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Should You Retire – Or Not?

Category: Retirement Planning

Some people really want to retire – but there are reasons why they can’t.
Other folks want to keep on working – but there are pressures on them to retire.

April 4, 2018 — Assuming you are lucky enough not to have found yourself unexpectedly retired, as so many baby boomers have, you might be wondering if this is the right time to retire. Unfortunately, there are so many different and unique situations that it is hard to assign a one-size-fits-all answer. In this article we will lay out some common situations where there is either pressure to retire or pressure against, and then some possible solutions. At the end what we are really hoping for is Member input for ideas on the best way to handle these situations. And, if you are looking for more articles on this topic, including case studies about actual people’s retirement experiences, check out the Retirement Planning section of our Blog (67 articles).

Not just a number
Retirement shouldn’t be just about a number – such as “I’m 65 so I better retire”. Obviously the best time to retire is when you want to, and when you think you can afford to. Many people dream of retiring as soon as they can – even in their 30s. But others hope never to stop working. But sometimes there are other factors that force the issue. That is what we will talk about here.

Some different situations:

A basic consideration about when to retire is if you love your job or not. Another big one is, can you afford to retire? Not being in a financial position to call it quits adds extra pressure. Sometimes there might be multiple factors that affect your decision to retire or not.

Let’s assume first you DON’T love your job, or at least you don’t like a lot of it:

DON’T love your job, and…
– Work is too physically demanding or stressful. Maybe there is too much travel or hours worked

– The people (bosses, employees, customers) aspect is bothering you

– Your spouse or financial circumstance doesn’t think that is a good idea


You DO like your job and…
– The company has offered you a buyout

– Your spouse wants you to retire

– You are running up against a mandatory retirement

– Your job is getting hard to do

– You would like more time to do the things you always wanted

Some possible solutions:
For every situation where you don’t like your job you can always quit, and possibly find another job. It might cost you money, so you can either try to replace the missing income with another job or business, or reduce your expenses/change your lifestyle. Sometimes moving to a new occupation is the best of all possible worlds, giving you a new lease on life. Of course if you have plenty of money saved you can do whatever you want.

DON’T like your job – solutions.

Job too demanding:
– Is there a way to change positions, cut back to part-time, change departments, go to a competitor

People problems
– Can you make a lateral or even a downward move to escape the people who cause you pain. Maybe you can work with them to reshape your job and/or skills (job crafting) and thus change how you interact with them

Spouse doesn’t want you to retire
This one is tricky and can test a marriage or partnership. Take Ed, 63, as an example. He supervises a lot of workers in an outdoor job that usually involves weekend work in the summers. The work is physically demanding, upward potential is limited, and he is losing some of his best workers because the company won’t raise wages. He would love to retire. However, his wife is worried about the cost of paying for his own health insurance until he becomes eligible for Medicare. A more frequent source of marital conflict happens when one spouse is retired and is concerned that the other will cramp their style at home (or the opposite, wishes he would join her in retirement).

If this is your situation, the best way to find a solution here is talk, talk, talk. Explore the reasons why your spouse has the position and feelings they have, and talk about the alternatives together. Chances are neither party completely understands the other’s position, but there is a path to a solution if you really understand where you both are coming from. For example, maybe you could agree to work for a certain amount of time, or that you will find a part-time job or start a business.

You might even want to go to a mediator as a way to a mutually satisfying solution. Realize neither person is likely to get everything they want.

DO like your job – solutions
In this case your clear preference is to keep working, but something or somebody is trying to influence you to retire. Here you have to weigh the benefits that flow to you for working vs. the obstacles put in your way to continue your career.

The company has offered you a buyout
Companies usually offer these for two main reasons. The first is to clear out highly paid senior people, and the second is to free up opportunities for younger people. Most times the financial decision of taking vs. not taking the buyout are fairly close and hard to evaluate. People in this position become quite conflicted as they try to decide what to do.

Two of our friends were recently offered buyouts. In the first case, our friend the tenured professor was offered a buyout by the university. If he took what looked like a generous package, he could continue to teach some classes. But, he would go to part-time status and no longer be the head of the department. He agonized over the numbers and the conditions. In the end he opted to turn it down and stay as head of the department, mainly because he loved his work and felt he would become a third wheel in the department and his field. Over a year, he is thrilled with his decision to stay.

