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Greetings
Old 11-20-2006, 12:26 AM   #1
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Greetings

Hello everybody

I've been observing the boards for some time now, and I figured it was time to come out of the closet

A little about me:
About 4 or 5 years ago, I received as a gift the book Retire Young, Retire Rich. As far as quality goes, it wasn't the best book I ever read, but it definitely started me down the path of thinking about early retirement. This was a big change from my previous workaholic lifestyle.

4 years ago, I took my first real vacation. This was 3 weeks in the Philippines scuba diving and loafing. The first week, all I could think about was work. The second week, I started to enjoy it. And by the third week, I was asking myself "How can I do this everyday for the rest of my life!" Over the following months, my girlfriend and I then put together a 60 page business plan about how to make it happen.

A few years and hundreds of books later...
I'm 32 years old, single, with no desire to have children. My networth is about 860k. 100k of this is in vested employer based stock options, so I'm going to lose 40% of that to tax when I exercise.

I'm currently living in Taiwan on expat assignment for the next 8 - 12 months (TBD) and my cost of living here is incredibly low, averaging out to about 1k USD a month (My employer pays my rent.) When I moved overseas, I sold nearly everything (house, car, motorcycle.) I still have 6 small boxes of "stuff" and 2 guitars. 90% of the stuff I would never miss if it was gone. At the time, moving from a 4 bedroom house down to 6 boxes was one of the most liberating feelings I ever had. A quote from Brad Pitt's character in Fight Club: "The things you own end up owning you" really struck a chord.

My entire life I've been extremely frugal, which means I'm saving about 90% of my paycheck every month now. When my expat gig is up, I'll be 33 years old and my net worth should be in the neighborhood of 1 million USD even if the stock market is flat.

I (sometimes) enjoy my work, but in many ways I feel as though I am stagnating and have limited personal growth opportunities. I want to move on

Part of my business plan was to work for a few years as a scuba instructor in various tropical locations around the world, living off of my scuba earnings. This had the advantage of diving for free (goal #1) and allowing my portfolio to grow in the mean time. I have also taken up sailing in the last few years, and would like to circumnavigate at some point, but have insufficient experience to do it now.
After this adventure, I would likely settle down somewhere in the developing world. I've already been to about 30 different countries and have done so cheaply, eating food from street vendors, staying in hostels, and using frequent flyer miles. I might even decide to ride a motorcycle across China, getting by on my elementary level Chinese


Money is of course a huge area of focus:
My portfolio is currently in a non-commital state. I'm pulling in about 2400 USD a month in dividends and interest, and this is with 250k in a municipal bond fund yielding 3.2% or so. (To avoid the 35% tax bracket.) I have 70k in an IRA, 100k in my 401k, and the rest is in various money market and brokerage accounts (for a total of 860k.) I've been thinking a lot about how I should invest this, but have taken little action as of yet. Since I don't currently need the dividends and interest, I know it would be better to hold growth equities so I dont' get hit with tax every year.

Firecalc tells me that even with 30k annual withdrawals, that I should be fine for 60 years or so (100% based on 1 million, if I recall correctly.) Based on posts from Ben and others, and my current lifestyle, I think I would manage on well under 24k a year in places like Thailand. I'll be visting Thailand in February for Chinese New Year (reconnaissance mission )

I still want the sailboat though, so I keep working. Interesting enough, the original business plan required I build up to 500k in networth (cost of living of 8k a year in the Philippines.) Then I changed that to 750k. Yesterday, it was 1 million. Now I'm thinking 1.2 million, for "buffer". In truth, I'm scared

Healthcare is also a big issue:
4 years ago I was terrified about the impact of insurance and rising healthcare costs. Sometime in the last year, I went to a hospital in Taipei and had a chest X-ray and an ECG. I had a chest X-ray in the US as part of the physical in preparation to move over seas, and the cardiologist didn't like something he saw... In the US, it took 2 weeks to get feedback from the doctor. In Taiwan, he had my X-ray on his PC monitor 10 minutes after the X-ray was complete. The total cost to me was about 20 USD. It wasn't even worth it to me to fill out the multiple forms to get reimbursement from my corporate insurance plan. (btw, I'm fine. The Taiwan X-ray and ECG looked perfectly normal.) I was amazed at the quality and low cost outside the US. (I've heard similar stories from others)

Living outside the US:
Many of my friends and co-workers that I have discussed retirement with say they must stay in the US. Reasons vary, but the most common reason is because of children and family. Other reasons are fitting into a new culture, strange food, not knowing the language, and safety. I've been living overseas for over a year now, and honestly the only thing I have missed is a public library with books in English. Knowing that I can withdraw 30k a year, I think I can live like a king, although in truth I would probably still live quite humbly.

