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FIREd people we have met
Old 03-26-2005, 08:01 AM   #1
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FIREd people we have met

Never really saw this discussed before.

What FIREd people have you met? Age/interests/how did they get there?/what are they spending their time on? Etc. The ones FIREd here already have told most of the above (but please repeat!).

I met an American in Asia that FIREd at 38 with almost $600k. He was 41 when I met him so already had a few years of FIRE experience. His background was IT but the money had accumulated through LBYM and plain old salary - not stock options (he tried to jump to small IT company for that around end 1999... bad timing).

Anyway; he started his FIRE w. 600k and said that he would go back to work if nw hit 500k. Single (divorced) and loving to travel (and some volunteer work) in Asia. Truth is, the longer time that went he said, that he NEVER wants to go back to work.

Investments were mostly in foreign bond fund (PSAFX) with some gold and a bit of equities thrown in - was expecting a solid crash as you can see.

He is still in the 550-600k range and are looking into an increased equity allocation.

He likes a simplified life and besides stuff in storage he basically travels with a suitcase/back pack only.

I met another US construction worker that FIREd at around 45 (knees/shoulders giving in he said). Have had a bunch of nerd friends telling him hot stock tips - and he dumped $1-2k in EVERY tip he got (to avoid regrets). Well the market took off - and he decided to FIRE with the RIGHT timing in end 1999 - about $350k nw plus a rental income ($200-300/mth) from house owned with a few others(and loan in it so not much equity in it I think but I guess there could be down the line).

He moved to Bangkok and used about $50k on an apartment in modern building with pool and a Honda CRV - the remaining $300k was put in some boring CDs and stuff but with plans to move elsewhere later.
He spends his time working out, doing sports, socializing and latest I heard he was planning to marry a Thai girl he met.

You met any of our rare breed? Cheers!
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Re: FIREd people we have met
Old 03-26-2005, 08:52 AM   #2
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Re: FIREd people we have met

I met a guy skiing once before I started learning about personal finance and early retirement. I didn't get details from him, but he said he was a millionaire and retired at around age 40; he said the secret was to pay yourself first.

I remember after discovering REHP I wondered if the guy I met might have been Greaney; I don't know why I thought that, but it's highly unlikely. Do you ski, intercst?

I don't think meeting that guy inspired me to learn about finance; the observation that every time I got a raise I had less free money to spend led me to that.
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Re: FIREd people we have met
Old 03-26-2005, 09:19 AM   #3
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Re: FIREd people we have met

Yeah, I know a few optionaires here in Silicon Valley pretty well and I know a few more peripherally. *Most of it was luck. *Sure they worked hard (particluarly at a startup) but a lot of whether their options ended up being worth anything was luck. *Lots of people worked hard both at startups and more established companies and never made much with the options. *It also required that they sell some of those options - way too many held them until they were worthless.

I know one guy who worked for a startup and went on to be worth $40 Million at one time and he rode those options down during the tech bubble collapse. *When they rebounded a few years later he sold out for the low single digit millions and retired. *What was amazing in talking to him in the $40 Million days was that for such a smart guy he didn't realize how set for life he would be with that money.

Some of them have gone "home" (left the Valley). Some hang out here still (I lunch with some occasionally) and dabble in tech stuff more for fun than anything else.
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Re: FIREd people we have met
Old 03-26-2005, 09:52 AM   #4
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Re: FIREd people we have met

Wow, come to think of it, I don't know anyone personally outside this forum that really retired early in their 30s or 40s. *We are a very rare breed as evidenced by the miniscule number of members here out of how many millions of people?

I know a bunch of guys that retired from their government or police jobs in their 50s, but that was normal early retirement. To a man, they all tell me it was the best career decision they ever made.
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Re: FIREd people we have met
Old 03-26-2005, 10:16 AM   #5
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Re: FIREd people we have met

I know a number of people who worked hard at a startup that ended up being purchased by IBM. One retired to the mountains of New Mexico around age 40.

I also met a 39 year old who worked as an attorney. He brokered deals for airlines. He now lives in Utah and skis half the year and mountain bikes the other half. His wife recently had a baby.

