After discovering Financial Independence/Retire Early (FIRE) in 2013, we’ve been growing, learning, and settling into the Financial Independence mentality.
We have been making solid progress and we’re on track to retire in 10 years, in our mid 40s, while mostly living the lives we want to live now. We are in an idyllic mountain town, full of fresh air + outdoors, healthy lifestyles, breweries, a small population, family, friends, and plenty of room to roam. On top of that, I have a good job where I walked to work, bring my dog to the office, and actually use my skills to grow a rad company. My husband got a stay at home job in his field, has good health, was making a decent salary. Sounds perfect right? Well, sort of.
We found that even with this spectacular setup, we were still haunted by the dream of having no demands on our time and answering to no one. To do our jobs right meant that we were still putting in 50-70 hours a week, including nights and weekends, because we were getting higher up in the company and managing teams. While some people were clock in and clock out, that wouldn’t cut it to do our jobs properly. We were also pretty flexible about work demands (“Sure, I can talk at 9:00 pm tonight, what’s up?”) which meant that we weren’t setting up boundaries since it was easier just to do the work. But we could tell that we were getting tired and unmotivated to engage in our life outside of work – we were too exhausted. That’s what hit us strongest so we decided to set a big goal to cut down bit by bit.
One million dollars by my husband’s 40th birthday.
We have exactly 50 months to get our net worth to $1M. We won’t be fully financially independent unless we chose to live outside of our current ridiculously HCOL area, but it is sufficient if we chose to live in much of the rest of the country, or even as expats. The number that would allow us to take risks on second and third careers. That would allow us to scale back to part time work of any sort; after all, we’d be young enough to want to busy ourselves with projects, building, and other fun stuff, without having to be doing it full time. Perhaps we’d even be able to stay with our current companies.
We did the math and it was a big ask – how can we earn or save an extra $750 a week (assuming little to no appreciation of our current investments)? Seven hundred fifty dollars a week. Full stop. It scared the hell out of us because after all our years and experience of frugal living, selling unused items, and working hard to get raises, we still had no idea how we were going to make this happen. For the first time in a long time, we were out of our depth.
Financial Independence has been a step by step journey that was relatively easy for us to adjust to once we found it because it felt like it was a natural progression into becoming more ourselves. We couldn’t deny that it was this piece we had been searching for our whole lives – there’s a reason they joke about Mr. Money Mustache being an accidental cult. But with our new aggressive goal, all of a sudden, we had no idea how to proceed. We did what we had always done: research. As pragmatic introverts who have a penchant for science and tech, we love nothing more than burying ourselves in things we don’t understand that always have a moving target. We listened to podcasts of people much more brilliant than we are, read books and the FI message boards, and exposed ourselves to new ideas in hopes that a revelation would reveal itself. And maybe it has in the form of learning about passive income, cutting back on what we considered necessary, and real estate investing; but you’ll have to take the journey with us to find out. Here we go…