Life Update – FI Number

It’s July 2017.

In May 2017, I was promoted and moved to a new team. More money, more stress.

Remember how I said we were thinking about buying a house? Scratch that. The last couple months have made me realize I can’t keep doing this until I’m 65. And my husband has wanted to retire since forever ago.┬áThe whole climbing the corporate ladder is also not looking enticing at all.

In a moment of desperation, I sat down, opened an excel sheet, and started figuring out how much money we needed to get to FI.

Yes, after saying that I didn’t want to figure out a number because I have to worry about my parents, I still calculated it.

We spend about $40K a year. I want to add another $10K of buffer, just in case. If I multiply $50K x 33 = $1,650,000.

I would like to have additional buffer, so I’m aiming for us to hit $2,000,000 on the safe side. I estimated we can get to $2M in 15 years.

And that’s how I came up with a number to get to FI. 15 years seems like a long time…But I’m hoping the more money we start front loading, the more money will snowball (compound interest) and we will get there sooner, rather than later.

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6 comments

  • Life has a funny way of throwing FI off. I hope you maintain some sort of life balance in your quest of 2 million in 15 years.

    • Hi Stacking Cash!

      I’m still trying to figure out the definition of life balance. Maybe something will throw off the goal, but hopefully we will be better off than if we hadn’t marched towards the goal.

  • SFL, having worked in the corporate world for over a decade and thinking about how much money it takes to get out, I hope I can bring some good news. At least from this perspective… you have created a number that is a cushioned cushioned cushion, a la Inception. If you needed a $40,000 perpetual stream of income, the 4% safe withdrawal rate would say you would need $1,000,000 to support such stream. Granted, I, too, don’t want to go with that number because that inherently has more risk than a bigger financial amount. So… I think you made a good point of wanting to earn $50,000, or 20% more, perpetually. That brings us to $50,000, which brings us to a 4% safe withdrawal number of $1,250,000. So then you raised this amount by multiplying $50,000 x 33, using an even safer withdrawal rate than the 4% alluded to earlier. Further, you raise this amount even higher for an additional buffer by raising it to a nice round $2,000,000. Assuming you still need that basic $40,000 per year, you have a withdrawal rate of 2%, which you could support with the most “riskless” of investments through pure bonds. Most of the articles and math I’ve seen says 3.5% withdrawal rate reduces the risk of running out of money to ~1%ish, based on historical returns of course. Nothing is guaranteed.

    I think that assuming 15 years of misery to arrive at a 2% safe withdrawal rate could be a bit overkill, in particular because it overvalues the joy of financial independence and underweights the misery of getting to the goal. I only speak about this from my own experience of needing to find a compromise. My overall thought is you could get to a comfortable number in a shorter period of time and allow yourself some flexibility to pursue a job or career you would be more passionate about.

    • Hi Member Berry 42,
      Thanks for your input. You are right at $40K expenses, $2M seems to have a lot of cushion. My first milestone is to get to a $1M. Once we get there we can see if getting to $2M makes sense.
      I, also, don’t know if we will have kids. Or the effect of my parents’ care when they get older. My dad is almost 60. In 10 years, he will be 70. He’s the one that works. My mom doesn’t work. So, definitely that’s on my mind.
      Ultimately, I just don’t want to be stressed.

  • Hi SFL, fellow texan here. My wife and I’s target is also the same @ $2M but we plan to draw 4% or $80K/yr. A couple of considerations: just like mb42 stated, you’ll probably find some sort of part time work in retirement whether full time, part time, contract basis, etc. That income will help prevent drawdown from your asset base. Also, one thing i didn’t think about when projecting my net worth years ago was the pay increases and promotions. I’ve tripled my income with my current employer which has led to greater salary, bonuses and company 401k match. This has undoubtedly accelerated my path to early retirement/financial freedom. Being relatively young, you may get aggressive and climb the corporate ladder until you reach your 15 years. This will make $2million a lot easier to achieve, and increase the likelihood of achieving that goal sooner.
    -Max Out!

    • Hi Max! Thanks for reading and commenting. I will follow your blog now :) Love meeting another Texan! Although I’m currently not in Texas right now (SAD FACE). You’re right I have not projected any pay increases and promotions. If they happen, then it will accelerate our path. Which of course will be great!

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