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I also retired in January 2000 (age 54 1/2). I was feeling pretty comfortable by the end of March, not long before the tech bubble burst. But when I decided to retire 5 years earlier than I'd always planned, I knew I had to be careful with spending. I was taking Sec. 72t early IRA withdrawals but SS was a long way off. I had some investments outside the IRA to supplement my withdrawals but I watched my spending. When my portofolio dropped again after 9/11 I reduced discretionary spending as a precaution. Glad I did because the fall of 2008 brought more pain. Fortunately by then I had SS to help out.

Bottom line is I've gotten along pretty well. Managed to avoid selling in down market. Don't feel I've denied myself anything I needed and I've enjoyed plenty of travel. My portfolio is about half what I thought it would be by now when I retired, but I live comfortably on SS and less than 4% withdrawals. I also discovered some of the really expensive things I enjoyed while I had a good income aren't nearly as important to me now. No desire or need to go back to work. I do several unpaid community service jobs plus managing my own investments so I keep as busy as I want to be. Love to golf and travel or just relax on the porch with a book some afternoons.

Be realistic about what your retirement nestegg will allow. Expect the unexpected. React quickly to trim unnecesary spending during a financial downturn. And enjoy every minute of retirement in whatever manner you choose.
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