Mid 50's retirees question

brnsvllyjohn

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Oct 7, 2017
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319
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California (for now)
We retired in our mid 50s 15 years ago. Our income is far less than what it was when we were still working. We owned everything and we were able to get by on far less. We would not go back for anything. We were never sorry about our decision. We keep to a tight budget but that doesn't mean that we don't do what is important to us. We don't take expensive vacations or spend money we don't have. We both have purchased new vehicles since we retired and are still able to have a nice savings account. I am able to fish or hunt when I want to and she is able to have her hobbies as well. The time we have spent doing what we want when we want is way more important than a few thousand dollars per year.
When I retired I was in great physical shape and able to do anything I wanted. However time catches up to you. In the last few years I have had some physical issues that have limited my ability to do as much as I would like to do. I think those physical issues might have happened sooner had I still been working. The big C has also been an issue for me and no one knows when and if something like that will happen. I am OK now but for a period of time things weren't great. I only mention my physical issues because you never know how long your health will last. If you can stick to a budget and you know you can afford to retire I would retire ASAP if I were you.

We both had decent 401 plans and they were with two different financial firms. The one managing mine knew me reasonably well and he said we would be fine with the money we would earn in retirement. The one managing my wife's plan said we had no chance to survive on the money we could earn. We have more money in the plans now than when we retired so I guess we are doing OK. I only mention this to point out that you will get different opinions even from professionals that know your history. Only you can decide if you can really afford to retire.
 

MarvB

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₵tral Oar-e-gun
One thing brought up is the “retire to then still work doing something else” thing. I guess I could see it if I hated the job I left and wanted to try something different but I’m two years in right now and still have no itch to give up my own schedule for someone else’s…even if that day’s “schedule” just amounts to me sitting in my ass watching the deer in the backyard🤷🏻‍♂️

Prob because I was at the CO’s beck and call for nearly 30 years (virtually always on-call unless I was out of the area) that I value time so much more heavily than $$. But again if the later was tight I’d prob reconsider
 

Gr8bawana

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Jul 14, 2013
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Nevada
An absolutely fabulous LEO I knew was similar life experience post retirement. Worked longer than he had to, took another job to continue 40 hrs+ a week and was gone to cancer within just a couple years. I know he wished he retired earlier and spent more time with his family and less with work
This right here is a very good reason to retire as soon as possible. A person could keep saying " a couple more years" just for a few hundred $ more at retirement time.
But if you die or get sick before you get to enjoy the retirement years it was all for nothing.
 

recon6036

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Jul 11, 2011
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1,613
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U.P. of Michigan
Congrats on being able to retire. I have 28 yrs in LE now with 6 more to go - Director of Public Safety currently 😳. A few guys at the department are eligible to retire now but they are holding on another year or two to build their pension. One of them approached me the other day and told me his mind is always on retirement, so I reminded not to get complacent in the next year or so (not that you will). I value his/their work ethic and I don’t want to see him/them get hurt. The guys are more than coworkers; they are family. Anyway, if you stay please be safe! If you retire…big congratulations
 
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Kiwi

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Sep 12, 2014
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1,526
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New Zealand
I’m in my early 50’s and my approach is to keep working as long as I can, but reduce hours worked. In my 40’s I mostly worked 4 days a week and now I’m down to 3 days a week. Works for me as I can do a lot of hunting with 4 day weekends each week. I could retire now but choose to work and spend money on my hobbies.
 

brownbear932008

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Jul 15, 2011
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2,322
Location
SWVA
When I got ready to retire I did the math, I was working for 14% of my check each month. For that 14% I got to work full time enjoy the pleasures of stress from the job as a LEO. I retired on my 50th birthday with 28 years in. So for me I could have stayed longer and for each added year I would have received 2.5% additional to my retirement. At some point you have to decide is it worth it. Your the only one that can decide that.
I remember a good friend was a LEO in the PD. He was a bean counter when it came to money and he was able to retire but he said I want to stay 3 more years just to have that extra. This was in 1997, he died of cancer in 1998. He never got to enjoy his retirement. So what I'm saying there is more to life than a job learn to enjoy life.
Good luck!!!!
Dan
I had a Captain that did the exact same thing only got to enjoy retirement a bout 2 short years.
 

