Author Topic: Another "you're too young to retire" comment  (Read 12618 times)

Dicey

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #100 on: March 13, 2017, 08:46:28 AM »
If you are financially independent and don't work at all, you are fully retired. 

If you are FI and work part time, you are semi-retired. 

If you are FI and you work full time, you are not retired.

If you're not FI then you're not retired.

 I have some quibble saying those living month to month on their SS as FI, but they can certainly be retired.

Don't see why you should.  They invested a significant chunk of their earnings into that investment and now they are receiving the proceeds.   Same as a pension, or bonds, or stock, or rental property, or whatever provides cash flow without being a job.

 We can all define FI as we would like, the minimum combined SS payment a married couple can get is
$19,008* dollars, personally I wouldn't call that FI. The maximum SS combined for a couple is $64,000,
I would consider that FI. But both spouses had to pay the maximum into SS for 35 years to get that and may consider $64,000 to be a huge pay cut from the $220,000 they were earning at retirement.
  * $19,008 is above the government poverty level.
That person may have a paid off home, no debt and a low cost lifestyle and only need half of that amount ($8k) to cover expenses and the other half goes for fun stuff. I call that FI myself.
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spartana

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #101 on: March 13, 2017, 12:20:26 PM »
If you are financially independent and don't work at all, you are fully retired. 

If you are FI and work part time, you are semi-retired. 

If you are FI and you work full time, you are not retired.

If you're not FI then you're not retired.

 I have some quibble saying those living month to month on their SS as FI, but they can certainly be retired.

Don't see why you should.  They invested a significant chunk of their earnings into that investment and now they are receiving the proceeds.   Same as a pension, or bonds, or stock, or rental property, or whatever provides cash flow without being a job.

 We can all define FI as we would like, the minimum combined SS payment a married couple can get is
$19,008* dollars, personally I wouldn't call that FI. The maximum SS combined for a couple is $64,000,
I would consider that FI. But both spouses had to pay the maximum into SS for 35 years to get that and may consider $64,000 to be a huge pay cut from the $220,000 they were earning at retirement.
  * $19,008 is above the government poverty level.
That person may have a paid off home, no debt and a low cost lifestyle and only need half of that amount ($8k) to cover expenses and the other half goes for fun stuff. I call that FI myself.
And you're rockin' it, girl!
I try ;-). I think that people have different definitions of FI just as they do of retirement. For me FI simply means you have enough passive income from any source without having to earn more to fund your chosen lifestyle currently and into the future (barring catastrophe). If your chosen lifestyle is low cost than your FI amount can be low. If its high cost then you'll need more money to fund it. Pretty basic. Other people may define it as having enough wealth to buy any kind of lifestyle you can even if you never plan to live that life. .
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tyort1

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #102 on: March 13, 2017, 12:37:11 PM »
For me, FI is 25x expense, plus enough additional money to pay off the mortgage completely.  For us that would be (oh, I'm calculating it here for the first time):

$50,000 x 25 = $1,250,000
Mortgage = $355,000
Total = $1,605,000

There we go.  Got almost $300k now, so only $1.2m more to go :)
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spartana

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #103 on: March 13, 2017, 02:04:11 PM »
For me, FI is 25x expense, plus enough additional money to pay off the mortgage completely.  For us that would be (oh, I'm calculating it here for the first time):

$50,000 x 25 = $1,250,000
Mortgage = $355,000
Total = $1,605,000

There we go.  Got almost $300k now, so only $1.2m more to go :)
but would you still need that much if you had a pension or rental income or some other passive income source to cover part of your expenses? Would it be overkill to save $1.6mm if you had a guareenteed income stream (well as much as any passive income stream can be guareenteed) that covered half of your expenses?
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tyort1

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #104 on: March 13, 2017, 02:53:11 PM »
Good question - I never got into real estate because I never had any money saved before reading MMM about 2 years ago.  Wouldn't even know where to begin. 

I also just realized that if I got the house paid off, I wouldn't need $50k per year.  We pay about $30k per year right now for our mortgage, so if we got rid of that, we'd be only around $25k per year spending.  Bump it up to $30k because we'll maybe do more stuff out and about like travel.  So $30k per year.  Hmmm.....

