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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 10:51 AM   #41
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Re: When did you see the light?

I always knew the value of savings - my parents were Depression-era kids (Dad born 1929; Mom born 1938) and the concept of saving was hugely important to them and to me throughout my life.

The big difference is that, like many of their generation, they were reluctant to invest those savings in the stock market. Mom made up for that a little by chasing interest rates, etc., but they got started investing too late (and of course Dad had a minor case of get-rich-quick fever back in the 1980's, which didn't help) to ever be truly wealthy.

So I always knew that I needed to save a good chunk of what I made for a rainy day. Then in the very early 1990's, I read YMOYL and the concept of financial independence was like a 2x4 to the brain. Yes, I thought. I can do that.

As I expanded my reading in finances, the concept of early retirement just took hold. Took a bit longer to convince DH of the idea, but we've been actively working toward FIRE since the late 1990's.

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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 11:00 AM   #42
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster
My thinking right now is that I really don't want to not work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster
There are some early retirees that made money in real estate investments and hang out at the coffee house. I do not envy them and hope that my life has more to it than playing checkers/chess all afternoon.
I must admit that I take exception to your characterization of the lifestyle.

First, if you want to work then work! *Especially if you'll be paying Social Security & Medicare taxes!! *However I'd hope that you'd be working at your avocation instead of just for the purpose of imposing some structure on your life. *If you can't believe that you're getting paid to have so much fun, then work as long as you want... if you need the commute and the office environment to feel that your life is has a purpose and is worth living, then there may be a problem.

Second, there are times I whinily wistfully look back to my office days when I could be entertained with shipmates & sea stories, a few meetings, a workout, a good cup of coffee, and an hour or two teaching in the classroom. *Once in a while I'd have to read e-mail and make a few decisions. *Those rose-tinted times seem especially attractive when today you have eight feet of surf to contend with*, tae kwon do, overdue car maintenance, a mango tree to prune, sewing, books to read, insurance paperwork to review, and three weeks of bills to catch up on. *Then I remember all the crap I had to put up with to achieve that few hours of office nirvana, and suddenly the mango pruning seems like a lot of fun. *Especially if I can squeeze in a nap between the surfing and the tae kwon do...

Third, you may be looking at national checkers/chess** champions in training. *Those guys may have spent their entire morning looking forward to spending an afternoon their way, and they probably enjoy it while feeling sorry for you. *If/when you ER then you can spend the rest of your life being responsible for your own entertainment, and someday you may have some worker-bee feeling sorry for you, too!

* White Plains Beach has been at least eight feet since last Friday. *This will be my fourth surf trip in six days and there's another swell coming this Friday. *I'm not sure how much longer I can take this. *Whine, snivel.

** Yes, I was a high-school chess geek. *When the day comes that I can't paddle out anymore then I'll dust off my old chess books, learn the latest twists on the Ruy Lopez, and start hanging out at the neighborhood club. *There might even be a few overconfident players willing to wager a frosty beverage or two on my skills...
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 11:12 AM   #43
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Re: When did you see the light?

Nords:

I didn't mean to offend you about relating to the coffee-house crowd.

Chess and Checkers aside, the people that I refered to seem to be missing something, to be longing for something and it shows. Their lives strike me as empty and I do not want their lifestyle. Actually it is one individual in particular that I would never (nor would you) aspire* to be.

Maybe you have a more balanced ER than they do. You seem to have a variety of things to do, The coffeehouse crowd does not. That's the BIG difference in a nutshell. And believe me, these people that I refer to are not and will never be chess/checkers champions. My personal take on the coffeehouse crowd is that they long for some sense of community, and they take what they can get down at the coffeehouse.

Per your comments about work, I agree there are some some undesirable issues to working. However since the work itself is interesting, and Megacorp pretty much lets me work by myself. It is, on balance pretty good work if you can get it.

I'll quit working when I decide that it's time to hang it up.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 11:17 AM   #44
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
I must admit that I take exception to your characterization of the lifestyle.
Maybe what Nords means in part is that FIRE doesn't meain "forced failure to work" but rather the ability to work gainfully if that is what makes you happy. Emphasis on the INDEPENDENT part, not the "no more work" part. The latter is a personal preference.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 11:21 AM   #45
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster
Chess and Checkers aside, the people that I refered to seem to be missing something, to be longing for something and it shows. Their lives strike me as empty and I do not want their lifestyle. Actually it is one individual in particular that I would never (nor would you) aspire* to be.

Maybe you have a more balanced ER than they do. You seem to have a variety of things to do, The coffeehouse crowd does not. That's the BIG difference in a nutshell. And believe me, these people that I refer to are not and will never be chess/checkers champions. My personal take on the coffeehouse crowd is that they long for some sense of community, and they take what they can get down at the coffeehouse.
I guess I would be hesitant to read too much into some breif encounters with people at a coffeehouse.

