Who Am I
I always hated doing these when I was at school or work meetings. But here we go. I’m Michael and as of this writing, I’m a 23-year-old Mechanical Engineer who just moved halfway across the country (1305 miles) from one of the most expensive counties in New Mexico (where I’d lived my entire life) to Illinois to take a new job. Very foolish from a Financial Independence standpoint. I’ve been actively seeking FIRE since sometime in December 2021. Some of my hobbies (I probably have too many already) include blacksmithing, 3D printing, hiking, biking, homebrewing, history, and gardening.
I think beyond just that I’m seeking FIRE is the why. When I first started seeking FIRE it was as an escape from a job that wasn’t a good fit for me, this has changed some over time. It has gone from an escape to having the option to not have to work. To some degree I have been toying with the idea of FIRE since I took my first job in high school, before 2021 I didn’t really have the terms or the knowledge to really express some nebulous goal.
Now that I’ve gone over what FIRE has meant to me. What does it mean to me now? To me it mostly means freedom. Whether that be the freedom to travel the world, work on a blacksmithing project, or go hiking with my parents before they get too old (assuming I return to New Mexico one day). Being able to have time to do that without taking a vacation or rushing out the door after work but before it gets dark would mean a lot to me. To put it succinctly, there are only so many hours in your life and I’m lucky enough to have the resources to peruse FIRE so why not create for myself the option to not have to spend a third of my life trading my time for money when there’s so much to do.
Aren’t you worried about getting bored?
My dad got this question a lot before he retired, his answer was “I’d rather be bored at home than bored at work.” My mom always suggested he respond with “Only boring people get bored.” While I agree with these statements to some degree I disagree with the heart of them. I don’t think I’ll get bored when I’m FIRE’d, assuming I even go all the way and take the RE part and not just the FI part. I plan to work on my hobbies, pick up new hobbies (I have more I want to work on and the list keeps growing), cross destinations off of my bucket list, and volunteer my time to make the world better (what form the latter will take shape as I haven’t fully figured out yet). What form the Retire Early portion will take, I don’t fully know yet. But I think that’s okay, I have a pretty lenient timeline to arrive at that final picture of what post-FI life will be.
The Plan/FIRE Goals
So now you know all about who started this blog and my why(s) of FIRE. How do I intend to achieve it? I estimate that I’ll need about $4000/mo ($48,000/yr) to live comfortably and afford my hobbies (cheap steel is good steel). For that following the conventional 4% rule, I’d need $1,200,000. I’ve rounded that up to $1,500,000 to be a more psychologically pleasing number as well as to give me some wiggle room. I expect this number to change as I near FIRE, as I begin to build my assets I plan to increase the room in my budget to fund my hobbies to make sure I’ll be able to sufficiently cover them. Aside from these assets I also plan to keep a full year or two of expenses in more liquid assets (6-12 months in emergency savings the rest in some more liquid but more lucrative types such as CDs).
I’ve set very ambitious goals for FIRE. I want to hit FI before I am 35, or just under 12 years from now. I plan to do that through a combination of an extremally high savings rate and compounding investment returns. Now I’m going to be upfront about this. I’m fairly certain that it is not possible to achieve even with my savings rate before I started this blog (when I lived with my parents and I only had the token rent they were charging me) it wasn’t seeming too possible. But I want to set these aggressive goals to force me to try harder, by being this aggressive I’m going to have to work to minimize costs during the accumulation phase, and maybe as I get closer to my goal I’ll be able to adjust either my final yearly expenses or the age I plan to retire at to more accurately reflect reality. This kind of aggressive goal-setting has paid off for me in the past such as when I was preparing to go to college.
As a record of where I was when I started this here were my totals as of 1/22/2023:
Retirement (Roth IRA and 401k): $34,921.46,
Long-term debt: $0
Now you have all of my financial goals. Let’s talk about my goals for this blog. I aim to make a total of four posts a month. These posts will be broken down as follows: A net worth update (budget, account totals, progress, progress on other goals, etc.), two general posts (any topic, mostly focused on personal finance), and a collection of my favorite posts from the past month.
Good Starting Posts
Nothing at the moment, but I plan to add links to posts I’ve made that I think will be a good starting point once I get some posts made or make some series to watch.