On that same trip, I met a ~40 year old Manhattan attorney. She probably could've retired but felt trapped. Given the two weeks she had off, she couldn't even unstress enough to enjoy herself. Sad.
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Re: FIREd people we have met
Old 03-26-2005, 12:15 PM   #6
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Re: FIREd people we have met

I did meet a guy when DW and I went rafting near Santa Fe. He told me he was a mid-level exec in Philly, who came to NM, and decided to stay. He did the rafting in summer and ski guide in Winter. He said he had one piece of paper to file each day, which said, "took 12 people out, brought 12 people back." I don't suppose he counts, as he was working, but I did like his attitude at the time, since I was trapped in a cube.
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Re: FIREd people we have met
Old 03-26-2005, 03:47 PM   #7
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Re: FIREd people we have met

Good question, Ben !

I just spoke with a woman at work who is taking the "early out" package at 48. She did it the boring way, started working for the Federal Government at age 18. She's under the old retirement system, so she'll have a pretty good pension even though it will be reduced for the early out. She has also been putting money into the TSP (401k with no match) and saving outside of retirement accounts as well. She said she has her house paid off and no debt at all. Basically she lived below her means and worked for the Feds for 30 years.

She plans to do volunteer work and hiking, gardening, etc. I think she has a simple life with low costs hobbies.


-helen
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Re: FIREd people we have met
Old 03-26-2005, 06:33 PM   #8
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Re: FIREd people we have met

Hi Ben,

I've met Paul and Vicki Terhorst a couple of times in Thailand. Very charming people...

We didn't discuss ER finances much; instead we chatted about travel and the Perpetual Traveler (PT) lifestyle.

A lot of folks concentrate soley on net worth, forgetting that spending is also something that can be managed in ER.

All the best,

Lance
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Re: FIREd people we have met
Old 03-26-2005, 06:35 PM   #9
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Re: FIREd people we have met

I only know one person who "retired" early but I don't know if he really counts. His dad is rich, he got a fat trust fund, but still needed to work to maintain that higher lifestyle, was working as a paramedic. One day he was hit by a car and nearly killed (ironic, his buddy picked him up to take him to the hospital). The settlement (low seven figures) put him over the top so that he could "retire" at 30. He started his own business, sold it off, did a little of this and that, then promptly decided to get his M.D. in Australia. Last I heard he was worried that might end up boring him too ( I think he has one year left in school). Brilliant, caring guy, would make a good doctor, but he just can't seem to get comfortable in his own skin. I think, in my own limited experience, the happiest people I've met are those who had to work hard, but found something they were good at and became succesful on their own, then when they retired, they really seemed to savor the fruits of their labor. Just getting "lucky" with money seems almost to be a curse....
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What a frightening thought...
Old 03-26-2005, 09:14 PM   #10
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What a frightening thought...

... my father and my father-in-law (late 50s).

Two retired military friends of ours, although they continue to work part-time every quarter or so for "extras". I'm not sure that counts.

I'm still trying to think of a true military ER. This may take a while...
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Re: What a frightening thought...
Old 03-26-2005, 10:55 PM   #11
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Re: What a frightening thought...

Quote:
... Two retired military friends of ours, although they continue to work part-time every quarter or so for "extras". *I'm not sure that counts.
Counts for me. What kind of work do they do?

I think something you could do for only a quarter or so and then leave for the rest of the year would be very nice.

Mikey
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Re: FIREd people we have met
Old 03-27-2005, 01:17 AM   #12
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Re: FIREd people we have met

Lancelot (he he - keep thinking Monthy PHYTON *and the holy grails...), I am in contact with them too - and will try to meet up next time I am in Thailand! Cheers!


Quote:
Hi Ben,

I've met Paul and Vicki Terhorst a couple of times in Thailand. Very charming people...

We didn't discuss ER finances much; instead we chatted about travel and the Perpetual Traveler (PT) lifestyle.

A lot of folks concentrate soley on net worth, forgetting that spending is also something that can be managed in ER.

All the best,

Lance
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Re: FIREd people we have met
Old 03-27-2005, 03:38 AM   #13
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Re: FIREd people we have met

This is a good thread. I have thought of this before and
other than cops, firefighters, military and the like
(most of whom continued to work at something) about
the only "real" ERs I know of are at this site. I think this is especially significant as I have traveled and worked
all over the country and still never met a "true" ER other than here. The one possible exception
was a high school classmate (120 in the class) who
I heard retired before I did. He was a "live off the land/
survivalist type" and so could do it on practically nothing.
His wife may have worked too. Not sure. He bought
a few acres in Tenn. or Kentucky and as far as I know he is still there. Now of course, when I go to a high school reunion, more and more are listing retired
under "occupation". At one time, there were just the 2 of us.

