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Single Best Thing You Have Learned Here
Old 04-12-2017, 07:32 AM   #1
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Single Best Thing You Have Learned Here

I've been here ten years now and I've learned a lot about investing and money saving strategies, about others' life struggles, and about travel and other leisure activities.

What is the single best thing that you have learned from hanging out on the ER Forum?


I'll go first.

The best thing I've learned is that retiring early is an honorable ambition and that I am not alone in valuing that freedom.
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Old 04-12-2017, 07:50 AM   #2
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I couldn't pick just one, there have been too many pearls here.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:00 AM   #3
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I think "options" has been the most important thing I've learned.

That's to say that before finding these forums, I really didn't have anywhere to talk/hear about different ideas of "early retirement" since almost everyone I know is in the "I'll retire sometime in my 60's" mode. So the only two perspectives I had were:
"The norm" - retire sometime after you're eligible to collect SS
and
"Mine" - retire as soon as possible.

Seeing other people's thoughts and hearing their stories, including their journey to ER, has helped me to put some things in perspective. One of those is that "even if I splurge a bit more now, maybe it would be worth it even if that means I spend an extra year or two working and don't retire until my late-40's." I know that most of the time when people refer to others who had their retirement cut short they're doing so as a reminder that retiring early is better because you may not get much retirement if you wait, but for me it reminds me that even now, while working, I need to try and get a healthy balance between "living" and "saving" since ER isn't a guarantee that I'll have "extra years" in retirement when I am done working.

There are options outside of "retire as soon as possible" and "retire in your 60's". OMY doesn't have to be a negative thing, though it probably shouldn't be a perpetual thing either.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:09 AM   #4
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I would say mostly on the investment side. Index funds and such way back. Also, withdrawal strategies....have learned a lot there as well.

Have also learned that posting about the virtues of annuities or FA's usually does not bring positive reply's.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:11 AM   #5
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Single best thing I learned is to take notice when W2R says "Wheee!" .
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:24 AM   #6
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We're all different but we have one thing in common: we only have one life, of uncertain duration, to live and living it on our own terms is up to us.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:31 AM   #7
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As a numbers guy, I crunched the numbers and ran the plan through every program I could. I still was worried that I missed something and the 95-100% success rate was going to fall apart.

Coming to this forum, I saw that there are many different ways to look at the numbers, and not everyone who takes the leap is a many multimillionaire. If I FIRE'd and some unforeseen thing happened, there are many options (cutting spending, moving to a lower cost area, getting a j*b etc). Also what I saw as a mandatory expense someone else may see as purely discretionary and vis-versa. I still was nervous, but I was more excited about the possibilities than scared of the numbers. When I left, it wasn't so much a leap as a change in direction.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:46 AM   #8
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INTJs know best Seriously, way too much broad knowledge learned to pick one thing.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:57 AM   #9
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#1 - Learned to have confidence in results of Firecalc and I-ORP. Confidence came from seeing how others used the programs and interpreted the data plus the excellent support provided by regular users.

#2 - Learned how others who have retired early fared with similar or less assets than we have. It provided confidence to see that others can do what you are planning to do......and some can do it with a lot less fortunate circumstances. Reading about other's experiences provided lots of checks on concerns I had such as how to manage taxes in retirement....lots of good discussions on this.
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Old 04-12-2017, 08:58 AM   #10
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That notions of frugality, savings, investing, financial independence, and retirement are as individual as the persons holding them: there is no one size fits all. I enjoy reading about everyone's experiences and considering my experience vis-a-vis them. I've learned a lot and am far more thoughtful about my use of money now and future plans.
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Old 04-12-2017, 09:05 AM   #11
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The best piece of advice I received was from Nords during the 2009 meltdown . I was heavily weighted in stocks and wanted to lower my stock portion . He told me to hold on that as fast as I lost it that is how fast it would return at that percentage . So I held on and He was right . I did lower it after my money returned .Thanks Nords ! Besides that I have received endless information from all the members about investments ,withdrawals ,books to read,cooking and travel .Thanks everyone !
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Old 04-12-2017, 09:10 AM   #12
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For me it was all the different permutations for filing for social security. I had no idea it was so complex.
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Old 04-12-2017, 09:11 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I've been here ten years now and I've learned a lot about investing and money saving strategies, about others' life struggles, and about travel and other leisure activities.

What is the single best thing that you have learned from hanging out on the ER Forum?
For me, that's easy! OK, I admit it, there are two.

(1) I decided long before I arrived at the ER Forum, that I wanted to wait until age 70 to claim SS.

But on this forum, I learned that I could claim divorced spousal SS at FRA, and my own SS would still continue to grow until age 70 when I could switch over to it. I think that may have been one of the "loopholes" that was closed, but I got in just barely under the wire. (Previously I had thought that my own SS would not continue to grow if I claimed divorced spousal SS, so I wasn't going to claim divorced spousal SS.)

So right now, at age 68, I'm getting a four figure deposit in my checking account every month solely due to reading this forum.

(2) And then, there's Rich_in_Tampa (now Rich_by_the_Bay)'s advice to wait until I qualified for federal retiree health insurance, instead of retiring in 2007 and buying an individual health insurance policy. That has saved me not only money, but so much worry throughout the years.
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Old 04-12-2017, 09:14 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I've been here ten years now and I've learned a lot about investing and money saving strategies, about others' life struggles, and about travel and other leisure activities.

What is the single best thing that you have learned from hanging out on the ER Forum?


I'll go first.

The best thing I've learned is that retiring early is an honorable ambition and that I am not alone in valuing that freedom.
I learned that there are others in this country who are financially responsible that don't live beyond their means living paycheck to paycheck. This is hard to find living in Southern California. There is hope for a select few in this country after all.
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Old 04-12-2017, 09:15 AM   #15
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that this forum is heavily moderated?
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Old 04-12-2017, 09:17 AM   #16
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That's a tough question to answer. The internet is infested with trolls and click bait and this is one of the few places that is exempt (for the most part!) from that drama. There is rarely a day that I don't learn something quite useful when I visit.

However, if there was one single thing, I would say that I have learned to be proud of being an early retiree and to embrace all of its glory. Many have come before me and hopefully many, MANY more will come after me; it's a great group to be a member of.
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Old 04-12-2017, 09:24 AM   #17
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Some of the best jokes ever. Plus we're arts not stem people, so likely learned more than most people from this site in figuring out how to make our nest egg do what we need it to do.
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Old 04-12-2017, 09:48 AM   #18
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Double dipping as this is my second response...

Also learned that I really don't like getting up early in the morning .
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:00 AM   #19
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I personally benefited from all the assistance of signing up for ACA in the later part of '13.

I knew less than nothing about buying my own health insurance and all of you were awesome in sharing your knowledge.

Investment advice would be a close second.
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:15 AM   #20
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For me #1 is probably the basic VG index strategy (total/intl/bonds) I've switched to, which incorporates low fees, AA plan, staying the course, and not trying to outguess the market. Not that this is the only way to do it, as others here have shown, but it seems right for me over the scattershot "plan" I had before.
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