Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hi I'm close to Fi-fire
Old 08-28-2007, 05:37 PM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
Plumb_Bob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 7
Hi I'm close to Fi-fire

Hi everyone. I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge by reading this forum and have developed a tremendous respect for the quality of people that contribute here. I’ve been lurking for over two years now, and since I’ll be leaving the company to pursue other opportunities (retired) in about three weeks, I should have more time to fiddle around with forums and such. The reason for the title “Fi-fire” is that I feel that I’m not only financially independent, but also functionally independent. I’ll explain.

I’ve got a sufficient amount of money invested mostly in fixed funds (CD’s) with some (ca. 15%) in stocks (mutual funds). I have no debt and own an 81 acre farm in rural Appalachia. I’ll be receiving a severance package that will pay me full salary for the next year, while also receiving a lifetime pension. I can live on the pension and SS (2 years from now) without touching my savings. I’ve always lived below my means.

My farm is very secluded and secure. I raise beef cattle and hay, but not for profit. The cattle pay their way and keep the farm looking nice, but that’s about it. I also have a fair amount of timber and a sawmill. Other equipment includes a jeep, a tractor with end loader and backhoe, a dump truck, a large diesel generator and a lot of misc. farm and gardening tools. The farm is “on the grid”, but I can easily function without it. My water supply is a spring fed cistern that gravity feeds the house and barn. I heat the house by burning wood of which I have an endless supply. Needless to say, retire just doesn’t seem like the right word to use. Anyway, that’s why I say, at least to some degree, “functionally independent”.

So here’s my question. How important do you feel that it is to, not only be financially secure, but also to be able to live and function independent of the fragile societal and technological infrastructure on which we have become so dependent? :confused:
__________________

__________________
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life..“ Henry David Thoreau
Plumb_Bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 08-28-2007, 05:47 PM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Houston
Posts: 2,155
Welcome, Plumb Bob.

Functionally Independent! Great term, great life, great situation. I have no experience in farm life, but you sounds happy and satisfied with your situation, so it must be good. Congratulations.

What's a typical day like on your farm?
__________________

__________________
Sam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2007, 05:56 PM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Coach's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Colorado, USA
Posts: 1,127
Bob, welcome aboard! It sounds like a wonderful life.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plumb_Bob View Post
So here’s my question. How important do you feel that it is to, not only be financially secure, but also to be able to live and function independent of the fragile societal and technological infrastructure on which we have become so dependent? :confused:
On this one, I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum from you. Hoping for the best

Coach
__________________
Coach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2007, 07:39 PM   #4
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 35
Hi Plumb Bob,

Have never lived or been near a farm so at the risk of sounding naive, I'd be curious to ask a couple of questions, if I may.

I assume you live on the farm and is and will be your primary residence in retirement. Sounds like a pretty hard life but I guess you have lived it so it may not seem so to you. Assuming you have all the modern conveniences on the farm.

Since you are posting here I assume you have internet available on your farm - just curious as to what kind cable/satelite?

I'd like to ask more but feel stupid asking.

As long as you are comfortable with your choices and have alternate options should you get bored/tired of that life, it sounds fine.

Just curious and interested.
__________________
maxer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2007, 11:51 PM   #5
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Okanagan Valley
Posts: 805
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plumb_Bob View Post
How important do you feel that it is to, not only be financially secure, but also to be able to live and function independent of the fragile societal and technological infrastructure on which we have become so dependent? :confused:
For me, not at all. I worked my butt off to get to a FIRE position where I can enjoy all the toys, distractions and such that our modern society brings. I hope to do that for another 30+ years.
__________________
AltaRed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2007, 12:20 AM   #6
Moderator Emeritus
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 11,044
Hi PLumb Bob,

