If You Want to Retire Early, Start Doing These 12 Things Right Now

If you can implement some or all of the items on this list your journey to early retirement will be short and sweet. The hardest part is actually starting.“The thing to do is to make so much money that you don’t have to work after the age of twenty-seven. In case this is impracticable, stop work at the earliest possible moment, even if it is at a quarter past eleven on the morning of the day when you find you do have enough money.”-Robert Benchley

Dreaming of Early Retirement

While I won’t retire by the time I’m 27(I’m 36), I’m hoping to retire before I’m 45.  I’m getting more and more antsy at work.  I pretty much daydream about early retirement whenever there’s downtime.

Even though I’m not retired yet, the following list are things that I have done or currently do to help me reach early retirement as fast as possible.  If you follow this list, or do only some of the items on the list, it should help you reach early retirement as well!

Max Out Your 401k and IRA if Possible

Look, I know it’s really hard to save that much money.  Start small!  It was only 4 years ago that I was putting in 3% every paycheck.  3% was the amount I needed to contribute to get the match.  I wanted to pay down my debts before I really started investing.

Once I was debt free I slowly started contributing more and more until I was comfortable contributing the max amount.  I’m pretty sure I changed my contribution amount like four times in one year!

Pay Off Debt

Some people suggest paying off all debt before investing anything.  When I was in debt, I saved enough to get the 401k match and then focused on paying off my debts.  Making sure that my emergency fund was fully funded when I was paying off my debt was also a high priority for me.

I kept a fully funded emergency fund because I had been laid off before at a time when I wasn’t in a secure financial situation and IT SUCKED! Thanks to parental help, I made it through, but it’s a situation that I never wanted to be in again. Continue reading “If You Want to Retire Early, Start Doing These 12 Things Right Now”

A (Mostly Financial) Look Back at 2016

I can’t believe how fast January is going!  Time really needs to slow down.  I feel like every time I look in the mirror there’s another grey hair.  Ha!

A (Mostly Financial) Look back at 20162016 overview

But seriously, I want to take some time and reflect on the past year.  2016 was a pretty good year for me.  One of the best things that happened was I went from being a night shifter to a day shifter.  Working during normal daylight hours makes me so much happier!

Mr. Frugal Turtle and I went on our favorite type of vacation.  Camping! We had a blast hiking and checking out the caves at a State Park. Hopefully we can go on a couple of camping trips this summer.  Even if they’re short, it’s still incredibly relaxing to sit by a campfire, listening to the sounds of nature.

In November I hit my net worth goal for 2016.  I finally hit $100k net worth!  I’m not going to lie, it feels really good to finally cross over that amount.  It took a long time!  I had some debt that I had to take care of before I could really focus on saving for early retirement.

2016 by the numbers

Net Worth

I started 2016 with a net worth of $68,842.88.  I ended the year with a net worth of $105,741.88.  A difference of $36,899.  Wow!  That’s pretty good.

Looking back through my records, the amount that I put in my IRA, savings account and 401k was $28,358.48.  Investing (mostly) in the stock market boosted my net worth by $8,540.52. Continue reading “A (Mostly Financial) Look Back at 2016”

When Can I Retire?

When can I retire?

The all important question for people seeking early retirement.

How do you know if you’re financially independent?  How do you know if you have enough savings to retire?  When will you be able to call it quits at work?  What’s your retirement number?

 

When can I retire? The all important question for everyone who wants to retire early. Find out how to calculate when you can retire with this blog post.The 4% Rule

For me, I will be financially independent when 4% of my retirement and savings accounts can consistently cover my expenses for a period of time (probably 6 months).

This is why I keep track of my expenses and net worth every month.  It’s important to me to see what ground I’ve gained (or lost) in the past month, and how much more work I have left to do.

On the spreadsheet where I keep track of my income, expenses and net worth, there is also a column where I calculate 4% of my net worth.  So, once I calculate my net worth for that month, I then multiply that by 4% to calculate what my annual income would be and then I divide that number by 12 to see how much of my monthly expenses I could cover.

So for instance, on January 1st, my net worth was $68,826.50.  4% of $68,826.50 is $2753.06.  Divide that number by 12 and you get $229.42.  So right now my retirement and savings accounts could consistently cover around $230 of my monthly expenses.   Continue reading “When Can I Retire?”