Fear:
I'm a little scared about making the big move. Part of it is due to being 32 years old. I mean, what will my mother say :P Am I willing to walk away from my career? What if something happens and I need to work again? I think these fears are normal, although a little irrational.

I have no doubt that I would fill my life with lots of fun and interesting things to do. I made a long list of all of the countries I want to visit, things I want to learn, things I want to read, and things I want to do. I'm not sure I can live long enough to do all of them (all the more reason to start now!)

In the next year, I need to convince myself that this is really the right thing to do, and that 1 million USD is enough (of maybe the stock market will jump and I won't have to convince myself )

In my situation, is there something I'm missing?

Thanks! (And thanks for reading this far! )

Jeremy

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Re: Greetings
Old 11-20-2006, 07:07 AM   #2
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Re: Greetings

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJac

In the next year, I need to convince myself that this is really the right thing to do, and that 1 million USD is enough (of maybe the stock market will jump and I won't have to convince myself )

In my situation, is there something I'm missing?
Only you can decide if ER is right for you. But stock market moves won't help you decide if you are not in the market. It is time to select and realize an allocation. Then it is time to see if you can stick with it.

BTW, you mention making a plan with your girl friend but then never bring her up again. How does she play in all of this?
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Re: Greetings
Old 11-20-2006, 10:17 AM   #3
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Re: Greetings

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJac
I've been observing the boards for some time now, and I figured it was time to come out of the closet
Well it's about time! Get the hell out of there away from all of that useless junk that we have stored away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJac
Over the following months, my girlfriend and I then put together a 60 page business plan about how to make it happen.
I'm curious - just what did you go over in 60 pages? Did you devote different sections on health care, kids, where to live, what to eat, etc.?

When's the last time you revisited that 60 page plan? What are all of the changes between the business plan 3 years ago and how your current goals/plans/dreams are now?


Quote:
Originally Posted by JJac
A few years and hundreds of books later...
I'm 32 years old, single, with no desire to have children. My networth is about 860k. 100k of this is in vested employer based stock options, so I'm going to lose 40% of that to tax when I exercise.
Just the ultra-conservative in me speaking....but are you in a company with volatile stock? Can you exercise the options? If I were you, in your situation, I'd go ahead and bite the bullet to exercise and dump the stock. Obviously, you have your own risk tolerance...but would you be able to stomach your employer's stock dropping 15%-20% on bad news, and seeing 100k in options suddenly be worth 20k (or 0k)? Perhaps you have a stable company, or perhaps you are comfortable with that...but that current allocation means you have 10% of your entire net worth tied to your employer's stock (plus any company stock you might hold in your retirement/taxable accounts). That's a bit too concentrated for my tastes, but to each his own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJac
I'm currently living in Taiwan on expat assignment for the next 8 - 12 months (TBD) and my cost of living here is incredibly low, averaging out to about 1k USD a month (My employer pays my rent.)
My entire life I've been extremely frugal, which means I'm saving about 90% of my paycheck every month now. When my expat gig is up, I'll be 33 years old and my net worth should be in the neighborhood of 1 million USD even if the stock market is flat.

I (sometimes) enjoy my work, but in many ways I feel as though I am stagnating and have limited personal growth opportunities. I want to move on

Part of my business plan was to work for a few years as a scuba instructor in various tropical locations around the world, living off of my scuba earnings. This had the advantage of diving for free (goal #1) and allowing my portfolio to grow in the mean time. I have also taken up sailing in the last few years, and would like to circumnavigate at some point, but have insufficient experience to do it now.
After this adventure, I would likely settle down somewhere in the developing world. I've already been to about 30 different countries and have done so cheaply, eating food from street vendors, staying in hostels, and using frequent flyer miles. I might even decide to ride a motorcycle across China, getting by on my elementary level Chinese



