My Semi-Retired Summer

Guest post from John at Action Economics: One of the major advantages to my line of work is that I tend to have the entire summer off. I work as a contractor at nuclear power plants during refueling outages, which normally take place during the spring and fall months, since the plants want to be producing power during the peak usage summer and winter months. Having summers off helps our family save a decent amount of money and headache by reducing our childcare expenses, but it also gives me a sneak peak of what early retirement may be like. Currently I am planning to hit Financial Independence by age 45, which is “only” 16 short years away. Having the summers off has shown me that regardless of whether I have to go back to work in September, I certainly won’t be bored with a surplus of free time.

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Retiring Abroad – Could We Do It?

We are in the middle of our seven week adventure in Mexico right now. Although we traveled to Mexico just for fun, I’m also viewing the trip as an opportunity to explore a few places where we might spend prolonged periods of time in the future. That might mean spending a year or more living abroad or spending summers or winters chasing nice weather.

Mexico tends to top the lists of places to retire abroad. I think I know why: inexpensive living, good weather, and close proximity to the US. But it’s not all rainbows and unicorns south of the border.

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Don’t Fall Off The Affordable Care Act Subsidy Cliffs

This week I’m dipping into the mailbag to answer some questions from a reader named Don about the Affordable Care Act subsidies and the income limits to watch out for if you don’t want to lose your subsidy or face an unexpected increase in health care costs.

In the past, I talked about the ACA (or “Obamacare”) making early retirement a lot easier where I went over two case studies. One case study was for an older couple approaching traditional retirement age. The second case study was my own situation of a family of five including three children.

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Climbing The Roth IRA Conversion Ladder To Fund Early Retirement

I want to tell you a story about accessing tax-deferred funds in an IRA or 401k before age 59.5 without paying a penalty. But first I’m going full out White Fang on you.

A trapped animal will do just about anything to get free. When you get caught, normal rules of comportment and demeanor are sloughed off to make room for the demands of the primordial will to live. It’s all about survival. Adrenaline rushing, pumping through arteries and veins, clouding the judgment and dulling the pain, the wild animal will chew it’s own leg off to disengage itself from a trap. It’s all about survival.

You’ll have to keep reading to figure out what this has to do with accessing tax deferred accounts without paying a 10% penalty.

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Summer In Mexico: The Next Big Adventure

The plane tickets are booked. In early June the Root of Good family packs up and hits the road for a summer in Mexico. Just another crazy thing you can do when early retired.

We’ll be chasing the kids up and down pyramids and mountains, into the crystal clear water, and then relaxing in the shade until the smell of grilling meats lures us to the explosive colors of the local markets.

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My Version Of Financial Independence As A 17 Year Old

Half a lifetime ago I developed a financial independence plan before I knew anything about financial independence and early retirement. My 17 year old self scribbled out a poorly refined plan to never work again and live off of savings from a minimum wage job. The bottom line: I thought I needed $120,000 to fund a perfectly adequate lifestyle forever by living on $600 per month in interest.

The year was 1997, the place was North Carolina in the wonderful United States of America. The federal poverty level back in 1997 was $657 per month, which meant that I was planning on living below the poverty line (before I even knew what a poverty line was).

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From Paper Boy to Engineering Manager to Early Retiree

Imagine early retirement as a well cooked meal. The recipe calls for healthy doses of earned income and a liberal application of spending less than you make. Place those savings into a good asset allocation. Mix ingredients well and let simmer for a decade or two. Voila! Early retirement on a platter. If only you could find that dish in the frozen section of the grocery store or at a drive thru window near you!

You can’t retire early without a decent working history. Throughout the last two decades, I’ve had almost twenty different jobs. The earliest ones didn’t pay particularly well, but my compensation generally increased as I gained more experience. Join me on this autobiographical odyssey through my working years.

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