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FIRE in 16 years
Old 03-06-2010, 04:24 PM   #1
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FIRE in 16 years

Never did say 'Hi' to everyone… rather than start out with where I am, I'll recount how I got here. Hopefully that will be of some use to those just starting out.

At age 45, I realized that like George Best, I had spent a lot of money on 'booze, birds and fast cars' and squandered the rest. Well, most of the rest anyway. I had a 130K mortgage, 58K in an IRA and a few thousand in savings - had blown most of the savings on a mid-life crisis car, a nice luxury coupe. (Can you tell I was a confirmed bachelor?)

I decided I wanted to retire early and went into mild panic mode. I started the following strategy (with hopes of retiring at 55):

1. Refinanced for 15 years and paid an extra bit each month - paid off the mortgage in about 8 years.
2. Realized that my generous and privately held MegaCorp was putting away 15% of my pay in a profit sharing program. That later changed to a 401K and I kept it at 15%. When I turned 50, I started the extra 'catch up' contributions.
3. Shifted the IRA from bank to a brokerage and made the maximum post-tax contribution to it.
4. All bonuses went into an investment account.
5. Each time I got a raise, I figured out the difference in take home pay and routed it to the savings account as a direct deposit. I figured out later if I needed to spend it on new bachelor toys. (hint - I still drive that mid-life crisis car after 18 years).

I invested with a brokerage account with a reasonable advisor helping me - I have ridden the market down twice now. It does come back, just takes years. Still down 20% from the 2007 peak but I have stayed fully invested through this recession and tracked the market back up.

I also started planning for a layoff - all too common in the high tech business. As a friend in the film business used to tell me, "Always have 'Go screw you money'." (A couple of years living expenses to be tapped if you have to leave a job.).

Did I retire at 55? No.

I finally got married at 54. We did a major remodel which depleted things a bit and I figured that I needed more to retire on since there were now two of us.

Did I go through a layoff? Yes, once - last year. Stayed with my MegaCorp for 15 years - and 4 more years in the fading remnant after it was bought out and highly leveraged by 'Equity' investors.

So, at this point I'm not sure I qualify as FI + RE - perhaps FI + UN - I am 61 and unemployed for a year, just not ready to admit retirement. A friend calls it "FUNemployed". However, FIRECalc gives us a 97% chance for 30 years at the same expenditure level as when I was employed, so I am not in panic mode for the job search.

Thanks for reading and the best to everyone here.

jasg
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Old 03-06-2010, 05:27 PM   #2
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Welcome -thanks for sharing
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Old 03-06-2010, 05:38 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum.

From your George Best comment I guess you are not originally from the USA
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Old 03-06-2010, 05:44 PM   #4
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From your George Best comment I guess you are not originally from the USA
Sorry, born and raised in rural Pennsylvania.
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Old 03-06-2010, 05:49 PM   #5
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Sorry, born and raised in rural Pennsylvania.
Oh well, just thought I'd found a fellow ex-pat. I absolutely loved George Best in his heyday and actually got to see him play.
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:03 AM   #6
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I decided I wanted to retire early and went into mild panic mode.
Panic mode. I like that description. That's what happened to me eight years ago. Panic was the price of not starting sooner.
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Old 03-08-2010, 10:56 AM   #7
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Welcome to the board, Jasg.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasg View Post
A friend calls it "FUNemployed".
Hey, I like that word!
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Old 03-09-2010, 07:46 AM   #8
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Sorry, born and raised in rural Pennsylvania.

Where? Since we are the same age, there is always the possiblity we know each other. After all there are only 14,000,000 + people in PA. Fat, slim, and none, but maybe we know the same places.
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