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Another way to gauge your FIRE progress
Old 07-24-2008, 05:13 PM   #1
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Another way to gauge your FIRE progress

I'm in my early 30s, and sometimes even thinking about being able to FIRE at 40 seems like a lifetime away (even though I know in my head that it's not all that far away, and that it's a very early retirement age).

One thing I just realized today, while playing around with FIREcalc and Financial Engines (through Vanguard) is that as of today I could retire when I'm 58, with 100% success in FIREcalc/Financial Engines, without saving another penny from here on out. And completely discounting any possibility of Social Security income.

Not too shabby!

To me, 58 doesn't seem like very much of an "early" retirement, but there are quiet a few among us who plan to FIRE in their 50s or later, and my opinion will likely change with age. It made me feel like I've already achieved some level of "success" instead of only focusing on how far I still have to go.

It's also kind of cool to know that I could seriously downshift, live a semi-FIREd life, and not derail a traditional retirement, since we're living on essentially half of my income right now.

Anyway, nothing earth-shattering, but to me it was a new way of looking at things. Now the challenge is to just keep plugging away until I get that "age 58" number down low enough to where I'm satisfied.
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Old 07-24-2008, 05:48 PM   #2
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I had a goal to 'be able' to retire at 45 from the time I was in college. I am now 46, not retired (for another year or two). At exactly 45 1/2 years old, I had enough to retire, provided we lived a lifestyle similar to what we did 10-12 years ago. Subsequent promotions and income have upped our expectations meaning DW and I want to be able to do a few more things than what we could have done with our previous lifestyle/income. Additionally, there is a very shiny pair of golden handcuffs that have been placed firmly around my wrists by megacorp. When those come off later this year, we will have what we need, in my estimation, to have between a 3% and 3.4% SWR providing 95-115k of pretax income, depending a bit on what the market does between now and then. OTOH, DD graduates in June next year, from HS. We are probably going to hold out for another year or so beyond that to firm things up, to make sure our retirement AA is up to snuff, and to confirm that the market does indeed recover. Problem is that megacorp is already polishing a new set of cuffs, and sounds like they want to put them on me, but that would mean another 4 years from now, placing me a bit far from my dream.

Long story short, I could retire on my original plan, end of this year makes thing a lot better, and we'll just see what tomorrow brings. I should feel more comfortable in my good fortune, but being a bit of a type A, I seem to be always reaching for more. Soon, I will need to say enough is enough.

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Old 07-24-2008, 06:11 PM   #3
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Lusitan, I think that's a very powerful observation you made. It's a fine example of why the earlier the better on retirement saving, and a fine example of the "miracle of compounding".

It could really help someone young, who sees so many postings of $1M+ in assets, appreciate what's going to happen to what they have already saved. And encourage them to keep their hands off!

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Old 07-24-2008, 06:46 PM   #4
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I have had similar revelations. For example, the difference between an 11% savings rate and a 22% savings rate does not seem so large now. I can probably reach that in about 3 years- I THINK- assuming the right raises come each year.

22% is what it will take to max my 401k (Roths are already maxed). I did some quick calculations and it appears to me FIRE is more about saving more than letting compounding work. Compounding tends to really kick in after around 28-35 years, and FIRE for me will be around year 25 of working. 29 maybe.
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Old 07-24-2008, 08:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rambler View Post
... When those come off later this year, we will have what we need, in my estimation, to have between a 3% and 3.4% SWR providing 95-115k of pretax income, depending a bit on what the market does between now and then. OTOH, DD graduates in June next year, from HS. We are probably going to hold out for another year or so beyond that to firm things up, to make sure our retirement AA is up to snuff, and to confirm that the market does indeed recover...
Not that it counts for much, but that's the kind of ER I respect. It's a much better plan than to retire whenever one has a bad day at work, then live in "creative" poverty.
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