Author Topic: Case Study - Am I FI?  (Read 3909 times)

August

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Case Study - Am I FI?
« on: March 31, 2017, 09:24:55 PM »
Seems unbelievable as I've been broke most of my life.

Situation: Age 52 single

Still working full-time in a job that I don't like.  Don't "hate" it exactly, I just hate what it does to me.  I'm a laid-back relaxed kind of guy and it's a high-intensity job that wears me out mentally and physically.  I dread going in every day.  Ironically I'm very good at it.  Annual salary $38,200.

Until recently I was also a part-time caregiver for my elderly mother, while living in her house, which meant I was able to save money that would have gone to rent.  But I was basically working all the time, either actively working or on call 24/7/365.  My mom "lost her battle" with cancer last year which required me to move.

I'm living in an apartment now, and not 100% clear on my expenses yet as this is a new experience, having lived in other people's houses for a long time.  Some of the numbers below are estimates.


Expenses

915/month rent
75/month internet and phone
100/month electric and heat
Groceries 180/month
Clothes 200/year
Mailbox 70/year
Life insurance 42/year
Car insurance 1520/year - two cars
Car fuel 120/month
AAA 92/year

Current total about $18,600 year spending.


Assets

Vanguard 217,200
401K 200,900
HSA 7,200
Bank checking 16,000
Bank Saving 59,800

Also 1/4 owner of a house worth about $150K, planning to sell.
2003 Chrysler Minivan
2010 Toyota Hatchback (currently for sale)
No debt.

About $540,000 net worth
4% of this is 21,600


I will qualify for some social security in 10-15 years, not sure how much.
The big unknown for me is health insurance, currently paid for by the job.  I could sign up for a health exchange plan after quitting (additional large expense).  Assuming the health exchange continues.

My plan was to keep working until I had 500K saved up, then quit the job at least for one year as a sabbatical, then figure out what's next.  I have hobbies, some of which provide a small income. 

So I think that I'm set up pretty well, but don't know how risky it would be to quit the job this year.  I sure would like to.

Adram

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2017, 03:04:34 AM »
Once your yearly expenses are below 4% of net invested assets you are FI, so the answer looks like a yes to me, with caveats.

Its probably a good idea to live at your expected FIRE expenses for a year rather than estimating expenses. Also figuring out what your SS will be could give you some additional comfort.

Also you might have a bit too much sitting in savings accounts rather than invested, depends on risk tolerance i guess but seems high to me, over 3 years expenses.

However I'd say you've definitely earned a sabbatical... You could try out FIRE for a year and see how it goes :)

Laura33

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2017, 06:53:12 AM »
It sounds like you may be, so congratulations.  However, I second the notion of living on your anticipated ER budget for 6 mos to a year before making a final decision.  In particular, your budget doesn't have anything in it for travel, hobbies, fun, etc.  I can see why, if you have been effectively working two full-time jobs for the past several years.  But that is not how you intend to live going forward.  So you want to make sure your budget is sufficient to cover how you plan to live in the future.  (OTOH, those categories may be covered by the decrease in other categories, like lower car insurance once the second is gone, and no longer needing life insurance -- but you won't really know until you live your new life for a while)

Finally, I agree it is totally reasonable to take a sabbatical if you want.  You have been through an incredibly stressful period, and it is natural and reasonable to need a break.  But I am concerned that you have been so busy working for your job and your mom that you may not have a strong sense of what you want to do for yourself for the rest of your life.  IOW, how much of hating your job is the job itself vs. just feeling exhausted from everything else going on?  Quitting may well be the right thing for you; I just think it is important to run toward something you can't wait to do instead of just running away from something you can't stand.  So take the time you need to find out what you are running to.
Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2017, 02:14:08 PM »
Sorry to hear about your mom :(

The answer to your question is "yes", you are FI. Do with it what you want, but you no longer need to work for money.  A sabbatical seems like a good option if you can get it, then you can always change your mind if you want to go back to work later.

