Sunday, October 18, 2009

Too Tired To Type

I don't know how workaholics do it. How do you not feel like life is passing you by while you work all day and night? Maybe they just need less sleep than I do. I would love 9 hours a night. Right now I'm living on Mountain Dew. It's not a very good substitute for sleep but it works short term. The bad thing is that it keeps me up at night too.

One more weekend of this double work schedule and then things will be back to normal...I think. They asked me if I had more weekends available just in case their deadline gets extended. I said I could but I've got to squeeze in an hour for laundry very soon. I've been wearing sandals so that I don't get my socks dirty and I've never seen the bottom of my underwear drawer until now. I could just buy new ones but I don't have time to shop.

Paychecks come out this Friday so I will see some fruits of my labor very soon. Of course, mine will be mailed so maybe I'll see it a week from Monday...or Tuesday. That first paycheck takes forever.


Dave said...

I don't know if you ever saw it, but while doing a search for those in or seeking an early retirement, I came upon an old page in your blog. It was from 8/16/08, the one titled, "My Early Retirement Budget." I made a comment there back in July (2009).

I retired last year at the age of 45 and have enjoyed not having to go to work any more. I had a long, tiring commute which wore me out even though I had been gradually reducing my weekly work hours since 2007.

I wish you luck in reaching your goal the same way I was able to reach mine.

Over the Cubicle Wall said...

Hang in there. Too bad your office hasn't scheduled one of those mandatory vacation days for this week. Or much better, some new, unknown, holiday.

Sallie's Niece said...

You are working so hard girl! When this rush is over, slow down and enjoy yourself!

Dottie said...

I have just started reading your blog ( found it from The Simple Dollar) and I too try hard to pay off my mortgage and save for an early retirement. I do not have a horrible job, however all I can think about is the early retirement and was to speed it up. After dreaming about not working for a pay check It makes it REALY hard to enjoy going to work. I am so unmotivated I just can't get out of this rut. I read in past articles that you too really do not enjoy going to work sometimes... How do you keep motivated regarding work? It takes up such a large part of my day and I don't want to be down in the dumps 10 hours a day!!

Daizy said...

Wow Dave, that is fantastic! It is so inspiring to hear from people who actually make early retirement a reality. May I ask, did you end up saving more money than you had initially planned just in case? How do you spend your time now?

Daizy said...

Over the Cubicle, I think if the world would stand still for a few hours until I catch up on my chores, that would work.

Daizy said...

Sallie's Niece, enjoy myself? I'm not sure how. After this is the Christmas rush. I think I can slow down January of 2010. :)

Daizy said...

Dottie, working at my job is not at all how I would like to spend my day. I have spent many hours staring at my mortgage payoff spreadsheet and trying to figure out how to do it quicker. One thing that made the time fly by in the last few months was starting my foster dog hobby. It does take some money away from my mortgage plan but it is fun and it takes my mind off of counting the days. It also helped me realise that I might need more money in savings if I plan to continue this hobby or others like it. It's sort of like a trial run to see what I want to do when I semi-retire.

Dave said...


I can't say I had a specific goal as to how much money I planned to save each year. I don't live an extravagant lifestyle, but if I needed to buy something such as a new car or a new fridge or a new PC or a new A/C, I did it.

I have been asked the broader question as to how I was able to achieve this at the age of 45. I will paste here (if it doesn't exceed space limits) what I have written elsewhere.

(1) I never smoked anything (i.e. cigarettes). Now I don't want start a debate on smoking. I am only telling you about the money I did not spend by smoking. Today, depending on where you live, it will cost you about $7 a pack. One pack a day will cost you about $2,500 a year. That's a lot of money available to invest.

(2) My attitude on paying interest on non-mortgage debt is this: It is a waste of money. I paid off 60% of my student loans before the 6-month grace period ended. I had already saved up some money from working and still had some money left over in an old custodial account I used to pay for some of my college tuition and room/board. Back in the 1980s, the tax deductibility of personal interest was being phased out, so there was no indirect subsidy of my student loan interest any more. I have always paid my credit card bills in full each month.

