Early Retirement Blueprint

I don’t think a single day goes by that I don’t think how I can invest and get to early retirement.  The reason I think about my investments so much is I always think there might be another option out there.  Because I do not see a blueprint for early retirement I decided to share my own, something I’m calling my Early Retirement Blueprint.

I wrote the Early Retirement Blueprint as more of a business plan, not an executed financial statement ready to be published and audited by the SEC which is important to remember when reading my plan and putting it together with your own.  I’m going to touch on each bullet point later in the post and where I am currently in my journey.  Most of the research that was done for this was based off of my experiences and what I find to be working in the early retirement community.

Make Sure All Personal Debt is Paid Off

Most early retirement plans are anywhere from 5-17 years in length depending on your savings rate, which is well documented in MMM and ERE.  The math comes down that if you want your savings rate to be as efficient as possible you should have all personal debt paid off, this is really financial common sense.  If your student loans take away $200 of your monthly income and you pay them off, your savings rate increases and thus the number of years needed to early retirement go down.  Young Adult Money makes a good argument against this, but I can’t say it’s one I agree with.  He mentions in his article that this is a math problem only, which in this scenario makes him close to being correct.  My argument would be too many things are assumed that I can’t jump on board for example: taking emotion out of the equation, you will pay off your loan in 10 years or less, the stock market will give you a 8% return or greater in that time, and lastly I don’t see paying taxes on this money involved in the equation(I understand this could open up Pandora’s box, but either way I didn’t see it mentioned)  Very few if any early retirement bloggers mention to keep personal debt(mortgage excluded) and for that reason alone making sure your personal debt is paid off is first.  While I do not think you should stop your life financially, I do believe this should be your number one priority.  For example a savings plan of contributing to your 401K should be included, but if we are on the true path to ER and 5-17 years, the minimum goal when on the path to early retirement should be a 50% savings rate, anything below this and the term early retirement loses some of it’s luster.

Have a Major Investment That Will be Your Catalyst

There is 2 common schools of thought on investing.

Don’t put your eggs in one basket

Put all of your eggs in one basket and watch it like a hawk

I tend to think both are correct just at different times of your life.  I believe that when you start out you should put all of your eggs in one basket and watch it like a hawk.  The investment can be of your choosing and your comfort level.  After you have put all of your eggs in one basket and made a significant amount of your early retirement nest egg this is when you need to put your eggs in different baskets.  I think the best way to relate this type of investment strategy is to compare it to a successful business.  When Coca-Cola first started out they sold Coke and that was it, now if you head to their website they sell over 100 different brands.  Another example is Google which originally started as a search engine and now do everything, social media, cars that drive themselves, investments in other start-ups, this list could go on for days.  Here’s the thing, they started out with one catalyst, one big investment.  Coke didn’t start out with 100 different brands instead they built the one most important to their success, branched out to diversify and created other income streams.  A few examples of this in the the blogging world are Dividend Mantra with a catalyst of dividend investments, 1500 Days with a catalyst of individual stock investments, JL Collins with a catalyst of Index Funds, and Afford Anything with a catalyst of real estate.  Great examples of a major investment and having a catalyst, they put all of their eggs in one basket and watched it like a hawk.

Have a Secondary Investment(s) That Will Bring Passive Income

This is the one that goes under the radar so often.  Having that initial catalyst investment is so important but like any good business all of their income does not come from one source, it’s just to large of a risk.  The most comment investments for early retirement are real estate, index fund investing, and dividend investing.  Other sources not so commonly talked about are a small business side income, bonds/preferred stocks, REIT, personal lending (hard money lender, peer to peer, etc), CD’s, Money Market, and many others that could be considered a secondary investment.

