The Final Approach // 2017 Q3 Financial Update

Though the last few months have been an exercise in coming to terms with things, namely realizing that this little pipe dream of ours is actually coming off the page and turning into a real thing (our early retirement is Pinocchio, y’all), each event still comes with its own little moment of disbelief. As I know Mr. ONL felt last week when he gave notice at work (“Is this really happening?!”). As I know I’ll feel when it’s my turn next week. And as I sat down to write this very last quarterly financial update before we’re officially early retired.

Psst. If you live in or around Dallas, consider joining Mr. ONL and me, plus all of your favorite money bloggers, for one afternoon at FinCon17. The event organizers have created an event-within-the-event for non-bloggers called Your Money Live, taking place 1-5 PM on Friday, October 27, on site at #FinCon17. It includes a keynote with author David Bach, breakouts with other financial luminaries like Farnoosh Torabi, and — most importantly — time to hang out with a bunch of the very best kind of nerds! ;-) The FI blogger turnout is looking especially high this year, so come hang out with all of us! Advance tickets are $39, and you can sign up here. And please let us know to look out for you! 

Q3 has been another strong quarter financially, something that clearly has a lot to do with market forces, and with the huge tailwind that comes with getting your investments above a certain level. You can see that most clearly in our 401(k) balances, where the gains outpace gains on our taxable accounts, even though we are socking way more into taxable, just because the 401(k)s have more money working for us.

As you’ve already noticed, Q3 has also been a big time of reflection for us, laden with more than a little nostalgia about closing out this chapter of our lives and moving on to the next one. But I won’t dwell on that stuff today — more next week after I give my notice!

Let’s look at the charts!

Our Next Life // The Final Approach -- 2017 Q3 Financial Update // Our final pre-early retirement financial update! Financial independence, early retirement, retirement planning, passive income, investing.

We wouldn’t have expected to be this close to pulling the ripcord without having had any real market corrections come our way, but alas, here we are. We’re yet another blog touting the ease with which you can save quickly for early retirement, based in large part on market luck and recency bias. On the plus side, bigger numbers and prettier charts! On the negative side, sequence of returns risk and looming recession. No big.

Prior quarterly updates:

(Note to self: Branch out from magic and airline metaphors in the update titles.)

Fortunately, if I was feeling any anxiety about the inevitable market dip (I wasn’t actually), this street art in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami from a recent work trip put my mind at ease:

Enough is possible! Street art in Wynwood, Miami.

Street art in Wynwood, Miami. This artist knows what’s up.

Thanks, graffiti artist. I feel better already. ;-)

Tax-Deferred Investments

Alright, enough chitchat. Let’s look at the charts, starting with our 401(k)s, the accounts we’ve been most on top of for the longest, as evidenced by their excessive size. These are the funds we’re planning to mostly leave alone until we’re traditional retirement age for a whole bunch of reasons I explained here.

Related post: Not Fostering Comparison // Are We the Joneses? (Why We Don’t Share Our Numbers)

We crossed over our “enough” number for traditional retirement almost three years ago, but we’re still maxing out because: 1.) we can afford to, 2.) while we’re not tax avoiders, we’re in a painfully high marginal bracket right now and will happily take a slight reduction in our tax bill, and 3.) you know we like to treat our future 60s, 70s and 80s selves, and won’t be sad if we can live larger in those decades of life and beyond. (Plus, health care unknowns and other unfun reasons why we might need to spend a lot more later on.)

Like the markets generally, our 401(k)s have continued their general march upward:

Our Next Life final quarterly update, 2017 Q3, net worth, retirement savings, early retirement, financial independence

Taxable Investments for Early Retirement

Our taxable investments are the primary funder of “phase 1” of our two-phase retirement, before rental income kicks in in just over 11 years. And you may remember that we officially switched from our original magic number to our stretch magic number at the end of last year.

We’re feeling good about that switch, especially because we blew past the original magic number several months back, and we’re now closer to the stretch magic number than we are to the original. Given that we still expect to get bonuses (really deferred compensation, not true bonuses) before we leave our jobs, that stretch goal is looking completely achievable.

