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The Personal Finance Podcast

Why Coast FIRE May Be The Perfect Strategy for You with Andy Hill

In this episode of The Personal Finance Podcast, we’re going to talk to Andy Hill about Coast FIRE.

In this episode of The Personal Finance Podcast, we’re going to talk to Andy Hill about Coast FIRE. 

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Transcript

On this episode of the Personal Finance Podcast, we're gonna talk to Andy Hill about Coast Fire.

What's up everybody, and welcome to the Person Finance Podcast. I'm your host Andrew, founder of Master money.co. And today on the Personal Finance Podcast we are gonna be talking to Andy Hill. About coast fires. If you guys have any questions, make sure you hit us up on Instagram or TikTok at Master Money Co.

And follow us on Spotify, apple Podcast or whatever podcast player you love listening to this podcast Tune. If you want to help out the show, leave a five star rating and review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. So today we are so incredibly excited. To have Andy Hill on the show and Andy is our first two-time guest that we have ever had on the podcast.

And today we are gonna be talking about Coast Fire. So the first time Andy came on, we talked about how he paid off his mortgage and how much freedom that brought him and his family. And today we are talking about the fact that he has achieved Coast fire and why you may want to consider Coast Fire as well because it's a really stress-free way to pursue financial independence once you get to that point and.

Absolutely love the Coast Fire Movement. So I was so excited to get Andy on the show so that we could talk about this as well. And Andy is the host of the podcast, marriage Kids and Money, and it is one of the best personal finance podcasts out there. I encourage each and every single one of you to check out his show as well.

Because he and I are trying to teach the same message on teaching people how to build generational wealth for themselves and for their family. So I'm so incredibly excited to have Andy on for the second time. So without further ado, let's welcome Andy to the Personal Finance Podcast. So Andy, welcome back to the Personal Finance Podcast.

Thanks so much for having me again, Andrew. I'm, uh, happy to be here. We are so incredibly excited to have you. You are the first two time guest on the Personal Finance podcast, and last time we talked about how you paid off your mortgage and how cool that was, and we went through that whole process and this time I wanna talk through something that you achieved within the last couple years as well, which is Coast Fire.

And Coast Fire is one of my favorite topics to talk about because I think there's so much freedom. Once you realize how Coast Fire works. But before we dive into that, if somebody didn't hear your first episode when you're on the podcast, tell us a little bit about yourself and marriage, kids and money.

Yeah, absolutely Andrew. I'm happy to be back and that's really a treat to be the first two typecast, so that means a lot to me. Thank you. Uh, my platform's called Marriage, kids and Money. Because those are the things that I worry about as a dad a lot. I'm a married guy, I've got two small kids. I've got a 10 year old, an eight year old.

I'm constantly thinking about how I can be a better husband, be a better father, and with that comes building your wealth as well of what you know, the things that you can do to build your wealth. Can also affect your family happiness. So I like to talk about those things as far as my platform goes and connecting with like-minded people like you, because those are the things that are on my mind all the time.

So yeah, I've been at that for a while and I'm happy to be here to talk to you about, uh, building wealth and happiness. And I love that you talk about those topics cuz those are some of the most important topics, especially when we're talking about generational wealth, which is one of my favorite things to talk about.

And one cool thing that you achieved lately, like we talked about is Coast Fire. And Coast Fire is something that you can really have some freedom when it comes to pursuing financial independence if you know how this works. So can you explain to us what Coast Fire. Yeah, I like to define Coast Fire as the point in time when you've saved up so much in your retirement accounts.

These are things like the 401k, the ira, even hsa, depending on how you use it. You've saved up so much in those that you can essentially coast towards retirement without any further contributions or. Minimal contributions on your way there because of time and compound interest. They do their magic and it takes you to that magical destination of millions of dollars or a million dollars or millions of dollars that you need to withdraw to live on in your golden years.

So yeah, we hit that point in our forties and uh, it's definitely helped us to relax a lot more. Absolutely. And that's what a lot of people who pursue Coast Fire, they say, you know, once they hit that point, a lot of people have to work really hard to get to that point. But once they hit that point, it seems like they can kind of take their foot off the gas a little bit.

