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Life has finally begun!
Old 12-21-2007, 04:33 PM   #1
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Life has finally begun!

Hi everyone, Bryan from Atlanta here. I just retired from my software development job at Immucor a few months ago. It is wonderful to be free of the stress of my previous job. I'm working to regain my identity . . . up to now I have identified myself with my major software projects: Performance Calculator, CompuClean, and Galileo Echo.

My other major events this year in addition to retirement were getting married and reaching my financial goals, so age 46 has been the best year of my life so far!

I am looking forward to traveling regularly. I went to Switzerland to celebrate my retirement (Switzerland 2007 for photos) but mainly I want to travel to China more and try to hike as much as possible of the Great Wall as I find this exhilirating. (Great Wall of China Trips for photos). I'm an experienced automotive fabricator (Bryan's 510 for photos of my latest project) and I hope to find a new project to work on soon. I also look forward to getting used to the relaxation mode!

I don't have any major long-term plans because I want to just take my time and see what opportunities may present theselves.

I can tell that I am going to benefit greatly from the information on this forum. Thanks for reading my introductory post.
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Old 12-21-2007, 06:27 PM   #2
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I was in Switzerland this past summer too, but my photos don't even come close in quality to yours. Congratulations on the photos but more importantly on this exciting new beginning for you.
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Old 12-21-2007, 06:43 PM   #3
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Hi and welcome.

Sounds like you have it all under control. Congratulations on leaving the corporate world and check out the travel forum.
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Old 12-21-2007, 06:55 PM   #4
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Your Switzerland pictures are amazing! So why disappointment at Eiger?
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Old 12-21-2007, 07:41 PM   #5
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Thanks for the kind words on my photos! I used a Canon SD1000, a great and easy to carry digital camera for outdoor photos (not the best for indoors).

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Your Switzerland pictures are amazing! So why disappointment at Eiger?
The Eiger trail was closed due to ice when we arrived there (note the sign), so we made our own Eiger trail and it turned out to be better because it was a real adventure.
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Old 12-21-2007, 07:41 PM   #6
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Hi and welcome.

Sounds like you have it all under control. Congratulations on leaving the corporate world and check out the travel forum.
Yes, thanks! I have been looking at that already! I am planning to post something about the Great Wall of China since I enjoy it so much and I know others would as well.
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Old 12-22-2007, 03:00 PM   #7
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Welcome Bryan,

Your photos are amazing! How do you get to Murren, Switzerland if you can't get there by car or train? Do you have to fly in?
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Old 12-22-2007, 03:17 PM   #8
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Welcome Bryan,

Your photos are amazing! How do you get to Murren, Switzerland if you can't get there by car or train? Do you have to fly in?
You have to take a cable car, either from Lauterbrunnen or from Stechelberg. Leaving from Stechelberg, you go to Gimmelwald and then take another cable car to Murren. Of course hiking is always a good option in Switzerland.

Murren is definitely worth visiting. From there you take the incredible cable car to the top of the Schilthorn, the site of the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service and the revolving Piz Gloria restaurant with spectacular views.
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:12 AM   #9
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You have to take a cable car, either from Lauterbrunnen or from Stechelberg. Leaving from Stechelberg, you go to Gimmelwald and then take another cable car to Murren. Of course hiking is always a good option in Switzerland.

Murren is definitely worth visiting. From there you take the incredible cable car to the top of the Schilthorn, the site of the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service and the revolving Piz Gloria restaurant with spectacular views.
Thanks for the info,

I would love to visit there someday.
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Old 12-23-2007, 08:06 PM   #10
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bryanf,

Welcome. Loved the pictures. Did you do any climbing. My aunt climbed the Matterhorn back in the late 50's or early 60's. The little climbing I did in the Tetons gave me a whole new respect for what she accomplished.

I was in Luzern on business back in the early 90's. I'd heard that the walking bridge in your photo had burned. Obviously it was repaired.

