An Aha Moment… Reverse Engineering FI

This post was featured by Rockstar Finance. If you clicked over from there, THANK YOU, and I hope you enjoy the read. If you just happened to wander over here and are interested in all things Personal Finance or FIRE (Financial Independence/Early Retirement), I highly recommend you hop over to Rockstar Finance to check out their site and all the awesome bloggers they host weekly.  Oh, and don’t forget to check out the Rockstar Finance Forum where you can chat PF to your heart’s content. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will follow along on my long and winding road to FI!

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It occurred to me last week that I have been looking at this whole FI thing the wrong way.  Building your wealth is a long process and it takes time…1,979 more days in my case but who’s counting?!  In an effort to not feel overwhelmed, I decided to flip the script.  What if I started looking at FI from what I have already saved?  What if I start looking at it with an attitude of abundance and not destitute (a tad dramatic but I love the striking opposition it induces 😉 ).

The basic formula for FI is 25 x yearly expenses.  Whatever that number equates to is considered safe to use a 4% rate of withdrawal.  If all these numbers are true, we can instead flip it around to calculate how much I would receive each month if I quit working today based on what I have already saved!  Here’s a semi-random example:

Bianca has $333,000 in assets.  Divide that number by 25 and you’ll get $13320 per year which is equal to $1110 per month.

$1110 per month.  That is how much all my years of work combined have afforded me to live.  For reference, I have been working and earning a W2 since 1993 when I was 14.  That’s 24 years of working for the man and all those years of labor have afforded me 1110 dollars per month of FREEDOM.  Isn’t that incredible?!  Not from a high or low standpoint but just that it is actually calculable?!  Isn’t it strange to compare your future life’s enjoyment based on the number of hours you worked to earn such jubilee?  It’s hard to wrap my brain around!

So the question is, forgetting all tax implications, could you live off $1110 per month?  If forced to do so, I’m fairly certain my answer would be yes.  I’ve crafted my life in such a way that I have few responsibilities which result in my cost of living being lower than most.  Granted, my studio is paid for and I would likely have to stay there, I’d have to remove all travel from my agenda, sell my car in favor of my bike, eat a shit ton of beans and rice (which I do anyway), and never get sick.  Pretty risky with some of those variables but I could probably make it work, and many people do.* Continue reading “An Aha Moment… Reverse Engineering FI”

365 Days…

Ugh…don’t you just hate these 1-year blogiversary things??  I’m with you!!  I have only read a few (and one in particular) that hit the nail on the head but those are such a rarity.  Overall, I am not huge on self-congratulating indulgences, however, for historical purposes of my own interest (it’s all about me, after all 😉 ), I feel it necessary to future me to have this post to look back on so feel free to humor me or move on…I promise my feelings won’t be hurt!

Cupcake decorated with colorful sprinkles and a sparkler
~ via ~

It’s official.  Today is one year since my very first blog post as Miss Mazuma.  I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by!!   I have read that first post a few times over the past year wondering what the fuck I was thinking starting a blog in this genre in the first place.  Reading it again just now, I realize my intention to help others steer clear of some of my own financial mistakes was well-intentioned but, in some ways, completely missed the mark from what I’ve actually experienced.  I thought my purpose was to help others but it turns out I needed the help more! Continue reading “365 Days…”

Unfuck Yourself… A Non $$ Lesson From Camp Mustache

Life is funny. Sometimes the most fabulous times collide with the hardest of moments…I believe the word appropriated for such times is “bittersweet”.  This weekend was a perfect example.

As many of you know, my Nana has been sick for the past few weeks and passed away this Sunday while I was out of town.  Though I knew it was imminent, there is nothing that can prepare you for the news that someone you love has taken their last breath and it broke my heart that I wasn’t with her.  There are no words to describe the feeling that goes with the hole in your heart that can only be filled by the shape of that person.  The pain is too fresh to poke at that bear, but in time I hope to dig deeper to tell you some of her stories. For now, I’ll just say that she was not only my grandma but she was also my friend and will be greatly missed.

