Too Old To Retire "Young"

Where are you and where are you going?
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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:08 pm

That Enjoli commercial is the one I always think of when I think back to the ridiculous images of empowered women from the late '70s and early '80s. Most women our age (I'm 50) were told by the women who came before us that we should be grateful we had a choice, but in reality we weren't given a choice. We were told to do both, and if we opted out of either role, we were criticized.
AH! That commercial!! I remembered the song, but not the product.

I completely agree that women of our generation really didn't have much of a choice. I'm not REALLY sure that younger women coming after have too much of a choice, either. I think of the constant "mommy wars," etc. Why are we even still discussing breastfeeding? But... whatever. Sometimes I'm kind of glad to be old(er).
It's hard to ignore that conditioned response to take whatever's offered, but It's the offer that should make you proud EK, not whether you accept it. And remember that saying no--especially for women our age--is much harder than saying yes. Turning it down shows strength, not weakness.
Thank you for that. Really. And you're right. It's just easy to forget.

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Tue Jul 05, 2016 8:02 pm

Thank you. And yeah, I may make a counter proposal or ask about other options, but I suspect it will be shot down. The situation is such that they really need a presence in that office, for a number of reasons, and even if I could somehow do it from here, travel back and forth would be really hard for both the company (expensive plane fare, etc.) and me (dog boarding, having someone look in on my mom, etc.) It's hard to see how to make that work... but maybe there's something I haven't thought of.
Yeah, so... that happened. Thought about it, talked to family, told the manager I couldn't move right now, but I might consider taking it if I could work from here. As noted above, I didn't expect them to consider it, but... got the call today that they ARE willing to consider it and they'd "really like me to apply for the job." (Being corporate America, they can't just offer it to me, I have to jump through some hoops, and I could be wrong, but I think the job is mine to lose, anyway, if I pick my nose during the interview, perhaps...). So... balancing my inherent slacker self with my careerist self... I'll probably go for it. It's ALMOST a win/win--get the title, probably a bit more money, recognition (feeding my ego is almost a full time job), get a more challenging opportunity, get a little travel (to be balanced by the dog boarding fees... though maybe frequent flyer miles will make part of it worth it anyway...)

All assuming I get the job, since I'm only applying for it.

Careerism wins maybe? This time? We'll see.

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by jennypenny » Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:17 am

Wow, that's great. I hope it works out the way you want.

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The Zen of Cooking

Post by EdithKeeler » Sun Jul 10, 2016 2:35 pm

I'm on a cooking rampage today: vegetable soup for dinner (yeah, I know it's summer, but I love it), with enough for the freezer. Beef tips in wine for my mom's fridge for later this week, plus a meal for me. London broil marinating for the grill tomorrow. A batch of cranberry scones, and two batches of biscotti, because I had some stuff in the pantry to use up.

There is something calming and concrete about cooking. Chop the veggies, saute the meat, add some salt. Taste. Stir, simmer. Pick some fresh herbs from the garden. Taste again. I find that when I'm cooking, other concerns melt away: what am I going to do about my mom? What does the future hold for my brother? Should I retire early or keep trucking, or just quit now and do something else? Boot Mr. On-Again-Off-Again or not? How far behind will i be at work on Tuesday because I'm taking Monday off?

All those concerns just disappear for a while, for me, when making food (and also while gardening). I think it's something like "Flow," though I think my "flow" state when I'm writing is much different than when cooking. But either way, my body is engaged in some way, the analytical, OCD part of my brain is turned off for a while, and some caveman part turns on: must make food to eat... feed the tribe. I don't even mind cleaning up the kitchen after, though I pretty much hate all other forms of housekeeping.

I like it. I need to cook more. I used to think I wanted to have a small restaurant, but when I thought about it, it seemed like way too much work. And I suspect cooking wouldn't be nearly so nice if I HAD to do it.

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Random Musings and Blathering

Post by EdithKeeler » Fri Aug 05, 2016 9:32 pm

Thinking about the past and future. The past: wishing I'd saved more money back when, wishing I'd kept my houses when I moved and built up a stock of rentals over the years. But absent a time machine, such musings are pointless. Though good to consider when thinking about future decisions I might make.

The future: Potential promotion still moving--glacier-like--forward. Interview in 2 weeks; will see how it goes. Schizophrenically I go between feeling ambivalent, slightly anticipatory, sometimes excited and then "what the hell am I thinking? My current job is a cake-walk." (The latter is today's mood).

