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I am declaring this board dead. Perhaps the whole Motely Fool Discussion boards are dead? I spend most of my time on the www.diehard.org forum, which incidentely is also free. Seems to be lots of interesting topics on diehards, lots of dicussion, lots of life.

Maybe I'd feel better if anyone could tell me why we have such a low number of relevent or remotely interesting posts on this board? I am very, very interested in FIRE, as I am 37 and have lots of time ahead of me to contemplate and plan for it.

On Diehards I see posts concerning Currency Risk and other advanced topics. Here, I see nothing of much value. Why is that? Not trying to be negative, but just interested in what you guys/gals think. Am I being overly harsh or are there too few of us wannabees to keep a board going?

I also see some new boards show up on the Retirement section of the MF. What's that about? As if we need yet another under post'ed board.

OK, I'll shut up and go to bed now.

Brad
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I am declaring this board dead.

Your declaration means little. This board gets posts at times. If you want more here, then POST.

Acme
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I am declaring this board dead.

The traffic may be slow, but at least it's almost 100% ON Topic. There are other boards here who have grown into a social board. This one has not.

Am I being overly harsh or are there too few of us wannabees to keep a board going?

It seems you expect others to have a conversation and you just eavesdrop and listen in. Because there isn't conversation going on, you accuse the board of being dead? My regrets that you hinge that much on other people's words and ideas.

-Agg97
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Well, go with God, as they say.


The board is what it is.



Seattle Pioneer
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>> The traffic may be slow, but at least it's almost 100% ON Topic. There are other boards here who have grown into a social board. This one has not. <<

I'd go further than that. About the only way this board would have a lot more traffic is if it became a social board, and I don't think we need that. There are other boards historically related to the quest for FIRE but they have mostly become social boards.

Low volume or not, it's nice to have a place where the signal to noise ratio is very high.

#29
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I’m not sure the best way to address the responses, so I will take each and provide my thoughts accordingly. I am a little long winded, so I apologize in advance.

RE: Your declaration means little. This board gets posts at times. If you want more here, then POST.

Fair enough.

RE: The traffic may be slow, but at least it's almost 100% ON Topic. There are other boards here who have grown into a social board. This one has not.

Good point, sort of. This is my frustration with the MF in general. The diehards have hard and fast rules and will actually delete posts that are too far off topic. I’ve been over to the FIRE discussion board and I see your point concerning the “social boards phenomenon” . I am sure those guys have talked the FIRE topics to death, but I’m not interested in discussing XYZ’s latest trip to Italy. I am not trying put down the Fool, as I am forever indebted to their generosity in providing poignant information when I needed it the most. I guess my point is we surely have more to talk about. I performed a quick scan and we Wannabees have only made 400 posts on this board in the last year. If you delete all the “great job” replies I am willing to bet there are less than 40 quality posts in the last year….and I am being generous with that number. I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feeling, and I will gladly go radio silent if you are happy with the current state of this board, but frankly I am not happy with it. Another annoyance is the creation of all these spin off boards by the Fool that only serve to dilute the limited number of good boards on the site. Why do we need a 20 something site? And what is the difference between ‘Retire Early’ and FIRE anyways, other than I guess you can retire and not be Financially Independent?? OK, I’m done being negative as it brings me down.

What can be done to make this board a worthwhile experience? I suppose we could post our net worth, our plans to FIRE, etc. But is only valuable to a point, and will likely only generate more “great job” replies. I imagine the yearly income spread for our board as a whole is quit large as well, which makes the net worth post of little value. I am also willing to bet that most on this board have income that is far, far above the national income average.

What if we each posted a topic of interest from time to time? Would anyone be interested in seeing book summaries that are tangentially related to FIRE? On spring break I read “Value Averaging” by Edleson. This is a good read. I am a big fan of Malkiel, Bernstein (both Peter and William), recently read 1776 by McCullough (truly awesome), The Power of Focus by Hewitt, Canfield et al. I have become very interested in Risk, how to mitigate it, etc. I suppose that as I have accumulated more, the less interested I am in giving it all back. I am one, like many who started with a negative net worth. I plan to start reading “Against the Gods” by Bernstein. This will provide an interesting history of risk if nothing else.

