About

HEADER - ABOUT

Mr. FireStation isn’t a real life fireman. His nickname isn’t Chief Sparky and he has only had a chance to ride on a fire truck once in his 50 years.  You probably guessed those things already, but he does want to note that he has the utmost respect for real firemen and draws inspiration from their preparation & courage (2 things also critical for achieving financial independence & retiring early).  🙂

In fact, Chief Sparky is a Midwestern husband, dad, son and brother who just turned 50 in 2016.  With BBA & MBA degrees, he has worked in strategic marketing roles over the last 25+ years for three well-known MegaCorporations.  On April Fools Day – just two weeks before his 50th birthday – he reached his life long dream of trading in MegaCorp FIRE drills for FIRE of another kind altogether:

F.I.R.E. = Financially Independent & Retired Early

Mr. FireStation’s quest for FIRE began (with his DW) many years ago.  On his first day of work his brother asked him how much vacation he would get.  “Two full weeks paid every year” said Sparky proudly.  “Oh, so that’s like 1 year off for every 26 years that you work?” said his brother mockingly.  Ouch.  But, thought Sparky, what if he could stop working completely after 26 years?  That would be just shy of 50 years old, since Sparky was just one year out of college.  A plan was born.

This website is designed to detail the end of the journey.  MrFireStation thought it would be helpful to share the trials & tribulations of the challenge.  Specifically the wisdom and planning that have gone into being financially independent & retiring early (by 50).  How to make your own FIRE escape.

PARABLES & STORIES

LIEBSTER AWARD / THANKS

 

Image Credits: Pixabay

LEGAL:  Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or anyone else, including my current or past employers.  Please work with a financial professional before making significant investments and financial decisions.

All Rights Reserved for Original Content published on MrFireStation.com
(C) Copyright 2015-16,  MrFireStation.com – Owned by StrategyDevil LLC

31 thoughts on “About

    1. I hadn’t thought about that, but it might be interesting (for both of us). I’ll shoot you a note in a few days and we can discuss.

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  1. Nice to find your blog. We fell into the FIRE without any time for planning. We have had to make it up as we go along! I like that you have kept a sense of humor! Nice to meet you! Keep enjoying the voyage!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by the Fire Station! It’s a big week for me – tomorrow’s the day I give notice. Look forward to reading about your story …!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller. Congratulations on your daring adventure, Mr. Fire Station. It was great catching up with you last night. Keep up the good fight. Onward & Upward. JB

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great quote! I have a sign on my wall that says “Live A Great Story”. I am trying to – and sharing a lot of the chapters of that story on this site.

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  3. I’ve read your blog off and on since the beginning. I really enjoy your writing. I’m just a little ways behind you. I turn 50 in July 2019. I am really considering following you into retirement. Has it been great?

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    1. That’s great to hear – congratulations! Early Retirement definitely has been GREAT. I’m about 2.5 years in now and the absolute freedom & independence are truly PRICELESS. Let me know what you do. No regrets!

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  4. Enjoy the blog! I retired at 50 in July 2017. I think it is the perfect age to retire — 10 year window to pre-tax accounts, still healthy to do numerous activities, kids finishing college and it enhances your marriage. Interesting that you don’t optimize expenses as others do in the FIRE community (know you track them carefully). Keep the articles coming!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Pedro & welcome to the Fire Station! It sounds like you are just a year behind me, but already 2 years in yourself. I’ll be interested in your comments, based on your experiences. No, I haven’t been great about tracking expenses. In fact, our main bank just disconnected from Mint.com, which is what I primarily have used to track spending. Oh well!

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  5. That’s a good idea! Will it add to the ‘story list’. We work with an Advisor at RBC in MN. We talked to quite a few people before finding someone who fit for us.

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    1. Sure- just deleted it. I’m in Woodbury. Have we met? Text me at 651-336-1949. Will delete this in 10 minutes.

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  6. Found your blog about 6 months ago and it’s been incredibly inspiring and enjoyable. Moreover, it’s been eerily similar to the journey I’m taking! I’m 49 years old (turn 50 next month) and this Friday (10/30) is my official retirement day. 🙂 I’ve been re-reading your “Last Week” post as I prepare to say goodbye to everyone after a 17-year stint at my current employer, but know my experience will be quite a bit different as all of the goodbyes and the party will occur via Zoom due to the pandemic. Especially because I’ve been working from home for the past 7 months, I’m not sure it will sink in until next Monday, when I plan to pack up all (or most) of my work clothes for donation!

