I agree with FS. I hope my $1M number is too high but it’s not unreasonable. According to the Department of Agriculture study last year the average family with an combined household income of greater than $107,000 will spend on average $372,000 to raise a child to age 18. Add in $250k of college costs (before inflation) and you’re already over $600,000 for the average. This average doesn’t include private school costs. I hope to send my children to public school but private school tuition around here is $40,000+/year if the public schools aren’t good enough. Without kids we would have a 3 bedroom house, with kids we had to go with a 4 bedroom. Adding that 4th bedroom here adds about $400,000 to the price of the house and $8,000+ extra in property taxes annually. And we haven’t gotten to any extras yet. I was fortunate enough to travel internationally with my family growing up and I want to provide that experience to my children. I believe that is valuable but it also costs thousands per year.
“If you want to retire early, you need to have a strong ‘why,’” Hayes said. “Do you want to quit your job so that you can start that business you always talked about with your friends? Do you want to have more than two weeks per year of vacation time? Do you want to spend more time with your loved ones? Whatever your why, let that be the motivating factor to create a plan and stick to it during the tough times. Once you have that why, you want to determine your path.”
NOTE: If you’re pursuing financial independence, you’re going to want to adjust the percentage of money you put away to savings when you implement your plan. You can choose to save around 65% like Mad Fientist suggests, or you can choose to put half your paycheck into your savings like PoF encourages. Or you could go a different route. It’s all up to you and your savings goals.
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If you’re already contributing 15% of your income to retirement and you want to start saving for your kids’ college fund, you can start by investing in an Education Savings Account (ESA). Like a Roth IRA, the money you contribute to an ESA grows tax-free, which means you won’t pay taxes on it when it’s used to cover college expenses. Currently you can contribute up to $2,000 per year for each child in an ESA. Income limits do apply, and your investing pro can help you know if those impact you.(1)
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Planning for retirement, or even financial freedom, is a marathon and not a sprint, as the saying goes. Breaking up your financial independence goals into small chunks can help keep you on track while making the process a bit more manageable and, hopefully, a little less stressful. Even if you are starting small, the important thing is to get started.
I think too many people become over-focused on their number, on achieving what you call basic FI and I call independence. They’re so dialed in on that that they ignore the fact that they’re gradually achieving greater independence all the time. That’s too bad. I think folks would be happier if they could take the time to appreciate their state, you know?
In Western civilization, wealth is connected with a quantitative type of thought, invented in the ancient Greek "revolution of rationality", involving for instance the quantitative analysis of nature, the rationalization of warfare, and measurement in economics. The invention of coined money and banking was particularly important. Aristotle describes the basic function of money as a universal instrument of quantitative measurement – “for it measures all things […]” – making things alike and comparable due to a social "agreement" of acceptance. In that way, money also enables a new type of economic society and the definition of wealth in measurable quantities. In the Roman Empire, just as in modern colonialism, the main force behind the conquest of countries was the exploitation and accumulation of wealth in quantitative values like gold and money. Modern philosophers like Nietzsche criticized the fixation on measurable wealth: "Unsere ‘Reichen' – das sind die Ärmsten! Der eigentliche Zweck alles Reichtums ist vergessen!" (“Our 'rich people' – those are the poorest! The real purpose of all wealth has been forgotten!”)
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Upper class encompasses the top end of the income spectrum relative members of society as a whole. Since they have more wealth and privacy, the upper class has more personal autonomy than the rest of the population. Upper class values include higher education, and for the wealthiest people the accumulation and maintenance of wealth, the maintenance of social networks and the power that accompanies such networks. Children of the upper class are typically schooled on how to manage this power and channel this privilege in different forms. It is in large part by accessing various edifices of information,[clarification needed] associates, procedures and auspices that the upper class are able to maintain their wealth and pass it to future generations. Usually, people of the upper class participate as partisans in elections and have more political power than those of lower classes due to their abundance of resources and influence.
I want to thank you for the great article. I was looking online for some inspiration to re-ignite my side-hustle and breathe some new life into my existing efforts. Your ideas here are fabulous and I’ve made notes on seven of them. I already have a lot of the concepts started, but you have given me the spark I was looking for to keep moving forward. Thanks for the help!
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I’ve always considered $10M to be a pretty decent goal that could fund a lifestyle + raising children without worries. Unfortunately I’m 32 right now so I won’t be able to hit that by 35. With some diligent saving, reasonable investment returns and some good performance at work that might be possible by 40. If I hit $5M at 35 I would start considering quitting my job more seriously. I grew up in the midwest, if I went back to somewhere with a lower cost of living, $200k on a 4% withdrawal rate would probably be sufficient for a pretty good life. Especially if combined with a less stressful side job even if it only made $30k-$40k/year. I’m just very risk averse and even though I save far more than I spend, I’m motivated by money (yes I know that sounds terrible but it’s honest). So it would be hard for me to quit a highly lucrative job just as my earnings are really ramping and exchange it for the unknown of semi-retirement.
I retired at age 56 with budget/baseline FI, but I am now in blockbuster category (age 69). My investment accounts have done well and the house has increased in market value. Renting part of the home covers housing and transportation expenses, and my small pension covers basic living expenses. I withdraw money from investments for travel but reinvest most of the gains. I too am faced with heavy income taxes once I have to withdraw from tax deferred accounts. I have run spreadsheet projections for income, net worth, and income taxes to 2035 with various withdrawal plans and estimated net returns. Always come back to deferring tax as long as possible, spending down the taxable accounts first, while building up the tax-free account agressively. What I would do differently is learn to invest my own money at a younger age, buy a bigger better house at a younger age, and retire earlier.
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The organizing principle behind this grouping, appropriate economic units, is relatively simple: if the activities are located in the same geographic area; if the activities have similarities in the types of business; or if the activities are somehow interdependent, for instance, if they have the same customers, employees or use a single set of books for accounting.
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That’s a pretty good breakdown. Budget financial independence is where I’m currently trying to reach. I should be there within a few years. Then baseline would be my next and final goal. I am happy with a $3 million portfolio indexed to inflation. :) Of course one way to feel like I’ve reached blockbuster level is to live abroad somewhere like Thailand. With a lower cost of living the same amount of passive income can go further.
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