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View Poll Results: What influence has had on your ability to RE?
Retired - Info on E-R enabled me to retire early 21 10.14%
Retired - E-R helped, but I was planning to RE before I found the forum 60 28.99%
Retired - I was already retired when I found the forum 29 14.01%
Not retired - E-R info is why I'll be able to retire early 8 3.86%
Not retired - E-R has helped but it's not the main reason why I'll be able to retire early 79 38.16%
Not retired - I was already well on track. E-R has had no influence 9 4.35%
Not retired - Even with E-R info I won't be able to retire early 1 0.48%
Voters: 207. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-15-2013, 07:53 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by FIREd View Post
...because I didn't have anything to contribute...
That has never stopped me...

Have Funds, Will Retire

...not doing anything of true substance...
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:21 AM   #42
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My decision to retire happened very quickly. From idea to decision was 30 days. Within the first few days of the idea I found this forum and started using FIRECALC. The concepts I read about in this forum helped me organized my thoughts about my financial status at the time. I discovered that I was unwittingly LBYM. I also needed to wrap my head around the non-financial aspects of ER. Reading Zelinski's "How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free" and reading the "Life after Fire" threads in this forum helped to ease my mind about life after ER.

Happy, Wild, and Free
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:38 AM   #43
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As others have already said, I have always unwittingly been preparing myself to be FI with aggressive saving, LBYM approach to spending, and basic familiarity with investment approaches, etc. – but (a bit surprisingly) had not ever made a decision about when specifically to stop working, much less thought about RE.

However, when my job was eliminated late last year, and my BS bucket was full enough that the thought of another full time job wasn’t too appealing, I started searching the internet for ‘early retirement’ to see what came up. Finding this forum was an enormous gift from the first day I started exploring it, and has provided multiple values as I have rapidly passed through ‘stages of ER’:

- First, just through reading back posts I learned that FIRE was an actual real choice/possibility, and many had been there before (I had never considered it before!);
- Second because of the confidence immediately provided about my financial ability to RE based on FireCALC and member reassurance on my specific circumstances posted in an introductory post;
- Third because of the tons and tons of excellent, practical, concrete advice about financially managing the numerous dimensions of living in RE (many of which I have already acted on, and many more that I plan to);
- Fourth because of the terrific balance of the ‘practical’ and the ‘emotional’/’lifestyle’ aspects of FIRE – it is wonderful hearing about people’s personal journeys from all sorts of starting points. I can already see that this is a place where you can always find something relevant to whatever ‘stage’ of FIRE you are at.
- Fifth because of the very high caliber of members – smart, engaged, experienced, funny, -- and the very positive, constructive tone of the site overall (thank you moderators!).

And I’m sure there are sixth, seventh, and umpteenth more examples of what this site has given to me already, and will no doubt continue to give. I have come to the forum virtually every day since I began considering ‘retirement’ four months ago and have always taken something valuable away with me from every visit. My final day at full-time work was last Friday , and I very much look forward to continuing to grow with all of you as I further define my form of ER going forward. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:58 AM   #44
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to smurray5991: you said it!! And very eloquently. My experience almost exactly.

Thanks everyone!!
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:07 AM   #45
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These forums helped me ER by showing me there were real people out there who had actually done it, and who were making it work.

This site had a huge impact on my ER plans and execution.
And if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know.
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Old 03-15-2013, 12:38 PM   #46
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I voted "Not retired - E-R has helped but it's not the main reason why I'll be able to retire early"

I think I have always had the idea that money was instrumentally valuable to provide the necessities and some fun stuff in life, even when I was a kid. Finding the forum almost 10 years ago (around when I first started working full time post college) helped me crystallize those thoughts into a workable plan that has evolved over the years.

Along the way, it has been a great help to bounce ideas off other smart people working toward similar goals. I enjoy finding tips and/or discussions on investments and taxes. The low expense, index fund, don't-try-to-outsmart-the-market crowd here convinced me to dump the full fee adviser I had for a year or so right out of college and jump to fidelity and vanguard (to my great benefit almost 10 years later).

I think I have managed to sharpen my wit and analytical skills here as well. Going through life, you just don't seem to bump into that many introspective, analytical, critical thinkers as you do here. I mean I know a few in real life, and that's why I value them as friends, but some of you folks are real gems!

I'm pretty sure I would be set to ER at a relatively early age whether I found this forum or not, but my finances and my plans would look different without doubt. And I found a really impressive artichoke dip recipe here.
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (6, 11, and 13).
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:36 PM   #47
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I had a lot of the basics before retiring and discovering this site. I can't recall all the sources, just a lot of reading I guess, and I was always skeptical of 'get rich quick' schemes.

