I have been reading MMM for a little over a year now. It was refreshing to find someone that thought the same way I did. I am 39 and DW is 36, we are a couple of DINK's living in Ohio. We are debt free still living in our starter home that we bought in 1999 and paid off in 2007. We always were and are quite frugal, we lived on my DW's check and used mine for vacations, taxes and invested the rest. Our savings rate was about 70%, easier to do without payments of any kind. Most people thought we were crazy because we invest so much, they always said you need to buy some stuff. I always replied, "We are buying stuff, we are buying our freedom."
I have been retired for two years now, my goal was to call it a day when our dividends were twice our expenses, that did not happen as planned. I was an engineer for 17 years before being downsized in July 2012. I thought , "well s**t, a little over a year away from my goal then this happens." But then a funny thing happened, my expenses started going down:
Lunches - $120 Mo
Gym Membership through work - $32.5 Mo
Fuel - $180 Mo
City Tax - $83 ( I worked in a different city than I live in and my local does not give credit for tax paid for other cities)
Fed Est Tax Payments - $370 Mo ( For dividends ) Since I don't work anymore we dropped to the 15% bracket and qualified div's are taxed at 0% there. I did not realize this until I met with our accountant the following week, he made me quite happy! MMM should write an article called "The true cost of working". Not sure if he already has or not.
So, right there dropped our monthly expenses $785 per month and with a couple dividend raises in August we met our goal of 2X coverage the following month. I know we were already FI, but I like a little safety factor.
I was not aware of the ways to access money from the 401K, so I put in up to the match and the majority in our brokerage account. All I knew at the time is that I wanted complete control of our investments. We are currently at an 85/15 split. I paid a butt load in taxes along the way. Looking back I probably would have done things differently, but I can't complain how things have worked out.
DW plans on working 3 more years, that would give her 20 years and you get a couple of pretty good perks after the 20 mark. I tell her that we are pretty well set and she can stop anytime she would like, but she has her mind made up.
Well that's our story, glad to be here.