Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Have a question about your personal investments? No matter how simple or complex, you can ask it here.
User avatar
Topic Author
macandal
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:58 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by macandal » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:42 pm

I know that one should start planning one's retirement the moment one starts working, but I want to know is when do you need to start making moves, etc when retirement is coming up rather fast. I ask because the other day I was thinking that I am about 10 years from retirement. Is there anything I should be doing? Are there any books, resources for people who are getting close to retiring?

Thanks.

patandjames72
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:41 am
Location: 11710

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by patandjames72 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:49 pm

I started in my 50's; I built an excel so I can track my expenses year over year; I maxed out my 401K; I signed up for Kiplingers and Money Mags and did alot of research - Good Luck

jebmke
Posts: 9878
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by jebmke » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:52 pm

I started when I was about 50. I was offered an expat assignment and I realized that there was potential that it could last a while and be my last assignment. Given that possibility I needed to negotiate some terms that might be non-standard.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

User avatar
Topic Author
macandal
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:58 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by macandal » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:53 pm

patandjames72 wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:49 pm
I started in my 50's; I built an excel so I can track my expenses year over year; I maxed out my 401K; I signed up for Kiplingers and Money Mags and did alot of research - Good Luck
I have been maxing out my 457(b) for quite some time now. When I turned 50, I added the additional amount we are allowed to contribute.

Thanks.

RadAudit
Posts: 3622
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 10:20 am
Location: Second star on the right and straight on 'til morning

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by RadAudit » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:58 pm

You start from where you are. For what it's worth, I started planning 50 years ago - but I made a number of changes along the way.

Go to "start here" on the post listings page. They have a retirement start-up kit and a suggested reading list.
Last edited by RadAudit on Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
FI is the best revenge. LBYM. Invest the rest. Stay the course. - PS: The cavalry isn't coming, kids. You are on your own.

SGM
Posts: 3051
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:46 am

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by SGM » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:04 pm

I found Jane Bryant Quinn's "How to Make Your Money Last", and James Lange " Retire Secure" and "Roth Revolution" to be helpful books on retirement. I started thinking about retirement when I had my first good job. I had to make decisions about what to do with retirement accounts when I quit jobs and decided to roll them over into IRAs.

I made the decision to delay SS until 70 when I was 62. I also began to do Roth conversions when the law changed in 2010 to allow conversions regardless of income. Early on I made a decision that I did not want a mortgage in retirement. I ran numbers through various retirement calculators about ten years prior to retirement.

User avatar
Topic Author
macandal
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:58 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by macandal » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:10 pm

SGM wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:04 pm
I made the decision to delay SS until 70 when I was 62. I also began to do Roth conversions when the law changed in 2010 to allow conversions regardless of income. Early on I made a decision that I did not want a mortgage in retirement. I ran numbers through various retirement calculators about ten years prior to retirement.
I am seriously thinking to delay SS until 70 too, we'll see if that works.

I don't have IRAs of any kind.

I would very much like to buy a house of my own but I live in San Francisco and I don't think I will be able to afford anything here. I don't want to move, but I've started to look elsewhere around the area to see if there is anything I can afford. Like you, I don't want to carry a mortgage once I'm retired but I may not have a choice here.

Thank you.

HomeStretch
Posts: 3004
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:06 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by HomeStretch » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:18 pm

Spouse and I saved as much as we could and paid off mortgage early. At 50, we started running retirement scenarios as we had a good handle on our portfolio size and retirement spending. Prior to that, for us it was too much guesswork about market returns, etc. to effectively do detailed retirement projections.
Last edited by HomeStretch on Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
David Jay
Posts: 7322
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:54 am
Location: Michigan

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by David Jay » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:39 pm

About 10 years out (early 50s, I just retired @62).
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius

heyyou
Posts: 3575
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:58 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by heyyou » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:50 pm

We just saved all we could for as long as we needed to, from the beginning. Retirement was my goal from day one of starting my first real job.

At 50, the 2000 Crash delayed my retirement until the end of 2005. The 2008 Crash tested our retirement spending level but we came out okay. Do expect a stock crash to follow the period when your savings have just reached a retirement sized amount.

almostretired1965
Posts: 144
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:02 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by almostretired1965 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:54 pm

Not so much planning, but starting around 40 I began actually tracking our net worth (not including pensions, real estate, etc. but including 401Ks, just stuff that could be liquidated quickly if necessary.) I had a number in mind that would generate enough income to maintain our current lifestyle and get us to social security/medicare without needing to touch any principal. We hit that number when I turned 50, but 5 years later I'm still working.