An easier decision was the case of our friend, a judge, when he had a chance to move to ‘senior’ status at age 67. By doing that he was able to start his pension now, since it was unlikely to increase in the future. But, he was allowed to remain as presiding judge (a position he loves) in the short term and work per diem as much as he wants. It is early on in this decision, but so far he is pretty happy.

Your spouse wants you to retire
The same advice applies here as what we gave earlier – when your spouse doesn’t want you to retire (talk).

You are running up against a mandatory retirement
Here you might run into the brick wall of hard reality. However, maybe you could change positions, go to part-time, or join a competitor.

Your job is getting hard to do
The advice here will sound familiar – consider changing positions, going part-time, becoming an independent contractor, or joining a competitor. Maybe it is the commute that is getting you down – can you negotiate working from home more often, or find an opportunity closer to home?

You would like more time to do the things you always wanted
A lot of people are likely to find themselves in this predicament. Youe spouse or friends are retired and enjoying travel, hobbies, and leisure time – while you are chained to the job. Here is where negotiating for more time off could be paid for by moving to a lesser job, taking a pay cut, or going independent.

Bottom line
We have presented some situations along with possible solutions as a way to start thinking about the “when to retire” conundrum. Your situation is probably at least a little bit different. Ideally you start thinking about these factors years before you actually want to retire, so you have the time to plan and reduce the pressure. Keep in mind that your decision to retire does not have to be binary (yes or no); perhaps you can reshape the job or your career to make it work better.

Comments? We are really hoping that our Members will share your stories about how you decided when to retire, and how you wrestled with the factors urging retirement or not. Please share your thoughts, advice, and experiences in the Comments section below.

For further reading:
When Small Steps Can Change Your Life (NY Times)
5 Reason Why You Might Not Be Ready for Retirement




Posted by Admin on April 3rd, 2018

38 Comments »

  1. I was one who never wanted to retire and I really have not fully retired. My job was eliminated at a church where I worked for close to three years. I have not been able to find a full time job yet but I decided to take early SS and work part time and so far I like it. I hope to work part time as long as I can. I am in good health and decided to use Christian Healthshare Ministries for my healthcare needs. Once I qualify for Medicare ( I am now 63.5 years of age), I will use CHM as my secondary insurance. It is affordable and I like the aspect of feeling I am helping others each monthly with my contribution. 1dental.com costs $99.00 per year and I use it for dental needs with pre-negotiated fees with local dentists–17 were found in my immediate area. I love having a bit of free time here and there and my part-time job is the first job I have had in my entire career/working life that I do not take home with me. Each day is new. I work in Visitor Programs and give tours and walk several miles each day–which is getting me fit fast. I just started this job in March and it will end July 1. I hope to find another part time job I will enjoy by then for the summer. I hope to work at an Inn for the summer in New England. I am trying to make my sudden dive into partial retirement fun and exciting. I am divorced so no spouse enters the picture and I have no children. You can make this time of your life fun and interesting…it takes creativity and a willingness to think outside of the box. I now have no desire to get a traditional job either full time or part time. I am also looking into passive income streams online. I am still investigating these. Penny Hoarder has been a great help.

    by Jennifer — April 4, 2018

  2. There are so many factors to consider when deciding to retire. Sometimes you have the luxury of planning everything out in a logical way when making the decision. For others, the decision is suddenly thrust upon them with very little time to plan or decide.

    In my case, although I didn’t exactly love my job, I was very good at it and a lot of employees depended on me for my expertise. There was satisfaction in this but also a lot of stress because my advice impacted employee’s financial decisions. There was little room for mistakes. I had been eligible for retirement for years but I kept working because I was needed during the recent financial crisis. Once that settled down, and after a 44-year career, the increasing workload and associated stress became too great. I had already maxed out my pension so the only remaining benefit was to pad the 401k. When my wife said she wanted us to take a 2-week vacation to Italy that year, that was my cue to retire and not have to worry about coming back to a pile of work after our vacation. I have no regrets and I don’t miss work in the least.