$30,000 x 25 = $750,000
Mortgage = $355,000
Total = 1,105,000

Oh that's much better.  Glad I stopped by this thread!
Frugalite in training.

AZryan

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #105 on: March 13, 2017, 03:04:51 PM »
Silly arguments.  I think it its just as reasonable for a 35-year-old former office worker to state that she is "retired" from her professional career as it is for a 30-something-year-old Peyton Manning to state that he is "retired" from his professional football career.  I never hear anyone questioning this usage when it is in the context of professional athletes.

If both of those people stopped their working careers, yeah... they're both retired. But if Manning goes on to start some other business or works as a spokesmodel or sportscaster, then no, he's not retired. But he is retired from football. It's so easy to add a word or two to make that distinction clear -if you're not trying to convince people you're something you're not.

If he decides to go back to football team later on, everyone calls that 'coming out of retirement'.

The meaning's always been clear to the general public -which is how words are created and defined.

jim555

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #106 on: March 13, 2017, 06:42:21 PM »
Good question - I never got into real estate because I never had any money saved before reading MMM about 2 years ago.  Wouldn't even know where to begin. 

I also just realized that if I got the house paid off, I wouldn't need $50k per year.  We pay about $30k per year right now for our mortgage, so if we got rid of that, we'd be only around $25k per year spending.  Bump it up to $30k because we'll maybe do more stuff out and about like travel.  So $30k per year.  Hmmm.....

$30,000 x 25 = $750,000
Mortgage = $355,000
Total = 1,105,000

Oh that's much better.  Glad I stopped by this thread!
And don't forget any pensions or SS to reduce it further.

Oil Patch Adams

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #107 on: March 13, 2017, 06:55:12 PM »
Tyoer1 - don't forget while you save for the 1.6M number, you mortgage continues to drop, so you won't need that much :-)

SweetLife

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #108 on: March 13, 2017, 07:43:23 PM »
I called my pension lady the other day to discuss "the plan" ... when I talked to co-workers about my idea of retiring at 56 most were shocked that I could go so early (less than 8 year away) the rest said they can't retire EVER (divorced/spend too much/won't even look at the pension site for another 10 years) ... my advice to look and plan fell on deaf ears ... :(

spartana

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #109 on: March 13, 2017, 08:00:00 PM »
Good question - I never got into real estate because I never had any money saved before reading MMM about 2 years ago.  Wouldn't even know where to begin. 

I also just realized that if I got the house paid off, I wouldn't need $50k per year.  We pay about $30k per year right now for our mortgage, so if we got rid of that, we'd be only around $25k per year spending.  Bump it up to $30k because we'll maybe do more stuff out and about like travel.  So $30k per year.  Hmmm.....

$30,000 x 25 = $750,000
Mortgage = $355,000
Total = 1,105,000

Oh that's much better.  Glad I stopped by this thread!
The "don't pay your house off" crowd here at MMM would probably encourage you to keep the mortgage and invest that money instead. You'll need a higher income but will have higher assets. I'm personally in the "no debt or mortgage in ER"   club myself but ymmv.  Lots of threads around about both.
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radram

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #110 on: March 14, 2017, 07:27:24 AM »
Good question - I never got into real estate because I never had any money saved before reading MMM about 2 years ago.  Wouldn't even know where to begin. 

I also just realized that if I got the house paid off, I wouldn't need $50k per year.  We pay about $30k per year right now for our mortgage, so if we got rid of that, we'd be only around $25k per year spending.  Bump it up to $30k because we'll maybe do more stuff out and about like travel.  So $30k per year.  Hmmm.....

$30,000 x 25 = $750,000
Mortgage = $355,000
Total = 1,105,000

Oh that's much better.  Glad I stopped by this thread!

Don't forget that while you must live SOMEWHERE, you do not need to retire where you are. If you have $125,000 equity in your home now, for example, you could sell your current home and retire to a very nice home, paid in cash, in about 30-40% of the US. Keep running the numbers. You might be over half way there already.

Isn't that interesting, you just went from hopeless to half way there in just a couple of posts :)

Mr Mark

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #111 on: March 14, 2017, 12:04:31 PM »
Good question - I never got into real estate because I never had any money saved before reading MMM about 2 years ago.  Wouldn't even know where to begin. 

