Financial Planning Update

In September of 2014 I had looked to “retire” at age 59.5 when there would be no tax penalty for early withdrawal of tax deferred savings such as traditional or simple IRA accounts. Before 2014 I had always planned to retire by age 62. The death of my parents changed my opinion. 

I hope this dump of information about our current financial considerations might help readers planning for their retirement. I suspect someone will read this blog having just made the decision to plan to live fulltime in an RV. I was there in 2014 and really appreciated all the budgeting advise I learned from others.

As a public service employee in law enforcement we have an added tax benefit. We can withdrawal from our tax deferred 451 account any time after age 50 without penalty.  Unfortunately, I believe this is because our life expectancy in retirement is less than the average.

My financial plan still considered the need to take from additional accounts that don’t have the same tax advantage such as a Simple IRA. I wrote an earlier blog post about detailed financial planning which I updated in April of this year. If you’re interested, here is a link. My own planning includes preserving the principal balances of those tax deferred accounts.

It might not be shocking that Karen and I became to excited about the prospect of traveling around the country in an RV to wait any longer than necessary. Of course, we could break camp now (sell everything), find a job that supports our additional income needs, and take off. I’m not that adventures and have to feel comfortable with a potentially disastrous decision. Many current RV fulltimers have more than joked when we met that Karen and I would advance our plans. If you keep track of our progress you know we did just that by moving the date to October of 2019 when I’m 56 and qualify for one remaining small pension plan. Had we waited until 2023 there would be no need to work. Leaving in 2019 causes us to have to make up about $500 a month in income shortage and use some cash savings for a few years. Volunteering for a camping spot, working a paid job at times and other methods would easily help make up  part of the shortfall.

To demonstrate how anal I am about finances, I figured out I had to save $21 to knock one day off our retirement date to get it down to October of 2019. That way we would have a cash account to help makeup our budget deficit for a few years in additional to taking temporary workamping jobs. I called this our Save and Leave Early Plan.

I’m overjoyed to report we should meet our savings goal by around January of 2018. There is a counter on the right side of this page counting down to the retirement date. I’m leaving it alone rather than admitting October 2019 is a go date because it encourages me to keep saving. But you can damn well expect me to change the countdown calendar to show hours left at work once 2019 gets here. However, we are planning to get our truck and fifth wheel early and use up a lot of saved vacation before then. I’ll have to work 1000 hours in 2019 per the pension folks. Maybe I can beat the October 2019 goal!

The only concern Karen and I are left with is healthcare. Although she will qualify for Medicare a year into this, I’ll have to provide my own insurance. There is no way I’m going to let that stop us. I’d rather step in front of a truck dying with cancer than to postpone real living! This year I switched our insurance at work to a health savings plan/account. This plan was available through my job and is provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield. If things go as planned at retirement we should have built up a savings balance to hopefully get us started with whatever high deductible plan we can find when retired.

God continues to provide for us. Although I don’t feel deserving of it, I had mentioned earlier that a part-time employer of mine wants me to keep the job while on the road. Early this week he said it again. Fact is he wants me to keep the job for the next 13 years. The work requires about 10 hour of my time each week. I’m thinking about doing it because the income is greater than our budget deficit without the job. Love having a plan B! For those of you still planning you might want to consider starting a part-time job now that can be taken on the road with you. Although I had read about others taking on mobile jobs, I’d not thought of that before this opportunity came up. A few months before we leave I may start doing the part-time job as if we were already on the road. Such as working in a confined space with minimal internet connectivity and from a laptop computer.

Thanks for reading and commenting. Hope I don’t chase off any readers with my rants. 

I’m still trying to figure out one other goal. That is how to switch off a type A personality and learn to better go with the flow. Perhaps God already gave me the ability to think through that as well? I hope.

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15 thoughts on “Financial Planning Update

    • If’s funny how often Karen and I think about leaving early. I often recall you (John) saying “see you on the road” sooner than we think. I got the feeling you were speaking from experience which at the least included seeing so many of us go through the planning stages, moving our take off date. The hardest date for me will be turning 55 in August of 2018. Because that’s the age some of the pension options become available. A few months ago I was frustrated on the job and called an old friend. He said the day will soon come when I’m working for myself. By this he meant I could leave at any time but stayed to earn a little more. I’ll be working for myself on August 13, 2018 and thereafter. Who knows what could happen. Figure Karen and I are already fortunate to have taken an eight year plan down to five years with less than three remaining.

      2019 will be easy and we will see you on the road sometime early that year or maybe even in 2018 during extended vacations. In the next few pay periods my vacation balance will be maxed out. At this rate I’ll have to take a week a month in 2019 or in larger chunks.

