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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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Poll:What influence has had on your ability to retire early?
Old 03-14-2013, 07:26 AM   #1
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Poll:What influence has had on your ability to retire early?

This is my first poll, so bear with me if my logic isn't completely solid.

What I'm wondering is how much influence did finding have on your ability to retire early or your future ability to retire early? I'll leave how you define "Retire Early" to the individual.

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Old 03-14-2013, 07:37 AM   #2
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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!

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Old 03-14-2013, 08:13 AM   #3
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I'll throw in my 2 cents on this question. When I first found the site I was already three quarters of the way to my ER due to LBYM, saving/investing and most of all having the DW and myself in defined benefits retirement plans. has reinforced many of my practices and has also assisted me in having something that I enjoy and find as a positive force to share with other folks that are attempting to "find their way" to ER someday. Oh, yah it's good for a good laugh once in a while!!

Class of 2013 (9 w*rking days to go)
DW 2012
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:22 AM   #4
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This forum introduced me to fire-calc, dryer sheets and various little nuggets about different strategies. But I had the core savings and index investing knowledge already.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:25 AM   #5
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Reading about withdrawal rates on this forum was for me, when it all clicked.

I was wildly saving money (and I say wildly because there was no rhyme or reason to anything I was doing) and even though the internet offers an abundance of articles, it was the discussions of topics that made learning possible.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:37 AM   #6
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I was FI but not yet retired when I found this forum.

I have certainly learned many things here directly, or often been sparked to research retirement concepts further elsewhere (just as valuable if not more). I read/follow other helpful resources now that I might not have found without finding first. I suspect this forum is helpful for almost all participants to (widely) varying degrees. If there is anyone who can't learn anything here, I'd be surprised.
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:37 AM   #7
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I would not say the forum enabled me but it sure helped alot ! There is much more to this than the financial aspect and the discussions here are very valuable. It certainly had validated my original plan and helped shape the final plan.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:45 AM   #8
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I just retired after the "the several more years" syndrome and the crash/rebuild. and Firecalc were very helpful, and have driven home some points that I already had figured out myself or had learned elsewhere. But the point is that they were driven home.

Find Joy in the Journey...
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:49 AM   #9
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I've planned to FIRE even in my early 20s; I was quite sure that working until 65 or 67 just wasn't for me. I guess that's been a big help, as I was already bitten by the bug even early in my career, which encouraged me to put 10% or more into my 401K even when I could barely afford it. That more than anything is why I'm able to plan joining the Class of 2016, when I'll be 50.

As much as anything, the community here has helped ground me in a society which often judges people (and their value) based on their work. Note how when you first meet someone, the most common question is, "so what do you do?" -- and you know they mean WORK. Blecch. It's a culture that seems to romanticize work, particularly paid, career-oriented work, and sometimes I might feel like some kind of mutant if I didn't have a lot of kindred spirits to remind me that I'm not as odd or "defective" as the conventional culture would otherwise make me feel...

And living vicariously through others who have DONE it also motivates me to stay the course.
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:02 AM   #10
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I am a forum junkie (formerly a Usenet junkie back in the day), and I like to read and/or participate in forums that reflect my interests du jour.

So, when retirement became a big interest to me, I looked around for a great retirement forum, found this one through Vanguard Diehards on M*star (before the Bogleheads forum was formed), lurked here for several years, and eventually joined and began participating.

Now that I have retired, retirement is my daily life and I still enjoy posting here.

The forum was great as I approached ER, and I imagine it is for others as well. After all, when we retire we are embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime journey that takes us someplace we have never been before. It's nice that we don't have to do this in a complete vacuum.
"You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." - - - C. Columbus
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:37 AM   #11
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When I found the forum,, I was already financially independent and wanted to retire but I didn't know how.
Seriously, I didn't know anything about safe withdrawal rates or that there were other people who had already taken the leap. From this forum I learned about all sorts of pitfalls that I might very well have stepped into during the 8 years I've been without a j*b.
Reading the stories and advice from the members that were already retired gave me the assurance that I could, in fact, walk away from w**king for a paycheck.

