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Old 10-24-2012, 01:36 AM   #1
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FI - Semi - REd

Hello everyone.

I'm thinking about participating in the community after lurking around for more than a year.

DW and I live in Scottsdale and Salt Lake. Both 50 with no kids, just 2 dogs! We live in each city for about 3 months and then move to the other location. We enjoy skiing, so that puts us in SLC for the winters and summers.

Financially, we are on the bubble of being FIREd. But then again, we are not close ( no courage! ). Our spending is just too high for 3% SWR. I don't have confidence in current portfolio valuation to commit to a 4% SWR. Firecalc gives a 96% success if we stopped working altogether.

Instead, DW works 20 hours a week (megacorp, but no pension) and I work 30 hours a week doing independent software development. The key for us is stress and neither of us has any stress. So our reduced work schedules and high spending is working for us... for now.

Passions are skiing, hiking, mountain biking, beach vacations, and working out to stay fit.

I don't have any questions at the moment... just thinking about portfolio restructuring to accommodate the challenges of changing tax rates and Obamacare in 2014. (portfolio rebalancing may be prohibitive starting in 2014).

I rarely make the effort to express my opinion. But, I will try to participate when appropriate.

Oddball info ---

Retirement accounts : 900K, After tax accounts: 1500K, 2 homes: 600K, no debt.

Preferred asset allocation is an ETF version of the Aronson portfolio (lazy portfolio). It is not my current allocation, but I am working to get there (Buy and hold and hold and hold.) I only have a few legacy, individual stocks and bonds in my portfolio. Well invested, but overweight cash at the moment. On the one hand, I know I cannot time the market. On the other hand, I don't feel the excessive government stimulus is sustainable. The excess cash allows me to sleep well and dream of market crashes... No Stress!

We don't have any specific retirement goals. We have achieved financial independence and can do the things we want, generally when we want. But, it feels strange not to have a goal.

We are probably not living below our means at the moment as we are contributing 55% of labor income to IRAs. In a sense, we are living off of savings (somewhat) while putting money into the retirement accounts.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:11 AM   #2
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Welcome UtahSkier! Hope you find a place to participate.

Your situation sounds amazingly like mine in age, occupations, situations and allocations.

I kind of envy your 30 hour independent SW job. It sounds like you have a good thing going that you can ramp down on and keep stress low, while getting more confidence on SWR and clarity on the changes in laws. Sounds like a plan to me.

I'm not RE'd yet, but I've taken a new attitude at w*rk, just trying to enjoy it while I watch the rats bite at each other. Kind of comical in a way, but unfortunate to be in a rats nest.

Had a dream about a buyout package being offered last night. Hoping that dream becomes real.

You'll see a lot of discussions about goals here. I don't think there is a right way, we all need to find our way. One goal in of itself is to enjoy what you have achieved. That's mine, especially after watching a co-worker drop dead in his goal to just make more and more and more. For what?
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:37 AM   #3
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Congratulations on a good plan, good life and thinking about the future.

I think you're smart to retain cash for now. Now that rates are low, stocks are high and we have an election after which we face some tough decisions, you should have some opportunities in the not too distant future.

I'm like you......I want to live off 2.5% of my assets. Is this too safe? Probably. But why worry if you like your current lifestyle. In the meantime I've put my cash in Vanguard limited term muni bonds.....to me that's better than the bank. And, I use index funds and ETFs since I hate paying too much to the financial community.

Enjoy the skiing.............I'd be happy if I never wore boots (any kind) again.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:02 AM   #4
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Welcome UtahSkier. As you can see from my screen name, be both enjoy the sport. DW and I skied at Park City and Alta on the back end of one of my business trips to SLC. I love Alta!!! It reminds me of Mad River Glen in Vermont.

If you're living off savings and banking 55% of your income into your IRAs, you are doing well. A 96% FireCalc success rate is pretty good. When you decide to deploy your cash hoard, you might want to look into value averaging. It is similar to dollar cost averaging but the discipline results in buying more when prices are relatively low and buying less when prices are relatively high.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:17 AM   #5
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Ha ha ha! pb4uski: I'm dense. I finally "got it!"

