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June 04, 2014


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My target retirement age has always been right around 55. I have been saving since I started working but there have been some bumps along the way that have kept me from being where I need to be. I am getting there though.

Thanks for this site there are many interesting articles and conversations that take place that give alot of insight into saving, investing, retirement and all other aspects of finances. I enjoy reading all the comments and replies. Keep up the good work!

Financially, we should meet our retirement goal in our low/mid-50's. However, we don't know when we actually will retire. We need to come up with some semi-retirement plan.

I remarried after a divorce, and have two young children, the youngest born when I was 50. Because of that, I plan to work until at least age 68, if not 70. My job as an engineer is not too taxing on my body, and I love staying mentally sharp. At my company, it isn't unusual for engineers to keep working into their 70s.

Target is 59 1/2.
Actual will probably be between 59 1/2 to 65 depending how savings goes over the next 8 years, employment climate, etc.

Wife is planning on retiring from full time teaching in 3 years and doing something else.

There are a lot of unknown variables from now until 59 1/2 that will impact that decision.

Target "retirable" age is 42 (pushed back from 40 due to a recent decision to move to a different area). That doesn't mean I'll retire then.

My target is/was around 60, but a year a go at 54 I got laid off and it is looking more and more likely that I have now retired.

Well my Dad is now 70 and although he is financially independent he is doing some contract work that he really enjoys. I hope to get similar opportunities as I get up there in age.

I'd like to be financially independent (not needing to work) by age 55 but I would still like to be engaged on work related projects into my 70's, providing my health stays in order.


I am currently in the second group, 60-64. My original plan to quit the 9 to 5 was late 50's (56-59) but even if I could retire then, I'm still thinking I'll keep working to a minimum of 60 unless I can't or am let go.

I will probably "retire" at 60, but will likely do some consulting and hold a couple board positions after that age. I just can't see myself not having some kind of work.

I just retired 12/31/13. I was 57. Just turned 58. I never really had an age set. It was more about how my portfolio was doing. With the recent gains in the market, I was beyond my " number", so it was a good time to quit. So far I love not working. I didn't hate my job, But, I don't miss it at all either.

My target date was March 1993, when my retirement pension would receive its annual increase but a few months earlier than that my employer, Lockheed Missiles & Space Co., offered what they called a one time Salaried Incentive Retirement Plan (SIRP) to retire in September 1992. The plan consisted of one week's pay for every year of service. I had been with them for 34 years so I jumped at the opportunity, as did many of my co-workers. I used the unexpected money to pay of our motgage and retire debt free.

The company was downsizing after the end of the Cold War and with the anticipation that defense contracts would be fewer in the years to come. A few eligible employees turned down the offer but were told that if they didn't take it they would be laid off - that made up their mind for them.

The company also hired an outside consulting company to provide a very comprehensive weekend seminar for employees and their wives to go over in great detail and with nice handouts all the things you needed to know about transitioning from work to retirement.

As luck would have it, by retiring when I did, I subscribed to a very comprehensive, proprietary, charting and analysis system and put all my efforts into learning all I could about investing. That decision paid off handsomely for me later on as the internet was just getting going as I retired and the time couldn't have been better to get up to speed in investment techniques. From September 1993 up to March 2000 was a unique money making period in the markets and it later came to be known as the DOT.COM bubble. Many investors rode the bubble up, stayed in, and then rode it back down again, bt I had the analytical tools that told me to get out completely over the 4 days after the exact top.

@ Paul
A friend of mine had a child in his 50's. He retired before 60 and had planned on waiting to take SS at 66. Then he found out that if you have a child under the age of 18, you get an additional 50% tagged on to your SS when you collect. So needless to say, he began collecting at age 62.

I want to be able to retire at 55. Not to say that I will, but I want the option. Based on my current plan, I should be able to achieve this unless another recession occurs.

