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Old 02-28-2013, 02:14 AM   #21
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No defining moment for me. My mentality has always been about delayed gratification. Big saver, and very conservative with money.
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Did you have a defining moment when you KNEW that you would retire as soon as possible?
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Old 02-28-2013, 02:45 AM   #22
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Shortly after I had started post grad work I was sent to a business conference and found myself having dinner with some of the key persons.
They were very open and shared some of their ups and downs with me, the new kid.
I realized that most of them had been made redundant at some point of their career and had made big compromises to earn their pay checks. Broken families, cross country moves and all that stuff.
Talked with DH who has a safe but local job. Decided that if need arises we want to be able to say "enough" if my employment luck runs out.

Employment luck is still there 25 years later, but DH will ER at 61,5 for heath reasons in summer. I will join him at age 55 in the class of 2013 as we love spending time together.

As we both are LBYMers it did not require lots of effort.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:09 AM   #23
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The big defining moment for me was fairly recently. We've always been fairly good savers, and never bought anything extravagent, however about 3 years ago my wife got a big promotion at w*rk, 2 years ago I got a big pay bump by switching jobs, and 1 year ago we had our first child.

Somewhere in the middle of that, I found sites like here, MMM, and ERE. I threw some numbers into a spreadsheet and Firecalc with our new income level and thought "Hey, ER is conservatively possible!". When we had our child, and I started staying home on Friday's to care for him... I just had this feeling like "I want us to be able to spend a lot of time with our kids well before they're out of the house." With any luck, we'll be annoying semi-retired parents when they're in middle school
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:34 AM   #24
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Defining moment came for me when I finished graduate school and had been at megacorp for about 6 months. When I had interviewed, I got the "we are loyal to our employees - we haven't had a lay-off since 1955" speech. Six months after I started working there, the first (of ultimately 13 ) round of layoffs hit. The most senior technical people (all around 50 to 54 y.o.) were the first to go, and were beyond shellshocked. Most were depending on retiring from the company with a comfortable pension, and only a few had accumulated much individual net worth outside of the promised penion - which suddenly they were not going to get. It was devestating to watch.

It was my light-bulb moment which drove home the fact that only you have your best interest at heart. I immediately doubled the amount I was putting into the 401K and started puttng every raise I got into savings/investments.
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:10 AM   #25
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I had a few, distinct, defining moments.

First was when my dad died. My brother died 2 months prior to my dad at age 49. He died with negative net worth. From my dad I received a small inherited IRA. Mom and Dad's estate helped settle some outstanding bills my brother had. The inheritance was small in that it wasn't enough to quit my job outright... but big enough to boost the retirement pool of money to put me in reach of an age 55 retirement. But the market peaked the month he died (Oct. 2007) so that pool of money shrank rapidly over the next year. (Thank goodness it recovered).

Mortality wake-up-calls, a slight boost to my net worth... all planted the idea... but I was a long way from hitting the number.

My husbands employment was also effected by the recession - but after one firm closed the doors he managed to land a decent job. Despite a few gaps in his employment - we managed to continue our rapid mortgage pay-down... and have seen the mortgage go down significantly as we get closer to the payoff. In So.Cal - mortgages are super-sized - and even with only financing 1/2 the purchase price - we still had a super-sized mortgage compared to most of the country. Seeing the mortgage payoff date come into near term re-invigorated our ER dreams. (Target payoff is 1/2014!!!)

And the final catalyst was getting more involved in my kids school programs - being on the board of the non-profit that supplements their public school programs... having that struggle between being available to volunteer in their class, and keep my boss happy... I want to do more with/for my kids... especially as they're getting to middle school age.

Now I'm just waiting for the severance package. If that doesn't come the numbers will be well padded for every contingency in the next 2-4 years. Having the goal has made us really step up our savings, cut our budget, and reinvigorate the payoff of our last debt - the mortgage.
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Old 02-28-2013, 03:32 PM   #26
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I never had a defining moment regarding early retirement. I've just never wanted to work until I got too old to enjoy life.

However surviving a departmental downsizing, failed business (book store), and international travel, I now try to save more.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:01 PM   #27
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EllisWyatt +1 I can identify.
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Old 02-28-2013, 04:04 PM   #28
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I never had a defining moment regarding early retirement. I've just never wanted to work until I got too old to enjoy life.
This says it all for me. Saw my dad die of a heart attack at 39 and I wanted to do whatever I could to live past that year and to get out of the rat race ASAP. Well at 58 I know I have done one and in 19 days I will have done the other. Oh yah, LBYM and investing for 25 years didn't hurt either.

But as someone once said "you are preaching to the choir" around here.

Oh, did I mention only 19 w*rking days to go?

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Old 02-28-2013, 04:24 PM   #29
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I had a few, distinct, defining moments.

