A Wake Up Call and My Plan for Early Retirement

This whole  week has been devoted to the topic of early retirement do’s and don’ts. If you are sick of hearing about my take on leaving the world of working to pay bills, please go read one of these other awesome, inspiring posts this week.

Tonya at Budget and the Beach has inspired me to train for a half marathon. It will happen a few days after my 40th birthday. What a way to celebrate!

Alexa from Single Mom’s Income has quit her job to work from home,  and I think she’s going to make a ton more money.

Laurie, the frugal farmer is getting even more frugal.

Travis at Enemy of Debt has decided to man up. Did you know he and his wife will have paid off over $100K in credit card debt by this spring? Pretty amazing!

Why I Am So Obsessed

If you do want to hear more about early retirement, today I’m going to wrap up that topic by sharing my plan. Whenever I share with the world, that makes it real and seems to accelerate the process.

Another reason I’ve been thinking about early retirement happened on my way home from Fincon. I flew out of Albuquerque, which is a four hour drive from my house. After getting back to my car, I headed for the interstate, but realized I was really hungry. I generally don’t stop for a sit down meal by myself, but decided to hop into a Subway.

Of course, there was a family in line with several small children who could not make up their minds. It seemed to take forever for them to finish their order and pay. Finally, I got my sandwich and sat down to eat. I started reading Stephen King’s new book on the plane. It was fantastic, so I brought it in to read while I was eating. I got to a really exciting place and had to finish the chapter. All in all, I was probably in Subway for about 30 minutes before I remembered that I had a long drive ahead of me.

When I was about 20 minutes from home, state troopers had closed the road, and I had to take an insanely long detour. I had no idea what the problem was and pretty much forgot about it after getting back to the house, starting laundry, and all those things you have to do when returning from a trip.

I found out later in the week that there had been a terrible car accident that happened about 30 minutes before I got to the state troopers. A lady did not belt in her toddler, who proceeded to distract her mom by acting like a toddler and hopping all over the car. Mom veered into oncoming traffic, killing herself and two others in separate vehicles.

I am really thankful for not having breakfast, that slow family, and Stephen King! I have no way of knowing if I would have been in that lady’s path otherwise, but it certainly did make me consider life and if I’m really doing all the right things to have the best one possible. On that note, I’ll share my plans.

Goal: Be Able to Leave the Workforce by age 50

 

We have ten years to pay off debt, invest, and make sure monthly expenses are covered by non-salary assets. Jim should also be pretty close to being pension eligible by this time if he wants to retire.

Paying Off Debt

The only debt we have right now is in the form of mortgages. Our home is the big one. Right now, we owe $157,500. If we make our scheduled payments, it will be paid off in February of 2025. That’s too long, so we plan to make extra payments to retire that debt within the next 5 years. That means paying an extra $20,000 per year. Where on earth will we come up with that money? Well, my extra smart hubby got got a kick butt promotion this year, which brings in (can you guess?) an extra $20K per year. We are not going to buy a new car or add a room onto our house. You can argue about investments that will make more than the interest rate on our home loan, but we are going to pay off the house!

My newly acquired commercial building will be paid off in six years.

Our residential rental should have a pretty low balance by then, around $40K, so we can either take a couple of years to pay that off or let the tenants continue to pay the bills on that one. I kind of like the feel of no debt whatsoever, but we’ll see.

Decreased Monthly Expenses

After the house payment is gone, our monthly expenses drop dramatically. Utilities, groceries, insurance, and property taxes should be around $1200 per month. Health care is a big question mark. We pay $190 a month now, but I’ll go big and say $800/month in the future. Add $500 or so for whatever I’m forgetting, and I’d say we can project our necessary monthly expenses at around $2500 per month.

Rental property expenses should run around $400 a month for taxes and insurance for the commercial building, and $100 a month for the residential. We will always keep an emergency fund for repairs.

To cover the necessities, we will need $3000 a month after 2019. With Jim’s salary, my income from optometry work, rent, and online income we should have way more than enough to cover our expenses, and if we invest the excess, I think we’ll have  pretty good nest egg developed by 2023.

We don’t really know how much Jim’s pension will be as it’s based on  a percentage of his highest three years of salary, which we hope haven’t happened yet, but we ballpark around $3K per month. When he retires, we will have to add health insurance costs for him, but even with that included, we should be able to live off his pension plus a little bit from one of the other sources. We might even get an Obamacare subsidy! He may also be in a position he loves and not want to retire when he’s eligible. Likewise, I might want to continue to work a day or two a week. We have tons of options.

What Will We Do?

In ten years our daughter will be 16. While I don’t really want to think about that as we are still getting visits from the tooth fairy at the moment, I would like to be able to take her on a killer trip. Maybe we won’t take a year to travel the globe or maybe we will. You can bet we’ll hit the road for the summer at least. I can also get her involved with charity work I hope to be doing. I’m also going to explain every step we used to get into a good financial position.  She might think I’m lame, but if I give her the tools, they will always be there when she’s ready to use them.

We Are Not Special

There is nothing special about being able to retire early. Lots of people have done it who are much younger and smarter than us. A few years ago, we were sinking in credit card debt and basically living paycheck to paycheck. I am super dorky, but I actually have goosebumps as I’m writing this plan and realize how far we’ve come. You don’t have to make $500K a year to get your financial house in order. I realize we will have obstacles in the future that might postpone our plans. The good thing about plans is that they can be adjusted, but if you never have one, you can be sure of not retiring early. You might never get to retire at all. If today was your last day, can you say you’d be happy with all you’ve accomplished?

What’s your plan? Are you making the best use of your time?

 

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Written By
Sydney White is a Texas-born stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her family, bargain hunting and, of course, writing. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Snipon.com.

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