I also just realized that if I got the house paid off, I wouldn't need $50k per year.  We pay about $30k per year right now for our mortgage, so if we got rid of that, we'd be only around $25k per year spending.  Bump it up to $30k because we'll maybe do more stuff out and about like travel.  So $30k per year.  Hmmm.....

$30,000 x 25 = $750,000
Mortgage = $355,000
Total = 1,105,000

Oh that's much better.  Glad I stopped by this thread!
The "don't pay your house off" crowd here at MMM would probably encourage you to keep the mortgage and invest that money instead. You'll need a higher income but will have higher assets. I'm personally in the "no debt or mortgage in ER"   club myself but ymmv.  Lots of threads around about both.

I think many of us keep a mortgage crowd are generally referring to those in solid accumulation mode. As you get close to fire a moderate paid off house lowers your need for taxable income which may aid other subsidies and reduce taxes and a need to sell equity in a market dip. YMMV
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tyort1

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #112 on: March 14, 2017, 12:26:02 PM »
I think many of us keep a mortgage crowd are generally referring to those in solid accumulation mode. As you get close to fire a moderate paid off house lowers your need for taxable income which may aid other subsidies and reduce taxes and a need to sell equity in a market dip. YMMV
Oh, I intend to pay the minimum on the mortgage until I accumulate $1.2 million.  Then I can pay off the mortgage in full, but between now and then it's all going Vanguard index stock and index bonds.  I've had job instability in the past and I've learned in my situation it's far, far better to have $$ invested than sunk into extra payments on the mortgage. 

But at some point I'd like to be mortgage free, looks like another 14 year or so.  Maybe even sooner now that my wife got her real estate license and is heading back into the work force.
Frugalite in training.

tyort1

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #113 on: March 14, 2017, 12:35:39 PM »
The "don't pay your house off" crowd here at MMM would probably encourage you to keep the mortgage and invest that money instead. You'll need a higher income but will have higher assets. I'm personally in the "no debt or mortgage in ER"   club myself but ymmv.  Lots of threads around about both.

Debt sucks, IMO.  I'll pay the minimum for the next 15 years, but once I'm at FI I'll probably take out some $$ and pay off the mortgage.  Hell, I might even time the market by doing that on an upswing rather than a dip.  Shocking, I know :-)

Don't forget that while you must live SOMEWHERE, you do not need to retire where you are. If you have $125,000 equity in your home now, for example, you could sell your current home and retire to a very nice home, paid in cash, in about 30-40% of the US. Keep running the numbers. You might be over half way there already.

Isn't that interesting, you just went from hopeless to half way there in just a couple of posts :)

Oh man you have no idea how much of a life saver MMM was for me.  Not just money either.  A complete re-alignment of my perceptions of this world and my place in it, and what's important.  I used to want to have a "nice life" because my parents were poor during the early parts of my life and it set me to separate myself from "poor people" by spending money and showing I had made it. 

Small example - recently I was eating some oatmeal for breakfast and I was scraping the poot to et the last bit out.  I would have never have done that in the past because "poor people scrape".  Now my mentality is "non-wasteful rich people DO scrape".  Haha, that's quite a shift!

I also notice more recently, as we've gotten to around $300k invested, that my desire to buy shiny things is dropping almost in directly inverse proportion to the amount of money I actually have.  It was like, when I was not wealthy (no savings), I wanted to give the impression of wealth by having new/shiny things.  Now that I have ACTUAL wealth, the desire to show it off just drops like a rock.

Anyway, I owe a HUGE thanks to MMM and especially to the people on this forum.  MMM got my mindset turned around with his blog posts, but it was the members here that help people methodically work out the real-world applications that was the final piece of the puzzle.  So... THANK YOU ALL! 
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Dicey

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #114 on: March 14, 2017, 01:17:56 PM »
I think many of us keep a mortgage crowd are generally referring to those in solid accumulation mode. As you get close to fire a moderate paid off house lowers your need for taxable income which may aid other subsidies and reduce taxes and a need to sell equity in a market dip. YMMV
Oh, I intend to pay the minimum on the mortgage until I accumulate $1.2 million.  Then I can pay off the mortgage in full, but between now and then it's all going Vanguard index stock and index bonds.  I've had job instability in the past and I've learned in my situation it's far, far better to have $$ invested than sunk into extra payments on the mortgage. 