Our Next Life final quarterly update, 2017 Q3, net worth, retirement savings, early retirement, financial independence

Zooming out and taking a yearly view, we see that the curve this year is steeper than we’d expect it to be only three quarters in, a reflection of our boosted savings progress after we paid off the mortgage on our home.

Our Next Life final quarterly update, 2017 Q3, net worth, retirement savings, early retirement, financial independence

And this is how our progress stacks up against the goals we’ve set each year. In prior years, we hit or just barely passed our taxable savings goals (in addition to other goals like mortgage paydown).

We’re definitely on track to move the blue bar for 2017 up to the end of the orange bar, and if/when we do, any money above that total will go straight into our donor advised fund, so we can continue charitable giving in the future, regardless of our income and cash flow situation at the time. Stay tuned for more on our charitable giving plans before we leave our careers!

Our Next Life final quarterly update, 2017 Q3, net worth, retirement savings, early retirement, financial independence

In short: all good news on the taxable savings front. Our cash buffer is good to go, we’re well into the “gravy” zone of saving, and we’ll be stoked no matter where we end up at this point.

Rental Property Mortgage

I’ll keep things quick on the least exciting part of each update: the mortgage on our rental property. We aren’t prepaying this mortgage like we did our house, so the paid-off section is going to continue growing at a glacial pace, though more quickly than it would if we had a loan longer than our 15-year mortgage.

Our Next Life final quarterly update, 2017 Q3, net worth, retirement savings, early retirement, financial independence

Travel Points

This is the third quarter in which I’m including travel points in our rundown, and it’s also the line item that’s growing the fastest. Not through any fancy hacking, but just through normal, busy work travel. Butt-in-seat miles, head-in-bed points. I’m 62 hotel nights deep just at Marriott (and have stayed at several non-Marriott spots this year), and 80,000 air miles in just on United (not counting quite a few Alaska and Southwest miles flown this year). And of course I’m using the Chase Sapphire Reserve for normal purchases, piling up the Chase Ultimate Rewards points. For an account I only opened in January, it’s growing awfully quickly. (The 100K signup bonus helped, of course.)

Our Next Life final quarterly update, 2017 Q3, net worth, retirement savings, early retirement, financial independence, travel points, travel hacking

Total Net Worth

Adding up a total net worth figure is mostly an exercise in vanity at this point, because it serves only to pat ourselves on the back, not to impact our day-to-day situation. We don’t plan to spend (or borrow against) our home equity or rental property equity. And we don’t plan to cash out our retirement accounts in advance. The only number that really matters to us at this point in time is our taxable balance, not total net worth. But this is a money blog, so imma do it anyway. ;-)

Our Next Life final quarterly update, 2017 Q3, net worth, retirement savings, early retirement, financial independence

I love seeing the line get steeper, an effect that’s even more pronounced if I keep the scale on the left axis less condensed (I skew all the scales on the charts here so that it’s not easy to infer what our numbers are). And this is where you can see that virtually all our gains have come in the last six years. We bumped things up a little in 2010, but mostly the line doesn’t swing upward until 2011, showing how quickly you can potentially achieve early retirement, assuming you have more income than you require and aren’t digging out of major debt.

Our Next Life final quarterly update, 2017 Q3, net worth, retirement savings, early retirement, financial independence

When we split that net worth up into components, the mortgage line keeps looking flat, as it will for a long time, now that the we paid off our home last winter. What’s most notable is that the green line, representing our tax-deferred funds, climbed more steeply than the orange taxable line all throughout the last two years, even though the orange taxable line is invested more aggressively, and even though we’re socking much more into those taxable investments than we are into our 401(k)s.

Once again, it’s a perfect example of the power of compounding and the power of time, and a reminder that you can always save more money later, but you can’t get back the time during which you need it to grow. Even if we kept working for years longer, it would be awfully hard to get our taxable savings to catch up to our tax-deferred savings. Fortunately, we don’t need them to. We just need that tax-deferred money to keep growing — slowly is fine — until we hit our 60s and can start boosting our spending.

How Was Your Q3? Any Recent Wins to Celebrate?