Let’s highlight some great Early Retirement blogs that make it known that one investment is a great start but they subscribe to creating multiple streams of income.  While Mr. Money Mustache doesn’t openly talk about his investments as much as frugality, savings rate, and many bad-assity references which most of us enjoy he only briefly mentions in his Getting Rich post that he uses real estate, dividend investing, peer to peer lending, and a casual mention of index investing.  Retire by 40 has a similar approach to the my the Early Retirement Blueprint method, he mentions dividends, rental income, online income, and peer to peer lending in is 2015 Update.  I mention 1500 Days one more time as he is in the process of switching from his catalyst of individual investments(which is rarely found in ER), but even he realizes that tech stocks are a roller coaster ride, but diversification is needed as he looks more to index fund investing and his recent attempt at guerrilla real estate investing, and peer to peer lending.  Financial Samurai mentions stocks and bonds, online income, real estate, investing, and even CD’s as his investment of choice(s) which happens to be one of the more conservative approaches I have found, but also appears to be one of the more wealthy bloggers out there.

Diversification comes in many income streams and if you are not using one or many of these I expect a downturn in your future.  At this point in our journey towards financial independence we are currently looking at 75% in Real Estate Investment(Equity) and 25% in our Stock Investments of our total Net Worth(which I don’t share because Mrs. Even Steven says so!), which for being a little over 5 years away from retirement I feel good about.  Over the next couple years I look forward to getting this closer to a 50% Real Estate, 25% Stocks(Retirement), and 25% Dividend Stocks, Bonds, and Peer to Peer Lending(Online income would be nice as well;)  I think if you have more than 50% of your portfolio for your early retirement income you are asking for a kick to the groin and nobody likes those.

Have Your Tax Deferred Retirement Accounts Prepared For Your Official Retirement Age

For some of you this might be a little counter intuitive, while I certainly suggest stuffing your tax deferred investment accounts full during your working days, with our Early Retirement Blueprint approach to early retirement we do not want to rely on one form of income.  Also if you take a look at some of the savvy tax deferring individuals they are not relying solely on a 401k/Traditional IRA transfer to Roth IRA to live off of.  A couple of my favorites on this topic include the Mad Fientist who talks about the Traditional IRA vs Roth IRA which in the comments get more talk about the small amounts you will need to take out to avoid taxes and the 5 year waiting period on the conversion.  The Mad Fientist talks about having at least 5 years worth of individual investments to get through this waiting gap.  I’m going to take this one further and recommend not touching any of the conversions to your Roth IRA at all and instead wait till 59.5 to take out this money, it will have more time to grow and also importantly it will act as a bonus of sorts in retirement,  I look at this as a fail safe in our retirement approach.  Most early retirement bloggers seem to plan retirement in the 35-45 year old range and with most calculations that come up from any study on a 4 percent rule tend to lean towards a 30 year window.  Briefly reading observations about the Trinity Study and Monte Carlo simulations there is still a failure rate, what if instead of allowing an entire 30 year window it was condensed to 15 or 20 years, then the remaining 10-15 years are instead supplemented with a Roth IRA full of money, plus don’t forget another retirement only account in the H.S.A which the Mad Fientist details here and I support him with my own emergency account for health agreement.  Go Curry Cracker who is officially retired talks about his cash management strategy, while I can’t match what real life experience he has I can agree with many of the points he makes, specifically his talk about 401k / IRA / Roth, a great addition to read if you are more interested on this topic.

I think most of this discussion really goes back to making sure our early retirement income is diversified.  Even based off the most simple budget of $2,000 month/$24,000 a year, the early part of your retirement stage will need to depend on accounts other than tax deferred.  The only ER blogger/Dividend blogger that I read on a more regular basis Dividend Mantra uses only dividend producing stocks in taxable brokerage accounts, while I think he still uses his online income as a secondary investment, my money is on him spreading out his investments more over time, but as of right a dividend investor would be the closest to an outlier.  I still think that this is not the best approach to have all investments in a taxable brokerage account, I’m actually not sure why he wouldn’t take advantage of these accounts while he is working based on the time table I mentioned above with 20 years to retirement age as a baseline, because eventually those dividends and eventual sales of assets will be a taxable gain.  I don’t disagree with his method because 99% of personal finance bloggers are smarter than I am, it just doesn’t fall into my suggested Early Retirement Blueprint.

Just a quick note, while I mentioned H.S.A and IRA’s for retirement accounts, don’t forget about pensions as some companies and many government agencies(police, fire, military, government) actually offer them and can add on to your retirement bonus.  For some early retirement would just be a bridge to the bigger payday, in my case I’d probably be able to buy an extra 6 pack of beer a month, but I’ll take it, Craft brew for everyone…..well 6 of us at least!

