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Old 04-24-2014, 03:03 PM   #21
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I ER'ed in fall of 2012. My goal was always to get to the point where if I wanted to walk away, I could. Much to my surprise, I was downsized at 50 after a successful career. I spent a few weeks reading everything I could and deciding it was really possible, then I just never looked for a new job! But like the OP, we never really had a plan to RE.

When people I know well ask my how it is possible, I say "I married well." My wife didn't bring any money to the relationship, but she brought a shared vision to work hard, LBOM, and raise our children based on needs, not wants. (Most people I know had at least one spouse who wanted to keep up with the Joneses.)

I know I was also very lucky in other ways. I was born into middle class America in a very prosperous time. I got a very good education at a reasonably priced state college. I was good at math and science. We have been healthy.

I reserve the right to change my mind as I get smarter.
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Old 04-24-2014, 03:16 PM   #22
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I too was lucky and choose a career with a good pension plan and intended all along to just stay the course and work there until eligible. I liked the job and later when doing computer forensics I absolutely loved that and stayed an additional four years beyond normal retirement because I enjoyed the work so much.

However, the traffic congestion in the D.C. area was really getting to me. As one lady at work put it "I find I don't want to go anywhere or do anything because by the time I get there I'm too PO'd to enjoy it".

And it was getting increasingly difficult to get the employer to update training, equipment and software. So I took another look at the numbers and realized that my net pay would increase if I retired. (No SS withholding and I was maxed out on the 457, taking advantage of the catch-up.) We had zero debt and didn't really want for anything, DW was stressed at her job and the light dawned: "What are we working for?"

I retired July 1, 2002. By September we were living in West Virginia. Six months later my sister said "I haven't seen you two look so relaxed in years".

I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
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Old 04-24-2014, 04:53 PM   #23
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I started seriously thinking about it when I got a manager I absolutely couldn't stand (unusual for me). They later fired him - a friend who'd gone on to another job asked me, "Who'd you whack now?"

But the train was already rolling. I knew my estimated pension amount. I knew what percentage of my gross I wanted to replace and applied the old 4% rule to figure out what my investments had to be to cover the balance. Then I had a party!

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Old 04-24-2014, 05:22 PM   #24
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I am not officially ER'd yet...but close. I hit the wall this past year. Stress.
My health and happiness is suffering greatly. I used to love what I do. . .
I want to be free so badly I cannot stand it!

I really never realized I was FI until this site and firecalc. I have used several others to confirm. It has been a pleasant surprise.

My only issue now is this: do I give my 6 months notice NOW or hold out for a replacement (which would make me stay at least 1.5 years, maybe more) but likely get a large buy-out? Technically we don't need it but it sure would be a large safety net.

Funny thing, the more I think about ER the stronger the desire has become to the point I feel a bit obsessed with it. Anyone else feel that way?
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Old 04-25-2014, 08:05 AM   #25
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I didn't think much about Early Retirement until I got out of graduate school 4 years ago. I was prepared to work for the next 40 years at the time (until I was 68). Then I discovered this site when just researching how to prepare for retirement. I figured that even if I wasn't going to retire until my late 60's it was good to start planning for it now. I had about $4000 from my pre-grad school 401ks so at the time was mainly just trying to figure out how to invest the money.

Fast forward 4 years I've paid off $24,000 in credit card debt and and now working on my outrageous student loan, and have a new perspective on work and FIRE.

I had a terrible experience with a couple of bosses. One who was a complete and total sociopath and went out of her way to be mean, nasty, and cruel to people. Another who literally did no work, didn't communicate expectations, ignored emails, phone calls, and went out of his way to avoid answering any face to face questions directly about projects and work expectations, then threw me under the bus repeatedly to aforementioned sociopath.

Sure that's only a couple of work scenarios, but I feel as though I see more of that and hear more about that than I'd like.

These days I just try to do the best I can and change jobs relatively frequently to take advantage of pay raises and the opportunity to do something new and interesting that maybe clicks with me.

Despite the cynical attitude towards work, I just think there's more to life than grinding away 8-5 every day for 35-40 years. Factor in commute times, and things like that it's even more. I'd much rather plan for FIRE and get out of the rat race earlier and work on my terms than someone else's.
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Old 04-25-2014, 08:56 AM   #26
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I had an unpleasant year of of downsizing in 2009-2010. I wasn't in danger of being laid of myself but I felt like I needed to find another job. I spent about 2 days looking at job listings when I got the idea that I should look at the current state of my pension benefits. I had never done that before and I was surprised to find that I was already FI. When I brought up the idea of ERing to my DW she thought is was a good idea. I put together a financial spreadsheet and in 30 days I made the final decision to leave w*rk. I didn't actually leave until about 5 months later in December 2010.

