Retired Life, Think Frugally!

by Anonymous

My Hub and I retired early(ish). He at 63 and me at age 58 due to a lay off and couldn't find work. He is thrilled and I am still adjusting because it wasn't my decision to leave the workforce.

I just want to say I have read all the negatives on the financial reasons to NOT retire before full retirement benefits from Social Security. We took our SS checks at age 63 and 62 1/2 and never looked back. However, you will find that when you are eligible for Medicare and wish to buy supplements, it will bite into your income. This came as a bit of a surprise to us when Hub started Medicare in May (2017). Each State has different prices for the supplements.

  • My suggestions for you would be to make sure your credit cards are paid off each month.

  • Get a cash back credit card such as the Costco Visa. I charge as much as I can during the year on my Visa and pay it off each month. You have to pay a $55 membership fee (for Costco) but you earn bonus bucks each month and at the end of the year get a nice check. I got a check for $415 this year.

  • Call your car insurance company and see if they can lower your insurance now that you are not driving so many miles per year. We had also saved a lot by just changing insurance companies before retirement.

  • Look at every single bill you have and see if you can eliminate it, combine it or lower it.

    Being frugal can be fun! I go to the grocery store and hunt for bargains and if they have day old bread, I buy it and make croutons! My grocery store has 'Senior' day on Tuesdays and Seniors get 7% off their groceries. I also do a lot of shopping on line and look for coupon codes or buy enough to get free shipping!

    I am on Obamacare and get a subsidy so I cannot withdraw too much from IRA's as it adds to income and I will lose the subsidy. So I withdraw from savings which is not considered income. Will have to do that for 15 more months till eligible for Medicare. Gotta keep our income low so we don't go over the financial cliff and lose the subsidy.


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    Frugal us
    by: Georgia

    We are not married but cohabitate. Marriage would destroy our former spouses benefits that one of us receives.

    We go to the day old bread store occassionally and buy the $10 buggy full, freeze what we will eat, feed the rest to wildlife. It lasts a long long time.

    We tske advantage of the CVS drug store sales and coupons. Saved $25 the other day on paper goods and nuts and shampoo.

    I have HUMANA supplementary insurance snd get 10 percent off all veggies and healthy foods at Walmart. I also receive gift cards when I complete certain health screens. I have a credit card that pays me 2 percent back. We belong to Good Sam and get discounted gasoline. I pre buy my propane at reduced prices and we use the wood fired fireplace whenever we can.

    People call us to cut up and haul off their downed trees and we always have firewood. We are very active and healthy and people guss us to be in our early 50's when we will both be 70 next year.

    We are thankful for clean active and spirtual lives. So you do not need a lot of money to lead a good life.

    Oh, did I mention that we have no bills, no mortgage, no car loans. since we were both responsible financially when we met.

    If we can do it, anyone can do it and not stress about finances. Happy Retirement and God Bless!

    Is Materialism Worth It?
    by: Linda/Nevada

    Why is it so necessary to work forty, fifty or sixty years in this country? Larry, exactly when do we get to stop working and enjoy life without mixing money and materialism into the picture?

    My sister, unlike myself, worked until she was seventy-two. She has more money than I do but she is exhausted and now she has recently found out her husband has ALS. Taking care of him will drain her of what energy she has left after raising four children and taking care of a husband that has had numerous health issues.

    People who advocate seniors working during the time they should be focusing on their health and peace of mind do not tell the public the real reason why working beyond forty, fifty years is so important to them. They mask their advice with concern but is it really about national economics?

    I get it. I am expected to work until I drop so I can pay taxes and spend more money for things I don't need. I am expected to work so I can pay higher healthcare costs because Medicare sees me as a liability. I am expected to work beyond forty, fifty years so that the national economy will grow despite how much I have contributed over forty years.

    I don't need a new car. I don't like to travel. I don't have expensive hobbies and I don't pay for club memberships. I will not let materialism send me to an early grave.

    A part time job will not give me love and peace and will not erase poor health. A part time job will not make me a better person and it will not give me personal gratification. After taxes and additional expenses, a part time job won't be worth making economists and financial experts feel they are winning their crusade.

    You don't need a Million Dollars to Retire!
    by: Anonymous

    I agree with a post here-you don't need to have a million in the bank to retire. The experts act like you need a vast fortune that many folks will never be able to accumulate. Does that mean they never get to retire?

    Sure, if you plan to travel the world and trade cars every 3 years you may need a ton of money. But if you live just a regular normal life and you don't have to have everything and are willing to dial back your shopping's very doable.

    I retired at 62 and enjoy each and every day. We buy new vehicles and then take care of them. My truck is 15 years old, has 58K miles and my wife's car is 7 years old with 22K miles. Both are always garaged and in very nice condition. We buy things when we need them, take care of them and save a lot over the years doing that.

    Enjoy your retirement at whatever amount of money you have. This isn't just a dry run, this is

    Valuable comments all
    by: Larry/ South Carolina

    It pulls at my heart to hear how challenging living in retirement can be after all of you have worked so long and hard in your careers. Good for all of you to be submitting such resourceful suggestions.

    As Linda emphasized, she wished she learned to live within her means decades ago. I'm sure all of us can relate to that!

    A couple of other things stood out to me. First, the optimistic attitude being expressed despite the need to make so many financial sacrifices. Having that positive frame of mind is important to keep you on track while making adjustments and finding new ways to make things better.

