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Discussion Starter #1
I know there are several retire'ees among us and those who have made the move to a simpler life. So how did you do it? Did you find that you really had to make some lifestyle changes, as far as spending on non-essentials. Have you been happy with the choice or do you wish you had worked a little longer and paid more stuff off or accumulated a bigger nest egg. If you are preparing to make the move what kind of preperations are you making, selling stuff not needed?? I think I am quite a ways off from retirement, but not to far away from makin a change to Makin do with less.
 

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First thing is to reduce monthly cash outlay, pay off the debts as much as possible before retiring.

On a fixed income the things that are needed such as electricity is a good place to start. LED bulbs cost way less to use, the cash outlay for the bulbs if done prior to retirement is a good investment. LEDs last ten times what a typical screw in flourescent bulb does, uses 10% of what they use in power. That savings though not much will help over time and definately when your on a fixed income.

Home heating and air conditioning, insulate now and start saving right away, upgrade your doors and windows. Having a good home heating and airconditioning tech check out your system and point out your needs can save as much as 40% on your annual costs, many homes have a too large of a furnace pushing too much CFM and causing a heat loss through inefficient transfer to your ducting. Too much causes this, too little causes furnace overrun. Tankless water heaters are a good saver also. Upgrading your clothes dryer to a newer more efficient one can save you more when on a fixed income.

Vehicles, one good compact SUV can help when retired in gas savings alone, smaller luxury vehicle ditto.

Insurance company needs to be notified of your retirement, less time on the road means less chances of accidents.

Simple things like cutting the grass, using a push mower helps you stay fit costs less to operate than a rider (get the wife one too)

Victory gardens, if you have floral gardens it don't hurt to put a few pepper plants, tomatoes, ect in with them seeing your taking care of them anyway. Growing edible greens, herbs and seasoning all helps.

Having a good freezer for storing fish fillets (you caught) wild game ditto, and frozen veggies from the victory garden.

During the winter it helps to have good warm clothing for indoors to conserve heat, I set my stat at 68 degrees and I'm comfy.

Planning trips to conserve gas is a good thing to get used too (The shopping list is important here) put every need on it and try to pick up all on the list. Stocking up on staples especially when on sale, things like TP, cleaning supplies, shampoos ect. If you do your own oil changes, having a large amount of stock will help over time.

Most often old timers get 100% free checking and that includes on line banking for paying the monthly bills and others say like a quarterly trash service, home heating bills it all saves in stamps ect.

The single most expensive grocery item I buy is when grand children are visiting, make your kids and grand kids understand if they must have something special bring it along, your retirement dollars don't stretch. Having a cookout sure you'll spend more but then you have to splurge once in a while, but having a buckburger and free range chickens on your property don't hurt none.

Making a half of pot of coffee instead of a whole one if your not going to drink it all saves a quite a bit over a years time.

Drinking water instead of soft drinks makes more sense, if your tap water is hard consider buying a filter vs buying bottled.
 

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Very interesting discussion. Hoping to hear a lot of input here! The wife and I have been talking over the last few weeks about when and how to make the move to retirement. Although a few years away (we think) never too early to start a plan. Truth is I wish we had thought more about this earlier in our lives.

Yep we have the 401k and pension coming from company but as most we will be on tight purse strings.

Plans,

- Eliminate all debt less home (this year)
- Sell current home and make move to much smaller one on same size property
- Continue to save, save, save but no more in 401k (don't trust stock market) (note! - I think what has worked for some in the past is no longer relevant with world financial issues)
- swany gives excellent advise above on daily changes to make an impact.


I hope more retirees weigh in here per MuleMan's request.
 

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We started the process before my dissability thing. Now with reduced income its going to be a bumpy ride. I now have to pay someone else to build the garage and fence the place (9 acres) as well as other stuff I know how to do but can't.My son is living with us while going to college so he helps more than his share as does my SIL (daughter rents the other place on, "the spread"). I'm very blessed to have their unselfish help. Some days I can (try or want to) help, but usually seems like I end up in the way.

