I am Prometheuss ...
Hello! I am Jack. I work (if you call it work--I usually do not) in federal service for the US Army as an operations research analyst. That's a fancy name for someone who fiddles with numbers to support decision making. I live in Monterey, CA now. I retired here from the Army last year and worked for a defense contractor in San Diego for a little less than a year before accepting my current position.
That puts me in my mid-40's and I am happy to say that I am well on my way to financial independence (FI). Early retirement is something that I might contemplate ten years from now, but by then it will not be all that early, will it? Since I can always change my lifestyle and live off my military retirement and savings to date, I am already pretty independent; however, I do not define my current situation as FI since I still want to do things that I would be unable to do if I quit tomorrow.
Anyway, I can attribute most of my current healthy financial situation and outrageously good prospects in the future to a generous military retirement income and all the associated benefits (including a reasonable health care plan). I joined the Army in 1977 just out of high school thinking that I would see Europe and then go to college. I ended up going to OCS, seeing a bit more of the world, making a career of the Army, and finishing a couple of degrees (BS in Math w/minor in CS and MS in Operations Research) along the way. Military life is not for everyone, but I have no complaints worth mentioning.
I have been investing modest amounts of my own money since the early 90's. Before that I was married and I helped my ex with her retirement plan investments. She worked for a large company and Vanguard provided the mutual funds for her 401(k). Through dumb luck I selected index funds for most of her investments thinking that I would learn enough about investing over time to chart a better course. After a lot of reading, I became convinced that index fund investing is the best course for me.
To make a long, ugly story a bit shorter, I lost everything in the divorce (1996). Scratch that, I got the kids (priceless) and the debt (she tried spending her way to happiness in the final years) and she got the assets, the new car, etc. She traded most of her interest in my retirement plan for a chance to start fresh and then cashed in her own retirement fund. (And she has a degree in accounting, no less!) I came out far ahead on the whole deal because I was able to pay off the debt, finish raising my daughters, and take sole custody of my financial future.
Best Regards to All,