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|Subject: 12-month summary from one ERee||Date: 6/13/2001 2:49 PM|
|Author: duggg||Number: 42046 of 846781|
I entered early retirement one year ago at age 37. As perhaps one of the least wealthy early retirees here, I thought I would summarize what I have learned and experienced these past twelve months.
I retired with a net worth of approximately $175,000. I squandered $7000 of accrued vacation pay during my first six months with virtually no reduction in my standard of living. But in January of this year, I was dismayed to find my first annual SEPP from my IRA in the amount of only $9000, some $2000 less than the $11,000 I had budgeted before last fall's market demise. Neverthless, I have adapted and will continue to do so. Anything but going back to work! When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Slashing fast food from my budget saves me two hundred dollars a month. I thought for sure I would experience serious withdrawal. After all, who really knows what they put in a Big Mac? Fortunately that wasn't the case, and the fat has migrated nicely from my waistline to my wallet.
I am very pleased to report that I will owe no federal or state taxes this year. It's especially satisfying in that the bulk of my income is from tax-deferred 401(k) savings. I deferred at 28% and am paying at 0%. Not a bad deal, IMHO. No tax rebate envy here.
I learned the hard way that the stock market isn't exactly dependable, so for the first time in my life, I looked into bonds and found Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, TIPS for short. So far I have been very happy with their plus-7% performance, and plan to gradually move more of my assets into TIPS.
I had a brief three-week stint working at a nearby garden nursery this spring. I thought it would be a lot more fun than it was. Instead, I was expected to do twenty things at once, with minimal compensation and even less appreciation.
I now have new-found respect for those still in the working world earning minimum wage. For many such desperate individuals, the world of employment can be especially unrewarding.
Retiring early allowed me to pursue mountain biking on a full-time basis. In the past year, I have ridden over 6000 miles and have lost 15 pounds. My percent body fat has dropped from 32% to 22%. I never did stretches before retiring, and doing so has immensely improved my riding performance. I am in the best shape of my life and truly looking forward to breaking some personal records in a local bike race on July 4. Wish me luck!
The typical indoor office work environment, coupled wi