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FIRE'd 2 months before my 47th birthday woot :-)
Old 05-12-2015, 01:10 AM   #1
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FIRE'd 2 months before my 47th birthday woot :-)

After some itchy feet and early signs of onset of one more year syndrome I gave my notice in yesterday and quit being a wage slave for good.

I'd been FI for a while but somehow couldn't make the jump to RE. Then a minor motorcycle accident which resulted in a broken wrist and minor op gave me the time to check my sums and priorities. In the end I just figured this was always my plan why not jump? Funny how something unpleasant turned out to be the final boot needed to quit. A retention bonus (gotta love the irony) that boosted my funds a little didn't hurt either, unlike the wrist which does ;-)

Final exit date TBC but hoping to escape before my 1 month notice period, looking forward to living life on my own terms.
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Old 05-12-2015, 02:45 AM   #2
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Congratulations! I gave notice a couple of weeks ago and my last day will be June 15th, five months and 1 day before my 47th birthday. Still not 100% sure if this is real FIRE for me -- might be a semi-FIRE situation or just a sabbatical, depending on what my DH decides to do over the next year or two (he is not ready to keep working yet). But we are FI on paper, and I'll be working hard to convince him we should both FIRE.


Good luck working as little as possible during your notice period. I decided to take my own surgery last week as an opportunity to take some of my PTO before my last day. Enjoying having most of this week off.
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Old 05-12-2015, 02:51 PM   #3
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Congrats to you both!
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Old 05-12-2015, 07:22 PM   #4
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+1 especially on FIREing before 50. Do either of you have any words of wisdom to the 3- and 40 somethings lurking on this forum? How did you do it?
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Old 05-12-2015, 07:54 PM   #5
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Congrats and welcome to the club! :-)

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Old 05-13-2015, 09:15 AM   #6
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Congrats on making the early retirement jump. I am in the OMY club....
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Old 05-13-2015, 09:42 AM   #7
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Congratulations and I will read with interest your advice for the other 30- and 40-somethings looking to do similar.
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Old 05-13-2015, 12:35 PM   #8
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Congrats. I feel joy each time I read a new FIRE post!


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Old 05-13-2015, 07:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
+1 especially on FIREing before 50. Do either of you have any words of wisdom to the 3- and 40 somethings lurking on this forum? How did you do it?
1) Avoid debt like the plague. Neither of us had school loans, we've never taken a loan for a car, and I have only paid consumer interest twice in my life -- once on credit card bills I incurred right at the end of my BA period (before my graduate scholarships started) to attend my best friend's wedding out of state, and once when I forgot to set up automatic payment on a credit card. We have had mortgages but the leverage we got in rapidly appreciating markets (NYC and Beijing) made those "good" debt. (see more details in point 4 below)

2) Live below your means. DH and I met in grad school and didn't start our professional careers/salaries until 1999. We tried not to let lifestyle creep affect us too much, especially in the early years of working FT. Bought less house than we could "afford" (essentially kept our mortgage levels to what we could pay on one salary), aligned spending with values (ala Your Money or Your Life), and made strategic use of retirement and college savings options. We have made roughly 100-150k between us over the past 15 years. Used to save 30-50% of that, on average. Savings rate dropped dramatically a couple of years ago when we bit the bullet and put the kids in proper, expensive international schools (to the tune of $60k+ out of pocket/year). But we were able to make that choice because we had a huge asset base built up already, and our long term investments have continued to grow nicely so even though we aren't saving as much anymore I think we are set for the long term.

3) Invest regularly, and as much as you can. Actually we weren't as good about this as we could have been. There were a few periods when we kept an extremely large cash stash because we were waiting to purchase property and/or didn't know what would be happening income wise (I left a job about 8 years ago without something else lined up, and we cut way back on retirement savings during that period).

