Filling The Gap For Early Retirement with Naval Veteran and Civil Servant Karen Overall

Many people want to retire early so they can travel, spend time with their family, and knock things off their bucket list. But most people don’t.

Why is that?

Most likely it’s because you don’t have a financial advisor.

Today’s guest, Karen Overall, didn’t have a financial advisor while she was in the Navy. She just knew she’d have her pension. After serving for 16 years, she became a civil servant with the US government and got a second pension.

But when she wanted to start traveling in her later years, that’s when she realized, “I can’t retire.” Karen hired a financial advisor. With her two pensions and some adjustments, she was able to fill the gap and retire early. And so can you!

In this episode, you’ll discover how you can fill your gap between retirement and retire early. So you can travel, hang out with your family, and start crossing things off your bucket list!

Listen now!

Show Highlights Include:

  • How joining the military teaches you investment strategies ([5:27])
  • Why having a Survivor Benefit Plan maximizes your pension from the Navy ([6:56])
  • The insane federal pension plan that sets you up for life ([8:10])
  • How having a financial advisor lets you retire earlier than you expect ([11:28])


DLP028 - Filling The Gap For Early Retirement with Naval Veteran and Civil Servant Karen Overall



Do you want a wealthy retirement without worrying about money?


Do you want a wealthy retirement without worrying about money? Do welcome to the Retire In Texas Podcast, where you will discover how to enjoy your faith, your family, and your freedom in the state of Texas. And now here’s your host, financial advisor, author, and all around good Texan, Darryl Lyons.


([00:39]): Welcome to retire in Texas. My name is Darryl Lyons. I’m the CEO and co-founder of PAX financial group. And thank you to PAX financial group for letting me do this. They are the sponsor of this program, and I always have to share the legal disclosure that this information is general in nature. It’s not intended to provide specific or legal advice. So visit PAX financial group.com for more information. And also, I wanna let you guys know as you listen to this episode, if you do want to know more about PAX financial group and you wanna meet with one of our advisors for a 15 minute consult, you just have to put in taxes to this number 7 48 68. So just dial 7 48 68 and put Texas in there. And we’ll, we’ll connect you as a, is a complimentary, no cost, low threat type of phone call. So yeah, feel free to do that, but I’m really excited about today’s show. I think you’re the first single person on this show. Is that right? Karen? I think so.


([01:35]): Yeah. Yeah. So that’s cool. Yeah. It’s a first for everything, right. And you’ve listened to most of them. Yes. Yeah. We were just talking. And your favorite show is David’s The one with David Robinson. Yes. That was fun. Yeah. Such a nice guy. So yeah, Karen overall’s here with us today and so we get a chance to chat with her a little bit about retiring and, and you haven’t been retired that long three weeks today. Are you serious? So, this show will air down the road. And so we’re producing on Friday the 13th. Yes, <laugh> right. Yeah. So May 13th, so three weeks ago, or let’s say four weeks ago, you were still grinding it. Yes. Where my last job was as a federal government employee, but I worked from home even before COVID. Okay. So I was a full-time teleworker for 10 years. Were you government or civil service? Civil service. Okay. So I’m gonna, I’m kind of going on tangential here and I’ll come back around, but what’s the culture been like with civil service? Has it been hostile, grumpy, frustrating. I mean, I’ve heard different things or was, did you have a good experience?


([02:32]): Yeah, no, I had a great experience. Okay. I worked for the general services administration headquarters in DC. They’ve just kind of promoted teleworking, so, okay. I worked with people across the country. It was great. Everybody was great, very devoted and hardworking and polite and friendly. Tell me a little bit more about your role there. I was a program manager for a program that was introducing how to protect sensitive information. Okay. So I worked for the chief information officer and it was also kind of connected to, with a security it security. Yeah. I mean, gosh, how important is that today? Yes. And you know, especially in San Antonio, that’s becoming quite an industry in San Antonio, the cybersecurity industry, So right. Yeah. I see the billboards <Laugh> yeah, it’s kind of cool. So I wanna get back to more about your career, but I wanna know, where did you grow up? Are you from Texas? Sort of <laugh>. I was born in California. We lived in Santa Fe for about three years in Denver, about three years. Okay. So I moved to Texas and I was like eight. Okay. So