So I read, you know, even on Reddit and there's some bunch of forms about Coast Fire and there's different avenues that people take all the time, but what initially drew you to Coast Fire? A couple of things. I think I worry about money more than the average bear probably. And that's because that's what I do.

I have a business about it, and then I talk to my spouse about it way more than she wants to hear about it from me. . So I, I worry about it a little bit more. And one of those worries that I think about is, am I gonna have enough to retire when I wanna be done working or when I wanna fade out and just be like, Hey, I don't want to be out there and work as much anymore.

And so retirement is one of those things that I can check off the box and say, Done it. I'm done with that. That's why you and I had that conversation about paying off the mortgage. I felt the same way. I had a lot of stress around having a big mortgage, and so when I was able to pay that off, I was like, checkbox done.

Same thing with Coast Fire. That's how it feels to me. Once you get to that point and you've saved enough for your retirement, with some calculations, you can. Am I done? Am I close enough to being done, or can I just minimize my contribution so much that I'll help myself to get over that goal line and check that box?

So for me, it's one of those things that's just a relief that you don't have to think about anymore. And that's one of the cool things about what you're doing with money is you're utilizing money as a tool to reduce your stress, to reduce your anxiety. And I think that's truly what money is there to do, is to help you reduce that stress, reduce that anxiety in your life so that you can pursue that financial freedom.

And the cool thing about this is a lot of people who understand what lean fire is, where you're trying to save up as much money as possible to retire as fast as you possibly can, but you're living on the bare minimum that you can live on. That kind of stresses people out because they feel like, Hey, maybe I am trying to work as hard as I can to get to this point.

And I'm really just living on the bare minimum. So did you see that pursuing coast fire kind of help you unlock more freedom within your budget as well? Absolutely. Yeah. You know, uh, to the point of the fire community too, I was full bore. I love the fire community. I think it's fantastic. And I wanted to achieve financial independence.

And then as I went on and I'm like seeing that even with my larger than normal income, I think for a period of 10 years, my wife and I had a household income of about $180,000. So like pretty good income, you know, even with that. This whole fire, like traditional fire thing, that's gonna be really hard for us and we're making a good amount of money.

And so I was thinking, well, you know what's more realistic? And Coast fire seemed like that realistic state for us, where it's like, what are the real worries? Do I wanna stop working? No, I don't wanna stop working. I like working, I like doing some type of work on, you know, yeah. Work that I like to do. I don't wanna stay at someplace that doesn't make me feel comfortable.

But I like to work. I like to contribute. I like to serve. I like. People, so I don't wanna stop working, but what I wanna do is stop worrying about saving for my retirement. I wanna stop worrying about 'em. If I gonna have enough to pay off my house and with those abilities, then I can feel like, okay, those two boxes are checked and I'm doing work every day, part-time work now to enjoy my life.

And pay the bills. So if I have enough to pay the bills outside of my mortgage and my retirement, we're good. And that's just so relaxing to me. And so that's why, uh, we wanted to pursue it. And the whole idea of lean fire is maybe a little bit too restrictive for us. I think that's, I think what I've seen is maybe around 30,000 or $40,000.

A year to live on. And that's a little tight for us. We live happily on between 60 and $80,000 a year. So knowing that number, I think helps a lot for people to understand what's your comfortable living expenses. And I think once you understand that, that can help you determine if coast fire's for you or if lean fire's good for you or any type of fire.

Absolutely, and that's what I fell into as well when I went to pursue Lean Fire initially, as I was just trying to get there as fast as I possibly could. Then I quickly realized that I really don't wanna live on the bare minimum. I want work flexibility. I wanna still be able to work and do the things that I love, but in addition, I want to not have to worry about money anymore, just like you said.

So this is kind of the beauty of Coast Fire and how you can actually think about this as you start your journey on Coast Fire. This is something that you're actually interested in. If someone is hearing about this and they're saying, okay, this is something I definitely want to do, how can someone calculate their coast fire number?

What should they kind of think through as they start this process? Yeah, I think it's uh, something we just spoke about recently is calculating how much you need to live comfortably. I think that's the first step. And if you don't know how much you need, I think a lot of people know how much they make, right?

Hey, this is my salary, or this is how much I pulled in this year. That's an easy number to pull off cuz I. You know, something that we're proud of or something that we identify with, but I think it's almost more important to identify with how much you spend each year, because that's the real wealth builder, right?