Firecalc tells me that even with 30k annual withdrawals, that I should be fine for 60 years or so (100% based on 1 million, if I recall correctly.) Based on posts from Ben and others, and my current lifestyle, I think I would manage on well under 24k a year in places like Thailand. I'll be visting Thailand in February for Chinese New Year (reconnaissance mission )

I still want the sailboat though, so I keep working. Interesting enough, the original business plan required I build up to 500k in networth (cost of living of 8k a year in the Philippines.) Then I changed that to 750k. Yesterday, it was 1 million. Now I'm thinking 1.2 million, for "buffer". In truth, I'm scared


Living outside the US:
Many of my friends and co-workers that I have discussed retirement with say they must stay in the US. Reasons vary, but the most common reason is because of children and family. Other reasons are fitting into a new culture, strange food, not knowing the language, and safety. I've been living overseas for over a year now, and honestly the only thing I have missed is a public library with books in English. Knowing that I can withdraw 30k a year, I think I can live like a king, although in truth I would probably still live quite humbly.

Fear:
I'm a little scared about making the big move. Part of it is due to being 32 years old. I mean, what will my mother say :P Am I willing to walk away from my career? What if something happens and I need to work again? I think these fears are normal, although a little irrational.

I have no doubt that I would fill my life with lots of fun and interesting things to do. I made a long list of all of the countries I want to visit, things I want to learn, things I want to read, and things I want to do. I'm not sure I can live long enough to do all of them (all the more reason to start now!)

In the next year, I need to convince myself that this is really the right thing to do, and that 1 million USD is enough (of maybe the stock market will jump and I won't have to convince myself )

In my situation, is there something I'm missing?

Thanks! (And thanks for reading this far! )

Jeremy

1. you mentioned your employer pays the rent - what is your current rent? I presume it would only be about US$500/mo?

2. I believe it was Wab who said it (my apologies if it's misquoted), but I also view ER as a 'permanent one-way decision'. Sure, you could always go back to work...but how technical/skilled is your profession? Would you have ancient skills if you were out of the workforce for 10 or 20 years and suddenly found yourself having to find work? After living the life of Riley for 10/20 years, would you really want to go back to work? Or, 10/20 years from now, would you say "If only I had stuck it out for just 2-3 more years when I was 35 and quit, and none of this would have had to happen" - especially since you mention that you actually (sometimes) enjoy your profession, rather than it being a literal toxic hellhole simmering with stress, aggravation, and insanity, where logic rode off into the sunset last year, situation that some of us are stuck in.

I wouldn't dare call it irrational - making a bet on the next 60 years that some view as a permanent decision is a BIG step to be very carefully analyzed.

3. I wouldn't assume that the Philippines and other developing economies will be 3rd world forever. Remember that the US was (primarily) still a 'developing' economy as soon as the early 20th century. So, you might want to assume that costs might rise a little more in the long run in current emerging markets.

4. I am close to your own personal situation (single, 29, will have NW of about $1.2 when I'm 32). Sure, I don't plan on moving to a foreign country, but if I'm betting the next 60 years on living in low-cost areas, I'd want at least a 2% max withdrawal rate from my portfolio to allow for plenty of standard-of-living inflation pressures along the way as the countries get more industrialized/developed (think that rent will stay as low as it is?) My plan is to get married and retire when we can live on 3% or less (due to the longer time horizon), but I wouldn't assume anywhere near 4% in your situation to give you plenty of buffer.

However, you do mention selling your hobby services as a scuba instructor. That would obviously help pad the cash flow...but how much do you think you would bring in? Have you ever taught people something before? It might be a lot more frustrating when the idiots don't follow your instruction and you have to repeat yourself 5 times to get your message across different than you might think?

5. Health care - have you priced up health care coverage for perpetual travelers? If I were you, I wouldn't always count on being in an area with 'great' health care like the Philippines. That would be an addition to your budget.

6. Sailing - have you priced up a vessel that would circumnavigate? Or would you hire yourself on as a hired hand on a rich person's yacht? I can't imagine that a ocean-worthy vessel would be cheap...

7. Settling down in the developing world - does that mean the US? If so, you'd surely better rethink that $1.2 portfolio, between rent/housing and health insurance alone, if it's going to last 40-50 years in the US (after traveling around for 10-20 years). Given your age, you will have minimal/next to nothing in SS payments, and most people that retire on here with a cool $1 MM are older, and will have at least some SS payments to buy dryer sheets with...

