Path to Freedom!

What if you didn’t need to work till 65?

Say what?

We all daydream about those days. You know, the ones where we stare aimlessly with lifeless souls at our computer monitors in desperate hopelessness wishing we were off in some remote island, sipping away on our mai tai’s or any drink for that matter! I know I do. And far too often at that!

So I thought about it for the past few weeks – what can I do to exit this never-ending cycle of work/eat/sleep, only to repeat the damn cycle all over again the next day. FIRE.

So you want to make a fire?

With some smore sandwiches? Sure! But no, not in this particular instance. What I’m referring to is FIRE, i.e., Financial Independence/Retire Early. Really well-known bloggers such as ERE and Mr. Money Mustache run independent blogs that document their journey towards FIRE, and it’s a very simple concept.

Basically, it’s…are you ready? Savings. That’s it, savings. You heard it correctly. Most of us have consumed our lifestyles around personal consumption, including things such as purchasing the latest fashion, buying new electronics, and eating out (mmm…lattes). But this very lifestyle is what is hurting our abilities to save for our retirement, and to for some, living paycheck to paycheck.

I decided I want to avoid this because I’ve made a personal decision and goal to retire early. I want to live life on my own terms, not on others, and in particular not on someone else’s watch. FIRE will help me achieve this very goal!

What next, dude?

Thankfully, ever since I graduated back in 2009 I’ve been keeping track of my budget very closely with the help of mint and my beautiful, sexy budget model. Eh, budget model you say? Yes! I love this thing.

When I graduated from college and entered the workforce, I learned this cool tip in excel called pivot tables. And for those of who work in excel everyday, this is a must-learn function (will save lots of time analyzing data quickly). It was during this period that I built my very first budget model version using mint data. And wow has it gone through many iterations. My wife thinks I’m partially insane due to how much I focus/rebuild/analyze my budget model. But its this very tool that’s allowed me to investigate key variances, overspending, and even fraudulent activity. Without this sexy beast, I’d have no idea what I was saving. Perhaps I’d be living paycheck to paycheck.

Thanks to the budget model, I was able to achieve several things. These include building an emergency fund, maxing my 401k, investing into my taxable accounts and fully paying off my student loans. Without this tool, I can’t imagine how swamped I would have been.

Well, cool brah

Thanks brah! I hope you enjoyed this post as I plan to update this blog with many more future updates. That FIRE goal of mine is very much achievable, and with the latest budget updates for both my wife and I, we’re slowly creeping towards that retirement!

For those who don’t already, start budgeting! I recommend using mint to aggregate the data – it will help categorize expenses and lay out the data in a easy to read format. Then you can leverage it to create pivot tables and savings calculations.

Well, till next time! Chat with you soon!