Retirement Thread

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ChinMusic

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Rochester, IL
I'd like this thread to be about not only RVing retirement but retirement in general.  Really, I want to hear both.

I'm trying to get a handle on what my potential retirement needs will be when I retire in 6-8 years.  I understand that diff folks have diff lifestyles so "your mileage may vary" def applies.    I'd just kinda like to hear the range of experiences.  I assume that there are certain baseline needs in retirement from which individuals add to it depending on their lifestyle.

Please feel free to give your opinions on what it generally takes for a couple to live on for a year.  I've read 70-90% of what you lived on prior to retirement and I've read 100%.  None of those percentages make sense to me.  With my kids completing college and us becoming empty nesters I see our needs dropping dramatically.  I do see medical expenses increasing regarding insurance and in general.


I know each family has its own needs but I would love to hear what other families found a comfortable level to retire on per year.  Since I envision myself doing what most of what you folks are already doing, I think this forum is a good place to ask.

Info that applies to us:

1. no debt of any kind to manage
2. I have to supply all my own insurance
3. no company retirement pension or benefits  (I am self employed)
4. 10 years away from Social Security (I plan on retiring around age 55)
5. modest home ($4000/yr real estate tax) to maintain.
6. pretty modest lifestyle which I would describe as reasonably frugal

Comments please, questions welcome.  I hope this thread may benefit anyone else in my age group thinking of retiring.

 

Betty Brewer

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Hi,
My simple answer to what you will need in retirement is this....You will spend  all of whatever you have!

We have been retired  and "full timing" for 3 years and while some expenses have dropped, others increased because I had more time to spend  $.  I do the same hobbies I did when I worked.  We travel more.  We have no children therefore  no desire to "save any money" for the kids.  Hubby's  social security has not kicked in.  We are both fortunate to have pensions from years of work.  I would say that we spend almost 90% of what we did when we worked but on completely different things. I no longer spend on a work wardrobe nor employee gifts but I buy souvenirs from an area of travel.  Insurance is a big expense, for the RV, for long term health care, for  health insurance.  Fuel costs  increase as we move around more.  If you think the RV lifestyle will be cheaper, you maybe disappointed.  Campground fees go up.  Fuel goes up and  food has gone up. But the lifestyle rewards are far greater than any I achieved in the  work force.
If you figure your present fixed costs and lifestyle requirements  you can project them into the future.  For us it is about the same as when we worked.  A big difference now is that we don't have  as hefty a savings plan now as in the past. We saved for years for this dream to become a reality.
Betty
 

ChinMusic

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Rochester, IL
Thank you Betty,

Betty Brewer said:
My simple answer to what you will need in retirement is this....You will spend  all of whatever you have!

We have been somewhat atypical in this regard.  We have lived WAY below our means to this point and as a result have saved well.  I feel we will be just as disciplined in retirement.


Betty Brewer said:
If you think the RV lifestyle will be cheaper, you maybe disappointed.  Campground fees go up.  Fuel goes up and  food has gone up. But the lifestyle rewards are far greater than any I achieved in the  work force.
If you figure your present fixed costs and lifestyle requirements  you can project them into the future.  For us it is about the same as when we worked.

Since I plan on maintaining a home, so I have no delusions that RVing will save me money.  I feel the "lifestyle rewards" you mentioned well worth the additional expense and want to plan towards such.

While we have "planned" well during our working years to date, I have to admit, I have NEVER done a budget.  I managed our finances through a "big picture" philosophy and never worried about details.  Since retirement will be new to me, my style leaves me somewhat lost for information, and my "big picture" style won't cut it.  I honestly do not know what we spend in a year, as strange as that may sound.  Our strategy was to save 20% right off the top.  We found that we no where near spent the rest of the 80% and ended up saving at an even higher rate.  Like I said, we have a fairly modest lifestyle.
 

