Author Topic: Mission Accomplished  (Read 6077 times)

WildJager

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Mission Accomplished
« on: October 05, 2016, 06:29:56 PM »
Hey everyone.  This post is basically worthless beyond a humble brag, but like most here I don't really have anyone to celebrate with that would understand.

My wife and I just hit our goal today of a 3% WR from a $30k yearly budget, or $1MM in liquid investments.  No house since we move a lot for our jobs, but renting is one of our budget line items. 

For the curious, I'm 30 and my wife is 29.  Both US military, no kids.  We probably won't have kids in the future, but if we do it will be one.  Adjusting our budget for a child would be easy as we have a lot of excess (in our opinion) right now.  We currently spend about 27k a year.

The largest expense adjustment post job will be paying for healthcare, as we are currently getting that free under the government.  But again, we have waste we can easily cut and have padded an extra $3k for our retirement budget.

Unfortunately, we can't quit our jobs for another 5 years due to legal commitment obligations.  So, we basically have an indentured one-more-year (x5) going on.  But, that's all just going to be icing on the cake.

Once we're finally free, we plan to travel for quite a while and find somewhere in the world to settle down in.  We both have hobbies that can easily be transitioned to enjoyable work that we might do, or we'll transition into other long term dreams.  We're not exactly sure what we're going to do per say, but we're leaving doors open and learning to be prepared for the possibilities.  Whatever we end up doing, flying a desk and working spreadsheets won't be a part of it.

Thanks to this community for everything.  This revolution helped us focus on a goal instead of mindlessly saving like we were before.  It also helped us cut excess out of our lives that didn't make us any happier.

Well, that's all I got.  Cheers to the future!

TexasRunner

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2016, 06:58:12 PM »
CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Fyi, my 2cents is to avoid lifestyle inflation and allow the next 5 years to build a massive safe-withdraw cushion.  The benefit is that you are now set up to have multi-millions when you pass on than somewhere under (or around) one million, and with a already-super-safe WR of 3%, the extra growth means you may be able to improve a college, build a hospital overseas, build a school or any number of things a bit further down the road...  Assuming lifestyle inflation doesn't eat away your really low withdraw rate.

Just something to consider... :)
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WildJager

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2016, 07:12:41 PM »
CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Fyi, my 2cents is to avoid lifestyle inflation and allow the next 5 years to build a massive safe-withdraw cushion.  The benefit is that you are now set up to have multi-millions when you pass on than somewhere under (or around) one million, and with a already-super-safe WR of 3%, the extra growth means you may be able to improve a college, build a hospital overseas, build a school or any number of things a bit further down the road...  Assuming lifestyle inflation doesn't eat away your really low withdraw rate.

Just something to consider... :)

Completely agree.  My wife and I had the discussion a couple years ago about what to do with the extra money when the writing was on the wall.  She wanted to donate it to charity now.  I was more comfortable with the larger cushion for the time being since the ER concept has a lot of risk.  I convinced her that we can do more good down the road by responsibly growing the stash ourselves for the time being.  Then, when we do give it away, it can be a significant contribution to something we care about.

Right now, our plan is to support whatever local community we end up settling down in.  We want to promote something we appreciate, which is town infrastructure that provides the opportunity to walk to where you want to go.  So, we would like to establish sidewalks/bike paths/public transportation for whatever small town we end up with.  The goal surely will change, but that is the intent of the extra money. 

TexasRunner

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2016, 07:23:08 PM »
Completely agree.  My wife and I had the discussion a couple years ago about what to do with the extra money when the writing was on the wall.  She wanted to donate it to charity now.  I was more comfortable with the larger cushion for the time being since the ER concept has a lot of risk.  I convinced her that we can do more good down the road by responsibly growing the stash ourselves for the time being.  Then, when we do give it away, it can be a significant contribution to something we care about.

Right now, our plan is to support whatever local community we end up settling down in.  We want to promote something we appreciate, which is town infrastructure that provides the opportunity to walk to where you want to go.  So, we would like to establish sidewalks/bike paths/public transportation for whatever small town we end up with.  The goal surely will change, but that is the intent of the extra money.

This definitely seems logical.  As far as current donations, it makes more sense to let the money grow but you don't want to do that at the expense of your current/soon-to-be community.  I might suggest going in with a ER rule of "5% of what we spend will be used each year towards our community" or something like that.  If you are on 27k a year, then 1350$ a year into the community.  Since you are military, I assume you know how exceedingly far this seemingly small amount can go in other countries.  Then, later in life you can start making really big differences in communities because the money was compounding so efficiently (IE a orphanage organization or school system).

Either way, kudos to you.  Maybe tweak the FIRE plan a little to include whatever commitments you and SO are comfortable with and establish it as a plan that can be recorded, actionable and accountable.  :)
"The mathematical formula for the number of motorcycles you need is   x+1, where x is the number of motorcycles you currently have."

HappierAtHome

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2016, 07:26:12 PM »
Congrats!

