FIRE November Update

This Month’s Story

Progress to Early Retirement: 55.7%
Progress to Financial Independence (3/4): 74.3%
Progress to Half Annual Spending: 111.5%
Percent Home Ownership: 58.4%
Net Worth / Annual spending tax adjusted: 13.9x of that Home: 2.2x Retire: 8.7x Non-Retire: 3.0x

And now the third month in a row that I have been working too hard on my deadline to post enough. Sure I got a few this past month but I am even going to cut this post a bit short. I do have a lot to say, but for now I have to do what I have to do. I am debugging over 2 million lines of machine converted C#. The machine converted Cobol to C#, and man is this hard. Sure, I have a team to help me, but as the old man, I am in charge. I am also doing the majority of the work. Simultaneously, we have some production issues. Still, one has to keep the job going.

I also decided to start looking for a new job. I’ve been at my current employer for a long time, and things are changing, and not for the better. So, time to spend some serious time job hunting. That will impact how much I earn, my commute time and spending, and my over all life satisfaction. This is a big deal. That is why I am putting a lot of time into that, and not this blog. When my life gets back to normal, I’ll be back. I loved that movie.

So our home’s value dropped a lot. People are leaving the NY metropolitan area, and suburban home values are not doing great. There was a big drop there, and that stunk. Were it not for that big month to month drop, about 5% of the home’s value, I would have had an even bigger month to month increase. The forward looking estimates for the next year is another drop of another 5-6%. I hope not, but we will see.

This month, we increased our net worth about 2.4%. That’s a good number. Were our house to just hold it’s value, we would have doubled that. Still, not so bad. So we have saved just under 14x our annual spending. That is the good news. The vast majority of that is in our various retirement accounts, which is mostly good news from a tax perspective, but of course if we do retire early, then we will have to hit our non retirement accounts harder or take some penalties. The rule of 55 should help us there, and that is roughly when we want to retire. We hope to do it a few years early, so if luck holds we will have to use our non-retirement accounts for only a few years to get us to 55. Since we have 3x our income in those accounts, and we are adding to them along with our retirement accounts, hopefully this will all work out.

The way things seem to be working out, if all goes well, we should be able to retire in 8 to 10 years with a nice FAT FIRE. That’s when we are planning to have the mortgage paid off, which is good as I expect to use that money to pay for our healthcare. I do not expect healthcare costs to be low. We will be moving from the NY area, and we are considering leaving sooner rather than later. Where will we go, well that depends. If we leave sooner rather than later, then we will likely go to a place were we can get good jobs. If we more close or after we retire, then we are talking about just a lower cost area which easily could be near NYC, just outside of commuting range where the costs for everything fall off quickly.

My running update is weak. Put simply, I have not been running. Part of the reason is that I got sick, and decided to take it easy. The other part is that leg injury which seems to be healing. I think I have to say that getting old sucks. While I am far from being an old man, I am clearly far from being a young one. My extended break from running is proving that my calf just needs more time to heal. I was able to play soccer with my son yesterday, and that was a blast. My leg was only sore from it.

We had some heavy storms in the last week or so. One day we were without power for roughly 12 hours starting after midnight. Fortunately, our generator is in good working order, and I got the gasoline to keep us in heat and hot water. While we still are using our heat pumps to heat the home, our hot water comes from the furnace. Of course, without the main electric supply, we heat only with the furnace. I love having both options. The truth is, on these cold mornings, when the air temperatures are dropping to the upper 20s or lower 30s, I have found that running the furnace for a short time to bring the house up to a comfortable day temperature quickly is the best option, and then we turn it down, and let the heat pumps keep the temperature up.

Those heavy fall storms also knocked a lot of leaves down. I’d say before the storms we had still 60-70% of the leaves on the trees. After the week of storms, I’d say we were down to 10%. Thank god for that heavy leaf blower of mine. In spite of it, I still spent hours clearing my yard. Leaves get heavy when they are wet! My leg was sore, but did not hurt when I did that all day, and that too is a good sign of healing. I think I will be able to run again in a few weeks. I am going to take it easy, and just take long walks. The dog is happy about that, anyway!

So you can see the changes in our home’s value with the big drop this past month. We live on the edge of our town, so sales in the town next to ours, with worse schools and thus cheaper home values, unduly effects us. I would not sell for that price, but that’s what the chart shows, so I will keep myself honest in my reporting.

Our non-retirement accounts did well as you can see, and to clean up this chart, I might remove that purple line, and just combine the cash into another account; the one where I ended up moving the money anyway. One thing that you can see is that the sum line is nearly back to where we were before we put that big sum against the mortgage.

And last but not least, in fact most in regards to dollar value, we have our retirement accounts that look like they are doing just fine.

So that’s what’s been going on the last month. I’d love to hear any thoughts you have.



  1. We’re NYC natives who are making FL our primary residence by 2020. It’s close enough that we can make frequent trips to NYC as needed (our kids and extended family are there) and any bump in travel will easily be covered by the tax savings and lower cost of living. We’re even keeping our NYC place as a second residence and can still save money by moving. Since our income streams are consulting and real estate, we can be based anywhere, and we found that switching up our geography (including targeting investments outside of NYC, building a client pipeline not dependent on NYC) really helped us reach FIRE sooner than later.


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