Financial independence day – September, 2018

Published May 11, 2015   Posted in How to Think

In the past, I haven’t given much thought to nailing down a specific month and year when my wife and I will finally achieve financial independence and be able to call it quits from holding full time jobs.  But recently, posts like Even Steven’s (and further, one by Fervent Finance) has inspired me* to take a closer look at what our date actually is in more detail.

* And when I say “me”, I actually mean that I begged my wife to run the numbers because, well, she’s the rocket scientist (literally), not me.  She has a good relationship with numbers, math and algorithms.  You might say that it all just “adds up” with both of them.

But anyway, based on our numbers and goals, we are looking at a financial independence date of…

September, 2018!

What does this really mean?  Like I (and many others) discussed before, financial independence means that we are no longer required to work.  It does not necessarily mean that, come October of 2018, I’ll be sitting in my rocking chair on my front porch hugging a shotgun and yelling at the neighbor’s kids to get the hell off my lawn (think Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino).

I might still voluntarily work after we’ve reached FI with all this “FU money” at the ready.  Then again, I might not.  Or, I might pursue part time work.  Or I might devote more time to getting photography, my main side hustle, more established.  Or hell, I might decide to literally do nothing but stand in front of a window and stare.  Who knows, but the sky is the limit!  🙂

Let’s get right down to it and take a look at the numbers, but first, let’s get some of our assumptions out of the way.

Rate of return: 5% (VERY low conservative number)
Spend inflation: 3%
SWR (Safe Withdrawal Rate): 4%

The Money Table – September, 2018

[table id=1 /]

* Savings based on current long-term estimates

** Currently estimating $30,000 a year but want to give ourselves a buffer

As you can see, it’s party time once 2018 rolls around.  I am picking September as our hallelujah month to give us at least 3/4ths of the year to achieve what we would consider our FI point.  If we need all the way until December, I won’t exactly be heart broken.  After all, we would have met our goal of retiring before I hit 40…three years early!

Also, you may be wondering why our savings rate is significantly higher in 2018 than in previous years.  This is due to our Sedona, AZ town house getting completely paid off, leaving 2018 ripe for big time savings.  This is what will ultimately kick us over the edge and into sweet, sweet financial independence land in 2018 instead of 2019.

As many of you know, my wife and I are DINKs – Dual Income No Kids – and we plan to keep it that way through retirement in 2018 to completely maximize our savings.  My wife will stop working once we move up to Sedona, AZ, and I MAY stop working depending on what opportunities exist with my company and whether I feel like putting myself through more full time work.

In the mean time, we will enjoy living in a very low cost of living city in southern Arizona and stockpiling as much cash into our savings accounts as we possibly can.  We have an aggressive travel year planned for the remainder of the year, including a trip to Glacier National Park over my birthday, Alburquerque for the famous hot air balloon festival and spending the holidays in Key West, FL with my family. Next year, we have an Alaskan cruise planned for the summer.

And we are doing all of this while spending much, much (MUCH) less than most Americans do in just a few months.

Now this is what I call living frugally!

We track our net worth using Personal Capital


32 responses to “Financial independence day – September, 2018”

  1. Congrats on finding your date! We think yelling at kids to get off our lawn will be the best part of ER. 😉

  2. Awesome job Steve and Courtney. You moved it up almost 2 full years! Even if you reach FI by September 2018, doesn’t mean you both have to stop working right then. Some people think of it as “over working” but I find nothing wrong with padding the FU money fund! As long as you are happy in your current position.

    • Thanks Fervent! Agreed, nothing wrong with continuing to work if you enjoy it enough, or at least to finish out the project that you might be working on. There are still a lot of unknowns about how we will officially retire, but one thing I do know is I’m gonna try my best not to burn my bridges cause, well, you just never know when you might run across your co-workers in a future life. 🙂

  3. Even Steven says:

    This is Fantastic, this is one of the Exact Reasons I started the FI Day page, it motivates you to see what others out there are doing and check your numbers and give yourself an audit. I’ll look to update this FI Date today!!!!

    My FI Day is laced with motivation to reach FI earlier. For example our FI Day relies 100% on real estate, and in reality my Early Retirement Blueprint is going to seriously start to diversify later this year which could bring out FI Date that much closer. I made an incentive based contract:)

    • Steve says:

      Yup, it really does help motivate us all to keep on top of our situation and remain focused and alert. Great idea, Even Steven, and thanks for setting up that FI page. 🙂

      Best of luck with your real estate – that could be a HUGE winner for you.

  4. amber tree says:

    An inspiring story! thx for sharing. I hope you can make it by 2018.

    I have not yet calculated my FI day yet. For now, there are still too many variables like the costs of the kids (2), the wish to travel a lot and far with 4 people (costs a lot of money).
    In the back of my head, it is somewhere in 2025… Not yet sure if the numbers match. Your calculation example might be a good starting point.

    Amber tree

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Amber, appreciate your words of encouragement! Understand about the variables – that is primarily why we haven’t REALLY come up with an FI number as well. The variables are so fluid. But an FI date gives us enough wiggle room to be as accurate as possible, but not necessarily exact. 🙂

  5. That is awesome, y’all! 2018 really isn’t that far away…I can only imagine how motivating that must be. Congrats.

    Going from the DINK life to the DIWK life was quite the shock, kids are EXPENSIVE.

    • Steve says:

      Hey Brian,

      I gotta admit that I was pretty surprised when I saw 2018 as the year – much, much sooner than I had anticipated (around April of 2020 was my original assumption).

      Yeah, kids are expensive – I sure as hell was to my folks! But hey, kids give you someone to take care of you once you’re old and feeble, right? 😉

  6. Vawt says:

    I need to update my spreadsheet now! I had added it to Even Steven’s list, but I need to do more of a sensitivity analysis to see what the range of dates might be.

