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Reintroducing myself after 5.5 years of FIRE
Old 02-21-2011, 07:44 AM   #1
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Reintroducing myself after 5.5 years of FIRE

Hi, folks. GratefulEd here...a voice from way back. Old-timers might remember me from this post:

DONE!!!

Where are we now? The Cinnamon Girl & I split the corporate world in June of 2005 and have done very well since. We relocated from an inner-Boston neighborhood to the East Tennessee countryside, and we've spent our time travelling, raising our daughter, learning to become more and more self-sufficient, working for various charities, etc. I've also been writing; I've sold two novels and a textbook, and have edited four books for other people.

Man...the housing bubble was a real gut check, wasn't it? I watched the value of my holdings dip to about 60% of their 2007 peak, but I've made it a habit to keep about two years of cash on hand, so we were never forced to sell, nor did we panic sell. We stayed invested...the old "buy and hold"...and it seems to have worked out. As of today we're worth about 11% more than we were on our retirement date, and that on a budget of $48K annually. (It helps that we own our house outright and have no car payments or other debt.)

Anyway, I got curious about this place after such a long absence and decided to check in. I hope you're all well, and either making progress towards your escape, or enjoying it!
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:48 AM   #2
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Ed, that is fantastic! And your wonderful post was a pretty good indicator of what a great writer you turned out to be, once you left megacorp. Nice!

Anyplace you want to let us know your books are available? PM is fine if you don't want to post. I'd just joined here a bit after your GONE post and the clarity of your plans for ER were certainly inspiring.

Thanks for the update!
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:50 AM   #3
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Hi, Sarah...thanks for asking.

Here's my Amazon page: Amazon.com: Ed Ditto: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

I haven't updated the blog in a while...other stuff going on. Funny how I'm working harder now than I ever did when I was still "working."
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:56 AM   #4
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Thanks, Ed--I can't beat the price on that Kindle edition of the Swine King, so I'll be downloading it shortly.

When you enjoy what you are doing, it isn't supposed to feel like work, even when it technically is! Or at least that is what I tell myself when I'm doing yard work!
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:57 AM   #5
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Hi Ed,
It looks like the last 5 1/2 years have treated you well. I left the workforce the week after you did and it's been wonderful. Your daughter is fortunate to have you at home while she grows up.
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:02 AM   #6
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Hey, I want to say just one other thing. I was fortunate to work for a company that paid well, but there was nothing mysterious in how we managed to retire at 36.

-We were very disciplined in our saving (you want to catch the rain when it falls...)
-We kept our plan simple.
-I based our budget on an average rate of return of 6.5% and an annual withdrawal rate of about 3.8%.
-We learned everything we could about doing things ourselves, including gardening, basic home repair, home doctoring, automotive maintenance, etc.
-We keep ourselves in top physical condition (I lift weights; my wife runs.)
-We eliminated all debt from our capital structure.
-We give back to the community whenever possible, but we also lean on it a little. Bartering, swapping work, etc.

Anyway, I hate to come in lecturing after such a long absence, but I wanted to go ahead and get this out there in case those questions came up.
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:04 AM   #7
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Thanks, Sarah. I got a Kindle 3 for Xmas and I love it; it's changed the way I read.

KB: Yeah, sure, I remember you. Congratulations...it's nice, isn't it? How have you been passing the time?
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:08 AM   #8
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Wow! Nice job, and I love your "exit post" from 5.5 years ago.

Have you explored Europe yet?

Post up more about your ER experiences if you get the time so we can get inspired.
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:09 AM   #9
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Nice recap of how you made it work, Ed.
Although we are on that path (DH replaced the brake pads and rotors on my latest old car just yesterday) we have worked for small businesses all our lives rather than megacorps, so we've traded away a bit more time at the grindstone because of the lower pay and to live in a place we both love.

Knowing what you value and spending your time and money on those things must be one of the most rewarding thing about your early retirement.
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:13 AM   #10
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Sarah: you put your finger right on the essential tradeoff. I spent thirteen years working massive hours at jobs I was fairly good at but didn't particularly enjoy -- and this was between ages 23 and 36, when the majority of my friends were having more fun than I was.

Cardude: have not made it to Europe yet. Fell in love with the desert Southwest, and every year we take maybe a month-long roadtrip out there.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:15 AM   #11
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Great story, thanks for keeping us updated.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:50 AM   #12
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Hi Gratefuled, I ER'ed about the same time as you, but didn't join the board till way later.

