Could I retire…. next week?

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Could I retire…. next week?

Postby DennisTheMenace » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:04 pm

I’ve been following the Bogleheads forum for about five months. I was fortunate to learn about it from a post on early-retirement.org. Thank you all for your contributions to the forum, I’ve learned a lot and have a lot more to learn. For reasons that will become clear I’d appreciate it if someone would look over my shoulder, point out my mistakes and offer suggestions for improvement.

A little background, my wife and I were married 20 years ago, both of us at age 35. She was working with a financial consultant who came on site at her company to help employees invest in the 403(b) plan. The consultant and my wife had good rapport, so as she grew professionally and changed companies we followed her as clients. With her encouragement we sold the individual stocks we’d purchased and invested in a slightly aggressive portfolio of actively managed funds which she recommended. She got us on track and helped us build our financial future. Most importantly she kept us from making unwise moves when the market dropped.

Fast forward to last year, my wife died suddenly and unexpectedly in early 2013. The plans we’d been making for the future collapsed, and I’m back to the drawing board trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. One key plan we’d been working towards was retiring in 2018, just before we turned 60. Another was potentially picking up and moving to Texas. I’m certain retirement at age 60 is an option and I’m pretty sure I could pull the plug sooner. Next week wouldn’t be too early. That said, many people have advised I shouldn’t make major decisions like that until at least a year after my wife’s death, and my family doctor says two years.

After learning about the index fund investment philosophy here I decided to take over management of my (our?) investments. I opened an account at Vanguard and transferred both taxable and IRA accounts from Wells Fargo. Both accounts are still mostly invested in funds selected by the financial planner, and it may take some time & effort to change that. I inherited my wife’s 403(b) account and initially moved it to an IRA at Wells Fargo, which was probably not the best plan. Fortunately I can move assets in the IRA without tax consequences, and I’ve started doing that. I also opened a Roth IRA at Vanguard and funded it to the maximum ($6500 ‘catch up’ level) extent for 2013 & 2014.

Recommendations on how best to proceed would be welcome. My long term intention is to implement a four fund portfolio based on Vanguard index funds (Total Stock, Total Bond, Total International Stock & Total International Bond). I would be grateful for suggestions on how I can consolidate my investments and give myself a balance of flexibility and security going forward. In pulling this information together I can see my asset allocation is way out of whack. Most likely I messed it up by selling bond funds and reinvesting the money in equities as I started moving money around. I could probably fix that by rebalancing my 401(k) to be much heavier in bonds.

I’ve been working on a budget for a couple of months. Based on past expenses and with a generous (perhaps outrageous) boost for retirement travel & hobbies I estimate my annual expenses will be $47,000. My current income is about $80k (employer: 60k / military retirement: 20k).

Emergency funds: I have enough for about 4 years. $100k in savings at fnbodirect.com paying 0.85%.
This was our emergency fund and is my ‘bail out’ fund if I decide to pull the plug & retire very early.
No debt: House & car paid for.
Tax filing status: Married filing jointly (Widower) this year, single going forward. No children.
Tax rate: Not 100% certain, but probably 25% Federal & 6.5% state (I still need to do my taxes this year)
State of Residence: Nebraska
Age: 55 (56 this summer)
Desired Asset allocation: 65% stocks / 35% bonds (but open to suggestions)

Projected retirement income streams:
Military retirement (currently receiving): $1700 monthly
His pension: $375 monthly (@age 60, mid-2018) (discounted 40% from age 65 amount)
Her pension (which I inherited and may begin taking at her 60th birthday): If taken in early 2018: $1100 monthly (discounted 30% from age 65 amount)
(note: if taken in early 2023: $1609 monthly)
Social Security Survivors Benefit: $1571 monthly (@age 60, mid-2018) (assuming I don’t remarry before age 60)
His Social Security: $2173 monthly (@age 70, June 2028)
Expected monthly income from these sources: $4,746 (mid-2018) ($56,952annually)

One question I’m pondering is whether I should delay taking my pension or my wife’s pension beyond 2018.