welcome to the forum. I think that to be somewhat functionally independent is a good thing. Right now I am not nearly as functionally independent as I would like, but I have seen my grand parents live the life you describe and they were happy people. They used to grow their own fruits and veggies (yum, nothing better than freshly picked fruits and vegetables), raise their own chicken (for the fresh eggs) and cows (for milk mostly), bake their own bread, heat their house with wood exclusively (wood they got from their own land)... They even made their favorite beverage in the woods behind the house. They went to the supermarket only once a month to get a few staples like meat, cheese, coffee, sugar and flour. Everything else came form the farm.
As my dad is nearing retirement, he is setting up his own place with gardens and orchards, though no lifestock as of yet. He is heating his house mostly with wood and collects rain water in underground tanks. He also has a prolific spring on his property that he could tap into.
I dream to recreate that kind of life for myself and it is one of our possible retirement scenario. One improvement I would consider would be some sort of alternative power source on the property, either solar panels or a wind mill. But unless I have too, I would not give up my modern day gadgets...
My grand parents had to live like that because they were poor. My dad wants to live like that because he likes the idea to be functionally independent. I want to live like that for ecological and spiritual reasons...
__________________
FIREd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2007, 12:40 AM   #7
Moderator
bssc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 9,929
Welcome to the boards.

We look forward to you future contributions. Good that you are functionally independent, you probably could even live without the Internet.
__________________
Angels danced on the day that you were born.
bssc is offline   Reply With Quote
I am impressed!
Old 08-29-2007, 01:22 AM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
GoodSense's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 678
I am impressed!

I am very impressed with your self-sustaining system. I think it's very important and wish I could live like that. Having read the book "The Long Emergency," I believe that we have already peaked in terms of oil production, and that our modern conveniences are merely a passing luxury that cannot be sustained in the long haul, because they are almost entirely based on cheap oil (think travel modes, all the plastics and other production processes). The oil and coal resources of the earth were formed over tens/hundreds of thousands of years, but will be used up in just over one century.

I don't think I will need to resort to hunting and fishing, but I don't anticipate that cross-continental flights will be as accessible in 30 years as they are today.

I believe when future generations look back, in the long history of human development, the oil age will be something like 150 years out of 6,000 (?) years of human existence. That's only 2.5% of the total time span and an anomaly. Good for you for not needing to depend on most of the modern conveniences--I don't think they'll be here forever anyway.
__________________
GoodSense is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2007, 06:44 AM   #9
Recycles dryer sheets
lem1955's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 124
Send a message via Yahoo to lem1955
Here in north central VT, we are beginning to create a 21st century response to "the end of oil" and the need for less reliance on the products of the 20th century. CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) are big here, even for those who keep a small garden in their own backyards. having locally grown organic produce all year long means less transportation costs and better tasting, healthier food. Backyard farming operations are also big. We raise 50 organic meat chickens each year - 25 for our own freezer and 25 to sell to friends. I buy organic beef, pork and lamb from neighbors doing the same. There are more solar, hydro and wind energy sites feeding into the grid all the time, so that everyone doesn't have to come up with his own energy sources but as a community we do not have to rely as heavily on oil and fission plants. I still have my freezer, my dishwasher, my TV (just one), my internet satellite and two household computers, as well as lots of other electric and electronic gadgets. I haven't turned my back on technology - the pleasure and easiness it provides. But there are things we can all do, wherever we are to reduce our reliance on limited energy sources, while still feeding and protecting our loved ones.
__________________
lem1955 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2007, 07:01 AM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 8,644
Welcome Bob - sounds like a nice setup. But those of us who are mechanically illiterate, so to speak, don't have a realistic choice except to rely on the "infrastructure." What are your plans if you get old and frail and can't maintain the homestead - any family nearby?
__________________
Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson
donheff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2007, 07:13 AM   #11
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Oklahoma City
Posts: 275
I think many have the dream or enjoy living the reality of self sufficiency. I have dreamt many times of this and even tried to run scenarios of how it could be accomplished in my life. Unfortunately it always came down to betting on the future of society or betting against it and the cost to bet against it was my kids future somewhat.

For example , I could probably afford to buy a tract of land and eventually get to the "Functionally independant" state but I have 2 teenagers that are approaching college, driving and have real needs now and I would be much less able to invest in their futures if I was buying tractors, land, and spending alot of extra time farming or exerting effort to "get off the grid". I think the time and $$ that one would have to invest is a huge consideration --- when you are investing it in a farm or "off the grid" property these resources are taken from other areas of your life and for me that would be the relationships and family I have.

I guess I could see it working if they were bought into it but I do not see that as a reality in todays culture unless you have raised children in an Amish (the modern day Functional independents) or Mennonite community. I think statistics probably show that, barring that you are a member of one of these communities, the "self sufficient" estate you built would be quickly sold upon your death versus your heirs continuing in your tradition.

