Early Retirement FIRE Escape – 5 Months Left

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Well, this has certainly been the most dramatic month in the nine months I’ve been posting about our countdown to early retirement. The stock market surged back to positive this month – even my MegaCorp’s stock as they aim to layoff 1,500 useless corporate bureaucrats like me by end of year (Merry Christmas!).

You couldn’t write a more dramatic script with just 5 months to go.  In fact, this whole thing is definitely starting to feel like the movie Office Space ( I definitely need to look that up on Netflix)!  No official word yet, but I don’t see myself getting an early retirement gift of vested stock options or months of severance pay.

Even with the stock market only rallying back to +1% (S&P and International) for the year, our YTD portfolio return reached +5.6% in October, owing to the outsized stock option performance of shares of my previous MegaCorp employer (+9%) which represents an outsized portion of our portfolio.  Despite some ups and downs, that chart below shows that our portfolio return is now the best it has looked since the year started.

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It’s not double-digit growth, but I’m feeling pretty good about it.

Our “One More Year Fund” is looking great too.  Since it started in April (7 months), the balance is now more 3x what we have typically given to charity in the average year (and we’ve tried to be cheerful givers over the years).  I expect it will be 6x-7x our average annual charitable giving amount once my bonus comes in next March. It will be two weeks before I plan to early retire and start the fun “job” of giving this money away.

October is also when the open enrollment period for MegaCorp’s health benefits begins.  I continued the coverages that we currently have and made good notes on what we were covered for and the associated costs.  Soon, I’ll need to arrange coverage to replace MegaCorp.  I will either go through the Affordable Care Act in my state, or rejoin my previous employer (of which I am counted as a ‘rule of 70’ retiree).  Based on the analysis I’ve done, Obamacare will be cheaper.

Here’s my checklist of things I got done this month:

  • Explored all of the early-exit clauses in MegaCorp’s bonus, 401k, and stock plans;
    With layoffs imminent, I wanted to see if it would pay to volunteer to leave.  It’s not.
  • Deposited another paycheck into our One More Year philanthropic fund.  (It’s funny to think that I have been going to work for the last 7 months without getting paid.  All the money has gone into this fund.)
  • Continued to update my countdown flags.  I thought I had messed up the count a couple weeks ago.  I told a few people I had 22 weeks to go, but on Friday afternoon, it was still 22.  Oh well.
  • Completed MegaCorp’s 2016 annual benefits enrollment.  I’ll use 3-4 months of it.
  • Continued to watch the stock market rock & roll.  Good luck to us all!

Here are links to my last few countdowns … just 5 more to go!

Previous Monthly Countdown Posts:  January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September

Image Credit: Pixabay

5 thoughts on “Early Retirement FIRE Escape – 5 Months Left

  1. On your way! Health insurance is definitely something I am not looking forward to negotiating post- employment insurance. I’m glad Root of Good and Go Curry Cracker have broken it all down for me, but yikes! It still seems so complicated!


    1. I have a few healthcare choices … I will check out the websites you mentioned though. It’s a big decision.


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