Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
51, FIRE'd two months ago
Old 06-27-2008, 06:26 PM   #1
Recycles dryer sheets
shotgunner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 454
51, FIRE'd two months ago

My name is Pete and I FIRE’d this past April at age 51. It was not an easy decision. FWIW on the first day following leaving my job I went to the barber shop to get a haircut, I opened the paper and read a former classmate’s (7th grade through college) obituary. He was killed by a tree he was cutting at his summer home in Maine. I put the paper down more convinced than ever I had made the right decision.

My story. I worked every day for 28 years after graduating from college, early retirement was always a goal I had set for myself. I never made a lot of money, but I kept my expenses low, saved and invested since day one of working. I went through a divorce and that could have derailed my plans, however my father died and left me assets that offset that loss. My mother died at age 63 from cancer, she was sick with it at 61 and never got to retire. That also strengthened my resolve.

I cared for my father who had alzheimer’s for three years. I saw first hand the physical and mental decline of the person I admired most. We had caregivers in his house, he was in assisted living and then a nursing home. My eyes were wide open to the relentless march of time and the finite nature of life. His last gift to me was literally like the ghost of Christmas yet to come who visited Scrooge.

After his death I worked full time for three years, adjusting, healing, planning. During my father’s journey I met and worked with two professionals I came to trust, an attorney and a financial advisor. Following my father’s death I put my own house in order, will, living will, revocable trust During 2006 I decided to keep and stay in my father’s home, a 1000 sq ft ranch. It is in a nice neighborhood, convenient location. Taxes and all utility costs come to just over $800 a month (that includes a pre-buy for propane heat for the coming winter). During 2006 I extensively repaired and remodeled the home, new everything, kitchen, bath, electric, deck and tub, siding, roof and appliances.

I live a modest life but do all the things I enjoy which is mainly shooting clay pigeons, fishing and hunting. I looked at my spending in 2006 and 2007 and was doing what I wanted on a net of 28K.

I decided to FIRE in April of this year. Time marches on, I am keenly aware. My thought was the possibility of running out of money and returning to work in the future was less of a mistake than staying at work with the possibility of losing my health or worse before enjoying life on my terms.

I had to secure health insurance before leaving work and what I did was to buy a catastrophic plan with a 5K annual deductible and open/fund an HSA. My current premium is $288 a month and my health is excellent.

My net worth is between 1,2 and 1.3M including the house at 200K. I am by nature very conservative in all things including money. My asset position is 275K in cash and I bonds, 50K in munis, 325K in Tax Managed Mutual Funds split between Value and Growth with more in Value. My basis in the Mutual Funds is about 75%. More retirement accounts consist of $80K in TIAA/CREF (50K in TIAA and 30K in Inflation adjusted Bond. $140K in a Metlife Annuity that guarantees principle and at least 5% growth per year, (my basis in this account is 130K of already taxed money). $130K in an Allianz IRA that provides principle guarantee (111K principle).

So here I sit with absolutely no debt. Three weeks after I retired I returned to my old job as an hourly with a guaranteed year of employment. I work 20 hours a week, and gross about 30K from it. I was not anticipating this happening.

Currently I can live my life comfortable on about $32K a year, if my income was to come 100% from my portfolio I could do so almost tax free given current capital gains taxes and my position. I live in NH and do not pay sales or income tax.

Life is better. More time, less stress. There is always going to be something to worry about, that is life, nothing is predictable except the words of my later father; “You can always get more money, you can never get more time”.

I would appreciate anyone’s thoughts on my position and philosophy. Thanks for reading.

__________________

__________________
shotgunner is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 06-27-2008, 07:10 PM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
bbbamI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Dallas 'burb
Posts: 9,039
Outstanding philosophy Pete. As far as your position is concerned, it looks fine to me...I happen to be more on the conservative side as well.

Welcome to the forum.
__________________

__________________
There's no need to complicate, our time is short..
bbbamI is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2008, 08:11 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Purron's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 5,584
Pete,

I am impressed with your story, particularly with how you took care of your dad in his time of need. My husband and I were also influenced by the loss of our fathers at an early age.

You appear to have a good handle on everything and I look forward to hearing more about your experiences in retirement.
__________________
I purr therefore I am.
Purron is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2008, 08:49 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Moemg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sarasota,fl.
Posts: 10,035
Welcome to the forum !
__________________
Moemg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2008, 10:19 PM   #5
Full time employment: Posting here.
Dog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 781
Welcome to the board. I have lost friends over the past few years and lost my father last year. Thankfully he lived a full life. He was very proud of what he was able to accomplish and adored his children and grandchildren. Losing family and friends puts life into perspective.
Best of luck in your first year of retirement. You seem to be well grounded. Keep us in the loop as the days, weeks and months pass.
__________________
Dog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-27-2008, 11:06 PM   #6
Dryer sheet wannabe
Shafer239's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Tampa
Posts: 17
Pete,
I too am impressed with your story. It is a testament to how hard work, focus, and determination can make a you a millionaire (in more ways than financial) and lead to comfortable secure retirement even with a modest income and the typical setbacks that life deal.
I am at same crossroad you were at in April and am striving to reach the enlightenment that you obvioulsy have found. Best of luck and good wishes to you.
__________________
I am not afraid of flying, it's the crashing and burning that worries me.
Shafer239 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2008, 03:40 AM   #7
Recycles dryer sheets
Medit8's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 119
Welcome Pete (as one Granite State person to another). Sounds like you got your ducks lined up just fine to me. Just came back from the White Mountains. Ain't it a treat this time of year?
__________________
Ty Webb to Carl Spackler: "Got a pond...got a pool and a pond. Pond would be good for you."
Medit8 is offline   Reply With Quote
My other plans
Old 06-28-2008, 04:18 AM   #8
Recycles dryer sheets
shotgunner's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 454
My other plans

