Should I rethink Retire By 40?

Should I rethink early retirement?If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my guest post at Get Rich Slowly – Can I walk away from a 6 figure salary?

I was expecting some controversy when I wrote this post, but the torrent of negativity still caught me by surprise. The comments are quite amusing really, so head over to take a look at the public grilling I got in the Comments section.

Here are some reasons why I think the post is rubbing people the wrong way.

  • The economy had been very bad over the past 5 years and this guy Joe shouldn’t be complaining about his 6 figure salary! Why would anyone want to quit their cushy corporate job and join the unemployed fray???
  • Joe is planning to retire by 40 and he is an entitled Gen X. “He feels heโ€™s worked hard enough, and now he wants to kick back and relax for the rest of his life and let his wife carry the load from here on out.”
  • Why not get a job with a different company or do consultant work instead of quitting? Why do you want to give up 15+ years of experience and a lucrative career and connection to start at the bottom?
  • Personally, I think many people feel trapped and are lashing out a bit. “Not sure why everyone feels entitled to doing something they love? It’s called work for a reason people!

I have a pretty thick skin, but some of these comments got me a bit steamed so that’s why I’m writing this post for the more friendly crowd on home turf. ๐Ÿ™‚

This being the internet, I think many people skimmed the article and didn’t catch some important bits.

Frugal messageSeriously though – walking away from a 6 figure gig with essentially only personal austerity as a plan?! And then rationalizing that “no job is secure”?

I believe being frugal is the way to early retirement, but that’s not the only plan I have. We have dividend income, rental property income, and online income. I have been increasing my side income and perhaps should have made it more clear in the guest post.

Working at this for a long time – It probably seems to some readers that I just one day decided to quit my job and am finding reasons to support this decision.

I’ve been seriously working toward quitting my job for 3+ years. Before that, we’ve been saving and investing for 15+ years. It’s not a decision that I made lightly and I do value my salary. If I was a hasty type, I would have quit my job in 2009 or earlier. I’ve been keeping track of our cash flow for about a year now and we don’t have to depend on my salary anymore at this point.

Making money online – “You can put your experience to good use and itโ€™ll probably be a lot more lucrative than blogging.

Besides, no offense to anyone here, but the world really doesnโ€™t need yet another influx of aspiring pro bloggers. Iโ€™d rather see more engineering startups.”

I neglected to mention the fact that I want to be a stay at home dad and part time blogger. Blogging is a lot of fun, but I don’t think I can really become a full time “pro” blogger. When baby RB40 goes off to preschool, I will find another part time gig to fill the day. There are many things that I would like to try my hand at. Also my expertise is very niche and the field has a huge moat. I canโ€™t start a company in this field. I can become a consultant or contractor, but then I will still have to work for the big guys. I keep in touch with a few of my co-workers who left and it is very difficult for them to even get contracting jobs in this field. Iโ€™ll have to move to the Bay area to even get a chance at working for a small company.

Wife –  “What happens when your wife gets burned out or resentful that you get to spend the day at home with your child while she has to be the main breadwinner?”

This is a very valuable comment actually. I don’t know if Mrs. RB40 will grow resentful in the long run. She is the A type workaholic so I know she likes working. Staying home with baby RB40 is very difficult for her. It might seem unusual, but I am a bit better at the stay at home gig than Mrs. RB40. She can’t be a stay at home mom; that’s against her nature.

Already made up your mind.  “Itโ€™s clear to me that the OP has already made up his mind and is rationalizing away anything that could possibly dissuade him from it. He feels heโ€™s worked hard enough, and now he wants to kick back and relax for the rest of his life and let his wife carry the load from here on out.”

Here is the big question – Should I reconsider my Retire By 40 goal? The last commenter is right and I already made up my mind. I don’t think I’m rationalizing anything away. I’m working to improve my plan to cover any contingencies, the big one being that I will not make as much money after I leave my job. It will probably take a very long time before I make this kind of money again, if ever. But does that really matter if we can live a happy life with less money? After all, the United States Declaration of Independence said “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” are the 3 sovereign rights of man. Wiser men than I didn’t put “the pursuit of making more money” in there.

I’m 99.9% sure that I will be happier with my life as I continue this endeavor to break free from the corporate world. I also would like to thank everyone who left a positive comment. I really appreciate you taking the time to give me some encouragement and it’s great to know that I’m not the only one on this journey to Early Retirement.



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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.
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155 thoughts on “Should I rethink Retire By 40?”

  1. I’m struggling to understand the criticism about you giving up a six-figure salary. Shouldn’t whiners be happy about that? Shouldn’t they interpret that to mean that you are leaving that job open for someone else? That now someone else can enjoy that fortune?

    Sometimes, I think that people like brainstorming different things to complain about instead of actually going out there and achieving success of their own.

    • I don’t know… At this age (40), you really should focus on net worth instead of income. My income is pretty low now, but life is very comfortable and our net worth is great. Not sure why people spend energy to troll me.

  2. Hi

    I wanted to say thank you for having the ‘balls’ to write the post and share your journey. I’m in almost the exact same path as you, having left engineering, and focusing on blogging, and my businesses (real estate investing and day trading). I applaud you for living your life how you want rather than caring how others think of you. It takes incredible courage to not only do what you do but also take the time to write about it AND actively share it with all your readers.

    One thing I’m struggling with is underestimating the amount of capital needed to manage my growing real estate portfolio, which has included a lot more vacancies than normal due to the impact of the oil crash and softening housing market in Canada. Although my life expenses are fairly fixed, I find it rather hard to forecast my real estate portfolio expenses. I suggest anyone out there wanting to leave their six figure salary or corporate job with reliance on rental income to do it with caution as it’s not a steady stream. Have a lot of contingency funds ready for LARGE expenses.

    How have you planned your expenses for your rental property?
    Have a great day!

    • Thanks for you encouragement and good luck on your journey as well.
      Renting properties can be up and down. The vacancy rate in our area is very low so it’s not a big problem at this time. It’s good that you have income from other sources as well. Yes, we had $50,000 emergency fund when I first quit my job. It turned out we didn’t need it and we reduced it to $20,000 recently.

