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November 23, 2010


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Too Late. Am 50... and not ready to retire.... by a long shot.

Yahoo should have added the following after their title:
"and to live like a miser".

I don't want to be rich when I'm older and not enjoy life while it's occurring. That said, I'm debt free, so it's a balance for me!

Especially physical things like skiing, hiking in different countries, etc...

Actually I'm not sure I would like to retire at 50. I would certainly like to be in a position to choose what I do for work, and the ability to perhaps cut back on the hours if I want to do so. But retiring in the old sense of not working at all after 50? It does not really appeal to me, especially since I'm a non-golfing, (probably staying) single person.

The last thing I need is 30 years to sit in front of the TV waiting to die. And knowing myself, without motivation (like a paycheck) there's a good chance that's what I would do. My crazy schedule already gives me lots of 3 and 4 day weekends, and especially in the winter/non-gardening months those can be some mighty long days.

Still am dreaming about semi retiring at 40... 2.5 years to go so need to think quickly!


Too late for me. I'm 50 now.

I would like to have the "opportunity" to retire at 50 because we had enough money saved, yet I don't foresee myself taking that "opportunity." I have read numerous times that income levels tend to peak in the 50's and I would hate to lose out on that.

A very good (not just the rich) income and average (not miserly) living makes this happen.

Take an even more extreme case. A couple who makes 150K/year combined can net around 120K/year. If they live off of 50K and save the other 70K, they can very possibly have what they need to replace that 50K in 15 years of working, so retire before 40. Of course, as many have pointed out, we're really talking about FI more than "retirement". One would assume you'd make more income after that point, though maybe less, and totally by choice, and you could then adjust your lifestyle upward to spend this "extra".

All depends on at what point you consider yourself spending so little that it prevents you from "enjoying life" more than having to work your full time job does (or worrying about losing it). Take Jacob at Early Retirement Extreme, doesn't seem like he 'wasted' his 'early' years at achieving early retirement (especially when you're only talking 5 years). Though his situation is definitely too extreme for me, the example above is not.

Retire to do what? We all need goals and to stop working for a paycheck is fine as long as there is something to fill the void. We were created to work, manage resources, and be active. I know for me a large step in the right direction would be to get this pesky mortgage paid off. I didn't read the Yahoo article but I would think that having no mortgage should be a part of any retirement discussion.

I would recommend starting off in a higher paying job, namely by getting a college degree that warrants one, or by being a successful entrepaneur. Getting started at a higher income makes saving more easier and managing your career potentially that much more lucrative.

I'm on track to retire at 56 with 70% of my salary in a pension. I mean, yes, many things can happen in the next 26 years but so far, so good. I think the article oversimplifies the issue but yes maxing your retirement accounts and being wise about spending are the basic principles behind any early retirement plan I imagine. I'm not gonna live like a miser to get there but we try to keep a budget as well.

FMF wrote: And I LOVE this quote: "Find a way to have an urban income with a suburban cost of living."

Of course you love it . . . you're forever justifying making the decision to live in Michigan. :)

We're never going to see eye to eye on this issue but to me where I live is one of the single biggest components to my happiness. I love my house. I love my land. I love being close to family and friends. I love being close to a few thriving city. I love having access to the culture a big city provides. I love being near the coast. I love being near the mountains. I could go on. Anyone can find happiness wherever you live but to make this decision mainly for the financial implications just seems criminal to me.

Who cares if you retire at 50 with 3 million in the bank if you needed to live the last three decades in the Midwest (no offense to Midwesterners -- it's just an example of someplace I've lived that was not for me). That's just not a life I would liked to have lived. I'm well on track to make my retirement goals but I've lived in some of the most expensive cities in the U.S. and Europe and I wouldn't trade that time for anything. It probably made my savings goals a bit harder but it was a sacrifice well worth making.

As for retirement, it's not for me. I've worked for myself for over 15 years. I love what I do and I can work wherever I want for as many (or less) hours as I want. I'll probably shift into a state of semi-retirement as I get into my late 40s or 50s but I'm very happy with my current situation.

MonkeyMonk --

I think you said it all with "Anyone can find happiness wherever you live." So true. So why not pick an inexpensive place to find happiness? ;-)

That said, of course you can live wherever you want -- it's your money to spend and that's why we work -- to decide how we want to support ourselves. My point is more to make people realize that this is an expensive choice. If they want to make it, fine. I just want to be sure they understand the costs.

BTW, I've lived in many Midwest locations and have loved them all.

many in my circle have done it w/o living like paupers throughout their journey. everyone is under 40.

the common link among all is that they always worked on ways to make extra money and they chose channels that are passive and residual in nature (i.e. investing in rental real estate, starting profitable websites)

they all retired from their JOBs, but are always busy with a pet project (job optional / financially independent)

Interesting advice, specially agree with this one "Put Your Money in Long-Term, Low-Risk Investments" - many people disregard retirement planning until they are in their late 30s or 40s, instead of starting earlier when is easier to save (no family, kids, mortgages). Although not everyone can retire at 50, it's good to keep this advice in mind, but take it with a grain of salt. I would not like to live on the bare minimum for 30 years either.....I agree with you, building a career should allow for growth in your income. Once your reach that status, living a frugal life is key to enjoy your later years. Thanks for sharing.

I love my job, but I can think of a million things I would rather be doing.

