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Old 03-06-2011, 07:04 PM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Hi everybody. Wife and I are nearly 35, and we have three small kids. Total savings around $150,000, live in a fairly low-cost-of-living place. Wondering if there's any hope of an early retirement. Only debt at the moment is a mortgage. Actually I'd like it if we could just downshift to part-time or low-key work, making enough to live on but not have to save. To do this before age 50 would be great, perhaps moving to a low-cost-of-living country. But that will be college time for a couple of the kids, so not sure if it will happen!

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Old 03-06-2011, 07:09 PM   #2
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Welcome. You are off to a great start, and remind me how remote retirement must have seemed at your ages.

Get a plan and stick with it. Lots of helpful info here.

San Francisco Area
ESR'd March 2010. FIRE'd January 2011.

As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 03-07-2011, 04:50 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa View Post
.........Get a plan and stick with it. Lots of helpful info here.
+1 Without a written plan, you are just hoping.

Welcome to the forum, BTW
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
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Old 03-07-2011, 06:10 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forum.

+2 on the plan, I just really started my a couple of years ago and wished I had started early like you.

Lots of great info here and a lot of helpful people.
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:44 PM   #5
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Welcome. A lot can happen in the next 15 years or so, but yes, put a plan together and start executing it. If you are detail-oriented you might benefit from trying various simulations in one of the planner programs that allows more detailed scenarios than this forum's excellent FIRECALC.

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Old 03-07-2011, 06:47 PM   #6
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A mindset of knowing by planning an outcome, rather than hoping goes a long way in making what you want happen, for you.

You can quote me.
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:05 PM   #7
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Mar 2011
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Thanks for your replies, everyone. You're right, we need a plan.

Maybe you guys can help me figure out a way to start. There are so many unknowns. I am in a troubled industry, so I'm not sure what the future will hold job-wise. I may have to change careers or become and independent contractor eventually. My wife is in an OK industry but it's still the cold hard private sector, same as me, so who knows what the future holds there. We are not high earners in the first place: Between the two of us we have gross income of $80,000 to $90,000 per year. Furthermore, we do not have great potential (as far as I can see) for promotions, bonuses or earnings leaps.

As for other sources of uncertainty, well, I hope my kids get scholarships -- that would put us in a much better position. But that's a long way down the road.

In a way I hesitated to join and post on an early retirement forum, because I'm not sure how realistic it is for us. But as I said, I am still "hoping" for an early semi-retirement. Our saving graces may be that we are not materialistic, we live in a fairly low-cost area, and we're open to moving to an even lower cost-of-living country eventually, at least for a while.
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Old 03-07-2011, 08:58 PM   #8
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Check out the FAQ over on forum for info on how to develop a financial plan. They have very helpful info for all levels of investment experience.
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Old 03-07-2011, 09:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Davis View Post

As for other sources of uncertainty, well, I hope my kids get scholarships -- that would put us in a much better position. But that's a long way down the road.
This came to mind when reading your post. Wish someone had said something to me regarding college tuition so I'll pass this on to you.

There is a federal form that you have to fill out called the FAFSA- Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Here is the website:

Before your first child goes to college their first year.. you will have to key in your income and net worth. The less you have the more aid you may be eligible to receive for your children.

"Retirement assets" do not need to be included on this form. So...the more $$ you can shove in true retirement vehicles the better.

Don't know how much knowing this years before my daughters first year would have helped but there are a couple of decisions I made that I would have made differently had I known this. Like contributing to a non-deductible IRA every year and ...not taking that lump sum from an inherited IRA such that it stayed in IRA status.
As it was I didn't know about any thing called a FAFSA until the year before she went to college.

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