HAPPYINAZ

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2016, 07:30:42 PM »
Wow!  A huge congratulations to you and your wife!  That is just so exciting and to think that now all the extra money you earn can be earmarked for some charity you want to support.  That's my dream right there!  Thanks for sharing your success with us.

TheAnonOne

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2016, 10:33:19 AM »
Completely agree.  My wife and I had the discussion a couple years ago about what to do with the extra money when the writing was on the wall.  She wanted to donate it to charity now.  I was more comfortable with the larger cushion for the time being since the ER concept has a lot of risk.  I convinced her that we can do more good down the road by responsibly growing the stash ourselves for the time being.  Then, when we do give it away, it can be a significant contribution to something we care about.

Right now, our plan is to support whatever local community we end up settling down in.  We want to promote something we appreciate, which is town infrastructure that provides the opportunity to walk to where you want to go.  So, we would like to establish sidewalks/bike paths/public transportation for whatever small town we end up with.  The goal surely will change, but that is the intent of the extra money.

This definitely seems logical.  As far as current donations, it makes more sense to let the money grow but you don't want to do that at the expense of your current/soon-to-be community.  I might suggest going in with a ER rule of "5% of what we spend will be used each year towards our community" or something like that.  If you are on 27k a year, then 1350$ a year into the community.  Since you are military, I assume you know how exceedingly far this seemingly small amount can go in other countries.  Then, later in life you can start making really big differences in communities because the money was compounding so efficiently (IE a orphanage organization or school system).

Either way, kudos to you.  Maybe tweak the FIRE plan a little to include whatever commitments you and SO are comfortable with and establish it as a plan that can be recorded, actionable and accountable.  :)

Why are we immediately pushing him to give it away? Let him get settled into this lifestyle for a few years! He is only 30 and will find things important to him in his 40s, 50s and 60s!

Back on topic.

How did you save so much being military!? By 29 and 30!? Do share!

Mr. Green

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2016, 10:38:35 AM »
An awesome accomplishment. Congratulations!
Took the leap in June 2016.

WildJager

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2016, 02:58:29 PM »
Completely agree.  My wife and I had the discussion a couple years ago about what to do with the extra money when the writing was on the wall.  She wanted to donate it to charity now.  I was more comfortable with the larger cushion for the time being since the ER concept has a lot of risk.  I convinced her that we can do more good down the road by responsibly growing the stash ourselves for the time being.  Then, when we do give it away, it can be a significant contribution to something we care about.

Right now, our plan is to support whatever local community we end up settling down in.  We want to promote something we appreciate, which is town infrastructure that provides the opportunity to walk to where you want to go.  So, we would like to establish sidewalks/bike paths/public transportation for whatever small town we end up with.  The goal surely will change, but that is the intent of the extra money.

This definitely seems logical.  As far as current donations, it makes more sense to let the money grow but you don't want to do that at the expense of your current/soon-to-be community.  I might suggest going in with a ER rule of "5% of what we spend will be used each year towards our community" or something like that.  If you are on 27k a year, then 1350$ a year into the community.  Since you are military, I assume you know how exceedingly far this seemingly small amount can go in other countries.  Then, later in life you can start making really big differences in communities because the money was compounding so efficiently (IE a orphanage organization or school system).

Either way, kudos to you.  Maybe tweak the FIRE plan a little to include whatever commitments you and SO are comfortable with and establish it as a plan that can be recorded, actionable and accountable.  :)

Why are we immediately pushing him to give it away? Let him get settled into this lifestyle for a few years! He is only 30 and will find things important to him in his 40s, 50s and 60s!

Back on topic.

How did you save so much being military!? By 29 and 30!? Do share!

I was just one of those weirdos who took the "This is Sally vs John" seminars seriously.  The ones about compound interest and the comparison over the course of their lives.  I spent most of my free time in high school working at Staples and using what I earned to pay for pilot lessons on the weekends.  So I developed the skill of delayed gratification for something better than frivolous toys.  I wanted to be a pilot growing up, and I considered that a way to get my toe wet.

I went to the air force academy in hopes of becoming a pilot, which I was fortunate enough to have reached the goal.  And while tough, the free college, room and board obviously gave me a step in the right direction.  I started consciously budgeting our $100 a month stipend to develop the habit of money management, and poured over investment books.  At this point, I didn't know what I was going to do with my savings, but I knew then at least enough that a money cushion can provide food and shelter.

I met my wife there, and we started our journey together learning to be pilots.  We both enjoy cheap hobbies and avoided lifestyle creep right out of the gate.  Our starting pay was more than enough to provide for us, so every pay raise was just plowed into investments.

Due to our hectic lifestyle often on the road, we indefinitely delayed having kids.  If we do, it will be one after we can retire.  Not having to pay for child care helped out.

We started with two "old" used cars and maintained them well.  We discovered MMM a few years ago after a rough deployment, and set our sites on a focused goal for our savings in case we decided to get out at the end of our commitment.  More and more we are leaning that way simply because we have more interests we want to pursue outside of the military.  We sold our oldest car and have enjoyed biking to work daily.  We just have our small truck for when needed to haul things or go long distance.

