How much do YOU think YOU need to retire? ...and at what age will you (and spouse) retire? Plus general retirement discussion (Part 2)

Continuing the discussion from How much do YOU think YOU need to retire? ...and at what age will you (and spouse) retire? (Part 1) - #17895 by mom60.

Previous discussions:


I hope we can continue to use this thread as a retirement savings, estate planning, expense tracking, decision discussion thread. I have found it to be very helpful over the years.


Many of us refer back to this thread for advice . I understand that it needs to be broken up after so many replies, but willl a search actually search both threads?. If not, will the old thread be available ?

I haven’t read through this whole thread. But honestly, if you want to find incredibly intelligent commentary on this topic you should seek out the bogleheads personal finance forums. You’ll find more threads discussing every nuance of this topic then you can ever imagine, with a lot of incredibly sophisticated economic analysis.


Do not poison the well.

I miss having this thread.

This week was a milestone for me… I finished the last paperwork for my mother’s estate. She passed away in July, and I am executor. She was not wealthy, but she was highly diversified - lots of accounts and a few small insurance policies… Happily she had beneficiaries or co-owner assigned to most of the accounts, but there still was a lot of legwork sorting through things. Because she had some stock without designated beneficiary, I did have to file with the courthouse and get a Letter of Testamentary … but no lawyers needed - Yay.

QUESTION: When should I close out the local savings/checking accounts where I was listed as co-owner. The credit union says I need to close them and switch funds to new accounts with my SSN, not hers. They suggested waiting 6 to 12 months.

Not sure if it is better to do it in 2020 (get it done) or wait til after we file her taxes next year. Her income was low enough that IRS told her years ago not to file taxes, but that might not be the case for 2020 since she did sell some investments last winter. Also, it may be required for death-year regardless of income?

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When H finished up MIL’s estate, we were eager to close out the Estate bank account so we could “be done”. We had assumed the estate would owe taxes when filing but it turned out there was a refund. And cashing that check without the estate bank account open turned out to be a hassle; we had to get an affadavit from Probate to get that done. In hindsight, we should have waited until the taxes were finalized.

Oh! and can I share my good news? I’m “retiring” next Friday! Actually an intentional job elimination…with almost 2 years of full severance! I had toyed around with retirement this spring - but with Covid, what was the point. And then stumbled into this arrangement. :slight_smile:

Merry Christmas to me. :evergreen_tree: :tada:


@Colorado_mom , My last parent’s estate was similar to yours. In our case, everything had a named beneficiary, so nothing went through probate. It still took 2 years! Mostly due to trudging through paperwork required by a well known brokerage firm, and a mistake or two by small banks that had to be corrected. Dollar amounts were not huge, but it felt like some institutions just did everything they could to slow the process. I was glad they were being thorough, but you’d think they would have the process standardized by now.


Can you just keep that account joint but with your SSN by 2021 so any reporting from that account would not be in her name/number?

@somemom- I think my choices are to keep same account (mom’s SSN - the credit union did print some checks that include both our names) OR to convert to an account with my SSN. I will call them next week to learn more.

@kjofkw - I am recently retired and was able to spend a lot of time on the paperwork, including investigations to help my sister on her assets. I did experience some frustrating delays and errors. We had assumed it was due to Covid / bad phone connections for employees working from home, but maybe that is just how it goes.

FYI - Prudential’s processing of 2 small, ancient policies was surprisingly painful. There were many phone calls because the online form was rejected for tbd reasons (possibly 1950s policy# too old for automation?). Then they misspelled name on the checks for both me and my sister even though the policies correctly included our current/married names. (Happily the NY Life policy claim was easy peasy. One phone call, death date confirmed by database lookup.)

Well. Almost done with transactions. Purchased the new house in January, sold the studio in August (I think) and the house in September, began construction on a new studio (likely finished in February, and have just been approved to refinance the mortgage (we will largely pay it down but I am using it to finance the construction). 30 year 2.625% no points.

Interestingly, the refinance was longer and much more work than before. Shortly after I applied, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mae decided that because of the pandemic, they should be extra demanding on applications from entrepreneurs. They kept asking for more and more information (tax returns and balance sheets of two of my companies, and information on ShawWife’s income statement and balance sheet (which is probably 1% to 5% of my income in most years). This year, it should be better, but at its max could hit 10%. I have a very small investment in a hedge fund managed by one of the biggest firms in the world. They needed me to declare that I didn’t pwn 25% of the fund (would that it were so as it is a $2.2 billion fund, I think). Finally, it was done. The odd thing was that I was reducing the principal by a lot and reducing the interest rate, so if there was any question about my ability to pay, it would be worse with the current loan than the new one.

Up next: We have signed a purchase and sale agreement to sell a condo we had bought when ShawD was in college. Will finish the design of the renovation of the house and will put it out to bid. We are designing this so that we can live here until they need to wheel us out.

