Preparing for the Next Big Market Correction

We are over 9 years into a great bull market.  If this trend continues this could be the longest bull market on record.  And while that seems amazing that does mean that the inevitable, a market correction, has to be just around the corner.  This trend can’t last forever.  We have already seen some volatility in 2018 but the question is will this continue and turn into a market correction of 20% or will it become something even worse like the Great Recession that was the start of this bull market in the first place or the tech bubble that burst in the early 2000s?  This is part of the reason that Mr. SFF and I have been reevaluating our portfolio lately.  If our investments investments lost 50% at this point we would not be able to recover in time to reach our FIRE goal in 3 years.  If we lost 20% we might still be able to make it happen if we made some adjustments. Continue reading “Preparing for the Next Big Market Correction”

Car Buying When You Are On The Path To FIRE

This past weekend we bought a car, with cash, on a whim.  This oversimplifies things a lot but in essence that is what we did.  The difference is that although some people may actually buy a car on a whim, this purchase was in actuality very well planned.

I previously owned a 2007 Honda Fit Sport that I purchased used just over 10 years ago with less than 9,000 miles on it.  And let me tell you, I loved that car!  I seriously almost cried as we traded it in on Saturday.  My Fit was fuel efficient, had the most functional interior space of most cars I have seen (everything fits in a FIT!), had next to no repairs over the tenure that I owned it, and was just in general the greatest car.  In all honesty I wanted to keep it for even longer but it had one issue that was seemingly impossible to fix. Continue reading “Car Buying When You Are On The Path To FIRE”

Making Things More Conservative

With our FIRE goal date at the 3 year mark I got to thinking that now might be the time to reevaluate our portfolio’s allocations and start to make some changes.  I am not talking big overhaul changes, but little tweaks to our allocations.  I should also state that I am making these changes because our FIRE goal is approaching and not at all due to some of the volatility we have been seeing in the market recently.

One of the first accounts we are going to be tapping once we hit FI, other than our cash, is our joint NQ brokerage account.  Our total investment portfolio is somewhere around 80% equities/20% bond holdings but the JT brokerage is more aggressive with a 93% equities/7% bonds mix.  And moreover 35% of this one account is just in Apple.  That is way more aggressive than this account should be if we are going to start tapping it in 3 years. Continue reading “Making Things More Conservative”

Reinvigorating Our Plan

I have been noticeably absent recently due to life throwing us some curve balls (including a concussion for both me and Mr. SFF within 3 weeks of each other).  Now that life is starting to get back on track we are also both trying to get recommitted to our FIRE goal.

Although I never wrote up a post with our 2017 expenditures as life got in the way, to summarize, we spent too much money.  🙁  Well I am not sure too much is really fair as we make enough to cover our expenses but we certainly loosened the purse stings and spent around 10% more than in 2016 – which is a pretty big number.  As a result our savings was a little lower than I had hoped.  We were able to max out my 401(k), our HSA plan (both of these were a first), and also opened up and maxed out a solo 401(k) for Mr. SFF (maxing the employee contribution plus a little profit sharing).  As a result we did the most to minimize our taxes but this meant a lack of savings in our taxable account.  As we are hoping to leave our full time jobs in 3 years this prompted a meeting of the minds with Mr. SFF and myself to make sure we were still on track and both on the same page with our plans.  I am the one tracking our progress so it was very important to bring Mr. SFF into the planning so that he can see where we stand and also to share my spend down plans with him.  Being on the same page when it comes to stuff like this is vital. Continue reading “Reinvigorating Our Plan”

Our Forever Home?

I know I am still pretty young but I realized that I not only have no idea what our next home looks like, or even if our our next home will be our forever home.  It’s funny how when you are on the path to FI previous plans can change and all of a sudden big decisions like this become even more important.

When we moved into our owner occupied duplex over 6 years ago our long term plan was to buy another duplex and then eventually a single family home for us, leaving us with two fully rented duplexes with a nice little income stream and then a space to call our own.  We have the other duplex now but as we have since decided leaving our full time jobs sounds more attractive than buying another home.  But that leaves us with the question of how long are we going to stay in our duplex and should we still be planning on our next home as well as planning for FI? Continue reading “Our Forever Home?”

The Year of Me

2017 was certainly the “year of me”.  My expenses for 2017 were definitely higher than I would like and I attribute this mostly to spending a lot of time and money on improving myself.  Yes Financial Independence will bring with it freedom but that doesn’t necessarily mean happiness.  I know that I need to find happiness in the now, today, and not wait for some future date so I have been working on improving myself in more ways than one over the past year.  Overall I would say this has been a success as I am becoming more comfortable with who I am and I find that in general I am pretty happy.

