Hi guys, I'm Adam, and I'm an FIRE wannabee too. I was wondering when you first realized you wanted to be FIRE and how far along you are now. So here goes.I'm 23 years old, and hadn't really even considered FIRE until I signed up for the message boards about 2 months ago. I'd put a little money away just because I'm not really a spender, but it wasn't that much. So I've made the first few steps towards FIRE in the past few months. I have a taxable account that I opened up last year that I've been putting at least 10% in since I opened it. I'm aggressively paying off a loan I took out to buy a trailer because 13.5% is outrageous, but it was the best I could get. I've got 6 months worth of living expenses saved up that I'm going to move to a credit union (2.5% return there, not bad for a savings account). And I'm going to start saving out some extra money to open up a Roth IRA.So when did the rest of you realize you wanted to be FIRE? What steps have you taken, and where are you now?Adam
I'm 23 years old, and hadn't really even considered FIRE until I signed up for the message boards about 2 months ago.I'm in the same position as you, except that I'm 3 years younger. But these message boards was the first time I thought seriouslly about FIRE. I don't have much $ saved up, but after reading TMF and talking on these message baords, I've begun to save a part of each check I get this summer.What I do have is 0 credit card debt, thanks to good teaching by my parents. Hopefully by next month I'll have the $1000 I need to open up a Roth IRA with Vanguard. My goal from now on is to save 20% pretax of every check I get. I figure now while I have no wife, kids, or house is the best time to save as much money as I can.I'm looking forward to reading and participating on this board, and helping everyone work toward their common goal.-tdx
I realized I wanted to stop working when I had my baby. That's when it hit me, that my priorities had changed. I am 32. DH is 31. I have always put the maximum in my 401K since I started working in 1995. So I have a good chuck of money so far because of that. My company has a very generous match, so I am watching my money grow. Currently, we save about 10% of our pre-tax salary, all in 401K. My company contributes another 10% of my salary, so that helps enormously. Outside of that, I have a small emergency fund, but no IRA. I am currently in frantic debt-repayment mode. I project I will be rid of unsecured debt by this time next year. After that, I need to start saving for our retirement, and for my son's college fund. I also intend to have more children, so that adds to the bottom line of course.I would like to retire by age 50. I don't know if this is possible, but that's what I'm shooting for.--Trudy
Hopefully by next month I'll have the $1000 I need to open up a Roth IRA with Vanguard.If you want to start sooner, you can start an IRA with $500 at Scottrade (www.scottrade.com). My daugher has an account there and likes it. Trades are only $7, I think. And IRAs don't have a fee, ever.phantomdiver
Hey phantom,We've been having a pretty good discussion about the merits of Scottrade vs. going directly through Vanguard over at the Index Fund board. Check it out, if you want, pretty interesting.Where do live near Tysons? How old is your daughter (just kidding!!)?-tdx
Where do live near Tysons?In Vienna, between the two Vienna metro stops. Where's your dad?How old is your daughter (just kidding!!)?I have two, 17 and 19. The older one goes to Notre Dame; the younger one is in high school and is taken anyway.Hey, I'm not kidding. I'd *love* my kids to be going with/married to FIRE wannabes!phantomdiver
I have two, 17 and 19. The older one goes to Notre Dame; the younger one is in high school and is taken anyway.Hey, I'm not kidding. I'd *love* my kids to be going with/married to FIRE wannabes!Wow, could mazske's idea of a FIRE Wannabee board actually get a 19 year old daughter of a LBYM phantomdiver in touch with a UVA student who has FIRE aspirations?
