some of his Life Insurance from work but it decreased in value...

Putting finances aside, you also have to decide what type of life style you want to have once you retire..... 

If you want to travel, move to another area, buy a vacation home, buy maybe an RV, etc....

You have to plan for all of that....

We did not want to do any of that.....

With my numerous health issues, I knew that my days of traveling were over in my late 40's...

 I was fine with that because we did a lot of traveling when our sons were young and I felt that was when it was more important to do so, creating memories for them....

What we wanted was a quiet, relaxed retirement in which we could enjoy our family and our free time.....

Part of our plan was to adjust to Frugal Living prior to Retirement.....

That meant paying off whatever Bills we had like our mortgage and all credit cards......

We already had paid off both of our cars but they were both over 10 years old so we decided that when the time came, we would trade in both cars and buy one fairly new car.....

We always had one brand new car and one pre-owned car and had no trouble with our pre-owned cars...

We would be able to do this because where we live is close to stores, entertainment, medical facilities, etc. and could easily survive with one car...

We would also stop spending money on things we did not need.......

And we would try to do what we had never done in our whole married life......

BUDGET.......

Prior to Joe's retirement at 62 years old, he stopped going to the Casino which is 10 minutes from our home.....

 

And much to everyone's surprise, he also quit smoking after over 50 years of doing so.....

That in itself saved us about $500-$600 a month!!!

I also cut way back on spending money on things for the house which is my passion....

I had already stopped spending money on clothes, shoes and jewelry long before that....

When we started to experience more frequent car repairs, I had decided to tell the garage that we took our cars to for servicing to start looking for a car for us since they also sold pre-owned cars......

I did not want to put any more money into 2 cars that were 12 and 13 years old respectively....Joe agreed....

As fate would have it, about 2 weeks before I had to stop working, they found the exact car that I wanted......

Even in the color that I wanted!!!

Again, I had researched online and knew exactly what color interior, exterior, features and mileage that I wanted in a pre-owned car....

Because of the plan that we had put into place......

We were able to  trade in both of our cars and pay cash for our "new" to us car therefore once again, not having a car payment......

Having only one car has worked wonderfully for us and we are thrilled that we did it as it has also saved us in car insurance, gas and maintenance.....

So by starting and sticking to a plan, paying everything off that we could including our mortgage, credit cards, and car before we both retired, we were able to retire early......

It is never too late to meet with a Financial Planner and formulate a plan that will work for you and for the life style that you want to lead once you are retired.....

Joe did work part time for 2 1/2 years once he retired but that was really never figured into our plan.....

Whatever he made working part time was always extra money or what we looked at as "Play" money....

Joe's part time salary was used for our Season tickets for the Pittsburgh Penguins AHL team, the Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins and for attending different concerts and shows at the Arena which is only 5 minutes from our home and the F.M. Kirby Center which is only 10 minutes from our home...

So now that he is not working part time at this time, it really has not affected us especially now with the Pandemic causing these things to be shut down.....

Joe is hoping that once AHL Hockey can return, he will be able to get a part time job either with the Wilkes Barre Scranton Penguins or with the Arena....

I will not go into the specifics of how our investments are paying us now as I addressed this in my Series on Early Retirement and you can read about that there if you chose....

I will say that I put a huge chuck of my 401K money into an annuity that pays me $1000 a month for the rest of my life and that is what we use for the cost of health insurance....

I just wanted to address this subject of Early Retirement since now, we both are retired and have been frequently asked how were we able to do so!!

We are loving being retired at this age!!!

 After all, tomorrow is not promised to everyone.....

In a future post, I will share how I have dealt with not working after almost 42 years of doing so.... 

It was definitely a change in life style and it was a huge adjustment for me because one day, I was working and within 2 hours, I was no longer working and scheduled for Knee Replacement surgery in a month....

What I struggled with was Time Management.....

But I will save that for another time.....

So I hope you will stop by to visit again soon!!

Stay safe, healthy and most of all, HAPPY!!

Thanks to those who took the time out of their busy day to spend a little bit of time with me!!

If you do not have a blog, PLEASE  give me some way to reply to your comment, maybe by including your email in your comment.  If I can not find a way to reach you, I will reply on the post where you commented so please check back......


