August has come and gone, and fall is right around the corner. Our August paychecks (26¢!) finally made it to our checking account, and we’re a little sad. Why? August represents our final paychecks from our latest “crappy job.” We still have health and dental insurance for one more month, but on October 1st we’re officially on our own.
We’ll certainly miss saving $9,500 a month, but we’ll also love the increased freedom brought on by our voluntary unemployment. Here’s the recap: In August, we once again funneled all of our income into our 457 and 403b accounts. In fact, from January through August of 2016 my wife and I received only $2.08 of net pay. Where did our money go? Directly into our retirement accounts! As a result of our hardcore savings via front-loading, we were able to max out our 457 accounts for 2016 ($48k = $24k for both of us). We were also able to contribute over $27k to our 403b accounts. (I’d love to hit the max on those 403b accounts, but I don’t want to take another job to do it. Did I mention that we’re not funding our IRA’s for 2016? That’s driving me crazy! Old habits die hard.)
Our aggressive savings and frugal living have really helped us grow our net worth over the last two years. The rising stock market has also added to our net worth. When you’re saving a lot, living on a little, and investing in a rising stock market, your bottom line should grow. From a financial perspective, we had a great two years at our jobs in Douglas, Georgia. As a result our net worth has crossed over into 7-figure territory. Here are our net worth numbers for September of 2016:
|ESA-529-UTMA||$43,128||NET WORTH||$1,002, 389|
A few days ago I logged into my Personal Capital account and was pleasantly surprised to see this:
Woohoo, now that we’re part of the Double-Comma Club we can really ramp up our spending. Uh, wrong! We plan on living the same awesome, low-cost lifestyle that we’ve become accustomed to over the last five years. We plan on driving our living expenses even lower with a long-term trip to Latin America later this fall.
What does it feel like having $1 million in assets? It feels great to finally pass the threshold, but, all in all, I still feel the same. I envisioned getting a bigger charge from passing the 7-figure mark, but the truth is that I’ve felt financially secure for years. The most exciting part of this financial journey is deciding what to do with our time and life energy now that money is a secondary issue.
For two reasons, I hereby declare ourselves FIRE’d (financially independent, retired early). First, we’ve hit our goal of $1 million. Since we will both receive teacher pensions at age 60, we have enough money to step away from work. Second, we are no longer employed, and we are suddenly “time rich.” We now have enough money and plenty of time to live our awesome, frugal lifestyle anywhere we choose. I can’t lie, it’s pretty exciting. In preparation for a year of adventure and freedom, we enrolled our son in a home school program in August. So far, he seems to like the curriculum, so we’re planning on taking our show on the road this fall. We haven’t decided on a location yet, but our short list includes: Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and Costa Rica.
Finally, if you thought that “lottery tickets = incredible wealth!” caption at the top was for real, you need to smack yourself or at least read a personal finance book. Last month in Chattanooga, my Dad sent me out to buy a few lottery tickets for him. I cannot overstate how much I hate gambling–it’s simply a tax on the innumerati. But, I love my Dad, so I bought them for him…with HIS money of course. You know the only thing worse than spending a dollar on a lottery ticket, right? Drum roll please….spending a second buck on a lottery ticket.
Okay, we’ve got some planning and packing to do. Just curious, where would you go if you had the time to take a 3-6 month trip? I look forward to your suggestions, especially the exciting AND inexpensive ones.
|Health Savings Account: We use Elements Financial to access commission-free, low-cost Vanguard ETFs at TD Ameritrade.