8. Traveling -what countries do you want to visit? Mostly developing? While traveling on your own at certain times can be cheap, some places aren't that cheap no matter when/how you go (i.e. a lot of areas in Europe). What budget do you have for travel? How much do you assume per day?

9. The fairer sex - as donheff mentioned, where does your girlfriend come into play?

10. What is your portfolio mix in your IRA/401(k)/taxable brokerage? What marginal tax bracket are you in? Munis may not make much sense, since (I believe) something like the first $80k in foreign income (for expats) is tax-free, I believe? (unless you're pulling in $250k/year). You definitely need a heavier weighting towards equities (somewhat ironic, coming from a 29 year old with about 50% of his portfolio in various forms of fixed-income/conservative investments and calling himself "MooreBonds" ), but a nice fund like Wellesley would be a good equity/bond/income-generating mix.

Your plan is definitely doable, and I don't want to sound too negative...just the devil's advocate side of me that helps to make sure every logical/rational point has been considered in a major decision like ER for 60 years.

--Peter
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Re: Greetings
Old 11-20-2006, 10:23 AM   #4
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Re: Greetings

Hi Don,

Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff
BTW, you mention making a plan with your girl friend but then never bring her up again. How does she play in all of this?
Hopefully my g/f doesn't read this post or I'm in for a whooping :P
We are two peas in a pod, and she is a great supporter of the plan and a great sounding board. We are definitely in this together. We are both from families with a history of divorce, and are happy being together without a formal tying of the knot.

She is also well versed in LBYM and has taught me a thing or two in that regard

Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff
Only you can decide if ER is right for you. But stock market moves won't help you decide if you are not in the market. It is time to select and realize an allocation. Then it is time to see if you can stick with it.
Definitely a good point. My 401k and IRA are 100% in individual stock and mutual funds, and I have about 170k in my brokerage fund also in stocks. I also have a large stock option portfolio through work. By "hopefully the stock market will jump" I was referencing the hope that my companies stock will pop and the options will make sure I'll have the 1.2 million

I do have to setup my FIRE proof portfolio though, as it is not in the state it needs to be. I put it on my to do list!

Thanks Don!

Jeremy
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Re: Greetings
Old 11-20-2006, 10:25 AM   #5
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Re: Greetings

Welcome to the board, Jeremy.

Unless you're planning to retire in a high-cost U.S. area, you sound like you have more than enough for your lifestyle. Even in Hawaii, although you'd probably enjoy Australia's diving better.

Have you ever worked as a divemaster or an instructor? Everyone I've spoken to, including career Navy divers, hates the job. Most of the students are OK but the occasional problem outweighs all the good experiences. They'd much rather run the boat or sell the gear than have to put up with the people who hide their medical histories or their panic. If you work as a divemaster/instructor, liability insurance would also be a concern for a seven-figure portfolio.

How does NUA treatment of your stock options affect their 40% tax rate?

You've checked up on Lance's Thai/PI experiences here and on Ben's & Wanderer's expat experiences on Raddr's board?

Finally, if you haven't already you may want to read up on how the Terhorsts and the Kaderlis have been doing PT for the last couple decades.
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Re: Greetings
Old 11-20-2006, 11:08 AM   #6
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Re: Greetings

Thank you Nords and MooreBonds,

I'm excited to be able to discuss this with people without having their eyes glaze over 8)

I have a good friend that has been a dive instructor in PI for the last 10 years or so, and have heard a lot of stories good and bad. Another friend in the US has trained over 500 divers. While not having personally taught Scuba, I have tutored and taught other things. It will be a new experience for me. I'm a pretty patient, laid back sort of guy. This is a really good point though and if I didn't like it, it would put a wrench in things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
How does NUA treatment of your stock options affect their 40% tax rate?
I'm not sure what NUA is, but I have to pay 40% tax local in Taiwan on all earned income while I'm living here. I do get a credit for that on my US taxes.

As for my income, I am tax equalized, which basically means that to me taxes for everything but investments and stock options looks exactly as if I was in the US. My employer covers any difference behind the scenes (I never see it.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by MooreBonds
I'm curious - just what did you go over in 60 pages? Did you devote different sections on health care, kids, where to live, what to eat, etc.?

