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Hello all, NYer looking to get off the treadmill someday...
Old 09-10-2007, 08:15 PM   #1
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Hello all, NYer looking to get off the treadmill someday...

My wife and I were sitting around a few days ago discussing our FIRE possibilities (we're big on planning) and lamenting that what we really needed was a forum devoted entirely to this subject. A couple of Google searches and voila... here it is. I've been in read mode the last couple days and all I can say is Wow!!! Glad I found you guys.

I'm a professional in NYC. Details:

Age: 46
Married nearly 20 years
No kids
Assets: approx $4mm (a little over $1mm investable; other assets mostly r.e., some invmnt property)
Only debt is $750K mortgage
Income in the mid to upper six figures

Would say from what I've been reading, that probably have a lot in common with Salaryman in terms of financial goals.

Ideal FIRE number is something close to $5mm investable; free and clear of any mortgage debt. Would likely be selling or developing r.e. assets, including home and resettling somehwhere outside NYC, but not more than 2-3 hours from the city (we're city people at heart, but getting sick of the cost of living, taxes, dirt, etc., nice place to visit but...)

Expect to get there somewhere within next 10 years. Not in any major rush but like to fantasize about cashing out in next year or two. I really do enjoy my work, its just that its taken its personal toll on health and relationships (nothing serious). I've seen the light and made some changes, both career-wise and personal-wise.

Wife and I are both in agreement that now is the time to start preparing for retirement, figuring out where we'd want to live, and how we'd spend our time. Also, getting more sleep, more excersise, and generally having more fun in life has become a much bigger priority since I hit 40-something.

FYI, If I don't respond to comments/questions immediately, its because I intend to only post from home in the evenings.
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:24 PM   #2
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Welcome to the boards

I think that you have come to the right place. Congratulations on having saved so much and have a plan in place. More importantly, I am glad that your wife is on the same page as you. I also understand why you are posting from home. So, it sounds like you are well on your way but there are lots of other things to consider from investing to healthcare to what to do when you are free. Enjoy.
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:40 PM   #3
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Welcome to the boards

I think that you have come to the right place. Congratulations on having saved so much and have a plan in place. More importantly, I am glad that your wife is on the same page as you. I also understand why you are posting from home. So, it sounds like you are well on your way but there are lots of other things to consider from investing to healthcare to what to do when you are free. Enjoy.
Thanks. DW and I didn't exactly start out on the same page. Lets just say that she had to wop me upside the head a few times to get me to see that I was on a treadmill to heart-attack if I did not step back and smell the coffee. And she is usually right 99% of the time.

To my credit, I am actively making some changes to make us both happy and am much appreciating her point of view. Its true that these mega corp careers burn you out at a fairly young age. My challenge is to figure out how to take the good and leave behind the bad. It's meant giving up on some earnings potential, but at this point you have to ask yourself - How much is enough? How much is worth it? Fortunately, I think I know the answer for myself, though its something we reevaluate on a frequent basis - and IMO that's really the only way to do it. Constant reassessment. Each day asking myself if this is working for us or if it isn't. I guess I could probably FIRE right now if I were willing to cut standard of living.

But, we both enjoy our standard of living, just so long as its not killing us (me actually).
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Gekko View Post
My wife and I were sitting around a few days ago discussing our FIRE possibilities (we're big on planning) and lamenting that what we really needed was a forum devoted entirely to this subject. A couple of Google searches and voila... here it is. I've been in read mode the last couple days and all I can say is Wow!!! Glad I found you guys.

I'm a professional in NYC. Details:

Age: 46
Married nearly 20 years
No kids
Assets: approx $4mm (a little over $1mm investable; other assets mostly r.e., some invmnt property)
Only debt is $750K mortgage
Income in the mid to upper six figures

Would say from what I've been reading, that probably have a lot in common with Salaryman in terms of financial goals.

