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Subject:  bridging the gap Date:  2/7/2007  9:28 AM
Author:  ChilkatSally Number:  948 of 125966

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.


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