Quarterly financial progress report toward early retirement and financial independencegearing up

Magic Numbers, Padding and Panic // 2017 Q2 Financial Update

We’re here with the second-to-last (!!) quarterly update on our progress toward early retirement, looking most closely at the taxable savings and investments that will support us in phase one of our two-phase retirement.

We’ve hit some pretty great financial milestones these last few years — becoming financially independent (FI) a year and a half ago, paying off our mortgage this past January, getting ahead on our savings and adjusting our goals higher at the end of last year — and there’s a mini milestone in this update that we can’t wait to share. (Keep reading!)

But first…

Getting within spitting distance of our honest-to-goodness exit date (five and a half months! three months until we give notice!) has us thinking a ton about what comes next, and we want Our Next Life to be a big part of that. (I mean, it’s named after the thing we’re about to be living and all.) But we want to be smart about it, and be sure that we’re expanding things here in ways that are relevant to you.

That’s harder to do than it seems because we actually know very little about so many of you. There’s the small slice of folks who comment, another slice who’ve emailed to say hi, and the vast majority who we know only as numbers on Google Analytics. And you’re so much more than a pageviews stat!

So to get to know you a little better, and to get your feedback on ONL in its current and future forms, we’d be grateful if you’d fill out the Our Next Life reader survey. Only a few easy questions are required, so you can skip anything you don’t want to answer, and it’s completely anonymous and won’t put you on any email lists. Though, full disclosure, it does provide the opportunity to share in-depth info if you’re into it, but it won’t tell you at the end what Disney princess you are. (Sorry.)

Survey now closed — full report coming soon!

Thank you lots and lots for sharing your info and feedback. We’re super grateful for it, and can’t wait to spill the beans on what’s next ’round here!

Magic Numbers

Our early retirement vision was never entirely numbers-based. As we said in one of our very first posts, we’re committed to leaving our full-time careers at the end of 2017 no matter what, even if we don’t hit our targets, and even if the markets crash the week we’re supposed to give notice.

Of course, if you know me at all, you know I wouldn’t have gone along with that plan if I thought there was a good chance we weren’t going to hit those numbers. Hi, I’m the one over here telling you to be as conservative as possible in your projections, and who talks about contingency plans so often that when I write a post that has nothing whatsoever to do with contingency plans (it’s about boredom!), everyone reads it as “What if you run out of money?” So yeah, I might have talked a big game back when we set our date, but I was never on Team Walk Away If the Numbers Don’t Work Out.

Fortunately, we’ve had all kinds of tailwinds making our journey go smoothly so far, most notably the gonzo markets of the last few years, and the confluence of circumstances that let us buy our “retirement home” in the mountains in 2011, darn near the bottom of the market, at a price we could pay off in just over five years. (Very best tip we can offer: Don’t let the banks set your housing budget!)

If you recall from year-end 2016 update, we got well ahead of schedule in our savings last year, and decided to raise the target in our taxable funds:

Taxable Savings planned vs. actual Dec 2016

So here’s the news: As of the end of June, we’ve hit that original magic number! Our blue bar now goes past that original orange bar figure for 2017 that our plan was always aiming for.

Of course, we’ve now moved that orange bar out farther to represent our stretch goal, which makes the chart look less satisfying, but which we hope will allow plenty of padding for unknown health care costs, recessions and long-term sluggish markets.

To put our progress in perspective, in month-by-month scale, here’s where we are now:

Taxable investments balance // Quarterly financial progress report toward early retirement, beyond financial independence

So there’s still a ways to go this year before we hang up our work-provided laptops, but it feels both downright amazing and like a huge relief to know that we could retire now at a decent standard of living if we wanted to or had to.

Of course, there’s lots more to all of this, so let’s dive in to the full quarterly update! (And here’s why we never share actual numbers, in case you’re curious.)

Quarterly financial progress report toward early retirement and financial independence

Early Retirement Is a Waiting Game

We’ve now been at this early retirement savings game long enough to be able to pretend to be all Zen about it. “You see, young grasshopper, you are playing a long game…”

We may not have loved how long it was all taking at every stage of saving, but now that we’re close, we see that our role in all of this is pretty tiny, or at least it has been tiny since we passed the crossover point when the markets started having more of an impact on our numbers than our savings rate did. Which means that when we look at our total net worth, we know that increase isn’t all our doing. (But we’ll still take it, of course.)

