FIRE One-year status report
Greetings 2011'ers! My first day of retirement was one year ago today. I'm now 56 and wife is 52.
Finance - We are doing surprisingly well considering the last 12 months have been checkered in the market. We are maybe $2K away from our all-time highest net worth, in spite of our house depreciating about $20K in the last 12 months. I moved my entire 401K into a Fidelity IRA in July 2011. 50% short term bond fund, 30% total stock; 12% international & 8% emerging market. The last two are down about $12K total but we are just about dead even overall in this IRA. My pension is lump-summing in 60 monthly payments into a Vangaurd IRA. 75% Wellesley and 25% Wellington. Bless their hearts, this in up about 12K even though I've only received 20% of the payout so far. Various taxable accounts & savings bonds etc. are up maybe $10K. Wifey will continue to work ($75K/yr & bennies) for another 4-6 years. I get to consult to the tune of about $20K/year. Quicken says we continue to spend about $90K a year for everything including property & income tax.
Health - We had our 1st serious health crisis in 25 years of marriage in January; wife had surgery and bounced right back to playing tennis and working full-time. I was available to be nursemaid and I think it brought us closer together. No financial hit due to her great insurance. We're philosophical that we're gonna see more of this as we get older - another reason to retire early; i.e. years on earth vs. more money.
Psychological - love it. Love It. LOVE IT! I was born to be idle. Some people need work for identity and purpose; not me. I love loafing. I am getting 8 hours sleep for the 1st time in my adult life. I do a brutal gym workout twice a week and 1 hour on my NordicTrack thing each night. Wife and I take a 20 min walk every day. I do all the meals and chores and fix the kid's lunches so wife is totally non-stressed in her job and figures she'll work more years. The best thing may be my consulting. Nothing makes work more painless than not needing to do it. When they want me, I go in at 10 or 11AM and leave at maybe 3:30PM. I didn't realize before I retired how much I stressed and obsessed over work, but now I truly don't give a darn. Recently a co-worker gave me a moderate amount of crap about something trivial so I said "OK, bye" and left. Co-worker and supervisor called up apologetically so I went back a couple days later. It's a joy.
Anyone in similar circumstances thinking about FIREing - come on in, the water's fine!