Retire early to hunt more?

jejack26

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May 21, 2018
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Montana
If anyone figure out health care please post. Last year my wife got sick in a blink we were 200,000 into it. If we hadn't had a solid plan it would've been financially devastating. And beware of future inflation. Good luck, I m 60 and holding off. But I hunt my gut out now.
 

Slate

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May 23, 2020
Messages
124
I plan to retire at 50. Debt free with no children makes the decision a lot easier. My wife is retiring at same time. I get health benefits through work and pay $350 a month and that carriers into retirement. Looking forward to it. Hunting will keep me from ever working again❤️ I also believe you have to keep that balance. Great thread guys
 
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AlaskaHunter

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Jan 20, 2017
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792
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interior Alaska
If anyone figure out health care please post. Last year my wife got sick in a blink we were 200,000 into it. If we hadn't had a solid plan it would've been financially devastating. And beware of future inflation. Good luck, I m 60 and holding off. But I hunt my gut out now.
I retired at 62, but before I did I took a substantial cash with drawl as a buffer and paid taxes on that extra income.
From 62 -65 because our annual income is less than $89k (Alaska threshold for Affordable Care Act)
our subsidized health insurances in Blue Cross gold and $264 per month.
If I had to pay the regular rate for the same insurance it would be in excess of $33k per year.

We spend substantially less money now that I am retired...

Age 60-70 hopefully will be lots of time and good health for hunting/fishing and enjoying Alaska's outdoors.
 

SFC B

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Mar 2, 2013
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Here is my story in short....
I grew in a completely unstable household. Fluctuating income, parents split, and never lived above working class. Mom died when I was in HS from Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Between her death and seeing how my dad worked hard but never even get close to comfortable I was set on a secure work life with a DEFINITE end time with a set retirement. I was an LEO for a couple of years, then went into the Military ending my (full time) working life as a Federal Agent. Through the 30 years of work life I thought continually about the end game, especially as the punishment to my body and the loses of comrades added up.

The planning meant that I had secured my military retirement (including greatly reduced health insurance for the family), supplemented by a VA payment stream due to bumps and bruises, and finally a FERS retirement by 50 and a month. Through the military service I have also secured undergrad educations at zero out of pocket cost for both kids. The first two are plenty to pay my bills now. The FERS won't come to me until I am 60 which will add comfort. Then at 62 I will take whatever I can get for SS and cash out my TSP. By that point I should be lively at at least the highest standard I have while working. My youngest is now a junior in HS and when she leaves for college it will be time to cash out the suburban house we are in and take the sizeable proceeds to pay cash for a place in the country. It has been a fairly complicated maze of manipulating each of the work circumstances I was in to move toward this all. I have paid a physical price for it but am happy with the choice. I now have just a PT job selling guns at Scheels which is almost too much fun to be paid for.

Hunting wise, the first year and a half (even with all of the covid related crap) has been great. I have been able to hunt in several states for big game, small game and waterfowl without feeling "hurried" . I even swung a trip to England for deer right as I retired. The only real BIG hunt I have in my heart to do will be moose, probably BC for bang for buck, and that will have to until a couple of years after the lil one is gone. That should be my mid to late 50s and health should be ok by then. It is GREAT to be able to simply worry about scheduling hunts and not have to think about PTO available or work approval.

Work you I see the biggest obstacles as health care and the current age of your kids (along with the expenses associated with their growing up). I will tell you that the effects of time to me seem to be increasing at a faster rate (ie 40-45 no big difference, 45-50 quite a difference-especially in recovery) and that was what really pushed me over the edge. Hedges bets on how "good" you are going to be 10-15 years down the road is a losing proposition to me. I hope you can work it out and do what makes you happy.
 

mstevens317

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Joined
Nov 20, 2020
Messages
155
Here is my story in short....
I grew in a completely unstable household. Fluctuating income, parents split, and never lived above working class. Mom died when I was in HS from Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Between her death and seeing how my dad worked hard but never even get close to comfortable I was set on a secure work life with a DEFINITE end time with a set retirement. I was an LEO for a couple of years, then went into the Military ending my (full time) working life as a Federal Agent. Through the 30 years of work life I thought continually about the end game, especially as the punishment to my body and the loses of comrades added up.

