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Guys and Gals,

I frankly never thought of retiring but being somewhat prudent have saved that someday that day of recognition would happen.

My story: I will turn 61 in a few weeks and recently after being in the workforce for 45 years I have had this inkling that I am over this s... and want to play more.

I have a great job which I love but it is very demanding. I have been blessed that I may have hit the motherlode and may not have to work again as the next year unfolds if the cards play out.

That being said and I realize it is vague what does one have to do or better yet point me in the right direction as to what I have to do to collect benefits at 62. Where do I go what do I do?

As I said I truly never thought I would retire but as someone once told me you will know when it is time...I hear that clock ticking.

J
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direction as to what I have to do to collect benefits at 62. Where do I go what do I do?

?? ssa.gov

note that if you continue working at all,
benefits will be reduced... maybe better to
wait
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vision1220,

Congrats on realizing that there is more to life than working! Retiring is not sitting in a rocking chair on the porch. I believe that a lot of days, I work harder for free than I did when I worked for a paycheck.

You got the basic answer on SSA, http://ssa.gov/pgm/retirement.htm If you do work and get a reduced benefit, the wages are added to your SSA record and your benefit gets recalculated at FRA(Full Retirement Age) and normally increases. You can't sign-up for benefits until 90 days before your 62nd birthday.

Have you done any planning? I believe the most important aspect of planning is to get an accurate plan for expenses. You do not want to find out too late that you under-estimated expenses.

This planner was in a post on another board. It is simple but gives a pretty good picture for income/portfolio planning for retirement:

http://www.flexibleretirementplanner.com/wp/planner-launch-p...

Gene
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Gene,

Great stuff ...exactly what I was looking for. Thank you so much.

Jay
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J:

I echo the advice to check on official SS info and not listen to rumors or "what folks say".

As for your other income, mother lode or whatever, you sound wise enough to sit down and do the math, so go for it!

I was a middle manager and she was a teacher. Unfortunately, I was laid off at 59, and, about that time, she had to help her mom, whose health was failing, so she had to quit, too. (She had not taught long enough to have much of any retirement, and I had almost no pension, either. Reasons are valid, but immaterial here.)

I did consulting in my field for a couple of years but found I felt like you did -- enough! So, at 61, I sat down with her, we did the math (money in, money out, debts, how we'd do with SS income and reasonable other sources, like IRA, etc.), and felt we could do it. It felt good to just plain stop!

That was 10 years ago. I/we took a hit in our IRA's in 2008, of course, like most people, but I had been self-managing my IRA for years (buying, selling equities, etc.), so we've done okay -- better, in fact, than the "market". Remember that, within your IRA, there are NO taxes on ANY profits you make. You pay nil until you withdraw money (after 59-1/2, as you are) and then just income taxes. In our case, our income is low enough so we end up paying ZERO income taxes almost every year, state or federal!

We're lucky because we do not have expensive hobbies, don't smoke, never do "bars", don't enjoy movie theaters (too damned loud and unpleasant!), and she's very good at coupon shopping for groceries.

Still, we eat out almost every day -- usually lunch (cheaper usually than dinner and we try to have our bigger meal then). For other meals, she's a great cook, and I do the dishes -- a fair trade, I think.

We just marked 50 years. We're not rich, but we do okay, and we're awfully happy, retired up here on a quiet chunk of land on our ridge in Vermont. On a cold winter morning, especially, it's awfully damned nice to get up when we want to, have leisurely coffee or tea (maybe with some of her homemade muffins or something), and relax or go out, as we choose! No more commuting, no bosses, just us! Sounds like you'd love that!

This is too long, I guess, but my main message is this:

Follow your heart. Do the math. And enjoy your life.

Good luck!

Vermonter
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I left my firm at 49, then consulted from home (lots of travel) part-time until around 59. My wife also worked part-time during this time. Our one son is married, but not totally off the dole yet, as he's getting a PhD and wants to teach. He's getting a full ride, plus a stipend, and he'll probably get a fine tenure track slot somewhere, so I'm not worried about him. My wife and I did the numbers back when I left my firm, because we had no way of knowing then whether I would make any money and, if so, for how long. Halfway through my 59th year, I was diagnosed with a very severe heart issue (as in transplant-type issue), which ended my part-time consulting. Beleive it or not, one of the first thoughts to cross my mind at the time was how glad I was that I left the rat race, which had allowed me to have a good last 10 years. Well, we've got plenty of money to make it for however long is necessary, which is mostly an issue for my wife. I've improved somewhat (off transplant list for now), but my life has been changed forever, and not for the better. I had been a very healthy and active person, but now I'm quite limited in what I can do. Bottom line: You never know what's waiting for you around the next corner, so make the best of life while you can still enjoy it. Then, whatever happens next, you need to still make the best of each and every day. Good luck.
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This link about social security is taxed might be usefull too;

http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Taxation_of_Social_Security_b...



Good luck with your retirment.


Greg
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I retired 20 years ago at 56. The biggest revelation to me is the sense of security we get from keeping our expenses within our social security and pension income, so fluctuations in our investments are interesting but not threatening.

db
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Very good advice, and I hope you continue to be stable.

I am consulting now for a very high-profile "dream" client. Interesting work, but it's an environment that quite literally kills people with overwork. There's a trail of spent people who broke physically or mentally and had to leave. I have decided it's not a good idea to remain in the new year. Life is too short for this...
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...Where do I go what do I do?