We’re totally happy with our third quarter, but tell us about yours! Hit any milestones? Any big wins we can help you celebrate? (I love giving virtual high fives!) Any setbacks this last quarter that you’re working through? This community gives great advice, so feel free to throw questions out there in the comments for the group to weigh in on. Anybody else recently convert to a two-phase approach and want to share the details of it? Let’s chat about all of this and any other money topics on your mind in the comments!

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75 replies »

  1. Great graphical review of your progress. Keep going strong and all the best on Monday!
    I have been away from the blog scene a small month, I plan to catch up slowly…

    • Welcome back! I hope your time away has been for happy reasons, and that you and your ladies are doing well! :-)

  2. About a month ago I hit $100k in total savings (not counting house equity). I’m really proud of that, even if I’m hitting it late at 40. Got hip to FIRE about 2 yrs ago, and spent a year paying off debt. Plan is to try and retire by 50. Wish I would’ve got wise sooner, but oh well. I’m definitely learning a lot to impart to my kids!

    • Niiiiiiice! That’s awesome! Don’t let comparison steal your joy at achieving your milestone — compared to everyone who doesn’t blog about FI, you’re waaaaay ahead. So high five!

  3. Dang! That’s so awesome! I’m a relatively new reader to your site, but I am so excited for y’all as you start this new journey! That’s incredible!!

    I love to see the upswing in the line when you paid off the house. We are working to do that, and seeing that really encourages me in our plans. I know many people think that having the house payment isn’t a big deal, but it’s a must for us to retire early. Mostly for the peace of mind it will bring my husband when he gets to quit.

    PS as a very visual person, I fully appreciate and totally enjoy the great graphs!!! :)

    • Thanks, Ember! I’m glad you found us and appreciate your encouragement! :-) And feel free to hit me up anytime you need backup on the validity and power of paying off your mortgage. It accelerates your savings, but it also just pays HUGE mental dividends. Knowing that we own this place and will always have a place to live, even if the markets tank, is irreplaceable. Sending you good vibes as you knock out your mortgage! All the hard work will be worth it. :-)

  4. I like how you have percentages in the first chart. It really makes it helpful to understand vs. lines on with no axis markers and purposely spaced out stuff. If percentages could be used more without revealing too much, it would be a plus, I think.

    What’s interesting is that I’m seeing that, under the right circumstances (ability to save a lot, very good market conditions), it’s possible to reach FI or close to it in 10 years. This is fairly consistent with a few bloggers that I follow. I feel that we’ve experienced it ourselves.

    • I agree, though I haven’t figured out how to use percentages when things are constantly shifting. One chart that I inclined at the end of last year, that I’ll resurrect, is the “how much of our taxable savings we saved per year” chart, showing that it is possible to do this pretty quickly for those with the right circumstances. Which backs up what you said. If we’d started from total scratch, with no 401(k) head start and no home equity, I don’t know what our timeline would have been. But doing it in six still feels like fantasy land… except it actually happened.

  5. You are really doing well in this last quarter!

    We hit an important milestone in Q3 as well: our mortgage balance is now below 80% LTV ratio. This means we now have to pay a lower interest rate than before because the loan is less risky for the bank. This saves us a nice amount each month, which means we can pay off the mortgage even quicker!

  6. Good luck next week! I’m sure it will be surreal and I look forward to reading about it.

    Also looking forward to reading about the donor-advised fund. I’ve been setting aside money to start one and am looking into setting one up next year. Would love to hear how you are going about it and what you plan to do with it.

    • Thanks, Matt! I’ve so far managed not to be in a constant state of jitters, so working on continuing that until at least Sunday. That’s probably as good as I can hope for. ;-) And thanks for letting me know that you’re interested in the DAF post — I’ll see if I can sneak that up earlier in the fall. ;-)

  7. Envious of all those miles! Not envious of all the business travel you had to endure to earn them!!

    The third quarter was my last quarter as a full-timer. The paychecks will shrink by about 40%, but the tax treatment of the money I do earn will be much more favorable, so it’s not all bad. I have that same “this is really happening!” feeling.