  3. I love that you were able to quit your job and stay at home with your child and still bring in some income. Happiness does not mean more money more happiness. I’d like to know how you got to the place in your mind and heart that less is more. I would love to convince my overworked husband that less is more and I have not been able to do that. He makes plenty of money but we spend plenty of money as well. Money we do not need to spend in my opinion. Extra cable tv channels, new car etc. I know he does it for me and our kids but I’d rather have him live longer and happier.

    • Unfortunately, it took serious stress and some health issue for me to see that my old lifestyle wasn’t the right fit for me. It think it will be a long process for you. Just keep trying to convince him that cable TV aren’t that important in the grand scheme of thing. Financial security and more time with family is what you prefer.
      Best wishes.

  4. Why would you want to reconsider? I think you should only do that if your situation change.

    You are probably in a better situation than I do, as you choose to retire. For me, I think I will be forced to retire as I am having a hell lot of problem with my current job. While I think I probably will be okay financially, but it is not ideal. My current portfolio of investment comprises about 80% in REIT and generate about $42k per year. I intend to move more of my cash into REIT so that the portfolio can generate about $50k a year by year end. My wife is still working and drawing a low 6 figure salary. My ideal situation is for both of us to work for another 2-3 years and we can retire together. But unfortunately this is not going to be, and my wife will probably need to continue working for a little longer as my goal is for the portfolio to generate about $72k a year. My wife and myself actually lives quite a frugal lifestlye, but as both of us are supporting our own parents, a huge part of the expense goes to pay for our parents expenses. Guess that is the sad part of livingin a country call Singapore, the state will not take catre of you, with no social security or pension to speak about, and the state push the responsibility of taking care of the elderly to their children (by the way, there is laws in place in Singapore that a child can be sued if he refuse to take care of his parents).

    I doubt I can return to the corporate world and get another job, and I do not know what I should do if I am forced to retire early. Maybe I can do some day trading, but that will be a very tough game.

    • Sorry to hear about your current job. Can you retire and find something fun to do? You probably won’t get paid much, but it will keep you busy and active. You also don’t need much income at this point. Even if you make $1,000/month, it would smooth out your retirement. Interesting about Singapore. I didn’t know they have that kind of law.

      • I guess getting a part-time job for $1000 a month is probably not a problem. The only problem is dealing with my own ego, I mean, do I want to take on some low paying job while previously I am making over $120,000 per year? That is why I am considering trading on my own, which is what I used to do previously and has been consistantly making money for the company (for for some strange reason, it does not work as well when I trade my own account). If I can pull it through, I estimate that I can probably make $2-3k per month, which is not a bad idea.

        • I understand it can be tough on your ego, but you’ll have to let go of that. Everyone retires eventually. If you have certain skill such as day-trading, then you should take advantage of it. I don’t mean you should take a low paying job, just find something you like to do. I think self employment is the way to go. Good luck!

  5. Honestly….when I read comments on the articles from many financial websites (yahoo finance, etc.), they upset me and I’m not even the one writing the articles! People seem to get so vitriolic when it comes to ANYONE who follows a different financial path than they do. Personally, if what you say is correct, that your wife would prefer to work, is not the type who wants to stay home, and you can afford to stop working (for a few years..for a decade..forever), I don’t know why you would continue on with a job that you don’t like. You’re doing what’s best for your son. To me ‘retiring’ (although certainly wouldn’t call being a stay at home parent retirement!) sounds like the most responsible thing you can do for your family. If I were a ‘type A workaholic’ (I’m not unfortunately, but I know many women that are), I’d be grateful for a spouse that wanted to stay home and do the heavy lifting, particularly if that person had worked and created a decent 401(k) account/passive income streams. How would it be better for your son and your wife for you to continue at a job you hate for income the family doesn’t need? Your unhappiness could hurt your relationship with them. Instead, your son gets to stay at home with a parent who truly wants to be there. It can’t get much better than that!

    • That’s why I usually just avoid the comment section. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks for your encouragement. Being constantly unhappy will impact your family’s quality of life. Money can’t buy everything. As long as we are comfortable financially, I don’t see why I need to bring in more money. I guess more is nice, but I’m content with enough.

    • I guess for me, there are 3 reasons- one, the risk of runing out of money half way through, two, I feel unfair for my wife to carry on working while I stay at home, and three, if there is a down turn and my wife lost her job, than it will be very tough for both of us without any income.

  6. Hi RB40,

    I read the post that you did with all the negative comments. Most of them are transferring their fears over to you. Most of the posts were pretty repetitive as well!

    I can only suggest that you do not take their comments personally. Think of it as your trial by fire. If you can still be serious about your decision after having gotten such a backlash, then you are certainly ready to retire! The big thing people don’t realize is that it doesn’t have to be permanent. You have got important experience, you’re not lazy as you are dabbling in a number of areas, and you’re networking a lot which will create opportunities for you in the future. If it doesn’t work out for you (and I am expecting it will work out), you can always look for another opportunity.

    life is too short to stick out doing something that you really don’t enjoy doing.
    Good luck to you!

  7. As an “entitled” Gen Xers born in the early 1970s, I have to give mad props to you!!! I can’t retire in my 40s like you guys, but I’m shooting for 50. I’ve got 15 years corporate now and 10 with the U.S. Army. 1 pension vested and I’m going for another with the U.S. Army. Hopefully, I don’t get killed by an IED or from high blood pressure the next 10 years. I actually enjoy being around soldiers more (it’s like being back in high school lol) than a bunch of office -back stabbing- hating- corporate hags.

  8. Wow – you sure can tell what generation the commentators are from. I didn’t read hateful criticism into the comments you referenced. They struck me as loving comments from people who have more life experience than you who were offering you the benefit of their life experiences. Some of us have actually weathered serious unforeseen and unpreventable life crisis – like losing 1/2 your investments in the stock market, seeing your children have babies and then the mom absolutely (and totally unexpectedly) can’t stand the thought of going back to work, relationships dissolving, catastrophic illnesses, sky-rocketing costs of education, unexpected deaths – to name just a few. Rather than lash out calling those commentators “haters” and “naysayers”, I suggest you all lower your defensiveness and take those comments in the spirit in which they were offered. Your over reaction to them speaks volumes about where you’re coming from.