I’m now trying to collect all of invoices for all capital improvements made on the old house/studio (architect, contractor, landscape design, rocks, trees, etc., retrofitted AC) for our 2020 tax returns. Many of these are 25 years old. Fortunately, I have always hired good Executive Assistants. The EA at the time most probably filed the invoices and the current EA will find most of the info.


You’ve accomplished a great deal this year. Good luck on the new house.

I was almost feeling guilty about how well our retirement funds were doing this year. Then I got the initial estimate from the builder we selected for our next (and maybe last) home. Ouch! If we do this build, we will certainly be putting a lot more back into the local and national economy than we anticipated.

Our first house cost less than a 2018 Subaru. The electrician’s quote alone exceeds that for the new house. Given the state of the market where we want to live in retirement, I don’t think building will get cheaper. I just have to adjust to the new normal and hope this move is worth it.


I am a lurker on Bogleheads, and have a guy who advised us on some of our finances, but I’m curious about opinions of posters here…
During retirement, how do you “sequence” using different buckets of money? For example, in addition to a pension, I have money that hasn’t been taxed yet in a retirement account, just started putting into ROTH this year (should have done that for years maybe?) and I have enough cash to get me through at least 4 years of anticipated need after pension if the market is bad. (Yes, I should do something else with that cash than let it sit in a savings account, where it’s been for many years).
I will be 59 when I retire next year, so I will have over a decade before I have to take money out of retirement savings. I have not decided whether a substantial Roth conversion may be a smart move, but I am thinking about it.
Any advice on any of this?

Here is an article that mentions some factors to consider

There is also concern about IRMAA (increased “Income” might make Medicare premiums higher). At age 59 that would not be a factor for you, but I’ll post a link for others that may be interested -

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H had to get out of the job he had for 35 years (a succession of companies owned the business; publicly traded contract electronics manufacturing) because they approved him working 30 hours/week several months prior to his exit, and no work load reduction/no one to pass the work off to. So he put in his 2 week notice. Management didn’t tell customers or coworkers, so two days before exit he told everyone. Management handled him really crappy. His coworkers put on a retirement luncheon a day before his last day. The job strain was affecting his health - he was juggling way too much work responsibilities. So he retired about 11 months prior to our plan. However a former boss heard he retired and wants him to work with similar work/different company in town - H met with him last week; I am encouraging H (as my Christmas present) to update his resume and state he is available for 4 days/week, 30 hours/week or contract work. If they don’t want him under any of these conditions, fine - otherwise they would work him to death under ‘salaried’ too. Been there, done that. I told him I am carrying the insurance for 11 more months working, and he can do his part too. I turn 65 a few months after he does in 2021.

Kudos @shawbridge for all these property changes.

At Thanksgiving, we solidified family plans on the parent home - one brother and H/I are at least going to keep the house as brother’s daughter (an Air Force Lt Col) wants to eventually have the house in her retirement. Other two brothers either stay in or cash out. Several projects for the home need to be undertaken - however all the trade guys have been very busy. Will see what happens in 2021 - if any work can be started.

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@SOSConcern - Hope the new opportunity works out for your husband. Either way, it was great he could leave a job that was stressful and impacting his health.

Starting the countdown to retirement.
I am off the rest of the year. Then I will have 3 months to go.
It’s a little “scary” but mostly I’m excited. I’ve been working (or at least paid for) every day since October of 1984.


@1214mom - Congrats! That must feel great.

I worked at the same corporation since June 1984 (or summer 1982 if you include internships; I did have 2 years in there with maternity leave + a few month unpaid leave + a few months part time). Then I retired this summer, 16 months after my husband who is 7 years older and now on Medicare.

The last decade was quite stressful - I’m delighted to be not working. However I’ll admit it has been hard for us to switch from “saver mode” mindset to “spend-down mode” (we have small pensions, large 401K accounts). Of course with inability to travel during Covid, we have not been spending as much as we would have liked. Methinks 2021 will be a fine year to retire :wink:

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My wife is retiring in a few days. I’m not sure who is happier about that because her job is so stressful with all of the issues in healthcare.

I’ll probably work for another 8-10 years since I need to maintain my benefits for at least 6 more (she has hers through her uni retirement plan) and my job is a lot of fun. I’m not sure what I would do if I was not working. We are both planning to wait until 70 to take social security to maximize our payouts. The RMD issue is pretty major as you enter your 80’s as you get pushed into higher tax brackets. It will even worse under Biden with all of the planned tax increases on the ‘rich’ (i.e. middle class). At least from this perspective, we plan on doing a lot of Roth conversions before we take social security.

A real quandary is how to manage our relationship when one person is retired and the other working. At least there won’t be vacation schedule issues. We bought a retirement home in a resort area and are spending more and more time there since I can work remotely for now. I’m sure it will work out fine. How have other folks handled the one working, one retired transition years?