Author Topic: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...  (Read 23488 times)

ardrum

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #50 on: January 22, 2018, 08:06:33 PM »
Wow, thanks for these recent posts. 

Apple_Tango, I've heard similar criticisms about the SNF setting from both PTs and OTs.  Good luck with the new career direction.  It seems career changes are increasingly common.

Check2400, those are fantastic questions and I feel like you've essentially read my mind in many ways, haha!  I have enjoyed looking back at my previous posts, as it definitely gives some perspective of progress when looking at chunks of time from the past. I've refined and optimized so many things over these past couple years, and my savings rate is sitting right at 70% at this point.  I've posted updates on the 10k to 100k thread, and I plan on joining the 100k to 250k thread here soon when I do my monthly net worth update.

I ended up refinancing my student loans with SoFi using MMM's referral for $300.  I have about $17-18k left, which I attack with everything I've got after maxing 401k/traditional IRA.  It will finally be destroyed in 2019, once and for all!

I've dialed down my spending to about $19k, which is pretty lean spending but even reaching 25+ x this "lean FI" amount sounds amazing to me as it would essentially represent a permanent "emergency fund fountain."  My multiples of annual spending signature is based on this lean number.

In a way, it's still kind of hard to imagine I've already hit $100k considering I graduated not even three years ago with a negative net worth.  $300k by 40 still feels far away, but it doesn't necessarily look like the mountain that number seemed to represent 5+ years ago.

One thing I have noticed already from this process is how differently I look at spending.  I am mindful and aware whenever a financial transaction is going to happen, and I think this is largely responsible for how I've reduced my spending so much without feeling any significant sense of deprivation.  Sure, from time to time I might chuckle at myself for a decision I make here or there to save a buck, but for the most part I'm far more in tune with how simple experiences are my most joyful, and they rarely cost much, if anything at all.

I do think I've begun to think about whether it would be "better" for my personal situation if the markets could crash and stagnate for several years while I'm accumulating so that I'd theoretically have a big stash as a "seed" planted for the next bull market to germinate.  I am not a market timer though, and I am optimistic whether we get a crash tomorrow or not for another several years that eventually I'll reach that FI number.

In the meantime, I also recognize that I want to increasingly transition away from merely focusing on hitting a number (as I've largely already optimized that setup and must now wait), and instead direct my energies to the activities I find joyful while envisioning what sort of post-FI life I want to create.

Ryland, wow, these are fantastic issues you're bringing up!  It's funny how even the initial title of this thread was one that revealed how much I was singularly thinking about achieving FI.  Now that I've gotten over the first $100k hump, I feel like I've jumped over a symbolic hurdle in which subsequent hurdles will be easier to jump since I've developed the best asset of all for FI: the mindset.  The mindset survives market downturns and adversities and takes advantage of bull markets and strokes of good luck/opportunities.

You are right that I see FI as the freedom-based lifestyle that can be created when I am no longer under the financial duress to engage in behaviors I might not otherwise do.  I haven't come close to fully fleshing out what that life might look like (definitely have some ideas though), and that will be an exciting challenge to learn about in the same way learning about how to achieve FI has been.  I'll send you a PM.

Igelfreundin, I do indeed love my 1/2 mile commute.  It is so relaxing and invigorating to walk.  My coworkers seem to think it is "crazy" to walk to work.  I find it crazy to think it's crazy, but I don't have very active coworkers.  Merely covering a 1/2 mile is nothing to me considering last year I accomplished my first ultramarathon!  I ran 50k through the woods with tons of elevation gain/loss.  I love honing my discipline with running long distances, and I find lots of parallels between long distance running and long distance planning.



ardrum

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #51 on: May 30, 2018, 10:39:46 AM »
It's been over 5 months since my previous update, so here's a new one.

I'm less than 3 weeks away from turning 35 (how did that happen, haha?!).  I've been plugging away and maintaining some big savings so far thanks to tax returns and a surprise bonus check (equivalent to nearly a month's living expenses), 100% of which I used to help pay down student loans.  Here are my latest numbers:

Cash + Invested Assets: $140,547
Liabilities: $25,413
Net Worth: $115,134

I've refinanced my student loans a second time to reduce the interest rate further (AND getting a fixed rate, AND a referral bonus).  I'm down to $13,508 in student loans at a fixed 3.64%.  Remaining liability amount is my 0.9% rate car loan, which I'm in no hurry to pay off (set to be paid off at the end of 2021 though).  My goal is to have my student loans completely paid off by the end of this coming winter.

Winter is coming, Student Loans. (...for any Game of Thrones fans!)