      You guys be safe. Still reading your blog and enjoying what you guys are up to.

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  1. Mark I always look forward to your blog posts. If you enjoy the 10 hour a week job do it, you won’t be sorry for starting your adventure sooner. Dean and I look forward to seeing you on the road. We are putting our house on the market in April. Never thought it would happen but so happy about it. We have the luxury of having a place to park close to our hometown when in the area. That is what sealed the deal for us. With such a large family unit in this area we both want to allow time every year to be here. I love being in the Midwest so we do not have to crisscross the entire US to visit family and it allows us to travel the four corners and in between as we choose. With the holidays over, the remaining work on the house and purging goes into full swing!!!

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    • Wow – you have to me excited about going full time and April is just around the corner. Congrad’s on that.

      We were wondering if it was better to wait till spring to put a house on the market or not. Then we thought if we should already have the fifth wheel and truck then it might just be better to wait until retired when there is time to finish up downsizing and home repairs. Put the house up for sale and move to the trailer as soon as it sells or earlier.

      What were some of the reasons you are waiting until April?

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      • Believe it or not I wrote out a lengthy response to your question, went to post it and found our Internet had shut down after I started writing my response – it was down the rest of the evening and all day the next. I lost all I wrote so you will get a much abbreviated response now.

        Several reasons for waiting until April – We have some improvements we want to get complete before putting the house on the market, I need time to purge – we have TOO much stuff, we will be gone 2.5 weeks to the Tucson Escapade Rally in March and finally getting a plan in place for us to have a spot to land when we are back in the hometown area. We are looking at some property our son owns that would be great for parking Bentley when we pass through or choose to spend some quality time in the area. If we go that route there are a few things we will need to look into in order to make it work.

        I think April will arrive before we know it and I just pray we get it all done in time.

        I do think the house might sell better in the spring that the winter, but even so, we just have too much to do between now and then, besides I hate cold weather and it’s a great time to take advantage of being inside as much as possible! 🙂

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      • I have had the same thing happen, type out a long reply and poof. I’m excited for you guys having made the decision to go fulltime. We might also be in the same boat, that is taking off after winter. Not sure yet. There is a chance of employment at our local lake the summer of 2020. We were thinking about heading south the winter of 2019/2020 and then coming back for a job and family. Kind of an easing into it thing. So might list the house before spring, knowing we might have to live in the RV if the house sells quickly.

        Was thinking Bentley is 36′ or around that. Could have that wrong. Are you guys thinking about going larger or is your floor plan working? Wondered if Dean would want to pull anything larger.

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      • You are correct, our RV is 36′, and we intend to continue with what we have. Dean does not want to pull anything longer than that. I’m fine with our floor plan and have found in our travels the past 3 years that I seem to take less each year. I’m sure we’ll add a few more things to full-time, but there hasn’t been much I’ve missed from our home when we’ve traveled 2-3 months at a time the past few years. We want to weigh the RV while we are in Tucson to see how we are weight-wise. I think we will be in good shape but it also will give us an idea of where we stand if we do add anything new.
        We are pretty happy with our floor plan. It’s sufficient space for the two of us. We are very comfortable in it and still have quite a bit of storage we could fill if we needed to. I would like to add a combo washer/dryer and possibly an ice machine. Down the road we’d like to make a few furniture modifications but no hurry on those. Living in the RV everyday will allow us to give more thought to any mods we want.
        I just finished a review of our trips during 2016. We spent 148 days in Bentley this year, and looking back we spent 129 days in 2015. If we go south for the winter it would be an additional 3 months. It makes sense to live in the RV full-time if we are gone 8-9 months out of the year. When you look at it like that it really makes it very expensive to pay for the house, taxes, insurance and utilities if we are not there.
        Easing in to it could be a good idea. There was no way Dean would even think about full-time when we first started traveling. Whether we are here visiting the kids for a month or so at a time, or traveling we are very comfortable in the RV and really prefer staying in it. I really dislike hauling stuff in and out after each trip, and then reloading again, and I won’t miss doing that at all.
        I’m pretty excited about it but trying to focus on what I need to do to be ready if the house sells quickly. I pray that happens.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent article Brother. I happen to enjoy your rants…lol. I always learn something.
    I too, have the HSA account with BCBS. Excellent way to save. I believe we will have more options for insurance available to us with afordable premiums. I’m looking forward to seeing what President Trump rolls out.
    Stay safe…and keep your eye on the prize!
    Luv you, your sis.

    Liked by 2 people

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