We are in the home stretch, indeed. This is the January month end report of our journey to financial independence & retiring early (“FIRE”). It was a full year ago I published the first of this countdown series, when I was 14 months away from the date. Each month I try to recap the key events & decisions that are made in hopes that someone on similar journey might find it interesting.
January’s market performance was positively dismal. The month started with a thud as low oil prices, slow growth in China, and tightening Fed policy spooked the market. At one point, the S&P 500 was down almost 10% from New Year’s Day. All of our retirement accounts took a hit, but the markets finally rallied on the last day of the month. Our nest egg is down -2.3% for the month, giving back about HALF of 2015’s gains.
Our broker sent me a market assessment in the middle of the market doldrums and we decided to keep a little more money in cash than we had been carrying. We have a big tax bill coming up, so it will help cover that. It also means we now have a full 3 years of spending sitting in cash, so even if the market continues to slump in 2016, we won’t have to fret too much.
Most of the month was spent fretting a bit about how to effectively orchestrate my departure from MegaCorp – when to give notice, how to organize work activities in the meanwhile, and who to share our plans with (and who not to). I think I have a good plan for the timing of all of these things now, and this week marks the final full week of work before I give NOTICE that I am planning on retiring early from MegaCorp. I will be giving 45 days notice, but will rally be fine leaving at any time during that window. I have even gone as far as arranging key meetings around giving notice so that activities aren’t directly dependent on me when I let the boss know.
I have also begun the process of bringing things home from my MegaCorp office. I wrote recently about the deluxe home office I am setting up and I thought I should start carrying home some books and things I don’t use everyday. I have a big bookshelf at work and divided the number of books by the number of days I have left and am bringing home 2 books a day until they are all home.
Here are a couple other key things I worked on relating to our FIRE Escape:
- One More Year Fund – We’re making another (small) charitable donation out of our new philanthropic giving fund. This is the second payment that we have made from it and it also supports an activity that our son has been involved in and enjoys quite a bit. It’s nice to have a big pot to dip into for things like this, but most of the giving will wait until we are retired.
- Health Insurance – Nothing too new here, but I do have an appointment set up to visit the insurance company we will be using. We have a few choices still to choose from and will look at some options.
- Annual Review/Bonus – All of the paperwork for these should be done for now and it will be at my annual performance review meeting next week that I will give notice. The bonus will get deposited in early March, but the money is fully guaranteed at this point regardless of whether I stay employed at MegaCorp in the meanwhile.
All for now … I will have some interesting posts next week when it all “goes down” 🙂
Image Credit: MrFireStation.com