Ideal FIRE number is something close to $5mm investable; free and clear of any mortgage debt. Would likely be selling or developing r.e. assets, including home and resettling somehwhere outside NYC, but not more than 2-3 hours from the city (we're city people at heart, but getting sick of the cost of living, taxes, dirt, etc., nice place to visit but...)

Expect to get there somewhere within next 10 years. Not in any major rush but like to fantasize about cashing out in next year or two. I really do enjoy my work, its just that its taken its personal toll on health and relationships (nothing serious). I've seen the light and made some changes, both career-wise and personal-wise.

Wife and I are both in agreement that now is the time to start preparing for retirement, figuring out where we'd want to live, and how we'd spend our time. Also, getting more sleep, more excersise, and generally having more fun in life has become a much bigger priority since I hit 40-something.

FYI, If I don't respond to comments/questions immediately, its because I intend to only post from home in the evenings.
Saw my name being mentioned.
Welcome to the forum, (Gordon) Gekko.
I'm really happy for your success and getting to a point where you can have a clear control over your future will look like.
For a lots of folks, your level of success is more that is needed but seems like the "Number" is always a bit higher for those on the "Street".
Speaking about Wall Street, I saw Michael Douglas and Darryl Hannah film Wall Street on Upper East side many many years ago.

Hope you're not on one of the structured desks, it's been brutal from what I hear lately.

Best regards,

Salaryman
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Old 09-11-2007, 05:49 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Salaryman View Post
Saw my name being mentioned.
Welcome to the forum, (Gordon) Gekko.
I'm really happy for your success and getting to a point where you can have a clear control over your future will look like.
For a lots of folks, your level of success is more that is needed but seems like the "Number" is always a bit higher for those on the "Street".
Speaking about Wall Street, I saw Michael Douglas and Darryl Hannah film Wall Street on Upper East side many many years ago.

Hope you're not on one of the structured desks, it's been brutal from what I hear lately.

Best regards,

Salaryman
Thanks Salaryman,

I've much enjoyed your posts and debates with others over the "number". Clearly, I have enough by most standards. In fact friends and family have started giving me the "just how much is enough for you" treatment and not in a positive way... more like "just how greedy are you". I'm not greedy, I just have lofty goals. I admit it: I like having money, I like what money buys, and I like the security. Funny though, once I started to realize I was accumulating a nice pot, it started to make me realize all the things that money cannot buy, which is part of the epiphany I've been gaving lately.

And I agree, for WSers, the number is always larger. In my realm, I'm just a modestly successful guy (nothing like the fictional Gordon Gekko) in a very big ocean full of super-sharks, so that tends to distort reality quite a bit - that and living in NYC. BTW, no I'm not on a structured desk - LOL. In any event, I've learned to live with a lot of job uncertainty, which has led DW and I to live well below our means. My income volatility has been so extreme over the past 10 years that the best year so far has been over 5x the worst year. Such is the nature of the beast - riding high one year, unemployed the next. Now that tends to create some big incentives to LBYM. Also, when you can see 50-something approaching, you better be in a position to FIRE, just in case your cardpass doesn't let you in the building one fine morning.

- Gekko
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Old 09-11-2007, 08:04 AM   #6
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Welcome Gekko. My DW also worrys excessively about "the Number." But, for us at least, once you get the ER bug it is hard to shake. Suddenly options that you didn't know existed start popping up all over. It sounds like for you that will be whether to stay near the city or move elsewhere. You could bail today and find lots of places you could easily lead the life style you have grown accustomed to. On the other hand, they are not NYC. DW and I want to stay in DC AND keep a weekend house on the tidal Potomac - that means maintaining a bigger portfolio than we would otherwise need. It is all about choices. For us, having the somewhat larger life style is also somewhat of a safety net. We view the weekend house as disposable - selling it would both bring in extra money and dispense with extra expenses. You may have something along those lines with your real estate.
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:23 AM   #7
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Your biggest problem, I think, will be weaning yourselves off the NYC lifestyle. I suggest you list your most important criteria, then actively schedule yourselves for short holidays in potential RE locations, and when you have selected a favourite, try to spend more time there, including a longer period of time, or short stays in all four seasons. Then do an honest reckoning of the pros and cons before committing. There will always be surprises, and nowhere else is quite like NYC, but many of the surprises will be good!
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Old 09-11-2007, 09:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Gekko View Post
Thanks Salaryman,