My homestead is on the East side of the Chiricahua Mtns. 3 miles from New Mexico, 30 miles from Old Mexico. Round here we are all do it yourselfers.

Gotta love the SW.
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:08 AM   #13
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Welcome back, Ed, great update!

I like the way you got a twofer out of the Gunrunner's novel & study guide. Which one was harder to write?
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:09 AM   #14
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Hey, Grasshopper...you're homesteading? I was just in your area in November, coming back from a trip to Tucson and Carlsbad.

We're on ten acres and while I grow much of our produce, we don't have any livestock because we want to be able to pack up and go wherever we want on short notice.
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:09 AM   #15
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Welcome back. I will read your previous threads because retiring at 36 and your life style puts me in awe of you. You da man.

I like East Tenn and have hiked/fished the Tellico and Bald river areas.

Anywhere close to these.
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:13 AM   #16
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Welcome back, Ed, great update!

I like the way you got a twofer out of the Gunrunner's novel & study guide. Which one was harder to write?
Good to hear from you, Nords.

The novel was harder to write than the study guide, no question. The novel was composition while the study guide was talking on a keyboard. And I had to write the novel to two plotlines, essentially...first, the one you read as you turn pages, and second, the flow of the study guide, which had to follow a logical and comprehensive outline from fundamentals to advanced topics.

Wow, man...20K posts now? Remember that JR guy from the old-school board? He of the nine million posts each one or two words long?
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:14 AM   #17
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Welcome back. I will read your previous threads because retiring at 36 and your life style puts me in awe of you. You da man.

I like East Tenn and have hiked/fished the Tellico and Bald river areas.

Anywhere close to these.
Hi, Jay. I'm about thirty miles from the Tellico and have fished and kayaked there many times. I've actually run my kayak over the lower third of Bald River falls...fun, fun.

I live about equidistantly between the Ocoee and Hiwassee.

On those older threads: a lot has changed in the world. I made a couple of hundred thousand dollars doing a triple-decker-to-condo conversion back in 2004/2005, and I don't think you could pull that off today. Also, I got into a couple of great 3/1 ARMS that normalized against inflation to 0% effective, which allowed me to conserve/invest a bunch of cash at 10-12%...a play I doubt you could find now.
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:14 PM   #18
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Hi, Jay. I'm about thirty miles from the Tellico and have fished and kayaked there many times. I've actually run my kayak over the lower third of Bald River falls...fun, fun.

I live about equidistantly between the Ocoee and Hiwassee.

On those older threads: a lot has changed in the world. I made a couple of hundred thousand dollars doing a triple-decker-to-condo conversion back in 2004/2005, and I don't think you could pull that off today. Also, I got into a couple of great 3/1 ARMS that normalized against inflation to 0% effective, which allowed me to conserve/invest a bunch of cash at 10-12%...a play I doubt you could find now.
Two friends like to run the Hiwassee using those big yellow kayaks they rent and I tag along because I like the area. I made my RE killing with a condo on Seista Key back in 2002. I doubt that lightning will strike again for me in RE. I still have 2 1/1 ARMS that are 2.8% and 2.9% right now.

I have hiked the Bald from the falls on river road and from Holly Flats campground. Both were rather overgrown in summer. I want to do the entire Bald river trail.

What is a cut-off date in spring in Tenn that the trails do NOT get so overgrown. Thanks.
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:22 PM   #19
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What is a cut-off date in spring in Tenn that the trails do NOT get so overgrown. Thanks.
Depends on where you're hiking and how dedicated the "adopt-a-trail" people are. In the Bald River area, as well as all over the Cherokee National Forest, the secondary trails start getting choked about the time summer heat comes full-on. I don't know...June 1 or thereabouts? I've hiked the John Muir along the Hiwassee at all seasons of the year, and in mid-summer it's practically impassable.

But the main trails will stay cleared out -- the volume of hikers and the various agencies/volunteer groups do a good job keeping the brush beaten back.
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Old 02-21-2011, 02:54 PM   #20
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Hi Ed,
I wasn't here for your swan song a few years ago, but congrats none the less.

When wiill the Gunrunner novel and study guide be available for Kindle?
(you may be aware that some of us here like to LBYM)

Best,
WS
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