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Old 05-11-2016, 02:35 PM   #21
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ERdream, I never had numbers like that but relatively was perhaps worse off. Between a house (at that time and place a good idea) and a new pickup truck (not such a good idea) in 1984 I was in debt that was 2 1/2 times my gross income. So I'm familiar with that uneasy feeling.

In 15 years we had zero debt. It can be done.
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Old 05-12-2016, 11:24 AM   #22
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Everyone said you've got great income, but I didn't notice the figure mentioned. Just knowing you're a doc, it must be substantial.
As long as you're healthy and you have all necessary insurances, you'll be fine. You might start enjoying making big $$ and forget your wish to ER. Perhaps you're too focused on ER at the very start of your career... I agree with your DW that you shouldn't forget about some 'living today'. You're a young family, keep her happy (but within reasonable limits on her spending). You don't want to end up with an expensive divorce as you might never retire then. Mutual work on the happy/healthy family life is more relevant and if you both stay frugal enough, you'll become wealthy.

I'm kind of on the side of your wise to raise your kids even through middle school. Being FT working parents ourselves, it's not easy to run the household errands, shopping and driving kids to/from school and their activities. If your DW works you might need to hire a housekeeper and/or other help which would almost negate her earnings and increase the stress in the household.

I agree that it's not a very good idea to pay extra on your mortgage. You've got a very low rate.
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Old 05-12-2016, 06:28 PM   #23
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OThis is a bit presumptuous and personal so take with grains of salt. No offense intended since I don't know you or your DW.

I get the feeling your biggest challenge won't be financial... it'll be relationship.

Why?

Because you kind of hint at the fact that your DW and you have a different view of money... it may seem minor at first, but when push comes to shove, those little things can matter. When it comes time to pull the trigger there is lots of anxiety and nervousness so alignment of partners is super critical imo.

As a personal example, my DW today looks forward to me leaving my high paying job/career to spend time with family and is excited to reduce spending to have that happen sooner. That is reducing our cost of living has been a JOY for her... not a sacrifice. Also, the idea of me giving up decades of income (as I reach earning peak no less) and thus reducing how much we could have and how opulent our life could be makes no difference to either of us because we value time with each other and our kids more.

It sounds like while you are like that, your wife may see this as a sacrifice. I'm not sure that will be sustainable. I think for FIRE to work, both people have to be positively engaged. It's really a lifestyle choice. I personally think there's nothing wrong with people who work their whole lives, upgrade their lives as they go, build successful careers, make and spend lots of money... that's fine. I work with many people who are similar to me in earning, etc and they are gong a very different route... and seem perfectly happy. They think I'm a bit nuts... that's fine =.

The other thing you said that concerns me is that your DW would prefer that you work less... but then she also is the one that pushed for the dream house and to enjoy life more. If enjoy life more comes with high financial costs (doesn't have to of course) then those two things don't match. You can't work like crazy to pay off debt quickly and live an expensive life AND spend lots of time at home. That stress over time can really create problems even if it's minor at first.

So imagine it's 15-20 years from now. Your debt is gone... you've got enough money to support your current lifestyle and you've been disciplined about not upgrading to get there. You and your DW sit down to talk about next steps.

You say "I'm going to give up my even higher paying job so I can be at home with our teenagers and you" instead of "I'll keep working and that means because we've saved assuming I'll quit we can get a bigger house, more financial security, take those dream vacations, etc."

How will that sound? Will you both answer the same way with enthusiasm or will one person have regret and feel like they gave up something big?

I'd be really clear on that as early as possible because misalignment late is very expensive. When you start spending 24/7 with your partner up from a few hours a day as many retirees do... you have to REALLY get along and trust each other.

My suggestion is (if this might be an issue... I hope I'm just nuts) to sit down and have a very honest conversation about how you will feel in 15-20 years assuming you'll be able to retire but be at peak earnings and the whole time you've been working. Increasing earnings and saving your lifestyle has remained the same while maybe the lifestyle of those around you has been substantially upgraded.