That aside, I think that you greatly underestimate the appetite some of us have for simple leisure time. I don't need structure or community imposed on my life. I would be pretty happy left to my own devices. Whiling away days, weeks, months puttering around and relaxing would keep me pretty appy and fulfilled for quite some time, especially after a hectic pace for so many years.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 11:23 AM   #46
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Re: When did you see the light?

Always had a good appreciation for the value of money thanks to Dad working in a simple job and mom staying at home and managing the money. So as my earning grew, I took on larger houses and mortgages as forced savings plans. Never wasted lots of money on cars. Took lots of trips though.

As the earning grew, so did the savings. Retired from a big company early on a pension in 1992, and seriously planned for early retirement for 10 years, finally pulling the pin in 2002. Most important factor is LBYM IMHO.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 11:25 AM   #47
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Re: When did you see the light?

There's a light? Where?

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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 11:29 AM   #48
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
Whiling away days, weeks, months puttering around and relaxing would keep me pretty appy and fulfilled for quite some time...
If you would like a testimonial, let me know....

REW, appily fulfilled by doing nothing
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 11:34 AM   #49
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
I guess I would be hesitant to read too much into some breif encounters with people at a coffeehouse.
Yep, a lot of projection going on. Hard to make value judgments about others' choices.

I imagine that I may someday be the person that my high-powered colleagues look at and think, "What a waste..." I'll know I'm doing something right .
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 11:39 AM   #50
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
Yes, I was a high-school chess geek. *When the day comes that I can't paddle out anymore then I'll dust off my old chess books, learn the latest twists on the Ruy Lopez, and start hanging out at the neighborhood club. *There might even be a few overconfident players willing to wager a frosty beverage or two on my skills...

Hmmm.. another chess geek!!! *I was on a great chess team in high school... *we won almost every tournament in Houston for two years running... I was second board... the guy who was #1 went on to play for The University of Texas... and is a lot better than me... *but I held my own..

It was funny that I stumbled across a tournament when I was in college... signed up just when they were starting... found out it was the college tournament to see who would represent the school in the regional... *won the dang thing... *but, got my a$$ handed to me in regionals... I am maybe a class B, and sometimes held my own with experts.. but never wanted to 'study' to get better...

So, I will take the challenge someday...
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 11:47 AM   #51
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Re: When did you see the light?

Wonder if there is some kind of taekwondo / chess geek connection. Oldest son founded the chess club at his school and there are weeks where it seems like he spends more time doing taekwondo than he does at home.

The light kept shining in my face for years. Similar experience when I was a kid as Justin - except it was a 67 Ford in a roadside park. Made me obsessed with LBYM and FI. Made some money in my early 20's and didn't have a clue what to do with it - except try and spend it. Partner at work, who must have been born thinking about FIRE, spent a lot of time educating me until I broke down and started investing.

Became FI early, thanks to the market of the 90's, and my attitude about work did change. Unlike MasterBlaster's experience, there were days when the boss could still be a jerk and some of my coworkers could occasionaly be counted among the dimmer bulbs. The difference for me was that I knew if it got to be too much for me to handle that I could just walk out the door. I got the corner office (on a much lower floor in the building) and that's when it really sucked. I looked at the money, saw a unhappy future at work, and then remembered that I had a real life somewhere that was fun. I couldn't deny the light anymore.

I think I might go look for a coffee shop where they're playing chess.

Thanks to Rich for starting this thread. It has been a great read.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 12:03 PM   #52
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Re: When did you see the light?

There was a light for me - about age 30 - in the mid 1980's.

Our department was hiring at the time, and my (large) company held a job fair. I was asked to screen people for later in-depth interviews. That afternoon, dozens of guys in their 50's came up to my table. They had all been recently laid off from a very large 'old school' type company. They had counted on lifetime employment there- but times changed. Their skills were outdated.

I will never forget the look on their faces as I (25 years their junior) told them that their skills didn't match our needs, we would not be contacting them. It was sad.

It was a long afternoon of repeat performances. I swore I would never allow myself to be in their position (if I could help it). I was already pretty good at LBYM, but I started learning more about investing, and put some added effort into keeping my skills up-to-date.

Even if you don't plan on early retirement, it might happen to you. It is good to be prepared.

The odd thing is, I did stay with my company for almost 30 years, which did help with health/dental insurance, which did help me to FIRE.

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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 12:07 PM   #53
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Re: When did you see the light?

Hard work and some luck honestly. DW and I are natural savers. Next thing we knew we had a good portion saved and realized ER was within our grasp within a decade.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 12:13 PM   #54
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50
Even if you don't plan on early retirement, it might happen to you. It is good to be prepared.
I think that's one of the more important lessons here. You may like your career now and plan to continue indefinitely, but how can you be sure that you will still like it 10-20+ years from now? Or that the field won't change beyond all recognition? Or that you will be able to keep up with the rapidly changing field in the decades to come and still enjoy what you do even as your body slows down?