And I endorse the value averaging idea. Like UtahSkier, we're cash heavy. But I don't want to dump it all today into stocks. We just started using the value averaging idea and we'll see how it goes. It has a lot of merit to it.
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Old 10-24-2012, 09:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeWras View Post
Ha ha ha! pb4uski: I'm dense. I finally "got it!"

And I endorse the value averaging idea. Like UtahSkier, we're cash heavy. But I don't want to dump it all today into stocks. We just started using the value averaging idea and we'll see how it goes. It has a lot of merit to it.
How do I find out more about dollar averaging? I like the idea, buy more each month when the market is lower than the previous month but don't know nor ever heard anything about dollar averaging.....appreciate any help you can give me. thanks.
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:27 AM   #7
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pb4uski --

My first attempt at skiing was in New England back in the 80s. A very icy experience and I didn't try to ski again for a decade. But, I have now become a snow snob and the Utah snow is hard to beat. SLC works for us as we can maintain our jobs in the city and still ski 30 days a year mid week (less crowds). The mid week ski passes are very cheap.

I practice a form of value investing using the VIX. I have an automated stock purchase happening in my IRA, but I start to buy more when the VIX increases above 25. I buy more when the VIX gets above 30 and so on. I sell some (raise cash) when the VIX returns below 20.

I did this during 2008 and 2009. Unfortunately (as it turned out), I raised too much cash as the S&P exceeded 1000. So, its not perfect.

The key for me is to not pursue a strategy that causes me to worry about the outcome. In the balance between fear and greed, I am comfortable with fear... I would rather make less than risk too much.
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:54 AM   #8
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JoeWras -

The part time flexibility is great when you can find it... that and being allowed to work from home every day. I drop my rates a bit to get the flexibility I need.

I'm a geeky, nerdy kind of guy and really enjoy software development... until recently. The technology is moving to Javascript and I despise javascript.

I find myself looking forward to when I'm unemployed again and I can return to my passion of developing DNA and bioinformatics software (just dabbling). But until then, I have to stay focused on a good situation and making the most of the current opportunity.

Good luck with the buyout proposal. Its good to get one of those under your belt!
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:36 AM   #9
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Hey UtahSkier, welcome! Your situation is very similar to my own. I telecommute doing SW development, and DH takes contracts from time to time. We are also on the cusp of FIRE, but without the confidence to pull the trigger. The work is flexible, and it's nice to have some extra income, so not sure when I will actually retire (my estimated date of departure depends a lot on how much crap I encounter on a given w**k day). We also split our time between different locations. Welcome to the forum!
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:04 PM   #10
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Welcome. Look forward to your contribution. And congrats on the awesome portfolio. First time to ski was at age 27 and I skied Park City in blue jeans, yeah I was real green. Had so much fun that I took the family skiing almost every year up to a few years back. Have done Powder Mtn, Deer Park, Alta and Snowbird. Hard to beat the snow around Salt Lake.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UtahSkier View Post
JoeWras -
until recently. The technology is moving to Javascript and I despise javascript.

...

Good luck with the buyout proposal. Its good to get one of those under your belt!
Total agree on the javascript. Totally.

I do not have a buyout, I was just dreaming about it last night. Hope it comes true in the next year or two. In a twisted sort of way I'm kind of hoping for an economic correction because it may cause Megacorp to issue one. But who knows? Conversely, said correction would soften my will about my SWR, so I have to be careful what I ask for.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:37 PM   #12
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How do I find out more about dollar averaging? I like the idea, buy more each month when the market is lower than the previous month but don't know nor ever heard anything about dollar averaging.....appreciate any help you can give me. thanks.
For starers, wikipedia has a summary: Value averaging - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Also check out a couple of articles at the top of a google search: https://www.google.com/search?q=dollar+value+averaging
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Old 10-25-2012, 10:34 PM   #13
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While it is best to read the book on Value Averaging. Here is the best web page on it, Sigma Investing: Value Averaging

Also Robert Lichello wrote a book back in the early 70's called super-powered investing, about a way of investing called Synchrovest. You may like it better than Value Averaging. I have a small thread on different ways to do periodic investing you can read about Synchrovest there.
Systematic Investing Group (SIG) Message Board - InvestorsHub
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Old 10-28-2012, 02:13 AM   #14
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Welcome to the forum, UtahSkier.
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