I've had no trouble avoiding any significant lifestyle inflation, and I've actually crossed into 6x my living expenses in net worth.  Next up: Quarter FI!  Just several more thousand to hit that milestone!  Still walking to work and loving that!  As important as saving has been, living frugally and spending mindfully has been an insanely powerful tool that has both increased my savings rate and permanently decreased the amount I need to get into that 15-20x living expense range after which I'll be strongly considering downsizing to part-time work!

Reflecting back, I'm so thankful I put forth all the steps I've taken to get this investment snowball started.  It still feels like a significant way to go down the mountain, but having over 6 figures in that net worth snowball is going to finally grease the wheels.  I find this forum to be incredibly inspiring, so I hope this thread can be another positive example of this process being totally doable.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2018, 10:43:07 AM by ardrum »

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #52 on: May 30, 2018, 01:22:31 PM »
Those are some great steps, and especially refinancing the student loans will give you more options.  With interest rates that low, you can even consider forgoing the extra payments, and investing that money towards ER instead.  The self-discipline to avoid lifestyle inflation is a very important skill to maintain!

ChpBstrd

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #53 on: May 30, 2018, 01:47:50 PM »
Yep, you're pretty much killing it. Sounds like you are earning the right amount for your industry and you are being frugal. Now that your loans are down to 3.64% I would focus elsewhere (hell, preferred stock yields close to 6%!). So what else is there to do?

An earlier person mentioned a roommate, but a riskier approach would be to marry a fellow mustachian. If you can marry well (i.e. marry a fellow cheapskate who is a professional) and stay married, all your numbers can double except for the living expenses and your savings rate can get really high. The risk is that marriage can also be miserable and absolutely destroy you financially. It's a high-risk, high-reward proposition. Start by screening out anyone who won't go on a PB&J picnic as a first date!

ardrum

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #54 on: May 30, 2018, 08:50:03 PM »
Haha, ChpBstrd! Yeah, I'm not sure if I like the risk-reward dynamic there with marriage.  I could definitely only consider a long-term relationship if the person was Mustachian (regardless of if she knew that's what she was haha).   

That's interesting that you both (zolotiyeruki and ChpBstrd) suggested down-prioritizing the student loan now with my new fixed rate at 3.64%.  It's a psychological desire for me to kill that loan, but I'm always open to more advantageous/efficient approaches as well.  I imagine it might make little overall impact either way, as it's hard to predict whether the market will beat 3.64% in a less than year timeline...that short-term volatility can be crazy.

I could open a taxable account though.  I am most familiar with Vanguard's interface, though I'm wondering if I'd have to wait until I had $3,000 for VTSMX, and then the $10,000 to switch that to VTSAX for the reduced expense ratio.  I'm a total noob with taxable accounts too, and I need to get better acquainted with how those purchases (and selling/buying to switch from VTSMX to VTSAX) might incur taxable events/charges.  I should probably also open my mind to non-Vanguard investments that might allow me better access to buying total stock market shares right away without having to buy/sell different funds to get there.  Much to learn.


zolotiyeruki

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #55 on: May 30, 2018, 09:32:36 PM »
I think the $10k minimum for VTSAX went away, actually. I only have about $1k in my brokerage account with vanguard, and it's invested in VTSAX

You're right that 3.5% on $13k won't make a big difference. It's small enough that you might as well pay it off so it's permanently off your mind.

ardrum

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #56 on: May 31, 2018, 03:38:40 PM »
I think the $10k minimum for VTSAX went away, actually. I only have about $1k in my brokerage account with vanguard, and it's invested in VTSAX

You're right that 3.5% on $13k won't make a big difference. It's small enough that you might as well pay it off so it's permanently off your mind.

Hmm, my screen still says $10,000 minimum if I go to make a purchase.

Kierun

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #57 on: May 31, 2018, 03:56:46 PM »
I think the $10k minimum for VTSAX went away, actually. I only have about $1k in my brokerage account with vanguard, and it's invested in VTSAX

You're right that 3.5% on $13k won't make a big difference. It's small enough that you might as well pay it off so it's permanently off your mind.

Hmm, my screen still says $10,000 minimum if I go to make a purchase.
I think once you hit the 10k minimum and convert to VTSAX you can go under the 10k minimum and you won't be converted back VTSMX just because you went below the 10k minimum.  But you still need to get to that 10k minimum first.

ardrum

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #58 on: November 14, 2018, 09:50:29 AM »
QUICK UPDATE: 

Despite some shaky/down market results lately, I'm over $132k in net worth currently (at one point was $141k before downturn) and still living frugally, walking to work, and saving like mad (401k/IRA/HSA) while throwing everything else at student loans.  As of today, my student loans are down to a bit over $4600 remaining!  I'm still projecting that they will be entirely paid off by the end of March!