    Thanks for sharing your journey!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congratulations! Yes, it sounds like our ages heading into FIRE align very much. Too bad you are finishing up during the pandemic and over Zoom, but I’m sure that will quickly be a distant memory. Do you have any specific plans to celebrate? A special dinner or trip?

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      1. We’re going out to our favorite restaurant on Friday. Luckily, still warm enough here in CA for outdoor dining. We’re also planning a local trip in a few weeks. My wife is still working — she dropped to part time a couple of weeks ago to wrap up some obligations and with the intent to retire early next year. So, for a few months, we’ll be a bit more limited. With Covid though, travel isn’t so appealing, so looking to brush off the golf game. And, like yourself, we bought eBikes last week and took them for a very pleasant, motor-assisted ride — definitely see us getting a lot of use from those!

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      2. That sounds nice. Everything is low-key because of the pandemic, but I like low-key. Unfortunately here in MN, there won’t be any outdoor dining until next spring! We got hit with snow already last week.

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  7. Chief, Here is a post idea. “Fight back against inflation by lowering your vampire fees”

    Here are some of the found money item I found recently doing a financial housecleaning.

    My T-Mobile cellular plan had a couple phones that you can pay off on an interest free 24 month payment plan, that just got paid off. I found a device insurance plan that was costing me $11 per month on a phone that is worth $150. I found an upcharge of parental control of the phones that was $5 (we don’t have any children to worry about), a $10 upcharge for more high speed data than we use. Paying off the phones and cancelling the unneeded services saved me $967.32 annually.

    My water company gave me a practically free Smart Irrigation Controller. I took a leap of faith and connected the Irrigation Controller to a weather station located at Fire Station less than 500 feet from my house and set the controller to Automatic Schedule. My year over year water use will be down 40% and my lawn and especially my Red Wood Trees look the best ever. I met the 30% year over year water conservation mandate that is currently in place with breathing room without having to give up anything. I have even received the ultimate compliment from my neighbor’s gardener when they asked me, “How are you dealing with the water reduction mandate, and yet your lawn and Redwood Trees look healthy?” My annual water savings is $944.39.

    My trash collection service sent me a bill that showed my quarterly service fee had increased $150 per quarter. I was shocked by the increase and found that they had increased the cost of my two extra yard waste bins to $128 per quarter. The old cheaper price made having extra yard waste bins available, even if you were not using them every week a no-brainer. You would not believe the amount of yard waste I got rid of at no additional charge (like whole 40 trees for fire clearance). I am done with my fire clearance, so I arrange to send the two extra bins back. Instead of $600 increase, I will have a $56 decrease.

    By switching rate plans and reprogramming my spa and HVAC system, I was able to limit the increase in my electricity cost to $417.35.

    Per your recent insurance post, my insurance is increasing $1511.

    H2O $944.39
    SCE -$417.35
    State Farm -$1,511.13
    T-Mobile $967.32
    WM $56.00
    Total $39.23

    Instead of letting my vampire fees ratchet up, I am actually saving a little. I bet you will get some great ideas submitted. I feel great fighting back against companies that are cranking up their rates.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Since you posted this on the ‘About’ page, Im guessing few will have seen it. I think I will just cut-and-paste it into next Monday’s post if you are OK being a ‘guest columnist’??

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Here is a suggested post. In many other sites, I see that people are confused about the Omnibus Spending Bill and raising the debt limit. They seem to be falling for the money has been already spent argument. You could have a good tie in to the budget process for people in your FIRE Community and what they do when they have a shortfall.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll think about it. I get it, but try to keep more focused on personal finance than government finances (not that I don’t stray some times!).

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      1. Government Finance and Personal Finance are joined at the hip. Most people’s personal finances are a wreck because they lack personal finance literacy and/or they lack the self-discipline to execute on a plan. I really appreciate the small businessman Kentucky Fried Chicken Franchise Holder, who taught me personal finance at my GreatSchools.org rated 3 out of 10 High School.

        Huckster politicians take advantage of the financially illiterate by making emotional instead of financial appeals to win their votes. They trick people into thinking the government has a magic power to give them something for nothing and run up debts without consequences.

        Lack of personal financial literacy is also a marriage ender. All it takes is one of the two parties to think there are no consequences to spending an imprudent amount. I think your goal is to be a proponent for the FIRE lifestyle. Living this lifestyle not only helps individuals, it will help our country as a whole if more people get on board.