Current retirement assets:

Taxable: $432k
Symbol Name Expense ratio Balance Unrealized Gains % of Total Category
VMMXX Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund 0.17% $48,000 4.4%
VBTLX Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund Admiral Shares 0.10% $20,000 1.8%
VTABX Vanguard Total International Bond Index Fund Admiral Shares 0.20% $10,000 0.9%
VTIAX Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund Admiral Shares 0.14% $10,000 0.9%
VTSAX Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares 0.05% $136,000 $2,000 12.5%
CIGIX Calamos International Growth Fund Institutional Class 1.23% $20,500 $2,400 1.9% Foreign Large Growth
VSMIX Invesco Small Cap Value Fund Class Y 0.90% $17,200 $3,000 1.6% Small Value
FLMVX JPMorgan Mid Cap Value Instl 0.99% $8,700 $1,300 0.8% Mid-Cap Value
CPODX Morgan Stanley Multi Cap Growth Trust Class I 1.05% $32,300 $7,000 3.0% Large Growth
PEGZX Prudential Jennison Mid Cap Growth Z 0.77% $10,600 $2,100 1.0% Mid-Cap Growth
RSYEX RS Small Cap Growth Fund Class Y 1.14% $17,300 $3,700 1.6% Small Growth
TIVFX Tocqueville International Value Fund 1.55% $20,100 $3,000 1.9% Foreign Large Value
CISGX Touchstone Sands Capital Inst Gr 0.79% $29,300 $5,900 2.7% Large Growth
YACKX Yacktman Fund Service Class 0.76% $18,500 $1,780 1.7% Large Blend
BRK B BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC DE CL B NEW $34,100 $8,300 3.1%

Rollover IRA: $374k (rolled over from my wife’s 403(b) plan)
Symbol Name Expense ratio Balance % of Total Category
VTSAX Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares 0.05% $53,674 4.9%
ARTQX Artisan Mid Cap Value Fund Investor Class 1.20% $14,779 1.4% Mid-Cap Value
HWSIX Hotchkis and Wiley Small Cap Value Fund Class I 1.04% $23,484 2.2% Small Value
MINIX MFS® International Value Fund Class I 0.89% $36,088 3.3% Foreign Large Value
ODVYX Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund Class Y 1.06% $17,153 1.6% Diversified Emerging Mkts
PTLDX PIMCO Low Duration Fund Institutional Class 0.46% $16,542 1.5% Short-Term Bond
PEGZX Prudential Jennison Mid Cap Growth Z 0.77% $15,344 1.4% Mid-Cap Growth
PNRZX Prudential Jennison Natural Resources Fund Class Z 0.87% $18,650 1.7% Natural Resources
PRNHX T. Rowe Price New Horizons Fund 0.80% $24,969 2.3% Small Growth
CISGX Touchstone Sands Capital Inst Gr 0.79% $43,506 4.0% Large Growth
WFPDX Wells Fargo Advantage Premier Large Company Growth Fund Administrator Class 1.04% $39,769 3.7% Large Growth
YACKX Yacktman Fund Service Class 0.76% $34,895 3.2% Large Blend
BRK B BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC DE CL B NEW $35,405 3.3%

Roth IRA (opened last week)
Symbol Name Expense ratio Balance % of Total
VTSAX Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund Admiral Shares 0.05% $12,700 1.2%

His 401(k)
Symbol Name Expense ratio Balance % of Total
VINIX Vanguard Institutional Index Inst 0.04% $172,700 15.9%
VBTSX Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Signal 0.01% $93,600 8.6%

Thank you all for any suggestions you care to offer. I may not take any or all of the advice I receive, but I appreciate the time you spend in giving it. At the very least I expect to receive questions that will force me to consider where I’m going. That will help me do a better job of planning for the future.

Dennis (the Menace)
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Re: Could I retire…. next week?

Postby dstac » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:37 am

Welcome to the boards & sorry for your loss.

To answer your headline question, yes, you could retire. Should you instead heed the advice of your doctor? I don't know.

DennisTheMenace wrote:I’ve been working on a budget for a couple of months. Based on past expenses and with a generous (perhaps outrageous) boost for retirement travel & hobbies I estimate my annual expenses will be $47,000. My current income is about $80k (employer: 60k / military retirement: 20k).


It sounds like your estimated future expenses largely mirror your current expenses plus some. Nice job on going through that important exercise.

DennisTheMenace wrote:Emergency funds: I have enough for about 4 years. $100k in savings at fnbodirect.com paying 0.85%.
This was our emergency fund and is my ‘bail out’ fund if I decide to pull the plug & retire very early.
No debt: House & car paid for.
Age: 55 (56 this summer)


Not clear if the 4yrs=$100k or if there is something else going on here. Guessing you mean $47k expenses minus $20k military retirement = $27k remaining expenses, which is ~1/4 of $100k. Good to see no debt.