Have an Emergency Fund That Fits Your Comfort Level

First off I want to make clear this is for when you retire early, this is not going through the journey.  My plan is to have a revolving door of cash during early retirement, so in my perfect scenario I would defer touching any income until 1 year later.  My investment strategy is real estate heavy, but this strategy could be used for almost any investment income.  Let’s say your expenses amount to $24,000 a la MMM, in this example I would want $24,000 sitting in my checking account(I find it hard to believe that years from now interest rates will be at almost zero) earning nearly nothing.  During the year that we are using the $24,000, the real estate income each month will be put in a separate account to accumulate over the year.  For our purposes the real estate income will cover our yearly expenses and any overages that would occur.  However since we are following the 50/25/25 Blueprint from above, we will also have additional funds coming into this account.  Ideally we would like the 50% to cover 2X our expenses or in this case $48,000, while the additional 50% is reinvested to create more wealth.  Even if this is not the case and your 50% covers 1/2 of your expenses, while the other 50% covers the remaining portion, you are still creating a rolling emergency fund that builds in security.  We are looking for 1 year’s worth of expenses, but even in a worse case I would recommend 3 months in cash, but it really is a comfort level that needs to fit your individual blueprint.  My real estate example relies on cash flow so a large emergency fund would be considered a wise choice, where as a 50% dividend income strategy might feel more comfortable with 3-6 months since companies like Coke and Johnson and Johnson are funding their retirement rather than my house in Chicago.

My Early Retirement Recap

In the Early Retirement Blueprint from above I mentioned many early retirement bloggers out there and some of the strategies they are currently using that are similar in nature to what I have written.  I also mentioned a few details about where I am at with my personal Blueprint, but here’s a better picture of what Even Steven Money Early Retirement Blueprint looks like.

  • Make sure all personal debt is paid off-I currently have an outstanding student loan that is on goal to be finished by April 2015, I also have a personal loan to my parents that is scheduled to paid off June 2020, however my above student loan was scheduled for May 2020, so I have built in some room for these in my Blueprint.
  • Have a major investment that will be your catalyst for early retirement-I currently have 2 investment real estate properties that I consider my catalyst, both properties have equity with one scheduled to be paid off in 2016, I’m holding off on making any concrete predictions for our Chicago property at the moment, but the current plan is for the pay off to be July 2020 aka Early Retirement D-Day
  • Have a secondary investment(s) that will bring passive income for early retirement-Currently this is at the very early stages and one topic I think about on the daily.  I think the problem is I have not made up my mind on how much this will be factored into my passive income and what is the best for me, I’ll provide more clear thoughts on this later after I get my student loan paid off.
  • Have your tax deferred retirement accounts prepared for the official retirement age-  What I mean by this is when you turn 59.5 these accounts could take over in case of failure of your major investment or secondary investment.  My plan is for this to be a bonus income during the later stages of retirement.  Because this is considered a bonus and/or fail safe during our early retirement this is an ongoing contribution, we are working together to make this contribution higher each year, 2015 will be one of the best.
  • Have an emergency fund that fits your comfort level-My goal for this to have a revolving account that has 1 year’s worth of expenses, during the year I will use this money for every day expenses while my passive income builds for the following year.  This also is in the early stages of being built up while we pay down our house and create a larger amount each month to build to our current comfort level.

I would love to hear about your Early Retirement Blueprint?  Agree? Disagree? What would you change?  What are you doing different?

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49 Responses to “Early Retirement Blueprint

  • Our strategy isn’t all that different. That should come as no surprise because we have followed some of the same pioneers in Early Retirement. We currently are focused on finding a balance at eliminating our mortgage, thus reducing ER income needs while still saving like crazy to create the income stream. Our catalyst is index fund investing. One area I think we could beef up a little bit is the secondary investments. The most obvious for us is small business income. Given our current employment, self-employment in the same field would be a conflict of interest and highly frowned-upon – like termination. But once we were in a comfortable position with primary investments, I could see us pursuing a small consulting business.

