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Long Term Planning/ Saving for the TransAmBike Trail 2033

Old 09-05-23, 10:43 AM
  #26  
indyfabz
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Originally Posted by Yan
Legally it is 67 in the USA. That's when you can draw full social security retirement benefit. But the benefit is very low, not enough to live on. Retirement in the USA is about whether you have enough money. It has little to do with age.
Some of us are fortunate enough to have many years in the rail industry. I am covered by Railroad Retirement Tiers I and II, so I will get two social security-type benefits. (I also pay a separate payroll tax each year to fund Tier II, which also covers unemployment as I am not eligible for state unemployment benefits.) If I leave in March of next year at age 59 and start my benefit at age 62, it will be reduced by 30% but will still be about $3,500/month. Not certain I will start right away, but probably will. You never know how long you are going to live, and I will have a private pension along with savings and the income thereon.
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Old 09-05-23, 12:46 PM
  #27  
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Another vote from me for doing smaller chunks each year and not waiting until age 68. This is what I did to finish the Ice Age Trail (national scenic trail in Wisconsin that is over 1,100 miles - I live in Illinois). I started that hiking adventure in 2016 and finished this year in June. I also started to doing 1-week biking tours last summer (credit card touring as I don't care to camp). Finished my second tour in August with 9 days of riding from St. Cloud, MN following the Mississippi River through Bemidji and over to the headwaters and then back on a different route. Next summer I will do the next section of the Mississippi River south from St. Cloud. I likely will never ride the entire length, but having these shorter trips to look forward to gives me joy. I'm currently 62 and hope to do these annual summer adventures as long as I possibly can. I stay active year-round with hiking.
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Old 09-05-23, 02:16 PM
  #28  
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^^This^^

My first 3 tours were a nearly 4 month trip and then 2 7 week trips. And then I stopped for 8 years because I failed to realize that shorter trips could be fun and therapeutic. Started back up in earnest in 2009 and have done numerous trips every year since then, but nothing longer than 2 weeks of riding. I enjoyed all but the one I had to abandon after 3 days of riding because of gear and equipment problems in dangerous weather conditions.
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Old 09-05-23, 02:30 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
You can’t train a trusted person to run your business for 4 months?

I’m with others who say don’t wait. Ask me why. I got in my long tours in my mid-30s, and I’m glad I did. I’m planning to retire next March, at age 59. Slim chance I’ll be physically able to take a trip like the TA.

BTW…One option would be to go with ACA, assuming it’s still around. Their unsupported tours try to minimize expenses on the road (e.g., using free or cheap camping spots that are known to the leaders based on years of compiled notes), supply the cooking gear and enjoy economies of scale.
Going younger while still working has it's pluses. I celebrated my 56th birthday on the Trans America in 2007. I am blessed with good enough health that I could go on another, but I have family obligations that might keep me home from touring. I have loose plans of doing a TA for the sesquicentennial in 2026, but who knows if I will be able to do that or tour between now and then. At age 72 my health may or may not continue to be good, but as much as that that I may be choose to be near home due to other obligations. In the mean time I trail ride my MTB daily, but you just never know what life has in store for you.

On the other hand I do think most folks can expect good enough health to tour through at least their 60s if they stay active with their riding. Riding and touring even past 80 is possible, but you never know what life will hand you so getting some early gratification is smart.
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Old 09-05-23, 03:44 PM
  #30  
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I got downsized at 34, at my own request. Knew it was likely for over two years, so I saved money to supplement my severance. Ended up taking nearly 2 years off from the working world to tour and pursue other interests. Have never regretted my decision for one second, especially since I got my former job back. Never underestimate the value of obscure skills and knowledge.

After what happened to me starting at the beginning of this year, I can only wait to see what I am still capable of.
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Old 09-05-23, 06:16 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
You canít train a trusted person to run your business for 4 months?

