Thursday, December 20

Why Retiring At 37 Was Not An Option For Me

jacksonville jaguars early retirement
Sometimes, I hate my news feed. I looked up something about retirement several months ago, and I get news about retirement way too often. It's depressing because I'm not retired. It's also depressing because the Union I was part of sucked all the good retirement out of the system for themselves (Baby Boomers) before leaving me to deal with angry management. So I'm stuck with a pittance as a retirement when I get it, along with my wife's even more miserable monthly stipend (once she's finally vested).The truth is that I did everything about as well as I could before I was retired by my employer at around 40, but it wasn't good enough to stop working. And it won't be for you, either, so stop reading about the guy who did it.

I understand how this early-retirement guy sees the world: it's easy to retire early if you save by not spending and invest properly. And make $70,000 a year.

The problem is that it's all thrown off if you don't make $70,000 a year, and I didn't. About 50% of our households earn $70,000 or more a year. If you are one of these people, you are a failure if you don't retire early. I'm kidding, but at least you have a template from this blogger, so read his blog and get retired. The rest of you can keep reading.

I made $33,000 my first year as a teacher. I topped out at $50,000. It's all public record because I was a public school teacher, so I'm not ashamed to admit it. With twelve years in, let's just assume my salaries were:
1. 33,000
2. 34,500
3. 36,000
4. 37,500
5. 39,000
6. 41,500
7. 43,000
8. 44,500
9. 46,000
10. 47,500
11. 49,000
12. 50,500

That's a $502,000 career. Problem is that I was $37,000 short of $70,000 my first year and short every year of that career. I would have needed $840,000 to be at the required amount, or $338,000 EXTRA. Granted, I did have my employer contribute to my eventual retirement fund in addition to my salary for most of those years, but it's still not a lot of money.

That said, I had $100,000 in equity in my home when I was retired, and I even took my last paychecks before unemployment to pay off student loans. Still, I didn't have that extra money. My only stupid expenses during those years were $10,000 to my union and almost that much to Dish Network, and I only had a choice in one.

The early retirement blogger also assumes you'll invest while not spending. At least he's sane in his projections, as he say 7% in the stock market. I've seen other gurus claim you can expect 12%. The problem is when you have a 2018 year with those investments, especially if you were planning to make that leap into not working in a year that saw 0% or worse.

If you live as frugally as someone who was making what I was, then you can probably retire early, as long as you're making that $70,000. Take the extra $30,000 or so each year and make 7% on it. $2000 then $4000 then $6000 and so on, until you've made an extra $160,000 or so in investments. And those investments should be making you $30,000 a year by the time your 12 years are up.

Plus, you'll be making another $10,000 a year from ads on your blog, and have a book deal.

Alas, the world is not meant for those saving few. Most of us will invest in that new car or bigger home before we stash away $30,000 a year in retirement money. Really, if we all did things this way, the economy would probably tank. We can't all just sit on investments and not buy frivolous crap. The economy of our entire country is based on most of us buying frivolous crap. Your investments will only continue to rise as long as most people don't follow the same advice you're taking to retire early.

Also, you could die young, in which case it would suck to have never owned a nice car.

The good news for me is that I don't mind working, so I can make that $33,000 a year again for another 20 years. Maybe by the final end of it all, I'll have something to leave my kids, but they'd probably just buy frivolous crap with the money, anyhow, so I guess it doesn't matter all that much.

Thanks for reading. See more of my content:

Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
Passive Ninja - Web Design in Jacksonville
McNewsy - Creative Writing
Educabana - Educational Resources
Brave New Church - Church Website Design
Voucher School - Pros and Cons of School Vouchers
Luthernet - Web Design for Lutheran Churches
Sitcom Life Lessons - What we've learned from sitcoms
Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
Epic Folktale - Stories of the unknown
Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
Real Wisconsin News - Satire from Wisconsin
Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
Chromebook Covers - Reviews and opinions

Brian Jaeger - Resume (I'm always interested)

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