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19 months later - update
Old 09-29-2007, 04:17 AM   #1
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19 months later - update

Thought I'd pop in here and give an update on our situation that many of you so kindly gave us suggestions for last year when DH quit his job.
(old thread:
http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...oup-19788.html )


DH (now 40) was out of work and enjoying it for most of the year. He wasn't really looking for a job, but had several invitations to start different jobs, and finally did in December. He had to take a 25% pay cut (that really cuts into the saving we were doing previously), but is content with his new job at a small company that is a subsidiary of a megacorp. I think he felt like he was wasting some good earning years, and since we weren't *there* yet, that it made sense to get back to work as long as the situation was a good one. Also, we have started to think about needing to have some extra funds in the event his mom (62) needs our support, since she has no savings and some of her health stuff may become an issue.

Anyway, we didn't do much with the asset allocation ideas until this year, but finally put a lot of our cash into some more after tax funds:VGENX, VISGX, VMGIX, VGTSX right at the end of March while the market was still down from that drop. Then at the drop in July, we bought one of Brewer's stock picks, so our cash level is down to a better level. We have one more amount we could move in at any time there is another big drop.

We are pretty happy with the allocation now, with returns across all areas of our portfolio totalling 17% ytd. As a result, we have just passed our first seven figure milestone.

In one aspect it is nice that we reached that sooner than we thought. But on the other hand, it is diminished slightly by the fact that the plummetting dollar has been partially responsible for the appearance of huge gains in our international funds, so the milestone seems cheapened from when we first set our sights on it. Does anybody else feel this way lately? Anyway, I am sure fluctuations will cause us to fall below and go back above several times, but I don't think we will be doing anything rash, just hold on for the long run.

We did start tracking our expenses as a result of a thread last year, and found that we spent an average of $2500/month through June of this year, so now have a pretty good idea of what we will need to plan around.

DH will probably continue on for the time being as long as things are decent there, and then the next time he needs to quit, then that can be his real FIRE with no worries.

That's it, thanks to everyone for all the great info they share here everyday!
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Old 09-29-2007, 06:26 AM   #2
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Great post and congrats... (but, I did not go to read your previous thread)..

I just wanted to point out that the monthly expenses does not include 'depreciation' on your 'fixed assets'... so make sure you plan on a replacement fund for all those long lived assets (car, washer/dryer, AC, roof etc. etc.)...
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Old 09-29-2007, 09:54 AM   #3
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Good going igsoy...

Knowledge is the best protection from financial disaster. When I lost my job in 2002, I was devastated and became paniced when I was out of work 6 months. I became even worse when that stretched into 15 months when I finally got a position at about 50% of my prior job.

The great thing about that j*b is that it was so easy I had endless hours to surf the internet and for other "hobbies." I eventually discovered this forum and after months of lurking/reading I realized I was FI back in 2002.

Since 2005, I've been in another position paying significantly more than I made in 2002 and has no stress associated with it. Part of the "no stress" is that I know that if I'm "fired" I'm also FIRE'd.

I'd probably be FIRE'd now except for personal issues keeping me and DW trapped in Houston. I can't see any reason to FIRE when I'm stuck on a short leash here given all the flexibility I can take advantage of in my present position.
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Old 09-29-2007, 10:24 AM   #4
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I'm astounded by your story: a musician can make money? What instrument do you play and what kind of music? Can you tell me how much you typically get on a gig? For comparison, on my duo gig at a top restaurant last night I made $36 (minus 60 miles of driving expenses).

Thanks for the update -- fun to see how these things turn out.
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Old 09-29-2007, 11:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
I just wanted to point out that the monthly expenses does not include 'depreciation' on your 'fixed assets'... so make sure you plan on a replacement fund for all those long lived assets (car, washer/dryer, AC, roof etc. etc.)...
Thanks for making that point, it's easy to overlook stuff like that, we did just get a new roof for free after a hail storm so are set there, but the cars are getting a little long in the tooth. We were thinking about going to one car upon FIRE, but still need to plan for replacements.

Also,2B-- wow, good deal you got going there. Sorry about the Houston thing, but it seems you are making the best of it. I think it's a common thread that FI such as yours tends to make all your worries a little lighter and you can endure things with a certain optimism.
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Old 09-29-2007, 12:33 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
a musician can make money?
Yeah T-Al, just not steady money. Since you were curious, scale wages for a show are 140/show, 8 shows a week, these are the touring broadway shows that come through town and charge 80 bucks a seat for 2000+ seats. There are smaller venues for local shows that pay less, 95/show. I even did one dinner theater last summer that was only 75/show and was a long drive to get to, but I had to do it because I had a feature on stage, in costume, a little acting, too much fun to pass up, that one ran for 12 weeks.

The thing is, these venues only hire my instrument (trombone) for less than half of their shows, so I never know how much work I will have next year. Well, actually I do know how bad next year will be. After a great run last June-Jan and this May-next Feb of nonstop work, all that's on next years schedule is 6 weeks of shows. So I do a few more weeks with the philharmonic but that pays only 400/wk, do some kiddie concerts 100/ea., holiday brass for churches. Years like that I am really glad for my private lessons to just keep some steady income coming in.

I don't do casuals like you, not really in the jazz scene, but FYI, scale here for that is about $72 for 3 hrs, double for the group leader, or if you have a steady engagement which means either ongoing 2 nights/wk for 3 hrs. or 3 nights/wk for 2 hrs., then the minimum is 25/hr, 30/hr for the group leader. And scale is just the minimum you can work for without getting in trouble with the union, you are free to charge more if you merit it.
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Old 09-29-2007, 02:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
We are pretty happy with the allocation now, with returns across all areas of our portfolio totalling 17% ytd. As a result, we have just passed our first seven figure milestone.
Congratulations on your accomplishments. That's a great return. What's asset allocation? I am guessing that you probably have a big stake in emerging markets.
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