5 year anniversary

5th anniversary

My how time flies!

Not that anyone's counting, but as friend Andy reminded me, it has been 5 years since thousands of us cast off the shackles of corporate servitude by taking early retirement from HP after the HP-Compaq merger.

gold badge

It was on the last Friday of June 2002 that I traded up to my gold-colored retiree badge. And I have to say, it was the best thing that's ever happened to me — work is vastly over-rated.

I would have retired later that year anyway, but the lovely parting gifts bestowed by an HP eager to shed thousands of long-time — hence expensive — employees have meant a level of financial comfort and independence that I never, ever expected.

My expectations were set very vividly in an HP training course called The Road to Financial Independence, in which we were taught how to massage our current net worth, assumptions about future earnings and expenses, inflation, longevity, and so forth to determine how much wealth we would have to amass in order to be able to retire at some future point at a desirable level of comfort. Looking at the 7-figure sum that resulted from all that guesstimation, I concluded that retirement was a completely unrealistic goal and that I would have to work until the day I died. That's why I still pinch myself from time to time to make sure I'm not just dreaming.

There's a class of people, thanks largely to tax advantages bestowed by the Bush administration, who are not just rich, or very rich, but filthy rich. I'm not one of them, but I've been very fortunate. Life is good.