All the other ponts of saving/utilization are being made so...................
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am very interested in how many would have retired earlier ( or later ) depending on their current situation. My own father never really retired, he has been getting workmans comp. for over 20 years and has not been able to work since a work related accident almost killed him. This made me realize we are not guarenteed to age 60 plus years to plan for retirement. My father-in-law retired at age 63 and has been quite happy since. He said he could have drawn about twice the retirement if he had worked until 65, but wanted to retire while he was still in good enough health to do the things he wanted. They live pretty simply, but are quite happy without extravigant spending. I have been wanting to make a change in work/lifestyle for a while, but have been putting it off while trying to pay everything off. I am now starting to wonder if it is sort of like having children " If you wait till you can afford it, you will never do it" ???? Do you really get to a point where you say "ok now I am ready" ????
 

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I retired at 67 four years ago,took my pention in a lump sum and bought out my siblings and had planned to work the family farm for a comfortable retirement but my health went to hell.I ended up renting out my pasture and buildings to pay taxes,sold the big house and am liveing in my old hunting cabin.I managed to keep the farm togather except the five acres I let go with the farm house.
I lost most of my "wall street" investments in the crash and now have only standard IRA earning less than 3% APR.So far I'v managed to get by on my "Sociable" security without haveing to dip into the IRA.
My wife was layed off three months ago,now the only health insurence we have is Medicare and my medical bills keep me on the edge.
I guess the best advise I could add to the above is to guard your health as much as possible and have a "Plan B"

I plan to hunt,fish and continue my nature study(all cheap hobbies once you'r set up) as long as I'm able.But I'v had to cut back on the more strenuous AND more expensive activities
 

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Mine came when I had 23 years seniority in a union shop and could not hold 2nd shift my preference. They forced me to work days I was 60 at that time.

The union had a deal at international level if you had 10yrs and 60 or older you could retire and draw a pension.

I had the 22 years was 60, and had my DJ business taking off, I gathered all the necessary papers to turn in, that day I went to the benifits office to do so and a large crowd was out front. Seems the company wanted to reduce the work force through attrition and was offering $35,000 to the ones that met the criteria. I signed up that day and retired two weeks later. I took the $35,000 and paid off a whole bunch of monthly debts, and bought one Marlin. I'm 65 now and loving it.

I'm very close to debt free, in fact by July I should be.

Bottom line have a plan B that earns you a little cash for a little work each month. Mine is the DJ business and it's going great, once the debts are gone then the kids are taking over the business and giving me weekly payments.
 

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You all think that you are a way off from retirement, I knew I was and had plenty of time to get every thing ready. I worked 11:00 to 0700 for many years so I had time to work part time day jobs, Left work one morning. Three days later I was In the hospital on life support, spent 36 hours on It. Dr. told my wife I most likely never get of it, but I fooled them the next day they told my wife that I would not live long enough to leave the hospital. I spent 23 days in the hospital, they sent me home with 14 bottles of medicine, they told my family Dr. not to worry about me because I would not live long enough to make my first appt. I was forced into early retirement, so I had time to spend on the computer checking my meds out, I found I did not like the side effects of some of them so started cutting them out. This all happened in September 2004. I am still alive and at a age that no one wants to hire. I am down to 3 pills a day. still retired, have very little cash to spend on toys. Went to the Dr. 24th. of Feb. 20011. Dr.'s first words out of his mouth was (DAMN) you look good to have been dead since 2004. So we never know when or how our plans will be changed. Sorry that this was such a long reply...
Oh and by the way the only reason I was down a Dr. over dosed me on 1 type of medicine.
 

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Figured I'd touch on a few other items that will help for retirement.


#1. If you are taking a med that has a generic, switch to the generic Wal Mart pharmacy and others sell generics for $10, try to get 90 day supplies.

Long term vitamins and aspirin regimines, these items have an incredible shelf life, later they will cost more.

#2. If you smoke, QUIT now.


#3. Get a good boat, motor and trailer for pan fishing to cut the food bill and enjoy your retirement.

Trolling motors for most are all that's needed for inland lakes, and recharging a battery will always be cheaper than gas.

Do learn how to filet and can fish and have the tools to accomplish it.

#4. If you hunt big game, buy your reloading equiptment now and stock up on the cals you have, also consider bow hunting.