Net worth by year // Quarterly financial progress report toward early retirement, beyond financial independence

Much of what we’ve gained in the last quarter has been market growth, combined with our smaller contributions. Of course, we’ve still been making regular payments on our rental property (the “mortgage” line) and contributing twice each month to our taxable accounts and tax-deferred 401(k) accounts:

Net worth components as of June 2017 // Quarterly financial progress report toward early retirement, beyond financial independence

And yes, I still kinda want to pet the screen where the mortgage line dives downward in December and January, when we paid off the house. Prettttttty.

On the tax-deferred front, things are still going swimmingly. We’ve long calculated a number we believe we need to have in our 401(k)s when we stop contributing to them, so that they’ll continue growing in the 19ish years between when we quit and we start living off those funds. We hit that number almost two years ago but have continued contributing, and the markets have kept on marketing, and now we’re a full third above what we need there. So the markets could dive 33 percent, never recover, return below-historical-average gains for the next 19 years, and we’ll still be able to up our monthly spending by almost double when we reach our 60s. (Seriously, I often wonder how that’s even possible, but I think that’s why everyone talks about how magical compound interest is.)

Tax-deferred accounts // Quarterly financial progress report toward early retirement, beyond financial independence

The Name of the Game Is Now Padding

So we’ve now technically checked all the boxes: house paid off, 401(k)s set, magic number reached on the taxable accounts that will fund the first 12 years of retirement fully, and the next seven partially, after the rental is paid off and returns positive cash flow.

But we have a few strong incentives to keep working until the end of the year:

  1. Mr. ONL’s year-end bonus. (I’m 99% sure I won’t get much of one this year, regardless of whether they know I’m leaving.)
  2. The utter uncertainty around health care costs, which matter a ton to healthy-sickos like us.

And, oh yeah, we still have that long to do list, and just don’t feel ready to split right this second. Worst case, if we end up with more than we need, we’ll dump more into our donor advised fund, or we’ll leave a huge charitable legacy behind when our time is up. Neither of those possibilities make us remotely sad, especially because we’re only talking about a few months’ difference, and we’re doing a better job this year of setting boundaries with work.

But we don’t think it’s a given that we hit that stretch number, and certainly not that we exceed it, so we’re not counting any chickens. We could coast to year end with minimal pre-bonus saving (which, honestly, feels dumb because we can’t totally assume we’ll get the bonus once our plans are known), but instead we’re still tossing what we can into our taxable savings and investments to pad that number and — we hope — get all the way to our stretch goal. I can report that it’s tons of fun — in a way only money nerds will understand — to throw money into Vanguard and savings twice a month instead of just mid-month, in lieu of a mortgage payment. Yeehaw!

Taxable balance by year // Quarterly financial progress report toward early retirement, beyond financial independence

Working to get that number a whole bunch higher by the end of 2017, because wouldn’t that make for a much prettier graph?

The Rest of the Time Is Panic

Okay, panic is probably too strong a word, but we’re definitely feeling the gravity of what we’re about to do. Yes, that to do list is still long. But it’s less about the tasks that need completing and more about the reality that, around the time of our next quarterly update, we will walk into the offices of our long-time employers, whom we like and respect a great deal, and tell them to please keep their large amounts of money, thankyouverymuch. We will shut off years of earnings potential and many, many dollars, which everything in our culture tells us is the thing we want, the thing we aspire to. We know what our “enough” is, but it’s hard not to wonder, “But is there any chance that we’re actually crazy?”

I’m doing my best not to focus on the countdown, but it’s hard when there are so many:

  • A little under five and a half months if we go by my target end date, December 15
  • Three months-ish until we give notice (and six weeks or so until we have to book those trips)
  • Under four months until we unmask ourselves here (earlier if you join the email newsletter list — a full bonus post each month, too!)
  • Four months until open enrollment for exchange health care plans, and under six months left of employer-provided health insurance
  • The seasonal reminder that every day we work will now be shorter (or at least have less daylight) than the one before it, and when the days start getting longer, we’ll be retired

So, yeah, panic.

And if the rest of the year is anything like the first half, a lot of that panic will be happening on planes and in hotel rooms. At the end of Q1, I was at 27 flights on the year, and I’m now at 70. Because I live in the sky, apparently. On the plus side, I’ll be contributing well over 2 million travel points to our retirement, so if Mr. ONL ever gets uppity about how he’s contributed more dollars, I can remind him that our discrepancy on travel points was much more pronounced. (Ahem, someone hasn’t been pulling his weight. Which isn’t actually true. But given the wage gap, it’s nice to have something to lord over him.)

