Retirement planning? ("Go on, take the money and run" -- Steve Miller Band)

Butch Ammon

Synchromatic
Jan 3, 2016
537
Richmond, VA
Good morning,

I figured since this is the main "off topic" section, I could ask some for some friendly advice. Go ahead and file early for SSI (age 62 - social security), announce my retirement to my employer, and enjoy life?

Retired US Coast Guard (military pension) = $$$$. I'm set for life, it pays the mortgage, a utility bill here and there, etc...
Military (Tricare) health care, also set for life.
And even VA benefits, if I seriously need a VA hospital (I won't though - I'm horrified at the VA clinics and treatment of veterans).

Currently: I drive a school bus (10 years so far) for the county public school system. Salary isn't the best, but it's manageable.
Social Security: I'll be 62 next year April, 2023. My wife and I sat down with the bills and such and figured it all out. Those statement letters from the government about Social Security, "...if you retire early and claim SSI.... this is your monthly amount.... yada yada yada..."
The amount of SSI even at age 62 is WAY MORE than my current salary as a school bus driver! (well, duh...)

Confession: You figure my past career in the I.T. industry, when I was in my prime... I was making $$$$ (you know what I'm talking about) - on top of a military retirement! No bragging, not saying anything stupid, but let's just say both my wife and I were able to help put both daughters through college! Then, as you all know of these past decades... Old "dinosaurs" in the I.T. industry were let go. The whole industry changed, as Unix systems and old database platforms were slowly phased out. Everything went Windows and smartphone Apps. So, I one among the thousands who had the "fall from grace", as the saying goes. I cashed out the 401/k, got a healthy severance package, etc... and we paid this off, paid that off, and survived.

Getting to the point: I contacted the public school system H/R department, and inquired about retirement at the end of this school year (2023). After 10 years (11 next year), could the ladies calculate an estimated retirement pension? They sent me an email with a .pdf attachment from the payroll system, calculating what my pension would be. So.... I showed my wife an Excel spreadsheet that I came up with:

USCG Retirement: $$$$
School bus salary: $$$$

VERSUS

USCG Retirement: $$$$
Early Social Security (62): $$$$
School bus retirement: $$$

I WOULD BE MAKING MORE BY RETIRING!!! :cool:

Now, after this long winded post: Let me ask you all.... Should I? Should I not, and hang on until 65, 66, 70, and THEN retire? I don't know how long SSI will be around, given today's economy. I feel like that old Steve Miller Band song and say "Go on, take the money and run". What would you do?
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,721
Tucson
There’s a huge difference in what you will get by delahing retirement u til you are 70. IIRC, retirement at 70 will pay 164% of what you‘d get at 62.
 

Butch Ammon

Synchromatic
Jan 3, 2016
537
Richmond, VA
Thanks.... I'm just totally burned out. I don't enjoy it anymore. Kids nowadays are horrible BRATS! Look at them sideways, and they tell their parents, who notify the school, who notifies the bus transportation office, and YOU get in trouble! :mad:

There is a very strange "communication/language barrier" also. I can interact with Hispanic kids -- "Puedo Hablar Espanol - estude tres anos en mi esquela secundaria". But when parents (and even their kids) look at me with a deer in the headlights look, when I try to talk to them.... I'm sorry... I don't speak Hindu or Bengali or Farsi or whatever it is...
 

wabash slim

I Bleed Orange
Feb 10, 2010
18,854
lafayette in
Good morning,

I figured since this is the main "off topic" section, I could ask some for some friendly advice. Go ahead and file early for SSI (age 62 - social security), announce my retirement to my employer, and enjoy life?

Retired US Coast Guard (military pension) = $$$$. I'm set for life, it pays the mortgage, a utility bill here and there, etc...
Military (Tricare) health care, also set for life.
And even VA benefits, if I seriously need a VA hospital (I won't though - I'm horrified at the VA clinics and treatment of veterans).

Currently: I drive a school bus (10 years so far) for the county public school system. Salary isn't the best, but it's manageable.
Social Security: I'll be 62 next year April, 2023. My wife and I sat down with the bills and such and figured it all out. Those statement letters from the government about Social Security, "...if you retire early and claim SSI.... this is your monthly amount.... yada yada yada..."
The amount of SSI even at age 62 is WAY MORE than my current salary as a school bus driver! (well, duh...)

