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An eager beaver walks on FIRE
Old 05-31-2010, 12:36 AM   #1
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An eager beaver walks on FIRE

*Peeks around from corner*

Hi. Long time lurker, first time poster. A little about myself... I just turned 22 (and already miss being 21 ). I am finishing an intern stint in engineering and expect to get my mech. engg. degree in under a year. After that, who knows...

I've always been somewhat less than enthusiastic about work, even though I find no faults in my field and really don't mind it that much. If my free time weren't so damn fun, I really could see myself working until 65+ like so many others in my firm.

I don't have much in assets to speak of, although through school I've managed to be pretty frugal and took advantage of cheap Canadian schooling and generous scholarships. I've maxxed my tax-free savings account valued at ~$10,000 in some diversified ETFs, and I have about $15,000 earmarked for after-school expenses rotting in a savings account. I should graduate with a net worth around 25k.

I'm the epitome of "young dreamer"... too many paths and plans to choose from, each as exciting and daunting as the other. At this point, my largest fear is analysis paralysis, so I try to keep working towards some arbitrary goal without closing my future options... the current obsession seems to lean towards FIRE.

My biggest challenge right now in dealing with FIRE is research... there is so much I don't know yet about my own spending patterns, earning expectations and market returns. Trying to calculate a year for retirement for me feels like trying to predict the DOW price 20 years from now. I hope to use these forums to piece together some of this vital information!

The biggest draw for me in pursuing FIRE is the fact that you don't have to commit to it. I mean, if you are frugal and save a ton for 10 years then suddenly decide "damn, I love my job and I think I would really like to stick around for a long time" then you can just buy something nice for you or the kids. However, if you commit to spending then suddenly realize 10 years later you hate your life, the bills have still got to be paid. The freedom of choice is much more liberating to me than the goal of RE itself, at this point.

I think I have rambled on long enough, thank you for listening... I love long arguments discussions, and hope to write up many more walls of text in future debates.
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eager beaver - n. Informal - One that is exceptionally, often excessively industrious or zealous: "The eager beavers of industry seldom reach their potential, much less rise to the top" (Newsweek).
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Old 05-31-2010, 09:40 AM   #2
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The biggest draw for me in pursuing FIRE is the fact that you don't have to commit to it. I mean, if you are frugal and save a ton for 10 years then suddenly decide "damn, I love my job and I think I would really like to stick around for a long time" then you can just buy something nice for you or the kids. However, if you commit to spending then suddenly realize 10 years later you hate your life, the bills have still got to be paid. The freedom of choice is much more liberating to me than the goal of RE itself, at this point.
It doesn't have to be a black/white hate/love your job situation, either. Financial freedom allows you to choose what you want to do, plain and simple. You always know you can quit, even if you don't want to. When opportunities arise, unlike so many others, you can jump on them whether it's to buy land, take an adventure, adopt a baby, or start a business.

My spouse and I started out at your age with a firm goal of achieving financial freedom. We didn't know yet what we were going to do with it.

If you get used to living below your means and knowing the difference between wants and needs now, you'll be set. For us, the big lesson was how cheaply we could live really well and truly enjoy ourselves. That lesson continues to pay off now that we're retired in our 40s. Good luck!
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:04 AM   #3
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The first thing to do is start saving and keep your expenses low. The lower your expenses, the more you can save, and the less you need to save in order to FIRE. Not a lot of initial planning involved to get started with that.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:44 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies

fancy free - I'm glad someone responded who has been in my position! Can I ask you what % of your household earnings you decided to put towards savings and eventual RE? I would like to know what has worked for others, after all.

animorph - So far, I've managed to keep my expenses pretty low, but I still have much to learn on frugality... been able to save over 50% of my internship pay by still acting like a broke college student . Do you have any tips on how to LBYM while all your friends end up getting well-paying jobs and quintuple their living expenses? Keeping up with the Joneses isn't such a problem for me, but I can't speak for my girlfriend...

Again, thanks for the help!
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:49 AM   #5
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My girlfiriend and I did move to a rented house when I graduated and started making "real" money, but we shopped to find something not too outrageously expensive and kept costs down by continuing to use college furniture and not "decorate" the place. It also served as inventive to get us to reduce expenses so we could save up a down payment for a place of our own.

My best success came in using 401k and IRA to the maximum allowed limits. I wish I had saved a little more outside of these accounts, but by putting as much as I could in "restricted" accounts I guaranteed that I left it alone to grow.
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Old 05-31-2010, 05:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
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fancy free - I'm glad someone responded who has been in my position! Can I ask you what % of your household earnings you decided to put towards savings and eventual RE? I would like to know what has worked for others, after all.
Since we were self-employed, that % changed from year to year. Suffice to say, we saved a very large percentage during our highest-earning years. We kept our living expenses very low and saved everything else.

No one would have guessed our income from our wardrobes or cars!
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