"Anytime is a good time for playtime." Luther the cat
Over the years, I've worked as a journalist, personal finance writer and marketing copywriter. I was fortunate to hold many interesting and unique positions over the years and I learned a lot from every job.
Still, my 35-year career has been marked by continuous change, upheaval and job loss triggered by a series of layoffs, a corporate relocation, a start-up that went belly up and even the 9/11 tragedy, which led to a severe work shortage at the financial services consulting firm that employed me.
The most recent layoff occurred in the summer of 2016. I was doing customer communications and marketing work at a large bank for about 3 years.
At the time, I was socking away a lot of money toward a not-too-distant early retirement. I was in great shape, financially, and was cruising toward retirement. So the layoff definitely threw a wrench in my plans. Still, it could have been much more damaging had I not been a lifelong frugal saver who had been planning her exit from the corporate world for decades.
Now in my late 50s, I want to find new full-time employment but hope to transition to part-time work just a few years down the road to enjoy a quasi-retirement, travel and become more involved in my local community.
Sept 2017 update: Now working a contract job editing training materials for pharmaceutical industry sales reps. The work itself is easy, the people nice, but the hours are LONG and the office environment is similar to a bull pen at the New York Stock Exchange. I can't wait to get out of there every day.
Now that my mortgage has been paid off, even a very low-paying full-time job would allow me to pay most of my current bills.
For a long time, my retirement number/goal has been $1 million (with another $131,000 for healthcare expenses). If needed, I could probably make it work on less.
Debt: NONE. 30-year mortgage paid off in 17 years on July 11, 2012. Hallelujah! Lord have mercy!
December 1, 2017
Investments, At a Glance:
Cash & CDs: $61,000
IRA CDs: $19,354
Traditional IRAs: $574,259
Roth IRA: $188,062
Taxable investments: $118,952
Zillow estimated home value: $298,647
2013 Honda Civic: $10,000
Grand total of investments + house: $1,260,274
My Income in Retirement Goal: Total portfolio: $961,627 x 3.5% withdrawal rate = $33,656 divided by 12 mths = $2,804 in investment income generated monthly. This means I am 84% of the way toward reaching my goal of having my investments generate $3333 in income each month ($40,000 a year).
If my assets generate $40k a year, then I know through years of tracking my expenses that I can live on that. So I should be able to delay collecting Social Security until full retirement age and enjoy a big boost in my monthly benefit.
Alternatively, I could take my Social Security benefits at age 62, considerably boosting my monthly income. However, this would permanently lock in my income and it seems foolish to me not to take advantage of a higher monthly benefit by deferring for a few more years.
Taking a long-term perspective, health problems, a possible move by Congress to keep Social Security solvent by reducing benefits and rising living costs in general could make life more costly, so my strong preference would still be to defer taking SS until at least full retirement age, which for me is 66 and 10 months.
My financial goals for the next 7 years are to:
1. Retire from full-time work. Challenge: How to ensure continued affordable health insurance coverage without an employer? In the current political climate, ACA does not appear to guarantee "affordable" coverage.
2. Continue working part-time to defray current expenses, inject some structure in my life, a sense of purpose and a social outlet.
3. Defer collecting Social Security until full retirement age of 66 and 10 months.
By waiting nearly an extra 5 years to begin collecting, I could ensure my monthly benefits are 40% higher than if I'd started collecting at age 62. (You gain 8% for each year you defer, up to the age of 70.5)
I'm not absolutely certain how this will all play out. It could be quite different than what I have hoped for.
If I do find another f/t job, I may be too afraid of giving it up and end up working til I'm 65, just so I would have affordable health insurance. Really don't want to do that though.
Target Asset Allocation:
Total Stock: 45%
Domestic stock: 30%
International Stock: 15%
Total Bonds: 45%
Domestic bonds: 32%
International bonds: 13%