    • Jim, thank you for your input. Life can be uncertain and older folks have much more life experience than me. I will try to be more open minded and receptive to suggestions.

  9. The commenters over there seemed like CNN or Yahoo commenters with how negative they were being. They all had a very “boo-hoo, you make six figures and you’re complaining about it? I’d kill to make six figures” attitude. I don’t read the comments over on GRS very often, but I think there’s probably a big difference in the types of people who read a blog about getting rich slowly and the type who read a blog about retiring by 40. I would imagine the readers over there are focused on how to have a big nest egg by the time they retire at 65, whereas the readers here are looking for ways to increase income, save a huge portion of their paychecks, and create passive income with the goal of retiring early. I guess when you’re writing for people who assume it’s a given that you’ll work until 65, you need to break it to them slowly that there’s another way.

    I used to be somewhere between the two worlds – I knew I didn’t want to work until 65, but I didn’t realize I could actually do something about it besides getting an inheritance or marrying a rich guy, I was too busy going out to eat several times a week and buying things I didn’t really need, not even realizing how much money I was spending. It was about two months ago that I discovered MMM and vowed to change my spending habits (and have been saving over half of my paycheck since).

    • Thanks for your comment! I like MMM as well and visit there quite often.
      It’s great that you are saving over half your pay. Great job!
      Sometime people are stuck in a box and can’t see another way, but it’s best to have an open mind so you have more options. Right?

  10. Joe, I think the old phrase “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to …” works well here. Except it will be your party, and you’ll smile if you want to.

    It was either Ramit Seti, or someone on the website once said: Retirement is when one’s passive income exceeds one’s expenses. Fundamentally, a lot of the folks on the latter website don’t just sit around all day. They enjoy other ventures if/when they decide to. That is something that people want to have, however they let their fear talk them out of retirement until … well they’re six-feet under.
    Some like this idea, I for one … do NOT.

    We’re a single income household for the past 12 years so far, and we’re close to saving 20% of the paycheck away for retirement, and that’s with 4 kids to feed and clothe. I too have been focusing my efforts on dividend stocks lately (although 401k doesn’t allow for that, so it has to be done outside of that in traditional and finally Roth IRAs).
    I’d love for both of us to be able to stay at home so that I could help my wife out with the kids … stressful at times to be sure. But nothing would make me happier than if I could be at home for them along with my wife, and with a roof over our heads and some food on the table. That is after all what the final goal is, since we can’t “take it with us”. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It sounds like you are doing great with your retirement saving. It must be difficult with 4 kids these days.
      Good luck with your goals!
      Thanks for mentioning I’ll drop by more often.

  11. If you can put up with that onslaught of criticism maybe you are the type to be a pro blogger ๐Ÿ™‚ A lot of the commenters seem to have the mindset that a job is something where you just show up and get paid. Anyone relying on that would rightfully be fearful of losing it and bitter at anyone who rejects it, because that is a rare opportunity and there are more people who want it than opportunities. And the more they chase after it the more bitter they get because it’s based on the assumption that you can’t just create value for other people and you have to fight over fixed resources.

    But as someone who did well as an engineer I’m guessing you can figure out many ways to create value in the world other than sitting in one particular seat behind one particular desk. Once you’ve had some time away (and when you aren’t spending as much time on parenting) you may find yourself wanting to do more and you may find that people will either pay you to do it from the start or see what you’ve done and pay you to do the same for them. You could even go back to your former employer and consult with them on how to make a better workplace ๐Ÿ™‚

    The great thing about frugality is that when you aren’t spending a lot, if your investments only cover half of it it’s pretty easy to make up the rest with part-time work. I don’t really think about retirement anymore, just degrees of minimum working income (or time with no income). You can’t really call yourself retired if you still need to work but if you only need to earn $10,000/year you don’t have to wind up as a bitter blog commenter.

    • I have a pretty thick skin now and the criticism didn’t bother me all that much. ๐Ÿ™‚
      People are afraid to look at the alternative to having a job. They got stuck in their comfortable cocoon and can’t think outside the box.
      Thanks for the encouragement. You’re right about part time work. I only need to make a little bit and it will cover any short fall.

  12. I retired with 41, 5 years ago, and my wife still works because she wants to. I used to be a senior executive in the pharmaceutical industry with very niche knowledge and experience. So it looks quite a bit like what you want.
    Retiring was the best decision I ever made! All the freedom I dreamed of, all the time in the world to help and enjoy and coach our kids. All the time in the world to rebuild our house in an eco-friendly way, to volunteer, to read books, to visit long lost friends. In short all the freedom to do the things I want to do for my family and friends and for me. We have managed this by the way by earning good wages and saving 50% of this for years, and by learning to invest.
    But is has not been without its problems. The biggest problem we find is that I cannot convince friends and family that I am NOT looking for work. No matter how often I explain that I do not want to work anymore, almost nobody believes it! I have exactly 2 friends who understand what I am doing. And even people who after 5 years have more or less accepted that I will not have a proper job anymore, still keep asking what I do with my time. And keep sending me links to jobs on the internet.
    We have unfortunately not found a decent way of handling this. I appreciate all the help offered, but do not need it. And I would love to have some people to talk to about the way we live. But alas.

    • It’s great to hear a success story!
      Sorry to hear about your problem with convincing people that you don’t want to work anymore.
      I’m sure the message will get through eventually.
      Thanks for sharing.

    • Jerome, perhaps you should visit They have a lot of folks over there who have done exactly what you have done, and have found plenty of things to fill their day.

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  14. This is definitely a “Grandpa Harry” scenario. Smile, listen to what everyone has to say, and do whatever the hell you were going to do anyway. The fact that you want to invest in your time in your family is a wonderful thing. Many people don’t have an honest or good relationship with their spouse and assume that the other person couldn’t be truthful or even happy with a spouse falling their path. In my marriage, there have been different times where one of us has shouldered more of the financial responsibility, but we’re always happy to be working together. Best wishes in your hopes and dreams from our family to yours.

    • Heh heh, you caught me. I pretty much made up my mind and will continue to work toward my goals.
      Your marriage sounds wonderful. I wish more partnerships are that way.

