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As one still planning for retirement, I want to ask you retired fools how much income is enough for a happy retirement?

Yes, I know, everyone is different and it depends on your values and your particular situation and what you want to do in retirement, etc. etc. But -- what was your experience? Are you surprised by how little you need or surprised at how fast you are spending down your nestegg? How does your retirement household spending pattern compare to what you thought it would be? And how does it compare to pre-retirement spending?

One thing that scares me a little, is that more time to play, means more time to spend money. Working helps keep a lid on consumption by keeping you from doing all those expensive projects you don't have time for. On the other hand, I've often suspected that working folks try to make up for lack of enough play time by spending heavily on what little time they have. Capital-intensive recreation, I call it.

I take some reassurance in the knowledge that we've lived at various income levels, and always had no problem adjusting to what was available, and met our savings goals.

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It sounds, Jim, as though you have an excellent orientation already. As with so many things, flexibility is a great virtue.

I suspect our situation isn't typical enough to provide a good example, but there may be sufficient parallel with that of others to be worth a comment.

When I turned 65, I decided to take the leap from part-time to full-time stock trader. We are financially secure, own our home and have no debts. We have no family looking for a fat inheritance, so felt the move to be responsible. So far we've not had to dip into our principal, living comfortably, albeit modestly, on Social Security, dividends and trading profits.

One reason for the low cost of living is that we haven't spent as much as we'd planned on recreation and travelling, due to some health problems. On the other hand, much of the savings in that area have been absorbed by the higher than anticipated cost of medical care, despite adequate medical insurance. This caught me a bit by surprise, naively assuming that past experience with good health might suggest future performance.

There are economies that we could exercise, such as sharing a car, but habits die hard! This is where I think many retirees have a problem in scaling back their expenditures. For many, the costs of commuting and other business-related outlays are replaced by more golfing fees, etc..

Before I decided to take this route, I drew up the most accurate budget of our then-current living expenses and did a best-guess projection of future expenses and income. So far, it's worked out well, probably because I tried to be as conservative as possible in its preparation.

I think our experience so far as enforced Shakespeare's message:"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may . . ."

Good luck!

Dick
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So far we've not had to dip into our principal, living comfortably, albeit modestly, on Social Security, dividends and trading profits.

Dick,

I'm going to be retiring in a couple of years and I'm very interested in hearing from folks like you who have been successful in obtaining trading profits. Would you mind telling us what trading strategy you use and what you consider to be the keys to your success ?

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