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At what age did you get serious about ER planning?
Old 12-09-2007, 07:05 AM   #1
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At what age did you get serious about ER planning?

There may be more than one answer to this because there are degrees of seriousness of ER planning, I suppose.

In my case, early on (right out of college) I had read that the sooner you start the better, so I started contributing to a 401(k) as soon as I was eligible. I would have been about 23. I wasn't contributing the max, and I had not done any calculations about what I might need and how I might get there.

By the time I was in my late 20s I was maxing out my 401(k), after increasing the contribution with each raise - another tip I had read. I had also started investing some money on the side. Still, the outside investments were more for speculation, and I still hadn't done any real number crunching. I also had never opened an IRA.

I was in my early 30s before I actually got 'serious'. Id say around 33 or 34 I started crunching numbers, opened IRAs, started serious reading about investing, and put together an asset allocation model based on index investing.

How about the rest of you?
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Old 12-09-2007, 07:19 AM   #2
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I had just moved back to the US. I was 28 and had my first non-student full-time job. Our dual-income family always maxed our 401(k), 403(b), IRA contributions and contributed even more to our taxable accounts. We even had a plan to be able to replace our W2 income by age 40.
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Old 12-09-2007, 07:33 AM   #3
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I started contributing to a 401K right after I turned 21 but I was only contributing 8% of a 30K income. Last year at age 27 I finally maxed it out and plan to do so every year from now on. I haven't opened an IRA do to a low(43K) income and the fact that i'm trying to save for a down payment on a condo. I think I was about 26 when I first tried to determine what I would need to retire and made a plan to get there. I just turned 28 and have an investment net worth of about 80K with no debt.
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Old 12-09-2007, 08:42 AM   #4
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I was 36 before my company offered a 401k plan but did start contributing to an IRA around the age of 28. Prior to that I was just saving for a big down payment on a house.
Retired 3/31/2007@52
Investing style: Full time wuss.
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Old 12-09-2007, 08:59 AM   #5
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At the age of forty one I began to take stock of where I was and where I need to be for retirement. Now the finances are such that I could, but health insurance keeps me with the company for another ten months. Then I can be free if i want.
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Old 12-09-2007, 09:00 AM   #6
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I was age 26 when the "old timers" at work encouraged me to save around 10% each year. They told me a man would not have to work all of his life if he did so. Sounded good to me at the time. I thank all of them now.
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Old 12-09-2007, 09:26 AM   #7
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I didn't do or know a thing about retirement and woke up at 47. Retired at 57 but gave too much money to brokers until I found this forum 4 years ago.
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Old 12-09-2007, 09:38 AM   #8
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I was 35 when I first started placing money into a 403b. Meanwhile, DW was investing in a 401k with her employer and even had matching funds by her employer up to 6% of her contribution. We feel fortunate that we had money invested in tax sheltered mutual funds when America lived through the longest running bull market in U.S. history. This definitely helped us to retire early.
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Old 12-09-2007, 10:36 AM   #9
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I had to think about this. Employers contributed to 401k since early 20s, but didn't contribute myself until later. Never had debt, with the exception of home mortgage at 21 and cars (1 for me every 6 years, one for DH every 6 years - 3 yr note, never more than one payment at a time). Well, there were, motorcycles, campers, etc. but we paid cash for them...except the motorhome, and I got grouchy every month when I wrote a check for it...but we used it a lot...

I returned to school to finish my degree in my early The lights went on for me at that point. I hit the work force again, opened IRA while we were eligible, and maxed out the 401k from eligibility. DH did the same. Then kid's higher education started. DS went to Texas A&M...lived off campus and DD went to UT...lived off campus. We had several years of 2 or 3 households to support. Ouch! Had to put a muzzle on DH, but we made it through and the kids started life with no student loan debt.

When the kids were through with college, DH and I were dead serious about retirement funds. We lived in the same house for 27 years and payments were tiny. I think we lived on about 1/3 of one salary and deferred/saved/invested the rest. Thanks to Joe Kennedy's advice, I side stepped the 87 crash and put everything back in the market at its lowest point...that really helped. Also, thanks to a wierd law, I was able to participate in two different 401k plans at the same time...both had 5% matching. Anyway, we pulled the plug in 96 at 49 .