When's the last time you revisited that 60 page plan? What are all of the changes between the business plan 3 years ago and how your current goals/plans/dreams are now?
I did exactly this... researched health card, cost of living in various dive destinations, looked at how much $ was necessary to start the adventure... This was long before I had ever heard of FIRE or SWR or anything like that. I had priced typical expat insurance (which is way too much!) I also looked at visa requirements for the various country, and tried to formulate an idea of when and how to "settle down" after it was all done. My current goals/plans/dreams are pretty much the same as they were when the first draft was done. (Lucky! )

Quote:
Originally Posted by MooreBonds
Just the ultra-conservative in me speaking....but are you in a company with volatile stock? Can you exercise the options? If I were you, in your situation, I'd go ahead and bite the bullet to exercise and dump the stock. Obviously, you have your own risk tolerance...but would you be able to stomach your employer's stock dropping 15%-20% on bad news, and seeing 100k in options suddenly be worth 20k (or 0k)? Perhaps you have a stable company, or perhaps you are comfortable with that...but that current allocation means you have 10% of your entire net worth tied to your employer's stock (plus any company stock you might hold in your retirement/taxable accounts). That's a bit too concentrated for my tastes, but to each his own.
6 months ago, the options were worth 0! 6 months before that they were worth about 50k.

At one time, watching my networth change by 10k in a day was gut wrenching. Now, it just feels normal. I have though about selling some calls in the open market as a hedge if the stock dropped, but I believe the stock is undervalued and the next year should be a banner year. If I'm wrong... (The options are up about 8k today! )

Some answers to your questions:

1. Much much more than $500, but I won't live here (in Taiwan or in this apartment) when I er. I'm just here because it is walking distance to the office.
2. Well said. Thinking of it as a one way ticket is a good way to go at it. I'm highly technical, and those skills will erode quickly.
3. This is part of the reason I was looking for the "buffer." I have looked at the the Terhorsts and the Kaderlis have been doing, and would enjoy that lifestyle.
4. As a scuba instructor, often you can get room and board but I've heard it is often impossible to save anything. In my case, that won't be an issue. Of course, it depends on where you are. I've talked to a handful of people in this profession on dive vacations I have taken, so I have some frame of reference. It's hard to say until you actually do it, I'm sure. Part of the reason that many may not like it is they have to live off the awful income that you can get as an instructor. Since I would be doing it just for the free diving, my perspective may be different. TBD
5. I haven't priced healthcare sufficiently. I have followed up a little on some of the info posted on these boards, but have work to do here.
6. People circumnavigate on a huge range of boats (from $30k (not my idea of fun) to millions.) I was planning on putting in about 150k for something 36 - 45 feet, and then selling when I'm done a few years later.
7. I don't really plan to come back to the US. The Terhorsts and Kaderlis are good role models for me I looked at the SS website earlier today, and the online calculator says they will pay me almost $900 a month 30 years from now if I stop working today! (No way do I believe that, but it would be cool if it panned out )
8. I plan to visit almost all developing countries or countries where I would be a dive instructor. They mostly go hand in hand, except places like Galapagos Islands, Fiji, and French Polynesia. I do also plan to visit Europe, but after the dive and sailing trips and hopefully the portfolio has grown since then. I have friends that live in France, the UK, and Spain so I'll leverage their local knowledge a bit for costing it out. I'm ok with not going to Europe if it didn't make good financial sense. The world is a big place! (Plus, I've already been to the UK, France, Denmark, Germany, and Israel.) I would like to bicycle around Ireland though.
9. See above
10. Due to tax equilization, cost of living adjustment, and employer paid rent, I'm at least in the 35% bracket on my interest income. Ouch I need to get out of this large cash position anyway. I'll definitely look into the Wellesley fund.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MooreBonds
Your plan is definitely doable, and I don't want to sound too negative...just the devil's advocate side of me that helps to make sure every logical/rational point has been considered in a major decision like ER for 60 years.

--Peter
This is exactly why I'm posting! Thank you.