LOL, now that would be one heck of a story-"So how did you 2 meet?" "Well, I met her mother through the FIRE wannabe board at TMF, and she set us up. It was love at first sight!"Notre Dame's an awesome school. I got a chance to visit there when I was a cheerleader (yes that's correct, a male cheerleader) for my first 2 years at UVA (until I seperated my shoulder twice). The Notre Dame women's b-ball team hosted part of the NCAAA tournament, so we went with our team. I had so much fun!We live about 2 miles away from the mall on Gallows Road. If you're coming from the beltway and get off at Rt. 7, make a left on to Gallows. We're about a mile down. Small world!-tdx
Well, I just turned 38 and have pretty much always known I wanted to be FIRE since my relatively early graduation from college in '87. My family (we have three kids starting grade school again Monday) was almost 46% of the way to being FIRE as of our last financial check-up. We normally go over the portfolio and make buy/sell decisions twice a year right after tax time and again in September. My goal is to be FIRE by age 50 and we're pretty much on track. In fact, my dream job these days would be to earn 60% of my current salary as a banker and work three days a week. My wife is already working a "fun job" with very limited hours (two mornings a week during the school year only). FWIW, we save about 20% of our income and have been good savers for a very long time. Home equity makes up about a quarter of our net worth, but we try to use a conservative value after 7% commission for this figure to get a good net amount. We are planning to try and keep the kids in public schools through high school and then spring for 50%+ of all college costs for our kids. Our oldest just turned ten, so college expenses are a big savings goal ($35,000 set aside for that so far).Cheers,JohnH
We live about 2 miles away from the mall on Gallows Road. If you're coming from the beltway and get off at Rt. 7, make a left on to Gallows. We're about a mile down. Small world!Maybe you and I could have coffee someday, and I could bring phantomdaughter1 . . . hmmm . . . ;-)My oldest is 21, and he met his fiancée on line. I've met some lovely people on line and then F2F. You never know.phantomdiver
Maybe you and I could have coffee someday, and I could bring phantomdaughter1 . . . hmmm . . . ;-)My oldest is 21, and he met his fiancée on line. I've met some lovely people on line and then F2F. You never know.I agree about the online thing- I just thought it would be a funny story. And, I'd love to have coffee.Within hours of posting on this board, I've got coffee dates with 2 people. I'm on a roll!-tdx
Within hours of posting on this board, I've got coffee dates with 2 people. I'm on a roll!You want rolls, too? Okay, we can meet at Borders on Route 7. ;-)phantomdiver
So when did the rest of you realize you wanted to be FIRE? What steps have you taken, and where are you now?Adam I've always known I didn't want to work "forever". In addition, I've seen too many people who worked for years and years only to get sick and/or die before reaching/enjoying retirement. However, what hit home was my mother's death. She died at 55, two years after she dropped out of her doctoral program (only lacked completing her thesis) and retired. There were a lot of naysayers, especially considering the fact my youngest brother was still in college at the time. However, she stuck to her guns and did what made her happy. I'm truly thankful she did. I think it would have been tragic if she'd never retired and missed the opportunity to do all the things she loved.I'm a long way from being FIRE'd (I'm only 27) but the main thing I've done is change my thinking. I've learned to ignore the people who think I'm unrealistic or lazy for not wanting to be a part of the corporate grind for a large part of my life. I've also taken steps over the past few years to get my financial house in order. And most importantly, I've learned balance. In the past I've swung wildly from one financial extreme to the other - from depriving myself to being reckless. Now I'm on a more even keel. I do work hard but I play hard as well. I realize that sometimes extra work/overtime just isn't worth the money and sometimes buying expensive things/indulging myself is worth the money. I make decisions based on how they will affect my quality of life (positively or negatively). I may not get to FIRE as quickly as others or as quickly as I could but I want to enjoy life along the way. I see how quickly it can be taken away.-Steph
If you want to start sooner, you can start an IRA with $500 at Scottrade (www.scottrade.com). My daugher has an account there and likes it. Trades are only $7, I think. And IRAs don't have a fee, ever.Here's how I see it:Pro's:More selectionETF's can have lower fees even than Vanguard (see recent Scott Burns couch potato articles...)Con's:Hard to invest small sums - a $7 commission is still a 1.4% sales charge on $500, that's pretty steep.Pretty much even as far as I can see. Is it better to wait 6 mo. to accumulate the necessary $ for Vanguard or invest now and pay 1.4% upfront to get in? Plus, if you are setting aside $ each month you have to wait for it to build to buy more shares, whereas with Vanguard they invest it immediately.It would be worthwhile to see if scottrade has preferred funds without commissions, otherwise Vanguard seems to be a better deal until you accumulate at least $1500 or so.st
It would be worthwhile to see if scottrade has preferred funds without commissions, otherwise Vanguard seems to be a better deal until you accumulate at least $1500 or so.Excellent analysis!phantomdiver
You want rolls, too? Okay, we can meet at Borders on Route 7. ;-)I shop there all the time :o) I usually tend to prefer Barnes and Noble, but I can't seem to find a good one close to us in NOVA.-tdxPS- I'm taking a wild swing here, but does the name "phantomdiver" have anything to do with SCUBA diving?
