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Retired earlier this year...it was a struggle
Old 04-24-2017, 11:04 PM   #1
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Retired earlier this year...it was a struggle

I registered years ago and made a couple posts and did some research...but was never really active. I retired earlier this year at 51.

After undergrad, getting married, grad school, and bouncing around a couple dead end engineering jobs I managed to land at a Fortune 100 tech company in 1997, with no money, no savings, no real assets (had never owned a home), perhaps $20K in credit card debt as well as student loans from grad school. I taught myself the basics of investing, the wife and I worked our tails off for 19 years to go from living hand to mouth, to passing the official multi-millionaire mark late last year. The company I was working for cut their workforce and offered a lot of money for certain experienced people to get off their books...okay! Bye suckers!! Working for a giant tech corporation sucked, but good lord did they compensate well!!

My wife doesn't want to retire yet, she's a teacher and will get a nice fat state pension with another ~9 years service, so my job is to now take care of her and our assets. Even though this is a milestone for us, we don't feel "rich"...we just feel...secure. We also live well within our means due to living those struggling school years hand to mouth. We never had kids, so I guess our nieces and nephews will have a nice surprise coming to them some day.

We aren't particularly brilliant people, nor are we overly aggressive (don't want to run the world)...but we work hard. And it's further proof, in my mind, that with work and time anyone in this country can still achieve success, despite what everyone seems to believe.
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Old 04-25-2017, 12:10 AM   #2
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Congrats Hexanova! Wishing you many happy years in retirement
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Old 04-25-2017, 03:02 AM   #3
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Nice job. Enjoyed your sharing how you struggled to build your future financial security. I admire your wife wanting to gut it out for the pension, but be sure to remind her not to waste her "youth" (only in her 50's?) chasing more money. Many, many things can happen over a 9 year period to make folks wish they could go back in time and do it differently.

Good luck!
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Old 04-25-2017, 07:09 AM   #4
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We aren't particularly brilliant people, nor are we overly aggressive (don't want to run the world)...but we work hard. And it's further proof, in my mind, that with work and time anyone in this country can still achieve success, despite what everyone seems to believe.
So so many people do not believe this. I do. Came up through the enlisted ranks, went to OCS, retired and working for fun as a contractor. Well compensated and FI. A person CAN still make the American Dream happen. Financial intelligence and LBYM is the key.
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:14 AM   #5
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Financial intelligence and LBYM is the key.
But where are people going to get this financial intelligence?

Many people run to a financial "advisor".

They certainly aren't going to listen you or I about LBYM and wise investing.
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Old 04-25-2017, 10:00 AM   #6
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Congratulations.
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Old 04-25-2017, 10:13 AM   #7
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We aren't particularly brilliant people, nor are we overly aggressive (don't want to run the world)...but we work hard. And it's further proof, in my mind, that with work and time anyone in this country can still achieve success, despite what everyone seems to believe.
I would agree that there are a lot of people who are capable of achieving the American Dream who currently fall short for various reasons. However, we also need to remember that there is a certain amount of luck involved. Some people encounter bad luck that's beyond anything they could have controlled, and these people face a much steeper uphill battle than most of us did.
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Old 04-25-2017, 11:52 AM   #8
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So so many people do not believe this. I do. Came up through the enlisted ranks, went to OCS, retired and working for fun as a contractor. Well compensated and FI. A person CAN still make the American Dream happen. Financial intelligence and LBYM is the key.

Yup. Enlisted soldier here. Took VSI with 14 years in. Added another 14 in the reserves. A nice Army pension at 60 (I do have to pay back the VSI, but still well worth it) and modest mega-corp pension .

Started college while in the Army, and then completed undergrad and MBA at night with no debt, as mega-corp had benevolent tuition assistance program. Moved from hourly to professional ranks while attending undergrad school, then swiftly transitioned to corporate management.

Spent most of my ~25 years in maga-corp as a road warrior. Got to see the world (again) and bank several hundred thousand FF miles / hotel points. Enjoyed it, but also glad its over.

Agree with $$ sense and LBYM, and would add (for most) lots of plain hard work.
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Old 04-25-2017, 02:23 PM   #9
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Well done.
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Old 04-25-2017, 04:37 PM   #10
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Great job!
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Old 04-25-2017, 04:56 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by broadway View Post
But where are people going to get this financial intelligence?

Many people run to a financial "advisor".

They certainly aren't going to listen you or I about LBYM and wise investing.
I know I'll get pilloried here for defending "financial advisors", but I'll venture this thought anyway.

FAs can have a useful role. Ironically enough, a FA who is purely in the business of profiting from a client's success, can be far more credible to a naive person than a family member who would have only an emotional motivation.

How many of us have relatives who ignore our advice and example on the topic of financial management? That steadily saving and investing will, over time, prove worthwhile gets dismissed by my own family members as either irrelevant or boasting. If I were even to mention my impending retirement, then in one struggling sister's words, I'm "lording it over her". I'm "just lucky" because I have built up some resources while she never saved a dime in 30 years.

She won't listen to a word I say on the subject. But if a professional FA told her the same counsel that I would, she might very well listen to him.

The 1% that the FA would skim off her portfolio might very well be the best $ she ever spent if by adopting a strategy of LYBM and patient investing she started down the fiscal Straight and Narrow. It would unquestionably be better than her lifelong strategy of spending every nickel as soon as it crossed her palm.

Consider the FA as a jumper cable, who gets the engine started but then can be disconnected once it's running. Nothing says anybody has to remain hooked up to the advisor once they learn the (surprisingly simple!) rules.

I admit I'm no role model, certainly not compared to many posters here who will retire at 40 or 50 compared to my going out at 60. I have confessed here before that I didn't get serious about retirement prep until about 15 years ago. But you have to start somewhere, or else you'll never reach it. If an FA could jumpstart someone's retirement prep, it could be lifechanging.

