77 Replies Latest reply on Feb 28, 2014 8:36 PM by jkom51

    Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years

    vincente

      What will we need to enable retirement at the age of 62 (or earlier if prepared financially)?

      Pension, social security (if it will be there 4 years from now), 401's, savings, other income, etc.

      Hopefully retirement will come at or before 62. Anyone interested in discussing how much money we will really  need when we retire at or near 62?

       

        • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
          JerryD
          Hopefully you will be debt free. One cost that will be quite major is health care/insurance. We found that two people with a Blue Cross, $2500 deductible in several states is going to cost you $600-700/month, maybe more.

          I "retired" before 62 (call it unemployment/under employment). Careful savings, money management and absence of debt are extremely important. Taking SS at 62 does significantly hurt your payments AND your spouse's by about 1/3, if applicable. But it is working for us. We have a tight plan using savings, SS at 62 for both spouses and IRA mandatory required distributions after 70 1/2. Some of my suggestions: eliminate debt, increase both taxable and retirement savings, develop and debug a budget that will work before and one for after retirement, if it works for you, move to a lower cost area and residence and above all put it into a spreadsheet plan that integrates all of these needs.

          You have made an excellent first step by asking and thinking about what is needed. That's the first step in developing a successful plan. GOOD LUCK!
            • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
              vincente
              I heard suzie orman yesterday tell a working woman age 60, who has a +$700,000. IRA , with no home mortgage, that retirement before the age of 67 is not an option for her. I was quite startled at orman's response. Now  I'm beginning to worry....
               
                • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                  JerryD
                  You have to remember that Suzie is on TV and must make an impact. Also, we don't know all of the facts about this lady. But using my guidelines of no debt going into retirement then consider that it is very possible even today to get 6.5-7% on an indexed preferred stock ETF which means up to $49,000 just on her IRA money. If you had a good job for your career,  SS could contribute $12-15,000 at 62 and if your spouse didn't work and is 62 that could contribute for a SS over $20,000. This doesn't count any taxable assets that could generate income or even principal that you can spend down. So, the question she (you) need to answer is whether she (you) can live on $70,000+ a year. That raises the point I made about moving to a lower cost (but very beautiful and within 10 miles of the largest state university) area and housing which will drastically lower your out-of-pocket costs.  Even with some considerable taxes due to IRA -> Roth conversions we can live on that with no problem. How about you?

                  Also consider that you can add thousands in retirement by doing even low paying temp jobs. I did census work and national testing. If you have good teaching or even just college credentials you can pick up teaching sub jobs that pay decently. I dumped all of those earnings into Roth's as a future slush fund and retirement needs. Where there is a will ....  My recommendation again is to put it all into a budget and into a spreadsheet and do enough what-ifs and budget tweaks to what you are doing in the next 4 years to make it happen. I'll put my trusty spreadsheet retirement model and precise understanding of our financial situation against Suzie O any day. How about you.
                    • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                      WhitneysBB

                      One needs to think outside the box.  When the market took a turn and there was the chance that my company was doing layoffs for the first time in 65 years I took a long look at my future.  I made the decision two years ago to pull $75K from my M.L. account and paid off my home which was my only debt.  I now average saving 45% of my income each month without any sense of "giving up" on the things I want to do.  Thankfully I didn't lose my job but I don't regret taking the money out and paying off my home.  I still have $300K and with the contributions that I'm making I believe that if I continue with my new lifestyle that I'll be alright with SS and the money in my 403(b).  If people are realistic we don't need a million dollars in order to retire.  Currently I'm living on less than what just my SS will be.

                      • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                        howyou

                        My husband lost his job in Aug. 09.  At 63 years of age he could not find another job here in the rustbelt of Ind/Ky.  He worked in a steel mill.  Needless to say, he took Soc. Sec. Yes, he took a cut.  But our story is like many others, only most like us don't want to talk about it.

                        Two kids through college, illness, etc.  We still have a mortgage.  I'm still working.  He found a minimal pay job in June 10.  HOwever, that job provided insurance.  He was diagnosed w/cancer January 2011.  If he did not have that job we would have lost what little we have been able to accumulate.

                        I'm tired of everyone out there saying people have to have $500,000 or $1,000,000 in savings and IRA's etc.  As far as I am concerned it is a scare tactic so Wall Street can continue to drain us of what we did have before the 2008 crash.

                        We are doing the best we can in our circumstances.  For the rest of you that have great healthcare benefits, thanks to me working and paying taxes, good for you.  I am not a public worker and will not have free or near free healthcare for the rest of my life.  I will have to work until age 65 for medicare to kick in.

                        I don't apologize for resenting public workers who draw nearly their working wage as retirement and low cost healthcare.  That is the fact, like it or not.  Nothing any of you fat cats will make any difference to me.  You are living off me and thousands of others like me.  You were overpromised benefits and the "rest of us" are paying for you to have a new car every other year, vacations 2 or 3 times a year.   

                          • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                            smurphy
                            Sorry for your misfortune. When financial gurus state that you have to have $500K or whatever, it primarily is to generate additional income, maybe 5% per year, over your guaranteed Social Security, pension, etc. If one does not have any lump-sum savings, then they must resign themselves to live on the guaranteed income. Plus, one should have some savings for emergencies such as routine car or house repairs. Class envy or resentment does not help you in retirement:)
                            • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                              Hugh

                              As a public employee for the last 27 years I will retire hopefully with a moderate retirement income of around 50% of my income only because I have been adding to it with supplemental accounts, savings. I don't know where or who your referring to but I for one will not be getting anything close to my annual income when, the Lord willing I retire, and I don't have anything close to $500K

                                • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                  jkom51
                                  Hugh said...

                                  As a public employee for the last 27 years I will retire hopefully with a moderate retirement income of around 50% of my income only because I have been adding to it with supplemental accounts, savings. I don't know where or who your referring to but I for one will not be getting anything close to my annual income when, the Lord willing I retire, and I don't have anything close to $500K

                                  Hugh - just FYI: if you have been contributing any after-tax money to your 401k account; e.g., mingling taxable and tax-deferred contributions, be sure you keep careful records of the totals. It should always be listed in your account statements but sometimes it's hidden away and hard to find.
                                   