Similarly, I saw paying off debt as a surefire way to get a better return on an investment. For example, if I am using money earning 2% in a bank account to pay off a student loan with an interest rate of 8%, then I am automatically earning a 6% improvement on my money. I am aware that I should keep a "rainy day fund" of several months but I was not as insistent on that back in the 1980s.

Another example of avoiding interest was to pay cash for my cars and avoid the costly car loans. I bought my first one in 1986 when I did not have a lot of money but because I had just moved back with my parents for a few months (and paid them rent), I knew I would rebuild my account balance quickly (and wasn't too concerned with a "Rainy day fund" at the time, either). By the time I bought my second car in 1992, I had more than enough money to pay for it with cash while maintaining a "Rainy day fund". Doing good (and inexpensive, despite no Internet back then) research on that second car saved me a lot of money not having to buy another car for 15 years.

I refinanced the mortgage on my apartment in 1992. Back in 1989, interest rates were very high, especially for co-op apartments. Banks don't like making loans for co-ops. I shaved nearly 5 points off my mortgage interest rate and saved $200 a month. It took only about 18 months to recoup the closing costs.

(3) I was lucky enough to start investing in stocks in the mid-1990s just when the market was beginning to take off. I was tipped off to a good stock mutual fund by an investment advisor in 1996. I took some of my gains off the table and used them to pay off my mortgage in 1998. This made me debt-free. At that time, I was working full-time so one bi-weekly paycheck more than covered all my monthly expenses, so I was able to quickly replenish account whose value had doubled in the 4 years I was in it up to that point. I was basically investing with the "house's money" for a while. When I wasn't buying cars, apartments, or paying off loans early, my personal savings rate was between 20% and 64% every year.

(4) I was lucky that my company went from not-for-profit to for-profit in the late 1990s. They set up an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) and I was given lots of shares during my peak earning years (1997-2000) before I switched to part-time in 2001 and earned fewer shares. But it was my years of hard work which earned me above-average raises in the 1980s and 1990s, resulting in many extra shares proportional to my annual compensation. The ESOP exploded in the 12 years I was in it, so when I cashed it out last year (before it tanked), I still cleared a big chunk of money (nearly 300k) after taxes.

part one of two.....

Dave said...

Part two......

(5) Like you, I do live a frugal lifestyle. I have local, low-maintenance hobbies including my volunteer work. This includes my square dancing and my involvement with the School Scrabble program in several area schools.

(6) While I still had dental insurance coverage, I had some expensive dental work done in 2007 and 2008 before it disappeared in 2009. This saved me a good chunk of money.

(7) I cook my own food, so I rarely go out to eat. But if I want to go out and eat or bring something in, I can do it. Same for my ladyfriend (who is not wealthy). This saves a lot of money over the years.

(8) I spend little on optional monthly services. Due to a good break from my cable TV provider, I pay little for it. I am not stealing services, as they are fully aware of the channels I am receiving (which do not include any premium channels). I do not own a cell phone, as I have no interest in it. Therefore, my total monthly charges for phone+cable+internet is well under $100.

(9) I found an individual health insurance policy for less than $500 a month (for 2009).

Put all these things together, and you have a financial plan for retiring early. Get rid of debt, keep the monthly expenses low, buy a small place to live, keep the car for a long time.....combine that with hard work at my job and some luck with the ESOP and good personal investments.......and some luck by earning a lot while the market was booming in the 1990s.....and carefully project out a long-term financial plan with the help of an investment advisor.....(and be childfree).....and you have a recipe for retiring at 45.

Sorry to have taken over your blog LOL!

Daizy said...

Wow Dave, congratulations! Like you said, it took hard work and luck to be able to retire early. I love hearing details about your plan and knowing that it was successful is very inspiring to me. I can see that you did many of the things that I am trying to do and they paid off in the end. Hopefully I will be as lucky as you were. It sounds like you are really enjoying the fruits of your labor. Thanks for sharing the specifics.