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View Poll Results: Who is FIREd or considering FIRE with school age kids
FIREd with school age kid(s) 17 25.76%
Considering FIRE with school age kid 35 53.03%
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Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 12:21 PM   #1
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Retiring with kids highschool age or under

My thread about find a place to RE with kids wasn't very popular. Many of you considering this on the board?
For those who did: Any regret?
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 12:37 PM   #2
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

I think even on this board, FIREing with kids high school age or younger is still fairly rare. There are some who have already, and quite a few of us (like myself) aiming for it.

My biggest regret at the moment is only seeing my 4 month-old awake for an hour in the morning - he's asleep by the time I get home from work (I know, I should consider myself lucky that he sleeps so well at night!). But it sucks to kiss him goodbye as I head out the door to work and think "I'll see you tomorrow ..."

So I'm aiming to FIRE before my child(ren) runs off to college.
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 12:39 PM   #3
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

This topic is of interest to me. Two daughters, age 9 months and age 2 years. Will FIRE in 7-10 years most likely. Me and DW are still in our 20's, and more kids may be on their way in the next few years.

If we have no more kids, the youngest will probably still be in elementary school when we pull the plug. Or if we have more kids, they may not even be in school yet when we FIRE.

Pros are we will get to spend more time with them and may be able to take awesome vacations together (and do other stuff with them) while they still think mom+dad are remotely cool.

Cons are that we can't up and travel the world perpetual-traveler style for a year or two like the childless. And we can't as easily take advantage of last-minute or midweek travel deals when the kids are in school.

I've considered living abroad for a year or two with the kids and either homeschooling or enrolling them in some sort of American school abroad, or a reasonably acceptable local school of some sorts. Summers abroad for a few months when the kids are out on summer vacation are a definite possibility and $$ has been allocated in the FIRE budget for this type of trip. This may be a short-lived possibility since I'm guessing once the kids hit 10-13, they will not want to spend most of their days with their parents, but rather with their friends during the summers.

Otherwise, we don't really have any plans to move permanently to a new ER locale. All our family is here in Raleigh.

I'm not too worried about the kids thinking they have slacker parents. We'll probably find something to do here and there to keep us busy - this would be for fun, not to keep up appearances.

What are other's plans looking like?
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 01:14 PM   #4
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

I have a 10th grader and an 8th grader.

For me the uncertainty associated with school age kids is a big factor discouraging RE. (What if they both go to Stanford or MIT and I have to pay for it )

Inflating health care costs are another concern.

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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 01:18 PM   #5
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

I have a 12 year old and a 17 year old just finishing high school. When I joined this forum I mentioned my concern with there college or University funding and the consences was........let them worry about it. Well easier said then done. There my kids!
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 01:37 PM   #6
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

I'm probably going to have to figure this out at some point.

Right now my spreadsheet says I can FIRE at about age 55, but that is based on my current spending level. Currently over 50 cents of every dollar goes to kid expenses, and another 30-40% goes to taxes and mortgage expenses. The remaining 10-20% is for everything else that I spend money on (utilities, food, travel, clothing, insurance, auto, etc.).

Back of the napkin says that if 50% of my expenses are kids, then the FIRE stash I really need is half of that. Since it takes 7-10 years to double your money using the rule of 72, that means I can probably subtract that time off my FIRE schedule. So that gets me to 45 maybe. But at 45, I will still have a 14 and 12 year old at home, who will still require me spending money on them.

So I dunno.

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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 01:56 PM   #7
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

Quote:
Originally Posted by perinova
Many of you considering this on the board?
For those who did: Any regret?
I ER'd when our kid was 9˝, which I regard as the beginning of the "danger zone". The last five years together have been the best ever.