    The year after I retired, my wife, age 62 at the time, was suddenly informed that her corporate position might be subject to a reduction-in-force. She was offered an early retirement package. She enjoyed her job and was not considering or planning for retirement at all at that time. She planned to work for 3 or 4 more years before this came about. She had only a few short weeks to decide to take the early retirement offer or to take her chances in the RIF. Because she was completely caught off guard by this, we had to do a lot of research and number crunching in a very few days to determine what she should do. Fortunately, the early retirement package was generous and allowed her extra years of service and extra years of age when computing the retirement benefit. It turned out to be a good deal for her but only because she was close to regular retirement eligibility. She accepted the early retirement and is a happy camper now. I was able to add her onto my health, dental and vision coverage so there was no gap in her coverage. Now we spend our time dealing with contractors on the renovation of our house so that we can downsize and move to a less expensive area. As my mother was fond of saying “no rest for the wicked.”

    by LS — April 4, 2018

  3. 69 years old. Single. Scared to retire. I,ve worked all my life, don,t know how not to. I know I should stop and smell the roses as life is short. I would love to move to the Caroline’s for sunnier warmer weather, and more nature than where I live outside of Boston, but again, scared to death to make the plunge to stop work and relocate. I,ve researched the Internet and am overwhelmed by the number of retirement communities to choose from. I’ve gone on 3 trips to check out areas by myself and couldn,t get over my lonesomeness to make any ration decisions.Any psychologists who deal with these issues?

    by Jeanne — April 4, 2018

  4. I spent my career in public education and rose to a fairly high position during my later years. I have believed in the philosophy that if you are eligible for retirement and you choose to keep working, you are really just working for the difference in pay. In my field, we have a pension plan that we pay into throughout our career. When I vested in my pension, the yearly payout was a good number that was also transferable to my wife if I pass away before she does. The healthcare is comparable to what I had when working, so I made the decision to retire and draw my pension. At 53, I am still very fit and had made some good contacts along the way. I was asked to do consulting work for a construction company that does education construction. My job is to get our company in the door using my contacts. I am then paid a commission for all the work executed. This has been a great sideline and I literally take clients to lunch or play golf with them for my job. The income has been a nice bonus and I just put it in my daughters college fund.
    The adjustment for my wife has been the biggest challenge. After watching her husband get up and head to work at 6:00am every morning, she struggles a little with me being around in the morning and her heading to work while I have another cup of coffee. She is coming around and I now make it a point to make sure I give her space and am not always at home when she gets home from work so she has some alone time. She is adjusting and the fact that financial issues aren’t in play make it easier.
    We do plan for her to retire in a couple more years, sell our current home and move to the beach. I have now been retired for almost a year and I can honestly say it was a great decision. I was in the constant stressful job of a high school principal for a long time and it takes its toll. I feel great now and am looking forward to traveling, doing projects and just living a more relaxed lifestyle.
    We planned for this. We dumped a lot of money into our 403B accounts, have a ton of equity in our home and had a good idea of what my pension would be. Bottom line for me is if you can retire and you don’t, you need to really understand why you are making that choice.

    by Chris J — April 4, 2018

  5. Jeanne I sympathize with your situation and might be in the same boat if I didn’t have a hub. One suggestion would be for you to visit The Villages in FL. I have never been there myself but it seems like it could be a solution for you. From what I understand it is very active and there are lots of clubs to join. You would meet tons of people and could have lots of activities to do every day. There would be so much fun stuff to do! Not to mention they probably have trips to different places in FL for you to do day trips. Good luck to you!

    by Louise — April 4, 2018

  6. Jeanne what areas did you check out? If you relocate, you will most likely need to make new friendships to sustain you in your retirement. I am a people person and enjoy making friendships and meeting new people, other people can take longer and this is perfectly normal. You do not have to be in a place crazy with activities. Many times if you have a good church, that can be a starting point or join a forum of people who live in areas you are investigating–it might be helpful to know someone first. You want to be sure that whatever you enjoy most is available in your new locale or another thought is to investigate what is in your own back yard–things look different even in semi retirement.

    by Jennifer — April 4, 2018

  7. I really enjoyed reading these posts. I’m 56 and plan to retire at 62. I’m lucky that I work for the federal government and will have health insurance before Medicare kicks in; I know that’s not the case for most people. My big issue is where to move. I live in the DC area (Alexandria, VA) and while I like it here, it’s so expensive that I really want to move some place where my money would go further. Jennifer, I believe you live in DC, so I’m guessing you understand.

