Author Topic: Anyone here FI/FIRE for 25+ years?  (Read 5273 times)

nereo

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Anyone here FI/FIRE for 25+ years?
« on: March 18, 2014, 08:52:45 AM »
Hello there

Something occurred to me the other day while reading some case studies on this blog; even MMM has been retired for only a decade or so.  I am convinced that the retirement math adds up, but I still am curious if there are people who've been living a mustachian lifestyle (decades before MMM even coined that phrase) and retired early in the early 90s, 80s, or even (gasp!) the 1970s.
I'm asking because I'd like to hear what their experiences have been like.  Is the 25th year or retirement just as good as the first 10?  Has it been gotten harder to relate to the vast majority of your peers that live-to-spend and therefore need-to-work? What have you been doing the last 20 years? Finally, I'd love any advice beyond the normal "maximize your savings and target wasteful spending". 

I know there are people out there that were already retired when Reagan began his second term, but they're harder to find in a forum that focuses on how to get where they already are.


arebelspy

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Re: Anyone here FI/FIRE for 25+ years?
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2014, 09:02:36 AM »
Hello there

Something occurred to me the other day while reading some case studies on this blog; even MMM has been retired for only a decade or so.  I am convinced that the retirement math adds up, but I still am curious if there are people who've been living a mustachian lifestyle (decades before MMM even coined that phrase) and retired early in the early 90s, 80s, or even (gasp!) the 1970s.
I'm asking because I'd like to hear what their experiences have been like.  Is the 25th year or retirement just as good as the first 10?  Has it been gotten harder to relate to the vast majority of your peers that live-to-spend and therefore need-to-work? What have you been doing the last 20 years? Finally, I'd love any advice beyond the normal "maximize your savings and target wasteful spending". 

I know there are people out there that were already retired when Reagan began his second term, but they're harder to find in a forum that focuses on how to get where they already are.

Check out the E-R.org forums.  Much older crowd than here, many more who have been FIRE'd for decades.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Joan-eh?

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Re: Anyone here FI/FIRE for 25+ years?
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2014, 01:44:54 PM »
Indeed! I've searched the forums and comments and have found a few greying MMMs, but not many. 

I read and took to heart "Your Money or Your Life"  back ( 1993? ) when it first came out.  Technically, I'm FI. HOWEVER,  the two significant crashes since I read the book, cause me pause.

Anyway, just another shout out to those who have been FI/FIRE for a while!!!  Let's here how you've handled the market downsides and the psychological journey!

nereo

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Re: Anyone here FI/FIRE for 25+ years?
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2014, 07:23:29 PM »

Check out the E-R.org forums.  Much older crowd than here, many more who have been FIRE'd for decades.
I'll look through the E-R.org forums.  I do find a lot of people there have higher spending rates and higher savings.  I know there's a lot of overlap but hoping to find more people here that have mustachian lifestyles, since that's what I'm striving for right now.

Nords

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Re: Anyone here FI/FIRE for 25+ years?
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2014, 09:36:56 PM »
Something occurred to me the other day while reading some case studies on this blog; even MMM has been retired for only a decade or so.  I am convinced that the retirement math adds up, but I still am curious if there are people who've been living a mustachian lifestyle (decades before MMM even coined that phrase) and retired early in the early 90s, 80s, or even (gasp!) the 1970s.
I'll point out that the Internet Retirement Police assert there are differences between "retired" and "financially independent".  For example, Lee Cohen at Lucas Group may be financially independent, but he'll do his headhunter work until he's no longer mentally/physically capable.  Today his salary is also supporting a lot of charities.

My spouse and I achieved FI in 1999, and we did a harsh math check when the stock markets re-opened after 9/11, but part of our FI plan involved at least one military pension.  I vested mine in 2002 (and it started when I retired that June) while my spouse vested hers in 2007 (and it'll start in 2022).

I guess the eminences grise of ER would be Ben Franklin at age 42 in 1748, or Joe Dominguez at age 31 in 1969.  I'm not sure what Ben's asset allocation was, although getting involved with a bunch of hardcore colonial terrorists must have been a very risky FOREX investment strategy.  However Joe's asset allocation was 100% Treasuries, which significantly cramped his portfolio by the time he died in 1997.  (http://www.retireearlyhomepage.com/reallife05.html)

Paul & Vicki Terhorst reached FI in 1984 and became perpetual travelers (https://sites.google.com/site/paulvicgroup/).  Around the same time Jarhead on Early-Retirement.org started his ER, although he wasn't active on E-R.org until the early 2000s.  He no longer posts there, and as near as I can tell he's no longer actively posting anywhere.  Another 1980s ER is "Haha" on E-R.org, and he still posts there.