Jarhead mentioned once that he kept up the image of going to work long after he ER'd for the sake showing his teenager a "normal" routine. Years later, when he mentioned the subterfuge, she pointed out that she was so busy dealing with being a teen that she (a) wouldn't have noticed and (b) wouldn't have cared. Even today our kid seems to think that when she leaves for school in the morning, we go into suspended animation and then re-animate shortly before her return-- to be in the kitchen baking cookies before we give her money and drive her somewhere.

I think that kids don't really care whether you're Donald Trump or Condi Rice or Dilbert's janitor. They just care about how much time you spend with them. To test this, see which they remember more clearly-- the 1,473 performances of theirs that you drove them 54,789 miles to attend (sports, school events, theater, whatever) or the one that you missed.

A friend of ours is approaching the big 5-0. When we drove him home from a business trip his three-year-old was waiting in the garage squealing "Daddy!!!" Priceless. But he says he's going to work until he's 65 to afford Montessori/Waldorf, private school, college, wedding... and so it goes until he's a grandfather and can start putting aside money for their college funds.

Our kid thinks ER is the coolest job ever. For some reason she's decided that she's going to ER right after college. We tell her that we hope she finds her avocation but that if she's FI then she'll always have choices.
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 02:22 PM   #8
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

I ER'ed when I had three kids under 6...now we have a 4th ranging from 11->4.

Any regrets? no way, it was my main motivation to ER in the first place. So I could be around and enjoy them while they still think I am the greatest

We all know plenty of folks that spend their whole lives at work, leaving home early to go to work and getting home when the kids are in bed and basically missing out on the entire childhood....not for me thanks.

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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 02:27 PM   #9
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

I ER'ed at 47 with a 6th and an 11th grader. College is handled for both daughters, scholarship (hopefully) or not, so no worries for me there. I was already very involved with their activities (coaching soccer, basketball, being a softball and volleyball dad, attending the older daughters high school games, etc.). Now that I have plenty of spare time, life couldn't be better. I've visited a couple colleges with the older daughter, and we've grown even closer. I've only got a year left before she goes away to school, so I am going to make the most of it. Have more time with the 6th grader, but I know how fast the time just flies by.

Bottom line is that I wouldn't trade the past year and the upcoming ones for anything. I'm a truly lucky guy to be able to spend my time with my kids rather than w***ing!

Cheers,
Wheel

edit-corrected a typo.
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 03:16 PM   #10
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

I have a 35 year-old, a 32 year-old and an 8 year-old. My 8 year-old is one of the major reasons that I'm retiring at the end of this month. I want to spend more time with her before her Daddy becomes irrelevant!
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 04:23 PM   #11
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheel
I've visited a couple colleges with the older daughter, and we've grown even closer.
We're entering that stage ourselves, and trying to get our fickle-minded teen to go through the database and pick out a half-dozen acceptable alternatives to her USNA obsession.

Anything you wish you'd done better or differently before/during/after the college visits?
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 04:24 PM   #12
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

Retired last year w/ a then 15yo daughter and a 12yo son - no regrets -- we have been able to spend alot of time skiing, hiking, riding, travelling etc. We have been having a blast!

As far as college - - I have made it clear that I will pay for state schools...if they want Harvard..they are gonna kick in!

Sure, it would be great to still be getting a paycheck every 2 weeks....but the price is to LARGE
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 04:36 PM   #13
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

We have a 6 year old, a 10 year old and a 12 year old. I am planning to ER at the end of June at 44 years old. To make myself feel better, I have now bought 4 years of Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) credits (available here in WA state as a college savings plan) for each of them. This guarantees that no matter what, they will have at least 4 years of public college paid for (if they have a shot at Stanford or MIT - I'll have to address that later). Health care will be a high deductible HSA plan. If I could get them to stop eating and wearing clothes, the picture would look even brighter!

When the kids found out I am going to retire, their big question was "Does that mean we'll be poor?" I could have given them the schmaltzy line about how rich we'll be cuz we're spending time together as a family while all their friends parents are busy working 60 hr weeks to buy the Ipods and BMW's- but what the heck, it's about time they learn about LBYM, so I said "yes, we WILL be poor".
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 04:42 PM   #14
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

Quote:
Originally Posted by mb
I have a 10th grader and an 8th grader.

