This calendar event popped up for me recently: “Yo, still on track, my love?” This was my gentle reminder to go pet my financial avatar, update my charts and hopefully mutter reassuringly to myself.
Here’s where I stood at the end of April 2016.
The red line represents my expenses each month. I derive the green line from a formula regarding withdrawal rates and based on my net worth that theoretically represents my projected passive income. As long as the green line is higher than the red line, I can take off my worry pants.
I figured out my average expenses for May through August 2016 and plotted that point against my projected passive income on my sanity chart. Behold!
In the past four months, I’ve wandered around New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Montreal, Iceland, Oslo, Amsterdam, Germany, Romania, Sofia, Vienna and I feel like I’m missing one.
Even with all this traveling, my expenses line was still pretty tame.
The only income I earned from my labor in the past four months was when I bent down to pick up a quarter I found on the ground. I just checked my investment accounts to update this chart and the market is happy! My net worth increased by a healthy amount. I’m not going to tell you by how much, but look at the noticeable uptick in that green line! So fun!
So in answer to my past self – yes, my love, we’re still on track. This is me muttering reassuringly to you. I check my credit and my credit card statements regularly trying to ward off evil, but otherwise, I don’t think about money. At all. I buy whatever I want whenever I want. Am I emphasizing that point enough?
Honestly, I just don’t want that much. “There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less.” Here’s a list of things I hope to never own again.
List of things to avoid owning again*
- Real Property. I know you can make money that way and I know you can nest that way. It’s not for me.
- A motor vehicle. I’m really hoping driverless cars happen soon.
- A winter coat.
- Useless crap.
And now for my favorite piece of muttering reassurance. The deeper I’m wading into early retirement, the more I believe that I would have to actively try to not make money in the future if that’s the path I decide looks prettiest.
The author of my gospel, Joe Dominguez, retired at 31 to “never again accept money for any of his work.” I really love the idea of living on my version of enough because I think that’s a pretty powerful statement. I also love telling myself that. I have enough. Slow your roll. I have enough.
But! I also really love the idea of donating billions to charity upon my demise. Society conflates money, rightly or wrongly, to the idea of success and I am most certainly not immune to that association. Plus, if I had billions, I might splurge on a private jet. I hate airports.
I suspect that work on the life bucket list will yield some additional cushion. Maybe the business I start will make some money. Or the books I write will sell some copies. Or the job at the factory assembling faucets pays me. I definitely want to get paid for that last one.
So, my love, my heart, my soul, I know you’re not anxious about this. You got this.
I’m talking only about the money stuff, of course. With everything else in life, you should probably still be panicking.
*Actually, I just realized that entire list is inaccurate. The title implies I’ve owned this stuff before. I’ve never owned Real Property. I have zero interest in the idea of Real Property. I know that means you can’t take me seriously. That’s okay. You probably can’t.
I’ve never technically owned a car either. During my teenage driving years, I used my parents’ cars. When I graduated college and worked in insurance, I used a car that my father put the down payment on, my mother and sister held the title on (for building credit purposes) and I made the payments on. It was my faithful friend for six years, but when I graduated law school, I abandoned that beauty in my parent’s driveway and never looked back.
I imagine I will need a winter coat again as “try skiing” and “see the northern lights” are on the life bucket list and those seem like winter jacket weather activity.
That last point I’m not qualifying. We can all agree that the undefined term “useless crap” goes unequivocally on the “avoid” list.