                                  This happens especially when employers allow turning in excess PTO/vacation time to the employee's 401k account.
                                   
                                  When you start taking distributions, the IRS has a very specific formula for applying the percentage of now-taxable funds versus the money (contributions and profits/dividends/interest) that taxes were already paid upon. You can check the IRS website or talk to any tax advisor for more details.
                                • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                  jham60

                                  Surely you don't think public workers were not working (and in fact sorking hard and long hours) throughout their lives? I know that I, and members of my family and friends who have worked in the public sector, made quite an effort to qualify for the jobs they worked in, got all the necessary degrees, continuing education while working, taking on additional responsibilities, sometimes working 24/7 due to that responsibility, and watched resources very carefully for decades, paying off purchases, delaying all kinds of gratification throughout those early, youthful years, always living within means.  I don't think any of us are "fat cats", because at least in my world we live in modest homes, drive old cars long paid-off, put money in savings monthly and avoid instant gratification purchases.  I personally don't expect to be living high on the hog during retirement, and in fact expect to continue working part-time throughout my 60's at least. 

                                  I am truly sorry for your predicament, your husband's heartbreaking health situation, and your great hardships.  Clearly life has taken a very tough turn for you both, and I am genuinely sorry.  Unfortunately your employers did not take the lives of their workers into better consideration.  It does not seem fair that the top executives of so many companies are living quite comfortably, even extravagantly, on the money earned by their hard-working employees like you and your husband, who were let go when it was not profitable to their bottom line (i.e., executives' salaries). 

                                  • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                    mamajana
                                    You are wrong in assuming that all state workers will have cushy retirements.  I'm a state worker who pays for health insurance and will have to continue paying when I retire.  I am in a plan that has a $1500 deductible because the premiums are lower, but I pray that I don't get sick!  I also have to pay toward my pension.  I am 63 and if and when I can afford to retire, my biggest income will be social security!  And, I'm a tax payer too!  My car will be paid off when I retire and I don't plan to buy another one.  I made the sacrifice to buy a good car because it will have to last me a long time.  I am not living off you or anyone else.  I provide a service that other tax payers need!
                                      • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                        jkom51

                                        Despite all the sensationalist media headlines, many people go in and out of state employment in their careers. The average pension in the CalPERS system, the state of CA, is a munificent $18,000yr. Very few people can get six-figure retirement pkgs - about the same percentage, probably, as those execs who get 'golden handshakes' compared to the many millions of middle-management execs who fear constantly for their jobs.

                                        There's a lot of 'have not' envy. I can tell you that I wasn't union, worked for many different companies, enjoyed what I did and was good enough to pick who I worked for/with. My DH worked 40 yrs, 30 of them as the lowest-paid employee at the agency, and 37 of those years were under idiot managers who didn't know how to do their jobs and were too busy playing office politics with the elected board officials to care about those 'downstream' under them.

                                        He used to stress so much about doing a good job in spite of his co-workers/managers, I believe it directly contributed to his major haemorrhagic stroke at 50. He stuck it out another six years because he knew we needed the financial security of a pension, which few of my jobs ever offered.

                                        And BTW, people who collect government pensions DON'T qualify automatically for full Social Security. Did you know that? Even if they have worked a full 40 quarters elsewhere, if the agency withdraws from SS and starts their own 403b plan, their SS payments are reduced by up to 60%.

                                        To 'resent' the many people who do all the boring, difficult, soul-stealing jobs that keep your state agencies running, is to forget that they are like you - homeowners, parents, and employees. Some are bad, most are good - just like life itself.

                                          • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                            mamajana
                                            You are so right!  I work at a state university and because of the recession this is the fourth year in a row that we have not received increases.  With benefits costs increasing every year, the effect has been an actual salary decrease!  Last year we had to take between 6-8 furlough days, which took our salaries even lower.  What most people don't realize is that most state workers make less money than those doing the same job in the private sector.  In fact, I took a $15,000 pay cut when I took this position six years ago!
                                              • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                jkom51

                                                Yes, and the less you have earned, the lower your pension is when they do the calculations. That means those furloughed days hurt you not just once, but twice. 

                                                So often it goes back to 'cursing the darkness' instead of 'lighting one candle'. These days the easy answer is to blame your troubles on somebody else.

                                          • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                            kbatch
                                            Please do not denigrate public employees because we have defined benefit pensions. My father who worked in the private sector did, as well. The push should be for EVERYONE to have one, and that used to be the norm, and against the inadequate system of 401(k)s. 

                                            I am happy to continue to pay into social security so that your benefits are provided to you. You earned them just as I earned mine. 
                                            • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                              smaneck
                                              howyou said...

                                              We are doing the best we can in our circumstances.  For the rest of you that have great healthcare benefits, thanks to me working and paying taxes, good for you.  I am not a public worker and will not have free or near free healthcare for the rest of my life.  I will have to work until age 65 for medicare to kick in.

                                              I don\'t apologize for resenting public workers who draw nearly their working wage as retirement and low cost healthcare.  That is the fact, like it or not.  Nothing any of you fat cats will make any difference to me.
                                               
                                              Hi Howyou,
                                               
                                              Public employees are hardly 'fat cats.' While our benefits may be better our earnings are usually less than what we would get in the private sector. The good news is that after 2014 your own health care will become affordable. If your income is less than four times the poverty rate (about 56K for a married couple with no dependents) you can get health insurance for about 9.5% of your income. So you can stop resenting us Insert thewinkingemoticon. 
                                              • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                jkom51
                                                >>I don\'t apologize for resenting public workers who draw nearly their working wage as retirement and low cost healthcare.  That is the fact, like it or not.  Nothing any of you fat cats will make any difference to me.>>
                                                 
                                                I don't believe howyou is on this discussion thread any longer, but here's some facts to rebut this oft-repeated "public worker fat cats" idea:
                                                 
