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were you scared to retire?

March 15th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

This is another question I get on early retirement. Especially since I retired in the middle of what some have called the Great Recession.

I was fortunate that my retirement was planned so I had sufficient cash set aside and was not forced to sell assets at a loss. Also, I had lived thru several other recessions, and while not happy about the losses, I wasn't panicked. My attitude was all losses were merely paper until I cashed in the assets and locked in the losses. I knew that if I just waited most, if not all, of those losses would be recouped. Since that time I have regained half of my losses and expect to regain the rest in two or three years.

While not excessively worried about my losses I wanted to track what I was spending and make sure my money would last as long as I projected. I didn't want to have to go back to work at some point in the future. In 2009 I tracked every dollar I spent. I used broad categories that worked to tell me what I wanted to know about my spending. To my surprise I spent much less than I had expected, but I was completely satisfied with the results. I spent money on the things I wanted. I don't feel that I deprived myself of anything I would have spent money on if I wasn't tracking it.

In fact in September I asked myself the question, "If I had unlimited money, what would I change about my life?" and the only thing I could come up with was to get my house cleaned once a month. So I hired a house cleaner. I also started tracking charity late in the year. My charity consists of buying as many groceries as I can for around $20 a month and donating them to the local food pantry. Using sales and coupons, I averaged over 100 items a month to the pantry with that $20. Previous to tracking the amount I was spending on this category separately it was tracked with my grocery spending.

My total spending for 2009 was $14,326.32. My house was paid off so I didn't have a mortgage payment. I was still on COBRA, which was much cheaper than a personal health insurance plan will be in 2010 and I didn't pay my property taxes in 2009. I had paid them in 2008 to take the deduction for the previous year when I was still earning a salary and instead of paying them early like I did when working I will now pay them in the year they are due. So 2010 will not be as inexpensive as 2009 was, however I expect to keep expenses well below $20,000.

The following is a list of the categories and totals I spent in 2009. I have a huge miscellaneous category since everything in miscellaneous is stuff I need or want. Things like plumbers, movies, new frying pan, clothes, taking nieces out to eat, new tires etc. Everything not in another category. I don't really care how much I spend on clothes or entertainment etc, just as long as it's resonable and Ijust want to track the overall amounts.

Food $ 592.25
Eat Out $ 1,120.71
Utilities $ 2,077.08
Gas for the car $ 387.95
HOA $ 1,980.00
Xmas $ 531.81
Gifts $ 823.98
Miscellaneous - everything else $ 2,745.59
Insurance (car, house)$ 782.80
Health $ 3,175.82
Charity $ 108.33

Total $ 14,326.32

I finished reading my book Soul Deep by Lora Leigh. Supernatural/Romance very good.

2 Responses to “were you scared to retire?”

  1. LittleMsMom Says:

    Love the $20 Donation Challenge.

    I have donated tons of toothpaste/tolieterys to Aid and abused resources; I can get stuff extremely cheap if not free (More than I ever need) and know these places even with cash donations dont have the time to discount shop like I do so I can do better donating my time shopping spending $10 to get $100s of supplies than if I just gave $10.

  2. janette Says:

    Wow! that is impressive. I figure to live how we do right now---it will take about three times what it takes you. There are two of us- granted.
    Hubby retires next week and me next year. I think we will work on tracking every penny until I quit.

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