Okay, now, let the impassioned rebuttals commence!
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Old 04-25-2017, 05:33 PM   #12
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Okay, now, let the impassioned rebuttals commence!
What!!??

You are correct. FA's, warts and all, can be the right choice for some people. Not many on this forum, however...
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Old 04-25-2017, 05:35 PM   #13
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Old 04-25-2017, 06:04 PM   #14
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DH and I started after marrying each other after we knew each other only 2 weeks. For the first 8 years of marriage, we lived hand to mouth with some weeks only $1.00 in the bank. Had a baby right away when we got married. We had another child. DH got a two year degree with the GI bill. Got a better job. Moved to Seattle area in 1997 and his Mega Corp paid for his 4 year degree. Moved up in mega corp after getting degree and then got his Masters (paid for by his employer). He worked 60 hours a week and went to school at night. I worked office jobs and kept our finances in order. Took care of the kids, house etc.

Through it all we always paid ourselves first. DH was lucky to have a manager to explain how your 401k could grow over 30 years. Now we can live comfortable after all those years of saving and living below our means. We did remember to smell the roses on the way to where we are today.

Where there is a will there is a way in America to succeed. If you want to make it happen you can. Barring no medical situations come along which impede you to be able to work.

Congrats to the OP because they are right.
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Old 04-25-2017, 06:45 PM   #15
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What!!??

You are correct. FA's, warts and all, can be the right choice for some people. Not many on this forum, however...
If by some people you mean those that enjoy having 1% removed off the bat. I suppose. That's not to mention the questionable "investments" they suggest.

I have read too many questionable portfolios put together by FA here and at Bogleheads to regard them as nothing more than shysters.
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Old 04-25-2017, 07:25 PM   #16
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I registered years ago and made a couple posts and did some research...but was never really active. I retired earlier this year at 51.

I taught myself the basics of investing, the wife and I worked our tails off for 19 years to go from living hand to mouth, to passing the official multi-millionaire mark late last year. The company I was working for cut their workforce and offered a lot of money for certain experienced people to get off their books...okay! Bye suckers!! Working for a giant tech corporation sucked, but good lord did they compensate well!!

My wife doesn't want to retire yet, she's a teacher and will get a nice fat state pension with another ~9 years service, so my job is to now take care of her and our assets. Even though this is a milestone for us, we don't feel "rich"...we just feel...secure. We also live well within our means due to living those struggling school years hand to mouth. We never had kids, so I guess our nieces and nephews will have a nice surprise coming to them some day.

We aren't particularly brilliant people, nor are we overly aggressive (don't want to run the world)...but we work hard. And it's further proof, in my mind, that with work and time anyone in this country can still achieve success, despite what everyone seems to believe.
My hat's off to you for making so many good life decisions. And I assume that you're getting healthcare insurance through the school system--at least until about age 60. My hat's also off to your wife for continuing to teach which is a way of giving back to the community.

You're right that you're not rich, but have learned to live within your means. Growing an investment portfolio is increasingly more difficult with the stock market so high and the ridiculously net nothing interest rates--without taking high risks.

And with your education and work experience, you may have other opportunities knocking on your door--if even just part time consulting.
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Old 04-25-2017, 07:37 PM   #17
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I was on the verge of hiring a FA when I started digging in with the advice on this board. After some self learning I feel confident managing it on my own.
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Old 04-25-2017, 08:03 PM   #18
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How many of us have relatives who ignore our advice and example on the topic of financial management? That steadily saving and investing will, over time, prove worthwhile gets dismissed by my own family members as either irrelevant or boasting. If I were even to mention my impending retirement, then in one struggling sister's words, I'm "lording it over her". I'm "just lucky" because I have built up some resources while she never saved a dime in 30 years.



She won't listen to a word I say on the subject.

Exactly right! You worked your butt off while she opted for retirement at age 18, right? I know the type. I have family like that, too. We no longer speak. They inhabit an alternate universe, where personal responsibility and self-reliance don't exist. The purpose in life for people like us is, in their view, to bail out people like them. Because we're just lucky and they're not. Never mind who chose to work and save -- and who didn't. Ants and grasshoppers.

One of the great things about E-R.org is the repeated witness of folks like you, who show me that I am not alone. I'm not the only one who thrived despite my family rather than because of it.
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Old 04-27-2017, 12:51 PM   #19
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One of my degrees is in Finance and I feel capable of managing my own finances. However, I have a small amount with a FA. There are a few reasons for this. Diversification, it's fun to beat him, he host some great dinner parties, and we get to meet interesting people at them. He will also bring in experts to speak to his clients on financial issues. He has free access to some financial tools that are helpful. He should beat me in a bear market and make up for the 1% fee that I pay him. I mark the rest up to an expense that is worth it.
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Old 04-29-2017, 06:17 PM   #20
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Yes, I get funny looks and admonishment from family members who can't believe that DH and I don't use an FA. I just tell them that I'M the FA. I've learned things and made mistakes over the years through the school of hard knocks that perhaps I could've avoided had I (we) used an advisor. But I also learned after dealing with slimy commissioned insurance salespeople that NO ONE was ever going to care about my money as much as I cared about my money. (Just like with your children and trusting others to care for them). We have had some help through our credit union in choosing investments that have performed very well. So not completely on our own... I retired 2 years ago at 55 and DH retires next month at 63. Still searching for that meaningful 'second act' for me and we're looking forward to traveling while we're still young enough and healthy enough to enjoy it. Life is good.
Signed, a DEFINITE believer in the American Dream. What a blessing to have been born in this time and this country! ����
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