<<So here is a status report on my early retirement.I retired early at the start of the bear market. Good timing. I watched my "bridge the gap" account balance take a big hit after 9/11.First lesson: have all money you need in five years in safe investments.>> Sorry to hear your early retirement has been a rocky one financially.Having five years of living expenses in laddered bonds is a method recommended by intercst to avoid having to sell stocks when they may have crashed, just the situation you encountered.Would five years of expense money have been adequate to have avoided the worst of the stock market crash for you?May I ask what expenses were included or were underestimated in your bridge account?<<I am six months now from 59 1/2. My " bridge the gap" account is zero and I am living on my pension. Certainly not poverty but definatly cutting back on spending.>> I'm presuming you are aware that the IRS has rules that allow withdrawals from retirement accounts without penalty before age 59 1/2 without penalty if they meet IRS rules of being "substantially equal" and continue for at least five years?If the finances have been the most troubling part, what have been the best parts of early retirement for you?<<My IRA is going to make the goal my FA and I set seven years ago, regardless of the bear market. Most of that IRA success is due to what I learned here all those years ago.Sally>> Those are good recommendations that intercsts basic early retirement plan works as advertised, which is good to know. May I ask your age as well?I'm 57, and I quit my regular job in 1999 at age 49 in favor of self employment in my furnace repair business. But in addition to my full time job, I also began cutting back on other income producing work as my volunteer and other activities took more of my time. I'm now nerving myself up to dumping my business altogether by the end of May. So I've been edging myself out of the working world, rather than taking the plunge all at once.Seattle Pioneer
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