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Subject:  Retired Early Date:  2/1/2000  6:22 PM
Author:  darlabower Number:  18592 of 88524

My husband retired early at age 50 almost 7 years ago. We had a lot less invested then but felt we could make it financially. We spent about 5 years building a dream house and began ranching full time. It has been quite an experience.

What we had invested at retirement, we had at a full service broker and 3% of my husband's 401K rollover was being taken annually as the broker's fees. At the time, we were busy with other things but as we had more time after building the house, we decided we could use that extra money ourselves or at least reinvest it until we did need it. What money we had in our regular account was invested in the funds the firm recommended and we were getting nice dividends but the funds never seemed to be listed in publications of best performing funds. A lot of those funds also had front end loads that were over 4%.

Finally, last year, we decided to take the plunge and I want to thank all of you at Motley Fool for unknowingly helping us make the decision that we were ultimately responsible for our investment decisions anyway, so why not eliminate the middle man. We have had some stomach churning days with the market the way it is sometimes but it has been worth it. And our portfolios are up much higher than the 8% we were gaining yearly before. We also realized that we probably have quite a few more years left in us and we needed to put aside a bit more for later years when we might not feel like investing online or watching the market.

There is so much available on the internet that is free or "cheap" compared to the thousands of dollars many of us used to put out in broker fees. This is really wonderful. Keep up the good word with your message.

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