BTWÖOne option would be to go with ACA, assuming itís still around. Their unsupported tours try to minimize expenses on the road (e.g., using free or cheap camping spots that are known to the leaders based on years of compiled notes), supply the cooking gear and enjoy economies of scale.
No. I can't trust another person to do what I do for 4 months.
I have considered joining an ACA group if needed.
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Old 09-05-23, 06:20 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Budget depends on your spending habits on the road so it can vary widely with the individual. I think my total on the road expenses for the TA were about $1500 (in 2007) and that included some pre trip purchases and airfare to the start. That was for a 73 day TA.

On at least one trip upon looking at the credit/debit card bills coming in, my wife commented that I was spending noticeably less on tour than I did at home. That was at a time when I was still working and would have been buying gas for a long commute if at home. Granted I am a bit of a cheapskate when on tour.
I have a feeling that my estimates for things like bike maintenance and entertainment were pretty high. I wouldn't be surprised to spend less while on tour than I do at home.
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Old 09-05-23, 06:33 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Re: Food:I would caution the OP to not come up with a budget that is dependent upon frequently eating things like Ramen and Mac-n-cheese from a box for dinner. Your body will likely need more substance riding that much. It's quite possible to prepare healthy, balanced yet economical meals out on the road.
Yeah. I plan to cook, but I plan to cook real food. I'm not much of a Ramen and boxed mac-n-cheese guy. My plan was to eat a simple breakfast like coffee and oatmeal with some sort of protein most mornings, lunch could be PBJ or other sandwich with some fresh or dried fruit and a cooked dinner of fresh protein and veggies with some kind of carbs as needed. But I like to cook rather than heat water and add it to dry food. I'll do the dehydrated food thing if needed, but for me, the cooking is also partly entertainment as well. I just don't want to cheat myself with a lot of empty, low nutrition carbs. And yes, I know my body will require much more carbs due to the increased activity than I eat now.
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Old 09-05-23, 06:35 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
On the TA the ACA maps point out many places to camp for free without the need for stealth. We never stealth camped on the TA at all, but did camp for free in plain sight in places other than official campgrounds plenty. After riding the TA and seeing where they pointed you to places where the trail had been blazed by others I realized that in much of the country it was easy to stay in similar places. Ask for a cyclist discount. Starting with "I am riding across the country from..." helps. It works best when the "from" is far away.

On the TA if shy just use the maps and stay where they recommend. Later when you tour elsewhere or on the TA if you go off route or something you will learn to read where you can stay and not be bothered.. I have stayed in many small town park picnic area. I never ask permission, but do buy something at the local store and ask "Do you think anyone will bother me if I pitch a tent over there for the night?" Sometimes when there isn't an obvious place asking wait staff, store clerks, librarians, if they have seen others camp or know of a spot pans out. Librarians are especially helpful IME. A few have called around and found a spot or even a host for me.
Yeah. I need to become more comfortable with this kind of thing. Hopefully it will come as I start the trip. I'm generally outgoing and enjoy chatting with folks. I'm sure opportunities will come from that.
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Old 09-05-23, 06:56 PM
  #35  
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A number of people have suggested doing the tour in sections. While this is something I would consider, my current vacation time is spent with my wife. She has 2.5 months off each summer and a week here and there. But I usually have 10-12 days during each summer and maybe a week during Christmas once every two or three years. I also take 2-4 long weekends: two with her, one quick return to family in Long Island and one bicycle long weekend trip for me. My bicycle long weekends have been two different short tours, 6 Gap in Georgia, the Bourbon Burn in KY, Ride Across Wisconsin and the GFNY in New York.

