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  • Writer's pictureHugh F. Wynn

Millennials call it FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early)

I decided to do what more and more of today’s Millennials (Generation Y) propose to do with their careers.

The Wynn-Fowler, Inc. experience was my final effort in the stress-filled game of energy marketing.

I next decided to try my hand at what more and more of today’s Millennials (Generation Y) propose to do with their careers – retire from the eight-to-five merry-go-round by age forty and become masters of their own destiny. They call it FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early). In so doing, I pursued several interests. I continued to serve on the Board of Governors of the OSU Foundation; managed all aspects of my immediate family’s personal assets, including two partnerships; co-founded a real estate company; spent years volunteering in water conservation education during which time I co-founded and served as Chief Financial Officer of Water Lily Press, Inc. and; wrote several fictional novels, a financial primer for Generation Xers, numerous water industry white papers, and several biographies of luminary figures in the energy, water, and southwestern art fields, a couple of “Dime Novel” series of historical Texas notables, and wrote and published a children’s book, illustrated by the celebrated artist, M. S. Franco. Together, this amazing artist and I continue to donate proceeds from the book for fundraising purposes.

Early in my FIRE-like period, I accepted as factual Woody Allen’s gag that “the definition of a broker is someone who invests your money until it is all gone”. I also adopted my own PDQ Principles of investing (patience…diversification… quality). At their core, these principles orbit around Vanguard icon, John Bogle’s industry-impacting Index Funds (Bogle died January 16, 2019). This simple approach to investing changed my life – made it more financially productive and less stressful – liberating time that I could commit to other interests. Life has been good to me. Good enough such that I developed my own personal motto: For those more fortunate, help those less blessed.

By the way, even though patience is one of my PDQ principles, and although I lean toward a buy-and-hold strategy, we, as investors, must be ever attentive. In short, don’t set-it-and-forget-it because as Bob Dylan would tell us, “The Times They Are A’Changin’."

In closing, I extend my everlasting appreciation to the late John Bogle whose inventiveness exposed retail index funds to millions of small investors like myself. As a result, those years of higher returns from investing in low-cost index funds provided me with the FIRE to leave the corporate world behind and do my own thing.

That said, it’s time to address the important business of saving and investing, never forgetting these watchwords: Financial Planning: It’s Never Too Late, But Early Is Best!

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