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Subject:  Re: FIRE checker for Fools Date:  8/15/2003  3:53 AM
Author:  ksgrothe Number:  403 of 5224

I am quite a way from FIRE but we are working on our plan and making steps towards our goals every day! Join us and share your thoughts, concerns, and experiences!

Thanks for the invitation, dt. I have seen your posts on other boards and thought that you were older (at least older than me!) because of the good advice/suggestions you seem to always give.

I'm not sure I have much to contribute to this board as I don't feel like I have a plan to get to FIRE, nor any plan for retirement at all. Right now my concentration is on getting out of debt and achieving a positive net worth.

I was married and had my first son at age 20. I had only completed one year of college and wanted to finish my engineering degree so that I could get a better job than what I seemed to be able to find without a degree. So when my son was 7 months old and my husband was in his second year of graduate school earning a paltry stipend, I took out some loans to go back to school. It took me 3.5 years to finish, and it was a struggle financially -- I finished with 30K+ in student loans and some credit card debt (although I don't remember exactly how much). Started a new job the month after finishing my degree, and bought a new-to-me car to drive to work. (We had only had one car up to that point.) From that point on, I always made more money than my husband. We never seemed to get that credit card debt paid off, and I'm still paying on the student loans, although they've been consolidated at a very low rate (5% or less). About 2.5 years later, my husband was planning to finish his doctorate and took a post-doc position at UCLA, so we moved to Southern California. This is when the trouble really started. First, my husband never finished his doctorate and his position at UCLA became a staff researcher position which does not have much upward mobility (nor adequate pay). Second, the cost of living in SoCal is quite high, and we've been living above our means. Third, our second son was born about a year after we moved out here -- and since we could not pay the rent if I didn't continue working (since I was still the higher wage-earner), full-time child care costs were added to our expenses. Now, my husband has left me and is in the process of filing for divorce, and I am trying to avoid being stuck with $35K-$40K of debt in my name (half of which is my student loans that I'm still paying on).

So, that's my story, and why I'm not sure I can really call myself a FIRE Wannabee (although I really would like to be able to retire early, as there are so many places I would like to see that I just don't have the time/funds to see now).


P.S. Before you all recommend it, yes, I have been frequenting the Consumer Credit/Credit Card, Budgeting, and LBYM discussion boards.

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