State of Our Retirement: Getting ahead of the game
Behold, my fellow readers - my first installment of what I am calling the "State of Our Retirement" (SoOR) address, where I briefly give you fine people the low-down on what's happening and where we are in our drive towards financial independence and retirement from full-time work.
It has been an amazing year thus far, and my wife and I have finally come to the conclusion that what we're doing is, well, fairly extreme. We don't personally feel our new lifestyle is all that extreme, but compared to conventional wisdom and the general population, it's pretty bat-shit!
Lest you get confused about exactly where we stand with all these blog posts that I'm throwing up about the Airstream and our move, let's take an opportunity to "see the forest for the trees", as it were, and take a look at exactly where we are in all this and how much further we have to go.
The ultimate goal
My wife and I have a goal to quit full-time work and travel the country 100% of the time in our Airstream RV. Necessarily, this means we will no longer own and live in a traditional "sticks and bricks" house. We will live in our Airstream, which we've named Charlie. Our planned budget for our years of full-time travel is between $25,000 and $30,000 per year.
To accomplish our goal, a few things need to be done first:
- Buy and move into the Airstream
- Sell both of our homes
- Become financially prepared to quit full-time work
- Hit the road!
All by the end of the year, plus a couple of months, as I will explain below.
Where we are today
We've made incredible progress this year in pursuit of our goal of full-time travel. Like I've discussed before, my goal is to retire by the end of December. That date can't come soon enough as I derive very little satisfaction out of what I do for a living.
My wife will call it quits next February around her birthday in order to achieve eligibility for Social Security. She has already told her boss that she's out the door next year though the majority of her co-workers remain unaware of her plans.
Also - As of Friday, April 1st, we are living full-time in our Airstream.
...which leaves both of our homes to sell. We have a house in Tucson that is currently under contract for sale. It sold for $11,000 over asking price after only two days on the market. We were floored that it went that fast...and at that price. All the work we put into getting that place really paid off.
This leaves my old home south of Tucson that I'm currently renting out. The lease is up in August and I have informed the tenants that I will be selling the home upon lease expiration. I've also offered to let them out of their contract early, penalty-free, if they are able to find a place before August. This enables me to put the house on the market sooner and hopefully get that mortgage off of our backs.
Once that house sells, we will have absolutely ZERO debt to either of our names. No mortgages. No loans. No nothing. Everything we have will be an asset rather than a liability, including the Airstream that we currently live in.
From a financial standpoint, we are firmly on track. While we don't have a hard-and-fast number that we need to meet before retirement, we have met (and, in the case of the sale of our main house, exceeded) our estimates so far this year. Even the stock market has rebounded nicely, which positions us well to move into retirement with a solid financial footing.
From a vehicle standpoint, we bought our Dodge RAM 2500 to pull the Airstream and I just sold my motorcycle to a family member, which frees up the bike's insurance costs to help pay for the truck's coverage. We now have the RAM as well as the CTS that my wife currently drives to work.
- We bought our Airstream and are living in it full-time
- Our main Tucson home is nearly sold
- My old home (now a rental) will be put on the market by August
- Sold my motorcycle, leaving us with the Dodge and the CTS
The to-do list
We are in good shape thus far into 2016, but there are still several things that remain on the to-do list before we can officially call ourselves retired from full-time work (trailer trash travelers?).
From a budget perspective, we just keep saving without any major changes to the plan. We are a little ahead of the game at the moment with investment gains and the sale of our home, so we are looking to be in real good shape.
Once the lease is up in the rental home, the house will be cleaned up, put on the market, and sold as quickly as possible. I've already decided that I want to price it to sell because I want that mortgage gone as soon as possible. Once the house sells, we will be 100% debt free.
Can't get much better than that!
Actually, it can...once we are traveling full-time, which brings me to the next order of business: work until December (for me) and the following February (for my wife). We can't do anything to shorten this timeframe unless one of us quits early. While I'd absolutely love to, my wife won't let me!
Just gotta keep working until that magical day comes that represents our last day of full-time work.
Once we both quit, we will sell the Cadillac CTS that my wife drives to work, leaving us with only a single vehicle - Clifford, our big red Dodge RAM 2500HD that we use to tow our Airstream.
Once the CTS goes, we're off to the races! We'll grab our two dogs and hit the road and probably spend the rest of winter and spring in Arizona (the Phoenix area) and the summer in the higher altitudes of Colorado or Utah.
- Keep saving as much as possible, but we're looking good
- Sell our rental house by the end of the year (hopefully sooner!)
- Quit both of our jobs
- Sell the CTS and hit the road
Overall, we are looking good. We're stoked to start traveling and itching to start experiencing this wonderful country of ours. I will be making a bunch of photos and videos for our companion photography web site over at FullTimeExplorers.com and my wife will be writing and posting videos about Airstreaming and living small at AStreaminLife.com.
Fun times ahead. Thank you - applause welcome. ;)