      • Wow, I can tell how upset I was by the haters by the horrible errors in my comment. I meant to “invest your time” and “following their path.” My bad.
        And I’m glad you haven’t gotten discouraged at all. Also, thank you. I do have a wonderful marriage and I wish more people enjoyed a partnership like I have.

  15. Entitled Gen X’er?!?!?! I wasn’t aware those creatures existed. Pragmatic…sure…but entitled…really?

    Reading the comments, I can pretty much tell- just by the wording- who the Boomers are, who the Millennials are & who your fellow X’ers are. The post/comments were entertaining to me on so many levels!

  16. First of all, you have no idea how I admire you. I am 21, and think that you are going to partially retire by 40 is great. So what, if you will retire from your first job. That means you can do other things, and I bet you will find something else to keep you busy. Plus, it’s great that you can be a stay at home dad. Plus, since you will be happier, it means you will be happier in your personal life, and you will have more fun with your kids. Nothing wrong with that. Keep posting ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks! You’re really young and have a ton of time left. I’m sure you will do great.
      We’re sticking with 1 kid. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • BTW my mentor in high school who was a doctor and colonel in the army retired at 55 from the army and medicine. Most retired military doctors usually go into private practice, but he did not. Instead he opened his own non profit for music and dance, and has been doing what he likes for the past two decades. He is 78. He is technically is “retired.”

  17. You already know that I am a fan of your plan. I have no problem with what you are doing. I did read all of the comments that were posted up to Monday. You are challenging people, particularly their deep ingrained beliefs, and what you are doing certainly isn’t for everyone, even if it can be for anyone. I’m glad you have a thick skin. I have deliberately not done any controversial posts in several months because I don’t want the abuse right now, so cheers to you for enduring it for a greater purpose.

  18. Good read!

    A little sidebar, however: The original wording by the Continental Congress was “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Property” (taken from an essay written by one of the great original political bloggers, John Locke) … maybe they were thinking that all money is happiness. Point is still valid.

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  20. I think many people don’t fully understand your definition of retirement. They think you are going to kick back and relax while your wife works for the rest of her life supporting you. To me, it sounds like your definition is to quit the 9-5 or 9-7 that people work and do the things you want to do. You will find other avenues to make money.

    Early in relationships, I would always raise this talking point with a potential girlfriend. “Would you be OK if one day I would quit my job that makes $XX,XXX per year that I am not excited about and start working at a job for $12.00 per hour. To my surprise, many of the girls said they would not be happy. I guess it’s in the way you look at things. I see me going to a job that I don’t like as ruining my life. Whereas the job for $12/hour that I love will inspire me. Maybe I have never been able to fully explain this in words. Luckily, I have a girl now that feels the same way.

    If you have the money and want to pursue your dreams, then by all means, retire!

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  22. It sounds like your lifestyle and income would allow it; may be worth a shot! You may not be able to enter the workforce with the same salary and title, but surely you could land something in a few years if you wanted to go back. I got my raise recently and said to my boss nonchalantly, “I realize I am looking at negative income in real dollar terms for the rest of my career”. I got a nice bonus and whatnot, but when average raises are 2% or less and inflation is 3% while healthcare costs keep increasing $500-$1000/year, it’s realistic to admit that in real terms, my salary is declining forever. I might have 1 promotion left before I top out. It’s reality! Hence, I’m up at 11:30PM blogging :> brings home that extra bacon.

  23. I think that some of those negative comments on GRS were rooted in the idea that deep down some people didn’t like or understand that a man under 40 would quit working while his wife supported the family. If a wife quit working and her husband supported the family, people wouldn’t think twice in most or many cases anyway. I don’t see why it matters who works or not.

    Anyway, I think it’s great that you’ve had this goal, and hope you can still do it! I think it’s very cool. Of course, what matters most is what you and your wife think, and what makes you happy, not the rest of us!

    • We are all different and one person might be better at different things in a partnership. Why should anyone mind if Mrs. RB40 is better at working than I am? Or if I’m better with the baby? It’s just silly and people shouldn’t get all worked up for nothing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  25. I do not think you should reconsider anything. You have set out a very good, reasonable plan. I noticed that most people that commented on your post were extremely close minded in the fact that they thought that the only way to earn money was through a 9-5 job. As you know, this is not the case anymore.

  26. Sorry to hear that you received so many negative comments. My friend gives me hell about this all the time, also. So the comments sounded much like my friend’s rant: “What are you going to do?” “Help the world so it can be better?” “Use your skills to create something.” Blah. Blah. Blah. I think retirement differs from financial independence, though. I think the latter is what you seek. My definition is doing what I want, when I want, because I saved enough to do so. If what I want is to sit around and do nothing, then I should, and so should you.

  27. Its amazing how a lot of these comments could be substitued for the ones my much younger wife and I received when we dated and even now sometimes. People expressed a wide variety of supportive and non supportive comments from the begining. (Probably more non supportive behind our backs).

    In the end you have to ignore the noise and do what you feel is right and makes you happy.

  28. This is one of the areas where our societal sexism still comes in to play. When men want to become SAHD’s, we call it “early retirement” even if they are getting no retirement benefits from the company they are leaving. When women want to become SAHM’s, we call it “dropping out of the work force”.
    And it certainly sounds better, if you decide you want to work again later, to say you are “coming out of retirement” than that you are “rejoining the work force”.
    Words matter. (But as blogger, you know that.)
    I will say the same things to you that I would say to a woman who wants to be a SAHP- make sure you and the spouse are on the same page. Make sure actual retirement savings for you don’t get forgotten about. And yes, if you are the primary care giver, and things go south, you will get child support, and you may even get spousal support. And there’s nothing wrong with getting either.
    That said, I’m a breadwinner wife. C and I are planning to adopt. He will be the primary care giver. We have known this since we started dating. Like your wife, I simply enjoy going to a job more than he does. Will there be days when I’m a little jealous that I have to go in to the office while he gets to stay home with the kid? Of course. There are already days when I’m jealous that, as a full time student, he gets spring break and can sleep in with the dogs. And he didn’t even bring in six figures before this state of affairs.
    I think as long as you and your wife are on the same page, it doesn’t matter what you call it, and it doesn’t matter what other people say. Make the best decision you can for your family and enjoy life.

