Early Retirement FIRE Escape – 7 Month Countdown

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August was the month where I would say that “this sh*t is getting real”.  With just 7 months left before my FIRE Escape date to early retirement on April Fool’s Day 2016, planning & preparation are definitely moving into full swing. 

August has been a quite eventful month for a few reasons and there has been a lot of volatility in the stock markets to add to the excitement:  Here’s my checklist of things I got done this month:

  • Read Ernie Zelinski’s book “The Joy of Not Working”.  Good inspiration.
  • Had my last annual physical at the MegaCorp medical center.  Good health.
  • Had my second-to-last Dentist visit.  Good teeth.
  • Started my new “side job” – a corporate board role.  Good meetings.
  • Met with our tax advisor.  Good numbers.
  • Continued to update my countdown flags.  Good fun.
  • Watched the stock market rock & roll.  Good luck!

While the stock market fell -4.3% in August, our nest egg has remained pretty resilient at +1.9%.  The difference maker for us has been a sizable holding in my former MegaCorp employer’s stock, which has stayed strong through the Wall Street panic, remaining +4.4% for the year.  Since these shares are in stock options, they have positive leverage and a better than average impact on our total portfolio.

I also continue to sit on enough cash to cover our spending needs for the first three years of early retirement, so I’m not too worried if we truly fall into a somewhat extended down market.  I resisted the temptation to move some of our cash into the market when prices initially tumbled.  I had daily bets on what the market would do each day with a co-worker, and I probably could have made a little money (with a lot of downside risk).

Additionally, our charitable giving fund – comprised of all of our work salary in our last year of work – has gotten quite sizable.  I’ve deposited our paychecks for April, May, June, July & now August into a money market account, separate from our household & retirement savings.  We’re not spending much time thinking about what causes it will support.  That can wait for early retirement.  That said, I do need to figure out the best way to give it away so that we can maximize the tax benefits of the money.  Right now, we’ve saved the after-tax dollars, but if we can donate it in a tax-advantaged way, we’ll be able to almost double the giving fund.

I’ve also (very gradually) begun to share with more people (outside of work) that I am on my “last lap” in the corporate world.  I haven’t given out all of the details I have shared here, because I know I could still get cold feet, be offered some incredible opportunity, or even benefit from a headcount reduction and win the severance lottery (unlikely).  What details I do share are greeted with a great deal of surprise and looks that seem hard for others to understand.  I haven’t worked out a smooth explanation for why I want to retire early.  While I have a lot of things I plan to do, but haven’t found the simple soundbite that help me articulate it a little more concisely.

Lastly, I find myself planning out the final 30-45 days I will work before my FIRE Escape next April.  What will I do when?  Who will I talk to in what order?  Where will  go on my first ‘day off’?  What trips do I want to line up now?  I would like my final act to come off with a lot of thoughtfulness & meaning, so it is fun to play through scenarios in my head.  Any suggestions on how to finish up?

Links To Other Monthly Countdown Posts:  January, February, March, April, May, June, July

Image Credit: Pixabay

8 thoughts on “Early Retirement FIRE Escape – 7 Month Countdown

  1. I haven’t figured out a great early retirement soundbite either – but I’ve got way more time! One more winter and you’re setting sail my friend! Are you going to bring a cake into work? Maybe the company would hate you for getting everyone thinking about leaving early!

    Liked by 1 person

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