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June 04, 2010


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Kari Lubitz

Nice side step Sydney... keep 'em guessing ;). It's called proper money management. You have it, a lot of people don't. Count us into the don't category. Congratulations on your new fame.


That's what I like about your blog - that it talkes about the lifestyle and emotional aspects of ER or FI.. something that can provide an insight to the life, challenges and opportunities within, which is often overlooked or not understood by many.

Retired Syd

@loving_life: Thanks for your contribution to the comments over at US News too!


Amen, Syd. You hit the nail on the head again.


Exciting to see your USN post, though it did seem like we weren't getting the whole article. A little like Syd through a static-y cell phone connection. I guess those harried folks over at USN aren't retired...


i try to fly under the radar about my retirement (at 42). but a few people figure it out and they always ask the same kind of portfolio question .. basically, "how did you do that?"


no one wants my real answer to this; it will just upset them. it's the exact same as "how did you lose weight?" they want to hear about some exciting new scheme where you eat cantaloupe and grapes and somehow lose a pound a day. they do NOT want to hear "well, i ate less and exercised more."

no one wants to hear "i made money and saved it."

Retired Syd

@Lori. You're right, just like a diet. If only there were an Atkins diet for retirement, huh?


Everyone who works, makes money. But not everyone can save money (ever hear of living paycheck to paycheck). Not everyone who makes money, makes enough to save (working poor). Whatever their reasons, it's just not as simple as you make it sound. In fact, I find your comments, and Syd's to be quite uncouth, uncaring and blatantly unkind.

The fact that you can not, won't or refuse to divulge portfolio or financial expertise makes you suspect. Even Warren Buffet or the Millionaire Mommy shares their knowledge. That's what it is all about. You simply can not state a fact, "I retired at 40," "I became a millionaire from investing in Wall Street, buying & selling houses, etc" and not back it up with any facts and expect people not to question you. Telling readers to read excerpts from the internet, or use online calculators and they too! can retire at 40+ is preposterous and comical. Hey! I became a multimillionaire at age 13 and retired at age 14! You can too, just read these links and figure it out for yourself. Does not quite cut it.

Your stories (and that's what they are: just stories) have no validity because they can not be backed up by facts and figures. Your refusal to divulge just makes you another patsy in a sea of obscurity. Just because you say it's so, doesn't make it so. Nor real.

Most images of retired are depicted doing better than what they were doing in their real, everyday lives. The reality is, however, once people retire, their incomes drop substantially as does their lifestyles. The lifestyle Syd is projecting is not one of abundance. Sitting up in the atmosphere during a New York baseball game is where the poorer classes buy tickets. The fact that she even noticed AND commented on the 1st two tiers, who arrived in their BMW's and had catered, boxed lunches (probably caviar) while she and her hubby ate nitrate-injected tube steaks (hot dogs) is all the proof one needs to realize all is not roses in the Syd household. Regardless of how she spins it. People aren't stupid. Syd's right: people can figure it out for themselves.

I personally would rather follow a person who retires and gets to sit in those 1st two tiers at the ballgame after doing so. Retiring, and then living like a lower-class person doesn't cut it in my book. Of course Syd won't share any of her portfolio information. Fortunately, it doesn't take a genius to figure out her nor her lifestyle: she may web it to sound exotic, adventurous and successful. I just see her as somebody sleeping in somebody else's bed. Literally.

The truth is, just like all the diet books out there are sheer nonsense, so is the idea perpetuated by Syd and others of early retirement, to be pure nonsense and lies. I find it hard to believe, given our current economic calamity (a broke government, Europe collapsing, a gulf oil disaster) that Syd even has the gall to paint an image of she sipping a glass of wine while viewing the CT river (or whatever).

Uncouth, is the only image she paints for me.

Philip Brewer

Well, to each his and/or her own. Personally, I think taking in an afternoon ball game in the nosebleed seats sounds way better than spending the same hours sitting in a cubicle, dividing my time between trying to figure out why the software doesn't work, trying to follow the software integration process so I can get a fix in, and trying to explain to management why the fix isn't in yet.

It's especially sweet when I spent the morning writing fiction.


@alice I don't think syd's blog is about how to retire. If you want that, then go elsewhere.

plus, as a young person and someone who is hoping to retire early (on a non-profit income), I feel like I'm learning plenty about what it takes to retire.

thanks syd for inspiring us all!


Hi Alice,

I have to agree with Art... If you don't like Syd's blog, why do you continue to read it and spend so many cycles criticizing her writing? Move along, little doggie...

Love you MUCHO Syd!


Alice, being able to retire early takes more than a portfolio. It is a series of lifestyle choices, too.

I retired in 2008 at age 45. When I am asked how I did it, I answer it this way: "No kids, no debts." Syd is also childfree, a big reason she was able to retire at such a young age. [Just so you know, I knew I was childfree when I 20; I did not consider ER as a possibility until I was in my mid-30s.]

A common acronym in early retirement circles is LBYM (Live Below Your Means). This means what it says - don't spend more than you earn. Plenty of high-income people can't retire early because they spend it as fast (or faster) than they earn it. My wage income never exceeded $80k (and averaged about $50k) but it was far more than I needed to live on.

When I capitalized on big break and cashed in some company stock in late 2008, I took the money and was able to retire. I have invested it in a bond fund which generates more than enough income to cover my low expenses.

Retiring early - some luck but a lot of skillful lifestyle choices and LBYM.

Neil Fiorenza

Money is one thing, but it's not the only thing. It is better to start thinking of retirement when you're still young (25-30 years old) because this is when you still earn and you're still in your strongest physical condition. And having a vision of yourself after career 'graduation' will help you prepare.

Spencer Hill

I am one of those people who create portfolios in which one lives on in retirement. Living below ones means is the most important thing. Or the ability to create an income while one lives like they are retired on their own schedule.

It is a balance a few will ever completely balance because they feel the need to have everything from big house, 2nd home, season tickets--all of the trappings of wealth. he truth is that true wealth is having the time to enjoy life not working to pay for the materialistic parts of life.


Coming late to this, but I sense a large amount of underlying anger and dissatisfaction with life in Alice's post, which she chose to misdirect at Syd rather than where it belongs - with Alice.

LBYMs - absolutely and unequivocally. I can't speak for anyone else, but there is no possible way my spouse and I would be in the position to take early retirement had we not spent the last 25 years living well below our means.

Perhaps the part Alice is missing is that it is possible to have a rich, satisfying life that doesn't necessitate the expenditure of vast amounts of money. A little flexibility and creativity, such as Syd's involvement with houseswapping, or our infatuation with camping in our modest little travel trailer, can go a long, long way.

Years ago I remember being cautioned to "Be careful what you get used too." Probably the best financial words of wisdom we ever received.

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