Travel points as of June 2017

Share Your Thoughts!

Your turn! Did you think we’d be farther along by now? Bummed we aren’t pulling the plug early? Think we should be working longer and building up more padding in light of the health care insanity? Jealous of those United miles? (Haha — they were earned the hard way, not the hacking way, so don’t get too jealous.) Want to share how your Q2 went? Any predictions for Qs 3 and 4? Let’s chat about it all in the comments!

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75 replies »

  1. Great progress.

    There is one thing I want to ask. I remember from previous posts that you would retire at the end of 2017 or when the goal is reached. The goal seems to be reached… Where or what made you decide to keep going till year end?

  2. I can almost feel the anticipation mounting as I read this post! How exciting and scary at the same time! Looking at the trajectory of your investments and Net Worth, it is clear you have focused your energy and resources into creating your “out”. I cannot imagine the questions and “what ifs” that are popping up (we are nowhere near FI, but I tend to be a planner and a “what if” person!), but it seems like you have prepared well, planned conservatively, and are ready to take the plunge this year! I can’t wait to continue to follow along and hear all about your post-retirement take on life!

    ~Mrs. Adventure Rich

    • Exactly right: exciting and scary. I’d call this solid Type 2 fun. ;-) And yeah, looking at the yearly breakdown, it’s quite clear when we got serious about our exit plan! I hope that shows that it can be done quickly with enough focus. On the “what ifs,” I do think we’d be freaking out more now if we hadn’t been asking those questions all along the way. But making that part of our process has made that aspect at least feel pretty peaceful now because we know we’ve asked all the right questions already, at least on everything except for health care.

  3. It looks like we timed our “retirement” home purchase at the same market low. Amazing that you paid it off in something like 5 years! I thought we were being aggressive going with a 15 year mortgage.

    I just started to get into the mile game. My wife used to travel a little bit for work, but I never had to. I’m doing all the credit card bonus deals now. All of our points add up to about half of your Marriott points – LOL.

    • Don’t get jealous of our points — the VAST majority were earned with butt in seat hours and nights away from home. ;-) Any points earned from hacking are superior! And 15 years to payoff on a house is still great. Obviously it helps that we could technically afford much more house than we bought, but we didn’t want to spend that much… easy to pay off a house fast when you have excess income!

      • I know those points weren’t easily earned, but I can still be envious. (Why do I always need to Google “envy vs. jealousy” to get it right? Grrr…)

        Our hacking of late comes from a mismanaged condo association leading to huge assessments on our investment properties. I’m close to wanting to earn the points the hard way.

        Without kids (and daycare) we probably could have paid our house off in less than 10 years. We probably wouldn’t… due to the low interest rate, but I still think it is awesome that you did it.

      • Fair enough… it’s your right to be envious (jealous?). ;-) But at some point I will tally up how much of my life I’ve spent on planes, and it will total in months. (Just did a rough calculation, and it’s well over 3 months.)

  4. Am I the only one who wants to see the graphs above recreated with the travel miles/points? Yes? Ok, I’m just a certified numbers geek and travel hacking enthusiast :) My UR stash is the only number that I have higher than yours, though!

    • I wish I had kept better track of our points over time so I could map them out that way, but sadly I don’t have that data set. ;-)

  5. I love taking surveys, and I love the possibility of a future PF podcast to nerd out on ~even more~! So, yay. :)

    Congrats on the fab progress, you guys rock!

    • Thanks, Grace! :-D I don’t know that a hypothetical future podcast would be *all* PF, but glad to know you’d be into it! ;-)

  6. I’m excited for you two! It’s getting really close. It will be great to follow you through the transition next year too.

    You’re a little ahead of me from a timeline perspective so I’ll be watching closely for anything to learn about the transition that I might not be thinking about yet. We’re there from a numbers perspective but my wife and I haven’t mapped out a good joint plan on what to “retire to” yet so we’re still working at this point until we sort that out. It is exciting and a bit scary to turn off an income (especially a high one) early in life but once there is enough financial cushion, we only have ourselves to blame if we feel held back.

    Thanks for sharing so much along the way!

    • Thanks for sharing our excitement! And I think it’s super smart that you’re continuing to work while you think through what’s next. I’ve heard from too many people who didn’t think it through, got bored, and ended up back at work! Don’t let that be you! ;-)

  7. What an exciting quarterly update! It’s got to feel a bit surreal to know that you’ve met your initial goal and the end of your formal career is close. I’m looking forward to reading that future post on all the feelings once you and Mr. ONL finally give notice. Especially the part about your employers’ reactions.