But at some point I'd like to be mortgage free, looks like another 14 year or so.  Maybe even sooner now that my wife got her real estate license and is heading back into the work force.
I'd quote the post below this one, but this one's shorter.

You're rocking it, ty! I am so glad you asked, listened and learned about the upsides of letting a cheap, affordable mortgage play out naturally while your marshall your green soldiers into a mighty early retirement army. You're going to be amazed at how fast that 300k grows! Woot!
I did it! I have a journal!
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/a-lot-like-this/
And hell yes, I am still moving confidently in the direction of my dreams...

spartana

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #115 on: March 14, 2017, 02:53:59 PM »
Good question - I never got into real estate because I never had any money saved before reading MMM about 2 years ago.  Wouldn't even know where to begin. 

I also just realized that if I got the house paid off, I wouldn't need $50k per year.  We pay about $30k per year right now for our mortgage, so if we got rid of that, we'd be only around $25k per year spending.  Bump it up to $30k because we'll maybe do more stuff out and about like travel.  So $30k per year.  Hmmm.....

$30,000 x 25 = $750,000
Mortgage = $355,000
Total = 1,105,000

Oh that's much better.  Glad I stopped by this thread!

Don't forget that while you must live SOMEWHERE, you do not need to retire where you are. If you have $125,000 equity in your home now, for example, you could sell your current home and retire to a very nice home, paid in cash, in about 30-40% of the US. Keep running the numbers. You might be over half way there already.

Isn't that interesting, you just went from hopeless to half way there in just a couple of posts :)
This is what I did and it put me solidly into FI (wasn't there yet) and able to retire. Sold the paid off house in a HCOL area and moved to a nicer LCOL area and bought a place with cash for about 1/3 the cost. Eventually moved back to HCOL area again during housing crash/great recession, bought a foreclosure with cash very cheap and now deciding if I should sell for big bucks, rent it out for big bucks or stay as it doesn't cost me much. Lots of paths to FIRE.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 03:02:30 PM by spartana »
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spartana

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #116 on: March 14, 2017, 03:11:33 PM »
Good question - I never got into real estate because I never had any money saved before reading MMM about 2 years ago.  Wouldn't even know where to begin. 

I also just realized that if I got the house paid off, I wouldn't need $50k per year.  We pay about $30k per year right now for our mortgage, so if we got rid of that, we'd be only around $25k per year spending.  Bump it up to $30k because we'll maybe do more stuff out and about like travel.  So $30k per year.  Hmmm.....

$30,000 x 25 = $750,000
Mortgage = $355,000
Total = 1,105,000

Oh that's much better.  Glad I stopped by this thread!
The "don't pay your house off" crowd here at MMM would probably encourage you to keep the mortgage and invest that money instead. You'll need a higher income but will have higher assets. I'm personally in the "no debt or mortgage in ER"   club myself but ymmv.  Lots of threads around about both.

I think many of us keep a mortgage crowd are generally referring to those in solid accumulation mode. As you get close to fire a moderate paid off house lowers your need for taxable income which may aid other subsidies and reduce taxes and a need to sell equity in a market dip. YMMV
I agree and this was my path more or less (did pay off house early but only after maxing out all tax deferred accounts first than threw extra at the mortgage and paid if off shortly before quitting my job). But there are lots of people/investors on these forums who have stated that they would always keep as large of a mortgage as they could on.their property even into FIRE to max out investment opportunities and current low interest rates. I'm too much of a 'fraidy cat for that and feel much more security with a paid off home and less $$ in the market in retirement. Plus the tax benefits are nice with a low income (zero in my case). Plus I know I can ride out pretty much any financial downturn without having to worry much.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 03:20:33 PM by spartana »
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radram

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #117 on: March 14, 2017, 04:18:40 PM »
Good question - I never got into real estate because I never had any money saved before reading MMM about 2 years ago.  Wouldn't even know where to begin. 

