FI-light-ER post 1.0 / FirstPublished20200506 www.filighter.com
FI-light-ER – n.(Financially Independent achieving slightly Early Retirement)
Two of my coworkers called me out these past few weeks on some of the goals I had shared when I accepted an early retirement package and walked away from an 18 year employer to dreams of my next pursuits in life. The first 6 months of my early retirement flashed by pretty quickly with preplanned travel, professional volunteer commitments, and holidays with family. Then a routine or lack of routine set in that let’s just say was not too productive at least from the perspective of those looking in from the outside.
I have some specific goals for this transition and my first mini/maxi retirement. But above those goals, I have guiding overreaching objectives and shared them all in my retirement party speech back in September 2019. Those were all the “F” words; I planned to spend more time focused on my Faith, Family, Fitness, Future, and Fun!
All these activities are now taking place amidst the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic. What does that have to do with this blog…NOTHING!
I’m Lambo and I started the FI-light-ER blog and www.filighter.com website to focus on a few things that I had spent a lot of time understanding and pursuing. Many years ago, I stumbled on Mr. Money Mustache aka Peter Adeney www.mrmoneymustache.com I’m not real sure if I was googling “Early Retirement” or some other derivative but none the less I discovered his writings and the 25X or 4% rule www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/29/how-much-do-i-need-for-retirement/ . These were inspiring and also quantitative measures I could put a pencil to paper so to speak and figure out the roadmap and confirm my proximity to the possibilities of early retirement.
My goal is to highlight or FI-light relevant information each week for others considering or already in retirement. My general thought is those entertaining, as I did, this ER or early retirement possibility seriously in my 40’s required very few significant changes to our lifestyle to make it a reality in our mid 50’s. If you are in your 40’s or 50’s and really enjoying your job, putting in a few more years may be your desired trajectory, or maybe you have or will develop a passion or goal at this point to pursue life dreams in work, hobbies, service or otherwise. The issues and topics in front of you are what I hope to explore. Some of these I’ve already lived, others are in my future. I made the official decision to leave when I was 55 and turned 56 before departing. Having used the password “retireby55” years earlier, I really believed it was a stretch goal, however making some adjustments and a strong bull market put us in position to say yes when the retirement window opened.
First a bit about myself for perspective, I grew up in a middle class life with parents married > 60 years and counting. My siblings and I all attended public university and obtained 4 year degrees. I chose to pursue Accounting and did not follow parental advice when selecting a major that may have been more appropriate for my skillset and personality. What did my parents know? They gave birth to me, raised me with everything I needed in life, instilled strong morals, and witnessed my life for the previous 18 years. I’m a licensed CPA in Texas (USA), I couldn’t resist, I have travelled the world and everyone knows what and where TEXAS is, even if it is in the United States of America. I was born in an adjacent state famous for beignets, crawfish, gumbo, gators, … you get the picture, and in the useless facts trivia category, my dad, brothers, and I can all ride a unicycle, some of us while juggling.
Back in 2000 I found myself looking at the personal finance section in a bookstore smelling the Starbucks coffee brewing and picked up a fresh copy of “The Millionaire Mind” by Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D. I read this book and could relate to much of it…so much later I picked up a copy of “Stop Acting Rich: …And Start Living Like A Real Millionaire” also by Stanley. This one was spot on and confirmed the way we had begun to live in steady state as income continued to rise with a successful career. Around this same time, I frequently commuted over an hour for work and often would listen to Dave Ramsey on syndicated radio. I later bought and read his “The Total Money Makeover” book and when he had them on sale I would pick up a few extra copies to give to friends that could benefit from some basic financial education and dig their way out of debt while improving communication with their significant other concerning money and finances.
I continued to read several blogs, just a few include (in no particular order):
ESI Money www.esimoney.com with three easy steps, Earn Save and Invest – John is close to my age and also has adult children. He also has an emphasis on faith organizations, a continual charitable lifestyle while exploring financial independence. Much of his content is first hand; he’s done it, lived it, and communicates the process. He has collected many “millionaire interviews” that paint a diverse perspective of financial success. These are educational and interesting as who doesn’t want to know how they are doing compared to everyone else. Spoiler alert…there are many doing what you may be doing, quietly working hard, living a reasonable lifestyle and amassing a million or multimillion dollar nest egg at various ages.
The Financial Samurai www.financialsamurai.com founded by Sam Dogen – among other things he famously promotes negotiating a severance which was a key to his own early retirement. Sam offers very granular insight into his financial picture and strategies. His value of family shines through his writing. Sam is based in San Francisco and that puts a bit of spin on the values and cost of living if you are in other more economical regions or countries.