                                                - I don't know what state howyou lives in, but I live in California. CalPERS is the largest but not the only, pension fund in the state (joining is voluntary for all agencies/governments). It is one of the biggest in the US.
                                                 
                                                - CalPERS is an expensive service because it REQUIRES employers and employees to pay for reserves which are invested to produce sufficient $$$ for member pensions. As of June 2012, here's where the money comes from for CalPERS pensions. For every $1:
                                                 
                                                -o-  14 cents is paid by CalPERS members, through paycheck deduction.
                                                 
                                                -o-  22 cents is paid by CalPERS employers. If the employer promises retiree health benefits, that is strictly between the employer and retirees. The employer agency is responsible for fully funding retiree health benefits. Every new contract negotiation, btw, must re-ratify all retiree benefits. If there isn't enough money set aside, retirees can lose some or all benefits.
                                                 
                                                -o-  64 cents is paid for by CalPERS investment earnings. CalPERS manages their investment funds fairly well (better than average, I'd say) and last fiscal year (ends June 30th) when the market was mostly going sideways, ended with a 13.3% ROI. We've been members for thirty-five years and their ROI is higher than average at least 85% of the time. Their actuarial assumption was 8% ROI/yr and is currently 7.5%.
                                                 
                                                So the only taxpayer assistance given to CalPERS member retirees are those of having used city/county/state services. Not from fees or hidden tax allocations, but just keeping people employed, who maintain services at all levels - from highway patrol officers to Dept. of Motor Vehicle clerks to state park workers who clean the chemical toilets and empty trash.
                                                 
                                                It continually astonishes me how much vitriol is directed at everyday workers instead of those actually responsible for the growing inequality between incomes in the US. It's like shooting a bank teller because the corporate CEO (who probably is in another state) has a corporate jet and golden parachute arrangement.
                                                  • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                    JerryD
                                                    Jkom51, I am not familiar with the specific situation, but I understand that most people are upset about the perceived public employee compensation and benefit levels when compared to private sector equivalents. The job security of many public sector jobs may also add a bit of jealousy to the mix.
                                                     
                                                    I was fortunate to work on some pretty challenging and interesting stuff at a national lab, but I found it true that there were many there that "hid" in that environment and had never worked in a more competitive environment or were in fact double dippers, especially at the higher management levels where they had retired from the military.
                                              • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                janjoey7754
                                                Yes, I would. I was told that at the age of 60, if I had not remarried, I could claim up to 70% of my deceased husband's SS. Is this true? Should I wait longer so I can accrue the whole benefit if his is higher?
                                                Or, if I take his at age 60, can I then wait until I'm 66 to take my whole SS? How much can you earn during this period?
                                                  • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                    smaneck
                                                    janjoey7754 said...
                                                    Yes, I would. I was told that at the age of 60, if I had not remarried, I could claim up to 70% of my deceased husband\'s SS. Is this true? Should I wait longer so I can accrue the whole benefit if his is higher?
                                                    Or, if I take his at age 60, can I then wait until I\'m 66 to take my whole SS? How much can you earn during this period?
                                                    If I were you I would take his SSI until you are 70, then if your own is higher switch over. You can make 14K  a year without it affecting your benefits. 
                                                  • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                    JRR
                                                    I am somewhat surprised only 16% of members say steady income in retirement is their top concern, and 33% say health costs are a bigger concern!
                                                     
                                                    I will be 66 in mid-2012 and will start collecting Social Security  while continuing to work for another year - income is a bigger concern for me, since I can use the money to do things I may not be able to do when I am past 70 or 75, such as taking the Beijing-Lhasa train, which passes through mountain passages at 17,000 ft.   
                                                      • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                        JerryD
                                                        JRR said...
                                                        I am somewhat surprised only 16% of members say steady income in retirement is their top concern, and 33% say health costs are a bigger concern!
                                                         
                                                        ...
                                                        If steady income is a concern you can always place some of your retirement funds in an annuity. With TC you can even get some inflation protection. There are some very smart university types over on the Morningstar TIAA-CREF Funds Forum that could help with annuities.
                                                         
                                                        I for one hope never to depend on any annuities except for Social Security which is inflation adjusted. 
                                                          • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                            JRR
                                                             
                                                            We are planning to retire from Washington metro area to Atlanta, GA, in spring/summer 2013 - assuming our home sells quickly. Main reasons for choosing Atlanta - longer spring and fall months, warmer climate in general, warmer people (I hope), lower living costs, while enjoying the benefits of a large city with cultural attractions and low airfares.
                                                             
                                                            Would love to hear from recent retirees to Atlanta area - thanks!
                                                                
                                                              • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                alr1948
                                                                JRR said...
                                                                 
                                                                We are planning to retire from Washington metro area to Atlanta, GA, in spring/summer 2013 - assuming our home sells quickly. Main reasons for choosing Atlanta - longer spring and fall months, warmer climate in general, warmer people (I hope), lower living costs, while enjoying the benefits of a large city with cultural attractions and low airfares.
                                                                 
                                                                Would love to hear from recent retirees to Atlanta area - thanks!
                                                                    
                                                                Good luck with Atlanta.  My daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughters live just north of Atlanta in Powder Springs.  I've not lived there but visit often and have stayed for extended periods.  I do not think you will find the cost of living significantly different than the Metro DC area unless you get out in the boonies where housing costs may be lower.  After 13 years in DC, my experience in Atlanta has been shock over the cost of living, even in the Marietta/Powder Springs area.  You might want to take a careful look at expenses if you need a low-cost area to thrive in the retirement years.  Little towns like Jasper and Ellijay have beautiful locations and laid back life styles with reasonable commutability to both Atlanta and Chattanooga for cultural escape.  Again...good luck.
                                                          • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                            c5ac5b9
                                                            I'm hoping to retire at the age of 58 in 4 years, so this topic sounds perfect for me.  I have worked with TIAA-CREF on my retirement for almost 20 years now.  I worked my own numbers and it looked like I could retire in 2017, so I had a meeting with TIAA and had them run the numbers as well.  Currently have $800K in my 401k and saving $60K per year, as well as an additional pre-tax $6000/year into a health care account.
                                                             
                                                            We bought a farm on the Coral Coast of Fiji and have a condo in Florida.  No debt or mortgage by 2017.  The cost of living in Fiji is such that we only need $24K/year for living expenses, but my 401k will deliver $60K/year conservatively.   We will live in Fiji 9-10 months/year, come to FL for 2-3 months.  My life expectancy is to only 65-70, so my biggest issue, is if to take SS or not, so that money will be available after I pass to my wife.  ObamaCare health care exchanges will be set up by 2017 and running, so healthcare should be fine, but I'll also buy an International policy.
                                                             
                                                            Worked too hard during my youth in a stressful job, but it paid well and I was saving for an early retirement, but it will not be a long one for me, but I'm looking forward to waking to the sun rise in the South Pacific.
                                                            • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                              smaneck
                                                              vincente said...

