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39 in NYC - VERY glad to find this place
Old 10-21-2007, 10:26 AM   #1
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39 in NYC - VERY glad to find this place

Hi everyone -

So good to find this site - somehow I thought I was the only one out there planning an early retirement.

A little about me (using Maldini's post as a template):


Family Info

Married, no kids.
Committed to both of the above
I am 39 and wife is 41

Work Salary Info
Combined household income varies from $500-750k (bonus driven)

Current Savings:
$2,900,000

of which ~500k is in retirement accounts.


Asset Allocation (approx)
75% stock
15% bonds
8% alternative (private equity, gold, foreign exchange, REITs)
2% cash

I also keep another 3 or 4 months worth of expenses in cash which doesn't figure in any of the above numbers.

Approximately 1.4M (half my portfolio or 2/3 of the equity portion) is in a concentrated position in a single stock, which I cannot sell until 2009.

Of my 'directable' equity investments, I'm 60% US, 20% Europe, 18% Asia, 2% Emerging Markets. All are broad market index funds (or ETFs) except one small sectoral bet (a healthcare index ETF)


Mortgage
About 450k left. Home value around 1.5MM.


Retirement Goal
43-47.

Current Savings Rate/year:
$200k +, depending on income

Current Expenses/year
$165k.

Expected Expenses in retirement (in todays dollars)
This is the hard part. Lifestyle is one of the variables I'm playing with.

My wife and I want to retire (mostly) in Latin America - still deciding where. Ideally we would keep a (smaller, cheaper) place in NYC and spend a couple of months out of the year here, another month traveling, and the balance in the Latin American home. Of course if we give up on the NYC home it makes the whole enterprise much cheaper, in fact we could probably pull the trigger pretty soon if we did. Another variant would be to rent in NY a month or two a year, which has the added advantage of being entirely discretionary thus something we could forgo in years the markets aren't doing is well.


What I plan on doing in retirement:
My hobbies are classical piano, cooking, and reading. My wife shares the last two hobbies and draws/paints/sculpts as well.


Anyway, that's my situation in a nutshell. I just discovered this place this morning, and am still taking it all in. Expect to hear some more specific questions later. In the mean time, any questions or comments on the above are welcome.
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Old 10-21-2007, 11:43 AM   #2
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Maurice:

Welcome. You have accumulated more than most here, but since you are in the big apple, expenses are up there as well. You seem to have a good sense of what you want, the tricky part will be trying to figure what your expenses will be in your revised living situtation.

Take time to review the "best of" and the FAQ's that meet your situation. We look forward to your input.
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Old 10-21-2007, 01:55 PM   #3
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Maurice? Didn't Steve Miller sing about you?

Welcome to the Board. A lot of us older ERers (I retired at 56) wish we had gotten started sooner. You sould like you will be in great shape when you pull the plug. Here is hoping your single stock holds up until 2009./
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Old 10-21-2007, 03:17 PM   #4
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Welcome to the site, Maurice.

You've got a great gig there. What's driving your retirement goal? Burnout?
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Old 10-21-2007, 03:46 PM   #5
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Welcome. I'm also a fellow NYer who recently joined. And congrats on the NW, I think so far your stats are the best I've seen yet, especially given your age. My NW is pushing $4mm, bonus-driven income in the high six-figures, occaisionally breaking seven, but I'm mid-40's. Plan on working well into my 50's if I can, as I think career has not peaked yet and I'm having fun. Also, if I stay in NYC, I want to have a very substantial sum set aside - enough to continue present yuppentatious lifestyle (yes, I admit it).

Still, I think its prudent to start planning now, constantly reevaluating, and be prepared to move up the RE date if need be. Like you, I am a bit tied up with the stock handcuffs, but fortunately, those have been vesting rapidly over the past couple years giving me greater flexibility.

Most on this board would say that we are both already FI and could RE tomorrow, and that is clearly true on some level. Reading this board will be an eye-opener, especially in terms of all the different perspectives on cost of living and lifestyle. Us NYers tend to have some pretty skewed views on those things and some very different priorities.
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Old 10-21-2007, 04:08 PM   #6
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Aloha Maurice

As other have said you are obviously in good shape for RE. The one scary thing is your concentrated position in a single stock. I was a similar situation in 1999, fortunately for me I sold most of it at high price. Many/most of my co-workers held the stock and suffered a 80% paper loss, while many friends in smaller companies lost all of there paper millions and end up owing several hundred thousand in AMT taxes.