([03:32]): You’ve been here, moved to Dallas. Okay. And then after five years moved to north dallas actually so I went to high school in Richardson. Okay. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And then I left Texas for 36 years. Wow. Came back about 11 years ago. So Richardson, Texas. I know where Richardson’s at. And I think of it. I can’t tell you if I’ve been there lately, but I think of it as a relatively larger town now. Yeah. I think, and it’s next to Plano and yeah. Kind of, but they, they all run together, but yeah, but they have their own kind of personality. Exactly. Yeah. I think people underestimate that, that the communities have their own different cultures and everything. And so was it small when you were there was Richardson small? Was it big? I guess it was fairly small. Yeah. I mean, again, we actually lived across the highway or across the road from the dividing line. So we were in Dallas, but the high school was in Richardson and okay. Yeah. I remember there were cows in the field, across the street from the high school, but is that right? Not anymore. <Laugh> yeah, no. Goodness. So you were in Richardson, you went to high school there. Now mom, dad worked. What did that look


([04:32]): Like? Yeah, my dad was an engineer and, and for the last number of years he had his own company. Okay. Of his own. He was his business. He was an electrical engineer and did sales. Okay. And my mother stayed home and helped him with that. Yeah. I like the way you said that. Yeah. That’sGood.  Yeah. She had been in elementary school. I mean a high school math teacher previously. Okay. But not once we moved to Texas. Did you have siblings? I have one sister. Who’s a year older than me. Okay. Where is she at? She lives in Maine. Maine. Okay. Yeah. And so did they ever sit down and teach you about money? Did they ever talk to you or did you observe anything? I don’t remember anything specifically. I think at one point when my dad started his own company, there were some, you know, like creditors calling or something. Oh, wow. I don’t, but they didn’t talk about it. Yeah. You know, it was just sort of a sense that, you know, something’s not right. Something, Yeah. Something in the air is, is squirrly, but


([05:23]): We were never really hurting for anything or, you know, Kind of middle class. Is that, would you describe it? Yeah. Yeah. Was there ever a low point? I mean, that, that credit issue as he was starting his company, but that might have been the low point, but you weren’t privy to that experience, right? No, I don’t. I never felt deprived or So how did you learn about money if they were like, I mean, somebody must have taught you or you just kind of okay. I gotta learn. I don’t know. Really that’s I think at one point when I graduated from college, I joined the Navy and I signed up with some organization, you know, way back then that I think helped a little bit. Where’d you go to college at Eastern New Mexico university? Is that in Santa Fe? No, it’s in a very small town called Portales. Okay. Everyone from New Mexico that may be listening is rolling their eyes right now, but I, I don’t know New Mexico’s I, you know, I’ve been up there a few times, Obviously. Yeah. That’s a hundred miles west of Lubbock. Okay. We used to go to Lubbock for the, you know, big city.


([06:15]): Yeah, exactly. So, yeah, I haven’t heard of that university, but you went there and then right after you graduated or you went to the Navy, was it? Yes. Okay. Well, I had, I spent five summers at girl scout camp before, during and after college, so, oh, wow. I did my last summer of girl scout camp at lake Tema. Yeah. And then joined the Navy in August. Yeah. Okay. And the Navy, somewhere along the lines of the Navy, they were like, okay. You know, somebody comes out and kind of teaches you about a few things about whether it’s investing or something. And, Well, I don’t think it was the Navy specifically, but a military, you know, organization that supports military kind. Yeah. There’s the first, command’s the one I think of that’s out there. Actually. I think That was it. Yeah. Yeah. They’ve been around a long time and they’re usually associated of course, U.S. as a first command. There’s a few other companies that they target, the military community. I think of Randolph Brooks. Now Navy, federal Navy, put a plug in for the


([07:05]): Thank you Navy. Federal. Yes. Gotta think of the Navy federal. And so you ended up going on active duty. Thank you for serving. Thank you. How many years did you serve? I did 16 years and two months, but I got to retire.How Back in the mid nineties Clinton was, I guess, drawing down the size of the military. Yeah, I remember. So they, I instituted a 15 year retirement program, so that’s cool. I, I actually should know that. I didn’t know that for most people it’s 20 years. If you don’t, if you’re listening and you’re curious. So when you hear somebody retiring 16 years, you’re thinking, what does that really mean? Does that mean you can leave? It means that you get to enjoy your benefits, your retirement benefits, right? Yeah. Yes. They’ve been paying me ever since then. And it was less pay of course. And, and you’re more junior, so, you know, it’s based on a smaller amount as well, but you know, I get it the rest of my life and I get, like you said, the medical benefits and Oh my goodness. Tricare, All that. Yeah. Commissary and all that stuff.


([07:55]): So you get a you didn’t put a survivor benefit plan on your pension. Did you own your retirement pay? Was that necessary? Like cuz some people put survivor benefit plans to leave to somebody else and I wouldn’t really think that would be important to you. You just get the maximum pension that you could possibly get. Right, right, right. Yeah. That would make sense. And they’re gonna pay for that. They’re gonna pay that forever. Right. And Tricare. gosh, it’s just amazing. <Laugh> so then you went to, once you retired, you went directly into civil service. No, I was a government contractor for 15 years. Was That a self-employed role? No. Or you were working for a government contractor? Yes. Okay. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. was hired by EDS Ross pers company. Yeah. For 12 years. And then Hewlett Packard bought them out. Okay. So I had 15 years with them and EDS had a pension as well. Oh my goodness. and then as a federal employee, I get a pension.