Again... a personal example. I have a 900K house which is "average" by crazy socal standards. My DW and I routinely visit friends who live in 2-4M houses which we could in theory afford... but not if our plan is ER. Knowing we could just live in an "awesome" house like that with only adding 5-6 years of me working is tempting sometimes and it's also weird when people come to our "modest" house. That's kinda what I mean. You really have to be aligned on the goal to deal with those things in my personal experience anyway

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Old 05-13-2016, 06:23 PM   #24
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My income this year will be around 450k and the same for the next year. In 2018 it should rise to 560-580k.

There seems to be a bit of an misunderstanding concerning DW.

When I say that we are not on the same page all the times its because I can be VERY EXTREME at times For instance if it was up to me I would hardly ever use the clothes dryer. I would buy all my kids clothes used ( since they grow so fast). I would aggressively shop 2-3 grocery stores to get our monthly food budget under 500$ for a family of 5 etc etc. Like I stated before I gravitate towards MMM lifestyle. When I refer to DW wanting more of a life style, that would include such things as getting her hair cut and highlighted 2x a year, using the dryer , using our allotted monthly food budget of 700$.

Most people will probably consider me a bit crazy, but the amount of debt we have concerns me. We have a budget that we made together ( I will post it when I get more time) and we review it 2x a month to make sure we are on target. With that being said I prefer to wear 26 pieces of flair and she is happy wearing 12

I view our marriage as solid as anyone elses, sure we disagree and we have our fights about how crazy I am sometimes about money but she is far from wanting to lead a lavish lifestyle. She is completely on board with me retiring early, just not willing to do MMM lifestyle.

I appreciate all the concerns and take them all to heart, I know how important my time is with my family and making sure that DW is happy. Sometimes its not as easy as one would think to balance family life and financial success.
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Old 05-13-2016, 06:29 PM   #25
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I agree with you on used clothes when the kids are little. But the best way is to target families that have kids a few years older... and get their hand me downs for free. Then pass them on to a family with kids younger than yours. That worked pretty well till about age 9 or 10.

Now, at age 15, my older son has discovered good will.... He can get quirky shirts for 50 cents each.
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Old 05-13-2016, 09:20 PM   #26
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OP,

I will give you a bit of my own philosophy here. Use or discard as you see fit. There is a saying that I personally take to heart. " What good does it do you to live to 100 year old and not enjoy a minute of it?" Your desire for the austere lifestyle needs to be tempered substantially in deference to your wife. As a physician, you will of necessity be away from the home and family quite a bit. You need to make sure your wife is comfortable with HER life and let her run the house as she sees fit. Otherwise, she will likely run her household the way she sees fit anyway, but you might not be in it!
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Old 05-14-2016, 05:03 AM   #27
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OP; With three children under the age of 5, I do hope you are kidding about your desire that she not use the dryer

Regarding your debt, I think the school debt is the big nut you need to crack. Aggressively paying that debt down sooner than your aggressive schedule of throwing an extra $1,000 per month would make you feel better.
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Old 05-14-2016, 06:19 AM   #28
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You're being way too pessimistic. Even if we assume that your home is worth your mortgage then your NW is only -$142k. The better way to think of that $142k is an investment that earns a high return since your training qualifies you for a high paying job.

I suggest that you get a copy of Quicken and input your situation in the Lifetime Planner included in Quicken. With your high earnings I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the result.

Based on the taxable and tax-deferred savings you plan I get that you would have over $4 million by the time you are 50, which would easily support a $90k/year withdrawal.
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Old 05-14-2016, 12:05 PM   #29
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Yes, I would be curious to see your budget. But it's not that I will be able to provide any advice based on it.
As I'll never see such yearly income in this lifetime, I'm also nosy how the math works down from the top (gross income) to the bottom (net take home).

This is a serious bucket of money, and I think you (or if you choose not to, then your wife) deserve to enjoy some of it.
You must be a specialty doctor, right? I've met a family of general docs with one child. Apparently they enjoy their jobs (apart from politics) because they upgraded their living from a 350k house to more than a $1mln house of three stories with an elevator in it. The 3rd floor is for her mom who's in need of some attention (more of it later probably).

Based on your description, yes, you do sound extreme. If you cannot get hand me downs, it's not the end of the world. Ask your wife to stick with Target or Kohl's instead of going to the mall. Kohl's has some great sales and it's a good deal when combined with their mailed coupons of 15-30%. Sometimes the price per item would be $2-$4 when our kiddos were 1-5 years old...not even worth going to the GW.