One of the nice things about doing what we did when we did it is that the kids were old enough to pay attention. They started actively planning for retirement at the beginning of their careers.
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Old 12-09-2007, 10:48 AM   #10
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I was given a "little push" when I was separated from half of my stuff via divorce a 'life change" when I was was 1987 and I had never made any more than $15K a year....we had self-contracted our new house (3000 sq ft) ourselves, sold it (making a little $$$) and the next one would have been mortgage we were definitely LBYM'ers....uhhhh....check seems that I was the LBYMer as she found greener pastures just b/4 we began house #2....

It was then that I began my focus.....

As my moniker reflects, I am a Mom called me an "old soul" and I definitely like old things.....but I digress....

I have been in training this time for almost 20 years remarried and found another NON-LBYMer and yet we have still managed to get to FI quicker than I had hoped or imagined....maxing out every retirement fund opportunity for each of us since 1988 and buying land and rental properties that we sold just before the current mortgage crisis (pretty lucky, huh?).....and now I am able to spend time with my passion of collecting (I knew I could get back to it!)......

I guess that I should add that both of us are ONLY high school grads....I was self employed (sold my practice earlier this year) and my DW grew up in the retail trade and is still currently employed as a District Manager for a national chain and has no desire to smell roses yet (I hope to encourage her when our DD graduates HS in 2011)....this also allows for no worries for our current health insurance needs ....

Man....ramble, ramble.....I had no idea....sorry for he long winded post....but just to answer the original OP....I was 33 !!
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Old 12-09-2007, 10:51 AM   #11
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I began contributing to my 401K the first year my company offered it.
I was 33. A couple of years later I withdrew some of my 401K for a
stupid reason. I didn't get really serious about saving for retirement
until I was almost 40... which came on the heels of my father's death.
With my parental safety net gone... I became much more responsible
with money and everything else.
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:06 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by VaCollector View Post

As my moniker reflects, I am a Mom called me an "old soul" and I definitely like old things.....but I digress....

Do you like estate sales? I love them. While the sight of people sorting
though the debris of another's life can be sad... If I am drawn to buy
something, I maintain quite an attachment to it. Once at a garage sale,
there was a box with all sorts of items in it... marked $5... there were
a few items in the box maybe worth the price.... but there were also
letters written from the Pacific during WW 2... and several diaries form
the 1950s filled with the memories of a past life... I advised the lady...
there are personal letters and diaries in here !! The lady told me she had
bought the house and the things in the box were from the old lady who
had live there before... she said she had called the daughter several
times... but the daughter was not interested... the lady told me, that
if someone doesn't buy the box for $5, everything in it is going in the
trash... I drove off feeling very sad... I drove around the block, then
went back and bought the box... I still have the diaries and letters
to this day... who knows what will happen to them when I pass on.
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:16 AM   #13
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I was mid thirties divorced with two kids to educate when I really started saving for their education and my retirement .I remarried six years after my divorce and we were both LBYM so our savings just grew.He retired first and died suddenly two years later .I kept on working for my sanity more than the money .I retired last year and I am really enjoying it .
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Old 12-09-2007, 11:36 AM   #14
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Well, I took the advice of my Dad who said "Find a decent j*b with decent benefits and stay there." I did at age 19, and ER'd from it this past April @ 50! The j*b had excellent health ins and a great pension plan....along with other assorted fringe benefits. Then when I hit 30, a friend of mine convinced me to open an IRA. Those moves got me started down the path to FIRE.

Now with an IRA, Roth IRA, pension, health/life/LTC ins, and taxable accts......I'm FIRE'd and set for life!

So, at what age? 19!
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At what age did you get serious about ER planning?
Old 12-09-2007, 12:26 PM   #15
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At what age did you get serious about ER planning?