Now I will cavaet all this to say that if I came into a large amount of $$ I would seriously consider purchasing a good tract of farming land as you have and "mothball" the basics of what I would need to be self sufficient. (farm equipment -- irragation necessities -- solar kits) OR buy a small functioning farm that I could rent out to be farmed --- but it would only be as an insurance policy for things if they went really bad in the US and I would avoid investing my life into it until that reality occurred.
__________________
militaryman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2007, 08:04 AM   #12
Recycles dryer sheets
Culture's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 491
I, too, have long yearned to live "off the grid." However, I long ago realized this was a pipe dream in the sense of actually being independent. While one can reduce ones dependence on society (which I view as a good thing), one cannot eliminate it, not even close. If you read about our pioneer ancestors, you realize even they were "on the grid."

Where are you going to get medical care? Parts for you tractor? Tools? Spices? Steel for your forge? Anything using or making electricity? Imagine that a minefield was placed around your property and you could not leave. What would your lifestyle be in a year? five years? ten?

Not that I am criticizing this "back to the land" movement, as I desire to do this myself. It has many, many benefits. Just keep in mind that you are still tied to society and need to society to succeed in order for you to succeed. My worry is that people will start to believe they are independent, and will not work to ensure a strong, stable society that we all depend on. This can start a downward spiral that feeds on itself. I think this has already started on a small scale.

If you ever have read David Brin's "The Postman," (the book from which a very bad Kevin Costner film was made), you can get an idea of what I am talking about.
__________________
Culture is offline   Reply With Quote
pulling the plug
Old 08-29-2007, 08:52 AM   #13
Full time employment: Posting here.
tightasadrum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: athens
Posts: 802
pulling the plug

Welcome Bob,

I too dream of self-sufficiency and independence from the grid. Maybe I would not be as complete as you, but somewhat more independent than now. Mine is not a social isolation kind of wish. It’s more of a financial independence. I would dearly love to see my power meter spin backwards so I could have Georgia Power send ME a check.

A little over a year ago I sold my house in the suburbs and bought 8.5 acres in the rural part of the county. The nice part is that I’m still only a couple of miles from civilization. I have a wood-burning stove in the basement, although I haven’t started heating with it yet, and get my water from a well. I celebrate ever month because I don’t have to pay the water-sewer-refuse bill to the county. I’ll have a tractor next month and will plant the obligatory garden next spring after retirement. When solar panels get down in price and up in efficiency, I’ll install one. My house is on a lake. I’m considering converting to water-source heat pump, which will be more efficient for AC during the Georgia summers, and winters too.

I have a rooster, a long story, but he’s just a pet since there are no hens to put him to work. Don’t know if I can do the livestock thing. DW makes a pet out of all creatures large and small and would not tolerate my slaughtering any of her pets.

Retirement for me will not be a time for passive introspection. I will be as active as I am now, but without the commute, but doing what I want to do. Good luck with your retirement. Sounds like they’ve sent you off comfortably secure with a one-year salary to boot. Shoot, you’ll get a one-year dry run. Just bank the whole salary and see how it works.
__________________
Can't you see yourself in the nursing home saying, " Darn! Wish I'd spent more time at the office instead of wasting time with family and friends."
tightasadrum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2007, 09:40 AM   #14
Confused about dryer sheets
Plumb_Bob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 7
Wow!! Thanks for all the replies. I see a full spectrum of responses from “no way” to “right on”. Very interesting!

First let me respond to some of your questions/comments.

Maxer – My internet connection is dial-up. Its very slow and unreliable. I will probably upgrade to a satellite sytem when I leave my current employer (who provides me with very fast internet service).

Firedreamer – “I want to live like that for ecological and spiritual reasons...” I agree wholeheartedly. I try to keep my footprint small and nature renews my spirit daily.

GoodSense – I share your concerns. One thing in particular that troubles me is the “growth” mentality. Corporations have goals to not only grow but to actually increase their rate of growth. To me this is insane. Nothing can grow forever. Same goes for population and consumption.

Lem1955 – Sounds like a very nice set up, people helping people to become more self reliant and independent. My community is not as well structured, but all my neighbors – closest is about a mile away – know and help each other a lot. We normally share a lot of things, tools, equipment, work, food etc. Money very seldom changes hands.