For me the uncertainty associated with school age kids is a big factor discouraging RE. (What if they both go to Stanford or MIT and I have to pay for it )



MB
I expect to retire in the next 6 to 15 months (I tried earlier this year & didn't get the buyout offer) My older son is done with school and now married & working. Younger son is a senior in HS, off to college in the fall. My concern about college costs was a big element of continued work. When he was in 6th grade he was at the top of his class in math & science (at a very good school) and I thought this kid was going to end up at Stanford, MIT or CALTECH. But each year since then he has 'regressed towards the mean' and got all of 650 math SAT, good but not good enough for top level schools. He does get great grades in class & is diligent. He got admitted to a couple UC sites but not the one he wanted so he is off to a Cal State college in the fall and very happy with that.

So I,m kind of set, I saved enough to cover a good part of the costs already. I expect his work & maybe scholarships to cover some of the costs, but really I know I have enough now. The other issue is he is good at math & science but wants to study music. I told him 'music is a great minor' and I meant it, not a put down, just best fatherly advice. He is somewhat interested in psychology. I wonder if the world is ready for a Mohawk haired, rock drummer therapist?
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 05:53 PM   #15
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

Quote:
Originally Posted by genghis
"Does that mean we'll be poor?"
When I was 16 years old my father, an EE, quit a very profitable career selling the Westinghouse generating plants that are attached to their nuclear reactors. (I'm not sure why he wasn't selling the whole thing, but maybe that had to do with the reason he quit.) He was 43 years old and had been with the company since he was a college intern. He didn't work for nine months between 1977-78 at what was later recognized as a great time to be selling utilities, but maybe Westinghouse was unable to pull out of its Dilbert phase.

He made what he called a "general public announcement" at the dinner table: "I quit my job and I'll be looking for another one." My 13-year-old brother had the same question: "Are we poor?" My father said he didn't think so and that he'd let us know if it got to be a problem.

The next nine months seemed to be the happiest time of his life. All the house maintenance got done, all the repairs got caught up, and he played more golf than I'd ever seen him play before. I know that because I had an after-school & weekend job at the local golf course and I'd see him almost every day. ("Hey, kid-- stop staring and get to work!!") I'd come home from school and hear Beethoven's 9th blasting full-force from the stereo speakers while he was vacuuming or cleaning the kitchen. He eventually found another EE job and worked for eight more years before hanging it up at age 52.

So although quitting his job could have been a traumatic experience for everyone, I remember it as being one of the happiest times of his life. If he was worried about having a job or maintaining his community status, he sure hid it well.

30 years later the phrase "General Public Announcement" is still greeted by our family as a combination of "Good news!", "Is it baaaaad?", and "Ruh-roh!"

Quote:
Originally Posted by yakers
I wonder if the world is ready for a Mohawk haired, rock drummer therapist?
You mean the guy wearing the black t-shirt, right?

Or is there an announcement pending from the other guy in the photo?
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 08:44 PM   #16
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

Sure did. In 2000 I had a 3 year old and a one year old. Some acquaintances thought they were my grandkids at my retirement "party". That's why my handle here is RE2Boys.....Retired Early with 2 boys.

When I was reviewing the family's financials and trying to decide if I should take the early out package, it occurred to me that I was being handed an opportunity that few Dads have......to be free from the pressure of a career job when my kids were very young. I was 50 at the time. The boys are now 10 and 8.

I have never ever regretted it. But it is not what most folks would think of as a typical retirement. I'm currently at the mercy of the school calendar, usually volunteer to help out in youth activities since I've got more time.......soccer coach, cub scout leader, treasurer, etc.

But it's not like the kids don't see me work, I work for a CPA firm doing income tax returns from January thru April. Also work for the local police department as a school crossing guard and directing traffic.

