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Old 04-27-2010, 05:27 PM   #61
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Well, I personally do not care if people have no kids in order to ER.

We can ER even with our two children. Wouldn't that make our financial management skills superior?


PS. I would also understand how people decide to be childless because of the peril of raising kids. It is indeed a lot of hassle and not at all risk free. The unknown of how your child will turn out out-weights the financial cost considerations, in my opinion.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:42 PM   #62
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Our child-free status was entirely unrelated to our desire to retire early. However, it has unquestionably been a financial bonanza for us. Those who managed to raise children and still retire early have my respect and admiration.
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:32 PM   #63
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Met and married a very understanding spouse. I'd have been dead by 35 at the rate I was going if she hadn't taken pity on me.
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:52 PM   #64
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To paraphrase Warren Buffett: Being born in the US (new age folks would actually say that, like you choose your own parents. There that should set something off!)

Big one is LBYM and a spouse that feels the same way. All the rest is accounting.
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:23 PM   #65
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1) Married the right person and stuck with her (36 years and counting)
2) Went to college (free in UK, when parents income is low enough)
3) LBYM, no debt at all, ever, except affordable mortgages
4) Had our 2 kids early so they were through college and independent before we were 50.
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:31 PM   #66
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I forgot to say that for us it was LBYM.

Being booksmart and spending too much time for technical studies, I did not know much about investing until my mid 30s. I would have done much better if I had taken some time to study investing like many posters here.
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Old 04-27-2010, 09:32 PM   #67
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1. Raised a wonderful family, always taking the time to participate in family activities, be involved and put family ahead of career.
2. Tried to explore life in all phases, enjoying each day, seeking new experiences and enjoying life to the fullest.
3. Shared what I had.
4. Started saving early. Never saved a lot, but did save steadily taking advantage of 401k plans, employee stock purchase plans, etc.

Today I've been FIRE'd about 4 yrs. Didn't make it until 58 due to a minimum of early LBYM and a lot of fairly intensive living all along. But, no regrets. We're comfortable enough financially, enjoy the grandkids, extended family and friends and plan to keep on keeping on!

I hope for lurkers or others reading this thread that there is no perception that it is necessary to give up any of life's experiences or even live outside the norm in order to accumulate wealth for retirement. Life is to live and enjoy not to spend toiling at jobs you hate or doing without life experiences you'd miss having. A little reasonable planning, some hard work and a little luck and you can pretty much have it all........ within reason.
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Old 04-28-2010, 04:39 AM   #68
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For me, it has to be a series of things - not just one thing:-
1. Right spouse who works hard, careful with money and loves me.
2. Don't go cheap but don't live beyond your means.
3. Work, save and invest.
4. Have a roof over your head and pay off the loan.
5. No kids.
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Old 04-28-2010, 10:12 AM   #69
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To paraphrase Warren Buffett: Being born in the US (new age folks would actually say that, like you choose your own parents. There that should set something off!)
In Buffett's situation, it was not only being born in the USA, but also being born in the USA and coming of age into the most prosperous period of just about any civilization in history, the post-WW2 economic boom. It wasn't just the location or birth, it was also the timing of his birth.

Still, even though a child born here today is already over his/her eyeballs in public debt and probably faces a tougher economic environment than Buffett faced in young adulthood into middle age, there are many worse places to be born.
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:03 AM   #70
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What Ziggy said.

It's tough for a typical 3rd world country resident to be LBYM. Down from 2 bowls of rice a day to what? We tend to take things for granted, particularly the younger generation in my extended family.
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Old 04-28-2010, 12:36 PM   #71
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When I got my career job I starting saving the max into a 401K. At the end of the month, what ever money was still in checking was invested into mutual funds/stocks. never considered the investment money spendable while working. Had 2 kids and started saving in a CUTMA account early on (CA unified transfer to minors account) that allows interest free from taxes and withdrawals with no penalties if spent on education. Was aggressively invested and rarely tweaked the mix - checked the balences in 2006 and found that I was FIRE ready at 49.
Kind of disiplined dumb luck....and not a monent to soon - I was severely burned out
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Old 04-28-2010, 12:49 PM   #72
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I started contributing to an IRA account the first year that it was available to me in 1982. In 1984 I signed up with the first 401k that was available to me. I have contributed the maximum to each of those programs every year since except for one year of involuntary unemployment.
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Old 04-28-2010, 12:54 PM   #73
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Divorce. Huge financial hit, but afterwards, I had control over MY money.
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Old 04-28-2010, 01:26 PM   #74
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I woke up and realized my happiness and freedom depended directly on my acquisition of income-producing assets. I said goodbye to the fairy tales.
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Old 04-28-2010, 01:42 PM   #75
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I didn't have good jobs until I was in my 40s (and they weren't great then, either!) I was an artist and devoted to that but... not enough money. Got an MBA at 35, still had trouble getting a great job. It can happen. But over time things have improved.