I would do the following:

1)Look on here to see your SS benefits.  Remember they will give you benefits amounts assuming you continue to work and earn your last years wage until payout.  So use the tool on that site (or create a spreadsheet easily enough) to see what the benefit is if you stop earning.

2)Figure out the health insurance.  Many on the forum are very fearful of losing the ACA.  That may happen, but honestly, even if it does you dont have too many years until medicare.  Plug your SS income into a historical simulator like this.  Then plug in a very bad case situation, like 12K a year in medical ins from 53-64 and see how it rolls out.  I would guess you'll still be at or near 100%.  Edit: and just to be clear, at your spending  levels, you can manufacture a MAGI that's very low.  If ACA stays around look at this, if not, many states will have "low income" help for insurance premiums, you may qualify for expanded Medicaid (if its in your state) as well.  Just read up on Medicaid's rules for recapturing assets if you are concerned about an amount of legacy money after death before taking it.  I highly doubt you'll get stuck with $1000 a mo premiums

3)If you truly dread going into your job do NOT waste a year living at your "expected" retirement expenses.  The only thing that changed recently is housing, are you happy with your current housing?  If yes, you know your expenses.  Just double check to make sure you're not sugar coating anything.

4)If you are unsure of Asset Allocations and how to invest post work, do a little research.  Make sure you are comfortable with the risk you are taking with your investments.

Just to reiterate,  because you will get some conservative answers on here... If I were you and really disliked my job; I would complete 1-3 next week and request a sabbatical the following.  If the boss says  "no", they would get my notice.  Work on number 4 as you digest the awesome feeling of FI. Please do not forget the little people and regal the forum with the exploits of your FI life.  Congrats!

« Last Edit: April 01, 2017, 02:24:32 PM by Classical_Liberal »

frugal_c

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2017, 03:01:43 PM »
I would retire if i was in your spot. Definitely check your ss benefits. You might only need part of a stash once you are 65. Worst case you get a part time job Until you are at ss age.

Just make sure your ok with living on 20k. Definitely can be done but be sure it works for u. 

Feivel2000

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2017, 10:36:16 PM »
I would start with a sabbatical and then continue with retirement (unless you realise that you hate to have so much free time).

You have 3 years of living expenses, so you wouldn't even need to access the real retirement money in the first year.
If during this year everything fells apart, you always could go back to work, couldn't you?

Heroes821

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2017, 08:13:43 AM »
OP, my condolences about your mom.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2017, 06:15:00 AM by Heroes821 »

nouveauRiche

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2017, 12:06:51 PM »
Hello August.

May I ask why you have life insurance?  It's generally intended to provide for dependents in case you pass away.  Do you have dependents?  Although at $42 / year, it's not a very large expense.

Best of luck to you.

index

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2017, 12:42:16 PM »
Plan on another 12k per year in medical insurance. Even on Medicare, you are looking at 5k a year of premiums and copays.

August

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2017, 04:55:51 AM »
Thanks everyone for the replies.  I did sell the second car, so my car insurance will now be cut in half.

Laura33 - re: running to something good vs. running from something bad


That has been in my thoughts for a while now, it would be a mistake to quit for the wrong reason.  The job is grueling and most weekends are spent handling estate issues and getting the house ready to sell.  I am feeling exhausted, and burned out.  Beyond burn out.  All I want is a simple contemplative life, with time to work on my hobbies at my own pace.

Classical_Liberal - thanks for the condolences and the link.

Estimated Social Security retirement benefit
age 62 $874
age 67 $1352
age 70 $1742
Assuming I work until retirement age.  I didn't see a calculator on the site that would estimate if I stop working before retirement age.
Also, my employer will not grant me a sabbatical.  They will only accept my resignation.  I'm using the word sabbatical in the sense of replacing work with recreation and education.

HelloLudger - re: 3 years living expenses in savings


That's inherited money that I planned to move into my taxable investment accounts at some point.  I know it's a lot to have sitting in a bank.
And honestly, I'm not confident I could go back to work if everything falls apart.  Pretty sure my current job is my last full time job.

nouveauRiche - life insurance


That's an old $5000 policy my parents got when I was a baby to pay for a funeral in the event I died young.  I could cash it in for about $3000, or continue to keep it for $42 a year.




