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Warning long post follows:

With the general premise of this board being "Share your plan to help it come true" I think it is time to pay my dues and share my plans.

This plan is a work in progress, so let me give you some background.

Step one -- Born and raised in the not to far north of Ft. Wayne In. I spend my early years carring papers and saving for collage. My father did me a very great favor of taking to the factories he worked in from time to time. This convinced me that making a living with your head rather than your hands my be a good idea.

Step two -- Growing up! This is very different from being "born and raised". I did attend that collage, but let my grades slide and received a letter from the goverement which began "GREETINGS". Spending a year is southeast asia as a somewhat human target will make you GROWUP very fast.

Step three -- Making a living. Back in the world and back in school. The grades were up but still no real plan for my life's work when I discovered computers. This looked like fun. The best advice I can give anyone is to find something you like to do and then figure out how to get payed for doing it.

Step four -- Discovering that you need to plan for retirement, and you should have started yesterday. When my father retired and his SS checks amounted to general spending money I realized that he had been planning for this day for a long time. (The older I get the smarter my parents get). Just knowing you need a plan is a big step.

Step five -- Pay yourself first. After a few failed attemps I found that the best way to save for retirement was to start a systematic plan and stick to it. I began contributing to the company 401k at a rate that would match my contributions to Social Security. The only money you really get paid is what you can save. The rest is just to make ends meet.

Step six -- Form a plan. Now that I had the hard part out of the road I began thinking about where I would like tor retire. Ft. Wayne didn't look to good to me (I was getting very tired of the cold winters), so I took a transfer to Florida (sometimes you get lucky). The weather suited just fine and I decided that retirement would be no father north than Tampa Fl. Now thats not much of a plan but its a start. Somewere around here I discovered Jimmy Buffet and the lifestyle that the music is about. This has helped me fleash out my plans and started me looking farther south. (more free adivce -- never cast your plans in concrete, jello is a most useful substance).

Step seven -- Work work work work work. Trying to be the best at what I do. It pays better.

Step eight -- When I could take early retirement I did. (Take the money and run). I took a lump sum settelemt and rolled it over into investments. The up side is that between the 401k and the lump sum, my basic needs for retirement are covered. The down side is I can't touch any of it (well almost) until 59 1/2 without giving up an extra 10% to Uncle Sam. I tried the road worriar thing for a while, it pays well but gets old very fast. I started with a new company and will be fully vested in their retirement plan just as I reach 59 1/2. What the heck, it keeps me in the south, and a little extra income in retirement is never a bad idea.

Step eight -- Working my way into it! Since the first retirement I have moved to an apartment on an island. Its in the middle of Tampa Bay, but its a start. I have also purchased a boat. My first was a 16' bow rider which I wore out after about 10 years. This one is a 26 footer that makes a great weekender + and is great training for a possable liveaboard as a retirement home. I also ahve my pilots license with insterement rating (no longer current). The captins license is next.

Well their you have it. The plans are still in the jello vat, but it is beginning to setup. I will be taking several recon. trips over the next couple of years to check out some possable ports of call. The current targets are Belize, Costa Rica, and a small island of Puerto Rico which shall remain nameless.

Good luck to all and thank you Jimmy!

PS. GekkoII;

If you have not read Don't Stop The Carnival by Herman Wouk, please do. You will love it.
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