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Celebrating 3 years of FIRE today!
Old 08-26-2016, 09:47 PM   #1
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Celebrating 3 years of FIRE today!

I didn't realize my 3 year anniversary had arrived until late in the afternoon. I bought a fancy chocolate stout beer from Trader Joe's the other day so I cracked that open tonight to "celebrate".

3 years ago today my boss walked in my office, told me he was letting me go effective immediately and handed me a brown cardboard box for my personal effects, and had his stooge escort me out of the office. After some soul searching and financial number crunching that day, I knew I was done and that I was retired at 33.

The first six months were decompression, the next six to twelve months were getting into the ER groove. And the last couple of years kept getting better and better. My wife joined me in ER about six months ago and it's been awesome since then.

I've watched our littlest one grow from a nearly helpless age one to a fiercely independent age four (something I missed with our older two daughters).

We've managed to spend four to nine weeks traveling every year so far.

In addition to the freedom to travel long term, I also enjoy the freedom to dive deep into whatever interests me at the moment. It's also fulfilling to be able to drop everything and take care of family and friend craziness when the $hit hits the fan.

My old pastimes remain my current ones - computer/video games, reading, hiking/exploring parks, Netflix, tinkering with things around the house. Post-FIRE I'm a lot more involved at the kids' school too.

Right after retiring I started a blog on a whim and it's really taken off (though I haven't posted much this summer). It's also led to some freelance/consulting gigs that take an hour or two some weeks. In dollar terms, the blog and side hustles generate almost enough to fund our living expenses (aiming for $40k/yr but not quite spending that much right now). Not bad considering I spend a few hours per week on these activities right now. It's also opened doors to meeting some cool people in real life that are aiming for FIRE in their 30's or already there.

Financially, our net worth is up about $400,000 from $1.2M to $1.6M. Mostly because of market gains, but also due in part to DW working for the extra 2.5 years and due to the side hustle income. At this point my concern is not spending enough, instead of running out of money prematurely (this could obviously change with a 25-30% market correction).

3 years in, the stresses of work are a distant memory. I could go back if I had to for money though I've learned I can hustle up some dough with a little effort and ingenuity, so a return to FT W-2 employment is unlikely for financial reasons. I don't really keep in touch with anyone from my last job, but do hang out with one old friend from a previous job I left in 2011 a few times per year (he confirms, yep, work still sucks).

Within a year of starting full time work back in 2004, I discovered this forum (I googled "rule of 72t" if memory serves). It's been immensely helpful over the years to keep me focused on the path to FIRE and act as a sounding board for all kinds of ideas. For that, thanks to all the members both new and old.
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Old 08-26-2016, 11:13 PM   #2
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Congrats and many more to come.
I like your blog and travel reports.
We are close to the same anniversary but a bit older (57/64).
If I can help with Germany info for your next trip let me know.
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Old 08-26-2016, 11:27 PM   #3
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Congrats and many more to come.
I like your blog and travel reports.
We are close to the same anniversary but a bit older (57/64).
If I can help with Germany info for your next trip let me know.
Thanks for the offer!

I need to post a big thread here at some point about our Europe trip. It's really wide open as far as locations and even time span. And none of us have ever been to Europe so it's all novel to us.

I literally just learned that my daughter's new Spanish teacher (class starts in 2 days) is hosting a trip to Spain during summer of 2017 so that might provide some specifics if we somehow join up/chaperone the group while we're over there.
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Old 08-27-2016, 12:04 AM   #4
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Congratulations! You're a huge inspiration to many dreamers.
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Old 08-27-2016, 06:19 AM   #5
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Can't imagine retiring at 33. Not many can amass enough wealth by that age to do it....even if one lives a frugal life style. Congrats to you both.
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Old 08-27-2016, 06:34 AM   #6
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Congrats on being able to achieve your goals. That type of management person's tactics may be reversed on them one of these days. But his actions gave you motive to a much better life.
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Old 08-27-2016, 09:15 AM   #7
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Can't imagine retiring at 33. Not many can amass enough wealth by that age to do it....even if one lives a frugal life style. Congrats to you both.
Thanks!
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Old 08-27-2016, 09:16 AM   #8
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Congrats on being able to achieve your goals. That type of management person's tactics may be reversed on them one of these days. But his actions gave you motive to a much better life.
Right after BossMan fired me, he got fired himself (for hiring his own people to replace me instead of hiring the Governor's appointees; politics). Finding that out really made by day. It also helped my unemployment case immensely.

