Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
How did you FIRE?
Old 05-24-2022, 01:39 PM   #1
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 38
How did you FIRE?

I hope this is not something that has already been done. I was wondering how people that consider themselves FIRE'd *did* it. And if it is not too over-simplified, I thought of only two categories:
1. Traditional professional careers: medicine, law, engineering, computer science, etc.
2. Everything else - mostly I am thinking of self-started businesses, e.g. owned tire store, print shop, etc.
pugmom is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 05-24-2022, 01:46 PM   #2
Moderator
Walt34's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Eastern WV Panhandle
Posts: 23,570
I did it the old school way - in 1973 I took a public safety position for a career, stayed there just shy of 30 years (normal retirement is 20 years) and have a COLA'd pension. BTW, they stopped offering that pension plan in the early 1980's but didn't change it for those who were already in it. So in more ways than one it's fair to say I just got lucky. Also, the pension plan at last report was 102% funded - you only read about the ones that are in trouble.
__________________
When I was a kid I wanted to be older. This is not what I expected.
Walt34 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2022, 01:54 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NC
Posts: 18,231
While being a doctor or a lawyer can make it easier, some of them spend money as fast as they make it - and won’t FIRE. The formula is the same whether your career pays modestly or a bunch - those who think you have to make a lot of money to FIRE don’t “get it.” You MUST make it a habit to spend less than you make over the long term to reach FI and FIRE if you choose - period.

To retire early, you have to make enough money to guarantee a decent living after retirement. This has to be done early. The process is simple:
  1. Earn more money.
  2. Spend wisely.
  3. Save and invest wisely.
Most people don’t do any of the three, and then wonder how others FIRE. You can FIRE with only 2 & 3, 1 can make it easier but it’s not necessarily required.

The more you spend below your means, the sooner you can achieve FI, and then ER is an option.

FIRE myths:
  • You have to have a high paying career.
  • You have to be an investing wizard.
  • You have to win the lottery, or inherit a large amount.
  • You have to live like a pauper.
  • You have to have a generous pension (beyond SS), but that can certainly help.
ALL FALSE. It does require planning and discipline that most people don’t seem to have.
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 50% equity funds / 30% bond funds / 20% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2022, 02:22 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,256
Two-incomes (for a while) and disciplined saving plan. Spending based on one income (mine).
jebmke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2022, 02:48 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
38Chevy454's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 3,592
1. Practiced LBYM
2. Paid myself first

I was an engineer and DW was registered nurse. But the resl answer to the question is 1 and 2 above.
__________________
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.
Life is a sh!t sandwich, the more bread you have the less sh!t you have to eat.

Semi-Retired 7/1/16: working part-time (60%) for now [4/24/17 changed to 80%]
Retired Aug 2, 2017; age 53
38Chevy454 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2022, 02:56 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
pb4uski's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Sarasota, FL & Vermont
Posts: 31,695
Quote:
Originally Posted by pugmom View Post
I hope this is not something that has already been done. I was wondering how people that consider themselves FIRE'd *did* it. And if it is not too over-simplified, I thought of only two categories:
1. Traditional professional careers: medicine, law, engineering, computer science, etc.
2. Everything else - mostly I am thinking of self-started businesses, e.g. owned tire store, print shop, etc.
We lived below our means, saved and invested reqularly, didn't do anything stupid.

I recall when we moved in 1986 the numbers all suggested that we could get a $xxx,xxx house... but a house that had good bones and was a cosmetic fixer-upper was available for 1/2 of that so we jumped on it. Our investment strategy was slow and steady wins the race and we just invested regularly into Vanguard STAR mutual fund in taxable and the equity fund choices that I had in my 401k. We didn't even think about using our tIRAs or 401k for a new car, new boat or splashy vacation. We usually bought 2-3 year old cars with low miles on them and kept them for a long time and serviced them regularly.

It helped a lot that I had a good six-figure income that enabled us to do that but I think we would have even if I hadn't in that DS is LBYM and saving well even though he doesn't make a lot... but it's all relative.

ETA: or what Midpack said.
__________________
If something cannot endure laughter.... it cannot endure.
Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.
Slow and steady wins the race.

