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Making It Easy

Dennis Friedman  |  Mar 1, 2024

ONE OF MY BIGGEST retirement surprises: how difficult it is to maintain a robust social network.
My wife and I decided last Thanksgiving to travel overseas. In the past, we would have spent the holiday with family and friends. But now, most are no longer near us—or with us.
My mother passed away about four years ago. Afterward, my sister and brother-in-law moved to Tennessee to be closer to their son. My cousin Barb and her husband moved to Florida to be near their daughter.

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Our Freshman Year

Tom Short  |  Feb 12, 2024

LAST YEAR WAS OUR first full year living solely off our portfolio, with no paycheck coming in.
How did it go? It was a vast improvement from 2022, when we not only retired, but also got hit with high inflation, tumbling bond prices and a sharp stock market decline. We were looking at sequence-of-return risk—that perfect storm of rising living costs and a shrinking portfolio that can derail those early in retirement—and I can recall feeling a bit panicked.

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Rookie Year

David Powell  |  Feb 7, 2024

FANS OF PROFESSIONAL sports know the excitement and agony of watching each year’s fresh crop of rookies. These young players have to relearn a game they thought they knew.
The fact is, the strategies, tactics, intensity and winning habits of big league sports teams are tougher than those of college and minor league teams. That can leave rookies wondering what hit them when they move up to the big leagues.
That’s how I felt in December 2022,

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Things I’ve Picked Up

Nicholas Clements  |  Jan 31, 2024

IT’S BEEN MORE THAN 10 years since my retirement journey began at age 52. For almost 30 years, I’d worked hard, especially the last two decades, when my twin brother and I owned a landscaping company. Vacations were few and far between, and even on vacation I was always on call.
I was burned out and ready for a new chapter. Going into retirement, I was well-prepared financially. But how I’d fill my days was something of a mystery.

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Some Friendly Advice

Dan McDermott  |  Jan 19, 2024

MY COLLEGE BUDDY Joe really looked forward to retirement. But in the weeks and months following his last day of work, he began to realize he didn’t have a core group of friends with whom to share his newfound freedom. Those he counted as friends were simply friendly workplace acquaintances. And several people who he thought might become deeper friends were still busy working and couldn’t “come out to play.”
So, after retiring two years ago,

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My Five Lessons

Joe Kesler  |  Jan 15, 2024

FOR MOST OF MY LIFE, I didn’t plan to retire. Probably reflecting the influence of religion, I’ve long thought we were put here to spend our time working in the productive service of others.
This was reinforced by my experience as a manager early in my career. I often had to oversee folks in their 50s and 60s who were no longer engaged in their career and yearned to retire. I never wanted to become like them.

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More Than Money

Sundar Mohan Rao  |  Jan 3, 2024

I WAS FASCINATED with retirement planning during the final decade of my career. I read many financial books and focused on saving diligently. Yet, after retiring several months ago following a 39-year career as a research and development engineer, I had a rude awakening.
You can plan all you want, but then comes an unexpected situation that derails everything. As boxer Mike Tyson famously said, “Everybody has plans until they get hit for the first time.”
In the brief time I’ve been retired,

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An Annuity Instead?

Richard Quinn  |  Dec 29, 2023

IN A RECENT ONLINE discussion, I compared the benefits of an immediate-fixed annuity with the 4% retirement-income rule. The 4% rule suggests that investors can withdraw 4% from a well-balanced investment portfolio in the first year of retirement, and then add annual inflation adjustments without fear of running out of money over a 30-year retirement.
Using the NewRetirement annuity calculator, I found that a 65-year-old man could purchase an immediate annuity for $1 million,

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Better Together

Kenyon Sayler  |  Dec 22, 2023

RETIREMENT PLANNING is about much more than money. As regular readers of HumbleDollar know, getting the social aspects right is just as important—and perhaps more so—than nailing the financial issues. 
In 2019, before we retired, we took a trip to the desert southwest, a region we love. It was our first visit to Canyonlands National Park in Utah. I was captivated by the beauty of the rock formations, canyons and mesas. The most striking memory was the path of cottonwood trees,

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A Taller Ladder

David Cooper  |  Dec 13, 2023

I RETIRED ALMOST TWO years ago, at age 56. My wife, who is nine years younger, decided to semi-retire so we could relocate from Rhode Island to Florida. We were able to afford early retirement in part because we’d lived below our means for many years, diligently saving while also paying off our mortgage and other debts.
Relocating to a state with a lower cost of living and lower taxes also helped. In addition,

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Withdrawal Symptoms

Jeffrey K. Actor  |  Nov 30, 2023

I SHIFTED TO WORKING part-time more than a year ago. It was a way to ease into retirement and give me time to explore new activities. My reduced work hours were also a way to experience life without the singular job focus that had defined my working years and, indeed, my identity.
My new part-time status was, of course, accompanied by a markedly shrunken paycheck. That allowed my wife and me to see what it was like to be without the guaranteed and steady income we’d relied upon for nearly three decades.

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Who Will Care?

Dennis Friedman  |  Nov 22, 2023

WHEN MY DAD HAD cancer, we’d take walks through the neighborhood. One day, on our stroll, we met a neighbor, Ted. My dad introduced me. “This is my son, Denny, he’s taking care of me.”
Ted gave me a smile and said, “I hope my son will take care of me if I need help.”
Not long after that conversation, my dad was in hospice care. My mother and I were standing over his bed.

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Not What I Expected

Eric Hughes  |  Nov 8, 2023

I SAID GOODBYE TO my career in the retail industry nearly five years ago, at age 39. I’d had my eye on early retirement as soon as I entered the workforce.
My first job out of college was with an upstart retailer, where I worked 80-hour weeks for many years as I sought to improve my skills, knowledge and reputation. I did well, earned multiple promotions, and had high hopes for a life-changing payout from the company’s planned initial stock offering.

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Free to Roam

Michael Perry  |  Oct 6, 2023

LIKE MANY WHO THINK about where they’d like to retire, we’ve always had a vague list of wants: comfortable climate, walkability, good health care, access to cultural events and outdoor activities, friendly tax regime, reasonable cost of living, that sort of thing.
I wrote previously about feeling stuck for many years in a place where we didn’t want to stay, but also not really having one place where we felt drawn to settle, whether for a few years or permanently.

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Two Big Questions

Dennis Friedman  |  Oct 3, 2023

MY WIFE CALLS HER 99-year-old mother every morning. One morning, her mother asked, “Are you making big things happen?” After Rachel reminds her mother that she’s retired, her mother asked, “How do you make money?”
Although I chuckled when I heard the conversation, those two questions are probably on most folks’ minds as they prepare for retirement. First, how are they going to generate enough income to fund their retirement? Second, how are they going to stay busy doing meaningful activities?

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