I didn't mention in my prior post that I was 58 when I retired. However I don't think that your age is the biggest factor in when you retire. The main thing is to be very happy in your work, as I was, and looking forward to going in every day, meeting your buddies and making a satisfying contribution to the project you are working on. This was particularly true in the days when we were in an arms race with the Soviet Union and working on a weapons system that was vital to our security. It was also a time when there was a nice raise every year as well as frequent promotions. In our case the Admiral in charge of the project made frequent visits to the company and had us all assemble outside where he would deliver a rousing "Pep" talk about the importance of what we were doing and that we should keep up the good work. When your spirits are high and you like all your fellow workers work can be very satisfying.

Target for DH is 49 and for me 45. We semi-retired a few years ago and did extensive traveling, but during the 2008 recession we realized we didn't have enough to live the way we wanted to in retirement. We decided to go back to IT consulting and save, save, save until 2020. We are on track and just need to focus on saving enough in our after tax investments (in addition to IRAs) since we won't be able to touch our IRA money for a while. We have no pensions and are not counting on Social Security, but will consider it a bonus if it is still around when we reach FRA.

For us, these things have made a huge difference: 1) living in a smaller house we can easily afford, 2) sharing a single (used) car, 3) not having kids, and 4) spending way less than we earn. The only areas where we splurge are experiences, like occasional fine dining and travel.

rough firecalc:
33k withdrawals/saving 55k, 180k net worth, 4% inflation, means FI at 34 (98%).

vandwelling until retirement (savings 73k) scenario firecalc:
FI at 32 (94%), though here if you push back and save a couple more years you will have a very large nest egg to leave behind.

Just rough guesstimates. Probably wanting to get married and have kids which will throw this all out of whack (unless I wait until 35)

oops, had the default years of 30 still set, adjusted to live until 100:
and boy howdy do those graphs look different (hello hockey stick).

Target was 52~ (ish) but, when my contract was terminated by my parent company _who felt I was making too much money - I decided age 47was fine! Haven't loked back, I'm 54 and my net worth has actually increased a bit since the retirement and market highs of 2007!

I think that you need to consider that the readers of Money magazine are not a representative sample of the entire population. It is arguable that these readers have an interest in investments, financial planning and retirement planning. I would guess they also have a higher net worth than average. It is logical that they would have a lower retirement date than what may be expected for the average person in the population. It's another case of "How to lie and cheat with statistics"

Decided at age 40 with 3 children to retire at 60 when youngest graduated college. Began saving in 1980 for 33 years. Paid off mortgage in 16 years and 3 college educations, including Masters and 2 semesters abroad.
Retired last April at 59 with 3 kids in college (2 are now graduated) and splurged including 12 weeks of travel.
My keys to success:
Lived a very modest lifestyle and continue to do so.
My wife stayed home with our children but has been working PT for last 8 years with full benefits. She can retire at 56 but wants to keep working.
At retirement, actual savings was 10% higher than target.
Retirement timing with Market Performance is huge – I withdrew 100K of gains from my 401K in Jan to pay college bills and student loans.
Pension and savings will allow me to wait until 70 for SS or 68+ with spousal benefit if wife claims at 62.

I was just wished a happy 14th work Anniversary! Then I was told I was halfway there. If only they knew, I'm 3/4 of the way there. If no kids, I'll be retired by 43. With kids, not sure but I don't plan to work 30 years.

Great subject, an obsession with me all my life. One thought: it greatly depends on what one's alternatives are. If you like your job and find satisfaction without letting the world know how great you are doing (i.e. cars, vacations, home, second-wife b00b jobs, etc.) it may not be a concern.

For me, I liked my job only 5 out of 30 years. Ugh. When I was 16, I figured I could retire on $12K/yr. At 30, $20K yr and live in a mobilehome in the desert. Got married at 32, and my wife didn't go for that scenario.:-) Tried to retire at 46 with $2mm in 2006, but the next few years put the kibosh on that. I was just about to tell everybody in my worklife off and burn all my bridges, but fortunately didn't or I would have wound up like James Franco in his last moments in "This Is The End." It was shocking and depressing watching ALL markets crater for 2007,8,9, with nowhere to hide, and now just 5 years later the world seems to have adopted a 'squirrel mentality' and completely forgotten about the danger of a moment ago while trying to get an acorn.

