It’s been more than a year since I posted about where we are in planning for retirement. I thought it would take another 3, 4, or 5 years. Not anymore. We have worked hard over the past 15 months, spending wisely and saving the difference to be able to retire earlier. In fact, we could retire TODAY if we so chose to. Yep. We made it. We are here at the finish line.
How did we do it?
- We’ve found ways to lower our monthly expenses(more on that to come). We have been “practicing” living on a retirement income which has allowed us to pay down a significant amount of our mortgage and add to our savings.
- After paying down our mortgage, we refinanced to a lower rate. Our new payment is less than half of what we had been paying which makes it affordable in retirement. Ultimately our goal is to downsize and be mortgage-free, but this gives us the flexibility to take our time in the decision-making process.
- Our retirement accounts have reached our original savings goal (thank you stock market.) We can safely withdraw enough money to live a comfortable life for the next 35 years. Not an extravagant lifestyle, of course, but one we’ve grown accustomed to and enjoy.
- We’ve beefed up our health savings account. It’s sitting at a healthy balance and will aid in the growing costs of health care.
- If my husband were to retire today, he could withdraw money from his company’s 401K plan (without penalty) following the 55 Rule.
- I can withdraw money from my IRA at any time with no penalty. Yeah, I’m old enough.
Even though we could retire today, we don’t want to.
- My husband is working from home. There is no more travel stress by commuting 2 hours a day. We aren’t paying for parking and tolls. It’s been one of the (few) benefits of the pandemic.
- We want to save more cash. Should the stock market have a bad year (and it will), we want to be able to use cash to avoid losses. We also want to utilize the cash to lower our taxable income for health care costs. A lower taxable income would make us eligible for much lower health care premiums before we are able to take Medicare.
- We want to add more money to our Health Savings Account. I don’t think this reason needs an explanation, do you?
- Travel is limited. One of the reasons we wanted to retire early was to travel the world! Yeah, that’s not happening yet. We are resigned to the fact that travel is put on hold for now. We have already made plans and made deposits for future travel, but know that it is a crapshoot and we may be canceling more trips than we will be taking.
All in all, we are in a good place now and are happy with how far we’ve come.
How about you? Are you on track for retirement?
5 thoughts on “So, when WILL we be able to retire??”
Hi Sharon. Great to hear you guys could retire now if you wanted. We are still on track for 3 years from now when hubby is eligible for Medicare. Healthcare is the big wild card. We are doing the same as you with the HSA and not using it, but maxing it out. We will need it more later.
Yes, health care is the big wild card, for sure.
Good to “see” you again. I would have commented sooner, but we just got internet!So glad you are back and well on track. I’d love to hear if cruising is in your future.
The Pandemic made it abundantly clear to both of us how much we had no desire to stay anywhere near the beltway for our retirement years. That meant leaving our grandchildren, children and raised gardens. We sold our house in two days for 75K over what we expected and put our Idaho house on “full steam ahead”. House is done (not the yards) and built to sustain us well into our 90’s (including a robot closet!)
We are ahead in our savings, even with the crazy prices of building. Health care is smoothing out. We are learning to just get outside and smile again. We will be East once a year to visit and plan one family vacation with each family on top of that.
This is a ten year move. Then we (at 82&75) will reassess and figure out where to move to be closer to the “kids”. I think “flexible” is the key to boomer retirement. The kids will have lots of input. So far they, too, plan on leaving the beltway. Money is good, but it has been a hell of a year on school children. MO and WA are the leaders right now, but time will tell.
We watched our parents, who each lived in one place until they were in their 70s , move to where ever the family could help. Both of our children think this is a good enough plan for now. Again, only time will tell. And guess what, I am just not going to worry about it!
Wow! Idaho?? I like your idea of going 10 years at a time in retirement. We are trying to figure things out and really have not come up with anything as far as where to move. Like you, all of our kids/grandkids are here. But no one wants to really stay here forever. By the way, what is a robot closet??
One thing I have a side stash for is a personal robot when we need it (and they are developed). I think that, with the number of boomers who have little or no family and the mess at nursing care centers, robots will continue to be developed. I know few people who want to move into “independent care” anymore. Remember Rosie on the Jetsons? Everything else on that show has come through. I am saving about the same as a car (planning on a self driving car as well).
BTW- my husband is from this area of Idaho.
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