I find it helps organize my thoughts to post here on an annual basis with progress towards a retirement plan and how the latest current thinking compares with the previous periods. So forgive the repitition if you've seen my story before and fast forward to the update at bottom.
POSTED Summer 2011
After 20 years overseas assignment, looks like events are moving in my direction to FIRE in 2012.
Mid 50's, married,no kids. Worked overseas for Oil Service Co. - hardship assignments in not so nice hell holes with some personal danger. Own house in Houston plus Oregon farm of 160 acres - decent size but non commercial. Total real estate value of $1.1M all paid for, no mortgage. No other debt, credit cards are paid in full every month, six cars and four motorcycles all paid for between Texas and Oregon.
Current salary in the mid- $200's plus bonus. Wife is stay at home / doing her own thing. Made the first million in my 40's basically through overseas assignment differentials, low out of pocket cost, tax benefits and a good run of capital gains in the market although I suffered with most in 2008. Luckily missed the big real estate crash, the Houston house is modest and farmland remains in good demand. After the first million, the second and third come fairly quickly with any kind of investment success and continued savings.
Brokerage account of $1.2M , Roth IRA of $ 0.3M, other cash savings of $0.3M all after tax. The division I head up will be divested sometime this year and am looking at share of the sale valuation plus leaving benefits in the range of $0.6M after tax. Proceeds of all the lump sum distributions to transfer to the Brokerage account. Passionate about investing and stock market.
I could hang on with the new company if I wanted to but at this point it doesn't seem worth the bother unless the rewards are superb. Frankly I have other interest I want to pursue, feel burnt out and life in a foreign country is wearing on me.
No pension, social security to start at age 70. All the calculators say that I am financially prepared to ER.
The plan at this point is to sell the house in Texas, build in Oregon and transfer residency to Oregon in 2013 after all the lump sums are paid out (for state income tax reasons). I will gentleman farm, maybe run a part time business connected with farming and get back into some of the hobbies I have been unable to pursue these many years. Medical insurance to transfer to state pool after Cobra exhausts. Not sure how my wife will adjust to farm life (Green Acres scenario) and that is probably the biggest danger to the entire plan.
Worried about the state of the USA, welfare economy and what the future holds when we can no longer sell promises (bonds) to the Chinese. So feel that rural Oregon is a good place to hunker down for a future that may be quite different than today.
POSTED Summer 2012
For the most part the divestment of the various divisions both in the USA and overseas went as planned and I realized the after tax benefits anticipated last summer. Assets now consist of $1.9MM in brokerage, $0.25MM Roth IRA, $0.3MM other plus the fully paid real estate including the Oregon farm property.
However, several UNANTICIPATED developments have arisen in the last year.
1. One of the overseas divisions did not sell and I have been asked to continue on in basically a caretaker role for the next three years while it is packaged along with other units for a strategic sale. Better salary, less stress and chance at a big 'pot of gold at the end of the rainbow' bonus at the end of three years, with or without a sale.
2. So now faced with signing on another three years overseas, which even without the big bonus will significantly upgrade financial resources available post retirement with a corresponding increase in safety margin.
3. Conclusion is that it is too tough to turn down the three additional years. It also allows enough forward visibility to begin construction of the house on the Oregon farm.
4. DW is having a tough run of medical problems back in Houston and it may be that she can never re-locate to a rural setting in Oregon.
5. So another financially based reason to hang on another three years.
I know this is common for 'one more year' to creep into the retirement decision. This is a 'three more years' variant. Part of me says just do it, the rational side says hang in there and build resources while I still can and while the rewards make it easy to save.
UPDATE Summer 2013
Financially making progress with gains in our taxable brokerage account. Like many others here, the market has been good these last months. $2.4MM in taxable brokerage, $0.25MM Roth IRA, $0.3MM other plus the fully paid real estate including the Oregon farm property.
1. The 'caretaker' job is moving right along, no worries. Feel rather bored but it is manageable. Moved the overseas house to a less stressful, more comfortable location but still in the same country.
2. DW is doing well and is under treatment / therapy for her RA. She made it out to the farm in February and will also come out for the month in September. So doing much better.
3. We both continue to work on plans for the Oregon house build. Probably be at a point where the preliminary sketchup drawings can be submitted to a design firm before year end.
4. 'Pot of gold' bonus is on track and the business is well ahead ahead of the incentive targets on a run rate basis. Barring any major economic or business crash of course. Hate to put it in the bag at this early point but looking good.
5. It took a while and a few iterations to get the 'pot of gold' negotiated so my 'three more years' was pushed back and did not start until 01 January 2013.
Next post: Summer 2014