MMM helped us refine our spending to a hyper efficient level, though we already were more frugal than our peers.  We havent had a TV since 2012 or so mainly because we never used it.

We received a combined inheritance of about $60k from various family members, which went straight into investments.

That's about it in a nutshell.  Simply focused goals and avoiding lifestyle inflation.  Our investments are a few individual stocks, but the vast bulk is the S&P 500.  The housing crisis was a test drive that drove home my academic knowledge that buy and hold, regardless of what's going on in the market, is critical.  Buying consistently through the recovery provided rediculous returns.  As we get closer to FIRE and interest rates rise, I will adjust our portfolio to have some bonds instead of 100% equity. 

We recognize how fortunate we were to make good money right out of college while avoiding student loans, but there has definitely been an emotional trade-off with lack of family connection and the ever present theat of losing your spouse due to the nature of the job.  Like anything in life, it's a trade off.

We're definitely looking forward to a more benign life after this adventure and having more free time to enjoy more time with each other and family.

TexasRunner

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2016, 03:07:09 PM »
Would it be tactful to throw a GWBush meme in at this point?  lol

I am assuming you reached this point only 4 years into the 9 year commitment.  Really aggressive savings there.  Nice job!
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Sailor Sam

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2016, 03:26:58 PM »
Congratulations, Wildjager. My wife and I are both active duty, and it's nice to see another couple making it work.

Sounds like you'll be ~13 years when your contract expires. Care to elaborate on the decision making process to forgo the carrot of the 20 year cliff-vest?  It's something I'm currently thinking about, so I'd be interested in your thought process. I'm sitting at exactly 10 years, but this life is chewing my body up. Then I type my bonified into a retirement calculator, and see that it's a little like walking away from 2 million. Hard decision.

WildJager

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2016, 03:30:24 PM »
Would it be tactful to throw a GWBush meme in at this point?  lol

I am assuming you reached this point only 4 years into the 9 year commitment.  Really aggressive savings there.  Nice job!

Our 10 year commitment began two years after we finished college due to waiting for a pilot training class, so we've had about 7 years in at this point.

stoaX

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2016, 03:38:24 PM »
Congratulations - very impressive!  I am now inspired to up my game!

WildJager

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2016, 03:39:42 PM »
Congratulations, Wildjager. My wife and I are both active duty, and it's nice to see another couple making it work.

Sounds like you'll be ~13 years when your contract expires. Care to elaborate on the decision making process to forgo the carrot of the 20 year cliff-vest?  It's something I'm currently thinking about, so I'd be interested in your thought process. I'm sitting at exactly 10 years, but this life is chewing my body up. Then I type my bonified into a retirement calculator, and see that it's a little like walking away from 2 million. Hard decision.

I love flying, but it feels like more and more that's only about 5% of the work I do.  The rest of it... meh.  Will be around that 13 year mark when the time comes, but I'm already bored with 5 years left before I can bounce.  That is going to be a grind.  Grinding out 7 more years hurts my soul.  And yes, ive ran the numbers too.  It's impressive when compared to a stash and the 4% rule.

However, everyone just has to decide for themselves if that money is worth it to them.  For me, the answer is easily no.  There is just so much more out there I want to experience.  7 years is a long time and a lot of potential adventures.

Edit: Maths are hard.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2016, 05:19:27 PM by WildJager »

Mr. Green

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2016, 05:43:17 PM »
I was just one of those weirdos who took the "This is Sally vs John" seminars seriously.  The ones about compound interest and the comparison over the course of their lives.  I spent most of my free time in high school working at Staples and using what I earned to pay for pilot lessons on the weekends.  So I developed the skill of delayed gratification for something better than frivolous toys.  I wanted to be a pilot growing up, and I considered that a way to get my toe wet.

I went to the air force academy in hopes of becoming a pilot, which I was fortunate enough to have reached the goal.  And while tough, the free college, room and board obviously gave me a step in the right direction.  I started consciously budgeting our $100 a month stipend to develop the habit of money management, and poured over investment books.  At this point, I didn't know what I was going to do with my savings, but I knew then at least enough that a money cushion can provide food and shelter.

I met my wife there, and we started our journey together learning to be pilots.  We both enjoy cheap hobbies and avoided lifestyle creep right out of the gate.  Our starting pay was more than enough to provide for us, so every pay raise was just plowed into investments.

Due to our hectic lifestyle often on the road, we indefinitely delayed having kids.  If we do, it will be one after we can retire.  Not having to pay for child care helped out.

We started with two "old" used cars and maintained them well.  We discovered MMM a few years ago after a rough deployment, and set our sites on a focused goal for our savings in case we decided to get out at the end of our commitment.  More and more we are leaning that way simply because we have more interests we want to pursue outside of the military.  We sold our oldest car and have enjoyed biking to work daily.  We just have our small truck for when needed to haul things or go long distance.

MMM helped us refine our spending to a hyper efficient level, though we already were more frugal than our peers.  We havent had a TV since 2012 or so mainly because we never used it.