belshawelk

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Aug 27, 2015
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Location
Oregon
I'm in the process of making a decision in the next year and a half or so on whether to retire from my LE career at age 56, or stay for another year past that, and retire at 57. The difference in staying the additional year until age 57, would get me another $300 a month on the monthly pension that I'll receive. My wife and I are debt free. She will continue working full time, and carry our health insurance for the next 9 years until we hit age 65. During those 9 years, I'm planning on working my part time job about 3 days per week, just so that I can still maintain my current LE salary (pension plus 3 days a week at my PT job =same amount as current LE salary). This will also allow us to continue maxing out our roth IRA. Wife has a 401k at work, she'll also get a full SS check when she retires. I'll get a reduced SS check (Windfall Elimination Program) because of my pension. We keep a very detailed monthly budget, so we are very aware of our monthly needs. Even without staying the additional year to gain the extra $300 per month, we will have enough cash flow to easily cover our monthly expenses.

I'm currently very healthy, and have a decent level of fitness, and am more than ready to step out of this career. Looking forward to more hunting trips, etc. We've talked about this, and agreed that it might be nice to have that $300 extra per month, just to have a little extra. Not sure if it's really worth it or not. I realize this is a decision based on our personal situation.

Were any of you early retirees faced with a similar decision? If so, did you leave early, or stay the extra year or two, and was it worth it?
Do it. I would retire tomorrow if I had my girls out of college. I am 52 saved my whole life and I want to make sure I can spend time with my wife, girls and hunting. One bad injury, or god forbid bad sickness. Life is too good. Thanks for being in LE
 

ElkFever2

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Mar 4, 2019
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Location
Iowa
Thank you for your service.

Seeing as you are healthy today, let’s guess that you live another 30 years. 30 x 12 months x $300 = $108k. That’s a LOT of money to leave on the table.

Money is nice. However, if you and your wife think that you won’t need an extra $108k, it might as well be a million dollars, and it is not worth one more year of serving as an LEO, a career that you are mentally and physically ready to be done with today (working nights, dealing with A-holes, sore hips, etc.). From the description of your OP (detailed budget, debt-free, dual income, health insurance, regular retirement contributions), it sounds like you do not need the additional $108k, but that’s ultimately a determination that you, your wife, and (if applicable) your financial advisor will make.

If you determine that you need or want the additional $108k, you can still retire at 56 and get there another way. One way to do this is to contribute an additional $300/month to a brokerage account through age 65 over and above your tax-advantaged retirement savings contributions. That could equal 50k in 9 years assuming an 8% average annual investment return, whereupon you could draw off $300/month in perpetuity. The downsides to this strategy is for 9 years you have $600 less per month ($300 contribution + $300 reduced pension), you have to pay taxes on the capital gains, and 9 years of saving $300 is a harder commitment to keep than sticking it out as an LEO for just one more year.
 

3855WIN

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Jul 17, 2014
Messages
2,108
Location
Mississippi
I’ve applied for a waiver to go past mandatory retirement age for air traffic. Long story, but if I get 4 more months, it’ll mean $11,000/ year. I still enjoy the work and the people, so it’s a no brainer for me. If I die without ever enjoying a day of retirement, I’m fine. I’m enjoying life right now.
 

Cheesehead

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Dec 6, 2017
Messages
591
Good problem to have.

I would invert the question.

What are those future cash flows worth today?

$56k at 5%, or only about 34k if you could get 10%

FV: 0, PMT: 300, rate: .417 (I’m assuming 5%), N: 360 (I assume you have 30 years left)

So if your boss offered you to work one more year and get an extra $45k (picking a midpoint), would you stay or go?

Then I’d think to myself, I probably have 30 years left, but there might only be 10 ‘great years’. Would I give 10% of my great years away for $45k?