    I sure wish I was 2018 instead of ~2021. Good luck!

    • Steve says:

      Nothing wrong with date ranges – I find that coming up with a month and year is a much more easily approachable goal than, say, pure dollar figures. Time is simpler!

      Thanks for reading, and good luck. 🙂

  7. Steve – that is literally right around the corner. That has to feel good!

    Big shout out to Even Steven for motivating all us bloggers to take a closer look at our FI date.


    • Steve says:

      Hey Gen Y,

      Yeah, it’s not far off. Of course, this means that any mistake will be tougher to recover from, so we’ll have to keep ourselves on the straight and narrow the best that we can. This blog is a big help in that direction…last thing that I wanna do is report to everyone about how badly we screwed up.

      I’ll join your shout out to Even Steven. 🙂

  8. All I can say is WOW. That is awesome.

  9. Amazing! Congrats on knowing your exact date and working towards it each and everyday. Kids are in our future and know that will definitely push retirement a lot further away…. Oh well, people say they are worth it and we are willing to give it a shot!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks for reading, Amanda, and best of luck in your drive towards financial independence with kids! It’ll definitely add an additional dimension to your life – probably a good one. 🙂

  10. Mrs SSC says:

    It’s great having a date, isn’t it? Looks like we are aiming for about the same time! I am curious – why does you wife use such a low number for RoR? Is it just to build in a bit of safety? I use 7%, and I feel like that is conservative, based on the numbers that I have seen other people post.

    • Steve says:

      Hi Mrs. SSC,

      Yup, we’re pretty much just being as conservative as we can, understanding that we will probably have a bit of a buffer once the time comes to retire early. An additional 2 or 3 (or more) percent in a few years will only help to pad our retirement savings, but the last thing that we wanna do is get ourselves into a situation where we can’t retire when we thought that we’d be able to because we didn’t underestimate enough.

      But honestly, I think 7% is a good number too, but I probably wouldn’t go any higher than that figure to be on the safe side. I suppose one could argue that we’re being a little TOO safe, but hey, this is our life that we’re talking about. Better to err on the conservative side with these numbers as much as possible.

      Thanks for stopping by, and looks like we will see you guys at the finish line at around the same time. 🙂

  11. Mrs. FI says:

    Steve, Congrats on finding your date! How fun is that to have it so soon! We’re a little jealous over here in the slow lane…but also admiring your super-fast ER car 😉

    We also plan to visit Glacier National Park in the near future! Hopefully this summer. Can you believe Mr. FI has lived in MT his whole life and I have for about 13 years and yet neither of us has ventured to visit a national treasure sitting in our own backyard? I know, I can’t believe it either. We look forward to reading about your “aggressive traveling” in the future and will keep reading til you get there!

    • Steve says:

      It is interesting how people don’t often get out and explore the areas where they live. I lived near Washington D.C. for 10 non-consecutive years, and I can probably count on one hand the number of times that we went in to see the city. Funny how that happens.

      We are really looking forward to this trip. 🙂

  12. Chris Muller says:

    Hahaha! I love the part about the rocking chair or just looking out your front window. I totally pictured my mother in law, who lives down the street and has a window overlooking the road we drive down every day. Sometimes we’ll drive by and just see her standing in the window.

    Anyways, congrats on figuring out this date – it’s a total motivator I’m sure. After reading the post, I’m curious… Do you guys plan on having kids post retirement? I wasn’t sure based on your wording in the post. It’s crazy to think what a game-changer kids can be on your finances, though.

    Having the house paid off in a few years is a blessing too I’m sure. No mortgage payment means more money in the bank. It’s awesome that you’re still able to live the life you want while being frugal. Hopefully your message inspires others to try and live the same way.

    Thanks again for the great update Steve!

    • Steve says:

      Hey Chris,

      Honestly, we don’t have plans for kids at the moment. My wife and I want to spend the majority of our time in the first several years post-retirement doing a good deal of traveling, and kids just won’t work too well with that kind of lifestyle. And neither of us are all that anxious to have kids anyway, so it is probably wise for us to back off of that life-altering, long-term commitment unless we are both completely on-board.

      So for now, our beautiful dogs are our kids. 🙂

  13. […] I have this page to motivate and keep each other in check.  Steve and Courtney at Think Save Retire looked over others at the FI Day page and thought: let’s look at our numbers again I think we can […]

  14. Stockbeard says:

    I’m in a slightly different situation (we have 2 kids, no house… so there’s additional expenses here), but hopefully with similar goals in terms of date. I need to find the date that works for me… it might be closer to 2019 though, unless I dramatically increase my side revenue somehow…

    • Steve says:

      Nothing wrong with 2019 as your FI date. This isn’t a race. We all need to make absolutely sure that the decisions that we make for ourselves are the very best and we aren’t putting ourselves at a disadvantage by doing things too quickly.

      Slow and steady wins the race…but this isn’t a race, so… 🙂

  15. […] This is me right now too.  I’m still working full time, though the plan is to end that by the end of 2018. […]

  16. […] me Happy, I can start maximizing those things in my current life. I don’t need to wait for 2019. I’m going to be as Happy as I can be, starting […]

  17. […] our FI Date was generally set to some time in 2020.  Then, it got moved up to September, 2018.  Now, another […]

  18. […] our FI Date was generally set to some time in 2020.  Then, it got moved up to September, 2018.  Now, another […]

  19. […] our planned retirement was somewhere in the neighborhood of 2020. Then, we moved it up to 2018 after we began to consider Sedona. After nixing those plans in favor of RV living, the end of 2016 […]

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