    Because I’m single and don’t have kids, I’m definitely considering a retirement community for the built-in social aspect, though I am nervous about moving some place where I don’t know anyone. I grew up in upstate NY and moved around a lot in my younger days (Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Miami, Boston) and I always made friends through work. So I worry about becoming isolated when I’m retired.

    by Carol — April 5, 2018

  8. I worked massive hours for many years in IT – high stress and knew that I needed a change. Saved maximum in 401K. No children. When I was 42 I had the opportunity to sell my business so it was a good time to switch it all up. Moved from midwest to Tucson into a new 55+ community. Was still consulting with new owner of business for 2 years. Making new friends was easy, everyone here was from somewhere else and we were all in the same boat. Also, you make friends when you participate in the many activities. But, the real struggle was finding purpose and switching gears. I had to get used to being with my husband 24/7 too. The phone didn’t ring constantly and no one really “needed” me. So, I took up golf and loved it, joined fitness classes and also started volunteering. After 5 years I returned to part time work in the community fixing computers, installing new setups, training users and teaching tech classes. The money was welcomed after the 2008 recession. I did learn that you spend more money in retirement than you might think you will. Free time means you want to travel more, shop, entertainment events, dining out, etc. and things like golf are expensive. So, here I am 20 years later and I work about 20 hours a week, still love that. It keeps my brain sharp, learning new things, with a nice little income stream and I control my schedule. It feeds my need to accomplish and feel needed. I think I’ll keep doing this as long as I can even after social security at 66. I also volunteer. For me though, the best decision was the 55+ community because I spent so much of my prior life on career that I needed help in finding my way to a new lifestyle. Off to golf!

    by ljtucson — April 5, 2018

  9. I took the plunge and retired a month ago today. The day before there was a family death that took me out of state for a couple of weeks, so I have not yet felt retired as I am helping my father, while working on my own stuff. I am home now and filling out all the paperwork that goes with retirement – I had no idea! I am selling my home and moving to another state, which requires sorting, packing, planning, and the rest of it that goes with a cross-country move. Once I arrive at the new location, I will find a part-time job to augment my Social Security (starting in August). Yes, I am older and finding work is difficult for us, but I have skills and knowledge that are in demand in a university town, so I am hopeful to be working by the start of fall semester. I am not worried about being lonely. I love my solitude and doing solitary activities that keep me interested in life (e.g., reading and writing), but I plan to take classes at the local university, get involved in local organic gardening, and finding a spiritual community, so I will meet people. Do I have fears? Yes, but one of my mottos is to feel the fear and do it anyway. I don’t want to waste one minute of my bright future. I am relieved that I no longer drive the 64 mile RT commute. Former colleagues keep me abreast of what is happening at my former employer; I am grateful that I no longer have that stress in my life. I have new stress, but it is not the life-threatening stress I was living with two months ago. I made the right decision.

    by Elaine C. — April 5, 2018

  10. Post script: I will rent a room to a university graduate student each semester for a passive income stream. I did this for years in the 90s and had great roomies who helped with expenses. Graduate students are quiet, clean, and studious, so no big parties and noise. It’s a good way to make a few hundred extra dollars a month.

    by Elaine C. — April 5, 2018

  11. ljtucson where in Tucson? We are looking in AZ. Went to Phoenix, too flat.

    by Tomi — April 5, 2018

  12. Tomi – we are 20 minutes northwest of Tucson in Marana – http://www.thehighlandsatdovemountain.com – we are in the foothills of the Tortolita mountains just 5 minutes from I-10. There is also a Del Webb community up the road from us without a golf course and several more nice active adult communities in the area. I dislike the size of Phoenix, traffic, heat in summer, etc. Tucson is a little less stress, surrounded by 5 mountain ranges, University of Arizona, all cultural stuff like theater, symphony, ballet, opera, etc.

    by ljtucson — April 5, 2018

  13. Like Elaine, I took the plunge and retired at 65 about 2 months ago. While the paycheck was great, I had no life at all. If anything, I felt the trade-off to continue to work would cut my retirement years shorter due to stress-related illness. I worked long hours at a high-stress job in a toxic environment where we were routinely told that if anyone could afford not to be available 24 hours a day, then their job clearly wasn’t necessary. At least 4-6 hours of every vacation day would be spent working remotely anyway. In my case, the extra year of work wouldn’t affect my SS check much. I could also defer collecting my own SS benefits if I wished (eligible for widow benefits). My health care expenses for Medicare A,B, D, G and COBRA dental and vision total about $415/mo, which is close to the cost I was paying for my employer’s plan. By stopping work early, I traded a substantial income and the opportunity to save more money for freedom. I will also use some savings to supplement SS this year until I start to withdraw money from my 401K at age 66. Worth it? Yes. I worked for 45 years. I am free now. I can choose to do anything, or I can choose to do nothing. I am very happy with my decision to retire at 65.