PS- I'm taking a wild swing here, but does the name "phantomdiver" have anything to do with SCUBA diving? Nope, it's all about dumpster diving. See http://boards.fool.com/Messages.asp?mid=19415267&bid=113700 I get a lot of books that way, and I resell them on line. One of my ambitions is for that small business to make enough to cover DH's and my Roth IRA contributions as well as get broadband.phantomdiver
So when did the rest of you realize you wanted to be FIRE? What steps have you taken, and where are you now?I'll be 29 this year, DH will be 30. We've always contributed to our 401k and even a smidge to a Roth. But we were interested in "things" cars, trips, electronics, big houses, furniture and even a boat. So beyond the 401k there wasn't much of an eFund or investment accounts.November of last year was our wake up call regarding finances... DH was laid off and we needed to move and couldn't sell our home. We had 2 houses for 6 months and lost a bundle of money when we finally were able to sell house #1. After seeing how well we actually could manage with money that tight I really started thinking about trying to save aggressively (without acting "broke.") Joined the fool and started reading. July was our first month of only 1 house and we decided to refi our current home so the "plan" for aggressive saving isn't in place... YET! Our situation is this: - DINK (No kids but 4 pets -- two cats, two dogs) - $0 recurring CC debt. (although we do use it for most of our monthly expenses and pay it off every month) - $0 car payments (96 Tahoe and 02 Suzuki motorcycle and company minivan) - new ING account with about $300 (soon to be efund destination) - retirement savings of about $110k - investment acct of about 18k (VG, of course) - One LBOM house ($165k with 20% equity sub 5% rate for 15yrs)I'm trying to determine the balance between saving for FIRE and saving for "other." Other defined as trips, new motorcycle, new replacement windows, fun stuff, etc.The BEST thing is that DH is on board with the concept. I even heard him say "that would push out retirement by at least 6 months" when contemplating a big purchase... I BEAMED I was so happy. So, that's where we are... still in the planning stages and will likely start Jan 04. (I have ~$7k of dental work to do this year so much of our free money is going to eFund and teeth until then.)96hokies
I'm 33 and realized I needed to start saving pretty much immediately after I finished law school. At that point, my IRA from previous years just about equalled my debt. I probably saved 95 percent of my disposable income after living expenses for the two years I had my first lawyer job in Boston. Then I did the same thing for two years in Seattle. And then the same thing for one year in Billings. Then I decided I'd had enough of being a law-firm lawyer.Now I work for a local bank in their trust department - I still save a lot, but the money isn't as good as lawyer money was. Still, I think my life is better.I'm about a quarter of the way to where most of the calculators say I ought to be to retire, but the reality is that I think I could do it now if I really really had to. I'm not averse to doing all kinds of cost-cutting measures, from living cheaply abroad to sacrificing nearly every consumer desire there is.My real fear is that I've recently married, and while my wife is just as frugal as I am, I wonder what will happen if we have kids. I see children as a big wildcard in figuring out how much money one needs to retire early.dan
So when did the rest of you realize you wanted to be FIRE? What steps have you taken, and where are you now?Hmmm…. When did I realize I wanted to FIRE??? That's a tough one, I don't know if I can specify the exact moment. I will say that it was after I discovered the REHP, which was after I discovered TMF, which was after I had some $ to invest in college. I got the $ because I totaled the car I was given as a high school graduation present. Best car wreck I ever had, it literally changed my life…After the wreck I paid of my CC debt, blew some of the money on a TV and other toys, bought a LBMM car, and put the balance with Vanguard. Since then I have saved a significant percentage of every paycheck. I graduated a year and a half after my legendary car wreck and when I got my job in Houston I kept saving from every check.In January of this year I married my wife, we had been dating for 3.5 years. In fact, I wrecked my car, with her in it, on her birthday three weeks after we started dating. We now both LBOM. We are slowly paying off her college loans (only 4% interest), putting 10% each into our 401k's, and then saving 25% on top of that. Since we are DINKs this has been pretty painless so far.Our FIRE plan has her working for the next three or four years, until I get out of grad school. I hope to quit work in a year to go to B-school full time. After I get out and get a job then she will be able to quit and start making babies. If everything goes according to plan, I will retire in my mid-30's.st
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
CK:I absolutely hated studying engineering.I'm there with you. I studied Mechanical in undergrad. I didn't mind the early stuff because it was math and I have always loved math. Once it changed from the theoretical to the actual applications I was bored to tears. Most people I knew were just the opposite. I nearly transferred to finance every semester for two years, but I couldn't quite pull the trigger. So, now I am going back to b-school to study what I really enjoy (hopefully). st
Wow, could mazske's idea of a FIRE Wannabee board actually get a 19 year old daughter of a LBYM phantomdiver in touch with a UVA student who has FIRE aspirations?Maybe you should start a board to match FIRE Wannabees with LBYM'ers.