Retired Jan 2012 at age 56
pb4uski is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2022, 03:02 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
youbet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Chicago
Posts: 12,219
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
FIRE myths:
  • You have to have a high paying career, but that can certainly help.
  • You have to be an investing wizard, but that can certainly help.
  • You have to win the lottery, or inherit a large amount, but that can certainly help.
  • You have to live like a pauper, but that can certainly help.
  • You have to have a generous pension (beyond SS), but that can certainly help.
Italics mine.

My version. Any of these things, while certainly not an absolute necessity, can certainly help to reach a secure, early retirement. But generally, and if you want a solid middle class lifestyle and an early retirement which continues that lifestyle, it sure helps to get a leg up in some of these areas.

For example, I counseled my DS that finding a career path that paid reasonably well, learned more about investing than the average citizen and understood lbym'ing so there is something to invest would greatly enhance his ability to someday FIRE.

I understand your point though.......
__________________
"I wasn't born blue blood. I was born blue-collar." John Wort Hannam
youbet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2022, 03:05 PM   #8
Full time employment: Posting here.
SnowballCamper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 524
At a young enough age, I stopped wasting money and got a good scholarship for college. Since I had lived on much less money before college, I knew how to live without spending the whole paycheck after college.

My initial investments were high commission products, but I continued to read and ask questions, and learned DIY index investing early enough.

I was willing to move around a lot for work, and put in a lot of long hours in a sometimes high risk job. The work could be terribly bad, but it came with a cola pension IF you stayed on for 20 years.

I married a financially compatible woman.

I completely agree with the others...the most important thing is to live below your means.
__________________
--At what age does spending less now in order to have more later stop making sense?
SnowballCamper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2022, 03:07 PM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
RobbieB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Central CA
Posts: 8,100
I would say save and invest.

If you are saving & investing say at least 10% and not living on debt (except mortgage) you should have no problems.
__________________
Retired at 59 in 2014. Should have done it sooner but I worried too much.
RobbieB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2022, 03:08 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NC
Posts: 18,231
Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet View Post
My version. Any of these things, while certainly not an absolute necessity, can certainly help to reach a secure, early retirement.
I don’t disagree. But I’ve met many more people than not who insist FI/FIRE are completely impossible unless you’re rich and/or (the myth list in post #3) - that’s what “myths” was aimed at. Like many here when I announced my retirement early, quite a few people were mystified, and were openly convinced it was all luck of some sort.
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 50% equity funds / 30% bond funds / 20% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2022, 03:09 PM   #11
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: St Pete
Posts: 588
It was the money I saved when I earned less than half my final salary (which plateaued about halfway through my career) that did the yeoman's work in getting me to my FIRE number.

Start early, LBYM, Invest the difference, learn from your mistakes. Time>Money both in life and in the market.
__________________
FIREd 7/2021 at age 47
FLSUnFIRE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2022, 03:20 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas: No Country for Old Men
Posts: 48,707
How did I FIRE?

With a huge grin on my face!
__________________
Numbers is hard

The key to understanding human behavior is realizing half the population is below average.
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2022, 03:24 PM   #13
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Corrales NM/ Las Vegas NV
Posts: 27
We did it by saving a large percentage of our income and some luck. Started really getting serious in our early 30s. Between the both of us we never made over 150k a year in the automotive industry and most years less than that. We started by paying off our house. That was done in 4 years. After that we basically lived on less than one income and invested the rest. Fast forward 15 years and we were at a net worth of a little over 2 million. At that time we started taking care of MIL as her dementia was worsening and couldnt live on her own any longer. A few years later she passed and we received a sizeable inheritance of about 2 million. So in our case it was a lot of sacrifice initially. Then the inheritance finished the deal. We werent sure what that amount would be early on but wanted to be free from the chains by 55 regardless.
mojavesue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2022, 03:28 PM   #14
Moderator
rodi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: San Diego
Posts: 13,030
Like most of the others... Lived frugally, banked/invested the difference. 2 incomes, but after the kids were born we both went to 80% work (and 80% pay) for work-life balance... even with reduced income we set our budget to live on one income (mine) and banked the other. Hubby was an architect, I was an engineer. Hubby's job paid less and was prone to economic downturns. But we managed to save even in lean times.