So: live below your means and save everything you can - without feeling deprived. Max out your 401k if you have one, max out a roth IRA or regular one depending what works for you. Save in taxable accounts, too. Don't feel that you have to have "new" everything. Buy decent stuff that lasts a long time. Don't try to keep up with the neighbors. Don't ever have credit card debt, and as much as possible buy cars for cash. I have always had a mortgage but not a large one. I will pay it off for tax reasons but at 65.

Did I mention saving money? Investing? Learning about investing? Saving money?

If you do all that - you will be fine. If you get lucky and have a huge salary and all that stuff, great. If you don't you'll still be okay.
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Old 04-28-2010, 03:18 PM   #76
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I'm surprised that you didn't mention going to the Naval Academy. Kinda like forgetting about a degree from Harvard isn't it?
Ouch! Go ahead, rip that band-aid right off. The subject would probably be its own huge psychoanalysis thread.

It's true: I owe a lot to USNA. For starters I met my spouse there, although she spent the next seven years trying to decide if there was anything worth salvaging. She says she went to USNA because it was one of the very few colleges where her parents couldn't just phone her up or drop by to visit anytime. (Lord knows they tried.) It was also a great way for me to escape my family.

USNA taught me how to persevere in the face of adversity, although I was pretty darn stubborn & obstinate to begin with. I'm very good at ducking or absorbing shotgun blasts to the face, too, although I'm not sure what type of life skill that may be.

USNA also taught me a lot of leadership skills (almost as many negative as positive examples) that I'd never have learned anywhere else. And I certainly had the opportunity to take charge of many more taxpayer weapons systems & budgets than anyone in their right mind, let alone the Navy, should have trusted me with.

USNA taught me an exceptional degree of deprivation frugality and an incredibly low standard of living that makes federal prisoners most LBYMs look like Paris Hilton competing against Donald Trump for Brewster's millions. And the submarine force was a combined masters/PhD/postdoc in the subject.

So yeah, you're right dammit, USNA is probably right up there at the top of the list.

But I don't have to be happy about it. And I'll spend a lifetime recovering from it. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to my friends, let alone my kid.

Here's a conundrum: if a military academy is the key to ER, then where the heck are all their ER'd alumni?
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Old 04-28-2010, 05:24 PM   #77
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Plebe Year at the Naval Academy established my lifetime baseline for pure unadulterated misery. It was, far and away, the very worst year of my life. But having lived through it, I have been able to travel through the rest of my life secure in the knowledge that 1) I am survivor, no matter what life throws at me and 2) the worst is behind me and life can only get better.

However, as Nords wisely points out, if USNA were all it took, every grad would retire early. The great majority do not.
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Old 04-29-2010, 12:58 PM   #78
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Moved back to Canada from the States in 2001 when the exchange rate was 1.5. This allowed us to buy our home outright in Canada and we were mortgage-free by the time I was 29 and DH was 31 .
Dirty market timer!

PS We bought our condo in PV the last time the dollar was at par (Nov/07)
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Old 04-29-2010, 01:10 PM   #79
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I'm not upset. No kids either.
It is obvious that there is no common thread on this thread.
- 2 kids
- divorced
- good selection of new partner (7 years before ER), 15 years and counting...
- current partner contributed half of our net equity
But it was still having clear goals at every point of my life. Even now.
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Old 04-29-2010, 03:16 PM   #80
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My mother didn't think I was very bright so she told me to learn how to cook and marry a Doctor. So I did. Picked the right girl, she needed a cook. 35 years later I'm still cooking for her. We are both government employees. We are both cheap on clothes etc. She owns 9 cameras and 7 computers. (did I say she is a techie?)
Bought the broken down house I grew up in from my father 30 years ago. I still live in it but it is nicer. Supervised the renovation
No second home
2 great kids, never cared what they cost.
Neither of us ever stopped working. I did most of the school trips, and other time eaters.

Older child getting a very marketable Ph.D. Younger graduates from law school next week
37 when I bought my first new car (Van for the kids)
Never paid credit card interest
Took up scuba diving at 45, by then we could afford a hobby
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