Betty Brewer

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ChinMusic said:
While we have "planned" well during our working years to date, I have to admit, I have NEVER done a budget.? I managed our finances through a "big picture" philosophy and never worried about details.? Since retirement will be new to me, my style leaves me somewhat lost for information, and my "big picture" style won't cut it.? I honestly do not know what we spend in a year, as strange as that may sound.? Our strategy was to save 20% right off the top.? ?We found that we no where near spent the rest of the 80% and ended up saving at an even higher rate.? Like I said, we have a fairly modest lifestyle.

You might consider retiring even earlier than you planned.? What is the worst case scenario?? You might have to go back to work. I struggled for? 2 years about whether or not to retire.? I was terrified about being Poor. We do not have a budget per se, but we look at month end data? and if money in is less than money out, we cut down. If money out? is less than? money in,? Whoopie,? life is good! We have been playing it month by month.

The experiences we are having can not be measured in money. Granted we need to meet basic expenses but beyond that.. go for it!? I got word this week that a friend's husband died at age 59.? My family line has a short life span so I live each day.? Retirement beats working at every level.

Betty

retired after working 33 years , many 13 /14 hour days

 

Gary RV_Wizard

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We also manage on a monthly cash flow (money in/out) basis rather than a budget per se.  We do set aside $$ each month for annual expenses such as motorhome & car insurance and insurance & taxes on our home base in Florida.  Other than hat, it's pretty much just keeping an eye on the rate of expenditure.

Chin Music: if you have saved a that substantial rate, you probably are in a position to retire earlier than you plan and really should do it.  With your disciplined spending habits, it should be a breeze.

The different expenses you will encounter while RVing are primarily fuel, campgrounds and RV maintenance, all of which are subject to a lot of variation depending on YOU. 

Fuel obviously depends on how far you drive - I would say that the range is as low as 4000 miles/yr to as high as 18,000 miles/year.  Snowbird travel (summers north and winters south) tend toward the 4-6000 end while extensive touring racks up more miles. I would guess that th emost typical miles is in the 7000-10,000 range. The RVIA says the average Rv is driven about 6000 miles/year.

Campground costs depend on several factors which you control and are a primarily matter of preference and life style: the type of campground used (level of amenties), use of free or nearly free campsites (friend's driveways, Walmart parking lots, etc.), long term stays at monthly rates versus the higher nightly rate, use of camping club memberships (RPI, Coast-to-Coast, etc), and use of discount programs such as Passport America and the federal Golden Age pass.

Maintenance costs vary with your ability to do them yourself. AN RV is a both a vehicle and a home and both require ongoing maintenance.  If you pay somebody to do each and every thing, it will be expensive, probably over $1000 annually.  If you can and will change oil, wash & wax, and do minor repairs yourself, a few hundreds of  dollars per year may suffice.
 

Ray D

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ChinMusic:

Great idea for a thread. Like you, I saved, invested, budgeted and did the proper things. It all went up in smoke, in a deadly medical battle with cancer. Says a lot for grasshopper philosophy, as opposed to the ant philosophy. But, some make it, and good for you. You should be proud of what you have done and the discipline required to get there.

Dani, (Jasper?s Mom, on this forum,) and I, married three years ago. My wife and I were both ?retired? suddenly, forcefully, by surprise, several years ago. Didn?t see it coming. We get along well, on Social Security, VA disability pensions, and I have a small, private pension. It?s enough to have afforded an older Tiffin Allegro, and now, a Damon Challenger bought almost new. We love what we have done, so far, in RV travel. (And we don?t know what we?re doing!) It fits us, really well!

The budget:

Now, in full blown retirement, as others mentioned, we spend what we get. Oh, I have always kept a budget and a record of spending. We keep a goal - that is, a what we?d like to do - goal. Our goal for the three years we?ve been married is to increase the ?Travel? expense to maximum - by minimizing the other expenses. We?ve done pretty well with that objective, and plan to keep increasing the ?Travel? part of our expense. I wish you great luck and a happy retirement.

