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Archive for April, 2009

Thinking About Retirement

April 21st, 2009 at 10:15 pm

I am hoping for some unbiased (and maybe biased) feedback about retirement. I may have an opportunity and be offered the chance to take early retirement. My original plan was to retire in 5 1/2 years when I am eligible. Financial goals after that time (whenever I feel like it) include working part-time to earn enough quarters for Social Security. I am a local government worker bee. Here's the potential offer:

Enough years and time to be artifically considered 55 years of age with 30 years of service (no penalty retirement). I would receive about 66% of the highest 12 months of service. Historical retiree COLA adjustments have been 3%. DH and I paid off our mortgage 7 years ago, so that debt is not there.

Pros to go:
Yippee -- don't have to go to work!
No commuting costs - save on gas.
I wear jeans to work, so no clothing changes.
Less stress.
Time to be home more with my DD, who will be starting middle school in the fall - that alone is priceless.
More time with DH.
Possible lower tax bracket.
Currently utilizing DH's medical/dental insurance plans, but with 25+ years I have medical insurance earned and plan to be double covered for no cost out of pocket (current plans - could change in the future for retirees).

Cons of retirement:
34% paycut
"Loss" of about $150K to invest, etc. in the 5 years time frame difference. Will not have the ability to invest in my 457b. If not working part-time, I believe my only option is a spousal IRA of a sort.
Possible lost opportunity for one more promotion - this hinges on my supervisor taking the early retirement or retiring before 5 years. The promotion would be substantial which would make later retirement more lucrative. Odds of this are slim to middling.

NOTE: If option is offered, and I decline, my contribution to the pension fund will increase by 5% - so a 5% paycut if I stay.

I do plan to crunch the numbers and consult advisors in our retirement system once I see an offer in writing. There should be something concrete by the end of the fiscal year.

Anyone think of any considerations that I am overlooking? Any input would be appreciated, especially from those who are retired. Has retirement been great or not so great - from both financial and other perspectives?

DH's saying is this: He feels that I would regret NOT taking early retirement more than taking advantage of it. Of course, he plans to eliminate the gardener (saving bucks) and "hire" me instead! Smile

Happy Easter Eve!

April 11th, 2009 at 06:33 pm

Today's a lazy Saturday the day before Easter. I got my workout in early this am. DH's back is giving his fits and spasms - we have been going for 10 min walks throughout the day to stretch him out. He is a stubborn man (but cute) who does not want to go to the doctor. Lunch and dinner are out of our pantry and fridge. Lunch was leftover fish with curly fries and coleslaw and avocado (from our own backyard tree). Dinner will be pizza (Boboli) with white sauce, mozzarella cheese, alfredo sauce, and chicken. Toss in a salad with more avocado. No desserts due to anticipated over-indulgence tomorrow.

Tomorrow we head to my parents' farm. We are having a whole lamb BBQ'd over a spit (folks raise sheep). Yum! Plus ham, potato salad, green salad, mostaccoli, and lots and lots of desserts. DD is the youngest of the grandchildren so I don't know if we will have the egg hunt. She wants to fill our plastic eggs and hide them herself. DS may not be there because he forgot to ask for the day off in a timely manner. Frown

Everybody pitches in and brings something. I traditionally brings drinks due to my lack of culinary skill (I don't dispute it). I was going to head out to a local store to buy soft drinks, but just before I left, I went into the back room and looked in the closet. Lo and behold ---- many 12 pks!!!!!! All "name" brands! And NONE expired! Yipee! So I "save" some current money and closet space at the same time. I put them into the fridge to get cold. The most interesting (or disturbing) item I learned is that Mountain Dew has about 46g of sugar per can!!!! No wonder DS and my nephews (all in early 20s) love the stuff! The only soda DD drinks is Minute Maid lemonade Light (and very rarely). She hates all dark sodas and that is a good thing for her. So no trip to the store needed!

Free Food?

April 8th, 2009 at 08:12 pm

Got home from work minding by business when the doorbell rang. A young lady with a clipboard was from a company that I won't name - let's just call it Superduperfrozenfoods or SDFF (not a real name - I made it up). She said that this company is seeking new customers and they sell frozen meats, etc. For all non-customers, they would give some free samples as well as a small softsided cooler (one person lunch size). The samples were: a piece of cheesecake, 2 hamburger patties, and one small steak. I looked at her clipboard to see which neighbors had taken the bait, so to speak. Well, I also bit. I happily took the samples and will have them for dinner tomorrow - a review to come. They would like to return for an appt. to show me the prices but would not bother me if I declined. I will get a phone call the night before to confirm (I chose next Tues). Well, I know the prices will be too high for the couponer in me, but hey, free is free, right? Well, within an hour, I got a call to just confirm my info. The caller said I would get another call but they would see me and DH at the scheduled time. Well, no, I said. I never committed DH - he works nights and besides, he chases away all doorbell ringers equally! Smile The man was trying to be persistent, but I told him no. The couple thing is a BIG red flag. I buy 99.9% of all groceries for the house and DH would not care if I wanted to buy the meat or not. I do not need his approval. I did research the company (I was told that they are listed with BBB) and they were rated a big fat D-!!!!!!!!!! Seems that they are not exactly what I thought they would be. I thought that SDFF would kind of be like Omaha Steaks - order online whatever I need. Seems this company wants one to order a freezer and lots of meat upfront at outrageous prices and commit to monthly purchases. I figured out that the prices would be high, and I already have a secondary freezer. So they wasted their samples with me. Plus, I have a monthly coupon club meeting scheduled for Tuesday night, and if they want to contend with a bunch of couponing ladies, go for it!!!!