In other news, I'm now in a relationship (4 months and counting) with someone who was already into MMM and other early retirement/minimalist blogs prior to meeting me!  She's also frugal (spends a little bit more than me but certainly less than the average American), but she's a bit further along than me in net worth and makes more money than me.  This has been a surprising (if not shocking!) development that has been a major boost to my quality of life.  It's a further bonus that we have very similarly aligned viewpoints regarding money and a vision for what a future FI life would look like. 

Win!

SpareChange

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #59 on: November 14, 2018, 10:31:40 AM »
Awesome! Looks like you've got things dialed in. It was a sweet, sweet day when I paid off my last student loan.  :)

ChpBstrd

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #60 on: November 14, 2018, 08:05:50 PM »
In other news, I'm now in a relationship (4 months and counting) with someone who was already into MMM and other early retirement/minimalist blogs prior to meeting me!  She's also frugal (spends a little bit more than me but certainly less than the average American), but she's a bit further along than me in net worth and makes more money than me.  This has been a surprising (if not shocking!) development that has been a major boost to my quality of life.  It's a further bonus that we have very similarly aligned viewpoints regarding money and a vision for what a future FI life would look like. 

Win!

Isn't it weird how fortune begets fortune? Just think - if you weren't already doing the right things financially/ecologically, she would probably have not been interested in you.

Dr.Jeckyl

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #61 on: November 16, 2018, 12:29:56 PM »
- Grocery + Misc. Household   $175.00 
I'm trying to cut this down a bit... I don't know how people do the $25-30/week budget, but I will keep optimizing this expense over time to get it lower.

Ok, this is the one that I struggle with the most. I am personally struggling with how people even get it down to this level. In fact, main purpose for logging in today was to visit some of the frugal grocery shopping threads.

ardrum

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #62 on: February 05, 2019, 05:08:40 PM »
Had to post an update:  Student loans are all paid off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I submitted the final payment January 31, 2019 (a little over 3.5 years from graduation)

Net worth is up to $147k and change.  The rest of 2019 will involve maxing HSA/retirement accounts and getting my first taxable account started!

arebelspy

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #63 on: February 05, 2019, 07:10:02 PM »
Had to post an update:  Student loans are all paid off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I submitted the final payment January 31, 2019 (a little over 3.5 years from graduation)

Net worth is up to $147k and change.  The rest of 2019 will involve maxing HSA/retirement accounts and getting my first taxable account started!

Congrats on paying off the student loans!

And net worth grew almost 50k in just over a year, that's awesome.

Keep plugging away, you've made so much progress the last few years. The next few you'll see ridiculous growth.
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #64 on: February 06, 2019, 11:46:26 AM »
Had to post an update:  Student loans are all paid off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I submitted the final payment January 31, 2019 (a little over 3.5 years from graduation)

Net worth is up to $147k and change.  The rest of 2019 will involve maxing HSA/retirement accounts and getting my first taxable account started!

Congrats on murdering your student loan! Keep that discipline.

Check2400

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #65 on: February 06, 2019, 02:41:09 PM »
Way to go on the student loans!

The second best feeling to paying the student loans off is the very next month when you no longer have that monthly draw and the money is just... there.

Don't be afraid to celebrate the death of the loans, but also don't be afraid to set up a monthly deposit into a taxable account to avoid lifestyle creep either :)

Are you maxing a Roth IRA?  If not, you still have time to save up these next few months and put cash in for 2018. 

I re-read your thread.  3 years ago you were a fresh grad with 50K in loans and 15K in net worth with an 'impossible' goal of $300,000 by age 40.  Now you're debt free, adding 50K in savings a year, age 35 and sitting on $150,000 in net worth. 

Want some fun math?  If you don't add a dollar and retire at a normal retirement age of 65, you should have 1.2 Million dollars waiting for you.  Future you sends his appreciation.


ardrum

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #66 on: February 06, 2019, 04:32:29 PM »
Way to go on the student loans!

The second best feeling to paying the student loans off is the very next month when you no longer have that monthly draw and the money is just... there.

Don't be afraid to celebrate the death of the loans, but also don't be afraid to set up a monthly deposit into a taxable account to avoid lifestyle creep either :)

Are you maxing a Roth IRA?  If not, you still have time to save up these next few months and put cash in for 2018. 

I re-read your thread.  3 years ago you were a fresh grad with 50K in loans and 15K in net worth with an 'impossible' goal of $300,000 by age 40.  Now you're debt free, adding 50K in savings a year, age 35 and sitting on $150,000 in net worth. 