So let's focus on existing income streams and see what's left:
DennisTheMenace wrote: Military retirement (currently receiving): $1700 monthly
Social Security Survivors Benefit: $1571 monthly (@age 60, mid-2018) (assuming I don’t remarry before age 60)

Total: $3271/mo or ~$39k/yr (so only $8k/yr short from age 60 onward)
I've avoided looking at the pensions that you are heavily penalized to withdraw from at 60 because you get a great guaranteed return of ~8% to leave them alone if you can.

DennisTheMenace wrote:One question I’m pondering is whether I should delay taking my pension or my wife’s pension beyond 2018.

Yes, per above.

So how do we cover the $8k/yr from age 60 to whenever you start taking one or more pensions or your SS?
DennisTheMenace wrote:Taxable: $432k

Yup, that's the one. If you simply draw $8k from the taxable account every single year, with no asset appreciation or dividends, it will take you 54yrs to draw down. Since I don't know many 114 year olds, let's try something else.

Let's back up and say you wanted to keep the $100k emergency fund intact as a "just in case fund." Instead you know you've got a series of large pension items that are going to show great growth until you're 70 and you will have RMDs. So let's try an experiment where we spend down the taxable between 56 and 70. Simple math (basically assuming the portfolio only keeps up with inflation as do your withdrawals): $432k divided by 14yrs = $30.9k/yr Hmm… If we took the $30k from taxable each year and added that to your $20k pension, you're covered.

Using this methodology (& if I'm reading your pension info correctly) and assuming none of your assets do any more than keep up with inflation (including pensions) your income by age:

55-59: Military Retirement [MR] @ $20k; Taxable Account [TA] @ $30k; TOTAL $50k/yr
60-64: MR @ $20k; TA @ $30k; SS Survivors Benefit [SSSB] @ $19k; TOTAL $69k/yr
65-69: MR @ $20k; TA @ $30k (final year); SSSB @ $19k; His Pension [HP] @ $7k; Her Pension [HRP] @ $19k; TOTAL $95k/yr
70+: MR @ $20k; SSSB @ $19k; HP @ $7k; HRP @ $19k; His SS @ $26k; IRA RMD @ $13k (first year); 401k RMD @ $10k (first year); TOTAL $114k/yr

So we've just found a way to start you at $50k/yr and bump it up ~$20k every 5yrs finishing at $114k/yr in today's inflation adjusted dollars. And note that you've never touched your emergency fund. (I'd probably suggest using ~$10k/yr of the efund in the 55-59 timeframe to increase & smooth early retirement income at $60k/yr.)

You should definitely clean up your tax advantaged accounts. As for your taxable, if you do decide to slowly liquidate it over the next couple of decades, I would focus on simply selling your highest expense ratios first. You don't have any huge gains. Also, a portion of these gains would not be taxed at all if you haven't filled the 15% tax bracket yet. To keep your desired allocation in balance, you can make up for it in your tax advantaged accounts.

I would also recommend continuing to fund your ROTH every year to the maximum possible that you have earned income. Remember that the ROTH does not have RMDs and has some significant survivor benefits - if that is important to you. If leaving a bequest is not important that I certainly wouldn't wait until RMD's kick in on the 401k & tIRA. Instead I'd start withdrawing 4% each year (~$25k) starting when you turn 59.5.

In short, you've got enough money to retire at a lifestyle you would be fine with. The bigger question has to do with social ties, long-term activities, and the big "what's next."

Best of luck in you decisions.
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Re: Could I retire…. next week?

Postby dickenjb » Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:05 am

Also sorry for your loss and welcome to Bogleheads.

I would think long and hard before drawing either pension early. There is a concept of floor income and aspirational income - it is a very good situation if you can cover all of your necessities with guaranteed monthly income and rely on your portfolio for the niceties of life.

Additionally as an earlier posted pointed out, you can live off your taxable investments while allowing your IRA's to continue to compound tax free until RMDs kick in at age 70.

Congratulations on selecting the four fund portfolio. I would also consider simplifying further and eliminating international bonds and going with the Three Fund Portfolio.

You stated AA of 65/35 is reasonable, I would go somewhere between 20-40% international. When you actually retire, consider dropping to 60/40 or even 50/50.

