We started on this journey in May 2017 and I think that in our first eight months, we accomplished a lot. It wasn’t too much of a stretch for us: we know we need to save, but learning from the FI community, we realized that being more aggressive about both decreasing debt and saving more will enable us to stop working our traditional office jobs in about 10 years (at age 54) … we hope. College for two kids is such a wild card. And I don’t even want to think about healthcare.
Our first eight months on the path to FIRE looked like this:
- Transferred both our Wells Fargo IRAs, rolled over prior employer 401k and an old pension into Vanguard IRAs, focusing on consolidating into VTSAX
- 401ks – we didn’t quite max these out in 2017; they will be maxed out in 2018 and super happy to see there’s an increase of $500 more per year in 2018 on the 401k max
- Continued to contribute $100/month into each of two 529s
- Maxed out pre-tax HSA and Dependent Care FSA
- Sold high expense ratio funds to purchase VTSAX (still working on this because there’s a charge of $50 when selling more than one non-Vanguard fund within 60 days)
- Successful job arbitrage saving city wage tax, commuting costs and time, plus a bonus and salary increase
- Tracked spending with Every Dollar; this was really helpful to understand where and when our money was going and helped us get started. I feel like we’ve got our finger on the pulse of this now and I’m not tracking every dollar.
- I’m addicted to the Personal Capital app. I love seeing our money grow and debt shrink and it also provides a spending analysis that has replaced Every Dollar for me, but it’s not as robust in that department. I was hesitant to provide all my account info and logins to a third party, but their superman encryption convinced me it was safe.
- Changed one of two cell phones to a low-cost, pay-as-you-go plan with Total Wireless, saving $45/month!
- Switched insurance providers for primary house, two rental houses and two cars: saving over $600/year.
- Increased rent in both rental homes; this wasn’t by design as much as strongly recommended by our property management company due to market trends in one and tenant turnover in another.
Whew! I’m proud of this. I wish we started 10 years ago, but there’s no looking back, just moving forward. We still have a long way to go: we have goals and we can see how we’ll get there. Here’s to 2018!