Author Topic: My Story of FIRE  (Read 3335 times)

NaturallyHappier

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My Story of FIRE
« on: July 31, 2017, 01:12:32 PM »
Here I sit on my back patio in the middle of a Monday afternoon, enjoying the day.

We started our FI journey in 2008.  At that time my wife and I both had high paying jobs making very good money and spending like we made very good money.  But it was clear that both the companies that we worked for were starting to show signs of a business slowdown.  We both had nice BMWs with about 120K owed on them.  We had a nice 350K house with 230K mortgage, but we were bringing in good money.  We had a net worth of 730K.

In 2010 it was clear that we were in for a bumpy ride as both of the businesses we worked for really started to decline and we got scared and started getting more conservative about our finances.  We traded the BMWs in for new hybrids and we began aggressively paying down our mortgage.

Since the early 2000s we had always saved the maximum we could in our 401Ks and by 2010 we had accumulated about 200K in after tax savings as well. But we were still spendy pants consumer suckers.  By 2010 we had 940K net worth and still had about 200K in mortgage debt.

We continued to reduce our spending and expenses.  In 2014 we discovered MMM and really began thinking about early retirement. By then, our net worth had risen to 1.55M with about 90K in mortgage debt and no other debt.

In 2014 I got another position making less money, but also with less stress.  My wife left the her job in spring of 2015 and fired.  By then we had a net worth of 1.9M.  In the fall of 2015 I switched jobs again, making about the same money but working 100% from my home as a contract programmer.  I was prepared to work this job for 2 or 3 years before I fired.

Back in 2014, I had started having some issues typing with my right hand.  I thought it was carpal tunnel or maybe I just hurt my wrist. It wasnít to bad and barely slowed me down.  By 2016 it had gotten much worse.  I was now typing mostly with my left hand and navigating around the screen with the touchpad on my laptop using my left hand. I went to see the doctor. 

To make a long story short, in late 2016 I was diagnosed for the first time with Parkinsonís disease.   I didnít believe it, and after taking meds for it for 4 weeks, I had no improvement.  With Parkinsonís disease they canít really tell for sure if you have it unless they biopsy your brain (I took a pass on that test) or you respond to taking Ldopa, which is a medication that increases the dopamine levels in your brain.  I took the meds and did not improve, so I did not have it.......or did I. 

In March of 2017, I went for my first appointment with a Movement Disorders Specialist (MDS) at Penn Medicine. Once again, I was diagnosed with Parkinsonís disease.  It  seems the general practice neurologist that prescribed Ldopa in late 2016 did not prescribe a high enough dose.  It turns out I had Parkinsonís.  The good news was that I could type a little better when I took the medicine.  The bad news was that I have a progressive degenerative neurological disease that will slowly (if I am lucky) take away my freedom. 

Then the week after my second diagnosis I receive a call from the company I was contracting with saying that they were ending my contract.  The slow typing had apparently been noticed, though they of course made up some other reason they were ending the contract.

While we were a little short of our fire goal, the budget has a lot of fluff for entertainment and vacations, so I fired in March of 2017 at the age of 51.  I had the luxury of doing this because of the wisdom I learned from all the folks on this sight and from MMM.  I consider myself very fortunate to be in the position to fire when I did, given the circumstances.

So here I sit on the back patio in the middle of a Monday afternoon, enjoying the day.

Whatís your story?

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: My Story of FIRE
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2017, 03:05:31 PM »
Welcome to the cohort!

I had lunch with Dad and did some blogging today.  My old cow-orkers are suffering through month end close for a big faceless corporation that was just bought out by GE and naturally that causes accounting complications.  I see from their social media they are very crabby right now.  Coming up on 5 year FIRE anniversary on October 5.  Life is good.

I feel you on having a neurological disorder.  I have Tourette's syndrome which mostly responds to medication and is fortunately not degenerative.  It is kind of weird to have your own brain betray your body.  Best of luck.
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Itchyfeet

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Re: My Story of FIRE
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 12:11:11 AM »
Thanks for sharing your story. Sorry to hear about your illness, but on a positive note it is awesome at least you don't have too worry about finances and can focus on looking after your health and making the most of life.

I am pretty hopeless at looking after my health. Your post is encouraging me to go back to the doctor and to attend to warnings I was given a few years ago about my high cholesterol, which I ignored despite the doctor telling me to come back for a follow up test within 6 months.

I will FIRE in either 2018 or 2019 (aged 46 or 47) with hopes of a healthy and active retirement. Best I start taking action towards that objective. My financial health is great, my physical health not so much.

Today I will slave away at my desk for 12 or so hours dealing with no end of BS. I would love to be sitting on my patio writing this haha.

nottoolatetostart

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Re: My Story of FIRE
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2017, 04:27:25 AM »
I am so sorry to hear this, but so glad that you have a nest egg for yourself, so money worries are not added on top of everything else. So good that you and your wife followed intuition with the economy and your jobs to buckle down to change your lifestyle.

Congrats on FIRE!

ponyboy

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Re: My Story of FIRE
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2017, 09:32:41 AM »
Ponyboy enjoys reading post fire threads.  He longs for the day he can fire and never have to worry about money again.

Fire2025

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Re: My Story of FIRE
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2017, 09:47:45 AM »
Congratulations. 

My aunt has Parkinsons, has had it for 30 years, she just got a DBS and it's been very good for her.  Parkinsons' has a lot of break throughs happening, I'm extremely hopeful that my aunt will see real relief, in this illness, in her lifetime.

Loved the story, thank you so much for the inspiration.

Cap_Scarlet

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Re: My Story of FIRE
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2017, 04:04:16 PM »
You can find our story here http://earlyretirefree.com/the-beginning/
Make it idiot proof and they'll make a better idiot
www.earlyretirefree.com

onewayfamily

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Re: My Story of FIRE
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2017, 08:59:36 AM »
Congratulations on FIRE'ing and sorry for the health news. We have someone suffering from MS in our immediate family and like FIRE2025 mentioned there are a lot of breakthroughs and advancements happening in these fields so hopefully you find ways to alleviate your symptoms and enjoy your retirement as much as possible.
We FIRE'd at age 28 (me) and 29 (Mrs. OneWayFamily) and are now trying to travel to every country on Earth - it takes longer with 2 toddlers!

If you'd like to keep track of where we're at - check out our photos @ Instagram or our lame attempt at a blog at onewayfamily.com

NaturallyHappier

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Re: My Story of FIRE
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2017, 06:06:25 PM »
Thanks to all for the replies.  I hope that by sharing my story, others will see how the MMM philosophy can make even significant life events more manageable.  It truly has helped me.