Then I bumped into him at Walmart and couldn't stop smiling when he asked me what I'm up to these days (the news of my early retirement traveled fast). I bet people thought I was crazy I was smiling so much.
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Old 08-27-2016, 12:36 PM   #9
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Wow. I can't believe its been 3 years already ! Time surely does fly when you're having fun
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Old 08-27-2016, 01:08 PM   #10
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Can't imagine retiring at 33.
+1 I had just pulled my head out of my butt when I was 30.
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Old 08-27-2016, 01:11 PM   #11
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Congrats, Fuego. Today was my 2nd anniversary. I'd write something up, but I'm too busy!
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Old 08-27-2016, 04:21 PM   #12
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Congratulations! Another inspriational poster child for Early Retirement.
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Old 08-27-2016, 04:41 PM   #13
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Congrats FUEGO! I always enjoy your posts, here and other sites, including RoG. If your travel plans next summer involve Germany or the Netherlands, let me know.

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Old 08-27-2016, 05:05 PM   #14
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Congrats FUEGO! I always enjoy your posts, here and other sites, including RoG. If your travel plans next summer involve Germany or the Netherlands, let me know.

Sent from my Chinese phone with a cracked screen using Early Retirement Forum mobile app
There's a good probability it will involve Germany, just very uncertain where exactly or when during the summer.

What do you think about local prices in Germany? I get the impression it's cheaper than France and England, and more comparable to Generic Mid-size US City like Raleigh where I am.
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Old 08-27-2016, 05:05 PM   #15
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Congrats, Fuego. Today was my 2nd anniversary. I'd write something up, but I'm too busy!
Yeah, I was watching some silly Netflix show that didn't require full attention so I blew the dust off the keyboard and went to work. And beer was involved ("this is the fancy kind that you get at restaurants sometimes" quipped DW ).
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Old 08-27-2016, 05:30 PM   #16
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What do you think about local prices in Germany? I get the impression it's cheaper than France and England, and more comparable to Generic Mid-size US City like Raleigh where I am.
France can be costly in the touristy areas, but elsewhere like the mid-sized cities it's fairly inexpensive. I really like the Alsace region, which could be considered quite economical when compared to Paris.
In Germany, most things cost less than the US: groceries, alcohol, going to restaurants, housing, clothing, admission to museums, and traveling in general is cheaper. Gas will cost twice as much though. Trains can be cheap if you get family tickets, including the super-fast ICE trains.

Hotel rooms are smaller in Europe, but I know you like AirBnB, which mitigates the need for 2 hotel rooms.
England, most things are expensive, especially in London.

My favorite money saver in Europe is Ryanair. €200 for my family of 5 to fly from Brussels to Barcelona (that's€20 per ticket each way). Same kind of prices from Cologne to Rome, or to fly us to Edinburgh or Dublin. Just make sure you follow their rules, and minimize the checked baggage, although the baggage fees are still less than US airlines.
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Old 08-27-2016, 06:00 PM   #17
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I've seen those family train tickets. Yes, a great deal! I think it's good for up to five so travel should be cheap in Germany. Good to hear prices are a little lower for most stuff.

I figure we'll have to rent a car occasionally to get to more outlying areas (or pay $$$ for a tour or shuttle) so expensive gas shouldn't be too much of a problem. The rental car with automatic will be the higher cost most likely.

You're right on the airbnbs. We'll probably stay in one place for a week or so in general though might do a few nights in a hotel here and there.

Ryanair and other budget carriers are on my agenda. Definitely loving the cheap fares around Europe.

edit: I'm hoping we can avoid checked baggage altogether. We did 7.5 weeks in Mexico with nothing more than bookbags, so might be able to swing it this time around in Europe.
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Old 08-28-2016, 09:38 AM   #18
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Fuego,

Congratulations on your anniversary. I've been reading your blog for the last 18 months and appreciate your openness in sharing personal details about your finances.

You mentioned you started your blog on a whim, and that you're now able to cover most of your expenses with the blog and writing/coaching work.

When did you start thinking about turning your blog and affiliated work into an income source? Also did you do all your web design yourself?

Keep up the interesting work,

Sycamore
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Old 08-28-2016, 09:48 AM   #19
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Congrats on 3 years Fuego!

I like your blog, btw.
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Old 08-28-2016, 02:11 PM   #20
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So not to be a nit-picker, but in those 3 years have you actually had a year where you and your DW together did not earn the annual spend for your family? In fact you might actually have a surplus of earnings from work.

It's great that you are enjoying life more and enjoy what you do..but you don't have the RE part of FIRE down to a science. At your age delaying drawing down your nest egg is a big deal!
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