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42 Comments

    • Mr. Groovy

      Compliment is well deserved, my friend. We love your keen insights and we are only too happy to share them with our readers.

  1. I really like that you’re planning for a cash flow through age 95. It’s tough because no one knows how much money they’ll need, especially when they retire at a young age. Nothing is guaranteed, but it’s definitely wise to plan your money as if you’ll live forever.

    Mr. Picky Pincher and I plan to pay off our house before retirement. I know a lot of people keep their mortgage during retirement, but we want as few expenses as possible, just in case the market goes south or who knows what.

    • Mrs. PP, We’ve always taken the “conservative” approach in our retirement cash flowing planning (e.g., we’ll live forever, inflation will be high, and equity returns will be below average). Best to have “upside”, and plan for the “downside”, at least in our view! That’s why it’s “Personal” finance, each of us can decide what works for us!

      • Ah, Fritz, good to see someone else explicitly planning to live forever! Personally, I’m hoping to have sufficient returns to support my Dyson Sphere Project, but absent that, it will at least be nice to know I’m ok to grow older than expected and not be a burden on great-great-great-grandchildren!

    • Mr. Groovy

      So true. As long as you avoid tobacco, exercise regularly, and limit your consumption of sugar, the odds of you reaching 95 are good. Planning for a long retirement therefore makes a lot of sense. And it never hurts to hit retirement with a paid off mortgage. When the economy tanks, paying your property taxes will be a hell of lot easier when you don’t have mortgage payments as well.

  2. I worry the influx of these articles recently means we are at the top of the market. Like in 1999 when everyone seemed to be quiting their job to be daytraders. Perhaps it’s time to ensure your risk tolerance can handle a market tank even if your not retiring early. Don’t sell out now as irrational Exuberance can last for years, but maybe it’s time to take balcony moments for all of us not just those in the red zone.

  3. “Perhaps it’s time to ensure your risk tolerance can handle a market tank.”

    Good point, FTF. We’re actually starting to fill our “Bucket 1” for retirement (~18 months away), selling off some of our higher priced equities, and moving the funds into liquid positions to cover our first 3 years of retirement living expenses. Best to be cautious, a bear in early retirement can be deadly.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Good points. We made sure to have enough cash to cover a few years of expenses when combined with Mr. Groovy’s mini-pension.

      • Mrs. Groovy

        We think alike Fritz. Mr. Groovy and I decided on a withdrawal rate that is under 2%. We can always ramp up the spending later on if our money continues to grow.

  4. A Family reunion!! Cuz hosting Cuz – love it!

    Though I am not in the “Red Zone” I do think about the future and what it will mean to my retirement. With my job, I already live the semi retired life being able to choose my own hours/days and being able to take mass amounts of time off if I want to. With this in mind, I often think about where I will live when I do retire. I love your idea of ” Spend several weeks of this year’s vacation at a place you’re interested in potentially living during retirement.” This is something I actually thought about a few years back when traveling to a city I thought I wanted to live in. Once I was there I realized it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be…and I was only there a few nights! On the long drive home I thought perhaps it would be best to take a month or two and try each location on my list (4) to see what it actually felt to live there…grocery shop, go to the library, hike some trails, find a class, look at jobs to keep me busy. What a difference that would make from just choosing a city based on a grand idea or even a 2 night vacation stay.

    • Hey Cuz!! Cuz commenting on a post written by Cuz, hosted by Cuz. This is confusing!

      I agree with your point about spending as much time as possible before you commit. You’ve got time to do it right, something not everyone has the luxury of.

      Curious, what are the 4 spots on your list?

      • Mrs. Groovy

        Cuz to cuz to cuz. There’s a lot of “familial” stuff going on here. We may need to make Miss M an honorary southerner too.

        Although we didn’t spend massive stretches in the Charlotte area, we made 6 to 8 trips before relocating. We also compared it to Raleigh and liked Charlotte better (but oddly enough we’ll be moving to the Raleigh area since so many in our family relocated there).

  5. Those blue ridge mountains in Northern Georgia are beautiful, you picked a nice spot!

    I like that you touched on the depression aspect. After leaving work, I can see how losing the daily social interactions with work friends can be tough. It has helped that we are reconnecting with old friends and making new ones online and locally through blogging. I’ve also been spending more time on hobbies like blogging, playing music, and cooking 🙂

    • Mrs. Groovy

      The social transition didn’t impact us too much since Mr. Groovy and I were both working at home when we retired. However, he does miss seeing his work pals from back in the days when they were all in the office. It’s good that you’re really focusing on making connections and exploring new hobbies.

  6. Great post, Fritz! There are a ton of articles about saving and investing, but not enough on what to do as you get closer to pulling the trigger.

    I’m concerned I might not know enough about the getting ready part and actually worry a little about crossing all the “T’s”, so this is very helpful! And I definitely agree with the conservative approach… this is something you can’t easily afford to be wrong about.

    — Jim

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Having a primer like this one from Fritz is priceless as you get closer to D day. We’re of the same mind on a conservative approach especially because we didn’t see how we’d ever be able to go back to traditional work once we pulled the plug. As you said, Jim, it’s not something you can afford to get wrong.