In my opinion, the most complicated issue for most people is accounting for medical insurance. Ideally you can ratchet down your taxable income (only etfs, keep bond investments in iras/401ks etc.) to qualify for the ACA subsidies. If not, there are worse problems to have, as they say …..

retired@50
Posts: 700
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2019 2:36 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by retired@50 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:58 pm

macandal wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:42 pm
I know that one should start planning one's retirement the moment one starts working, but I want to know is when do you need to start making moves, etc when retirement is coming up rather fast. I ask because the other day I was thinking that I am about 10 years from retirement. Is there anything I should be doing? Are there any books, resources for people who are getting close to retiring?

Thanks.
I retired over 6 years ago. I got serious about it about two years beforehand. I thought about the makeup of my portfolio 60-stock/40-bond or thereabout and decided I'd be okay sticking with that level of risk for the first decade at least. I did build up a cash cushion of about two years worth of expenses during the last couple years of working. Now, I just direct dividends and/or capital gains to a cash account and occasionally sell something if I need to re-balance in any way. I also did a pretty thorough analysis of my spending for the 18 months prior to retiring so I had a solid understanding of what it cost me to live my life. I also set up a monthly distribution from my money market account to my regular checking account. If your annual spend rate is in the high range, 4% or more, then you'll most likely have to keep a close eye on any unexpected outlays. If your annual spend is below 4% or even below 3%, then you'll be more able to withstand some ups and downs in the market without losing sleep. Best of luck.

User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 16122
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by abuss368 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:00 pm

I would start planning the day a career begins. That said, I have family who really dialed it in a decade out and have retired comfortably.
John C. Bogle - Two Fund Portfolio: Total Stock & Total Bond. "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 16122
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by abuss368 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:02 pm

Preparing for retirement also includes being debt free or very low debt. This provides so much additional flexibility and a lot less potential stress on a portfolio, especially during periods of market stress.
John C. Bogle - Two Fund Portfolio: Total Stock & Total Bond. "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

User avatar
jimmyq
Posts: 174
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:34 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by jimmyq » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:29 pm

At the start of my career, I was only saving money so that I could a) have a cushion in case I was laid off, and b) buy stuff. After several years, I began to rethink my financial goals. I was about 35 years old when I first started running some rough retirement calculators with Excel. I was 46 when I started running more complex calculators and scenarios. Retired this year at age 52.

Good luck.

User avatar
Duckie
Posts: 6899
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2007 2:55 pm
Location: California Bay Area

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by Duckie » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:50 pm

I started planning for retirement in my early 40s when I paid off my mortgage. I retired at 50 when I was eligible for the pension, so about eight years out.

MathIsMyWayr
Posts: 1140
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:47 pm
Location: CA

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by MathIsMyWayr » Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:25 pm

I have never thought about retirement until early 50s. The goal of life is not how to prepare for retirement, but how best to use your life before that turning point. Since my early 50s, I saved crazy and achieved FI. I have practiced LBYM all my life. As long as I will do OK in retirement, I will be OK. Again, how you live before retirement trumps how you live during retirement. To me, retirement is an appendix to a book. A splendid appendix does not make a book shine, but it should not blemish it.

User avatar
GerryL
Posts: 2517
Joined: Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:40 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by GerryL » Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:40 pm

I never really "planned" for retirement, just lived well below my means and saved a lot -- because you never know.

I did start "thinking about" retirement when the Fidelity 401k site announced that I would be eligible for early retirement in 7 years based on my company's rules. I ultimately talked myself out of retiring from Megacorp and moving into a low-stress, lower-paying job because obtaining healthcare was likely to be a problem. And it was a good thing, because my early retirement eligibility was October 2008.

Continued to work at Megacorp, but that "thinking about" stage helped me gradually get ready -- mentally and financially -- for when I did retire in 2014.

pkcrafter
Posts: 13670
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 12:19 pm
Location: CA
Contact:

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by pkcrafter » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:01 pm

macandal wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:10 pm
SGM wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:04 pm
I made the decision to delay SS until 70 when I was 62. I also began to do Roth conversions when the law changed in 2010 to allow conversions regardless of income. Early on I made a decision that I did not want a mortgage in retirement. I ran numbers through various retirement calculators about ten years prior to retirement.
I am seriously thinking to delay SS until 70 too, we'll see if that works.

I don't have IRAs of any kind.
Why no IRA?
How much saved in the 457 and how is it invested?
Any other saving/investing accounts?

Paul
When times are good, investors tend to forget about risk and focus on opportunity. When times are bad, investors tend to forget about opportunity and focus on risk.

Barsoom
Posts: 210
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:40 am

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by Barsoom » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:28 pm

I never really "planned" for retirement.

I signed up for the company-matching ESOP when I was hired out of college, and then continued with the 401(k) when our ESOP was frozen. I invested my benefit in 100% MegaCorp stock, and reinvested dividends for my entire career. Throughout my career, I only contributed the minimum to be eligible for company match, since I was single and on my own with whatever fit in my car when I graduated college. The rest went into saving for a down-payment on a home.