I also just realized that if I got the house paid off, I wouldn't need $50k per year.  We pay about $30k per year right now for our mortgage, so if we got rid of that, we'd be only around $25k per year spending.  Bump it up to $30k because we'll maybe do more stuff out and about like travel.  So $30k per year.  Hmmm.....

$30,000 x 25 = $750,000
Mortgage = $355,000
Total = 1,105,000

Oh that's much better.  Glad I stopped by this thread!

Don't forget that while you must live SOMEWHERE, you do not need to retire where you are. If you have $125,000 equity in your home now, for example, you could sell your current home and retire to a very nice home, paid in cash, in about 30-40% of the US. Keep running the numbers. You might be over half way there already.

Isn't that interesting, you just went from hopeless to half way there in just a couple of posts :)
This is what I did and it put me solidly into FI (wasn't there yet) and able to retire. Sold the paid off house in a HCOL area and moved to a nicer LCOL area and bought a place with cash for about 1/3 the cost. Eventually moved back to HCOL area again during housing crash/great recession, bought a foreclosure with cash very cheap and now deciding if I should sell for big bucks, rent it out for big bucks or stay as it doesn't cost me much. Lots of paths to FIRE.

This is FANTASTIC.

California right? How about another option? Sell it at cost to a fellow FIRE family to allow us to afford the California sun :) I would even consider an even swap for a 3BR ranch on 1 1/2 acre in WI.

PM me if interested (ha ha).


jim555

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #118 on: March 14, 2017, 05:24:24 PM »
I purchased a condo for cash prior to FIREing.  It allows me to live on very little income since only taxes, maintenance, electric and internet are required.  The money tied up earns no taxable return and keeps my MAGI low which helps with the ACA.  Now that the ACA will likely change I will probably sell and go nomad/slow travel until 65.  Other advantages to owning are the nice 250k capital gains exclusion, 150k asset protection due to homestead laws.  Being in control of when I move is important to me.

Cassie

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #119 on: March 14, 2017, 05:59:20 PM »
We have actually changed our minds about having a paid off house. Ours was but we decided with interest rates so low to take some of the $ out to boast our reserves while still only having a payment of 500/month. We took a 30 year but likely won't live that long.  Rents for this house are 1500/month.

Frugal_is_Fab

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #120 on: March 14, 2017, 07:24:53 PM »
Problem with society thinking retirement is an age instead of being a number. Everyone just assumes you have to work to the traditional "retirement age".

I think the Social Security Administration has really brainwashed people on their retirement age.  Now that people know I'm retiring.  I get "I wish I would but I have to work to... fill in SSN FRA"     Well I guess I should be offended they think I'm that old but hopefully once I get off the stress treadmill I can look younger.  I'm 56 , My Social Security FRA is 66 1/2 , I don't give two shakes of a rat's rear about that age because I did the math and working till that age and then collecting Social Security gets me an amazing additional $100 per month as opposed to quiting now and then collecting Social Security at FRA.   It has to do with the Social Security formula that returns very little for incomes over 60k per year but ofcourse taxes you right up to 130k per year in 2017.   They look at 35 years and inflation adjust so if you worked at your professional job 35 years and then quit really makes a very minor difference in Social Security vs staying on the job to FRA.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 07:28:51 PM by Frugal_is_Fab »

spartana

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #121 on: March 15, 2017, 12:20:33 AM »
Good question - I never got into real estate because I never had any money saved before reading MMM about 2 years ago.  Wouldn't even know where to begin. 

I also just realized that if I got the house paid off, I wouldn't need $50k per year.  We pay about $30k per year right now for our mortgage, so if we got rid of that, we'd be only around $25k per year spending.  Bump it up to $30k because we'll maybe do more stuff out and about like travel.  So $30k per year.  Hmmm.....

$30,000 x 25 = $750,000
Mortgage = $355,000
Total = 1,105,000

Oh that's much better.  Glad I stopped by this thread!

Don't forget that while you must live SOMEWHERE, you do not need to retire where you are. If you have $125,000 equity in your home now, for example, you could sell your current home and retire to a very nice home, paid in cash, in about 30-40% of the US. Keep running the numbers. You might be over half way there already.