You must be kidding that your wife should shop 2-3 stores with 3 kiddos in tow in order to find the best deal for your food budget. What value would you assign to her sanity by any chance? When you have a vacation week, let your DW to leave everything to you and you do everything. You'll do laundry, cook, clean the house, feed the kids like 5 times a day, clean after them, do play dates, shop for the best inexpensive food in 2-3 stores with kids in tow who will want this and that and bicker with you, educate the kids and entertain them too, and also make your spouse happy. I don't think you're capable of putting her days in perspective. Do you have a FT nanny or other help in your household? I was a FT nanny in a very rich family years ago. They had an accountant, a housekeeper, a garden service, and me as a nanny for their twins and one older daughter. Wife didn't work, but mostly had lunches with her friends, constantly shopping brand stuff, and who knows what else she did. Now in this case the man had a right to be mad at his wife because all was over the top, IMO, but he was never mad. I recall him buying a Porshe as a 40 year BD present for himself. I mean the family was not super wealthy wealthy, but you get the gist. That was nuts, but you're trying to create a nut house from the different end of spectrum. MMM is trying to create a cult of super frugal people. Yes, I enjoyed reading his site sometimes in the past, but not anymore. Supposedly he was quoted that his site makes $400k/year. People just take him at his word. What will he do with all that money years later? Yeah, he said something about charity, his own foundation, maybe yes, maybe no, nobody knows. Yes, it's good that he teaches other people to be less frivolous, etc., but if you're already frugally minded do you really wish to become extreme and push all that down on your wife? Is she wasting money? If you earned $100-200k per year, maybe it's OK to think of ways to save $100-200/month on food, but now when you earn almost a half a MILLION dollars a year, that's over the top, IMO.
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Old 05-14-2016, 12:10 PM   #30
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Regarding your plan in your first post, aren't you above the income limit for a ROTH IRA?
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Old 05-14-2016, 12:22 PM   #31
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I agree with you on used clothes when the kids are little. But the best way is to target families that have kids a few years older... and get their hand me downs for free. Then pass them on to a family with kids younger than yours. That worked pretty well till about age 9 or 10.

...
+1 We did this within our extended family. No one is in the same state, but we'd ship boxes of clothes to the next oldest cousins as they got outgrown--and, in turn, that family would forward to the next as they were outgrown. (On some occasions, shipments even made between families who had never met after our wedding--my siblings and DW's siblings.)

Unfortunately, we had the oldest kids on both sides.
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Old 05-14-2016, 03:17 PM   #32
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Regarding your plan in your first post, aren't you above the income limit for a ROTH IRA?
He's doing a backdoor Roth IRA. Hopefully, this method will not disappear as it's in Obama's budget proposal.
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Old 05-14-2016, 03:41 PM   #33
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He's doing a backdoor Roth IRA. Hopefully, this method will not disappear as it's in Obama's budget proposal.
With a high marginal income tax bracket such as the OP is in now, a backdoor ROTH IRA conversion is too expensive while he's w*rking.
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Old 05-14-2016, 06:12 PM   #34
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We do backdoor roths every year, our IRA's always have a 0 dollar balance, until at the end of the first month we transfer 5500 to each account and transfer it to the roths.

I agree with almost everyone says here, just keep in mind that not everything that I post is something that we do or I pressure DW into trying. I am smart enough to know that a happy wife is a happy life

As an example my father was a physician and parents were extremely frugal, my mother and father bought their clothes from kohls or walmart. They never drove cars more expensive then 35k and my mother was always making sure they got the best deal when it came to any purchase over 100$. She raised 4 children and her second job was to make sure that my fathers hard earned dollars stretched as far as possible. My father retired when he was 69, mainly because he was part of the generation that his identity revolved around him being a physician. Nevertheless they retired with quite a bit of money.

For as frugal as they were they did travel 5-6x a year once all the kids were out of the house, but I know they my mother always spent time finding the cheapest price for everything.

