Have Camera, Will Travel (hello from CA)
Hello everyone. I've been reading this forum as a lurker for a while and thought I should introduce myself. In a nutshell, I am 37, married, no kids but have a dog. I did my engineering degree in canada, came to the US for grad school, met my wife, got a job (under NAFTA visa), and liked California so much I stayed here.
Like everyone else, I would like to retire or be financially independent asap. Started amassing a reasonable sized portfolio and it's been amazing to see some months where the change in my investments was multiple times my salary. I follow the boglehead philosophy of investing (and often read the diehards forum). Invested in low cost index funds, ETFs, and (where there is no other option) mutual funds. Well diversified along US/Int and size/value. Probably a little light on bonds (portfolio is 80% stock, 10% bonds, 10% cash roughly). Portfolio has fully recovered from March 09 lows and except for the recent dip, has been at all time highs (dumped a lot of cash into equities over 2009). Besides mortgage, we have no debt (I recieved tuition waiver and stipend in grad school, wife's education debt was small and paid off long ago).
Recently got laid off which I think was the best thing to happen to me since I was considering leaving my job on my own (experiencing some burnout). With being laid off I received severance and eligiblity for UI insurance. Luckily it turns out I won't need UI as I've already gotten another job and I've arranged to start work in a few months so I have time to recharge.
As I mentioned the goal is to be FI asap. Probably doable in 5 years with the major obstacles being healthcare and housing. Healthcare might be helped by PPACA (or we can move back to canada), mortgage is currently at $3K/month which is very reasonable while I am working but we may be able to move to an area with a lower cost of living.
Interests are in photography and travel. This can get expensive although it is not bad as some interests/hobbies can go. Starting to sell some of my work which offsets much of the equipment costs.