The same year that I bought my home is when I met my future wife. We never had children, but we traveled a bit and so I never increased my 401(k) contributions beyond the minimums (something that I regret, but at the time I needed the money for other things).

I first started to seriously think about retirement planning about eight years ago, when I learned from a co-worker about how our MegaCorp pension plan worked. I looked at my numbers, my forecasted pension benefit at certain future dates, and decided that age 60 was the optimal number for me (nearly 40 years at MegaCorp).

Long story short... several stock splits, a tripling of the stock price, and 40 years of dividend reinvestment later, my 401(k) grew to $2M, and my pension lump-sum benefit is another $2M. For me, the "retirement plan" was a long, satisfying career at the one MegaCorp.

-B

P.S. the ESOP was NUA treated. It grew to a value of $400K with a cost basis of $60K. I paid taxes on the $60K, and now I have $400K of after-tax dollars in my portfolio. Everything else (401(k) and pension lump-sum) are before-tax in an IRA that will be an RMD bomb later.

User avatar
Wiggums
Posts: 1968
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:02 am

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by Wiggums » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:30 pm

We lived well below our means and saved a lot each year for our future. I’d say that we always planned for retirement, because we made our savings rate a high priority. We started a college fund as soon as we received my sons SS card.

My company was acquired and I had a job at age 56, however, I got sick unexpectedly. We had 15 years of quicken data, both budget and actual spending. we used this info to accurately project Our retirement expenses. Along with a nice retirement nest egg to support our future, my DW agreed that I could retire and focus on my recovery which took 11 months.

I’d encourage everyone to track their expenses and make saving a priority. As the previous post said, “you never know.”

chw
Posts: 712
Joined: Thu May 24, 2012 4:22 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by chw » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:43 pm

I got serious about 3-4 years prior to the year I planned to have the resources to FIRE. The initial stage was to carefully track expenses to have a solid idea where our money went, and how that would change in retirement.

About 12-18 month prior to retiring, I had a comprehensive financial review completed by a CFP who worked for Charles Schwab, and met with us several times to address questions and concerns. The review primarily affirmed our plan to retire, but was comforting to have a professional review our plan.

You could say the actual plan started with the opening of an IRA at Fidelity at age 26, but I don’t think I had a solid idea of the how or when I’d retire at that age.

TTBG
Posts: 109
Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2014 8:16 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by TTBG » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:04 pm

MathIsMyWayr wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:25 pm
I have never thought about retirement until early 50s. The goal of life is not how to prepare for retirement, but how best to use your life before that turning point. Since my early 50s, I saved crazy and achieved FI. I have practiced LBYM all my life. As long as I will do OK in retirement, I will be OK. Again, how you live before retirement trumps how you live during retirement. To me, retirement is an appendix to a book. A splendid appendix does not make a book shine, but it should not blemish it.
Nicely put. I also didn't spend much time (or didn't seem to have much time!) to think about retirement until my 50s. But I have also practiced LBYM and, after paying off my student loans and a loan for my first car, I've avoided debt completely except for a mortgage. For years I tracked my expenses very closely, but in my 40s I finally felt financially secure enough that I let that go for awhile. By that time I was maxing out my retirement savings but otherwise not doing alot of thinking about retirement.

I started actually planning my retirement in my late 50s, and I've been keeping spreadsheets to track my net worth and expenses for about 2 years now. At this point I hoping to retire within 1 or 2 years. I'm also aiming for "OK" in retirement; e.g., travel will involve campgrounds or staying with friends and relatives. I do worry about healthcare since I'll still be 1 or 2 years away from Medicare (even if I take COBRA for 18 months). I'm not sure I can count on the ACA still being law by the time I need it, so I'm trying to figure out how to handle that risk. I'm also starting to read up on withdrawal strategies, tax management, etc. As usual, the Bogleheads wiki and this forum are both tremendously helpful.

MathWizard
Posts: 3635
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by MathWizard » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:37 pm

11 years ago, during the financial crisis, at age 59.
I am on the cusp of retirement, recently financially independent.

During the financial crisis. My wife lost her job, and there were layoffs. I was not laid off, but during a mandatory unpaid furlough, I wrote a program to estimate what we would have available if were forced into retirement that year, or any subsequent year up to age 70.

This helped to put our goals in the right place.

I had been doing rough calculations before assuming retirement at 65, but in 2008/9 I started contemplating that it might not be up to me when I stopped working.

marcopolo
Posts: 2549
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:22 am

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by marcopolo » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:48 pm

MathIsMyWayr wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:25 pm
I have never thought about retirement until early 50s. The goal of life is not how to prepare for retirement, but how best to use your life before that turning point. Since my early 50s, I saved crazy and achieved FI. I have practiced LBYM all my life. As long as I will do OK in retirement, I will be OK. Again, how you live before retirement trumps how you live during retirement. To me, retirement is an appendix to a book. A splendid appendix does not make a book shine, but it should not blemish it.
Not sure why retirement should be an appendix. That seems quite depressing to me.