    Nice work on the blueprint!!
    Mrs. Maroon recently posted…Are You Too Chicken…My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Thanks Maroons! I think that initial catalyst trumps the secondary investing especially in the beginning. The small biz sounds like a great idea, we have discussed something similar after ER, but only in discussion at this point.

  • I’m with you on this…not a day goes by that I don’t think and dream about FI. I really need to have a better plan with numbers and stuff…it’s more of an abstract dream as of now. I’m in Young Adult Money’s camp with low interest debt…some of my student loan debt is at 1.6% so I’m in no rush to pay it off. I do understand want to pay off debt, though at this point, I’m focusing on investing. I’m mainly invested in index funds, but have really been looking into rental properties but it will probably have to be out-of-state because it’s too expensive in NYC. I’d also like to find something that I’m passionate about which can earn me some money even in early retirement…like MMM and his construction biz.
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…Ode to My Frugal WifeMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      I understand both camps for paying off low interest, I’m of course in the other camp so that one’s the best;) Getting that catalyst going with your primary investing is what separates some of the Early Retirement dreams in my opinion, I would focus on investing in index funds until you are comfortable enough to make a move into another asset class.

  • I’m like you, thinking about FI on a daily basis. We are working very hard on having a major investment as our catalyst for early retirement. I think your point of having a secondary investment(s) is just as important. Diversification is always a good thing. Definitely need to look into more secondary investments as we work toward FI. One field I’d love to get into as a secondary investment is real estate by renting out properties. RE is a bit too high in Vancouver area right now so maybe we need to look at different areas in Canada or maybe in the US if we can figure out the tax situation.
    Tawcan recently posted…How to survive a shopping trip to CostcoMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Can’t give a ton of info on investing in Canada other than to say real estate investing in my opinion is one of, if not the fastest way to early retirement done correctly.

  • Having investments is absolutely critical to early retirement, and that concept need not be very complex. I think most people know about diversification, but many are probably intimidated to throw a lot of their money at it because they realize that the don’t truly understand everything about “the market”.

    I like to keep things very simple in my life. Though I am setup to retire by the time that I’m 40, I also don’t bury my head into the stock market all that deeply. I don’t try to predict what tech company is going to make it big, or do I even pretend to be an expert investor. Hell, I didn’t even invest in Facebook. after they went public.

    The truth of the matter is investing is EASY. Setup a targeted retirement account through a major investment firm like Vanguard or Fidelity (or so many others) and simply forget it. Your money will be automatically diversified at least to some degree between stocks and bonds, and the ratio will slowly tip in favor of bonds the older you get so your money because less fragile.

    But the thing to keep in mind here is it’s all done for you. It’s automatic. No need to study companies and their profit potential. No need to understand yields or anything more complex than simply having money invested.

    This kind of investing and saving for the future is a lot more approachable than most people thing. It’s easy. No math required. Just put as much case as possible into your targeted retirement fund and literally watch your money build underneath your very eyes.
    Steve Adcock recently posted…“What do you do?” Are you a plumber, or a hiker?My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Steve I like your point that having a Vanguard Target Fund is a fine investment and the real key is saving the money. I can’t stress enough that having some diversity is going to make the ride easier along the way. If your portfolio is hit by an investment crash and doesn’t recover in time you could be faced with some difficult decisions at that point. A good business model is going to have a large income that it can rely on, but also create smaller income streams to ride out the tough times and even prosper in the great times.

  • I like to think about financial independence fairly often, but right now I’m 90% focused on your first point of eliminating all of my personal debt. The other 10% goes towards my 401k and Roth IRA.

    I will probably need to think of ways to raise my income, because I don’t realistically see me hitting 50% savings rate with the COL in my area. I’m thinking I can hit 30-40% most months but I’d like FI to come sooner than that! I guess you can say I’m still working on my “catalyst”.
    Debt Hater recently posted…Debt Avalanche MethodMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      I was living in your shoes for the last 6-9 months, I have made paying off debt a priority. I am blessed enough to be in a position where our real estate investments are already in place, Mrs. Even Steven and I took an approach that I hate my debt more than she does and she wants to pay off her home more than I do, which in turn allows us to really focus on Step #1 and #2 at the same time(she doesn’t have debt, but I do approach).

