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Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 04:19 AM   #1
 
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Build your church upon the rock

What is the one thing (program/investment/event)
that is most responsible for you being able to ER?
I might be something that happened long ago, or maybe
even something which has not happened but will.
Just one, without which ER would have been very
difficult if not impossible?

JG
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 05:26 AM   #2
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

The company that I have worked for more than 25 years began issuing stock options several years ago. I could ER without this extra $$$ but now i can go earlier and with a thicker cushion. It doesn't hurt that i have followed my fathers advice to save 10% of income since i got out of grad school.
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 05:55 AM   #3
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

Without question it was the potential to retire at 55 with a substantial civil service pension indexed to inflation. If all of our investments went to zero tomorrow we would still have basic food, clothing, shelter and health care. That made it much easier to take higher investment risks to build up assets. I still maintain a 75% equity allocation.

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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 06:11 AM   #4
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

Getting canned/er layed off at age 49. Prior to that, age 63 was early retirement in my mind.

DCA into 401k/IRA over a long period turned out to be the bulk of our ER assets. Ben Graham 50/50 - Index 500/GCI's - not touched yet.
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 06:47 AM   #5
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

Not yet ER but do have a comfortable networth over $1.5M. The steps: save as much as possible, max out on 401 contribution, diversify over multiple classes of investment to reduce risks.
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 07:34 AM   #6
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

Quote:
What is the one thing (program/investment/event)
that is most responsible for you being able to ER?
Luck.

Lucky to be born with the smarts to do complex and challenging work.

Lucky to have had parents who were loving and supportive.

Lucky to be born in one of the 20 or so rich nations of the world.

Lucky to be good at something that at this moment in time there is great demand for and to have found out that I was good at it.
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 07:42 AM   #7
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

As a young design branch manager, I had to fire
some good people during TI's first lay off in 1969.

That experience woke me up to the fact that
big companies have no soul and that I needed
to take control of my own future.

Cheers,

Charlie
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 08:10 AM   #8
 
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

I had a job that I hated when I was 30. The problem was that it paid a relatively high salary and I was in debt. It dawned on me that I was basically 'trapped' or in 'prison'.

I sat down and crafted a plan to get out of debt, and save enough to retire. I stuck to the plan for 20 years.
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 08:49 AM   #9
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

Quote:
I had a job that I hated when I was 30. The problem was that it paid a relatively high salary and I was in debt. It dawned on me that I was basically 'trapped' or in 'prison'.

I sat down and crafted a plan to get out of debt, and save enough to retire. I stuck to the plan for 20 years.
Hey! I'm following in your footsteps!
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 09:04 AM   #10
 
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

Well, I am only following in Cut-Throat's footsteps
insofar as our fondness for fishing. Otherwise, I did
very little work that I hated (I just quit). And I never had a plan until after I ERed. Kind of bassackwards
I know. Kind of like 'Alice in Wonderland' .
(Even the part about the nutty Queen.........reminds me of my ex.)

JG
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 09:28 AM   #11
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

My husband was driven to find a way to be financially independant. He was a sailer on the great lakes, a wheelsman for Cleveland Cliffs. He wanted out so we managed to scrap together enough money (partly borrowed) for a down payment on a 7 unit apartment building that needed a lot of work. He worked on that building, improving it and the tenants. He gradually added more buildings that needed less work and his job was being landlord.

I kept plugging along at work, never thinking about retiring but participating in building our assets. Over the last few years he sold off all the buildings except the one we live in but never got replacement job. He was retired! Last year it suddenly dawned on me that maybe I could too.
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 09:41 AM   #12
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

Quote:
bassackwards
I
JG
I assume a Bassackwards is no relation to a Cut Throat Trout.
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 10:00 AM   #13
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

At 25, my boss did not give me a raise (or anyone else) and I was his top producer. I was pissed and decided to go into business for myself. Best thing financially that I ever did. Then my love for the beach led me to invest in Oceanfront property in North Carolina. Without those two events, I would not have the funds to retire early. BUT, it was not until my wife and I went into a discount store and I saw Paul Terhorst's book for $2.95 that I ever considered very early retirement. Thanks Paul!!!
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 10:37 AM   #14
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

I was watching the news on TV. I was around 38 and had no knowledge about the financial markets - I was a clueless wage slave. A "man-on-the-street" was being interviewed in front of his expensive house about the performance of the stock market. For some reason he struck me as dumb, and I thought, "If this guy can make money with investments, why can't I? So I went to the library and grabbed two or three books. One was "Cashing in on the American Dream" by Terhorst. I learned that half a million dollars could eliminate the need to work. I was stunned. I had no idea normal people could achieve financial independence. It was an epiphany that led to ER. All because of one dumb guy on the news. Turns out he wasn't dumb after all.
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Getting a different set of friends.
Old 12-17-2004, 10:43 AM   #15
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Getting a different set of friends.

