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Hello from AnotherAverageJoe
Old 06-22-2009, 07:47 AM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Needham
Posts: 2
Hello from AnotherAverageJoe

Hello everyone!

I live in the Boston area working as an engineer at a large software company that begins with an O and ends with racle. Been thinking about early retirement for as long as I can remember - w*rk is sometimes satisfying but mostly just grueling. I'm thirty two years old and have been in software engineering and support for 11 years now. I readily admit that there are days when I feel like I can't take much more, and it is on those days that the thought of FI and early retirement keeps me afloat.

A bit of background:
A few years ago I was single and socking away boatloads of cash. Now I'm living with my wife in a single family house we purchased together in mid 2008. I've definitely had to readjust my thinking regarding the year I can realistically retire, due to three things:

1. The stock market catastrophe of the last couple of years
2. The real estate meltdown
3. The fact that I've been putting an awful lot of money into the house in a short period of time (new roof, new windows and doors, exterior insulation, sump pump, and exterior paint job = appx 32K, of which I paid half.)

Other than the exterior painting job, all of the other w*rk was absolutely necessary (and I don't think we'll be doing anything else!!) but I do feel that I've gotten off track in terms of my savings goals, which is part of the reason I wanted to join this forum; I desperately want to get out of the grind and into real living.

Here's where I am:

Age: 32
Income: 119K
401K: 130K, mostly in domestic and international index funds, stocks and commodities
Other investments: About 70K in stocks and bonds with Vanguard, and a 10K emergency cash fund
Mortgage: 510K, which seems crazy until you consider that I only pay 50% of the monthly as my partner is responsible for the remainder (We're a dual-income couple right now. Might change if we have kids.)
Debt: Nothing other than the house
Assets: Our house is valued at roughly 650K, and we did put 20% into it at purchase time, so I should be able to claim half of the 130K equity as my own asset.

This puts my approximate net worth at around 270-290Kish, depending on the month that I'm evaluating the value of my fluctuating assets.

Just looking for support and knowledge from the community here as I try to get back on track, concentrating on putting money into my 401K and outside accounts, rather than continuing to shovel money into my house. I can't believe it's taken me until 2009 to find this wonderful forum.
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:05 AM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: East Nowhere, 43N Latitude, NY
Posts: 9,037
I'm not qualified to comment on your financial plan, but I will say hello and welcome to the forum.
First part of my career was crunching code before I got back on track to engineering. I never got involved in database w*rk, just mostly scientific and laboratory data acquisition programming and number crunching.
These days, just plain ol' FIREd...
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:24 AM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 5,105
The big question is: Is you partner on board with your plan?
Sometimes death is not as tragic as not knowing how to live. This man knew how to live--and how to make others glad they were living. - Jack Benny at Nat King Cole's funeral
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:40 AM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Collin County, TX
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Welcome to the forum. We're a bunch of FIRE hungry folks around here. I'm sure you'll fit right in.
There's no need to complicate, our time is short..
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:43 AM   #5
Recycles dryer sheets
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 193
I'd say just remember living frugally and saving everything in a 401K is certainly a "slow, steady" way to get to ER a few years or say a decade early, but always keep your eyes open for other opportunities in the meantime like buying or starting a business, that can get you to ER sooner.
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Old 06-22-2009, 11:25 AM   #6
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....begins with an O and ends with racle.
Wonder if that mystery company is related to one in Silicon Valley, funny story....

Welcome to the forum, from one Joe to another.
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Old 06-22-2009, 12:58 PM   #7
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Needham
Posts: 2
Yes, thankfully my wife is generally frugal and would, with a few exceptions, prefer to save and invest money rather than spend it.

Kabekew, I'm definitely (and frustratingly!) aware that my current path leads to at least 20 more years of w**king and saving, and perhaps more if the markets never seriously grow again.

I'm unfortunately aware that I'm following a tried-and-true retirement strategy that takes a lot of time and consistency to achieve -- spelled out, this is putting lots of money into stocks in an employer sponsored 401(k) plan, sticking to asset allocation and dollar-cost averaging over time, etc. My biggest fear is that while this sort of plan was very effective in the 80's and 90's while worldwide growth and consumption was increasing by about 8% a year, it's no longer viable.

In a nutshell, I'm fairly concerned that we (we=humans) are reaching the limits of what the planet can produce, as well as the number of humans it can hold (carrying capacity.) If these concerns are well-founded then it's probably not realistic to expect serious growth from worldwide markets over the next several decades. Is it? Feel free to talk me out of this opinion.

And if that's true, then my plan no longer makes sense to follow; I'll have to save pretty much every dime that I need to retire if I can't depend on market growth to compound my savings. So I'm sort of looking for a new plan.

I'm sure that these sorts of things are being discussed in one forum or another -- I'll go hunting to see what I can come up with.

Thanks for the welcoming!
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