This post marks the 11 month point in my countdown to FIRE – being financially independent and retired early. My FIRE escape date is planned for April 1, 2016 – just a few weeks before my 50th birthday. Each month I’ve been counting down the activities that are getting me prepared.
This month’s headline is that our nest egg held the terrific gains that we saw in March. The overall market is up about +3% for the year 2015 and that feels good. Additionally, the MegaCorp that I am heavily invested in is +5%. That feels even better. We don’t really need the market to have a big year, but it’s nice that it is off to a good start. We continue to sell small amounts of stock and put it into a cash reserve since the market continues to hold up strong.
My focus over the last month has been on unlocking opportunities to keep myself busy post-retirement. Since I have a good amount of executive experience (in marketing, strategy & innovation), I’ve been meeting with search experts on finding a role as an outside board director for small companies that might benefit from big-company know-how.
I’m hoping to find a role with 1 or 2 companies that will keep my hand in the business world and leverage my expertise. I’m told that these roles generally require a few days of meetings each quarter, which would be perfect for me. Additionally, depending on the role, they also provide a stipend for board service that would be marvelous ‘fun money’. (I suppose you could say that if you are getting paid, you are not officially retired, but the amount of time & money that we are talking about is relatively inconsequential)
I’ve been involved in non-profit organization board work for many years and will continue to do some of that work too. I’m currently board chair of a high-profile community organization and will continue to be involved with that organization for at least another 2 years.
At the same time, since I am within 1 year of my FIRE date, I have started my countdown and surprised by how fast the weeks are flying by. I’ve been using colorful Post-it Flags as my countdown system and I’ve already pulled 5 flags off the wall since I started at 52 weeks.
As I got my MegaCorp paycheck on the last day of the month, I also started putting it aside for our “One More Year for Charity” project. As I’ve written a lot about now, my pay from this last year of work is being set aside for charitable giving in retirement. I won’t put any specific numbers into these posts, but it will be a very large six-figure plus amount by the end of the year.
Final Year Of Work – 11 Month Checklist:
- Begin to countdown your last 52 weeks
- Continue to build cash reserves – goal is 3 years spending at retirement
- Plan out both dream activities & “keep busy” activities
- “One More Year” Charitable Fund
I don’t think that there will be a lot of activity in terms of pre-FIRE escape planning over the next several months. I’ve continued to keep my plans on the down-low at MegaCorp (at least until the end of the year). I’m looking forward to enjoying the sunny weather that is so precious over the northern USA in the summer time.
Image Credit: Pixabay