Newby here, discovered MMM just recently and devoured every single post and lots of the forum. This is great! I had no idea there was a collection of such like-minded folks online. I "think" I'm doing ok, but thought I'd post and see if I can get any new perspectives. I've lived the MMM life for the most part, I think, although I've learned a lot of new ideas here already, and I absolutely freaking love MMM's atitude.
I'm writing this both to get input and to lay it out so I can look at it all in one picture. So here's a quick and unorganized look at my situation:
Several years back my now ex-wife and I saved up, bought a 40 foot sailboat, lived aboard and sailed around Florida and the Bahamas for eight years. We could live, with our son, on about $500 a month on the boat. (We met retired folks in the Bahamas living on $10,000-$20,000 boats, less than most spend on a a car, for part of the year, while "the SS checks are piling up in the bank." True Mustachians!)
We'd sail a while, come back and work during hurricane season, and go again. It was great, and we'd still be doing it except life got in the way. Elderly parents needing care, divorce, that kind of thing. Earlier in life I quit a very good job at 30, went back to college for ten years, got a couple of degrees. Was almost as much fun as sailing. So I've had a nice share of my "retirement" already, in that respect.
Two grown daughters and adopted a son late in life, at 47. One of the best things that ever happened to me, but now I'm paying child support for 7 more years. After the divorce I lived on the boat awhile in Key West, then intentionally bought a small brick house in a small town with a mild climate (next to the Smokies) across the street from a 15 mile greenway in a beautiful park that takes me downtown, library, grocery store, PO, all that, only three miles from my house. I bike most everywhere but work. Put LED lights everywhere in the house, added insulation, etc etc and etc. Electric runs about $26 a month except in winter (heat) and late summer, when I run the A/C sometimes.
All this even before I found MMM! So I think I'm on the right track. I did lose a lot of cumulative income over the years in college and sailing. I would be where MMM is today, solidly FI, except for those years. No regrets, though. I haven't worked fulltime since 2004, because I believe the mantra "You can always make more money, but you can never make more time."
Now I'm 59 and I feel like I'm "this" close to being free again, but not quite there yet. I don't want to "retire" and do nothing, I want to do things like buy plane tickets to the Bahamas now and then and maybe buy another boat in a few years so I can sail there again. I probably could quit now and putter around the house the rest of my life on $20,000 or less a year, but that's not ok. I'm healthy and want to travel and sail. I also want to continue to help my youngest daughter through college, about 3 years of that to go. That expense varies depending on her income, but I figure $5000-$7500 a year. These are loans she will repay.
Now that I'm "older", I don't feel as much confidence quitting a job as I used to. My profession is limited and definitely not hiring old guys. The young guns are taking 100% of any openings that come up. I have a decent position now, but if I quit I'm done in this field except for a little pick-up work here and there.
Income: $90,000 a year from part-time job. 15% going into 401K, 5% match from company. Put $6500, the max, in my Roth this year.
Savings: $450,000. Some in cash, some in rollover 401k, some in current employer 401k above. Invested in stock market funds through work 401K, Fed-tax-exempt CEFs in the cash account, some high-yield dividend CEFs and I trade options in my tax-protected rollover accounts. I've done well with the option trading the last ten years or so, but it's hit or miss, not something I can depend on to pay the mortgage every month. I am in the process of figuring out what I'm making in dividends, etc, per year. I have been just throwing it back into the pot.
child support $780
no debt except mortgage, $100,000 on $150,000 house. 3.1% interest rate.
Mustachian vehicle, a used Toyota Rav, paid for. I drive my cars ten years at least.
I do commute 30 miles, and I'm hoping to shorten that in the next few months. Eat out very little. Maybe one movie out a year. Make my own wine. Have made a living as mechanic, electrician, welder, carpenter, entomologist, truck driver, race car driver, roofer, plumber, heat/A/C, chemist, sailboat Captain, writer, landscaper, pharmacy owner and pharmacist. So I'm fairly self-sufficient when it comes to fixing things.
I basically live all the MMM tricks that I know. I do have one guilty pleasure, a street rod in the garage, worth about $15,000. It only gets about 5000 miles a year.
I am, thanks to discovering MMM and getting inspired, now working on an actual budget. I make more than I spend, but not sure where the heck it's all going.
It looks like I need a budget and I need to increase my dedicated savings. I do not know how much of my income I'm saving. Working on those.
The thing is, I dislike my job. The job itself, the commute, and the time it consumes. I'd rather spend more time the next two years with my son, now 11, than work constantly and hope that I get to spend time with him later. I've learned the hard way that sometimes there is no later. In three years I'll hit 62 and I can start my SS, at which point I'll have enough income to feel "safe" enough to quit this job. All the years before, with all those jobs and life changes, I got by on what I made at the time. To a guy approaching 60 that now seems a little scary.
However, this is the first time in my life I've had enough money for it to actually bring in a decent income on its own. Pretty heady!
One last, but important thought. My parents and my childhood were happy but frugal, we were poor and self-sufficient. I ate Ramen noodles for ten years in college, did without health insurance, drove a $1200 car, wore the same shoes for years, etc, an experience which made me EXTREMELY grateful to be in the position I am in now. (I still ride the bicycle I bought in 1992.) When I write that I make $90,000 a year working part time I have to look around to see who they're talking about. Is that really me? So to even think that I'm approaching FI is a breath-taking concept. Writing this out has made it clear to me how lucky and well-positioned I am.
Thanks for any thoughts or comments. I'm sure I'm not thinking of everything.
And a big THANKS to MMM!