                                                              What will we need to enable retirement at the age of 62 (or earlier if prepared financially)?

                                                              Pension, social security (if it will be there 4 years from now), 401\'s, savings, other income, etc.

                                                              Hopefully retirement will come at or before 62. Anyone interested in discussing how much money we will really  need when we retire at or near 62?

                                                               Social Security will be fine until 2033 and the only thing needed to secure it for the  next thirty years beyond that  is to remove the cap from Social Security contributions. 

                                                              • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                smaneck
                                                                vincente said...
                                                                I heard suzie orman yesterday tell a working woman age 60, who has a +$700,000. IRA , with no home mortgage, that retirement before the age of 67 is not an option for her. I was quite startled at orman\'s response. Now  I\'m beginning to worry....
                                                                 
                                                                Because of what happened recently with the stock market, Suze Orman now gives very conservative estimates of the returns you can expect on your retirement funds. 
                                                                • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                  Question-every time I talk to social security office I get a different answer.  I am divorced, past marriage was 22 years, never remarried.  I am wanting to retire at 62.  Can my former spouse's social security amount be used by me at age 62 (he'd be just 63), and at my full retirement age of 66 and 4 months I would take my full social security?  I have been told yes, and I have been told no.  Just wanting to know how to plan.
                                                                   
                                                                  I've been told a person needs $500,000, but I will not have that.  I do want to spend time with kids and grandkids while in good health, and travel.  I'm afraid if I wait longer to retire that might not happen.  I think I would still work something part-time after retiring to allow me to do extra things.
                                                                   
                                                              • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                Graciela
                                                                Jerry, Where may I ask did you move to and what university? I think living near a university has alot to offer for retirement especially if you are interested in the cultural things it has to offer.
                                                                  • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                    Pam_M
                                                                    If you would like to live near a University, might I suggest Salt Lake City with the University of Utah or other College/University towns in Utah like Cedar City (Shakespear festival), Logan (Opera Festival).  State Residents over 62 can attend/audit any class, on a space available basis, at any state college/university for a small fee ($25 at term at UofU in SLC) plus any special fees attached to the class.  Great way to keep engaged and explore new areas. 
                                                                    • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                      JerryD
                                                                      Graciela said...

                                                                           
                                                                                Jerry, Where may I ask did you move to and what university? I think living near a university has alot to offer for retirement especially if you are interested in the cultural things it has to offer.      
                                                                                      
                                                                                
                                                                      Edited 12:07 PM  by  Graciela
                                                                           

                                                                      Graciela and Pam, we live within 10 miles of the University of Arkansas - Fayetteville. Our daughter graduated from there and maybe the youngest will do the same one of these days. It is indeed a wonderful, compact and nice size school of about 20-22,000.

                                                                      We selected this area due to costs, university environment and natural, rural beauty. Our tact was a bit different when considering the nearness of the university. We both were raised up on Lake Superior and it is really true when they say "You ain't from around here, are you?". When I speak to folks back home I revert to a close to Canadian/Wisconsin mix. We thought that the university would bring an excellent mix of local and out-of-state people who we could relate to versus being an outsider. The local people here are just wonderful too.

                                                                      I forgot to say that I hate hot weather so living any further south in AR would be difficult for me. However, the long springs and falls that are measured in months here are a pure pleasure compared to the short seasons in the North.

                                                                      That said, the area is also within 30 miles of Wal-Mart, Tyson and JB Hunt headquarters, so there are many others here that were not born and raised here. But these huge to big companies along with the university also bring a wonderful performing arts center, soon to be two performing art centers and a major art museum funded by the Waltons, which we have gotten into big time by volunteering. One of our neighbors started the theater department at the university. UA does also have zero cost tuition for retirees but I never loved school like many so I satisfy my learning hunger by extensive reading and THE INTERNET. I did develop an acquaintance with the head of the university historical archives by following and complementing his wonderful articles on the old days in this state.
                                                                        • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                          Laurainlex
                                                                          We could have a great discussion on excellent places to move for retirement.  We moved to Lexington, KY (University of Kentucky down the street) a few years ago. We are not retired yet, but this is where we want to live when retired.  It is a relaxed urban environment, great cost of living, great weather and great people.
                                                                      • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                        columbus
                                                                        I agree with jerryD 100%, get rid of the debt including any mortgage, one thing to consider as we age is the likelihood of layoff and illness.  My wife and I too are aiming for an early "retirement", I use the air quotes because we will probably continue to work in some capacity but we hope to allow ourselves more flexibility in time available to us rather than the daily grind.
                                                                          • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                            Sharon

                                                                            I totally agree with all that was said. We retired not by choice, and unless you add to social security you don't get more $ for waiting. If I'd just started taking social security when I was 62 (when I was "retired") instead of waiting till I'm 65, next month, I would have had the exact same social security payment. I did sub teach and worked for CENSUS but neither generated enough to raise social security.

                                                                            By loosing more than half of our savings to the stock market and now to 1% CD interest, our hope to keep our house till we die isn't going to happen. Even with it paid off, property taxes and utilities are $14,000 a year and then you have to think of repairs. So if housing bounces back a wee bit, we may sell and just rent the rest of our lives. At least if you downsize, you don't have so much to keep clean and less to watch over! Reduce, reuse, recycle.