    Secondly, the fact everyone who posted was pushed sooner into retirement than they expected either for medical reasons or because their companies downsized and then you had difficulty finding work again.

    I'm becoming more active in this community so I can learn more about the type of work people are finding in retirement or what issues people are having in trying to find work.

    Even with the medical shock you experienced Susan, if you felt up to it, there may ways to use the power of the Internet to create an income stream from the comfort of your home. I'm curious if you have explored that?

    The point is for all of us facing tremendous challenges, we need to become more creative and search for ways to offer even more support to each other in finding ways to knock down the barriers that get in our way of making our lives better.

    I won't go into depth here since I have posted elsewhere about working in retirement, but at minimum, I want to say for those of you who are still interested in earning extra income, look under my name (or maybe Wendy can be more specific) to include your comments about the difficulties you faced in looking for work so others can benefit from that information as well.

    The idea is to get a clear picture of what the barriers are and brainstorm as a group various options to help others get around them.

    At Wendy's suggestion, I will be adding a question survey along with her, to probe this topic even deeper.

    I am optimistic in this active community that we can form a group of like-minded members to support a "work in retirement" group for the purpose of helping everyone involved find creative ways to do something they would love to do and make money doing it.

    Keep involved and stay tuned.


    by: Susan Whittenham - Portsmouth, England.

    All the comments here seem to be based on retiring in the USA but the same principle applies in the UK too.

    I took early retirement at age 55 in December 2010 due to a stroke and my not being able to do my job properly. That's a long story involving a monumental cock-up by the personnel department which cost me 25% of my works pension and there isn't a thing I can do about it so I have to manage on a much reduced income.

    Being female and born in 1955 I now have to wait till age 66 to draw my state pension - and as part of the monumental cock-up by our works personnel department when I retired I didn't register for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) a state benefit which would have boosted my income considerably almost up to the level of my salary when I last worked. I am not eligible to apply for this now because I haven't got any National Insurance contributions credited within the past two financial years despite having paid full NI contributions from 1973 to 2010.

    I am not considered disabled enough by my stroke to qualify for any sort of disability allowance so the only way I can increase my income till state pensionable age in four years' time seems to be for me to get a little part-time job.

    I should also add that since retiring I have divorced my husband (by mutual consent) so I can not rely on him to help me financially any more. I'm living with my bank account on the maximum overdraft I can obtain, my modest savings have completely been used up - so I am now even considering selling my little car in order to reduce my horrendous overdraft!

    Living the retired life
    by: Irwin - Lakeland

    I agree with what most people have said in response to this post.

    I was down-sized (not my choice) back in 1995 after 25 years with the same company. Got another job albeit at a much reduced salary only to be down-sized once again nine months later.

    While I had always dreamed of an early retirement, mentally I was not ready for the first down-sizing but when it happened the second time, nine months later - we took it as a sign and gracefully bowed out of the employed scene.

    We have had part-time jobs during our retirement years to supplement our income and have managed to live as some would say - frugally - and yet still managed to enjoy life. We have been retired 20 years this past December and just love it.

    No regrets and we continue to do our best to live each day to the fullest and be thankful when our feet hit the floor every morning knowing that somewhere out there in this great big world of ours that some people weren't as lucky. Also, no matter how rough one thinks they have it - you can be sure that someone else has it worse.

    Moral to the story - make the best of what you have and live life being happy. instead of miserable or resentful of what you don't have.

    Go Linda!
    by: Wendy

    Agreed Linda -- obviously more income or savings gives you more options in retirement but I've seen plenty of happy fulfilled retirees who have little.

    Early Retirement Is Possible
    by: Linda/Nevada

    I, too, retired at 63 because I was laid off and couldn't find another job. Without a college degree, accounting jobs are getting harder to find. I draw Social Security benefits because I never seem to be able to start a retirement account. I don't blame anyone but myself but the fact remains that I do not have a nest egg for retirement.

    I created a budget based on the amount I would get from Social Security. Shaving off a little here and a little there from my monthly expenses allowed me to cover all my essential costs for a month. I got rid of cable TV and purchased a high definition antenna to receive free over the air channels. I purchased subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu to fill in the gaps for TV stations I can't get with my antenna. I saved a substantial amount of money in just that one adjustment to my budget.

    Housing costs really eat up a large portion of your budget but I found a nice, clean, modern apartment in a LIHTC tax credit property. In the area where I live, there are several over 55 tax credit properties where you can find an apartment for below fair market rates. Your income has to be below a certain amount to qualify for these apartments. The complex I live in has beautiful, mature landscaping, a swimming pool and a fitness room. They also provide transportation to nearby stores and other requested businesses. These apartments are inspected yearly by state auditors for building compliances so maintenance is a high priority for the property owners. Solar screens are on all the windows so my electric bill is very reasonable. I put myself on the equal payment plan for electricity. I only pay $40 per month even during our blistering over 100 degree summers.

    I am now on Medicare so I am able to have my Medicare premium paid under the Medicare Savings Program and my prescriptions are paid under a program called Extra Help.

    I am so tired of reading articles from so-called financial experts that paint dismal, dark pictures for those of us who chose to retire early. Adjustments and sacrifices are usually necessary but it is possible to live on less income if you approach your situation with knowledge and creativity.

    I finally learned how to live within my means. This is a lesson I should have learned decades ago!!

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