Michael Kitces www.kitces.com is one of the more technical experts in the space and one of my favorite. Much of his content is data driven from first hand analysis he has performed. Of importance currently is his comments related to Sequence of Return Risk. As you might imagine retiring into one of the largest bear markets in recent history (COVID-19 Economic Slow Down) is of personal importance to me.
Eventually, the podcast universe exploded (I’ll tell you now, I hope to bring FI-Light-ER to the podcast realm) and I continued to consume material in the FIRE (Financially Independent, Retire Early) movement area. I have some favorites that have good relevant content for my situation. So who/what are some of those influencers I enjoy… (again, no particular order)
Afford Anything www.affordanything.com created by Paula Pant is a great podcast that focuses mostly on personal finance but also a regular real-estate segment was included in earlier episodes. While listening to Paula, I soon figured out these podcasters in the personal finance/ FIRE space frequently appeared on each other’s platforms.
Stacking Benjamins www.stackingbenjamins.com is a well-produced podcast. The thing that impresses me most about this one other than their very current content and competency, is that they produce so many shows a week, it’s almost as if there is a Late Night Personal Finance comedy show and you can consume it same day at your preferred timeslot. Of note here is that Paula Pant above appears frequently as a guest co-host on Stacking Benjamins.
Choose FI www.choosefi.com – And finally Choose FI has become one of the most successful FIRE focused podcast and is one I very much identify. Brad Barrett and Jonathan Mendonsa co-host this excellent program. I started binging during a drive over to Louisiana and back when they were in the mid-double digit episodes and I found it so beneficial, I went back and picked up a lot of history. Like Brad’s family, my wife and I both started our careers in Public Accounting and are CPA’s. We have employed similar levels of frugality when it comes to cars and have a 2005 Honda in the family with 200,000 miles and are very near that milestone with a 2004 Chevy truck. The Choose FI organization is growing and expanding to multiple podcasts, not for profit activities, and broader topics than just personal finance.
Just a few more I can’t leave off this post:
The first is one of my earliest discoveries in the personal finance independence space, The Mad FIentist www.madfientist.com created by Brandon. Brandon does not put out too many episodes, but his content is high caliber. I have really enjoyed his episodes on personal health and the psychology around early retirement from a FIRE perspective. While I have never met Brandon, he seems very analytical and super smart!
Also in my pursuit of content I have listened often to Bigger Pockets Money www.biggerpockets.com/moneyshow . This podcast has more of a real estate flavor, and by real estate, I’m referring to real estate investing, but also a great range of personal finance information.
At almost 1500 words, I’ve got to stop now or I’ll ramble on! Future posts will focus on many topics…noticeably above I have omitted many recent books in the personal finance and FIRE areas. If you can’t wait for those posts order a copy of JL Collins “Simple Path to Wealth” see www.jlcollinsnh.com for his website. I have a whole post on that book alone that needs writing…if you don’t read anything else related to personal finance and investing, read “THE SIMPLE PATH TO WEALTH”. Seriously I’ve read quite a few books in the area and this one book 15 years ago would have been the difference between FI and Really FAT FI (aka “Marth Stewart FI” a story for another post) to us personally.
Remember MIND THE GAP! +Income – Expenses = The GAP <– Grow IT!
Stay tuned for Weekly Posts by Thursday each week.
Lambo the FI-light-ER
We are not Tax or Investment experts and are not in any way providing expert advice. Please seek your own tax, legal, or other professional for advice and counseling.
Great post Paul. I always loved The Millionaire Next Door and The Total Money Makeover literally changed my life. It’s amazing how a little education and a lot of grit and hard work can create a powerful snowball. Keep posting good stuff like this!
Yes, some great books. Getting facts on the real personal financial statistics and finding there really are many millionaires next door. Time and discipline with a little compounding can work magic! Dave’s simple steps out of debt and in control of your finances can be life changing. One of my co-workers I gave his book to came back to me months later and said it saved his marriage.
Well said Paul. The concept that “you can lose being out of the market” is one that too many people do not grasp.
I am a big believer that one should never invest cash management funds or money that is part of their emergency savings. However if there are funds that are earmarked for investing for the future cash is the wrong place to be.
I heard a quote one time that always comes back to me and I am not sure who to give the credit to, but it said something to the effect of “The stock market has the potential of losing money in the short run, but cash has the guarantee of losing money in the long run.”
I am sure that I butchered that, but you get the point.
Keep writing Paul. You are doing great!
Great Point Robert. Thanks for the feedback. I’m guessing this refers to post 2.0?