Retiring Takes A Lifetime

Retiring is a process. The process may start when you get your first job and sign up for a retirement plan like a 401k or IRA. That’s probably the first time you will even think about your retirement.

Some people work on their plan for their retirement plan their whole life. Saving is slow to start with if you only save when you have extra funds.  Starting a saving account and paying yourself first is something successful people learn.

Being consistent with your saving plans and especially not spending your savings is key. When one changes jobs, many people’s downfall is cashing out their retirement savings and spending it.

Once you accumulate a certain amount of savings, you will need to think about how to get the best return on your savings. CDs are a good first option, but many people like the stock market and some like real estate. The object is the grow your saving without loosing it. That is hard to do.

Then you live your life and at some point it is obvious some people’s plans for retirement are coming along nicely; others not so much. The question the financial industry bombards you with is: Do you have enough saved for retirement? That is a question that is hard to answer even if you have been saving you whole life. Who knows.

The financial planning part of retiring continues with money management including retiring from a job, on-going saving and expense control. You will be spending some money on housing, insurance, medical bills, entertainment and travel.

There is more to retirement than just the financial aspect. You will be making decisions about where you will live and what you will be doing. What passions will you develop. What new friends will you make. You will likely have friends and relatives that have problems, sickness and death. All of the above was not covered by you pre-retirment planning. Like I said it is a process. You won’t know what retirement truly feels like until at least a year after you retire.

You can spend your time doing what you want and that is nice. Time flies by. You will not have to worry about what you will be doing. Your focus turns from making a living to living. Keeping a calendar helps. Participate in activities every chance you get. Enjoy people. People are nicer when they are retired. Enjoy your retirement, this is what you have been looking forward to your whole life.

Robert Fowler,
retried and loving it. :)



I Just Got A 8% Raise To My Social Security Benefit!

I just turned age 67 and now have earned a 8% increase to the monthly amount of my social security benefit that I am now entitled to. By waiting just one year to start my benefits, I can now get a monthly check that will be 8% more than it would have been if I had started my benefits at my full retirement age of 66.

For example, if my expected benefit at full retirement age 66 would have been $2,000 per month, now by waiting until age 67 I am now eligible for $2,160 or $160 more per month for life.

Get More Social Security By Waiting

Now I have not yet applied for my social benefits so the longer I wait up until age 70 when it no longer will pay to wait, the more I will get.  Each year my social security benefits will increase by another 8%!  So in the example above if I wait for another year until I am age 68, then $2,160 X 8% = $173 increase increasing the monthly benefit to $2,333.  So by waiting two years past the full retirement age of 66, I would gain $333 extra every month.

You gain 8% more every year you wait to draw your social security benefit all the way up to age 70 when it stops increasing. If you wait until age 70, your monthly social security benefit will be about 32% more than it would have been at age 66. So that is why I am planning on waiting until to age 70 start my social security benefits. Only three more years to go!

Get Paid While You Wait To Draw Your Social Security.

A year ago when I turned age 66, I found out I could draw on my wife’s social security while I wait until age 70 to draw on mine.  Since my wife and I are the same age and she has started drawing her social security, I can draw on her social security under the spousal benefit. It does not affect her at all and does not affect my account either. It the meantime I get a monthly social security payment based on the amount she is getting at her full retirement age.

After you reach full retirement age, you can choose to receive only the spousal benefit and delay receiving your retirement benefits until a later date, allowing you to receive a higher benefit later based on the effect of delayed retirement credits in your own account. More here on Spousal Benefits.

This is working so well for me and my wife I thought I would share it. This may not be the right thing for you. It will not work for some. It works for us because we are the same age and we can afford to take only her benefit now and mine later.

One more benefit of waiting to start drawing on my social security account and letting it increase is that should I die, my wife will then be able to draw my higher amount social security benefit.  Upon my death, she can switch from her benefit which is lower since she started drawing at age 62, and switch over to draw the full amount I have earned in my account at the time of death. This is kind of like a mini life insurance policy.



A Retirement Move Can Be Hard

On our Retirement Media sites, we have touted the reasons to move in retirement. We have sites like 55 Community Guide, Small Town Retirement and even City Retirement .  Those sites show the advantages and sometimes even the disadvantages of moving to each.  I do believe in the advantages of moving to a place better suited to your retirement with activities and plenty of potential friends and in a house better designed for retirement living – this is a good thing.

See my articles about moving in retirement.
Anticipating a Move to a Small Town
Move Now Rather Than Later To A 55+ Retirement Community

A Retirement Move Can Be Hard

In fact my wife and I have bought a house in a Del Webb 55+ Community that we will be moving to shortly.  We are excited but have only moved once since 1980 so moving is not something we do too much. This is going to be a good change for us, but I have to tell you a retirement move  can be hard.

Our new house will be roughly the same size as our current house minus the basement, but the de-cluttering has been a six months or longer project. It needed to be done and this move is the catalyst. I will have to get some advice from my friends who moved recently as to what the best procedures are for the logistics of the move, like hiring a moving company.

Then we will have to get the current house ready to sell, but that is something I have a lot of experience doing, since I am a retired master property manager. Piece of cake.

There are the doctors and medicare insurance change overs to think about.  We will only be moving about 50+ miles away to the outskirts of metro Atlanta and may be able to keep some doctors but there is a brand new hospital at the entrance to Village at Deaton Creek where we will be moving. There is a medical campus spouting up around the new hospital with doctors of all sorts, so it will only make sense to me to start seeing local doctors.  I believe when you move you can make a change in your medicare insurance plan even if you are not in open enrollment, but luckily I think we can wait for open enrollment and get a policy suited to our new location.

The Hard Part is Leaving Your Friends

All of the above is expected and we can and will deal with that. But the hard part is leaving your friends behind.

I told my fellow Senior Center Activity Committee members to look for a replacement for me at the end of my two year term because I would be moving. Oh boy, now the word is out and all of our friends at the senior centers are asking questions about where and why we are moving. We are not keeping any secrets about our move. It will be hard to leave our wonderful friends at the senior center that we play bocce with and so many other things.

Our neighbors are good friends that we have been on six cruises with and go out to eat with every weekend. They are not taking the news of our move well. We certainly will keep in touch and hope to cruise with them again, but once we move things just change. I am sure we can stay good friends, but just not neighbors. They joked (maybe) they may move with us.

All of this is part of the process we are going through with a move to our retirement community, one we probably won’t do again anything soon, if ever. Despite these things we are dealing with, we are very much looking forward to being in our new home in an active adult community. We certainly will have the opportunities for many new activities as well as activities that we enjoy already like bocce, walking, even dancing.  I hear meeting new friends will be easy, just join in on some activities and you will meet people. People so far have been very friendly and engaging.

It was difficult deciding in the first place to move. Once we decided on moving to an active adult community and we became excited,  we soon thought “why didn’t we do this sooner?”.  At age 67 we will enjoy the activities and look forward to making new friends.

Robert and Mary Ann Fowler

Robert and Mary Ann
Robert and Mary Ann