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Thanks, Intro, FIRE soon
Old 02-09-2018, 03:09 PM   #1
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Thanks, Intro, FIRE soon

I have been a longtime on and off lurker, and have gained a great deal of knowledge and inspiration from this community. Thank you!

I am 42 and in an mid/upper level exec role for the same megacorp over the last 10 years. I am blessed with a fantastic family, DW 38, DS 10, and DD 8. My DW has mostly been a SAHM, with some impressive flashes of entrepreneurship (E-bay, Amazon, Etsy) over the years. I fit the profile of many on the forum. Engineering education, middle class upbringing, drive older cars, not into status purchases, etc...

Thanks to the combination of LBYM and the stock market run up, we are in a position where I will FIRE myself this spring, and our family will undertake a huge lifestyle change and go on an adventure.

The adventure is living on our boat, and completing the Great Loop. The Great Loop is a 5,000+ mile loop up the East Coast, across upstate NY into Canada, through the Great Lakes, south through Chicago, assorted rivers, exit Mobile, back to Florida. From there cross over to the Bahamas and determine how long and how far to island hop around the Caribbean. So far we've taken the boat from Fort Myers FL to Charleston SC during long weekends. We are hoping to get the boat up to Virginia Beach/Chesapeake in the next six weeks so we can spend April getting ready and start for real in May after I FIRE.

The basic FIRE details are roughly $3.3M assets (mostly post-tax) from which we plan to draw under $100k per year. Another $300k set aside to purchase a home when are are done traveling. The boat is paid for and should add a good chunk of money into the house fund if we choose to get rid of it in a couple of years.

At the early stages of planning for this I suffered from OMY thoughts. Now I am having a hard time keeping sane for the seven more Mondays that I have to wait for my bonus/vesting to give notice.

We have a great deal to learn, and great may details to work out, and we aren't as well prepared as we should be. No specific questions at this point for the group, but will consider any advice you want to give on the following.

- Homeschooling
- Marine Diesel Maintenance
- Benefits of Mail Forwarding Services
- Storage Unit vs Sell/Donate Household Goods
- Best place to move in 2-4 years (public schools, culture, climate, COL)
- Whether mega-corp is reading this and I'll miss out on my last big payout

Thanks for reading. I'll check back frequently while I wait out my last few months in the office.
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Old 02-09-2018, 04:35 PM   #2
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Thought I donít have any specific advice, WELCOME! What an awesome plan. Long ago I dropped out of real life and backpacked the world for a year. Obviously itís harder with kids, wife and boat, but the main thing I recall is to just do it and youíll learn tons along the way as you meet like minded folks. Have a great time!!
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Old 02-09-2018, 04:50 PM   #3
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No experience but congrats. Just make sure you get a good inspection/tune up before the trip. Maybe not so fun getting stuck somewhere for a while with repairs.

Good luck
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Old 02-09-2018, 06:01 PM   #4
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Will be following you on the loop starting spring '19. Retiring and moving aboard this fall!
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Old 02-09-2018, 07:32 PM   #5
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Hard for me to comment on someone working 18+ years less than me. Good luck!
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Old 02-12-2018, 06:07 AM   #6
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Thought I donít have any specific advice, WELCOME! What an awesome plan. Long ago I dropped out of real life and backpacked the world for a year. Obviously itís harder with kids, wife and boat, but the main thing I recall is to just do it and youíll learn tons along the way as you meet like minded folks. Have a great time!!
RenoJay

Thanks for your welcome.

I was always envious of friends that, like you, dropped out for awhile to travel and experience the world outside of work. Several took gap years before, during, or just after college. I had $40k worth of student loans that scared the hell out of me to pay off, so jumped right to the grindstone.

As soon as they were paid off, I realized that if I kept saving a big portion of my income I could RE and have my own gap year(s) in my 40s rather than 20s.
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Old 02-12-2018, 06:18 AM   #7
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Will be following you on the loop starting spring '19. Retiring and moving aboard this fall!
FIREMenow-

It's great to hear that you will be doing the Loop as well. Next week I'm moving our boat from Charleston to just north of Wilmington. I spend a fair amount of my workday looking at the Waterway guide online.

What is your plan for your land based residence while you are on the Loop? We've landed on the side of sell the house, cars, etc and keep nothing but a couple closets of possessions stored with relatives that don't fit on the boat.

Have you joined AGLCA? We've found it to be a pretty good resource, and have even connected to a couple of other families that will be on the loop with kids at the same time as us.

Finding activities and other kids to keep our kids engaged will be the key to having a successful loop. We are lucky that they are close in age, and very good friends, but we will make sure to keep their needs at the top of the list as we plan our journeys.
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Old 02-12-2018, 06:29 AM   #8
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FIREMenow-

It's great to hear that you will be doing the Loop as well. Next week I'm moving our boat from Charleston to just north of Wilmington. I spend a fair amount of my workday looking at the Waterway guide online.

