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Fellow FIRE Posters in Their 30s?
Old 11-26-2011, 02:22 PM   #1
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Fellow FIRE Posters in Their 30s?

I apologize, I'm sure this has been covered a billion times over the years, but I went through the search engine for an hour and couldn't really find the answer I was looking for.

Who are the other people in here that retired in their 30s? I'd love to hear your stories. How were you able to retire at this age? What did you used to do for a living? What issues did you face from friends/family/others upon such an early retirement? Do you regret retiring in your 30s?

And most importantly...what did you end up doing with your time? Did you get as bored as everyone tells me I'll be and start a business? A hobby? Move?

Just trying to get as many ideas as I can from people who went through what I'm going through.

4 days to go.
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z-d-g
I apologize, I'm sure this has been covered a billion times over the years, but I went through the search engine for an hour and couldn't really find the answer I was looking for.

Who are the other people in here that retired in their 30s? I'd love to hear your stories. How were you able to retire at this age? What did you used to do for a living? What issues did you face from friends/family/others upon such an early retirement? Do you regret retiring in your 30s?

And most importantly...what did you end up doing with your time? Did you get as bored as everyone tells me I'll be and start a business? A hobby? Move?

Just trying to get as many ideas as I can from people who went through what I'm going through.

4 days to go.
Google or search these forums for early retirement extreme. Most people that ER that young do it through massive spend cuts, rather than massive income. Mr. Money Mustache is another early retiree in his 30s.
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:20 PM   #3
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Google or search these forums for early retirement extreme. Most people that ER that young do it through massive spend cuts, rather than massive income. Mr. Money Mustache is another early retiree in his 30s.
Hmm. Ok. I read some of his stuff; it really doesn't apply to me at all unfortunately although it is quite interesting.

Certainly there must be other entrepreneurs in here that sold and retired around my age, no?
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:51 PM   #4
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My wife and I are 37. We reached financial independence last year and I retired soon after.

We both have graduate degrees in science and our combined income has been in the low to mid 6 figures from day one. At the same time, we always managed to live simple lives in places that had a low cost of living. So we have been able to save a lot over the years from our regular wages. We also worked for smaller biotech companies that were generous with their bonuses and stock option grants. And while most of those stock options ended up being worthless, we finally hit the "jackpot" in 2009-2010 when the market recovered. That pushed us over the FI line. I lost my contract job in July 2010 and decided not to look for another one.

DW is still working at the moment. She actually likes her job well enough, she still has a lot of valuable stock options vesting until 2013, and she still has ambitions for her career (I was bored and miserable with mine). Plus she is one of those type-A people who has a hard time slowing down, which makes me question how well she'll handle retirement when the time comes. Her plan was to attempt retirement in 2013, but she has been offered a great job opportunity last month and she is seriously contemplating taking it.

We haven't told a soul that we are financially independent, so friends and family have been puzzled by my lack of motivation to find another job. My friends still nag me about it, and it can be awkward. One of my best friends, a stay-at-home mom who is pregnant with her second child, is worried sick because her husband has just been told that he will lose his job next year. She thinks I can relate because I am "unemployed" too, so she keeps asking me for advice and leads. It's also uncomfortable because people my age are focused on their kids and careers, and I can't quite relate anymore.

I think my family is starting to get that I can afford not to work. Still, they have ethical objections. They tend to think that if you are young and able, you should be working and they still feel uncomfortable or maybe even ashamed telling their friends that I am not working and not looking for work.

I have enough experience by now to know that it is a mistake to call myself retired in front of strangers. So I have a "cover story". I am a "consultant". I "work" from home but I am often "between clients" which accounts for my generous free time and flexible schedule. When someone asks further questions, I go all technical on them and watch their eyes glaze over. End of the discussion.