4) Get lucky with real estate. This has been a huge factor for us. We bought a lovely co-op in Queens in 2000 for 120k that we sold for $280k in 2003. We kept the proceeds in liquid form, because we eventually wanted to buy a house in China, from 2003-2009 -- but at least during most of that period we were getting 4-5% interest on it in high yield savings accounts. Then in 2009 we managed to purchase a condo in Beijing at the absolute bottom of the market. We paid mostly cash, taking out a mortgage for around $290k. In US$. Smart move, as our payment has stayed steady in dollar terms at around $1880/month, while the dollar has depreciated and the apartment has skyrocketed in value (worth more than 3 times what we paid currently, and that is after a drop in the past year). DH gets a housing allowance that covers about 1/3 of the monthly payment. We get another $150 or so a month from renting out our two parking spaces. At this point what we pay out of pocket is all going to principal. True FIRE awaits the sale of the apartment, which will set us up for life. But even if it dropped in value by 50%, we would still be FIREable.

5) Buy, don't sell during any economic downturn. This was really key for us. When things started to tank in late 2008, I started tracking our net worth daily and made a promise to myself that we would only buy, not sell, while things were looking bad. That proved to be very, very smart. Not only were we able to use our significant cash stash to snap up our apartment at a bargain basement price, I was able to strategically throw a good bit of the remaining cash into retirement and kids college funds in 2008-10. As the market recovered, those investments appreciated nicely.

I do recognize that we have been very, very lucky. But we have also made some good/smart choices. That is really what it is all about. Learning to wait for the marshmallow. I'm sure glad I did. I've got decades of freedom awaiting me as a result.
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Old 05-14-2015, 11:44 AM   #10
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Congratulations to all the pre-50 FIREs !
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Old 05-14-2015, 05:51 PM   #11
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Congrats, you beat me. Retired at 49 years 5 months. 16 months now.

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FIRE'd 2 months before my 47th birthday woot :-)
Old 05-14-2015, 05:58 PM   #12
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FIRE'd 2 months before my 47th birthday woot :-)

Fired at 45 and 8 months here. Still in surreal mode ...

So... China has been good to you ... Beijing real estate. Good call. You have done well. Smart move -- wish I had bought in 2008!

That said ... I have talked to many neighbors and friends who are rich on paper with Beijing villas and apartments but now find they can't easily sell their places - even right next to the top international schools. It's a strange and difficult market now that local buyers need to adequately account for and prove funds - eg. sources of their money. And when you sell... It can be slow / less than easy to move your cash back out of china. Not impossible but.... Be sure to research this thoroughly and consider doing a dollar-based offshore sale transaction when that time comes.
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:10 PM   #13
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So awesome congrats!!!!
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Old 05-14-2015, 11:24 PM   #14
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Fired at 45 and 8 months here. Still in surreal mode ...

So... China has been good to you ... Beijing real estate. Good call. You have done well. Smart move -- wish I had bought in 2008!

That said ... I have talked to many neighbors and friends who are rich on paper with Beijing villas and apartments but now find they can't easily sell their places - even right next to the top international schools. It's a strange and difficult market now that local buyers need to adequately account for and prove funds - eg. sources of their money. And when you sell... It can be slow / less than easy to move your cash back out of china. Not impossible but.... Be sure to research this thoroughly and consider doing a dollar-based offshore sale transaction when that time comes.
Yes, that is hopefully in the cards. We will at the very least target buyers who have existing overseas assets that can be used for the downpayment (one of the reasons we got a good price on our unit is that we were buying from departing expats and paid the deposit directly into their offshore accounts).

Thankfully sales don't seem to have slowed much in our compound. We're just outside the 4th ring road, near a newly opened subway station, and I think demand will stay high in our area. I still get daily calls from property agents asking if we will sell. I would feel better having the cash in hand, though, in any denomination. But DH wants to hang on to the place for at least the next year, since he is staying at least that long. Fingers crossed things turn out well, but if not we'll still be fine.
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