But I can't justify going for a week by myself with only 1.5 to 2.5 weeks off all year while my wife waits for me back home, nor do I want to right now. I also have to go to two 3- 5 day mandatory conferences a year that take me from her as well. Now if I could just hypnotize her into wanting to do bicycle touring, I'd love that. But she knows I want to do this, and has accepted that this will be done upon my retirement as long as nothing imperative gets in the way.
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Old 09-05-23, 07:00 PM
  #36  
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GhostRider62 brings up a very salient point. I will retire in the fall of next year at the young age of 65. This year I just started having issues with both knees and my right wrist. I may well not be able to complete my planned crossing of the USA.
DO IT NOW before you discover that you cannot do it at all.
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Old 09-05-23, 07:13 PM
  #37  
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Lots of cyclists are fine into their 70's. I'm happy I did TA in my late 50's but the last 6-7 years, my wheels fell off and I struggle to do a lousy 600k due to orthopaedic issues.

I think the food guess is a little high as is the camping fees. Motels might be about right, they have doubled in recent years. I used one set of tires to Pueblo and the second set more than made it to Virgina. DOn't forget airfare to the start and finish
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Old 09-05-23, 08:45 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob
Yeah. I plan to cook, but I plan to cook real food. I'm not much of a Ramen and boxed mac-n-cheese guy. My plan was to eat a simple breakfast like coffee and oatmeal with some sort of protein most mornings, lunch could be PBJ or other sandwich with some fresh or dried fruit and a cooked dinner of fresh protein and veggies with some kind of carbs as needed. But I like to cook rather than heat water and add it to dry food. I'll do the dehydrated food thing if needed, but for me, the cooking is also partly entertainment as well. I just don't want to cheat myself with a lot of empty, low nutrition carbs. And yes, I know my body will require much more carbs due to the increased activity than I eat now.
Finally! Someone who seems to get a lot of enjoyment out of preparing a nice meal at the end of the day. I enjoy roaming the market to come up with good ingredients that arenít a pain to carry if the source is not near camp. Sometimes you have to get creative. I learned that the hard way having to come up with dinner once about every week with my partner for 10 other people. We had 3 or 4 vegetarians, so the base meal had to be meat-free. Any meat had to be able to be added separately. I think the worst dinner I had to prepare for the group was pasta with random canned vegetables and jarred sauce. Slim pickings at the campground store that day. Another memorable night was the first one at Lake Itasca. All we could find at the nearby store were brats and an industrial sized can of baked beans. The hostel did open until relatively late. We bought charcoal, cooked the brats and heated up the can of beans in the center of the grill, all under a tarp strung up in a tree because it was raining. The vegetarians got shortchanged that night.

And I find the task of preparing the meal relaxing unless itís getting dark or Iím trying to beat the rain.
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Old 09-05-23, 10:29 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Some of us are fortunate enough to have many years in the rail industry. I am covered by Railroad Retirement Tiers I and II, so I will get two social security-type benefits. (I also pay a separate payroll tax each year to fund Tier II, which also covers unemployment as I am not eligible for state unemployment benefits.) If I leave in March of next year at age 59 and start my benefit at age 62, it will be reduced by 30% but will still be about $3,500/month. Not certain I will start right away, but probably will. You never know how long you are going to live, and I will have a private pension along with savings and the income thereon.
You are in the lucky generation where this was a thing. It is not a thing anymore. Defined benefit retirement plans are nearly extinct in the US.

Nowadays everybody is on defined contribution plans. The average 401k balance for retiring Americans today is just $180k, which translates to a meagre $7000 per year in retirement income. Worthless.

That's why when you go to Walmart the door greeter is a 80 year old man. He will work until he dies.

Again to the OP: I'd take that bike tour ASAP. 58 planning for 68 is just nuts in my opinion. At 58 you are currently in your last handful of years of reliable good health.

Last edited by Yan; 09-05-23 at 10:33 PM.
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Old 09-06-23, 04:22 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Yan
Nowadays everybody is on defined contribution plans. The average 401k balance for retiring Americans today is just $180k, which translates to a meagre $7000 per year in retirement income. Worthless.
Yes $180k doesn't go far. Factor in that a lot of them may have mortgages, car loans, and other debt. At least they also get still social security. In many cases the 401k balance could be much higher if they had taken all of the options they had to contribute. Of course they thought they couldn't to afford to. It never occurred that just maybe they were living beyond their means and couldn't afford not to.

