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Author: arrete Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 725979  
Subject: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/19/2003 12:44 PM
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All this turmoil that has been going on plus the occasional inquiry from a newbie has had me pondering the type of person who wants to FIRE and succeeds

Well, first off you can tell the ones who have a shot at it versus those that don't. Anyone that starts off with I need a certain level of living – house, car, etc. is probably going to stay trapped in the workforce unless income greatly exceeds needs (or wants in this case). Maybe they ended up on this board because they were curious, saw a post of the day or maybe had a bad day at work. Achieving FIRE requires commitment, not the occasional token gesture.

Viable wannabees
- Have a savings plan that is usually more than the maximum allowed in 401Ks, etc. In other words, savings in after tax accounts or other non-retirement fund assets (real estate, baseball cards, etc).

- The savings plan has rules for sudden influxes of money from raises, inheritances, or the lottery, so these unexpected windfalls don't get frittered away. Some thing like 80% to savings 20% for that trip we always wanted.

- You've either invested the easy way – like Scott Burns Couch Potato portfolio or you've spent an effort to understand what you are investing in. You've done your homework and not gotten caught up in some fad (or at least not too much <g>).

- LBYM. The real biggie. You can't save if you don't live below your means. That means credit cards are always paid off, no debt for anything except a house or maybe a car. Keeping up with the Jones isn't even an interesting option. Examine spending periodically and maybe even have, gasp! a budget.

- I believe that people who live in the now (Garth-Wayne's World) as well as have a plan for retirement are more likely to succeed. It's sort of like a diet. If you make yourself miserable and eat nothing but tofu and carrots, you are going to be cranky and probably end up blowing the diet. However, if you work some fun things into your diet (high premium ice cream – right Art?), your diet will be more livable and more likely to succeed. Saving for retirement is the same way. You have to factor in fun for now or else you'll say to heck with it and blow it on some gazingus pin.

- Another opinion – I think FIRE successes are mostly independent people – they don't care what other people think. There is certainly evidence of that on this board. This is important because retiring early is a strange idea to many people, and friends and family may deride your efforts. Thick skins are valuable.

- You have thought what retiring means. You are sure you will enjoy your free time, in fact, you have a long list of activities you want to get into – some which may be things like sleep in front of the TV or write frivolous post on the REHP board.

- You've looked at various calculators, such as intercst's or dory36's to get some insight into what your tradeoffs are in terms of income streams and outgo. You've played around enough with the calculators and other information to get a feel for your probable time to retirement. You've also have probably come up with some intelligent questions to ask on the REHP board. You get information from several sources, not relying on only one.

- Finally, you have the guts to pull the cord. That isn't easy – you can go back on the board and find posts from people agonizing over this final commitment to FIRE. jtmitch and retireearlyboi are in the midst of such decisions right now. Retiring involves moving into the unknown – risk. And taking such risks can be very difficult for some people. But once you've done it – wahoo!

Enough now. Chime in as you please.

arrete
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Author: ResNullius Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102768 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/19/2003 1:06 PM
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Enough now. Chime in as you please.

When I started working, I knew then that I would stop working as soon as I no longer needed to work in order to live. I had watched my dad work himself into an early grave, and I didn't see any advantage to that. I had watched many of my dad's friends work their way into an older grave, having worked far beyond their need for money. They died with their boots on. I wanted no part of that, either. I worked hard, didn't engage in too much wasteful spending, saved and invested, and when I had it all in place, I quite the rat race. It was both hard and easy. I guess the hardest part was knowing when to pull the plug. When I found that I had enough saved and invested to safely take care of finances for 40 or so years, I knew it was time. The only regret I have is not having pulled the plug sooner, because I really didn't need those last several years in the rat race, but I opted to err on the side of being too conservative. I think it takes an independent, to hell with everyone else, type of personality to retire early, since everything in our society today pushes and pulls folks into dying with their boots on.


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Author: ariechert Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102769 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/19/2003 1:12 PM
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"However, if you work some fun things into your diet (high premium ice cream – right Art?), your diet will be more livable and more likely to succeed." - arrete

I've told my wife that if the Doctor ever tells me I have a terminal illness I'm going to eat all the premium ice cream, butter, T-Bone steaks, and other fattening stuff, that I limit in my diet, that I want. Although I love that stuff, I try not to either buy it (cause if it there I'll eat it) or eat it too often. I do however, on occasion, splurge and buy and eat premium ice cream and rib eye steaks, like my birthday or anniversary. I don't go wacko about any one thing in my diet though. My wife is a vegetarian, and will not touch anything with any meat in it. I just don't make a big deal about anything, and will eat about anything.

