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I turn 52 this year, I married early at 21, son at 23 and he moved out of the house (not so much out of pocket) 7 years ago. We have been making the most of it for the last 10 years and going n adventures when we could. 

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I am also in the 52 club.  My plan is to retire 1/21/21.  DH and I met on the 21st and got married on the 21st.  It is our lucky number.  DH is also 52 and retired last year after working 33 years for the same company.  His job right now is to get our house of 29 years ready to sell so we can downsize when I am done.  We have 2 kids who are 25 and 22.  Our son moved out 3 years ago and moved 1500 miles away to pursue his dream as a sports journalist.  We paid for his tuition and he graduated from a local university debt free and is currently following our example of saving as much of his salary as he can while he is young.  Our daughter has one more year of college at the same university in a 5 year program.  We paid for her first 4 years tuition like we did her brother and she is paying for the 5th year with money she has already saved from the jobs she has worked since high school.  She will also be graduating debt free and plans to move out after she graduates next year and move a couple hours away to pursue both her dreams of dancing for a pro basketball team and teaching elementary students.  So we will be empty-nesters in a year.  Our original plan was to sell out and get a small place in Florida.  Then my DM had a major stroke last November.  Now we will have to play it by ear where we will be upon retirement based on her needs.

 

We got to this point of being able to retire early through the choices we made.  DH waited 3 1/2 years after we met for me to get my degree before we married.  Having graduated top in my class in high school and having low income parents, I received a full scholarship for my BSBA.  I got my MBA in the early years of our marriage while we live in a mobile home we purchased from my DGM and both working full time with my work paying for my degree.  We purchased our home after I got my MBA that we have lived in ever since.  It was a starter home on 2 acres that we invested in over the years that is now fully paid for and good part of our retirement fund worth much more than we invested in it.  We drove our cars, some new and some slightly used, on the average for 10 years or more.  In fact the car my DD is currently driving is one we purchased new in 2003 (and she was awarded best car in high school her senior year for it when it was 12 years old).  We are always behind the Jones when it comes to technology but that has never been an issue for us.  We waited 5 years after our marriage before having kids and we always saved from the start for retirement, college, and emergencies.  Enough so that we are debt free, college is paid for completely for 2 kids, and we are sitting on a retirement fund that will allow us enjoy the rest of our lives together without the added stress of work.  Which is good because we have had enough stress with my health issues.  I have had already had a cardiomyopathy when my DD was born  (which is what my DF died of at 59 and DB died of at 39) and a spontaneous dissected carotid artery causing me to have 2 mini-strokes 3 years ago.  Both were close calls for me and I plan to enjoy life while I still can.  I've had too many close family members die way too young.

 

Having said all that, one thing DH and I did from the start was to always have family and couples only vacations every year from the time we married.  We enjoyed both land and sea vacations.  Our kids have been on 10 cruises and multiple land vacations and DH and I have 18 cruises with multiple land vacations.  We paid for our vacations primarily with my bonuses.  The majority of our spending money came from points from our credit card that we cashed in.  We purchased as much on our credit cards as possible and paid of the balances monthly to earn rewards points.  I am looking forward to increasing our traveling in 2 years when I retire.  DS has asked us to do a Europe trip with him in 2021 so we are pushing back the Route 66 trip I wanted to take until 2022.  Both trips will include a cruise or 2 mixed in with the land trip.  Our only hold back right now will be how well DM is doing.  We keep praying for miracles as I know they do happen.  Life is short.  I try to impress upon my kids that making the right choices when they are younger can have a big impact on their future.  Especially when it comes to saving.  But to also to try to find a way to enjoy life along the way by prioritizing what you spend your money on.  Enjoy your retirement.

Edited by Warm Breezes

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Bit older than all you 52 yea olds, but also married young and had a family, both went to Uni as mature age students, both had health problems, but intend to work as long as I can, probably 75 or 89 health allowing.

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Warm Breezes, thank you for sharing your wise experiences.  I admire and respect your sound financial choices and you have earned the rewards you reap from them.  Congratulations also on helping the kids graduate debt free.  One thing I did that was smart and mostly just lucky was to sell my (very modest, basic) home in Florida at the peak of the market in 2006 just before the crash when we moved back north to Illinois.  My daughter had been born 6 months earlier and I bought her the Florida prepaid college fund upon her birth with a payment plan - full 4 year University tuition plus fees and 2 years dorm.  She retains in-state eligibility for life with this plan, regardless of where we may actually live.  When we decided to move a few months later, I paid the whole thing off with some of the proceeds from the advantageous sale.

 

It's a bit early to know exactly what she will actually do, but it seems likely she will get some dual credit in high school at our local community college - which might be covered by the local school district, or we will just pay for it if not, as it's cheap enough that delaying use of the college plan makes more sense.  After she graduates high school we'll keep paying if she wants to finish her associate's while living with us, or she can transfer south whenever she feels the pull.  She can go to any public college in FL, assuming she can meet admission requirements.  This should leave some give in the tuition plan in case she goes 5 years or wants a Master's.  And if not, unused years of the plan are refundable to the original investor - ME!  I realize there are still additional expenses related to college, and that we will likely run out of dorm time, but in my experience they mostly want an apartment in the last years of college anyway.  She needs to have some skin in the game anyway, so she will have to help figure out how to contribute to those costs.   Her grandparents live in central Florida so she might figure out how to mooch off of them as well. :)

 

GUT, I like your target retirement ages: 75 or 89!  Quite a range.  I like the sound of the first option much better but may be closer to the other one.  I'm surprised there are so many of us 52 year olds here on the retirement thread.  I better start eating more brain food and doing Sudoku puzzles to stay coherent long enough to keep my job.

Edited by KmomChicago

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We retired early.  Sold our large home,  put what we wanted to keep in an 8X8X16 storage container and travelled for seven months.  Came home, rented a lock and go condo for four years, then bought a condo.    Downsizing was great. It was so liberating.

 

Now, we do two trips a year, two months each. Fall, and Winter (to avoid the snow. cold, ice)  All of them independent, spontaneous travel.  We pick up last minute cruises in our travels from time to time when the price is right.  We  downsized our packing to what we could each physically handle.   We travel with carry on only-7-10KG weight.   Winters have been SE Asia or Central America.   Fall trips are typically Europe more often than not Turkey, Greece, Italy, etc.   We still do one or two week trips in between. Often last minute AI's or detours on the way home from visiting relatives.

 

This is not for everyone but it has been our practice for the past seven years and we hope to continue this for some time. We are usually in the planning stages for the next two trips.  At one point I suspect that we will be doing more and longer cruises or renting/buying a condo in one spot for several months during the winter in preference to moving around.

 

We do not want to be the richest people in the old age home nor do we want to be sitting in our respective rocking changes telling each other that we should have done this or that or gone here or there in retirement.

Shouda, coulda, if only...etc does not work well for us.

Edited by iancal

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