I just noticed I had 999 posts and figured I'd introduce myself with #1,000... better late than never xD
I'm finally getting my shit together after a seemingly interminable period of being an adult, gainfully employed, theoretically trying to FIRE, and making so many dumb mistakes that it was never going to happen. The good news is, with a confluence of helpful factors, things have taken off like a moonshot, and at 37, I think freedom at 40 is still in play.
I started reading about investing in the spring of 2000 when I was about to graduate with my EE - back when The Motley Fool had a strict "teach a man to fish" policy instead of selling expensive managed funds (sellout bastards). I read a lot about retirement planning and strategies, and proceeded to spend a decade making lots of money and blowing it on dumb shit. I went to Iraq in 2008 as a contractor and made well over $150K in a year, most of which went to paying off my second divorce and other consumer idiot failures. I lived off the surplus and some odd jobs until, nearly broke again, I landed a stable DoD job - where I still am now, almost five years later.
Truth be told, defense is not really my world, but I keep ending up here, just making the best of it. I have great respect for people who do this stuff their whole lives, but I've never felt quite at home for various reasons, and I finally decided to get serious about writing my own ticket to another destination. The first year at this job, I made six figures and barely saved anything, even with two paying roommates. The next year, it got a little better. My courtship with my now-DW catalyzed a moderate spending reduction in 2012, and the following year continued that trend. Then, a bunch of things happened all at once. I missed out on a ridiculously good real estate investment in early 2014 because I was too cash-poor to move in time. Finding MMM and meeting two likeminded investors soon after that, I co-founded a rental LLC and got licensed in real estate, all the while working on flexing the BA muscle. Ever since then, it's been all about steepening the growth curve and opening up more options. SR is past 50% and climbing, NW just passed a quarter million, and 300 is in sight this year.
My FIRE plan has many moving parts and I'm still trying to sort out my priorities. I grew up in Hawaii and we both love it there. My family has mostly converged in the PNW, and we also find that attractive. Neither is cheap. We could stay right where we are and take advantage of the borderline criminal surplus between our wages and LCOL, pump up the Stash till we're FI, and visit whenever we want, while continuing to work part-time and easily covering our costs so the accounts can keep growing. It's all a question of values that we're still working through. Throw in my very real desire to grow the Stash far beyond mere FI to leave a legacy of social and environmental change, and it gets even more muddled.
Fortunately, we have time to ponder this all. I'm committed to current business ops for about 3 more years; my pessimistic forecast at that point is 6-700K NW, plus a six-figure LLC share paying out at least $1500/mo. Even if we decide to make a HCOL jump, we've already set ourselves on the path toward affordability well in advance, downsizing and shedding needless clutter - which has been, in and of itself, a liberating experience. The last year has been one of excitement, growth, exploration, learning, near-constant fatigue, and amongst it all, a higher level of happiness than ever. I'm glad to be here, and I appreciate all of you. :)