I don’t know…just a thought…


RE: It seems you expect others to have a conversation and you just eavesdrop and listen in. Because there isn't conversation going on, you accuse the board of being dead? My regrets that you hinge that much on other people's words and ideas.

Same point Acme raised, but still a good point.

RE: The board is what it is.

I Agree, but would love to make it better.

One last parting shot... Perhaps FIRE is so simple in concept (difficult in practice), there really isn't much left to talk about.

1. Live below your means
2. Invest the difference from what you make and what you spend/give away.
3. Grow your assets to the point that you can comfortably live within the 3-4% safe withdrawal rate.


Thanks….
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I think you are correct to a degree about FIRE- it is pretty simple.

When you are caught up in the initial phase of FIRE- it is very exciting. It is very engaging emotionally- because you realize both that there is a possible avenue to a new form of reality you had not really conceived of before- and that it is a REAL THING!

During this phase, I wrote and talked and wrote about it endlessly. (On all sorts of boards, both trying to convince others of its reality, its worth, and trying to understand it better).

However, 5 years later, that emotional grip of the early idea has died down to the reality of making choices about trips- how many vacations, where, how much to spend?

Also the reality of the health insurance issue which starts to loom larger than any other cost and lies in a space of huge, unknown, and difficult to wrap up in a neat package.

However, there are some interesting topics for sure that have not been explored. Some of these are:

- Creating a pattern of intergenerational wealth so that every descendant can FIRE.

- Hedging the investment strategy against possible FIRE threats. (Investing in health care products proportionally to offset healthcare costs).

- Dealing with the rising cost of fuel in a FIRE strategy.
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<<One last parting shot... Perhaps FIRE is so simple in concept (difficult in practice), there really isn't much left to talk about.

1. Live below your means
2. Invest the difference from what you make and what you spend/give away.
3. Grow your assets to the point that you can comfortably live within the 3-4% safe withdrawal rate.

>>


Yep --- that's most of it.

Anything else you'd like to discuss?



Seattle Pioneer
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Perhaps the whole Motely Fool Discussion boards are dead? -- 1put100

Don't know about you but I find that my dreams are in the balance. On one hand I have dreams and on the other the possibility of losing everything I've worked for because of careless subprime lenders who couldn't see the consequences of their actions.

There comes a point when I have to say that I need to live in the present despite my natural inclination to live in the future as a FIRE-ee. Perhaps others feel that they spent so much on FIRE that they need a break by trying to enjoy the present. Things come in cycles. The tide does not simply switch from low to high tide or vice versa.

Feel free to post. If you stir the pot, you'll get responses.

Briansan
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<<- Creating a pattern of intergenerational wealth so that every descendant can FIRE.
>>


Ummm. My older brother and I both retired at age 57.

My younger brother and his wife have led a responsible but middle class life, which doesn't contemplate early retirement. That's their choice.

My younger sister struggles to make ends meet from a couple of retail jobs. She'll need to work as long as she's physically able, and might need subsidies from myself and older brother.

In short, people make their own lives, and early retirement is a luxury for those who value it and can afford it.

<<- Hedging the investment strategy against possible FIRE threats. (Investing in health care products proportionally to offset healthcare costs).

- Dealing with the rising cost of fuel in a FIRE strategy.
>>



I made a conscious choice to hedge my energy use by purchases of gas, oil and utility stocks beginning in the mid 1980s. That strategy is working well.

However, the general recommendation is that there's a lot to be said for the wide diversification of index funds and such. My bank and insurance stocks are being hammered right now, Washington Mutual (WM) down 90% in the past year.

I've preferred making my own stock picks for nearly 30 years and done pretty well on the whole. But a bear market tends to expose the weaknesses in your plans.

