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May 16, 2006


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I want to be semi-retired by 35 (ten years from now), so that I can go back to school (law school). I have a few things on my side.

1) My wife will be a nurse and will be bringing home good income and benefits.

2) I have been quite fortunate to short circuit my career path by starting in my career (despite not having a BS, I will shortly, though) right out of high school. The experience I have has gotten me well past others who would have passed on working full-time in order to get a degree. Now that I will be have my degree, soon, I think I can leap frog again. I will be starting my MBA program shortly, as well.

3) I have an excellent 401(k) program with my employer that will really help with my retirement savings so that missing out on contribution for three or so years will not be that big of a deal. Basically, I get a 280% match on my first 5%. Well, I get a 1-for-1 match on my first 3%, and a 50% on my next 2%, and then at the end of the year, they drop the equivalent of 10% of my salary in. So, I put in 5%, and they put in an additional 14%, for a total of 19% of my salary, annually.

I will be foregoing a considerable amount of money for three years, will not be contributing to my retirement for that same period, and I will be racking up some serious debt... unless I work as an independent consultant and use those funds to pay for school. But, when I am out of school, I will have great earning potential, again, and maybe have a shot at an executive level position with a large company.

One additional barrier to early retirement is the way current tax advantaged savings plans are structured. Most have penalties to use the funds before age 59 1/2. If this equates to your idea of early retirement, fine. Else, make sure to sock away some funds to use before that time.

My plan is for us to be 'retired' in 7-8 years (we'll be 45-48). I put retired in quotes because we will likely still work, just at jobs where salary is secondary.

The plan calls for a large amount of post-tax savings to be used to supplement our income as needed until we can start drawing on the tax-deferred savings. Those accounts will be allowed to grow as long as possible however. We'll also roll some over to Roth IRAs as our lower income allows in the future. (Assuming there is still favorable tax treatment for them at that time.)

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