Adam writes:I'm 23 years old, and hadn't really even considered FIRE until I signed up for the message boards about 2 months ago.I remember being about your age, and having a boring job and hating it. I thought that if I had a million dollars, I could live like I was living then (1-BD apartment, used car-I've always been frugal), and that money probably would last a long time, and I wouldn't have to work so hard at something I hated. However, it seemed like an impossible goal, and I didn't even try for it. Saving was difficult, because my emergency funds were quickly and repeatedly eaten up by stuff like car repairs, etc.,It's only been recently that my life and family situation has allowed me to save up a substantial portion of my income, and retirement is about 7-10 years away, now. Not so early, but still early, and I'm better off than most right now.
I grew up with the idea that you have to work your whole life at jobs you hate just to get some pension or SS when you hit 65 or so and someone tells you that you can quit. That's what my parents and grandparents did. Blue collar all the way, and jobs they hated. I found jobs I actually LIKED so for a few years I thought I was ahead of the game! But I think I hit a wall at the wise old age of 26 (I'm 27 now)--when the dream job turned into a nightmare, and I didn't have enough savings to leave comfortably--an efund, sure, but not enough that I could feel comfortable becoming unemployed for a year or more, as some of my former coworkers have been. So, I've resolved never again to expect happiness from a job, and never to feel trapped into staying somewhere I don't want to be. Eventually that's FIRE. FI more than RE. I've always been decent at saving, hate debt and don't have any (except mortgage), so I feel like I'm doing ok. So far in life, I've been getting on my feet, my big achievements so far have been paying for 6 yrs of school (I've only been out 3 yrs) and buying a house (which in my case is a financially wise move), while growing my savings. My only regret with starting later in the game is I wish I had started a Roth IRA sooner--never had any 401Ks available through jobs, so my 6-month-old-Roth is my only tax-advantagous retirement account.tab
(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).When you get to that point, you've been a working stiff for FAR too long.
<<<<<Hi guys, I'm Adam, and I'm an FIRE wannabee too. I was wondering when you first realized you wanted to be FIRE and how far along you are now. So here goes.I'm 23 years old>>>>Finally someone that is really in the same boat as me. I am 23 also and am hell bent on getting out of working.I have been really saving/investing for a couple of years now. I started first with an IRA from Vanguard. After that I got hooked on investing. I think that it is really good that you have saved up that much money to cover 6 months worth of living expenses. That is awesome. In my situation (US Navy) I really don't need to save for living expenses since I can just live on the ship if I choose. Later I will prepare for that. Currently I save about 30% of my money. I dont make a whole lot but its cool. I could save a lot more and I probably should. I like seeing my family and a ticket from Norfolk, VA to SF, CA is quite a bit of change no matter how you early you get tickets. I think that for people our age there is a delicate balance on how much you should save. You shouldn't save so much that you are a shut in and you shouldn't spend so much that you are up to your eyes in debt. Most of my friends are in the later category. They are happy I guess so who am I to judge. I haven't set myself on a timeline to see how much I need to save to get where I want to go but I think that is the next thing that I'll do. You can't get there if you don't know where you are going, right? Listen to people on this board and the REHP. You won't get better advice than from people who already are where you want to be. I like the other page (on topic) alot. The FAQ section is great. I am sure that this board will bloom also.talk to you laterNick I'd like to retire about 45. I'll get there.
