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Old 03-26-2008, 09:49 AM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Longtime Lurker

Hello everyone, I've finally decided to join this site and post after "lurking" for the past few years. There are a number of wise posters here and I've seen many really useful threads.

Here's my situation:
Married 46, DW is 47, DD is 12. I've worked in banking for 25 years; started 3 weeks after college graduation in 1983 (the last 15 at the same company).

Our financial status is as follows:

Have 15X basic annual expenses (no vacations, etc.) in CD's/MM funds and a brokerage account. Asset allocation is approximately 50% cash, 50% equities/equity funds. These are all taxable accounts.

Have 7.5X annual expenses in 401k/IRA's. Asset allocation is about 80% equity funds and 20% bond funds.

Have 2X annual expenses in short-term bank CD's. This is an emergency fund. This may look odd given the asset allocation of our above taxable funds, but as opportunities arise we'll look to reduce that 50% cash allocation. This number is high because I've seen too many people shown the door unexpectadly over the years, and I didn't want to be scrambling if my time came.

Have 50k saved in a 529 plan for DD's college.

Have 11 years left on a 15 year mortgage (we refinanced 4 years ago to a 15 year from 30 year). Balance is 140k and value of house is around 500k (down from around 550-600k at peak).

Work has been becoming increasingly stressful over the past 3-4 years, and the past 9 months have been off the charts. From 9 months ago, my weight is up, I haven't been exercising as I should, I'm drinking more, and I've generally become withdrawn and moody. Obviously, this needs to change. I'd love to walk away and regroup/recharge, but odds are I wouldn't be able to come back at a later point and come anything close to my current pay. I still see us as 5 - 10 years from being comfortably FI (we might be borderline FI now given our age and NW).

Another possibility we've been weighing is to sell the house (NJ) and move to a less costly locale. We know there are a number of nice places throughout the country where we could buy a nice house for the equity in our current house. This (plus a reduction from our NJ property taxes) would likely lower our expenses by about 1,500k/month and get us closer to being comfortably FI. Problems with this strategy are: 1. DD is doing very well all around (school, socially, etc.) and we don't want to jepoardize that, and 2. This move is pretty tough to reverse if we change our minds.

Sorry to ramble so long, but thank you for your time and any thoughts are appreciated.

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Old 03-26-2008, 10:08 AM   #2
Full time employment: Posting here.
hankster's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 609
Welcome! I haven't ERd yet so I'll leave the numbers to the more experienced members. I will address the moving with children issue. My family moved several times while I was growing up and kids are very adaptable. The important thing is to make sure her father is alive, healthy and happy, not dead or disabled by stress induced health problems. A slower paced job in a lower COL area might be just what the doctor ordered.

"There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means." Calvin Coolidge
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Old 03-26-2008, 10:58 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 34,860
Sounds like a good idea! You have made considerable progress towards your ER goals. If you think you will need another job in the low cost of living area, remember that sometimes job availability and pay are not optimal in these areas. On the other hand, it may be easier and quicker to reach retirement there than at your present location. I have never lived in NJ, but when I left San Diego I found the cost of living was less, and my own desire to live a "yuppified" lifestyle diminished as well.

And even more important is your stress level. You are right - - that has got to stop. All the money in the world is of little use if you are six feet under.

And by the way, welcome to the forum!
"You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." - - - C. Columbus
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Old 03-26-2008, 12:11 PM   #4
Recycles dryer sheets
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 62

Welcome, Needabreak,

Would a long vacation help free you from some of the stress you have, or would that only postpone the inevitable and add more work to your desk while you're away? I live in Upstate NY and the pressure to live a keep-up-with-the-Jones' life is fairly minimal. There are lots of not-for-profit organizations that can use folks with good financial skills. You may find your passion in practicing your career in a different setting.

Good luck,

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