I am a 40-year old geologist residing in the Rocky Mountains. My family includes Mr. TJL, a sculptor artist and stay-at-home dad, an elementary-aged daughter, and two aging dogs. We are aiming for Financial Independence Retiring Early (FIRE) in five years …March 2021. One month after setting our accelerated retirement date we:
Paid off student loan debt
Paid off car loan
Paid down our mortgage to eliminate the PMI
Reduced our monthly expenses by almost half
Increased our savings rate to >70% of our net income
Now, we are growing our passive income and our net worth to reach a goal of 25 to 33x our living expenses by 2021. As often as is reasonable, I will share our progress and net worth. Expect that there will be many modifications to the plan. More than anything, I have realized that this is an evolving process and this plan is a living, breathing entity. Together we are inspired by so many other FI bloggers to become more efficient in our lives, spending and saving. This blog is our journey; how we are achieving FI. Welcome.
A Little History
I didn’t start working in my chosen career until I was 29 years old in 2005. After about 3 years working in a corporate environment, I realized that my company was not that interested in my financial security. I thought once I got the job, I could have it forever. After a couple of cycles of layoffs, I realized I craved financial independence and the freedom it would allow. I began planning for an early retirement at age 50 without many sacrifices. Our monthly spending pushed $5K and our yearly expenses (vacations, car insurance/maintenance/registration, ski passes, accountant etc.) often exceeded $15k. Essentially, we were spending most of my take-home pay. However, despite this lousy performance and many questionable financial choices, we saved about $25 -35k per year (less in the early years), primarily in tax-deferred accounts. Our net worth in January 2015 was $332,896.
One year ago, in April 2015, I came across a Yahoo article featuring a couple who retired as millionaires in their 30s (Go Curry Cracker). Well, I was due to exit my thirties in 2015 and I was suddenly filled with rage (just kidding, it was inspiring)! But really, I devoured their blog and was bummed I didn’t realize how to accelerate my retirement date sooner. “I could’ve been done by now,” I said to myself. I mean 50 was good, but 40 would’ve been better. Can we get to 25 to 33x our retirement expenses by 2021? With some focus and discipline (and a little help from the markets), I think we can. For the last year, I have been on this journey to reduce expenses, increase my savings rate, prove up our frugal longevity, grow passive income, streamline our tax strategy, ACA strategy in retirement, and improve my lifestyle in the interim. Now when I update our account balances, I smile and smile and smile, because our passive income is growing. It has become The Jolly Ledger.
Feel free to contact me!