We are FI because we both have worked over 30 years at the same university which has a COLA'd defined benefit plan. We paid off our mortgage last year. DW is still w*rking but plans to leave in Jue 2015
Happy, Wild, and Free
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Old 04-25-2014, 09:21 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Mulligan View Post
My goal is to be like my neighbor who ... is in his mid 80s; golfs daily and still does all his yard work.
This pretty much sums it up for me. I might still be doing triathlons in old age if everything works out, but either way I do not intend to be a houseplant in my 80s, so I try to really take care of myself in my 30s. (Of course a lot of other things have a say in that!)
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Old 04-25-2014, 09:42 AM   #28
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I'm not retired yet. I started seriously planning it about 3 to 4 years ago when I realized that my job skills were becoming obsolete, and I did not want to move into management. I noticed that the newer employees were becoming better at the job than me, and it was being reflected in my performance appraisal. Basically, the plan is to retire before being fired!
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Old 04-25-2014, 10:12 AM   #29
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It was after the 2001 downturn that Mega Corp was starting to crumble and my job was eliminated several times but I was able to land somewhere within the organization. I realized then that I needed to become FI as no matter my job performance it could be gone. DW and I always LBOMs and I knew it was possible to get there. Started researching ways to better plan the portfolio. Sought the advice of a FP and learned we were already on track to FIRE at 55. That was 13 years ago. Over the next 11 years Mega Corp was bought and sold twice and last was to a Private Equity firm and that is when it became very stress full and no fun and unrewarding. Looked around the industry and realized the situation was not any better elsewhere. Ramped up more savings as we continued to earn more as DW was a nurse. Fast forward in late 2011 I got another new boss and needless to say I would prefer to go to the proctologist than have a meeting with him. I found myself saying every day I need to leave. My DW one day pointed out that she had noticed I was not happy even when not a work. With that I crunched the numbers once again and this time I could not think of a reason to continue working and ACA was on the way. Thus October 1 2012 was my last day and I was 51 years old. DW followed in spring of 2013. I sure feel better!!!
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:52 AM   #30
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Several years ago I ran the numbers using tools recommended on this site. I realized that the thrifty gene of mine had paid off. At the time I liked the work I was doing, was well respected, had no commute, was getting well paid, so didn't do anything.

When I was asked to train my Indian replacements, I came back to this site, put a very fine point on the financial analysis and learned about the 401k access at 55 rule. Since I could theoretically spend quite a bit more than my annual burn rate, and the writing was on the wall for my job (even though they said "we'll always need someone stateside"), I gave them my 2 weeks notice.
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Old 04-25-2014, 01:31 PM   #31
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I was fortunate I chose a career with a nice pension. Though the pension wasn't even on my mind until I hit my mid 30s, then it simply was stay the course until I hit my retirement age. My goal is to be like my neighbor who retired in the mid 1980s with a good union pension. Now 30 years later he is in his mid 80s; golfs daily and still does all his yard work.

Me too. Thank God for the pension....Out since 1-4-2013 and have not had to touch my 401k yet (I'm 58). I trial lived on my anticipated pension amount for about 3 years prior to retirement.....and, I bought a car for cash, and a new steel roof before I left employment!! ( thank goodness, from what I've read here lately)..

Sometimes being single is a drag, but at least I can afford to live a nice life in retirement...and I actually like being alone and quiet most of the time....tho I do wish I knew someone who wanted to go camping in an Airstream at least I'd have someone along to help learn the ropes of truck, trailer, WD hitch, etc etc etc......!
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Old 04-25-2014, 02:45 PM   #32
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I had long had an interest in ER and had been saving money like crazy for years. I hated my job and knew I wanted to get out at a young age. Once I had enough money to do so I made a specific plan to quit in 18 months. As it turned out I was laid off after 12.
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Old 04-25-2014, 02:53 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Travelwanted View Post
I am not officially ER'd yet...but close. I hit the wall this past year. Stress.
My health and happiness is suffering greatly. I used to love what I do. . .
I want to be free so badly I cannot stand it!

I really never realized I was FI until this site and firecalc. I have used several others to confirm. It has been a pleasant surprise.

< snip >

Funny thing, the more I think about ER the stronger the desire has become to the point I feel a bit obsessed with it. Anyone else feel that way?
Me. I spend a lot of time recrunching numbers, evaluating downsizing, studying new places to move to, making list of things to do in lieu of work, adding items to bucket list, splurging now while I have a megacorp job, .... It has become a part time job.
Pura Vida
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How did you decide/plan to ER?
Old 04-25-2014, 03:47 PM   #34
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How did you decide/plan to ER?

