No. of Recommendations: 21

Thanks for posting. I've combined my comments on your posts 67036 and 67038 so that they will be in on place.

My feeling overall with what you have posted in the last week is that you take it all far too seriously.

That's the most precise explanation of the cause of the current unpleasantness yet. I take this stuff so serious that you would laugh if you knew. I believe this stuff can change the world. It's OK with me if you don't agree with me. But that is where I am coming from. It is the biggest reason why I have a different perspective from some others.

I can see why it's hard for anyone coming from that different perspective to see why I can't let certain issues drop and take the good with the bad. I'd like to, and I've tried to, and I've even pulled it off from time to time. Perhaps there will come a time in the future when I'll be able to do that again. If so, I'll be back. There are no hard feelings on my end and I hope that there are not irreparable hard feelings on the board's end (I don't believe there are). But the things that I want to talk about cannot be voiced here in the current environment, that's clear.

I needed to find out if that was true as a fact or just in my perception because I love so much of what the board is about that taking another hiatus is not an easy thing for me to sign onto. I hope that you'll find it possible to cast aside your own perception of things for just a moment and try to imagine what it might be like coming to the board with a feeling that what it accomplishes is a deadly serious (while still fun) business. If you could do that, I think you could understand my actions a bit better, even if not agree with them.

You become emotionally involved with the board as if it is a living breathing thing, complaining that you are not being heard and suggesting you will go off to consider your own unheard ideas (read: sulk).

That's a precisely accurate statement, except for the sulk part. I do indeed become emotionally involved with the board. Always have. Always will. On the days when I'm not here, I'm going to be emotionally involved with the board. First comes God, then my wife and kids, then the board. My wife has complained more than once that I sometimes allow the board to move into second place. I see this board someday accomplishing things that I get the sense no one else here has ever imagined. I'm sorry we can't figure out some way to allow the two visions to co-exist.

Now, perhaps I really am nuts. That always is a live possibility. Time will tell. The only thing I really have control over in this life is how I spend my time. I will spend just about all of the portion not consumed by things I need to do for God, my wife, or my kids struggling to come to a better understanding of how middle-class workers can accomplish financial independence early in life. That's the project I've taken on, and it looks to me to be a many-decade piece of work. I'll continue to pursue that dream whether it takes me to the Retire Early Home Page, somene else's board, or some board I put together myself.

I'm like Solchenizen (a name I can't come close to spelling right, but I'm talking about the great Russian writer who wrote the "gulag" books) in that, if they put me in a prison cell for 20 years, I'll survive by writing thoughts about financial independence down on scraps of paper before the one candle in found in the dirt earlier in the day burns to my fingers. I'm not seeking any praise for it. My passion for the subject is a fact of life I have to deal with, like my blood type or my height. It's not good or bad, it just is.

So yes, I take it seriously, and yes, I get emotionally involved. You won't catch me sulking, though. I have too much work to do. Doing the work is what makes me happy. The appeal of the board is that it provides all this great infrastructure (allowing for instant communication with others interested in the subject) that makes it possible to get the work done more quickly than I can get it done myself. But the work won't stop by me not being on the board. And the work is the source of the happiness, not really the board itself (it just facilitates). I'm changing the nature of my involvement in this movement (I think ot it that way), but I'm not diminishing the extent of my involvement even a little bit.

Most people are looking at everything they read and seeing what viewpoints they most agree with and taking their best judgement. At the end of the day it's all you CAN do.

I agree with the thought that all you can do is all you can do. But if there is anyone who thinks that the tools discussed on the board to this point in time are the only tools possible, all I can say is that I believe with all my mind, heart and soul that that is not the case. You have to use the tools you possess and take your best shot. I'm proposing that the board consider developing some new tools. That's what all the commotion is about.

I won't go on at great length again about why I find it impossible to make whatever little contribution I might be able to make toward that endeavor in the current environment. I tried to explain in earlier posts, and I believe that there were a few who heard the message, if not as many as I might have hoped. It's all summed up in the post by Galeno, who says the intercst plan would beat the hocus plan in a boxing match. The question of which plan "wins" is so boring to me that I can't work up the energy to think about it even for 30 seconds of time.