    • We are on the same page for now. You never know how it will turn out when she becomes the breadwinner. I’m pretty sure it will work out well, but we can make some adjustment if there are any problems.
      Right now my retirement account is bigger than her, but I think in 5 years or so we’ll be even.

  29. My husband and I are all about leaving the daily grind one day (we’re still in our 20’s). Our plan is to semi-retire and get part time jobs that are more flexible (like teaching or real estate), jobs that will let us move around and have more free time.

    Also, we have discussed that right now (if we stay on this path) that it makes more sense that I work longer then my husband (retire 5 or so years after him). I’m and in a better position, better company and have a more desired degree to make more money in the long run.

    And who actually wants to work their whole life and drop dead at their desk…not us!

    • I think it’s great that you are starting in your 20s. I wish we had a solid plan in our 20s, but we were too busy trying to get promotion and all that. Good luck!

  30. Why retire??? And what does it mean. Just because you want to quit your job doesn’t say you want to retire. It sounds to me you besides being a stay at home dad, you have a lot of interests lined up.

    So retirement is sooo subjective, that it should have a different name for it when you’re just going to pursue other – income generating – interests.

    • You are right! There are no good word to describe quitting your job and becoming a stay at home dad/mom or pursuing part time job. If I am 60, I don’t think there will be any negative lash back.

  31. It’s entirely up to you if you want to retire at 40 or not, no matter what other people think. You’ve made a great plan, figured out how to work side gigs and stay home with your son. Maybe the negative comments were from people who were a bit envious of your position. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Not many people can do what you’re going to do.

  32. Wow, need to catch your guest post. Glad you have thick skin. Just goes to show there are a lot of unhappy people out there. Do what makes you happy and don’t listen to the haters. On the bright side, congrats on all the traffic? ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. Joe, I don’t know that it will make much difference to you, but you might want to look at your long-term retirement planning. For example, you could consider whether you would take social security spousal benefits or under your own name. I wouldn’t ordinarily put a link to my blog, but perhaps it will be helpful:

    Then again, maybe they will change the rules for social security by the time you are in your 60s. All the best to you!

    • I haven’t paid much attention to social security withdrawal because it is still 20 years away. I read that it might be a good idea to take spousal benefit at 62 (?) then take your own benefit at 70. I need to research more.
      I think there is a bit of sexism and ageism in the comments. If I am 60 or a woman, I think there would be many more positive comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. It’s your life. Do what you want. There seems to be some sexism in the criticism. Would they have thrown a fit about it if your wife decided to be the stay-at-home parent? I’ve known some great fathers who made a huge difference in their children’s lives by staying at home with them. And as you say, there are women who don’t have the same knack or interest in it.

    As long you have emergencies provided for, why not?

  35. You should do whatever works for you and your family. Like you, I work to live rather than live to work, so it makes far more sense to live frugally and retire early, than to work full time till I die.

    Good luck to you ๐Ÿ˜‰

  36. You have control over everything. You could drive to the airport right now and get on a plane, spend the rest of your life on an island in the Bahamas. It’s all about acceptable loss. To get something you always have to give something up – time, or money, or sleep – but always something. It’s balancing the loss and gain that gets tricky. The gains may be in a different category than money (time with the kids, time with the wife, time doing what you really enjoy while you have the health to pull it off).
    I think a lot of people like the idea of retiring early but for many it’s an “ideal”. They want to retire now with all the benefits of the 6 figure salary but don’t want to give up anything in order to do that. I wonder if that’s why so many people I know are saying they have no intention of retiring ever?
    I quite enjoyed your article and it’s what brought me to your blog. I appreciate you sharing your plans.

    • Yeap, nothing is free. I am willing to give up the 6 figures lifestyle and we already live on less than that for the last 5 years.
      I also doubt people who plan to not retire. At some point, your effectiveness will drop and you will have to retire. That point come a different time for all of us and we need to make a plan for less earned income.

  37. Not everyone is going to agree with early retirement, I get that.

    I didn’t read all of the comments as they seem to get redundant: You’re burning out? Find another job? You took 4+ years to get a degree in engineering and you’re throwing it away? You want to blog full time, we don’t need anymore bloggers!

    If you are no longer passionate about what you do AND you can afford to walk away? Walk away. Very few people have that option. Find your passion (it sounds like you already have) and take action! Good on your Mr. RB40, you’ve earned it.

    • I took 5 years to be a BS and MS in engineering and then worked 15+ years. So I spent 20 years in the field and it gave us a solid financial foundation. To many people, leaving my job sounds like throwing away all that, but I just think of it as a stepping stone to the next phase in life. If I am dependent on the paycheck and living from month to month, then I would really hesitate to give up a well paying job.

  38. At the end of the day it is your choice. Only you know your heart, what you want, what you value, and what you are willing to give up to get what you do want. Evaluate your situation with your wife, and make a decision accordingly.

  39. I do hope your relationship is rock solid with your wife. Sometimes things change particularly after having children or people “grow out of each other”. What were to happen if for some reason your relationship went up in smoke. Or worse – illness, death? Things like that happen to the best of people. Have you included unforseen variables just in case. Could your retired position sustain a divorce and all its continuing expenses? I have seen a couple of relationships where the wife had become the breadwinner that have really changed both personalities of the couples. They ended badly… One or the other could not adjust long term…

    Otherwise I fully support your desire to leave the rat race early. Good for you.

    • That would be bad. Can I get child support if I raise the kid?
      “I have seen a couple of relationships where the wife had become the breadwinner that have really changed both personalities of the couples. They ended badlyโ€ฆ One or the other could not adjust long termโ€ฆ”
      If this starts to happen, then I will probably go back to work.
      Thanks for the constructive comment.

  40. It’s your life, Joe! You’ve been strategic with your savings, so the ball’s completely in your court on this one. Most Americans and Canadians (like me) are years away from reaching retirement, so I can understand if the topic gets people a little heated. Rather than rant, hopefully they’ll start incorporating some of your tips and suggestions in their own financial decisions.

    As you know, blogging is a great way to get a thick skin, so take it all with a grain of salt and stick to your guns. Good luck!

    • Thanks for your support over at GRS too. Most people rather just carry on without making any sacrifice for the future.