After my first day at Megacorp. Age 33. Retired at age 52 .
“I guess I should warn you, if I turn out to be particularly clear, you've probably misunderstood what I've said” Alan Greenspan
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Old 12-09-2007, 12:41 PM   #16
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From the standpoint of saving, it started in high school. I have always been a LBYM type of person and DW is also one (but not anywhere as committed as me). I "knew" I needed to pile up money for "things" later and that involved downpayments for houses, kids college and general living events.

I never connected my savings to ER until I lost my job in 2002 and was out of work for many months. I was afraid after a year that ready or not I was "retired." I was pretty much lost and confused about the whole concept until I stumbled onto this forum.

I got back into the rat race but I'm currently in a very flexible and ultimate low stress position. All of my financial calculations are now focused on retirement. Also, all of the resources have shown me I am financially able to walk away at any time.
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane -- Marcus Aurelius
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Old 12-09-2007, 12:45 PM   #17
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Age 16 when I saw what Mega-Corp could do to you with my Dad and that set a determination to not allow a Mega Corp to dictate my life. Age 21 and my finance professor taught budgeting, investing, and the power of compounding to take control of your life. Also another professor who taught the opportunities of a few well purchased rentals in a college town. My Dad died 11 months after retirement and the determination for ER was sealed. A wonderful father who gave it all for his family. Thankfully my Mom is still doing well all these years later and has had a great retirement but it could have been much better.

Blessed to have married the woman of my dreams at 22 who shared the same dreams and was willing two hold down two jobs also along with my two until we could get business income to replace the second jobs. Our plan was 45 and out for both of us. Life happened and we decided DW could go at 40 and now in five days I will be leaving Mega Cr*p for good at 43. We will finishing raising our kids as we always dreamed, God willing.

Twenty one years of working the plan, no inheritance, no large home sale equity (not that their is anything wrong with these), but many a blessing along the way!

BTW Firecalc, this board , and ESRBobs book were the final push to pull the trigger!

First order of business after next week is to find that old college professor and thank him! I thank my Dad daily in the way I try to care for my Mother.
Worked the plan and now living the Dream!
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Old 12-09-2007, 01:14 PM   #18
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I opened my first savings account when I was 10 to deposit baby sitting money earmarked for a new bicycle and christmas presents.
I bought my first IRA when I was 20 or so and bought every year until I enrolled in my company 401K at 24. Put in the max for company match for 25 years with extra going in to reach the federal max every year. Been buying a Roth every year after they started since I was eligible since then.
My dad told me when I got that job that I had been living on xx per week for 4 years and now I could either increase my living to 2xx per week or save the money and retire early. He said it was a good idea to actually live on half your net income and put the extra towards retirement and saving for houses and new cars, vacations etc.
I followed his advice and never carried a loan on anything except my first house which I paid off in 10 years. The loan and banking industry would starve to death if they were waiting on me for support.
Starting early and compounding allowed me to retire at 49.
Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.<br />-Robert A. Heinlein
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Old 12-09-2007, 01:15 PM   #19
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I half-ass dabbled earlier on, but didn't get serious till mid-forties. Didn't get REALLY serious till 49! Yep, I waited till too late to pile up a million bucks since I'm retiring at 55. However, since I'll have a couple of COLA pensions, the extra 500K I'm planning to end up with should compliment the pensions nicely. I sure wish I'd had a brain in my 20's.
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Old 12-09-2007, 01:16 PM   #20
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Hmm. Recall telling my honey i wanted to be a millionaire by 30. Didn't make it, didn't really try to make that million. Recall telling her my fantasy of being within range of my own bed no matter where i drove in the western states (that is, a house we owned w/in 500 miles of anywhere in the west). Didn't happen, not practical. Told her i attracted money - i don't, it just seems to stick with me once it gets in my wallet. We thought it would be a good goal to have as many rental units as we had years - we reached that goal a few years ago. Somehow reaching that goal has made it possible to retire, albeit not very darn early. Now it's just a matter of unwinding out of the rentals and convincing my gal that i'm not worthless even if i'm not fixing toilets for 53 places. My ER ability is due less to aiming at bailing out and more to hooking up with a woman who took my idle ramblings seriously and worked at my side to accomplish them. Got lucky.
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