Hello and where to start
I'm so happy to find this board for all of the reasons that others have already listed. So, where to start with my story? I've had a job of some sort since I was 12. Some of them were pretty good. In 1989, I graduated from Penn State and had a week off to move out of my apartment and into my new shared-home acomodations to be ready Monday morning to start a under-paid, under-appreciated job as a mechanical engineer. A couple of weeks later, I went back to PSU to visit the future wife. I knew that my fw was still in class when I got there so I stopped in the Legg Mason office to see what I could learn about investing. It was near closing time and the only guy left was the grand poo bah. The secretary tried to brush me off (she thought I was a student trying to write a term paper), but he just stepped out of his office and overheard. He told me to wait five minutes and he'd spend all night with me if I wanted. Since there really wasn't a lobby, he invited me into his cushy office for the 5 minute wait. He made two phone calls. The first was to the local radio station where he did a 2 minute financial report sponsored by Legg Mason for the evening news. The second was to his wife that went something like this - Hi Hon, someone just walked into the office that I'd really like to talk with. Do you mind if I come home a little late? Ah, huh, love you, bye.
Evidently she understood and he spent almost two hours asking me about my goals and teaching me about investing, 401k plans, IRAs and suggesting a few good books to read about planning and investing. Gushing my appreciation to him, I left his office with a few pamphlets like "Larry the Loser" and such. He spent this time knowing that he would get no business from me. He suggested that I take advantage of my thrift plan and start an IRA when I could contribute $2000 and not have to go hungry.
The meeting was life changing and it came at an opportune age of 21. I'm 35 now, the pay is much better, and can actually enjoy the job most days. The future wife and I are going to celebrate our 10th anniversary next week. She really enjoys her teaching job (most days). Even after the market trials and tribulations over the last couple of years, we are sitting on a decent tax deferred portfolio. Better yet, we have been able to enjoy some of our money now. I plan to be done working by age 50, maybe earlier. She plans on being done around 52. I'm pretty sure we can do it easily. Especially if she does work until 52 and can collect the 30 and out teachers pension.
I've been kicking around this board for about a week, now. I'm looking forward to participating.