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Erik from Oceano
Old 03-23-2022, 01:47 PM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Mar 2022
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Erik from Oceano

Hey everybody! I got called out after my first post seemed shilly - oops, I was just excited and wanted to share! and was directed to post here, ya know, so you can assess my non-shilliness.

So, ya, me: aaallllmost 40, with a wife, 2 teens, a 5 year old and an almost 2 year old, so yes, we drive a minivan but it's a cool one with AWD and beefier AT tires, ha!

I've checked out these FIRE ideas for some time but well, I suck(ed) at saving, which as someone who graduated with, among others, an Econ degree is pretty disheartening, so my focus had been more on "how do I stop the debt death spiral and live within my means", but things had been turning around and I was getting a hold of the reigns and could see the path to follow for 10 years or so... and then my mom got cancer and died way too young, leaving me with enough money to make some moves, so plans have accelerated along with the urgency to carpe diem while I still have diems to carpe.

I'm still fully (over) employed as a software engineer working remotely, as I've done for 22 years, but am eyeing the exit into personal projects and artistic growth and development - what my mom called 'my second act'. She really believed that my best talents weren't expressed at the computer keyboard, and I intend to prove her right as an homage.

It's hard to imagine leaving my career though, and I think it is just fear that's held me back. I'm quite good at software and when you're good at one thing, it's easy to lean into that and enjoy the relative success, but everything has an opportunity cost and I want to make a switch while I'm still 'young'. My wife is studying to be a mid-wife (and she'll be an absolutely amazing one, let me tell you). When she's done, we've talked about hitting the road for a year or two, living frugally, letting the assets grow, and learning and growing in the process. I've done some stints travelling around and vagabonding in my pre-family years and frankly really enjoy that lifestyle, though at some point we want to return, buy a BIG (like 100+ acres) piece of land and provide an avenue for sustainable community and property ownership to our large community of friends and family that might otherwise have a difficult time acquiring land.

In addition to FIRE, I'm also interested in internationalization and flag theory. I mean, I'm interested in A LOT of things (kind of a problem to be honest), but those are a couple of others in the financial arena... ... okay and I'm now going to resist the urge to continue to over-share
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Old 03-23-2022, 01:51 PM   #2
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Having a lot of interests solves the problem of what to do once you retire. Until then its a long slog until the kids grow/leave and the way forward becomes more identifiable. Lots of good info here but LBYM and saving and retirement will arrive later or sooner.
T.S. Eliot:
Old men ought to be explorers
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Old 03-23-2022, 02:53 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum. Two primary rules for retiring early:
1. Pay yourself first, 15% is a good target value and more if you can. The more you save, and the earlier you save, the better.
2. Live below your means. Only kind of debt that might be OK is mortgage. Most all other debt is costly to a retirement timeframe.

As to your career change, I have no idea if that is good or not. What are the income prospects vs being a wage slave to the company? Don't set yourself up to become a starving artist. Maybe start the new job while keeping your current until you can make a better educated decision.

How do you plan to hit the road with kinds in tow? Especially if you are both working?
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.
You can't spend yourself to prosperity.

Semi-Retired 7/1/16: working part-time (60%) for now [4/24/17 changed to 80%]
Retired Aug 2, 2017; age 53
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Old 03-23-2022, 03:11 PM   #4
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Hi eriktest - welcome to the forum.

It sounds like the inheritance solved some of the debt issues... But are you living below your income (and therefore saving more) now that the debt is resolved? For me (and others follow different paths) I didn't pull the plug on retirement until I was sure about how much my spending was, and had a plan to cover that spending. There's a good FAQ about what to ask yourself before quitting your job here:

Can you pursue your creative pursuits part time - to see if it has potential to generate income prior to giving notice on your software gig? Can you negotiate a part time arrangement with your software gig to allow you to get the creative side business up and running.

I retired with young teens under roof. They are now midway through launching (at college). Kids cost $$... no getting around that. And so does college. So factor that in.
Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
micro pensions 6%, rental income 20%
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Old 03-23-2022, 03:27 PM   #5
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OP, most people sucked at saving at some point in their lives (me included). LBYM seems to be the most consistent successful formula for FIREd folks, and it sounds like you already knew that. Saving accumulates faster than you would think once you have decided to move in the right direction. Welcome to the forum and good luck.
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Old 03-23-2022, 05:42 PM   #6
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It sounds like you want to form up a commune of sorts when you settle down. More power to you. I grew up in the era of communes and the idea always had some appeal.
Welcome to the forum
Class of 2023
OMY to 2024
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Old 03-23-2022, 05:52 PM   #7
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Welcome to!
The closing years of life are like the end of a masquerade party, when the masks are dropped. -Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher (1788-1860)
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Old 03-23-2022, 08:22 PM   #8
Confused about dryer sheets
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Gotta say, pretty warm welcome thanks!

