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Old 08-03-2011, 08:20 PM   #1
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FI Today!!

Well, let me just begin by saying,....YEAH!!....

Today, August 4th (in Japan anyway), I turned 55 and now eligible for early retirement with megacorp.

With 26+ years with my company, I am able to FI a little earlier than expected due to a couple of overseas assignments with lucrative cola/ hardship and other allowances....So, i feel fortunate.

Open issues!....Two daughters in college, one at a private school in Boston - ouch!; and in her junior year, the other in her second year in Michigan. I have their tuition saved through outstanding stocks/ options.
I am divorced as of many years ago....I wont go there on this thread but I suppose it has worked out for the best. Still friends.

I purchased my retirement home in March on Lake Travis, more than enough for my needs. Plan A was to sell my 3 Michigan rental properties (fully paid for) and use the proceeds to buy the lake house but I discovered that the net rental income covers the mortgage and the tax benefits were much better than expected so, Plan B is to keep the rentals (all new in 2005), pay extra principle and pay off the load in 10 years by selling one of two of the rentals. I am also very fortunate to have a great person managing the properties over the last 5 years and have had no issues with her or the tenants.

I have also managed to complete 20 years of Army Reserve service so that provides back up health care through Tricare and a small pension (13K) at age 60. I also purchased long term care insurance 5 years ago through government for peace of mind.

I have about $725 in my 401K which i plan to being withdrawals at a 2.5% rate when I pull the ripchord at year end.

I have to say I am very glad that I purchased this house before retiring since i now understand very well the running costs, and local living costs, some more than I realized such as water and electricity...but it IS summerin Texas...ahh.

And after living overseas a few years, I just lost track of the costs of things in the US and i spent quite a lot on furnishings so far...So, the reason to extend my employment until year end...pay off all my bills except the mortgage.

I feel like I have waited forever for this moment...to know that i am financially able to retire. I now understand emotionally what everyone is, or has, felt when you've crossed the finish line.

Why Texas?; partly because my parents and siblings live there and it's sort of central US and I am not sure where the girls will end up...Being from California, there are pluses and minuses to be sure.

I am wondering how I will manage my way through the remaining 5 months...I will of course. I have a great job and I will be present to the end but i am sure my mind will wander from time to time.

A comment that others probably noted as well. I make a very good living now at the height of my career and it is a lot $$ to give up on a month to month basis. I know it's just anxiety about the opportunity cost of retiring but thats all part of the decision process; that one more year syndrome we all deal with I guess.

A long time lurker and, like many have said, this forum has really,....really lessoned the anxiety of these life decisions when you experience them vicariously through others in the forum.

A big THANKS!!
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Old 08-03-2011, 08:50 PM   #2
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Congratulations on reaching FI....and doing so early.

Leaving behind the comforting sound of a big fat paycheck hitting the bank account each month will be hard. I know I'll miss mine and anticipate suffering some anxiety when I walk away, but if its a choice between extra years of freedom or extra money I don't really need, the choice is clear (if not entirely angst free).

As an expat myself, did you ever consider retireing abroad instead of going back home?
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Old 08-03-2011, 08:56 PM   #3
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It's a huge change in mindset to move from accumulating to distributing. Depending on if the MI Rentals were in a good part or hard-hit part, I'd exit if I could get a fair price and re-allocate the assets into something broad-based with less geographic risk, and most of all less headaches. If it's a depressed area then maybe ride it out. You don't want to be 65 at in San Diego on Christmas Eve with 3 grandkids wanting to open presents, while on the phone sorting out a tenant situation over rentals in Michigan. Maybe you leave $20k in sales price on the table by doing it now.

I'd at least price it out and see what happens.
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Old 08-03-2011, 09:46 PM   #4
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Congratulations.
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:52 PM   #5
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Something to consider: I've been doing contract/consulting work more or less full-time with my previous employer for 20 years. If you get too anxious about the lack of income -- or if you find you're just a bit bored without a daily grind -- there's probably a good chance you could do some temporary gigs with the megacorp. Don't burn any bridges when you leave and they might be happy to see you again. And you might be happy to see some income again, especially on your terms.
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:56 PM   #6
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Congrats, interesting background story!
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovinglife1 View Post
FI today Well, let me just begin by saying,....YEAH!!....

!

At least you were FI. Are you still FI today after the hard 1.5 weeks for the market? (Congratulations)
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Old 08-04-2011, 07:09 PM   #8
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congrats!
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:43 PM   #9
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Austin seems to be quite popular with early retirees. I bought a house here in anticipation of FIRE as well. Am loving the location and the town, though the heat has taken a bit of getting used to. Congrats on being FI!
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:06 PM   #10
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Yes, i have considered retiring abroad on many occassions. I have lived and worked in some interesting places....England, Israel, Vietnam, India, Malaysia and now Japan. I have also traveled to more than 80 countries.... Immigration officials just look askance when they open the passport and flip pages to find a place to stamp; now they just stamp over another one despite adding more and more pages....While in Israel I had to have to US passports, one for only Israel and one for the rest of the Middle East since I could not travel anywhere else in the ME with an Israeli stamp....But, i digress.....

I could live comfortably in many places; most any in SE Asia...except Malaysia....It's a beautiful country, especially East Malaysia but i dont fit with the Muslim culture as well.

I am not Jewish but I love Israel,...a fabulous, beautiful country...

I plan to spend several months a year living abroad and maintaining a home base in the US was my final decision. It allows me to be very flexible in where I spend my time and how long.

How about you?
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:09 PM   #11
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Oh, i couldnt agree more about the rentals....but, they are in Grand Rapids, in nice neighborhoods so they attract nice families who, for many reasons I suspect, just dont have the credit or the down paymen to quality for a home. So far so good.

I know I can always make the decision to sell but I have a six figure carryover loss on the properties to use up before I sell...The mortages, depreciation etc were higher than the income for the first 5 years.....Now, a nice net each year.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:11 PM   #12
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GaryInCo....hmm, good advice. As you can imagine, in the beginning newly FIRE's people probably are not comtemplating gigging with megacorp but I do know many people to have...usually as training consultants or other...I would have to be pretty bored....hah
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:12 PM   #13
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packratt44....Yes, unfortunately, I am still ok with my investments after yesterday....Unfortunately, because it is all in fixed income with low returns....too safe so I have abdicated some nice returns since 2009.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:15 PM   #14
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Yes, as with almost all the transplants I have met so far who live in Austin, they seem to be unanimous that the longer they are in Austin the more they like it...For me, the people are genuinely friendly...I mean just about everyone. The edge of the Hill Country is lovely and quiet but not too far from the city for shopping etc.. There is no value in comparing the pizza to New York or the weather to San Diego. It's all relative and it is the preponderance of great attributes that draw people there....I like it.
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