Did it at 47, it's all true. If I had known, would've doen it by 45! But, it's not for evrybody. You have to be goal oriented w/ a VERY long term orientation. Be consistent in your beliefs. Most people won't maintain a $40K-60K~ lifestyle, year after year when making $200K, $300K or even $500K (I did). Start saving/investing young (I did w/ 15% of my measly paychecks at age 22 in 1982). Savining/Investing becomes the number one (or two depending on income taxes) expense. Live with it. In the end, I watch my neighbors/freinds stress/struggle with age, money, work, etc., and I don't have to. Bliss!

Two years until 50 so unable to do that and I was not planning on that. I wanted to live a little while I saved. My goal even when I was 30 was to retire at 59 1/2. The age you can withdraw money from the 401k withou penality. Still the goal. But being humbled with the recession/depression realistically looking at 62 to 65. Never know what the next 12 years might bring.

MonkeyMonk- you must be one of those tree huggin', ultra-liberal Californians. I've lived in both coastal California and the Kansas City area, and while the winters in Kansas are horrible and the scenery is lackluster, I do appreciate the family values common in the Midwest; the attitude of "I've got mine, screw you" so common in California was a major component in my decision to leave. If California was a model for the rest of the country, watch out, we'll all be bankrupt!!

I'm not interested in retiring at 50, and to be honest, I don't particularly like the idea of it when framed by the notion that one must "save radically" in order to do so.

I'm sure this is an unpopular opinion in the personal finance world - but "saving radically" sounds just as unsustainable (and potentially unhealthy) as "spending radically." I mean, where does one even find the energy or motivation to work now, if ALL the fruits of their labor are earmarked for rainy days and old age?

This dichotomy often feels like a choice between either front-loading or back-loading joy. Spend radically and enjoy yourself now (at the expense of your future) or save radically and enjoy yourself later (at the expense of your present). And honestly? It's crap. It's a false dilemma, because there is a third (and in my opinion, infinitely better) way: How about rather than doing ANYTHING radically, we all do things PRACTICALLY instead and enjoy the fruits of our labor for our WHOLE life, rather than one end of it?

It's all about having a great work ethic and increasing income and saving the same %, say 20% of your income each year. Start out at $30m in early 20's (savings = $6m per year). Then work hard, make yourself worth the dollar you get from employer, get promoted and make $100m by the time you are 30, then 200m by the time you are 40, and 250 by 45 or even 50. You do the math, but I would suggest you spend the time just working hard and it will happen. With the right investments on your savings (10%) you are around $2,000,000 in todays dollars at 50.
You're not going to make it on Cost of Living need to work hard and not depend on the govt or someone else to do it for you. Sure, early on it is hard to save 20% on $30,000 ($6m), but not 20% on 250,000($50m). Also, you might say all my starting numbers are high, but if you have dual working household, you can do it, or you wont need $2 million to retire. Just get an education and work hard...or just work hard. If both spouses excel well then you are ahead of the game. I did it and put two kids through private colleges. Oh yea, and I decided not to retire so everything now is gravy. But that might be the key right there...people who are looking to retire early probably dont have the mindset to excel anyway.

Mark -- LOL . . . I'm not sure how you surmised all that from my first post but your pretty much wrong on all counts. I'm an East coaster and would characterize myself a fiscal conservative all the way. Was it the fact that I like the coast and mountains? That makes me a "tree-huggin' ultra-liberal"? That's just weird. I have lived some in both the Midwest and California but didn't really care for either of them -- much prefer the East.

FMF - fair enough. I still think basing where you live mainly on financials isn't wise when there are so many other (more important IMO) factors to consider. If you're able to be perfectly happy *and* live in a low-cost area than all the more power to you. I just can't think of a more depressing life than living somewhere for an extended period that I despised just because it's cheap or because of a work transfer. We all make sacrifices to make ends meet but this is not one I would never personally consider.

Your goal should be: Have a mortgage that: pays for itself, and pays you to live on the mortgaged property. Though not having a mortgage is what we should strive for (at retirement), we need to capitalize on all that home equity.

REtiring by 50 is my goal. Hence the name of my blog Free By 50. I"m 39 now and have a shot at being able to retire by 50.

I do think increasing your income should be on the list. It makes everything else so much easier. WE save 30-40% of our income, live fairly frugally but still have a nice lifestyle and we have rental investment properties.

I live on in a coast state but the cost of living is not horrible. Its probably 20% higher than average. Not cheap but not going to kill you either. Avoiding the "coasts" is an over generalization. The South has very reasonable cost of living and there are many places on the coasts that are not excessive. Theres even places in California that are reasonably priced.

@jeffinwesternwa: how much did you have saved up / in investments when you retired at 47? Any children, and if so how old were they when you retired?



Why is everyone interested in retiring? Does everyone really hate working that much? If you enjoy your work, you would be doing the same thing in retirement that you are doing now. Find out what you love to do and you will be retired from day one.

I was lucky enough to save for retirement, I retiered in 2006 at 46 years of age. A couple of big factors for me was 1. Same supportive wife since 1980. 2. Military retirement to cover about half of our expense's. 3. Saved 50 percent of our pay raise's since young on. 4. maxed out both of our 401k, TSP, and roth IRAS every year we qualified. 5. And once again I would like to reiturate most important factor SUPPORTIVE WIFE!!!.

The reason I enjoy retirment so much. 1. Not on someone else's timetable . 2. fish, hunt, crab, rv'ing, and 6 wk vactions 2 to 3 times a year. 3. check on parents, children, grandchildren 2-3 times a week while home. 4. enjoy time with wife, who I seleted to be with not a boss or customers which you have no or little say about.

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