Some plans are much better than others with more generous matching contributions and so on, but often folks don't take full advantage. I worked where the plan was very good and some didn't take advantage and/or took out money for stupid reasons paying huge penalties. Imagine draining your retirement to buy stuff like expensive new vehicles.

The other thing is that some expect too live too high on the hog after they retire and out spend their means.

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Old 09-06-23, 04:46 AM
  #41  
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My dad instilled in us kids (8 of us) the necessity of saving, saving, saving and living according to our means. All of us kids (now older adults) are able to retire without fear of going broke.
I personally worked in the bike industry at the retail level for far too many years. It is notorious for substandard pay, yet I lived very frugally with my wife and our children which allowed us to save a small amount from every paycheck. Over time this small amount has grown into a substantial amount. Had I not been saving since I was a 15 year old kid, this would not have been possible.
Debt is your enemy, pretending to be something you are not will drain the pocket book quickly. Learn to be a saver early in life and teach it to your children. Take responsibility for your future and live on less than you earn and have a plan to reach a minimum of 1 million in savings by the time you are old and want to retire.
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Old 09-06-23, 04:58 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Yan

Nowadays everybody is on defined contribution plans.
Iím one of the dinosaurs that survived the asteroid strike.

BTWÖIím the same age as the OP. My industry has historically offered DB plans. They offer tax advantages. We also have a DC plan with a good match.

As noted above, living within oneís means, which I define to include saving for retirement, is often overlooked. Several years ago, our workforce went through a rather rapid change in age demographics caused by a lot of ďlifersĒ retiring. (In the rail industry, if you attain age 60 with 30 years of service, you can retire with full Railroad Retirement benefits.) Our head of HR & Benefits looked at the new numbers and felt compelled to explain to the much younger crowd how they were leaving free money on the table by not taking full advantage of the 401K match. He included an example of how much the savings could be worth far into the future. The younger folks were simply not contributing at rates that the older folks were. Guess nicer cars and houses with at least one bathroom per person were more important.

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Old 09-06-23, 05:07 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero
My dad instilled in us kids (8 of us) the necessity of saving, saving, saving and living according to our means. All of us kids (now older adults) are able to retire without fear of going broke.
I personally worked in the bike industry at the retail level for far too many years. It is notorious for substandard pay, yet I lived very frugally with my wife and our children which allowed us to save a small amount from every paycheck. Over time this small amount has grown into a substantial amount. Had I not been saving since I was a 15 year old kid, this would not have been possible.
Debt is your enemy, pretending to be something you are not will drain the pocket book quickly. Learn to be a saver early in life and teach it to your children. Take responsibility for your future and live on less than you earn and have a plan to reach a minimum of 1 million in savings by the time you are old and want to retire.
Having frugal parents that lived through the depression helps. Mine forced us to keep an "account book" as a kid and it was balanced to the penny. Paper route money was saved and only a small portion spent. I hated it, but it did instill valuable habits.
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Old 09-06-23, 05:59 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Yan
You are in the lucky generation where this was a thing. It is not a thing anymore. Defined benefit retirement plans are nearly extinct in the US.

Nowadays everybody is on defined contribution plans.
The average 401k balance for retiring Americans today is just $180k, which translates to a meagre $7000 per year in retirement income. Worthless.

That's why when you go to Walmart the door greeter is a 80 year old man. He will work until he dies.

