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Old 06-30-2014, 09:25 PM   #41
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Started my own business.

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Fired Merrill Lynch advisor.


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Old 06-30-2014, 10:04 PM   #42
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1. Going to med school when and where it was cheap UCLA was$269/quarter when I started. Text books cost way more than tuition.

2. Having only one child. Would not have missed that experience-I learned to ski and enjoy roller coasters because of DS.

3. Moving from Silicon Valley to a low COL area in 1998, sold a condo for $120K more than my house here.

4. Started investing after tax dollars in index funds early on.


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Old 06-30-2014, 10:46 PM   #43
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I'm difinitely a late bloomer.

I got tired of renting and bought a cheap place in a bad part of town (paid cash).
That was my springboard to making almost $1MM (in real estate) quite rapidly.

No doubt, I got lucky. I kept rolling the dice and continued winning.

Now I'm easing into a Boglehead, LBMM, MMM lifestyle.
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Old 07-01-2014, 07:14 AM   #44
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First job choice after college. Mega had a huge profit-sharing plan that I had no idea would be so beneficial. Net, dumb luck actually though being educated well-enough to get the choice was necessary.
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Old 07-01-2014, 07:20 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by scrabbler1 View Post
While it was not intended to be a financial decision, it turned out to be the most important financial decision: being childfree

Runner-ups to the top choice: avoiding debt and paying off debt early

And of course, LBYM
Yes, being child free was key
Mostly... Zero debt, except I have and will keep my 30 year, 3.375% mortgage.
Yes, LBYM is key.

I also will add luck. I have a well paying job (technology) and tied that will a well paying industry (finance); being good in both had a bit of a multiplicative effect on my compensation.

Of all of them, I think LBYM is the most important item. doesn't matter if you may $30K or $30 million, if you spend 101% of it you will end up miserable; if you spend 90% and save 10% you will end up happy and will be able to retire early.
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Old 07-01-2014, 07:38 AM   #46
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Evading Avoiding being drafted when I graduated college in 1969, choosing instead to seek a commission in the USAF.
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Old 07-01-2014, 07:53 AM   #47
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Choosing to stay with my employer's old lump sum / pension scheme instead of being lured into the fancy new one with a projected higher lump sum payout but delayed pension. Had I chosen the latter, I would be at least 10 years away from enjoying the COLAed pension to which I am now accustomed that more than makes up for the lower lump sum.
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:01 AM   #48
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Deciding to move across country to accept a job promotion at the age of 24. Left the life long comfort of family and friends but it jump started my career that ultimately led to FIRE at 51.
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Old 07-01-2014, 09:12 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by ChiliPepr View Post
Yes, being child free was key
Mostly... Zero debt, except I have and will keep my 30 year, 3.375% mortgage.
Yes, LBYM is key.

I also will add luck. I have a well paying job (technology) and tied that will a well paying industry (finance); being good in both had a bit of a multiplicative effect on my compensation.

Of all of them, I think LBYM is the most important item. doesn't matter if you may $30K or $30 million, if you spend 101% of it you will end up miserable; if you spend 90% and save 10% you will end up happy and will be able to retire early.
I added bold to two of your statements because they surely played a role in my ER. Luck was my former company going for-profit in 1997 and allocating shares of cheap company stock (based on annual compensation) just when I had my peak years of earnings. Those shares of stock exploded in value by 3000% (yes, that is thousand) by the time I cashed them out in 2008 afer ERing.

But nearly all of my coworkers also acquired lots of those cheap shares in the late 1990s and early 2000s but could not or chose not to ER. And I had many childfree friends who, despite low expenses, could not ER because they did not have a huge blob of company stock they could cash out. But someone who was both childfree and had that big blob of company stock to cash out (and who LBYM) could combine these multiplicative effects of good fortune and planning and ER at age 45 as I did in 2008.
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Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

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Old 07-01-2014, 09:21 AM   #50
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Moved to a different country doing the same job. This increased pay with 10%, then another 25% (promotion) within a month, and then halved my tax rate.

Net effect: for doing the same job I roughly doubled my take-home pay in two months.

And I worked 20% less hours (still 80+ though).
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:52 AM   #51
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Every house purchase was made so that the household could continue to run on only one one paycheck. This was our single best way to implement LBYM.
+1

Also starting to invest early - thanks to my dad, I started investing in mutual funds after about 6 paychecks.
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Old 07-01-2014, 11:56 AM   #52
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Although I haven't attained all my financial goals yet, the financial successes I've had so far came from a combination of things:

1. Education
2. Hard work
3. Being deliberate with my career choices
4. Taking control of my personal finances early
5. Some luck / good timing

+1
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:01 AM   #53
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Article on marketwatch today that echoes comments made here:

10 things rich people do better than you - MarketWatch
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:14 AM   #54
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These are the key decisions that enabled me to retire at 52 with sufficient assets to sustain $100K per year spending:

1. Went back to grad school for an MBA at 26.
2. Worked very hard and rose fast, resulting in steady bonuses and stock option grants over 20+ years.
3. Stuck with my company's DB pension when offered the choice to switch to DC+match in late 90s.
4. Sharply reduced my equity exposure in mid-2008 and increased it in mid-2009.
5. Worked overseas for 3 years late in my career (nice pay increase & pension booster).
6. Maxed out 401Ks, LBYM, avoided debt, invested intelligently, and constantly learned about retirement planning.
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WR: 2.0% SI: 2 pensions, some rental income, SS later
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:15 AM   #55
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1. Eduacation BS+MS
2. Paid off house in three years at age of 37
3. Saved and then bought cars in cash after first car
4. Maxed out 401K/IRA/Roth
5. Educated myself on finances and sorted out asset allocation last year
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:25 PM   #56
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Joined MegaCorp's voluntary contributory retirement plan in 1981. I don't recall what the contribution was back then, but it was maybe $80/paycheck when I retired in 2011.

I'm now three years into a $2.1M five-year pension payout. My 401K was worth about $600K so upon retirement those two sources provided a $2.7M nestegg. Weeee!
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:50 PM   #57
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There were no single most important decision for me, just a series of smaller but cumulatively important decisions such as getting a marketable degree, moving to America, marrying someone with similar financial ideals, LBYM from the first paycheck, etc...
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Old 07-02-2014, 12:54 PM   #58
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5. Educated myself on finances

now that I think about it, that easily is the most valuable action taken.
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Old 07-04-2014, 01:45 AM   #59
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1. Staying single (a third of my friends are divorced and paying alimony)
2. Not having kids (see above)
3. getting lucky with career after the dot com bust.
4. buying a home in a growth area when everyone said it was crazy.
5. paying off said home early
6. elminating all debt asap
7. socking away a big part of my paycheck (35%+)
8. LBYM like everyone else here.
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Old 07-04-2014, 06:11 AM   #60
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  • saving/investing
  • 401k
  • saving/investing
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