Billy & Akaisha Kaderli reached FI in their late 30s and started their perpetual travel in 1991 (RetireEarlyLifestyle.com).  John Greaney retired at the age of 38 in 1994 (RetireEarlyHomePage.com/).  Dory36 (founder of Early-Retirement.org) also ER'd in the late 1990s in his 40s or early 50s.  Raddr (a radiologist, http://raddr-pages.com/research/) ER'd in 2001 at age 47. 

I'm not familiar with the situation of Taylor Larimore, but he's been posting at Bogleheads.org since it was Vanguard Diehards.  I think he's in his late 80s or maybe even his 90s, but I'm not sure when he retired.  One of you Bogleheads may be able to share more about him here.

I'm asking because I'd like to hear what their experiences have been like.  Is the 25th year or retirement just as good as the first 10?  Has it been gotten harder to relate to the vast majority of your peers that live-to-spend and therefore need-to-work? What have you been doing the last 20 years?
I started my terminal leave from the military in February 2002, so let's call it 12 years.  Each year just keeps getting better, although my knees and my exercise recovery time are not keeping up.  Some of the "getting better" has little to do with ER-- part of it involves life transitions like raising a family and launching our kid from the nest, and "not so much better" involves caring for elderly parents.  Today we have more free time & flexibility to go where we want when we want for as long as we want (good thing we're ER and able to enjoy it!), but we also spend more time dealing with family crises. 

Our peers have generally been mystified at how we managed to accumulate so much money and at what we could possibly be doing all day.  Some of them think we're cheapskates who spend our time recycling dryer lint, soap scraps, and used dental floss.  A minority wonder whether I'm writing/blogging for food.  A few think that we're chronically unemployable and one step away from living on the streets.  Most of them have kept in touch over the years, and as they've reached their own FI we've heard more and more "Oh, I get it now!"  A very few of our peers are admirals or titans of industry or rising government executives-- I don't think they'll ever stop working because they've found the things that they love to do and the money is no longer a factor.

Neighbors (not shipmates) enjoy having us around as the "retired guys" who can lend a hand.  They don't see how our ER achievements could possibly apply to their situation because clearly we must be living a very austere life on my puny military pension.  A couple have stumbled across "The Military Guide" (I didn't tell them) but again they apparently don't see its relevance to their situation... or, to be fair, perhaps they have their own timeline and don't feel the need to discuss the details with us.

I should point out that we've made plenty of new friends, too-- your social circle can be a lot wider when it doesn't spend over a third of your life at work.  I've made literally over a hundred friends from posting on financial forums, writing the book, and blogging.  I've had fun with and learned a tremendous amount from local friends, mutual acquaintances, surfing buddies, fellow Hawaii Angels investors, and random encounters.  Of course some friendships have withered, too-- ER has a way of distinguishing your workplace acquaintances from your lifelong friends.

20 years from now (when I'm 73 years old) I see myself doing pretty much what I'm doing now, and what I was doing 12 years ago:  a lot of surfing, a lot of reading, a lot of writing, some landlording (unless we can dump that on our daughter), and some home improvement.  I did martial arts for just over a decade but I can't handle the wear & tear anymore... bodyweight exercises are going to have to cover that aspect of fitness.  Definitely less parenting, possibly some grandparenting, and perhaps more traveling.  But I'll have turned over all the financial management to my spouse (sure, honey, once everything's automated and there's nothing left to do) and I doubt that I'll still be involved in angel investing.

Finally, I'd love any advice beyond the normal "maximize your savings and target wasteful spending". 
Heh-- what more do you need?  You could read a library copy of "The Military Guide"-- its advice is oriented toward servicemembers but it's also written for their families.  You could read the blog in chronological order:  http://the-military-guide.com/post-titles-by-month/

Another tip:  when you get to a 90% success rate on a 4% SWR, then find ways to insure against the 10% failure rate.  (It's unlikely that you'll need the insurance, but you'll sleep better at night.)  "Work until my SWR is 2%" is one way to do it, but you'll be working a lot longer.  Two other ways are a bare-bones spending plan and the willingness to cut way back on spending during recessions.  A third way is to annuitize part of your ER portfolio, not just Social Security.  A fourth way is to earn income doing something you love, like writing/blogging or consulting in your field.

