We read a lot of personal finance blogs. There are some great people out there writing about this stuff. But a lot of bloggers I read are either struggling to get out of significant debt or trying to retire early on two large incomes, and most don’t have kids until they’ve financially prepared to do so. What if, however, your “Let’s do this!” moment for early retirement comes when you already have three young kids, the two of you don’t make over $100,000, and you both want to retire together? Mr. T has a great job with great benefits and a lot of time off, but his salary is not very large for a programmer. I work part time (10-15 hours/week from home), but my primary job is being a stay-at-home mom (which doesn’t pay well and the lack of time off is practically illegal).
So is it possible to retire early in this situation? Absolutely. Will it take longer than just a couple of years? Yes. Is it possible to do it without completely losing your head? That’s the experiment.
The first plan is to earn the Alaska state energy rebate to get us jumpstarted. Once that comes in (DONE), we will simultaneously try to max out our Roth IRAs and pay down the mortgage. Once the mortgage is paid off, we will work toward upping all of our investments. The goal we set for retirement was $500,000 in investments and no mortgage by 2022. (That seems crazy far away. Will there finally be flying cars by then?). The PFD is a big part of our plan. But mainly, we’ll try to save as much money as possible. And get creative on income. We’ve got some local crafty things planned (that so far have not gone as well as we would have hoped). For more details on the logistics of how we plan to achieve our goal, check out our Road to Financial Awesomeness as well as our timeline of dreams. $500,000 won’t last us forever, but it is the first goal.
In March of 2016, we took a solid look at our numbers and our plan including:
- How much we spend
- Three Numbers Retirement Calculators Include
- Recalculating: A new financial plan (introducing 3 possibilities)
Our plan is also about balance. Our family is trying to pay off our house and retire early, but on our terms. We are not total cheapskates, but we are frugal. We’re trying to find a balance between renouncing consumerism and becoming misers. With kids, we’re trying to find a balance between teaching them work ethic and the value of a dollar while also providing them experiences (not more stuff). We’re trying to balance becoming complete minimalists and keeping and reusing everything so we never have to buy stuff again. We want to show our children both Alaska and the world and those things are expensive (even with some conservative travel hacking!). And we’re still trying to retire early to do more of those things. But kids grow up. So we have to do some things now. Balance is hard. Wish us luck.
FOLLOW OUR WHOLE JOURNEY – month-by-month updates!
- June 2015 – $59,030 investments, $90,000 mortgage balance
- July 2015 – $62,800 investments, $89,000 mortgage balance
- August 2015 – $57,926 investments, $87,536 mortgage balance
- September 2015 – $53,995 investments, $86,075 mortgage balance
- October 2015 – $72,552 investments, $82,600 mortgage balance
- November 2015 – $75,096 investments, $81,130 mortgage balance
- December 2015 – $74,780 investments, $79,950 mortgage balance
- January 2016 – $65,860 investments, $78,670 mortgage balance
- February 2016 – $70,878 investments, $76,200 mortgage balance
- March 2016 – $88,102 investments, $74,200 mortgage balance
- April 2016 – $93,042 investments, $71,990 mortgage balance
- May 2016 – $97,390 investments, $71,200 mortgage balance
- June 2016 – $101,100! investments, $70,218 mortgage balance
- July 2016 – $109,500 investments, $68,200 mortgage balance
- August 2016 – $114,380 investments, $65,900 mortgage balance
- September 2016 – $116,150 investments, $63,550 mortgage balance
- October 2016 – $116,585 investments, $59,600 mortgage balance
- November 2016 – $126,530 investments, $53,700 mortgage balance
- December 2016 – $133,270 investments, $52,975 mortgage balance
- January 2017 – $135,525 investments, $52,100 mortgage balance