With my pension, I typically only withdraw about 2% per year from savings and investments so you could say we are LBYM, but come teenage and college years, I'll probably be occasionally hitting at least 4% for those years.

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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-04-2007, 11:04 PM   #17
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

I'm going through this exact concern trying to FIRE with a 1 year old and the potential for another in the near future. It's great to read everyone's positive experiences in FIREing with kids. I've never really worried about the impact of FIREing on the kids - I figure they'd enjoy having their old man around (at least until they get to junior high/high school age). My concern was more financial, with the uncertainly to trying to estimate expenses as they grow up (and get more expensive each year). Estimating health insurance with COBRA and HIPAA guaranteed plans was also an eye opener!

Anyways, I thought I finally made up my mind to go part-time mid-year, but some recent project aquisitions have me receiving 'combat pay' (almost 50% more pay than last year), so I think I'll probably stick with w*ork for another year or so.

Hoping to post more once I FIRE and have some more insight to offer!
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-05-2007, 12:37 PM   #18
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

I retired the summer before my daughter's senior year in high school. She was 17 at the time. My DH is still working though. I knew that if something happened to DH, I could financially take care of DD and myself with my pension and our assets. We had already paid for 4 years of in state tuition for college. She has since qualified for a scholarship that will pay in state public school tuition and necessary fees for 4 years and another scholarship for $1000.00. The huge battle now is that she is wanting to get married and live with new spouse who is in the Navy. So much for the best made plans! She is a very intelligent person, but is clearly thinking with her heart now. I have all of the family trying to talk some sense into her about this, but who knows what will happen!
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-05-2007, 12:59 PM   #19
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamer
The huge battle now is that she is wanting to get married and live with new spouse who is in the Navy. So much for the best made plans! She is a very intelligent person, but is clearly thinking with her heart now. I have all of the family trying to talk some sense into her about this, but who knows what will happen!
Her "heart"-- yeah, that's what she's thinking with. Her fiancé, also, right? My "heart" was pretty full of it at that age, too.

I'm sure this matrimonial harmony has nothing to do with the tax-free housing allowance that they'll be eligible for when they're married (especially if he's junior enough now that he's required to live in the barracks). Or the educational scholarships she'll be eligible for as a military spouse. Or her higher hiring preference as a military spouse. Or, should it become applicable, the military's high-quality childcare system & low fees.

Maybe this is more practical than emotional after all. Maybe you should congratulate her on her perceptiveness and tell her how impressed you are that it's not just hormones! (That kind of parental praise always makes the offspring suspicious.) And tell her from me that I just hope no one gets their assets shot off. Maybe she wants to read up on the concept of "the emotional cycle of deployment".

Eh, both my parents & spouse's parents thought we were wacko crazy kids for marrying sailors... 20 years ago. Right before my deployment, too.

You can take a look at the housing allowances (BAH & COLA) at: https://secureapp2.hqda.pentagon.mil/perdiem/

Pay & BAS are at:
http://www.dfas.mil/militarypay/2006..._Pay_Table.pdf

Or PM me his paygrade & location and I'll tell you what I think the numbers are.
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under
Old 05-05-2007, 01:06 PM   #20
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Re: Retiring with kids highschool age or under

This was the reason we semi-FIRED as well. Our son was 3 at the time (2005) and my wife and I were in the Army. Not really keen on doing another unaccompanied tour without the family we both decided to get out. Our challenge was that while we had saved up a lot for our age (32 and 34) we couldn't live comfortably on the income in the US. We decided to move to Panama which took care of the financial piece and now we get to spend a lot of time with our son. He is learning spanish and with the time that we have we teach him about money (he buys his own bananas at the fruteria) and other life lessons that we probably would not have had time to do. No regrets and I honestly think it was the best move we ever made for everyone in the family. Just like Nords said, he doesn't care that we stay at home and don't have typical jobs like his friends. All he cares about is spending time with his family and having fun.
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