    So I’m not working this week. Just taking some time to catch up with some things I’ve ignored for awhile. I’ll be brewing some winter beers — I haven’t brewed since May!


    • That’s correct. No one should be envious of how many months of my life I’ve spent in planes and hotel rooms. ;-) Congrats on making your big downshift! That’s so exciting. And yeah, the feeling is surreal. Enjoy your week off, and your winter beer brewing! (Plus keep an eye out today for some fun news on the Plutus front.) ;-)

  8. We have about the same amount of Chase Ultimate Rewards points! And that’s where imma stop comparing :) but Q3 must’ve been strong for real estate here in SWFL, because my Zillow zestimate went up 15k, helping me go from NW of 150k on June 1 to 188k on September 30! Just like you, I like seeing that line climb steeper!

    • Ultimate Rewards twins! :-D Congrats on the nice climb this past quarter! (Though doesn’t it strike you as odd that your WHOLE STATE was at risk of an existential crisis and yet prices went UP?! Glad for you, of course, though!) ;-)

  9. I always love your quarterly update posts and charts :) Thanks for sharing how Mr. ONL giving notice went. Hope it goes alright for you too!!!

    We’ve been slowly working on figuring out how to combine things a bit more. First step is a spreadsheet tracking our combined net worth. Adding up both our 401(k)s and our Roth IRAs, we already have enough in them to support our current lifestyle at age 60!! That’s a pretty exciting milestone :) We are also somewhat living off of my husband’s income now (I’m using my own money for my personal spending which isn’t that much anymore since we moved so much into the household budget), which is both weird and freeing because I definitely have PTSD from the tech industry and I’m still working on my Master’s degree.

    Our taxable accounts are currently smaller than our tax advantaged accounts but they will likely outpace them in a few years. It sounds like you two saved in 401(k)s earlier but not taxable accounts. It’s really awesome seeing yours compound now and it must be even sweeter seeing those actual numbers! Mine is up more than the contribution limit this year despite not putting anything into it, which has been really incredible to watch.

    • Thanks! Glad you enjoy them! ;-) Some folks can’t stand them because of the lack of Y-axis, which shows you can’t please all the people all the time. Haha.

      And you guys have made killer progress! Congrats! Knowing you’re already set for your “phase 2” has got to be a good feeling — oh wait! We know that feeling! ;-) And you’re right that we didn’t focus on taxable early on, and what we did save there we put into down payments. So the taxable savings have felt like a game of catch-up compared to 401(k)s, but it’s also incredible to see how fast we’ve been able to fill those up, too!

      • It sounds like other folks need to learn to just love charts – I love all charts and spreadsheets equally regardless of if they are missing some labels ;)

        And yes it does feel really great being ready for phase 2! My sizeable retirement savings are helping both of us feel more comfortable with using my husband’s income now too, that it is a bit of a balance and that we are both contributing in different ways.

        That down payment money must feel great right now with the paid off house!! I had a pretty similar algorithm to you guys earlier – max out 401(k) and save up for down payment on condo / make extra mortgage payments. I don’t really regret it though I was jealous of my husband’s sizeable taxable account for a while (and I think him of my early bought condo) and it sounds like you don’t regret it either :)

      • Haha — love the charts, people! ;-) And we do not at all regret how our savings have shaped up over time. We feel crazy lucky to be in this position! Even those baller years aren’t something we regret, because we got some incredible experiences and learned a ton. ;-) So enjoy the ride!

  10. Hello! This isn’t especially related to this post, but hearing the details about how much work traveling you do made me think of a future post I’d love to read. Since you and Mr. ONL obviously spend lots of time apart due to work at the moment, I’d be really interested in reading later on about how you adjust when you’re both retired and together most of the time. On the other hand, that’s not necessarily a financial topic so I understand if you don’t want to write about it :) My husband and I both work at home with very minimal travel, so this topic is front of mind for me. We love spending time together, but even the most devoted couples can use some time apart. For us, occasional work trips meet that need, but I often think about how we’ll need to adapt during FIRE (which is still a few years away for us).