So the intercst plan wins. What does it win exactly? While we celebrate the win, other plans on the edge of our collective consciousness, that could be teased out of the existing data and the little clues we have picked up here in the past, are remaining undiscovered. I don't really care to discuss the hocus plan any more than I care to discuss the intercst plan (I put up the post kicking off this thread because I was asked to do so). I know the hocus plan, inside and out. I gain nothing from a discussion of the hocus plan. What I am looking for is discussion of other plans, plans that don't have names because we haven't allowed ourselves to talk about them yet.

You see what's there and say "it's good." I see what's not there and say "let's find out what it is." You all are entitled to have a message board to discuss the already discovered good plan. It's not my desire to take it away. It just happens that further discussion of the already discovered good plan doesn't serve my particular personal selfish desires for a different sort of discussion at this particular point in time. That's all. I'm not mad at anyone and I hope that not too many are too mad at me. I hope we can go our separate ways and still feel kindly towards each other. It would not surprise me if our paths crossed again at some future date.

I remember being surprised when you posted a while back that you had pulled out of the market when it was tanking and were waiting for it to rise before investing again.

There's been some sort of miscommunication. I took my assets out of the market in the mid-90s. It wasn't tanking. It was skyrocketing.

You are seemingly going around in circles that know no end.

My wife worries about this too from time to time, Petey. Have you been talking to her? ;-) I'm not going around in circles, Petey. I think I know why you worry about that (Petey and I have exchanged some e-mails from time to time about the non-board work I am doing). I'm moving ahead. It's not been a straight line from Point A to Point B, that's fair to say. But while the path has been winding, it has been leading at a slow and steady pace in the direction in which I want to go. I'll get there soon enough.

There's no map showing you how to get to the place I want to go. So I have to figure out the directions by taking chances on paths that look promising at the moment I first see them but which sometimes cause me to end up getting stuck in ditches. When I get to the other side, all those trips into ditches are going to amount to nothing more than amusing road stories. Who cares how long it takes to drive somewhere you've always dreamed of going to? This part of the effort is just a process, nothing to get alarmed about (but I do appreciate the thought behind the concern, which I know to be sincere).

When your CDs are renewed at current rates, is it safe to assume that your average return will be around 3.5%?

No. Because if it is, I won't be in that investment class. I've done enough research to assure myself that a 4 percent annual return is possible (3 percent provides absolute safety, but 4 percent is OK for someone remaining in the workforce in some capacity).

You know, there's no one that's going to come to my house with a gun if I switch out of CDs and into stocks when the real return on CDs is lower and the likely real return on stocks is higher (because prices are lower). I don't want you to take my word for it. Take a look at the historical data. Find out for yourself what sort of annual return is available to an investor not willing to make a 30-year committment to stocks at the time of their highest valuation in history. The data tells the story better than I can.

I have a suggestion, though, as to the attitude you take to that enterprise. Go into it determined to find that stocks are the best investment class in every circumstance (as I believe intercst did) and you will find that alternatives don't measure up. Go into it determined to avoid risk no matter what the sacrifice in terms of growth (as I believe Dominguez did), and you will find that stocks have no place whatsoever in a Retire Early investment portfolio.

Data is just data. It's willing to tell a message if you are willing to hear it. But unless you employ scientific methodologies, you can't trust the message. Your biases will pull you in the direction you wanted to go before you looked, so there's not much point looking at all. I looked at the same data intercst and Dominguez did, and came to some very different conclusions.

Do I have biases too? No doubt. My problem is that I cannot see my own biases. The value of posting on a message board, for me, is that others can point out my biases and thereby allow me to correct my mistakes before they do too much damage.

It doesn't help me, though, for people to ask questions aimed at finding out which plan "beats" the other. And it doesn't help to run my theories through an analysis that was designed from the start to support someone else's theories. The answers produced from following that process make no sense because each of my decisions was made for reasons that "do not compute" under the alternative theory.