I have told DW many times thats its a win if all the kids are in one piece at the end of day, and we do have a cleaning service that we pay 130$ 2x a month. I also help do the laundry, clean up after the kids and clean the house almost every day when I get home from work. No, I dont think she is leading a lifestyle of the rich and famous, but she gets to be kid free 3x a week since we pay for them to be in preschool. This costs about 1400$ per month. During that time Im not sure what she does exactly but I have a good hunch that she takes a well deserved nap and watches some netflix. I am happy that she gets to unwind and take get a break from our little monsters.

I know my wife is happy with our lifestyle, we talk about it quite a bit to make sure that she doesnt feel like I am depriving her from enjoying life. What I think some of the people posting here can understand is when you are in debt close to 1m dollars. Even if i am making close to half a million dollars I pay a bit over 100k just in federal taxes. ( number off the top of my head is around 116k I could be a bit off so dont hold me to that exact figure).

So here is a quick and dirty budget that we have, these are approximate numbers again so they probably dont add up to 100%.

Mortgage: 3100$
Student loans: 2100$
Kids Tuition: 1400$
Car payments: 900$ ( I didnt add this into the debt in my OP b/c it wont add much, like pissing in the ocean, they will be paid off in 2 years and we wont be buying new cars for 10+ years)
Insurance: 200$
Food: 800$
Costco: 300$ (food and diapers twins are expensive)
529 accounts: $1500 ( 500 per kiddo)
Gas: 350$
Wifes extras: 1000$ ( this includes anything that doesnt fall into another category, kids clothes, eating out...etc she is in complete control of this).
Utilites: 500$
Kumon (afterschool tutoring for my 4 year old): 230$
Maids: 260$
YMCA membership: 64$
Cable/internet: 120$ ( she locked us into a 2 year contract or this would vanish like a fart in the wind)
Cell phones:175$

Thats comes to $11599. I roughly net about 20k per month. So our goal is to save around 8k each month, to save/invest. I dont think we are living the MMM lifestyle when you look at what we spend . I hope to increase that when the kids are start public school and at that time we will get rid of cable,maids and cars will be paid off.

Now I know that people will post that 8k per month is a lot of money, and they are right it is. Don't forget the almost 1m that we owe. As a quick side note if I did not work almost every weekend this year I would net just north of $13500 and we would be saving barely 2k. This is what pushed me into working like a madman this and next year ( until I make partner).

So that is basically our entire financial book right there, I want to say that I do take all the advice to heart. I have grown a lot with DW and she has taught me to enjoy the moment and not get so focused on what could or could not happen. Its hard not to stress about the amount we owe and try not to come up with ways to save even more money.
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Old 05-14-2016, 07:04 PM   #35
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You know, if you deduct the payments for your loans and mortgage and preschool, you'd be good to compete with MMM (he has 1 child vs. your 3). So the drag comes from the loans and there's nothing you can do about it, unless you want to sell the house and move to a $200-250k house.
I really don't see any fat to cut in your presented budget. Well, not sure about cell phones though. Are those plans so expensive? Internet/cable looks quite reasonable. My neighbors have a phone/very fast internet/cable with Time Warner Cable and it costs them $175/month.
Maybe some people will ask to itemize your DW's $1k monthly allowance, but if you don't see any hidden shoes, clothes, then it must be spent for the good cause.
Since you have Costco, why to run around other groceries to find better deals? It carries all the stuff you'd need for frugal life. Per my rough analysis it costs cheaper per pound or ounce, per piece, per liquid oz or whatever measurement as compared to a grocery store (in our city at least). Well, OK, this past year I found cheaper apples at Super Target and also cereals cost less at other stores as they are constantly on sale (but they're not healthy in general). Perhaps I'm biased but I love Costco though when kids are on their own, it will not make sense to be members just because of bulky quantities .

I learned something new from you. I thought only lawyers and investment bankers can become partners, but I didn't know this about docs. Just curious, why/how will it be better when you become a partner? I'd imagine the price for billable hour jumps up but don't you still have pressure to accrue those hours to make better profit margins for the practice? I'm clueless so my questions could sound stupid.
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Old 05-14-2016, 07:25 PM   #36
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I wish we had billable hours. While the landscape of medicine will change in our lifetime currently it is fee for service. We could start an entire new thread on whats good and bad about that.

Partnership for me will mean the following:

1. As an employee I earn 280k+ 40k in yearly bonus for 320k a year. By selling my soul to the group and working 45 weekends out of the year I am able to earn just about 450k this year.

