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Old 08-31-2007, 01:08 PM   #41
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I guess my date is around 2022 as well. I certainly keep tight records on what I have now, how much I can save and so forth - and of course I'm planning as if things will go along as they are. But I'm a little confused that so many people here - especially in the "young dreamers" category - believe they can predict what their finances (and lifestyle) will be 15 years from now.

I don't need to rattle off the things that could sour such a FIRE deal (or speed the day forward), but just on my own there are many uncertainties: My job, my wife's job; neither are things we can count on being there forever, not owning a house (L.A.: 1000 sq ft house is still about $680,000), both sets of parents getting older, may need to relocate out of the city, may have to take jobs that pay less, health insurance may skyrocket, we may get quite sick or injured, may need to replace our cars, may not be able to maintain our current savings rate...

Then there's the one I fully expect - the market returns will revert to the mean. I don't think it unlikely we will see a market that will go sideways for a few years and might not even keep pace with the inflation rate. And that's not even considering other big political problems the US might encounter.

By nature I can be a bit of a pessimist, but it doesn't stop me for planning and saving and investing. Still, I'm curious: Do many of you in your 30s at least acknowledge that with all the FIRE calculators in the world, there are way too many unknown quantities out there to pin down an exact day 15 years into the future?
Tricky - I'm 38, and I'll admit it!

I picked my day because it's around the time I have 30 years in the gov't, which is when I can get my full pension (deferred by 5 years). But of course it's just a starting point - I could conceivably go 5 years early, or wait 5 years longer.

My assumptions are very conservative in an attempt to create a kind of "worst case", as follows:

I work for the gov't, so it is unlikely I'll lose my job. I assume 3% raise each year, which means I don't think I'll ever get a promotion. But I probably will at some point.

I use 5% investment returns each year, and inflate my expenses by 3% a year - except health care, which I inflate 6% a year.

The current figures suggest people on Medicare will spend $200K on healthcare from 65 until death. Starting when I am 65 and ending when I am 95, I put in amounts that total $400K (65 is 27 years from now for me).

I only plug is 1/2 of my projected SS, and don't start until 67. I assume my mortgage will be paid off - which means I can stay here, or sell the place and move somewhere cheaper.

As to some other variables - I am divorced. A new spouse or long-term partner could change everthing. My parents have enough of their own money that they won't need mine.

The spreadsheet is a fluid document that gets adjusted every year to reflect how my investments actually did, and with actual vs. projected expenses.
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Old 08-31-2007, 01:53 PM   #42
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Still, I'm curious: Do many of you in your 30s at least acknowledge that with all the FIRE calculators in the world, there are way too many unknown quantities out there to pin down an exact day 15 years into the future?
2 thoughts:

1) Even for those planning 1-2 years into the future there are unknowns that could severely impact their target date - Bad Bear Market comes to mind

2) If you don't plan and try to make your plan work the likelihood of ER at any time is much less likely.
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Old 08-31-2007, 02:21 PM   #43
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Still, I'm curious: Do many of you in your 30s at least acknowledge that with all the FIRE calculators in the world, there are way too many unknown quantities out there to pin down an exact day 15 years into the future?
Absolutely. I am quite sure my FIRE date will not be October 26, 2022 or whatever I wrote in the original post.

I follow an approach very similar to kaudrey (Hi Karen!). I have my "current data", which is all my account balances and the amount of money I spent the last six months according to Quicken. I then have my assumptions about inflation, savings rates, investment return rates, etc. I then feed all of that into a giant spreadsheet that spits out what my retirement date would be given that initial data and assumptions.

As I update my data (every few days) or change my assumptions (which happens far less frequently), I can monitor my FIRE date. From this I can do several things:

1. Do what if? scenarios -- what if I receive a $10K windfall? What if I spend 10% less? What if my personal inflation rate is 1% less?
2. Test my assumptions. If my assumptions are correct, then my calculated FIRE date over time should remain constant. If my assumptions are too optimistic, then over time my FIRE date would move out.
3. Do some general planning. I can tell (roughly) when I might need to do better estate planning. I can tell (roughly) how much longer I need to work at this job (too long) and whether that amount of time plus my current satisfaction level means I should look at other jobs.

One small difference in my case compared with kaudrey's is that my date is arbitrarily whenever I project hitting a 4% withdrawal rate; I have no additional constraints to be concerned about like a pension or years of service.

At this point, though, my FIRE date is always a whole number of months away just because that is the granularity I chose for my spreadsheet.

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Old 08-31-2007, 07:25 PM   #44
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July 3, 2011 - when my wife turns 57 and max's her pension. As for me, I started cutting back to 4 work days per week last week, and will continue to cut back gradually until 2011 when I pull the plug for good.
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Old 08-31-2007, 08:57 PM   #45
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For me, first quarter 2010. That gives me enough time to figure what I'll retire to......gotta have a plan.
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Old 09-01-2007, 09:49 AM   #46
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I believe the furthest out posted so far is 2035. I am going July 1, 2037. I will be 53. I could potentially go as early as 2034 though at 50.