In those circumstances, posting is a waste of time. It produces either aborted threads or sarcastic back-and-forth exchanges. Boy, those prospects get me excited about jumping out of bed in the morning and firing up the laptop! The reason I put so much effort into learning what I could about this stuff was to escape having to spend my little bit of time on earth involved in that sort of junk.

It doesn't feel any better to have the source of my daily frustrations have "Retire Early Home Page" as its name rather than "Your Friendly Neighborhood Big Five Accounting Firm."
When no one (or a small, non-vocal number) is willing to engage you in constructive debate about what you want to explore, posting becomes just another job. I love work. I hate jobs.

What happens if the writing income doesn't come in?

My wife divorces me, takes the kids, I turn to alcohol, and then a life of crime, I get arrested, sent to jail, lose my faith, and shoot myself to end the pain. That's the plan, anyway.

I guess if there is not one thing I can think of to do with my time (out of a binder I keep of hundreds of income-generation possibilities) to bring in $10,000 a year, I'll just have to resign myself to being one of those poor unfortunates with a paid-off mortgage and $400,000 in the bank at age 45. I'll curse the day I ever got interested in this financial independence stuff, of course, but I'll struggle bitterly to hold onto my deprived existence however I can for as long as I can nevertheless. The chances you take when the thought enters your mind of escaping the corporate paycheck!

Do you need that to survive or are they luxuries outside of a vacation which is in excess of the $10k writing income estimated?

This question is not entirely clear to me. I need the $10,000 to pay the bills. I don't need it each and every year since there is plenty of money available to meet any short-term obligations. But I need to bring in an average of $10,000 annually from the work I do to avoid a diminishment of my current level of financial independence.

I don't want to see my level of financial independence diminish. I want to see it increase. So I won't be happy if two or three years go by without the $10,000 coming in. I have noticed that when I become unhappy about something, I have a tendency to develop a desire to do something about it. Generally, that sequence of events "works."

If you are asking whether there are things other than vacations that I can buy with any income from work above the $10,000 mark, the answer is yes. For example, my wife and I have discussed the possibility of an addition to the house, or of purchasing some of the land adjoining ours. I'm not going to invade my stash to pay for that sort of thing because it would diminish the level of financial independence I've acquired. But if I make a big bunch of money on some work project in the coming years, adding an additon to the house or buying land are good possibilities.

I expect to continue looking for and discovering new things to spend money on until the day I die. The old view of retirement was that it was sort of a prelude to death. You were supposed to "freeze" your budget the day after the party where they give you the watch. It's not for me. Not the watch. Not the budget freeze. Not at age 65, and certainly not at age 43, when I "retired."

I find it interesting how people label changing careers as retirement. Perhaps the meaning is changing these days.

My sense in that you are being sarcastic here (with no hostile intent). But I agree with the statement exactly as you put it. Yes, it's interesting how people label changing careers as retirement, and yes, the meaning is changing these days. Good thing too. The old definiton happens to make no sense anymore.

There's a thread from January 2001 on which this topic flickered briefly before being stomped out. Check out the thread and you'll gain a sense of how discussions with fruitful possibilities can be sidetracked and killed by the well-placed insistence that posters stick with the current "program." It was not entirely coincidental that one of my earlier hiatuses began shortly thereafter.

What is really good is that you've found someone who is supportive in your financial plans. That is not always too easy to find!

I will pass that message along to my wife. She has been great. To be sure, we have very diffferent personalities and see the world through different lenses. The trick has been dividing up responsibilities so that we are both doing the things we do most.

I've seen comments on the board from time to time that it's easier to achieve financial independence if you are not married or if you do not have kids. For me, marriage and kids were big pluses. If I were on my own, I would not have achieved half of what I have, by my estimation.

As with all the other "rules" in my "plan," it won't work to blindly apply this idea in circumstances not similar to my own. Other circumstances require different applications of basic principles, and I am still in the process of exploring the various implications of that thought. Wish me luck!
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