This is the story of G and K, a 43 year old ESTJ attorney and a 38 year old INFJ software developer (respectively) couple, who looked at each other back in 2009 and said:
"We make a combined ~$160k, yet wehave a negative net worth and experience no joy when we think of our financial future. I wonder... if we put our minds to it, paid off all our debts, and started saving 75% of our income... even with our huge Brady Bunch family and a greedy court-happy ex in the mix... if we make all the right choices starting now and going forward, I wonder if we could both be retired in ten years or less?"
Since that conversation took place, we have paid off all of our consumer debt, have achieved a positive net worth, and have gone from having ~$60k in our retirement accounts to having ~$130k, AND... at our current payment rate, our house will be paid off in two years instead of twenty. At present, we are indeed on track to retire in 7-8 years if we stay on our current path.
This road has not been easy. We are in regular, unavoidable contact with people for whom image is everything, and as I (K) have posted before, I am extremely uncomfortable with being judged harshly for our financial decisions. Also, although I would love to stay home with our youngest (18 months), G has a heart condition that sent his dad to an early grave, and I have an autoimmune disease. Part of the reason we want to retire early is to be in a position to take better care of ourselves physically before we get to the point that our relative youth no longer compensates for our relative weakness... and to increase our chances of actually having a few healthy years together retired. Although we could get by now on one income only, if either of us came home today, the other would have to take up the slack. Years of it. Not willing to play Russian Roulette with either parent's health, we swallowed hard and found a woman we love to care for the baby during the day so we can both power forward while we are both still able to do it.
I found this forum a few months ago. I'm learning a great deal, and G the lurker is learning as well. I was reluctant to start a journal initially because so little of this site is specifically applicable to our situation. Then I decided that if everyone felt that way, there'd be no site at all. o_O
As regards investing: I refuse to buy bonds. I think debt is the major economic problem of our time and if I buy bonds, I am at the very least an enabler. This creates a problem for me when discussing balanced investment strategies like the PP. I want balance, but without the bonds (and preferably without shorting anything either). I can get lost in the math for days, and have done so. My present strategy is 45% US stocks, 10% international, 20% real estate, 10% gold, 5% oil and 10% cash. I continue to search for my holy grail portfolio.