    • Hi Amy — That’s a great suggestion, and something we think about! Short answer is that we both work from home, and most of my trips, though voluminous, are short. So we actually ARE together a large percentage of the time already. But it’s something important that couples should consider and discuss before jumping into a life of CONSTANT time together! (We’re all for some separate activities, btw!) I’ll add this to the list!

  11. It must feel so good to be over the magic number line! We’re on track right now to meet our end-of-the-year goal, but I’m hoping that next year, we’ll surpass it, because we’re paying off a rental property mortgage this year and once that’s done, our savings rate should increase quite a bit. Looking forward to the big reveal!! :)

    • It does! And you know I’m not cavalier about this stuff, so being above that line is GREAT for peace of mind. And being on track to meet your goals this year is awesome, especially given that it includes paying off a rental! High five!!

  12. We solidly hit half FI this past quarter! Which means we’ve been discussing flexibility and options for reaching full FI.

    We’re definitely making plans for our future DAF!

    • High five! Congrats for hitting a big milestone! The first half is always harder than the second half, so I think you’ll enjoy some lovely acceleration moving forward… ;-)

  13. Despite the fact I poured a ton of money into my house, I hit a new record high in my net worth. My 401(k) is a big chunk of that and continues to grow and compound like crazy! It really is magical to watch it grow with only a little bit of help from me.

  14. The market has been good to all of us over the past couple of quarters. No records or milestones on our end, thought, but we have earned an additional $50,000 in net worth since we called it quits 6 months ago. An average of $100,000 a year doing nothing but enjoying life? Ain’t too bad.

    Oh, and I know this won’t last forever. It may not last the year. Then again, it might last the next five years. We don’t know, so we’re just enjoying the ride while it’s here. :)

  15. We hit a big milestone this quarter, thanks to the incredible market tail-winds. I fully expect to drop back below it when the correction comes, but really cool to hit it for the first time.

    A bigger win for me has been DH getting more on board. He’s now seeing the money compound, and I think really realizing that it he works till 60 we will have way more than we need. He asked about how to get money out of retirement accounts before 59 1/2, and has separated our tracking sheet into taxable and non-taxable accounts. It has taken at least two years since I started talking about it, but it is great that we are now starting to feel more like this is a team effort!

    • @lucky girl

      Do your research on IRS rules governing substantially equal periodic payments SEPP withdrawals that allow you to avoid early withdrawal penalties. There are rules and formulas but we did this for my father in law when he retired at 55 and needed to bridge 5 years until he could tap into the IRA traditionally. It can be a useful approach if you have more in your IRA than your taxable accounts and you want your taxable accounts to grow

      • Agreed! And the Mad Fientist experiment comparing head-to-head on 72t vs. backdoor Roth vs. taking the penalty is worth reviewing!

    • Wohoooo! Congrats on hitting your big milestone! And that’s so awesome that you’ve having some success on the home front. ;-) I’m sure you guys do this, but do you talk about it all in non-money terms as well? It can be really powerful to talk about life vision and all the stuff you want to do, and then talk about money only to the extent it supports that. Starting with money can make the whole topic more confrontational than it needs to be. But either way, hooray for team efforts! ;-)

      • :) with a lawyer with tax specialization, and an actuary, under the same roof, talking 72t/Roth/tax penalty is kind of like pillow talk! We’re so romantic!

        Agree with you Ms. ONL–we actually have more trouble talking about the life vision side given our tendencies. It has been easier to come at it from the money side. I tried goals and vision first, but that just didn’t make sense to DH when he couldn’t believe the money would be there. Now that he gets that the money is feasible, I think we can start to dream a little.

      • LOL — *Of course* it is. ;-) And yeah, try going back over the life stuff. I find the death bed question to be a great starting point: What, when you are looking back on life from your death bed, would you most regret not doing if you didn’t do it? Go from there. ;-)

  16. Wow, great job with your savings. It looks like you’re doing really well with the taxable component. That will make early retirement much easier. The market is doing great, but I’m really nervous now. I shifted some stocks to bond and probably will continue to get more conservative. I’m okay with less gains over the next few years. Who knows what’s going to happen, though.
    Keep at it and enjoy your last few weeks (months?) of gainful employment.