So - LBYM, well, we were living below our means, had been rapidly paying off debt and all that when my mom was diagnosed. Then we moved to a more expensive area to be near her and then after she passed we decided to put my wife through midwifery school and needed to take on some live in child care to make the schedules work out. So now.. we're break even in the cashflow arena. But, well holy cow if the stocks in the inheritance haven't been doing really well and with some cash that was available, we bought a fixer in my 'hometown' of Chico and that has potential because it can be lot split and developed with ADUs, so we're in the pipeline now on all of that now to try and get between 4 and 6 units onto the half acre. If we can continue that plan, then that project looks to net something ~100k. I'm also looking at deploying some capital into assets/businesses that are immune or otherwise disconnected from market conditions, using margin loans and, I've found a pretty sweet deal on that, which I've written about here. So, in terms of my incomes and our monthly expenses, we're living at our means now, with the expectation that after her graduation we'll be able to nearly halve our expenses. But in terms of the overall net worth picture, that's growing right now and there are irons in the fire (heh) to keep it that way.

re: job prospects. Right now I have a full time job with a stock option in a startup, 130k/yr plus benefits (though been eyeballing other positions with salary in the 150-180 range). I've got my long standing clients which I've tapered down with the fulltime job, but still this year will be about 40k and if I had more time, I could scale that back up some/a lot. One of the clients, I have a 25% share of the company and we're trying to launch a new version of the software this year, so yet another iron in the fire. Then we (my brother and I) inherited a landscape contracting business that is essentially a purely managerial business run by one employee who schedules jobs from PGE to our network of subcontractors, and that brings about 25k/yr to me after all is said and done, and which I've almost completely automated the management of. So... leaving the fulltime job doesn't actually kill off the income completely, so I could do that and still have something and the something looks to be enough when we're 'on the road'. All that's to say, I am atm very over employed and I'd like to take the first step into a bit less than fully employed and then as I go, replace strictly hourly income with passive/semi-passive income. The art and such will happen as I reduce my other commitments. Trick is to not keep adding commitments.. hmm, that's hard.

re: hitting the road with kids in tow and both working: I'll be working less, and we haven't decided how to work my wife's midwifery into that equation yet, but for the first part, she would still be 'in school' just doing the book part, where now she's doing the apprenticeship part, which requires no moving. Then there are possibilities for her to work with local midwives where ever we go and gain diverse experience, which could be a really cool background before we settle a bit and she starts serving women on their whole journey. The kids: so the youngest are my biological children and the older two are my stepsons who lived with us nearly fulltime for much of the time, but have moved back with their father in Chico while they finish highschool. So, they would be there during school times and do holidays and summer with us (hypothetically, because as y'all know, at that age, friends are of paramount importance, so they may resist). All that being said - we're still in the early stages of planning that and have about a year to suss out the details and even then, we can transition slowly into that lifestyle.. so I'm hoping to figure it out by then

That FAQ was a good read, I'll have to create a spreadsheet and start filling in the blanks on all those areas, thanks!

Commune - that's about right, but offering actual lots and a path to real, transferrable ownership to those in need. Commune 2.0 (3.0?).
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Old 03-23-2022, 08:54 PM   #9
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Welcome to the forum. We excel at things that we are interested in.

I worked at a very sizable bank for 6 yrs and I'll never forget bonus day one year when the guy who sat next to me was discussing his bonus and it occurred to me he had miscalculated it.

My other co-worker who sat across the aisle admitted "she wasn't good when it came to math."

I held that department together. I too cannot wait for my second act. I have more of a bucket list if you will.

Obtain my private pilot, enter into a share of a plane with friends.
Ski the mountains for months.
Kick it on the beach for months. kids grow, I find myself wanting and needing to take care of their goals and them in life..and it becomes less about me.

Time > $$$ ~ 100% equities ~ FIRE @2031
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Old 03-23-2022, 10:13 PM   #10
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Mar 2022
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Yes to all those things, literally all three are on my list. Pilots license (though I want to start with ultra light and get a pontoon version for lake hopping, then work my way up ). I'm a snowboarder and part of the 'hit the road' is ski bumming the whole season. I live next to the beach now in Oceano and as a kid in Hawaii for a couple years. I have lots of tropical beach dreams Right now, I like Panama for proximity, price, tax and residency ease as one canvas to paint those tropical dreams.
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Old 03-24-2022, 09:28 AM   #11
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Welcome to the forum.
Give a Man a fish, he will eat for a day.
Teach a Man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.
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