I’d walk
 

Michhunter 270

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Nov 24, 2021
Messages
5
Well i could have went at 59 but i had the job i had worked all my life to get so i stayed till i was 70 i just was not ready to go at 59, it had nothing to do with money !!!
 

hank4elk

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Jan 8, 2015
Messages
4,829
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SW NM
I was offered early retirement from Park Ranger job @ 54. Had just negotiated a 2%@55 contract that got us equal with prevailing. The country had just been hit by WS & my nest egg 457 plan had gone from $285k to $38k & dropping daily....
20 yrs in and was 2 more years worth the full 80% or wait 10 years for nest egg to maybe rebuild? Loved the job,hated the stress.

Naah. See ya.
The plan was move to the retirement cabin & work part time.....or sell that too & move to where I could live reasonably.
Done & done.


Hell ,I even took my SS @ 62 & now @ 66, I make more in retirement than most full time workers here.
No job here pays half what I used to make.
I have no debt and no stress. 2 good wells in NM is worth?....priceless. 140 ac free & clear.
Rio by my side, I wake up each morning to watch sunrise. Will be hunting for a elk cow with a draw tag next month and will not have to leave the ranch to fill it.

Maybe the nest egg would have doubled in 12 years...but I do know no one I worked with in LEO made it so far past retirement as me....2 years & Glenn fell dead into his sandwich at home...35 yrs in with G&F. Bill made it 4 before the big C hit.
The list grew last night with a call from my bro. Dan who joined the year after me made it a year into retirement,3 years younger and a marathoner. Blood clot on the brain.

Life is good in Pie Town,NM....lol
 

tim629

Member
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Jul 16, 2016
Messages
149
Location
upstate NY
talk to a few guys in your type of position that have retired within the past 10 years, ask them if they are glad to be retired or wish they had worked a bit longer.
 

bradr

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2018
Messages
70
Location
Iowa
I was offered early retirement from Park Ranger job @ 54. Had just negotiated a 2%@55 contract that got us equal with prevailing. The country had just been hit by WS & my nest egg 457 plan had gone from $285k to $38k & dropping daily....
20 yrs in and was 2 more years worth the full 80% or wait 10 years for nest egg to maybe rebuild? Loved the job,hated the stress.

Naah. See ya.
The plan was move to the retirement cabin & work part time.....or sell that too & move to where I could live reasonably.
Done & done.


Hell ,I even took my SS @ 62 & now @ 66, I make more in retirement than most full time workers here.
No job here pays half what I used to make.
I have no debt and no stress. 2 good wells in NM is worth?....priceless. 140 ac free & clear.
Rio by my side, I wake up each morning to watch sunrise. Will be hunting for a elk cow with a draw tag next month and will not have to leave the ranch to fill it.

Maybe the nest egg would have doubled in 12 years...but I do know no one I worked with in LEO made it so far past retirement as me....2 years & Glenn fell dead into his sandwich at home...35 yrs in with G&F. Bill made it 4 before the big C hit.
The list grew last night with a call from my bro. Dan who joined the year after me made it a year into retirement,3 years younger and a marathoner. Blood clot on the brain.

Life is good in Pie Town,NM....lol
Yeah, hearing about guys dying a yr or 2 after they retire is something that makes this decision to go early a lot easier. I’ve heard similar stories from other cops
 

peterk1234

Active member
Joined
Oct 9, 2019
Messages
141
Yeah, hearing about guys dying a yr or 2 after they retire is something that makes this decision to go early a lot easier. I’ve heard similar stories from other cops
I think males are at greatest risk of dropping dead between the ages of 52 and 62 or 68. Someone on this forum that is in the insurance business can tell us for sure. But I am not far off. This right is probably one of the single biggest factors for getting out as early as possible. That, and you body goes to crap by 65 unless you are very lucky :)
 

David658

Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2021
Messages
72
It is hard to pull the trigger. I think I have to wait for Medicare, but any longer will take a lot of thought. My hope is that someone in a good retirement town will want my services, move me there, and pay me richly until I hit 65.
 

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