I commute into Atlanta four days a week from my mecca in the east before 6am. What at mess. Do you intend to remain in Atlanta now that you've hung up your cleats?
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Old 12-23-2007, 09:37 PM   #11
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bryanf,

Welcome. Loved the pictures. Did you do any climbing. My aunt climbed the Matterhorn back in the late 50's or early 60's. The little climbing I did in the Tetons gave me a whole new respect for what she accomplished.

I was in Luzern on business back in the early 90's. I'd heard that the walking bridge in your photo had burned. Obviously it was repaired.

I commute into Atlanta four days a week from my mecca in the east before 6am. What at mess. Do you intend to remain in Atlanta now that you've hung up your cleats?
Hi tightasadrum,

That's so cool that your aunt climbed the Matterhorn! She must have been an experienced climber, or at least been in excellent condition; that's no mountain for a beginner! Did she climb from Switzerland or from Italy? I didn't do any real climbing in Switzerland myself; just hiking. I approaced the north face of the Eiger on foot just to get a feel for the scale, and that gave me a whole new respect for those that have climbed it.

You're right about the bridge in Luzern. I read that it had burned and been restored. Sadly, a lot of the artwork inside the bridge was lost, although some of it remains.

My wife and I will remain in Atlanta for the time being, but the long term is wide open. How many times in Switzerland did we say "Wouldn't it be great to live here?" Spiez was the most attractive place to live of all those we visited. But at this time it's impossible for me to even guess where we will be living 10 years from now.

You're right about the mess in Atlanta. I would not like to have any significant commute here. (When I was working, I worked from home.) Your mecca is in Athens? I think it would be nice to live in a smaller, university town like that.
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Old 12-24-2007, 11:39 AM   #12
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bryanf,

I don't know which way she climbed the Matterhorn, but to me it's enough that she just climbed it. And yes, Athens has many attributes for young AND old. When I retire I hope to engage in many more of the activities around the area. Working has always put a limit on what I felt I could do.
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Old 12-26-2007, 06:32 PM   #13
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End user here!

Hi bryanf,
I've been lurking for awhile and just wanted you to know, I actually know something about Immucor, being a clinical lab scientist, in a hospital blood bank/donor center. Just want to know if you heard about my co-worker who asked what a DAT (a basic blood bank test) was when we sent her to Atlanta. Yeah my manager is trying to beat a dead horse by sending her....Mega corp isn't the only place when the peter principle is alive. Lucky me, I'm banished to the donor center so I don't have to deal with the implementation of Galileo.

Ann in CA
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Old 12-26-2007, 08:41 PM   #14
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Hi Ann,

It's good to meet you (if we haven't already met)! I often hear investors telling me they know about Immucor, and looking at its stock (BLUD) performance for the past several years, that's not surprising. But I don't often meet scientists who are familiar with my ex-employer. It's a great company from both viewpoints.

I worked on the Galileo while it was in development, but for the past 4 years or so I only worked on the Echo. When I started at Immucor, I didn't know what a DAT was either, even though I am pretty good with TLAs.

I think I know who you are talking about, but maybe you could be more specific about the date or your facility. PM me if you would like to.

Bryan
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Old 12-27-2007, 01:04 AM   #15
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Switzerland is one of the cleanest and pretties places on the planet for sure. Price of real estate (and hurdles for foreigners to buy), plus cost of living are likely fairly prohibitive for the average ER folks.

Berne is a very cool city. I was there a number of years ago. Did you get to see the famous bear pits?

Did Zermatt too. The Matterhorn is so big and impressive it almost doesn't look real when you're there. Thing I remember most about Zermatt for some reason is the little cemetery there in town where there are some of the climbers that died while trying to conquer the mountain. One tombstone I remember in particular simply said "I chose to climb".
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Old 12-27-2007, 02:16 AM   #16
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Welcome Bryan.

If you do not mind sharing the info... How did you conclude that you were ready and able to FIRE? By reading books or this and other forums
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Old 12-27-2007, 01:11 PM   #17
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Switzerland is one of the cleanest and pretties places on the planet for sure. Price of real estate (and hurdles for foreigners to buy), plus cost of living are likely fairly prohibitive for the average ER folks.