Confession: You figure my past career in the I.T. industry, when I was in my prime... I was making $$$$ (you know what I'm talking about) - on top of a military retirement! No bragging, not saying anything stupid, but let's just say both my wife and I were able to help put both daughters through college! Then, as you all know of these past decades... Old "dinosaurs" in the I.T. industry were let go. The whole industry changed, as Unix systems and old database platforms were slowly phased out. Everything went Windows and smartphone Apps. So, I one among the thousands who had the "fall from grace", as the saying goes. I cashed out the 401/k, got a healthy severance package, etc... and we paid this off, paid that off, and survived.

Getting to the point: I contacted the public school system H/R department, and inquired about retirement at the end of this school year (2023). After 10 years (11 next year), could the ladies calculate an estimated retirement pension? They sent me an email with a .pdf attachment from the payroll system, calculating what my pension would be. So.... I showed my wife an Excel spreadsheet that I came up with:

USCG Retirement: $$$$
School bus salary: $$$$

VERSUS

USCG Retirement: $$$$
Early Social Security (62): $$$$
School bus retirement: $$$

I WOULD BE MAKING MORE BY RETIRING!!! :cool:

Now, after this long winded post: Let me ask you all.... Should I? Should I not, and hang on until 65, 66, 70, and THEN retire? I don't know how long SSI will be around, given today's economy. I feel like that old Steve Miller Band song and say "Go on, take the money and run". What would you do?
That's what I did as well. The other aspect is that I'm not eating two meals out of the house every day (6 or 7 days a week), I'm not driving to and from work every day (got rid of my Jeep as well---we both use the Mommobile) and I get other savings. Quitting smoking is saving me a bunch, tho that money goes for COPD meds. My own damned fault, so I can't complain. I basically had to retire as my health went South. I might have made more by waiting till I was 65 or 70, but I physically couldn't hack it. I'm surprised I've made it so far as it is. Considering that the politicos want to use the SSAN money (that we paid into it---it's not an entitlement and Congress shouldn't be using it for anything else) who knows how long it'll be there for us to use as intended.

I agree with you about the VA. It's a massive waste of money and effort for the most part. Last doctor I saw there didn't speak English. Makes the Post Office look efficient.
 

Emergence

Synchromatic
Gold Supporting Member
May 25, 2022
724
New York
I was 70 going on 71 when I retired from a career in bioengineering. I maxed my solial security, moved money from my 401K into two secure guaranteed lifetime income annuities, one for now and one to turn on when inflation begins to affect how I live. I have a great defined benefits pension. My wife is the beneficiary of everything so all the money keeps coming in if she outlived me. There’s still money in the 401K. I actually retired with a nice raise and spend my exit parachute on two new BMW’s. I guess I planned well, not just for retirement, but my career. Most everyone I know is doing well in retirement but all of them had good sense, good luck, and discipline through their working lives.
 

GreTschocaster

Synchromatic
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 11, 2013
727
Canada
Personally I recommend retiring as early as possible. No one is guaranteed tomorrow or good health. Right now I am struggling with a bad back and waiting for surgery. This along with Covid has stalled our travel plans. We are in the lucky position of being mortgage free.
I have never met anyone at the end of their life saying "I wish I had worked longer"
 

englishman

Gretschified
Apr 5, 2014
13,080
Detroit
I'm a school bus driver also, but I'm on the 'work until you die' retirement plan with zero retirement, 401K etc.

If I'd have stayed in the UK I might have had the option but since I live in the USA I qualify for the 'It's your own damn fault' system of retirement planning (or lack thereof).
I'm 65 on Monday which starts the 18 month countdown to when I'm applying for the Social Security.
 

ronbo

Gretschie
Feb 28, 2012
440
Broomfield, Colorado
I just retired at 65...waiting until 66.5 (full retirement) only nets me about $250 a month more, which isn't enough to offset the stress of continuing working in the constantly changing Scientific IT world I worked in, not to mention waiting until 70...