One final tip: before someone ERs their top three worries are inflation, health insurance, and "What will I do all day?"  By the time you reach ER you'll have solved the first two problems.  Six months after you ER, you'll be wondering why the heck you ever worried about the third problem.


dude

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Re: Anyone here FI/FIRE for 25+ years?
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2014, 07:00:13 AM »
Great post, Nords!

nicknageli

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Re: Anyone here FI/FIRE for 25+ years?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2014, 10:52:17 AM »
+1.  Yes.  Thanks for the post.

nereo

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Re: Anyone here FI/FIRE for 25+ years?
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2014, 03:21:18 PM »
Quote
I'll point out that the Internet Retirement Police assert there are differences between "retired" and "financially independent".
This is true.  Well aware that some prefer to work, I'm looking for both FI and FIRE individuals.


Quote
I guess the eminences grise of ER would be Ben Franklin at age 42 in 1748, or Joe Dominguez at age 31 in 1969.  I'm not sure what Ben's asset allocation was, although getting involved with a bunch of hardcore colonial terrorists must have been a very risky FOREX investment strategy.
never really read up on Ben.  I know he lived an extremely long time for his day (90?) so clearly his retirement lasted.

Quote
I started my terminal leave from the military in February 2002, so let's call it 12 years.
Just out of curiousity, what did you do in the military?
Quote
Our peers have generally been mystified at how we managed to accumulate so much money and at what we could possibly be doing all day.
I get a similar response from peers when I talk about wanting to retire in my 40s.  Most look at me blindly and make jokes like "oh, are you going to win the lottery?"  Funny thing is, most of them are very educated science-types who spend all day applying mathmatical models to different organisms.  Yet somehow the concept of compound interest and SWR is incomprehensible to them.

Quote
I should point out that we've made plenty of new friends, too-- your social circle can be a lot wider when it doesn't spend over a third of your life at work.
This is really good to hear. Currently almost everyone I consider a friend I've met somehow through work, but of course this is because that is where I spend the majority of my time currently.  I know many of them will turn out to be just colleagues in the long run.

Another tip:  when you get to a 90% success rate on a 4% SWR, then find ways to insure against the 10% failure rate.  ...  A fourth way is to earn income doing something you love, like writing/blogging or consulting in your field.

One final tip: before someone ERs their top three worries are inflation, health insurance, and "What will I do all day?"  By the time you reach ER you'll have solved the first two problems.  Six months after you ER, you'll be wondering why the heck you ever worried about the third problem.
I'd probably wind up doing a bit of #4; wherever I go I always seem to find that I can make some side money doing what I like doing anyway.  I find it's easy to earn $5,000/yr on my 'hobbies', but much harder to earn $25k+.  At that point the need to earn sucks a lot of the joy out of them.  But after reaching my 4% SWR I certainly can see myself continuing to make some money from side projects.  I'll probably use it as a hedge during down-periods so I can protect my 'stach.  Need to think about the mathof that though... but I've plenty of time to work out my strategy.

Finally: I just wanted to thank you Nords for one of the best personal responses I have received to a post.  I'm slowly looking through the E-R.org forum and checking out a few of the posters you mentioned.  Cheers!

oldtoyota

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Re: Anyone here FI/FIRE for 25+ years?
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2014, 03:31:40 PM »
Thanks, Nords! I can see why you have made so many friends via the internets. =-)

FrugalZony

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Re: Anyone here FI/FIRE for 25+ years?
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2014, 03:39:40 PM »
Something occurred to me the other day while reading some case studies on this blog; even MMM has been retired for only a decade or so.  I am convinced that the retirement math adds up, but I still am curious if there are people who've been living a mustachian lifestyle (decades before MMM even coined that phrase) and retired early in the early 90s, 80s, or even (gasp!) the 1970s.
I'll point out that the Internet Retirement Police assert there are differences between "retired" and "financially independent".  For example, Lee Cohen at Lucas Group may be financially independent, but he'll do his headhunter work until he's no longer mentally/physically capable.  Today his salary is also supporting a lot of charities.