JG
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Re: FIREd people we have met
Old 03-27-2005, 04:27 AM   #14
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Re: FIREd people we have met

At 49 - I wasn't retired(never heard of ER in the sense talked about here). I was unemployed or a private investor on my 'good' days. Became official at 55 with first pension check.

Didn't know anybody else like us. The only thing close was a couple of jobshoppers who took 3-6 months off every year - one to sail, the other to work his 'hobby farm'.
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Re: FIREd people we have met
Old 03-27-2005, 06:12 AM   #15
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Re: FIREd people we have met

Quote:
Lancelot (he he - keep thinking Monthy PHYTON and the holy grails...), I am in contact with them too - and will try to meet up next time I am in Thailand! Cheers!

I'm interested in the Terhorsts. How are they really, or is there anything to tell? I've got their book, and I visit their website occasionally, but never met anyone who knew them. Ben/Lancelot, anything noteworthy or interesting?
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Re: FIREd people we have met
Old 03-27-2005, 06:26 AM   #16
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Re: FIREd people we have met

Ups - do not want to be accused of name dropping ; just exchanged 1 email with them a while back - sounds like you need to get more details from The holy Grail; Sir Lancelot. Cheers!


Quote:
I'm interested in the Terhorsts. *How are they really, or is there anything to tell? *I've got their book, and I visit their website occasionally, but never met anyone who knew them. Ben/Lancelot, anything noteworthy or interesting?
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Re: FIREd people we have met
Old 03-27-2005, 06:36 AM   #17
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Re: FIREd people we have met

I know a few, No Gazillionnaires though. All have a home of various sizes from 2 bed condo to 5 bed SF home and between $500K and $2m in cash. No SS from any country.

SWR
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Re: FIREd people we have met
Old 03-27-2005, 07:13 AM   #18
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Re: FIREd people we have met

Oops! I forgot one. My ex. She retired real early.
Back workin' now though. Poetic justice?

JG
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Re: What a frightening thought...
Old 03-27-2005, 08:08 AM   #19
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Re: What a frightening thought...

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Counts for me. What kind of work do they do?

I think something you could do for only a quarter or so and then leave for the rest of the year would be very nice. Mikey
Both very grounded, mellow people who helped spouse & me answer our "But waddya DO all day" question about five years back.

One is a retired O-3 LDO. She's a sculptor (a real no-foolin' educated artist) who sells her work. She supplements that by bagging groceries for a week or two before big trips or special occasions. She used to enjoy being a part-time Wal-Mart greeter until she was nearly trampled by a 400-lb shoplifter who was "exiting the premises".

The other is a retired USMC W-4 who works with U.S. Customs on call a couple weeks a year. She's collecting SS now so maybe she's stopped that work. She still looks like she's in her 40s and I'm pretty sure that she can snap my spine like a dry twig...

We haven't been able to think of any others, but here's one that might as well be FIRE: a Navy Reserve O-4 who's a Colorado ski instructor. Single & kidless (as far as he knows), in April he logs onto the BUPERS "volunteers urgently needed" website and picks six months' active duty in garden spots like Kandahar or Riyadh or Kosovo. Sometimes he's living in an apartment and eating in restaurants, other times he's living in tents and eating MREs. In October he heads back to the Rockies and puts in a brutal six months of snow-bunny survival training.
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Re: FIREd people we have met
Old 03-27-2005, 09:59 AM   #20
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Re: FIREd people we have met

Silly me, I forgot to mention a friend of mine who semi-ER'ed at about 45 and ER'ed at 46-49, subject to some degree of argument.

She worked long hours sometimes at multiple jobs and over time bought real estate. A little investing in bonds and some sort of bank investment (never was clear if it was a security or equity) her stepdad was involved with. She owned two houses outright (paid down quickly) and rented one or both out at times.

When she semi-retired I always thought I wouldn't feel comfortable in her shoes because she didn't really have enough to retire without relying on a future inheritance. Well, she got the inheritance and has around $1M in her house, partnership in a commercial retail property and bonds and is retired. To hear her tell it, she deserves the inheritance because she was a big part of building that wealth of her mother and stepdad; as far as I know that's true.

Works herself to death in the yard and around the house, though. I keep thinking I should tell her to get a job so she doesn't work herself to physical pain. I've told her for years she's not in her 20's or 30's anymore and furthermore doesn't have to work that hard. Guess it's her way.
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