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Hi, folks!

I thought I'd share our situation.

I retired in 2010 at the age of 57. This was 17 years after closing an unsuccessful business that drove us to the edge of bankruptcy. At that point, we had a lot of debt and very little in investments.

So what happened?

I got a "real" job again that included a twice a month paycheck. That felt SO good to have a paycheck again! :D It was an interesting job at Ford Motor as a vehicle architect. Challenging. First thing I did as I hired in? Dedicated 10% of my pay to my 401k.

The next step was NOT what you see recommended most places. Instead of focusing on paying off my debt, I mobilized our remaining cash and worked on re-developing a portfolio. I had been investing since I was 12 and was confident that our investment returns would surpass our cost of debt.

And….

….indeed, our returns were very good. Yeah, I got burned in the dot com crash, but gradually recovered from that. The portfolio was a combination of my 401k, my wife's 401k and some residual rollover IRAs left over from previous careers (I've worked at a lot of places). We had no "savings". All income went to pay ongoing bills and special discretionary things like vacations. The only exceptions? When the kids reached college…..well, our investment in Marvel paid for that. And when my daughter got married? Our investment in Chipotle paid for that.

Eventually…..even though we still owed a huge amount on our double-mortgaged house, we had enough money to retire. Sold the house…..(had to bring money to the closing instead of getting money!)…. and moved to the Charlotte area where we enjoy our grandbabies!

The point of this long winded story?

Patient, yet careful, investing can pay off fairly quickly to allow retirement…. and pay for important other things along the way. For us, that was speeded up by running a concentrated portfolio. I had already been investing for decades and can usually separate the good from the bad…. and can recognize a lot of "fat pitches". During those big building years, I wasn't afraid to invest a LOT in those fat pitches.

Now that I'm retired, I'm more cautious about it all but I still have most of our portfolio in less than 10 companies. And have a couple positions at 10% or more.

Income?

After retiring, I took a buy-out on my pension. I figure it's safer and provides better returns. I use that money to sell options for income (sell cash backed puts, then as necessary we sell calls on any shares put to us). We also have social security, which pays more than I had expected.

We have a fairly sizable mortgage and could pay it off, but it's hard to feel good about paying off a 4% mortgage when I can earn 2%-4% each month selling options.

We're doing fine. Bought a used motor home at Christmas. Took a trip to Israel this Spring. We drive old cars that are paid off. We aren't interested in buying a lot of "things". Our ongoing expenses are fairly modest.

And we watch our grandbabies 1-3 times a week while Mommy is at work. We've found a great church and we're involved. Life is pretty great.

Sure beats working someplace and putting up with the BS there (even though it was a pretty good place to work).

Rob
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