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When did you retire/do you plan to retire? What did you make sure to have in place first? Any advice to the next generation?

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The less overhead one has (e.g. no debt, no kids) the less retirement assets one needs. I know a few partners of that ilk who retired at 50 - 52. Huge haircut on their PRP but it didn’t matter to them. In my case, I retired in June at 60. Our 3 kids are all out of the house and married and thankfully financially independent. Could have gone at 55. Staying till 60 helped me accumulate a substantial nest egg and coupled with the PRP (which at 55 would have been 65% of my full number), my wife and I are comfortable. Very comfortable. I guess to answer your question, it comes down to your comfort level on how much you need. Don’t overspend, be prudent, live well within your means, but don’t chintz either, and you can get there before 60.

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Adding that I was a partner for 25 years, to provide perspective.

I will retire in 2022 in my mid 50s. I'm leaving 20% of my pension on the table. I ran the math again and again and I can afford to retire (with kids still in college, ugh, maybe a mistake lol). I will have to be careful and be cognizant of certain larger expenses. Working til 60 would have provided for much greater wealth and cash flow. But the intangibles outweighed the ability to earn extra wealth. I hit the stage of burn out and for me the profession was no longer enjoyable. I chose life and happiness over the extra money. I have great memories of the 30+ years in this profession. It was time! But I'm still young. Better to say I'm retiring from public accounting, not "retiring" altogether. I have a part time work plan lined up doing something different to keep me busy, keep my mind sharp, keep me engaged with high performance people and also provide some decent additional money (afterall). My new work will be scaleable and I can work 20 hours per week....and if i love it I can scale up to 30, 40 or more. I shall see. The important thing is to have a plan and a purpose. Sitting around doing nothing is only great for a very short period of time lol. Final point......there are many ramifications to retiring including how it may impact your loved ones (could be positive or negative). I am second guessing my decision because in my case there may be negative consequences (sorry to be vague). Good luck everyone. Sorry to write a novel 😉

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Could you provide a little more info on the scalable opportunity for post retirement work? That sounds ideal. Good luck to you and hope the positive works for you!

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I’m on the young end and can retire at 55. I’ll start a second career doing whatever the F I want! :)

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I am 46 and can’t wait to retire and be done with Public accounting. I live a very modest life and hoping I can retire as early as possible. Don’t care for pension. Want to live my life now …..my goal is to accumulate 3.5 million in assets. That would be enough for the life I plan to live

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That makes more sense. Not that it wasn’t possible, just surprising.

I’m 37 and have three daughters. Retirement is a figment of my imagination at this point

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Speaking of pain, I’m a dad to two now married daughters. In total, the weddings all in (down to the new shoes my wife needed, twice) cost me approximately $300k. Luckily I had not retired yet. Our son just got married in September and our cost was miniscule 😂.

41 here and would love to retire at 55. The issue is all the hard work is finally paying off financially. Also kids are the big curve ball and it some point it’s no longer about you, but about their future so back to work I go.

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For me, maintaining a modest lifestyle is key. It drives up savings and pulls forward the walk-away date significantly. (And generally leads to a happier life). For me, once I knew I could walk away, I began to enjoy the job a lot more. No longer felt trapped.

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One of my retired partners left at 57, so three years early, which surprised many of us. His reasoning was a great one and pretty much says it all: “I have enough, and I’ve had enough.” That’s one of the all time great quotes I heard in my career. If you can say that, particularly the former, then you have your answer.

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Retired at 61 due to extension. Need 15 to 20 million and no debt to live well

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Curious how you define live well. My thought is that if you are spending at this level, the level of complexity would reduce life enjoyment.

I have a bit of a different perspective. I left a top 70 firm last year because I was miserable. Now I am 55 and this past spring bought a practice/started a new firm with two others. Mostly public company audit and consulting. Being an entrepreneur has completely reinvigorated me and retirement is the last thing on my mind. I love working with clients again, love developing the folks in the firm and mostly just love being able to run the firm how we want to. Not being greedy, not killing our people, and attracting some talent and clients. Got a little off tangent but basically retirement is the furthest thing from my mind. And I guess my advice is find what you love and want to do next.

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I am 43 and I plan to retire at 50. What I need to make sure I have in place is a very complex question with a more complex answer. Happy to chat offline but clean and executable plan for residence in a low to no income state location is key. California is brutal to give up residency so a plan is needed.

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State income taxes aren't going to make or break being able to retire at 50. Aggressively saving, especially under 40 is the key. Lifestyle is a major factor too. Only 8% of Americans retire before 55. And for some of that 8% it isn't fully their choice. Going out entirely on your own terms and timeline is rare, even for public accounting.

The issue to retiring early is that there’s so much value that you would have to leave on the table. If you schedule out total comp to your mandatory retirement age, the numbers are pretty eye opening.

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Theres ways to draw funds from the 401k plan before 59.5 without penalty. $8M using a SWR of 3.33% is still $267K a yr. Thats before any pension, or return of capital.

Planning between 55-60. I have the option to leave at 50 ( per financial planner) even with kids that will be in college but will leave some retirement in the table. Invested early and lived below my means but very comfortably. Was financially aggressive when i was in my 20’s and had no responsibilities but saved most of the money made in the market. Made smart moves, didn’t spend like I had it and now I get to do whatever I want. Don’t regret working extremely hard for the first 15 years of my career to accelerate it. Lived out of a suitcase and took on the hardest jobs.

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Partner 7 just over 50. Net worth is over $7M with over $4M in investments. 55 we have a lifetime tail for retirement so I don’t want to give that up although I don’t need it based on my spending habits.

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How much money do you need to live? It is based on individual’s life style. My dad worked all his life and retired and passed away after two years. I don’t want to be like my father that worked all his life and could not enjoy retirement. You live once. Not that you want to be stupid and not work and retire but decide the neomycin you need to live your life

The plan is 53. Only 1 of 4 kids will likely be out of college but saved a lot for their college. Not worth wasting another 9 years after that continuing to work and dealing with the major burnout. The people staying until retirement age either have great gigs (dont really do lots of client work anymore), have been divorced, never lived within their means, or are brainwashed. Saving a lot in my 20's was key to this plan however. And no, I don't make $1.4M a year like all the big 4 seniors think ALL of their bosses make.

I hear this all the time, but do not see it executed very much. My sense is people think about early retirement in their 40´s, but when they get to 50-55, they just start thinking what’s another 2-3 years, what else am I going to do, etc etc. The stats do not show many partners voluntarily retiring before 58 (without being passed out, medical reasons, etc). Have you all seen differently?

The form 5500 attachments to all of the firms' qualified retirement plans have some retirement age data for each firm on the DOL website. Im sure someone could look at the stats and see if there's a trend. But yes, 56 and 57 are becoming much more popular ages to go out, especially if that person was a partner for at least 20 years. Under 55, no.

I planned to retire at 55 when I’d be fully vested in the PRP, but given how much I honestly dislike what the firm and public accounting is becoming, I’m now shooting for 50. No partner I know under 50 is planning to work past 55. Maybe it would be different if I was an audit partner but I’m tax and it’s just too much.

Also my thought on audit vs tax is the complexity of the work. Tax has new rules and things to keep up on all the time. Audit has rev rec and leases. And the regulatory oversight seems far more scrutinizing for tax with audits and examinations. My firm isn’t big four so I think the audit side has much less to worry about since they aren’t dealing with the PCAOB.

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