Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
 
UnThreaded | Threaded | Whole Thread (32) | Ignore Thread Prev | Next
Author: ChocoKitty Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 5069  
Subject: Re: When did you realize and where are you now? Date: 8/6/2003 5:09 PM
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Recommendations: 30
I started investing when I was 24 and still in law school, after reading "The Wealthy Barber." I started index investing when I was 27, after finding "The Armchair Millionaire" website. I was paying off my student loans aggressively because I hated debt. But I didn't really think about FIRE seriously until I was 29.

A bit of background: I absolutely hated studying engineering. I liked law a little better, but because my legal speciality was so heavy on the engineering, it just wasn't much fun. While I was in school, I was constantly told that it would get better when I started working. Well, it didn't. I'm 33 now and I *still* don't like the subject matter much more than when I started! I realized that people telling me, "Work hard in school and you'll have it made" were lying. Deferred gratification led to more deferred gratification -- I did stuff because it would look good on my resume, because it would be good at the "next step" in my career, every reason except "because I want to." (I'm sure that if I kept it up, I would end up buried in the best cemetary because it would look good on my resume).

Anyway, in a moment of desperation during my lunch hour at work in 1999 I typed in "retire early" in Yahoo! and it took me to intercst's site, which led me to TMF. And it was like a light bulb went off. Now I had a goal and a reason to save and invest. And yes, it was OK to not want to work until I dropped. I needed that permission (and still am working on workaholic tendencies).

I've been lucky enough to have a nice paying job, and despite a few slip-ups (e.g., the house that I shouldn't have bought), I think I'm doing OK. No debt except for the mortgage, saving around 35-40% of gross, employer match to the 401k, maxing out the IRA, e-fund, etc. I hope to downshift when I reach the $1 million mark (by the time I'm 40, at least that's what I'm shooting for), work part time (because it's still a great way to make lots of money fast) and follow my passions (e.g., writing LOTS, running, reading, cooking/entertaining, knitting, exploring, public radio, music, arts, etc. Maybe even do some personal coaching and teaching, for fun AND for pay) the rest of the time. I do some freelance writing now and oh my goodness, I'm having a blast with that.

I consider myself very lucky that I'm able to do what I do for a living. But I also know that as far as my personal identity goes, I'm an artist and not a lawyer nor an engineer. I'm still dealing with the fact that I will always be considered a little different (e.g., childfree, wanting to live alone no matter what), but I've already tried doing what everyone else thinks I "should" do for most of my life and that has only resulted in me feeling like I'm suffocating and choking. It's not worth it. That's what FIRE is about, isn't it -- being what YOU want to be.

Anyway, for me it's not just about the numbers for FIRE. It's the whole mindset. Without it, I think it would be all too easy to fall back into the work-till-65+ trap. They don't call those fancy doo-dads "trappings" for nothing.

CK
Post New | Post Reply | Reply Later | Create Poll . Report this Post | Recommend it!
Print the post  
UnThreaded | Threaded | Whole Thread (32) | Ignore Thread Prev | Next

Announcements

Post of the Day:
Value Hounds

Kate Spade's Wild Ride
What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Community Home
Speak Your Mind, Start Your Blog, Rate Your Stocks

Community Team Fools - who are those TMF's?
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and "#1 Media Company to Work For" (BusinessInsider 2011)! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.
Advertisement