Donheff – “What are your plans if you get old and frail and can't maintain the homestead - any family nearby?” When I get old and frail and can no longer take care of myself – I’m going to die. But actually, I hope that some nice pretty lady will come take care of me! No family nearby – one daughter several hours away.

I can see that this could take up a lot of time. A lot of thought provoking comments that require thought, i.e., time. When I get a chance I will read/write some more. Many thanks!!
__________________
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life..“ Henry David Thoreau
Plumb_Bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2007, 09:50 AM   #15
Recycles dryer sheets
TexasGal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 229
Welcome!

I look forward to future posts from you. I am fascinated with being off the grid but to me it is just theory so I will look forward to more details. Heck, I need to work on what do we do if electricity is off for several days!

I admire your spirit!

TG
__________________
TexasGal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2007, 11:02 AM   #16
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 377
Plumb Bob, I am like you, calling it quits very early to get away from the rat race, and when I say rat race, not only do I mean the working one, but the invisible one that has been built around society.
__________________
Bigritchie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2007, 11:13 AM   #17
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
My early years were on a small subsistence farm. My grandfather never went on a vacation in his whole life. When the farming got to tough, it was phased out and by then my grandfather was an old man.

So, who is going to watch the place when you want to go somewhere? When you retire you will have much more free time, what are you going to do with that time?
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2007, 11:46 AM   #18
Recycles dryer sheets
lightspeed's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 135
Bob, it sounds like you're happy doing what yu do, so being "functionally independent" is right for you. My wife's extended family is a farming family in rural Bavaria and are functionally independent. They live a simple, family-oriented life and are happier than anyone I know with a McMansion, boat, Hummer, club membership, etc.... I've yearned for living simple and off the grid most of my life, but just have not dared to yet. Someday I will get that off-the-grid cabin as a second home to test the waters.
__________________
lightspeed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-29-2007, 12:14 PM   #19
Confused about dryer sheets
Plumb_Bob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 7
Militaryman – I can see how if one were to buy into a functioning farm at some later stage in life it would be very expensive and difficult. There is also a knowledge base that would not be there. One needs to know mechanics, electrical principals, animal husbandry, gardening, food preservation, carpentry etc. In my case this has been a life long goal.

Culture – I am having a hard time understanding your concern about people becoming independent and then neglecting their responsibility to society. I guess I’ll have to read the book you suggested. I would think that apathy would be more of a problem than independence. With our current government and state of affairs, I tend to feel apathetic about having any ability to contribute to a solution. Anyhow…..

I am NOT off the grid, in case anybody misunderstood. I do have a back up generator because the electric goes off quite often. I’m actually at the end of the line, and therefore my service is very low priority to the utility company. I really don’t use a lot of electricity. My electric bill runs about $20/month (@8cents/kwh) during the winter. Summers it’s a little higher (ca. $25 – 30) because of a de-humidifier I run in the basement. I have all the modern necessities, except for whole house air cond. I do have a window unit but very seldom (its been years) run it. Ceiling fans and a cool breeze off a wooded hillside ravine keep the house quite comfortable.

Hey…I’m not sure I can keep up with this. I’m three or four comments behind. If I wasn’t a work, I wouldn’t have time for this. Later….
__________________
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life..“ Henry David Thoreau
Plumb_Bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2007, 01:42 PM   #20
Confused about dryer sheets
Plumb_Bob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 7
Bigritchie - Yeah, I know what you mean, I feel the same way sometimes.

Martha - In the summer the cattle are on pasture and I can leave for extended periods without a problem. In the winter when I have feeding to do everyday, I have neighbors that feed for me. I do the same for them when they need to leave. I won't have any problem filling my time when I retire. There is always plenty to do - I never seem to catch up on all the maintenance and chores. The nice thing is, nothing is that urgent and I can do things at my own pace. I want to visit Peru sometime in the not to distant future. I don't have any definite plans yet though.
__________________

__________________
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life..“ Henry David Thoreau
Plumb_Bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
About to FIRE - can you help me stir my pot? coolie Hi, I am... 3 09-24-2006 10:15 AM
Career decisions / conflict before FIRE bearkeley Young Dreamers 9 07-28-2006 03:26 PM
First-time poster seeking critique of FIRE plans Silhan Hi, I am... 9 03-20-2006 02:58 AM
I'm going to FIRE soon at 35. free4now FIRE and Money 33 02-03-2006 09:53 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:52 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.