  41. Hi Joe,

    It’s normal to have doubts, and honestly, the self-driven path is not the easiest in the world. On the other hand, many people do feel trapped and lashing out is a normal resopnse to do. Anyways, you have to make up your mind and decide for yourself. You don’t need anyone else’s approval, well except for The Wife’s :). You certainly don’t need the permission of random people on the Internet. If you will be happier, go for it. If you will be happier even if you failed, because at least you tried, then go for it! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Yeah, Mrs. RB40 is the boss around here.
      I agree, it’s better to try and failed than to keep thinking about what could have been for the rest of my life.

  42. I came over from GRS – frankly, I think a lot of those negative commenters were just jealous! I left a 6 figure consulting income to be a stay at home mom. We had to sell our beautiful home to do it but I will NEVER regret choosing to raise my kiddos over telling companies how to sell more doodads. We will definitely not be retiring at 40 but I’m totally supportive of those who can – kudos to you!

  43. You have to remember one thing – when people feel jealous and incapable to do things that other people do successfully, they need to build themselves up at expense of those who are capable. That’s why you got so many rough and mean and pure evil comments.
    As far as you retirement goes – you need to do what you and your family feel is right. You were preparing yourself for it, then do it and enjoy it. And don’t look back! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • I don’t like to leave negative karma around so I guess that mode of operation is a bit foreign to me. I guess many people are just not happy with their lives. Some negative comments were constructive, but many sounded angry.

  44. I am relatively new to this blogging way of sharing information. This is an opportunity for input, comments and criticism. When I make up my mind, that’s it. It is not being stubborn because I thought it through. I have to live with my decision, they do not. It is nice to have input, however it is still your decision. What is the downside? There will always be a demand for software engineers.

    • I’m usually a bit wishy washy, but in this case my mind is made up. Even if things changed\ and I don’t make anymore money online, I will still make a career change.

  45. Joe, did you think it would be a good idea to bank your salary and pay off your primary residence before quitting. With the reduction in expenses life would be much much easier.

  46. All the negative comments amazed me! I think you’ve planned your retirement well and you should go for whatever makes you happy. Eventually, if you ever decide to return to engineering later, it may take some time and catch-up education, but I think it would be well worth the years of happiness you will have with your son.

  47. Hmm.. I echo Samurai’s sentiment. It seems the comments from GRS got to you a bit. I think you’re crazy for leaving all that money on the table without replacing it first.

    • Can I replace a 6 figures salary? I don’t think many people can do that or else everyone will be making tons of money. I need more than 2-5 hours of sleep per night. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • I think you can do it with a combination of income/expense reduction. You already bank your income and you can live off your wife’s. Imagine if you did that for say 2 more years. Brought more properties or paid off your primary residence. Hell.. even if you replace half of it via passive means you would be in some really good shape. Easy? Nope. Worth it? Hell yea ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. I haven’t read the comments on your GRS post, but from the selection you present here, my read is that a lot of folks struggling financially and with unemployment still over 8% and many underwater on their mortgages, etc. etc., many can’t imagine the mentality of anyone voluntarily giving up a six figure salary. In short, the vast majority are far too focused on working at something, anything to keep food on the table and a roof over their head to fathom doing what makes them happy or to think about meeting needs higher up in Maslow’s hierarchy. So a bit of bitterness seems to have surfaced at GRS.

    Of course none of that feedback should play any role in what you and your spouse decide is best for your family. Go for it! Very few decisions are irreversible or unchangeable! ‘Course corrections’ are inevitable as you move along and learn more.

    I’m an idealist (some would say naive), and I believe that by pursuing one’s interests and passions, not only greater life satisfaction but also money will follow. Particularly if you pursue your interests with a business mentality.

    Good luck!

    • I also believe that most decisions are course corrections. There are very few things that cause irreversible changes.
      I can always go back to school and learn more technical skills if I want to get back into engineering.
      Thanks for your comment.

  49. Joe, now that you’ve posted this post, I actually don’t believe you’ve made up your mind at all. You’ve written many posts trying to justify your leap, and with this post, I sadly don’t think you will take the leap of faith anymore.

    It’s hard to read you know for certainty that you will be happier if you quit. Yet, as a person whose followed you for a while, I think that day of quitting has now been delayed for a long while.

    I’m sure once you decide to stay, you will find ways to enjoy your job again, so don’t fret!



      • I have faith. However, I have seen this back and forth before. It has happened to me 2 years ago, and I ended up staying for a couple more years.

        I’m actually REALLY glad I did stay for 2 more years, as I saved up another 3 years of living expenses.

        When you turning 40 btw?!


        • I stayed on for 3 more years too (since I wanted to walk out) and it really supercharged our saving and investment.
          I’ll be 40 in 2013. Time is running short.

          • Cool. Let’s make a promise not to write another post about whether you should retire by 40. The next post about this subject is that you are retired, or decide not to do it!

            Sound good?

          • Deal! I’ll still write about the logistic, but I’m pretty much done with the motivation/emotional side of things.

          • Joe, notion of retirement is really a big mirage. Retirement is to fold your tents and go somewhere with no responsibility whatsoever. Money is relevant.

            If you weren’t making six figure income, those naysayers would have cheered your decision with open arms. But what’s the value of money? Really, all it does is to provide good living and long term financial protection to your family. If you have achieved those two goals then it doesn’t matter if you are quitting six figure or seven figure salary.

            You know your situation better than anyone. If I were you, I’d do my homework and execute without giving an iota of thought to how world thinks about me. That’s the way I am so please take my advice just for what it’s worth my friend. I applaud you for your boldness. Be bold.

  50. I think posting anything on another site puts a target on you for criticizing comments. In the end though, it’s your life. The decisions you make aren’t going to affect anybody except for you and your family. Doing what makes you happy is sometimes hard to do, but you’ve been preparing for this.

    Why not enjoy life when you’re younger instead of waiting for standard retirement, especially when there is never a guarantee that we’ll make it that far. That’s just my opinion but I really do believe that each day should be treasured. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I agree 100%. I can stick to the job that I don’t like for 15 more years, but do I really want to live in misery for the next 15 years? No, I’d rather have less money and be more free. As long as we can pay the rent, I don’t see what the big deal is.