      It does take time to get to that mark of 50% or greater, I mean I had a Benz, Credit Card debt, student loan debt, personal debt, large cable bill, large phone bill, I mean this is a long list that took away from what I really wanted to do. While it’s great to read about the Mad Fientist and how to access your money during early retirement, it means nothing to me when I had 50K in student loans.

  • What’s tough about creating an early retirement blueprint for me is that I’m still young and there are a million variables that can change from now until my FI date (I’ve set this at 40 right now but think I can definitely bring that in some down the road). At 26 years old my income has increased dramatically from when I graduated college about 5 years ago, and I expect it to continue (at least I hope so). I also am currently not married with no kids, which I think will change before my FI date. Also will I want to be managing real estate? Will I rather have dividend income? Will I find a hobby that produces income? These are all possibilities. One thing I’ve learned is to be very open-minded to changes in my plan along the way. As long as those changes are good ones and not extending out my FI date.
    Fervent Finance recently posted…About Fervent FinanceMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      You are correct life has variables, especially as life and aging happen. I think what your comment says to me is the deer stuck in headlights, I would only say don’t be frozen and not invest. If the only thing you do is save a ton of money with a large savings rate, you can figure out the investment part as you go. @ThinkSaveRetire mentioned a simple solution and that’s a Vanguard Target fund.

      I think it’s important you have short term and long term goals, I mention my goals http://www.evenstevenmoney.com/2015-goals-and-big-dreams/ and despite them being more vague in 10 years they are out there for me to shoot at. I’m curious what are your 2015 goals? Might have to check the site as well.

  • oops, that was my blog post for tomorrow. I was saying on my comment that I love this post and trying to figure out what my blueprint is something I think about at least once a day. My blueprint so far is balance between debt and investing, but maybe I need to think about focusing more. If nothing else excellent post!
    Jason recently posted…Snow Fatigue or Why I Want to Move to the CaribbeanMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      I removed it should be all set;) I mentioned it below but right now I am focusing on my personal debt, 100% of the time. I think if I put $200 in dividends and $200 in peer to peer lending, and $200 to pay off my student loans not only would it take me forever to pay off my student loans but if you lose focus you lose the big Wins. I make $1000 payments not $100 payments and that’s what gets me there. I mentioned below that I am lucky enough to focus on this while Mrs. Even Steven focuses on our real estate investing, but if this was not the case, I would focus on paying off debt ASAP.

  • Well, I have to defend my statements don’t I 😉 I don’t think it’s possible to argue against the stock market returning 8% over time, as it’s really a fact and not a debate. I showed support for that in this post. I don’t know what you are getting at with that tax argument, but you could argue that the tax deduction from student loans further supports not paying it down (again, this is low-interest debt we are talking about). But yes, if you factor emotion into it everything goes out the window. Emotions are very subjective though and I think it’s best to boil things down to the financial math behind a decision. I also think people who are locked in at a mortgage of ~3% would be insane to pay it off early, especially if they plan on early retirement. You’re missing out on some massive stock market gains.

    I don’t expect to convince you, though, just though I’d stop by and provide a little defense to my strong belief that you are losing money if you pay off low-interest debt at a rapid pace instead of investing the money.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…Mail Credit Card Offers > Online Credit Card OffersMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Thanks YAM appreciate the defense;) The 8% stock market defense was using a 10 year time table, that is where my mention of this stems from, yes 8% over time, but no to 8% in a 10 year run as a certainty. The tax mention was saying that if you sold the stock in a taxable investment you would need to pay capital gains on the profit, which if you planned to use this for your payoff for student loans would affect this.

      It’s certainly a “personal” in personal finance type of argument. Having my student loan being paid off when I turn 45 was not going to happen even if I was earning 8% on my investments and paying 3.63% on my student loans. It’s a mind set that wins the battle for me.

