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My husband planned to retire at the end of this school year, but due to speech problems from a mini-stroke, he decided to retire at the end of this semester instead. He's not displeased--well, he is about the medical/communication problems--but has been counting down the weeks and then the days since his decision. Now he has just one more teaching day, then final exams/student presentations and grading. Suddenly it all seems so sudden!

The same week he turns in his final grades is his retirement party and my cataract surgery. And some deferred home maintenance on DH's plate. And we'll be busy with Christmas--the kids/SOs/grandson are coming for a week. A busy month!

Then we face the music...that is, years of retirement planning get put to the test. His last paycheck is plunked into our bank account in late December, to be replaced by one very small pension check/month. We plan to hold out till our 64th birthdays to apply for SS, which means a heavy hit to savings for much of 2013. Once we're collecting both SS checks and two small pensions (he gets another one starting at age 65), I expect our income streams will look like this:

2/3 SS
1/3 evenly split between savings and pensions at first

Since one pension is frozen and the other has a 1% COLA cap, savings will soon dwarf pensions. And if Congress reconfigures SS COLAs so they no longer keep up with inflation either, the savings portion of our income will become higher still. Perhaps it won't be long before savings represents 50% of income.

What's new? We plan to do off-season RVing and take more advantage of campus events open to the public and to retired faculty--not to mention we have another grandchild on the way. All in all, we're really excited about our next phase of life!

=alstro, retiring well on less
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Best of luck to you Astrolemeria. It sounds as if you have planned for this day, and though sooner than expected, as least you have thought about it.

We all wish you the best.
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Congratulations on the retirement. You will soon wonder how you ever had time to work. All those years of putting cash away in your savings account while others were having a good time will now begin to pay off big time. Enjoy your new life.


ImAGolfer (retired '03)
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Thanks for posting. Sounds like you guys will do fine because of your preparation. It is great to take advantage of the reduced savings as you get older. I save at the local grocery stores, some clothes stores and hotels because I am 55+.

Just read an article that most people retire before they had planned to. I am currently planning to transition from working full time in another 2 years (I'll be 59 1/2). At that point, might do short-term contract work.

But who knows whether or not things will go as planned?

Your experience reinforces that it is best to aim high with retirement savings; but have a plan 'b' to retire with less (just in case).
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Dear Alstro,
Just read that your husband had a ministroke and he is retiring...and you are re-evluating the budget. I'm a few days late to celebrate the exact day....but yay for you both.

I hope everything goes well and also that you soon benefit from Medicare, because that really helps the budget.Can I mention your DH may want to do some tutoring when he feels well, and it makes money for a nice dinner out, while keeping him stimulated.

Life will be really busy when you are retired, but there's a lot of joy in the daily little stuff that doesn't cost anything....and I wish you a lot of those happy moments.

Congrats on the new life ahead, and also on the news about another grandchild....all good stuff!

And please, when you RV to California, don't forget there's a fool out here who would love to meet you....and I use fool with no capital letter deliberately! ;)

Big Momma
Retired, but tutoring, with husband not yet retired.
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