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Hello from 40-year-old software developer!
Old 02-18-2013, 04:43 PM   #1
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Hello from 40-year-old software developer!

Hello from a long-time lurker (and occasional poster). I'm a 40-year-old female software developer from Albuquerque, NM, and am aiming to retire by 45 if the stock market cooperates.

I was fortunate to have been born into an extremely frugal immigrant family who taught me the value of saving and investing early on. At 16, my dad opened an IRA for me and contributed the value of my meager earnings as a fast food worker. My father and brother are both Vanguard diehards and we often geek out talking about financial topics.

Software development is a great way to make a living in some ways, but I'm probably a typical INTJ in that I'm very autonomous and resist having my time and effort controlled by others. I have a lot of outside interests and hobbies (travel, photography, learning languages, writing) that my job doesn't leave me sufficient time and energy to pursue.

I've been amazed and impressed by the collective wisdom on this board and the consistently positive, upbeat tone. I've learned so much reading posts here and visit every day. Thank you all for your contributions; I'm excited to be a part of this community!
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:53 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, inky.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:57 PM   #3
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Welcome, inky, from another (retired) software developer. Good to see that your dad's contributions made a lasting impression. I've been doing the same for my son and it seems to be taking some hold for him at age 22.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:08 PM   #4
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Welcome, inky, from another (retired) software developer. Good to see that your dad's contributions made a lasting impression. I've been doing the same for my son and it seems to be taking some hold for him at age 22.
Thanks! I feel very fortunate to have both my parents as role models. My mom is not as knowledgeable about investing but she is if anything even more frugal than my dad.

I grew up in an upper-middle-class neighborhood where it was the norm to Live Way Beyond Your Means. At the time it wasn't always easy to be the only kid on the block whose family car had its taillights held on with duct tape! But now I can look back and laugh and appreciate my parents' rejection of conspicuous consumption.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:23 PM   #5
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Hi Inky -
I'm also a woman software engineer (embedded software). It's a good field, especially for INTJ types.

I hear you on the stock market cooperation part.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:26 PM   #6
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Hi Inky -
I'm also a woman software engineer (embedded software). It's a good field, especially for INTJ types.

I hear you on the stock market cooperation part.
Cool! Yeah, if only every year were like 2012, right? I'd be done by 2015!
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:44 PM   #7
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Cool! Yeah, if only every year were like 2012, right? I'd be done by 2015!
Welcome! You'll need the markets to continue to cooperate for the next 40 years after that also. A lot of us find getting to "the number" to become FI while working a real challenge, but trusting that you'll stay FI with no salary and no control over the performance of the markets is the harder part!
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:57 PM   #8
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Welcome! You'll need the markets to continue to cooperate for the next 40 years after that also. A lot of us find getting to "the number" to become FI while working a real challenge, but trusting that you'll stay FI with no salary and no control over the performance of the markets is the harder part!
That is definitely true. 40 (or 50!) years of retirement is a very long time.

I have a couple of ideas to mitigate the risk of retiring so early. I'm considering taking an intensive course in Chinese and spending several years in China teaching computer or business English at a university or private school.

I've also considered teaching myself Web development (which is related to what I do in my job) and taking on part-time freelance work at home. These are both endeavors related to my personal interests and that I think I would enjoy.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:19 PM   #9
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I've also considered teaching myself Web development (which is related to what I do in my job) and taking on part-time freelance work at home. These are both endeavors related to my personal interests and that I think I would enjoy.
I have tried to make a go of web development on the side since 2000.
From my experience, it is hard to make any money on it. Very competitive. Because it is hard to judge on quality, clients judge on price.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:24 PM   #10
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Welcome from an INTJ IT Project manager. My DW is from Albuquerque and wants to go back to retire (presumably with me! ;-)
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:27 PM   #11
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I have tried to make a go of web development on the side since 2000.
From my experience, it is hard to make any money on it. Very competitive. Because it is hard to judge on quality, clients judge on price.
Thanks for your input; I can imagine it can be difficult!