2. When I make partner I will earn 400k a year and roughly 100-120k a year in bonuses for 500-520k. The best part I will only have to work 10 weekends the entire year!

I have just over 1.5 more years before partner, so as my salary slowly rises I will cut back from the extra weekends to keep the amount we can save the same. I am eagerly looking forward to not working almost every weekend and get some time with the family.

Work is about as hard as I can ever see myself working for 8-9 hours depending on how long my shift is. I eat lunch or dinner while working, if I am not running to the bathroom I am working the entire shift. There is no checking emails, searching the internet or making a phone call. When I leave I am mentally exhausted and use the remaining energy I have left to play with my kids and spend some time with my wife. I am not trying to have a pity party for myself, I realize how fortunate I am to have a great career that I actually love. Just one of the reason for wanting ER.

Costco is great. However there are many things that they are not actually not a better deal on. We mainly buy soda, eggs, diapers and baby wipes and other house hold products in bulk, but most of our food comes from krogers and now aldi ( which I love).

In order to maintain balance in the universe, my wifes 1k monthly budget was made so she would not feel guilty about buying things. It started with my watching the budget like a hawk and us arguing over what she spent. This led her to start feeling guilty if she purchased things. I came to realize that I was horribly wrong. So she has her money, which as I posted before has to stretch pretty far across a wide range of purchases not all on herself. We will increase that a little over the next couple years because she deserves it. I wont post what she purchases with that money because in all honestly its not all that exciting. 200-300$ is dinner for us when we can get out, clothes for the kids and other stuff she buys on amazon for them, its rarely for her. Now as I type this I am feeling guilty on how little she probably treats herself.

Hope that answers your question and probably more, sorry I tend to get a bit long winded.
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Old 05-14-2016, 09:06 PM   #37
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See, as you're having an open talk on the web you can see some things better like your wife needs an increase .

Ahh, if we compare Costco or whatever store to ALDI then yes, everything seems too expensive. When Lidl enters American market, there will be some competition to ALDI . Once I discovered Costco I don't want to go even to ALDI so it's good it's not on my way home from work. Maybe that's where I'll go back to shopping once I find it that Costco doesn't deserve my membership anymore.

Boy, I'm sure I don't want to be a doc. You're not the first to tell such a work story though.
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Old 05-15-2016, 08:31 AM   #38
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With a high marginal income tax bracket such as the OP is in now, a backdoor ROTH IRA conversion is too expensive while he's w*rking.
He's going to pay the tax back door Roth or not so the tax cost isn't an issue... with the Roth future income on that principal is tax-free whereas future income on taxable account money is taxable at a high rate since he is in a high tax bracket... so I think even the back door Roth is a winner.
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Old 05-16-2016, 02:20 AM   #39
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That budget seems reasonable. I like the 1K fun bucket. Anything that avoids dickering over spending is win .

As an observation... and as someone who has 2 young kids and 8 young nieces and nephews in various stages of college and high school...

If you take the total 1060/mo on kids at a 4% return for 21 years it's around 425K. That's a pretty good start for a 21 year old.

I question how wise it is for some of my nieces and nephews to go into 200K+ debt for college... note... I think if you study medicine it's totally different situation... but going to an expensive school to get a 4 year degree in random subject when you don't know what to do... not sure... might be better to let the money compound.

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Old 05-16-2016, 08:37 AM   #40
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DW and I have been using a pretty strict budget ever since I started my job and thankfully we are on the same page for saving and spending. While I do gravitate towards and save every penny and have no extra, she reminds me that we should also enjoy life. We both feel that we are not deprived and do enjoy a nice dinner out 1-2x a month.
+1. OP: MMM life style is not for me either and I realized that back in 2000 when I suffered a loss of 500K with dot.com burst. I had put every penny I had saved and some margin loan into stock market then and felt terrible! Just like you I had then come up with a budget including fun/vacation money every year and we've done that for past fifteen years. I have saved about 30% of my salary along the way and I'm 80% there for my ER goal now. All the best to you - just stick to Index Funds, proper AA and no to FA. Read some books on Index Funds/AA and you'll be set for your ER.
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