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Old 04-21-2016, 03:54 PM   #21
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Actually, my number became smaller - just the opposite.
I thought I needed $50K, like you, but with ACA providing cheap health care, scrutinizing our expenses where we mostly cook our food at home and not eat out, and living in a cheap Southern State with low taxes .. my old number looks bigger.

Our biggest expense is our home amortization (excluding escrow), but that's fixed. So, 0% inflation on the biggest cost item in our budget. And if we sell our 3,500 sq.ft. home, which we plan to do, our budget will become smaller as we move to a 1,600 - 1,800 sq.ft. home.

Originally Posted by Senator View Post
As I look back at different retirement planners, I remember when I used to think ‘If I could make $50K each year, I would leave work tomorrow”. Of course inflation (and salary increases) change things.

Lately, after looking at the FIRE numbers for several months, and seeing my balances and cash flow increase, the ‘old’ numbers from just a couple of years ago, just seem small. Like I have gotten used to them, and now they are not as good any more. Doubts and second guessing start to set in.


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Old 04-21-2016, 05:09 PM   #22
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You did a great job in the OP, Senator....
My own story rambles on in another thread, but I can identify with every one of your points.

My "can make it" goal was $35K... but the "safety net" was a return to work and also a spend down of assets. That said... the concern was for naught... Looking back at 27 years without gainful employment and with a bank account much less than anyone on ER has ever mentioned... we are nearly at the same asset level as we had the day we retired.

We spend at whatever level we feel comfortable with. No longer even thinking about anything like a budget. Keeping expenses down, is not a a goal... just a habit that comes easy, with frugality that is a matter of personal pride.

How it all happened is partly a mystery, but did have to do with the times... higher returns, being in the right place and time when buying and selling our homes, and the stability of IBonds that have had a steady return since the early 2000's.

Our FIRE number came at us out of the blue, at age 53, in 1989. Plans came not from a calculator, but from many, many green pages of calculation for every expense and income factor... by year. So the original plans to die at age 85 when the money ran out, now look as if they'll last throughout the early 90's.

And so... we got closer to FIRE before we really had a number to change.

Always, always... during the early years, the ability to go back to even part time work, was the thinking that made it easy. Do it again? In a New York Minute!

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Old 04-21-2016, 07:58 PM   #23
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My number got larger once I started tracking my expenses in 2013. Originally I planned to retire in 2015. After my expenses spiked in 2014 due to unexpected home repairs, sick pets, and a needy family member, I decided to work another two years to increase my pension. Also, cost of housing in my desired relocation area soared and I started reading about the Medicare Part B premiums, future possibility of reducing SS and increasing taxes for higher incomes, etc. which scared me as I'm single and in a higher tax bracket. And once I retire, there is no way I will ever be able to find another job that pays that well so there is no going back to work.

My initial calculations were just too optimistic - I might have been able to make do but it was tight and I needed more of a buffer. However, I plan to retire in 2017 regardless of economic circumstances as I will be age 62 and cannot take it anymore.
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Old 04-21-2016, 08:09 PM   #24
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In 2007, I left private practice for public service and took a 75% pay cut to do so. I thought we had plenty of money that would more than support our retirement if left to compound until the young wife first became pension eligible. So I felt I could indulge myself by doing white hat work before I retired. The young wife became pension eligible two years ago, and we're still working. I expect we'll work for 3 more years. The Great Recession did two main things: 1) it made a huge dent in the nest egg; and 2) it convinced me that we need a larger margin of safety in our plans.
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Old 04-21-2016, 08:58 PM   #25
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I'm not retired and my number has crept up by $200K or so. One big reason is a desire to make sure my college age children get through school and establish their careers. It seems to be a little tougher today compared with 35 years ago when I started my career.

Also I really want a strong margin of safety if future market returns are low.
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Old 04-22-2016, 07:32 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
You did a great job in the OP, Senator....
My own story rambles on in another thread, but I can identify with every one of your points.
I have read that thread, several times.

It was certainly an inspiration. It was great that you could share your experiences, and you appear to have certainly lived a great life. I look forward to the same. It's a bit scary to come up with a 'final' financial number, but so was kindergarten. And 7th grade. And 10th grade. And joining the USAF. And getting out of the USAF, and ...

It does show that if you are determined, in no matter what you do, you can make that thing happen.

In preparation for my final FIRE date on 7/5, I have been having lunches with retirees that I know, co-workers that are getting close to FIRE, and reading retirement stories. It's as much of a mental challenge as a financial one. No amount is ever good enough, and yet most amounts are plenty good. In the end, all the money in the world cannot buy time.
FIRE no later than 7/5/2016 at 56 (done), securing '16 401K match (done), getting '15 401K match (done), LTI Bonus (done), Perf bonus (done), maxing out 401K (done), picking up 1,000 hours to get another year of pension (done), July 1st benefits (vacation day, healthcare) (done), July 4th holiday. 0 days left. (done) OFFICIALLY RETIRED 7/5/2016!!
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Old 04-22-2016, 07:55 AM   #27
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My number has crept up a little, but mainly because of inflation. Back in 1998, when I was finally digging out from the financial catastrophe brought on by a bad divorce, and was able to start investing again, I had the goal of $1M, plus being mortgage free.

If you adjust for inflation, that would be around $1.46M, plus mortgage free, in 2016 dollars. If I hit that number, I think I would be confident in pulling the plug.

FWIW, the last time I checked I was around $1.1M, but with ~$155K on the mortgage. So, I'm getting there.

Also, I'm not dead-set on paying off the mortgage, so I guess a more convoluted goal might be $1M in 1998 dollars, plus whatever the current mortgage is, so I could pay if off if I really wanted to. So, if I wanted to retire today, my goal would be roughly $1.615M ($1.46M plus the $155K mortgage balance)
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Old 04-22-2016, 08:49 AM   #28
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My number hasn't changed, but that is because my number is over and above my expected pension which will cover my expected expenses. So my FIRE number is just extra money, way beyond what I need. Now if something happens with the pension, my number might change. But it's a federal pension and it'd have to lose most or all of its value before my FIRE savings would be unable to replace it. So I'm not too concerned. I hope that makes sense.
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Old 04-22-2016, 01:23 PM   #29
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Not sure my number, adjusted for inflation, has actually changed much. But, this did:

Several years ago, I hit my basic frugal number (FU money if you will excuse the expression) which I had always thought would be the end of my career.

Interesting opportunities continued to come my way which paid very well. Now, I would be at a 2% WR for more than my current level of spend.

But, I am still not retired and not sure why. A couple of more years could make a significant change to my lifestyle if I wanted (first class rather than coach, etc.); but, I am not sure that I would make those changes. This also provides more insurance against financial catastrophe; but, realistically, this is almost certainly unnecessary insurance.

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