This forum has improved my life. Period. Thank you.
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Old 03-14-2013, 09:59 AM   #12
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For me it is the personal accounts. I am 15 months from retirement am thinking of leaving at 9 months. Reading what people say about the BS factor has really helped me!
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:02 AM   #13
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XYZ, yes, that's what I meant - there's so much more to the retirement decision than financial (though that helps!) - that is really what is helping me make my decision. I get a pension so I know what I will be getting every month for life - the question is - can I live on that? Answer - depends upon how I live...
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:18 AM   #14
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I found this forum in 2007 when I was looking for info on repurchasing some of DH's refunded years of service in his pension plan. I understood all the details of what it would cost, how to pay for it and the benefits of buying it back. I just needed a place to present the info and see if anyone else saw something that I was missing.

I got some good advice and then found that the real value here is learning that many people retire early for a variety of reasons. It's a great community of people in a similar stage of life or hoping to reach that stage of life. I love reading posts about what people do with their time and money and their homes and travel, pets and families.

DH's decision to retire didn't come from the folks here, it came from his employer deciding that he was done. But when that happened I already had a strategy and plan. What I learned here is that it's more important to look at your own situation rather than charts and graphs in Money magazine or on MSNBC.
Married, both 61. DH retired June, 2010. I have a pleasant little part time job.
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:40 AM   #15
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DH's Megacorp offered to buy out his pension last year, and I was desperate for advice. I think I first posted here about what to look for in a financial advisor. It was here I learned about NAFPA, and consequently found a great, no-nonsense advisor I'll throw a little cash at every few years to help me stay on track.

Here I've learned about asset allocation, watching out for high fund fees, and withdrawal rates. And of course FIRECALC, which I think I use weekly (yes, I donated). I had hoped to retire in the very near future, but that probably would have been disastrous. I know I need to wait ~4 years (mainly to get DH on Medicare). Now I just need to avoid OMY syndrome. Or a layoff.

Thanks to everyone here.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:01 PM   #16
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I found this forum in 2005 after reading "Work Less, Live More", my first real introduction to the concept of FIRE. I didn't join the forum until 2007 because I didn't have anything to contribute, but this forum has been a guiding light through our FIRE journey almost from day one.

Based on what I read on the forum, I moved our money from Ameriprise to Vanguard in 2005, saving thousands of dollars a year in brokerage fees and commissions; I started tracking our expenses in Quicken in 2006; I increased our savings rate steadily by keeping expenses in check; I didn't panic during the 2008-2009 crisis and actually took advantage of the deep market discount to build some serious FIRE stash during the recovery; I improved our portfolio's tax efficiency; I learned to prepare our own taxes; etc...

Last night, DW and I celebrated quietly an important financial milestone with a glass of bubbly and we toasted, for it has had a great influence on our ability to FIRE.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:11 PM   #17
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I chose "enabled" for much the same reason as some others have mentioned - it gave me the courage to take the plunge. We were FI and I didn't even realize it because I had always thought I would have to w*rk until I was 58 (I had long planned to ER, just not as early as I did). It also gave me confidence that ER would be a great experience, not just the absence of w*rk. Finally, it's a place where I can learn from and share with other generally like-minded folks (at least on many topics!) whereas most of my in-person friends and acquaintances are still in the workforce.
Thanks to everyone here who makes this such a wonderful forum! And thanks lisa for a great poll!
"One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute." William Feather
ER'd Oct. 2010 at 53. Life is good.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:36 PM   #18
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I didn't realize just how close we were to FI and therefore the possiblity of ER.

I always knew I wanted to retire on or before age 55. And a small inheritance made that seem within reach. But then the market collapsed in 2008 and I started to despair.

The tools (firecalc especially - but also other ones I learned about here like i-orp, finding out I had access to financial engines through my 401(k) administrator, etc.) and the knowledge made me realize I'm closer than I thought.

I also learned a lot more about asset allocation, withdrawal strategies, income streams, etc.

By dialing in all of these - I was able to take my budget data (was already tracking) and actually gain some confidence that ER is within reach.

I'd probably end up working a LOT more years if I hadn't found this place.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:52 PM   #19
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Not retired and recently found this forum. I had the rudiments of the concept but was not one to plan the retire early. I had planned on age 60 all the time. I am still on track for that but I still have enough assests to retire early if I were sent packing by the system. Great forum. Thanks for all the help.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:55 PM   #20
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Posts: 3,805 didn't enable my retirement, but I keep finding ideas that help. Plus I am able to get an idea of "average" retirement planning and where I'm being different. Though I've got to say, there's a larger variance to that average than I would have thought.

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