                                                                            I'd planned to sell and retire in a cheaper state but still near the ocean in Oregon or Washington but now that we are grandparents, I want to wait till the baby is able to visit on his own.  I hear that Eugene and Ashland are great places to live near rivers and lakes and they have Universities to keep the brain working!

                                                                              • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                JerryD
                                                                                Sharon said...

                                                                                     
                                                                                          

                                                                                I totally agree with all that was said. We retired not by choice, and unless you add to social security you don't get more $ for waiting. If I'd just started taking social security when I was 62 (when I was "retired") instead of waiting till I'm 65, next month, I would have had the exact same social security payment. I did sub teach and worked for CENSUS but neither generated enough to raise social security.

                                                                                ...

                                                                                                
                                                                                Hi, Sharon. I too did that "retired" and then did things like Census work and national school testing. However I was younger than 62 when I "retired" and jumped on SS when I did reach 62.

                                                                                I am a bit confused when you say that delaying SS resulted in the same payment. True, the amount of your earnings does impact the SS payment, but I believe that they do throw out some lower years. However, the big impact between 62 and full retirement at 66 is that they reduce your payment by about 1/3 at 62. And taking it early also impacts your spouse's payment if the spouse is getting your SS. If you can wait until 66 then you can get the full payment you are entitled to. Taking SS at 65 will also reduce your SS but no where near what taking it at 62 would.

                                                                                • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                  cyber888
                                                                                  Dang!  $14,000 a year ???   My realty tax is $2,700 + homeowners insurance at $1,040,  or $3,740/year.   I'm in NC and live just 15 minutes outside the city.  Living in the city means additional taxes.
                                                                                   
                                                                                  Sharon said...

                                                                                  I totally agree with all that was said. We retired not by choice, and unless you add to social security you don\'t get more $ for waiting. If I\'d just started taking social security when I was 62 (when I was \"retired\") instead of waiting till I\'m 65, next month, I would have had the exact same social security payment. I did sub teach and worked for CENSUS but neither generated enough to raise social security.

                                                                                  By loosing more than half of our savings to the stock market and now to 1% CD interest, our hope to keep our house till we die isn\'t going to happen. Even with it paid off, property taxes and utilities are $14,000 a year and then you have to think of repairs. So if housing bounces back a wee bit, we may sell and just rent the rest of our lives. At least if you downsize, you don\'t have so much to keep clean and less to watch over! Reduce, reuse, recycle.

                                                                                  I\'d planned to sell and retire in a cheaper state but still near the ocean in Oregon or Washington but now that we are grandparents, I want to wait till the baby is able to visit on his own.  I hear that Eugene and Ashland are great places to live near rivers and lakes and they have Universities to keep the brain working!

                                                                              • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                I am 70 years of age. My biggest concern and the reason I have not retired yet is what am I going to do outside the University.
                                                                                With regards to retirement funds, I have a defined benefit plan (about $60-65K per year) and a little over $1 1/2 million dollars in TIAA-CREF and a DROP fund in State Teachers Retirement. My wife has about $400,000 in her retirement account. My wife and I also  have a little over $200,000 in a money market account.
                                                                                 
                                                                                Thus, money is not an issue. The issue is how am I and my wife going to entertain ourselves. I have given up virtually all hobbies I have ever taken up, except for deer hunting.  When I learn what I can do, then I will retire.
                                                                                  • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                    JerryD
                                                                                    We volunteer at the local university town arts center. Get to see things we didn't before and meet some nice people. Do some road trips to places we never saw.

                                                                                    You hunt. Ever take up skeet, trap, sporting clays, target? How about connecting up with the NRA or other organizations to teach young people how to use and respect guns and how to hunt? Not as old as you, but I take at least a week every Fall to bird hunt up in the old haunts in Michigan on Lake Superior. Just being in the woods or fishing into a stiff lake breeze is frequently a large part of the experience.
                                                                                     
                                                                                    ENJOY!
                                                                                      • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                        Thanks for the super suggestions. I will consider those.
                                                                                          • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                            JerryD
                                                                                            Jomjr, when we lived in IL, they had hunter certification programs for young kids getting their 1st license. I sat through several for my sons and even got a certificate the 1st time even after 30-+ years of hunting. I though they did a very nice job and I learned things I never knew. I recently joined the NRA with some reservations, but I am VERY impressed with the youth programs that they sponsor. Their coverage and serious activities for hunter rights are also very impressive.
                                                                                             
                                                                                            One suggestion, if you can still get into your original post, I would edit out the dollar specifics. I'm an old IT guy and I freak over security/privacy issues. Never a good idea to give financial specifics, exact birthday, Social Security number, etc. on open forums like this.
                                                                                             
                                                                                            I hope that you enjoy your new "career" of retirement.
                                                                                                • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                  JustMe
                                                                                                  "With regards to retirement funds, I have a defined benefit plan (about $60-65K per year) and a little over $1 1/2 million dollars in TIAA-CREF and a DROP fund in State Teachers Retirement. My wife has about $400,000 in her retirement account. My wife and I also  have a little over $200,000 in a money market account."
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                  Jomjr, you are significantly more fortunate than many of us. I have only social security and my 401(k)--with a balance lower by orders of magnitude than yours, though I have been putting money into it for 32 years and have never taken a penny out. I have no equity in the home I purchased in 2005, at the height of the housing bubble; and I am single again, so no spousal resources on which to rely--and its value is considerably less than the amount of my mortgage, so that even breaking even on a sale would be a blessing of sorts.
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                  I think it is becoming increasingly more difficult for those who are struggling to survive to understand the callousness implied by $10,000 bets and pronouncements that "the private sector is just fine" toward the plight of people who, like me, have worked in two professions most of their lives, been financially conservative, and been diligent about "saving for a rainy day," only to face the terrifying prospect of sleeping in doorways in our twilight years. I'm glad that you and your wife will be financially secure in retirement--but please recognize that many of us, through no fault of our own, will not.
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                  Congratulations on your good financial planning, and my heart goes out to anyone who has not been as fortunate.
                                                                                                    • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                      ladyjustice
                                                                                                      I just read this article after away for several months due to knee surgery. JustMe, there are many of us including myself who is not prepared or have millions of dollars saved for retirement. Also, I have begun to explore many topics on the conversation. It is disgraceful that so many people have given years to the work force and still come up short in the end.
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      The Housing situation is a also a disgrace. To those of us who do not own homes, may have to consider moving in with relatives or renting a home in order to survive. Everyone does not own a home. The retirement communities are set up so that you can take on another mortgage when you retire. Well, who wants to get a $200,000-$350,000 home when they retire. Unless you have mega bucks, who can afford this.
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      It is time to make some noise, because many retirees are going to be disappointed in their golden years.
                                                                                                      I want to stay in touch and get more feedback on this issue.
                                                                                                       
