Author Topic: Is it too late to start?  (Read 2657 times)

cbaird99

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Is it too late to start?
« on: March 07, 2016, 03:35:32 PM »
Hi everyone! I've been reading lots of the blog posts and really enjoying them, but wondering if this philosophy could apply to me at this point, other than I am sure I could save a bit more money which of course is a good thing. So, I will give some info about my situation and see if you all have any suggestions:)

I am 59, female, I was widowed five years ago. With the life insurance money I was able to pay off my home and all the debt and buy a new car. I am still debt free at this point. I work full time (hate my job btw, I am a bookkeeper), but it is close to home and not stressful. I make $37k a year. I also get two pensions from my husband's jobs which I will have for life, they are each about $500/month and this is net of my govt. health insurance which is taken out. Although I have no debt I have the "normal" expenses of food, utilities, insurance, pet care etc. I have $35k in an IRA which is in 4 mutual funds at Scottrade, and then I have about $20k in a savings account. I am in pretty good health so far. So...I know I can and should save more each month I need to get off my butt and do it. But at my age...early retirement? I really want to retire by 62 and participate in my grandkids lives (one so far). There is no way to save up enough that it will generate any income, it will just be money that I will probably need at some point. Since I am a widow I will be eligible at 60 to start drawing SS on my husbands pay, I don't think I can meet with SSA until 6 months before I am eligible, so I do not have those numbers but I am guessing if I draw that early it will probably be about $1500 a month. Thoughts on things I could do to maximize my situation? BTW my home is small and well maintained, in a decent neighborhood, and there would be no way to really downsize as I would just be swapping dollars. Thanks ahead for any advice!

Parizade

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Re: Is it too late to start?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2016, 05:35:13 PM »
Can you detail out your monthly budget so we can see how you are spending that 37K now?

You might want to use the "Case Study" format (see the sticky post at the top of the Ask a Mustachian page "How to Write a Case Study")

JLee

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Re: Is it too late to start?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2016, 05:39:31 PM »
If I read that correctly, you're less than a year away from drawing $2500/mo in non-work income, you have insurance, and your home is already paid off?  With proper budgeting you should be just fine on that alone, without impacting your savings/investments.

MDM

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Re: Is it too late to start?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2016, 05:49:35 PM »
Can you detail out your monthly budget so we can see how you are spending that 37K now?

You might want to use the "Case Study" format (see the sticky post at the top of the Ask a Mustachian page "How to Write a Case Study")
+1

Also, although you may be able to take SS early it might be better to defer it and get more each year by doing so.  Very much depends on individual circumstances.

ETA: Also, if you go to https://secure.ssa.gov/RIL/SiView.do and register yourself, you may be able to get a more accurate number for your SS benefits using the online tools.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 05:53:53 PM by MDM »

cbaird99

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Re: Is it too late to start?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2016, 11:43:18 AM »
Thank you for pointing out the Case Study tips, that is very helpful and I think doing this would give me a much better handle on how my money is going out. I have a simple overall budget but it is not very effective, I need to take the time to document everything for a couple of months and then complete the Case study worksheets.

And re the SS online tools, since I will be drawing based on my late husband's pay (he always made more then me) I cannot see a way to get the info based on his SS earnings, not mine. It looks like I am gonna have to do that in person as soon as they will let me. If anyone has any thoughts on making that meeting more productive I would love that advice!
Thanks!
Cindy

MDM

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Re: Is it too late to start?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2016, 12:10:09 PM »
And re the SS online tools, since I will be drawing based on my late husband's pay (he always made more then me) I cannot see a way to get the info based on his SS earnings, not mine. It looks like I am gonna have to do that in person as soon as they will let me. If anyone has any thoughts on making that meeting more productive I would love that advice!

You are correct.  One might think the Soc. Sec. folks would let a surviving spouse use the online tools, but no they don't.  See https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou5.html:
Quote
Note: Although you can use our benefit calculators to see how much your survivors could receive on your record, you cannot use them to calculate your potential benefits on someone else's record.
You need to contact your local Social Security office or call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 , ( TTY 1-800-325-0778) to learn how much you could receive on the other record.

If it were me, I'd call the 800 number to get as much information as I could (e.g., how much you would receive at different starting ages: 60, 65, 70, etc.).  Then, ponder that, make a plan, and use the in-person meeting to verify that your plan will work as you expect.  Good luck!