MarciaB

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2017, 08:08:18 AM »
August - I can't imagine how exhausted you are, my condolences on your mom, and you have my empathy on the burnout of caregiving and everything else.

It sounds like your job expects an awful lot from you...for $38K annual salary. Do you have the bandwidth to think about another career? I'm thinking that your choices aren't work vs. no work, but perhaps looking at different work. Part-time even. You need rest. You need downtime. And you probably need more sleep and more exercise...part-time, less stressful work may be a good ticket for you.


ZiziPB

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2017, 01:44:11 PM »
I think your budget is missing one important cost: health care.  You need to figure out your health insurance + out of pocket costs before you pull the trigger. 

As to Social Security calculations, they have a more detailed calculator available where you can plug in your specific numbers (actual earnings for each year worked) and set the age when you stop working - it then gives you an estimate based on that.  The only downside to that calculator is that it assumes you will start taking SS at 62, so it gives you a reduced number, not your full benefit amount for which you will be eligible at full retirement age.



MarciaB

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2017, 02:01:56 PM »
I think your budget is missing one important cost: health care.  You need to figure out your health insurance + out of pocket costs before you pull the trigger. 

As to Social Security calculations, they have a more detailed calculator available where you can plug in your specific numbers (actual earnings for each year worked) and set the age when you stop working - it then gives you an estimate based on that.  The only downside to that calculator is that it assumes you will start taking SS at 62, so it gives you a reduced number, not your full benefit amount for which you will be eligible at full retirement age.

Where on the site is that? I logged in and couldn't find anything like that. What's it called?

SeaEhm

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2017, 08:56:31 PM »
No other purpose to post than to say, "Making less than $40k a year with $500k in cash at 52! That's awesome!"
Just here to feel guilty about my purchases which are often irrational, wants, and in an atypical budget.

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2017, 08:29:51 AM »
I think your budget is missing one important cost: health care.  You need to figure out your health insurance + out of pocket costs before you pull the trigger. 

As to Social Security calculations, they have a more detailed calculator available where you can plug in your specific numbers (actual earnings for each year worked) and set the age when you stop working - it then gives you an estimate based on that.  The only downside to that calculator is that it assumes you will start taking SS at 62, so it gives you a reduced number, not your full benefit amount for which you will be eligible at full retirement age.

Where on the site is that? I logged in and couldn't find anything like that. What's it called?
You can download a calculator from SS or you can easily make a spreadsheet using data from the social security site.  Earnings history, plus the index factor is all you need to estimate, this PDF tells you how to do it. 

Lan Mandragoran

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2017, 10:10:44 AM »
No other purpose to post than to say, "Making less than $40k a year with $500k in cash at 52! That's awesome!"

Agreed! That's really impressive.

August

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2017, 05:02:47 PM »
No other purpose to post than to say, "Making less than $40k a year with $500k in cash at 52! That's awesome!"

Agreed! That's really impressive.

Thanks
Trading labor for housing was a big part of it.  Also I was lucky enough to start investing heavily right after the 2008 stock market drop.  For a few years I had 50% of my pre-tax income going right into my 401K.

SwordGuy

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2017, 05:11:57 PM »
Sorry for your loss and congrats on saving so much on your income.   Only on this forum would I ever put both those thoughts in one conversation, much less in one sentence!

Your budget is missing health insurance and it is also missing taxes.

You are, however, getting very close!   

You are certainly close enough to get a job that puts less stress on you and live on that to let your stash grow on its own for a few years!

DavidAnnArbor

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2017, 02:55:50 PM »
I'm wondering if you're living in an area where you would still need a car if you decide to retire ?

The rent is kind of high.

It's great that now you'll be saving over $700/year in auto insurance having sold the second car.


Lan Mandragoran

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2017, 01:09:17 PM »
No other purpose to post than to say, "Making less than $40k a year with $500k in cash at 52! That's awesome!"