    • Thanks, Joe! Yeah, we’re definitely wary of where the markets are, and like you, don’t need huge gains in our taxable accounts anytime soon. But we’ve mentally prepared ourselves for the recession, and have a plan, so aren’t letting it freak us out too much. ;-)

  17. First of all, how exciting for you guys. Look forward to the next BHAG as you move to next chapter. This post made me think of my own miles, specifically how close am I to a Southwest Companion fare this year. The one where my wife can fly for free for a year with me. Turns out that if I spend the $99 for the Southwest Visa card, then I’m already there. I think that says I’ve been traveling too much this year (not including the American, Alaska, United, … miles). So thanks for indirectly reminding me to go check!

    • Thank you! We’re looking forward to that, too! ;-) (But will it all happen where you think it will??? We’ll seeeeeeeee!) ;-) And happy I reminded you to go check on your SWA status!

  18. Awesome stuff! We just hit another milestone a smidge early. Nothing earth-shattering, but every time we get to another one a little earlier than expected, it feels like we’re earning our own time back. :) I know the markets could make it feel like they’re taking time away from us, too, at some point, but we’re trying to mentally gear up for corrections so they won’t throw us too bad when they happen.

    Quick question – How did you figure out your “enough” number for the traditional retirement portion of your plan? Did you do some kind of backwards growth calculations based on what you want that number to grow to by traditional retirement age? And, if so, what growth % numbers did you use?

    Congrats on all the fun firsts! :)

    • It’s definitely worth celebrating those intermediate milestones, so don’t downplay it! And hitting it early is that much sweeter — so awesome! :-)

      The enough number is a more complicated calculation, but the simplest way to explain it is to say that we wanted to be able to double our spending, after accounting for inflation, when we hit age 60, and then did reverse projections to see what starting number we’d have to have in our 401(k)s to be able to achieve that doubling at low return rates, like inflation + 2%. So, lots of Excel formulas! This post has a simulation using not our real numbers, but shows what the spreadsheet looks like: https://ournextlife.com/2016/02/17/how-we-calculated-our-numbers-for-each-phase-of-early-retirement/

      • For some reason there’s no reply button on your question below, but my last day at the current gig is October 27th and my first day at the new one is Nov 1st. Today was pretty emotional. I got a jerky reaction from my jerky boss, but many heartwarming reactions and even some tears from beloved coworkers. Very bittersweet…

      • There’s a limit on how many threads down a comment chain can go, so we must have hit that! ;-) So excited for you — three weeks and a day left! Sorry that giving notice was a negative experience… but does that help affirm that you’re doing the right thing??

      • It definitely feels like the right thing. I realized it completely when we were out of town this weekend and reminiscing about our potential “next life” and my husband postulated that we could relocate now if we really wanted to. And I said, “You know? I really want to do this. I want to have this experience.” And I knew I wanted the job for it’s own merits and not just to escape my current job, which is a very uplifting feeling. I’m getting lots of contact info from my coworkers now…. :)

  19. You guys are well ahead of the curves (ha ha ha!). Nicely done! The market is doing well lately which I’m sure helps with your overall portfolio. :)

  20. I recently maxed out the amortization period on my rental condo mortgage to decrease my monthly payment as I am in no rush to pay it off. Well done on watching those numbers skyrocket, like you I am very happy that I maximized my savings rate in my final working years.

    As for charts I love playing with the graphs in MINT to see my net worth increase

    • Ha — I don’t even know what that means! (Is that some weird Canadian mortgage thing?) ;-) Hahaha.

      • I think it’s soemthing like recasting the mortgage? The amortization is the length of the mortgage, like you guys most recently had a 15 year mortgage. Chris must have reset his mortgage length back to 25 years or something versus what it was before.