We received a combined inheritance of about $60k from various family members, which went straight into investments.

That's about it in a nutshell.  Simply focused goals and avoiding lifestyle inflation.  Our investments are a few individual stocks, but the vast bulk is the S&P 500.  The housing crisis was a test drive that drove home my academic knowledge that buy and hold, regardless of what's going on in the market, is critical.  Buying consistently through the recovery provided rediculous returns.  As we get closer to FIRE and interest rates rise, I will adjust our portfolio to have some bonds instead of 100% equity. 

We recognize how fortunate we were to make good money right out of college while avoiding student loans, but there has definitely been an emotional trade-off with lack of family connection and the ever present theat of losing your spouse due to the nature of the job.  Like anything in life, it's a trade off.

We're definitely looking forward to a more benign life after this adventure and having more free time to enjoy more time with each other and family.
I'm definitely envious! You played the game about as well as it could possibly be played. A shutout, maybe a no-hitter. That's rockin'!
Took the leap in June 2016.

marty998

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2016, 02:47:48 AM »
Would it be tactful to throw a GWBush meme in at this point?  lol

I immediately thought of this too! Something about victory being declared and the war still going on 12 years later?

Anyway, congrats to you WildJager, must be an awesome feeling.

WildJager

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2016, 01:28:47 PM »
Would it be tactful to throw a GWBush meme in at this point?  lol

I immediately thought of this too! Something about victory being declared and the war still going on 12 years later?

Anyway, congrats to you WildJager, must be an awesome feeling.

Trust me, we recognize the irony every day we're on the road.  There may or may not have been some innuendo in the thread title.  ;)

Thanks everyone for the congrats!

Nords

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2016, 10:22:00 PM »
Completely agree.  My wife and I had the discussion a couple years ago about what to do with the extra money when the writing was on the wall.  She wanted to donate it to charity now.  I was more comfortable with the larger cushion for the time being since the ER concept has a lot of risk.  I convinced her that we can do more good down the road by responsibly growing the stash ourselves for the time being.  Then, when we do give it away, it can be a significant contribution to something we care about.

Right now, our plan is to support whatever local community we end up settling down in.  We want to promote something we appreciate, which is town infrastructure that provides the opportunity to walk to where you want to go.  So, we would like to establish sidewalks/bike paths/public transportation for whatever small town we end up with.  The goal surely will change, but that is the intent of the extra money.

This definitely seems logical.  As far as current donations, it makes more sense to let the money grow but you don't want to do that at the expense of your current/soon-to-be community.  I might suggest going in with a ER rule of "5% of what we spend will be used each year towards our community" or something like that.  If you are on 27k a year, then 1350$ a year into the community.  Since you are military, I assume you know how exceedingly far this seemingly small amount can go in other countries.  Then, later in life you can start making really big differences in communities because the money was compounding so efficiently (IE a orphanage organization or school system).

Either way, kudos to you.  Maybe tweak the FIRE plan a little to include whatever commitments you and SO are comfortable with and establish it as a plan that can be recorded, actionable and accountable.  :)

Why are we immediately pushing him to give it away? Let him get settled into this lifestyle for a few years! He is only 30 and will find things important to him in his 40s, 50s and 60s!

Back on topic.

How did you save so much being military!? By 29 and 30!? Do share!

I was just one of those weirdos who took the "This is Sally vs John" seminars seriously.  The ones about compound interest and the comparison over the course of their lives.  I spent most of my free time in high school working at Staples and using what I earned to pay for pilot lessons on the weekends.  So I developed the skill of delayed gratification for something better than frivolous toys.  I wanted to be a pilot growing up, and I considered that a way to get my toe wet.

I went to the air force academy in hopes of becoming a pilot, which I was fortunate enough to have reached the goal.  And while tough, the free college, room and board obviously gave me a step in the right direction.  I started consciously budgeting our $100 a month stipend to develop the habit of money management, and poured over investment books.  At this point, I didn't know what I was going to do with my savings, but I knew then at least enough that a money cushion can provide food and shelter.

I met my wife there, and we started our journey together learning to be pilots.  We both enjoy cheap hobbies and avoided lifestyle creep right out of the gate.  Our starting pay was more than enough to provide for us, so every pay raise was just plowed into investments.

Due to our hectic lifestyle often on the road, we indefinitely delayed having kids.  If we do, it will be one after we can retire.  Not having to pay for child care helped out.

We started with two "old" used cars and maintained them well.  We discovered MMM a few years ago after a rough deployment, and set our sites on a focused goal for our savings in case we decided to get out at the end of our commitment.  More and more we are leaning that way simply because we have more interests we want to pursue outside of the military.  We sold our oldest car and have enjoyed biking to work daily.  We just have our small truck for when needed to haul things or go long distance.

MMM helped us refine our spending to a hyper efficient level, though we already were more frugal than our peers.  We havent had a TV since 2012 or so mainly because we never used it.

We received a combined inheritance of about $60k from various family members, which went straight into investments.

