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Old 12-26-2010, 06:47 AM   #21
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At 26 we had bought our little condo after seriously scraping to get the money together, both working, going to work every night and coming home to watch TV or whatever and I thought to myself, "is this it?" I realized I could get a lot better job and make a lot more money if I got an MBA, but could not justify the lost earnings, so I went at night while working full time. Bleah. I got the higher paying, more interesting job, but it was still the same grind plus we started having kids. Not the lifestyle I envisioned, plus my career path has a lot of high paying, high burnout jobs. I could see that I was likely to burn out long before 65 and didn't want this lifestyle forever anyway. Since we had always been savers, I went back and did the math after stumbling on intercst's site and realized that all we had to do was keep it up for a while. Planning on ESR in 2014, since I am tired of my career.
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Old 12-27-2010, 09:31 AM   #22
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... plus married to a frugal woman, which helped a bunch.
I think this is crucial if one is married. Both people have to be united on priorities, or at least the major ones.

Looking around, I see more marriages destroyed by MasterCharge than any other cause. Yeah, priceless.
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Old 12-31-2010, 07:12 AM   #23
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How did you stay focused on ER?

I didn't. I stayed focused on NOT WORKING. Then ER just happened
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:15 AM   #24
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Spent a lot of time getting an education (while working). DW and I got a high paying corp job with good benefits.


We Lived below our means, worked, saved, and invested for 25 years without making too many mistakes.

Paid attention to company benefits that would help us FIRE (retirement health and low cost group LTC).

Ohh... almost forgot. DW FIREd in mid 2007. I am intending to FIRE this summer!

We may have over saved based on our income needs... I probably could have FIRED with DW.... But I decided to stick with the original plan.

The plan seems to be working!
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:48 AM   #25
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I kept reminding myself that I am making a choice between an additional X years in the work force or financial independence, security and personal freedom.

In terms of getting there (I have 1-3) years to go, in my profession there is a very significant jump in earnings once you advance to a certain level - I made sure I worked hard enough to get to that level.

A change in jobs helped by providing a change in environment.
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Old 12-31-2010, 11:59 AM   #26
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How did you stay focused?
Easy - I hated/hate my job

Welcome and good luck
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Old 01-03-2011, 07:47 AM   #27
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Thanks everyone for all the feedback and sharing your success stories.

We have been lurking on this site for sometime now. Found this site through the bogleheads site.
Just a few observations to share:
A) Obviously everyone here seems well informed.
B) Most avoid debt with maybe the exception of their mortgage. (We have only a couple of years left and this will be paid as well...very modest home.
C.) Many pay cash for most items especially for cars. My last car paymet was in 1983. DW's was paid off shortly after we met.

We save and invest what we can even on a modest salary. Yet we still enjoy life. And we drive popular model (but used) cars.

Happy New Year.
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:40 PM   #28
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Start living the lifestyle you will have after you ER. That is, live below your means. The difference is what you invest between now an then. You don't want to face ER with a drastic reduction in lifestyle.
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Old 01-05-2011, 01:29 AM   #29
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Focused on ER? I never was. Then one day:
  • I knew I was FI
  • Was pondering the future since BIL (who was 61, never sick, etc) died
  • My boss (who I actually liked and respected) pissed me off one too many times with administrivia.
Until that day, I had never really considered ER. The key is to become FI, then beg you boss to PYO.
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Old 01-05-2011, 01:47 AM   #30
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How do I stay focus on ER ? I guess I like my job but getting bored. Plus, I would like to spend more time volunteering abroad, where the needs are huge.
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Old 01-05-2011, 12:13 PM   #31
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Focused on ER? I never was. Then one day:
  • I knew I was FI
Me too.
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Old 01-05-2011, 05:54 PM   #32
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I focused on being able to retire, but never gave the date a second thought.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:01 PM   #33
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I knew I had no significant pension so I had been saving a lot of money for years. I started aggressively investing it and taking calculated risks.

I had intended to wait until I was 63 1/2 because then I could go on COBRA for 18 months and be eligible for medicare. No health insurance issues that way - I've had cancer so there may be.

However - my health has not been good (not cancer, bad asthma) and I started hating my job. Then I had a very close friend drop dead at 68, unexpectedly. His wife found him dead on the kitchen floor. If that doesn't shake you up...

So I gave 2 weeks' notice about a month later...

I think I was focussed on retiring (at least to the point of investing a lot) from the age of 50 or so, because I knew it was coming and I hadn't been able to save enough.
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Old 01-05-2011, 06:04 PM   #34
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We've always lived below our means and kept financial security as a priority, but no real plan for early retirement. Our net worth increased to levels beyond what I ever expected, we looked at what was considered enough to retire and realized we had already blown past 25X (4% WR). Now we're up to 35-45X, continuing to pad the nest...but have taken steps to retire (for a while anyway).
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:26 AM   #35
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Simple, I luv my DH enough to put his health and well-being higher than materialistic things. (I'm stay at home but pretty much do 95% of work in running house and kids education since DH does not have time or energy) We are saving almost 50% of post-tax income to save almost 1/3 of capital needed in next 4-5 years so it does take discipline but if you are clear on why you are doing it, it is lot easier.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:11 AM   #36
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Thanks thinker25, all the best to you.

Midpack, we are at 14x (4%) right now. Hopefully, half way there and <10 yrs.
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Old 01-06-2011, 07:26 AM   #37
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I wanted to experience around 30 years of mobile, healthy and non-working life before I die. I'm assuming I won't be that mobile after 80. Thus, the focus was to FI and ER at 50. It was all about numbers - $ and age and am glad I got there last year. So, even when I was miserable when working, I would look at the numbers and just tell myself to get to the end of the plan.
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