    Loved the survey – a couple questions/possible choices made me giggle. Based on some of them I’m excited to hear what you have in store!

    • Surreal is right. I know I keep saying that it doesn’t feel real, but it just mostly doesn’t! And oh my gosh, you know that post-giving notice post will be a biggie. ;-) Thanks for doing the survey — and glad I could make you laugh. :-D

  8. Bahaha! You guys are going to do very well; don’t panic. :) Just make sure you’re hitting your targets over the next six months and you’ll be golden. Can’t wait to see what you do during early retirement!

  9. Can feel the excitement and a little bit of fear that I share as this all gets real. Can’t wait to sit down and talk at FinCon if not before to discuss all the behind the scenes stuff and learn more about what adventures are first in your “next life”.

    • Oh good! You’re going to FinCon! I’m super excited to meet IRL, and Mr. ONL will be there too.

  10. No need to panic, I’m certain you could get back in the game if you hate early retirement (which you won’t btw). I waited until I had my bonus in my hot little hand before resigning–it seems risky to resign earlier. How did you get comfortable with that? Oh and I want to change my car answer in the survey–definitely a Tesla–stealth, efficient, cool . . .

    • Haha — there’s rarely ever a NEED to panic, but that’s never stopped anyone before, has it? ;-) We have a post coming on making the notice decision, so stay tuned. And Tesla — bestill my heart. :-)

  11. Great you are pushing for your stretch goals now! While I totally understand the need to not discuss YOUR specific #s, I would like to learn more from this community on what some think are their MAGIC #s. It is a way to sanity check my own thinking about how much is enough based on certain assumptions. Does the group think that $2M, $5M, $10M is enough? – based on what assumptions of retirement age, withdrawal rates, drawdowns due to market corrections, timeframe (40 years?), etc.?

    • @Dave – I believe a budget based model is where you start but most people cannot safely estimate their retirement costs over such an extended period of time.

      My father in law retired early with $550,000 in an IRA with his two bedroom house paid off and no debt in February 2000. When the Nasdaq burst a month later he was lucky he was still mostly in cash as he worked on his investment strategy but he lost about 20% and as a result felt compelled to work his part time hobby job a decade longer until about 2 years ago. Because of the bubble he stayed in cash and missed some big returns over the past 17 years.

      With his withdrawal strategy, part time job as an MLB stadium usher and their combined social security they have never taken more than 50 to 60 thousand a year and they do just fine. They are in their 70’s now and have about 275,000 in the IRA plus the house. They aren’t travelers, they aren’t foodies so their simple life is easy to afford and they are happy

      The number for me is 10x his. My point is that there is no easy answer, you have to really work it from what you need to spend and live to be happy and fulfilled (Where you live matters too). I would say 2 million though, if your early forty’s are your RE age is probably the minimum somewhere outside The high cost coastal cities in the US

      Good luck!


      • Great example. Some people are plenty happy with a smaller number while others need much more to sleep at night! (And of course where you live and the COL there matters a ton, too.)

    • I did calculations 20 years ago, assuming social security would be dead and 4% inflation. Based on that, I would need $4 million to maintain my standard of living. Both assumptions have been nicely wrong – SS is in decent shape, and inflation has been and continues to be 2.5-3%. $2 million now looks like enough and then some. I am now trying to figure how much less is still safe.

      • I think you’re smart, though, to base things on no Social Security and high inflation, because both things are still possible. Always better to be wrong in a good direction!

    • It’s a great question, and I do feel bad that by not sharing, we don’t give more context to help others find their own numbers. It’s totally individual, of course, based on how much you expect to need to spend in retirement, but most numbers I’ve seen others post have been in the $1-2M range TOTAL investable assets, not necessarily all liquid for early retirement. There are folks like Steve @ Think Save Retire who save less and go for it, and those who aim much higher. And I’d argue that it matters how stuff is allocated between taxable and tax-deferred in terms of accessibility — as you can see in the chart, we have way more in our “money for later,” and significantly less in the taxable to live on now.

