Paid off $178K school debt, can now fund very extreme ER

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trailblazer
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:18 pm

Paid off $178K school debt, can now fund very extreme ER

Post by trailblazer » Sun Jan 03, 2016 9:10 pm

I’m planning to start a journal over in the other forum and wanted to say hello and share the basics. Long time lurker - this site and these discussions have inspired me greatly. I recently made a major change to my housing situation - I moved into an apartment with no bathroom (what my grandpa would have called a "rooming house" - you share with others on the same floor) and thus made a major reduction in my San Francisco living expenses. ERE is in sight!

The Debt
Graduated 10 years ago, receiving a law degree plus not one but two extra master’s degrees (needed more time to "find myself" etc.). For the second extra master's, I took two semesters longer than normal (four instead of two) so that I could delay work and spend time reading and thinking (my two hobbies!).

But upon graduation I had no immediate job offer and a debt load of:
- 108K federal student loans
- 31K private student loans (needed extra above the federal limit to fund summer study abroad in Europe and living expenses for the second extra master's degree)
- 15K credit card debt (don't remember exactly what for . . . at least two road trips I can remember plus CDs, gas, fast food, etc.)

“But that only adds up to $154K not $178K,” you say.

Well, a few months after graduation I found a job paying $60K/year, which logically gave me the confidence to take out an additional loan ($24K) for a new car.

Thus, I began my career with $178K total debt (and a great new car! - it was all black - the shiny kind of black).

I aim to share more in the journal, but long story short, the debt is finally gone, and I'm slowly increasing my retirement funding - but when to stop? I think I could make it right now if I left SF for somewhere cheaper and eliminated work related expenses (dry cleaning, networking lunches :( , etc.).

Basics
Male, 37
San Francisco, CA, USA

MBTI
I (extreme)
N (off the charts)
F/T (results fluctuate – probably 51% F)
P/J (results fluctuate – probably 51% P)

I definitely have a kinship with both the INTJs and INFPs I’ve known, and I think I’m what you’d get if you mixed those two types together. That can be confusing to both them and me.
Last edited by trailblazer on Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

thrifty++
Posts: 694
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Paid off $178K school debt, can now fund very extreme ER

Post by thrifty++ » Sun Jan 03, 2016 11:59 pm

Hi trailblazer.
Shit you have done well to pay off such massive student loans! I thought mine were large at $60k.
So you are spending $10k a year? I wouldn't have thought it was even possible to get just a room for that price in San Fran? That's the per annum price I pay for just a room (no expenses covered) in a small shared apartment in Auckland and I have an unusually cheap deal. Would love to hear how you have met that budget.

trailblazer
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:18 pm

Re: Paid off $178K school debt, can now fund very extreme ER

Post by trailblazer » Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:09 am

Hi thrifty++ thanks for your reply!

First, let me clarify a couple points from my post - I'll clarify the original if I can:

Since paying off the debt I have accumulated assets that would reasonably be expected to fund between 10k-12k a year depending on withdrawal rate etc. By significantly cutting rent I have helped accelerate this accumulation further. If I retired today, these are the funds I'd have to work with going forward.

My current annual spending is not yet at that 10k-12k level, but if I were to retire today I would almost certainly move somewhere much cheaper than SF (I love SF but would never pay this much premium if I didn't have to live here for work). That plus eliminating extra work related expenses (e.g., eating out, clothing, dry cleaning) would get me to 10k-12k as I otherwise spend little. But of course I think to myself, wouldn't I rather have 15k, 20k, 30k, etc.?

Regarding my current housing:

Historically SF was filled with rooming and boarding houses for city workers (often referred to as SRO's). They've never been considered fancy and some have always had "non-traditional" tenants and uses, but overall they provided reasonable and affordable accommodation for the masses. Over time many were eliminated due to a wide range of social and economic factors (and an earthquake or two), but some still live on. Today, many should be avoided at all cost but there are still some incredible deals if you find the right place, especially as gentrification leads to improvements in quality even while negative stereotypes keep the prices down.

Here are a couple examples of craigslist posts (not where I live) but these would be reasonable locations for someone working in SF's financial district (definitely not fancy at all, but if you are looking to save up and retire asap . . .):
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/apa/5383778352.html
https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/apa/5378419103.html

For a no holds barred look at some people who live in these arrangements check out the following (but keep in mind the author has a bit of an agenda and focuses on extremes): http://www.thebolditalic.com/articles/5 ... ccupancies

Ultimately I am able to live extremely close to work and groceries (no car!) in a decent enough building in a decent enough neighborhood.

thrifty++
Posts: 694
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 3:46 pm

Re: Paid off $178K school debt, can now fund very extreme ER

Post by thrifty++ » Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:29 am

Amazing that you have paid off that much debt and saved enough assets to generate $10k at 37!!

Oh gosh those are certainly austere environments. Im not sure how I would cope living somewhere like that long term. I could get depressed I imagine Reading that article made me sad.

I really liked what this girl has done with a caravan space. I think I could handle this better. I would like to copy this plan at some stage or some variant of it.
http://www.treehugger.com/tiny-houses/l ... -trap.html

trailblazer
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:18 pm

Re: Paid off $178K school debt, can now fund very extreme ER

Post by trailblazer » Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:37 am

I like it! Another year or two and something like that or a tiny house, I think.


Cornerman
Posts: 82
Joined: Sun May 17, 2015 1:46 am
Location: The Netherlands
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Re: Paid off $178K school debt, can now fund very extreme ER

Post by Cornerman » Tue Jan 05, 2016 8:54 am

Nice job !

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