    by Kate — April 6, 2018

  14. Hi Carol:

    I do live in Washington DC in semi-retirement not far from AU. It is VERY expensive here in this area, BUT there are plenty of free things to do too. Museums, concerts, volunteer opportunities, etc. I can walk to restaurants and grocery shopping if I want and the bus has special rates for senior citizens when I get to be 65 in 1.5 years. I really do not need a car here. My fear is being bored in another area of the country. I am looking at the coast of Oregon to be near my brother…but honestly as gorgeous as it is, I am concerned about the only real activity being entertainment at a casino and eating out at seafood restaurants, plus I will have to drive to shop for groceries–no delivery services there either. I will not consider 55+ communities as I was once a nurse, and I feel that if you isolate yourself to just one age group, it could be harmful psychologically and once those communities age out then what? You are left with an old property with aging amenities and little equity. In Washington DC and in Alexandria VA you at least have good equity in your property. I have lived at this co-op for 21 years now. My fees are expensive, but they cover everything but my interne ($86.00) and cellphone ($24.00 per month with Republic Wireless). I was not planning to retire at 63, but with part time work, so far I am making the best of it. I have skills, experience and I am finding some interesting choices,
    .

    by Jennifer — April 6, 2018

  15. Kate, congratulations on your retirement! I just wanted to mention have you considered waiting till age 70 to draw on your SS rather than 66? My Mom was a widow and drew her SS at age 65 full retirement age but she didn’t know she could keep drawing on my Dad’s till age 70. It would help your SS grow a lot if you can afford to live on the Widow SS.

    Jennifer, if you like DC and all that it has to offer, I think you should stay till you are sure you want to leave. If you like all the things you mentioned you will definitely be bored unless you move to a similar place. Or if you move to a very active community. Take your time. Good luck!

    Watched an episode of The Goldberg’s where the two teenagers want to go to FL for spring break. Their grandpa had a condo down there and they conned the parents to let them visit him. They get there and it is a 55+ community with old crotchety retired people crabbing about the teenagers obeying the rules. LOL!

    by Louise — April 6, 2018

  16. Carol im an oregonian/ washingtonian and it isnt for you. Everything you worry about moving to the Oregon coast os true. Beautiful July-Sept. Lots of tourists then.The rest of the time be prepared to stsy inside. Its also VERY exspensive. But not compared to DC

    by Tomi — April 6, 2018

  17. ljtucson , have been looking at that development. Do you stay in the hot months or head out? Trying to decide between AZ or New Mexico where its a little cooler. I just need to see mountains from my backyard. In the PNW i see mountains every day

    by Tomi — April 6, 2018

  18. I retired at age 61 from a very stressful teaching job. I realized that working for a few more years just to receive a higher pension just wasn’t worth it. I’m substitute teaching to supplement my pension which is helping me pay off some debt. I’m paying $700/month for health insurance through the school district. I applied for Social Security at age 64 for employment prior to teaching. My benefit is low at just $157 per month but I will enjoy the payments for one year prior to Medicare taking out $134. For me it took a year to adjust to lower income but I’m a much happier person!! My advice to individuals is to keep working if you’re happy with your job. If you’re miserable like I was, it’s time to retire. Enjoy your retirement and blessings to you all:)

    by Diane — April 6, 2018

  19. To further my comment regarding Social Security:

    ** Teachers do not receive their full SS benefit because they are receiving a pension. Individuals who go into teaching who have spent years of working prior to teaching need to be aware of this.

    by Diane — April 6, 2018

  20. Just to clarify – Whether teachers receive SS or not depends on the state they are working in. In some states teachers do not pay into the SS system, so they do not get benefits. Fortunately, when I retire in 2 years, I will have spent 40 years teaching in Florida and I will receive both a pension and a SS payment.