So if we look at that and say, how much do we need to live comfortably, not survive and get by? Kind of like lean fire, but how much do we need? To live comfortably. And for us as a couple, that includes things like all of our household expenses, taking care of our children, multiple vacations, you know, giving generously in a, you know, kids' summer camps, things like that, that are important to us.

We don't feel like we're deprived if we go about this. And for us, like I said, that's around 60 to $80,000 a year. Very comfortable on 80, you know, uh, sort of comfortable around 60. So if we're in that, That would be the first thing that you need to do is take a look at a budget, write down your numbers, and decide how much between you and your partner, how much you need to live comfortably.

And then when you wanna use that money, that's really the next step is to look and say, okay, when do we wanna retire? And I know a lot of people would say tomorrow, right? You know that, that because there they're maybe not feeling happy with what they wanna do, but realistically, if you look at something like a traditional retirement age of 59 and a half, or 65 or 67, whatever that.

You wanna take a look at that and then make that decision. And then at that point you wanna just like play around with some calculators. I like, um, you know, compound interest calculators to do this. This is very easy to do that. You can do that on investor.gov. Just go to compound interest calculator.

They've got a fantastic one in there. You can then calculate. How much you currently have, and then look at the time towards your years to retirement, and then you can use a calculation on your interest rate that you think that you'll be able to pull in. And I know this is hot for debate, right? So I use 7%, and the reason that I use that is the average market return over its history has been around 10%.

Does it return that every year? Absolutely not. It does not. But. On average, it's around 10% per year. And then if you take out the average inflation, which is skewing a lot higher lately, but average inflation's around 3%, so that gets me the 7% number. It's not perfect math. Um, and if it feels too aggressive to you, Then use 5% for your calculations.

Whatever you wanna do. I don't think you should dismiss Coast fire because of any of these specific numbers. Find the numbers that work best for you. If one feels too aggressive, then take something that's a little more conservative. Do those calculations, run the numbers, and then you'll find out how much you'll have at that projected age.

So let's say for example, you've got $750,000 saved up and you're 44 years. You've got 21 years of a time horizon until you are retired, 7% interest rate. That's gonna get you close to about 3 million by the time you're 65. So with 3 million, you can do the 4% rule and say, okay, that's gonna give me around $120,000 per year to live on.

Is that enough? F, and if that feels too aggressive, then take a look at like a 3% rule, then that's around $93,000. Again, you can use these numbers and adjust accordingly based on your situation and go from there. But I think playing around understanding your comfortable living expenses and then playing around with these calculators and doing the math to see.

Hey, I might not be Coast Fire yet, but man, we're close and I feel comfortable in slowing down contributions or stopping altogether, and that's totally a personal decision for you. Absolutely. And I am the type of person, especially as a money nerd, where I'm playing with these investment calculators all the time, every single day I'm, I'm messing around with these investment calculators.

That's what I like to do in my downtime. And it's one of those things where once you start doing this, it's really powerful to go through this exercise because once you start doing this, you can kind of see, Hey, I can get to this point in X amount of years. And then you become really motivated to actually kind of pursue this goal as.

and I love how you break that down to kind of figure out, it's flexible for each person and each situation is going to be different, but just kind of thinking through what's your risk tolerance, how risky does this feel? If you want to go 4% rule, that's great. That's what we talk about in this podcast all the time.

But you can also go down to three and a half. You can go to 3%. There's so many different options there as well. And when someone's calculating their coast fire number, is it important to have maybe somewhat of a margin of safety in play when you do these numbers? Absolutely. I think a good way to do it is maybe.

A low end and a high end, and that way you're working with a range instead of a specific number, because specific numbers, even for retirement, I'm sure if there was a financial advisor on this podcast, they'd say, Hey, be a little bit more flexible with your timeframe that you're gonna say you're gonna retire and the amount of money, because working with a range might make you feel a little bit more like, okay, yeah, I'm in that range.

That feels comfortable as opposed to a specific number. Because I think a lot of people could just say, well, it's not that specific number. Discounting it completely. So I think having some margin for a little bit of give and take with the 4% rule or the 3% rule. Some people even say the 5% rule because they say the 4% rule is too aggressive too.