I've heard from a researcher that as many as 87% of military retirees go straight into the civilian job market.

At the retirement seminar it was quickly apparent that this wasn't a seminar on how to retire-- it was on how to find a job.

One aspect of the Navy's performance assessments is how well you recruit, re-enlist, and advance your troops. An extension of this is helping them figure out what they're going to do after they resign/retire, and it usually involved helping them find a headhunter or a job. It seemed the natural thing to do as I approached my own retirement ("Come on in, Nords, the water's fine!").

Luckily my father broke the cycle by pointing out that he was perfectly happy being retired (age 55). Once we started looking into it and stopped listening to our "friends", there weren't any other obstacles.
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 11:47 AM   #16
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

The ER spark came to me when I was a teenager. I had seen old family members work until they died without enjoying their lives much nor enjoying time with their families. I knew I didn't want to suffer the same fate and I was determined to do something not to go down that same road.

Then while I was watching a Sugar Ray Leonard fight on TV (I think the Leonard-Hearns fight in 1981), the commentator stated how Leonard saved every single dollar he had earned as a pro fighter and would only live on the investment income. What a fantastic concept! I decided then that I was going to try the same thing. Looking back, I can see how naive I was since I didn't understand the value of money, inflation, and the fact that Leonard was making millions of dollars and a 6-month CD was paying double-digit interest rates. Still, a great plan.

Then when I went to college, one of the most amazing concepts I learned was the future value formulas and the rule of 72. Now when someone tells me the indians were stupid for selling Manhattan in 1626 for $24, I tell them that if the indians were able to get just 5% on their $24, they would have about $2.5 billion today. Over 20 years later, I still run future values in amazement of how money can grow over time, especially over the long-term.
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 02:57 PM   #17
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

I am cheap, so I saved a big percentage of my wages.
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 04:06 PM   #18
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

I was in my early 30s. My wife was pregnant and I had a good but very involving job.

I read an article in Forbes about successful money managers. One was a guy who happened to be local. He was interested in the detritus of the Penn Central Bankruptcy. I went to see him. Immediately I knew he was no bullshitter, and that he was on to what was likely a very big payday. I took half my savings and had him allocate it to various bankrupt Pennsy bonds. Overall, I think it worked out better than 10:1. This made me think that there was a lot of investment opportunity in really messed up stuff.

Although I continued to work 10 more years, my real vocation had become watching for money lying on the table.

I didn't keep parlaying, but I kept some in cash and continued to look for apparently crappy stuff that I thought might come to be seen differently. Some real estate opportunities came as Seattle started out of its massive early 70s depression.

My returns have slowed a lot, since neither stocks nor bonds nor property seem to be so mis-priced, or at least under priced. I have a very deep desire not to be the bagholder, so momentum or index or other passive investment schemes don't appeal at all to me.

I have made over 100 trades, but 3/4 of my net worth is due to no more than 10 situations that looked very good to me, so I made unbalanced bets.

One of my major goals is to be sure to have plenty capital to keep playing this game, as I enjoy it a lot.

Also, my responsibilities were lessened by my kids taking off early, and getting good jobs and putting themselves through school. I had mixed feelings about this. However, my Mom and Dad had operated an apartment in a university neighborhood, and I got to know a lot of co-op and GI bill and other self financed students. When I later went to college and compared the seriousness of those students with the drunks and wastrels at my "Daddy paid" school, I felt that not only would it be cheaper for me, but my kids would also get a lot more out of college if they were wholly in charge. I also completely missed the usual conflicts with older adolescent and post-adolescent children who are not yet truly independent. My sons could look at whatever I had to say, knowing that they could accept, partially accept, or reject it. Since I had no purse power, it was "FYI" only. There is an Arab proverb which I think applies-"Make your adult son your brother."

Mikey
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 04:20 PM   #19
 
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

Hi Mikey! Re. "investment opportunity in really messed
up stuff", guys who specialize in this area are called
"bottom feeders". I knew a guy who was kind of a one man operation looking for businesses gasping their last.
He made a fortune picking up the pieces. Once I stumbled on a small company which was out of ideas, at a time when I was too busy to get involved.
He paid me a $2,000 finders fee just for calling him.
I have a hunch he made a pile of money.

JG
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Re: Build your church upon the rock
Old 12-17-2004, 06:35 PM   #20
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Re: Build your church upon the rock

Quote:
I had a job that I hated when I was 30. The problem was that it paid a relatively high salary and I was in debt. It dawned on me that I was basically 'trapped' or in 'prison'.

I sat down and crafted a plan to get out of debt, and save enough to retire. I stuck to the plan for 20 years.
Amen Cut-Throat, except my revelation came before age 30

One person - - versus one thing, I think. My father's $$ philosophies stuck with me. That, and his workaday job busting his nuts in a 'factory' for almost 20 yrs. I saw how is retirement was such a welcome change, in most respects.
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