A couple of observations:

You mentioned ?Medical Expenses.? I was shocked to learn, some 15 years ago what medical insurance, for me, was going to cost. It was more than my Social Security check! And, I still had to buy meds and pay deductibles and co-payments. In my case, I went to the VA, checked in, and found that I was qualified for a lot more than I thought! Solved my medical expense problem, mostly, right there! Without it, I would be in a pickle!

Dani?s med problems were a bit more cut and dried. Severe, clearly duty related, injuries.

We still have costs, related to health, but they are manageable. For example, we are looking for a mechanism to improve our mobility, so we can do more than just sit around the campfire, when we travel. We?ll get there.

That doesn?t work for everyone, actually, not for very many folks, at all. Not a good plan. I suggest that you pay considerable attention to that little detail, ?Medical Costs.? I am sure that you will. Good luck with your medical plans, and may you never need them!

Second Observation - retirement in general - What to do, with all that time: Actually, we have less time than when we were working for a living. We don?t have enough time! We don?t know where time went! We travel, of course. But, we are not full timers - not yet. Going to be a little hard for us to get there - and we may never quite make it. And, that?s fine. We enjoy what we do.

We, and most retirees like us that we know, do volunteer work. It happens that we both work for the local Police Department. Volunteers greatly expand their reach and effectiveness, in every thing they do. Dani does ?charity? stuff, mostly, but patrols with me once in a while. I do plain clothes and uniformed patrol weekly. We love it. Gets my blood moving right along, for several hours, one or two days a week on average! Downright exciting, now and then!

(They provide a marked vehicle when I am in uniform, which solves my mobility issue. In plain clothes, moving is not an issue. I like the ?crime fighting? side, but there isn?t much of it. Mostly, I help people with directions to where they want to go, find lost kids or lost parents, bandage little boo-boos, and assist in river rescues.) (In plain clothes, I disguise myself as an old man with a cane, who can hardly walk. I am pretty convincing! Never know what is going to happen! Suspense! Surprise!)

Our friends do other things, for other agencies and organizations too numerous to mention. It?s a personal interest type of thing. All of them agree with us, on one aspect. I love my volunteer job more than any job I have ever had. I?d pay them to let me do it, if I had to! You can get a job doing something you always wanted to do, if you?ll work for free!

Hope I stuck to the subject, sufficiently, ?Retirement In General,? as well as ?RV Retirement.?

Ray D
 

motojavaphil

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We have not made the retirement rolls as yet tho we are close.  We have not been savers as working in school systems does not overpay its employees.  We are workers and I will have income from education and from the military as well as medical and other benefits.  Social Security should start three to six years from our projected retirement.  Our plan is simple.  We will sell coffee at different events which should pay the diesel fuel and other expenses.  Taxwise we will be in a good place as well as much can be written off.  Selling the coffee at 6AM will give Carol something to do ;).  During the winter I hope to substitute teach or work on a suicide prevention program for the military.  We are going to sell the house and just follow the events and hopefully end up where we want to be.  If it gets to be too much then I'll stuff the coffee cups or whatever.  I don't know how we will get along in such close quarters.  I am either busy or Mr lazy and she follows that with me pretty well.  We enjoy hikes and just getting out and seeing things.  I like to do my own oil changes and troubleshoot things tho I am not a mechanic by any means.  Our spending habits will be curtailed.  I am an avid motorcyclist and like cars a lot.  With no room to put these things I will not be the big spender and will just maintain what I have.  Getting things to remember things by will be Carol's biggest hurtle.  One vacation I found a bunch of rocks stashed away.  I asked what these were and she said just something to remember that place by.  I can now quote GVWR to her and recommend fridge magnets.  Fuel prices seem to be our biggest concern as we enter this life as it is with everyone.  Eight to ten miles per gallon is not a happy thing at over $3.00 per gallon.  That is a lot of coffee!  We will do this and adapt as we need to.  It has a lot of unknowns but we are both game for it and really have no fear.  If we flunk out of retirement then so be it but the call of the road for us has always been strong.  During our vacations we have met the greatest people in RV's and had the best time.  Travel and people are what it is all about for us.  If we still have our toyhauler please feel free to come over and join us for Margaritas on the deck,(We even Have a palm tree to enhance the motif!) .
 