Want some fun math?  If you don't add a dollar and retire at a normal retirement age of 65, you should have 1.2 Million dollars waiting for you.  Future you sends his appreciation.

Yup, I already maxed my tIRA for 2018 contributions.  I'm using my federal/state tax refund toward quickly saving up the $3k to buy VTSAX in a taxable account (hopefully to reduce the cash drag otherwise I'd have saving to $3k more slowly).  Then I'll go for the $6k max IRA, then back to taxable to close out year (HSA/401k are getting maxed too).

2019 will also involve moving in with my girlfriend in her condo (plan is June).  That would lower both of our costs of living by splitting up expenses (we're very much on the same financial page and both save a lot through being frugal and enjoying free or cheap activities). 

It definitely blows my mind how much has changed from 2015 to 2019!  From negative net worth to getting myself set up to have better financial control/freedom each year!

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #67 on: February 07, 2019, 06:00:20 AM »
That must feel super awesome to have that debt gone. You're doing a fantastic job!

ardrum

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #68 on: October 23, 2019, 12:34:10 PM »
It's been over 8 months since my last update, which included my report of paying off my student loans in full.

At the end of June, I moved in with my girlfriend and things have been amazing!  We are on the same page financially and although she's a bit "ahead" of me with her salary and net worth progress thus far, I don't mind being Scottie Pippen if she's Michael Jordan. We make a great team (OK, maybe not as prolific as the 1990's Bulls, but not bad either), and it's been such a surprising and wonderful change in my life as I honestly had expected and planned to be single (nothing wrong with that of course, especially vs. a bad relationship). 

Today I've officially crossed the $200,000 net worth mark, and combined with my girlfriend we're sitting closer to $520,000!  This is baffling to me as I still remember having a negative net worth in 2015.  Directing all of that learned discipline in paying off student loans to now plow it all into the market has felt amazing.  I'm also mentally prepared for a recession and net worth drop, and I am eager to see how much I can minimize the drops by purchasing as much as I can as the market drops.  Savings rate is currently flirting near 75% (74% is more accurate though), so I'm eager to continue to maintain this level. 
 

Cannot Wait!

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #69 on: October 23, 2019, 02:15:11 PM »
Wowza!  Way to go!  Very happy for you both!

arebelspy

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #70 on: October 23, 2019, 02:16:39 PM »
That's pretty awesome! You've come so far! :D
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about me, this Business Insider profile tells the story pretty well.
I (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out the Now page to see what I'm up to currently.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #71 on: October 24, 2019, 11:10:03 AM »
That's pretty awesome! You've come so far! :D
Looking back, it looks like you started with a NW about 0, so increasing that by $200k in 4 years is quite impressive.  Keep up the good work!

ardrum

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #72 on: January 18, 2021, 08:18:54 AM »
It's been about 15 months since my last post. 

Saved over $50k in 2020, my highest ever.  Despite the massive market downturn, I kept aggressively buying.  I was as low as $133k at one point in March 2020 ($224k to start 2020), but with stubbornly buying throughout the plunge I ended the year at $301k!  So far in January I'm up to current NW at $317k.

My last remaining debt, my car loan, will be paid off at the end of next January.  I'm not rushing to pay that off though at only 0.9% (will finish a 5 year loan).  Hoping to be in the upper 300s by year end with only 1 car payment left in January 2022.

I hope people can read through this thread and see it's possible to get the momentum going even when you're starting in your 30s with negative net worth.

Check2400

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #73 on: January 18, 2021, 02:19:34 PM »
$300k by 40 still feels far away, but it doesn't necessarily look like the mountain that number seemed to represent 5+ years ago.

Remember when you said this at age 35, two years ago?

One thing I read that stuck with me is that some lenders (mostly payday but depending on how shady your car lender is...) give you a loan term that is one month longer than your repayment term, and they accelerate the interest payments when you make the mistake of trusting them to pay it off on time.  I'm sure that isn't the case with you, but it may be good to take a peek and make sure. 

Congrats on all that cash!

brooklynmoney

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #74 on: January 18, 2021, 03:41:00 PM »
Congratulations! I hope you are still living happily ever after with your girlfriend as well

Edwards

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #75 on: January 18, 2021, 05:11:37 PM »
I don't really have any advice or anything to share, but just wanted to say congratulations.

I applaud your determination and want to encourage you (not that you need it) to stay the course. Throughout the forums, it is easy to lament other people that have a better/easier situation than you (less debt, better paying job, inheritance, etc) and feel that your journey is unfair and impossible. While you would be right, it is 'unfair,' you are still making the effort and doing the best with the cards you are dealt.