When we paid off our mortgage and had the kids' 529's pretty well funded, I retired. Hubby retired first since he's older and could get SS.
__________________
Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
micro pensions 6%, rental income 20%
rodi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2022, 06:30 PM   #15
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
martyp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Bangkok
Posts: 1,246
I suppose I did it the old fashioned way. I had a career as an engineer in a national scientific laboratory. I worked at the same place for 30 years. I got a COLA’d pension and Social Security. I lived below my means and saved money. I certainly did not make much money on investments. I am much better at quantum mechanics than investing. To the extent that luck was involved it was that we never had any life disasters to set us back. I also retired to Thailand which helps stretch the $$.
__________________
Happy, Wild, and Free
martyp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2022, 06:37 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
rk911's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: DuPage County IL
Posts: 1,807
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
I did it the old school way - in 1973 I took a public safety position for a career, stayed there just shy of 30 years...
my wife and I did much the same. i had 35-years in public safety, 5-yrs in adult and juvenile corrections amd 30-years in 9-1-1 (some of that time was prior to the establishment of 9-1-1). but beyond the defined benefit pensions, which we considered to be just one leg of the 3-legged stool plan, we lived well beneath our means for decades...paid off all debt including the mortgage a few years before we retired at 55 and incurred no further long term deb. we paid off the credit cards each month, fully funded our IRAs each year (although they were non-deductible) and invested heavily in mutual funds. in the last couple of years before retirement we each had access to a 457b plan in which we took advantage. we had a positive cash flow of at $k-$5k per month which was invested. my pension plan is 93% funded but my wife's is just about 50%. we were both able to stay on our employer's health plan until we reached age 65 although we paid the premiums.

we're 71 and 70 now and continue to live well beneath our means with a positive cash flow. we want for nothing, donate heavily to various charities and we are still investing. our net worth is in the upper 7-figures. i calculate our net worth weekly and rememnber being stunned the first time our net worth crossed over into 7-figures. from there it just kept growing. inheriting a bunch from my BIL was just icing on a very nice cake.
__________________
Rich
Ham Radio, Sport Pilot, RVer
FIRE: 8/11/2005, age 55y,1d
Administrator for a regional 9-1-1 call center
rk911 is offline   Reply With Quote
How did you FIRE?
Old 05-24-2022, 07:08 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 3,350
How did you FIRE?

DH worked 5 years in a job with a public pension. He left that to go get his Masters degree and we cashed out his pension to help pay for the 2 years of graduate school. When he graduated he worked few years in the private sector and then took another public service job, back in the old pension system. But he had earlier cashed out his 5 years of service!

By this time I was a full time mom. We knew back then that buying back his years that he cashed out would be a smart thing to do, but we had young kids, a house and cars to support, etc. By the time we got serious about buying back his pension years it had been over 20 years and we had to buy it back with interest! But it was well worth it as a few years later he lost his job but had enough accumulated years and repurchased years to retire early with a reduced pension. It was further reduced by choosing 100% to survivor.

We had always lived below our means, even in the early years with kids. I am a natural saver and DH is a good earner but financially wears blinders. He just doesn't want to know. We were prepared for him losing his job by becoming debt free and having a low cost of living. When his job ended we were ready and he was able to retire.
__________________
Married, both 67. DH retired June, 2010. I have a pleasant little part time job.
Sue J is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2022, 08:25 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Dash man's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Limerick
Posts: 4,257
Stayed out of prison.
Survived cancer.
Lived debt free and below our means.
Saved large part of our salaries.
DW received stock options in her company that thrived during the “lost decade” after a merger. We would have done well, but the stock options made it better.
Diversified into some well performing stocks.
Dash man is online now   Reply With Quote
How did you FIRE?
Old 05-24-2022, 09:22 PM   #19
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Posts: 99
How did you FIRE?

Computer science degree + patents + working for big software companies and making a great salary + RSU’s + downsizing = RetiredBy49

Oh… and I recently married someone with as much or more money than me
RetiredAt49 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-24-2022, 09:46 PM   #20
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
MRG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 10,575
Went from logging and sawmills into programming.
MRG is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
poll


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Did you want and plan FIRE or did it just happen? 97guns FIRE and Money 57 05-07-2017 05:33 AM
Did Your FIRE Number change as you got closer to FIRE? Senator FIRE and Money 28 04-22-2016 01:23 PM
Did you get a counteroffer when quitting? What did you do? brewer12345 Other topics 111 01-09-2014 11:38 AM
How Did You Get There and When Did You Start cscott711 FIRE and Money 51 01-05-2012 10:53 AM
Did you retire or Did you quit GTM Life after FIRE 19 03-09-2006 02:06 PM

» Quick Links

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:12 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.