This Should Be a Link Post But…

Ok, Tuesday is usually link post, but there is just on slight problem.  I have yet to open my Reader account in over six days so I haven’t read most of my usual stuff for that long.  Ah the joys of being consumed by a home improvement project.

For those of you that follow me on Twitter you already know I spend the last five days installing hardwood in the family room.  What I might have not mentioned was my wife and boys were gone for that entire time (they went to Grandma’s to avoid the mess and get in a visit).  So during the last five days I had something odd in the house during the evening: silence.

I rediscovered a few things during that time:

  1. I really don’t mind being alone for periods of time.  It’s just something that has never really bothered me even as a young kid.
  2. How hard it is to go from cooking for four to one, I’ve rarely had to cook for just one so that was a bit of challenge.
  3. Projects NEVER go according to plan so having some extra time is always a good idea.  I figured I could do the project in four days, I finished at 4pm on day five.

The third point is what go me thinking.  Should people planning an early retirement just pick a range of dates rather than a specific one?  I mean it’s near impossible to predict when you can actually do it with any degree of exactness from 20 years out.  It’s highly variable on many different things: rate of return, amount saved, inflation rate and changes in government policy.  So should you just pick a rough date and then put on three years or more to either side?  Or perhaps the answer lies in just not being very attached to any specific date.

What’s your thought on this?  (Other than the fact this post started off with a blank screen and me having no idea what to write so it evolved into this mess of thought.  Sorry for the mess.)

8 thoughts on “This Should Be a Link Post But…”

  1. I think a date range is a great idea – a specific date might mean compromising quite a bit on the retirement if things don’t go according to plan.

    Personally, I’ve picked an age (55) where I’m reasonably confident I’ll be able to retire. If I can go a couple of years earlier – all the better. If I have to work a couple of years past – it’s not the end of the world.

  2. SP,

    Actually the anti-plan concept would work, you focus more on the $ and less on the when.


    55 is a nice number and late enough in life you can likely hit it. Best of luck.


  3. Here’s the thing: while it’s always good to have a goal to focus on, and the more defined the goal, usually the better, things always happen. For example, if you were going to retire in 5 years and hadn’t anticipated the market crash, I’d say your timeline probably got a bit more extended.
    It’s good to have a plan but it’s also good to make sure you’re open to whatever curveball life throws at you and have plan B and maybe plan C as well.

  4. The fixed-date plan could work well for people who are in a defined-benefit pension plan. Often these people know that they will qualify for “x”% of their income at age “y”. Most people save up some money in addition to their pension, but the majority of the dollar figure is based on a date. Where I live, I know that many public sector pensions are based on a “magic number” based on age + years of service (usually the magic number is 80-90).

    The major point is that your retirement and what triggers it are very personal, and you’ve got to assess whether the date or the dollar figure matters most (or a combination of the two).

  5. Hi there!

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite awhile, and just wanted to let you know I really enjoy it.

    I’m due to retire at the end of this year (I’ll be 44), but I’m sure you’ll have me beat. But I’ve been a single mom for 21 years, or else I could possibly have done it earlier.

    One question I did have was regarding your hardwood flooring project – just curious how long it took you to DIY? I bought a fixer-upper awhile ago and purchased some hardwood flooring at an auction and am finally going to be laying it down, but don’t know how much time to allocate to it.

    I’m on a contract job now until Dec. 31, 2009, so that’s the date that I’ve picked. I deliberately chose this contract job for the final end date. I delayed my expected retirement by a year in order to get my fixer-upper renovated and to wait until the market recovered. Fortunately, I was mostly in cash prior to the downturn and invested it all in the market in November/December.
    Given the gains I’ve had thus far this year, which have been pretty good, I’ve thought about selling and taking the gains, but would rather wait until next year when my income will be significantly lower.

  6. Another factor which I do want to mention as I’m less than 8 months away from retiring – the closer it gets, the less I can stand working at a day job and the loss of freedom that goes with it. I am literally counting down the weeks.

  7. Jacqueline,

    Hey 44 for a single mom is damn good in my mind. Way to reach your goals. I would be counting down too!

    As to the hardwood. It took five days in total, but I did have help for three days (from someone who has done it before) and I borrowed the right tools. If you don’t have a air compressor and stapler I highly suggest you go rent them to do the project it makes things SO MUCH EASIER!!!

    Hope that helps. Best of luck,

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