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End of the Beginning - Year 3 of 'Three More Years'
Old 08-06-2015, 07:17 AM   #1
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Location: Oregon - Dry Side
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End of the Beginning - Year 3 of 'Three More Years'

I find it helps organize my thoughts to post here on an annual basis with progress towards a retirement plan and how the latest current thinking compares with the previous periods. So forgive the repetition if you've seen my story before and fast forward to the update at bottom.

POSTED Summer 2011

After 20 years overseas assignment, looks like events are moving in my direction to FIRE in 2012.

Mid 50's, married,no kids. Worked overseas for Oil Service Co. - hardship assignments in not so nice hell holes with some personal danger. Own house in Houston plus Oregon farm of 160 acres - decent size but non commercial. Total real estate value of $1.1M all paid for, no mortgage. No other debt, credit cards are paid in full every month, six cars and four motorcycles all paid for between Texas and Oregon.

Current salary in the mid- $200's plus bonus. Wife is stay at home / doing her own thing. Made the first million in my 40's basically through overseas assignment differentials, low out of pocket cost, tax benefits and a good run of capital gains in the market although I suffered with most in 2008. Luckily missed the big real estate crash, the Houston house is modest and farmland remains in good demand. After the first million, the second and third come fairly quickly with any kind of investment success and continued savings.

Brokerage account of $1.2M , Roth IRA of $ 0.3M, other cash savings of $0.3M all after tax. The division I head up will be divested sometime this year and am looking at share of the sale valuation plus leaving benefits in the range of $0.6M after tax. Proceeds of all the lump sum distributions to transfer to the Brokerage account. Passionate about investing and stock market.

I could hang on with the new company if I wanted to but at this point it doesn't seem worth the bother unless the rewards are superb. Frankly I have other interest I want to pursue, feel burnt out and life in a foreign country is wearing on me.

No pension, social security to start at age 70. All the calculators say that I am financially prepared to ER.

The plan at this point is to sell the house in Texas, build in Oregon and transfer residency to Oregon in 2013 after all the lump sums are paid out (for state income tax reasons). I will gentleman farm, maybe run a part time business connected with farming and get back into some of the hobbies I have been unable to pursue these many years. Medical insurance to transfer to state pool after Cobra exhausts. Not sure how my wife will adjust to farm life (Green Acres scenario) and that is probably the biggest danger to the entire plan.

Worried about the state of the USA, welfare economy and what the future holds when we can no longer sell promises (bonds) to the Chinese. So feel that rural Oregon is a good place to hunker down for a future that may be quite different than today
POSTED Summer 2012

For the most part the divestment of the various divisions both in the USA and overseas went as planned and I realized the after tax benefits anticipated last summer. Assets now consist of $1.9MM in brokerage, $0.25MM Roth IRA, $0.3MM other plus the fully paid real estate including the Oregon farm property.

However, several UNANTICIPATED developments have arisen in the last year.

1. One of the overseas divisions did not sell and I have been asked to continue on in basically a caretaker role for the next three years while it is packaged along with other units for a strategic sale. Better salary, less stress and chance at a big 'pot of gold at the end of the rainbow' bonus at the end of three years, with or without a sale.
2. So now faced with signing on another three years overseas, which even without the big bonus will significantly upgrade financial resources available post retirement with a corresponding increase in safety margin.
3. Conclusion is that it is too tough to turn down the three additional years. It also allows enough forward visibility to begin construction of the house on the Oregon farm.
4. DW is having a tough run of medical problems back in Houston and it may be that she can never re-locate to a rural setting in Oregon.
5. So another financially based reason to hang on another three years.

I know this is common for 'one more year' to creep into the retirement decision. This is a 'three more years' variant. Part of me says just do it, the rational side says hang in there and build resources while I still can and while the rewards make it easy to save.
POSTED Summer 2013

Financially making progress with gains in our taxable brokerage account. Like many others here, the market has been good these last months. $2.4MM in taxable brokerage, $0.25MM Roth IRA, $0.3MM other plus the fully paid real estate including the Oregon farm property.

1. The 'caretaker' job is moving right along, no worries. Feel rather bored but it is manageable. Moved the overseas house to a less stressful, more comfortable location but still in the same country.
2. DW is doing well and is under treatment / therapy for her RA. She made it out to the farm in February and will also come out for the month in September. So doing much better.
3. We both continue to work on plans for the Oregon house build. Probably be at a point where the preliminary sketchup drawings can be submitted to a design firm before year end.
4. 'Pot of gold' bonus is on track and the business is well ahead ahead of the incentive targets on a run rate basis. Barring any major economic or business crash of course. Hate to put it in the bag at this early point but looking good.
5. It took a while and a few iterations to get the 'pot of gold' negotiated so my 'three more years' was pushed back and did not start until 01 January 2013.
UPDATE Summer 2014

Financially hit a great run in the stock market with significant gains in the taxable brokerage account despite writing a huge check to the Treasury Department in April. Big winners were overweight positions in AAPL, APC, PXD and CXO. $3.9MM in taxable brokerage, $0.4MM Roth IRA, $0.4MM other cash plus the fully paid real estate including the Oregon farm property.