        We expect we will be hearing some real craziness the next couple of weeks about the House shutting down government, instead of they are asking for budget cuts in exchange for agreeing to raising the Federal Debt Limit. Expect to see frightened markets caused by people not understanding what is going on.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I guess the distinction to me would be that personal finance involves an individual’s decisions. I would say that government finance is only decision-able by the people in power. Yes, we vote for those folks, but on a individual basis that is a pretty indirect, highly-diluted, and not immediate relationship.

        How about this … if you want to author a piece on the debt limit and impact on people’s personal finances, I’d be happy to host it. I think we did that one other time, didn’t we?

        The “hook” might be in something you said a long time ago that is still stuck in my head: that if you pie-chart out your annual spending, the wedge represented by taxes is enormous. Think how much bigger it would be if you included one’s share of the annual deficit year!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, you hosted a story about “Fighting Back against Vampire Fees”. That sounds very interesting. Might help people understand how continuation of the past 23 years is unsustainable.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. What is your household’s largest budget item?

    A personal finance education question that I often ask people is, “What is your biggest household expense?” Most often I receive “my mortgage” as the response. I respond by asking, “your mortgage is really larger than all the taxes you pay?” You can hear the person adding up some of the taxes including Federal Income, State Income, and Real Estate Taxes. I continue guiding the person by asking them to add estimates for sales, gasoline, Social Security, Medicare, IRMAA, State Disability, and excise taxes. They very quickly conclude that taxes are their household’s largest expense by a lot.

    The “My Mortgage” response often comes from people you think would have as much an understanding of their personal finances as corporate finance. The list includes CEO’s and CFO’s. My wife works one day per week as either an RN giving bedside care or as a University Professor because she wants to for personal satisfaction. She gets the same response from her peers. Over reliance on a tax guy to do one’s taxes shields many from really understanding what the drivers of taxes are and how much is being taken from you when you add up the numbers,
    During January I go through the previous year’s income and expenditures closely. I comb through my expenditures to look for expenses that are tax deductible. During this time, I also try to understand where the money is going to look for potential cash and tax savings for the upcoming year.

    The pie chart below shows the bite taken out by the government over the last year.

    *** WordPress will not let me add the graphic pie chart. How do I get it over to you? ****

    Here is a summarization of how I accrued a 31% overall tax rate
    • Social Security and Medicare = 8%
    • IRMA = 1%
    • State Income and Disability Taxes = 4%
    • Sales and Excise Taxes = 2%
    • Federal Income Taxes = 12%
    • Real Estate Tax = 4%

    Another number I calculate is the percentage that will go to taxes for each additional dollar of consulting income I earn. 24% Federal Tax, 15.3% for Self-Employment Taxes, 9.3% for State Income Taxes, and an increase in IRMAA that currently impacts my wife and by the end of 2023 will also impact me. The total government take will easily exceed 50%. Knowledge that the government will be getting more, than I get to keep acts as a disincentive to work more consulting hours. During the past year I was able to keep my overall tax bite down to 31% by preplanning how many consulting hours I would work and contributing the maximum I could to my Solo 401k plan.
    I would like to end by suggesting if more people started understanding the budgeting process and taxes, they would demand better than what we are getting from our government. There are current news stories that assert the Federal Government will be defaulting on their debts if the ceiling isn’t raised immediately. By reading the forums I can see that people are being emotionally manipulated by politicians and the complicit media. Many seem to be confused that the funds were already spent, and we must immediately raise the debt ceiling in order for the country to honor its commitments. They also seem to be confused that government can keep running up debt without consequences, because they are the government.

    The Omnibus Spending Package that was rammed through Nancy Pelosi’s lame duck House, is merely a budget for how the Federal Government could spend over the next year. The problem is that the Omnibus Spending Package calls to spend more than the taxes government will be receiving over the next year. There are two ways to fix a budget that exceeds your income. You can either revise your budget to reduce spending or you can rack up more debt on the nation’s credit card. If the government operated with the same degree of financial savvy as the average reader of this forum, they would look at their expected income for the next year and prepare a budget that would come in under available income and even leave some breathing room for unforeseen contingencies.
    Expect instead to see a bunch of news before this plays out that the Republicans by not agreeing to raise the debt ceiling are defaulting on the nation’s obligations. Also expect news that they are threatening to cut Social Security or Medicare to invoke an emotional response. The reality is the Federal Government must trade savvy spending cuts with a commensurate reduction in the rate of debt ceiling. They are playing political games with our children’s futures.

    Liked by 1 person

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