One of my quandries for ER was what to do in a NH winter. I don't ski or ice fish. The days are short and cold. There is plenty to do and enjoy in the nice weather so I thought I will occupy my time with work, but where does one go to find work in the winter only? Turns out there are such jobs. My orginal plan consisted of working in the shooting sports department of the Kittery Trading Post for 12 hours a week (shooting and hunting being my passion). It is slow in retail after Christmas but oil and propane companies need seasonal delivery drivers, Dec-Feb. It pays fairly decent too. The company I was going to work for had a Golf Pro who worked those three months and would take every hour of over-time they would give him and he was making 20K. They have offered me a such a job but I can work as few or as many days as I want. Now I have been a desk jockey for 28 years but I have a strong work ethic. I also grew up working on a farm and ran heavy equipment and was driving trucks as adolescent. So this was plan to provide some structure and a little additional income in the early part of my ER. Like I said the possibility of working P/T at my old job was not there until I left (I don't thnk management had really thought about what my leaving would do until the reality of my desk being empty). Come the winter of 09/10 I might be doing the truck driving gig, we shall see what happens financially at my old place of work.

Yes the White Mountians are wonderful. Today I am on my way to the Squam Lake area, Holderness, for a social gathering of all the state's hunter ed instructors. Last week I was riding around the back roads of the Tamworth and Ossippee area on my motorcycle with two old friends from grade school days. We had gone up to Laconia for Bike Week.

I can tell you this, after 28 years of steady work the first day of ER felt weird, frankly it felt too self indulgent. I think my mind was still on the go. two months later I am starting to decompress, much more comfortable and relaxed. Did any other ER's experience this? I am thinking like any BIG change in life it is going to take a year or so to adjust. My advice to anyone is about to jump, don't make any BIG decisions like returning to work or evening taking a P/T job for the first 6 months. Get used to the new reality first.
__________________
shotgunner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-28-2008, 08:11 AM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Moemg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sarasota,fl.
Posts: 10,035
Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunner View Post
. Did any other ER's experience this? I am thinking like any BIG change in life it is going to take a year or so to adjust. My advice to anyone is about to jump, don't make any BIG decisions like returning to work or evening taking a P/T job for the first 6 months. Get used to the new reality first.
This is excellent advice which I did not heed . Two months after retiring I agreed to one day a week . The money was great but I started to resent even that one day . Now I am fully retired and enjoying it . It did take me several months to decompress and start forming my retired life .
__________________
Moemg is offline   Reply With Quote
Just retired as well
Old 06-28-2008, 08:55 AM   #10
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 44
Just retired as well

Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunner View Post
One of my quandries for ER was what to do in a NH winter. I don't ski or ice fish. The days are short and cold. There is plenty to do and enjoy in the nice weather so I thought I will occupy my time with work, but where does one go to find work in the winter only? Turns out there are such jobs. My orginal plan consisted of working in the shooting sports department of the Kittery Trading Post for 12 hours a week (shooting and hunting being my passion). It is slow in retail after Christmas but oil and propane companies need seasonal delivery drivers, Dec-Feb. It pays fairly decent too. The company I was going to work for had a Golf Pro who worked those three months and would take every hour of over-time they would give him and he was making 20K. They have offered me a such a job but I can work as few or as many days as I want. Now I have been a desk jockey for 28 years but I have a strong work ethic. I also grew up working on a farm and ran heavy equipment and was driving trucks as adolescent. So this was plan to provide some structure and a little additional income in the early part of my ER. Like I said the possibility of working P/T at my old job was not there until I left (I don't thnk management had really thought about what my leaving would do until the reality of my desk being empty). Come the winter of 09/10 I might be doing the truck driving gig, we shall see what happens financially at my old place of work.

Yes the White Mountians are wonderful. Today I am on my way to the Squam Lake area, Holderness, for a social gathering of all the state's hunter ed instructors. Last week I was riding around the back roads of the Tamworth and Ossippee area on my motorcycle with two old friends from grade school days. We had gone up to Laconia for Bike Week.