Berne is a very cool city. I was there a number of years ago. Did you get to see the famous bear pits?

Did Zermatt too. The Matterhorn is so big and impressive it almost doesn't look real when you're there. Thing I remember most about Zermatt for some reason is the little cemetery there in town where there are some of the climbers that died while trying to conquer the mountain. One tombstone I remember in particular simply said "I chose to climb".
Hi Trek! Yes, we visited the bear pits in the bear city of Berne. It was a nice city and surely worth visiting, but it's the Alps that attracted us to Switzerland in the first place and the Jungfrau region was our favorite.

I too remember that cemetery in Zermatt. The tombstone you mentioned is for Donald Stephen Williams, a New Yorker who died at age 17 on the Breithorn in 1975. "I Chose to Climb" is also the title of Chris Bonington's autobiography, a very interesting book if you like climbing books.

I did research the cost of property in Switzerland and I agree it was expensive. This seemed like a case of getting what you pay for! But I did not look into the legal aspect. What are the hurdles that you mentioned?
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Old 12-27-2007, 01:51 PM   #18
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What are the hurdles that you mentioned?
I'm not expert but in the past it's been much more difficult for foreigners to buy property in Switzerland, especially resort areas (Lex Koller law).

Seems there is to be some changes to the law in the next few years though. Here is an article I quickly Googled that explains more about it. Not impossible though and much easier if you just want to buy an apartment in a non-prime area.

Swiss open the door slightly, but it's still hard to squeeze in | Money | The Observer

Here are some of the past/present restrictions:

Guide to Buying as a non-Swiss resident
  • The Swiss have for a long time restricted the sale of property to foreigners
  • The Federal government set an annual quota of permits wishing to purchase property there
  • These permits are only available to foreigners in certain Cantons and, even then, are often restricted to those considered to be tourist resorts
  • Some Cantons also restrict the size of property that a foreigner can purchase and sometimes the resale of property may carry restrictions
  • Only individual foreigners or groups of foreigners may acquire property in Switzerland. Property cannot be acquired by foreign companies or Swiss companies with over 30% foreign ownership
  • Foreigners will not normally be permitted to buy more than one property in Switzerland
  • The Canton of Vaud (which includes the towns of Chateau d'Oex, Montreux and Villars) is one of the easiest cantons for foreigners to acquire property
  • There is a wide choice of property within easy reach of Geneva airport, no restrictions upon resale and permits are often approved within two months
  • The restrictions throughout Switzerland differ from Canton to Canton
  • Foreigners have been restricted to purchasing property in tourist areas and alpine resorts and there are restrictions for foreigners buying in the larger cities like Geneva, Zurich and Lausanne
  • In the Canton Valais, foreigners can resell after one year to a Swiss national but have a ten year period where they are not allowed to resell to another foreigner
  • If purchasing another property in the Valais, the foreign purchaser then enters another ten year restriction
  • In the Canton Ticino foreigners will face a three to five year restriction upon resale
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Old 12-27-2007, 02:03 PM   #19
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Welcome Bryan.

If you do not mind sharing the info... How did you conclude that you were ready and able to FIRE? By reading books or this and other forums
Hi Chinaco,

I didn't have the benefit of this website or any books before I retired; I discovered some of these resources after the fact. I did read some articles on various websites, but mainly I just made basic calculations before I retired.
  1. I estimated how much money I would need, including additional expenses such as insurance and travel funds.
  2. I added inflation to this amount.
  3. I calculated how much money would be required to generate this income after taxes, assuming 60% cash at 4% per year and 40% stocks at 10% per year.
  4. I incorporated a 20% contingency.
  5. I did not include my 401(K) account in the calculations at all even though I made the maximum contributions to it. It will be a long time before I can access this money without penalty, so it's just another cushion.
I did this exercise many years ago. This motivated me to save as much and spend as little as reasonably possible. I refined my numbers periodically as time went by. I used significant fudge factors in every calculation to err on the side of safety. When I reached my goal, I sold my company stock options, re-allocated some investments, and turned in my notice.
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