I had aortic valve replacement surgery in January and decided to take the money and run! My wife has a few more years to work, so I get a couple of years of playing 'house husband' (my Dream Job!) and avidly pursuing my hobbies before she retires...I've caught 105 fish this season, camped and hiked to a couple of fantastic high mountain lakes, worked on a bunch of guitars, started playing with all the recording equipment, pedals amps and guitars I've bought over the years, brewed some great beers, started back to working out regularly and have been having the best summer of my life since I was a kid! Just got back from a nice 5 day trip to San Francisco that my wife and I took with friends last week and am heading out tomorrow for a few more days of fishing and hiking with a couple of buddies before the snow starts flying in the Rockies. My main stress now is trying to fit in all the fun I have planned for the next few months :)

I had a buddy who worked his but off and planned to retire at 65, but the crash of 2008 came so he continued working until 70 so he'd have 'enough' to retire. He actually retired for 18 months, had a stomach ache and went to the doctor, got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was dead within the week. He played a little golf and took a couple of trips and never got to do all the other things he had planned. His advice to me during my last visit with him was, "Retire as soon as you can and have some fun while you're young and strong enough to enjoy it, because you just never know!" I took his advice and now (of course) the stock market is taking a bath, the economy is shaky, but I'm digging life and will deal with the fallout, if and when it comes.

Sounds like you're pretty well set financially at this point, so I say take the money and run!
 

bluenote23

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 17, 2009
1,737
Montreal, Canada
I retired at 60. Best decision I could make but I live off of my investment income. So I have no money worries. If you an do that, then do it now. Like I said, I retired at 60 and at 68 was diagnosed with treatable cancer.

Life is tougher now and I wish I would have retired 10 or 15 years earlier.
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,721
Tucson
Thanks.... I'm just totally burned out. I don't enjoy it anymore. Kids nowadays are horrible BRATS! Look at them sideways, and they tell their parents, who notify the school, who notifies the bus transportation office, and YOU get in trouble! :mad:

There is a very strange "communication/language barrier" also. I can interact with Hispanic kids -- "Puedo Hablar Espanol - estude tres anos en mi esquela secundaria". But when parents (and even their kids) look at me with a deer in the headlights look, when I try to talk to them.... I'm sorry... I don't speak Hindu or Bengali or Farsi or whatever it is...
For certain, I would recommend defeating all debt before retiring.

I’m in a high tech job, and there are days when the pressures are unwelcome, but I have learned to visualize the end state of succeeding on my projects, and I always seem to get there. I just finished some monthly maintenance window tasks, and now I feel great.

I’m fortunate to work with some good people, literally, around the globe. Everyone cooperates to make things happen.

In the course of my personal business, I see some truly appalling examples of work ethic. I’m no longer a hiring manager, but in the past, when I was in that role, I would see applicants whom struck me as wanting to do as little as possible, and they didn‘t even try to conceal that attitude, in the interview process.
 

Back in Black

Country Gent
Double Platinum Member
Jun 22, 2020
1,747
Ontario Canada
Good morning,

I figured since this is the main "off topic" section, I could ask some for some friendly advice. Go ahead and file early for SSI (age 62 - social security), announce my retirement to my employer, and enjoy life?

Retired US Coast Guard (military pension) = $$$$. I'm set for life, it pays the mortgage, a utility bill here and there, etc...
Military (Tricare) health care, also set for life.
And even VA benefits, if I seriously need a VA hospital (I won't though - I'm horrified at the VA clinics and treatment of veterans).

Currently: I drive a school bus (10 years so far) for the county public school system. Salary isn't the best, but it's manageable.
Social Security: I'll be 62 next year April, 2023. My wife and I sat down with the bills and such and figured it all out. Those statement letters from the government about Social Security, "...if you retire early and claim SSI.... this is your monthly amount.... yada yada yada..."
The amount of SSI even at age 62 is WAY MORE than my current salary as a school bus driver! (well, duh...)

Confession: You figure my past career in the I.T. industry, when I was in my prime... I was making $$$$ (you know what I'm talking about) - on top of a military retirement! No bragging, not saying anything stupid, but let's just say both my wife and I were able to help put both daughters through college! Then, as you all know of these past decades... Old "dinosaurs" in the I.T. industry were let go. The whole industry changed, as Unix systems and old database platforms were slowly phased out. Everything went Windows and smartphone Apps. So, I one among the thousands who had the "fall from grace", as the saying goes. I cashed out the 401/k, got a healthy severance package, etc... and we paid this off, paid that off, and survived.

