A friend pointed me to the MMM site a few years ago, and I've been reading and calculating and strategizing since then. Spouse & I have always been moderately frugal: paying down the mortgage faster, paying cash for cars, no other debt, living well under our means and investing the rest. We don't spend much on clothes, cars, toys, etc. I do most home repair work myself. We have no kids. We are both big geeks who work in IT, and we've done contract work for several years, sometimes taking months off between contracts to chill. So it's like we've done a lot of mini-retirements, which has been grand. But we're both ready for the last big push so we can cut the cord for good. I do love my job, though, so I may not leave right away even when the numbers say I can.
I recently analyzed the performance of our investments at a big fancy stock brokerage and discovered, to my dismay, that yep, common wisdom is right, financial planners do not get better performance for your money than you can yourself; in fact, on average, our accounts consistently underperformed the market by 1.5 to 2% over a 10-year span. So we've just fired our financial planner, moved to Vanguard, and bought index funds. The math bears out, but I'm still nervous. Also excited.
I watch friends moan about financial stress and then spend $10-$13 per day on lunch, or buy shiny new tablets or game bundles on Steam, and the lack of logic baffles me. I was taught not to buy what I couldn't afford, and to save some money from every single paycheck, and that philosophy has served me well. I wish I could sway others to the cause, but we all have our paths to walk, I guess.
Spouse & I love video games, comic books, reading, and other sedentary pursuits. When we're not working, we take in foster cats and dogs for the local Humane Society, and I write (and sell) fantasy and science fiction. In retirement, I hope to do more writing and to make indie video games.
We're still a year or two away from FIRE, and we're older than a lot of you -- 50s and 60s -- so maybe "early" retirement is a bit of a misnomer. But we have FU money, and knowing FI is right around the corner is such a stress reliever. If we both lost our jobs tomorrow and never worked again, we'd be okay. That's an amazing feeling, and one I rarely share with any but my closest friends. It's nice to be able to share it here.
I'm glad the blog and this forum exist. They've been really useful. So thanks.