I view it as the next chapter.
I have definitely had different stages (chapters) in life.

In most of my 20s I spent pretty much every penny I made (which was reasonably good as an engineer), travelling a lot, and many other great experiences which I fondly remember as my "miss spent youth". Lots of physical activity, competitive sports, etc.

In my 30s i started a real "career" rather than just a job. Making more money. Stated saving. Got married, started a family, continued lots of travel and adventures, though in some cases slightly different in nature than in my 20s. Still lots of physical activity and competitive sports.

In my 40s, I started to really accelerate in my career. Started thinking about retirement (to answer the original question, probably around 45ish), lots of higher end travel than previously, great memories with family. Became a leader in my field of expertise. Still active in sports, but at less competitive level.

In my early 50s now, retired at 51. Kids are out of the house, one launched, one in college. Even more active than the previous decade, as I have more time to train. Designed our new home. Supervising construction of same. Mixing in some great travel.

Does NOT feel like an appendix, definitely the next chapter, to be enjoyed just as much as all the previous ones.

Oh, yeah, and definitely LBMY.

Life is not a dress rehearsal, either before or after retirement.

Sorry about the long rant.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

MathIsMyWayr
Posts: 1140
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:47 pm
Location: CA

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by MathIsMyWayr » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:27 pm

marcopolo wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:48 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:25 pm
I have never thought about retirement until early 50s. The goal of life is not how to prepare for retirement, but how best to use your life before that turning point. Since my early 50s, I saved crazy and achieved FI. I have practiced LBYM all my life. As long as I will do OK in retirement, I will be OK. Again, how you live before retirement trumps how you live during retirement. To me, retirement is an appendix to a book. A splendid appendix does not make a book shine, but it should not blemish it.
Not sure why retirement should be an appendix. That seems quite depressing to me.

I view it as the next chapter.
I have definitely had different stages (chapters) in life.

In most of my 20s I spent pretty much every penny I made (which was reasonably good as an engineer), travelling a lot, and many other great experiences which I fondly remember as my "miss spent youth". Lots of physical activity, competitive sports, etc.

In my 30s i started a real "career" rather than just a job. Making more money. Stated saving. Got married, started a family, continued lots of travel and adventures, though in some cases slightly different in nature than in my 20s. Still lots of physical activity and competitive sports.

In my 40s, I started to really accelerate in my career. Started thinking about retirement (to answer the original question, probably around 45ish), lots of higher end travel than previously, great memories with family. Became a leader in my field of expertise. Still active in sports, but at less competitive level.

In my early 50s now, retired at 51. Kids are out of the house, one launched, one in college. Even more active than the previous decade, as I have more time to train. Designed our new home. Supervising construction of same. Mixing in some great travel.

Does NOT feel like an appendix, definitely the next chapter, to be enjoyed just as much as all the previous ones.

Oh, yeah, and definitely LBMY.

Life is not a dress rehearsal, either before or after retirement.

Sorry about the long rant.
marcopolo,

As I followed your life story with a smile, I could not escape from the impression that the story is entering the epilogue when I got to "In my early 50s now, retired ..." Same story whomever I may ask. It is definitely not another chapter. Sorry, I have to be brutally truthful, not sugar-coating. I will be also facing a similar reality any time. Life is cruel, but life has to go on. I have to plan for retirement because I would like to live in dignity. That's all.

marcopolo
Posts: 2549
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:22 am

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by marcopolo » Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:22 am

MathIsMyWayr wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:27 pm
marcopolo wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:48 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:25 pm
I have never thought about retirement until early 50s. The goal of life is not how to prepare for retirement, but how best to use your life before that turning point. Since my early 50s, I saved crazy and achieved FI. I have practiced LBYM all my life. As long as I will do OK in retirement, I will be OK. Again, how you live before retirement trumps how you live during retirement. To me, retirement is an appendix to a book. A splendid appendix does not make a book shine, but it should not blemish it.
Not sure why retirement should be an appendix. That seems quite depressing to me.

I view it as the next chapter.
I have definitely had different stages (chapters) in life.

In most of my 20s I spent pretty much every penny I made (which was reasonably good as an engineer), travelling a lot, and many other great experiences which I fondly remember as my "miss spent youth". Lots of physical activity, competitive sports, etc.

In my 30s i started a real "career" rather than just a job. Making more money. Stated saving. Got married, started a family, continued lots of travel and adventures, though in some cases slightly different in nature than in my 20s. Still lots of physical activity and competitive sports.