Jeremy
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Re: Greetings
Old 11-20-2006, 11:38 AM   #7
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Re: Greetings

Quote:
Originally Posted by JJac
4. As a scuba instructor, often you can get room and board but I've heard it is often impossible to save anything. In my case, that won't be an issue. Of course, it depends on where you are. I've talked to a handful of people in this profession on dive vacations I have taken, so I have some frame of reference. It's hard to say until you actually do it, I'm sure. Part of the reason that many may not like it is they have to live off the awful income that you can get as an instructor. Since I would be doing it just for the free diving, my perspective may be different. TBD
Just a quick note. I am a Scuba instructor, and you find out fairly quickly that when you're instructing, you really can't count that as "diving" most of the time. You're far too busy watching the students, helping them, fixing problems, etc. You're always going to be with the worst student, so even if most of them are pretty self sufficient, you'll almost always find someone who needs extra hand holding.

So something to keep in mind. If you don't need the money, you may quickly get frustrated with not having any diving time to yourself. And certainly the insurance will be a cost you'll need, since you'll have a portfolio you'll need to protect.
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Re: Greetings
Old 11-20-2006, 04:02 PM   #8
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Re: Greetings

Welcome to the boards, Jeremy There's a lot of good company here.

Quote:
Then I changed that to 750k. Yesterday, it was 1 million. Now I'm thinking 1.2 million, for "buffer". In truth, I'm scared
Moorebonds
Quote:
I also view ER as a 'permanent one-way decision'.
No doubt, ER is a big decision and no one knows what the next 60 years will bring. It's not something that one should take lightly. I, however do disagree that it is a permanent, one-way decision.

If you are at all creative or resourceful, adventurous or useful in any manner, there are lots of ways to create income again down the road, once you leave your current job. When you don't need the money, opportunities appear. If you are grasping and desperate, that mindset doesn't allow yourself to see clearly the options in front of you.

The freedom of trying something new and allowing that to develop is very rewarding. Pursuing a hobby, trading services for cash or other needs (a la Craigslist) or working from home when you want also come to mind. Being a word of mouth handyman brings in a good deal of cash too. Or you could be an inventor.

It's fear that holds anyone back, to be sure. Check out our Preferred Links Page in the section RELOCATION, RETIREMENT JOBS, COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT http://retireearlylifestyle.com/favorite_er_links.htm for some sites that may give you some ideas.

If you are at all tech savvy, and don't need the $$ then you will be in demand in a lot of low key situations. There are always opportunities.

Quote:
Would you have ancient skills if you were out of the workforce for 10 or 20 years and suddenly found yourself having to find work? After living the life of Riley for 10/20 years, would you really want to go back to work? Or, 10/20 years from now, would you say "If only I had stuck it out for just 2-3 more years when I was 35 and quit, and none of this would have had to happen"
No doubt things change in 10 or 20 years, but being afraid to make a move today because of something that 'might' happen in 20 years... I dunno... each to their own. Granted, if you are doing laser brain surgery today and wanted to get back into that field in 20 years after not keeping up with the technology, you might have a difficult time 8) ...

But you would have 20 years of good living experience under your belt. And unless you schmucked your life out, you would still be useful, creative, and resourceful -- just repackage yourself.

Our skills have not gotten rusty by any means, and we have been retired beginning 17 years this January. Keep learning, keep growing, keep trying new things. If you stagnate, it's because you have let yourself do so.

Think about what you want to do, be clear about it and why, and then make the best decision for yourself based on those things.

The best to you, Jeremy.

Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement


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Re: Greetings
Old 11-21-2006, 12:47 AM   #9
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Re: Greetings

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ceberon
Just a quick note. I am a Scuba instructor, and you find out fairly quickly that when you're instructing, you really can't count that as "diving" most of the time. You're far too busy watching the students, helping them, fixing problems, etc. You're always going to be with the worst student, so even if most of them are pretty self sufficient, you'll almost always find someone who needs extra hand holding.

So something to keep in mind. If you don't need the money, you may quickly get frustrated with not having any diving time to yourself. And certainly the insurance will be a cost you'll need, since you'll have a portfolio you'll need to protect.
Hi Ceberon

Thank you for the first hand perspective.

I only have 4 references. One friend taught in the Pacific Northwest (cold water ) and it was pretty much as you describe.

Another friend (my instructor) worked in the Philippines. He usually had only 1 or 2 students at a time, and otherwise was escorting divers around the islands. With only 1 or 2 students the pay is low, which sounds perfect! :P Maybe I can put that in a ROTH!