The planning meant that I had secured my military retirement (including greatly reduced health insurance for the family), supplemented by a VA payment stream due to bumps and bruises, and finally a FERS retirement by 50 and a month. Through the military service I have also secured undergrad educations at zero out of pocket cost for both kids. The first two are plenty to pay my bills now. The FERS won't come to me until I am 60 which will add comfort. Then at 62 I will take whatever I can get for SS and cash out my TSP. By that point I should be lively at at least the highest standard I have while working. My youngest is now a junior in HS and when she leaves for college it will be time to cash out the suburban house we are in and take the sizeable proceeds to pay cash for a place in the country. It has been a fairly complicated maze of manipulating each of the work circumstances I was in to move toward this all. I have paid a physical price for it but am happy with the choice. I now have just a PT job selling guns at Scheels which is almost too much fun to be paid for.

Hunting wise, the first year and a half (even with all of the covid related crap) has been great. I have been able to hunt in several states for big game, small game and waterfowl without feeling "hurried" . I even swung a trip to England for deer right as I retired. The only real BIG hunt I have in my heart to do will be moose, probably BC for bang for buck, and that will have to until a couple of years after the lil one is gone. That should be my mid to late 50s and health should be ok by then. It is GREAT to be able to simply worry about scheduling hunts and not have to think about PTO available or work approval.

Work you I see the biggest obstacles as health care and the current age of your kids (along with the expenses associated with their growing up). I will tell you that the effects of time to me seem to be increasing at a faster rate (ie 40-45 no big difference, 45-50 quite a difference-especially in recovery) and that was what really pushed me over the edge. Hedges bets on how "good" you are going to be 10-15 years down the road is a losing proposition to me. I hope you can work it out and do what makes you happy.
Consider paying some taxes on your TSP money now while we have the tax cut and job act. Will sunset on 12/31/2025. Talk to your CPA about an appropriate amount, so you don’t unnecessarily pay more in taxes than you need too. Taxes are going up in the future. They’re on sale right now.
 

noharleyyet

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Nov 15, 2004
Messages
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TEXAS
I agree wth Buzz's take on balance and with Fin's take on health and money with the caveat, when you run out of health you better not be out of money. I could cash out tomorrow and be fine...but I like visiting paradise, hunting, and living well on discretionary dough....not principal. Barring a calamitous health event or financial ruin, I'm not retiring. And if I croak, my family is set.
 

AlaskaHunter

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Joined
Jan 20, 2017
Messages
792
Location
interior Alaska
Here is my story in short....
I grew in a completely unstable household. Fluctuating income, parents split, and never lived above working class. Mom died when I was in HS from Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Between her death and seeing how my dad worked hard but never even get close to comfortable I was set on a secure work life with a DEFINITE end time with a set retirement. I was an LEO for a couple of years, then went into the Military ending my (full time) working life as a Federal Agent. Through the 30 years of work life I thought continually about the end game, especially as the punishment to my body and the loses of comrades added up.

The planning meant that I had secured my military retirement (including greatly reduced health insurance for the family), supplemented by a VA payment stream due to bumps and bruises, and finally a FERS retirement by 50 and a month. Through the military service I have also secured undergrad educations at zero out of pocket cost for both kids. The first two are plenty to pay my bills now. The FERS won't come to me until I am 60 which will add comfort. Then at 62 I will take whatever I can get for SS and cash out my TSP. By that point I should be lively at at least the highest standard I have while working. My youngest is now a junior in HS and when she leaves for college it will be time to cash out the suburban house we are in and take the sizeable proceeds to pay cash for a place in the country. It has been a fairly complicated maze of manipulating each of the work circumstances I was in to move toward this all. I have paid a physical price for it but am happy with the choice. I now have just a PT job selling guns at Scheels which is almost too much fun to be paid for.

Hunting wise, the first year and a half (even with all of the covid related crap) has been great. I have been able to hunt in several states for big game, small game and waterfowl without feeling "hurried" . I even swung a trip to England for deer right as I retired. The only real BIG hunt I have in my heart to do will be moose, probably BC for bang for buck, and that will have to until a couple of years after the lil one is gone. That should be my mid to late 50s and health should be ok by then. It is GREAT to be able to simply worry about scheduling hunts and not have to think about PTO available or work approval.