It's a lot more fun to cook for people who are adventuresome in their tastes. It's difficult and boring to cook for people who have a lot of things that they don't like, like onion, garlic, hot peppers, black pepper, etc. - Art

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Author: intercst Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102770 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/19/2003 1:22 PM
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ResNullius writes,

I think it takes an independent, to hell with everyone else, type of personality to retire early, since everything in our society today pushes and pulls folks into dying with their boots on.


That's certainly what our Retire Early Personality Survey showed a few years back:

http://rehphome.tripod.com/mbti.html

intercst

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Author: telegraph Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102781 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/19/2003 2:03 PM
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I've told my wife that if the Doctor ever tells me I have a terminal illness I'm going to eat all the premium ice cream, butter, T-Bone steaks, and other fattening stuff, that I limit in my diet, that I want. Although I love that stuff, I try not to either buy it (cause if it there I'll eat it) or eat it too often. I do however, on occasion, splurge and buy and eat premium ice cream and rib eye steaks, like my birthday or anniversary. I don't go wacko about any one thing in my diet though.

You might read up on the Atkin's Diet.

Sadly, the doc died this week after slipping on a sidewalk in NYC after a snow storm and bashing his head against the concrete....as he walked his mile to work each day......(guess he loved to work...).

You limit your carbs, not your fats....butter OK>...premium ice cream OK.....veggies - most OK.... steaks - OK.....bacon OK.....

No no's.....white flour, sugar, potatoes and 'starches', pasta.....you limit your carbs

WHy suffer now...OH, right, you like to 'suffer'....part the act of 'repentance' and the 'eternnal guilt trip' that says you have to suffer to 'succeed' for the silly rules of the dictatorship of the religious heirarchy...that no one elected.

If there are superthingies, it's even more they would think of other lifeforms as having to 'worship' them....as playthings....I guess you think the 'superthingies' have to be bored with eternal life if they have nothing else to do but track the suffering of the 6 billion lifeforms, and make billions of decisions. Sounds like work to me.





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Author: arrete Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102783 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/19/2003 2:06 PM
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ResNullius: The only regret I have is not having pulled the plug sooner, because I really didn't need those last several years in the rat race, but I opted to err on the side of being too conservative.

I have heard this comment from almost everyone who retires early, myself included. I think it is a natural response to the big unknown. But once you are there, you look back and realize you could have retired much earlier. Not every early retiree feels this way, but I bet the majority do. Taking control of your own life is a feeling that can't adequately be described or appreciated until you are in that position.

arrete

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Author: galeno Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102791 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/19/2003 2:26 PM
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arrete pretty much tells it like it is. I too realized in hindsite that I could have retired at age 35 instead of at age 38. So I wasted 3 years by being chicken-hearted <grin>.

Another thing. I've had the privilage (or the misfortune) of watching hundreds of people die. I have NEVER heard these words from ANY middle-aged or old man, "Doc, my only regret is not having worked harder (a/o longer) during my life."

I have heard quite the opposite however <grin>. It's a hell of an argument FOR FIRE.

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Author: CatherineCoy Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102798 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/19/2003 2:48 PM
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I've had the privilage (or the misfortune) of watching hundreds of people die.

I don't doubt that a doctor of your...er...demeanor has had hundreds of patients die on him.

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Author: WendyBG Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102832 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/19/2003 4:08 PM
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<I think it takes an independent, to hell with everyone else, type of personality to retire early, since everything in our society today pushes and pulls folks into dying with their boots on.


That's certainly what our Retire Early Personality Survey showed a few years back:>

That is very interesting.

My husband is an INTJ. He retired 6 years ago, and never wants to return to the corporate grind.

I'm an ENTJ. I lost my job about 20 months ago, and am reluctantly following DH into retirement. He thinks I'm crazy for wanting to work.

Yes, INTJ's are independent. However, so are ENTJs!

The difference is that ENTJs thrive on interaction with people, whereas INTJs feel that social contact (especially office politics) is a burden. That may be the reason that so many INTJs retire early.