I'm not anticipating problems to my retirement plans from investments, but you never know.

My backupo plan if I really get hammered is always to go back to work. As I noted before, early retirement is a luxuriy for those who can afford it. If you can't, keep working.



Seattle Pioneer
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>> I made a conscious choice to hedge my energy use by purchases of gas, oil and utility stocks beginning in the mid 1980s. That strategy is working well. <<

I've had a little chunk of my asset allocation in these as well, since 2000.

One of my philosophies on retirement investing is to consider the things that are most likely to force me to delay retirement or which would put me at risk of running out of money in retirement, and figure out how I can construct a portfolio which can profit from these events by adding an "asset class" for them.

Raging energy prices and the inflation it causes was one of them. As long as your portfolio is built to profit from things like higher energy prices, they are not quite the threat to one's retirement and overall security as they otherwise would have been.

#29
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I don't post often. Sometimes I feel like I don't have much to contribute, but we've actually come quite a long way. The concept of this board (along w/ LBYM) is by far my favorite, so I'd love to see it be more active (and ON TOPIC!). I realize that this board is what we make it, so here's my contribution.

I definitely want to FIRE. My husband at least would like to be FI, if not RE. However, the reality is that we can't do it any time soon. (I'm mid-30s, he's early 40s).

We live in CA and bought a house several years ago. We're in the money on it, but we've got a long way to go to pay it off. It doesn't make sense for us to pay it off early, though, because our (fixed) interest rate is pretty low. At this point, the only way I could think of RE is if we were to give up the house, and I wouldn't want to do that.

We also don't have children yet, but may want to. If we do, it will obviously change the financial landscape in a major way.

We max out our retirement accounts and have an E-Fund. We bought some index funds (after-tax) a year or so ago, and we're down, but we're not too worried. We don't have a regular investment plan, but I want to set up something automatic rather than just transferring cash periodically when it builds up.

I'd love to be able to quit working when we have kids, or even before, or even if we don't (!), but it's not very likely. There aren't many places to cut back other than groceries, and we already shop sales, clip coupons, and don't buy much meat, seafood, or liquor. We've cut back our meals out a lot in the past year or so. We weren't too bad to begin with, though this was definitely a weak spot. We don't have an enormous flat-panel TV or NetFlix. My cell plan is pay-as-I-go and I use it very little; DH's is covered by his company. We don't spend a lot on utilities, but we do feel the pinch as these, along with everything else (gas, food, etc.) go up. We've been traveling less, but this mainly has to do with having fewer frequent flyer miles and too little time off. However, we'd like to continue to travel on occasion (or often, if we could).

I'm not sure what more there is to say about my quest for FIRE. The main things on deck for us are to rebalance our investments, and to look into an umbrella policy. That's about all for now.

I'm always interested to check this board to see how (and what) others are doing. I've learned a lot at TMF over the years.

--AF
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<<I definitely want to FIRE. My husband at least would like to be FI, if not RE. However, the reality is that we can't do it any time soon. (I'm mid-30s, he's early 40s).

We live in CA and bought a house several years ago. We're in the money on it, but we've got a long way to go to pay it off. It doesn't make sense for us to pay it off early, though, because our (fixed) interest rate is pretty low. At this point, the only way I could think of RE is if we were to give up the house, and I wouldn't want to do that.

We also don't have children yet, but may want to. If we do, it will obviously change the financial landscape in a major way.

We max out our retirement accounts and have an E-Fund. We bought some index funds (after-tax) a year or so ago, and we're down, but we're not too worried. We don't have a regular investment plan, but I want to set up something automatic rather than just transferring cash periodically when it builds up.
>>



My general theory is that if you earn a decent income, live frugally and invest the difference, financial independence will take care of itself over a period of two or three decades.

That approach doesn't appear to be working for you folks. Can you provide information on why not?

With two people working for presumably a number of years, I would expect that you have the earning decently part taken care of.

Have you always lived frugally, or was there a hangover of spending and debt that had to be addressed? I could also imagine big student loans or the high price of housing causing a problem.