Ray D

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Fastphil: You're making coffee at 6:00 AM. I'll stop by! I have a quarter, and glad to spend it on a good cause! If you're still making coffee at 10:00 AM, Dani will stop by.

I think you have the system whipped! ;D

Ray D
 

motojavaphil

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Ray, the coffee will be out there and maragarits on the deck at 8PM.  We close at 12 noon and if enough folks want coffee we are flexible ($3.00 per gallon on disesel ;)) and will remain open.  I hope to hang around with my motorcycle buddies and make money doing it!  We hope to put some tables and chairs out there and just tend coffee bar.  Meet people, look at bikes and talk about the cost of rice in China.  We are tetatively going to call our little operation "MotoJava", sort of has a ring to it.  Next summer may be my first go at it on a trial basis and then take it from there.  If the market is there next summer will let me know.  If not then we will find something else and have a really good coffee maker!
 

Smoky

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Chin:

Your Nr 1 Item is I believe, the single most important thing a person can do to manage a successful retirement.  Eliminate all debt. 

We are retired fulltimers and elimination of all debt including mortgages has enabled us to do what most people believe is impossible, and that is to live off our social security.  We are fortunate in having medical coverage from my corporate career, so that is a big qualifier to how we live our lifestyle.

The financial gurus like to say that most people underestimate what they need for retirement.  I am something of a renegade, I suppose, for I believe most people overestimate what they need for retirement.  But I qualify this with two observations:

1.  Most people do not feel comfortable with giving up a lifetime of creature comforts and material acquisitions, learning to enjoy the simple things in life like a lovely sunset, or a campfire filled with friendships.

2. Most people cannot conceive that they can find a way to eliminate ALL debt and live on a cash basis.  I wish I had learned this second secret early in my life.  More money is thrown down the drain in a lifetime of paying of the cost of debt than any other wasteful thing a person can do.

Betty hits the nail on the head when she says, "But the lifestyle rewards are far greater than any I achieved in the  work force. "

Of course this requires a spirit of adventure, the willingness to leap into space and try a new lifestyle without any first hand experience of what it will be like.  This is beyond the reach of many people and they just cannot envision themselves doing it.  You have already crossed that big hurdle!  :D

Thanks for starting this thread.  It is a GREAT subject, and reading the posts here has reminded me how precious life is and how fullfilling it is to get away from conventional lifestyles and become a free spirit.

 

ChinMusic

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Rochester, IL
Smoky said:
Chin:

Your Nr 1 Item is I believe, the single most important thing a person can do to manage a successful retirement.  Eliminate all debt.

Thanks for starting this thread.? It is a GREAT subject, and reading the posts here has reminded me how precious life is and how fullfilling it is to get away from conventional lifestyles and become a free spirit.

Thanks for your post.  I'm wanting to forego some years of working to be able to go things I have always dreamt of while I still have the health to do it.  One of my dreams is to thruhike tha Appalachian Trail. I can envision how the wife could do her thing during the day as we advance the motorhome SLOWLY north. I would be able so spend some days in the MH but most days would be in the woods.  It could take 6 months.

I'm fortunate to be totally out of debt already.  I always heard the words of my Grandfather in my head.  "Boy, only borrow for a house and a business.  If you can't afford a new car, buy a beater and save til you can."  Based on his words I have never had a car loan but I did drive some pieces of junk in my early years.

I've always thought that the rule of thumb estimates for what is needed in retirement to be overestimates as well, at least for me.  That's why I value the opinions of folks on this board so much.  Many of you guys are living it.
 

