Extreme early retirement thrills and spills
|By Judy Martel
An extra-long retirement leaves a lot of time to either celebrate
or regret the decision to opt out of work early. Some of our readers
wrote in and shared their stories about the ups and downs of extreme
early retirement. While every financial situation is unique,
hopefully their accumulated wisdom will help you decide if extreme
early retirement is something you should consider.
Plotting retirement as a teen
I retired at age 46 -- early retirement from the phone company coupled
with free health benefits and phone service made it a no-brainer
choice, especially when I found out I could take my retirement in
cash and control my own investments.
I started saving when I was 16 for retirement, when
I met my wife. She now agrees, but always felt I was crazy at 16
to worry about retirement. Now she is elated. She is also retired
and we been traveling for three years, getting to Europe and most
of the U.S.
More than five years ago, my daughter passed away,
and we are raising our grandson. He spends weekends with his dad,
but both my wife and I take care of him all week. His dad is a great
dad but has to work, and my grandson would not have had the necessary
therapies he needed, as he is handicapped.
Getting up at 6 a.m. daily, coupled with the daily
grind (homework, etc.), has been quite tough, but we all need to
play the hand dealt to us. Now we plan nice vacations with him and
with my son, daughter-in-law and other grandson.
We realized a long time ago that as non-professionals,
all we had to work with was the power of compounding and our retirement
plan (only I worked most of our lives). With the proper planning,
we may not live the dream we originally planned, but we will certainly
live and enjoy our lives as best we can.
We did realize that returns that are not realistic or that are
out of line with the rest of the investment world were not the answer.
There is no free lunch! You need to start small and always have
a no-touch fund. Touch it when you retire, and don't go crazy, and
life can still be sweet. We are seeing it through our kids' and
-- Alan, Florida