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My mom laughed at me

July 13th, 2014 at 06:39 pm

My mom laughed at me. Yep that's right I said to my mom we plan on "retiring" at 55 or at least being financially independent. She laughed and said no way is that possible. She said that people can't accomplish that anymore. Even with pensions mostly for government or public workers they have handcuffed many to retiring at 62 or 65. How did I expect to retire at 55?

My response? By saving money. She said what about medical? What about college? What about having enough? You can't save enough to retire, you have to wait until medicare and social security.

And yet my mom retired at 55. But she herself will tell you it's because she worked for the state during the golden ages. She retired with 70% of her salary, free medical for her and my dad for life, reimbursement of their medicare premiums (she's not old enough yet), pension is COLA, and two paid for homes. She also had $70k in a Roth IRA and $220k in a 457b. She didn't really save until in her 40s/50s and even then she invested in a money market in her 457.

She mostly knows other state workers and most can't retire until SS kicks in because they can't live on what they make. They weren't in the old generous plan of 2%/per years of service, while she contributed only 7.5% during her working years. She out spent her pension contributions within 5 years (I calculated for her that she'd use up her "contributions" within 5 years) and is now living off the state the rest of her life. They offered her a cash out of her contributions like $200k and a lower monthly payment. She took the maximum monthly payment instead.

That should be another 30 years (i'm not kidding my grandma is still alive and well at 86 and my great grandmother was 101 and her dads side we'll lets just say her aunts are in their 90s). My grandfather only passed at 77 because he was a 1-2 pack a day smoker who died of COPD. Otherwise both sides average age is 90+. As for me? Should be the same with genetics.

So to my mom she's confounded how anyone can retire without a pension. Her sisters who don't have pensions have always talked about retiring when they die. Everyone she's worked with has only retired at 62 or later with the pension and medical. EVERYONE always talks about how lucky she was to be on the "old" program and retire at 55.

So she truthfully said "how do people retire without a pension?" It was dumbfounding that people could actually save money themselves. That being completely self-reliant and having the expectation you'd do it without a pension seemed insane.

But more than money, my mom asked me what we would do? That my dad is still working at 83. That she would still be working if not for an eye problem (macular hole). And still desires to go back to work. Actually my parents have enough money to have retired years ago but believe it virtuous to work. That without work life would be pointless.

I don't know how to answer that. I don't know how I come from such hard working stock and don't desire to work as long as possible. Or to not worry about long term care? I don't have an answer.

Do you think you'll retire before 65? When? What are you planning on doing?

1 Responses to “My mom laughed at me”

  1. Kiki Says:

    I work for state government and have a 2.5% at 55 retirement. Because of my job I do not pay into social security but I run a small business on the side and do consulting. I already had my full credits so I don't worry about the little amount I will receive. I hope that I can retire between 55 and 60 and not take SS until 67 or later. I also have the state pension, medical and dental after 20 years which is 53 for me. I have about 15 years to go to 55 and I save in my 401k, 457 (we have both because of a little loophole), and IRA as well.

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