That's about it in a nutshell.  Simply focused goals and avoiding lifestyle inflation.  Our investments are a few individual stocks, but the vast bulk is the S&P 500.  The housing crisis was a test drive that drove home my academic knowledge that buy and hold, regardless of what's going on in the market, is critical.  Buying consistently through the recovery provided rediculous returns.  As we get closer to FIRE and interest rates rise, I will adjust our portfolio to have some bonds instead of 100% equity. 

We recognize how fortunate we were to make good money right out of college while avoiding student loans, but there has definitely been an emotional trade-off with lack of family connection and the ever present theat of losing your spouse due to the nature of the job.  Like anything in life, it's a trade off.

We're definitely looking forward to a more benign life after this adventure and having more free time to enjoy more time with each other and family.
Jager, the dual-military demographic is one of the fastest-growing trends in today's services, but not many people appreciate the financial independence aspect of that.  Heck, the military barely understands the retention aspect of dual-military couples.

My spouse and I are dual-military retirees who understand FI (we reached it at age 41).  My daughter and her spouse are also dual-military-- and they absolutely get it.  They'll probably be FI in their 30s.

I realize that the Air Force is willing to pelt you with stupidly generous six-figure bonus money to keep your butts in your cockpits.  I completely understand the attractive financial security of being highly paid for something you enjoy doing anyway.  However you've reached financial independence already on your high savings rates and could leave active duty tomorrow if not for those pesky five-year obligations... especially if one (or both) of you continued your career(s) in the AF Reserve or Air National Guard. 

If the two of you stick around for two active-duty pensions then you'll way way way overshoot the FI mark.  You'll be running a full-time charitable foundation for the rest of your lives with millions of dollars of your retirement income.  You'll have earned it because you'll have given up most of your 20s and 30s to achieve your riches.  I'd be happy to get into the details of how I know this.

You should stay on active duty as long as you're feeling challenged and fulfilled.  But when (not if) the fun stops (and your contract has ended), then you can eagerly look forward to leaving active duty for "one weekend a month and two weeks a year".  Your savings/investments will only have to last until the Reserve/Guard pension starts around age 60.  (Even for just one of you, let alone both of you.)  You'll both be employable (if you choose to seek employment) with a much better work/life balance, and you'll have far more flexibility should you decide to start a family.

Don't let the active-duty pensions (or the bonus money) interfere with your life goals.  Contact me if you want to check your math or dig into other details.

Oh, and congratulations on your high savings rate!  You're reaping the rewards of compounding, and it can overcome just about every investing error.  I don't want to get into how I learned that.
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WildJager

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2016, 10:18:36 AM »
Completely agree.  My wife and I had the discussion a couple years ago about what to do with the extra money when the writing was on the wall.  She wanted to donate it to charity now.  I was more comfortable with the larger cushion for the time being since the ER concept has a lot of risk.  I convinced her that we can do more good down the road by responsibly growing the stash ourselves for the time being.  Then, when we do give it away, it can be a significant contribution to something we care about.

Right now, our plan is to support whatever local community we end up settling down in.  We want to promote something we appreciate, which is town infrastructure that provides the opportunity to walk to where you want to go.  So, we would like to establish sidewalks/bike paths/public transportation for whatever small town we end up with.  The goal surely will change, but that is the intent of the extra money.

This definitely seems logical.  As far as current donations, it makes more sense to let the money grow but you don't want to do that at the expense of your current/soon-to-be community.  I might suggest going in with a ER rule of "5% of what we spend will be used each year towards our community" or something like that.  If you are on 27k a year, then 1350$ a year into the community.  Since you are military, I assume you know how exceedingly far this seemingly small amount can go in other countries.  Then, later in life you can start making really big differences in communities because the money was compounding so efficiently (IE a orphanage organization or school system).

Either way, kudos to you.  Maybe tweak the FIRE plan a little to include whatever commitments you and SO are comfortable with and establish it as a plan that can be recorded, actionable and accountable.  :)

Why are we immediately pushing him to give it away? Let him get settled into this lifestyle for a few years! He is only 30 and will find things important to him in his 40s, 50s and 60s!

Back on topic.

How did you save so much being military!? By 29 and 30!? Do share!

I was just one of those weirdos who took the "This is Sally vs John" seminars seriously.  The ones about compound interest and the comparison over the course of their lives.  I spent most of my free time in high school working at Staples and using what I earned to pay for pilot lessons on the weekends.  So I developed the skill of delayed gratification for something better than frivolous toys.  I wanted to be a pilot growing up, and I considered that a way to get my toe wet.

I went to the air force academy in hopes of becoming a pilot, which I was fortunate enough to have reached the goal.  And while tough, the free college, room and board obviously gave me a step in the right direction.  I started consciously budgeting our $100 a month stipend to develop the habit of money management, and poured over investment books.  At this point, I didn't know what I was going to do with my savings, but I knew then at least enough that a money cushion can provide food and shelter.

