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Old 01-29-2010, 01:21 AM   #1
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Does this "Submit" button really work?

Well, this is a very strange moment. I've been lurking on this board devotedly for eight long years. I even remember dryer sheets. I'm a 46-yr-old single guy living in Southern California.

Eight years ago I was flat broke and unemployed, despite a grueling, six-month-long job search. I was living in a friend's spare bedroom, and I was miserable.

I had been raised to believe that money was an afterthought, a necessary evil, and that friends and being a good person were all that mattered. Eight years ago I learned that that attitude is punished mercilessly in this world. I learned that, while friends and goodness are what make life worthwhile, financial independence is an absolute prerequisite to peace of mind and anything resembling real freedom.

All along I resisted posting anything here. Part of it was that I didn't feel qualified, since I wasn't early-retired. I was definitely a Young(ish) Dreamer, but I told myself I wouldn`t post until I was really FIRED, no matter how long that took. So I just keep reading the board night after night, year after year. I did register a while back, just to reserve a screen name I liked. And I FireCalced, FireCalced, FireCalced, over and over, up, down, and sideways. Of course, I Bogled, Bernsteined, and ESR-Bobbed too.

Today I gave 30-day notice at my job as a software developer. A 3-4% withdrawal rate will give me the lifestyle I want: simple, free, nomadic, and global. I've lived and travelled extensively overseas and know that I love it. The Terhorsts and Kalderlis are on my short list of heroes.

So I'll spend the spring fishing with my dad, and the summer travelling in one of the many (cheaper) regions of the world that I'm thirsty to explore. Afterwards, I'll rinse and repeat. I'm sure there will be some setbacks, but nothing I can't overcome. To be honest, right now I'm experiencing a strange mix of terror and joy.

So at last I've written the post that was eight years in the making! In those eight years there were many, many moments of darkness and doubt, and coming to this board each night helped pull me through. You folks reminded me that there truly is a way out of the corporate meat grinder, and that real freedom and clarity are achievable. Thank you.
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Old 01-29-2010, 01:35 AM   #2
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Congratulations on giving your 30-day notice!

And you know - - you didn't have to wait for eight years simply because you weren't retired quite yet. But now that you're here, welcome.
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Old 01-29-2010, 02:12 AM   #3
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Hi Onward, welcome!

Achieving FIRE in 8 years, what a great accomplishment! I would love to hear more about your nomadic retirement plans.

Again, welcome.
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Old 01-29-2010, 02:13 AM   #4
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Wow, what a story! From broke to fired in 8 years? That's impressive.

Welcome to the board, and please don't be a stranger.
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Old 01-29-2010, 03:54 AM   #5
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Welcome to the board! Congrats on the 30-day notice. Sounds like a very inspiring story.
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Old 01-29-2010, 07:08 AM   #6
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Onward, I am so happy for you and your story is similar to mine - it took me 6 years to go from zero to FI and I didn't feel ready to post to the board until I was fully semi-retired (which I am as of last week). Hoping to fully retire in a few months unless the market takes a dive in the future, in which case even semi-retirement sounds good.

I've spent much time lurking here as well - probably every day for the last 6 months and off and on over a number of years. This board showed the light at the end that I knew could be out there for me if I buckled down and saved enough.

I still haven't posted an intro post though, so it's awesome that your intro is your first post!
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Old 01-29-2010, 07:08 AM   #7
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That is a very inspiring story you told us. WOW

Congrats on your decision Did you perchance hear the sound of an anchor being thrown overboard (anchor chain rattling) and a huge splash (kerplunk) when you gave your notice?

Welcome and jump right in....
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Old 01-29-2010, 08:40 AM   #8
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Good for you. I don't want to know the financial details in case they are precarious
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:35 AM   #9
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Assuming that your expenses are very low, say $15,000 per year, then you had to accumulate $375,000 in eight years, or an average increase of $47,000 each year. Very doable if the job you got paid well.
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:17 AM   #10
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Congratulations on your ER and an impressive performance. Welcome to the forum, you have quite a bit of catching up to do on that rusty submit button...
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:18 AM   #11
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Welcome Onward. Now -onward. I used that expression many times when at a loss or a standstill with no obvious solution -.
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIREdreamer View Post
Hi Onward, welcome!

Achieving FIRE in 8 years, what a great accomplishment! I would love to hear more about your nomadic retirement plans.

Again, welcome.
Not to sound glib, but I'm interested in going everywhere I haven't been, as long as it's not a war zone. High on my list are Belize, Guatemala, North-Eastern Brazil, Patagonia, Laos, Borneo, North Africa and Turkey. And those are just the affordable places. I learned (too late) that, in travelling, for me at least, the less I spend, the more fun I have. It seems to be one of life's lovely little paradoxes.

