Fit FIRE

This spring my husband introduced me to the subreddit board for Financial Independence.  Although it seems the majority of those who post are males in the tech field (my husband fits this category) I have started to read the posts regularly.  Since it is much smaller than the Mr. Money Mustache forum it is much easier to manage.  I get too overwhelmed sometimes trying to find topics of interest when I go to the MMM forum so Reddit has been my go to recently.

In addition to the regular Financial Independence subreddit there are also a couple more specific pages.  There is a page for LeanFIRE which is for those who are trying to reach Financial Independence and Retirement (FI/RE) but with smaller budgets.  These individuals are trying to make it happen with $40,000 or less in expenses.  For many this means they might need only $1,000,000 in investments as a 4% withdrawal rate would generate enough income for these individuals.  Although I wish we could get our expenses down to that level it is just not possible where we live.  We live solidly in a medium COL area and our mortgage and property taxes alone are almost $18,000 per year.  No, we don’t live in an extravagant house.  Our home is a very modest duplex where the majority of this cost is covered by the rental income but still, it demonstrates that where we live is not cheap.  So as much as I would love to be after a LeanFIRE lifestyle it is just not realistic for us. Continue reading “Fit FIRE”

Would a Shorter Work Week Do The Trick?

This whole journey towards FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) really has to do with changing our lifestyle and giving just just a little more time to play or do what we want instead of being stuck in the office.  Heading to the office five days a week, spending the whole time looking forward to those two days that make up the weekend, is just not a great fit for me.  Even though I get out at 4:30 every day I feel that most of the day is gone and between eating dinner and winding down for the day I don’t have enough time to do fun things.  My job is fine but I don’t love it.  And sometimes I end up mentally take the job home with me, making the day seem worse. Continue reading “Would a Shorter Work Week Do The Trick?”

Taxes: How They Have Messed Up Our Timeline

We have our tax returns prepared by an accountant every year.  I know, I know, many in the FI community do their own but with Mr. SFF being self-employed and now having two rental properties, I would just rather have someone else, who is may more knowledgeable, do the returns for us.  Last week we got the returns back and were they a doozey!  We usually try to plan our taxes so we end up pretty close to zero.  We don’t feel the need to give the government a free loan throughout the year (getting a return) but we also don’t want to write a check huge check.  But I guess 2016 was a year where we were off, by A LOT.  It was bad enough that our accountant gave us a bottle of wine.  Yup, some good old alcohol to drown out the pain.

What contributed to this big change?  First of all we purchased a new duplex in mid January of 2016 so we had just shy of a full year of rental income with this new property.  Our other duplex is owner occupied and we usually only show a couple hundred dollars of taxable income from this one so I really had no idea what to expect from this new property.   Continue reading “Taxes: How They Have Messed Up Our Timeline”

Where Will Our Retirement Income Come From?

The journey towards Financial Independence is all about saving money but what about once you hit your FI goal?  That is when things change and you go from savings mode into spend down mode.  When in the car the other day both Mr. SFF and I admitted that the thought of actually spending our hard earned money was a little terrifying.  Yup, terrifying is the word we both used.  When you are a natural saver, like both of us have been our whole lives even well before starting this journey to FI, the thought of not only stopping saving but spending that hard earned money is a completely foreign and scary prospect.  I think this is part of the reason I am overestimating how much money we will need.  But in addition to overestimating our needs we are also trying to create other income streams so that we don’t actually have to rely on just our investments.

Now I think the term “spend down” might be slightly misleading for us as ideally we don’t want the value of our investments to go down over time.  Once we hit FI we need our investments to not only keep up with inflation but also cover any unexpected costs that could come up over the decades that we will be spending in our retirement.  This is even more important for those of us who will be spending so many years out of the full time workforce.  If you retire well into you 60’s and you haven’t been diligently saving over the years then you will likely be drawing down your money but as we likely have 40 or more years in our retirement we need to make sure our investments are still growing and ensure our needs are covered.  This means either making sure we have more than enough saved in our investment accounts or create other income streams.
Continue reading “Where Will Our Retirement Income Come From?”

Making Sure You Have 40 Quarters of Work

I might be strange to discuss Medicare stuff as most of us on this early retirement journey are years from Medicare eligibility but as most of us in this community are planners calculating every need that might arise, I figured it was an important topic to cover (plus I have been doing some insurance CE on the topic so I figured I could share my wealth of knowledge).

Most of us don’t know the costs associated with Medicare and might even think that we just automatically get Medicare once we turn 65 for free.  In reality, we have to “earn” this benefit by paying into the system over the years.  For the average person this isn’t an issue because it takes them a few decades to amass enough money to retire but for those of us in FI community we have BIG dreams and those dreams often mean not working the majority of our adult lives.

Continue reading “Making Sure You Have 40 Quarters of Work”

When Boredom Leads to Unhappiness

I have been a little absent from my blog over the past couple of months, posting very little of interest.  I am attributing this to my lack of down time at work and also being busier outside of work.  There are some changes coming up at work (more to come on this soon) and I have been busier which means less time daydreaming about what my life could be like without work.  It’s kinda funny that my husband and tell right away if I was busy at work or bored out of my mind as it has a direct correlation to my mood.  Busy most of the day and I am generally happy.  But if have time to twiddle my thumbs (ie: browse the web) I am usually less happy by the time I get home.

At the beginning of the year, especially right after our vacation, I was in a pretty big funk and the boredom at work really didn’t help.  At that time I crunched the numbers and if we worked really hard and the market cooperated (the big unknown there) I figured out it could be possible to reach FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) in 3 years.  We would certainly have to be extra careful but with some planning we could make it work. Continue reading “When Boredom Leads to Unhappiness”

A Full Year on the Path to Financial Independence

Oh what a year it has been!  We started on this journey to financial independence a year ago and I am so happy we started down this road.  At this point I really can’t imagine going the old route of working until my mid-sixties as I am just dreaming of enjoying my days doing what I want each and every day.  And I will fully admit that I have been enjoying the whole process so far. Continue reading “A Full Year on the Path to Financial Independence”

Daring to Dream

I have been doing a lot of dreaming lately.  I know that our goal of reaching FI is closer that I had originally estimated and the side effect is spending more time thinking about what this could actually look like.  Recently I have thought that it would be great to buy a RV and spend some time roaming around the country.  We could spend time traveling around and visiting places we have never been too and even spend some extended periods of time at one location that we found interesting. Continue reading “Daring to Dream”

What Will Early Retirement Look Like?

One question that I have been pondering a lot recently is what exactly I would want to do with all of my free time once I reach financial independence.  I realize that being financially independent itself will not bring happiness and that I am most likely going to need to do something just to keep me active and maybe even make a little income.  And to be honest, my current vision is more of a semi-retirement where we are both earning a small income working part time or doing side hustles.  But what will that be?  Yes, I know it is years down the road but I know that if I can envision what things will look like this might help me reach our FI goal sooner.

I came across this website while trolling the MMM forums where lots of really cool jobs are listed from around the country, hence the website name, www.coolworks.com.  Mr. SFF and I have casually discussed how we could work at a ski resort part time so that we could enjoy the skiing but Continue reading “What Will Early Retirement Look Like?”