If possible I'd advise looking at some way to minimize the risk through the use of options like collars, stock option swaps and similar schemes.
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Old 10-21-2007, 04:12 PM   #7
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Thanks for the welcomes everyone.

Twaddle - that's kind of it - my wife and I are getting tired of the rat race. On most days I still like my job, its just that I look back at the end of a year and realize I worked too much and didn't enjoy myself enough. Also, the wife and I took a year break once before, so I know what its like on the other side.

Gekko - agreed re the FI status. The real question is lifestyle. I'm also just entering my peak earning years, and can expect my early 40s to be pretty lucrative if I keep this up. Theres a big difference between retiring with 5mm vs retiring with 8 or 10, no? On the other hand, there's something to be said for being footloose and untethered in my early 40s.
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Old 10-21-2007, 04:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice View Post
I'm also just entering my peak earning years, and can expect my early 40s to be pretty lucrative if I keep this up.
That's the acid test for ER, IMO. My net worth was sufficient, my BS bucket was full, but the hard part was walking away from the present value of my future earnings.

You're literally making a decision to walk away from millions. But, in the end, I know I made the right decision by walking away. The freedom and lack of stress is really amazing. You don't even realize you're stressed by work until you've left for a few months (the frog slowly boiled).
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Old 10-21-2007, 04:54 PM   #9
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To the points on lifestyle, stress, etc., it's something I am constantly reevaluating. In the not too distant past, wife pointed out to me that I was becoming an unhappy SOB and that I either needed to make some changes in the way I work (and play) or get off the treadmill. Right now, I've been trying to make enough changes improve the work/life/hapiness balance to a point where I (and wife) can tolerate my career for an extended period of time. Much of the changes have to do with stepping back and asking myself why I'm doing what I'm doing (in all aspects of life) and how I could do it in a way that makes me a better person. After all, what is the point of our lifestyle if doesn't bring happiness and what is the point of seeking FI if it doesn't bring freedom.

I've made many changes in attitude and approach, and I am now more inclined to stop and smell the roses, and consciously think about appreciating what I have (an interesting and lucrative career, a beautiful and loving wife, an extraordinary home, and money enough in the bank to not sweat the small stuff). I've also had to come to terms with my workaholism. Yup, I am a bonafide workaholic and so my chosen vocation is one that encourages exactly that - complete and total dedication to working like a dog in the noble pursuit of profit. Wife has spent the last 10 years trying to get me to step away from the insanity. I now realize that its in my blood, I was born with it, and I'm not going to be able to just go cold turkey someday. So, part of joining this board is the beginning of the preparations for RE, even if that might be 5-10 years from now.
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Old 10-21-2007, 04:57 PM   #10
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Are you a native New Yorker of did you move in from somewhere?
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Old 10-21-2007, 05:07 PM   #11
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I moved here 12 years ago. I lived all over before that (mostly FL, Chicago, upstate NY)
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Old 10-22-2007, 09:50 AM   #12
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Welcome to the board, Maurice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice View Post
Twaddle - that's kind of it - my wife and I are getting tired of the rat race. On most days I still like my job, its just that I look back at the end of a year and realize I worked too much and didn't enjoy myself enough. Also, the wife and I took a year break once before, so I know what its like on the other side.
Gekko - agreed re the FI status. The real question is lifestyle. I'm also just entering my peak earning years, and can expect my early 40s to be pretty lucrative if I keep this up. Theres a big difference between retiring with 5mm vs retiring with 8 or 10, no? On the other hand, there's something to be said for being footloose and untethered in my early 40s.
You're also in your peak "enjoying family" years, your peak "traveling and poking around the world" years, and your peak "Why am I putting up with all this crap!??" years.

There's also the possibility of entering the peak "I don't understand it, he seemed so healthy just last week, this is all so sudden" years. We've heard plenty of those words on this board.

There's a difference of $3-5 million in your calculations but it's only money. Spouse made one of those million-dollar decisions a few years back and we haven't missed it a bit. If we'd had the benefit of a year's ER lifestyle we wouldn't have even hesitated as long as we did.

You may find that it's a lot easier to re-develop your favorite lifestyle once you quit the job, and your personal money situation may actually improve once you're not distracted by all that work-related stuff.