Work you I see the biggest obstacles as health care and the current age of your kids (along with the expenses associated with their growing up). I will tell you that the effects of time to me seem to be increasing at a faster rate (ie 40-45 no big difference, 45-50 quite a difference-especially in recovery) and that was what really pushed me over the edge. Hedges bets on how "good" you are going to be 10-15 years down the road is a losing proposition to me. I hope you can work it out and do what makes you happy.
That "not feeling hurried" is a wonderful feeling. Life is not longer rushed.
I never launch at the boat ramp on weekends...in fact I am rarely anywhere there are people on weekends.
Nice to leave for the hunt several days before opening day and when I get back the parking lot is empty because
its a few days after the season closed.
 

silasd

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Joined
Feb 27, 2017
Messages
162
Location
New Mexico
I’m considering retiring early to hunt more, and I’m curious to hear from others who have done it, considered it, or are planning on doing it. I know it’s still a long ways off, and a hundred things can change between now and then, but I’d like to have a start of a plan now rather than just stumble upon it and wish I’d planned some things out differently 15 years prior, etc.

There are a lot of factors involved, so I’ll list them below by topic, with some notes with hypothetical retirement ages of 50, 55, 60, and 65. Please comment on any oversights or misunderstandings I might have.

Here’s my situation - I’m 37 and I’m eligible for what is essentially an LE retirement at 48. My wife stays at home with our kids ages 3, 1, 1. We live well below our means and save/invest more aggressively then most.

Boredom
It seems that most retirees end up returning to work in some capacity within a year of retirement. This is difficult for me to wrap my head around as I have about fifty hobbies I like to do if I had more time, I’m a homebody, I don’t need to work to have a social life or feel like I’m doing something important, etc.

50 - still have kids at home, so unlikely to be bored, etc

55-65 - I figure I can always volunteer more, conservation, donate expertise related to my profession, etc, if I need to have a workplace-like activity.

Hunt financing vs youth/health
I’m enjoy small game hunting, and inexpensive big game hunting, but there are a few hunts I want to do that run a bit more (guided moose, caribou drop hunt, etc) so available funds to hunt is somewhat of a factor

50 - I’m likely to still be in great health. However, I’d really need to plan the higher dollar hunts carefully. If I stay at my job I’ll have 5 vacation weeks/year, but if I left I’d still need an income stream to bridge until age 55, as all my retirement funds are currently tied up in tax-advantaged shelters that I can’t withdraw early. I could open a brokerage account, but it seems risky to put any funds in there until my tax-advantaged contributions are maxed out, which as of today they’re not. My line of work is not conducive to being gone 3 months of the year during hunting season, so to have an income from seasonal work, I’d likely have to switch industries and take a pay cut on the order of 50%. Plus even with all the extra time available from leaving a full time job, I’ll still have kids at home so it’s not like I’ll be out hunting all the time anyways.

55 - If I keep taking care of my body, I have a very good chance of still being able to hunt hard on DIY trips in the mountains, etc. If I someday catch the bug to do a lot of higher dollar hunts I’d have to be selective on what I could do.

60 - My worry is I’ll regret having worked too many years and run myself out of health before I had the opportunity to hunt as much as I wanted to.

65 - I’d be able to go on just about any hunt I could imagine, but who knows if I’d have the health to do so or even still be alive. Retiring at this age seems less appealing than at 50.

Healthcare
50 - I’d have to buy insurance on the open market, join my wife’s employers’ plan IF she had even returned to full time work, or join a health sharing plan. All are riskier and more expensive than my current plan.

55 - Under current laws my kids can stay on my insurance plan until they’re 26. That seems a nice gift and one way to help them get established as adults, etc, but that’s a lot easier to do with my work-sponsored plan than an alternative.

60 - At this point bridging 5 years until Medicare would not be a significant financial burden due to accumulated wealth

65 - Medicare eligible

...

I’ve talked it over with my wife and retiring at 50 seems a bit of a pipe dream, unless something significant changes in our situation, and I’m not sure I’d really want to make any crazy changes anyways. I think 55 is fairly realistic goal as long as I plan carefully for it.
Have you thought about a side gig that involves hunting? Like guiding? Or running a lodge for hunters? Seems like guiding might be the dream job for you, minus the occasional bad apple customer....
 

