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Retired at 51
Old 12-20-2018, 05:09 PM   #1
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Retired at 51

Hello all. After living below my means since I was in my early 20s and investing monthly regardless of share price in Vanguard index mutual funds since the early 1990’s, I retired from my work location in September of this year. I have lived in Florida since the early 1990’s, bought my first and only home in 1993 with a 20% down payment with a 30 year fixed mortagage. In 2005 I decided to just pay off the balance which was probably my best financial call of my life. Then from 2005-2018 I concentrated into pouring more $$ into my index mutual funds and company 401K. 2008,09 was a roller coaster for my net worth and with the recession of that time. But I I never gave up and I kept dollar cost averaging investing in Vanguard. I buy a new car every 10 years, pay cash for it and I have no debt except my monthly expenses to maintain my home. I can collect a small pension at age 55 ( 900$ a month), I currently pay medical / dental insurance monthly (600$ a month). As of December of this year my net worth is $1.6 million ( Index mutual funds and 401K ) which includes a 250K home which is paid off and 66K cash. I also help out my parents who are disabled and handicapped. Probably I missed out on all the fun by not getting married or having any kids but I have no regrets. My hobbies are working out in the gym and hanging out with a small group of friends. A fellow co worker of mine gave me a book 15 years ago called “ The Tightwad Gazette”. It’s a book that I read over and over again. I am a firm believer in “ buy and hold” in my investments and Warren Buffett is one of my idols. I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas.
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Old 12-20-2018, 05:18 PM   #2
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Merry Christmas!! and welcome!!
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Old 12-20-2018, 05:29 PM   #3
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Hello all. After living below my means since I was in my early 20s and investing monthly regardless of share price in Vanguard index mutual funds since the early 1990’s, I retired from my work location in September of this year. I have lived in Florida since the early 1990’s, bought my first and only home in 1993 with a 20% down payment with a 30 year fixed mortagage. In 2005 I decided to just pay off the balance which was probably my best financial call of my life. Then from 2005-2018 I concentrated into pouring more $$ into my index mutual funds and company 401K. 2008,09 was a roller coaster for my net worth and with the recession of that time. But I I never gave up and I kept dollar cost averaging investing in Vanguard. I buy a new car every 10 years, pay cash for it and I have no debt except my monthly expenses to maintain my home. I can collect a small pension at age 55 ( 900$ a month), I currently pay medical / dental insurance monthly (600$ a month). As of December of this year my net worth is $1.6 million ( Index mutual funds and 401K ) which includes a 250K home which is paid off and 66K cash. I also help out my parents who are disabled and handicapped. Probably I missed out on all the fun by not getting married or having any kids but I have no regrets. My hobbies are working out in the gym and hanging out with a small group of friends. A fellow co worker of mine gave me a book 15 years ago called “ The Tightwad Gazette”. It’s a book that I read over and over again. I am a firm believer in “ buy and hold” in my investments and Warren Buffett is one of my idols. I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas.
Welcome to our wonderful site.
Bolded - OTOH - this could also be reason why you WERE able to FIRE.
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Old 12-20-2018, 06:15 PM   #4
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Good for you!
Now, this site will work you through the retirement journey with it's experience and knowledge.
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Old 12-20-2018, 06:24 PM   #5
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Congrats and welcome to the forum.
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Old 12-20-2018, 07:32 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum. Being retired is a good thing when you have sufficient savings to make it work out.
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Old 12-20-2018, 07:35 PM   #7
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Congrats. Can you post some of your favorite tips you have used from the Tightwad Gazette?
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Old 12-21-2018, 03:56 AM   #8
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Tightwad Gazette was written pre internet times but it’s still a great book if you want to save $$. Eating at home, brown bagging to eat lunch at work, cutting your own hair at home, making your own cleaning supplies at home, simplify your life by getting rid of stuff in your home ( ie garage sales), regifting presents, learning to be a handyman around the house, pay with cash not with credit will make you value your expenses more. I always believed that your money should harder than you do. Being frugal requires work and sacrifice but in the long run it’s worth it. Also by studying the financial markets you have to be in it if you ever want to think leaving the workforce. YouTube is a great source of learning and how to do stuff. Saves you a lot of $$ instead of hiring a professional. With the money I will save, I just kept investing and watch my nest egg grow. Also I believed in the 24 hour rule. If you think about buying something that is not your normal buying pattern, go work out, spend your time in your favorite hobby, read a good book, then after 24 hours if you still have not thought about it then the purchase was not so important after all.
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Old 12-21-2018, 09:44 AM   #9
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Congratulations and welcome to the Forum.
LBYM is definitely a theme with most of us here, it's what allowed me to leave the workplace bit sooner than expected.
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Old 12-21-2018, 09:48 AM   #10
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Congratulations! Your story, with irrelevant variations, is true of so many of us here.