What is your plan for your land based residence while you are on the Loop? We've landed on the side of sell the house, cars, etc and keep nothing but a couple closets of possessions stored with relatives that don't fit on the boat.

Have you joined AGLCA? We've found it to be a pretty good resource, and have even connected to a couple of other families that will be on the loop with kids at the same time as us.

Finding activities and other kids to keep our kids engaged will be the key to having a successful loop. We are lucky that they are close in age, and very good friends, but we will make sure to keep their needs at the top of the list as we plan our journeys.
We are in NC and spent all of last year with our previous boat at Port City marina in Wilmington. Very familiar with that area! I grew up in Charleston, BTW! Small world. We have been boating on the NC coast for 20+ years in all manner of vessels .

We'll be selling our house and cars and moving aboard full-time this fall. We have been downsizing and purging things for the last 2 years. We are down to 2 small office totes of "keepsakes", etc. as the only things that will not be "boat-related" that we are keeping.

Yes, we are on AGLCA. Great resource! See you out there!

Fair winds,
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Old 03-01-2018, 11:20 AM   #9
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Quick Update

It has been a very stressful three weeks since my intro post. So stressful that I've been debating whether I have a low grade flu or my upset stomach is just stress. I have too many things coming to a head at once.

Part of it has been boat problems. I had some (mostly planned) work done by a reputable boatyard, but the first day the boat was back in the water one of the two propellers came off. The boatyard promises to replace it, but I lost two days on the water with my brother and father, and the boat is now at a sketchy marina 100+ miles from where I want it to be. This will be my family's home for a year plus, and I'm getting more intimidated rather than less each time we move the boat.

Other stress is job related. There are big shifts in my industry going on, and I am having a hard time setting strategy for things I won't be around to see through. Our budget and service metrics are tanking, and fighting for resources is exhausting. Keeping the secret of my upcoming departure is hard as well.

Finally we are prepping a vacation home to be listed in a state we no longer live in. Managing contractors remotely is hard in the best of times.

I know that all of this is temporary, and in 3-4 months very little of it will matter. However I am having a very hard time sleeping, focusing, and working down the huge list of things that must get done for us to pull this off. Any advice from the board on how to relax as I count down the last couple of months before FIRE?
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Old 03-01-2018, 11:36 AM   #10
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Any advice from the board on how to relax as I count down the last couple of months before FIRE?
I am so sorry you're experiencing such turbulence as you enter this next phase of your life.

Random thoughts come to mind:

  • Everything will be OK in the end. If it's not OK, it's not the end.
  • Sometimes, when everything seems to blow up at once, I try to take a step back and see if maybe the Universe or God (depending on your POV) is trying to tell me something. Not now? Let's re-think this? Forge ahead?
  • Try to take a few minutes everyday and sit down and don't think about anything but your breath. Seriously. You need a clear head to process all of this, and if you're going 90 miles a minute, it's hard to make rational decisions. Just breathe. The Headspace app on phones or the Amazon Echo really help with this.
I just told my boss today that I'm retiring later this year. He lives across the pond and we were on a conference call. His head hit the desk and he said F - - -. So, I feel your pain about making decisions for things you won't be involved in. I felt so free after I told him. So free in fact that I missed my next conference call - just completely ignored the Outlook reminder. Oh well... Anyway, announcing your plans will probably offer some relief, but I realize the timing has to be right. I had to wait until my year end bonus was deposited last week.

Hang in, this too shall pass with time. Slow down and give yourself permission to not make rash decisions.
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Old 03-01-2018, 11:52 AM   #11
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My prediction is the boat will get fixed, the house will sell eventually, and work stress will cease.

Enjoy and congratulations.
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Old 03-07-2018, 05:53 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by 4aboard View Post
We have a great deal to learn, and great may details to work out, and we aren't as well prepared as we should be. No specific questions at this point for the group, but will consider any advice you want to give on the following.

- Homeschooling
- Marine Diesel Maintenance
- Benefits of Mail Forwarding Services
- Storage Unit vs Sell/Donate Household Goods
- Best place to move in 2-4 years (public schools, culture, climate, COL)
- Whether mega-corp is reading this and I'll miss out on my last big payout

Thanks for reading. I'll check back frequently while I wait out my last few months in the office.
There's tons of information on the 2nd and 3rd items on your list over at Cruisers & Sailing Forums

As for storage unit or not, I spent more storing stuff after my last move than it would have cost to replace it before I realized I was throwing money away. Look at the costs of storing it, assume it'll be at least 50% longer a time period than you plan on, and then see if you think it's worth spending that money (plus moving costs) to hold on to what you have now. I don't know how expensive your stuff is, but for most people I can't imagine storing their stuff for 4 years would be cheaper than selling it now and buying new stuff later.
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Old 03-19-2018, 03:00 PM   #13
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So I'm two weeks away from giving notice, and 4-8 weeks away from being done completely. Lot's of challenges at work right now, and it feels strange to be making long term decisions that I won't be around to see through. My stress level is still very high but I can feel it starting to slip away. I think it will go way down once I'm not keeping my plans a secret any more.