No debt is a very good thing. It looks like you are in fine shape financially, now you have to get comfortable with the other stuff - what are you going to do all day, etc.
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Re: Could I retire…. next week?

Postby rogers-SNK » Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:07 am

Dennis,

Others can offer better advice than me, but I wanted to extend my sympathies for your loss. I can't put into words the pain you are probably going through but will offer this quote by A.A. Milne.

How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
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Re: Could I retire…. next week?

Postby midareff » Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:17 am

Sorry to hear of your loss... my sincere sympathies.

I am in the camp of your physician..... let things sit for two years on the employment front while your emotions recover. That will allow you more than ample time to focus on completing your transition to the four fund portfolio you cited. Take some trips during that time period as well. Try a couple of international tours, they are great fun and many friendly people are to be found so traveling alone is AOK. After that, see how you feel about retirement or working. If you want out your finances are in order, you have mostly healed, so do it. If you want to continue a couple of years, do that, just don't knee jerk anything ... you have time to take it easily.
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Re: Could I retire…. next week?

Postby cherijoh » Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:38 am

I'm very sorry for your loss and welcome to Bogleheads.

As earlier posters have pointed out, you are in fine shape to retire early. So I will concentrate on your asset allocation. Your top 3 priorities should be:

1) Getting to the desired Stock/Bond Ratio
2) Reducing your expense ratios
3) Simplification (which you can do at the same time as #2)

It looks like you have 4.4% in cash and just under 12% in bond funds. (Perhaps some of your other funds have some bonds, but based on fund names they looked like stock funds to me). For someone who wants to be 65/35, this should be your TOP priority. Otherwise, you run the risk of taking the expensive route to a more balanced portfolio - a stock market correction! You have sufficient tax sheltered assets to put all your bonds in your 401k and rollover IRA. I would leave stock funds in the ROTH IRA. I recommend reading this article in the wiki http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Principles_of_tax-efficient_fund_placement. You are mostly OK, but I see some bond fund index in taxable.

The expense ratios for those actively managed funds will eat away at your returns, so get that IRA transferred over to Vanguard and start replacing funds with the Vanguard index funds. If you set up a VG brokerage account within the IRA, the funds can be transferred in kind and then liquidated. You can fill out the Vanguard paperwork and they will take care of everything. There are no tax consequences for selling funds in tax advantaged accounts. At your asset levels, you should be able to do this via free trades.

For the taxable part of your portfolio, IMMEDIATELY discontinue reinvesting dividends and capital gains (if you are doing so). I would also recommend prioritizing the order to sell the active funds based on the expense ratio with capital gains and account size as tie-breakers if you have two funds at approximately the same expense ratio. If there is a dip in the stock market, this is an excellent time to sell these funds and immediately reinvest in the corresponding Vanguard index fund (TSM or Total International). This may seem counter-intuitive at first, but when the market recovers you will have the growth in your desired fund allocation and will have saved on taxes by reducing the capital gains.

With respect to retiring immediately or waiting a while - please consider what you will do with your time after retirement very carefully. It is a generalization, but men tend to depend on their wives for much of their social activities and emotional support, with the balance of their people time coming from interactions with coworkers. Volunteering can be an excellent source of both social interactions and feeling like your life has some purpose. My recommendation would be to explore some volunteer opportunities (or hobbies) before you sign those retirement papers. You might also look into a support group for widows and widowers. Again, I'm very sorry for your loss.
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Re: Could I retire…. next week?

Postby Jack FFR1846 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:01 am

I'll also offer my condolences.

As a new Boglehead myself, I'll warn to be careful about a lot of buying/selling within an account. I first rid myself of the highest ER managed funds and moved money to my lower ER funds. This was comfortable for me to do as I had those funds for quite a while. As I learned more, I realized that the best index funds were not what I was in. If I were to up and sell, I would trigger some 1% fees, so I'm sitting still right now, with notes in my spreadsheet to sell in order to buy when the time period expires.

You mention you want to move to Texas. Any place in Texas in particular?

I would agree with your doctor to not make any huge changes for a couple years. Sure, you could stop working but even if you hate your job, that's another big change in a short period. Perhaps start researching plans of what you want to do next. Maybe an extended vacation to the part of Texas where you think you would want to move.
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Re: Could I retire…. next week?

Postby dickenjb » Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:25 am

You might also want to look at trips offered by Road Scholar (fka Elderhostel). I have gone on four of their trips and singles are very common and made to feel welcome. One of the trips was a hiking trip in Big Bend NP in Texas.
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Re: Could I retire…. next week?

