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Last day was Friday, June 24. Retirement party at work. My wife and son came. It was nice. The CEO and CIO both made very nice speeches. I had been there 10 years and made a lot of friends. The CEO, whom I've known all 10 years (a fellow track& field athlete) said in his speech how I had achieved the American dream by working hard all my life and being able to retire early. That was unexpected.

I look younger than I am, about 10 years. So people were astonished that I was FIRE'ing, thinking I was in my low to mid 40's. I had a few ask if I had received an inheritance. :) At age 54, it sounds more believable. The last 2 weeks there, I must have told my basic FIRE story 50 times to people and in one case, a mini seminar to 7 people who requested I spend a lunch time with them telling them about investing basics and how I FIRE'd.

Having my FIRE friends here to discuss finance, economics and investing...I often forget how unique it is to be able to opt out of the work force earlier than others without any family $ or social security.

In the case of me and dw, although we did not accomplish it in our late 40's like we had originally planned, it is something to marvel at. Not to toot my own horn....not at all. But to simply give encouragement to wannabees who think it is impossible, here is a brief summary.

DW and married while still in college. A shotgun wedding so to speak. We lived in a one room ratty lakehouse the size of a small 2 car garage. It had insect and varmant problems. Including a snake that made it into the house one day. We had no support from family. We were on our own. DW worked full time at Zales Corporation up until the day she went into labor. She took 6 weeks off and then worked part time from then on. I went full blown 50 hours a week computer programmer and finished my degree at night.

A year later I decided to try one more shot at my Olympic decathlon dream. That put a lot of stress on DW. We decided to try one year for a sponsorship. I dropped out of school and trained 6 hours a day on top of my 50 hour per week job. The goal was to make it to the 88 games and to win the gold in 92. God had other plans. I broke my heal pole vaulting and it was over. I was good on my verbal promise to dw.

I went back to school and finished my comp sci degree at the age of 24. Through myself into my career and immediately became a 401k/IRA investor.

DW quit work to be a stay at home mom to our 2 kids. She is an amazing woman. She squeezed every penny out of our household budget she could. She found quality products for a fraction of the cost. We bought cars a couple of years old and drove them for 10. We took inexpensive vacations at state parks and when we found cut rate deal, we occasionally splurged on a trip to the ocean or mountains. We always had a nice home on acreage. 3 times, we bought and sold our homes just on the edge of the North Dallas metro to book a massive profit as evaluations skyrocketed.

On average, we saved around 20% of my income. At one point, we saved 50% when I had some moonlight contracting gigs during the tech boom of the 90's and early 2000's.

During the 33 years of our marriage, we home schooled for 10, adopted our 3rd child and when she entered JH, DW started working again after 20 years of being a SAHM. Eventually, she found a very good job at a title company making about 50k and we saved every $ she made. She worked there 4 years and FIRE'd herself 1 year ago and began doing most of the retirement legwork while I finished up the last year of my career.

So now at age 54 and 30 years of LBYM, investing, and living a very good life during the process with no regrets.....we are FIRE'd.

It's even more amazing than I thought it would be. I thought I would be anxious or worried at first not getting that steady paycheck. But I'm not. In fact, I'm driving my wife nuts right now because the past month I've been....well...a bit over amorous. I feel like I'm 21 again. :)

DW and I are FIRE'd, multi-millionaires and happier than you can imagine. Well, those of you whom are FIRE'd probably can imagine it. lol

The home closes this Friday. We have some work still to do but the hard parts are over. I have my 1 ton diesel Dodge dually and will pick up our 5th wheel today or tomorrow. We hang around Texas for a about a month to finish up some details and then are off to Colorado (Estes Park) for our 1st FIRE adventures.

Metal
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