• The Sprint to FI

    Making Incremental Changes

    In order to pursue FIRE, we have to make changes to our lives. There is always a pressure from within to make those changes all at once. However it is better to make incremental changes rather than big changes, as incremental changes tend to stay with you. Making a lot of changes at the same time is often a recipe for failure. Let Me Explain I used to have terrible eating habits; I would overeat, eat junk, eat too many sweets etc. I also had a thing for lemonade although I never did get into soda except as the occasional treat. Several times I tried to change this as it…

  • The Sprint to FI

    Keeping Up with the New Joneses

    As proponents of FIRE, we often laugh at those who wish to keep up with the Joneses, but we have to take care not to fall into that trap ourselves as it is easy to do. I don’t mean buying a Mercedes or a new house or any of that jazz. What I am talking out is keeping up with the Joneses on FIRE! We listen to other people’s stories and we are inspired to do better. This is a good thing, but there is also a dark side to this. Sometimes that inspiration can turn to competitiveness. This is the path to despair and pain (yes I have recently…

  • The Sprint to FI

    The tyranny of the calendar

    From the age of 11, I have been at the mercy of someone else’s calendar and I suspect you have too. I was given a calendar on my first day of secondary school.  My days were spent moving from class to class directed by that calendar. Even after leaving school and moving on to further education, it was more of the same. Every day there was a calendar that had to be followed. Post graduation and here I am again at the mercy of my various employers over the years. The all had the calendar in common and it must be followed. I was given some time to spend as…

  • The Sprint to FI

    Risk Tolerance

    I was considering the difference between Flex FI and FI. The difference of course is two fold:   the amount saved the withdrawal rate (SWR) Flex FI vs FI With Flex Fi you are only saving 20x your annual spend and for FI it is 25x your annual spend.  In order to have a decent income from your FlexFi number you need a 5% withdrawal rate vs the 4% rate for FI. (For those approaching FIRE in their 30s and 40s a more appropriate SWR may be as low as 3.5%). total yearly spend: $50k Flex FI number = $1M      @ 5% = $50K FI number     …

  • The Sprint to FI

    Improving Your Income

    The basics of FIRE go like this:   Maximize your income Minimize your spending Save the difference the higher your savings rate, the shorter your time to FI A lot of people focus on minimizing the spending because this is something we a have more control over. However it is also possible to increase income sometimes. In fact I quite successfully did that and in this post I explore how I did that. There are a few basic ways to increase income: Ask for a raise at work Jump to another job Start a side hustle The Side Hustle The side hustle is probably the easier of the three because…

  • The Sprint to FI

    Savings and Where to Put What

    When I first started on my path to FIRE, I had lots and lots of questions. One of them was where to put my money and in what order? I am not a teacher or government employee so what I have available to me are my 401k, IRAs, savings and brokerage accounts. So how much money and into what bucket ? Lets take a look at the features of each type of account. The order in which you fill these buckets is dependent on your own circumstances, but general wisdom is the following: 401k match Debt elimination HSA 401k Maximum IRA Savings and brokerage Accounts The 401k Common wisdom dictates…

  • The Sprint to FI

    2019 End Of Year Review

    I haven’t done this before, but at the end of last year I wanted to write a review of the year and never really got around to writing it. This year however I will write my end of year review.   The Numbers Our combined net worth according to Personal Capital is currently $539k.  We got there by maxing out both of the 401k’s however, Cat was not able to complete the top up and I only managed to get $4k into my Roth IRA. The issues in savings stem from starting the 2019 savings later in the year. Overall the numbers were great, with Cat really hammering her savings…

  • The Sprint to FI

    What is Systemic Spending?

    Systemic Spending is a concept I’ve heard bandied around on some of the blogs and podcasts.  I wasn’t sure what systemic spending is, so I decided to dig into it and see how it relates to me. There is little about systemic spending as it relates to the FIRE community, so my understanding is mostly based on two sources: The SAFE plan and the ChooseFI podcast 033; Design your future with Dominick Quartuccio. In essence it seems to be that in order to be happy we need to live our lives with intention. In order to achieve that, our spending must also be with intention. This translates into happiness by…

  • The Sprint to FI

    Roth Conversions

    One of the good things that has happened to Cat and I over the years is we have almost always had good income; with the exception of the disaster. The downside, if you can call it a downside is that we do not qualify for certain financial tools because of our higher income. The Roth IRA is one of those things. However, we can still use the Roth IRA as an investment tool, even though we don’t qualify for pre-tax Roth contributions. This is achieved by performing a Roth IRA rollover from a traditional IRA. Why do I want a Roth IRA? Because the growth and withdrawal of money from…

  • The Sprint to FI

    We Always Were Good Savers

    Cat and I were discussing this a while back. We always did save well. Our problem was this; we could save for specific things but for some reason we never considered just saving. I think the idea of just saving for  … something was too nebulous for us. Retirement wasn’t a thing so it didn’t occur to us to save for it. I’m not sure why we had this blind spot but I realized a while ago, that if we had a target we could save. No target = no savings with us. Introducing me to FIRE got us to a point where we had targets and so our savings…