All of this improvement has come at a cost, and these costs have certainly added up.  My expenses in the personal care category alone more than doubled.  Ouch!  My hope is that many of these costs will not continue long term but I suspect that some will.  Here are some of the things I have spent money on this year and why. Continue reading “The Year of Me”

Celebrating Milestones

As I track our progress monthly I am keenly aware of how things are tracking.  Sometimes I will look at our numbers and projections mid-month though if we are close to hitting another milestone.  This past week was one of those times.  We might not be at our ultimate goal but I do love to celebrate the little things along the way.  So one evening after work I updated all of our figures and thanks to an amazing year in the market and continued strong savings we hit another big mark.

How did we celebrate?  In frugal style of course!  Over the summer a friend had given us a mini bottle of Champagne that she had gotten as a favor at a wedding but she doesn’t drink Champagne.  In my mind I had earmarked this bottle for just this occasion as I knew it was fast approaching.  So upon confirming the info and sharing the great news with Mr. SFF we celebrated.  Cheers to the little steps that mean we are one step closer to the ultimate goal of financial freedom!  

Mr. SFF also gave me one of his old cameras so now I can take some better photos for the blog.  🙂  Merry Christmas!

Calculating “One More Year”

Many in the FIRE community will talk about “one more year” syndrome.  This is the idea that you work for just one more year and save a little more money before pulling the plug.  There are likely many reasons for this including fear of not having enough saved, actually liking your current work, or maybe just general fear of this massive life change.  Many of us are planning on leaving full time employment decades sooner than the average person so is one more year really all that bad?

At this point we have less than 2.5 years left to go until we hit FI based on my current estimates (this is our comfortable coasting FI number) but I have already started to think about how much one more year, or even one more month, could affect our finances.  Based on very rough numbers and of course greatly depending on market conditions every year we delay leaving our full time jobs would give us an estimated $2,000-$6,000 additional annual income for life.  Now I realize this is a huge range and that is very much because we have no idea what the market will do or even our exact savings every year.  But I will explain a little further so hang in there. Continue reading “Calculating “One More Year””

A Day of Freedom

This past Thursday evening we had a bunch of people over so I decided to take Friday off as I have some extra vacation time and didn’t want to feel rushed to end the party.  I got to sleep in a little bit still but was up before 8 and then had a pretty productive and amazing day.

A friend swung by the house to pick up something she forgot the night before just after I had gotten up. Mr. SFF and I were in the kitchen getting ready for breakfast when she came in. She inquired if we always had Fridays off. I of course do not but Mr. SFF often has a pretty flexible schedule on Friday. The comment did secretly make my smile knowing that hopefully within a couple of years this would be our reality, not only every Friday but every day of the week.

Knowing how lucky I was to have the day off, I certainly made the best of it. I did some normal house stuff like cleaning up from the night before, I ran a few loads of laundry, and even did some sewing things had been meaning to get to. Nothing amazing or thrilling but it was just so wonderful to have so much time to get this stuff done without having to eat into our weekend fun time.
Continue reading “A Day of Freedom”

Penny Wise, Pound Foolish? – Auto Insurance Renewal

Auto insurance is one of those necessary expenses in my opinion.  But at the same time I recently came to the conclusion that maybe I don’t need as much coverage.  You see I own a 2007 Honda Fit and it has been truly an amazing car.  It still runs really well but it is getting old and the age is starting to show.  It has some rust spots that have started in the wheel wells and the interior, although I try to maintain it, is also showing some signs of wear.  When you put this together with the mileage of 135,000+ it isn’t worth a whole lot.  After doing some calculations on Kelley Blue Book I determined my resale value is anywhere between $2,000-$3,000.  Now this car likely has many years left and I am not ready to get rid of it but it did make me think when my semi-annual auto insurance renewal came in this summer.  Is it really worth paying $355.83 every 6 months when the total value isn’t all that high?

My first step was to go to another insurance carrier to get a quote matching my current policy.  I was able to find something less expensive so my next call was to my existing insurance agent.  Although I might be able to move my auto coverage to another carrier there was a huge downside.  We currently have the property insurance for both properties as well as the auto insurance all with Allstate.  If I were to move my auto insurance to another carrier I would lose my multi-policy discount on the homeowners policies.  This difference was more than the savings I would receive for switching the auto insurance.  No go with that plan. Continue reading “Penny Wise, Pound Foolish? – Auto Insurance Renewal”