For me, retirement planning was part of my psychological recovery after divorce. After 23 years of marriage, at age 50 I found myself with no house, a junk car, and almost nothing else except mountains of debt and constant nasty phone calls from creditors that I could not pay. I was living in a strange town thousands of miles from home and knew nobody, working at a new and possibly temporary (soft money) job, with no savings. And, my marriage was ruined, something I never thought could happen to me. Needless to say, that was a real low point in my life. In a sense I was lucky to have such a strong motivator I suppose, although Scarlett had it worse by far! The comparison is half in jest, but like her, I tried to find strength in all this and not let life beat me down:

I did what I could, muddling through things for that first year. When I was 51, my older brother sent me an email encouraging me (thanks, George!). On that day I felt much like Scarlett must have, though for much less reason, of course. I decided that I was going to do whatever it took to get out of that financial hole and still manage to retire before I was 62 with a paid off house somehow, as had always been my dream previously. On that day I started a very early, tiny version of my Excel spreadsheet and I have worked on it each day since. I would say that the keys to ER for me were:
(1) my spreadsheet
(2) LBYM
(3) living in the 20th-21st century in the USA, and consequently experiencing some amazing opportunities for which I am so grateful.
"You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore." - - - C. Columbus
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Old 04-26-2014, 03:27 PM   #35
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I think it was way back when I got divorced. I chose to not give any of my 401K to the ex. I had to remortgage the house to pay her off. But that 401k was a symbol to me of freedom, someday.
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Old 04-29-2014, 02:29 PM   #36
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Ever since I was a teen, I always knew that I would just do everything differently than my parents. Dad has cancer the last 6 years of his life and also retired when he had his first diagnosis. He secretly spend his entire 401a and then died at the age of 58 with $6.13 left to my mom (it was spend on drugs, gambling and probably hookers). So with that, I just knew I was not going to be like them and worrying about retirement. My mother was always in the dark about where they stood.

I met my H. He was 30 and I was 32. He had his PhD by the age of 25 and had been aggressively putting away money before we met with his own goal of ER. Very financially savvy and responsible. Seeing out detrimental it can be to find the WRONG financial partner in life, this was something I was looking for in a husband. Someone who would be a team with me and not have secrets.

The ER goal was my husband's at first. I just knew I was going to make sure I was fine in retirement (and not struggling) but had not dreamed of ER really. Together we worked out numbers, analyzed our saving potential and now it's our joint goal to ER. I am on board 100% (didn't take much convincing really).

The actual age of ER? We are still working on it, but it's projected between ages 45-50 right now. We are 37 and 35 right now.

I've see a lot of recent deaths, cancers, lives unfulfilled; it just makes all the more reasons to aim for ER for me.
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Old 05-06-2014, 12:46 PM   #37
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It's in the family blood to be frugal; we are all savers. I started thinking about ER pretty much as soon as I got out of college. My parents were always planning to retire early - they had bought land when I was a kid on which they would later build their retirement house. They pulled the trigger when they were 57 and I was 25. In my mind, it became my goal to retire at least as early as they did. I created the first version of my "retirement spreadsheet" when I was 32, I think.

They retired 20 years ago. I am now 45. My parents are almost 77 and have never looked back. They traveled in the earlier years, played golf, tennis, got involved in a variety of hobbies and charities, and lived a very full life in retirement. My mom's health has suffered in the last few years and she doesn't get around too much anymore, and I am so glad they had so many years together to enjoy each other and reap the benefits of 35 years of hard work. I want to do the same.

My second husband is on the same page as me as far as retiring early, which works out really well for him since I still want us to retire when I am 57 and he will only be 52!
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less travelled by...
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:58 PM   #38
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I will be done at year's end. 2013 saw my wife battle breast cancer successfully, treatments finished and scans clean as of March 2014. Some of you may have noticed I was off-line for several months last year. Just told employer I'm selling Texas home and will finish the year telecommuting from Florida. Helping employer with transition for my management role until year end. Time to kick back and relax with DW while the sun is still shining.
"A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do" --Bob Dylan.
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:52 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Travelwanted View Post
Funny thing, the more I think about ER the stronger the desire has become to the point I feel a bit obsessed with it. Anyone else feel that way?

I know EXACTLY how you feel. I'm obsessed too.
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Old 05-13-2014, 04:48 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Travelwanted View Post
Funny thing, the more I think about ER the stronger the desire has become to the point I feel a bit obsessed with it. Anyone else feel that way?
I was never obsessed with it, but I was always thinking about how much I could put away each year and looking for extra opportunities to save and invest. I've always liked doing simple math on bits of paper, and I would often do back-of-napkin calculations to figure out how much I would have when I was older, based on different savings rates and different assumed interest rates.

When the time did come, I had some money stashed away, so the years of saving and scribbling sums on bits of paper must have helped.

ER, for all intents and purposes. Part-time income <5% of annual expenditure.
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