Agreed! That's really impressive.

Thanks
Trading labor for housing was a big part of it.  Also I was lucky enough to start investing heavily right after the 2008 stock market drop.  For a few years I had 50% of my pre-tax income going right into my 401K.


ahh. As someone who only recently started, im jealous lol :P.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2017, 02:39:40 PM »
Hi, August.  Similar demographic ballpark here - 51, stash 450k, parent deceased, inheritance contributing a minority of stash. Lurched into minimal RE by getting fired a couple years ago.  I agree with posters who say you are FI, but also to consider additional costs for pleasure as well as health care.

I think you will make it fine.  That said, extra money for expenses is great.  Sorry not to be definite here, but honestly you are in the zone where quitting is okay but milking that one last job as long as you can stand it is not crazy either.  Maybe focus on specific plan making while you work just a little longer?  (Then the time will pass, and you'll be more certain about your objectives and expenses.)

I am partly biased because I am spendier than you - I desire to be able to spend more than I currently spend, hence am personally conflicted about working.  I think you will end up fine.  Given that you've done years of work-for-housing trade, you're probably willing to research which states have good ACA deals if needed, or make other changes where needed.  Finding a safe space to just be yourself and pursue your own thing is a goal with many options. 

What the heck.  Write your resignation letter and turn it in!!  I bet you'll be happy that you did.

tyort1

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2017, 04:49:21 PM »
As someone that's FI you are now in a position of strength.  You don't need that job any more.  I would use this to leverage to a better job that is less stressful, if you want to keep working.  You can probably even finesse a pay raise out of it.  Start looking around, talking to friends/family/professional contacts.  Even if you only work for another 2 or 3 years, no need to be miserable like you are right now. 
Frugalite in training.

Rosy

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2017, 09:09:14 PM »
You are FI (just:) and you do sound totally exhausted.

If I were you, I'd make that real estate sale my last official act of responsible adulthood. Stay at your current job only until that deal is done.
Plan a get-a-way for at least four to six weeks, it is time you took care of yourself. (me, I like to go overboard - I'd stay away for three months).
When you return you will be refreshed in mind and body - while you are gone, consider all your wildest dreams and how to make them happen. Consider a break with everything, including a move to another area - just be open to live your life on your own terms, then slowly move forward with your plans - your interests - your possible side gigs.
Life is good, if you make it so:)

You'll be fine, medical insurance will be a concern, like it may end up being for many of us, but nothing you will not be able to deal with. Worst case scenario you may decide to work part time for a couple more years - for extras like travel or pursuing an expensive hobby or perhaps shoring up your stash, if you have reason to think that medical insurance might be a problem for you down the line.

It is enough for FI - the question is, are you ready to embrace it and enjoy all the possibilities. No one ever said, " I wished I had worked longer for the man" and certainly not for 38K at a job that you dread going to. You can do this!

SachaFiscal

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #23 on: May 22, 2017, 11:03:35 PM »
In addition to health insurance, you may also want to consider a buffer for unexpected car repairs or eventually needing a newer car.

MDM

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Re: Case Study - Am I FI?
« Reply #24 on: May 23, 2017, 12:09:17 AM »
I think your budget is missing one important cost: health care.  You need to figure out your health insurance + out of pocket costs before you pull the trigger. 

As to Social Security calculations, they have a more detailed calculator available where you can plug in your specific numbers (actual earnings for each year worked) and set the age when you stop working - it then gives you an estimate based on that.  The only downside to that calculator is that it assumes you will start taking SS at 62, so it gives you a reduced number, not your full benefit amount for which you will be eligible at full retirement age.

Where on the site is that? I logged in and couldn't find anything like that. What's it called?
You can download a calculator from SS or you can easily make a spreadsheet using data from the social security site.  Earnings history, plus the index factor is all you need to estimate, this PDF tells you how to do it.
If that calculator doesn't work (although it should), or if you simply prefer spreadsheets, see the 'SocialSecurity' tab in the case study spreadsheet.  That should do what you want.