I’m 49, my spouse is 34, we’ve got Four children and $2.three million saved. I earn $300Ok a yr however ‘lose loads of sleep worrying about tomorrow’ — when can I retire?


I am 49 years old (turns 50 this year) and my wife is 34. We have two young children under 2 and twin girls aged 11 from my previous marriage. College for the twins is fully funded in a 529 plan and I save monthly in 529 plans for my other two children.

I have had a good career in technology and make about $ 300,000 a year. We maximize all retirement vehicles and have no debt other than our primary residence. We also have about eight residential properties with rental income that brings us about $ 6,000 a month after all mortgages and expenses. Passive income, if you will. Our monthly target spend is in the upper range between $ 10,000 and $ 12,000.

Together, we have $ 1.7 million in IRA and 401 (k) assets, and approximately $ 500,000 in cash and after-tax savings in Fidelity and E * TRADE accounts. All are in equity-heavy, aggressive portfolios and I manage my IRA myself with an average return of 12%.

I started a new position in November 2020 after being laid off from my previous position due to COVID-19 and having to save costs. At 50 while employed, I fear my job might end again and another 7 month job search would be incredibly tough for my family and me. I’m losing a lot of sleep because I’m worried about tomorrow.

I want to retire and let my wife retire, probably in Colorado when I’m 58 if I’m not forced to retire earlier. I’m obsessed with retirement calculators and trying to see if I can achieve that, but one tells me we’ll be fine while another says that in 20 years I’ll be tight and run out of money.

Also, I have no idea how to account for health insurance costs for my family out of employment, and how to incorporate this into a plan where my spouse will outlive me by 20+ years. I want to make sure she’s fine and never runs out of money. We are both in good shape, we exercise, and we have good longevity on both sides of our family. She worked long enough to qualify for Social Security.

I want to retire because I will be an older father and love my wife and children very much. So if I can maximize my time with them without working but not giving up on spending too much, I’d love to do so. I just can’t think of a plan. I am not against retirement, whether as a consultant or perhaps an hourly paid job, but none of these options are guaranteed.

Can you help?

See: ‘Retirement? As?’ I’m 65, I haven’t saved anything and I’m out of bankruptcy

Dear Reader,

Even with $ 1.7 million in retirement accounts, an additional $ 500,000 in savings, and multiple sources of income, I understand why you may be worried about the future. You have a family that depends on you and the unexpected twists and turns of a pandemic certainly won’t help.

The good news: retirement at 58 could well be within reach, financial advisors said. And if you decide to just step back from a full-time job but work in a specific role, such as a consultant or a freelancer, you have even more flexibility, said Jen Grant, financial advisor at Perryman Financial Advisory. “There are dozens of ways to achieve your goal,” she said. “Now he should decide on the best path, work towards it for eight years and put away stress and worries so that he can enjoy his young family.”

One of the most important tasks to face when you retire at 58 (or anytime before Medicare is available at 65) is health insurance. COBRA may be temporarily available after you are separated from your old job, but you must make it by age 65 before you can apply for Medicare.

There are a few options that need to be covered, including saving now for any price that will later be incurred in the open market; Taking up part-time work with sick pay in order to be able to take advantage of health care, to earn a small additional income, but still have more freedom than a full-time employment requires; or let your wife take a job that covers family health insurance (if she isn’t already). Since you are healthy, you may also want to look into a Christian health sharing company, a faith-based approach to health conservation that involves members helping meet the costs of other people in need, Grant said. [Note: This healthcare option is a faith-based, cost-sharing program but is not traditional insurance or government-protected. Critics say Christian health-sharing plans may be more affordable than traditional insurance policies, but not all essential health needs will be covered.]

To get an idea of ​​what health insurance policies are now in the market, you can visit Healthcare.gov. Remember, however, that health spending has increased each year with no indication of quitting.

You mention that your biggest worry right now is losing your job. This makes perfect sense, but try to dig a little deeper into the reasons why you have these fears. Do you think that you will not be able to adjust to a new job in the future? Or do you not have the skills to be an attractive employee? If you were temporarily unemployed, are your current expenses way too much for you? Knowing this answer can help you figure out what to do next.

For example, if you are concerned that you will need to brush up on your skills (or develop new ones) to keep your job search short, start now. You may not have to do this for job applications, but if you do one thing every week to brush up on old skills or learn new ones, you could remain an important resource for your current business and make you a catch for a future hiring manager. In addition, you may even be able to use this training (in the form of a course or a YouTube video) for a higher salary later.

If you are concerned about losing your job because you think your current expenses are too high, even temporarily, and you know you have that rental income, look at your cash inflows and outflows now and ask yourself what you would look like if you were out of work tomorrow. You obviously know how to save, so it comes down to spending?

“Is there money in areas that make no sense to you as a family? If so, cut your spending, ”said Jeremy Finger, Certified Financial Planner, Founder and CEO of Riverbend Wealth Management.

There are a few other things you can do right now to help relieve some of the stress. Given the age difference between you and your wife, Grant recommends life insurance. You are a high earner and if something should happen to you, life insurance could replace your income. In addition to life insurance, check out disability insurance, she said.

It’s okay to keep your investments in an aggressively allocated portfolio, but make sure you have the cost of living around two to three years in a more conservative portfolio, Grant said. “This will protect him if the market goes muddled the year he plans to retire,” she said. “He will not be forced to sell stocks at a loss or liquidate real estate.” A larger emergency fund would also give you some comfort – the money could be used in an unexpected situation, or if nothing has happened by your targeted retirement date, the money could ease the stress of transitioning into retirement.

Even if you aren’t concerned about your investments, check them regularly to make sure they are properly allocated. A balanced – the keyword here is “balanced” – 80% stocks / 20% bond portfolio or even a 90% / 10% mix could work with additional cash like $ 200,000, but these portfolios need to be balanced. Finger said.

Check out the MarketWatch column “Retirement Hacks” for actionable advice for your own retirement planning journey

Finger had a few other thoughts based on your situation. He suggested consulting an attorney about placing your rental property in an LLC to protect liability, and he would also consider adding umbrella insurance to protect yourself. If you have $ 6,000 in rental income, you only need about $ 4,000 to $ 6,000 a month from other income and investments (or $ 72,000 a year?). .

I say this in almost all of my letters, but you should consider working with a financial planner who could come up with a financial plan for you. A professional can advise you on your investments – retirement and children’s college funding – and provide clarity on how to retire comfortably in the future. “He can outsource the worries to someone who makes a living from it and then let them oversee the plan and adjust it if necessary,” Grant said.

If that’s not of interest to you, do the work yourself. Make a complete financial plan for yourself and record what-if scenarios and keep them somewhere nearby for you to look at or Be able to make adjustments when life changes.

“You can’t completely neutralize everything that could happen, but you can prepare as well as you can,” said Finger. “Be flexible too and prioritize your time and expenses. If he can spend more time with his family, any small deficit later in life, when he looks back, would be an easy compromise. ”

Reader: Do you have a suggestion for this letter writer? Add them in the comments below.

Do you have a question about your own retirement provision? Email us at HelpMeRetire@marketwatch.com

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