I retired at 52 and my wife retired at 50, six years later than we planned. Old saying alert: "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the nose." But the important thing is to HAVE A PLAN. Good luck to us all!

I quit working for money in my early 40s--that is, no day job or any jobs at all--and started doing whatever I like. It has been fun. When I am eligible to collect SS I will donate all amount to charity of my choice (not much, mind you), it is better than to "not collect" and let the government waste it.

We are financially independent (age<50), however, are still 'working' at what we want to. Don't have to work, so I consider us semi-retired - if we decided tomorrow to no longer expend effort towards someone paying us, we'd be fine. We both 'work' to stay intellectually challenged and like getting paid for it :-)

Our magic money is 67, but I can't see myself or my wife "officially" retire since we are very active and find it very hard to relax.

Your statement, "ALL markets crater for 2007, 8,9 with nowhere to hide" is only true if you are a passive (i.e. Buy & Hold) investor in the stockmarket.

In actual fact the S&P500 was up 3.5% for 2007
It then plunged 38.4% in 2008.
It then rose 24.4% in 2009.
If you held the S&P500 throughout 2007, 2008, and 2009 your total loss would have been 21.3%. Many people no doubt panicked in 2008, took a huge loss and then were too late getting back for the 2009 recovery.

I was in corporate & municipal bonds that whole time and made about 12.6% over those three years. In volatile markets you have to be an experienced active investor if you stay in stocks, and you also need to know when to run for the hills and when it's safe to start getting back in again.

@OldLimey, are you really going to correct me? October 9,2007 through March 9, 2009, a 57% S&P500 drop? Congrats on your 4.2% annualized return for those three full years, what was it for the period above? You think it would have been OK for me to retire at that time, with the economy losing 400,000 jobs a month, over 500 banks closing, amazing financial scandals, the Fed demanding $700 billion be created out of thin air to bail out investment banks? Maybe pulling 4% a year out, while my portfolio is losing tens of thousands of dollars a day (one day lost over $200K)?

I'm happy you are an 'experienced active investor' and have done so well. Not everyone has enjoyed your success or has your acumen, please count me as one of those. Anytime you have an idea about "when to run for the hills and when it's safe to start getting back in again" feel free to share! Continued success to you, Old Limey:-)

My target is 60 ... suspect I will be going earlier either because of lay-off or because I've had enough ;)

Limey always toot his own horn with his market timing. He never mention about getting back into 100% stock beginning of of 2013 though and is still be in all muni bonds. His excuse would probably be that he has so much money already that the 30% increase in small cap stocks for 2013 would be no benefit to him so he'll stick around getting the 6% yield on his junk bonds.

Limey, just because you can (or lucky) time the market (give yourself a pat on the back), it does not mean the everyone should.

What's next now Limey? Do we stay in stock, move to bond, load up gold, buy real estates?


Let's go easy on Old Limey. He earned his money the old fashioned way, and spent time building the tools he needed to get in and out of the market. It wasn't a cake walk, and took a lot of effort and mental anxiety. I suspect that's why he decided to go into muni's back in 2008 and never look back. He certainly had a large opportunity cost by missing out on the big run up from 2009 till today, one that he could have continued to play using his set of analytical tools but this way he doesn't have to worry about it.

I don't think Old Limey has a crystal ball, there is no magic formula. For what's next, I'd say you have to play the hand that you are dealt.

I can say that even though I tried to learn from Old Limey, I have found that most people simply can't get market timing right so am perfectly willing to be a buy and hold investor for the right type of equities (cash generating and defensive). Of course profits could erode and the stock values do go down but that is the risk I'm willing to take.