I can tell you this, after 28 years of steady work the first day of ER felt weird, frankly it felt too self indulgent. I think my mind was still on the go. two months later I am starting to decompress, much more comfortable and relaxed. Did any other ER's experience this? I am thinking like any BIG change in life it is going to take a year or so to adjust. My advice to anyone is about to jump, don't make any BIG decisions like returning to work or evening taking a P/T job for the first 6 months. Get used to the new reality first.
I just retired in March and know exactly what you are experiencing. Being a Type "A" who worked in the corporate world for 24 years, I am slowing moving from a mentality of "I have to do something every minute" to living in the present and enjoying the gift of life. I believe the American corporate culture has programmed us to be as productive as possible at ALL times and we can not do unproductive things lest we feel guilty. It is this feeling of guilt at doing stuff that I normally felt as unproductive and a waste of one's time, that I am gradually replacing with a more sensible approach to enjoying life's gifts. It's not an easy behavior to overcome after practicing it over my lifetime in order to achieve the goal of ER however, I believe I will gradually transition to a life state of living more in the present and enjoying what I am experiencing in the here and now rather than constantly planning for future "successes" and constantly working to achieve them. Hope this makes sense.
__________________
freddyw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-29-2008, 07:25 AM   #11
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 162
Quote:
Originally Posted by freddyw View Post
I believe the American corporate culture has programmed us to be as productive as possible at ALL times and we can not do unproductive things lest we feel guilty.
You are right--it is getting bad out there. With technology, there is little down time. People are sending emails on weekends and late at night, and expecting answers. Folks go on vacation, take the laptop, and send messages at night from the hotel. It used to be that you left the office. Now that is more difficult. We do not have blackberries, yet, but I can see that day coming. Cell phones do not help either.

It is not that bad where I am now, but it has ramped up over the past decade. As it gets harder, more intense, and more 24/7, I see more people looking to move to the ER lifestyle (now if they would live LBYM to get to the FI to be able to RE!).
__________________
firewhen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2008, 10:53 AM   #12
Confused about dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Eagan
Posts: 6
Very nice story and congratulations to you! Enjoyed your followup comments too. You certainly did the right thing in my opinion. I recently quit my corporate job after 30 years at 55 y.o. Life is too short. My younger brother died 9 years ago of Leukemia and my mother just passed away in March. Still having the concern of whether I did the right thing by quiting and having second thoughts but hope to get reasonable part time job to fill in the time and make some extra bucks. It does take time to get used to the idea of not working. I worked since I was 15 year old in high school and college etc. and thirty years with the corporate world and it is a very difficult transition to not be working all of a sudden.
__________________
uswpas15 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-14-2008, 02:03 PM   #13
Recycles dryer sheets
newlife06's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by shotgunner View Post
It was not an easy decision...I had made the right decision.

My story...my father died and left me assets that offset that loss. My mother died at age 63 from cancer, she was sick with it at 61 and never got to retire. That also strengthened my resolve.

...My eyes were wide open to the relentless march of time and the finite nature of life. His last gift to me was literally like the ghost of Christmas yet to come who visited Scrooge.

...Following my father’s death I put my own house in order, will, living will, revocable trust...I live a modest life but do all the things I enjoy...I decided to FIRE in April of this year. Time marches on, I am keenly aware. My thought was the possibility of running out of money and returning to work in the future was less of a mistake than staying at work with the possibility of losing my health or worse before enjoying life on my terms.

Life is better. More time, less stress. There is always going to be something to worry about, that is life, nothing is predictable except the words of my later father; “You can always get more money, you can never get more time”.

I would appreciate anyone’s thoughts on my position and philosophy. Thanks for reading.
Shotgunner, my story runs parallel with yours for the most part. Our ability to RE with FI a reality was also due to the passing of a relative. My hubby retired immediately, and I followed him about 7 months later. I loved my job and my employer, therefore it was difficult to give it up. However, my hubby's new lifestyle was quite intrigueing to me...Ha Ha.

My mother also passed as yours did and made me sad she couldnt realize her retirement dreams.

Although our loss created a whole new financial freedom we never dreamed of, we have been humbled by it and take pride in the awesome responsibility to be good if not great stewards of her financial gains. We also immediately put our "affairs" in order, and began to appreciate the gift of life we were given. We began with a complete overhaul of our health, resulting in a tremendous weight loss (hubby: 100lbs, me: 55lbs) and clothing size loss we havent seen in over 20 years! All thanks to hiring a wonderful personal trainer who comes to our home 3 days a week.

Being humbled by the ability to gain back time as opposed to trying to hang unto money & careers, appreciating our relationship more, and eventually mentoring a young person's career choice is definitely worth the scariness of retiring early!

Congrats and Good Luck!
__________________

__________________
newlife06 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Who is FIRE'd outside the U.S.? Trek Life after FIRE 16 11-07-2007 10:45 AM
FIRE'd only: What's your time vs. money tradeoff free4now FIRE and Money 8 01-26-2007 07:00 PM
Q for FIRE'd, cheap booze-hounds brewer12345 Other topics 0 10-11-2006 04:07 PM
Stop the world, I wanna get off! I'm FIRE'd UP... acg Hi, I am... 12 11-09-2005 01:20 PM
Contributing to Roth IRAs while one of couple is FIRE'd LOL! FIRE and Money 4 06-26-2005 03:04 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:36 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.