We are Early Retirement Now, or ERN, and right now we prefer to not give more information about our identities, except that we are a married couple with a young daughter. Papa ERN (Big ERN) is in his early 40s and Mama ERN in her early 30s. We plan to retire in 2018, so strictly speaking, our blog title is a bit of a misnomer because as of right now we’re not actually retired. Extreme retirement planners that we are, planning ahead one year is nothing, considering that retirement has been on our minds for decades already. A lot of other early retirement blogs are run by retired bloggers, so we decided to start our blog early to follow our journey through the last few years before retirement and then (hopefully) many decades or retired life.
Currently, nobody knows about our plan to retire early. Not our relatives, not our friends, neighbors, and colleagues. To us, early retirement is this very life-changing event and profound lifetime goal and we don’t want to jinx it by talking about it too early. Out of an abundance of caution, therefore, we will keep our plan a secret, at least for now. Otherwise, it would be a bit like announcing we are going to have a baby in two years. A lot can go wrong with that, too. We don’t want to have to answer nagging questions from everybody. Worst of all, we don’t want people trying to talk us out of it. Once we go public, in early 2018, you will see more of us!
Our current situation
We live in one of the large metro areas where real estate prices are insane. Luckily, we own a nice condo in town that we bought many years ago. Large enough for the three of us to live comfortably, but not too large either. Our mortgage payment may seem high almost anywhere else in the country, but it’s so low in our current location, you probably couldn’t rent a 600 square foot one bedroom apartment for that right price now.
Papa ERN works full-time in the asset management division for a large bank. Mama ERN used to work in the healthcare field but decided to stay home and care for our daughter. Currently, we have accumulated enough assets to fund a comfortable retirement at a 3.5 to 4% withdrawal rate. Why not just call it quits now? Very simple, Papa ERN is old enough to have lived through two stock market crashes in 2001 and 2008/9 and thinks that it’s wise to milk his salary and Wall Street bonus gravy train for a little longer. Also, our research shows that the 4% rule is overrated. Besides, Papa ERN still enjoys his job and we still like living in our current location, knowing that in retirement we should move to a less expensive locale.
In the large spectrum of existing Early Retirement blogs, where is our niche? We hope that people will enjoy our views on everything financial. Sometimes we read other blogs and we have something intelligent and new to say, but by posting in the comments section, not many people will get to see it. We like to create a permanent record, share our views with a hopefully larger audience and get feedback and suggestions for our journey to Early Retirement. Some of the topics we write about:
- Safe Withdrawal Rates for early retirees: See our multi-part series on the topic and the SSRN working paper!
- We don’t like Robo-advisors! You can easily replicate what they are doing for free.
- We like alternative investments, especially option writing.
- We think the Emergency Fund is overrated.
- Even though, we are not too optimistic about expected equity returns going forward we like bonds even less!
Start here: List of all articles
Links: Our blogroll and other useful links
Check out our interviews on other blogs:
- The ChooseFI podcast recently interviewed Big ERN!
- Christopher Guest Post on Physician of FIRE
- A FIRE-side Chat With ERN on The Green Swan
- Option trading interview on Amber Tree Leaves
- Interview with ERN on From Cents to Retirement