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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!

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