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Let me get some input from the group here as to if my hopes/dreams are realistic.

I am a divorced 50 y/o retired military man ($1300/month pension from Uncle Sam) My kid is on her own. I own no real estate, have about $65K in my IRA, and about $25K in taxable stocks.

I am currently attending a vocational school to learn to do something I've always wanted to do... fix cars. I basically started over in many ways at my military retirement. I declared bankruptcy the same month I retired. The divorce didn't help matters either, financially-speaking.

The good news is that my newly chosen field is in great demand. If I relocate to Louisiana I can get the future employer to repay my student loans, help buy tools, and help with relocation expenses.

I was a commericial driver, but had to give it up. If the tornadoes and ice storms don't kill you, the bad food will. The doctor said that I was a heart attack waiting to happen.

Sometimes I feel the pull to return home (hometown in profile), buy a starter home for about $45K in a nice part of town and use the "surplus" to invest. Better the devil I know, instead of the devil I don't know location-wise.

I have been told by many people that this is a potential $100K per annum career, plus I'll have the know-how in how to repair cars, which can only help me no matter what happens in life.

The school has a national reach. They track average wage rates by state. MI is among the highest paying states, but with the lower cost-of-living. Beleive it or not, CA and MI pay about the same.

Being a sailor and a former commercial driver, I know how to live frugally. The goal is to be financially secure. Retirement will happen when it happens (age 62?).

Is it a realistic goal to get there by 62? One of my benchmarks for retirement will be having a house paid for. So that would mean a condo somewhere else (most likely) or going back home.

I could bellyache about fate and why I am where I am today, but life is what it is. Not much to be gained by ruminating over the past. You just gotta pick yourself up a move forward.

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