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Zesus Zesus is offline
 
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Soon to be retired
Old 10-29-2016, 06:46 PM
 
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Hello retired teachers! I have been reading this board for many years and I really enjoy all of the different posts. I am excited because I plan to retire in May of 2018. I would have put in 35 years. I have a question for those of you who are already retired and get you monthly pension. How is it working out? Are you still able to live the lifestyles that you lived as you were working. This is my greatest concern. Will I be able to live as I always did or will I have to struggle and just get by. Please give me some feedback. When I do retire, my house will be paid off, and I have very little credit cards debts.
Thanks for any responses on this matter!!!


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Old 10-29-2016, 07:49 PM
 
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I just want to congratulate you on your decision! The way things are going in education right now you will not be sorry. My pension situation is different than most. I had a lump sum dumped into an annuity where I can get money as we need it. Unfortunately because DH works for the district and his salary does not cover everything so we need to dip into mine way too much. Our mortgage is not paid off yet and we have two car payments and it doesn't sound like that will be your situation. Also, I kind of had to retire when I did because we have a 17 y/o DD who has a serious mental illness and she needs a lot more of my attention than I could provide while working. It honestly sounds like you will be fine when you retire!

Nancy
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In general
Old 10-29-2016, 09:57 PM
 
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expenses go down when you don't need to commute, buy clothes, eat out, buy school supplies, donate to staff events, etc.

It also depends on your expected life style after retirement. Will you be doing a lot of travel, buying a vacation home, renovating your house, donating to family members?

It really is useful and reassuring to visit any agencies involved with your finances and check exactly how much pension, social security, and investments will give you each month and what insurance will cost. Then do a running account of what you are spending to see how you will likely do. Take into account all the costs that not working will reduce and you have an idea of how well you will be able to live in retirement.

If things are a bit slim, you can consider a part time job after you retire or working a bit longer and putting large amounts into investments or savings for a year or two.

Also be aware that some pensions are able to be changed by the legislature. My $90 monthly raise due this month turns out to be $30 after a new law was passed. Still doing ok though.
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retirement
Old 10-29-2016, 10:35 PM
 
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I think each situation is a bit different. Our state retirement here in Georgia is pretty good plus it's based on an average of the last several years salary. I went back to school and got a specialist so that my salary was as high as I could make it without having a doctorate. That's worked out great for me, plus being on disability so I can get my social security early puts frosting on my retirement cake.

I think one thing that is common to retired teachers no matter where you live is that it's surprising how much money you save on not buying things for the classroom and new clothes for work. I also don't eat out as much because I'm not too exhausted to cook. Blood pressure is now normal and I don't have much stress in my life at all. All benefits to retirement!

I think previous poster is correct in that you'll have to see what your benefits are for your state.
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Old 10-30-2016, 02:55 AM
 
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You've done the right thing by paying down debt. It really helps to have as few expenses as possible.

I have my pension, but have found that since I have to pay for health insurance, half of it is gone before any other expenses. That's something I knew in advance, though. We still get by, but we are too young for social security, so we supplement our income in a couple of ways. My dh works part time (total of about 30 hours per week) at two jobs. I work one day a week at a local museum, and I sub about one day a week during the school year. In the summer I teach a high school field ecology class one day a week (plus a full week with junior high kids). And, I have a big inheritance (well, big to me!) from my mom that I can dip into when I need. I use the inheritance money for travel, and also to pay occasional large bills like property tax.

We are managing quite well, and I expect that in a couple of years when we can take Medicare, things will be even better. And when we take social security, we will be able to truly retire from all those odd jobs. Probably dh will take his SS at age 66, but I may hold out till 70 if we can get by.

I met with the state retirement program and my school district finance person, talked with retired friends, and did all the math before I retired, so I knew what to expect. I recommend being generous with your estimates of expenses. Unexpected expenses come up, prices go up, etc. You may decide to cut certain costs (we dropped all magazine subscriptions and are seriously considering getting rid of cable). Others will be lower because you are retired (such as gas for the car). Some expenses will go up, though. For example, we pay for a gym membership, and we keep the heat up in the house all day because we are home.

If you know what to expect and you plan well, you'll do fine!


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Finances
Old 10-30-2016, 05:27 AM
 
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I recommend meeting with a financial advisor so the person can go over your finances and see how feasible retirement will be for you. My advisor put together a detailed spreadsheet of how much money I would need in retirement and how my pension and investments would cover my monthly expenses.

After meeting with him, and seeing the spreadsheet, I felt confident that I could afford to retire. Having a financial professional take a look at your situation would be really helpful.
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Congratulations
Old 10-30-2016, 07:39 AM
 
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I spent two years planning my retirement. My DH and I paid off everything so that we would be debt free. I kept track of all of our expenses and then factored in all of the working expenses that I would no longer have. You might want to find out what your retirement paycheck will be and then practice living on that amount. Medical expenses can take a big bite out of your paycheck so you might need to start saving for that expense now.

Good luck. Let us know how you're doing.
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Old 10-30-2016, 08:33 AM
 
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Congrats on seeing your retirement in the near future! The most valuable suggestions I can give you before you retire- be debt free including your home and save your $$$.
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Be debt free
Old 10-30-2016, 10:22 AM
 
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Zipline's advice should be echoed by all. Unless you have a health issue or something comparable, keep working until you pay off any debt and that includes a mortgage. Now, all of our advice is different if you spouse has a fabulous income and you have always worked just to get out of the house (I do know someone like that and she is still working at age 66.

