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Retired Early for 6 years!
Old 10-06-2004, 05:19 AM   #1
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Retired Early for 6 years!

Retired Early for 6 years! - long

As of October 30, I will have been retired for 6 years. Most of the time I've had great fun, and I definitely do not want to go back to working for 'the man'.

How did I get to FIRE?
- I maxed out my 403B (11% matching) and later my Keoghs. Luckily, my 403B allowed me to use Vanguard funds. I also invested any left over money in taxed accounts. Save at least half of each raise.

- We've always LBOMs. I didn't even know you could do otherwise. We didn't deprive ourselves (or our children), and more importantly, we didn't set our children up so they felt that they had to have everything new that came along. So they're pretty much LBYMers themselves.

- I kept a detailed budget starting about 5 years before I retired. That's when I learned that Starbucks adds up. Made me more aware of all purchases. When I was working overseas, I didn't fall into the trap of taking back loads of crystal, etc. just because it was so cheap. I don't need 20 crystal vases.

- Our house is paid off. That is a big relief. And if things really go south, we could easily relocate to a cheaper area, though it would be farther from our family.

- I did have a small inheritance. And I didn't blow it. That speeded up FIRE by a year or so. I would hear of people getting an inheritance and blowing it on a fancy car and a big trip. Yikes!

- And intercst's homepage, of course. http://www.retireearlyhomepage.com/

When did I know I had enough?
This is always hard because it's taking a big step into the unknown. Many of your colleagues and family will think you are totally bonkers, so it is hard to find true support. Luckily my husband is financially savvy and supportive.

I did the analysis on the Retire Early Home Page, and I developed whatif spreadsheets for myself and played with them endlessly. I really wanted out, but couldn't see how to make it 10 years to when I could tap my IRAs (this was before I knew about SEPPs). My husband had the radical idea of combining the assets in both my taxed and non-taxed accounts and seeing if I could live on less than 5% (a number he felt was safe). Afterall, it would all be available someday. I could: less than 4% even. Wahoo!

What I do in retirement
This is getting too long, so succinctly - I rehab birds, garden, play with my cats, exercise, shop during weekdays, write a newsletter, am on 2 boards of directors, give platelets, read, cook, and post on the early retirement boards. I did go overboard on volunteer commitments and I am slowly cutting back on them. By next spring my volunteer activities will only be rehabbing birds, writing the newsletter and giving platelets.

This is my life, and I'm really happy with it.

arrete
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Re: Retired Early for 6 years!
Old 10-06-2004, 01:56 PM   #2
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Re: Retired Early for 6 years!

Quote:
This is my life, and I'm really happy with it.
That is the important one. It doesn't matter what a person does, as long as they are happy with it, and don't do anything that would make the Lord mad at them.
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Re: Retired Early for 6 years!
Old 10-06-2004, 10:33 PM   #3
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Re: Retired Early for 6 years!

Thanks for the update arrete. Happy is good. . . very good.
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Re: Retired Early for 6 years!
Old 10-07-2004, 03:57 AM   #4
 
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Re: Retired Early for 6 years!

Hello arrete! Good post. Some major differences in
your situation and mine, although we have been fully
retired the same length of time.

We never seriously budgeted either before or after ER.
My kids were all "silver spooners' for sure and we lived for years in the fast lane, i.e. ABOVE our means. And, it
didn't matter to me if I had ENOUGH or not. I just decided to go and I quit. Your spouse being financially
savvy is great. I do not have that situation, but my
spouse is a hard worker and certainly carries her weight.
Once she retires we'll need some serious discussion about who is responsible for what, etc.

Yeah, I did about everything wrong and still made it.
Gives some hope to others who may have wasted years
when they could have been getting ready.

John Galt

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Re: Retired Early for 6 years!
Old 10-07-2004, 08:05 AM   #5
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Re: Retired Early for 6 years!

Congrats arrete and thanks for the inspiration!

Quote:
Yeah, I did about everything wrong and still made it. *
Gives some hope to others who may have wasted years *
when they could have been getting ready.

John Galt
Amd thanks also to John for the inspiration. I wasted my 20's (and let's be honest - the first half of my thirties) and didn't plan or even think of retirement. When I think about the loss of compounding returns... *But, for the last couple of years, I have found "retirement religion" and every extra penny I can squeeze out of my budget goes to retirement savings. *Glad to know that even tho I frittered away some investment opportunities, that I still got a shot at making it.
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Great post, Arrete, thanks.
Old 10-07-2004, 10:34 AM   #6
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Great post, Arrete, thanks.

I look forward to following in your footsteps for another five or six decades!

I share your pain on volunteering. It's hard to say "NO!" when you're the retired guy and can't make distracting excuses. I'm quickly learning that direct honesty is best. If people don't understand why you choose not to spend your time on their causes, then you don't want to spend your time with them either.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years and what do you think you'll be doing?
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Re: Retired Early for 6 years!
Old 10-07-2004, 11:48 AM   #7
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Re: Retired Early for 6 years!

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Where do you see yourself in 10 years and what do you think you'll be doing?
I think 10 years might be my max on rehabbing birds. I do have arthritis, and my family gets it in the hands. So I don't think I'll be able to handle the flighty little things forever. Probably can still give platelets, though, if my veins hold out.

Other than what I've been doing all along (gardening, reading) it's hard to tell. After all - 10 years ago I had never heard of rehabilitating wildlife. I like to learn new things, so what I'll be doing in 10 years will probably be something I don't know much about now.

arrete
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