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27 comments:

  1. What wonderful advice, Deb. You started planning early on and I think that is key...many of us waited way too long to have a plan as good as yours. I am so glad you are both retired and that you can spend some time together in retirement while you are young enough to enjoy it. xo Diana

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  2. I have a question? I retired from the State at age 60 and receive a monthly pension check. I will receive my Social Security next year. Is it too late to put money into an annuity? I have 100k in a fixed rate account that I would like to use. If you know please tell me if that can be done. Regards Rex

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    Replies
    1. As I am not sure where you have 100K invested, I am not sure....I pulled most of my money out of my 401K when I turned 591/2 which was the age that my plan allowed me to do so. At that time, I set up an annuity with $200,000 that would start to pay me $1000 a month when I turned 62 years old and will continue for as long as I live....My husband has money in an annuity but it is different and every year, we can decide to leave it there or move it into something else. I suggest you meet with a financial planner, Most credit unions offer it as a Free service if you belong to one...
      Debbie

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    2. Thank you Debbie. The 100k is an IRA with Lincoln. I am very comfortable living on my monthly pension as I did work for 34 years. I will start receiving my Social Security next year. I plan on just saving it. My home is almost paid for. It is a 2 story but had 2 bedrooms downstairs. I also have other savings. Debbie thank you for your posts. I enjoy seeing your home all dressed up. If you lived closer I would gift you with many things that I no longer use. Best Regards Rex

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    3. Rex,
      I see you messaged me on face book to friend me....Send me a friend request by clicking on to the link on my side bar and i will accept....I hope this post helped and thanks for commenting..
      Deb

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  3. It sounds like you really planned well. My son is working with a financial planner and almost paid off a home before he was 30. He would refinance and roll the equity into the principal and keep the payments the same for a shorter period. He was able to sell that house and buy one for twice the price. He still invests and just rolled his 401 K into mutual funds. I dont' even understand half of what he is doing.

    I totally believe in planning ahead for retirement, too. My dad was still working at 81 when he suffered a stroke. My mom worked way past 65. My husband had a job with a pension. I never really counted on it. He was able to retire at age 60 with 30 years. My original plan was my Public Employee Retirement which I had vested 15 years which meant I would have free insurance and we could purchase his policy at a discount. Well, bad investments in Enron (not me, the fund) and the insurance options disappeared. I was then working in the private sector. I began to apply for office jobs at our local hospital which offered great insurance. I was thinking I could continue working after he turned 60 and carry the benefits. That plan got squashed when my dad suffered a serious stroke and I had to quit my job early to care from him.

    The part of my husband's pension that I never ever considered would still be in place when he retired was the "spouse's pension". Since I am 10 months older than my husband I qualified as soon as he retired. Spouses get an additional half of what his monthly pension is. This pays for our insurance and a little extra. We had our home paid for, as well as our automobiles when he retired so we are set.

    We also do not travel much or have expensive tastes. I still deposit the "car payment" in a savings account every month so we will have the money to replace the vehicles by paying cash. We found we saved a lot of money after we both stopped working on gas, car repairs, eating out, etc.

    The only problem we have is that some of our friends make snide remarks about how we were able to retire at 60 and that we lucked out. LUCK had nothing to do with it. We have always lived frugally, we have always saved, we have always planned. We may have altered plans, but we still did what we could to make it work. We never took the kids to Disney or moved out of our starter house (we did build an addition - in the plan!), we never had fancy cars or a boat or motorcycle. I had a friend who lost her husband early and wanted to be able to spend time together before it would be too late. We love retirement.

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    Replies
    1. I should add that my "spouses pension" is more than my PERS and Social Security will be added together. My husband's union will help me apply for both, have them sent to them when I turn 65 and they replace part of my spouse money so I remain whole. Since pensions are a thing of the past, young people really need to invest wisely in 401Ks.

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    2. Miss Merry,
      We had the option to take less of a monthly payment of my husband's pension which would then give me a spousal death benefit if he passed away. If I passed away first, he would have lost all that money. So we chose not to take the death benefit for me as I receive more in the way of Social Security combined with my annunuity that pays me $1000 a month than his SS and pension combined.Instead, we use that extra monthly money to pay for life insurance policies for both of us so someone will be able to get some type of money when either one or both of us die.Joe is on medicare as I carried him on my health care insurance since mine was so much better than the one offered by the Post Office. I am now on Cobra and at the end of this year, I will have to find health care insurance for myself...The car that we have now should last us hopefully until we die because since we live so close to everything, there is very little mileage being put on it...We did travel a lot when our sons were young because that was the time we thought it was important to do so , creating memories for our sons..We still live in what I thought would be our starter house and I am glad that we did not move because we are so close to everything. The reason why I wrote this post was because I was being bombarded by other people asking how we did it because they can not imagine being able to retire early...When I tell people that we planned for this, most of them are dumbfounded as the thought never occurred to them!! Thanks for your input!!
      Hugs,
      Deb

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    3. A funny story - and I bet you have heard the same - is that a lot of people who always told us our house was too small with all our children - now tell us we were smart to stay in our smaller single story home. I will admit that I did not fully realize what a wise move that was until my mother developed ALS and then my dad had a stroke. I will admit the fact that our home is "flat" was dumb luck :)

