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Old 09-18-2011, 09:09 AM   #21
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I can completely relate to how you are feeling. When I was 32 I decided that I wanted to retire, or at least semi-retire, early. Essentially, I wanted out of mega-corp. I set a plan in motion and thought it was take 10-12 years to get there.

By the time I was in my early 40s, I was desperate to get out of a high-paying but miserable job situation. It would have been nearly impossible to find another job paying as much so I stuck it out. All I can tell you is that I set intermediate goals for myself: pay off the house (which I did at age 43), save a certain amount, etc. It didn't make the work situation any better, but I did start to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

I finally left mega-corp when I was 47, so it took a little longer than I had first hoped, but it happened! As I've mentioned elsewhere, I still work a little bit, but doing something completely different. I was working in a high-tech industry, and now I teach knitting classes 2 or 3 times a week. I enjoy the part-time work and I make enough to cover more than half my expenses, so it's helped ease me into retirement.

So I guess my point is that sometimes you have to just hang in there, knowing it will happen. For me, setting the intermediate goals helped not just keep me on track but helped me see a way out.

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Old 09-18-2011, 10:21 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by midnighter777 View Post
I have been saving and investing for FIRE since I was 26. I am 41 now...If I work for 9 more years, that means I will have worked 24 years to acheive early retirement.
I think what you need is a perspective shift. Is it really realistic to expect to retire for about four or five decades after only being in the workforce 15 years? I'm sure some have done it, but not many. I started saving around the same time as you, and I certainly never had the expectation I'd be retiring in my 40s. (I haven't retired yet.)

Look at it this way: You're actually not only on track, but ahead of the curve. If you're able to retire at 50, you'll be pressing the trigger ahead of many others, including perhaps a majority of the members of this forum.

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Old 09-18-2011, 01:45 PM   #23
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I'm in the same position, I'm 43 was trying to retire around 55 ? It doesn't seem like it's going to happen with the market the way its been.maybe it will be 60 just keep moving ahead you just never know.
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:44 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by W2R View Post
I hate to say it (almost as much as you will hate to hear it), but... you can do the math, you can figure out if you are on track to retire when you planned to do it, and if you aren't, you probably need to tighten your belt even more.

Very conservative with investments. Not ER'd yet, 48 years old. Please do not take anything I write or imply as legal, financial or medical advice directed to you. Contact your own financial advisor, healthcare provider, or attorney for financial, medical and legal advice.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:43 AM   #25
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I'm in a similar situation, and I'm planning to "rehire", wo*king part-time for another 5-6 years at a low-stress job, about 20 hours/week...rather than keep the pace up at my current j*b for another 3 years....the taxes at my level of income are depressing.
"Live every day as if it were your last, and one day you'll be right" - unknown
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:26 PM   #26
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You will get there... timing might just be off your personal desired pace, such in life many other things.

Take some time to reflect ... what makes you happy and is your current w*rk personally fulfilling. If not, seek opportunities in managing that.
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:57 AM   #27
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Midnighter777, you are in better shape than you think.

Back in 2007-2008, my ER plan was quickly taking shape as more and more of the pieces fell into place. I was 44-45 at the time and had been working part-time at my company since 2001. I was (and still am) debt-free and watching the value of my company stock grow rapdily. That money, after I cashed it out upon leaving the company, was going to be invested into a bond fund and provide me with the monthly income comparable to my low wage income from the part-time work.

The rest of the pieces fell into place in 2008 and I said good-bye to working at the end of October, nearly 3 years ago. I have had to tweak the original plan a few times, but all has gone very well.

Two key parts of my overall ER plan:

(1) Build in a cushion, or surplus, to my ER budget so I can safely and easily cover expenses not originally budgeted for. This provides me with a level of comfort which does not prevent me from spending a little extra from time to time.

(2) My longer-term ER plan is in two parts. One is to get from now to age ~60 when the first of 3 reinforcement will become available to me, unfettered access to my IRA. The other two are my frozen company pension and Social Security. (And I am not counting Medicare Eligibility.) My main goal is to make it to age ~60 on just the taxable accounts and that is so far looking like a snap because those accounts have grown quite a bit in the last 3 years.
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.

"I want my money working for me instead of me working for my money!"
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Old 09-20-2011, 04:05 AM   #28
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Don't lose faith. If you are on track, you'll get there. As long as you desire ER, you'll find it, sometimes with much adjustment and pain. 13 years ago, I would never have thought to ER in 2010. We were in negative equity in our property although we did have some savings but owed the bank a load on the property. We had a hard time adjusting, downsizing and making the decision to cut losses on the property and buy a much smaller accomodation. We held on to our job, stopped complaining and just worked really hard and spent very little. With a bit of luck in finding better paying jobs, improving economy and better property market conditions, we were on track again. The years of living frugally sort of stuck with us and improved our savings and investments. Last year, I ER. DH still works and he does not like to ER - loves to work. The ER goal was my desire but as a couple, we had to work towards it.
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:11 AM   #29
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You did not comment on your planned FIRE age (or I missed it). Did you ever establish a realistic age to FIRE?

For example: When I made my plans (back in my 30's)... I chose 55 as the target... Mainly because that was when corp plans offered certain benefits.... other than that, it was just a stake in the ground. 30+ years in the future seemed to be plenty of time to try to make it work. I worked toward that goal and monitored along the way. As it turns out, I could have FIRED a few years earlier (portfolio and asset wise)... but I waited till 55 for some of those benefits I commented about. Looking at the economy and markets at this time... I am really glad I followed through on my original plan (which was conservative).

Investment wise, you are experiencing a bit of an unlucky scenario. You have been investing into the head winds of the tech bubble and the housing bubble and the market results (which are poor). Plus if you own a home or other real estate, that value has suffered. Many that are a little older than you got the benefit of the 80's bull markets and 90's super bull market (which resulted in sustainable gains... so far).

7 to 9 years should put you around the age of 50 (to FIRE). That is a fairly young age to FIRE.

To set a FIRE date there are 2 important issues that can affect it (you know this but it is worth repeating).... change lifestyle (spend less) or somehow get more money. Unless you have a windfall coming your way or the market turns around or we enter a new super bull market soon... Your opportunity for more money is likely to be your job. Have you considered working towards a management position? It usually provides more money (salary and benefits)... and salary is a factor in pension calculation.

It seems to me that those are the two areas (spending and total compensation) that you have some reasonable amount of control to change your FIRE trajectory.

One mistake that many make.... is not seizing the opportunity (today) and assuming that their current situation will go on as long as they desire. IMO - Make hay while the sun shines! Do what you can to (reasonably... within your ability) to boost your total compensation (salary, bonus, benefits, etc) NOW!!

While a career advancement will probably not make you ready to FIRE mext year... It could improve the strength of your current plan (less likely to fail or not achieve expectations) and perhaps shave a few years off the FIRE date.

One other thing you should do... is go back and completely review everything (fresh and without the burden of assumptions you have accumulated over the years). You have a bunch of resources and things that you control that can be adjusted to meet your goal.... look at them closely, how might they change the outcome (e.g., what would it look like if you delayed SS till FRA or 70, same for the pension).

IOW - Look at all of your options and rebuild some model plans using different scenarios and compare them. Look closely at your spending... do you need that level of spending?? Forever? How long is forever (longevity)? What would a modest 20 or 25% boost in compensation do for you over the next 10 years (and to your pension)?

Plan the work, then work the plan!! You can do it. But it will be some work and you have to be able/willing to take action.

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