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Old 06-09-2011, 05:43 PM   #61
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I did it with the public service route (and the pension they offered, then, but not for ~20 years now).

I was lucky. I can still walk across the room and get myself a glass of water. Many can't.
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Old 06-09-2011, 07:43 PM   #62
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I enlisted in the USMC at age 17. After a full 4 year enlistment I went to college for a year on the GI bill. This was the most miserable year of my life. I did finish college later in night class. After quitting college I applied for a position at the Megacorp recommended at my exit interview from the USMC based on the training I had received while in the USMC. Megacorp hired me immediately as soon as they verified the information I gave them. I worked at Megacorp for 39+ years until they made the offer I couldn't refuse. This was part of a major "rightsizing". A couple of thousand people left Megacorp at the same time. This was within 15 days of my 62nd birthday.

4 years + 1 year (The college year was definitely work)+ 39 years = 44 years
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:23 PM   #63
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I have worked as a dentist for 33 years, six of which were in the Navy Dental Corp. I am now down to 24 hours per week. I can give it up, but why should I? The moment I felt I had enough saved for retirement was the day I began to enjoy my career. The stress went away when I knew I could pull the plug. Now that I can stop, I don't want to. I get a 4 day weekend every week and still make $185,000 per year working 3 days a week.
Now that I don't feel the stress, I finally love my job. Life it great.
Funny how that works.
Utah dentist
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:06 AM   #64
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......... I can give it up, but why should I? .............
You shouldn't. The beauty of FI is that you can RE if you want to. You don't want to.

My dentist is always puzzled that I FIRED at 54. He never worked in a cramped noisy cubicle for a boss 15 years younger than him.
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Old 06-10-2011, 08:22 AM   #65
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Now that I don't feel the stress, I finally love my job. Life it great.
Funny how that works.
Utah dentist
Hearing you Utah dentist ---- Not my own boss but am at a really good time at my job where I am feeling little stress and actually enjoying things at work too, especially when I consider that it allows me to have double the $$ I need to live on. So the time I do have off is not as limited by budget constraints ....
While early retirement would be "doable" if I am offered an early out (VERA) it is actually preferable to me to continue earning/saving at the level I am now and have the $$ available to do alot more than a thin budget retirement would allow and also allows me to be more generous in my giving.
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:11 AM   #66
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Still working here with 15 years of legal practice under my belt. Don't quite know what my RE age will be, but FI had already been achieved until DW and I bought a new house a couple of days ago. Probably tacked on a couple more years of working, but QOL will go up significantly once we move in. Less time in the car, more room for everyone, etc... The house will only go up (famous last words), but this is because it is in a top tier school district and its close proximity to D.C.

Just a quick thought on "the number of years working" and the meaning of such number. Many folks on this board who FIRE'd still have a spouse that works, no spouse, or no kids, so it may be a bit misleading to consider a low(er) end number as being an accurate predictor of FIRE viability at such age. The same goes for folks who put in ~20 years with the military or government under the old pension system(s). Working for private industry is riskier, and I'm seeing a fair number of folks who had to put in 30+ years of working before becoming FIRE'd.

Last but not least, Jeff55 has a great attitude and he couldn't be more accurate. Once you reach FI, your once-tedious career becomes tolerable or even enjoyable. My father once told his boss the following - "[Boss' name here], I do this job because I like it. The day I stop liking it is the day I quit." After his boss' sister (she was the finance manager) made my father's life miserable by short-changing him on billings, he walked into his Boss' office and said "I quit" and walked right out. Needless to say, his then-former boss was quite surprised my father went through with his threat. My father then turned around and sued his former boss for the unpaid billings - and won.
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:53 AM   #67
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35 years
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:05 AM   #68
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33 years so far, but next year I start working as a consultant again, sort of like semi-retiring. May do that forever...
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:08 AM   #69
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Finished grad school at age 23. Age 30 now, with roughly 7 years of post college gainful employment under my belt. I expect to be FI and probably retire early within five years. DW has similar stats (although she took some time off when both of our kids were born). So we will end up with around 12 years of working. No pension, just 401ks, IRAs, and after tax investments.

I'm not including many various part time and/or temporary jobs we worked during high school, college, grad school, etc. These obviously helped a lot at keeping borrowing to a minimum and getting an early start on building a solid financial foundation.