I met my wife there, and we started our journey together learning to be pilots.  We both enjoy cheap hobbies and avoided lifestyle creep right out of the gate.  Our starting pay was more than enough to provide for us, so every pay raise was just plowed into investments.

Due to our hectic lifestyle often on the road, we indefinitely delayed having kids.  If we do, it will be one after we can retire.  Not having to pay for child care helped out.

We started with two "old" used cars and maintained them well.  We discovered MMM a few years ago after a rough deployment, and set our sites on a focused goal for our savings in case we decided to get out at the end of our commitment.  More and more we are leaning that way simply because we have more interests we want to pursue outside of the military.  We sold our oldest car and have enjoyed biking to work daily.  We just have our small truck for when needed to haul things or go long distance.

MMM helped us refine our spending to a hyper efficient level, though we already were more frugal than our peers.  We havent had a TV since 2012 or so mainly because we never used it.

We received a combined inheritance of about $60k from various family members, which went straight into investments.

That's about it in a nutshell.  Simply focused goals and avoiding lifestyle inflation.  Our investments are a few individual stocks, but the vast bulk is the S&P 500.  The housing crisis was a test drive that drove home my academic knowledge that buy and hold, regardless of what's going on in the market, is critical.  Buying consistently through the recovery provided rediculous returns.  As we get closer to FIRE and interest rates rise, I will adjust our portfolio to have some bonds instead of 100% equity. 

We recognize how fortunate we were to make good money right out of college while avoiding student loans, but there has definitely been an emotional trade-off with lack of family connection and the ever present theat of losing your spouse due to the nature of the job.  Like anything in life, it's a trade off.

We're definitely looking forward to a more benign life after this adventure and having more free time to enjoy more time with each other and family.
Jager, the dual-military demographic is one of the fastest-growing trends in today's services, but not many people appreciate the financial independence aspect of that.  Heck, the military barely understands the retention aspect of dual-military couples.

My spouse and I are dual-military retirees who understand FI (we reached it at age 41).  My daughter and her spouse are also dual-military-- and they absolutely get it.  They'll probably be FI in their 30s.

I realize that the Air Force is willing to pelt you with stupidly generous six-figure bonus money to keep your butts in your cockpits.  I completely understand the attractive financial security of being highly paid for something you enjoy doing anyway.  However you've reached financial independence already on your high savings rates and could leave active duty tomorrow if not for those pesky five-year obligations... especially if one (or both) of you continued your career(s) in the AF Reserve or Air National Guard. 

If the two of you stick around for two active-duty pensions then you'll way way way overshoot the FI mark.  You'll be running a full-time charitable foundation for the rest of your lives with millions of dollars of your retirement income.  You'll have earned it because you'll have given up most of your 20s and 30s to achieve your riches.  I'd be happy to get into the details of how I know this.

You should stay on active duty as long as you're feeling challenged and fulfilled.  But when (not if) the fun stops (and your contract has ended), then you can eagerly look forward to leaving active duty for "one weekend a month and two weeks a year".  Your savings/investments will only have to last until the Reserve/Guard pension starts around age 60.  (Even for just one of you, let alone both of you.)  You'll both be employable (if you choose to seek employment) with a much better work/life balance, and you'll have far more flexibility should you decide to start a family.

Don't let the active-duty pensions (or the bonus money) interfere with your life goals.  Contact me if you want to check your math or dig into other details.

Oh, and congratulations on your high savings rate!  You're reaping the rewards of compounding, and it can overcome just about every investing error.  I don't want to get into how I learned that.

Thanks for the advise Nords.  You're definitely one of the cornerstones around here whose opinion I've valued highly during our journey.  You mentioned the 5 year commitment, for pilots now it's been increased to 10 starting when you get your wings.  Add the couple years before that for training, and most are around the 12 year mark when they're free of their obligation.  Being over the "hump" to the 20 year mark is why it's such a tough choice for many pilots to walk away.  No doubt a very calculated golden handcuff.  They way we're going to play it out is to not take any bonus, so the day we stopped having fun is the day we can walk away.  Who knows what the future holds.

The guard is definitely an option if we live anywhere near a base that will take us.  That's something I'll be open to when the time comes, and from friends that have gone that route it sounds like it would be fun to be a guard bum.

I'll be sure to contact you down the road as I have questions.  Thanks for the support and the contributions you give to the community.  Take care!

WildJager

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2016, 10:23:26 AM »
Wow, so this just happened.  I guess $1MM is a trigger point for the Personal Capital advisors to be more aggressive.  My assigned advisor called me to set up an appointment to discuss my portfolio.

"Thanks but no thanks.  I'm comfortable managing my finances."
"But how do you know, if you don't even know what we do?"
"I know what financial advisors do... I'm not interested."
"But you haven't even heard me out.  You should have someone with experience helping you, especially with a portfolio growing as rapidly as yours!"
"Eh, no thanks."

This continued for a while with him becoming more and more agitated that I wasn't biting.  I know these types are sharks, but damn.  I was expecting at least the allusion of friendliness.  Be careful out there folks, others can get pissed if they don't get a piece of your pie apparently.