  21. The 3rd quarter was my official 1st quarter away though I’m still only counting 2 of the months as truly retired and the cool part is, I haven’t once been stressed about money. I had several unexpected expenses this past month, 2 of which were related to some deferred house maintenance (ok those were expected but neither of the projects were DIY so it was a little pricey) and I may or may not have procured tickets to Hamilton in January, but I’m still not stressed or worried and the best part is I have finally stopped checking personal capital on a weekly and the stock market on a daily basis. I don’t pretend to think that I won’t be worried when the inevitable correction happens but now that I’ve officially pulled the trigger somehow I’m way more relaxed about money than when I had a much heavier stream of income. You can make it through these last 2.5 months! Good luck with your discussion. Now I’m gonna go get some yoga done.

    • That IS cool! If I could go two months without stressing about money, I’d call that a major win. And yay for going to see Hamilton! Going to see it was one of the best things I’ve spent money on this year. You will loooooooove it!

  22. Congratulations on approaching your final destination! I have been following you guys for about a year and excited to see you get to your goals and letting us on the ride with you.

    Our milestone for the third quarter is that we put in an offer on a duplex which will be our first rental property, with the idea to make it part of our retirement strategy. If things go well we should be closing within a week!

    • Thank you! And thank you for following along with our little ride. ;-) And wow — congrats on taking that big step and (almost) buying that duplex! Fingers crossed for you guys that the home stretch of escrow goes smoothly. :-)

  23. Congrats to Mr. ONL on finally pulling the trigger! I am not particularly fond of these updates as they don’t really provide us, the readers, with much value. While I know that you don’t want to communicate actual #s, the graphs are somewhat sterile as they just show lines up / to the right. Maybe there is another way to communicate this info to us such that we understand more about how you have achieved FI. For example, maybe you communicate a % of gross that you were able to save, etc.

    • Thanks! And I hear you. ;-) I think some folks like seeing the progress, but yeah, they are kind of meaningless without the y axes. That said, we decided a while back to stop sharing our savings rate because we realized a lot of folks who were doing an awesome job saving and making incredible progress weren’t saving quite as high a percent as we were, and therefore felt bad about what they were accomplishing. We realized we were inadvertently shaming some people, or at least taking some of the joy out of their own savings rate. So I stopped writing about it here. I know that makes these charts even more meaningless, but fortunately they’re all done now! ;-)

  24. You already know this but I’m still jazzed: we finished enough renovations to move in and sell our old place! That’s huge for our money – it can finally settle down and start getting back into the saving/investing swing of things.

    I can finally start to consider saving and investing and maybe even setting a FIRE date!

    • And I’m so jazzed for you! Congrats!!!! I’m excited for you on every level — that you can get some rest, that you can start saving again, that you’ll just have more mental space generally. I’m sure it’s a HUGE load off.

  25. Big milestone. In just 9 months, our net worth has gone up by more than what our combined incomes will be for the full year. Beyond our big savings contributions to this net, 60% of this increase comes purely from past saved money making money. 20 years of savings… 10 years of hard savings… and our balance is finally to the point where 13%+ YTD is making a big difference.

    • Rock on! That’s so awesome! Wooohooooooo. Amazing that compound interest actually works, isn’t it?! ;-)

  26. After about 500k in student loans from med school, we are crossing into the black this month! Took us all of residency and a little over a year to get here. Excited about dropping that negative sign in front of our networth.

    • WOW! That’s so huge! CONGRATS!!! You’re definitely my hero of today. All the high fives for you guys!

    • Well done! As another former > $500k med school loan household, we totally understand and are soooo excited for you! Very impressive!!

      • Wow, high five to you guys, too! Such an incredible achievement to knock out that kind of debt!

  27. No visible milestones for me this quarter, but I feel that I have made enormous strides in knowledge-base. Hopefully I’ll see the compounding effect of that, too.

    • That’s wonderful! I know knowledge is a bit harder to quantify, and maybe doesn’t show up as well in the chart, but I absolutely think that is a worthwhile pursuit and wonderful progress. ;-)

  28. thank you for posting. It looks great. I specially like the graph where you said we got serious (2011, I believe). Man, the graph skyrockets after 2011. It is inspiring for me because my saving and investing significantly grown since 2014.

    • Awesome! And yeah, the momentum has just kept growing all along the way, as if by magic! I’m sure you’re not too far behind us. ;-)