I'm repeatedly stunned by the amount of money it takes to solve "problems" in NYC that are non-existent outside the megalopolis...
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Old 10-22-2007, 01:30 PM   #13
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Nords,
I grew up in NYC - Bronx - there is a mindset there that NYC is the center of the universe and anything outside of NYC is the hinterland.
After traveling around the USA and the world I discovered that the people in NYC were nuts. They live in a world of many minor insults on a daily basis and the things that they say that they like NYC for they very rarely use. It is a place that lives to work instead of working to live.
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Old 10-22-2007, 03:45 PM   #14
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Hi Maurice, welcome!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice View Post
Mortgage
About 450k left. Home value around 1.5MM.
I, too, am an NYCer. There are a few of us on here, as you can see. You mentioned keeping the place in NYC. Are you in NYC-proper, where you will be gouged monthly on maintenance fees, even after the mortgage is paid off? I'd figure out the carry costs even after payoff, and see how much it would cost for a comparable sublease/short-term lease for a month or 2, here and there.

Or, you could rent it yourself, if you prefer. But that will quickly become another "job" long term.

Just a thought
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Old 10-22-2007, 04:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
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I grew up in NYC - Bronx - there is a mindset there that NYC is the center of the universe and anything outside of NYC is the hinterland.
My PILs grew up there too, although they hasten to add that they grew up in such-and-such a part near this street, that block, and the other thing's 2nd-floor apartment. You know, the good part of the Bronx. I forget the details but I've heard enough about the 1940s Bronx lifestyle to fill a coffeetable book.

I spent four days in Manhattan last May. For those of you who live there, I was the ponytailed guy in the surfer-dude clothes who kept bumping into everyone while gawking at all the big buildings & traffic. Sorry about that.

I was going to look up various Bronx places and my spouse's Manhattan birthplace but after a couple days it just all blurred together. I don't think I'll be going back...
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Old 10-22-2007, 07:26 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Nords,
I grew up in NYC - Bronx - there is a mindset there that NYC is the center of the universe and anything outside of NYC is the hinterland.
After traveling around the USA and the world I discovered that the people in NYC were nuts. They live in a world of many minor insults on a daily basis and the things that they say that they like NYC for they very rarely use. It is a place that lives to work instead of working to live.

Did you move away while young? The type of New Yorker you describe certainly exists but it tends to be the younger set. Frankly, life here is hard enough that most people who aren't truly taking advantage of the benefits of New York leave after 10 years or so ('leave' might mean move to the burbs). That's certainly been my experience anyway.

In my case the two big attractions are (1) my industry, which is centered here and in London, and (2) the arts, as I am a classical pianist by avocation and there is quite a community here.
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Old 10-22-2007, 07:32 PM   #17
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Hi Maurice, welcome!



I, too, am an NYCer. There are a few of us on here, as you can see. You mentioned keeping the place in NYC. Are you in NYC-proper, where you will be gouged monthly on maintenance fees, even after the mortgage is paid off? I'd figure out the carry costs even after payoff, and see how much it would cost for a comparable sublease/short-term lease for a month or 2, here and there.

Or, you could rent it yourself, if you prefer. But that will quickly become another "job" long term.

Just a thought

Thanks, Olav.

My place is in the gentrified part of Brooklyn. I could definitely rent it out, but as you point out it would become its own job to do so. Plus if I were to keep it I would have it set up the way I like it which doesn't lend itself well to the rental market (e.g., no television and a very fine piano I wouldn't want renters to set their wine glass on). My wife brings up the possibility of rental, since we could probably get 6000-7500/mo for the place furnished, but I'm dead set against it.

As it turns out, the carry charges are quite low. I pay no real estate tax until 2013 and the maintenance is only $500ish (small building, no services).
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Old 10-22-2007, 07:35 PM   #18
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I spent four days in Manhattan last May. For those of you who live there, I was the ponytailed guy in the surfer-dude clothes who kept bumping into everyone while gawking at all the big buildings & traffic. Sorry about that.

I think I spilled my coffee on you - sorry!
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Old 10-22-2007, 08:21 PM   #19
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You're also in your peak "enjoying family" years, your peak "traveling and poking around the world" years, and your peak "Why am I putting up with all this crap!??" years.

There's also the possibility of entering the peak "I don't understand it, he seemed so healthy just last week, this is all so sudden" years. We've heard plenty of those words on this board.


The man speaks sooth.
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Old 10-22-2007, 09:26 PM   #20
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The man speaks sooth.
Besides the benefit of learning from Yakers' recent experiences, there's this thread:
http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...ome-20091.html
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