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Old 06-20-2014, 10:52 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy View Post
http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily...142631833.html
A How-we-did-it-and-you-can-too from our surfer:
Holy cow, Ed, you're getting Yahoo! in Baku?!?

I hesitated to promote this interview because Skype didn't cooperate. I ended up with a Yahoo producer on audio only while I stared at the "Yahoo! Studios" logo on my iPad screen, and maybe my camera lens had a fingerprint on it or isn't high-def. They really didn't like the lighting in my familyroom, and I thought I'd end up under a bank of klieg lights before they were happy. (The other guy seems to be in a studio.) We spent over an hour asking questions ("Could you repeat your answer? It's not coming through...") and although I knew they were interviewing a group we must have done it separately.

There was no followup, let alone fact-checking. I didn't hear from them for a month after the interview, so I figured that I didn't make the cut. I got an e-mail alert about 12 hours before it went live and I eagerly watched the launch to see that-- they spelled my name wrong. So then I was e-mailing the journalist instead of promoting the video. To her credit, she quickly fixed both the transcript and the video.

But wow, the blog traffic. We set new records on unique visitors and pageviews. Uniques went up by over 6x and backed off the next day to "just" 4x. Page visits were 2.5 per unique instead of 1.5, and a lot of people spent a lot of time on the blog reading a lot of posts and having an epiphany. I know this because many of them have since contacted me with more questions. I've never run short of material, and now I have enough for several months of weekly posts.

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Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
Nords has a speaking voice! Who knew?!?!?
Hey, I'm a Master Training Specialist with eight years of instructor duty! But it's been a long time since I had to stand on a conn and give rudder orders.

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Originally Posted by HawkeyeNFO View Post
Love to look at all the haters making comments below the story. Lots of non-believers out there.
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Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
If I ever have doubts about either the stupidity or the plain mean-spirited nature of much of our population, I need only read the comments on Yahoo articles.
I thought Nord's responses were very restrained.
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Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
This made me read the comments (always the haters making comments). Nords responded just a couple of times but in the classiest way--way to go, Nords!
This is common when personal-finance bloggers get mainstream exposure, especially (as we know) early retirees. We've also seen bloggers get a little defensive in the comments, and that never works out well. I knew this was coming so I decided to engage on the comments where I could, and I think that extra time has paid off with more new readers on the blog. Maybe it'll pay off in more book buyers, too. All those years on discussion forums helped me decide where to speak up and where to just move on, so wading through all 500+ hasn't been too bad.

I really wish the editor had left in my remarks about my daughter-- I'd say at least a quarter of the comments were wondering whether we had kids or were "just" DINKs. I cut & pasted that response about 25 times.

Another reason I ended up staying active in the comments is for more promotion. Yahoo! Finance traffic must have been pretty good, too, because the journalist is pitching this video for Yahoo's "front page" (the home page). She asked for more head shots, so I'm really glad I bought the extra photos from the USAA article. But I don't know when or even if the video will hit their home page.

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Originally Posted by bbbamI View Post
Wow.....great hearing from you Doug!
edit to add.....you still have your ponytail don't you?
Yep-- my spouse finds it very attractive! It's just hard to see past the forehead glare from the lighting...

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Originally Posted by friar1610 View Post
Like the rest of you, I enjoyed hearing Nords' commentary. Reading the comments on the yahoo site and a few of them here, I feel compelled to point out a few things:
- If I recall correctly from earlier posts by Nords, his wife did not retire as an active duty Naval officer after 20 years. I believe she got out short of her 20 years and joined the Naval Reserve. She still gets/will get a pension, but something short of the full active duty pension.
- I don't know how many transfers Nords and his wife had during their Navy careers, but I never had one that didn't cost me money, generally a lot. In general, corporate relocations take care of all your expenses (including closing costs on your home sales) but military transfers are not that way at all and you can eat a lot of expenses (including closing costs on your house when you buy/sell.)
- Nords spent a lot of time at sea in submarines away from home and family. So a couple of points here:
1. It's not like he was living it up for all of his Navy career; working 12-18 hours a day at sea is not exactly a ball.
2. An absent (deployed) husband generates a lot of costs in things that he's not around to do.
3. An absent (deployed) husband also generates a lot in the way of family costs that are more than compensated for by the pensions - birthdays missed, holidays missed, dance recitals and baseball games missed, etc.
- For those who asked about kids, I recall that Nords has at least one daughter who is in college. Don't know if he and his wife have other kids.

The bottom line, as I see it, is that a lot of the folks that whined about his "good fortune" in getting the great Navy pension, medical care for life, etc., would not have even considered making the same sacrifices to get the same "goo deals" themselves.

And, yes, I am also a retired Naval officer!
I didn't get into too many details about this on the video's comments, and even the journalist didn't understand the difference between active duty & Reserves. (This is all too common.)