#5. 5000 .22 rimfires are considered revolving stock.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have just finished ( well 90% anyway ) building my shop. We built it along as I had time and money to buy materials. I am hopeing this will allow me to do work at home to bring in some income. Maybe adding more gunsmithing services besides just making loops?? I am also going to strat doing more outside horseshoeing work. I have one more building to build, which will be about 8 to 10 stalls in a seperate stable. I have alot of the material for it already. Concrete and fill will still be a big expense along with roofing material. My main concern now is keeping health insurance for the family. I know I can make enough money that we can get by, but not sure how to provide insurance. I think I will have to take some kind of job away from the house for that. I have some friends shoeing full time and are being covered under their wifes insurance at her job. I have a good job now that pays Great, but it keeps me away from home 8 months out of the year. I just have come to the conclusion the time has come to stop telling my children how important family and faith is, while still chasing the all mighty dollar. I know I can not provide all the things working at home that I have been doing with my current job, but I will be able to spend time with the family which has been missing. I think going by Swany's comments that lifestyle changes must be made. I do not think it realistic to maintain the same spending habits we grow accustomed to when we have a bigger income from a full time job. I have the mules and the garden and go hunting, but to be honest feel a bit hypicritical to continue talking of the virtues of a simple country life while supporting my efforts with a full time job away from home.
 

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Sounds like you have a plan B, that's good. I definately would get into the other stuff on Marlins.

Yeah the fixed income adjustment is a trip but very doable, most scary part is the first step. I was pulling in $950 a week and was looking to cut that in half by retiring along with my DJ business. Very scary first step.

I'm sure you'll find other things to make a few bucks once you make that first step. Do the research and include your area on what is available that you can do.
 

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HEHEHEHE.. I loved Swany's advice about getting a boat and fishing, when I realized that the tobacco industry was in trouble in 1999 , I too a chunk of my tobacco settlement money and bought me a new tractor , front end loader , and jon boat with gas and electric motors.. fishing is a great way to pass time
 

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Yep a good boat will feed a family with a fisherman in it having fun. ;D
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I took care of that last year. I bought a used 18' flat bottom river boat that has a 50 HP jet drive on it. I spent the money and took it to a boat place nearby and had the engine tuned up and a new water pump put in it, so I think it will last me a long time. I only live about 1 1/2 miles to the river. I bought the boat not only with plans on fishing for trout, but also trapping on the river.
 

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That's the second part of retirement, having fun doing stuff you want to. ;D
 

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MULEMAN said:
I am very interested in how many would have retired earlier ( or later ) depending on their current situation.
I retired from the IBEW at age 50, 5 years ago and pretty much have never looked back except came out of retirement and worked 6 months about 4 years ago. I am too busy now to work! I did my time working as a wireman (electrician) mostly in my home state of AK, on the North slope for about 6 years, DEW line, all over the bush, 7-12's, 7-10's or whatever freezing my butt sometimes at -100F chill factor. I am so done with THAT! When work was slow I worked in CA back in the 80's and Seattle in the late 90's for a few years. Now I get a pension check direct deposited for me every month. I am busy duplexing our house in Juneau and will rent it out once my wife retires in a couple years and we are moving to our new house, about 75 miles north up the channel from here that I am building myself as well. Planning to garden, set crab and shrimp pots, and here residents can put out a 150foot drift net to fill our freezers up with "reds" when they are running, and oh yeah, the halibut, yeah baby! ;D. There is a moose season, and sitka blacktail deer on an island about 20 miles south. And lots and lots of bears and blueberries!
We should be pretty much debt free, and while I am leery of pension plans in general, this one I have through the union seems strong, weathered the last storm well, course if the stock market takes a major dump, who knows?? Guess I should stock up on powder and primers...

Anyone who thinks that they want to retire, but have it too good at work, well there is a name for that, called "The Golden Handcuff's" Nobody lives forever, I have seem too many not take the leap out of fear..
 

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I hear you there, had a good friend could have taken a $35,000 bonus and $2600 a month same time I did, he declined because of a kid in school. I did not need the extra his wife still works, but he had a heart attack and then decided to retire after the bonus was no longer available. That would have easily paid the tuition for a while as the kid got a lot of scholarships. Me I retired at 60 do wish I would have had the opportunity at 50. I've had 5 years of retirement now and do urge anyone to go for it.

First thing I've found is telling all the children you are on a fixed income and loans are available at the bank or credit union.
 

