...a moniker chosen to give folks some insight about my musical prowess.
I go by Cb here because my first attempt to register as Gnobility stalled because my Gnobility@hotmail.com
account had timed out after >30 days of inactivity - the top secret password this forum sent as part of that registration attempt has gone into internet limbo, it seems.
Here's my story:
It seems I owe any success I've enjoyed to the more difficult times I've experienced in my life. We married at 18 & 19, and had 2 kids and a whopping $530 mortgage payment a few years later when I was laid off from my union machinist job in 1982. After a dismal 9+ months of unemployment I found work with only 3 weeks remaining on my final unemployment extension. That motivated me to peg my 401K along with a bit of additional saving to assure that I wouldn't be in such a dire situation ever again.
Nearly a decade later I was working in the defense industry and had relaxed our savings rate a bit and had allowed our stadard of living to creep up substantially when the cold war ended. Local employment at my company went from 22,000 to 8,000 in a few years - we trimmed our budget, increased our savings, and I enrolled in evening college school fulltime to take advantage of tuition refund programs while we still had them. I went from a GED to an MBA in about 5 years, and wound up being promoted rather than laid-off.
All through the past 18 years my wife and coworkers gave me a hard time about my "over-saving" but the bull market, especially the late 90's explosion made a genius out of me. Many times over the years I'd told them, "Hey, if I'm wrong, and it turns out we saved more than we needed to, the only downside is that we'll have more money than we really need when we're 50."
A few years ago I updated our Net Worth spreadsheet with the day's closing prices, and I thought "Holy Sh7t! We just might be able to punch out BEFORE 50!" A few days later the Retire Early Homepage turned up in a Yahoo search, and I slowly concluded that we ought to be able to punch out at 48 & 49. (OK - for a brief time 45 was looking pretty good!)
We've got 2 budgets: Bleak Year ($48K pre-tax) and Not-So Bleak ($63K)
We'll hang it up when Dory36's calculator tells us a 77/23 portfolio and latter-year pension & SSI streams will fund the $63K budget at a 4% withdrawal rate.
I'm an indexer, a Large Cap Fund in my 401K, Vanguard Index 500 & some VG Total Market for the extree savings. I'm 100% in domestic equities and will remain so until sometime next year when the mortgage is paid off and the kids finish college - at that point I'll start building a 5 year FI ladder.