My spouse and I achieved FI in 1999, and we did a harsh math check when the stock markets re-opened after 9/11, but part of our FI plan involved at least one military pension.  I vested mine in 2002 (and it started when I retired that June) while my spouse vested hers in 2007 (and it'll start in 2022).

I guess the eminences grise of ER would be Ben Franklin at age 42 in 1748, or Joe Dominguez at age 31 in 1969.  I'm not sure what Ben's asset allocation was, although getting involved with a bunch of hardcore colonial terrorists must have been a very risky FOREX investment strategy.  However Joe's asset allocation was 100% Treasuries, which significantly cramped his portfolio by the time he died in 1997.  (http://www.retireearlyhomepage.com/reallife05.html)

Paul & Vicki Terhorst reached FI in 1984 and became perpetual travelers (https://sites.google.com/site/paulvicgroup/).  Around the same time Jarhead on Early-Retirement.org started his ER, although he wasn't active on E-R.org until the early 2000s.  He no longer posts there, and as near as I can tell he's no longer actively posting anywhere.  Another 1980s ER is "Haha" on E-R.org, and he still posts there.

Billy & Akaisha Kaderli reached FI in their late 30s and started their perpetual travel in 1991 (RetireEarlyLifestyle.com).  John Greaney retired at the age of 38 in 1994 (RetireEarlyHomePage.com/).  Dory36 (founder of Early-Retirement.org) also ER'd in the late 1990s in his 40s or early 50s.  Raddr (a radiologist, http://raddr-pages.com/research/) ER'd in 2001 at age 47. 

I'm not familiar with the situation of Taylor Larimore, but he's been posting at Bogleheads.org since it was Vanguard Diehards.  I think he's in his late 80s or maybe even his 90s, but I'm not sure when he retired.  One of you Bogleheads may be able to share more about him here.

I'm asking because I'd like to hear what their experiences have been like.  Is the 25th year or retirement just as good as the first 10?  Has it been gotten harder to relate to the vast majority of your peers that live-to-spend and therefore need-to-work? What have you been doing the last 20 years?
I started my terminal leave from the military in February 2002, so let's call it 12 years.  Each year just keeps getting better, although my knees and my exercise recovery time are not keeping up.  Some of the "getting better" has little to do with ER-- part of it involves life transitions like raising a family and launching our kid from the nest, and "not so much better" involves caring for elderly parents.  Today we have more free time & flexibility to go where we want when we want for as long as we want (good thing we're ER and able to enjoy it!), but we also spend more time dealing with family crises. 

Our peers have generally been mystified at how we managed to accumulate so much money and at what we could possibly be doing all day.  Some of them think we're cheapskates who spend our time recycling dryer lint, soap scraps, and used dental floss.  A minority wonder whether I'm writing/blogging for food.  A few think that we're chronically unemployable and one step away from living on the streets.  Most of them have kept in touch over the years, and as they've reached their own FI we've heard more and more "Oh, I get it now!"  A very few of our peers are admirals or titans of industry or rising government executives-- I don't think they'll ever stop working because they've found the things that they love to do and the money is no longer a factor.

Neighbors (not shipmates) enjoy having us around as the "retired guys" who can lend a hand.  They don't see how our ER achievements could possibly apply to their situation because clearly we must be living a very austere life on my puny military pension.  A couple have stumbled across "The Military Guide" (I didn't tell them) but again they apparently don't see its relevance to their situation... or, to be fair, perhaps they have their own timeline and don't feel the need to discuss the details with us.

I should point out that we've made plenty of new friends, too-- your social circle can be a lot wider when it doesn't spend over a third of your life at work.  I've made literally over a hundred friends from posting on financial forums, writing the book, and blogging.  I've had fun with and learned a tremendous amount from local friends, mutual acquaintances, surfing buddies, fellow Hawaii Angels investors, and random encounters.  Of course some friendships have withered, too-- ER has a way of distinguishing your workplace acquaintances from your lifelong friends.