[1] The caretaker job seems to have morphed to caretaker plus another two persons job's and am busier than ever with a heavy travel schedule. No longer bored that is for sure.
[2] MIL passed in May after long illness and DW ran her own health into the ground during the process. Making some improvement now but has a long way back.
[3] We hired designers for the Oregon house build and went through the design process, site visit, concept stage, first revision, second revision, et al. With DW not in the best of health plus high cost of the projected farm MacMansion --- have put the entire project on the backburner for now. May revive if the bull market keep running or DW's health improves, alternatively downsize Oregon scope and keep the Houston residence.

[4] 'Pot of gold' bonus looking very positive with 17 months left to go and projected value of $1.5MM after tax. Definitely worth hanging on for.
[5] Boss is wanting to re-look at package post year end 2015. Have to see what can be negotiated in context with transitioning back to the USA and whether or not it is worthwhile to keep w*rking.

UPDATE Summer 2015

Another year has went by. $3.8MM in taxable brokerage, $0.45MM Roth IRA, $0.5MM other cash plus the real estate in Oregon and Texas.

The oil business has been absolutely horrible so while the 'pot of gold' is still there, I am forecasting something more like $1.3MM after tax versus $1.5MM that I had as my last year forecast. This is all due to the fact that the 'pot of gold' was linked to financial results which have fallen off the cliff over the last nine months.

Taxable brokerage hit an air pocket and I lost all my gains of Q1 2015 plus a bit more.

DW is struggling along in Houston with arthritis issues. No better or worse than last year as far as I can tell.

House in Oregon has stalled out since last report. We downsized the original plan, then it went through several iterations of feature creep as DW is convinced she will need ADA facilities plus indoor swimming pool for therapy. This greatly complicates the design, execution risk and financial implications of a new home. My position is that I wont start until we have a firm design and a firm budget in hand. Otherwise that house could ruin us.

It has been decided to sell the entire company and the boss feels he can line up a buyer even under these depressed conditions. He is heavily canvasing me to stay on past year end and help finalize the deal. I am actually considering the offer, which will be a second ' pot of gold' and am in negotiations. DW says it is OK, do whatever I want to do. So I am torn as while it is flattering to be sought after in the midst of industry wide decline, I had also lined myself to depart and move back to the USA.

Next update upon the earlier of retirement or Summer 2016 !

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Old 08-06-2015, 10:11 AM   #2
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Thanks for the update. Your story reminds me of the saying "Life happens while you are making other plans" - many twists and turns.

I will say that anyone building a retirement house from scratch should build in ADA features regardless of your current physical condition. Wider doors, grab bars, and lever handles, add very little to the cost of construction. Cabinets can be built with provisions to remove doors later if needed for wheelchair access. Allow room for ramps to be installed later over thresholds (we love the aluminum ramps from Quality Ramps, Carriers, Lifts, and More at Great Prices). Etc., etc.

All the best on your journey.

"One of the funny things about the stock market is that every time one person buys, another sells, and both think they are astute." William Feather
ER'd Oct. 2010 at 53. Life is good.
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Old 08-06-2015, 10:25 AM   #3
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Must be nice to see the goal line getting closer, congrats!
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Old 08-06-2015, 12:33 PM   #4
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Rather than a full size pool, what about a swim spa, where she can swim and exercise against jets? She would be able to heat that to a nice warm temperature without breaking the bank, and can use it as a hot tub as well.
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End of the Beginning - Year 3 of 'Three More Years'
Old 08-06-2015, 12:48 PM   #5
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End of the Beginning - Year 3 of 'Three More Years'


Yes, that's what I thought was reasonable, a 17 foot Endless Pool or Swimex, the ones with current generator so there is resistance. I might even use it on occasion.

DW reports 'every one of her friends hates these, that it is men that buy them for their wives and they are never used because the DW's have such a dislike for that type swim spa'.

Tough to pin her down on this but I believe she is looking for a 40' long lap type pool, heated and indoor. My first reaction when I heard it was right, and who's the pool boy. We are building this out in the middle of farm country. I have told her that it is doable, with enough money of course, but it needs to be detached from the main residence with access via covered walkway.
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Old 08-06-2015, 04:32 PM   #6
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So funny! My husband wanted the pool and I was in favor of the spa. We got the pool. Maybe arrange for her to try one out, just for due diligence? People with arthritis really seem to enjoy them:

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