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swany said:
I hear you there, had a good friend could have taken a $35,000 bonus and $2600 a month same time I did, he declined because of a kid in school. I did not need the extra his wife still works, but he had a heart attack and then decided to retire after the bonus was no longer available. That would have easily paid the tuition for a while as the kid got a lot of scholarships. Me I retired at 60 do wish I would have had the opportunity at 50. I've had 5 years of retirement now and do urge anyone to go for it.

First thing I've found is telling all the children you are on a fixed income and loans are available at the bank or credit union.
The unions pension plan I am in allowed for early out at 48 with 50% penalty which reduced for every year worked past. My last 3 years I took a call doing electrical maintenance at a somewhat remote Air Force station in AK and it had been voted early on there that most all raises etc would go directly into the defined benefit pension plan so it was basically a place to pump up your pension before you retired. There were union plumbers, carpenters, electricians operating engineers, all of the trades were there and all with the goal of making their personal plans as robust as possible. The money into the plan when I put those 3 years in were like working 10 or more in construction. Most everyone else kept staying year after year, staring at their Excel spread sheet pension calculators. There were some who had been there for 20 or more years, one guy was 75, all dreaming of huge pension checks, and thats where I heard about the golden handcuffs. I could have stayed, but I was bored sitting around waiting for something to break down so I bailed and that was when I decided to sell everything and move to SE Alaska from Fairbanks and do what I always dreamed of doing, exploring the inside passage, build a house somewhere etc etc. I have never regretted leaving that airbase once! I saw a graph once while there of a statistical study done, data taken from Boeing workers I believe. There was an age line and a death line, the age line represented the age people there retired and the death line was how long on average those people lived once they retired. The age line started at I think 54 years and those people on average lived on into their high 70's to low eighties, but the longer the workers waited before retiring, the shorter their life expectancy was to the point where sometime around 66 or 67 or so the lines converged. I don't know if it is the stress of working is what reduced their lives, and of course it was only averages from Boeing workers. I think more than on the job stress, it is what happens when the "window of opportunity" time frame slips past for all the things you always wanted to do, your dreams and schemes. I think it does something that causes us to shutdown. Of course there are those who are fulfilled at work, love their jobs etc. I never hated my job as a construction worker, but never was fulfilled by it that much. I much preferred my time off doing the things I like doing. I think that is what can keep you going if you don't start too late...
"First thing I've found is telling all the children you are on a fixed income and loans are available at the bank or credit union. "
Yep, kids can be a problem. Now there is this whole new concept being floated called "adult children", adults in their low to mid 20's! Good God! The worst thing you can do for yourself as well as your kids is to tell them that one day "all of this will be yours". They may just stop trying. In the mind of an 18 to 20 year old, why should they go to college or work so hard when in a few years they will get the house etc anyway! It sounds ridiculous, but it does happen. Let them get their own loans, no cosigning unless you want to work forever paying it off. Of course every kid is different, but I have found where most parents see their kids as somehow better, and tend to trust them more. The best gift you can give them is for them to learn to fly from the nest on their own..
 

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My son brought up inheritance not long ago.
I told him he had better just keep his fingers crossed that he doesn't inherit a debt.
He said he would dig me back up. ;D
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I think seeing that window of opportunity close is a big one. I know it is for me. There are things I would try just several years ago that I would not now. I do not have a pension plan, but I am not really planning on a full retirement as much as just a change in lifestyle. I certainly understand what you mean about the "Golden Handcuffs" as that always comes up in conversation when quiting my current job is brought up. "But where else ar you going to make this kind of money" truth is I am not!! And I know that. I am prepared to not be able to spend money however I feel like it, as I have been, if I am able to be home and actually live my life more. One of the other engineers I work with fished tuna as a young man, but when he had kids he quit that job to be home with his family. Yes, he took a BIG paycut to do so, but he was home when his kids were growing up. Unfortunately, due to company sell outs and pension plans disappearing overnight he was forced to come back to the boats to make a living. I do not plan on financing my kids life, although I will help them if I can. I have two girls and I am not pushing them to go to college, if they decide to that is their choice. I will certainly help them some, but they will not graduate high school knowing their is a big college fund waiting, because it will not be. I will provide my kids with my time, which is much more valuable than any amount of money I could collect up to leave them. By the way Eagesnest I like the sound of your plan. I have a similar plan in thet we live close to town now in an area that is growing. I plan to live here until the kids are out of school, then sell this place and buy a much cheaper (and bigger) place farther out of town to live at till it is time to go home.
 
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