I can’t let this week pass without saying thank you to all the families of the military who lost loved ones as they served our country.  In 1943 my Nana was deep into marine boot camp when she received word that her fiance, Marine First Lieutenant Mike Hoffman, was killed in the Battle of Tarawa (for which he earned the silver star).  It is in his honor that she continued with her service until the war ended, eventually meeting and marrying my Papa, also a WWII veteran.  Nana was extremely proud of her time in the military and of her country.  Whether you believe in war or not, someone today is mourning the loss of their son, daughter, father, mother, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, or friend so that we can live in peace.  On their behalf, please take a moment to appreciate that sacrifice.

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On the sweet side, this weekend I attended Camp Mustache. For those of you who don’t know, CM is a gathering of like-minded folks who read and act on the writings of Mr. Money Mustache, accidental leader of the “Mustachian Cult”.  Like my Nana’s life, words can’t do justice to my experience but as a writer is mused to do, in this case, I will give it a try. 🙂 Continue reading “Unfuck Yourself… A Non $$ Lesson From Camp Mustache”

Defending Mr. Avocado Toast – Priorities are Key

I HATE when I feel compelled to weigh in on stupid shit but it is hard to bite my tongue in certain cases…

I am sure you have all read THE POST that spawned the avocado toast backlash that will forever go down in history as the one item that could knock the $4 latte off the FI stage.    Thank fucking god…I hate coffee and could never truly relate.  I would much rather debate an avocado as the reason no one can afford to save, so here we go…

Image result for avocado toast
Looks just like mine… ~via~

First off, GenXer here…I feel the need to state that as this slanderous attack was thrown directly at my good friends, The Millennials.  But seriously folks, this issue is not generation based – it is stupidity based.  Yes, I said it.  As a whole, people are financially stupid.  What?  You never made a financial mistake in your life??  Just wait, you will.  And when you do, feel free to come back and tell us all about it!  I promise not to chastise you because I have been stupid too.  But to get straight to the point, this whole avocado toast thing has been completely blown out of proportion, on both sides.  Continue reading “Defending Mr. Avocado Toast – Priorities are Key”

Goldilocks & The Three $$ Tiers

As some of you know, I have been struggling with the moment to moment aspect of  FI.  I recently wrote a post in regards to my Month of Financial Celibacy.  From the comments I received on that post, most people assumed it would be the markets I couldn’t wait to check but really that has little impact on me.  It is my spending and tracking of said spending that really gets me going.  I am only a week in (actually, 9 looooong days), but I am still doing pretty good.  Instead of focusing on the day to day numbers I am shifting my focus to the number one factor in the overall equation – how much is ENOUGH??

The idea of enough is one that haunts many of us FI seekers.  What if we quit our jobs too soon?  What if the market falls?  What if we get sick?  What if we forget to prepare for one of the other millions of little things that can go wrong???  It is all too much to ponder.  For this, we need a strategy.  My strategy comes straight from a childhood favorite…

Goldilocks and The Three Bears Tiers

For those of you unfamiliar with Goldilocks, let me sum up her story.  Goldilocks is a trespassing brat who not only enters into The Bears home without permission but then proceeds to spread her germs to all of their bowls of porridge before settling on one that was neither hot nor cold but just right.  After she eats The Bears food, she decides she is quite tired from her jaunt in the forest.  Instead of going home, which is what a normal criminal might do, she decides to wander into The Bears living room to rest in a chair.  Naturally, 2 of the chairs were too big and the smallest (though being just the right size) falls to pieces when she sits down.  Ugh…  Goldilocks doesn’t bother to think that perhaps karma is trying to send her a message so she pushes the envelope further by going upstairs to test out The Bears beds.  When The Bears arrive home to find their porridge was eaten and the chair broken they decide to do a thorough search of the home.  Sure enough, Goldilocks has tested all of the beds (one was too firm, one was too soft) and is still sleeping in the one she deemed just right.  Upon their growls, Goldilocks wakes with a scream, runs down the stairs and out the door.  The Bears never see or hear from her again…not even a thank you note!

So what does this fable have to do with my story??  Well, I am Goldilocks.  Not the thieving, vandalizing, lice spreading version…but the one who is always looking for the FI number that is just right…

Image result for goldilocks just right
~via~

I have mentioned my tiers of FI in other posts (and in various comments on numerous bloggers sites), but I have yet to dig into it and spell it out.  So here we go: Continue reading “Goldilocks & The Three $$ Tiers”