I've much enjoyed your posts and debates with others over the "number". Clearly, I have enough by most standards. In fact friends and family have started giving me the "just how much is enough for you" treatment and not in a positive way... more like "just how greedy are you". I'm not greedy, I just have lofty goals. I admit it: I like having money, I like what money buys, and I like the security. Funny though, once I started to realize I was accumulating a nice pot, it started to make me realize all the things that money cannot buy, which is part of the epiphany I've been gaving lately.

- Gekko
Gekko,
it's hard to try to explain your philosophy on life, money & FIRE to others that haven't drank the kool aid.
We've also felt the envy/hostility from some friends and family about our financial condition (& we have so little compared to others, like yourself) to a point that we go out of the way to hide the fact that we're 'comfortable'.
Takes some of the fun out of having money in the first place.

What you have achieved through the hard work, dedication and long term effort is something that very few can claim. You should be very proud...I'd like to be just like you when I grow up

I look forward to hearing more about your epiphany.

Salaryman
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Old 09-11-2007, 10:14 PM   #9
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donheff - Totally know what you mean. There is a lot of fluff in our lifestyle budget too, so in a bad year we could cut wayyyy back on things like eating out, vacations, clothes, etc. But, these are things we enjoy, so we want to do them in retirement too. At the moment, I'd rather delay retirement and be able to travel and do whatever I want, assuming I can manage to have TIME to do enough of what I want.

Meadbh - You're a mind reader. We're planning to follow your advice!

Salaryman - We're really twins separated at birth. Man, could we have a long conversation about how judgemental people get with you about your own money. Wife and I go wayyy out of our way to downplay our wealth, but a few years ago we reached a point where its just tough to hide - especially when anybody can Zillow your home value and when there is so much over the top press about "bonus babies' and such.

I know it can be difficult on family and friends, heck, I get envious of the guys making many multiples of my income. So, yeh, I understand it, but I also look at how driven and crazed those guys are and know that that ain't gonna be me at this point and that's okay. It does get old trying to be sensitive to every petty little thing that someone might take offense to, but its a problem I'd rather have, than not. Anyhow, we've learned the hard way to be a lot more guarded about what information leaks out. Funny, the people I get the most crap from, are the same family that questioned my sanity for taking the risks and working the crazy hours that earned the money. Admittedly, if you have not drank the Koolaid, it is hard to quite understand the concept of 16 hour days. Those days are thankfully behind me (mostly), though thanks to wonderful technology like the Crackberry, I'm now reachable 24/7 anywhere in the world.
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Old 09-12-2007, 06:22 AM   #10
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I look forward to hearing more about your epiphany.

Salaryman
Regarding the "epiphany" a couple of things came to a head. First of all, as you mentioned, we're at a point where we could conceivably FIRE or at least move and downsize our lifestyle without being concerned about our financial future. A couple years ago, we decided this would be our plan B in case I ever found myself made redundant in any of the dozens of reorg's I've somehow managed to survive. In fact, my survival instincts, fortunately (or unfortunately as the case may be) have actually resulted in ever increasing levels of responsibility over the years, and with it ever increasing levels of stress, hours, etc. At some point, DW simply put her foot down and this time I could see that she was SERIOUS. She's had been a corporate widow for the last 20 years and she just got sick and tired of eating dinner alone and handling all our family stuff mostly alone. My usual reaction to this sort of thing was to get all defensive, start crowing about the wonderful lifestyle I provide, how she doesn't need to work (though she prefers to), all the money in the bank, blah blah blah, how fortunate we are, and how it'll be different some day.