If you enjoy your life the way it is (without hurting anyone else), then it is an enjoyable life and a life worth living.


Good luck to you and welcome to the ER forum.
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Old 12-21-2018, 09:54 AM   #11
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Welcome, Nick! Congratulations on reaching FIRE! You did it the good old-fashioned way - what a great example for the Young Dreamers here.

Your choice to stay single may have helped you, but lots of families manage to FIRE as well. IMHO, it's about choosing a partner who has similar financial goals and disciplines. Choosing no partner just makes it a little easier

We look forward to your contributions of experience and perspective!
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Old 12-21-2018, 09:59 AM   #12
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Welcome. What will you do all day?
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Old 12-21-2018, 11:23 AM   #13
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Welcome. What will you do all day?
Plenty. It’s satisfying never having to report to a boss again., deadlines, daily commutes, long work hours, eating on the run. Between volunteering opportunities, working out and socializing with my friends and visiting relatives there is never a dull moment. I still track my expenses and live conservatively as like if I was still working. ER, I recommend it to all that can achieve it!!
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Old 12-23-2018, 09:47 AM   #14
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Have you read "the snowball: Warren Buffet & the business of life" by Alice Schroeder?
It's a fantastic book about Warren Buffet's life & investing.
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Old 12-23-2018, 12:00 PM   #15
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Congratulations, Nick... great success story, that rings a bell with me. Not in the same time frame, but reminiscent of our own retirement some 30 years ago.

The frugal part is something we never outgrew, and accordingly never missed the wealth lifestyle. My four sons are quite a bit older than you, and while not poor, didn't inherit our caution. Maybe when we leave, they'll get a little boost.

The tightwad bit is me/us... except for the garage sale bit... I'm a hoarder. so haven't been to a hardware store for years, and not inside a barber shop in 60 years... (for both of us)

Have to admit, that the Million dollar plus savings is beyond my ken. Have to go to the CPI calculator, to remind myself that my peak $48k salary in 1984, would be a little more now.

Age 51... wow!. 40 more years to dream, to enjoy life, to give back and feel the pulse of the world around you. Wonderful.
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Old 12-23-2018, 03:12 PM   #16
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Congratulations, Nick... great success story, that rings a bell with me. Not in the same time frame, but reminiscent of our own retirement some 30 years ago.

The frugal part is something we never outgrew, and accordingly never missed the wealth lifestyle. My four sons are quite a bit older than you, and while not poor, didn't inherit our caution. Maybe when we leave, they'll get a little boost.

The tightwad bit is me/us... except for the garage sale bit... I'm a hoarder. so haven't been to a hardware store for years, and not inside a barber shop in 60 years... (for both of us)

Have to admit, that the Million dollar plus savings is beyond my ken. Have to go to the CPI calculator, to remind myself that my peak $48k salary in 1984, would be a little more now.