  12. Congratulations – i think the “padding” strategy is a good idea – there are way too many variables and future scenarios to ever be sure, but if you plan for your probable outcomes first then pad based on a few outlier / worst case scenarios then by and by you should land in a safe zone that provides you with the financial resources you need for the rest of your lives. My padding number is 30% for example on a planned (God willing) 40 year retirement

    For example let’s say you started this blog in 2006 – at the height of the housing bubble (before anyone knew it was a bubble except Dr Michael Burry and Steve Eisman) and your target date was July 2008. Would you have made it until now (2017) after the market and real estate crashes in the fall of 2008? Without knowing then that quantitive easing would result in massive stock market returns, would you have missed the run up of the last 8 years because you were shell shocked? A lot of people did. I know I can’t say for sure how I would answer those questions myself but if I had 30% more than my max anticipated need (vs my minimum anticipated need) I do think I would have been alright if this were 10 years ago.

    I respect that you don’t share numbers, I think that is wise since you are giving up your anonymity. However for the vast majority looking for help perhaps instead of numbers you can help with formulas – and folks can come up with their own numbers. The ratios help – thank you I enjoy your charts, but some simple math is a good place to start (but something better than the 4% rule). You no doubt have used some, I would love to hear how it has worked for you

    One last piece of advice about Mr ONL bonus and early announcement, if he thinks there is even a 1% chance some HR person or upper level manager who hears he is on active status and decides to not pay, I would hold off until it’s in the bank. Waiting a couple extra weeks to get to your last day on the front end of a 40 year retirement is a small price to pay for certainty

    Another early year exit strategy is he could choose a February or March end date, change his 401k contribution rate to max out his last few pay checks to fully grab the company match in Q1 in his 401k (a full years savings in a few months) then ride off into the sunset. Those extra weeks worked, over the 19 years your tax deferred assets will grow at a simple 8% would be worth $108,000 if the sum total of his contribution and company match were $25,000 for example. This is plausible considering you already planned to live without those paychecks. If you don’t think you will need the money then of course don’t do it but it is a great final down payment on your tax deferred accounts

    Keep up the great and inspiring work!

      • Looking forward to the upcoming math related post. Some of the math/thoughts/decisions that I would be interested in hearing about is how you estimated the portion of your yearly budget for the things that are more difficult to estimate, e.g. auto maintenance, home maintenance, vet bills, health care outside of the premiums, etc. All the stuff that you know will happen, but just not when they will happen or how much they will be.

  13. On magic numbers, it appropriately shouldn’t be a total amount saved, but based on expected spending in retirement. Flexibility to live well on less is a good idea when markets are down, as well as the accumulating padding that Ms. ONL has described. The 4% rule is a good rule of thumb. Can you live off that?

    The year end bonus would be nice. We have similar bonuses based on the previous calendar year, but it pays out typically in late March or April. If I retired at calendar year end, would I get the bonus? I don’t know. Is it worth working another 3-4 months to get it? Maybe. Mr. ONL’s bonus might be contractual, so he might not need to stay employed until he receives his bonus. Mine isn’t.

    • We’ll share all about the bonus stuff after we can unmask ourselves — there are some particulars we can’t share now. ;-)

  14. Oh so very close, I’m so excited for you both.

    Are we going to see more “real” numbers soon? I can hope right? :D

    • Quit hoping! It’s not gonna happen! Hahaha. (For real, though.) ;-) Thanks for sharing in our excitement! Remind me — are we going to see you at FinCon?

  15. This sentence really resonated with me: “We will shut off years of earnings potential and many, many dollars, which everything in our culture tells us is the thing we want, the thing we aspire to.”

    So true.

    I just had the same problem. I TURNED DOWN a job with more money and (theoretically) potential for promotions,etc. It was a high risk /high reward situation and I decided to stay with my amazing remote working job…but the whole time I was considering it, the American workoholic angel was sitting on my shoulder crying “gold stars! More prestige! More money! You’re young…you need to advance in your career!!”

    I don’t know when it changed from working as a means to support a good lifestyle…to living to squeeze the most promotions /salary /gold stars out of work at the expense of a good lifestyle.

    • Good for you for passing on the more lucrative-at-a-cost opportunity! If you have a good gig now (and working from home!), I think it’s smart to prioritize your lifestyle. We’ve had a great gig in many respects, but it’s taken a big toll on us, too, and is a big reason why we want to exit quickly!

  16. Seems like you’ve both traveled an awful lot during your marriage. How will you handle seeing a lot more of each other everyday?