I really got the low-cost index fund 'religion' from Bob Brinker's radio show. Even though he has a 'market timer' newsletter, his holding periods were very long, and the show was more about DCA, indexing, low cost, etc - at least back in the 90's.

Before FIRECALC, I did the back-of-the-envelope calc using the low end of the range I had heard about stock returns, some typical bond returns (seem high now!), and a 3% inflation number. That came up with averaging ~ 8% stock returns with ~ 4% fixed returns for 6% (assume 50/50 AA), minus 3% inflation gets you to 3% WR. That didn't take into account volatility, but it seems conservative enough to agree with some FIRECALC runs.

Originally Posted by obgyn65 View Post
This website has helped me understand how conservative I am and I need to work on this.
Why do you need to work on it? In your later posts, I think you shared that your WR will be low enough that it doesn't matter what your AA is.

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Old 03-15-2013, 02:18 PM   #48
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This forum has provided some excellent and useful advice. I'm grateful. Mostly it confirms what I thought I knew, but wasn't able to talk about with anyone.

I think the forum will help me move confidently toward a much earlier retirement than I would be willing to take otherwise.
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:29 PM   #49
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I couldn't begin to put a price on the information about dryer sheets.

Actually, I had been FIREd for years when I found this site, but it grew on me very quickly. I still visit most days, and will probably stick around for some time yet. Way more than enough "good people" to make up for the few nuisances.
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:46 PM   #50
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I voted "It helped, but not the main reason I will someday retire early", but I was torn between that and "the forum was the primary reason".

There have been some definite beneficial lessons I've learned from the collective wisdom of the forum - mainly, investing more in equities given my age, and the fact that you only need roughly 30x-35x expenses for a very strong, safe ER in your 40s.

And I would be remiss if I didn't give a whispershout out to "pssss.....wellesley"

Not to mention the whole "some things in life are more important than the money, and don't be afraid to leave your job if it's a truly toxic environment".
Dryer sheets Schmyer sheets
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:04 AM   #51
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I joined this forum two years before my job was eliminated. Rather than freak out, I was confidant I could ER based on what I had learned here. And severance was just gravy. Going into my third year everything has gone swimmingly.
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:23 AM   #52
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Originally Posted by Lisa99 View Post
So I'll start. is why we'll be able to retire SIX years earlier than we had planned (and I was already planning to retire at 59) long as an asteroid doesn't hit, and heaven forbid the creek don't rise.

The reason we'll be able to go out and play six years earlier than planned is because before finding E-R I didn't know that financial advisors didn't have our best interests at heart (dumb I know), I didn't know what an Index fund was, I didn't know about Firecalc, I didn't know what an AA was, and I sure didn't know what influence all of the above had our our ability to get to retirement while still in my early 50s.

So it sounds kinda sappy, but to whomever started this forum and for those of you who have kept it alive, vibrant and helpful to us newbies, a sincere THANK YOU!
I had already been retired. Like W2R as forum junkie I was on my second or third early retirement forum when I found this place. I wish it existed back in 1999.

Still even as "veteran ER", quite familiar with things like SWR, AA etc. I've learned much, FIRECalc, Penfed,some great stock and bond picks, info about real estate.

A place to hang with like minded individual, lot of good advice on various matters, and some much needed tough love about evicting a drug using roommate. I've made a couple of real life friends, met several others, and made many virtual ones. All of which is very much appreciated.

But I wanted to single out Lisa and let her know that this isn't advice business isn't a one way street.

I remember her first posts, her frustration with Amerprise, her openness to learning new things. At the same time I was struggling with getting my friend to drop Amerprise, (frustrating when a friend ask you for advice on subject you know and the refuses to take it).

I and know many other member spent quite a bit of time responding to individual financial questions. Sometimes after spend 30 minute or more composing a reply, and never getting a response that post was even read much less paid attention to. I ask myself why do I bother.

But when you get the perfect student like Lisa, it is very good feeling when they announce they have fired their financial adviser. Because you know that you along with many others at least helped one person achieve there financial goals.
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:31 AM   #53
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I came across E-R Forum a few years after leaving the working world, invited here from another forum by an old time member. Funny as it sounds, if I had been a member when I was still working I might not have quit. My portfolio withdrawal rate was too high. A couple more years would definitely have been the preferred option. Managed to work things out, life is great, retirement is a blast, and the forum is a great place to hang out.