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Assuming that your expenses are very low, say $15,000 per year, then you had to accumulate $375,000 in eight years, or an average increase of $47,000 each year. Very doable if the job you got paid well.
Haha! I knew someone would do the math. Actually, my annual budget is somewhat more, and includes a cushion and some fixed expenses I have. Until now I never calculated what I accumulated per year. Looking at it, I guess it's pretty impressive. My salary was good, and I've kept to a very spartan lifestyle. So spartan that I couldn't really recommend it. But I had to make up for a lot of lost time.
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Old 01-29-2010, 12:37 PM   #13
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Onward- Very cool story. I also have lurked for many years...using the forum to learn about an alternative to the seemingly endless road of often soul deadening work. I'm exiting the world of compensated labor this spring. I'm sure there are many other lurkers who've had ideas for non-traditional paths sparked by the things they read here.

Welcome!
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Old 01-29-2010, 12:49 PM   #14
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I also found that the less money I spent on a trip, the more likely I'll have a good time. I have backpacked on a (somewhat) tight budget in China, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, and had a great time in all of them. It really showed me that there is no linear relationship between money spent and enjoyment.
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Old 01-29-2010, 01:10 PM   #15
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Welcome to the boards. Sometimes we don't know what we want to achieve, or if we do, we don't know that achieving it is even possible. Like a lot of people, I found these boards to be helpful to me in focusing what the goal was and then how to get there with what we could do. Unfortunately money is part of the equation for most of us--you may not need much to travel to and within those countries, for example, but you need some.

I'm so glad you made it, and in not much time in the scope of things (or as Dear Abby would say, where would you have been in eight years if you hadn't focused on FIRE? answer: another eight years away from it). You are still a young dreamer in my book.

Congratulations and keep posting now that you've broken the ice--I want to hear about fishing with your father!
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Old 01-29-2010, 11:21 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by ls99 View Post
Now -onward. I used that expression many times when at a loss or a standstill with no obvious solution -.
I think that's how I meant it: I don't know what the future holds, but let's get on with it.

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I also have lurked for many years...using the forum to learn about an alternative to the seemingly endless road of often soul deadening work. I'm exiting the world of compensated labor this spring.
It sounds like we have a lot in common!

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I have backpacked on a (somewhat) tight budget in China, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, and had a great time in all of them. It really showed me that there is no linear relationship between money spent and enjoyment.
It's always driven me crazy that on many of my trips, my biggest expense wasn't the travelling at all, but the bloated overhead I was having to maintain back home.
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Old 01-30-2010, 02:28 PM   #17
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Definitely one of the most unique introduction posts I have seen on the board. Welcome and congratulations on your accomplishments.
From 0 to FIRED in 8 years is pretty amazing. Leaves me curious as to how you did it.
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Old 01-30-2010, 02:44 PM   #18
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Wow I'm envious! I've been retired 2 years would love to take a few trips but I have 2 old pets, cat & dog both on meds twice a day. The dog especially has a lot of health issues so here I am for the time being!
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:06 PM   #19
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From 0 to FIRED in 8 years is pretty amazing. Leaves me curious as to how you did it.
Well, it's not a lavish FIRE. My lifestyle will be similar to the Terhorsts or Kalderlis, both of whom have been great inspirations to me.

Anyway, here's what I did:

2002: Shook fist at sky and swore I'd never be broke again. Made financial independence my first and only priority. Finally found a job. It was relatively low-paying, but I was desperate. Lived like a monk. Found this forum. Read A Random Walk Down Wall St. Invested as big a chunk of every paycheck as possible in stock index ETFs.

2003: Read Your Money or Your Life. I think it actually changed the physiological structure of my brain. Started re-using dryer sheets. Invested regularly.

2004: Beat down screaming wanderlust. Slogged it out at work. Read Kyosaki, which (to me) was 99% fluff and 1% revelation. Asked for a 50% raise at work. Got 25%. Moonlighted also. Invested regularly.

2005: Read Terhorst. So there really was a way to pull this off! Invested even more vigorously, but wanderlust grew so strong I couldn't sleep. Took a long trip to Rio de Janero. Promptly got lost in the sensuality of the place and charged up thousands on my credit cards. Many magnificent moments, but a setback for FIRE.

2006: Back to work. Paid off credit cards. Boss resents my trip to Rio and abuses me heavily. Quit and start contracting. Pay is better but less consistent. Invested regularly.

2007: Read Four Pillars. Gave me an even stronger appreciation for diversification. Started mixing some bonds, REITs, and commodities in. Can't deny that some of this was probably performance chasing. A steady customer was giving me a pretty good income. Eventually joined them as full-time employee, working from home. Invested regularly.

2008: O crap.

2009: Felt like vomiting, so forced myself to put every spare dollar into stocks. Read Work Less, Live More. Pushed me further toward slice-and -dice. Eventually added more bonds. Cut expenses even further. Led a very unbalanced, dream-like life. No trips, no dates, no splurges. The only thing that seemed real were my bi-monthly transfers to Vanguard.

2010: Slimy, power-thirsty creatures at work are making me miserable, even at a distance. Friends' kids are growing up, seasons are passing, and I'm going grey. Read Kalderlis' e-book. They're doing it, and so can I. FireCalc agrees. Time to jump.
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Old 01-30-2010, 10:13 PM   #20
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Thanks for the chronology! I can totally relate! Every time I leave the US for more than a week, I feel totally refreshed but reluctant to come back. This is made worse by meeting and befriending all the backpackers who are on 6-month trips to "find themselves." I hope it's my turn soon!
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