In my 40s, I started to really accelerate in my career. Started thinking about retirement (to answer the original question, probably around 45ish), lots of higher end travel than previously, great memories with family. Became a leader in my field of expertise. Still active in sports, but at less competitive level.

In my early 50s now, retired at 51. Kids are out of the house, one launched, one in college. Even more active than the previous decade, as I have more time to train. Designed our new home. Supervising construction of same. Mixing in some great travel.

Does NOT feel like an appendix, definitely the next chapter, to be enjoyed just as much as all the previous ones.

Oh, yeah, and definitely LBMY.

Life is not a dress rehearsal, either before or after retirement.

Sorry about the long rant.
marcopolo,

As I followed your life story with a smile, I could not escape from the impression that the story is entering the epilogue when I got to "In my early 50s now, retired ..." Same story whomever I may ask. It is definitely not another chapter. Sorry, I have to be brutally truthful, not sugar-coating. I will be also facing a similar reality any time. Life is cruel, but life has to go on. I have to plan for retirement because I would like to live in dignity. That's all.
Some people treat retirement as God's waiting room. Others continue living and writing the next chapter. To each their own.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.

carolinaman
Posts: 3889
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by carolinaman » Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:31 am

I have a pension and SS and got real serious about retirement planning in my mid 50s. I did research and read a lot of books, articles and Internet stuff about retirement. I retired at 66 but had Fidelity do a retirement plan for me at age 60. I did my own spreadsheets and included various scenarios for returns, withdrawals, inflation, etc. I did not use any of the online calculators but if I were doing it again, I would use at least a couple of them to analyze my situation. They can vary in their results which is why it is important to use more than one.

About 3 years from retirement, I had a CFP look at my plan to make sure it was sound and that I had not missed anything. He confirmed I was on track but I should have done that sooner because if there are problems with your plan, you will need more time to get it on track.

Ten years out is a good time to review your plan with a financial adviser, one that charges an hourly fee. Be very careful in vetting advisers because many are more interested in how much they can get out of you than how much they can help you.

You can do this plan yourself with proper research and some help with this forum, but your retirement is such an important thing that it really helps to get another set of eyes on it, especially from someone who is expert in retirement planning. IMO, a one time review by a retirement planning expert is will worth it.

User avatar
Sheepdog
Posts: 5391
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:05 pm
Location: Indiana, retired 1998 at age 65

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by Sheepdog » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:15 am

I really didn't "plan" for retirement until my company cancelled our pension plan, Until that time, I believed that my pension and SS and maybe some CDs would take care of us". Naive, naive, naive!! That was less than 7 years before I was 65 and retirement was required by my employer. " Big Brother wasn't going to take care of me, so I've got to do it myself." Actually, cancelling the pension was the best financial event in my life. We crammed our savings. At my age of 59 (1992) only 6 years from retirement, we had a total of $132,000, with a modest pension coming, but we did not have any debts. By retirement in 1998, after our crash savings and a bull market, our money had grown from that $132,000 to $460,000 in those 6 years. Added to that was my $230,000 pension lump sum to fund us in the future. And, it has, and it has grown. (Thanks to bull markets.)
Start planning, folks, if you have not already. The younger, and easier, and better off will you be.
Just because it isn't your fault doesn't mean it isn't your responsibility....Josh Reid Jones

Hockey10
Posts: 621
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:20 pm
Location: Philadelphia suburbs

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by Hockey10 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:24 am

I started at age 22 when I opened a Vanguard IRA account.

RJC
Posts: 392
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:40 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by RJC » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:45 am

Early 40s when I found this forum and wiki page. It's made all the difference.

User avatar
tennisplyr
Posts: 2358
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:53 pm
Location: Sarasota, FL

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by tennisplyr » Sat Oct 12, 2019 7:47 am

I was always a saver. When I bought our first house at 30 I put one-half down on the asking price. I guess I really got into at around 40 years. I should say at a point along the way I went down to essentially zero but through hard work, saving and fund investing I am now retired and thankfully living well.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

dknightd
Posts: 1878
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:57 am

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by dknightd » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:15 am

I started when I got my first real job at 30. (actually I thought about it before then, but I could not find a graduate program with a retirement benefit, so decided I better get a real job ;) . I had to decide my first week of work, do I want to be in a DB or DC plan. I choose Defined Contribution since I was not sure how long I would stay there. It was an irrevocable decision (in retrospect I might have been a little better off with DB, but that is water under the bridge). I would look at my savings, and potential retirement income, once in a while. But I was raising a young family and that was my priority at the time.
At around 50, I started looking at it more closely. I realized I needed to start saving more. I was never able to max out my contributions. But did more every year.
I did not really start serious planning till about 59. Two years before I retired.
I encourage my kids to think about it asap. I encourage older folks to really plan for it before you pull the plug.