My spouse left active duty just short of 18 years (bad assignment dispute with BUPERS, old policy no longer relevant) and spent seven more years in the Reserves before retiring. She'll get her pension at age 60 (2022). She had so much active duty time that the Reserves would not mobilize her (once you get to 18 years you get to stay to 20 for an active-duty retirement) so her Reserve time was mostly drill points and very little pay. However she has 7404 points (seven four zero four, not a typo) so her Reserve pension works out to 51% of "Final Pay" base. It was well worth it for the improvement in quality of life, and someday I'll post the whole story behind her "It's only money" decision. She also got a promotion in the Reserves that she never would have received on active duty, so she's very happy with the results.

We moved 13 times on active duty, and a lot of that was during my first two years of nuclear training. As Friar points out, we always spent more money than we were reimbursed.

The Yahoo! commenters heard that my total active-duty income (including allowances) topped out at $88K during my last year before retirement. They equated that to two military pensions of $44K each. Of course we know that the reality is 50% of base pay, not total compensation, which results in a pension of about 25%-30% of active-duty compensation. This distinction was totally lost on all of Yahoo's staff and ended up being edited out.

Our daughter is now Ensign Nordman, Administrative Officer aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS ROSS (DDG 71) in Rota Spain! She graduated last month and hustled to Norfolk in time to join the ship for its transit to its new homeport. (The transit included an overnight portcall in Funchal Madeira.) She's flying back to Norfolk for 11 weeks of training in "Basic Division Officer Course" and "Electronic Key Management System Manager". (What used to be CMS Custodian.) She'll rejoin the ship this fall during its Mediterranean deployment and through May 2016 will spend four months inport Rota (with weekly underways) alternating with four-month deployments to the North Atlantic or Med. The ship's mission is using its AEGIS radars and SM-3 STANDARD missiles for ballistic missile defense of NATO nations, which the diplomats find much easier than putting missile batteries on foreign soil.

Once she gets back to the ship after this training she'll probably happily lose the AdminO duty for Gunnery or Missile Divisions, but her main job is to qualify as a Surface Warfare Officer. (Technically she's not delinquent until after the school.) In May 2016 she leaves the ship for a year of nuclear power training (Charleston, SC) followed by two years in the engineering department of an aircraft carrier (knowing her, probably out of Yokosuka Japan). She's having a wonderful sleep-deprived time and she's very happy to have a "real" job after college, but after one month she's already talking five-and-out for the Reserves.

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Originally Posted by clifp View Post
If you include the benefits of housing allowance, commissary, free health, I suspect that Nordmans were close to the top few percent for most of their careers.
Yeah, I would not have called that video "Average Joes"...

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Originally Posted by JOHNNIE36 View Post
I just knew he was out there somewhere. By the way Nords, my grandson is at NAS Jacksonville. Part of the Air Crew on a P-3. We're very proud of him.
Congratulations! I bet he's looking forward to a P-8 upgrade someday.
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Old 06-20-2014, 12:41 PM   #22
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......but I note that none of the antagonistic comments to the article (at least among those I read) made any of those points.......
Quite true. I'll bet many of those antagonists are too busy whining to notice that those ongoing 3-figure smartphone bills, big car payments, etc. represent their chances at FIRE leaking through their wallets. I don't mind those who admit they are spending $$ now while realizing they will be w#rking many more years later in life. It's their freedom to live as they choose. But I am truly disgusted by those who constantly LATM (Live ABOVE Their Means) while criticizing LBYMers......or worse demand support (gov't or private) because now they are "poor" (i.e. less well-off than LBYMers)
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Old 06-20-2014, 03:19 PM   #23
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Nords is famous!

Nords is on the front page of Yahoo! He's on video. It was interesting reading a lot of the comments. Lots of sour grapes out there! Good for you Nords. Congrats!
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Old 06-20-2014, 03:44 PM   #24
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While I applaud Nords...and the other guy in the video...for doing all the right things, the "average Joe" bit of the headline is surely misleading. Having family incomes over $100k and presumably access to pensions and healthcare make them far from average. I had similar advantages that made it possible for me to ER. But most average families with dubious benefits, stagnating incomes well below $100k and a couple of kids raise won't find it quite as easy even if they do follow all the good advice.
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:02 PM   #25
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While I applaud Nords...and the other guy in the video...for doing all the right things, the "average Joe" bit of the headline is surely misleading. Having family incomes over $100k and presumably access to pensions and healthcare make them far from average. I had similar advantages that made it possible for me to ER. But most average families with dubious benefits, stagnating incomes well below $100k and a couple of kids raise won't find it quite as easy even if they do follow all the good advice.
Actually, saving/investing half your gross income from your very first job does work no matter what your income. Most people don't want to sacrifice to do that. Even someone who makes $40K, could live on $20K with kids. In the US there are folks who live on $20K with kids.
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:13 PM   #26
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Actually, saving/investing half your gross income from your very first job does work no matter what your income. Most people don't want to sacrifice to do that. Even someone who makes $40K, could live on $20K with kids. In the US there are folks who live on $20K with kids.
It's still a lot easier for someone like Nords or me who have high incomes and good benefits to save half of our income and retire early. If the yahoo piece was about someone earning $40k and retiring early I would have been impressed
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Old 06-20-2014, 06:23 PM   #27
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Oops! Thanks. I thought I looked but obviously missed it.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:47 AM   #28
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The problem with any video where you don't have editorial control is that you usually give the wrong impression during some aspects. We were interviewed about retiring in Puerto Vallarta. While what we said was all true, it was what we had not said that really made a difference in our retirement.

