Author Topic: Advice on retirement/my situation-any advice welcome!  (Read 2753 times)


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Advice on retirement/my situation-any advice welcome!
« on: January 25, 2014, 02:37:54 PM »
My husband and I are 57. We have 2 kids (a senior and a junior) still at home, both of whom plan to go to a state college at around $9,000/year. We have a home worth around $600,000 with $150,000 in mortgage debt left to go. We have $49,000 in a Merrill Lynch account, with $18,000 margin balance, leaving us with $31,000. We have a pension fund with $100,000. We will (probably, unless something goes drastically wrong inherit) $350,000 in the next 2-3 years.

We would like to sell our house and retire at age 62. We would significantly downsize-maybe a 1 or 2 bedroom condo in a walkable community. I checked out walkable towns outside philidelphia (because the state does not tax pension accounts or social security.) We would have 1 or maybe no car. If we have a car it will be used, paid for with cash and not a gas guzzler (toyota highlander) Our dream is to spend winters in the south of France, using VRBO we can find modest places for $2000/month-we'd stay 3-4 months. We are not clothes, fancy furnishings, jewelry buyers, nor would we go out a lot (dinner would be a 2 for 1 groupon, going out would be a free concert or museum.) Classes are an option-but we hope to take advantage of free classes because of our age-lots of colleges have them in the Philly area. One thing I'd like to do right now is get rid of the Merrill Lynch broker and go with the Vanguard idea I read about on your blog.
Is this do-able? If so,what should we be doing between now and then to make it happen?

Frankies Girl

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Re: Advice on retirement/my situation-any advice welcome!
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2014, 03:38:19 PM »
To transfer the Merrill Lynch to Vanguard, pretty much just call Vanguard and ask them the easiest way - it should involve just a small amount of paperwork and a visit to the bank for a signature guarantee and then they handle the rest. I just transferred several accounts from different brokers to my choice (Fidelity, but Vanguard is the best in terms of low costs) and that's all it took for my situation. I'm not sure what the margin involves as I've never invested that way, but that sounds awful.

I wouldn't count on an inheritance until it's in your account, and you should keep maximizing your savings/spending like you're not getting it. Downsize the vehicles to more fuel efficient, cut costs now and work on living on the amount you're forecasting for your retirement now.

Another Reader

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Re: Advice on retirement/my situation-any advice welcome!
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2014, 04:25:02 PM »
Why do you have a margin loan and what did you do with the proceeds?  How do you intend to pay for college?  What do you mean by pension fund?  You do not list your current income and expenses nor your retirement budget.  There is just not enough information for folks to help you.

What cars do you own now?  A Toyota Highlander is a gas guzzler.  I have a 2010 with the 4 cylinder engine.  It was rated at 20/24 mpg.  According to Fuelly, it has averaged 19.9 mpg over the last 18 months.  And I'm a conservative driver.

Transferring your account is complicated by the margin loan.  Call Vanguard if that is where you would like the money to go and explain the situation.


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Re: Advice on retirement/my situation-any advice welcome!
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2014, 10:42:24 PM »
Will your pensions cover your expenses?


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