Still looking at houses. Found "THE PERFECT" house, only ridiculously big, needs some updating (pink carpet throughout!!), though very, very sound, roof, systems all pretty new. But I can't justify living by myself in such a huge place (it's 2.5 times the size of my current house!!), don't feel like dealing with roomies, and it seems stupid to give up my cheap, cozy, cheap (did I mention how cheap it is?) house just because I'd like to have a laundry room and about 200 more square feet. Maybe next year. Maybe one at the beach. Who knows? I probably need to just stop looking, which I've told myself before.

Haven't lost any more weight, but haven't gained any--still down 40 pounds for the year. Need to step up my exercise, but I've definitely changed my eating patterns for the better. I bought almond milk and vegetarian hot dogs this week. Who am I now???? And I'm pleased to report that I've taken care of some medical stuff this month, tests and things I'd been putting off. One teensy scare that turned out to be nothing. All is well. Good to know for sure. Oh, but I do need to schedule that colonoscopy. Ugh.

And... feeling lonesome. Realizing that my world keeps getting smaller between time spent at work, time spent with elderly mom, time spent alone. I really need some hobbies--ones that I do WITH PEOPLE. I think I've mostly used work as a big social outlet--now I'm in a cube in the corner and seldom see anyone. Not good for a somewhat extroverted person, at least at times. I don't really have a lack of friends--I'm one of those people who is fortunate to have a handful of really, really CLOSE friends, and don't necessarily need a wide network with a lot of people. But my very best friends aren't local. Need people to go have a cocktail with. Not quite sure what hobby that might be. Hiking club? Drinking group? Ha.

But enough about that... the numbers. I was surprised to realize earlier last month that I had surpassed my number for "early semi-retirement," which for me is a number where I could potentially work for less money or part time because I have enough saved that I wouldn't NECESSARILY need to continue contributing to a retirement fund, just let it grow until I'm ready to call it quits. So I've surpassed that number. Good to know, but I find I'm marking it more casually than I expected, probably because I'm not that unhappy in my job right now. Bored, yes. But not crazy from over work like I was a few years ago when I was ready to walk out the door.

My net worth increased by $23,000+ in July, through good fortune, good stock market, and good real estate. I have a little debt (HE loan on my rental) that I'm plowing money at, and barring something bad happening, I should have that paid off by the end of February. Which will be SWEET. However, my mom has been having trouble paying for some of her prescriptions, so I'm helping out with those until she gets out of the "donut hole." She has several prescriptions which are quite expensive, and even with the complicated bullshit of the whole Medicare discounts, etc. it's adding about $500 a month to her expenses that she doesn't have. (May I just say that healthcare in this country is freakin' ridiculous? I've been arguing with my health insurer over double billing on some of my tests, trying to figure out what's going on with some of my mom's Medicare stuff... Why can't we just pay more in taxes and get our medical stuff when we need it and be done? But I digress....). Anyway, I'm glad I have the cash to help my mom out when she needs it, and I don't begrudge the extra money that can't get thrown at the HE loan. I mean, I don't begrudge it too much, anyway...

So. All is well. No real complaints about anything. Life is good, even a bit boring.

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by Dragline » Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:39 pm

This sounds like many of my personal diary entries. Even down to the yet-to-be-scheduled colonoscopy. I must be in good company. ;-)

But don't think about bigger houses. Unless you really enjoy caring for inanimate objects.

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by GandK » Sat Aug 06, 2016 7:51 am

Congratulations on everything. :-) I love reading your journal entries.

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Thu Aug 11, 2016 10:54 pm

Thank you, GandK, for the kind compliment!

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Setting a Date and Planning ahead.

Post by EdithKeeler » Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:26 pm

I've been thinking hard and projecting my readiness to pull the plug on my current job. I could do it now, a form of early semi-retirement, but for a variety of reasons, it makes sense to keep working for now. Work is not hard, and I don't hate it. Though I am frequently bored.

So I've decided to set a date: last day of work at my current job will by July 9, 2021. Why that date? Well, I originally had June 30, but then I decided to stay on an extra week and get paid for the holiday! Plus, July 9 was my dad's birthday. Why not. And I feel the need to put it here, in writing, just to keep myself honest. (It'll be fun to come back and see how close I got to my plan....)

That date works out because I will have been paid my yearly bonus, my profit sharing will have been deposited in my retirement account, and I'll have gotten the yearly contribution to our pension plan.