  51. My favorite comment was when someone felt compelled to warn you against meth labs. haha! ๐Ÿ™‚ You’ve said before (lots of times) that the reason you want to quit your day job is because you are sick of the corporate world. You have a thorough plan to protect your family. For those reasons, you would be foolish to rethink your retirement plans… but you already know that. Keep up the great work!

    • Yeah, that’s too much paranoia. There are going to be meth labs and there are going to be landlords. If your property is in a nice neighborhood, then it has a smaller chance of getting into troubles.

  52. I don’t think you should rethink your goals unless YOU want to. I completely understand where you’re coming from; just this morning, I was offered a job paying in the $50-$60k range. It would be an extension of freelance work I’m already doing, and I’d be able to continue doing it from home on my schedule. I’m thinking about turning it down, and know I’ll have a similar backlash from family and friends if I do so, for many of the same reasons you outlined above. You only live once – you need to follow your heart, not just the money!

    • That’s right. Make the decision that’s best for you.
      Money is nice, but more money doesn’t mean more happiness right?
      Good luck with your decision.

      • One of the main reasons I left my previous employer is because I was not allowed to do *anything* else in my own time. I guess that was both our losses because I would have been a more productive employee and I probably would have stayed if not for that rule.

  53. I was really surprised at the tone of the comments, too. “Hey, jerk, fine, quit that job, I want it!” It made me realize that one should never go to the world wide web with a partially-formed idea. Too many haters.

  54. Don’t even let those complainers get under your skin.
    GetRichSlowly is very “mainstream” and as such, it’s fill with mainstream commentors, not financial independence ninjas like yourself. Most people there couldn’t even conceive of living off of investment/online income so to them it seems ridiculous that anyone would take that “risk.”

    Life is about more than working and YES you should absolutely do what you are passionate about. What’s the point in working a job you hate? Just so you can say that you “contribute”? I don’t understand people…

    • Most of the comments didn’t really phase me. The one that probably got me the most is when they said I would rationalize anything away. Is that true? I’m preparing for retirement as much as I can and that’s much more than most people are doing.
      Working a job you hate isn’t a requirement these days. There are other things to do.

  55. I read your article joe and kind of skimmed the comments, but went back today and looked at them – you really got hammered! At any rate, I do understand that they have a point – at what point is being a blogger going to not matter anymore and not make any money.
    that said, I feel like you’ve got a pretty sound plan, and if you want to do it, go for it. who cares what they say. if they dont want another blogger, they dont have to read your blog.

    • Heh heh, some of those comments are quite amusing.
      You’re right about the blog. This is a niche blog and they don’t have to come by if they don’t like the message.
      People who are planning to work until they drop probably don’t want to hear my messages anyway.

  56. Early Retirement ROCKS!!

    I would like to throw in my vote that I think you are on a perfect path. Quit your real job so you can take care of your kids, and then fitting in your own productive hobbies and jobs during the time the youngster doesn’t need you. My wife and I did the same thing as you, mostly-retiring in our early 30s, and haven’t missed our reals job for a second.

    It doesn’t matter how much money you are giving up, as long as you have enough to sustain a healthy lifestyle after you quit the job. Good luck.. and think of any negative comments as a sign that you are doing something right!

    • MMM, I’m hoping you can write a post on how you guys made money in your investments during the 2008-2009 downturn. I think it will be a great read! Cheers

      • Hey Samurai!

        Nope, I can’t write an article about how I made money in 2008-2009, because that was the time I was busy LOSING a shitload of money on my house-building company!

        If you look up “a brief history of the Stash” on my website, it shows how we saved for retirement over the 1997-2006 period. Most of our savings came from just frugality – investment gains were only a tiny percentage of it. I did make some money by renovating my own first house on the weekends and later renting it out. But early retirement is all about spending control, not masterful investing.

        Later on in time, the reason my stock investments survived the 2008-2009 downturn is because I made a point of buying more of them during the crash, rather than selling them. Now they’re back up at record prices, and I’m in much less of a rush to buy more – investment houses are a much better deal at this point!

        Retirebyforty – I do get a lot of negative comments whenever an MMM article shows up on a “real world” website. Check out these comments:

        Those were partly my fault because I let them publish an article directly from the blog, when I should have written a real guest post that was targeted at more mainstream people who were not already readers.

        Anyway, glad to discover your blog RB40! We are definitely on the same team.

    • Thanks MMM.
      I’d rather have less money in the bank and be a happy healthy dad for my kid.
      Do you get a lot of negative comments too? I’ll have to drop by more often.

  57. I will have to go check out the post and comments as I love reading about a little controversy. There is no reason anyone should care what you do. It is great that you are in a position to stay home with the kid (kids, someday). Nothing wrong with that. Plus, you have the flexibility of being able to rejoin the work force in some capacity at any time.

  58. It’s debatable whether the world needs more “pro” bloggers, but it’s not debatable in my opinion that we need more voices like yours to challenge the status quo.

    Most of the negativity seems to come from jealousy. They are angry at you for making the right choices and living intentionally.

    Where there is smoke there is fire. This means you are moving closer to the right thing.

  59. I’m not trying to pick on your writing for the GRS post, but I don’t think it worded clearly enough for most of the readers there to understand your true thoughts and situation. As you mentioned, you did leave out the “stay at home Dad” part, which is definitely important. Also, whether you intended it or not, it did come off a bit like “I’m quitting my job to blog full-time,” which sounds very cliche to a lot of people and also often sounds destined to fail.

    Perhaps it’s hard for you to make a completely objective decision now, but I think that it’s also hard to do on the opposite end when a bunch of life-long employees are throwing out their two cents.

    I noticed a lot of the comments were based solely on salary and having a job in the poor economy. To me, that’s a poor reason to stay with a job, and it’s why a lot of people go through their life unhappily.

    I just re-read your Retire by 40 page, and I still think that’s reasonable to me. I wouldn’t reconsider it, and I wouldn’t let a bunch of commenters that don’t really know you get you down. I’d keep the options open to reuturning to some sort of working capacity in the future (and it seems like you are). We’ll still keep reading even if you haven’t hit all your Retire by 40 goals ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks for your feedback. I could have made it more clear.
      I think the sticking point is the blogging as well. I’m making enough money to get by. It’s not a lot of money, but that’s how I designed it. I don’t need 5k/month from blogging to survive and it’s just one part of the plan.