Introverts also tend to feel that "keeping up with the Joneses" is an alien concept. They tend to be naturally LBYM as a result.
Wendy



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Author: SeattlePioneer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102841 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/19/2003 5:48 PM
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<<I have heard this comment from almost everyone who retires early, myself included. I think it is a natural response to the big unknown. But once you are there, you look back and realize you could have retired much earlier. Not every early retiree feels this way, but I bet the majority do. Taking control of your own life is a feeling that can't adequately be described or appreciated until you are in that position.

arrete
>>


I have a neighbor and a good friend who both retired with inadequate resources. Both suffer from a lot of anxiety about how they will manage. My neighbor recently told me he had showed up at 7AM for several days at Labor Ready hoping to get minimum wage day work ---and not getting any. He's 67.

I also have an uncle who is 92 years old in a nursing home and suffering from Alzheimers. He has no worries, but his wife does ---she's scrambling to fund the $10,000/month nursing home cost plus a few thousand a month for the assisted care facility she lives in.

Anxiety about running out of funds seems perfectly reasonable.



Seattle Pioneer

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Author: golfwaymore Big gold star, 5000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102892 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/19/2003 11:49 PM
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Enough now. Chime in as you please.

I think the #1 traits an ER candidate has to have is to be confident in their own judgement and abilities. This is important because an early retiree must be willing to boldly dismiss 99.9% of the misguided tripe offered by the rest of the world regarding financial responsibility and materialism.

I've always been enormously successful at most everything I've ever attempted. I had already become a self made millionare at age 25, a few years prior to finding REHP upon the recommendation of an online friend.

That will sound conceited to some folks, but it's the truth. I think it's important to point out that my retirment wasnt enabled by the same [highly admirable] accumulation strategy such as steady, slow, multi-decade saving & investing as employed by many of my friends here at REHP. These folks are my heroes, and their time proven discipline and accomplishments exhibited are unparelleled, IMHO.

For me, taking the ER plunge wasnt so much about the money, as it was the concept and unconventional mindset. Intercst and REHP prodded me to wonder, "Why in the hell do I keep working?"

I spent 2 days bass fishing this week and one day with my family at an amusement park. I guess it's obvious that I answered the aforementioned question. <grin>

Golfwaymore










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Author: readyteddy Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102908 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/20/2003 8:57 AM
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My father retired when he was 55.

Then he started a business and ran it until he was 79. He considered that his retirement, because he loved his business. My mother, who worked there too, died and he remarried at 79, then sold the business to my sister and traveled and played golf for the next five years before passing away at 85.

I mention all this because retirement means different things to different people. Also, financial independance .(..the ability to live comfortably by one's own definition without a paycheck) and retirement in the traditional sense (voluntarily leaving the work force) are not necessarily the same thing. My dad used to have his Social Security checks deposited to his brokerage account and I never saw him spend one. He was a good business man but it wasn't about the money for him.

Like my father, I retired at 55. Unlike my father, I am not starting and running a business ..what looked like fun to him looked like work to me and I turned down the offer to buy him out. This is not to say I won't get bored, or, to put it more positively, get excited by some project that pays me in the future. Like, I have been contemplating getting some import business going that would enable me to write off my trips to Europe. I mean, as long as I'm over there anyway...

But I am losing the thread here. I think successful retirement involves defining retirement in your own terms. Anyone who can't figure out what they are going to do when they get up tommorrow (or is troubled if they don't know) is probably happier having the structure of a job. Me, I don't need no steenking structure. I'm an INTP so I don't really need the company either.

Financially, early retirement is trading money for time. I may run out of money some day, but I know I am gonna run out of time. My wife and I both feel we would rather go see the Grand Canyon this fall when we are young enough to do some serious hiking that wait until we are so old that all we can do is look at it through the window of the Buick.

The biggest financial issue for retirees is healthcare. Can you afford it? But hey, some of this stuff, no one can afford. Long term care? I should live so long.

When my dad was in his late 60's he contracted Legionaires disease. He recovered but it damaged his heart and they wanted to do a triple valve replacement. His response was to tell the doctors that a triple valve replacement is natures way of telling you your time was up. He lived another 16 active years merely taking inexpensive diuretics. We have choices about healthcare.

The same choices people before us had. It's a quantity of life verses quality of life thing.

Sorry this is so long.