By that date I will have:
--At least $100k more in my retirement plan, assuming no great dips. That also assumes pretty much no earnings as well.
--House will be paid off
--Pension should be at the point of paying around $400 or so a month. Not huge, but hey... every penny.
--Rental property should be paying me at least $500 or so a month (will still have a mortgage, but mortgage and fees are more than covered by the rent payment)
--I should have at least $25K in my HSA account, to cover my deductibles, etc. on my health insurance. Health insurance is the big unknown in this plan... I know I can buy an ACA policy, but I wonder what the ACA will look at by then. Too much to hope for that we could get single payer done in 5 years...
--I should have at least $50K in non-retirement accounts. Currently I don't save much outside of retirement accounts, but I'll be bumping that up soon. That $50K will be the "slush fund" if the house needs significant repairs of there's some other emergency that I can't cover out of my monthly budget.
--Ideally I'd like to replace my car right around the time I quit. My current car will have about 150K miles on it by then, which isn't horrible, but I just don't have the sense that my current car will last that long. I may need to add a little cash to the slush fund.

If all goes as planned, I should have yearly income of right around $30,000. Unless I change my living arrangements, that should be plenty to live on and even do some traveling.

That's less than 5 years. When I think about how quickly the last 5 years have gone, I know it will be here soon. Let's see if my plan is doable!! (I asked Magic 8-Ball. It said my plan will work.,,,).

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by saving-10-years » Fri Aug 12, 2016 2:10 am

(I asked Magic 8-Ball. It said my plan will work.,,,).
Like your style, but you seem to have a very solid plan so luck plays very little part. I hope work is not all boring for next five years (but perhaps not too exciting either).

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Post by EdithKeeler » Sun Aug 21, 2016 1:34 pm

My name is Edith Keeler, and I'm a magazine-a-holic.

But now I'm on the wagon. I spent today cleaning out a cache of magazines I've been saving. Saving for various reasons: recipes to go thru again, maybe there's an article I want to save, some cool pictures that I might use for something... Tossed the bunch today after cutting out a handful of recipes and articles. It occurred to me, even as I did that, that with the internet, who needs magazines anymore? Almost all the magazines I tossed feature recipes on their websites for free, and there's no shortage of articles or pretty pictures out there.

What a freakin' waste of money. And paper.

So... day one of my sobriety.

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Re: Magazines

Post by jennypenny » Sun Aug 21, 2016 3:53 pm

EdithKeeler wrote:My name is Edith Keeler, and I'm a magazine-a-holic.
I was one, too. Have you tried Pinterest? That's how I get my fix now. The only ones I still get (I ask for subscriptions for gifts) are Country Living and Southern Living. I used to get Hobby Farms (which I love) but that person stopped giving me gifts so I don't get it anymore. :lol:

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Re: Random Musings and Blathe

Post by Sclass » Sun Aug 21, 2016 6:54 pm

EdithKeeler wrote:...about 200 more square feet. Maybe next year. Maybe one at the beach. Who knows? I probably need to just stop looking, which I've told myself before.
Living at the beach isn't like in the magazines. Everything rusts and requires a lot of maintenance and replacement unlike homes inland. I'm talking regular large appliance repair and electrical system repair. HVAC, car electronics, phone, cable tv, door lock repair, garage door etc. etc. It's an endless treadmill. Repair and replace.

You wouldn't believe it till you lived it. It isn't like the magazines. Wait I said that.

Rent it for a few months a year and get the hell out when the doors start falling off the hinges.

I'm very welcome at a friend's beachfront villa when I bring my tools. I get to stay several months a year as long as I fix stuff.

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Re: Magazines

Post by FBeyer » Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:05 am

EdithKeeler wrote:My name is Edith Keeler, and I'm a magazine-a-holic... one of my sobriety.
So why do you buy them? Why do you keep them?
I've gone through the approximate same thing but with textbooks, and I've had to re-evaluate whether I'm the kind of person who likes to have meters upon meters of unread/partially read textbooks lined up, or if I'm the kind of person who likes to know[\i] things.

You can get rid of your magazines and all your clutter, but you still need to address the root issue of why you're accumulating them in the first place. That is, if it's a habit you want to get rid of. If it's just a matter of physical clutter, then yes, Pinterest will keep you 'pinned' for days(*) without taking up space on your shelves.
For me, steering clear of magazine-like distractions is 100% a matter of decluttering my mind. I get inspired to do new things so easily that I need to keep a very tight rein on my information flow lest I get distracted constantly. All those things I've been inspired to do pile up until there's a mental stack overflow.