Mr.BB
Posts: 1064
Joined: Sun May 08, 2016 10:10 am

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by Mr.BB » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:19 am

abuss368 wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:02 pm
Preparing for retirement also includes being debt free or very low debt. This provides so much additional flexibility and a lot less potential stress on a portfolio, especially during periods of market stress.
+1
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."

SandysDad
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:27 am

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by SandysDad » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:29 am

I think when one is a decade plus from retirement all one can do is save as much as possible and invest wisely.

Once one gets under 10 years out more serious planning around income and expenses is possible.

Over 10 years there are just too many variables to really have a concrete plan. What will your income be? What will your expenses be? What will your returns be? What happens if there is a major illness divorce etc? All of these can happen at any time but until you are closer to retirement you really can’t model how you will survive them.

Dottie57
Posts: 7202
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm
Location: Earth Northern Hemisphere

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:38 am

I didn’t have the smarts to do any planning until two years before retirement. I also joined Bogleheads at that same time and smartened up. All has turned out well so far.

P.S. i did my investing through work place 401k. Not planning but l new I had to have something at retirement.

User avatar
ChowYunPhat
Posts: 225
Joined: Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:49 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by ChowYunPhat » Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:44 am

In my 40s now and thinking about retirement. I suppose this started once the nest egg got large enough that dedicating a little more time to managing it provided a return on that time. You never know when illness, family need, layoff, or another unexpected life event will take place. So it's fair to say the "really planning" activities have begun.

That said, I have no intention to stop working anytime soon and enjoy my work and the people I get to work with.
A wise man and his money are friends forever...

MikeG62
Posts: 2249
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by MikeG62 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:59 am

macandal wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:42 pm
I know that one should start planning one's retirement the moment one starts working, but I want to know is when do you need to start making moves, etc when retirement is coming up rather fast. I ask because the other day I was thinking that I am about 10 years from retirement. Is there anything I should be doing? Are there any books, resources for people who are getting close to retiring?

Thanks.
I always had a desire to retire early. Began reading books on investing in my late 20's and then through my 30's as well. Some of these books were geared toward preparing for retirement or living off one's assets in retirement. [I stopped buying/reading new books after about 10-15 years as I felt I was just reading the same advice over and over (drowning in my own cool-aid so to speak).]

I fully retired at 53. I would say I really stepped up my reading on retirement planning and living off one's assets in the 2-3 years before fully retiring. During this period there were times when I had a fair amount of spare capacity at work and I used most of this time to read on retirement planning. This included spending a ridiculous amount of time (hundreds and hundreds of hours) on Michael Kitces website reading anything and everything he'd ever written that I thought would be of any value to me. I used this time to prepared an IPS and a WPS too as a result of some of the material I had read.

My career was in accounting and finance so I always had a good grasp on our financials. Having said that, I was not someone who lived off a budget while working, although I did begin to study our spending pattern in the year before I retired. Validated that we were spending roughly what I thought we were spending. However, I now had the details to back it up. This all went to increase my confidence in our ability to live the rest of our lives off our accumulated assets.

We are now completing our 4th year of retirement. There is no doubt that the effort I put in during my 20's and 30's (laying the foundation) and subsequently in the few years prior to retiring was time incredibly well spent.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

User avatar
Clever_Username
Posts: 1384
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:24 am
Location: Southern California

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by Clever_Username » Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:56 pm

Not a retiree at the moment, but what constitutes planning?

I have been saving a lot of money since my first real job. Is that retirement planning?

I have an asset allocation for my long-term savings and I have a budget that has saving prominently in there. Is that retirement planning?

I know which city I will probably live in when I retire. Is that retirement planning?
"What was true then is true now. Have a plan. Stick to it." -- XXXX, _Layer Cake_ | | I survived my first downturn and all I got was this signature line.

bck63
Posts: 716
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 4:59 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by bck63 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:22 pm

MathIsMyWayr wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:25 pm
I have never thought about retirement until early 50s. The goal of life is not how to prepare for retirement, but how best to use your life before that turning point. Since my early 50s, I saved crazy and achieved FI. I have practiced LBYM all my life. As long as I will do OK in retirement, I will be OK. Again, how you live before retirement trumps how you live during retirement. To me, retirement is an appendix to a book. A splendid appendix does not make a book shine, but it should not blemish it.
This is outstanding insight and advice. Thanks for sharing.

User avatar
Artful Dodger
Posts: 787
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:56 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by Artful Dodger » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:47 pm

marcopolo wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:22 am
MathIsMyWayr wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:27 pm
marcopolo wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:48 pm
MathIsMyWayr wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:25 pm
I have never thought about retirement until early 50s. The goal of life is not how to prepare for retirement, but how best to use your life before that turning point. Since my early 50s, I saved crazy and achieved FI. I have practiced LBYM all my life. As long as I will do OK in retirement, I will be OK. Again, how you live before retirement trumps how you live during retirement. To me, retirement is an appendix to a book. A splendid appendix does not make a book shine, but it should not blemish it.
Not sure why retirement should be an appendix. That seems quite depressing to me.