([08:47]): No, no, no, no, no. This is not even fair. I know. Yeah. Okay. So for those that are listening, there’s just tuned in, this is retire in Texas. If you wanna with a financial advisor for just a 15 minute consultation to talk about your money, see if there’s a good fit. Do it. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for the plug put in Texas to this number. 7, 4, 8 68, the word Texas 70 48 68. Okay. So you literally have three pensions basically a few years ago had a one time chance to do a cash buyout. yeah. Of the HP. I did not at the time have a financial advisor. Oh yeah. But I went ahead and took it. Well, they send you letters like for people who are getting pensions, a lot of the companies are like, man, we don’t want to keep this obligation on our books forever. So they send letters to a lot of pension recipients saying, look, we can give you the money. So we get this thing off our books and, and we can clean things up. And that’s what you receive, right? That letter. Yes. Right. Yeah. Okay. But I mean, it’s still, I’ve looked at a lot of those and I have to make assessments for people, but usually it’s not a bad deal it’s but regardless you have three pensions, which is amazing to me. Yes. And so okay. Very blessed. Unbelievable. You know, you have to live a long time to really get them angry. Right. Cause all of ’em, you know, the pensions are really problematic for organizations if somebody lives a long time. So do they have any inflation factors on those? Have they, have you noticed,


([10:07]): Well, the other two are government, so yeah, they do. Yeah. I don’t know if the HP one did or not. Yeah. That HP one probably didn’t but the government was, I hadn’t started taking that one yet, so I don’t know that much about it. Yeah. Okay. So I’m gonna kind of go back here. So you’re working for the Ross pro thing and then civil service and that’s kind of how, how many years were you? Civil service? 10, 10 years. Okay. Could you describe what civil service is for those that are listening? Like, I mean just generally speaking, it’s an employee of the government. Yeah. But you get like similar government benefits, but it’s not many times it’s a role for the government, but it’s not military, it’s not department of defense. Right. and well, it could be, you could be civilian for department of defense. Yes. But there are a bunch of agencies that are all civilians. Yes. And so in generally speaking, very simply you said it really simply you work for the government. Yeah. But I was trying to contrast cuz there’ll oftentimes people will leave active duty and go to civil service. And so just trying to contrast the two


([11:02]): And some people just, you know, basically stay the same job or for the same organization. Yeah. But when I retired, they called it double dipping. Yes. And so I didn’t do that, you know then, so they changed that over time. So I was able later to go back to federal service. Yeah. And 10 years was enough to at least earn benefits for pension. Right. Right. And the thing about it is we could also make the case that you have four pensions cuz social security.


([11:30]): Yeah. Yeah. It’s unbelievable. The three of ’em were the government. So I don’t know if that’s scary or <Laugh> right. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So when you did retire three weeks ago, how scary was that? I was ready and it really wasn’t scary except I think it was scary. You’re making the decision and picking a date. Oh, okay. You know, just like nailing it down, but you guys helped <laugh>. Oh good. I’m glad. You know, so that I knew I could go ahead and do it early cuz I didn’t get social security for two and a half years. I’m not, you know, taking it till full age. So I didn’t know that it was scary once I nailed it down and got it. Decided to do it. It was great. So once you made the decision, one of the nuances you had to figure out, how you bridge the gap between the date of retirement and age 70, right, Right. Well 68 and eight months or whatever. Okay. So yeah, whatever age you decided along with Roger. So you just had to say, okay, I’m gonna let my social security cook a little longer. Is that kind of the idea? Right. But you just need to make sure you have a strategy to bridge that gap. Right,


([12:30]): Right. And enough left over to well there’s longevity in my family, so supposedly I’ll live a long time and you probably I’m sure Roger did this, but you probably had to take a stress test like, okay, if inflation does this, will things work out for you all those. Yeah. I love the levers on the computer program y’all have that, you know? Well, what if I lived to a hundred? Well, what if I die at 60? Well what If yeah. Yeah. All the What Ifs. Yeah. Yeah. It’s great to be able to just play with all that and figure things out. We call that the play zone. Yeah. <laugh> and we’ll be doing that for the rest of your life. Just playing with things as things pop up in your mind, you’re like, Hey, what about this? Especially with today, I know inflation is happening. What happens if the market goes down? Am I still okay? Right, right, right. Exactly. And so was there a catalyst when you said, okay, I’m ready? Like it’s time, was there anything specific that Happened? No. I think the only thing, you know, work is work and I enjoyed it, but I would be happier not working. Yeah. And if I could do it financially, I was ready anytime. So when we finally sat down and got serious about a date, you know, it was actually earlier than I expected. That’s cool. So that was exciting.


