Goal Progress to Financial Independence
Enjoying the Chicago summer this weekend, I realized that while I love telling stories about my financial past including Michael Jordan and the great lessons they have taught me I am writing this blog to hold myself accountable while I strive for my real goal of Financial Independence. I shared these thoughts with my wife and since my Mrs. Even Steven is a very private person she was not very happy with sharing all of our financial information. Like any smart husband who wants to keep his wife happy I will listen and not share any facts or figures. This will be a little rough the first going as I share certain items, but it’s a great way to hold our financial independence progress accountable and get help from a great community of personal finance bloggers.
As you can see in my About Me page, our current plan for financial independence is October 2020. Let me provide a little background to how we plan to get there. We currently own 2 rental income properties, one in Florida and our current home in Chicago. We are taking our rental income from Florida and Chicago and making an extra payment towards the Florida rental house(a small amount is saved for a rental house emergency fund). This is going to be the main source of income for our Financial Independence/Early Retirement plan, our rental income. As of the end of June, we are on track for our October 2020 goal, as mid-term goal we are on plan to pay off our Florida rental by December 2016, 2.5 years to go!
One of the great things about our goal is we have a built in cushion for our plan. The numbers we currently use don’t factor in any extra payments that either one of us will make into the goal progress, only the rental income. According to our FI goal, I pay the minimum payments on my student loan and a loan I currently owe to my parents, which has me paying these payments off last in October 2020. If you have read my Ragnar post from above you certainly know paying minimum payments is not what a large man carrying an ax would do. I have an uber aggressive plan to pay off my last and final student loan by April 2015, which would be over 5 years ahead of plan. The goal I made is aggressive and can be completed with a focused budget and extra income from a variety of places including overtime, eBay, bonus, raise, tax refund, and stock increases.
The main way I make extra income is through eBay, I have casually mentioned it from time to time on this blog and commenting on others, but any side income is not coming from this blog, maybe one day, but as the great personal finance blogger J Money told me “just work on being awesome”, stop on over and you will see he focuses on this everyday at Budgets are Sexy and Rockstar Finance.
In my eBay business I buy and sell new and gently used brand name clothing. Most of the clothing is men’s because that is what I know and what I understand, I understand the size XL and less about a petite XS. The great thing about eBay for me is however much work I put into the business and list items is exactly what I get out of it. Just to get an idea of what I mean by this is I currently have sold 110 items over the last 90 days, so a little over a sale a day. So if I have sold 110 items I’m sure I have listed 2-3 times that during this time frame, which is an average workload, but more items can be listed and sold. It can be a good amount of work with buying, listing, and shipping, but we have it stream lined to know expenses, revenues, and the amount of time it will take out of our schedules. I’m not ready to put a number or goal on paper to share, but this certainly factors into the April 2015 goal of the last and final student loan payment from above.
Both my wife and I work your typical 9-5 bank jobs. Like most banks they offer a variety of investments that we participate in. I participate in our company 401K program by contributing 4% and the company matching this contribution. While I work on paying off my student loan I don’t plan on changing my contribution. I will revisit this again when the only personal debt I have left is a loan to my parents. Mrs. Even Steven has a similar program she contributes 6% and receives a 3% company match, this will be reviewed again in the next couple of months as we hope to increase this contribution. Since we are young and relatively healthy we currently have a high deductible insurance plan, which allows us to participate in our HSA which can be used just like a 401K or future health care savings. One of my favorite personal finance reads about the topic is from the Mad Fientist, check it out here. He has a lot of great information about how to use investment vehicles efficiently in your pursuit of Financial Independence. We are currently building up our savings in the HSA, but it’s currently acting as more of an emergency fund for our health care than a current investment, this will remain this way until the final student loan is paid in full.
Our investments are small compared to some of the big financial independence guys out there including one of my favorites, 1500 days who plans to use this large nest egg during his financial independence journey. Everyone has there own journey and in the upcoming year we plan to step up this portion of our investments. Our plan is to use our 401k investment as a backup plan and let our money grow until we are right around 60, very similar to Retire by 40, who explains some of his plan further in the article.
The bank I work for also offers a small life insurance policy and even a small pension plan with the number of years worked calculated in. Very similar to how I will treat my 401K plan from above, I will use what is available as a bonus in my 60’s.
Lastly for investment’s we will be contributing to a Traditional IRA, which we are currently saving up in a separate account. Many people recommend using a Roth IRA and I think if you plan on using your retirement income for when you retire at 65, this can be the right move. Another article by the Mad Fientist and if you are pursuing FI, recommends a Traditional IRA, take a read here, I want to keep my options open so the Traditional IRA with the ability to convert to a Roth IRA is the direction we plan to take. For this goal I would like to max out this investment, but with 10 months left before contributions are reported I think a more likely goal is getting maxing out one of our IRA accounts.
There you have it the first ever Goal Progress to Financial Independence. It is a bit long and in some cases vague, but it’s a rough draft exactly how I feel about our road to financial independence. We have road marks and goals along the way, many factors and life decisions that we will have to take one by one. I cannot wait for the next update this felt good, it felt like the right thing to do. I just hope the wife likes it!
What do you think of the plan? Does anything stick out that concerns you? What would you change or update?
Photo Courtesy of Getrichslowly.org