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BKLN:""i imagine that most people want to retire and keep the same lifestyle they had before.

I made this statement because it seems that having 80% of your former salary is what everyone is told is necessary in order to retire.
I, personally, had no illusions of retiring at 80% of 200,000."

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when I was working, I was saving 30-40% of my income. My house was paid for. I had all the toys I wanted. My cars were always bought for cash and I kept my 1990 Honda for 17 years. it was bought in 1990 and it was 8 or 9 years old when I retired and still running fine.

I was making 90K plus of course, getting a nice return on my portfolio adding another 20-25K in income.

So...my lifestyle before I retired.....was that I was living on 35-50 of my salary.... (25-30% disappeared in taxes, SS, medicare naturally)


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BLKYN:"Telegraph,
The only people in my family who retired early were those who worked union jobs and put in their 30-35 years and even then they were closer to 56-58 years old.
While you retired at 52 my husband's first layoff came at that same age. He had to work until he was 66 before he could quit a job that was killing him.
Did you not like working? "

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Factor 1 -
My dad had a heart attack at age 56....it slowed him down a bit....he worked 1/2 days till he retired at age 60. He lived to 72 and died during open heart bypass surgery suddenly.....

On my dad's side, everyone except one of the brothers died before 74...... so the medical history of my family isn't great.

On my mom's side...she developed major arthritis when she was 70, getting worse year by year.... lived to 82 and the second broken hip...she was active.....but it didn't help that much.....

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Factor 2

I had polio when I was five. No vaccines back then...4 years before Salk came up with it.

The stastics say 1 in 3 people who were hospitalized with polio will wind up in a wheel chair by age 70. Hmmm....not good..... but I plan to be one of the 2 or 3.......but you never know...... post polio syndrome and problems slowly appear.

so....might as well enjoy 'retirement' .....just in case you get blindsided later.....right?

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Factor 3 - the most important.....

I was working with a co-worker and we were using the on-line tools available back then on the internet to do financial planning and budgets for ourselves. You could put in actual or hypothetical portfolios, assumed rates of return, assumed interest rates, etc...and you could do your annual budgeting of expenses, taxes, housing costs, car costs, etc...in great detail. We both did that....he was a few years older than I.....maybe 10.....

You could put in things like getting SS at age 62.....and it would estimate your income...(then of course, you need less from the port)....or at age 66 or age 70...where you had to 'fund' your retirement solely out of your portfolio...until then.


I noted that I had more than sufficient assets at a 4% withdrawal rate to exceed my current salary....hmmmm....even at 3% withdrawal rate, I would be living above my current spending levels....hmmmm....

of course, that was 1999 or so....after 10 years of fantastic returns in the stock market. I had been investing 30-40% of my income, some in my own stock account, some in the company 401K......for 10 years. Had no debt and house was paid for.


Then...the big day came......

One day.....my co-worker said to me "Would you come to work if you didn't get paid?"......

Huh?

He rephrased the question "If you have enough income to live on, enough that you can spend as much or MORE than you currently have, then coming to work and earning MORE just means that you will accummulate even more in your accounts and Uncle Sam will take 55% of it....and your relatives will get the rest. You'll never get to spend it - your just working for the government'

Duh! He was right. I was essentially 'working for free'!......the longer I worked, the more in taxes (over a million if I worked another 10 or 15 years till age 66)...I would pay. Dumb! And my savings would grow to where I wouldn't even feel comfy spending that much.....I'd really have trouble spending 200K a year!.....

Now the last 2 years I worked - in the telecom industry, was a time or great turbulence.....the dot com bubble was about to completely bust.....MCI was suffering. It was trying to sell itself to anyone. Deals fell through with Brtish Tel..we wasted a year twiddling our thumbs. No money for projects. Go ahead an 'plan this' but there is no money in the budget to do it. Vendors knew it....nothing was happening other than not spending money or doing anything. We sat around doing useless stuff. Then WCOM 'bought' us. That turned into a complete disaster.

We had a 'small' company wide layoff.....3 people in our department of 150 were asked if anyone would take a 'voluntary layoff'......they'd give you 3 weeks per year separation pay, health insurance for a year.........and I jumped up and down with my hand up saying 'here! here!....and I was one of three that took the buyout deal.

that turned out to be best decision I could have made. I had 17 years....got a year's pay , year's dental, health, vision.... I was 52.5

Six months later, the company laid off half my department. Only gave up to six weeks separation pay and 30 days health insurance.

- - ---

and that year, and the year after, tele racked up 100, 000 miles of travel around the US, 4 major international trips to Asia and Europe and Central America.....

Never looked back. Never needed to have a 'job'......

Most of my friends did not do well.....WCOM went bankrupt. Later bought out for pennies on the dollar by Verizon. down to 1/3rd of size and in the Telecom Corridor where over 10,000 were employed, now it is likely under 2000...and the rest have gone on to other things.

Those that stayed behind faced lots of overtime and intense pressures just to 'keep their jobs'.....not a fun place to work and nothing like the old days.

My job stopped being fun 2 years before I left.....the industry cratered. I'm glad I left when I did.

Did I miss it? Well, it was nice to have a place to talk to friends and co-workers..... but.....in the end....I would have been working for free.....right? and the 'social club' part of the job was not worth the hassle part of 'deadlines and management nitwiss-ness and wannabee pointed haired bosses' and the like. IT got more like Office Space as the industry declined.

So why would you think I would want to 'work for free' once I was financially independent?

Been 15 years plus since I retired....and I'm having fun, few hassles......and so far...so good health wise.....

I've got my entire days to myself.....48 weeks a year of vacation...holidays aren't included since you have them off anyway.....
get to sleep in every morning. No status reports to write.

I feel Zero obligation to work and fuel the federal tax machine and inheritance taxes (since then, the limit was gone up from $550,000 exemption to ,what , 3 million today)...back then it was just about half a million before the 55% inheritance tax kicked it)....the more you piled up in assets, the more Uncle Sam would get, and of course, if I worked another 13 years till' normal retirement age of 66), I would have paid nearly the better part of a half to 3/4ths of a million more in income and SS taxes!.....why? I didn't 'need the money'!

Once you reach 'financial independence' you are set. No reason to continue to feed the government machine!


t
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