I'd sure do some hard thinking about children ---- there's a decision that deserves to be made sooner rather than later!


Good luck and good planning---


Seattle Pioneer
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We live in CA and bought a house several years ago. We're in the money on it, but we've got a long way to go to pay it off. It doesn't make sense for us to pay it off early, though, because our (fixed) interest rate is pretty low. At this point, the only way I could think of RE is if we were to give up the house, and I wouldn't want to do that.

I'll just mention that a lot of Californians have achieved FIRE by giving up the house *and* California - at the right time. (Now is probably not the right time.)
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My general theory is that if you earn a decent income, live frugally and invest the difference, financial independence will take care of itself over a period of two or three decades.

Thanks, Seattle. I certainly hope so. This is what we're planning for.

That approach doesn't appear to be working for you folks. Can you provide information on why not?

It is working so far. We're much better prepared than we were; we just don't know if it will come through in the end. There's a long way to go between here and FIRE. Some setbacks we started out with were: student loans (x2), car loans (x2), DH's credit card debt, partial wedding expenses (parents helped), and DH putting little into his retirement plans before 35 (I started mine at 25). We didn't buy more house than we could afford, but our payment certainly isn't small. Leaving CA isn't likely because both of our families are here, and so are most of our job opportunities. However, we might consider leaving the state if everything aligned financially so that it made sense for us.

Now, we've paid off everything but our house, we've been maxing out our retirement plans for years, and we've got additional after-tax savings as well as a separate E-Fund. We've traveled a bit, which I don't regret, but it did cost us. We've made a few larger purchases I am not thrilled about (could've spent less on our mattress, etc.), but those didn't hurt us too much. The biggest factor is that DH took a 40% cut in pay about two years ago, and his salary hasn't recovered since. (I used to think of it as a 30% or 33% cut, but that wasn't including guaranteed bonuses.) So, he's currently making what he did over 10 years ago. OUCH. We could most likely not afford our house payments on his current income alone.

With two people working for presumably a number of years, I would expect that you have the earning decently part taken care of.

DH was doing alright for awhile but is currently underemployed. I am doing all right but would love to be in a position where I didn't have to work (i.e., DH's earnings could carry us). Because of the volatile nature of... well, everything... even if DH were to get a better opportunity, I don't know if it would be wise for me to exit the workforce. In addition, some of his job opportunities are not local, and moving would be extremely tricky right now due to the state of the housing market.

Have you always lived frugally, or was there a hangover of spending and debt that had to be addressed? I could also imagine big student loans or the high price of housing causing a problem.

I have always lived frugally, but DH not as much so. We did address all student loans, car loans, and ccs, and DH soon saw the benefits of frugal choices. He does tend to be swayed by some of the fancier or higher-ticket items (we once bought more car than I was comfortable with), but for the most part we are both very good. The next car we bought was much more economical. Where we both tend to fall down is on travel (usually done w/ ff miles or points; we don't shop a lot, but we go for the activities and experiences).

I'd sure do some hard thinking about children ---- there's a decision that deserves to be made sooner rather than later!

Absolutely.

Good luck and good planning---

Thanks! --AF
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That's a good point, but we don't necessarily want to leave CA if we don't have to. I'm 3rd generation CA, DH is 2nd gen, and all of our friends and family are here, as are most of our employment opportunities. --AF
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That's a good point, but we don't necessarily want to leave CA if we don't have to. I'm 3rd generation CA, DH is 2nd gen, and all of our friends and family are here, as are most of our employment opportunities. --AF

Well, the notion is that once you go for RE, employment opportunities are not exactly a high priority...

But the other issues can be more problematic.
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>> Well, the notion is that once you go for RE, employment opportunities are not exactly a high priority... <<

True, but it can still be a consideration as a "fallback position" if you either decide you're bored in retirement or your finances are falling a bit short in retirement.

#29
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So what I want to know is... what more can we do to get us closer FIRE? --AF
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