But the interviewer has their own agenda always.

Having said that, I liked the video and I think Nords did a good job about promoting a way of life and the importance of setting goals early on. Of course, we know the whole story so it is easier to relate. But my takeaway if that ER is possible with the right planning. It takes a bit of luck but cannot be achieved without a plan and some discipline too.
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Old 06-21-2014, 12:05 PM   #29
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+1

Reading the comments section on almost any internet article makes it difficult to maintain a positive attitude towards humanity.
Right. But - Waaaay to go Nords!

heh heh heh - I made less (started earlier) but finally got there. All praise to time in the market and Bogle's Folly. LBYM and save/invest steadily and regularly.

Just like Nord's pointed out -aka blindly simple is sometimes not seen.
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Old 06-22-2014, 11:14 PM   #30
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Congrats Nords
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:14 AM   #31
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Nords is on the front page of Yahoo! He's on video. It was interesting reading a lot of the comments. Lots of sour grapes out there! Good for you Nords. Congrats!
1700+ comments so far... I was about 50 of them (explaining that we did raise a daughter). There are also comments from a few military retirees and entrepreneurs who agreed with the techniques.

Lots of new readers on the blog, and that's the best part.

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Originally Posted by kcowan View Post
But the interviewer has their own agenda always.

Having said that, I liked the video and I think Nords did a good job about promoting a way of life and the importance of setting goals early on. Of course, we know the whole story so it is easier to relate. But my takeaway if that ER is possible with the right planning. It takes a bit of luck but cannot be achieved without a plan and some discipline too.
Thanks! I'm just happy they (eventually) spelled my name right.

Thousands of those new readers who trooped over to the blog worked through the "Start here!" post and went on to the "How many years does it take?" post? They're learning.

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Right. But - Waaaay to go Nords!
Thanks, Unclemick!
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:16 AM   #32
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Actually, saving/investing half your gross income from your very first job does work no matter what your income. Most people don't want to sacrifice to do that. Even someone who makes $40K, could live on $20K with kids. In the US there are folks who live on $20K with kids.
How true, a former co-w*rker and husband can't get by on over 200k a year. Always doing hardship withdrawls from profit sharing, 401k loans etc....

Congratulations Nords on executing a great plan.

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Old 06-24-2014, 11:29 AM   #33
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+1

Reading the comments section on almost any internet article makes it difficult to maintain a positive attitude towards humanity.
OMG - reading Facebook comments on anything controversial! A few years ago these blowhards didn't have any audience except their poor coworkers, families and the guys at the bar. Now they can post anonymously to the world and it can be very very ugly!
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:30 AM   #34
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Dang, I found out Nords is a year younger than I!

Great job Nords!
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:15 PM   #35
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I enjoyed the interview. Thank you.

DW and I followed a similar path; only 1 expensive vacation (a cruise) in 35 years of marriage, put our kids thru private college, have a very modest house, never bought a "new" car - just new for us (low milage used). Everything to outfit the kids when they were small bought at garage sales. Most of our clothes bought at discount stores. Learned how to do all repairs and maintenance myself (generating a library of embarrassing and amusing stories along the way). We even had used dogs and they worked out great.

Low and behold a waitress and a sales guy with modest incomes have "overnight" saved and invested enough to retire at 59 - at the end of this year!

I did read many of the comments on the interview, though I generally have a no comment reading policy. The cognitive depravity of the general public always comes leaking through and it scares me. It did this time too. Blaming everybody else for your troubles apparently is an effective balm for soothing the I-might-have-paid- better-attention-along-the-way oozing sore on your psyche.

Also, have you ever noticed that the angrier posters can never seem to postulate a coherent thought or string together an intelligible sentence? I worry about our capability for nuanced discourse.
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Old 06-24-2014, 11:20 PM   #36
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I enjoyed the interview. Thank you.

DW and I followed a similar path; only 1 expensive vacation (a cruise) in 35 years of marriage, put our kids thru private college, have a very modest house, never bought a "new" car - just new for us (low milage used). Everything to outfit the kids when they were small bought at garage sales. Most of our clothes bought at discount stores. Learned how to do all repairs and maintenance myself (generating a library of embarrassing and amusing stories along the way). We even had used dogs and they worked out great.

Low and behold a waitress and a sales guy with modest incomes have "overnight" saved and invested enough to retire at 59 - at the end of this year!
I'm pretty sure that lots of posters here have reached FI on less money than my spouse and me. If that's the case, and if you're seeking humongous traffic for your blog, then let me know and I'll connect you with Jaime Tardy or Yahoo.

Books sales for military-friendly charities is my motive for doing this interview, but I understand if you'd rather avoid reading 1700+ comments of your own...

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Dang, I found out Nords is a year younger than I!
Great job Nords!
Thanks-- and if it's any consolation, I'll be 54 years old in October!
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