                                                                                                      Until Next Time!
                                                                                                      Lady-J
                                                                                                        • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                          JustMe
                                                                                                          Thanks for your response, Lady J. Thanks to Obamanomics, many of us who "own" a home don't own one either: I have been here for seven years, and don't have a penny of equity in my house, which is "upside down" and looks like it will stay that way for an indefinite time to come (despite all sorts of ultimately empty promises from the county). I still have student loans (though I paid off my undergrad ones decades ago). They're at 8.25% (no matter what SLMA says in its ads). I asked if I could renegotiate. The answer was simple and straightforward:
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          "No."
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          I think the only thing we senior lady singles can do is pool our resources, a la "the Golden Girls." Prince Charming isn't coming. He's either hooked up with a 20-something, or is happy on his own. We should learn to be, too. There's only one thing that the Golden Girls couldn't give one another . . . and that's overrated.
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          Hang in there. Better days are coming!
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                          Carol
                                                                                                           
                                                                                                            • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                              ladyjustice
                                                                                                              JustMe:
                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              Thank you so much for your timely response. With all that is going on in this country right now, it summed it up well. We just need to stay the course, and know that better days are ahead.
                                                                                                              I am right there with you on student loans, and I want to work on getting them paid as soon as possible.
                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              As for housing, I am still renting at this time, and I am going to continue doing just that until I can see a better way out. I am looking forward to retiring soon and I just don't want a lot of debt to worry about.
                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              My fixed income will not be enough to have a lot of debt.
                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              We will be watching!
                                                                                                               