I have no problem occupying myself (never had). Between my many interests and taking care of the home front, there is plenty to do. Of course, these days, I do things at a more leisurely pace, and this has been beneficial to my health. So no, I do not regret retiring in my 30s as my quality of life has much improved. Of course, it may be a bit early to claim victory. If we run out of money in our 60s, I might have a few regrets. Still, I have several backup options built into the plan, and I think we will be fine.
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Old 11-26-2011, 04:55 PM   #5
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Outstanding. Exactly what I was hoping to hear. Keep 'em coming.
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:54 PM   #6
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I apologize, I'm sure this has been covered a billion times over the years, but I went through the search engine for an hour and couldn't really find the answer I was looking for.
I thought we had a poll floating around here for people's ER age. Do any of you "more experienced" members remember where we put it to find it?

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Who are the other people in here that retired in their 30s? I'd love to hear your stories. How were you able to retire at this age? What did you used to do for a living?
CybrMike ER'd in his 20s but has dropped off the radar.
Early Retirement & Financial Independence Community - View Profile: CybrMike
I believe he made his stash from cashing out an Internet business. You could try sending him an e-mail or a PM.

Jacob Lund Fisker of EarlyRetirementExtreme.com runs a board dedicated to ER'ing as quickly as possible (although most of the posters save their income instead of growing their businesses). He posts here as "jacob". He achieved FI through extreme savings and value investing. He still blogs & freelances for the "easy money" but he's financially independent. Both he and his discussion board could be a wealth of resources.

JJac is another about-to-ER in his late 30s. I haven't heard from him for a few months and I think he's more active on the ERE board. He's a tech exec in the ERE mold.

John Greaney of RetireEarlyHomePage.com retired in his late 30s. He occasionally posts as Intercst but has largely dropped out of sight.

I think that Philip Greenspun ER'd in his 30s. His startup crashed on VC management and/or the end of the Internet bubble (depending on which version you read) and he had enough cash left over to do what he wants. He's very active in photography and aviation.

Paul & Vicki Terhorst retired in their 30s in the 1980s and wrote "Cashing in on the American Dream: How to Retire at age 35". Billy & Akaisha Kaderli (RetireEarlyLifestyle.com) retired in their late 30s in 1991. Both couples are good friends and have a wealth of expat experience to share. Paul was a KPMG exec while Billy & Akaisha ran a restaurant, worked at a brokerage, and generally saved like crazy.

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What issues did you face from friends/family/others upon such an early retirement?
In general, family will be supportive. ER will usually make you more of what you already are (hopefully that's a good thing) and happier/mellower.

You have to talk a lot with family about their expectations for you. By that I actually mean you have to shut up and listen to what they're telling you they expect of you. Spouses probably want more support at home without having to worry about you getting needy or underfoot. If they're not already running the household then they'll expect you to take charge. If they're already running the household then they'll expect you to ask them to renegotiate the tasking by giving you your half of the yucky jobs.

Kids (of all ages) don't care whether you're working or not as long as you're spending more of your time with them. Teens at home will disguise this appreciation very well but will warm to the idea once they realize that you'll still give them money and car keys. Younger kids will be happy to have the support at school and on field trips. Very young kids will just be happy. College-age kids won't care-- your life has no relevance to them unless it involves money & car keys.

Your true friends will be happy for you whether you're ER or working. Neighbors and other friends will think you're (1) an idiot, (2) unemployable, (3) ignoring a drug/alcohol problem, (4) headed for a brick wall at Mach2. Of course they may already have formed this opinion of you, and your ER will simply reinforce it. ER will quickly show you who your true friends really are.

Your parents will probably sound like they've been talking to your friends, unless your parents have also ER'd and "get it". They'll probably be worried about you, but that may not be anything new.

Your parents-in-law will be convinced that their grandkids will be homeless. But then they may have already formed this opinion as soon as it became apparent that you were sleeping with their offspring.

The people you meet on your daily routine will generally be incredulous and/or skeptical. Reactions will vary from "No way, you're too young, you're wasting your life!!" to "Sure, right, of course you're ER'd, when does the unemployment run out?" and "Eh, you must be so bored."