Nords

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2016, 10:39:05 AM »
Thanks for the advise Nords.  You're definitely one of the cornerstones around here whose opinion I've valued highly during our journey.  You mentioned the 5 year commitment, for pilots now it's been increased to 10 starting when you get your wings.  Add the couple years before that for training, and most are around the 12 year mark when they're free of their obligation.  Being over the "hump" to the 20 year mark is why it's such a tough choice for many pilots to walk away.  No doubt a very calculated golden handcuff.  They way we're going to play it out is to not take any bonus, so the day we stopped having fun is the day we can walk away.  Who knows what the future holds.

The guard is definitely an option if we live anywhere near a base that will take us.  That's something I'll be open to when the time comes, and from friends that have gone that route it sounds like it would be fun to be a guard bum.

I'll be sure to contact you down the road as I have questions.  Thanks for the support and the contributions you give to the community.  Take care!
You're welcome!

I'm hearing about retention bonuses from a lot of junior officers and assignment officers in both the AF and Navy, and it's not working as well as it used to in the last millennium.  Part of it is because the bonuses have pretty much just matched inflation during the last 40 years, and part of it seems to be Millennials being smarter about quality of life.  (Of course today's military might suck more than it did during my day, but that's difficult to quantify.)  The AF's pilot shortage seems particularly severe, and it'll be interesting to see what the leadership comes up with.  My guess is they'll offer more drone billets for enlisted and perhaps even warrant officer flight billets before they raise the JO retention bonus.     


Wow, so this just happened.  I guess $1MM is a trigger point for the Personal Capital advisors to be more aggressive.  My assigned advisor called me to set up an appointment to discuss my portfolio.
I have PC accounts for both my spouse and I and for my father.  PC is very aggressive for $1M or higher (especially if net worth seems to be rising rapidly), for age (like people in their 50s who invest aggressively) and for elders who have a large asset allocation to CDs.  They're also starting to call from various phone numbers-- toll-free and area code 303 as well as 415 (Bay Area).

They were exhibitors at FinCon16 (and they get a lot of favorable reviews from personal finance bloggers) but I never got around to chatting with them.
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arebelspy

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2016, 03:01:28 AM »
Wow, awesome story WildJager!

Thanks for your service.  And way to be badass.  1MM by 30 is no easy feat!

Hope you enjoy the next five years.  :)

[Personal Capital] were exhibitors at FinCon16 (and they get a lot of favorable reviews from personal finance bloggers)

...PF bloggers who get paid affiliate commissions to recommend them, and most of whom don't have the 1MM in investments to see the harassment.  ;)
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Nords

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2016, 07:28:13 AM »

...PF bloggers who get paid affiliate commissions to recommend them, and most of whom don't have the 1MM in investments to see the harassment.  ;)
I logged into my account yesterday (which I only do a few times a year) and a window popped up with a photo of "my" Personal Capital advisor. 

I guess now that I know what he looks like, I'll be more inclined to contact him.  Well played, PC.  Um, no thanks.

I find it convenient for tracking net worth, and it's all right for asset allocation.  Pretty soon I'll figure out how well it tracks overall spending, since we do most of it by credit cards.  But I'm alternately impressed and repulsed by the marketing.
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oldtoyota

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2016, 07:38:30 AM »
Wow, so this just happened.  I guess $1MM is a trigger point for the Personal Capital advisors to be more aggressive.  My assigned advisor called me to set up an appointment to discuss my portfolio.

"Thanks but no thanks.  I'm comfortable managing my finances."
"But how do you know, if you don't even know what we do?"
"I know what financial advisors do... I'm not interested."
"But you haven't even heard me out.  You should have someone with experience helping you, especially with a portfolio growing as rapidly as yours!"
"Eh, no thanks."

This continued for a while with him becoming more and more agitated that I wasn't biting.  I know these types are sharks, but damn.  I was expecting at least the allusion of friendliness.  Be careful out there folks, others can get pissed if they don't get a piece of your pie apparently.

First, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Second, the FA calling you now is pretty funny. You've come this far without one. Why would you need one now? LOL


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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #24 on: October 23, 2016, 10:58:16 PM »
Wow, so this just happened.  I guess $1MM is a trigger point for the Personal Capital advisors to be more aggressive.  My assigned advisor called me to set up an appointment to discuss my portfolio.

"Thanks but no thanks.  I'm comfortable managing my finances."
"But how do you know, if you don't even know what we do?"
"I know what financial advisors do... I'm not interested."
"But you haven't even heard me out.  You should have someone with experience helping you, especially with a portfolio growing as rapidly as yours!"
"Eh, no thanks."

This continued for a while with him becoming more and more agitated that I wasn't biting.  I know these types are sharks, but damn.  I was expecting at least the allusion of friendliness.  Be careful out there folks, others can get pissed if they don't get a piece of your pie apparently.