  • I’m trying to think if I followed a similar blueprint

    Get out of debt: check, although I carried debt when it made sense
    Focused investment: check
    Secondary investments? Not sure about this. I lost money in RE.
    Maybe the blog could be considered an income source, but income = ~$0.01/hour of work
    Tax deferred accounts: check. Currently trying to pay $0 tax on conversions
    Emergency fund: ~3 months cash

    I agree with you, it would be best if you spend the Roths last, even longer than Age 59.5 if you can.
    Jeremy recently posted…How Tim Ferriss Helped Me Retire in My 30’s, Lose 17 Pounds, & Cook Like a ProMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      I like that the Early Retirement Blueprint fits the real life of Go Curry Cracker. For the debt part I’m going to make the assumption that you carried debt meaning your house and not the personal debt that has 15% interest for example or 5% student loans even.

      I think you are being modest on your Secondary investments here’s what you wrote recently. “We have multiple sources of income: a seller-financed private mortgage, a few individual dividend stocks, and large holdings in equity funds.” And -$.01 so we have a tax write off……Fantastic!

      • Most of my student loans were at 7-8%. But rather than pay them off, I contributed enough to the 401k to get a match. Getting an immediate 15-25% tax deduction plus free money was a better use of that cash than paying down the student loan (which I was also doing aggressively)

        The seller financed mortgage was a loss by every metric. I lost money in real estate, and the only way I could get rid of it was to provide financing. It generates some short term cash flow, but by no means was it a good investment. When that balloons out, I’ll buy more index funds
        Jeremy recently posted…How Tim Ferriss Helped Me Retire in My 30’s, Lose 17 Pounds, & Cook Like a ProMy Profile

        • EvenStevenMoney
          2 years ago

          I don’t disagree with getting the company match and then using the remaining to aggressively pay off your debt, because that’s exactly what I do. Tough break on the real estate, but I’ve considered something similar if we would sell either of our properties, but again all eggs in one basket needs a caution sign, in my humble opinion.

  • Great job. Getting rid of high interest debt is a key. Pick up some rentals. Get a job and get a pension, even if it is small. Save like a rascal.

    it is hard to get out of the cube farm before 45, but can be done. More realistically, 50 is even tough.

    One thing for certain, if you do not save, you are destined to die there.
    No Nonsense Landlord recently posted…Investing after you are a Financially Independent Real Estate InvestorMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      I’ve said it before but having personal debt and trying to do all these amazing financial independence tips that are offered just doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. I know pensions aren’t very common, but if they are available include them in your 55-60 year old plan/bonus.

      Strong words No Nonsense Landlord, but it’s really true. I mean I could ask 100 people who are 45 or 50 and they would say they can’t retire, won’t retire, etc. and if you ask a 25-30 year old they will say they will retire early or not work the whole time. One of the many reasons I work hard today.

  • I couldn’t agree more with your blue print. The only difference I would make, and its a bit biased because its the way I did it, is to start maxing out your 401K early.

    I think it is important to start doing this early for several reasons:

    1) You need to contribute at least the minimum 5-6% to get that company match. It is free money.

    2) I always recommend maxing out in your first job, because it forces you to live without the money, so you never get used to getting it. The longer you wait, the harder it is going to be. At least that is what I have witnessed watching other people. I am 28 and I know plenty of people twice my age that have zero saved for retirement. Or its a fraction of the $100K that I have already put away.

    3) You get that nice tax savings. Get used to deferring those taxes now.

    4) You also have the ability to borrow from your 401K. So for example, when I bought my first brand new car I had the cash, but it would had taken my account to an uncomfortable level. So I financed it with my 401K. Instead of paying someone else interest I paid it to myself. I know this is going to ruffle some feathers, but I think its a viable strategy. You could do the same thing with your student loans. You might as well capture the interest you would normally pay someone else.

    Other than moving the 401K up the priority list ahead of eliminating all of your debt, I think the Blue print is solid.

    Cheers!
    Gen Y Finance Guy recently posted…Murder Your Mortgage in 7 Years Q&AMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      I totally agree with 1 and 3. Step 2 would be tough for a number of people starting out, but the concept is in the right place. I had so much debt that it would have been tough just to make all the payments at the time, but those without debt or minimal debt it’s a smart move long term. Yeah number 4 is not for me and I wouldn’t recommend it to a friend so I won’t recommend it to the masses. I really do think your 401k should be treated like the holy grail or better yet the money your grandpa used to bury in the backyard, just forget about it and dig it up when you retire.