After years of this board's debate on the subject, the most palatable response seems to be "I'm taking a few months off to spend more time with family before I decide what I want to do next". Of course there are many more snarky and more satisfying responses, but that's the most publicly acceptable.

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Do you regret retiring in your 30s?
Hell, I regret retiring at age 41 and missing the goal of retiring in my 30s. We were borderline FI when I was in my late 30s and I hung around for the pension. But retiring at age 41 beats retiring in my 50s. It also beats starting a bridge career.

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And most importantly...what did you end up doing with your time? Did you get as bored as everyone tells me I'll be and start a business? A hobby? Move?
Just trying to get as many ideas as I can from people who went through what I'm going through.
I have a suggestion. You're limiting your search by age, and you're not going to be happy with the lack of responses. You're also seeking outward for ER suggestions. Of course you have to ask those types of questions in order to figure out how everyone else did it. But once you get a hint at how to find the reference library, then your best results will come from digging into the stacks to do your own research. You won't find your solution by surveying the ER population about their personal choices.

We have people who ER'd in their 40s who act like geezers in their 70s, and we have people who "ER'd" in their 60s who act like they're in their 30s. Some have health problems, others are training for triathlons.

We have ERs who are at different stages of life even if they're near the same age. Some are married, some aren't, others aren't too committed to the concept. Some have families, some don't, others are empty-nesters. Some are free to roam the world, others are caring for aging parents. Some are FI on a shoestring, others have more money & toys than they can keep track of.

You don't want to talk to the ERs of your age. You want to talk to the ERs who share your interests. You also need to have (or at least anticipate) the confidence that you can be responsible for your own entertainment.

Your concern is not unfounded. Inflation and health insurance are the top two worries of all ERs. Once they solve those problems, the next worry is "But what will I DO all day?" However after they ER, 98% of the ERs wonder what the heck they were worried about. You may be skeptical reading that statement from where you are now, but you might have a different perspective in six months.

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Outstanding. Exactly what I was hoping to hear. Keep 'em coming.
Well, maybe not what you want to hear. But it's what I think you would benefit from learning.

So... what have you done with Ernie Zelinski's "Get-A-Life Tree"?
http://bestretirementquotes.blogspot...-planning.html
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:05 PM   #7
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It's not a poll of age at retirement, but I did find this: Poll:How Old Are You? Ted Shepherd got me wondering.

And this: Poll:How Long Have you been retired - by age group

And finally, this: Poll: At What Age Did You Retire
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Old 11-26-2011, 09:25 PM   #8
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Ah, thanks, that's the one I remember!

How'd you search for it?
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:10 AM   #9
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How'd you search for it?
Used the forum Google search window and stuck in "poll". Had to wade through quite a few results to locate it.
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:23 AM   #10
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I retired at 39, twelve years ago. Primarily because of stock options from Intel, although a healthy dose of LYBM, and reasonable savvy investing help a lot. I am pretty sure I'd be retired without stock now.

Quote:
Who are the other people in here that retired in their 30s? I'd love to hear your stories. How were you able to retire at this age? What did you used to do for a living? What issues did you face from friends/family/others upon such an early retirement? Do you regret retiring in your 30s?

And most importantly...what did you end up doing with your time? Did you get as bored as everyone tells me I'll be and start a business? A hobby? Move?
I don't regret my decision to get out of the rat race. I've done serial volunteering as well as an unpaid job (startup). I do regret not finding a second act; a fun job, writing a book, an all consuming hobby etc. Volunteering has it benefits but for the most part it is lacking in intellectual challenges. I suspect that kids would have been a good substitute.
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:52 AM   #11
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Used the forum Google search window and stuck in "poll". Had to wade through quite a few results to locate it.
Dang, and I thought you'd found the easy way.
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:48 PM   #12
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It's not a poll of age at retirement, but I did find this: Poll:How Old Are You? Ted Shepherd got me wondering.

