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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 11-30-2004, 08:07 PM   #61
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

In college, I went for a triple major in Mechanical Engineering, Business and Economics (class of 2000). I've always loved finances and working with numbers, but ended up working for my father's commercial construction company right after graduation as an estimator/project manager.

Since it's not what I see myself doing for the next 20 years to reach FIRE (although it's certainly a decent-paying job), I'll probably try a few executive search firms to see what kinds of leads they could draw up (by the way, anyone have any opinions on them? Are they a waste? Should I just start going for a weekend MBA now and try out on my own once I can't stand the daily grind that I now put up with?)

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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 12-01-2004, 01:46 PM   #62
 
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

Another engineer here - a biomedical engineer - but I also am a Reservist in the military and just got done doing a stint as a political-military analyst.

For the poster who asked about engineering versus management---very different jobs - frankly, I've avoided management like the plague as I believe I would be difficult to work for, plus I'm not a very good babysitter :-) - have enough issues with colleagues not finishing what they commit to......

Bridget - aka Deserat
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 12-01-2004, 02:21 PM   #63
 
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

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For the poster who asked about engineering versus management---very different jobs - frankly, I've avoided management like the plague as I believe I would be difficult to work for, plus I'm not a very good babysitter - have enough issues with colleagues not finishing what they commit to......
I agree! - I was in a unique postion when I was promoted from a Software Developer to the head Technical Support Manager. After I had this postion for 8 years, I had my fill of Management and they had their fill of me. (You get involved in hassles everyday ).

I called their bluff one day during a major hassle and said that I would like to go back to Developing Software and I might leave the company. - They let me do it internally and keep my high salary (It took years to learn the product - so they had a need).

I became a Star employee in less than 1 year, with 90% less hassles and the job actually became enjoyable again. The Management Stint was usefull in getting my Salary up and reminding me never to do it again.
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 12-03-2004, 09:57 AM   #64
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

Air Force (civilian) 35 yrs - 15 years test engineering, 20 years advanced technology - special programs, touched all new generation aircraft. Big programs mean lots of excitement , interest, micromanagement and politics.

Retired '03 - Glad to not be on airplane every week, now able to finish home projects & see grandkids regularly.

JohnP
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?I'm
Old 12-04-2004, 06:43 AM   #65
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?I'm

I'm retired. My school/career path was a little unusual. I got a BA in Psychololgy. Then went to work for Uncle Sam in an internship program. That lead to a position as a COBOL programmer. Then to Systems Analyst. I then transitioned into administrative positions covering budget and finance. Got a master's in Public Administration. I wound up as Financial Manager for NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 12-26-2004, 02:07 PM   #66
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

Not retired, but experienced a paradigm shift 8 years ago that focused my attention on it. Too late for me to ER. I learned late that I was using unrealistic returns on investment for my projections. My focus at this point is survival. I fear many are in this situation but much less prepared than we are. Old Dutch saying: "We grow too soon old and too late smart."

I was a college drop-out and a painter's helper. After three years of soldiering, I went back to school to study economics and engineering. I was a millwright one summer, but have been a chemical engineer around the world for the past 30 years. It has been fun most of the time, but...

Eight years from now I will have a grand total of less than $400 US per month from defined benefit pensions. (If I said that I had been browned-and-rooted, would you know what I meant?) Our IRAs and a little home equity will save us from starving. Social Security will be welcome but we are not counting on it much (if we ever see as much as 70% of it, I will be surprised). These are my plans:

Plan A: Fall-back position. (Guaranteed do-able. Definitely not for everyone, but OK for us.)
Can retire today if absolutely necessary. Draconian economies would require relocation outside the US. Affordable healthcare and other costs-of-living drive this. Mexico most probable first stop. Some options for extra income, if it amuses me. I have been researching this for 8 years since my also world-traveler little brother suggested the possibility. Discovery of this option raised me out of a severe depression. Not only can we survive, but we could have some fun, too, once we get past the dislocation. I have been living out of a suitcase in flea-bag motels for years now, so it would be an improvement for me, but it will be a stretch for the wife so I am trying to put it off as long as I can. If this happens, the kids would be on their own paying for college. I did it; they can, too.

Plan B: Optimistic case.
Plan A after two more good years of contracting. More options for countries.

Plan C: Not bloody likely.
Find a good, fun job with benefits that lasts another 10 years. Retire wherever the wife would like to. "Bon chance, mon ami," as dem ol' Cajuns say. (I also buy lottery tickets.)

Among my first guides were the Terhorsts (wish I had become galvanized when I first read their story), Dr. Bill Bernstein and John P. Greaney (special thanks, John; you da man!).