Ha, I love this. "Especially with a portfolio growing as rapidly as yours."  I mean, because if your portfolio was doing terrible, that wouldn't signal need for assistance. When you're doing well on your own, it's super important to change what you're doing, based on what and advisor would tell you.
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englyn

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #25 on: October 23, 2016, 11:33:31 PM »
Congratulations!!
+1 to list of people amused by an aggressive financial advisor calling when you obviously don't actually need the advice.

MilFi2009

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2016, 02:29:42 PM »
A hearty congratulations!

As someone with similar goals/constraints but a few years behind you:

If you're willing to share, how will you and your wife "posture" yourself/your FI status in your unit?  Will you tell anyone? Will you let your boss/Commander know that your goals likely include separating/going to the Guard in a few years?

WildJager

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #27 on: October 26, 2016, 11:13:34 AM »
Thanks for the congrats everyone!

A hearty congratulations!

As someone with similar goals/constraints but a few years behind you:

If you're willing to share, how will you and your wife "posture" yourself/your FI status in your unit?  Will you tell anyone? Will you let your boss/Commander know that your goals likely include separating/going to the Guard in a few years?

My posture changed when we hit a 4* SWR, and I knew our glide path was going to exceed our goals by leaps and bounds before we could legally separate.  I don't advertise that I'm FI to anyone really, but I have gotten into discussions with some close friends about money if they happen to bring it up.  One friend knew of MMM and has been a great support element throughout all of this.  Another person talked with me enough about money that I introduced him to the blog.  He read most of the articles within a few days and last I talked to him seems to be on board.  Otherwise, I mostly try to encourage my younger troops to save best I can.

As far as my professional life has changed, I basically relieved myself of the stresses of the rat race.  I stopped working on my master's degree because I wasn't finding the program cost effective (even with the tuition assistance).  For those not familiar with the military workings, everyone is encouraged to have a master's to be eligible for promotion to Lt Col.  Coming up to Major, it's considered a red flag if you don't have one.  The crux is that most people don't have time to get a worthwhile degree, and because we are always on the road study by correspondence is the only effective method to obtain a degree.  People generally take the easy way out and get a worthless degree from a for profit school just to check the box.  No actual learning is accomplished. 

That applied to pretty much everything I can do to posture myself for promotion.  Award packages, additional duties, volunteering (I do volunteer for my own benefit, but I don't bother reporting my time to the Air Force).  I focus exclusively on my duties, which generally makes me a more effective worker than my peers.  Also, I have more free time to take care of my people.  So while I don't worry about OPR bullets and awards packages for me, I do put a lot of effort into making sure they are taken care of and set up for success.

I don't openly tell my commanders that my 5 year plan is to separate, but I don't shy away from it if they ask.  Early on I mentioned to my supervisor that I didn't care about awards and all that stuff when pressed to turn in a package, but that was met with them frankly being uneasy.  It's apparently an affront on them as a person if you don't toe the line and do what everyone else does.  So, I try to be tactful in the way I don't play the game.  I don't want to appear ungrateful when people try to help me, and I don't want to appear that I'm not trying to help the mission.  Which is ironic, because most people I've had experience with in the military just want to do their job but they get inundated with all the requirements to play the game, reducing their overall effectiveness to get the mission accomplished. 

For those not in the military (I don't know how similar this is to the civilian sector), promotions don't really have a lot to do with your job effectiveness.  Your eligibility is based on how you look on paper, and a board of people you don't know decide your fate.  Don't check the boxes, and it doesn't matter how good you are at your job... you won't get promoted beyond a certain point.  If you don't progress, you get cut from the herd and effectively lose your retirement since you won't make it to 20 years. 

This change alone has relieved pretty much all stress from this job.  I'm much more relaxed, and can just focus on what I consider important.  It's amazing what you can do when you're not worried about the personal security that pension provides, especially when you don't care about making yourself look good over your peers.

Nords

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #28 on: October 26, 2016, 12:54:18 PM »
Early on I mentioned to my supervisor that I didn't care about awards and all that stuff when pressed to turn in a package, but that was met with them frankly being uneasy.  It's apparently an affront on them as a person if you don't toe the line and do what everyone else does.  So, I try to be tactful in the way I don't play the game.  I don't want to appear ungrateful when people try to help me, and I don't want to appear that I'm not trying to help the mission. 
On the other side of the decision, I've seen what happens when a superior is perceived to be unfair (in either direction) on awards.  I've had to draft the boss' response to a Congressional inquiry over an end-of-tour award, and I've seen equal-opportunity complaints over someone not getting an award.

So the award decision might be more about command policy than about the awardee.
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MilFi2009

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #29 on: October 27, 2016, 03:39:26 AM »
Good for y'all!

The power of the 2nd and 3rd order effects of opting out of an organization's assumed/implied value system is amazing!

It makes me think of the Bible talking about opting out of another kind of value system:

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."

The  challenge of being tactful when not sharing the same "assumptions/values" as everyone else is real!

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Re: Mission Accomplished
« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2016, 03:37:35 PM »
Congrats!! PMd ya. I'm in the same career field as you, but quite a few years behind you in my FI accumulation progress. Well done!