First I am very happy to see a new Retire Early Board. In the early days of "Retire Early" it was among the best boards on the fool.I learned so much about personal finance, things I never learned at home or at school.It was a place to share financial topics, encouragement, setbacks and success.I gave it up years ago due to the steady stream conservative posts.While I don't think, the name of this board is an improvement, I totally applaud the desire to get back to the roots. So here is a status report on my early retirement.I retired early at the start of the bear market. Good timing. I watched my "bridge the gap" account balance take a big hit after 9/11.First lesson: have all money you need in five years in safe investments.I cut back for a year or so on my spending. I called my FA, reminded him who I was, and after some discussion , we thought I could still bridge the gap to 59 1/2. So I went back to withdrawing from my "bridge the gap" account.I am six months now from 59 1/2. My " bridge the gap" account is zero and I am living on my pension. Certainly not poverty but definatly cutting back on spending.Second lesson: The "bridge the gap" account needs to be bigger then any previous spending habits would indicate. I was short about a year. I don't regret a minute of the early retirement decision.My IRA is going to make the goal my FA and I set seven years ago, regardless of the bear market. Most of that IRA success is due to what I learned here all those years ago.Sally
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