LopeHunter

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May 31, 2007
Messages
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MO-->CA-->NW-->AZ&NW
I'm in a similar boat to you so will try and add somethings that I am doing. Loved your breakdown and will be stealing a few ideas.


1) I am fortunate in my employer matches 4% of retirement if I put in 5% and depending on how the organization does will add another 3-7%, we have always gotten the 7%. I max out my 401k every year into a Roth IRA. I hope I'm in a higher tax bracket at 55 than I am now at 35.

2) We get a raise + cost of living just about every year usually 3% +/-. Every one of these "raises" for my wife and I (both work at the same place) has always gone into a separate investment account. So basically we are making our starting wage (I've been there for 10yrs wife 12). This money is going to used for retirement until we can draw on our 401k's.

3) My profession allows me to get a second job in the same field. So I do work as I want at this job. I make myself do 48hrs a month Jan-Aug than about 0-12hrs Sept-Dec. My primary job I work 24hr shifts (1day on 4 days off another big perk) so this does allow me time others might not have. Although with you being a LE (THANK YOU) I would assume you are on 10s or 12s? So could maybe pick up a teaching position or 2nd as needed job? EDIT: this money is also invested split between short term, mid term and the majority of it in long term investments to cover retirement until our 401k can be used.

4) I donate plasma to pay for all my hunting licenses and equipment. This comes to about $4k a year after the bonuses and what not. So my hunts are limited now but not taking anything from my end goal.

5) The only debt we currently have is our mortgage, refinanced to 2.3% for 15yrs so foolish to pay that off. We busted our asses the first 10yrs of our marriage to pay off everything else and create a nest egg should the need arise.


You sound like you have an awesome plan in place and I would say make 55 the end goal and if ends up being 60 your doing better than most.

We paid off our mortgage though an astute financial advisor would cringe. The emotional lift from waking up not owing a penny to anyone, anywhere, is a shot in the arm that is goodness. No regrets we did not leverage the low mortgage rate to obtain more investments. Yes, illogical action led to out-sized satisfaction. It is what it is and if stress kills then I am glad we aggressively paid off the mortgage.
 

wllm1313

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We paid off our mortgage though an astute financial advisor would cringe. The emotional lift from waking up not owing a penny to anyone, anywhere, is a shot in the arm that is goodness. No regrets we did not leverage the low mortgage rate to obtain more investments. Yes, illogical action led to out-sized satisfaction. It is what it is and if stress kills then I am glad we aggressively paid off the mortgage.
That moment when you realize that markets change and a financial advisor is really just taking a WAG, taking what’s happened in the last 10 years and trying to use that to predict the markets and politics decades down the road.

I’ve seen first hand term life insurance and paying off your mortgage being the best possible decisions in someone’s life, both get knocked by “people in the know”.

If I was you I’d sleep soundly knowing I made a great decision.
 
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WIbiggame

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Jan 5, 2013
Messages
315
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Wisconsin
We paid off our mortgage though an astute financial advisor would cringe. The emotional lift from waking up not owing a penny to anyone, anywhere, is a shot in the arm that is goodness. No regrets we did not leverage the low mortgage rate to obtain more investments. Yes, illogical action led to out-sized satisfaction. It is what it is and if stress kills then I am glad we aggressively paid off the mortgage.

Awesome good for you!! My wife and I went round and round about just that. Is the stress worth the potential long term gain. We made a happy medium pay a little extra to make our 15yr mortgage more of a 10yr.
 

ntodwild

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Dec 21, 2018
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Washington
That "not feeling hurried" is a wonderful feeling.
Oh, how this is so true and an unrealized perk of retirement. Truly one of the "little things" in life that you hear people speak of but don't realize how liberating it is to call your own schedule without worry. I 2nd your giddiness on this small but highly under appreciated perk! (y)
 

Bob-WY

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Feb 24, 2020
Messages
306
There is much more than money to factor in. Wife and I several years ago laid all the options on the table, strictly financially we could have done much better. We had a 3 5/8 % mortgage, we had three options we discussed:
1) beat the crap out of the mortgage with every spare penny we had. Got us dept free ASAP
2) Pay monthly and invest the difference. Allowed investment and "fun" vacations
3) Do a middle of the road, to achieve goals of 1 and 2.