I view it as the next chapter.
I have definitely had different stages (chapters) in life.

In most of my 20s I spent pretty much every penny I made (which was reasonably good as an engineer), travelling a lot, and many other great experiences which I fondly remember as my "miss spent youth". Lots of physical activity, competitive sports, etc.

In my 30s i started a real "career" rather than just a job. Making more money. Stated saving. Got married, started a family, continued lots of travel and adventures, though in some cases slightly different in nature than in my 20s. Still lots of physical activity and competitive sports.

In my 40s, I started to really accelerate in my career. Started thinking about retirement (to answer the original question, probably around 45ish), lots of higher end travel than previously, great memories with family. Became a leader in my field of expertise. Still active in sports, but at less competitive level.

In my early 50s now, retired at 51. Kids are out of the house, one launched, one in college. Even more active than the previous decade, as I have more time to train. Designed our new home. Supervising construction of same. Mixing in some great travel.

Does NOT feel like an appendix, definitely the next chapter, to be enjoyed just as much as all the previous ones.

Oh, yeah, and definitely LBMY.

Life is not a dress rehearsal, either before or after retirement.

Sorry about the long rant.
marcopolo,

As I followed your life story with a smile, I could not escape from the impression that the story is entering the epilogue when I got to "In my early 50s now, retired ..." Same story whomever I may ask. It is definitely not another chapter. Sorry, I have to be brutally truthful, not sugar-coating. I will be also facing a similar reality any time. Life is cruel, but life has to go on. I have to plan for retirement because I would like to live in dignity. That's all.
Some people treat retirement as God's waiting room. Others continue living and writing the next chapter. To each their own.
I was reading Rilke's Book of Hours this morning, and this exchange reminded me of one of his poems...

I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.

User avatar
Topic Author
macandal
Posts: 68
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:58 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by macandal » Sat Oct 12, 2019 3:34 pm

Lots of stuff to consider here. Thank you all for your responses.

A little more about me/my situation after reading your responses:
  1. Just turned 52.
  2. I'm eligible to my pension now (50 years old/20 years of service), however I would not get much if I retired now (30% of my current pay).
  3. That pension includes medical benefits.
  4. I will be eligible for my full pension--75% of my pay--in December of 2028. (By full pension I mean as far the money is concerned. I can get full medical benefits now or later on.)
  5. I have maxed out my 457(b) since around the early 2000s. By the time I retire, I will have maxed out my plan for about 20-25 years. That includes adding the additional amount the year I turned 50.
  6. Someone here mentioned that he reached $2,000,000 in his 401(k). I would like to get there but don't know if I will in the 10 years I have left working.
  7. I would like to delay SS until I turn 70, that will be 8 years after I retire.
  8. I live in a HCOL area (San Francisco) and I would like to buy something for me (to live). I have become more flexible about my housing situation because SF is, as you may know, crazy expensive. I would like to live, in order of preference, in: San Francisco proper, the SF Bay Area, California.
  9. To that end, housing, I began investing in stocks in 1999. That account is now worth ~$200K. (Taxable account.)
  10. I have little debt, I think. I owe about $8,000 on my car (set to be paid off in 24 months), and around $250K in a mortgage.
  11. Ok, yes, I own property in SF but it's not all mine. My siblings and I own it. I own one-third of this.
  12. I don't know what to call it, but I guess I lived below my means? I do a budget, I pay myself first, make sure I fully contribute to my 457(b) plan, my pension (no choice there, my job will take it whether I like it or not; no complaints on my part), take care of my monthly needs, invest in my "housing" account, put money in two savings accounts, and use, if I need to, whatever is left. Maybe not, maybe I just practice pay yourself first.
That's me in a nutshell. I think I'm okay but I was wondering if I should, now that I REALLY AM thinking about it, do more to prepare for retirement. Ten years ago the prospect of retiring was still a distant event, now it is imminent. Ten years go by so fast.

Thank you.