Mom and Dad's estate helped settle some outstanding bills my brother had. .
Why did you have to settle his bills? I thought once he died, his debt is extinguished. The creditors have no recourse to your assets.
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:11 AM   #30
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Why did you have to settle his bills? I thought once he died, his debt is extinguished. The creditors have no recourse to your assets.
I believe that the creditors have to the estate. If there is anything owed I believe it comes from the estate first. Of course I could be wrong.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:30 AM   #31
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In addition to #22 it was also what I learned when my dad lost his job in the 1980s.
My parents got by financially but he had so much of his self worth tied to his job and professional expertise that he could not enjoy such (E)R till he passed away 20 years later.
I made a note to myself: be prepared.
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Old 03-02-2013, 04:58 PM   #32
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The day I started 1st grade. Having to wake up early, or at all and be where someone else says you have to be, when they say to be there? Jump when somebody else blows the whistle? "Produce this!" "Produce that!" Usually for no logical reason or useful purpose and always followed with an unstated "Or else!" I said, Man, this sht's gotta stop, ASAP"
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:56 PM   #33
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Did you have a defining moment when you KNEW that you would retire as soon as possible?
Yes. When the knuckle-dragging gorilla from HR walked me to the door, faced me towards my car and booted my sorry ass across the parking lot, I kinda figured it was time to ER. That was June, 2006. Comfortably FI, I've been enjoying ER ever since!
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:04 PM   #34
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Today I had a truly horrendous day at work. On the way home I stopped at the store to pick up stuff for dinner and thought...hmmm I think I'll buy some flowers to cheer myself up.

Then my FIRE voice kicked in and said, "what a waste of money!".

So instead I came home and bought $5,000 worth of Vanguard Small Cap Index Fund.
Help me understand this. You were going to buy some flowers to cheer yourself up. You decided to use the money to buy Vanguard Small Cap Index Fund instead, to the tune of $5k. You were going to spend $5k on flowers? Even at today's prices, that's a lot of flowers!

How happy do you like to get?
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:53 PM   #35
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Help me understand this. You were going to buy some flowers to cheer yourself up. You decided to use the money to buy Vanguard Small Cap Index Fund instead, to the tune of $5k. You were going to spend $5k on flowers? Even at today's prices, that's a lot of flowers!

How happy do you like to get?
I was actually only going to spend $20 on the flowers. I'd been procrastinating on investing some extra cash that had built up, the bad day at work spurred me to get it done.
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:18 PM   #36
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I was actually only going to spend $20 on the flowers. I'd been procrastinating on investing some extra cash that had built up, the bad day at work spurred me to get it done.
I like the way you think. That is the main reason I hang out here -- for the reminders of what is really most important to me. Thanks!
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Old 03-03-2013, 07:24 AM   #37
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Not one defining moment but a combination of things:
- Megacorp started laying off large amounts of people in the U.S. and moving job overseas I started thinking about ER primarily because the prospects of working as long as I wanted were becoming slim and none.
- Seeing so many folks being laid off due to "needs of the business" versus their performance when they were so close to be eligible for retirement. For example, a close friend received a $10K award for a major revenue project and 6 months later his entire unit was laid off, him just 3 months from being eligible for full retirement..
- Though we had long been disciplined with spending and investing, starting to read up on retirement expenses, doing financial analysis and having our financial status reviewed from several sources, and realizing that early retirement was possible.
- Seeing several friends achieve high levels in Megacorp but die before or just after retiring due to health... and seeing others who had retired early with fewer assets than us staying active and enjoying life. My DW commenting to me after one funeral "you've worked so much to provide for me and our kids. I don't want you to die before you have some time to relax and do whatever you want to do"."
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:59 AM   #38
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Yes! Spring 2011. Megacorp not only stopped loving me, but actually said they didn't even like me anymore after 29 y 4 months of (mostly) hard work. Despite meeting or exceeding all of my goals the prior year I got a poor evaluation that triggered a 50% reduction in bonus compensation and a tiny fraction of the (low) average base pay increase. That coupled with nudges in the rear to take a demotion to an incredibly boring job lit the fire (pun intended) under my butt. 6 months later I FIRE'd. It has been great.
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:19 AM   #39
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No defining moment for me. My mentality has always been about delayed gratification. Big saver, and very conservative with money.
+1.

Sometimes I think at least part of this could be instinct. One Christmas my 5yr old niece said she was returning a beloved gift she received. Why we asked. With a condescending "stupid Aunt & Uncle" look on her face she told us she could get a better price on it at after-Christmas sales AND could apply a coupon. Then she would have her gift AND extra $$. She grew up to become a CPA
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Old 03-03-2013, 09:21 AM   #40
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Not one defining moment but a combination of things:
- Megacorp started laying off large amounts of people in the U.S. and moving job overseas I started thinking about ER primarily because the prospects of working as long as I wanted were becoming slim and none.
."
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Megacorp not only stopped loving me, but actually said they didn't even like me anymore after 29 y 4 months of (mostly) hard work.
Why don't you call out these "Megacorps". Names would be nice, or are you trying to protect the "innocent".
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