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Reporting in after FIRE
Old 03-14-2019, 11:55 AM   #1
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Reporting in after FIRE

I suppose I am a bit late on giving an after FIRE status report since I stopped going to work in August 2016. I was logging on to post a question in another thread so, I thought I would file a quick report.

First, I am very grateful for all the help and inspiration that this forum provided during my pre-FIRE years. I owe a lot of my success to the information I learned here.

I am not as early-out as most here, but I did make it out before 60. I had originally hoped for 50, then revised to 55 and so on. Finally my boss was kind enough to make the decision for me.

I probably could have stopped working much sooner, but I am very cautious and was shooting for a 2% withdrawal rate. So I was probably FI long before I stopped working. This led to me having a very low BS threshold and a propensity to tell the truth to management. I guess I had a lot of very specific historical technical knowledge, so they put up with me.

Well, finally my boss began to make my life miserable and his picking on me reached a crescendo just before the Fourth of July holiday in 2106. I did not want to ruin the weekend for my co-workers, so I waited until Tuesday to come into the office and give my notice. I suspect he was trying to make me leave, but he may have just been desperate for results that were not happening. In any case, I was ready to go and he could have just asked me to leave and I would have been happy to.

Despite all of the retirement calculators and other mechanisms that I had been reading about here, I basically made a very crude spreadsheet with some really pessimistic assumptions: a 15% total portfolio drop in the first year; a 3% rate of return and a 5% rate of inflation. That got me to age 90 or so. I figured it was close enough for government work.

Although I did try to track and make a very detailed spreadsheet of my last year and projected expenses, I seem to have been low by about $20,000 a year for the first partial year and first full year. I think the second full year dropped back a bit closer to my original estimate. I just use a very crude measure, basically running all my spending through one checking account and taking the starting and ending balances and any transfers into the account to come up with my annual spending.

I know some of you will cringe at my lack of precision, but to be frank, once I pulled the rip cord I found that I was not that interested in micro-managing the financials. I have a very conservative "set it and forget it" asset allocation. I am probably leaving some money on the table, but I am more concerned with avoiding a sudden heavy loss than with building a huge nest egg.

I have hardly been on the forum, but I have been very busy with other things. I got involved with doing a lot of volunteer work at my church and have been doing some historical research by reading old Spanish newspaper articles that the National Library of Spain puts on their web site. No small feat given that I do not speak Spanish. Thank God for Google Translate.

I have been very happy to see my new-style tax returns. I did not have to pay any federal tax for the first full year and was able to book some capital gains at the 0% rate and to convert some of my IRA to ROTH. I did the same for the 2018 tax year, but having an ACA health insurance policy, my AGI had to be kept lower so I had less wiggle room to play with things.

So, in conclusion, thanks to all that have helped me directly and indirectly on this site. I hope many of the forum members still working have a quick and enjoyable FIRE.


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Old 03-14-2019, 12:03 PM   #2
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Congrats, Joe! Just because calculations are more complex, doesn't make them better. As long as you have the flexibility to adjust your lifestyle if SHTF, then close enough for government work will most all of the time work.

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Old 03-14-2019, 02:10 PM   #3
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Thanks for this inspirational update, Joe! Glad things have turned out so well for you - congratulations!
"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 03-19-2019, 04:22 PM   #4
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How did the PITA boss take it?
What the heck is going on ???
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Old 03-20-2019, 02:43 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by albireo13 View Post
How did the PITA boss take it?
He made a show of being shocked and disappointed that I was leaving.

In fact, after I sent the email with my resignation, he called me and during the phone call asked if I would stay until December (remember this is July). Before I even realized what I was doing I reflexively shouted into the phone "NO". I could tell he was stunned by my sudden response.

I gave four weeks notice and worked hard to document all that I did for the sake of my co-workers that were left behind. Despite us constantly telling them, the company would not invest in any staff to have any redundancy. We ran very lean and each person had there stuff they did with no one else knowing what it was.

They tried to talk me into staying during the four weeks, but as far as the big boss, I suspect he was just going through the motions to appease the other workers who really did want me to stay.

I told him that I would extend my notice period by a month or two if he would hire two more workers to lighten the load on the other guys. He didn't do that, so I left at the beginning of August.

Although I did like the pay check, I don't regret stopping work for one moment.

At a party last summer I recommended that one of my friends and his wife should consider retiring and he gave me the standard line of "you need to save up enough money to make it to 95 these days . . ." Unfortunately he dropped dead one week ago today. I think he was only 61 or so.

I may be winging it on the financial calculations and I may be eating cat food when I am 90, but if I don't make it that long at least I won't be complaining that I should have retired sooner.

Oh. Actually, I can be complaining that I should have retired sooner, but I guess I will have to settle for retiring at 59.5 like I did. At least it was not 67.

BTW - This boss took over about a year before I quit. The company (about 30 people in our little section) had gone nearly 10 years without a single person quitting. Once he took over, he got rid of a few; I quit; he fired a couple more and a couple of good people figured it better to leave under their own control.

I was told that at one staff meeting he asked: "Why is everyone leaving all of the sudden? It's not me is it?"
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Old 03-21-2019, 07:45 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by joesxm3 View Post
At a party last summer I recommended that one of my friends and his wife should consider retiring and he gave me the standard line of "you need to save up enough money to make it to 95 these days . . ." Unfortunately he dropped dead one week ago today. I think he was only 61 or so.
I'm currently struggling with OMY feelings although the calculators are saying I'll be okay. It's stories like this one ^^^ that slap me in the face and say "wake up - time is short". (I'm 60)

I was told that at one staff meeting he asked: "Why is everyone leaving all of the sudden? It's not me is it?"
And if anyone answered "yes", they were immediately fired, right?

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