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Old 10-31-2008, 04:04 PM   #21
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FWIW, she does provide a little more clarity in the 29 steps she took to leave the workforce and calls out that she really isn't fully retired.

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Follow your passion. Early semi-retirement is ok. That’s what I’m doing. But now, my side income will come from what I love: personal finance. Semi-retirement can open the opportunity to leave the corporate world much sooner.


29 Steps I Took to Leave the Workforce at Age 29
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Old 10-31-2008, 05:00 PM   #22
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Here's a link to someone else who seems to share my sentiments:

A Slacker's Quest For His First Million: How Madison DuPaix "Retired" at 29 -- A Rant

But maybe the yahoo article misconstrued what "Madison" stated during the interview. We'll give her an ample chance to rebut the article if that is the case. Or maybe the yahoo article simply serves to increase her unique visitors to her blog, thereby allowing her to better monetize her blogging.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:16 PM   #23
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Hi guys, I'd love to answer your questions... and I will when I get more time this weekend. Busy with Halloween festivities

jblack did hit it right on the head - it's ok to leave the corporate world and still do meaningful work in the 29 steps article... which was what lead to the interview.

To be perfectly honest, I was as shocked with the title as all of you probably were. In fact she even quoted how I refer to myself usually "I'm on a leave of absence from work, or I'm a stay-at-home mom." But then again how many SAHMs do you know who are making withdrawals from their retirement accounts? There doesn't seem to be a perfect title for it.

Anyways, I'll be back later to give some more thoughts.
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Old 11-01-2008, 03:15 AM   #24
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Madison, you are another millionaire mommy. Just less obnoxious.

What a 29 year old who lives off her husband has to teach anybody about retirement is beyond me.

There is no shame in blogging for dollars, or in pleasing your hubby enough that he is willing to support you. Plenty of women would like to learn about that, and it wouldn't reek of promotion and phoniness.

Ha
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Old 11-01-2008, 08:51 AM   #25
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My wife is retired and living off her investments. I am the investment.

This is like a former board member John Galt used to clam he was retired and it turns out he had a working wife.

Just a wife supported by her husband running a hobby business at home. Couldn't have saved up that nest egg off her salary without being supported either.
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Old 11-01-2008, 10:20 AM   #26
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When my wife takes off from work to take care of the kids, we occasionally need to use some of our savings to live off of. By Madison's definition, my wife is retired I guess. Don't tell her that though!
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Old 11-01-2008, 01:04 PM   #27
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I guess “retired”, means different things to different people. I think most people on this board mean financially independent without working or being supported by someone else. That is living off their investments and or pensions and Social Security.

Nothing wrong with being supported by someone else, except when you try to claim you are financially independent and are selling info to others on how to do it.

Oh yeah, financially independent means until you die, not just till you run through your savings and start working again. You could make the choice to take off for a few years and spend down your savings but that doesn’t make you retired or financially independent.

I have heard people from my hometown that quit working at the glove factory that will say “ I am retired from the glove factory”. No pension, not financially independent and working again at another job. But they say they are retired from there. I don’t see it. They are really just laid off or quit. Retired sounds better I guess.
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I wrote the story on the 29-year-old
Old 11-01-2008, 01:41 PM   #28
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I wrote the story on the 29-year-old

I'm Laura Rowley. I write the Money and Happiness column on Yahoo!Finance. I was genuinely surprised by the bitter response to the story about Madison DuPaix (especially on a forum like this one).

I've answered some of the questions in this thread in a long post on my blog, www.moneyandhappiness.com/blog. This is not a ploy to send traffic over there, I just wasn't sure I could post something that long over here. Would enjoy hearing your feedback.
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Old 11-01-2008, 02:23 PM   #29
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Laura, thank you for following up. There is considerable history here that may account for the tone of some respondents. I am guessing that some of it relates to past users making similar claims, for whom the numbers and blogs (with ads) subsequently did not stand up under scrutiny.

The possibility of driving traffic to a personally owned ad-cluttered blog adds to the reticence. Maybe there is something real here or maybe there isn't, but in context it seems to call for her to be forthcoming and accurate. The collective instinct here is often accurate in matters like this.