As others have said, whenever you feel diminished, take the time to look back on your accomplishments.


ardrum

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #76 on: January 19, 2021, 09:35:41 AM »
Congratulations! I hope you are still living happily ever after with your girlfriend as well

Yup! :D

I don't really have any advice or anything to share, but just wanted to say congratulations.

I applaud your determination and want to encourage you (not that you need it) to stay the course. Throughout the forums, it is easy to lament other people that have a better/easier situation than you (less debt, better paying job, inheritance, etc) and feel that your journey is unfair and impossible. While you would be right, it is 'unfair,' you are still making the effort and doing the best with the cards you are dealt.

As others have said, whenever you feel diminished, take the time to look back on your accomplishments.



Good points.  Comparison can sometimes be the thief of joy if it diminishes us.

SpareChange

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #77 on: January 19, 2021, 11:12:04 AM »
Love to see these multiyear update threads! Glad you've stuck with it and stayed disciplined. Our financial situations have similarity, which makes it that much more enjoyable to read. Keep it up Ardum! Congrats!

ardrum

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #78 on: October 19, 2021, 07:18:30 PM »
Well, as of this month, October 2021, I've crossed the $401,000 mark in net worth ($100k net worth increase so far in 2021)!  My living expenses this year are on pace to be a hair under $14,000 too. Combined with my girlfriend, our collective net worth is into 7 figures with non-real estate investments making up ~$930k.  I like perusing this post every 6-12 months or so to mark my progress.  It is hard to believe I was just at $2000 or so in January 2016, and my main concern after graduating with my DPT was student loan payoff.

Everything is going well other than feeling increasingly burned out in my PT career.  I'm hoping to potentially retire next year or whenever I cross $500k.  I am possibly going to transition at that point to very part-time or quit the profession altogether.

Getting closer! 
« Last Edit: October 19, 2021, 07:20:12 PM by ardrum »

ChpBstrd

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #79 on: October 19, 2021, 08:23:44 PM »
Great news! Your buying through the pandemic was the right choice that put you in this position! The GF sounds like a fellow traveller and a keeper! If marriage seems like a big risk, talk to her about a prenup or the idea of keeping separate finances. Also think about the risks of not committing...

I'm personally aiming for a higher FIRE number, but given your spending discipline you could retire and probably coast upward for the rest of your life on that 3.5% WR. Have you made other posts detailing your budget/lifestyle?

Could the PT career burnout be alleviated if you changed clientele? E.g. if you are working with accident victims, work with the elderly, or if you're working with the elderly switch to working with kids, etc? I also wonder if you could switch to part-time and barista-FIRE-on-professional-salary FTW.

SpareChange

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #80 on: October 20, 2021, 11:10:38 AM »
Well, as of this month, October 2021, I've crossed the $401,000 mark in net worth ($100k net worth increase so far in 2021)!  My living expenses this year are on pace to be a hair under $14,000 too. Combined with my girlfriend, our collective net worth is into 7 figures with non-real estate investments making up ~$930k.  I like perusing this post every 6-12 months or so to mark my progress.  It is hard to believe I was just at $2000 or so in January 2016, and my main concern after graduating with my DPT was student loan payoff.

Everything is going well other than feeling increasingly burned out in my PT career.  I'm hoping to potentially retire next year or whenever I cross $500k.  I am possibly going to transition at that point to very part-time or quit the profession altogether.

Getting closer!

Wonderful progress. What do PT opportunities look like for DPTs? I went PT a couple of years ago (hospital based radiography). It's been a great way to go.

ixtap

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #81 on: October 20, 2021, 11:48:56 AM »
Are you working extra, in addition to all the restrictions. DH's GPT is often working 12 hour days by the time he squeezes one more client in in the evening ...

Igelfreundin

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #82 on: October 23, 2021, 08:40:42 AM »
I love the regular updates, and congratulations on all the progress! It's amazing how, once you get saving set to auto pilot, the math just does all the work for you.

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ardrum

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Re: Trying to accelerate the path to FI...
« Reply #83 on: October 25, 2021, 11:31:29 AM »
Still just working my regular hours, ixtap. 

Part time or prn (as-needed) options are available in physical therapy if I want.  For now though, I think my plan for 2022 is to try to stay FT and just use a lot of the PTO I have saved up.  I will probably take 2-3 PTO days off per month.

Igelfreundin, that is definitely true!  I'm glad I experienced the test of seeing investments crater > 40% (I am heavily tilted into small cap value, which fell significantly more than total market) and maintained the icewater in my veins to keep buying it as much as I could to capture the rebound.