Hi J!

Here's some advice I gave someone in different circumstances, but I think it still is appropriate:

http://boards.fool.com/hi-paul-rather-than-give-you-specific...

Cheers!
Murph
Home ( 66; retired at 57 and never looked back) Fool
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All situations vary but as a general rule, I recommend couples, especially where the ages and the income of the spouses vary, wait as long as possible to take their SS benefits.

There are some tricks like "file and suspend" that can earn you an extra $200,000 in lifetime income (again for coupels) from SS so it pays to do your homework and evaluate your options. Unless you think you will make 8% per year consistently from your retirement investments, you might be better off spending them down and postponing SS.
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I want to thank ResNullius and Vermonter. Parts of their posts resonate with elements of our own retirements and prompted some memory-jogging.

To begin with, we are not "rich" as retirees go. That word is relative, depending on lifestyle, among other things. We have always been frugal. We're not millionaires, but still relatively comfortable in roughly the top 20% of net worth of people our ages (67 and 65). I retired in 2005 and she did in -07. Both of us were 59 when we left as career teachers with 65 1/2 yrs. between us.

Vermonter mentioned eating habits. We regularly eat out once a week, usually at a $7.75 Chinese buffet or an $8.49 (senior price) buffet. We're pretty Old School about cooking. We actually know what to do with arm roast, chuck roast, and swiss steak. We don't buy those insipid potato flakes or Bob Evans's ready-to-heat mashed potatoes. Our ancient steel masher with a few slightly bent tines does just fine, and I don't have "tennis elbow." We make pizza from scratch as well as large quantities of vegetable soup for immediate eating and for freezing of leftovers. Those 2 are a bit tedious and time-consuming, aren't they? Of course, but when you're retired, you've actually got TIME to consume as you desire. I really believe, in hindsight, that one can't fully understand the equation of Time = Freedom.

ResNullius's details about his health resonated, too. I'm really sorry, RN, to hear of your heart condition. My diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes about 3 years ago pales in comparison. After years of "manly" no- doctoring, DW convinced me to get some screens. Why would I NOT have expected a blood sugar of 251 and a wretched lipid panel?? Oh, I had a vague, restless notion that eating what I liked when I liked and being 20-30 lbs. overweight for years weren't good ideas, but what the hell--I'd get around to that some day. Thanks to modern medicine, I'm doing very well on pills only with blood sugar in the 90's and a lipid panel of a Kenyan marathon runner with cholesterol in the low-100's and triglycerides and LDL near the low ends of acceptable ranges.

As for retirement investing specifically, I had the same ignorant I'll-get-around-to-it-someday mentality that I had about my health. We did nothing on our own for most of our teaching years except contributing the mandatory 3% deduction from our pay and sent to the IN Teachers Retirement Fund. This was put into a GIC (guaranteed investment contract). The only other choice was a bond fund. By conservative IN law, no equity mutuals were a choice. Several "old colleagues" in their 40's and 50's gently urged us to invest on our own. What?! With 2 kids, a mortgage, insurance, et al? Who you kidding? Go away, already.

Finally, with a resigned sigh, I made a move at the too-ripe age of 42. I'll never forget it. A week before the Oct. 1987 crash, we each had a fat $20 sent to our Fidelity 403B's through payroll deduction. Weren't those 403's an option all along, on top of our state-required 3%'s? Of course they were. Did we ever bother to check into that? Of course not! We had all the usual expenses of a married couple, but we could have contributed something for years. What's that thing about "start young....?" OMG.

Finally, if there's one thing I've learned above all others about retiring and finances, it's Expect. The. Unexpected. We've had our leach field and roof repaired, paid bills several times for a hospitalized bipolar/single mother daughter, had our well re-drilled, and more. Something's gonna' jump up and bite you on the ass--expect it. Plan for it?? Just a weak LOL on that one.
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I don't think you mentioned whether or not you were married. If you are, be sure to model the circumstances where each of you die and the other is left because the picture can look quite different than as a married couple. Also, be sure you both fully understand your finances.

I retired in 2004 but consulted part-time and continue to enjoy doing it. My husband died about 18 months ago and was unhappy only when he had to stop working so I have no story about how wonderful life is after retirement. For me, the key was having a choice and work looked much different after that.
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Everyone thank you so much for your input. There have been many heartfelt and helpful real life experiences that have been shared. Like I have heard from many of you..."you know when the time is right" and I love the fact that if I choose to find something else to occupy my time with that is good. The last 30 years I have worked in the hotel industry as a General Manager in many high profile locations. Unlike many jobs mine has been a 24/7 deal that has made me scarifice a lot without giving the dirty details.

Bottom line I will get a total grip on my financial position, practice the 3 L's (thank you Murph), play a hell of a lot of golf and chase (look) for 60 old year women.

Thanks y'all as they say here in Birmingham.

Roll Tide
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vision1220:

Not to be pushy, though I guess this is (!), we still wonder: Are you married or single? I only ask because that can obviously affect your planning!

Good luck, regardless.

Vermonter (married -- for 50+ years)
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V,

I'm single (divorced) and no kids so no matter how you look at it I don't have the family responsibities that most have.

Jay
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Jay:

Forgive my nosiness. You still need to plan, of course, but a spouse and/or kids can obviously impact choices.

Good luck.

Vermonter
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V,

Certainly no problem and I appreciate your input. Agreed that planning is essential.

J
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