I've been a part of a local Web developers group for a couple of years and the people who make a living at it seem to have relationships with one or more agencies where they get regular work. I'm guessing it takes time to build up those kinds of relationships though.
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:28 PM   #12
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Welcome from an INTJ IT Project manager. My DW is from Albuquerque and wants to go back to retire (presumably with me! ;-)
That's great. Albuquerque is wonderful (but I'm biased). A little cold in the winter though for my taste... I may end up moving to Arizona or Florida in ER.
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:16 PM   #13
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At the time it wasn't always easy to be the only kid on the block whose family car had its taillights held on with duct tape! But now I can look back and laugh and appreciate my parents' rejection of conspicuous consumption.


LOL - my dad built himself a truck bed topper out of landscape timber. It was beyond embarrassing at the time!
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:32 PM   #14
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LOL - my dad built himself a truck bed topper out of landscape timber. It was beyond embarrassing at the time!
LOL! My parents used to always wait until Christmas Eve to buy a real tree, since they would usually be on sale for $10. One year, my dad arrived at the usual tree lot to find the seller had already closed up shop and dumped all the remaining trees in the dumpster. Horrified at the prospect of Christmas without a tree, my dad crawled into the dumpster and managed to rescue a not-too-stunted looking tree.

After my mom heard that story we started celebrating Christmas with an artificial tree.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:20 PM   #15
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Thanks for your input; I can imagine it can be difficult!

I've been a part of a local Web developers group for a couple of years and the people who make a living at it seem to have relationships with one or more agencies where they get regular work. I'm guessing it takes time to build up those kinds of relationships though.
Yeah. And since this type of work is easily done off-site, you are often competing against people overseas who charge a lot less.

I have pretty much given up on it. I do maintenance works for a handful of clients, but I haven't had a new client in several years.

Not sure what I am going to do in ER. I think this is my year.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:39 PM   #16
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Yeah. And since this type of work is easily done off-site, you are often competing against people overseas who charge a lot less.

I have pretty much given up on it. I do maintenance works for a handful of clients, but I haven't had a new client in several years.

Not sure what I am going to do in ER. I think this is my year.
That is too bad and a discouraging tale.

I do have a couple of friends who have specialized in a niche skill (Expression Engine) who generally have more work than they can handle, so I might be able to get some referrals from them.

I also have another friend who is a partner in a software consultancy who has offered me some short-term or part-time gigs. I'm not sure I would want to do this in (semi-)retirement since it's the same type of work I'm currently doing at Megacorp, except likely for less pay.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:03 AM   #17
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Welcome inky! I'm not a software guy, but I wonder about the web analytics field as a niche. Any of you developers have any thoughts on that?
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:27 AM   #18
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Welcome inky! I'm not a software guy, but I wonder about the web analytics field as a niche. Any of you developers have any thoughts on that?
Hi DFW_M5! I haven't researched that field much, but one of the folks I know from the Albuquerque Web developer group runs a Web analytics consultancy. As an example, here is a non-technical, part-time, hourly position he has open for a remote worker:

Web Analytics Reporting Specialist

This type of flexible work might be a good fit for someone looking to semi-retire.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:18 AM   #19
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Welcome inky. Great family and personal story. As a parent of two girls, I can only hope they turn out so well. Good luck on FIRE at 45.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:50 AM   #20
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LOL! My parents used to always wait until Christmas Eve to buy a real tree, since they would usually be on sale for $10. One year, my dad arrived at the usual tree lot to find the seller had already closed up shop and dumped all the remaining trees in the dumpster. Horrified at the prospect of Christmas without a tree, my dad crawled into the dumpster and managed to rescue a not-too-stunted looking tree.

After my mom heard that story we started celebrating Christmas with an artificial tree.
I thought that was just OUR family. And my dad discovered that if he waited to after noon on Christmas Eve he could normally get the tree free. We had some sad looking trees. and yeah - more than one pulled out of a pile of remainders after the tree stand closed down.
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