And this: Poll:How Long Have you been retired - by age group

And finally, this: Poll: At What Age Did You Retire

Right, I had found those on my own google search (prior to starting this thread), but it was more about %s and raw data and I was really hoping to hear more directly from the ERers from my age group.

That being said, I completely agree with the post above that says I should focus more on people with common interests instead of ages.

So more about us:
  • Married with a daughter in 3rd grade
  • Live in Manhattan for all the reasons everyone in here expects; walkability, lack of a car, convenience, dining options, delivery options, our child is in a fantastic private school, opportunities, cultural capital, etc
  • We would like to be a little more adventurous, like move to a South American country, but really did move to Manhattan to provide our child with the most opportunities as possible and feel a little silly moving now when she only has 9 years to go until HS graduation.
  • We fully plan to move abroad as soon as she does, in fact, graduate High School.
  • We had originally planned to move to Paris before deciding to move to Manhattan, so we're not opposed to a long term plan that includes a major European city.
  • We are quite pleasantly anti-social. It isn't that we can't be perfectly gregarious at functions, but we prefer to keep our free time just to ourselves. We have no couples-friends at all and don't mind keeping it that way.
  • Prior to Manhattan, we had moved every three years as long as we've been together. Not on purpose, it just ended up that way. So we're used to moving relatively often.
  • As my other posts have noted, we are FIRE by way of the sale of a business I built from nothing (literally) and was exceptionally lucky/fortunate in. None of this was inherited and as much as I'd love to tell you savvy investing and low expenses played a part, they didn't. We basically just won the business lottery.
  • Family and friends are all very happy for me and say the right things ("you worked so hard, you deserve this") and I've yet to tell anyone who felt I was being a jerk or unproductive/lazy. I imagine that will change in a few months. Especially at my kid's school.
  • We are far left socially, which I'm only mentioning because living in a place with low taxes is not a concern as long as we feel we're in a place that favors intellect, education, and progression. Hence, Manhattan. We spent most of our lives in Texas and have no desire to ever move back to a place that conservative again. Not knocking anyone here who is there, we did it, we loved it, we just don't want to do it again after realizing there are places with liberals like us.
  • I grew up upper middle class (son of a dentist) so I'm used to living with money, but not being retired.
  • What other stuff am I supposed to mention and missed?
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:49 PM   #13
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I don't regret my decision to get out of the rat race. I've done serial volunteering as well as an unpaid job (startup). I do regret not finding a second act; a fun job, writing a book, an all consuming hobby etc. Volunteering has it benefits but for the most part it is lacking in intellectual challenges. I suspect that kids would have been a good substitute.
How much less are you living on per month now than you were when you were working? Were you always LBYM, even when working?
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Old 11-27-2011, 05:11 PM   #14
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How much less are you living on per month now than you were when you were working? Were you always LBYM, even when working?
Yes I was always LYBM since I was maxing out my 401K contributions (12.5%), maxing out the employee stock purchase , plus buying individual stocks,and paying the often large taxes from exercising stock options from my salary.

Not sure I have an exact figure cause I didn't keep careful tracks of living expense while working. I think my major cutbacks are eating out probably three lunches a week, maybe a dinner, replacing cars every 8-10 years instead of 5-7, wine purchases (but that is probably a function of living in Hawaii vs California more than being retired.) and electronic toy purchases which are cut roughly in half.

My house is slightly nicer than in CA, in a much nice location.
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Old 11-27-2011, 07:50 PM   #15
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Hey, I'm not retired just yet, but I'm well on target to pull the trigger sometime in my 30's (I have 8 more years to do so!). Probably about 4-5 years out at this point, since I'll want to pad the portfolio for a while and make sure we have plenty and then some. Plenty is defined as in the very very low seven figures. We live a fairly modest life in a somewhat low cost of living area. We just started making over six figures combined a few years ago, so our net worth has come mostly from saving a very large proportion of our income every year and LBYM.