Cheers,

Ed The Gypsy
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 12-26-2004, 02:38 PM   #67
 
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

Quote:
Not retired, but experienced a paradigm shift 8 years ago that focused my attention on it. Too late for me to ER. I learned late that I was using unrealistic returns on investment for my projections. My focus at this point is survival. I fear many are in this situation but much less prepared than we are. Old Dutch saying: "We grow too soon old and too late smart."
Welcome Ed. - I think some folks may never wake up. - I think most are planning on the perpetual job.

Curious - what was your paradigm shift 8 years ago?
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 12-26-2004, 03:40 PM   #68
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

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Social Security will be welcome but we are not counting on it much (if we ever see as much as 70% of it, I will be surprised).
Ed, you didn't mention your age, but based on your work history I'm guessing you are well into your 50s. If that's the case, I think 70% (Social Security) would be a worst case scenario. I'll bet you will see close to 100%. Anyway, good luck to you.
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 12-26-2004, 09:12 PM   #69
 
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

Cut-Throat,

I got downsized and discovered that my 10+ years with one company got me zip defined benefit pension. At this point I looked at what we had in assets and IRAs and tried to estimate what this would yield in retirement. I figured that it might be hard to get a "real" job again at my age, considering how my profession has been drying up. About this time I learned about the Efficient Frontier, Modern Portfolio Theory and the 4% SWR. All this was very sobering.

I have basically been a contractor ever since. We have not put much away in IRAs since, but have been working on eliminating our debt. Sticking to an internationally diversified 100% equity portfolio, most of it index funds, paid off very well. Presently sending all dividends to a money market fund to start buying TIPs in a while which may coincide with increased interest rates in the US.

I worked backwards from what we had to what we could squeeze out of it, as opposed to starting with what we are spending today and projecting to what size nest egg we would "require". My hermanito had sailed up and down the Panama Canal and told me of Panama and of coleagues and others he knew of who had retired in Panama, Costa Rica and Mexico. This had never crossed my mind, but I am on it now. I may post some of my findings in another thread.

Bob_Smith,

We asked for projections of our SS benefits and now get them every year. There is a disclaimer right in that US Govt document to the effect that people should not plan on more than something like 70 or 75% of the benefits quoted. (I looked for that document just now but couldn't find it. I will post the quote accurately some time.) There is a story that more Americans believe in flying saucers than believe they will ever see any Social Security payments. Scott Burns has already pointed out the high marginal tax rate for middle class people taking SS payments, so it works out to the same thing.

Cheers,

Ed
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 12-26-2004, 09:16 PM   #70
 
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

[Where is the spell-check on this editor, anyway? My fat fingers need some help.]

ETG
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 12-26-2004, 10:24 PM   #71
 
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

Hi

Still working. I'm a radiologist, an MD who reads X rays, CTs, MRIs, etc. We get paid well, but the stress, especially that of lawsuits can wear one down. Hopeful to semi-retire (work 10 to 15 weeks per year) in about 3 years, at age 36.

Regards,
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Re: What do you do? What did you do? sa
Old 12-27-2004, 02:37 AM   #72
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Re: What do you do? What did you do? sa

I was a journalist before my early "retirement" and still am. I used to work on Capitol Hill trying to grab hold of Bob Dole or Dan Rostenkowski when they were visiting the men's room to find out what nasty (to the readers of the newsletters I worked for) change in the tax law they were planning to slip into Page 3,206 of that year's tax bill in the next dead-of-night committee mark-up. I became frustrated that I was spending much of my time attending pointless press conferences and writing up pointless press releases instead of filling people in on "the real news."

I used my savings to finance a transition to the life of the freelance writer. I "retired" from the need to earn a corporate paycheck. I have written a book ("Passion Saving") on how to win financial freedom early in life that I will self-publish early next year. If I can make more than $150 from that one, I have plans to write a few more before hanging it up sometime in my late 60s. Unless I get hit by a truck first (don't be getting any funny ideas, intercst!).
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?
Old 12-27-2004, 04:30 AM   #73
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Re: What do you do? What did you do?

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Hi

Still working. I'm a radiologist, an MD who reads X rays, CTs, MRIs, etc. We get paid well, but the stress, especially that of lawsuits can wear one down. Hopeful to semi-retire (work 10 to 15 weeks per year) in about 3 years, at age 36.

Regards,
Is it really the stress of potential lawsuits or the fear of making a mistake? Doctors really don't get sued very often and the rare times they do, most settle for less than their malpractice insurance limits. If it is fear of making a mistake, some of that may pass over time as you get more and more experience.

Martha
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