20 years from now (when I'm 73 years old) I see myself doing pretty much what I'm doing now, and what I was doing 12 years ago:  a lot of surfing, a lot of reading, a lot of writing, some landlording (unless we can dump that on our daughter), and some home improvement.  I did martial arts for just over a decade but I can't handle the wear & tear anymore... bodyweight exercises are going to have to cover that aspect of fitness.  Definitely less parenting, possibly some grandparenting, and perhaps more traveling.  But I'll have turned over all the financial management to my spouse (sure, honey, once everything's automated and there's nothing left to do) and I doubt that I'll still be involved in angel investing.

Finally, I'd love any advice beyond the normal "maximize your savings and target wasteful spending". 
Heh-- what more do you need?  You could read a library copy of "The Military Guide"-- its advice is oriented toward servicemembers but it's also written for their families.  You could read the blog in chronological order:  http://the-military-guide.com/post-titles-by-month/

Another tip:  when you get to a 90% success rate on a 4% SWR, then find ways to insure against the 10% failure rate.  (It's unlikely that you'll need the insurance, but you'll sleep better at night.)  "Work until my SWR is 2%" is one way to do it, but you'll be working a lot longer.  Two other ways are a bare-bones spending plan and the willingness to cut way back on spending during recessions.  A third way is to annuitize part of your ER portfolio, not just Social Security.  A fourth way is to earn income doing something you love, like writing/blogging or consulting in your field.

One final tip: before someone ERs their top three worries are inflation, health insurance, and "What will I do all day?"  By the time you reach ER you'll have solved the first two problems.  Six months after you ER, you'll be wondering why the heck you ever worried about the third problem.

Another very informative and well written post. Thank you Nords. I truly enjoy your insight and your willingness to share your vast knowledge!!
I do disagree with you on one thing, never ever did I ask myself the "What will I do all day?" question ever. To make up for it I have worried disproportionally more about the other two
and a couple more that you probably think were not worth mentioning ;)

Nords

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Re: Anyone here FI/FIRE for 25+ years?
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2014, 06:19:12 PM »
Thanks, everyone!  I enjoy crafting an answer to a complicated question.  Frankly, it's also the way that I prefer to attract blog readers and book buyers-- but try the library before you buy. 

When I'm reading & writing on this forum, I also get a lot of inspirations for future blog posts.  And every once in a while, one of you volunteers to share your advice or a story for the next edition of the book or another project.  In a few months I'll be seeking volunteer editors & beta readers.

Re-reading this thread, I'm embarrassed to realize that I neglected Dolly Freed of "Possum Living" fame:
http://the-military-guide.com/2012/04/12/old-school-frugal/
and Amy Dacyczyn:
http://the-military-guide.com/2012/04/19/old-school-frugal-part-2-of-2/
Amy raised six kids on her spouse's Navy salary and pension.

Just out of curiousity, what did you do in the military?
Submarines:
U.S. Naval Academy '82 & Naval Postgraduate School '89
USS JAMES MONROE (SSBN 622 BLUE) '84-86
USS NEW YORK CITY (SSN 696) '90-92 (Weapons officer)
I finished my 20 years at staffs and eight years of instructor duty at training commands, most notably Naval Submarine Training Center Pacific in Pearl Harbor.
More details at:
http://navy.togetherweserved.com/usn/index.jsp

But it's not just my experience.  My spouse (USNA '83) did most of her time in the Meteorology/Oceanography community (aviation/ship weather and antisubmarine warfare) and then went to the Reserves.  She did five years of Reserve drills & watchstanding at PACOM and a couple more years as a "Navy Emergency Preparedness Liaison Officer" with FEMA & state civil defense.  I learned a lot of Reserves and joint from her.

Between us we spent most of our Navy careers outside of the continental U.S.  We've also spent nearly half of our lives in Hawaii.

In 57 days our daughter is wrapping up her Navy ROTC scholarship at Rice University with a degree in civil/environmental engineering.  She's still sorting out the details of her orders but BUPERS has assured her that she'll be driving a destroyer for the first two years, and probably... overseas. 

Another very informative and well written post. Thank you Nords. I truly enjoy your insight and your willingness to share your vast knowledge!!
I do disagree with you on one thing, never ever did I ask myself the "What will I do all day?" question ever. To make up for it I have worried disproportionally more about the other two
and a couple more that you probably think were not worth mentioning ;)
Well, that's the top three, but there's a list... personally I've never had a "What will I do all day?" problem either.