Thursday, August 25, 2016

I did it!


The last few months have brought several changes to my homefront, and I've been very much proactive in trying to achieve my financial transition goals, as I move from a now former career, into a new phase of my life.

I initially based all of my decisions on the income I had coming in from the aforementioned job (based off of take home pay, after insurance premiums and deductions for taxes, union dues etc) plus child support, which ended in June. At that point, while living frugally, I was able to save 19.9% of income. With the loss of C/S, my savings rate would drop to 9 %. Better than most, from what I read, but not within my own personal comfort zone. Changes were required, regardless of as yet unknown at that point, upcoming and unexpected job changes. Back in late Winter/early Spring, the decision was made to move to the city North of where we were, for a variety of reasons, with one being to reduce my cost of housing.

We moved in mid June, taking possession of the condo rental June 1, but awaiting the twin's high school graduation before residing here. This gave me a 2 week window of time to clean, get some painting done, move smaller items. With the move came a change in utilities:

-gas stove,dryer vs all electric, brand new appliances (exception being the washer and dryer)              -eventually gas heat vs oil and wood
-electric heated hot water (don't understand why an on demand, gas water heater wasn't chosen!) vs oil fed boiler heated hot water
-somewhat smaller unit (2700 dropped to 2300 sq feet)
-10 year old construction vs a very energy efficient 1976 home
-central (electric) A/C vs window units only used in bedrooms at night, as needed. The former rental also had a whole house fan, which was awesome
-different cable/internet company, but we are on a promo rate
-trash/recycling removal, snow removal now covered by the complex

With the move, as the utilities have been settling out, my savings rate increased to 32.4%, based off of just my take home income.

Meanwhile, I accepted a 6 month full pay severance package with medical insurance plan for a full year, at the active employee rate. I responded to this turn of events.

I reduced whatever I could, asking the kiddos to pick up more, if not most, of their expenses. One  more kidlet flew the nest (with the door open to return, under my rules/expectations).  I continue to cook, use energy conservation measures as before. For now, we're a family of 3.

I've sought alternative resources to cover some expenses, and continue to explore more.

To date, I have reduced my total living expenses, from soup to nuts, by 55% compared to what my total living expenses were while residing at the former rental home in another town. As a result, my savings rate has soared (at least for the next 8 months) to 49.9%. I have more than doubled what I am able to stash away, in cash figures, not just percentages.

Additionally, I am actively seeking employement. I have submitted 6 applications, and await a response. Any income I make within the next 6 months will be pure gravy=additional savings.

Effective March 1, I will be on early retirement from my former career. Taking an early retirement means a reduction in benefit percentages based on my salary as the benefit will be for the rest of my lifetime. If my math is correct, I should be able to cover all of my monthly expenses on that reduced income. I fully expect to continue to work in some capacity, and any supplemenetal earnings will continue to go towards savings. I  must have a position that offers full medical in 12 months, when I will be dropped from my current insurance plan.

Taking early retirement also means taking a step towards better health. My rhumatologist suspects (99% sure) that I now have psoriatic arthritis on top of osteoarthritis. The high stress of what had become a toxic work enviroment may very well have triggered this. My Dad suffered greatly from both Psoriasis and osteoarthritis, which his side of the family is riddled with.

I am very much at peace. Although some changes (job) were unexpected, I remain very pragmatic in my approach to life. Many have commented that they haven't seen me so happy and relaxed in a long time. It was the right decision for so many reasons.

As DS#1 says, "I've got this!"


Ms. Sandie said...

You do GOT THIS! So excited for you and your future.

Busy Bee said...

Yay! Great job.

I'm sorry the unexpected changes came about, but there are times in life when they are blessings we never saw coming. We ran into the same thing a few years ago and took a drop in income. However, we are happier than we have been in years.

Kathy said...

So glad you made the right decision. Hopefully wtih less stress, you will have less pain and feel better.

Cheryl said...

Good for you! Stress is not good...not good at all. Life is too short, so enjoy! :)

Lee Ann said...

Wow-just reading this is exhausting me. I can't imagine what all you've gone through. IF you read my last post, I had a near miss at work. My manager is leaving and I was told in the past that I would be placed in that job. A job I do not want. The kicker is my employer, evidently, can release you, if you refuse a job so I was stressing out. We simply can't make it on my husband's salary alone even if we cut out everything but the bare necessities. He would have to up his insurance and that was the culprit.

Now onto the good news-so far they are looking for someone else since I don't want the job. And............drumroll our mortgage will be paid for in January (if we make excelerated payments) or June of next year if we continue with regular payments. I told my husband I am hoping to put as much of my salary in savings while at the same time putting extra to the mortgage to retire it. That way if this situation were to happen again, we'd be able to afford it. It would be very tight but affordable.

You should very pleased with the way you've achieved your goals!

Belinda said...

How wonderful that you are retiring early!! I know your fugal lifestyle has helped a great deal in this endeavor.

kelley said...

You are such an inspiration...your great attitude and commitment to reaching your goals has certainly paid off...wishing you a new low stress job...

thyme2save said...

Glad for you to have happiness and rest.

Lili said...

Great work, Carol! Congratulations!

TrayceeBee said...

I would say that I am amazed at all that you have been able to accomplish, but...I have been reading your blog for so long that I just KNEW you would get it done! You continue to be an inspiration to me - especially since we are both in the crazy expensive to live in state of Connecticut! Great job!

Marcia in rural WNY said...

You HAVE done very well! I also had a stressful job (supervisor of Public Assistance in our county) and with a lot of political stuff going on all the time, not always a pleasant place to work. I took an early retirement incentive at 59.5 and have never looked back. My health is better, stress is WAY down, lost about 25 or 30 pounds without really trying, and can live easily on what is coming in per month. (Inflation being the biggest worry. My medical insurance is great so not a lot of stress in that area.) Yes, I would have had more money if I had worked another 7-8 years but I might have had a heart attack, too, as I have both heart disease and peripheral artery disease. I am quite happy with the situation here and I don't think you will regret your decision either!!