  7. Great article, Fritz! Having skipped through most of the red zone due to health issues, I agree that these are all important to- dos for a well-planned retirement. I think #5 may be the most overlooked and yet most critical part of the process. It’s something I still struggle with, although I did start a blog, so I can check that off my list! 😉

    • #5 (find something to run “to”) is the primary reason I started my blog. It’s enjoyable beyond description, and I’ve no doubt the “bridge” I’m building now will last well beyond my retirement date! Seems we’re like minded spirits on our journeys….thanks for the comment!

  8. Excellent summary Fritz! We have a few of these taken care of too! We did a spreadsheet that shows our anticipated cash flow out through age 90 too! That was eye-opening. We are working on getting our house ready to sell too – then we’ll downsize and have both our primary and vacation house paid off. We’re loving planning for the next 40 years too 🙂

    • Vicki, it sounds like we’re on very similar paths!! Selling the house is a lot of work, but the rewards of downsizing are worth the effort! I can’t tell you how GREAT it feels to have a paid off house prior to retirement!! I love that we’re all trying to figure this out together, and really (really!) enjoy the community of fellow bloggers!

  9. Very thoughtful strategy, and I love that so much is focused on educating yourself for your retirement life and finances. This is not a time to just wing it. Actions can have much bigger consequences when you’re looking at ending your work life. I saw someone this week who’d made a terrible decision with her 401(k) money right after she retired, and there’s just no way for her to do anything now but live with the consequences.

      • Mrs. Groovy

        That’s an awful situation for your friend, Emily. We were careful with our rollovers. But still, we were relieved when the new IRA accounts were settled and we could confirm we didn’t screw up.

  10. Nice list! We’re in the red zone of our “retirement” or at least FI and have started doing some of what you mentioned. We’re hoping Mrs. SSC gets a teaching gig somewhere outside of Houston, so we can relocate, but barring that, we’ve been vacillating between ID/MT and NC/TN/VA mtn regions.

    We’re visiting the ID/MT area this summer, and have spent loads of time in the east coast areas already. We’ve thought about taking longer weeks long trips to each place if we’re not relocating to a job when we move, or just rent the first year or so. If we like it, we stay and buy outright, if we don’t we move on to town #2, lol. 🙂

    Having 2 kids under 6 gives me something to retire to, along with the blog. I plan to volunteer more wherever we move to. I won’t be working so I’ll be the stay at home dad, regardless if we are both in that role or not. Having something to retire to is key.

  11. “We’re visiting the ID/MT area this summer.”

    I suspect you’ll love the area! I’d suggest you also get up to Northern MT and visit Kalispell, one of my favorite towns in the world (you can also say hi to Ms. Montana while you’re there!).

    I like the concept of renting in an area for a year, if you can do that. Sounds like you have a good plan!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Mr. SSC, it’s great that you know what you will be retiring to…It will be funny if a bunch of us end up in Montana. Fritz knows I always have MT in my heart. I don’t think Miss Montana will mind.

  12. Very practical list! I hear that a lot of people who are financially savvy and have done their do diligence don’t know what to do when they reach retirement.

    “Intentionally accelerate your development of external interests in your final 3-5 years of work.”

    I would say one must develop at least 3 core things that they like and believe in outside of work – it could be gardening, photography, volunteering at work, blogging.

    That way, when a person does retire, there is life besides work.

  13. I’m not w/in 5 years yet, but this is great info for anybody. Rather than quitting work one day and being fully retired the next, I’m starting to come up with a “glide path” approach where I can slowly easy out of the workplace and into retirement.

    I’ve seen friends and loved ones struggle with the transition and I’d really like to avoid that. Hopefully easing into retirement will help me transition better and help to avoid falling into the “depressed” segment that some recent retirees slip into.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I think you both have the right idea about planning ahead to avoid depression. Developing hobbies and interests before retiring can certainly help. Personally, I haven’t been concentrating yet on new hobbies (and old ones that I’d like to pick up) but I’m working up to it. I’m still enjoying having free stretches of time with absolutely nothing to do!

  14. More excellent advice. Especially the house thing. People get so used to having a mortgage that they think it’ll be ok to do so in retirement. I’m a firm believer that the less expenses you have, the better of you’ll be in retirement. Based on our current retirement reserves, we should be good moneywise. Now we just have to finish dumping the debt.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Not having a mortgage is such a blessing. I don’t think we could have retired if we still had a mortgage or a rent payment. How wonderful that you have the reserves in place, Laurie. That’s gotta be a good feeling.

  15. As the comment activity on this post starts to wind down, I’d like to leave a note of “thanks” to The Groovies and all of you wonderful readers for the engagement on my article! We can all learn a lot from each other, and I enjoy being an “adopted cousin” into the wonderful Groovy “family”!

    Keep the important things, the important things!

    • Mr. Groovy

      Agreed, Fritz. What an apt description of the community we’ve all been developing. Wonderful, smart, engaged people with a lot to offer. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’ve learned more from my follow bloggers about finance and life than I ever learned in school. And this guest post is another prime example. Great advice and great comments. Life is certainly good.

  16. We’re working on the balance part right now. We know we’re going to hit all of our goals, so we’re making progress on a few new things that will come to characterize post-FI life. Will have to revisit this list periodically to ensure we stay on track.

    • Mr. Groovy

      And just think how awesome things are going to be in March when the last of your debt disappears! It’s so much easier to work on the balance part when you’re not working on dept elimination part. Can’t wait to see what unfolds for the Two-Cuppers in their post-FI life. Thanks for stopping by, Claudia. Always great hearing from you.