I have a wife, 2 kids that just started elementary school, and another one on the way that will start school sometime around when we plan to RE. I don't really know what we will end up doing with travel, kids, school, etc. We have thought about international living for a year or so, maybe somewhere in Latin America like Mexico. Then we realized where we live now has a large bilingual international community so the kids get exposure to that right here at home (well, at their school to be more exact).

So given that we will have kids running around the house the first decade or so of FIRE, we are really only concerned with filling the school days between 8:30 am and 3 pm, since kids seem to keep us busy the remainder of the time, but when they are in school I guess we will find other things to do. I may do some very part time consulting if the mood strikes - I am basically setting myself up for that right now as I wrap up the career.

I think others have addressed concerns about public perception of being retired in your 30's. I plan to use the "between jobs - evaluating my options" excuse for a while, especially for casual encounters. Maybe "I consult, in between gigs now so plenty of free time" as that may be the truth depending on whether I pursue that option. Or the "I'm a stay at home dad until the kids are out of the house". Close friends already know about my plans, but I haven't let it slip to anyone in my family. The close friends understand the numbers/math behind it, and understand the motivation given the daily grind that is work.

I guess my advice is to just take it a day at a time, and don't be afraid to get back into a business if that is what suits your fancy. The rest of your life is your time to do with as you please. If you have sufficient wealth to fund your lifestyle indefinitely, then do whatever you want.
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Old 11-27-2011, 08:33 PM   #16
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Feels kind of strange needing a FIRE cover story, but it fits the "stealth wealth" approach that seems for the best. Sometimes "consultant" is so generic it leads to more questions. "Private financial consultant" or "portfolio manager" offer slightly more detail plus are truthful as well!
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Old 11-27-2011, 09:04 PM   #17
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"Private financial consultant" or "portfolio manager" offer slightly more detail plus are truthful as well!
You: I'm a portfolio manager

Them: Really, Whom do you manage?

You: My own
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:30 PM   #18
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Feels kind of strange needing a FIRE cover story, but it fits the "stealth wealth" approach that seems for the best.
You don't need a FIRE cover story. Most of the rest of society needs one to justify the fact that they're not FIRE'd.

I've been "Taking a few months off and spending more time with family" for well over nine years now... I'm not worrying about what society says until people drop the "Oh, but you're so young!!"
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Old 11-28-2011, 02:23 AM   #19
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I am 46 but I guess I have been financially independent for a while, possibly since my mid to late 30s. However, I keep working - maybe suffering from the "one more year" syndrome.
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Hey, I'm not retired just yet, but I'm well on target to pull the trigger sometime in my 30's (I have 8 more years to do so!).
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:16 AM   #20
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Congratulations on the successful sale of your business! There are definitely advantages to being in Manhattan for someone in a situation like yours, namely:

1) You probably won't be considered that strange for having made enough to retire early. Maybe for actually doing it, but given the kind of wealth floating around the borough actually reaching the FI point is not as unusual as it might be in other more mainstream places.

2) You have the most amazing cultural and other resources right out your doorstep, and many of them can be free or low cost. Museums, theater, the NYPL, art galleries, lectures at Columbia and NYU. I loved Manhattan pre-kids but would struggle there with two kids and mid-management non-profit salaries. But if you are FI I would just take several months and enjoy the city. Take your daughter to school, tool about to a different part of the city two or three times a week, and see what you find. Do you like food? Explore the different ethnic neighborhoods and their cuisines (won't break the bank). Take some language classes to prepare for that eventual overseas move. Take art, photography or music lessons if you are interested in any of those areas.

I think before long you will find your days are pleasantly full and no body questions what you are doing with yourself. And if you want to just spend a day hanging out in your living room, that is perfectly fine, too!

Wish I was in your position, but I'm too risk averse to start my own business, so I'll keep slogging my way along as a wage slave for a few more years. My current job is actually not so bad, so it is ok. But I do enjoy living the RE lifestyle vicariously through these discussions, so hope you will post frequently to let us know how your adventure is progressing!

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