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    4. Miss Merry,
      I too am glad we stayed in our 1300 sq. ft. townhouse but I only wish that there was not 13 steps to get up from the parking lot to the sidewalk in front of our townhouses..And that we have a second story..That is why in about 10 years from now if we are both still alive, we will be looking at putting yet another new roof on this house. That is when we may decide to sell this house, put the money into an annuity that pays us monthly and use that money to pay rent on a one floor maintenance free apartment. That is going to be the next consideration in our plan...whether to keep this house or move to a handicapped accessible one floor apartment without maintenance...
      Hugs,
      Deb

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  4. We're retired and my husband went back to work. He is working part time in the same place and business and likes it. Works from home and only has to go downtown once in a great while. He said he likes keeping in touch with whats going on. I wished some times I had a part time job as I miss being out around people more.
    Speaking of knee replacement for you at 55 and being too young and may need another, I shouldn't have to get another on the same knee, I hope not. I was 62 when I had it done. Now at 66 I know I am needing a replacement on my other knee. Hate that. Gosh I wish there was another way.

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    Replies
    1. Betsy,
      Joe worked part time and now has recently quit working at Wegman's as they wanted him to work weekends and evenings. For him, missing the socialization that a part time job provided will be a factor that he will have to deal with. For me, I consider myself anti-social after dealing with the general public when they are at their worst...when they are ill.....I honestly have no desire to be around people, especially those that I do not know. Right now, my other knee is doing well because of the time I spend on my stationary bike so I hope to not need another knee replacement until I am in my 70's. However, when that time comes, I will not put it off like I did with the first one. I wou;d rather have it done and get it over with. Thanks for commenting!!
      Hugs,
      Deb

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    2. I am sure in the profession you were in you do enjoy your time now. Lot of years listening to moaning and groaning I am sure. I bet you are not missing cleaning off a snowy car to get to work now too. That's hard.

      I used to ride the stationary bike at the YMCA and now I need to start back. My husband was doing laps in the pool every night at the Y and really missed it when it closed a while due to virus.
      My doc said that when I got the first one TKR that I probably wouldn't need another, but I hear different from other people who have had two. Oh well, will have to see how it goes.

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  5. This is an awesome post and I have read all of your posts on the subject. You are one smart cookie lady. I am going back to add this post to my saves. Thank you for taking the time to invest in your blogging friends with this subject. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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  6. This is a very good read. Sounds like you have planned very well. Good for you. I also am retired and loving it.

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  7. Great advice we are getting ready to retire in a few years, well hubby, I have just had very little jobs over the years, mostly babysitting. Did a lot of volunteer work but that doesn't help.

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  8. ********************************************************
    Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
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  9. Great post, Debbie. Very interesting and informative. I agree you need to start planning early. My hubby and I have been planning and preparing for when he retires. It sounds like you were well prepared and weighed all of your options. Thank you so much for sharing and have a blessed week.

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  10. You have proved that with lots of planning, research and determination, you can have a comfortable retirement one day! We also crunched numbers, and thanks to my husband's NYC job, have his pension. We were able to retire at age 59 and have never regretted getting an early start on this wonderful time in our lives! So glad to hear that you are also enjoying every moment of your retirement!!

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  11. Words of wisdom, Deb. Great for the "younger" generation to think about. We had a 401K when Jerry retired the first time. Then we both had retirement from school district and the kids rent our house in Santa Cruz. We have Social Security and it all helps. With only SS we couldn't make it. We still have to be careful. It is really expensive to live now..Stay well..xxoJudy

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  12. I am interested in how your husband quit smoking after so long. Thank youfor your wise words.

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    Replies
    1. Peggy,
      My husband was well motivated when he quit to save money so he could use it to pay for our Season Hockey tickets for the Pittsburgh Pens AHL team that play in the arena right by our house. He had cut back to not smoking i the house or car. He went to our family Physician and obtained an order for the "patch" which contains decreasing dosages of nicotine over a several week period of time. As I laugh, he was strongly motivated to save money so when he quit, he never even went back and smoked one single cigarette once he started the patch. He actually amazed everyone because he never tried to quit before!! Good Luck to you!!
      Hugs,Deb

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    2. Thank you, I too really need to quit! I think you have to make up your mind, get some help like the patch and quit. Tell him I think it's wonderful that he quit because it is very difficult and he's an inspiration to me!

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    3. Peggy,
      Good Luck to you if you decide to try quitting...Like I said, we were all shocked that he did it but money was a huge factor!! LOL!!
      Hugs,
      Deb

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  13. Great post! A financial planner is a huge help in planning for the future and I am so thankful for spending time with one early on. They have knowledge and ideas that I certainly would never have found otherwise. I laughed at Joe's quit smoking move. My husband had tried to quit two or three times, and never succeeded even when his mother offered him a substantial "bribe". Then a young lady in a youth group I led lectured him quite soundly about the health and environmental issues. He quit that night and has not smoked once since! SMH!! He also used the patch. Enjoy your retirement and thanks for sharing your story!

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  14. Great info! It's not too far off for my husband and I, either1

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