Old Limey did exactly what he should have done. Read the books by Bill Bernstein. When you hit retirement and havo won the game, you take your money off the table. Stocks are not a short term investment and when you are at a certain age, you look at more short term horizons.

The investment strategy of a 35 year old is much different than that of a 75 year old.

@Mike Hunt, come on, nobody is giving Old Limey a hard time. I told my story, and it was a horrifying time during 2007,8,9 when it seemed like the world was ending; nobody had answers, and nobody could say when it would all end. So when I make that point, and Old Limey feels the need to let me know my 'shortcomings', what I 'should have done', and that somehow the 2007,8,9 meltdown was not really that big a deal, I will point it out and defend myself. Pointing out the individual year performances for that time disguises the fact that at the start of 2007 the S&P500 was at 1,438. At the end of 2009, it was at 1133. -21% for the 3 year period. Read that again.

The S&P500 didn't break even nominally above the 2000 high until 2013. 13+ years. Jan'00 through May'14 (14 years, 5 months) the S&P500 returned 1.9% annually, and that is with dividends reinvested. Adjust for Inflation? -0.1%. Read that again. Oil from $131 to $42 a barrel, Real Estate cratering, bonds cratering, precious metals cratering, bank deposits returns negative after inflation. So...yeah...ALL markets cratering. So forgive me if I seem a bit touchy when somebody contradicts me on this issue, as I watched >$1mm in equity value disappear in 16 months and wound up working five years longer than I had planned. Like OL, when I did actually pull the trigger I took my money off the table, too. Glad Old Limey has done so well, as gave you Mike, and I wish him and everyone continued success, but the PF roadside is littered with 'experienced active investors' who claim to know 'when to run for the hills'.

To answer JayCeezy's question:
On 10/9/2007 my portfolio was at $5,787,770
On 03/9/2009 my portfolio was at $5,988,585

This is only a 3.47% gain but it does amount to $20,081.

During this period I was making my transition into an ALL bonds portfolio but didn't make my first muni bond transaction until 10/21/2008. After riding the bubble up to its peak in March 2000 and getting out I went completely into junk bond mutual funds when I was 66. It wasn't until about 2004 when I turned 70 1/2 and had to make large taxable MRD withdrawals that minimizing our taxes became more important than trying to maximize our investment gains.

As JimL says, it's sensible to start shifting into stable income investments once you have determined that your retirement is secure. You don't take your money off the table but you put it into investments where you know that when they mature you get your principal back. These days all I care about is generating tax free income. I don't want to make any capital gains if I can help it because they are all taxable. The other factor that was very important to me was eliminating the stress of suffering through bad periods in the market. There are plenty of other more important things to worry about in old age other than what the stockmarket is doing.

I made a typo on the 4th. line the above post.
Instead of $20,081, it should read $200,815.

48. Made it.

My goal is to retire at 50, but I'm worried that I might wont have something meaningful to keep me busy. I do a lot of volunteer activities and would like to do more, maybe volunteer in a developing country.

I feel that younger people often cite an early age that they would like to retire at but it's still more a wish than a plan.

I'm 52 and aiming for 55. It's looking good now but things certainly can change. I'll barrow a page from Suze Orman and "not lie to myself", I won't quit at 55 if the numbers don't add up right.

Ours is when I reach 59.5 years old. We expect to have about $5 Million by then in net worth (currently around $2M, with 12 years to go). With our lifestyle, our principal will actually grow over time. But here's the thing... We may not retire even though we can. If we are still enjoying what we're doing, we may keep at it until we get bored or get to $10M. We also may take some time off and then start or buy another business. The key for us was saving over 30% for the first 20+ years. Now are annual savings fluctuates, but is still over 20%. We have had strong income, but my wife took 12 years off when the kids were young.... We still saved like crazy, because someday I/we may wake up and say "we're DONE"... We're on the freemoneyfinance plan I think!

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