Getting to the point: I contacted the public school system H/R department, and inquired about retirement at the end of this school year (2023). After 10 years (11 next year), could the ladies calculate an estimated retirement pension? They sent me an email with a .pdf attachment from the payroll system, calculating what my pension would be. So.... I showed my wife an Excel spreadsheet that I came up with:

USCG Retirement: $$$$
School bus salary: $$$$

VERSUS

USCG Retirement: $$$$
Early Social Security (62): $$$$
School bus retirement: $$$

I WOULD BE MAKING MORE BY RETIRING!!! :cool:

Now, after this long winded post: Let me ask you all.... Should I? Should I not, and hang on until 65, 66, 70, and THEN retire? I don't know how long SSI will be around, given today's economy. I feel like that old Steve Miller Band song and say "Go on, take the money and run". What would you do?
Butch,

I retired at 60, thirteen years ago.

Since that time, my wife and I have travelled to the following destinations...

Hawaii/Norway/Sweden/Denmark/Finland/Estonia/Germany/Russia/Spain/Gibraltar/Morocco/Croatia/Bosnia Herzegovina/Montenegro/USVI/Antigua, there are a few others, plus lots of Canada/US car travel. Beaufort/Atlantic Beach NC are my regular dive destinations.

I still enjoy diving to 150 Ft, having dove the Atlantic/Pacific/Adriatic/Mediterranean/Caribbean/Great Lakes.

My guitar collecting is still active.

The only thing that's slowed us up, was the stroke my wife incurred 14 months ago, but she's coming back strong. Hopefully next year, we'll get some activities back on track.

From your $$$$ narrative, if you don't need the $$$$, then why are you still working.

Keep in mind, people who died 3000 years ago, are still dead, and we're not getting any younger. I stopped making someone else wealthy a long time ago.

There is little enough time left for us at 60, let alone 70.

You won't get any pats on the back, for retiring on Wednesday, and dying on Thursday.

Retiring is not only for you, but for those you love.

Best,

BIB.
 
Last edited:

Freshy

Country Gent
Sep 30, 2017
1,094
Homosassa FLA
Thought this was a thread about how Steve Miller became mediocre when he attained pop star success.
As an early SMB disciple I could write a book on that one.

Go for it Butch
You get into late 60's early 70's and health issues seem to modify your retirement plans.
Retire and travel ASAP
In the end, we all get run over by a truck
 
Last edited:

Butch Ammon

Synchromatic
Jan 3, 2016
537
Richmond, VA
To all who want to work full time and want to collect Soc. Sec before full retirement age .... buyer beware
Exactly right.... Everyone, @thunder58 is right on the money here!!! Be VERY VERY CAREFUL with your own personal salary/job/career, etc.. etc...

The only thing that quite literally saves my a$$:
MILITARY RETIREMENT IS UNTOUCHED AND UNEFFECTED BY SOCIAL SECURITY!

But, here is the actual hard fact, effective 2022:
IF YOU EARN OVER $19,560 PER YEAR, AND ARE UNDER FULL RETIREMENT AGE, THEY START DEDUCTING FROM IT!!! :eek:
 

Synchro

The artist formerly known as: Synchro
Staff member
Jun 2, 2008
26,721
Tucson
Exactly right.... Everyone, @thunder58 is right on the money here!!! Be VERY VERY CAREFUL with your own personal salary/job/career, etc.. etc...

The only thing that quite literally saves my a$$:
MILITARY RETIREMENT IS UNTOUCHED AND UNEFFECTED BY SOCIAL SECURITY!

But, here is the actual hard fact, effective 2022:
IF YOU EARN OVER $19,560 PER YEAR, AND ARE UNDER FULL RETIREMENT AGE, THEY START DEDUCTING FROM IT!!! :eek:
Exactly. A person with a good income will pay some serious taxes if they collect Social Security, before the age of 70.
 

Randy99CL

Country Gent
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 17, 2020
2,273
Albuquerque
I am sorry to hear that so many aren't happy with VA Healthcare. I've used it for probably 30 years (only when I didn't have anything else) and except for one old doc 20+ years ago (who didn't believe in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) I've been well taken care of. The VA hospital here, especially, bends over backwards to make sure we Vets get everything we need.
I used a local cliinic in Ohio for over 10 years, got to know my Docs and Shrink and everyone else well and never had a complaint.

Not trying to hijack the thread.

I was living on my VA disability OK, am not greedy and live within my means, so waited until 66 to get my max SS. I expected my VA disability to drop but it did not, by waiting until that age it stayed the same.
 


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