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Author: arrete Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102910 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/20/2003 9:47 AM
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Good post. You mentioned something I realized later I had left out. Health insurance. Understanding the huge jump in insurance costs is an important part of getting ready for early retirement.

Financially, early retirement is trading money for time. I may run out of money some day, but I know I am gonna run out of time.

That should be the mantra for anyone interested in RE. The hardest thing to really figure is how long you are going to live, and in what kind of shape. Enjoying unstructured time while you are actively healthy sure makes a lot more sense than broadening your buns in a cubicle. Enjoy the Grand Canyon and any other vigorous adventures you have in mind.

Although for the short term (baby season) my time is pretty structured, the rest of the year I'm pretty much a free spirit. And if I had waited until I was 65 to start rehabbing, I would have been too full of arthritis to be able to do it.

Also appreciate golfwaymore's comment that an ER candidate has to have is to be confident in their own judgement and abilities. This is important because an early retiree must be willing to boldly dismiss 99.9% of the misguided tripe offered by the rest of the world regarding financial responsibility and materialism. If you are consciously working towards RE, you really do have to buck the trend because you are doing something so unusual. And you have to believe you can do it or it won't work.

The exception that proves the rule: I said this before but can't find it. DH and a collegue were yakking about 401Ks, and the collegue admitted he had no idea how much was in his. He went home, looked up the amount in the 401K, came to work the next day and handed in his resignation. He'd been doing the right thing (saving) but was in complete ignorance of the results. I don't think this happens very often <g>.

Appreciating the feedback.

arrete

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Author: ResNullius Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102912 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/20/2003 9:56 AM
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Health insurance. Understanding the huge jump in insurance costs is an important part of getting ready for early retirement.

It's not just the cost. DW and I are having to move from her group coverage to personal coverage, since she finally is joining me as an early retiree. I thought I would be the one who would have trouble getting coverage. I was accepted by BlueCross, but DW was rejected. I still can't figure out why they rejected her, so we are appealing her rejection. They also rejected my son, who is only 21, simply becuase he had been treated for ADD as a child. On the bright side, at least they agreed to cover me, and for half the cost I had been paying to be added to DW's group policy. I'm reasonably certain that we'll be able to find coverage for DW, but I think my son will have to make sure he always has coverage through a group policy, because it looks like he's been marked for life.


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Author: arrete Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102914 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/20/2003 10:14 AM
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My daughter at 25 got rejected for an individual policy because she had been treated (successfully) for depression, not because of her seizure disorder. They specifically told her that in the rejection letter. She ended up get insurance with the same company under a group plan.

When you think of the statistics on the number of people treated for depression in this country, it's a wonder anyone can get individual insurance.

arrete

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Author: jjbklb Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102936 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/20/2003 12:00 PM
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<<snip>>
No no's.....white flour, sugar, potatoes and 'starches', pasta.....you limit your carbs<<snip>>
Your lifestyle can have an effect on what you eat.For example,if you like to run,a low carb diet may not be the best option for you.Carbohydrates are a more effecient & readily usable source of energy then fats or proteins.



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Author: chooey98 Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102941 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/20/2003 12:25 PM
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I thoroughly read your post, and it seems I'm well on my way! Thanks, arrete!

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Author: workwayless Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 102952 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/20/2003 1:39 PM
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Enough now. Chime in as you please.

Arrete this is a great post. As a FIRE wannabee, your list contains most of my critical FIRE success factors. In addition, I had a non-employer group health insurance policy.

I have tried FIRE twice. After being laid-off from a job I tried FIRE and failed. For the second attempt, I voluntarily left my job. I've been successful this time and one reason why is that I got to think about and plan for retired life before I did it.

When it comes to planning what you will do after FIRE, this is one area where YMMV. You really have to know yourself. I've read about ERs who had long list of activities that they couldn't wait to get to after they retired. While I never did have that long list and if I had waited to did then I never would have retired. So I retired with only a vague idea of what I wanted to do. That's OK for me. It's just like when I travel--my preference is not to take guided tours or cruises where everything is planned down to the nth degree. I would rather take an independent trip that is somewhat planned but could be easily modified to allow for spontaneity.



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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: 103034 of 725979
Subject: Re: Successful FIRE People Date: 4/21/2003 9:51 AM
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Hey SP, happy Fooliversary! Love those balloons.

CK

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