The Sprint to FI

Almost-FIRE Limbo

With every paycheck, Tony and I get closer to FIRE. We’re at the point where we are counting the months (now 28 for me, 52 for him). We’ve started to write and think and talk about what retirement looks like and what we want to do, but we’re not actually there yet. For the next 2-4 years (if everything goes as planned), we’ll be in almost-FIRE limbo, where we keep working, keep saving, keep planning, keep living.

Since we are so close to retirement, we have decided to continue renting until then — it doesn’t make a lot of sense to buy a home and then have to sell in a few years so we can travel. In a few weeks we’ll be moving from our riverfront city apartment to a newly-renovated suburban rental house where we can have some more space, both inside and out, and which will also save us $700/month on rent! After we move I will have my own office/fiber studio with a door I can close, instead of having a desk in a corner of our main living space, so working at home (which we’re both doing fulltime now) will be easier. We are looking forward to having an indoor workout space in the basement, because our apartment gym has been mostly closed since we got here. This new-to-us house will be a cozy nest for us to settle into for the limbo period, and after moving every year since 2017, I hope not to do it again until after we both retire.

After downsizing substantially, moving across the country, and living in apartments for a few years, we have gotten really good at living with less stuff. Some of it is gone forever, like the fancy handbag collection I sold most of this year (the proceeds are now in VTSAX). But now that we are expanding our living space, it’s really tempting to get more stuff for it. Part of the fun of moving to a new house is furnishing and decorating it. We’ll have a good-sized kitchen with a big, sunny bay window perfect for a round table and a few chairs; we’ll want a TV and/or speakers and some floor mats for workout classes. The big sliding glass door to the back yard will need some curtains for privacy. I’ve already ordered shelves for plants, and Tony’s procured a modem for our new gigabit fiber internet. I’ll have room in my office for a proper craft table in addition to my work desk, and we’ll need basic gardening tools. A comfy recliner would be nice too.

All of this grates against Tony’s wide minimalist streak, though, and I can tell it stresses him out when we talk about it. He does have a point; it’s not worth spending a bunch of money (that might otherwise be invested) on furniture and other stuff we’ll either have to sell or put in storage once we start traveling. But we also have to live and enjoy our nest until then. We both like nice things and big, solid furniture, but dropping a pile of cash on handcrafted artisan housewares wouldn’t be practical. So we’ll need to focus on what’s important and find a balance, probably with the help of IKEA.

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