([13:36]): So now I have six trips planned for the rest of this year, so <laugh> Six. Okay. Wait. So we’re in may. So that’s like a trip a month, basically more or less, right? Yep. Is it domestic international, One international rested domestic. Have you always enjoyed traveling? Yes. I’ve moved all of my life around and traveled all my life. My parents had a couple motorhomes, so yeah. So one of the things Big, one of the things that I’m hearing you say is that even though your parents didn’t sit down and say, here’s what money is, they did expose you to change. Yes. And travel. Yes. And even if you’re traveling within a state there’s new experiences and new cultures, which you alluded to, even in the Dallas Fort worth area. And so that must have been a deposit in your heart that when you retired, you’re like, okay, I wanna, I wanna add to that. Yes. That’s cool. Plus, since I moved so much, I have friends, I counted up, I have friends in 22 states. So to be able to just go somewhere and go visit somebody would be, is fun. So why don’t we make it a goal to have a friend in every state?


([14:40]): There you go. <Laugh> That’s a good retirement Goal. I think they call some friends and ask ’em to move <Laugh>. Yeah. Right. Exactly. Exactly. So the idea of your, you know, travel is a big part of your plan. I think that’s beautiful and it’s not lost on me that many people, when they first transition out of work, that travel is an important part of their plan. And so we actually oftentimes adjust plans to spend a little bit more in the Gogo years. Yes, exactly. But Knowing you have longevity, do you consider traveling to be something that you’re gonna be doing every year? Is this, I mean, as long as you’re enjoying It? I hope so. Yeah. As long as I’m able and like you said, the budget allows for the expenses and then there’s also a budget for travel. I think we went like 15 or 18 years and then kind of lowered it a little bit. <Laugh> Okay. Yeah. We call that the Gogo years. The Soso years. The no-go years. Yeah. <laugh> yeah. Cuz the bathroom breaks, you know, happen more frequently later on. And so, you know, it’s harder to travel but, or the Southwest airline seats are less comfortable. What about what is important to you going forward? Like what values can you leave to the next generation to people that you love? Is there anything in particular you want to instill in their lives?


([15:49]): I think that, aside from travel, I’m trying to find the places to fit into volunteering. Yeah. I’ve always been involved in girl Scouts and community activities and church activities. Just, you know, I think that’s aside from making friends and having that social aspect of it, it’s important to, to share time, money, advice, resources, you know, whatever and give back to the church, the community So important, you know, 40% of the people are dealing with anxiety problems today. Many of which are young women. I have three daughters, so they need mentors. Like you who’ve had life experience and have stability that can just sometimes just listen mm-hmm <affirmative> so I hope you can do that. And the girl Scouts would be a great platform considering your involvement there over the years. Yeah. Yeah. Well, good. This has been, you know, like I said, it was gonna go by fast. Yeah. And I was just having a conversation. In fact, I’ve got my questions here and, and I really kind of just went everywhere, but I was really curious about this and I appreciate you coming on today. This Been good. Oh, thank you. It’s been a pleasure and enjoy working with you guys. Yeah. I do have one more question though. Oh yes. What’s your favorite salsa? Well, after listening to all the other podcasts, I’m gonna have to call out chewies


([17:03]): Yeah. And not just because of the salsa, but the chips. Oh my gosh. You Have to have good chips to go with the salsa. Yeah. You know, the problem with those chips is I just eat the whole <laugh> that’s true. Do they still have the station where you can get up and get salsas? It might have been pre C. Yeah. No, the last time I went there, they didn’t but yeah. Oh my gosh. Yeah. That was fine. When you Can do that, it’s around lunchtime now. So you just set me up. My stomach’s already starting to grow. No, but this has been great. Thank you so much. Very much enjoyed it. Looking forward to walking life with you and seeing pictures. Hopefully you can send some pictures. I have a couple web pages, So okay, good. Yeah. Make sure that we get those and then, you know, hopefully we get you plugged into the girl Scouts and get to see you do that too. So that’s really cool. So thank you for being here today. This has been a pleasure. Thank you. Yeah. And those that are listening. Thank you for listening. I appreciate it. And, and again, I want to encourage you to text 7 48 68, just put in Texas, maybe speak with one of our advisors, a complimentary no cost consultation. And for those that may be your first episode. I want to encourage you just like I do every single week. You think different when you think long term have a great day,


([18:09]): This is the podcast factory dot.


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