Isn't that interesting, you just went from hopeless to half way there in just a couple of posts :)
This is what I did and it put me solidly into FI (wasn't there yet) and able to retire. Sold the paid off house in a HCOL area and moved to a nicer LCOL area and bought a place with cash for about 1/3 the cost. Eventually moved back to HCOL area again during housing crash/great recession, bought a foreclosure with cash very cheap and now deciding if I should sell for big bucks, rent it out for big bucks or stay as it doesn't cost me much. Lots of paths to FIRE.

This is FANTASTIC.

California right? How about another option? Sell it at cost to a fellow FIRE family to allow us to afford the California sun :) I would even consider an even swap for a 3BR ranch on 1 1/2 acre in WI.

PM me if interested (ha ha).
Oh I would feel terrible selling you my house cheaply when it would be  putting you in danger from such horrible things like sunburns in our 80 degree winter weather ;-).

Evil gloating aside, I do think downsizing to a smaller less expensive place or lower cost area can shave years off someone's  FIRE date and often increase their quality of life at the same time.

« Last Edit: March 15, 2017, 12:25:25 AM by spartana »
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Mr Mark

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #122 on: March 15, 2017, 08:36:15 AM »
The "don't pay your house off" crowd here at MMM would probably encourage you to keep the mortgage and invest that money instead. You'll need a higher income but will have higher assets. I'm personally in the "no debt or mortgage in ER"   club myself but ymmv.  Lots of threads around about both.

Debt sucks, IMO.  I'll pay the minimum for the next 15 years, but once I'm at FI I'll probably take out some $$ and pay off the mortgage.  Hell, I might even time the market by doing that on an upswing rather than a dip.  Shocking, I know :-)

Don't forget that while you must live SOMEWHERE, you do not need to retire where you are. If you have $125,000 equity in your home now, for example, you could sell your current home and retire to a very nice home, paid in cash, in about 30-40% of the US. Keep running the numbers. You might be over half way there already.

Isn't that interesting, you just went from hopeless to half way there in just a couple of posts :)

Oh man you have no idea how much of a life saver MMM was for me.  Not just money either.  A complete re-alignment of my perceptions of this world and my place in it, and what's important.  I used to want to have a "nice life" because my parents were poor during the early parts of my life and it set me to separate myself from "poor people" by spending money and showing I had made it. 

Small example - recently I was eating some oatmeal for breakfast and I was scraping the poot to et the last bit out.  I would have never have done that in the past because "poor people scrape".  Now my mentality is "non-wasteful rich people DO scrape".  Haha, that's quite a shift!

I also notice more recently, as we've gotten to around $300k invested, that my desire to buy shiny things is dropping almost in directly inverse proportion to the amount of money I actually have.  It was like, when I was not wealthy (no savings), I wanted to give the impression of wealth by having new/shiny things.  Now that I have ACTUAL wealth, the desire to show it off just drops like a rock.

Anyway, I owe a HUGE thanks to MMM and especially to the people on this forum.  MMM got my mindset turned around with his blog posts, but it was the members here that help people methodically work out the real-world applications that was the final piece of the puzzle.  So... THANK YOU ALL!

Well done tyort ! !

That's an interesting effect you've found. I agree, once you really get those little green soldiers (and even better, the ones they created) working for you the previously theoretical but now observable power of compounding interest is a siren call to keep adding more when you can see the earning taking off.

The more you save the more addictive saving gets.
Mr. Mark

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Re: Another "you're too young to retire" comment
« Reply #123 on: March 15, 2017, 10:02:32 AM »
Isn't that interesting, you just went from hopeless to half way there in just a couple of posts :)

I think if most people took the time to do the math and start thinking about what it really takes, more would have a better feeling about retirement.  I know that was true for me.  Before I actually ran my numbers, I firmly believed that I wouldn't be able to retire before age 74 (when mortgage was set to finish).  Over time, and with the help of many great MMMers, I've discovered many alternate paths to get me there sooner.  And in fact "there" has changed too.  I've shaved roughly 20 years off of my original date, and I'm still playing around with how much I'll need, so that can keep changing. 

But to point, yes, it is interesting that when you put some time into a proper analysis, and see other options available, many many different outcomes are possible. 
Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand