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Old 12-09-2014, 10:36 AM   #101
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Humanities major who ended up in retail. (retail everyone hates retail!)

Started at 17k a year 22 years ago.

Will make 350k this year. (many promotions)

Was saving a TON the last 4-5 years when my pay about doubled.

Just had my divorce finalized.

Ex-wife took half.

Need to save some more now.
Sorry about the divorce. The nice thing is now all of her expenses are gone and if you're saving 350K/yr you should hopefully be able to save up enough in a few years to retire assuming your expenses aren't too bad!
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:45 AM   #102
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lawyer. DW is doc.

Our AGI fluctuates quite a bit. I suppose that since entering our professions, more often than not, we've been "1%" in the years in which we've both worked full-time (I was S.A.H.D. for 15 years).

Since we've emptied the next, we save more than our tax bills, and our tax bills exceed all other spending combined.

We both hope that the hours and the deferred gratification it will turn out to be worth it. Reading the posts by those who've already retired helps us to keep our noses to the grindstone for just a bit longer.
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Old 12-10-2014, 12:52 PM   #103
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We all dream of retiring early here on this site. I'm curious, what do you do for a living? What kind of money do you make? And finally, what percentage of your wages are being invested to retire "early"?


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I was in IT for almost my entire career. Even though I felt like I worked hard and put in a lot of hours, I made a lot more money than I thought the job was worth the second half of my career (a lot more) and I saved large chunks (about half) of it the last 10 years.
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Old 12-10-2014, 01:25 PM   #104
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Me too - IT for most of my career (once I got my sh*t together.) Currently a manager in IT. Was a DBA (Database Administrator) before that for more years than I care to count...
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Old 12-10-2014, 01:57 PM   #105
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Human Resources. Made 6 figures when in leadership roles. Became completely burt out being on the "inside" and seeing what really goes on in organizations (hint: illegal at worst, unethical at least, and immoral at best). Best thing I've ever done over the past 18 years is save 65% of gross salary. Saved every single increase, bonus, and higher salary with each job. I retire in just 10 weeks, 2 of which I won't even be in the office.
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Old 12-10-2014, 09:53 PM   #106
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I'm 25 and work in commercial real estate investment in an analyst role. I make 70k salary, all in about 82-85k plus paid for health care/cell.

I studied accounting and graduated 3.5 years ago with a starting salary of $51,500. Hoping my salary progression continues overtime!
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Old 12-11-2014, 07:06 AM   #107
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I was walking through Costco the other day and a lady was looking for something. She looked at me and said: "do you work here?". I said: "I don't work anywhere".

It took a second for it to sink in for her. I helped her find what she was looking for anyway.
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Old 12-11-2014, 08:21 AM   #108
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I had skipped over this enlightening thread, as I didn't think it applied to me (what do you do?) Enlightening because many of my guesses were far off the mark.

Anyway...
Highschool days, worked all summer as a lifeguard.
College... Scholarship, but full time work in fraternity house... dishes, pots and pans for all four years for all 52 of my "brothers"... also polished the brass collection for my history prof... 3 hours a week for 4 years. Could also say that my swim training of 3 hours a day, (year round) was a part of the "job" as it allowed a slight preference in a school where athletics was not important. Didn't hurt them to share the national spotlight though... and didn't hurt my ego. USA All America Team for 7 years. First in nation one year.
After College, before service, Waterfront Director at YMCA camp Lake Cobbeseconte, Maine,
then off to Fort Benning as a 2nd Lt. US Army.
After Army, Management Training for Sears, and 6 years as manager in 7 different catalog stores ending in Martha's Vineyard, and Falmouth Ma...
Recruited by Montgomery Ward to be a District Manager... 6 years, Regional Sales promotion Manager 8 years, then National Sales Promotion Manager, and finally in charge of a secret mission to close down the Catalog Field Division, a four year project.
Then my own business... Computer Signs... at the very beginning of the new technology, in 1986. Three years of working and planning to expand to a franchise (FastSigns was a few weeks ahead of me), and cancer led to the decision to not leave DW with the business loans... and to retire at age 53.

Wish I could say I made a lot of money, but not so...@ today's dollar, maybe $110/yr, but the real dollars, much less. DW for the most part was a SAHM, with four sons. Later years, she was an activities director at a local nursing home. We saved enough to marginally retire in a campground, and snowbird(ed) to Florida for 6 months a year from 1989 to 2004, when we bought our current home here in Central Il, in a mixed CCRC community... (all phases... regular homes, apartments, assisted living, nursing home, and Alzheimer's unit.

This is an old story for the regulars here on ER... but for newer members, a journal of a low budget retirement here... (Now 25+ years)...

Sharing 23 years of Frugal Retirement
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Old 12-11-2014, 09:02 AM   #109
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I was walking through Costco the other day and a lady was looking for something. She looked at me and said: "do you work here?". I said: "I don't work anywhere".

It took a second for it to sink in for her. I helped her find what she was looking for anyway.
That's why I never wear a red shirt when I go to Target.
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Old 12-11-2014, 09:45 AM   #110
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Engineer DW nurse then programmer. Normal middle class income but we made a point to save 25% of gross regardless of anything else over the 32 years we were married before retiring. Thanks to bullheadedness and Vanguard we simply plowed the money in and never looked at it much. Paid off.
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Old 12-11-2014, 09:55 AM   #111
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Been a Civil Engineer for 34 years now, hoping to FIRE late next year. Been able to save 40% of my salary the last 30 years, got married in my 40's, no kids, paid off mortgage at age 40. I'm ready to get out and do what I want!
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Old 12-12-2014, 12:34 PM   #112
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Many interesting stories, particularly from familiar names like from the moderators whose wisdom and humor are appreciated but whose backgrounds always seemed somehow mysterious. And Grigori's, whose quest for retirement I read on another thread.

Myself, a physician, now 53, expecting to retire in 2 years. In college, worked summers at a local amusement park for minimum wage as an usher, then a ride operator, then waiting tables at Bob's Big Boy. Worked full-time for 1 year after college as a medical research lab technician and part-time teaching Kaplan (medical college admissions test preparation course). Entered medical school and, too busy to work, accrued large educational loans for 4 years. Entered medical residency for another 4 years and deferred payment on the educational loans as my stipend was only 17K a year. However, they provided medical insurance and a really tiny 401K. My retirement plan had finally begun!

At the end of residency, I had trouble finding a job. Like the cyclical engineering profession, there was a glut of anesthesiologists at the time and everyone wanted someone with 2 years of experience. I began doing temporary work, filling in for physicians on vacations, a day or 2 at one hospital, then a different one the next week. I paid for my own travel and expenses and medical liability and only managed to make enough to pay my living expenses. My educational loan repayments were now due, and it weighed heavily on my mind.

But after 3 months, I began receiving offers of permanent positions at some of the hospitals I worked at around the state of California, and I began working full-time at age 36 and finally paying off my educational loans which had ballooned to over $200K. My take-home pay was around $120K. After 2 years paying off my loans, my father suggested I open a SEP-IRA, so I began contributing 15% of my income to that. Sixteen years and 2 medical groups later, my gross income is $450K (actual take-home pay around $250K after taxes, health insurance, and work expenses), and I contribute maximum tax-deferred and after-tax savings of about 40% of income.
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Old 12-12-2014, 12:55 PM   #113
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Swakybaby, your story should serve as a reminder that young physicians often struggle financially, especially with high debt loads starting out. Fortunately you have been able to reach a high income level in time to retire the debt and pack in some serious saving for ER.

I was also a physician. I had some summer office jobs during university, but after that it was all medicine. My LBYM parents subsidized my (much cheaper) education in Europe, and I started my career debt free. After 16 years of training I finally reached attending status and was able to save more than a few thousand $ a year as an independent contractor. In 2001 I incorporated my practice, which has been very beneficial financially. At the beginning of 2005 my NW was less than $1M, but later that year I came into an inheritance that almost doubled my NW and gave me the ability to work towards FIRE. I achieved RE two years ago and love it. Don't miss medicine at all.
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Old 12-12-2014, 01:27 PM   #114
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Thanks Meadbh. I haven't seen too many posts from physicians, so I thought I would throw my story in the ring.
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Old 12-12-2014, 06:33 PM   #115
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I'm 25 and work in commercial real estate investment in an analyst role. I make 70k salary, all in about 82-85k plus paid for health care/cell.

I studied accounting and graduated 3.5 years ago with a starting salary of $51,500. Hoping my salary progression continues overtime!
Very impressive for 25 years old, younginvestor. I wish I had been as smart as you when I was your age. If your company pays for education, or has tuition reimbursement, I'd recommend thinking about graduate school. Grad school will unlock the doors to leadership positions (and the increased salary progression and perks that accompany them). Unless your company pays 100% of your tuition, I recommend going to a grad school with the cheapest tuition, like a state school. Unless you're in the top 10% of schools, employers don't really look at the school you came from.
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Old 12-12-2014, 10:00 PM   #116
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Wow, so many impressive professions and salaries! I feel like paupers in comparison. My husband worked in a state job, which fortunately has a decent pension with survivor's rights for me and will cover both our health insurance nearly free. I work in a nonprofit. He retired last year and I plan to in 2015. We won't be wealthy, but we can almost replace our current income.


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What do you do for a living?
Old 12-13-2014, 01:48 AM   #117
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What do you do for a living?

Not that y'all care but I'll chime in.

I'm one of the older ones and still w*rking, but I've got 4 months to go til I'm in the Class of 2015.

50 years of w*rking so far:

Ages 13-18: babysitting and tutoring. I was the most wanted babysitter in the neighborhood because I was smart and an insomniac so I could stay up late. Still do (stay up late).

During college and grad school: 20+ hours a week of office work, I typed 85 wpm.

With MFA in Film and TV Production in hand, film editor when I could get the work. Otherwise PR and development. The lean years, to say the least.

Then I went to med school and picked a low-paying specialty: psychiatry. Luckily not much debt because my first husband was working while I was in school. I started contributing to a 401K in 1986 with my first real job in medicine. I spent many, many years hovering around a 5-6 figure salary or net income, although it's more now, about $200k/year w*rking 3 long days a week.

DH is retired (went from teacher to private school headmaster). Having moved upon his retirement to a lower COL area, with no mortgage as we paid cash for our house, we probably save 40+% of my income now. And our income is about 50-60% of what is was when DH was working.

We are a testament to the fact that you can start saving more later in life - I really couldn't start until my residency was over at age 35 and DH didn't start til he was 40 - and end up pretty comfortable. We have amassed much to our amazement about $2 million in 401K and after-tax investments.

And I'm back to a tight grocery and other discretionary spending budget now that I am partially retiring in a few months and fully within a year.


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Old 12-16-2014, 12:44 PM   #118
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I was walking through Costco the other day and a lady was looking for something. She looked at me and said: "do you work here?". I said: "I don't work anywhere".

It took a second for it to sink in for her. I helped her find what she was looking for anyway.
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Old 12-23-2014, 12:16 PM   #119
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I work for the federal gov't. My DH owns his own company as a private personal trainer. We make about $200K combined. We save, on average, between $30K and $40K a year.

We plan to retire when I am 57 (he'll be 52); we'll have my gov't FERS pension.
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Old 12-27-2014, 05:49 PM   #120
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20-29-Air Force (Air Operations Management)
29-34 ARINC- (Aircraft Mission Specialist) 6 figure salary working only 6 months out of the year and all travel expenses paid by the company. Best job ever!!!!!! I invested 10% of my income towards the 401k and invested on real estate.
34-40 World Services & AXM Logistics- (CEO) After my contracting job I became and entrepreneur and started WS-a Nationwide Translation and Interpretation services company in 80 different languages (mostly servicing Workers Compensation). I cant believe I invested $350 to start my business and 12 months later I was making 6 figures. At AXM Logistics we provide Non-emergency Transportation services for Workers Comp.

Right now we own 4 RE properties, 3 lots, ROTH and Traditional IRA's and savings. DW is a Chiropractor part-time and is making about $60k a year.


Our exit strategy is to work for another 10-15 years, purchase another 2-3 properties and pay them off in the next 10 years, and save as much as we can. We should be able to collect between $8k-$10k a month from our rentals.

Hopefully one of the kids might be interested to take over the companies and I will become a consultant part-time and pay myself between $24-36k a year. I might work as a consultant helping young entrepreneurs to start their businesses.

I will welcome any suggestions or advise from others in a similar situation as ours.
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