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Subject:  Re: Others with un-retirement? Your ratio? Date:  11/2/2007  6:47 AM
Author:  RetiredVermonter Number:  1166 of 1911

I just came across your post and read the thread. It was interesting. Here's my long tale, if it is of interest.

Before I start, let me say that we've both been happily, totally retired for several years, have NO desire to work, and thoroughly enjoy just plain doing whatever the hell we feel like every day. It has NOT gotten "old"! But that's just us. We're not rich, and have little or no pension income, but SS income plus a little now and then from my IRA enable us to live rather nicely because we do not toss money around on costly frills or expensive "toys".

I was laid off from a middle manager job just before turning 58. I got a decent lump sum settlement that served as the down payment for our cozy little dream retirement home here, AND was also able to collect unemployment for 26 weeks. I paid COBRA (costly but necessary) for 18 months for health insurance both of us.

Thankfully, I got some consulting jobs in my profession (including a couple with the company who had laid me off) to help tide us over for a year or two. I also had started dabbling in the market some years before, within my IRA, so had learned a bit about how to carefully nudge my investments upward. One past age 59-1/2, I started sometimes taking some money from my IRA as needed. Luckily, the tech boom or bubble hit about then, and one company I had bought quite a few shares of at about $5.50 soared to over $80 in a year, so I happily plucked fruit from that tree for about a year before that source suddenly dropped.

My wife also had to quit her job the following year because her widowed mother needed help just surviving (dementia, etc.), so we both had our hands full with her, AND my dad (a widower) was even older then her mom and also needed assistance, though he did pretty well on his own in a small place not far from us.

In other words, before we were 60, we were both unemployed, with no pensions to speak of, and "out in the world". Thankfully, all of our children were grown, through college, and married, so those costs were mostly behind us -- except for some college loan coupons I still had to pay.

Not long after that, my dad died. My mother-in-law's infirmity worsened, so she ended up living here with us for about a year before her condition reached a point where we had to let her go to a local nursing home. She died there about a year after that, a few years ago.

So here we are. I "work", if you will, at shepherding my IRA fund at or above where it was some years ago, withdrawing sums as we need them and can afford them.

I do NOT follow a "formula". If we need some extra money for the lump sum oil bill each year, a new well pump (as we had to do recently), or other major things, I see what I can deal with and take it. So far, we've done okay.

We also still have a small mortgage on this house, simply because it is at a low rate (5.5%) and to pay it off would cut too severely (we think) into our rather modest "boodle".

I should also say that I use TurboTax for my taxes, and we have paid almost no income taxes (state or federal) for three years now, thanks to our rather modest income and deductions for taxes, interest, donations, health costs, etc.

By the way, do not think that health care is "free" if you are on Medicare! Part B coverage for two of us, plus another $260/month for AARP's Medigap coverage, costs us some $450/month, and we have NO dental coverage, which sometimes can be costly.

I'd be happy to reply to any questions.

However, as I have often said, I think that everyone needs to REALLY think about what HE or SHE wants and needs, and forget what "everyone else" says! Do what works for you and what feels right.

Good luck.

My two cents.

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