                                                                                                              Until Next Time
                                                                                                              Lady J
                                                                                                                • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                  JustMe
                                                                                                                  Hang in there, Lady J! Unless you have minor-age children  for whom you are providing, or oodles of income you need to shelter, it doesn't make sense to own a home anymore. (If I took a 40-year mortgage, it would likely outlive me--or at least I would be a centenarian when I made the last payment.) I can actually rent this house for about what it costs me a month (including insurance), but I can't sell it at anywhere near its value--so first chance I get, I will rent it out and rent something else for myself, in a more congenial environment. I know some people are lucky enough to be "set for life" despite the mess that big banks and big real estates and big investors have made of this economy . . . what distresses me is to see fellow baby boomers (who know better) crowing about their own comfortable position, utterly oblivious to the fact that so many other seniors are struggling.
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                  This wasn't how it was supposed to be. I've worked hard all my life--passed up on opportunities to take exotic vacations and buy expensive toys--because I wanted to live on that "Easy Street" they promised us when we were young, if we emulated the ant rather than the grasshopper.
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                  Well, I bought into it. I saw Easy Street--for real--in northern North Carolina.
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                  It was in a trailer park.
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                    • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                      ladyjustice
                                                                                                                      JustMe:
                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                      Thank you so much for your input. By the way, my children are now adults and living on their own. This does make a difference for me. I am really struggling with owning a home at this point in my life. You know, as I searched several 55+ Retirement Communities, I was very disappointed at the prices of many of these townhouses and condos. Why would I go into debt and pay $200-$300 thousand dollars or more for a home when I retire?
                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                      Something is seriously wrong with this picture. I am one of the baby-boomers who will be retiring in the next five years. The housing market is a big concern. For me, I will continue to rent my house and perhaps look into housing in the southern states. I do have family in the south and I have been sharing my concerns with them.
                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                      JustMe, hang in there too. Something has to change for the better. We have put our time in as far as working. I just want to see it pay off at some point. Going into more debt is certainly not the answer.
                                                                                                                      I am also working on paying off my student loans and believe me, this is more than enough debt for me at this time in my life.
                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                      Until Next Time!
                                                                                                                      LadyJ
                                                                                                                      • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                        To "Just Me".
                                                                                                                        Why are you blaming President Obama for the financial mess? Do you have any idea of the history of this country's financial mismanagement from 2003 to 2008?
                                                                                                                        For starters, how about two wars (one started by lies to the American people) that were put on the credit card?
                                                                                                                          • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                            Why are YOU giving President Obama a pass? Everyone knew how bad it was in 2008, and the President ran (like all candidates) on a platform he could 'fix' the mess. He fixed some of it, but there's still quite a big mess. This is the worst recovery since the Great Depression, and yet all the President has is "borrow trillions more to keep his union buddies working" and "tax the rich" who have no problem avoiding new taxes, so exactly how does the President plan to replace the lost tax revenue due to 'the rich' avoiding new taxes? It's obvious the President and his economic advisors don't have a clue, and given some of their ties to dishonest companies like Goldman Sachs, perhaps they shouldn't be called 'economic advisors' but should be called 'modern day robber barons.' There are no easy answers, but it doesn't help the problems when the President just keeps blaming Bush and Republicans (who didn't control Congress for 2 years, and haven't controlled the Senate since 2006, so how exactly are the Republicans to blame?). There's plenty of blame on both sides of the aisle for this mess, and it's time for Democrats to put on their big boy pants and take their equal share of responsibility.
                                                                                                                            • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                              aboniforti
                                                                                                                              mrgerrykc said...
                                                                                                                              To \"Just Me\".
                                                                                                                              Why are you blaming President Obama for the financial mess? Do you have any idea of the history of this country\'s financial mismanagement from 2003 to 2008?
                                                                                                                              For starters, how about two wars (one started by lies to the American people) that were put on the credit card?
                                                                                                                              YOU ARE COMPLETELY RIGHT!
                                                                                                                            • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                              ladyjustice
                                                                                                                              As for me, I would like to congratulate all of those who are finacially stable and can retire in peace.
                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                              My greatest concern is for those of us, including myself, who have contributed tremendously to the workforce and there will not be enough to retire comfortably. What is it anyway?
                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                              I believe that everyone needs a plan. Unfortunately, I have learned that it does not matter how long you work in this system. You will either have enough or you will not have enough money to retire.
                                                                                                                              I want to make the best of what I already have and depend on working too long.
                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                              I do not believe that the longer you work, the money you will have to retire. There are just too many inconsistencies in this system, when it comes to your money.
                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                              Everyone needs to take a closer look at the funds that will be available to them when they retire.
                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                              Thank you for sharing!
                                                                                                                              Lady J
                                                                                                                              • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                smaneck
                                                                                                                                JustMe said...
                                                                                                                                Thanks for your response, Lady J. Thanks to Obamanomics, many of us who \"own\" a home don\'t own one either: I have been here for seven years, and don\'t have a penny of equity in my house, which is \"upside down\" and looks like it will stay that way for an indefinite time to come 
                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                Gee, I didn't realize that Obama caused the collapse of the housing market. Insert theundecidedemoticon.
                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                I'm upside-down in my mortgage as well right now, but thanks to "Obamanonics" by retirement funds are doing fine now and I've even invested in some rental property. This, despite the fact that I've seen one raise in the last six years.  
                                                                                                                                  • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                    Carlos
                                                                                                                                    <p>I am not going to regret the fact that I have a pension. That's part of my compensation package. My pension will be more only because I will not be paying 8% into it any more like I did from my paycheck.  I belong to Calstrs and we don't pay into social security as educators in this system Your taxes pay a minimal amount toward my pension.  In fact, I don't get social security and I paid into it, but because I do get a pension, I will get only 60% of my distribution. When I work outside of my regular job in the private sector, they take money out for social security and I would see that money.  </p><p>If I were to have the same area of responsibilty that I have now as a school adminitrator, I would make 10 times more in the private sector.  That's not speculation on my part, that is a fact.  My wife works in the private sector, she makes a higher salary with less responsibilty. She also gets perks that we either don't get or far surpass what we  get like a $700/month car allowance compared to my $300/month one and I drive a whole lot more than her for work.  She gets a $200/month cell phone allowance not me. They reimburse her for higher education, we don't get that. She gets a ridiculous per diem for eating when she travels and has a credit card for items she may purchase for her customers, free seats courtside at professional games, etc., etc., etc.. Plus, her company matches her dollar for dollar when she contributes to her 401K and she will get her social security too.</p><p>So when I look at the big picture it either all equals out or we are all even. My health benefits are better than hers so we use mine. However, when I retire at 62 I will not have health benfeits until I am 65 when I get Medicare, so we will survive with my wife's job's health plan, my purpose of sharing this with you is to let you know that not all pension jobs have full lifetime or even partial healthcare benefits.</p>
                                                                                                                                      • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                        JerryD
                                                                                                                                        Not criticizing your position, Carlos. My comments were about the majority of those in public employment. I think that those like you in higher positions (without military pensions to boot) probably sacrifice compensation. I know that when I was laid off a long-term job at a national lab, I (eventually) increased my compensation by a fair amount and I was not in upper or departmental management.
                                                                                                                                      • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                        I think I posted in the wrong place the first time.  I also have questions about how social security works for me, wanting to retire when 62, being divorced-never remarried.  I keep getting different answers, and just want to know so I can better plan my retirement in 4-5 years.  At 62, can I latch on to my ex-husbands amounts, and not take my own social security till I reach my full age of 66 and 4 months?
                                                                                                                                          • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                            smaneck
                                                                                                                                            It is my understanding that you can, but double check with SSI first just to make sure. In fact you might want to wait until you are 70 to start collecting Social Security under your own name. 
                                                                                                                                              • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                                skydog
                                                                                                                                                In over 75% of the public jobs that private equivalents govt workers make more if you count the perks and we can't be fired.;
                                                                                                                                                  • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                                    smaneck
                                                                                                                                                    I teach at a public university and tenure worked pretty much the same here as it does in a private university. The first seven years, they can definitely let you go. Afterwards, not so much. My base salary with a PhD is a little more than 50K a year. What private sector job is only going to pay 50K for a someone with a PhD and twenty years of experience? 
                                                                                                                                                    • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                                      jkom51
                                                                                                                                                      skydog said...
                                                                                                                                                      In over 75% of the public jobs that private equivalents govt workers make more if you count the perks and we can't be fired.;

                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                      Actually, I doubt that. It is far more accurate to say that UNLESS a supervisor or manager is willing to document non-performance, it is extremely time-consuming to fire an employee, whether union OR non-union.
                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                      Working for a private consulting firm, one admin worker got away with literal murder until a supvr was hired to deal specifically with her. Took almost a full year to document sufficiently to fire her.
                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                      My spouse, who was union, terminated two employees over a 40-yr period. A lot of paperwork, but really no different than private companies.
                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                      And let me assure you, most people who work in banks and don't meet with the public, are doing very little to earn their VP status!
                                                                                                                                    • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                      cyber888
                                                                                                                                      You can do some traveling to Europe, Asia, etc ... see the World.
                                                                                                                                      Or just give me half of your $$$ and I'll spend it easy :)
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                      jomjr said...
                                                                                                                                      I am 70 years of age. My biggest concern and the reason I have not retired yet is what am I going to do outside the University.
                                                                                                                                      With regards to retirement funds, I have a defined benefit plan (about $60-65K per year) and a little over $1 1/2 million dollars in TIAA-CREF and a DROP fund in State Teachers Retirement. My wife has about $400,000 in her retirement account. My wife and I also  have a little over $200,000 in a money market account.
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                      Thus, money is not an issue. The issue is how am I and my wife going to entertain ourselves. I have given up virtually all hobbies I have ever taken up, except for deer hunting.  When I learn what I can do, then I will retire.
                                                                                                                            • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                              lorax819
                                                                                                                              I am confused-thought this was a forum about discussing retirement in 4 years-why the political discussions? I, for one, need a vacation from politics,  so please have these types of discussions in a different forum and not one that is supposed to be about retirement.  
                                                                                                                                • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                  ladygj
                                                                                                                                  lorax819 said...
                                                                                                                                  I am confused-thought this was a forum about discussing retirement in 4 years-why the political discussions? I, for one, need a vacation from politics,  so please have these types of discussions in a different forum and not one that is supposed to be about retirement.  