  • This is awesome Even Steven. I’m a big fan of clear and focused plans, and this one looks pretty rock solid. Of course, my own plan is quite different, and technically you probably wouldn’t call it an ‘early retirement’ plan, but more of a ‘increased financial flexibility’ plan, without the focus on paying down debt. I’m hoping stocks can be my major catalyst, and also trying to plan a small side income stream at some point in the future, but man its hard work!
    Jason @ Islands of Investing recently posted…The scales can mislead youMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      What no early retirement plan, now I’m never going to visit Australia! All kidding aside one of my goals in this plan is to have choices/financial flexibility, so I’m right there with you. One of my favorite quotes of all time is “If it were easy, everyone would do it”, so yep hard work it is!

  • We are still fine tuning the blue print, but do have the personal debt check off. We are now increasing investment savings and looking at other passive income streams as well.
    Brian @ Debt Discipline recently posted…Interview Series: Debtless in TexasMy Profile

  • Paying off debt really is a big one. We are almost done with personal debt and will be looking at paying down the mortgage…if we had no mortgage payment, retirement would come MUCH sooner.
    Brian @ Debtless in Texas recently posted…HSA Custodian WoesMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      I like paying off debt as a goal, it’s one of the steps I am currently. Many arguments can be made about paying off your mortgage early, I side with paying it off early over investing in many situations(especially ours since it’s our catalyst and rental property as well). It’s very hard to disagree with not having a mortgage payment, best of luck taking it out.

  • An impressive and extensive guideline you have here! I still haven’t been convinced to join the early retirement club yet. I actively work towards being financially independent just because I’m a saver. But I also dream about all the travel I want to do, the type of lifestyle I want to live and frankly it isn’t conducive with retiring at 35 or 40 with only 2 million in the bank (unless I had a spouse that continued to work). Call it me giving into consumerism, but I prefer some of the finer things in life and there is also nothing wrong with it as long as I’m okay with having to work for it. It does help that I’ve never had to pay down debt though, so I’ve always been able to focus on saving and purchasing what I want without that weight around my neck.
    Broke Millennial recently posted…Frugal Find Friday: Digit (The New Way to Save)My Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      It sounds like mini early retirements might be in your future, either way actively working towards financial independence and being a saver is a great thing.

  • I think diversity of income sources is important. It’s one thing to have a steady stream of income from equities but what if the stock market tanks? I think a balance between real estate and equities is good and rental income is a great way to bring in some cash every month. My plan is to live off the dividends from my dividend stocks as well as some rental income
    Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet recently posted…Tips for Claiming Child Care ExpensesMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      Preach Dan! Why not build your nest egg of early retirement up and make sure it is balanced so you don’t take a shot to the stomach while you are enjoying early retirement.

  • I do fall into the “it depends” camp when it comes to paying down debt vs. investing (i.e., it depends on the rate on the debt). I’m leaning towards paying off the 6% loans and then focusing on investing rather than paying off the 2% loans early. Otherwise, my plan looks similar to yours, if a few years behind. I think most would do well to follow your blueprint.
    James@StartingNegative recently posted…Financial and mental healthMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 years ago

      For me time frame comes into mind for the debt vs investing, can I pay something off in under a year then why not just haul ass and finish it up, but if it’s going to take me 5 or 10 years, I would invest during that time because you don’t want to lose the time that’s on your side. Also consider how much you loathe your loans, it was actually one of my deciding factors on which loan I chose to pay off first.

  • This is a great plan for your ER or FI time frame. We obsessed over these things because we are wired differently. I think some people are just born super frugal and great savers aka PF Bloggers. I’ve talk to various people and they do not have an IRA or a 401K, seriously that just a travesty. Good luck.
    EL @ MoneyWatch101 recently posted…Finding Peace in a Financially Crazy WorldMy Profile

    • EvenStevenMoney
      2 months ago

      You are right while the PF bloggers do everything in our power to save and invest, it can be difficult hearing others not paying the same importance to their finances. Thanks MW101.

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