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Old 03-16-2013, 08:12 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by clifp View Post
But when you get the perfect student like Lisa, it is very good feeling when they announce they have fired their financial adviser. Because you know that you along with many others at least helped one person achieve there financial goals.
I agree. Many ask but few listen, fewer still follow through.
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:45 AM   #55
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I think I found this a couple of years before I retired at 62. I had already been LBYM and had read "Your Money or Your Life" - back when the advice there was to ladder 7 - 8 % CDs !

Okay, that didn't pan out by the time I was closer to retirement - oh PLEASE send me a 7% CD!!! Anyhow I was busily making spreadsheets to figure out different scenarios before I was 60. I still like my spreadsheet approach. I also was using Quicken just to track my investments and total assets. Push a button and it updates the stock prices. Wheee.

I kind of do this differently than a lot of people here - I just keep an eye on the total $$$ and note that it is still increasing despite almost 3 years of retirement. Should last until I'm 100 and I could always cut back. I checked out FireCalc and all that but I have a lot of financial background and I like investing and watching my dividend stocks. I'm comfortable with my approach.

I loved finding this community. It's so diverse and so many people help me whenever I have a question - most recently the big irritation and joy of Medicare coming soon.

The whole place is just reassuring and friendly and smart. Good job, and thanks!
Retired July 2, 2010 at 62. My only regret is that I couldn't do it sooner.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:12 AM   #56
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I was already retired for about a year when I found this forum. Like smurray5991 I just found the community interesting as well as the just plain common sense that is seemingly so rare anymore.

Not only financial issues but dealing with irresponsible family, elderly parents, and learning how others have dealt with some of the same issues we're tussling with now. It's good to read from others who have "been there, done that" and there is a light at the end of the tunnel that is probably not an oncoming train.
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
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Old 03-16-2013, 11:06 AM   #57
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I came here as I transitioned from long time career to consulting to nada. I knew I had the FI covered, but psychologically have struggled with spending at anything near the SWR. I have used the opinions and assurances of the discussions here to sort of relax about the spending and loosen up on the life-long living way below our means.

One thing I know for sure...if it all went to Hell I could not work a regular job again. My volunteering even avoids any "be here at specific o'clock" ... Until last few years I enjoyed my career; the work changed but so did I. Can relate to a lot of opinions I see here regarding when it's time to bail.
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Old 03-16-2013, 01:47 PM   #58
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I voted "Not retired - E-R has helped but it's not the main reason why I'll be able to retire early". What keeps me from voting "...E-R info is why I'll be able to retire early" are my defined benefit pension and employer health plans when I do pull the plug. ;-) That date is looking ever closer all the time, in a large part due to practices that have been informed or reinforced by the many very helpful discussions here (and, to be fair, over at Bogleheads as well).

It's hard to reconstruct how I found this place. I joined the forum in fall of 2006, but I'm sure I lurked for some time before and have mostly, though continuously, lurked since. It may have been Bob clyatt's "Work Less, Live More" tha pointed me here, or perhaps vice versa, who knows, but there was a close connection in any case.

I am very thankful to have found this group. It certainly has provided much actionable information, helpful perspective and encouragement over the last few years, and on many dimensions of living, in addition to the financial part.

Except for the situational particulars, smurray5991's summation in post 43 above pretty much says it for me. Other comments, too, but too many to point out here.

I also agree with Thinker25 that "The whole place is just reassuring and friendly and smart." Thanks to all, and the mods in particular, for keeping the place going and for helping to keep it that way.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:07 PM   #59
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I actually remember finding for the first time. I was at a particularly low point at w*rk and put a word like "retirement" or some such into my search engine at w*rk. I eventually found this forum. This was actually quite early in the forum's history (2002? or 2003?) Dory36 and intercst were active at the time. I didn't have a home computer, so I only lurked from w*rk.

I think the big thing that the forum did for me was convince me (through FIREcalc and anecdotal examples of board members) that I really WAS FI. From then until ER in 2007, I used the site for "sanity". Reading how others had "done it", were enjoying it, recommended it, etc., were the only things that kept me going some days.

Knowing there was a place to go for unbiased answers was also a huge help.

Hats off to YMMV
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Anything which can be used can be misused. Anything which can be misused will be.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:36 PM   #60
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Before I joined ER and also BH I thought I was doing fairly well saving for retirement because I was comparing myself with my peers/family etc. After a rude awakening here I quickly realized I was mistaken and have since made some significant steps towards my goal of ER.

The first of this year I paid off my house and also doubled my 401k contribution to hit the max. I have generally been fairly frugal throughout my life but recently I have moved further away from a consumer mentality and now I give a lot of thought to purchases and how they will impact my future retirement. I really get a lot of motivation here and it helps me stay the course when most of the people I know are heading on a different path.

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