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I left my firm on December 31, 1999, two week before my 49th birthday. I worked over the next 10 years on a very part-time basis from home, doing consulting. My part-time work amounted to less than 25% of my former full-time effort. My wife did much the same thing, only a year later. She wanted to see whether I could survive first. This allowed us to live for those 10 years off of our part-time earnings, so we didn't have to draw down on our IRAs or taxable investments. By not selling when the market went down several times during that same period, we didn't lock in any real loses. Our portfolio today is much greater than it was in 2000 before the dot-com crash. Both my wife and I have been fully retired for a couple of years now at age 62. We live off the income from our investments, and our portfolio is larger at the end of the year than at the start of the same year, which means we currently have a self-sustaining portfolio. I doubt that will always be true, and I anticipate some really bad times are coming due to the debt crisis in the US and around the world. We're about 57 in fixed and 43% in equities right now, which is a fairly conservative mix. Good luck to us all.
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