Strictly financially we should have done #2, market went nuts for a few years there and the money we pushed to pay off the mortgage could have been well into the 5 figures invested at 20+%. We'd still be carrying the debt, but the nest egg would be bigger.

We went middle of the road after factoring in what was really important to us: freedom of being debt free. We do now channel that majority of that excess money into savings and investment, while having the mind-calming knowledge of being debt free. Our nest egg is not as big as possible, but along the way we've had several good vacations with and without the kids. We now have a grandson on the other side of the country, which we can go see whenever we want. Being debt free allowed us to take a risk and move cross country knowing we could turn right around if we needed. If we had to carry mortgages that made that harder, we didn't HAVE to sell our house to buy a house.

All in all, FOR US, it worked out, I will be retired in another year, well before "retirement age" and have more than enough money to do what I want for the rest of my life.
 

Cammy

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Jun 25, 2014
Messages
273
Sitting at work reading along. Looking at retirement in 2 years maybe less if the boss jerks my chain hard enough. Retired military and in the VA system so health care taken care of which seems to be the recurring theme of those looking at an early out. Maxing out 401k as well as IRA contributions. Got REALLY AGGRESSIVE on what debt we had including mortgage (paid off in 2017) and have not owed anyone anything since January of 2021 and save every penny we can. Feel that we will be financially stable in retirement as we are pretty self reliant and other than moving out of California, we do not have any big plans. My FIL and BIL retired from union gigs at 55 and have survived and so I look at them for inspiration to getting out of this office. Right now I am in the process of turning things over to the next generation and padding the 401k and adding to SSI. Looking forward to waking up to Saturday everyday.
 

ElkFever2

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Iowa
There is much more than money to factor in. Wife and I several years ago laid all the options on the table, strictly financially we could have done much better. We had a 3 5/8 % mortgage, we had three options we discussed:
1) beat the crap out of the mortgage with every spare penny we had. Got us dept free ASAP
2) Pay monthly and invest the difference. Allowed investment and "fun" vacations
3) Do a middle of the road, to achieve goals of 1 and 2.

Strictly financially we should have done #2, market went nuts for a few years there and the money we pushed to pay off the mortgage could have been well into the 5 figures invested at 20+%. We'd still be carrying the debt, but the nest egg would be bigger.

We went middle of the road after factoring in what was really important to us: freedom of being debt free. We do now channel that majority of that excess money into savings and investment, while having the mind-calming knowledge of being debt free. Our nest egg is not as big as possible, but along the way we've had several good vacations with and without the kids. We now have a grandson on the other side of the country, which we can go see whenever we want. Being debt free allowed us to take a risk and move cross country knowing we could turn right around if we needed. If we had to carry mortgages that made that harder, we didn't HAVE to sell our house to buy a house.

All in all, FOR US, it worked out, I will be retired in another year, well before "retirement age" and have more than enough money to do what I want for the rest of my life.
I like the perspective here. My wife and I are probably closest to #3. On track to be done with the 15-year mortgage in 7.5 years. Still pretty aggressive though.

We find ourselves getting into stupid disagreements like whether we should buy cheese in bulk, or if Walgreens bandaids are overpriced, in attempts to out-Scrooge one another.

I definitely have to work on embracing a more relaxed attitude towards money as our circumstances change. Otherwise it will be difficult to fully enjoy the rewards of being debt free.
 

Cammy

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Jun 25, 2014
Messages
273
We find ourselves getting into stupid disagreements like whether we should buy cheese in bulk, or if Walgreens bandaids are overpriced, in attempts to out-Scrooge one another.
These are the discussions that lead to visible results on your way to financial freedom. The only downside to being debt free is nobody there to pat you on the back for making the sacrifices that must be made to attain your goal. I remember the day we made the final payment on the house. Was pretty let down that there were no balloons or confetti falling from the ceiling as a reward. I do find it rewarding that I can share our experience with a group of people here that I have never met and won't be too judgemental.
 

BlakeA

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North Dakota
I definitely have to work on embracing a more relaxed attitude towards money as our circumstances change. Otherwise it will be difficult to fully enjoy the rewards of being debt free.
That's probably one of the most common challenges. Learning to pace yourself and relax a bit once you have hit your goals rather than continuing on such an aggressive pace. Finding that happy medium and enjoying the ride while you are on it.
 
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