Your question was "how is it working out?" We have done projects around the house with new flooring, new furniture, we go on vacations and still haven't denied ourselves of anything important. We don't eat out much because of the extra calories in restaurants.

Best thing is that we have actually been able to save money each year, living under my pension and my husband's ss check. He has no pension. We haven't touched our savings.

I know someone who as a single woman retired at age 50 with the intention of just being able to get by and living frugally. It hasn't worked out well as she just scrapes by and talks about money all the time.

After talking with your finance person, you should have a good idea of your timing. We lived on just my salary my last year of teaching to see if it was possible. It was!
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Old 10-30-2016, 10:54 AM
 
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Glad to see that you want to be proactive about your upcoming retirement. Smart move!
As you've read, many variables affect your retirement income some of which you cannot control. If you are under 65, you will have to deal with getting health insurance. Teacher retirement compensation differs in each state, and whether you taught in public or private schools.
My best advice is to get rid of credit card debt, and also set up a practice retirement budget. Try living on that amount for awhile. You'll get a feel for where your money will go when you do finally retire.


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Old 10-30-2016, 01:35 PM
 
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Everyones life style is different so what one person needs to continue during retirement can be completely different than another person. Only you can decide if you have enough.

Retirement should not be a time to all of a sudden discover how much you need. Do your homework a very long time before you want to retire. If you want to continue your lifestyle then you need to know exactly how much you need now and compare that to exactly how much income you will have after retirement. This would include pensions, social security, investment income etc. You also need to factor in the additional cost for medicare, supplemental medical insurance and taxes which will change but do not stop after retiring. Eliminate all of your debt (house,cars credit cards etc) before retiring. Do the numbers and then...decide when to retire without surprises. At least thats how we rolled so we could continue the lifestyle we had before retiring.
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Old 10-30-2016, 03:20 PM
 
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Hello, Best advice...see a good financial planner in your state, go to a pre-retirement session with your pension agency, and save as much as you can in pre-tax dollars now. We chose to put the maximum ($7000/yr) into HSA in order to use that to off set medical premiums and costs as well as to put money into 403/457 plans at our credit union.
Look into that. Also try living on what you'll receive for a month or two. I found my gas, clothing, and miscellaneous expenses dropped a lot. Part of retirement, I found was having a bit of faith that all will be well. Get ready to relax and no more Sunday night dread! Good luck!
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Great Retirement
Old 10-30-2016, 04:00 PM
 
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I don't know what state you are in. I am not able to get any Social Security - not even my husband's should something happen to him because of the Social Security offset rule. Please check it out to make sure you are not subject to it.
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Old 10-31-2016, 12:23 PM
 
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You've been given some great advice. Every state is different in terms of pension, SS eligibility, and possible health insurance benefits. For example, my state has a very good, conservative, solid teacher pension system BUT we don't receive social security and we don't get health insurance benefits in retirement (except for Medicare when age-eligible). In other words, you'll have to do your homework....I retired in May 2013 and I am VERY happy. Honestly, I live the same lifestyle I did when I was working (except for the pesky job thing). My husband (also a teacher) is retiring this spring, and again, I expect no huge lifestyle changes, BUT we've planned. And we also never lived a lavish lifestyle. We live in a nice but modest--and paid for--home. In fact, we have no debts (one credit card but I NEVER carry a balance), and our adult child is out of the house....So do your homework about what your state offers, think about what you're expecting your retirement to look like, and when you're ready, join us! Retirement rocks!
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Old 10-31-2016, 01:52 PM
 
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Congratulations! I plan on retiring June 2018. My husband will retire this year so we are started to budget our money just as if we are retired (living off what we will be earning as retirees). It shows where I have to cut back - not as much clothes shopping or eating out but it is a good learning experience for us!
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Welcome to the board!
Old 10-31-2016, 03:30 PM
 
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And congratulations! Hope you feel free to post here, and we will look forward to hearing about your journey, both of you!
I would only echo what others have said, and that it has worked out beautifully of for me, am so grateful and at peace in retirement. It's a terrific phase of life, freedom and its pace somewhat resemble a movie set in another time/place, but it's your life.
The quality people here and on all of PT will get you thru the process, and then: wow.
I did receive credit for over 36 years, doing beautifully. Best of luck, and will be happily counting down w/ you.
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Old 11-01-2016, 07:16 AM
 
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I have a pension and Social Security, and I am taking home more than I did when teaching. I don't have all the extra expenses of a teacher, and I don't need as much now, so my spending has gone down. My house is not paid off, since I divorced and started over at 50, but it's all good.

What surprised me when I retired was, and still is, the cost of health insurance. You pay for Medicare, a supplemental insurance, insurance for drugs, dental - it adds up fast.

Even with that, I am very happy with my retirement life! Congratulations on your decision!
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In what state are you?
Old 11-01-2016, 01:05 PM
 
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The state (and individual district) will vary greatly. Speaking to STRS more than once, speaking to benefits person(s) in the district, and of course, reading up on all that you can, will help in this process.
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Old 11-04-2016, 07:25 PM
 
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Thanks Lelesu,
You and I both have something "Great" to look forward too. I can hardly wait. Congratulations to you too!!
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Old 11-04-2016, 07:37 PM
 
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Thank you Readbks2's for you kinds words. It makes me feel like I belong and am a part of the greatest Group in the world, "Great Retired American Teachers". I am so thrill to now be a member of this group. Thank you all.
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