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Could you retire at 38?
Old 04-18-2010, 07:54 AM   #1
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Could you retire at 38?

Here's an update from the Kalderlis. Very inspirational, as usual.

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Some people we have met have said to us "We're going to work another 10 years. We don't know what the future will bring." Others have said, "We're retiring now. We don't know what the future will bring."
Could you retire at 38? | Bankrate.com
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Old 04-18-2010, 08:27 AM   #2
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Funny, I was just thinking about this the other day. If I did contract work overseas for 10 years (I'm 28 now), more than likely I would have at least $2,000,000 by 38. That should be enough of a portfolio balance to allow me to retire at 38. If I would've stayed active duty for 20 years, I could've retired as early as 38 with a COLAd military pension for life. Nevertheless, I like the national guard lifestyle more than active duty, and 10 years spent doing contract work mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan seems way too long. So, I'll probably keep plugging away and keep my target retirement date set at 55.
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Old 04-18-2010, 08:33 AM   #3
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I've known some folks who "retired," more or less, at 38 -- but it's generally started with an enlistment at age 18.
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Old 04-18-2010, 08:38 AM   #4
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I'm an MD. I was in training up to age 32. So by 38 I was just getting started and there is no way I could have retired.
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Old 04-18-2010, 08:38 AM   #5
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OP - I agree. I am impressed with people that took a different path (in terms of what I would call early and extreme FIRE). Using Extreme in terms of aggressive expense management (not as a negative connotation).
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Old 04-18-2010, 08:42 AM   #6
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I'm an MD. I was in training up to age 32. So by 38 I was just getting started and there is no way I could have retired.
Most MDs have to do something crazy like pay off all their six-figure student loans before considering retirement...
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)
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Old 04-18-2010, 09:03 AM   #7
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Most MDs have to do something crazy like pay off all their six-figure student loans before considering retirement...
I had no loans to pay off, but I still couldn't do it. At age 38 (1995) I had no debt. I had not yet started to calculate NW, but I estimate it was ~$250K. That would have given me a SWR of $10K.
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Old 04-18-2010, 09:49 AM   #8
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I followed a pretty linear path to retirement at 48 in 2006 from a programming career. I could not have come close to retiring at 38 - I would have been living on $17K/year (enough for some, not for me).
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Old 04-18-2010, 10:58 AM   #9
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I think that we will be pretty close. Retirement calculators all say that will have enough money to ER in 3 years, at the age of 39 (SWR would be around 3-3.5%). Not sure we will actually ER at that point though (DW in particular still gets a lot of fulfillment out of her career). But I think that ESR could be a real possibility (we want to have more free time and less stress but not necessarily stop working all together at this point).
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Old 04-18-2010, 05:18 PM   #10
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If I had followed the Kiderlis to Thailand and put my portfolio in something a little less risky than 70% equities, yes. However, I'm a cushions and backup plans kind of guy. I see the trait in myself in strategy games in which I always play defense first and build an overwhelming force before attacking the opponent. Note, however, that playing strategy games does not involve the politics and the constant back stabbing prevention of office work, so I will get fed up with the BS. My take is another 3-5 years, I will ER.
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Old 04-18-2010, 05:24 PM   #11
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I had to wait until age 39.......

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Old 04-18-2010, 06:20 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
I've known some folks who "retired," more or less, at 38 -- but it's generally started with an enlistment at age 18.
Generally without college, too, unless they do it nights/weekends in their 20s.

I stuck around to age 41 for the 20-year pension, but only because I'd been turned down several times for earlier force-reduction options. "Force reduction" apparently meant "everyone else but you nukes".

A shipmate retired from the Navy in the mid-1990s at age 37 as a mustang lieutenant. He was very good with computers and comms equipment, though, and was always earning side money helping people purchase & configure their PCs. He could've happily done that as a hobby for the rest of his life, even if his "Geek Squad" resemblance was just a coincidence.

He'd been financially devastated by a divorce and he felt that he had some competitive juices still running in him, though, so he took a contractor job at a local bank to fix up their IT network. Within four years, from one happy acquisition coincidence to another, he was running the entire nationwide computer network for Bank of America.

When the music finally stopped in 2001, he retired a second time for good.
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Old 04-18-2010, 07:54 PM   #13
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Yup.
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Old 04-18-2010, 08:32 PM   #14
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38? Hmmm....that's 5 years from now and I' m pretty sure we could, but we'd rather work until our early 40s and have a bigger travel/fun budget
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Old 04-18-2010, 09:06 PM   #15
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I could have retired at 38... had I started saving earlier than 37 y.o. No regrets, it happened when it happened and 44 is nothing to sneeze at for semi-retirement. I enjoyed most parts of my career in those years as well and made some great friends at work. I think I needed the extra time to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up.
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Old 04-18-2010, 10:54 PM   #16
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:49 PM   #17
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Retiring at 38 is without a doubt very difficult. The hardest part, in my opinion, is the decision of not having any children at all. Under normal circumstances at 38 (both husband and wife) the oldest child would still be in secondary school. Of course if you have already accumulated a few millions by that age then you child's age makes no difference. But that's normally not the case.
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Old 04-18-2010, 11:50 PM   #18
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I had to wait until age 39.......

Audrey
Was your husband also 39 when he retired?
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Old 04-19-2010, 08:04 AM   #19
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Was your husband also 39 when he retired?
No - but he wasn't really working much either. I guess you could say he semi-retired when he was 36 . I was the principle wage earner. He was 44 when I retired. I would have been able to retire then even if I had been single.

We also didn't have children. That definitely made it possible at the time.

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Old 04-19-2010, 09:31 AM   #20
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To answer the OP's rhetorical question - Yes.

In a few weeks I will mark my six year anniversary of entering the full time working world (following graduation from grad school in 2004). I will also turn 30 this summer. In these six years we have managed to accumulate roughly half of what it will take to FIRE, all the while reducing long term debt. We may not be quite half way there though depending on how much padding in our budgets we may feel we need ("just one more year" you know...).

With roughly half of what we need already in our portfolio, the heavy lifting is done. Much of our future net worth increase will come from market returns. The recent health insurance bill also reduced the target portfolio value significantly, hence accelerating our FIRE plans by a year or two.

I figure there is a 50% chance we will be FI in another 5 years (depending on market returns). Probably a 80-90% chance of hitting the FI number plus a little cushion in 7-8 years (age 36-37 for me). It is hard to predict the future, but I could foresee some sabbaticals, "taking time off", part time work, etc happening as we get closer to FI (ie early semi retirement).

Currently we have 2 young children ages 3 and 5. When I am 38, the eldest child will be one year shy of starting high school. We may have an inkling of what college costs will likely be like at that point. Lots of current unknowns will hopefully become clearer like higher ed cost inflation rate, potential to obtain scholarships, what universities our children may attend. Ultimately it will still be an estimate, so any decision to withdraw from the workforce probably won't be permanent or final (just in case).

As far as the Kaderli's go - I admire them a lot! I am definitely interested in trying out the lifestyle for a while, but it is hard with family, and DW couldn't part with her extended family for extended stretches (we currently live 2-3 miles from all of them). I think the idea of homeschooling my kids while globetrotting on a budget is intimidating, but exciting at the same time and could be extremely rewarding for our kids too (but require sacrifices as well). We could probably swing the perpetual traveler lifestyle right now, but our jobs pay pretty well, aren't too bad at the moment, and life is otherwise very comfortable and relatively low cost here. The oldest child starts school in the fall and current plans have us staying put for a while.
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