  60. one of the bad things about GRS is with all of their success, comes a lot of judgemental folks who tear virtually every guest poster to shreds..

    i rather admire you here, to be honest. i too work a nice cushy corporate job, that can be quite tolling on the soul in many ways. i don’t necessarily aspire to “stay at home” any time soon, but i certainly don’t want to be playing the same corporate culture games when i am 50 (i am only 33 now).

    don’t let the haters get you down.. go with your gut, and follow your dreams. if the SAH lifestyle isnt everything you dreamed it would be.. with your experience, you should be able to catch on somewhere else.

    • That’s what I figured. I can always get more education and rejoin the work force.
      Hope you can make your job more enjoyable. I think the corporations were taking advantage of the labor market these last few years and it made corporate life a bit worse for everyone. Perhaps things will improve as the unemployment rate decline.

  61. I’d retire by 27 if I could make that happen in the next 2 months.

    Don’t let a bunch of jealous strangers put you down. I especially have to laugh at the person who said, “It’s called “work” for a reason.” Are you kidding me.

    You know what it takes to be happy, you’ve planned for it, your wife is on board, and your kid is going to have a great stay at home dad. Please don’t let a bunch of strangers ruin that life for you.

    • Yeah, that was a bit sad. I think those days where people put their head down and work with no hope of getting out is over. We can make our own plans these days if we put our minds to it.

  62. Retire by 40, do it. There will always be haters, stick to your guns. Raising children is the most most important job. Perhaps you could have emphasized that a little more in your writings, just to pre-empt some of the reader fury out there.

    No matter what anyone says, you need to decide with your family what is best for you. You will never please everyone.

    • Yeap, you can’t please everyone. It’s a bit of a polarizing post and hopefully I attracted some readers with similar mindset.

  63. I read your post and thought it was great that you were giving yourself a shot at something different. The number of negative comments were quite shocking, but at the same time, not too surprising. There will always be naysayers. Personally, I’d like to quit my job at some point too. I don’t have a 6-figure salary, unfortunately, though I’m pretty good at saving. We’ll see. Best of luck to you. The thing is, even if it doesn’t work out, you’re giving it a go so you won’t be wondering, years later, “what if”… But it seems like you have what it takes to succeed anyway!

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I am giving it my best shot. I think people don’t like changes and are a bit defensive when someone tries to do something different.

  64. The majority of the comments seemed pretty brutal, but they also seemed a little biased against PF bloggers in general.

    I think you really want to do this and you can do it, so do it. I wouldn’t let a bunch of people who don’t really know you make the decision for you. It was evident in their comments that they are not readers. Baby RB40 would be lucky to have you.

    I completely understand your wife’s attitude too, I think if the tables were turned I would have loved to be the breadwinner, while my husband was a stay-at-home-dad. He would have liked it too, but he couldn’t really quit his job. (military)

    While the comments may have made you question some things, I think you and your family know what’s best.

    • Thanks for your input Niki. Everyone’s situation is different and you’re right that we know what’s best for us.
      It’s easy to make a quick judgement when you don’t know the whole story.
      Your husband can retire early too right? I thought the military has a shorter career span.

  65. Maybe re-launch as Stay-At-Home-Dad-By-40 ? You’ve mentioned it a number of times in the month or so that I’ve been reading your blog and it seems that that is really your primary reason. It’s not that you want to “retire” but that you don’t want your kid raised by a series of random strangers.
    When you make the leap, you should start a niche site on being a stay at home dad. I would read it!

  66. Maybe you should have guest posted that on I think the majority of readers over there have similar goals.

    I think you are just much further ahead mentally in life than some of the commenters and place higher value on experience/life rather than focus on the material benefits of discretionary income.

  67. I think your post at GRS may have been misleading. Early commenters didn’t realize you were Retire by 40, and the post lacked your complete history that you have shared here. It really came off like a plan you were just formulating, not one which has depth.

    I think if you go back and read the comments with that perspective, it might feel less harsh. And ignore the Haters! They’re just miserable.

  68. If you can retire by 40, then I say go for it. You only live once and life is too short to spend it behind a desk. Ask yourself what really matters to you and work as long as you need to in order to keep those things safe and secure.

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I really don’t want to spend my life behind a desk. There are other ways to make money out there. If we’re frugal, we have many more choices.

  69. Hi

    Stick at it. As you say most people would have glossed over the original article. I also thing your blog name of RB40 could irk many who are well over 40 and struggling week to week let alone considering retirement. Cheers

  70. Don’t let the haters make you doubt a plan that you’ve had in place for a very long time. I read the comments and they make it sound like staying in your corporate gig is the best thing since sliced bread. When did making the most money possible become more important than personal happiness and quality of life? Truthfully many of the comments sounded to me as if the commenter was scared.

    • I agree with you Steve. Many people are afraid of changes and don’t even want to consider the alternative of making less money. I think making more money clouded the judgement of many employees. Even if they are not happy, they feel the need to stay the course.

  71. Of course you shouldn’t reconsider your Retire by 40 goal. Those commenters sound like a bunch of jealous malcontents.

    I guess I’m trying to understand what’s so offensive about retiring. Really. I’m confused. If you’ve scrimped, saved, invested, and sacrificed over the years in order to retire early and do whatever the heck it is you want to do, then good for you. If you wanted to retire by 30, kick your heels up and pick your nose for the next 55 years, you should feel free to do that as long as you can afford it.

    • Thanks for the support Shawanda! There were more negative comments than I thought and they did make me pause a little bit. I will keep working toward early retirement even with the naysayers.
      Yeap, it’s a free country right? ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Joe, don’t you see how brilliant your post was?

        I know it wasn’t by design but controversy is good! It gets people thinking. Pushes them out of their comfort zone. Haha, I guess you sure did that. ๐Ÿ™‚

        I’m with Shawanda.. I tend to think most of the complainers were envious that you’ve put yourself in a position so you have excellent choices to pick from. More power to ya, I say!

        ~ darlene


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