    by LindaH — April 6, 2018

  21. Tomi, In our community about 60% are here year round and the rest leave for 4-6 months depending on if they have a home in the North or are Canadians. We are well occupied with folks from the NW and MW. I stay here year round and this will be my 21st summer….I survived…but no one stays for the entire summer. Road trips are great to getaway to Santa Fe/Taos, San Diego, Flagstaff/Canyon, Colorado, etc. Yes, the summers are hot – today I golfed and it was about 89 when we finished. In the summer we get out early and we cocoon in from 1pm-4pm and then it cools off again – Phoenix doesn’t cool down like we do. Monsoons usually come in early July and those rains help break that “oven heat” of June. You should visit in June to feel the worst of it. email me other questions if you’d like ljtucson@comcast.net.

    by ljtucson — April 6, 2018

  22. Linda – You are fortunate to be able to collect both your pension and SS in Florida. In California, teachers do not pay into the SS system. But, if you have paid into the system through other employment, your SS benefit is greatly reduced. It is called the Windfall Elimination Provision. Congratulations on your future 40 yrs. of teaching retirement. That’s awesome!!

    by Diane — April 6, 2018

  23. I was just ‘partially’ laid off from my salary job to an on-call hourly position – after 21 years at the same company. I’m age 61 and have worked straight through for 39 years – short vacations and never unemployed. I was planning to retire at age 63 as my husband is 3 years younger. However, I need to move our healthcare over to his company –
    which is only allowed once per year. We used my employer’s healthcare because my husband had been laid off twice due to mergers. I’m tired of it all and need to decide when I will bail out. Probably someone or crazy deadline will push me over the edge and I will jump. For now – still hanging in there. I really need to plan a vacation……

    by JoannL — April 7, 2018

  24. ljtucson, l’ve traveled fom my 25-year-home in central NC to/through Tuuson for business and vacation 3 or 4 times over the past 14 years. Most important to say is, thanks for your excellent comments and thoughts — you’ve hit right at things that interest me.

    With all our travels and various decisions over the years (retired since 2003), we are still trying to decide “for sure” whether we will move once more or stay forever here in our home. (Perhaps of note, is that about 40 years back, I realized that, for me, making a decision involves researching, exploring and making an informed decision — then see if I can live with it.) At this point, our last lingering options for moving are: another NC location, somewhere in NE Florida, and Tucson. We travel now to “test live” and have spent a month in Cottonwood, AZ and a month in CO Rockies. We know NC and FL well from years of travel/visits. But Tucson lingers. The major concerns for us about Tucson are the dryness/ dust and the continuing water situation in all the SW.

    So your posts have been generally guite helpful.

    by RichPB — April 7, 2018

  25. I should perhaps add that a major additional option is to stay here and simply “snowbird” to AZ/FL at will. We are working out the many pros/cons for that one. Very attractive, but financially challenging.

    by RichPB — April 7, 2018

  26. Tomi….I don’t quite understand why you think the Oregon coast is expensive. I currently live in San diego and will be retiring there within the year. I have lived in Portland for many years and looking forward to the beautiful greenery and more rainy days. We will be saving 50% of our income by living in southern Oregon. You can purchase a mfg home in a resort environment or a condo on the beach for $100,000. I think that’s pretty good. Of course some people want sunshine everyday but that gets boring after awhile too. I’ve previously lived in NY and Fla and they get more rain than many parts of Oregon. I claimed SS last year and so happy not having to deal with a stressful job any longer…good luck to everyone making their retirement choices…

    by Mary11 — April 7, 2018

  27. DH and I opted to semi-retire from our small business a couple of years ago due to dwindling sales and our unwillingness to expand our customer base and product lines. We were both 62. We still do some consulting, most of which is telecommuting via computer, but I’m happy to say we are about 80% retired. Our original plan had been to work until 65 but truthfully we were champing at the bit to be done with the workaday world. The erosion of our business that forced our hand was one of those marvelous blessings in disguise that life often provides.

    I started drawing SS recently at 65. When DH turns 66 in a few months he’ll file for spousal benefits against my earnings (he’ll get 50% of my benefit, so between us we’ll get 150% of my benefit). At age 70 he’ll file for SS against his own earnings which will have grown considerably in the intervening years.

    Between our consulting earnings, my SS, and a 2% annual draw from our savings, we are able to live comfortably. When he starts spousal SS we will be in better shape and when he turns 70 our finances will be better still. If the consulting opportunities evaporate we will still be fine. That money is welcome but we can manage without it, if necessary.