May Financial Update

May Financial UpdateHello June!

I am super stoked for this summer.  It’s the first summer in a long time that I’ll get to enjoy the beautiful evenings every night.  I’m slowly adjusting back to a day shift schedule and let me tell you, it feels amazing!  I just feel better and happier in general.  Seeing the sun really agrees with me!

May was a great month for me financially.  I officially maxed out my IRA for 2016 and my net worth went above $80k.  I have a goal to reach $100k by the end of the year, and if things keep going the way they are lately, I should surpass $100k!  However, I know not to get too excited.  Things can change so fast in the stock market.

I’ve also been looking forward to June because Mr. Frugal Turtle and I have an exciting camping trip planned at the end of the month.  We are headed to Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park to check out some caves, and go hiking, and just relax in general.  Plus, we have a trip planned to a winery on our way back from camping.  Hopefully we can come back home with some delicious wine!  I booked a site at the State Park for three nights for a total of $77.  Not too shabby!  Plus our annual State Park entrance pass is still good from when we went camping last year so that’ll save us $25.

My expenses for May were a little less than normal for the year, to date.  I don’t really know how that happened, because I spent some $$$ on my Mom for Mother’s Day. I also went out for a movie date one weekend and the next weekend I took Mr. Frugal Turtle out to eat at our favorite restaurant.  I got my oil changed and also had to pay Bluehost for a hosting fee. Oh, and I also saved a few bucks by getting discounted gift certificates to the grocery store.  It just seems like my expenses should’ve ended up being higher than they ended up being.  Not that I’m complaining!

When Mr. Frugal Turtle and I went out for our movie date (Captain America: Civil War), we went on a Tuesday, and it just so happened that all movie tickets on Tuesdays are $5 each.  Plus, if you have the theater’s loyalty card, they give you a small popcorn for each ticket purchased.  Score!  I’d actually been waiting for a Tuesday night when we both had off from work and there was a movie we wanted to see.  Everything finally aligned, and we enjoyed a frugal movie at the theater!

May Net Worth

On May 31st, 2016 my Net Worth stood at $84,377.63.  I’m getting more and more excited to hit $100k!  Earlier this year I didn’t think that was going to be a possibility, but now it’s looking like I’ll definitely hit that goal.  

May Savings

In the month of May I managed to save/invest $3,611.60.  I had a crazy week at work last month where I ended up working over 70 hours.  Because of that, I had a very nice paycheck and was able to fully fund my IRA for the year.  If only every month was like that… Continue reading “May Financial Update”

GoodBye, Overnight Shift

Tomorrow I officially start my new shift.  I’m excited and nervous at the same time.  After working a twelve-hour overnight shift for five years, it’s going to be quite the change to move to an eight-hour day shift position.  This weekend I’ve been trying to shift my sleep schedule to a normal nighttime sleep.  When I woke up at 11am today, the sun was shining and birds were chirping and I was happy.  After I finished my morning coffee I dragged a camping chair from the garage and set it up on the lawn in the bright sunshine.  I sat in that chair and soaked up the beautiful sunshine for almost an hour.  Pure bliss.  I’ve missed that sunshine for such a long time!  It’s great to see it again.

I wanted this new position.  Mr. Frugal Turtle wanted me to get this position.  Unfortunately, he could still be stuck on the night shift for a long time yet.  As soon as he is able to, he wants to join me on day shift.  This, unfortunately, means that we won’t be seeing each other as much as we have been.  We’ll see each other in the morning after he gets home from work and before I leave for work.  We’ll also have the occasional weekend and probably a random weeknight together, but still, it’s going to be hard.  I’m going to miss seeing him at work.  I’ve always told him he has a calming presence.  If I get upset or worked up over something, just seeing him and talking to him calms me down.

I haven’t decided how to spend my extra time.  Normally when I worked the twelve-hour shifts I wouldn’t have time or I would be too exhausted to really do anything when I got home.  I tried to batch cook on my days off so I wouldn’t have to worry about cooking during the small amount of time I had between sleeping and working.  Laundry was always done on weekends along with the grocery shopping or other necessary errands.  Basically my non work life was crammed into my days off, and honestly I spent a large part sleeping or napping trying to recharge my body and get ready for the next string of work days.  I felt like I didn’t have a life.  However, those days are gone! Continue reading “GoodBye, Overnight Shift”