In Palau, although they technically offered dive instruction, the majority of people were experienced divers and so Instuctors there acted more as tour guides. One of the instructors was a young lady from Japan, and she had done this full time since she was 18 all over the world. She had amazing stories , but at 28 she also had no money btw, the diving in Palau is absolutely amazing!!!

And lastly, a liveabord on the Great Barrier Reef was also full of experienced divers, so again the Instructors acted more as tour guides.

If I was stuck in PNW doing what my buddy does, I would hate it. If I was doing what that young Japanese lady was doing, I would be in heaven.

I'm hoping that since I don't really need the money, I can pick and choose and just trade work for diving. Time will tell. I hope I don't have the rose colored blinders on

Jeremy
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Re: Greetings
Old 11-21-2006, 12:49 AM   #10
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Re: Greetings

Hi Akaisha

I really enjoy your positive attitude. So much so that I just ordered your book

Cheers

Jeremy
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Old 11-21-2006, 10:25 AM   #11
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Re: Greetings

Quote:
Hi Akaisha

I really enjoy your positive attitude. So much so that I just ordered your book
Hi Jeremy,
We appreciate that! We also hope that you find our approach to ER useful to you. If you want to pursue a topic further, simply write to us at TheGuide@RetireEarlyLifestyle.com We answer everyone who emails us.

Quote:
You're always going to be with the worst student, so even if most of them are pretty self sufficient, you'll almost always find someone who needs extra hand holding.
Gawd, I hate to admit to it, but that was me :P

When we first retired, we lived on Nevis in the British West Indies, and Billy traded dive time for helping out the instructor. One of the things on my list to learn was how to scuba. I thought it would be a 'nice hobby to share with the hubby.' I forgot to seriously take into consideration my tendencies towards water panic...

I did great in the pool, but 30 feet down in the paradise of the Caribbean, water got into my mask, then into my nose and the corresponding panic set in. I am ripping my mask off, yanking out my oxygen, and kicking like $%*@ to get up to the surface as fast as I could. The school of baby jelly fish I was swimming in didn't help my confidence any either.

The dive instructor (not Billy, since I needed 'extra hand holding') yanked me down, shoved my oxygen tube back in my mouth, and took charge of the speed of which I surfaced. He gave me 'that look' while under the water which needs no translation...

It was my first and last dive, the best and the worst experience I have had in the ocean. I felt like a failure... but hey, I can snorkle!! Billy is like a fish - it's 2nd nature to him.

Quote:
Another friend (my instructor) worked in the Philippines. He usually had only 1 or 2 students at a time, and otherwise was escorting divers around the islands. With only 1 or 2 students the pay is low, which sounds perfect!
This was the situation Billy found himself in... he loved it and it was perfect for him. Then again, we only lived there 6 months before we went on to Venezuela and Isla de Margarita.

Quote:
I'm hoping that since I don't really need the money, I can pick and choose and just trade work for diving. Time will tell. I hope I don't have the rose colored blinders on
When you don't need the money, the choices are a lot more fun. Do whatever you want and for as long as you want. We had an opportunity to be a bartender-reservations manager/office worker for a mountaintop 5 star resort in Vilcabama, Ecuador. All you can eat, drink and full lodging, use of swimming pool, etc. plus pay, short hours and days off. We didn't need the money, so it sounded like an adventure. I still wish we would have taken that opportunity.. Sadly, we decided to move on and keep traveling!

There are always opportunities when you look for them.

Enjoy!
Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement
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Old 11-21-2006, 12:52 PM   #12
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Re: Greetings

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Originally Posted by JJac
6. People circumnavigate on a huge range of boats (from $30k (not my idea of fun) to millions.) I was planning on putting in about 150k for something 36 - 45 feet, and then selling when I'm done a few years later.
Welcome to the board Jeremy,
I think you are financially set for circumnavigation without any problems. Many people liveaboard full time with way smaller budget that you have (for example Dory's annual spending in US waters were under 20k, Dream Catcher crew in Bahamas lives on $1850 per month)
Also being able to pack all your "stuff" in boxes helps a lot.
What kind of boats your were thinking about? Have you considered smaller than 36ft?
Even 36ft can be "too big/too much hassle" to be comfortable handled/maintained by a singlehander (you said that you are single). And I'm not even talking about 45ft (monetary difference in the maintenance between 30ft and 45ft can be 5 times).
When we were without kids we were considering Flicka (real blue water boat, but only 20ft) for our long term cruises, but now definitely need something bigger - nowadays DW likes catamarans - we'll see.

