No. of Recommendations: 2
I 'retired' at 52.5...well, actually took a buyout package of a year's salary and years medical I guess you could say I became 'retired' at 53.5.....

THen, since I had been 'laid off', I did collect unemployment for a few months......

My decision to retire was based upon a conversation I had at work with a co-worker. One day we were talking about what it would take to retire.

There were some on-line planners (not there today) that allowed you to run all sorts of scenarios, allowing you to input annual returns, expected inflation, etc. It didn't use the 4% rule, but had it's own set of tables. You could enter Social Security and when you would take it, and other pensions.

It dawned upon me that at that time, I could retire and safely withdraw more than I was making each year by working. As I discussed relative levels with co-worker, he commented that "If you can earn the same by being retired as you are working, why are you working just to pay Uncle Sam with the money you'll earn for the next 10 years? Why would you be working for 'free'?

He had a point. If I had enough assets to retire, and have the same income (actually more since I wouldn't be paying SS taxes) and wouldn't be saving 15-25% of my paycheck for 'retirement savings'......

Why should I work just to accumulate more assets that Uncle Sam would tax at 55% when I die?

If I didn't need the money to live on (and maintain my same standard of lving), I was merely putting in hours to earn money that Uncle Sam would tax away, and my heirs would get. It would literally do me no good.

Now, I suppose I just could have not retired, and tried to spend 30-40% more each year while working, but I didn't 'need' or really 'want' a fancier car. I didn't have the time to take fancier vacations, and the ones I took were nice. I don't need $300 or $500/night hotel accommodations to feel 'pampered' - and don't even like fawning service people. I simply don't have 'expensive tastes' and they aren't my bag.

So when I figured that I would be working primarily for the benefit of Uncle Sam...and my relatives years down the road...I figured it was time to get out of the deteriorating telecom business.

That turned out to be wise decision because my company laid off 50% of the people in my department with almost no severance pay (2-6 weeks) vs my package a year earlier. I would have worked a year - instead I got paid for nearly all of it for 'not working'.

Now, I take about a 2.5% withdrawal rate. I could take more, but simply don' t enjoy spending more. I live in a nice suburban house, just bought a new car.....have zero debt. Travel wherever I feel like it. And don't buy gadgets just to keep up with the Jones. I don't need a 72 inch plasma..there isn't enough to watch on TV anyway. But I could easily buy one.

I would feel comfy at a 4% withdrawal rate. Next year I start on SS, so I'll have another grand a month more to spend. I'll have to work at it.

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