I'm interested in hearing Madison's full story, and wish her well. But I would approach this with a healthy skepticism.
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Old 11-01-2008, 04:20 PM   #30
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Laura:

Instead of disparaging the postings here as "bitter", you might be better served by focusing on the shortcomings in your own column. It seems to me that these shortcomings are summed up by the this text from your most recent posting on "Madison":

"She would not give me the figures. Maybe I’m naive, and I was suckered by a self-promoting blogger. But I don’t think so. I did my own back-of-the-napkin assumptions; if she were making $75,000 working in finance/insurance and two-thirds of it went to daycare, taxes, and savings, then her cash flow was $25,000. She would need to have saved $1.25 million to draw down 2% and stay cash-flow even.

Impossible to accumulate that amount over 13 years? Not necessarily."

Laura, the issue is not whether you or we can prove that Madison's scenario is "impossible". Obviously, anything is possible. Maybe Madison leveraged herself, invested everything in JDS Uniphase, sold at the top, and then shorted it to the bottom. Heck, under that scenario it is "possible" that she could have made a fortune in 2 weeks. The point is not that we can't disprove her scenario; the point is that she won't give you specific numbers and data to support her story. And she still hasn't. Apparently the urgency of Halloween festivities has prevented her with posting a paragraph's worth of data which would allow us to assess her story in a substantive way.

Look, if you are going to blog to the public about money and happiness, and if you are going to relate the story of "Madison" as something of importance to your readers, possibly even as a model for their own financial paths, then you should ask for data to back up the story. It strikes me as nothing less than bizarre for this woman, using a pseudonym, to make a conscious effort to share her financial history with the public, to share generic backround information and percentages, but then to refuse to share the data in terms of actual dollars and cents.

My suggestion: stop interpreting skepticism as bitterness, and begin to adopt a healty sense of skepticism of your own.

Also, your back of the napkin analysis on Madison is flawed. She said she started saving at 16. She saved $600 the first year. One would reasonably assume that the first 5 or 6 years would yield very modest savings, as she was either a minor or a full-time student. Even you assert that she was a "super saver" (whatever that means) for only 6 years. The condo that she allegedly sold at market peak likely would have been in the Midwest where she claims to live; this was not a bubble area, so we can't assume that this accounted for much gain. Of course, all of this is like flying blindfolded, since we don't have any real data. But even a novice would have at least raised some red flags.
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Old 11-01-2008, 04:34 PM   #31
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Sheesh, you are all sure being hard on Ms. Madison. I mean, "retired", "semi-retired", "stay-at-home mom" - what's the big diff? The main points that qualify her as FIRE in my book are that she has left the corporate 9-5 working world and is essentially in a decumulation mode.

My 77-year-old mother volunteers at the local senior center, local charity thrift store, and works an occasional substitute lunch lady shift at the local schools. The latter is the only "job" that pays any wages - but it's the least of her time commitments, and she jokes she only does it to be able to rough up little kids and take their lunch money... occasionally even her own grandchildren . You guys gonna say she's a liar if she calls herself retired?
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Old 11-01-2008, 04:40 PM   #32
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Madison is posting on Fat Wallet Forum today 11/1/2008

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Old 11-01-2008, 04:44 PM   #33
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Sheesh, you are all sure being hard on Ms. Madison. I mean, "retired", "semi-retired", "stay-at-home mom" - what's the big diff? ...
Sticking up for stay at home moms here.... tough job with crappy pay and intangible benefits. Raising kids is hard w*rk. But I digress...
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Old 11-01-2008, 04:52 PM   #34
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Sticking up for stay at home moms here.... tough job with crappy pay and intangible benefits. Raising kids is hard w*rk. But I digress...
No, that is not a digression! And don't forget the work put in by dads like CFB. That, IMO, is not retirement, it is a full-time commitment and I'm glad Madison is able to swing it.

Here's my question, if her husband disappeared, say through divorce, would Madison be able to remain FI for life?
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Old 11-01-2008, 04:57 PM   #35
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Go Madison go!

Nords and CFB are two big posters on this board who seem to consider themselves early retired, yet both have or had spouses working full time and providing health insurance. I haven't seen anyone on this board challenge them on their early retirement status. They are male, while Madison is female. I hope that SAHM sterotypes aren't a part of why Madison is being picked on here.

This very E-R forum itself is an advertising supported business run by early retiree dory. There's nothing wrong with making money from advertising while sharing info on how to E-R.

