I am an engineer by trade. I am hoping to retire in 2019 if my savings allow. I began investing (beyond just participating in the company stock plan) in the early 90s, and like many, discovered I was a genius at it until the bubble popped in 2000. I sat out a few years and licked my wounds, then dove back in just in time to get decimated again by the 2008-2009 crash. That was when I decided to abandon my buy and hope approach and started to actively manage my portfolio. It was also around then that I discovered Seeking Alpha, which has been extremely helpful to me in my efforts to learn as much as I can about the market, risk, valuing companies, ETFs, dividends, hedging using options, etc. Hopefully I can avoid another gut-wrenching plummet of my portfolio while managing enough returns to meet my retirement goal. By my calculation I need to average a return of 9.5% annually up until my retirement, after which I will need to average a return of 3.4% annually.