First Week of Financial Independence

I have had apprehension thinking about quitting my job for months, therefore, no changes in my anxiety in the first week.  I left under a pretty intense situation when my boss tried to intimidate and bully me into working 60+ hour weeks.  The anxiety of confrontation still hangs in the air.  

I have listened to many podcasts this week (madfientist, biggerpockets, choosefi, etc.) searching for comfort and reassurance that we are doing the right thing.  Many bloggers write about the journey to become FI, fewer write about life after FI.  I am searching for answers to my question.

Will we be able to live without a regular income for the remainder of our lives?

Mr. Sunshine, 53, and myself, 51, have at least 30 years to live (I hope).  We do not want to live extreme frugality but we are not spendthrifts either. We are somewhere in the middle.  

This week I spent time reviewing and reviewing (OK, obsessing) our budget.  Here are my predictions/goals.

Expenses:

ItemAnnualMonthly
Property Tax$2,000$167
House Insurance$800$67
Electric$2,580$215
Garbage$275$23
Food$6,000$500
Cell Phone$1,800$150
Car Insurance$1,875$156
License plates$550$46
Gas$3,600$300
Gym Membership$600$50
Spending Money$3,000$250
Gifts$600$50
Health Insurance$1,200$100
Tuition$5,000$417
Travel$6,000$500
Total$35,880$2,990

Total Annual Expenses:  ~$36,000

Income:

We both have side hustles.  Together we have variable income of approximately $1000 per month from these efforts.  

Total Annual Income:  $12,000

Annual shortfall:  $24,000 or $2000 per month

Plan:

Our plan is to utilize our savings to make up the difference.  According to the FIRE literature and the 4% rule – with our side hustle income we will need $600,000 investedto withdraw $24,000 yearly ($2000 monthly).    

Our current financial reserves:

Home Equity:  $300,000

Retirement savings: $266,000

Non-Retirement account savings:  $191,000

Total:  $757,000 including home equity. 

Mr Sunshine and his dad spend several hours each mowing our 7 acres.

I have searched for advice on inclusion of home equity in the FI number.  It seems that the FI community is pretty split on this question. I am choosing to include our home equity into our FI number because our home is paid off with no remaining mortgage payment.  We also plan to downsize in the future.  Our home is very large for 2 adults requiring many hours each week to maintain (cleaning, repairs) including several acres of mowing.  

Because we only need $600,000 with our current side hustles, this leaves us $157,000 to invest in a smaller home when we downsize.  $757,000 (net worth) – $157,000 (new home) = $600,000 to maintain our FI number.

Will we be able to live without a regular income for the remainder of our lives?

Answer:  Yes.

We will be able to live without a regular income at the above level of spending if we maintain our side hustles.   Now, it is possible, that as we age, we may not be able to maintain our side hustle income. I do have some plans for that too. 

I have only about 2 years left of school and the annual expenses for tuition will no longer be needed. Also, I apply for numerous scholarships and fellowships each year.  For this degree (yes, I have several) I have paid $0 in tuition thus far.  While I hope to maintain that level of funding, I also want to be realistic and have the funds available to cover any needed shortfall of tuition.  

Next our travel expenses are all optional.  Without sufficient income we could reduce the frequency or cost of travel, reducing our annual spending to $30,000.   Additionally, I have yet to dive into all the blogs on travel hacking which could reduce this cost without having to stay home.  

Finally, I have not included any future social security income in our calculations – this will be a nice bonus when the time comes.  (According to the Social Security Administration the current average benefit of a retiree in December 2018 was $1461.)

Finally:  Without tuition and travel our annual expenses are $25,000 which requires a FI number of $625,000 to fund with the 4% withdraw rate. (25 times your annual spending = FI number to maintain your lifestyle at 4% withdraw per year).

While I know that many suggest a lower withdraw rate – such as 3% – this would suggest that we need to continue building our FI nest egg before FIREing.  At this stage in my life – I am willing to accept the odds – in favor of time away from work.  It may not work out, however, it just might.  I am tired of spending too much time at work for a boss that fails to value his employees.

Worst case scenario:  We get jobs again.   I may decide after finishing my current educational journey to rejoin the workforce anyway.  I really did enjoy my career, just not my boss.  

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