Age 51... wow!. 40 more years to dream, to enjoy life, to give back and feel the pulse of the world around you. Wonderful.
Thanks for the feedback. I am just an average Joe. I went to college on a 4 year financial aid package. While my friends wanted to make their mark in the world and live in sometime far away and exotic places, I lived at home for a few years after graduating college in 1989. I aggressively saved and invested in the stock market while living very conservatively. My parents and I when I was a little boy came to the USA with nothing but the clothes on our back and worked hard to achieve the American dream. When I announced to my bosses and fellow co workers that I would be retiring at my age, I was met with congratulations, disbelief and jealously. But who cares, I retired on my own terms not on the company terms such as a lay-off ( but the lay off package would have been a nice bonus). I have met a number of retirees who have retired early and are worth millions that still cut coupons, use spreadsheets that track daily expenses, live so simply that you would never know that they are wealthy.
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Old 12-23-2018, 04:55 PM   #17
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Welcome, Nick, and congratulations on your ER. Yes, early! I consider myself one of the older guys in here (61) but not yet retired - 13 months to go. (You can read my greeting and situation in the "Hello, I am ..." forum about a month or so back.) I agree with Dtail in this respect - singleness certainly helps toward ER. But - you showed an amazing amount of discipline, and you deserve it! Congrats again, and Merry Christmas!
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Old 12-24-2018, 09:19 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Nick12 View Post
Hello all. After living below my means since I was in my early 20s and investing monthly regardless of share price in Vanguard index mutual funds since the early 1990’s, I retired from my work location in September of this year. I have lived in Florida since the early 1990’s, bought my first and only home in 1993 with a 20% down payment with a 30 year fixed mortagage. In 2005 I decided to just pay off the balance which was probably my best financial call of my life. Then from 2005-2018 I concentrated into pouring more $$ into my index mutual funds and company 401K. 2008,09 was a roller coaster for my net worth and with the recession of that time. But I I never gave up and I kept dollar cost averaging investing in Vanguard. I buy a new car every 10 years, pay cash for it and I have no debt except my monthly expenses to maintain my home. I can collect a small pension at age 55 ( 900$ a month), I currently pay medical / dental insurance monthly (600$ a month). As of December of this year my net worth is $1.6 million ( Index mutual funds and 401K ) which includes a 250K home which is paid off and 66K cash. I also help out my parents who are disabled and handicapped. Probably I missed out on all the fun by not getting married or having any kids but I have no regrets. My hobbies are working out in the gym and hanging out with a small group of friends. A fellow co worker of mine gave me a book 15 years ago called “ The Tightwad Gazette”. It’s a book that I read over and over again. I am a firm believer in “ buy and hold” in my investments and Warren Buffett is one of my idols. I hope all of you have a very Merry Christmas.


Congrats...Great write-up indeed...I now live pretty frugal...I have been married 4 times and although a military retiree, it has been difficult at times to save on an enlisted mans’ salary. This last marriage has been strong for 22 years this upcoming year...I am 58 and DW is 6 years wiser at 64, and we have about 850k between investments and cash..Our pensions, and her SS will bring us in at $7,500.00 after taxes so we should not need to touch investments except for splurging on long vacations once we retire Jan 2020.
I will say, this market correction down turn is a doozy, I had close to 950k prior lol..Like you, I will continue to press on with our 401k monthly investments until we retire then re-evaluate our circumstances...Not really concerned since we have nice guaranteed gov pensions...

Wish you and your the best of the holidays.
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Old 12-24-2018, 12:50 PM   #19
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Welcome, Nick! Market goes down we spend less, frugal is the name of the game. Next 6 months: beans and riceNahhhh, all is good (time to buy??)
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Old 12-24-2018, 02:53 PM   #20
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Welcome, Nick! Market goes down we spend less, frugal is the name of the game. Next 6 months: beans and riceNahhhh, all is good (time to buy??)
My call would be it is a buyers market. Buy low/ sell high. I can understand that many are worried and some are panic sellers and try to time the market. During good times and bad times I always stuck it out and did not sell. I set up my monthly contributions to Vanguard and 401k on auto pay so I did not pay particular attention to stock price instead I just kept accumulating thousands of shares in approx 30 years of investing. Beans and rice are not bad. I ate that for a number of years to save $$ and invest more in the market. My daily intake of oatmeal in addition to healthy options and daily exercise makes me full and energized and tricks my body in not going after the sweet stuff and fast food options that is slowly killing America.
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