Postby btenny » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:16 pm

I am sorry for your loss. I hope you have healed enough to start looking around and see there is a lot more life left to live and enjoy.

As far as money stuff. Have you really moved all your money and accounts to Vanguard with all those various mutual funds? Is your wifes' friend and advisor still helping you or are you now completely on your own at Vanguard? Have you talked to a Vanguard advisor about asset allocation and funds types? Tax issues?

If you are on your own you need some management tools and spreadsheets to make doing changes and analysis easier. So I suggest you create two Total Net Worth Xcel spreadsheets ASAP. I have my stuff on two single pages and it is pretty complex but these pages are my backbone. One spreadsheet should show your total net worth by account and the other spreadsheet should show you your total net worth by asset type. The accounts spread sheet should show each of your accounts with the individual assets added up so it agrees with the monthly statements you get. It should also include all your emergency money added up and all your checking stuff added up and so forth to show you your Total Net Worth. Then the second spread sheet should show the same assets but be arranged into type categories of Bonds, US Stocks, Foreign Stocks and Real Estate to show your Asset Allocation as a percentage of your Toal Net Worth. These two Xcel spread sheets should show you what you have in total and be "check balanced" against your brokerage statements and each other once a month. These are pretty hard to do the first time but easy to keep up after they are set up. They make managing your monmey easy.

I am pretty sure your advisor has spread sheets like these for your accounts so now you need them to manage your money.

Don't make a lot of changes until you really understand your allocations and the tax implications of making changes. Plus since you are doing it on your own you need tools to track the changes and where you want to go. So right now I recommend you stand pat and study and analize your situation before making changes...

Do you have several "hobbies" and tons of friends that you want to do stuff with in retirement? Things like golfing or skiing or writing a novel? My reason for asking is right now working for you provides a sort of entertainment and social structure that will be gone when you retire. And with no best friend or wife to travel with or do things with sometimes retirees have issues. SO.... Maybe you need to look at your outside work social life in some depth as well as your money issues in depth before you retire. Just thinking.

Good Luck and Have fun...
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Re: Could I retire…. next week?

Postby Clearly_Irrational » Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:07 pm

I'm sorry for your loss. I strongly advise you to wait a while after such a traumatic event before making such a huge decision.

From a financial perspective having access to defined benefit payments is a huge advantage. Normally you wouldn't want to take those early since they give you such a great floor later on. The money in 401k and IRA accounts shouldn't be touched until 59 1/2 in order to avoid penalties.

The short answer is yes, from a financial perspective you're probably set. The modeling gets fairly complex if you want to simulate this though.
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Re: Could I retire…. next week?

Postby DennisTheMenace » Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:19 pm

Thank you all. I’m overwhelmed by your support and assistance in helping me answer one key question and for pointing out questions I hadn’t asked myself, let alone anyone else. I appreciate your help. I sent my finances in for an x-ray and they came back with a CAT scan.
Given that a CAT scan produces a 3-D view by looking at the subject from all angles I think it’s a good analogy.

Knowing I have the freedom to choose my own course going forward is reassuring. And now I have to continue doing the work of setting that course and getting ready to take it.

Dstac, Thank you for your masterful cash flow analysis. I might have eventually stumbled upon that approach, but it’s not a certainty. Thank you for sharing that method; with your example I can spend some time with Excel and explore how various options combine to work out a suitable plan.

Dickenbj, Thank you for introducing the floor and aspirational income concept. A fleeting wisp of memory suggests I’ve seen it elsewhere, but it didn’t stick and I wasn’t thinking in those terms. It dovetails nicely with Dstac’s cash flow analysis.
I’m not opposed to adopting a Three Fund Portfolio instead of Four Fund. I’ll have to read some more on that topic and make sure I understand why I’m choosing one over the other.
Thank you for mentioning Road Scholar. I peeked at their web site and it looks interesting. I could see myself on a couple of those trips. I may need to increase the travel portion of the budget though. ;)

Rogers-SNK, Thank you for the kind sentiment and for sharing a very appropriate quotation. If I recall correctly A.A. Milne was the author of Winnie the Pooh… and thanks to Google, I see that he was. And in the process I found a wealth of other inspiring quotes. Inspiration and stories are a priceless treasure. Thank you! For anyone else who’d like to enjoy what that lead me to: http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/81466.A_A_Milne.