So be prepared and remember that old ad - "cash is the ultimate shock absorber"*
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 01:09 PM   #55
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Re: When did you see the light?

I saw the light right from the beginning... but, with 2 kids and putting them first, I could only save the minimum in my 401k in order to get the maximum match from the company. When the kids graduated from college, the 2 bathrooms needed to be fixed (total gut and rebuild). After that the wife became the ex-wife and took everything but my accumulated pension value.
So, at about age 48, I started virtually from scratch - saved and invested like crazy and retired at age 57.5 - that was 2.5 years ago. My new wife of 4 years now,
continues to work and of course, that's a big help. And me? ...
I work part-time 6 months of the year and play golf as much as possible.

Scrooge,
Some years ago, maybe about 6 or 7, predicitions for systems analysts, systems programmers, programmer analysts, and most IT careers were sky high.
Things quickly changed: almost all IT shops ceased developing their own programs and systems and were replaced by off the shelf software coming from places like SAP et.al. There went the predictions... out the window.
Many old time mainframers lost their jobs and were replaced by young kids coming right out of college... kids whose salaries were less than half we oldtimers. Anyway,, you can never count on anything, things change too fast today.



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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 02:43 PM   #56
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Re: When did you see the light?

I'm going to see if I can introduce the light to my nephew and niece (13 and 15) when visiting this month. I'm going to keep it simple, and say this:

I'm going to tell you a secret about life that most people don't know:

1. Lottery winners, after an initial period of a few months, return to their pre-winning level of happiness. That shows you that buying stuff won't make you happier.

2. If you buy less stuff, and LBYM, you can easily save enough money that you don't have to work, and you can do whatever you want while you're still young enough to do it.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 02:45 PM   #57
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bennevis
Scrooge,
Some years ago, maybe about 6 or 7, predicitions for systems analysts, systems programmers, programmer analysts, and most IT careers were sky high.
Things quickly changed:* almost all IT shops ceased developing their own programs and systems and were replaced by off the shelf software coming from places like SAP et.al.* * There went the predictions... out the window.
Many old time mainframers lost their jobs and were replaced by young kids coming right out of college...* kids whose salaries were less than half we oldtimers.
Now that the dotcom crash and subsequent massacre are behind us, there is a lot of demand for IT professionals and not just young ones. A friend of mine, who is in his 40s and very much au courant with the cutting edge of the Intrenet-Java-AJAX world, is doing great. If he decided to quit his current job, he would have 10 offers within days.

However, that's the cutting edge of the field. I know IT professionals in their 40s who are familiar with one (old) thing and one thing only. They live in fear of losing their jobs and being unable to find a new one. At best, they may be able to find a place within some slow moving government agency or SUX MegaCorp that hasn't upgraded in 15 years.

I am in between these two extremes myself. I know some really ancient stuff that is fading away as we speak type as well as some not-so-ancient stuff. With luck, I will transition to the not-so-ancient stuff that I could enjoy doing and stay there for a few more years while feathering the next and planning what to do when I finally pull the plug. We'll see *
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 03:16 PM   #58
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Re: When did you see the light?

I got a couple of twenty-something working class family members to see the light, at least a little bit. Told them what the money they spent on the sandwich they were eating would be worth in 20 years, and in 40 when they retired, if they invested it. Then told them about pretax plans and how they can help them save AND cut their taxes.

I think the realization that they were eating a $50 sandwich made them wake up a little bit. Guess it wasnt that good of a sandwich.

A few months later both were contributing to a pretax plan. Just a little. But its a start.
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 03:28 PM   #59
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Re: When did you see the light?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I'm going to see if I can introduce the light to my nephew and niece (13 and 15) when visiting this month.* I'm going to keep it simple, and say this:
So how's that approach working with your daughter?
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Re: When did you see the light?
Old 08-02-2006, 03:29 PM   #60
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Re: When did you see the light?

I was in 8th grade.* I had two paper routes and wanted to go to Mexico.* My parents said, you have a job, save your money and pay for the trip.* * *So I saved and paid for my two week trip to Mexico.* Ever since I have been saving money.

After 10th grade, I got a job in a pizza place.* I mailed my paychecks away to another state because the savings accounts there had a higher interest rate much like folks use Emigrant or ING or HSBC nowdays.* My boss always joked that I was the only person in the place who didn't cash their paycheck right away.

After college (had to pay for that myself thanks to my parents), I set up a systematic plan to have enough investments by age 40 such that ROI on those investments could replace my salary.* I exceeded that goal by a wide margin thanks to a working spouse whose salary we could live off of.

I guess I could shorten the story: I have always been a natural saver who lives well below my means. *Now that I am older, I don't mind spending money at all.
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