                                                                                                                                  I agree. I come here to learn. Not to hear politics. I get enough of that everywhere else. I want to hear about others retiring or retired.
                                                                                                                                  • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                    NoMore925
                                                                                                                                    The reason politics entered into the discussion is that the National Debt fiasco is affecting all of us, retirees especially. 
                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                    When the Fed holds interest rates at near Zero in order to pay the debt interest, that affects the CD rates that we seniors could (should !) be earning on our hard-saved money.  Instead, we seniors must practically beg for our next meal. 
                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                    Shame on the Big DC Spenders who waste our precious tax dollars on multiple questionable programs in order to get themselves reelected, and then they hold interest to zero to pay the debt of their follies. 
                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                    When I think of what our dollars could (should !) be earning us in CD interest, it should awaken all of us to take back our country from the SPENDERS -- so that more of us COULD retire and then free-up these jobs for the younger generation.  As it stands now, it'll be another 10 or more years before I can retire, when I should have been able to retire in a few months had CD interest rates been 5% on our savings.....  It disgusts me that our politicians -- on both sides --  have nice (yes, FAT) pensions, while most of the rest of us have whatever we can scrape together. 
                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                    Delete all Federal pensions -- including for all Congress and the president -- and put all of them on Social Security, and you'll see how fast they solve the "problem" of Social Security...
                                                                                                                                      • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                        JerryD
                                                                                                                                        Amen! I have said many times that the Fed is taking the recession out of retirees by keeping rates lower than I ever remember in my life. Going after Social Security as an "entitlement" to be cut and constrained in devious ways like the recent price index formula changes is yet another end run. Not politics. Reality!
                                                                                                                                    • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                      smaneck
                                                                                                                                      As far as I'm concerned Obama Care is the only thing that might make it possible for me to retire at 62. I wonder if anyone has considered the fact that it will encourage a lot of people to retire early who could not do so before? Granted, that will place a greater strain on the Social Security system and maybe even the federal debt, but think of how many jobs it will free up? When it takes full effect it might just put us fully on the road to recovery. 
                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                      BTW, one of the ways I've been investing for an early retirement is by buying real estate. Here in Mississippi property that rents for 700-850 a month can be purchased for 15-30K. TIAA-CREF can't beat those returns! If done properly (and this is a bit tricky) it can even be placed in a self-directed IRA. 
                                                                                                                                      • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                        Subert
                                                                                                                                        I plan to retire in 4 years at age 63 - am now 59.  I have approximately $380,000 saved via IRA, supplemental retirement and deferred comp savings plus $35,000 in emergency savings.  I keep wondering if I should put some money into a Roth.  Is it too late to do that as I likely wouldn't accrue that much in the next four years?
                                                                                                                                          • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                            JerryD
                                                                                                                                            I have been converting our IRA's to Roth's for a number of years up to a certain low marginal tax rate and paying the taxes. It has quite an impact on lowering the tax rate for a number of years after we are required to take Required Mandatory Distributions (RMD's). We pay the taxes from taxable savings accounts.
                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                            Before I "retired" we put every penny from temp jobs into Roth's. These combined activities will result in lower taxes for a while and a Roth that is never again taxable to us or our kids that we plan to use if we ever need emergency funds. 
                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                            Roth's are very good things if you have the income needed to qualify and you have sufficient funds to pay the up front taxes.  If I were you, I would max out Roth contributions for myself and my spouse. Over 4 years this could be a good chunk of change. Even after you retire and you have the savings and say Social Security to live on you might want to analyze whether you should defer RMD's as long as possible and do IRA to Roth conversions while paying the taxes from savings. As always I strongly recommend the use of a spreadsheet for the what-ifs.
                                                                                                                                            • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                              prive40
                                                                                                                                              The short answer is yes, a Roth IRA is always a good idea as it grows tax free with after tax money, BUT I assume you have no access to a 401(k) plan?
                                                                                                                                              You would still have 4 years of Roth growth and you could leave it growing post-retirement if possible. Contribute a set amount every week/month from your paycheck into one.
                                                                                                                                              Too many people think that when they retire, that's the end of ALL income. Granted you should usually become more conservative in your investments, but you'll still have investment income of some amount coming in, and your Roth would be part of that as it continues to grow in retirement. With 4 years left, you should step up retirement savings as much as possible.
                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                • Re: Discuss: plans to retire within 4 years
                                                                                                                                                  Don46
                                                                                                                                                  I'm turning 67 this month and am now planning to retire either at end of fall semester 2014 or spring 2015. I'm going to put in for some grants that may string out my university teaching career without teaching.  I'm set financially from what I can tell: my wife and I have about 3.5 million, most all of it just saved from monthly paychecks and some of it from a small inheritance that has grown.  
                                                                                                                                                  I'll get 30k social security, and in fact am already drawing on that. My wife will get the same once she begins in 4 years, and she is drawing 25k as a pension from a previous job. 
                                                                                                                                                  I have enjoyed academic life and still am, but I want to leave it while I am still enjoying it and enjoy retirement while my health is good.  Our plan is to stay on where we are, travel from here off and on for a year or two. Perhaps resettle closer to the ocean (SC) and then consider what kind of house we want.  We have children and grandchildren on the West Coast but we're just not sure we want to go back to California, its high property prices, taxes, and the crowds of the Bay Area.  
                                                                                                                                                  Lots to think about. Most all of it good things to look forward to.