Quote:
I have also taken up sailing in the last few years, and would like to circumnavigate at some point, but have insufficient experience to do it now.
Hey - if you taken up sailing you probably have enough experience.
If you want to read about a circumnavigation couple without much sailing experience go here: http://www.bumfuzzle.com/
Good luck and hopefully see you on the water.

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Old 11-22-2006, 03:11 AM   #13
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Re: Greetings

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Originally Posted by sailor
What kind of boats your were thinking about? Have you considered smaller than 36ft?
Even 36ft can be "too big/too much hassle" to be comfortable handled/maintained by a singlehander (you said that you are single). And I'm not even talking about 45ft
Hi sailor. I'm single, as in not married, but my g/f is fully onboard with the master plan

I have experience on boats of 21, 37, and 41 feet. The 21 footer I would definitely not want to circumnavigate in, but it is possible that I can get something smaller than 36. I'll need to look around some more. Thanks for the advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor
Hey - if you taken up sailing you probably have enough experience.
If you want to read about a circumnavigation couple without much sailing experience go here: http://www.bumfuzzle.com/
Thanks, this is a great site! These kids are wild and crazy, with HUGE budgets.
This is the best financial record of circumnavigators I have seen yet!

If you know of other things I should think of, please do let me know.
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Old 11-22-2006, 12:31 PM   #14
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Re: Greetings

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Hi sailor. I'm single, as in not married, but my g/f is fully onboard with the master plan
Than you are at least half way there

Quote:
I have experience on boats of 21, 37, and 41 feet. The 21 footer I would definitely not want to circumnavigate in, but it is possible that I can get something smaller than 36.
Keep in mind that length can be deceiving. Displacement would be probably a better idea how livable the boat is.
For example 20ft long Flicka displaces 8000lbs, where 30ft long Hunter 302 only 7000lbs.
There are also some "crazy people" who cruise is very small boats, for example one couple + pet bird in a 14 footer: http://www.microcruising.com/

Quote:
If you know of other things I should think of, please do let me know.
Few random links, in no relevant order:
Cruise Web - good references about choosing an ocean going boat and costs of full times cruising: http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/5471/
SSCA - Seven Seas Cruising Association - long distance cruisers - http://www.ssca.org - ok place to ask questions about boats or gear.

Few logs/blogs of cruisers:
Dream Catcher - http://www.tendervittles.net/index.html
Mid Life Cruising Sabbatical http://pweb.netcom.com/~jkb/mlcs/home.html
Bill Dietrich retiring onto sailboat: http://www.geocities.com/bill_dietrich/SiteMap.html

You might also want to poke around Skylark site - he posts here from time to time: http://cruisenews.net/index.php

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Old 07-26-2010, 07:11 PM   #15
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Wow, I originally wrote my first post almost 4 years ago. A lot has happened since then...

The girlfriend and I broke up, I met up with Billy and Akaisha in Thailand for some sage advice, bought a sports car, I moved to LA and lived like a rock star for a year, sold the sports car, got back together with the girlfriend, and got married

I also fully implemented a target portfolio, and then watched it drop in value by 45% before returning almost to its original value. So my total 2 year portfolio return is about 0%. Still, I managed to grow my net worth to ~1.2 million

This forum has been a tremendous amount of help as I've worked to this point. Just last night, it helped again as I was feeling the allure of "one more year." Reading through many of the "one more year" posts and talking with my wife helped push me over the fence

So, I'm officially FIREing on 10/1/2010 at the age of 36. We plan on traveling the world for the next 4 years (We've made reservations for the first leg.) What happens after that nobody knows

Thank you
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Old 07-27-2010, 02:49 AM   #16
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Congrats, JJac, on your impending FIRE, and at such a tender age!

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I met up with Billy and Akaisha in Thailand for some sage advice, bought a sports car
Which sports car did they advise you to buy?
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Old 07-27-2010, 02:57 AM   #17
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Which sports car did they advise you to buy?
I had to read between the lines, but I believe Billy recommended a Ferrari and Akaisha suggested a Lamborghini. In the end, I ended up getting a 4 year old Porsche Carrera 4S with only 12k miles on it for less than half of the price of a new one. As luck would have it, the serious depreciation didn't kick in until after I bought it
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