    • This question made me laugh! It’s a great one, and I don’t think early retirees are immune to the relationship pressure that comes post-retirement. (Among Boomers, divorce rates skyrocket immediately after retirement!) We’ve both worked from home for the past six years, so have had plenty of time together, even though we also have periods when we’re both traveling a bunch. (Though as you can see from the charts, it’s mostly me traveling.) I think we actually might have LESS time together in ER, because once we don’t have work in the way, we won’t feel the same pressure that we do now to spend our free time together, and we’ll be able to explore our own interests more fully. But either way, we’re not worried about it because hanging out together is our favorite thing by far. ;-)

  17. If I was in your shoes and hit my ‘magic numbers’ a little earlier than expected, I would likely pad my accounts as well. The next six months are going to fly by (perhaps literally for you) and it will be 2018 before you know it.

    We are still 5 to 7 years away from RE, but I’m already thinking how/if we should structure our departure relative to our bonuses.

    • I know you’re right that the year will fly by, and I kinda wish I could pump the breaks a little! And it’s good you’re thinking about how the bonuses play into your exit strategy, because it’s a very different calculus than for folks who don’t have a bonus structure built in!

  18. Definitely go ahead and quit and don’t pad the numbers any longer! We continue to pad our numbers (sadly but also gladly) and I really want to see some more folks take the plunge soon. Hope you get some info on healthcare by then.

    • I’m definitely relieved we get to keep padding through year end, just because of the crazy health care unknowns. And it helps to know that we’ll earn SOMETHING after retirement, which I hadn’t considered at the outset of all of this. ;-)

  19. Looking forward to reading about your trials and tribulations regarding open enrollment for exchange health care plans.

    • Oh man, I am not actually looking forward to DOING all of that, but I will for sure write about it. :-)

  20. I hope that the questions in the survey are an indication of things to come. That would be a very fun new endeavor! :-)

    I appreciate your mix of conservatism and number-padding, while not letting yourself get caught indefinitely by one-more-year syndrome.

    • Thanks, Matt! We’re super excited about new projects! :-D And yeah, OMY is definitely NOT on the table, but it’s a huge relief to be able to pad things a bit without stretching our timeline!

    • P.S. Pretty sure this is the only time anyone will accuse me of “conservatism.” Hahaha.

  21. I’m definitely for padding. A nice cushion makes any turbulence less painful. We can’t really anticipate the future, but I think y’all have done a great job preparing for it as best you can.

    • Amen, sister! And we know we could be even better prepared if we worked a little longer, but that’s a trade-off for our health and sanity that we’re not willing to make. Everything is a risk, after all…

      • Absolutely. It was realizing that I was on that path that helped me embrace the other risk instead.

      • I respect that. I’m definitely worried that I’ll be the type to not accept the risks for fear of jumping.

      • I think that’s the trap that most of us planners end up in. It helps to remember that you can think about the risk of jumping only, or you can recognize that it’s the risk of jumping vs. the risk of never having jumped. You don’t get to avoid the choice — you get one or the other.

  22. What an exciting update! And definitely a good example of how fear/excitement are two sides of the same coin. As someone who would definitely be padding my numbers in your situation, it’s awesome you’re able to work on the stretch goals now.

    Took the survey and am excited about some potential future projects if the questions are any indication!

    • Thanks, Erin! :-D I’ll continue talking about the fear side of it, because I don’t see many other bloggers acknowledging that… and maybe they’re just superhuman and I’m weak, but the fear is legit! ;-) (The excitement is legit, too, of course! But both can be true.) Thanks for taking the survey! Can’t wait to share more soon. :-)

  23. Is 12/15 your best end date? You may miss out on a quarter of extra 401k match or an extra month of fringe benefits by not quitting 1-1 instead.

  24. I can’t believe how quickly this year is passing by. I thought it would drag on, but here we are, already cruising through July. I took off this past week, so tomorrow will be my first work day of Q3. I found that once I get to about day six of vacation, I start to forget I have a job. It’s a nice feeling.

    I am now within $8,000 of my magic number. I’ll finish out the year even though I should hit my number in a couple months. I only have 77 more work days left with all the sick and vacation days I have to take, so it’s not like it will be a stressful second half of the year.

    My only source of stress right now is selling my house. I have it up for sale, but no offers yet. I’m in a good market — not a crazy coastal market, but not a Rust Belt market either — so hopefully within the next month or so I’ll get a solid offer. I really wish I had built a smaller house. Houses under $250k are selling within days. Houses over that amount can take a few months (I’m at $360k). Oh well, it’ll sell soon enough…

    • I know! FLYING by. It’s so exciting that you’re so close to your magic number! Congrats! And wow, 77 days is so few! We’re not down to quite that small a number yet, but not far behind. Good luck getting a solid offer on your house and unloading that stress!