As far as the boat goes, we should have moved it all the way "home" yesterday. We had three good days of 75-100 miles each, and then realized there is a bridge closed for repairs that we can't get under. If all goes as planned (and it hasn't yet), we will do this last 120 mile leg this weekend. Then we will have roughly two months to pack up, do some minor boat maintenance, and get ready to start the trip.

Each time out with the boat we get a little better, and something new goes wrong. I expect this continue once we are living on the boat, but be much less stressful because I won't have a strict schedule that I'm trying to meet to get back to work.

My kids are getting a little skeptical. So far this Great Loop thing has been long days of long car rides and long boat rides, with very little of the exploring and family adventures that we promised. I need to remind them that we will go 100 miles a week in the future, not a 100 miles per day.
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Old 03-19-2018, 05:29 PM   #14
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4aboard,
My children are grown, but was wondering on your plans for homeschooling. Your whole concept sounds very exciting.
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Old 03-20-2018, 11:28 AM   #15
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Your thread is very exciting, please keep going with the updates. I wish I could pull this type of adventure with the family, but by the time I have enough to ER, my oldest will be in high school. From what I've read, that's not the best time to pull them out of school (unless I want the resentment).
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Old 03-20-2018, 11:51 AM   #16
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Interesting plan, good luck! I have thought about doing the same thing and could afford to. My kids also 10 and 8 and best friends so that would make it easier. What kind of boat do you have?
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Old 03-20-2018, 04:25 PM   #17
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Our boat is a Cruisers 4450. It packs a lot of comfort into 45 ft. Three cabins, two bathrooms, three AC/Heat zones, a pretty good size salon and kitchenette. The draft is 3.5 ft and clear height is 16.5 ft. To do the Loop you need to stay less than 5 ft of draft and 19 ft of clear height.

We first started looking at sailing catamarans, chartered a couple, and had a blast. Once we decided that the Loop was important, we ruled out sailing, and looked at power catamarans. After bidding on two unsuccessfully, we opened up the search to monohull powerboats and really liked the combination of features on the Cruisers.

As far as homeschooling goes, we have probably gone overboard with buying structured programs. There are a number of them Calvert, Beyond the Page, and a couple of math specific packages. The kids are really smart, and we feel pretty confident that 3 hrs or so of boat school each day will keep them ahead of their peers.
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:07 AM   #18
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My bonus pays out this Friday, and the last equity vesting event I am waiting on is over the weekend. Next Monday is when I inform MegaCorp of my FIRE plans. I am looking for some feedback on this exit strategy.

Background: I moved from HQ2 to HQ1 last fall. It was after some arm twisting, but also to have the company to pay the costs associated with selling our main home, and pay a decent lump sum to defray miscellaneous costs.

As part of this move I signed a document promising to pay back relocation costs if I depart the company in less than a year. I balked a bit at signing, since I was moving at the company's request, and I was retaining the same position, comp, and moving to higher COL area. I would rather not pay this relocation money $60-$75k back if I can help it.

Exit Strategy: When I inform my boss Monday of my departure he will be very confused that I'm not moving to a new company. I don't plan to go into much detail initially about our plans, but enough that he gets the basic outline. I will offer up two end date options.

The first option is two weeks, and I will work hard to have a smooth transition and leave as quietly as possible. I'll ask for an accounting of the relocation expense, and pay it back as agreed.

The second option is six weeks if the company agrees to release me from paying back the relocation expenses. The extra time may be seen as valuable. I am part of trip to Asia in week three, where I will lead nine figure contract negotiations. There are a couple of big projects my team is involved in that are in critical phases right now. The extra time will also allow the company to better control the narrative of my departure.

I have a preference for the second option, but won't be heartbroken if I'm asked to gather my belongings next Monday either. I have no interest in staying longer than six weeks. The whole concept of FIRE is buying time by forgoing future earnings, right?

Questions for the group:
Do these options seem reasonable to offer?
Which option will Megacorp choose?
Are there other approaches you would recommend to for my departure?
Will I panic Sunday night and not FIRE myself Monday?
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:17 AM   #19
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My two cents for what its worth is they will take option two. They will negotiate the payback of the relo to half or at least try. You are in the middle of a project and I am sure they want to make a smooth transition and find your replacement. If they let their ego get in the way they will take option 1 and send you packing. Either way you will be doing the right thing.

Congratulations on making it to the finish line! I am sure your mind is going crazy right now in anticipation of this. Also, please post a picture of the boat. I have to live vicariously through you as i have another 10-12 years. Looking forward to your updates. - Brad
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:39 AM   #20
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Also, please post a picture of the boat. I have to live vicariously through you as i have another 10-12 years. Looking forward to your updates. - Brad
Please post a picture/video of security escorting you out of the building. Lol.

Good luck. I bet Mega goes with option B
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