Hello, I came to this site after listening to a podcast with Jacob and Paul Weaton at richsoil. Here is the link: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/388-podcast-059-early-retirement-extreme/
I feel like I'm in a similar situation to where Jacob was about 5 or 6 years ago. I've also been influenced by permaculture, Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad Poor Dad), and peak oil ideas. From what I can tell I'm following the same principles as ERE, but in a much less structured way. All I know so far about ERE is from the podcast and from reading the first 4 threads in the Introduce Yourself forum.
Here is a snapshot of where I am right now...
I'm 29 years old and live in the Tampa Bay Florida area. I work in a cubical behind a computer screen a software engineer. I live in a 2 bedroom house in the country with 2 dogs. I have a 35 mile commute to work each way and public transportation is nonexistent for all practical purposes here, so a car is necessary with my current house/work arrangement. I do carpool, so that helps save a little gas and keeping my sanity on the road. I spend a lot of my time reading. I just finished Toolbox for Sustainable City Living by Scott Kellogg, and I'm half way though Small is Beautiful by E. F. Schumacher. I also am a newly certified permaculture designer. I started a small edible food forest test plot outside my kitchen door this spring. I'm amazed by the abundance of food it created with no work on my part after setting it up.
I'm past the stage of wanting gadgets or doodads. I don't have any debt other than the house mortgage. I put at least 50% of my after tax income in to paying off the mortgage. The mortgage will be payed off 6 months from now. The rest of my portfolio is mostly in precious metals and cash. I have a little in dividend paying stocks, but not a significant amount. My strategy is weighted toward wealth preservation rather than investment at the moment. I'm interested in learning more about the “Permanent Portfolio” and everything else you guys are doing. I'm really a newbie when it comes to investing.
Like I said before I am less structured than ERE right now. My plan was to pay off a house, and retrofit it to have no utility bills. Grow most of my own food in a small integrated food forest/small animal permaculture setup. Then I would get my monthly expenses down between $500-$1,000 per month. Then I could quit my day job, and have various income streams to pay for my modest expenses. I would work a job as long as it is interesting, but not have to worry too much about earning a paycheck. I've had this plan in my head for years, but this is the first time I've written it down. It's a little half baked, and I already want to make major changes to it. I'm not married to the house or the job, so I have a lot of flexibility for making a new plan.
My objectives in joining this site is to learn about the successes of Jacob and other people on this forum, to more clearly define my goals and a plan to reach them, and just to talk to people that have a clue what I'm talking about. I'll give two examples of conversations I have with my coworkers. When our bonus checks were coming out everyone was discussing what they were going to do with the money. Some were going to pay off credit cards, some buy a new gadget, others remodel their kitchen. When I said I was going to use it to pay down my mortgage, everyone was dumbfounded. They said I should at least buy myself something. I had no idea of what I would want to buy, and they had no idea why I would want to pay down my mortgage. The other example is they will tell me to watch some TV show or buy a new video game, so I will have something to talk to them about. I don't even know where to begin. They are all intelligent people, but I've found little to discuss with them other than work and the weather.
This forum seems to have attracted a very intelligent and non-judgemental group of people. I'm looking forward to learning and sharing with you. Where do I go next? I'm going to read the FAQ. Then should I move on to Jacob's book or the Your Money or Your Life book first?