Troutcommando
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:37 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by Troutcommando » Sat Oct 12, 2019 4:21 pm

I started when I was 23 in the early 80s...but only because and older work buddy convinced me to sign up for the company's new 401K plan and also convinced me invest 6% to get the matching funds. He also talked me into going with 100% stock funds. He convinced me not to touch a thing when Black Monday hit and to increase the amount of contributions to 10%. In my 30s I contributed 15%, 40's 20%, in my 50's 28%. I really started focusing on retirement at 50 with a goal of retiring at 59 or 60 and started to change the ratio of stock/bond funds to approx 50/50. After 37 years at the same company I got laid off in early May of last year and have been enjoying early retirement since with plenty of retirement funds now invested in 54/46 mix of Vanguard stock funds and bonds and draw the same after tax/deduction Vanguard monthly "paycheck" amount as we enjoyed when working. I still have a small pension and SSI to tap at age 66. We feel very fortunate and grateful. The only thing I would have done different is to have really listened to my wife and invested more into our Roth accounts as this would have helped with keeping our reported income below the magic $65K to qualify for affordable health care subsidies (for me...she is already on medicare).

scrabbler1
Posts: 2428
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:39 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by scrabbler1 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 4:31 pm

I began to plan for a very early retirement at age 35, when I paid off my mortgage and became debt-free. That was in 1998, and I was still working full-time.

Three years later, in 2001, I switched to working part-time, the next stage of my early retirement planning.

Six years after that, in 2007, I saw early retirement as quite possible by the end of 2008. I began greatly increasing my planning for that time such as creating some special budgeting spreadsheets. I also reduced my weekly hours worked from 20 to 12.

In early 2008, I met with a Fido Account Executive (no charge) and we ran my numbers through their RIP program. The AE gave me a green light.

At the end of September of 2008, all the remaining pieces had fallen into place and I gave my notice at work to leave at the end of October and 10 years after I had begun my ER trek in 1998 when I paid off the mortgage.

I retired at the end of October at age of 45. That was nearly 11 years ago. There was no ACA at the time, and the ACA has greatly helped things since 2014.

User avatar
bengal22
Posts: 1852
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2011 6:20 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by bengal22 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 4:48 pm

Not sure if I did much planning. Always was a saver. Focused on my career to maximize income. When I retired I had to strategize health care until I hit Medicare age. Decided to have wife claim SSA at 62 and I did spousal at FRA. I will claim mine at 70 and wife will do spousal at that time. Did Roth conversions every year after I retired. Will do QCD's once RMDs kick in. Took monies from taxable when needed until RMDs and SSA kick in.

But important thing while I worked was Earn all I can, Save all I can, Give all I can. That about sums it up.
"Earn All You Can; Give All You Can; Save All You Can." .... John Wesley

User avatar
burt
Posts: 762
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 7:47 am

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by burt » Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:24 pm

Retired 4 years ago at age 60.
Back in 1981 I attended a 401k session courtesy of my employer. Presentation talked about company match and the magic of compound interest. I was sold.
In 2000 a co-worker put me on to Scott Burns and Couch Potato investing with low cost Vanguard Index Funds. I was sold.
I guess I was thinking about retirement at the age of 26.

CRTR
Posts: 278
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:15 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by CRTR » Sat Oct 12, 2019 5:57 pm

Waited too long!!!

I didn't even look at things until I was 54-55 (3-4 years ago). Originally, I planned to retire at 60-65. When I finally got around to crunching the numbers, it turned out I had saved A LOT more than I needed. I easily could have stopped working a solid 5 years earlier. As a result of keeping my head down and not paying attention, I remained 100% in equities right up to the year before I retired . . . definitely NOT part of the original plan.

So, the moral of the story . . . it's never too early to start thinking about it. Make some rough estimates/calculations/guesses as you go along. Make sure your progress matches your plan. When it seems like you might be getting close, then it's time to do the serious calculations.

User avatar
Ged
Posts: 3829
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 1:48 pm
Location: Roke

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by Ged » Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:36 pm

Well the first real planning for me started when I began my career. That planning consisted of asking my father how much to save for retirement. He said 15% of gross income, which was excellent advice then and is still good advice for most people. This was in 1978.

Later more in detailed planning took place including implementing Bogle's advice. However the accumulations from the 15% recommendation remain the backbone of my retirement.

3504PIR
Posts: 855
Joined: Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:46 am

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by 3504PIR » Sat Oct 12, 2019 6:39 pm

Started planning 10 years ago, retired this past August a couple of months after my 56th birthday.

dharrythomas
Posts: 970
Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 4:46 pm

Re: Retirees, when did you start really planning your retirement?

Post by dharrythomas » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:57 pm

Started putting money in an IRA at a bank in 1984 when I went in the Army. The plan changed multiple times as life got in the way, employment conditions changed, family grew. About the time I hit my mandatory removal date from the Army Reserve at 52, I figured out that with a paid off house, I could relax, decrease savings (let DW relax and spend a little more), work until 62 (I like my job and will probably go do something else), and be able to cover our needs and reasonable wants without dipping into principle. We have been blessed. I plan to retire not later than December 2024 and move to the next stage.

Nixon quotes Ike as saying “In war, the plan is nothing, planning is everything.” At every stage, your plan needs to remain flexible. The only constant is ever accelerating change, the plan will probably not survive. What you learn about yourself and the environment are critical to adjusting to changing circumstances.

Good luck.

Post Reply