Madison, please continue posting here; people will warm up to you as they get to know you, and you seem to have a lot of good info to share.
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Old 11-01-2008, 05:10 PM   #36
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This very E-R forum itself is an advertising supported business run by early retiree dory.
Outdated information.

Dory36 (an early retiree who developed FIRECalc and created this board to discuss early retirement) sold E-R.org to AndyR (a ER wannabee ) a couple of years ago: Dory36 demoted!
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Old 11-01-2008, 05:38 PM   #37
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Sooo - maybe the 29 steps might be condensed somewhat and they didn't go off to Thailand or Argentina like Billy and Akaisha or the Terhorsts.

She made a serious dent in FI and is all over frugal.

We can nit pick the rest - it will help get us through the winter plus football season doesn't last forever.

For instance - back to 16 - what would one advise now to someone starting out - like my neighbors kid with two non running beater cars and a part time job at Wendy's after school? Given current Mr Market - can it be done again - with index funds - and if not why not? I'd use a female but his sister is only 14.

heh heh heh - purity is for the Boglehead's forum - IMHO the new gold standard. Those of us with Curmudgeon certificates can be more messy. .
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Old 11-01-2008, 05:45 PM   #38
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Go Madison go!

Nords and CFB are two big posters on this board who seem to consider themselves early retired, yet both have or had spouses working full time and providing health insurance. I haven't seen anyone on this board challenge them on their early retirement status. They are male, while Madison is female. I hope that SAHM sterotypes aren't a part of why Madison is being picked on here.

This very E-R forum itself is an advertising supported business run by early retiree dory. There's nothing wrong with making money from advertising while sharing info on how to E-R.

Madison, please continue posting here; people will warm up to you as they get to know you, and you seem to have a lot of good info to share.
Ditto.

I've only been on the board (mostly lurking) for almost 2 years but this is one of the more vulturous threads I've seen (but certainly not THE most).

At the end of the day if the article helps a few other people think more about saving towards a retirement goal then that's a positive contribution to our country's financial education, and I think we'd all agree this is badly needed.

Of course the media may spice it up a little to sell more ads, but I'd much rather read this types of article than all the fear-mongering and useless celebrity gossip crap that fills at least 50% of the airwaves, magazines, and newspapers.
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Old 11-01-2008, 06:01 PM   #39
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Laura, why won't she give you the numbers about her finances? She is using an assumed name, so it's not like her privacy would be invaded--there is no real "Madison DuPaix" to stalk. So what's her problem about providing the information?

Also, do you think credit card arbitrage to the tune of $250,000 is a method of making money that you would urge people to take up?

Finally, reading between the lines of "Madison DuPaix"'s blog entry/your story: she was shocked to learn at 16 that she had to pay taxes on her little job's earnings because her parents had mutual fund investments in her name to pay for college that were "throwing off capital gains right and left" (her words). I would bet dollars to donuts that those investments were substantial enough to provide a nice little nest egg, since she did NOT need that money for college, having earned a full ride at Wisconsin (and good for her for that). Since the mutual funds were already in her name, surely her parents did not take the money back--someone invested it for her. And likely that amount--which she did not earn--was in the six figures, too, invested possibly for more than ten years (age 18 to 29).

This is the kind of information that you should have gotten from her--what were her numbers, what are her numbers? Could someone without that nest egg, without a working spouse, without a full ride at college, actually save enough $ to be retired at 29 if they had to support themselves in the process? If not, the article is a lie. If so, we don't have enough information to apply it to our own situations.

Finally, if you can't see why your story raised a lot of questions, maybe you need to get out in the real world a little more?

I know people who were fortunate enough to have family money put away for them and successful spouses, and no way would they be tooting their horns about how successful they were at saving money and living off 2 percent of their savings to help out. I have utmost respect for SAH moms and earning a little cash while doing so--that is NOT the issue here. Hope you get a commission on her blog profits.
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Old 11-01-2008, 06:05 PM   #40
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For instance - back to 16 - what would one advise now to someone starting out - like my neighbors kid with two non running beater cars and a part time job at Wendy's after school? Given current Mr Market - can it be done again - with index funds - and if not why not? .
Yeah, it can be done if your parents have already invested enough in mutual funds in your name that you have to pay taxes on your income at 16 ("throwing off capital gains right and left" per "Madison" blog).... So advise the neighbor kids to pick their parents more carefully next time--that's what I told my kids!
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