Kenneth

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Now this is what I need, great thread  :eek:

Our plan is to sell everything,eliminate all debt and put the remainder into the bank .
Currently we have enough $$ to purchase the new rig and I still have a good paying career. By eliminating the house,the boat,etc.. our monthly budget will be cut by 70%. I have additional income from my stock (scalp)trading , that I have been blessed with the uncanny ability to stay successful at.
For the last year we have geared our lifestyle to less is more. We are still young ,so SSI wont be available for at least 12 more years.

The main concern of ours is the health insurance issue, but my research has found some places that offer a great plan for a reasonable amount. Now if we can just  get rid of all the junk ! I think we can comfortably drift into our new lifestyle with the help of the Framily ;D
 

Ray D

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Boise, Idaho
Kenneth said, ?Now if we can just get rid of all the junk.?

Oh, MAN! I can?t believe I forgot to mention that, when I made my previous post. JUNK is a retirement plague!  ::)

I started working on conquering JUNK, when I turned 60. Now, at 70, I seem to have made little progress. My determination goes up, but my stamina keeps falling down. JUNK is the adversary of sanity.  :-\

JUNK is a fatal blow. You cannot recover from JUNK! I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but there is no solution to JUNK!

JUNK breeds in dark places, corners, closets, shelves, cabinets, the garage, the shed - anywhere that you may not be watching at the time. We have tried, with little success, for years. Still we are plagued!

We?ve given ?great stuff? to the kids, until they will take no more. We have given it to friends, til we are in danger of losing friends. I have garage saled, til I can take no more.

We seem to have a never ending supply of ?old clothes!? You can?t imagine how difficult old clothes can be! Old pictures are even worse. We haven?t gotten a good start, yet, on those!  ::)

We have rented storage, and slowly gotten out, but not recovered. We have sat things on the sidewalk with ?FREE? written on them. (That works, but not fast enough.)

I have paper, a few tons of it, I would guess, that still needs to be shredded. I have worn two shredders out, and am trying to kill the third one. Still, I see no end to old bank, insurance and credit card records. I made it through old tax returns and most business records, but am down to the last seven years. Don?t think any shredder can handle those, without catastrophic consequences.

JUNK is impervious to all substances, and in fact consumes them. Old paint, weed killer, bug killers and liquid shoe polish, environmentally hazardous stuff, actually become JUNK! May be that fire will get it, but torching the house is illegal. Don?t want to run afoul of the law.

Worse, yet, I am told by RVing friends that JUNK infects motorhomes and trailers, also! I hear that it drags them down, and kills them! Some here, on this forum, may have helpful advice for dealing with RV-JUNK!  ???

If anyone has a solution to the JUNK issue, this is the place and time to share your wisdom!

Ray D  ;D
 

Tom

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Hi Ray,

You sound like me - I'm a packrat. Having recently had the chore of emptying my parents' home and deciding what could be thrown vs what should be kept by family members, I resolved to turn over a new leaf when we got home. I've been on a mission ever since but, as you say, it's tough to get out from underneath it all.

I sometimes wish I had my wife's philosophy - if she doesn't see a need for something, it's gone that day. I'm afraid she'll wake up one day and ask herself if she has a need for me  :(
 

Ray D

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Boise, Idaho
I like that.  ;D

Actually, I have heard that we have a similar service, here. I have been thinking about it.

A couple of years ago, I rented a dumpster and filled it up. May do that, again, too.

Ray D
 

Tom

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A friend who was planning to go fulltime rented a dumpster. He told his wife "for every 3 outfits you throw out I'll buy you one new one". Three weeks later the dumpster was still empty.
 

motojavaphil

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Woodartist;  I already have a tax number through New Mexico which will allow me to do business within the Government area.  I will be attending events which I will pay to be a vendor and part of that money goes to the local area to cover local fees.  Since it is not a fixed business we are not under the same constraints as the local folks.  Think of a Fair coming to town, sort of like that.  Finally coffee generally does not fall under health department food criteria.  If I sold food I would be in another area and need permits and all that other stuff.  I can sell sealed drinks like cokes and stuff like that as well.  I can also sell pre-packaged sweet rolls and other goodies that I do not prepare.
 
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