I just started working in June. I have a government job with a pension (30 yrs for full, but I can count saved sick leave, thus the potential to retire earlier). For the three months I have worked I have been able to save 32% of my income. I don't see rising expenses outside of inflation though, so I don't see why I can't keep that up. Of course I only make about $39,000 so that isn't a lot of money.

- Patrick
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Old 09-01-2007, 03:57 PM   #47
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April 1st 2018 unless DW changes her mind about how long she wants to work. We could actually go around 2013 but she loves what she does.

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Old 09-01-2007, 04:18 PM   #48
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Planned RE date is somewhere between fall 2012 (when I will be 55) and summer 2013. Have done detailed financial calculations. Even if there is a bear market, this will work. The only thing that would cause me to postpone RE: being involved in a really interesting project. Might consider part time consulting for a year or two, just for the fun of it, after RE. Strictly icing on the cake. OTOH, if I have health problems, RE could be earlier. Maybe use my disability insurance.
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Old 09-01-2007, 10:14 PM   #49
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Probably about ten years. I adjust my "FIRE clock" in my signature as events change the projection -- market performance, the amount I put into retirement savings, changes in the health insurance situation, et cetera, and as time passes and I get closer to retirement age.
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Old 09-01-2007, 10:44 PM   #50
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Do many of you in your 30s at least acknowledge that with all the FIRE calculators in the world, there are way too many unknown quantities out there to pin down an exact day 15 years into the future?
Absolutely. That's why when I get too focused on money, I have to step back and remind myself that there's waaaay too much that could happen between now and then to get worked up about. I work in high-tech, so I fully acknowledge that industry wages, if the industry still exists in its present form, may be much lower 15-20 years from now than they are now.

I also try to remind myself that it doesn't matter how much money I've saved--if I don't take care of myself between now and retirement, I'll just be a miserable person who's well-off. Also, I try not to put my security and well-being into money. Despite the best efforts, even a large amount of money can vanish pretty quickly, and if I've put all my security into that, then I'm pretty screwed. I figure it's better to put my security into being content and as happy as possible in my present situation, not waiting for some future date at which point all my problems will be solved (easier said than done sometimes).

However, that doesn't mean I shouldn't plan for it.
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Old 09-02-2007, 01:23 AM   #51
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Well, 2Cor521, you've started a thread that makes me feel a lot better about my FIRE date. My current calculations give a FIRE date around Oct 2009. I'll be 49 years old at that point. My employer has a history of offering voluntary severace packages every couple of years so that could change the picture and make the date even sooner.

I should also note that although we will be financially independent in 2009, my husband will continue working for a few more years to pad our savings accounts to a more comfortable level. He took a couple years off of work to raise our son and then went back to college to re-train into another career, so he's willing to put in a few more years after I retire.

--Linney
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Old 09-02-2007, 12:47 PM   #52
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Probably 12 years, at the earliest. I'll be 50.

Too long, too long....
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Old 09-02-2007, 02:45 PM   #53
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April 1, 2016. It's a Friday, and the day before my 46th birthday. Ideally I'd like to go at 45 (well let's face it, ideally I'd LIKE to go out tomorrow!), but I figure I'd build in a year's worth of wiggle room. If 45 or even earlier looks doable as the time approaches, then I'll go out earlier. But if I have to hold on a bit longer than my goal date, it won't be the end of the world.
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Old 09-13-2007, 07:16 PM   #54
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I'm on the same schedule as Andre1969: 2016, when I'll be 45. A few things come together to make that my target. Mainly, I should reach my target net worth around then. But also, at least according to my interpretation of the current rules, I'll then have been at my job long enough to be able to continue participating in the health insurance plan. Also, I'll be eligible for a sabbatical in 2014-2015, and assuming I take it I'd have to return to my job for at least 1 year afterwards.

So that's my best estimate given my current projections. Of course, a lot could change between now and then.
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Old 09-13-2007, 09:31 PM   #55
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19 months and counting. That coincides with the mortgage burning with a match lit by a kid with a newly minted degree in something that most likely NOT support me in my dotage.

My DH and I plan to sell our business and grind our alarm clocks to dust. I need to catch up on the festivities I missed in the eighties when i was working hard and watching my retirement account rack up embarrassing returns. Hope I still have the energy!
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:05 AM   #56
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The plan is for 2029, when DH turns 50. I will follow within 2 years, depending on my satisfaction level at my then job.
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Old 09-16-2007, 03:06 AM   #57
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My date is 24.07.2008 - which is my 36th birthday

DW should be qualified for HK passport at the end of April 2008. hopefully she will get it at May. The day she gets it, I will resign. Since I need to give 2 months notice, Mid-End of July looks right.
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:05 AM   #58
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No real date set but Jan. 1, 2019 has a nice ring to it. DH will be 50 by then and I'll be 48.
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Old 09-17-2007, 11:38 AM   #59
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Tuesday, September 1, 2020 (age 50 & 25 years with state)....or Thursday, May 1, 2025 (age 55 & 25+ yrs with state - veteran pension = more $$$ than earlier one)
Depends on circumstances in 2020...
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Old 09-17-2007, 12:22 PM   #60
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Somewhere between 11/1/07 (forced early "retirement" from megacorp) and 8/14/2016 (62nd birthday)...
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