Tuesday, June 23, 2009


You might say this is the blog I’ve dreams of writing for years!

On June 30th, next Tuesday, I will leave my workplace of 30+ years and officially be FIRE’d (Financially Independent Retired Early!!). That term comes from a website that has been very important to us in making this decision --- firecalc.com This site has a very detailed calculator to help you determine what the probability is for you to live off of your investments for ‘nn’ number of years based on a wide variety of personal inputs and comparisons to economic cycles and investment rates of return over past 100+ years.

While I am 52 now and Ken and I had a goal of my retiring at 55, events at work have led to my volunteering to be part of a major ‘reduction in force’ required in my IT staff. As a result, I’ve worked with the CIO to ‘eliminate’ my job. I’ve agreed to stay through June 30th to assist in transition and reorganization.

I've judged its best not to talk about anything regarding my former employer here so you will not see any discussions in that regard in this blog…just suffice it to say that I could not be 'FIRE'd' were it not for the success of Gardner Denver, and that this departure was my choice. I consider it a 'win-win' and synchronistic timing in both my work environment and current family situation.
With that one exception, as most of you know, I try to be pretty transparent in this blog on what is going on in our lives. I've learned a great deal and found a 'virtual' kinship with fellow 'transparent' bloggers, especially fulltime RVers and early retirees who have been very willing to share their lifestyle and I hope I can extend that as well.

I’ve known about this decision since mid-May and every day I’m more confident that this was meant to be and is a start to an exciting new chapter in our lives.

That’s not to say that Ken and I aren’t going to be facing some significant challenges as we face our new life together. Leaving now versus 3 years from now, especially after the plummet in the stock markets this past year means this site name should probably be changed to ‘Frugal Frerx Adventures’!

There is no question that Ken and I have been blessed these past 3 decades when it comes to finances. It’s almost embarrassing to say but we have never once lived by a budget in our 28 years of marriage. Keeping track of every dime we are spending has been enlightening to say the least. We ate out constantly. I don’t think anyone but the cleaning ladies had cleaned our bathrooms for the last decade. I thought nothing of going for massages, pedicures, manicures and costly hair styles. The dogs even had a well-appointed groomer they saw every 6 weeks. I had no idea how much I spent at the grocery store.

Needless to say, all of that is changing. We have been tracking every dime since June 1. We’ve dropped the cleaning lady, massages (hey they were for work stress anyway!!) dog groomer and pedicures. Ok, I have to work in to this a bit and can’t give it all up at once but I’m working deals to cut the cost of having my hair and nails down to half. I’ve started weekly meal planning and watching the store ads – although, our current grocery bills are still pretty high since Trevor is home all of this month doing an internship!! And, while we are eating out less we are also noticing many ways to save when we do go out as well – like Wednesday is half-price Mexican night at Gem City and we are stuffed after sharing just one entree of tamales! -- that’s about a third of our normal bill when we eat out.

The biggest/ugly issue is healthcare. Ken can get Medicare. We are in process of wading our way through all the confusing details of the options there. The nasty part will be his $800+ of prescriptions monthly since even with Part D it looks like we will be picking up about $4800 of that cost. Trev and I are covered under COBRA for the next 18 months with the economic stimulus package covering 65% of that cost for the first 9 months. That will get Trev through his last college football season and give me some time to do some shopping for a plan for myself. I’m on both a low-dose blood pressure medicine and anti-anxiety medication which could cause some pre-existing issues for me. However, most who know me closely are sure that those prescription requirements will go away after a few months away from work!!

While on unemployment I will be looking for a job. However, since we do not want to leave Quincy right now as our permanent residence, the likelihood that I can find anything close in terms of salary is slight. I’ve promised Ken that I will make no ‘commitments’ of my or our time for one full year. No joining clubs, committing to volunteer activities, etc., while we adjust to how this all falls in to place and take time to determine what feels right.

While on paper (firecalc) it appears we should be able to keep the house and do extended RVing indefinitely, we’ll be testing that reality over the next year. The other issue is whether we really want to handle the homeplace upkeep and ‘housesitting’ issues as we do more extended RVing. Part of that will also depend on what happens with Trevor and where he finds a job after he finishes his MBA.

But, the awesome part of all of this is that Ken and I will have our mornings to sit outside with our coffee and decide what we want to tackle for the day without the constant stress of never having enough hours in the day!

There's few places we enjoy more than our own patio enjoying this kind of view (unless of course, it's a similar view from under the awning of our motorhome)!

I’ll sign off for now and fill you in tomorrow on some of our upcoming ‘adventures’.

Hugs, C


Anonymous said...

Wow! Congrats!?! I vote for an East Coast trip this fall!

Michelle Tang

Deanna said...

that is GREAT! So happy for you both. Have lots of fun!

Sandra said...

Congratulations! You're heading in the right direction.

Just a note about medications. I too was on a low dose BP medication and have now been off it for 3 years (we've been fulltiming nearly 5 years).