We have focused on being smart with money for most of our lives. And I found this forum in my first year of post college employment, which quickly crystallized the concept of ER, and made the path to get there clear. And life hasn't thrown many curve balls along the way (so far).
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:17 AM   #70
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I've been working for 9 years. I am on track to reach bare bones FI at 15 years, comfortable FI at 20 years. I'd be 40 then.

I am selective in the work I do and enjoy it for the most part. I doubt I'll walk away after all that time developing my skills, especially at peak earning levels.

I enjoy the security and freedom that comes with a LBYM lifestyle. The ability to retire is secondary.
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:21 AM   #71
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12 years in, 23 to go.
Started at 24, hope to be out by 59.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:50 AM   #72
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37 years of full time employment as of this month. I will probably go 3 more to age 62, God and employer willing. I would walk out the door today if I had health care covered till Medicare kicks in.
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:11 PM   #73
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I would walk out the door today if I had health care covered till Medicare kicks in.

+1
One of the main reasons that a few of us continue to work. Currently my employer offers health care after the age of 55 with 10 years service. I turn 55 in 2012 and plan to retire with the hope that they will continue to offer health insurance after 2014!
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Old 06-10-2011, 04:53 PM   #74
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Early in '76 I became a student programmer in a work-study program. It came with an air conditioned office shared with three others with a lock on the door in the middle of campus and hands on access 24/7 to the computer, an IBM 370/148 which meant I no longer had to use the batch submission window which closed at 8PM. I wrote code for various departments under the direction of a full-timer. I took the work-study assignments pretty seriously because I felt I would be doing that work for a living some day.

Fast-forward to December '76, supervisor calls me in to tell me he has earned his Masters and is leaving. "What does that mean to me?", I asked. "They have asked me to select my replacement from the applicants. So far there has been only one applicant and he would not be our first choice. Job closes in three days. Do you have any more questions?" Zoom over to HR to fill out an application. This job came with a better non-shared office in a newish building, free tuition, all the time off work I needed to take classes (was still working on my bachelors), and a $alary that I badly needed.

I was 20 when I started my first full time job in my field and I didn't have to hang tapes or feed paper to printers.

Answer: 32 years.
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:20 PM   #75
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Should I include my paper route years?

If so, 40.
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:53 PM   #76
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Should I include my paper route years?

If so, 40.
I wouldn't think so. I said 40, but that was starting with my first full time job in my vocation. But I didn't count lots of earlier stuff, that I don't even recall very clearly. Parking lot attendant, bridge painting, road tarring, department store clerk, yard driver of truck chassis, inventory control clerk, bus boy, driver, research assistant, apple picker, teaching assistant, administrative assistant.
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:27 PM   #77
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29 years worked so far. ER somewhere between May 2012 (earliest) and May 2015 (latest). So, it will end up being 30 to 33 years worked, retiring between 53 and 56.
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:22 PM   #78
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Should I include my paper route years?

If so, 40.
How about the time spent pulling a toof and receiving money from the toof fairy?
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Old 06-11-2011, 08:15 AM   #79
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How about the time spent pulling a toof and receiving money from the toof fairy?
Good point. Now I can claim 50 years.
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Old 06-11-2011, 08:19 AM   #80
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I started working at 7 picking green beans. Did that until I was 16 plus babysitting after 12. I worked in a factory for 6 months at 18 and did little things like 3 days as a waitress, housekeeping for motels, managing apartments off and on until I was in my 20s. But I married at 19 and he didn't want me to work so mostly I didn't unless we really needed the money. At 22 I wanted to go to college and so I got a 2 year degree in accounting and he agreed I could get a job to get experience in case I ever needed to work. Once I landed my first accounting job I didn't ever want to quit working so I started in 1974 and other than unemployed times have worked since. I got a 4 year degree in 1991 and became a CPA but didn't want to work as one. I did accounting software support for 11 years, public accounting for 17 years and private accounting for 9 so about 37 years so far.

I saved enough to retire but I like my job. My boss knows I saved enough to retire so seems to treat me even better. I just got a nice raise, he tells people to do whatever I tell them and gave a raise to another worker because I said she deserved one. They seem to think if I am not happy nobody is happy.

I might wait until 65 to retire, it is less than 2 years. It lets me see what my investments do and work longer if they go bad or if they go up I could be wealthy.
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