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Today, in the ongoing Reader Profile Series, we’re getting to know MPFJ.com reader and enthusiastic commenter (especially on my long-winded asset allocation analysis posts!), Roger, from the site, Asset Allocation Central. Let’s all give Roger a big round of applause for sharing his life with us and listen to his story. Enjoy!
Also, if you’re interested in sharing your own financial story/journey with us in a reader profile of your own, just shoot me a quick email, and we can get the ball rolling!
1. PLEASE TELL EVERYONE A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF (BACKGROUND, EDUCATION, FAMILY SITUATION, ETC).
My name is Roger, and I live in a suburb of Philadelphia with my wife, Lisa, and our dog, Bailey. I have two adult sons, Ben and Nathan, that both live near me. Ben works at an American Red Cross lab that tests genetic compatibility for bone marrow transplants. Nathan is still in college and is majoring in computer science. He has a partial academic scholarship and an Army ROTC scholarship.
I was born and raised in suburb of Detroit and had a happy childhood. I was really lucky that I had frugal parents that taught me from a young age to live below my means.
I earned a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan and graduated into a high unemployment (greater than 10%) economy in 1982. I had a brilliant (not) idea of moving to North Carolina to improve my chances of finding a good job. I ended up working in a crappy retail store making minimum wage.
I decided that I needed to get qualified for something better, so I got an MBA from Duke University in 1985. I sort of liked the coursework, but I fell in love with PCs, which had just come out. After getting married and graduating, Lisa and I decided we wanted to leave North Carolina (too conservative) and move to Washington DC or Philadelphia. I got a job at Scott Paper company as a Financial Analyst in Philadelphia. The job was kind of boring but I still loved PCs, so I started taking Computer Science courses at Villanova University and eventually earned a Masters Degree. From then on, I was a software engineer working for my own company or other companies.
2. DESCRIBE YOUR CURRENT FINANCIAL SITUATION (WHO WORKS IN YOUR FAMILY, HOW YOUR INCOME IS, YOUR EXPENSES, ETC.).
I retired early at age 52, and I highly recommend early retirement to anyone who asks!! Lisa loves being a personal trainer and yoga teacher, so she still works part-time.
We have no debt (mortgage or otherwise), and we have a nest egg that supports our relatively frugal lifestyle.
3. WHAT ARE THE CURRENT FINANCIAL CHALLENGES YOU ARE FACING (SAVING, PAYING OFF DEBT, STUDENT LOANS, MERGING FINANCES AFTER RECENTLY BEING MARRIED, ETC.)?
My biggest financial challenge is managing our investments so that our money will outlast our retirement. I spend a lot time studying investing and asset allocation in pursuit of alpha. I also spend time figuring out how to further reduce expenses without eroding our happiness. I’m often amazed at how little money I really need to be happy compared to what I thought I needed.
4. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE (RETIRE EARLY; BUILD YOUR CAREER, ETC.)?
Lisa and I plan on downsizing our 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath house to something significantly smaller after Nathan graduates. We also want to travel, and we’re going on a 15-day European Riverboat Cruise for our 30th wedding anniversary next year.
I would like to live in some foreign countries, but I’m not sure that I can convince Lisa. I’m looking for a little adventure!
I plan on spending time playing with software development with an emphasis on the word “playing”. I like to build fun stuff because I’m an engineer at heart!
5. WHAT’S YOUR BEST PIECE(S) OF FINANCIAL ADVICE AND/OR YOUR GENERAL PHILOSOPHY ON PERSONAL FINANCES?
I have several pieces of advice that have served me well:
You need to realize that more “stuff” will not make you happier. Meaningful work, helping others, interesting experiences, and good relationships will make you happy and these are cheaper than most “stuff”.
Always live below your means and work hard to eliminate all debt. The more you do this, the faster your savings and investments will grow.
Spend time learning how to invest. As your assets grow, your investment knowledge will literally pay bigger and bigger dividends.
***Photo courtesy of AssetAllocationCentral.com