New Soon-to-be ER


Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Jul 1, 2004
Hi, Grumpy here. I used to follow the ER board on Motley Fool until they went over to the dark side. I recently began following this board so I thought I should introduce myself.

I retired from NASA a little over two years ago at age 55. My career included a stint as the Financial Manager for the Hubble Space Telescope and several other interesting space flight projects. Since then, I have been working as a consultant/contractor for a NASA project 2 days a week and helping out in a CFP's office one day a week. My wife was a special education teacher for the county and retired on July 1st. She's 56.

We are buying a new house (downsizing) in Virginia that will be ready in January or February of '05 and for which we will pay cash. I will wind up my work at NASA by the end of November and at that point we will really be into ER.

We have gotten to this point by always living below our means, saving at least 20% of our income, investing in low cost funds (Vanguard & T.R. Price) and buying dividend paying stocks first through DRIPS and then through Buy and Hold Securities. We have always maxed out contributions to her 403(b) and my TSP accounts. We were able to put our two kids through college (one private and one public) without financial aid, and help our daughter financially with graduate school. Our mortgage has been paid off for almost five years and I have never made a car payment in my life. I guess some of that came from being raised by my depression-era parents. My dad always said "if you don't have the money to buy a car, then don't buy a car!". It worked for him and it has worked for us too.

Our overall situation looks pretty good. I get a federal pension that is indexed to the CPI which will cover just about all of our basic needs (food, clothing, shelter). We have the gov't health insurance plan. My wife receives a small pension from teaching and will begin to collect social security at age 62. We plan to draw $20K per year or roughly 2.5% from our portfolio. With no debt, we should be able to at least maintain our previous lifestyle, or even inprove it a bit.

I have used firecalc and a variety of on-line planning tools (e.g FinancialEngines.Com) to figure out how to make ER work for us. I would be happy to pass along the things I have learned along the way to other members of this board who are further from ER.


Wow Grumpy,

Very very impressive. I look forward to hearing more of your story.

And congratulations on your RE achievments.

Yes, Grumpy I too am impressed. BTW, give my best
to Sleepy, Dopey, Bashful, Sneezy, Doc, et al.

I had "depression era" parents who avoided all debt, never owned a credit card, etc etc. I never drew any
inspiration from this. Early on I spent like there was no tomorrow and borrowed accordingly. I suppose I was
smart enough to use some of my borrowing power
to produce income. Still, I would be so much further ahead with just a little ER planning. I may not be
unique, but I am unusual in that I ERed just because
I wanted to, not because I reached some preset goal
or ran my SWR. Nope, I just said that's enough and

John Galt
Hello Grumpy,

I can't help but picture Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in the movie "Grumpy Old Men".

That aside, congratulations on your imminent retirement. From someone at the other end of the scale (34 with a 6 month old) it is always nice to hear from another soul who has achieved the target by following a similar path to the one we "wannabe's" are treading - LBYM, save, save, save, invest for the long haul, avoid unnecessary debt etc etc.



PS: So were you the one who got to marry Snow White??
Gosh darn it Grumpy, we've been trying to tell people that you dont have to be a rocket scientist to ER.

Here you are making people doubtfull again...


PS: So were you the one who got to marry Snow White??


Well, in the fable none of the dwarves got to marry her but in my case, yes I did. My wife of 35 years likes to sleep almost as much as Snow White! Now that she's retired, she likes to stay up late and sleep til noon. I'm an early bird, up by 7:00 am and asleep by 11 pm. We are both trying to adjust our schedules to be able to spend more time together. Just one of the many adjustments I anticipate we'll be making over the coming months.

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