(*) I had to give up on Pinterest as well as soon as my ADHD monkey brain was trying to rationalize its way to building hand crafted furniture in my spare time :roll:

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:01 pm

Just checking in... I would love to report that a hundred exciting things have happened since the last time i posted here, but alas, it didn't. Most of September was spent dealing with my mother's medical issues--mysterious leg pain that was never really diagnosed (we know what it ISN'T) that resulted in a week-long stay in the hospital plus 2 weeks in rehab, mostly because of a hospital-acquired infection. She's basically back to normal now (ie, where she was prior to the hospitalization), and I was pretty pooped from doing a lot of running around between her house, my house, doing laundry, trying to work, etc. The whole thing was a good reminder to 1) take better care of my health and 2) enjoy life while I can, because there's no guarantee of what the future holds.

So... to that end, I'm going on vacation week after next. It was postponed from September and will be a little cooler at the beach but I don't care: I'm going to lounge, drink wine, catch up on my reading, walk on the beach, smell the salt air, ride my bike on the Seawall, eat seafood, and not worry about anything for a week. I CANNOT WAIT. While I know retirement will be somewhat different from a vacation, I still think of it as a taste of early retirement.

Net-worth-wise, chugging along. "Getting rich slowly" as my old boss used to say. Ok, not exactly rich, but doing fine. Now that I've picked a date and all my forecasts indicate that barring some catastrophic thing, I'll be fine financially, I find that I'm not watching it as closely as I was. I'm much more comfortable with a once-a-month reckoning.

I have a birthday coming up next week--always a good time to take stock of where I've been and where I'm going. I had a little moment of the blues last week--it's also my 30 year college class reunion, and I didn't go. Not really sorry I didn't, but I did have a flash of "I'm not as successful as I should be" self-doubt. No kids and grandkids to brag about, no job with a fabulous title, no great personal accomplishments... Realistically, except for a few flashes when I was also PMS-ing (wait: I've beat the average age for menopause! Go me!) I'm pretty content with my life. But I suppose that from time to time we all have times when we compare ourselves against our peers and find ourselves lacking.

So, in sum: nothing exciting has happened lately, and that's OK.

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Vacation Recovery

Post by EdithKeeler » Wed Nov 02, 2016 7:17 pm

Back at work this week following my vacation at the beach. Man, nothing beats a long walk in the surf in the early morning, sipping your coffee. The only thing that would have made it better would have been to have my dogs there. I did NOT want to come home.

Vacation was very low-key on the Texas coast. Went to a few museums, rode bikes, ate Gulf shrimp every single day (I"m in shrimp withdrawal still...), had a few cocktails, boat rides, long talks with my pal. I know vacation is different from retirement, but I would like to be able to do all of that long enough to get bored with it. I certainly was NOT bored when I left. I'm thinking I'd like to retire down there, maybe. Location is great--small town-ish, but close to Houston for when I need a city fix. Beach, of course. Decent health care. Low cost of living. I'd probably take up fishing, maybe buy a very, very small sailboat to take out on the bay.

Need to buckle down a little better on my spending to make it happen sooner rather than later.

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Sat Dec 03, 2016 8:51 pm

So yesterday was payday and I worked on my numbers, plugging them into my spreadsheet, etc.

Interestingly, I realized that as of yesterday’s paycheck, I’ve earned more this year than I’ve ever earned before. I’ve also invested more already this year than I ever have before. Thanks mostly to that generous bonus I received in June, but it was nice to see those numbers. (Unfortunately, my net worth has taken a tiny dip due to an ill-advised attempt to time the market--I know better, but I still did it, and have paid for it. Nothing horrible, but I hate being reminded of my stupidity when I look at the spreadsheets….).

I wrote earlier in this journal about some of my ambivalence about my career and an opportunity for a promotion. This week, my boss approached me to tell me that I’ve been identified as a “high potential” employee for the succession planning of the company, despite my turning down the promotion I was previously offered. So I’ve been given a bunch of tasks to achieve in the coming year--classes to take, projects to complete, etc. to “develop” me. It’s not really something I can say “no” to, and again, it’s very flattering to be recognized in this way. Although… cynically I recall that about 6 years ago I was in this exact same place, at the same company, identified as someone who has “potential for higher leadership”--but management changed and all that fell by the wayside. Plus I had that insane boss then and suffered from a serious case of burnout. And… because I used to have a management position (not only at this company but others) it feels a little like I’m being asked to prove that I can do the job that I did successfully for 6 years. But… like I said, I can’t really say no.

I’ll do the the projects and stuff, and whatever’s going to happen is going to happen. I get a promotion--great. I don’t--that’s cool, too. It’s funny because if all of this had happened when I was 32, I’d be thrilled to death and just jumping in with both feet and probably asking for EXTRA projects or something insane. But 52 isn’t 32… and given the state of my money and net worth, earlier than usual retirement is certainly a possibility for me. I work with 4 people, age 60-63 who complain about their jobs SO MUCH, but say they can’t retire because they can’t afford it. That will NOT be me at that age.