Again to the OP: I'd take that bike tour ASAP. 58 planning for 68 is just nuts in my opinion. At 58 you are currently in your last handful of years of reliable good health.
While do doubt some people are, most folks are not victims. Their low 401k balances are of their own design. As mentioned above, and has been said elsewhere, it's not so much about how much you make, it's about how much you spend. If someone decides they want to have an eternal car loan(or lease), large mortgages (or more than one with a second home), take loans on their 401k(AHGCK!!!), carry eternal credit card balances at 20+% interest, "enjoy" a good cigarette and/or booze habit, take pricey vacations, have lots of kids and send them to college or not, ignore employer contributions, fail to invest effort in their own skill set/education level(the days of getting well paid for simply having a pulse are long over)...these are all choices. I returned to the university at age 27 with $50 to my name as any other option looked like a dead end. After 5 years and working 2-3 part time jobs/year I graduated with a degree and a good job offer. A buddy of mine barely got out of high school, is dyslexic, and worked into becoming a machinist for a living. He lives simply, by choice, always has, is retired and is well set up for a good life. Another friend, wonderful person, has been a free spirit her entire life and is proud of it. She's retired..and looking for work..and living with another friend of mine as she can't support herself. We sow and we reap.

With respect to the OP..it sounds like you're locked in with your current time off. Life works out that way sometimes, particularly if you're self employed. I will say, from first-person experience and you can take this to the bank, the degree to which you age between age 48 and 58 is far different than how much you age between 58 and 68. At 66 and in good health I expect I could make it cross-country if I really wanted to, which I really don't. If I were in your shoes, I'd continue to follow your current path, but consider a Plan B as you go along that will satisfy your desires for extended touring. A Plan B may distill out what you're really looking for in a long tour.
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Old 09-06-23, 06:07 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Having frugal parents that lived through the depression helps. Paper route money was saved and only a small portion spent. I hated it, but it did instill valuable habits.
+1

My dad plowed farm fields behind a horse when he was a teenager. He told his dad, "..get a tractor or I'm outta here..".

..instilled habits, whether we know it or not..
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Old 09-06-23, 07:55 AM
  #46  
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And if you are close to planned retirement age and have something like an IRA, consider lowering or eliminating market fluctuation risk by locking in decent interest rates now. I just recently did that through several investment vehicles that will earn me between 5% and 5.30% for the next two years. Makes me scratch my head when I hear people say they have to delay retirement because of big drop in the markets.
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Old 09-06-23, 10:55 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob
Total cost during the four month trip ~ $19,300
I see Adventure Cycling is offering a 2024 coast-to-coast trip @ $10999. It's van-supported (a van with driver hauls all the gear).
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Old 09-06-23, 11:14 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Yan
Legally it is 67 in the USA.
A friend was recently complaining that the US Social Security full benefit age was raised from 65 to 67. I pointed out that the change was made in 1983 and he'd had more than enough time to incorporate that change into his personal finances and lifestyle choices.

As all Americans know, the SS system is underfunded. IF Congress does nothing, then by law monthly SS benefits will be cut by ~ 1/3. IF that happens, you'll wish you started drawing the reduced benefits @ 62. But that's crazy talk. Congress will take action and fix the system, right?

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Old 09-06-23, 12:05 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
And if you are close to planned retirement age and have something like an IRA, consider lowering or eliminating market fluctuation risk by locking in decent interest rates now. I just recently did that through several investment vehicles that will earn me between 5% and 5.30% for the next two years. Makes me scratch my head when I hear people say they have to delay retirement because of big drop in the markets.
SP500 is up around 17-18% for the year and within 2-300 points of it's all-time high. The drop came back, as it typically does for the last 100 years.

(Need a simple diversified portfolio?..look up(keywords) index investing, 3 fund portfolio, Taylor Larimore et al, Jack Bogle(Vanguard), bogleheads.org, sounds complicated at first, but it's very easy in practice)
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Old 09-06-23, 01:15 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by fishboat
SP500 is up around 17-18% for the year and within 2-300 points of its all-time high. The drop came back, as it typically does for the last 100 years.

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Iím glad I was in, and I still have about 20% market exposure. But being about 7 months away from retirement, combined with my lifestyle and what I have accumulated so far, I have no desire to assume any more risk. Iíll never rent a villa on the Amalfi coast, but Iím good with that. Earlier this year I seriously considered buying a cabin up in the Yaak, but I couldnít bring myself to do it. Saw yesterday that the place is under contract again.

https://www.realtor.com/realestatean...=srp-list-card
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