Midareff, Thank you for the encouragement to travel solo… I’m not too keen on the word ‘alone’. Organized tours are worth considering, and you’re not alone in suggesting them. My wife and I loved the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun”, which begins on a tour bus in Italy. A rare romantic comedy that hits the mark. Highly recommended.

Cherijoh, With the exception of my 401(k) and emergency fund everything is at Vanguard. And in truth the 401(k) is invested in Vanguard institutional index funds. I have brokerage accounts under both taxable and IRA accounts. I’m slowly working to sell non-index funds in the IRA and move the money into Vanguard index funds within the IRA. I’m a little daunted by the three days it takes for funds to clear so the proceeds can be reinvested. I moved $38k last week and had the good fortune to sell on Monday before the market went down and was able to reinvest the funds on Friday before it went up today. I wouldn’t want to be on the reverse end of that exchange.
Thank you for your suggestions and particularly for the emphasis on fixing my asset allocation. Aircraft pilots are trained to handle all sorts of emergencies, but the first rule of dealing with an emergency is to remember to keep flying the plane while dealing with the emergency. Keeping a proper asset allocation is flying the plane. Everything else matters as well, just not as much.

Jack FFR1846, It sounds like I’m following in some of your investing footsteps. I’m also working to get out of funds with the highest expense ratio first.
I’ve got a brother and sister in Texas. One in Austin and the other in Frisco (north side of Dallas). Of the two cities I’m more inclined to Austin. Its proximity to San Antonio works in its favor as well. The downside is summer heat.

Btenny, Thank you. Healing is an ongoing process. As a general rule I have good days and bad minutes, but periods of grief can strike without warning, brought on by a simple memory.
The money (less 401(k)) is all at Vanguard. Our financial planner politely turned me over to her assistants after I let her know I was moving to Vanguard. She let me know I’d be welcome to return as a customer, but we haven’t communicated since December. I’m planning to talk to a Vanguard advisor but wanted to make what seemed like the obviously ‘right’ changes first, but that may not have been the best idea.
I do have a net worth spreadsheet I’ve been maintaining about monthly since 2007. You make a good point that it needs more detail. I’m not an Excel expert, but I think I can manage. Thanks for the suggestion.

Clearly_Irrational
, You and Dstac make a good point about defined benefit pensions. I definitely need to spend some quality time with an Excel spreadsheet and a guide to withdrawal strategies.

Everyone, Thank you very much for your condolences. Thank you also for taking the time to help me have a better understanding of where I stand and where I have the freedom to go. It’s been less than 24 hours since I first posted. With your help I have a much better understanding of where I am and what I need to do next. Thank you again.

Dennis
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Re: Could I retire…. next week?

Postby Watty » Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:57 pm

That said, many people have advised I shouldn’t make major decisions like that until at least a year after my wife’s death, and my family doctor says two years.


One thing that I would suggest would be to check with your doctor or other people to find professional grief counseling and support groups.

It was not clear just what you would do with your time if you did retire and if nothing else having a jobs puts some structure in your life even if it is a pain in the rear at times.

Taking some time before you do retire would allow you to at least come up with a general idea of what your days will look like in retirement at least in the short term.
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Re: Could I retire…. next week?

Postby Laura » Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:09 pm

I too am sorry for your loss and agree with watty that figuring out what you want to do next is very important before making the leap. I took a retirement planning seminar many years ago which I thought would focus on finances. Instead they asked one very profound question..."if you are no longer a xxx (doctor, lawyer, business owner, stay at home parent, fill in the blank for your life) then who are you?" They suggested that the time to figure that out was before retiring and I think this might apply to you as well. Taking a few months off to move and get settled in a new location might be nice but after that, what will you do with yourself all day long? Figuring that out before you make the move might be best. Your life has already taken one unexpected sharp turn and retirement should lead you in a positive direction instead of leaving you with a lot of empty time on your hands. Your new life won't be the one you expected to have but it can be very rewarding anyway. You just need to figure it out before making the move.

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Re: Could I retire…. next week?

Postby MSDOGS1976 » Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:36 am

My condolences as well on your loss. Finance wise not much to add as you have already received good advice. Consolidating your funds is a good idea. And I would probably work one more year and use that time to sort things out. That will enable you to pad the acct a little more. Take a couple of trips to areas you may want to relocate to. Just use the next year to be totally prepared.

Best of luck to you.
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