This time I could see that "someday" would need to be TODAY if I was going to insure the survival of the most important and beautiful thing in my life - my relationship with DW. And I could also see that she was fighting for th both of us, not for any selfish reasons. She was concerned about my happiness and wellbeing, and helped me to see that I was becoming unhappy and becoming an unpleasant person to live with.

So, I've made a few changes.... more later. Gotta go.
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:28 AM   #11
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Regarding the "epiphany" a couple of things came to a head. First of all, as you mentioned, we're at a point where we could conceivably FIRE or at least move and downsize our lifestyle without being concerned about our financial future. A couple years ago, we decided this would be our plan B in case I ever found myself made redundant in any of the dozens of reorg's I've somehow managed to survive. In fact, my survival instincts, fortunately (or unfortunately as the case may be) have actually resulted in ever increasing levels of responsibility over the years, and with it ever increasing levels of stress, hours, etc. At some point, DW simply put her foot down and this time I could see that she was SERIOUS. She's had been a corporate widow for the last 20 years and she just got sick and tired of eating dinner alone and handling all our family stuff mostly alone. My usual reaction to this sort of thing was to get all defensive, start crowing about the wonderful lifestyle I provide, how she doesn't need to work (though she prefers to), all the money in the bank, blah blah blah, how fortunate we are, and how it'll be different some day.

This time I could see that "someday" would need to be TODAY if I was going to insure the survival of the most important and beautiful thing in my life - my relationship with DW. And I could also see that she was fighting for th both of us, not for any selfish reasons. She was concerned about my happiness and wellbeing, and helped me to see that I was becoming unhappy and becoming an unpleasant person to live with.

So, I've made a few changes.... more later. Gotta go.
You have a wonderful DW who loves you! Follow her advice!
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:29 AM   #12
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Meadbh - You're a mind reader. We're planning to follow your advice!
I'm following my advice too!
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:55 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Gekko View Post
Regarding the "epiphany" a couple of things came to a head. First of all, as you mentioned, we're at a point where we could conceivably FIRE or at least move and downsize our lifestyle without being concerned about our financial future. A couple years ago, we decided this would be our plan B in case I ever found myself made redundant in any of the dozens of reorg's I've somehow managed to survive. In fact, my survival instincts, fortunately (or unfortunately as the case may be) have actually resulted in ever increasing levels of responsibility over the years, and with it ever increasing levels of stress, hours, etc. At some point, DW simply put her foot down and this time I could see that she was SERIOUS. She's had been a corporate widow for the last 20 years and she just got sick and tired of eating dinner alone and handling all our family stuff mostly alone. My usual reaction to this sort of thing was to get all defensive, start crowing about the wonderful lifestyle I provide, how she doesn't need to work (though she prefers to), all the money in the bank, blah blah blah, how fortunate we are, and how it'll be different some day.

This time I could see that "someday" would need to be TODAY if I was going to insure the survival of the most important and beautiful thing in my life - my relationship with DW. And I could also see that she was fighting for th both of us, not for any selfish reasons. She was concerned about my happiness and wellbeing, and helped me to see that I was becoming unhappy and becoming an unpleasant person to live with.

So, I've made a few changes.... more later. Gotta go.
You know what, I think we are really twins.
Your enlightenment rang true with me.
I too, want to reach FIRE but not for my sole enjoyment.
I wanted to have my money in FIRE to enable me to be free from having to make a living be able to devote my time and effort to truly 'grow' with DW and the kids.
Some may think driving the kids to the soccer practice & doing a lot of activities with the family is painful, but not me. I think that is just the coolest thing that a Daddy can do with his family.
Not sure when the transformation occurred, but I now think family first then myself second.

Secondly, I've come to the conclusion that the most precious commodity is TIME. What FIRE means to me is that one earned the right to take ownership of his/her own time. Our time on earth is limited, like it or not. I feel that by reaching our goals early, we're buying our freedom from the tyranny of the megacorp life.

You have a good partner Gekko, treasure her.

Regards,

Salaryman

(me thinks you're an IBanker or a corporate officer)
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