So having some margin for error there as well as margin for your. Specific comfortable living expenses, you know, and taking a look at your specific situation. If you're in a time in your life where you're maybe a single guy or a single gallon, you don't have very high expenses, but in the future you have high hopes of getting married and having multiple children, then your expenses are gonna go up.

So, you know, thinking of those types of things, what you're comfortable living expenses are today, and maybe where they're going to be when you think about. Now, one big question a lot of people may be having, especially if this is new to you, is once you get close to that coast fire number or you hit that coast fire number, what do you do with your extra money?

Do you just stop saving for retirement and you use that money for fun? Or how do you actually kind of think through that process? That is my favorite question. So when you come to this crossroad, it's almost like the matrix, like which pill are you gonna take? Right. So the first pill is, Okay. Wow. I don't have to worry about saving for retirement as much.

This is gonna allow me to amplify my wealth building power today. So let's say I'm 30 or 40 and I want to grow a business, or I wanna invest in real estate, or I wanna invest in a taxable brokerage. Things that are gonna be able to give me more money today, more ability to grow. And grow things outside of taxable retirements when I'm old and gray.

Right? So that's your first opportunity. The other opportunity is to relax more. You could relax more. You could say, I'm gonna use more of this money for vacations with people that I love. I'm gonna use more of this money to give back to causes that call to my heart in my community, because I wanna be the change that I wanna see in my community.

You. Take more time to relax. You can work less, you can go part-time instead of full-time work. When you're not saving 20 or 30 or 40% of your income, you don't have to make as much income so you can work part-time. So maybe there's a combination of both the pill A and B, where you're maybe building your wealth and relaxing more, or you're gonna go full bore, relax, or full bore wealth builder either.

There's so many choices when you finally check that box off of, I don't have to worry about retirement savings anymore. It's like when our parents had their pension and they didn't have to worry about it anymore. This is our version of pension. . Absolutely. And that's the beautiful thing about this and the beautiful thing about financial independence is this is kind of a creative endeavor.

There's a lot of different ways that you can approach this. You can mix coast fire and barista fire together like you're talking about, where you don't have to work full-time. You can only have to work part-time and maybe it's something that you're interested in. You don't have to make as much income cuz you're not saving so much money.

And if you have a mortgage paid off like you do, then that's another great. Thing where that, that reduces the amount of money that you have to make as well. So there's so many cool things when it comes to wealth building and how you can kind of be creative and create the life that you want once you start to do some of this stuff.

So if someone hears this and they really wanna pursue Coast Fire, do you have any tips for them on how they can kind of achieve that as fast as possible? Yeah, I would say if you're not taking advantage of tax advantaged retirement accounts, this is the time to do that. Um, the IRS is even raising the limits for 2023 going forward on the amount that you can contribute to your 401k.

So this is an opportunity for you to really look at the next maybe five years, 10 years of your life and say, if I just went crazy on maxing out my 401k or my ira, or even tax advantage programs like an hsa, if you have a high deductible health. Combining all these together each year can really grow your retirement accounts to a level where you're like, well, I took care of that and yeah, it's gonna take some time.

And it did for us. Like I maxed out my 401k at my job for I think six years straight. And we, I had a good match and the market was good for sure. So I started off with $0 when I started at that company. And when I left six years later, I had $200,000 just for maxing out. The 401k there with the match, a good market, and continuing to do the contributions over and over again.

They had. Uh, index fund option there as well. That kept my fees low. I know not everybody's 401ks are made equal, but we had a good situation at my office and by that time, you know, that $200,000, if I just let that sit there and grow, that could be upwards of a million bucks in another 20, 25 years. So, compound interest is crazy, so you gotta take advantage of it and, uh, take advantage of these workplace retirement options.

Or if you don't have a traditional workplace option, you can look at a Ira, Roth IRA and an h s. Absolutely. Those are a bunch of my favorite accounts as well and we love to talk about those on this podcast as well and utilizing those, and I think a lot of people need to understand this isn't gonna happen overnight.

It's one of those things that you kind of gotta work through, but it's something that as long as you're consistent and you have that goal in place and you know where when to hit that goal and what your enough number is, it's so incredibly powerful what you can do and, and even a shorter amount of timeframe, which is really, really cool about this.

