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A wake-up call for ER...34 in California
Old 02-14-2013, 11:48 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2013
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A wake-up call for ER...34 in California

What a fantastic forum. Yes, I've been lurking for a few weeks but it's time I come out and say hello.

I'm 34, married with 4 kids, and I'm very analytical by nature. I work from home as a Statistical Analyst in the Healthcare sector. But how did I get here, you ask? I had a wake-up call.

My DH started a new job last year. During his first week, he came home one evening telling me he found out something rather morbid at work that day. He discovered that the person formerly in his position had died...at work. The man was 63 and was only days from retirement. Other employees recalled him coming into work each morning with a cheery announcement of how many working days he had left. Then one day, sitting at his desk, he had a heart attack. The paramedics arrived, but it was too late. He died right there on the floor.

Days after hearing that story, I couldn't get it out of my mind. I started asking myself things like..."Am I going to work and save for 40 years just to end up dying before I can enjoy it?" This eventually led to a google search for "early retirement" and I found this site.

What once was a plan to put in 40 years with a respectable savings effort has become an obsession with retiring in 15 years and saving/investing like a madman.

So far, we've...

* Downsized our home from 2500 sf in an upscale neighborhood to 1000 sf in a working-class neighborhood
* Sold our extra 3rd vehicle, paid off the other two early
* SIGNIFICANTLY cut back spending, now living on only DH's income ($60k)
* Since downsizing, new mortgage is small and will be paid off in 3 years
* Saved $100k so far in a 401k
* Increased saving/investing to the point that my entire annual income ($110k) is going into 401k/Roth IRAs/Taxable Accounts

This entire process (and this forum) has been absolutely life-changing. I had never considered ER prior to last year and now that I know it's possible (from the motivational success stories found on this site) I'm more excited for our future than I've ever been.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:58 AM   #2
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Ah, we love an enthusiastic new convert around these parts! Welcome and congratulations! What a morbid start to your new lifestyle, but at least the guy's death had a positive effect on someone!
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:10 PM   #3
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Thank you for the warm welcome. I never thought about it that way, but you're right. At least SOMETHING came out of it, as awful as that sounds.
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Old 02-14-2013, 12:19 PM   #4
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Welcome aboard, phase2!

It sounds like you're making all of the right moves to ensure an early retirement.

omni
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:35 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forum.
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Very conservative with investments. Not ER'd yet, 48 years old. Please do not take anything I write or imply as legal, financial or medical advice directed to you. Contact your own financial advisor, healthcare provider, or attorney for financial, medical and legal advice.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:47 PM   #6
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While I was away on leave to be with my mother and my dying father, a co-worker collapsed at work from a heart attack and died right there. He was at most 55.

Lessons like that are everywhere, but most people don't see it. Kudos to you that you did.
Those co-workers are still doing what they were doing. Nobody took it as a wake-up call.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:59 PM   #7
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I think you get it! Welcome.
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:24 AM   #8
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I think you're making great moves for FI and doing them now gives you time leverage. The ER part is still years away and you'll be able to decide details at that time. I think the beauty of FI is that for me it greatly reduces job stress so my labs look great for my age. This improves my chances of having a good number of healthy ER years to enjoy.

Speaking of which, your list seems focused on the money side, and you might want to take steps on the health side if you're not already doing so. Diet, sleep, and exercise are everyday factors that only you control, and here I don't try to shave pennies or hours. Also preventative maintenance, take the annual physicals and get medical attention immediately when anything seems out of kilter. And pay close attention to family history, many health problems are somewhat predictable and early screening can buy time, which can make all the difference.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phase2 View Post
What a fantastic forum. Yes, I've been lurking for a few weeks but it's time I come out and say hello.

I'm 34, married with 4 kids, and I'm very analytical by nature. I work from home as a Statistical Analyst in the Healthcare sector. But how did I get here, you ask? I had a wake-up call.

My DH started a new job last year. During his first week, he came home one evening telling me he found out something rather morbid at work that day. He discovered that the person formerly in his position had died...at work. The man was 63 and was only days from retirement. Other employees recalled him coming into work each morning with a cheery announcement of how many working days he had left. Then one day, sitting at his desk, he had a heart attack. The paramedics arrived, but it was too late. He died right there on the floor.

Days after hearing that story, I couldn't get it out of my mind. I started asking myself things like..."Am I going to work and save for 40 years just to end up dying before I can enjoy it?" This eventually led to a google search for "early retirement" and I found this site.

What once was a plan to put in 40 years with a respectable savings effort has become an obsession with retiring in 15 years and saving/investing like a madman.

So far, we've...

* Downsized our home from 2500 sf in an upscale neighborhood to 1000 sf in a working-class neighborhood
* Sold our extra 3rd vehicle, paid off the other two early
* SIGNIFICANTLY cut back spending, now living on only DH's income ($60k)
* Since downsizing, new mortgage is small and will be paid off in 3 years
* Saved $100k so far in a 401k
* Increased saving/investing to the point that my entire annual income ($110k) is going into 401k/Roth IRAs/Taxable Accounts

This entire process (and this forum) has been absolutely life-changing. I had never considered ER prior to last year and now that I know it's possible (from the motivational success stories found on this site) I'm more excited for our future than I've ever been.

That's how I came to this site. My co-worker at age 40 died of a heart attack. I was planning to work till at least 55, another 15 more years. But now I'm thinking of pulling another 5 years, if I can make it because the job is really stressful. Then I will just work part time or work here 1 year and take 1 year off, if I can still get hired. Suddenly, the goal of retiring with a beachfront property doesn't seem so important
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:40 PM   #10
Confused about dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunkelblau View Post
Speaking of which, your list seems focused on the money side, and you might want to take steps on the health side if you're not already doing so. Diet, sleep, and exercise are everyday factors that only you control, and here I don't try to shave pennies or hours. Also preventative maintenance, take the annual physicals and get medical attention immediately when anything seems out of kilter. And pay close attention to family history, many health problems are somewhat predictable and early screening can buy time, which can make all the difference.
I'm not as concerned about the health side. Both DH and I are healthy, active, non-smokers, non-drinkers, clean eaters, etc. And we're lucky that we have no family history of major health issues on either side. So while I didn't mention the health side of things, it was only because there wasn't as much there to improve.

But you make an excellent point...it's rather useless to retire early, if you still die early of health problems!
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