Today there are thousands of bloggers documenting their financial independence journey’s, an incredibly active financial independence subreddit, hundreds of podcasts, and even a documentary about the FIRE movement that I’m in called Playing with FIRE that will be released soon and includes others members of the financial independence retire early community.
For some reason, I’m not stressed about it. Maybe because he’s the most important thing in our lives, and we’d therefore spend everything we have to help him learn and grow up to be a kind, motivated, and good adult. Perhaps it’s because I’ve also run some pro forma financial numbers to see how much we’ll have in 20 years, and it seems like it could be a nice chunk of change.
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My husband retired from the military after 20 years of service last summer at age 38 – his guaranteed income is appx $67k per year for life (tax free and subject to COLA), and he gets an additional $17k the next 4 years under the GI Bill while he’s in school. We have appx $450k invested, no debt, and guaranteed health insurance for life with no monthly premiums, $150 annual deductible and $3k annual catastrophic cap. We have one child, age 5, who will receive free college tuition if she attends a state University in our state of record. We do have appx $25k in a brokerage account for her for addtl college expenses. My husband is considering not working after he finishes school, or working a ‘fun’ part time job. We live in the Midwest, where cost of living is ok (much better than our last duty station in CA!). I work a ‘fun’ part time job bringing in about $1k/mo. Curious on your thoughts as to where this puts us. And, do we figure my husbands ‘pension + benefits’ in our networth?
Your first goal should be to accumulate a sufficient amount of cash in the account to cover 30 days worth of living expenses. Once that's achieved, your goal should be to add another 30 days worth of living expenses. The account should have between three months and six months of living expenses if you're a salaried employee, and between 6 and 12 months if you have a self-employed job or paid entirely by commissions.
This is probably the most exclusive level of financial freedom. Hopefully, your financial freedom plan will allow you to outlive your money. Having more money than you expected to spend is great. Building enough wealth so that you could not possibly spend all of it is another. This group will likely be filled with people who either won the lottery, inherited a fortune or are founders of companies – think Bill Gates or Warren Buffet. Even if they went on a spending spree buying planes, yachts and automobiles; they would still have a hard time spending all of it. I should note that both Gates and Buffet have pledged to give away a vast majority of their wealth when they pass. I would be unfair to count that as “spending all their money.”
If you find yourself in this group, financial freedom should be your highest priority. If you truly hate your job, you should be willing to make sacrifices to escape. That might include cutting unnecessary expenses, working a side-job, building your human capital, or moving somewhere with a much lower cost of living. You should be saving as much money as possible so that you can change careers as quickly as possible.
How often do you sit in your cubicle, daydreaming about what it would be like to quit your boring nine-to-five job? Do you have that one friend who always seems to be on vacation and living life to the fullest — and wonder how she pulls it off? Have you ever thought about selling all of your possessions and starting a new life somewhere else? Do you wish you could leave your husband or boyfriend, but are stuck in the relationship because he’s the breadwinner? Do you often wonder if you could somehow turn your pottery or photography hobby into a real business?
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