We've talked about a bunch of different pros with Coast Fire. Are there any other pros to Coast Fire that you can think of? Yeah, I would say a lot of times, uh, and I've fallen into this trap too, I get very numbers focused where I'm like, net worth and debt free and mortgage free. Like all these number, uh, focused, uh, goals, but really, We gotta tie these back to emotions and, uh, personal wins because these tools of money and the net worth numbers, they're not really gonna, after you achieve these things, it's not like you're like, wow, I'm constantly happy going forward.

There needs to be a purpose behind us investing these needs to be a purpose around us paying off debt. There needs to be a purpose around us saving money, because once we have. Money put away and put towards those goals. That's when we can actually enjoy them and say, I've invested this money so that I don't have to worry about retirement anymore.

I've paid off this house so that my wife has the opportunity to stay at home with the kids because that's something she wants to do. Or, I've invested so much in my taxable brokerage that I can live off a portion of it and then work part-time now. Like, that's cool. Like, so if you gotta tie these.

Investment goals and savings goals to a purpose. Otherwise, I think you lose interest and I think you lose the fire to want to do them anymore because you're like, man, I'm tired. Why am I doing this again? You know? I think we need to remember that there's a purpose, so we always have to have a why when we do these things.

Exactly cuz the just setting standard goals is a truly fleeting thing. But once you have the why in place, it kind of gives you that motivation to continue forward. And putting those systems into place is one of the best things that you can do. And so you've interviewed a ton of people who have achieved Coast Fire on your podcast, marriage, kids of Money, and there's been some incredible stories that you've had on the podcast.

What is maybe your favorite story that you've had of someone you've, I. Well, you know, I'm always excited about the people who really started early and it kind of shocks me as somebody who really didn't get started seriously investing probably until my late twenties or my early thirties. And so when I hear about some of these people who have a half a million dollars saved up by their early thirties in their investment account, I'm like, wow, that is amazing.

So either you, it clicked in your head when you were in college, or you had amazing parents that thought. We need to continue to have generational wealth in our family. So I'm gonna teach my kids the tools that they need to invest early and show them the power of time and compound interest. So I had a few of those, uh, uh, that I interviewed already.

I'm like, the amount of money that's in there. Had to have been one of those two things. There was an epiphany moment early on in their lives where they said, I'm gonna get on this. Or they found some great resources like the Personal finance podcast, where they're saying, okay, I need to get on this fast.

Or they just had great parents that helped them to show them the ropes or great mentors. So those are the things that are really exciting to me because the earlier you start in this game, the more wealth you can build. Exactly. It is one of the most powerful things that you have with wealth Bidding is your time, so that is really cool as well.

Is there like a type of occupation or lifestyle that you think would be ideal for Coast Fire or is this something for everybody? Oh man. I would say there's a lot of professions out there where you can make good money, and I was in one of 'em for a while, but with the good money might come, high stress and high hours.

And so I think as individuals, as humans, we can only do that for so long before we have sort of a breaking point or where we say, I can't go at this level anymore, and so I'm gonna either quit or make a lot less money. So I think if we're feeling that already in our careers at whatever stage we're in, we might wanna make a plan to have sort of an exit.

And I think. The last thing that I want for people to do is just to quit their jobs with no plan, because I think that's dangerous, especially in the environment that we're in right now, high inflation and looming recession. Uh, it feels great to just say, bye, I'm out of this place. But that can be really dangerous for you or anybody that relies on your income.

So I think creating mid-level goals like this, like coast fire, Or, you know, being able to pay off some debt or just even putting away money for emergencies. Those mid-level goals can help you step towards independence and freedom, maybe from a high stress environment, high hours environment, maybe where you're getting paid good money so you can take that extra good money and maybe not spend it so much on stuff and lifestyle inflation, but you can instead use it to buy your freedom or buy your.

Absolutely. And I love that kind of thinking through it as a spectrum as well where you can kind of think through this even maybe you initially started with Lean fire, then you know, you realized, oh, maybe that's not what I wanna do. Then you hit Coast Fire and then you can even go to different levels of fat fire and stuff like that as well.

Um, but it's almost the stages along the way and that's one of the most beautiful things about this as well. So we've talked about a lot of people who coast fire maybe for, is there anyone you think, uh, would not fit into the Coast Fire lifestyle or who it may not be? I think, uh, any of the fire lifestyles that we're talking about have the word independence in them, you know?