    We have begun traveling to nearby states for extended vacations and are enjoying our good health and time together. Our work was rewarding and enjoyable, but very stressful at times. I’m happy to have it in our rear view mirror.

    by JCarol — April 7, 2018

  28. Louise: Heading to the Cleveland suburbs. Negatives: Weather. Weather again. Real estate taxes are much higher than S.C., but will be offset a little by a lower state income tax on my 401K withdrawals. Positives: Family, much better health care, all of my favorite stores nearby, many choices of my church (an ethnic denomination that is harder to find in the South), a great newspaper, lake and public parks, several universities, great libraries and community centers, large airport and good real estate prices — plus museums, concert venues, etc. associated with a city. My net cost of living will increase by about $500-$600 more per month by moving North from S.C. The increase is due to the higher real estate taxes, a higher HOA fee for the home I purchased, and anticipated higher utility fees. (I could have dropped that number by downsizing or choosing a home without a HOA.) There is a trade-off for the family by not having to travel anymore for visits. My house is being listed for sale this week…so I’m committed! Feels great to have made a decision, and to have finally retired! I’m looking forward to the next 20 years.

    by Kate — April 7, 2018

  29. Hi JoannL, your husband’s company should allow him to add you to insurance within 30 days after you were laid of. That is a “major life event”, so you should not have to wait until open enrollment. Please inquire.

    by Helene S — April 8, 2018

  30. Congrats Kate! I hope this new transition is all you want it to be! Sounds like you have planned it perfectly!

    by Louise — April 8, 2018

  31. Just a reminder to everyone. Please try to keep on topic. We recently moved a raft of comments that had to do with single living, when to take Social Security, Medicare, and affordable places to retire to other posts that were more germane. Once we go off topic the original topic gets lost and that’s it. If you use the search or look by Blog category you can always find a place to post that is relevant to what you want to talk about. We do want to hear what you have to say – only it’s better if it is relevant to the thread. Thanks!
    PS – You can see the Comments we moved in the next day’s Daily Alert.

    by Admin — April 8, 2018

  32. Helene S – My employer is still covering our health insurance as he states I am still an employee. This status is blocking me from collecting unemployment insurance. My current “on-call” status has some weeks with no billable hours – so no income. I think it is cheaper for him to pay our healthcare insurance than for me to collect unemployment. For what it’s worth, I have some billable time finally coming in – but this situation has more than cut my previous salary by half. I will probably make a quarter of my previous salary.

    Yes – if I were completely laid off we could switch easily to my husband’s employee healthcare . I am being blocked from doing this because my status is still as employed.

    by JoannL — April 9, 2018

  33. Average income in every state and what it’s really worth: http://time.com/money/5177566/average-income-every-state-real-value/

    Could be useful to see how far your buck will stretch in retirement.

    by Louise — April 9, 2018

  34. The last few comments that discussed living in Vancouver, Washington were moved to a different Blog for further discussion: Dueling Retirement States: The Pacific Northwest :

    https://www.topretirements.com/blog/great-towns/dueling-retirement-states-the-pacific-northwest-or-and-wa.html/#comment-308269

    by Admin — April 10, 2018

  35. My situation is a bit different than most of you. At 58 I became disabled and was granted my social security benefits as if I retired at 66. I’m also eligible for Medicare at 59.5. I’m almost at 59.5. I have a decent nest egg but one never knows if it’s enough do we. I believe I can draw say 4% and live at 60% of my old salary, including my social security. I can live fine this way. So I’m getting better, good things have happened with my health and I’m thinking of throwing the disability out the window and heading to work. I would have to work another 7years to get where I’m at now but I would have more 401k and savings. Such a dilemma. I could just say…. stay put, smell the roses, enjoy life.

    by mairesean — April 11, 2018

  36. Admin: On April 8 you said:
    PS – You can see the Comments we moved in the next day’s Daily Alert.

    How can I access the Daily Alert?

    Thanks

    by JCarol — April 11, 2018

  37. Great question JCarol! Here is a link to the Daily Alert archive. So if you bookmark this you can go to it any time you want. Great for referring back to past issues too
    https://us14.campaign-archive.com/home/?u=671f3985ea5cdae49f775edaf&id=a1d0450a34

    Of course if you subscribe to the Daily Alert you will automatically know what is new.
    https://www.topretirements.com/email_notification.html

    by Admin — April 11, 2018

  38. Thank you – that’s very helpful!

    by JCarol — April 12, 2018

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