Anyway… first world problems. I’m probably the only person who feels uneasy about their employer really liking them!

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Almost the end of the year thoughts...

Post by EdithKeeler » Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:38 pm

It's been a good year overall for me. Personally, my relationship with my SO is going along very nicely. I've taken more vacations this year than I have in any year in recent memory. Maybe ever. Made me appreciate all that much more why I want to retire early so that my time will be my own.

I was fortunate in my job. I don't generally like it that much, but it's was a good year in that I was honored with a great recognition (and a nice bonus), and my company continues to think well of the work I do. Salary continues to be earned, benefits enjoyed.

My family: well... everyone's alive and still as healthy as they can be, though I've really seen decline in my mom this year. Her financial situation continues to get worse, but I'm grateful to be able to help out. I feel that way most of the time anyway. Sometimes I feel resentful. I'm not a saint. Really sorry about that. I paid for one of her medications ($200 a month) when she fell in to the "donut hole" of Medicare, for about 4 months, paid for her yard work and some minor house repairs, and some pet related expenses. Also bought a lot of groceries.

I was able to invest more money than I ever have in my life. Ever. I'm pretty pleased with that.

My net worth rose almost $100K this year. I attribute that in part to meticulous tracking, which is NOT something I'd done well until this year. I really paid attention to where my money was going, and really made a concerted effort to invest more, and it's clear that it's paying off. It's also been a good year for stocks, and my real estate has gone up in value as well, but I'm pleased. I still have plenty of room to improve on my spending, but it's all good.

I paid off a debt that was really bugging me. I had taken out a second mortgage on my rental house when I first bought it (before it was a rental), and the monthly payment was $100 a month. It just started to annoy me, making that little payment every month, so I knocked it out. The final payment hit the account today, as a matter of fact, and it was really fun entering that ZERO on my spreadsheet. From a tax standpoint I probably shouldn't have done it, but the net effect should be minimal, and... I don't have that payment to worry about anymore. I may splurge on something before I start investing that difference.

I didn't do as well with my creative endeavors as I would have liked this year, nor with my health resolutions. Definitely room for improvement there. Another goal for next year is "community building." I feel like my group of friends is getting smaller and smaller--I go to work in a small office with a handful of people that I rarely talk to, I spend time with my mother... and that's kind of it. My world has gotten tiny, and it needs to expand. So that's another goal for 2017.

I didn't succumb to the desire to buy a bigger house. I looked all year long, and even made some offers, but at the end of the day, it all worked out for the best. I can't promise I won't buy something this year, but if I do, it will be after June, I think. Or maybe I'll just spend a little money on the current shack. I just want about 400 more square feet!! But I can live without it.

It's reassuring to know that as of this very moment, if I lost my job or couldn't work anymore, I could make it. It probably wouldn't be the retirement I would want, but it would be doable. I feel optimistic that at this moment in time, I could quit/get fired and find another job that paid less and still do fine, or quit altogether and scale back a lot of my plans and still be OK (though wouldn't be able to help my mom at all). I am very optimistic that, good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise, I'll be able to pull the plug on or before my planned date of July 9, 2021.

So... it's all good. I really have nothing to complain about, and while I recognize my good fortune when I sit down and write something like this, I probably need to do a better job of being grateful on a day-to-day basis.

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by shade-tree » Thu Dec 29, 2016 4:57 pm

Congratulations on a good year. 400 square feet is about the size of my tool shed and holds a lot. Is an outbuilding an option for you?

I attended a class for work that suggested writing down at least thing we are grateful for each day. I thought it seemed like a fine idea, so I've been trying to do that, so seeing that in your post about that same idea was interesting to me!

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Re: Too Old To Retire "Young"

Post by EdithKeeler » Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:53 pm

shade tree writes:
400 square feet is about the size of my tool shed and holds a lot. Is an outbuilding an option for you?
Not really, unfortunately. It's less about storage and more about needing extra counter space in the kitchen and a bit more room in the living room and more space in the bedroom so I don't have to move all the furniture out to get the sheets on the bed! I think my bedroom is 9 feet by 10 feet. Really small.... with a queen bed. No, I'm not a candidate for the "tiny house" movement--but I just want about 1300 SF or so. If I tore out some walls and did a big remodel I'd be fine with the SF I have, I think. It's just a bit "cut up."

But... I've lived with it for 5 years; another year won't make too much difference.

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