And so for people who really love what they do all day long, and they are paid a certain amount of money, and that money will fund their happy lifestyle, I'm not sure. I'm not sure if that this might call to you or not. You know, whether you're serving in an independent role, but that being said, that role might not always be there for you.

So I think making some sort of plan, whether it's an aggressive plan, like. You know, uh, paying off your mortgage or coast fire or traditional fire or lean fire, any of these ones, or just having a backup plan like, Hey, if I got let go from this position that I absolutely love, would I be okay for three months or would I be okay for six months?

And that's, I think, more important than any of these broader goals. It's just making sure that you're protecting yourself from the unexpected. And if you can think about what the unexpected is, prepare for that. You know? So I think that can be done with as simple as an emergency. Absolutely. And I think just protecting your wealth is one of the most powerful things that you can do.

And even early on, the most powerful thing that you can do is fund that emergency fund, have it in place so that you have that protection plan so that you don't fall behind when you start to do some of this stuff as well. So this has been a fantastic so far, Andy. So I wanna kind of shift gears here to some questions that we love to ask a lot of our guests and kind of go through some of these cuz we get some really cool answers off of these.

So what part of your worker life makes you come. Oh, what part of my work or life makes me come alive. I love being able to grow a small business that associates my family in it because I'm all about family and I love being able to spend time with my family. It's sort of this, uh, word that I heard from an author that I interviewed called Work Life Integration.

So we always hear about work life balance a lot, and sometimes people think that's a. Myth, uh, work-life integration is like, Hey, the things that I like and the people that I like being around, I'm gonna spend more time with, as opposed to maybe being stuck in an office with people that I don't like and integrating 'em.

So that could have pros and cons to it, but I love that I can work with my wife. I love that I can work with my son and I love that I can work with my daughter at least for a period of time in this family business. And that's incredible and you can even see it coming through on the podcast. If you guys haven't heard Andy's podcast yet, I truly encourage you to go listen to it.

He has episodes with his wife and his kids are on there as well. So it's really cool how you kind of integrate everyone into the, some of the episodes. I absolutely love that part of it. So the second one is, what is the best money advice you've ever received? Whew. Uh, the best money advice that I've ever received.

Well, I guess I think back to my mother and my father who helped me have a great life and really helped me to grow into the individual that I am. And I'd say my mom, uh, was always great with. Saving and planning for the future. And my dad was always showing me the work hard attitude and the benefits of entrepreneurship and being able to push forward.

So I guess combining both my mom and dad is saying that my mom loves to say all the time as Carpe dm and it's just, you know, uh, sees the day, you know, you got a lot of opportunities in this day that you're in right now, take advantage of it. And, uh, I end my podcast with that saying, um, on each. Yep. I've heard you say that at the end, at the very end of every episode, which is really, really cool.

Um, but I didn't know that that's where it came from, so that's really awesome as well. And it's amazing how our upbringing kind of influenced us so much, especially when it comes to money and, and the way that we kind of think about money. So the last one is my favorite one, and you've answered this one before, I think in the past.

But, uh, what does wealth mean to you? Yeah, I would say wealth, uh, means time freedom, I would say the ability to choose what you wanna do with your time, and if we don't utilize our wealth to give us the life that we want, then it's just a number. So whether you're a multimillionaire or a deca millionaire, or you know somebody who's got a dollar in their account, are you using the resources you.

To create the life you want, and that's a question I ask myself daily and I'm always trying to improve daily. So it's not to say that I'm there at all, I just think it's a quest to that. I'm excited on continuing to figure out over the next however many years I have on this life, . I absolutely love that.

That is absolutely perfect. So Andy, thank you so much for coming back on and being our first two-time guest. Where can people find out more about you in everything that you have going on? Absolutely. Well, if you're listening to this fantastic five star podcast, the Personal Finance podcast, you can check out my podcast on your favorite podcast player.

Just type in marriage, kids and money. Would love to, uh, hear from you and. See if you guys like any of the episodes we've got going on where we interview great people like Andrew on our show. Absolutely. And we'll link that everything up, down below so you guys can check out everything with Andy. And we will.

Andy, thank you so much. We truly appreciate you coming back on and thank you again. Thank you, Andrew.

 

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