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.So why did you choose this as a specialty to being with? I know most people don't like work, but I'd think you would have chosen something that you thought you would like.Take my own case. I love games. I was a board game fanatic since the time I was 8 years old. I also discovered, around the same age, that I found programming fascinating. I watched a educational TV program that taught the basics of programming for an imaginary processor around that age, and I'd spend hours writing up stupid little programs for the imaginary processor that did nothing at all useful.Naturally, when I built my first computer from a kit at age 12, the very first thing I tried to do was write a game. That pattern continued through high school - the main thing I did with my spare time was write text games in BASIC for an HP 2000.It would have been natural for me to enter the game industry, but when I first started working in 1982 there were precious few jobs to be found in programming that weren't COBOL drones for MIS departments, let alone game jobs. So I went into business application programming, and discovered I hated it. I liked programming, but the subject matter was boring.This was an example of going into a field that I basically loved, but discovering that the actual day to day practice wasn't actually much fun. Being a professional usually seems to entail a good deal of choice in initial career, so I'd think this syndrome was common among professionals who hate the very nature of their jobs, rather than the specific company they're working for.As for me, I eventually did get into the game industry. What bugs me these days is that it's awfully unstable - two companies I've worked for have essentially gone belly-up, one of them through actual bankruptcy - and that there's precious little opportunity for a programmer who also loves design. Which is why I spent a lot of time thinking about FIRE these days. - Gus
So why did you choose this as a specialty to being with? I know most people don't like work, but I'd think you would have chosen something that you thought you would like.As much as it sounds like a cop-out, it was basically chosen for me. I was *told* since when I was a kid that I would be an electrical engineer, and that was that. No arguments allowed (yep, typical Asian family here! Ever wonder why there are so many Chinese doctors, scientists and engineers? Now you know -- never underestimate Asian family pressure!). No other field, and no other type of *engineering* was acceptable. According to him, studying math or physics was impractical, mechanical or chemical engineering meant low job prospects, and heaven forbid I would ever do something as "useless" as *gasp* liberal arts ("liberal arts" was practically a swear word in my house when I was in school). My last-ditch effort to rebel and go to music school was met with "over my dead body" from Dad. I had little money for college, and my parents didn't save anything, so I went to the school he taught at to get free tuition and my scholarship.OK, so with the money and the job security I have now, I suppose it was the "right" decision. And I think now he's figured out that no, I'm NOT him and don't share his interests simply because I share his genes. I'm still not much better at speaking up and standing up for myself, but I'm working on it.I've adjusted my attitude and my career path so that I get to do more of what I like in my job (write, even if it's on a topic that doesn't really interest me) while minimizing what I don't like (nasty partners, nasty clients, technology that bores me more than usual, etc.). I guess that's part of being a grown-up, working with what you have. If it weren't for this job, saving for FIRE in comfort wouldn't be as easy. It's very easy to LBYM when you have high M. And for that, I'm grateful. But that doesn't keep me from wanting to be FIREd.CK(always adjusting)
As much as it sounds like a cop-out, it was basically chosen for me.No, it doesn't sound like a cop-out. Kids are kids, not adults. It's a rare kid under 20 who is really sure of himself enough to choose a career against active parental opposition.yep, typical Asian family here! Ever wonder why there are so many Chinese doctors, scientists and engineers? Now you know -- never underestimate Asian family pressure!That makes sense. I've never been directly exposed to this, but I've seen a movie or two which touched on the subject.Perversely, my father wanted me to a mathematics professor. I had a talent for math, and he didn't see any value in programming. This is understandable, because when I was studying programming, home computers were almost exclusively the domain of hobbyists. CP/M users were expected to write their own device drivers. - Gus
I was *told* since when I was a kid that I would be an electrical engineer, and that was that. No arguments allowed (yep, typical Asian family here! Ever wonder why there are so many Chinese doctors, scientists and engineers? Now you know -- never underestimate Asian family pressure!). .choco,that's awful. I know your dad was looking out for you but........I'm glad you are branching out into the things you like... by the way. I read your article and thought it was great.regards,cliff
ChocoKitty writes:As much as it sounds like a cop-out, it was basically chosen for me. I was *told* since when I was a kid that I would be an electrical engineer, and that was that. No arguments allowed (yep, typical Asian family here! Ever wonder why there are so many Chinese doctors, scientists and engineers? Now you know -- never underestimate Asian family pressure!).Yep. Been there, done that. I majored in electrical engineering in college not because that was my lifelong dream but because:1) I was good in math and science (stereotypical Asian immigrant kid)2) My dad thought it was a well-paying respected field (plus, he always wanted to be an engineer!)Luckily for me, I didn't find EE too boring, although I ended up choosing software programming as a career because I liked it much better. I've heard plenty of stories of kids stuck doing something they don't like for a living because of parental pressure.Ranma
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