An Early Retirement Master Plan: FIRE By 45

My Early Retirement Master Plan: FIRE By 45

In early 2020, I had an early retirement master plan of retiring at age 45 by the end of 2022.

Let's review the plan and some updates given it's now past the target date for re-retirement.

Dreaming Of Early Retirement Once More

Although, after eight years, I failed to stay retired, my plan is to return to early retirement glory with two kids by September 1, 2022.

From now until September 1, 2022, our plan is to accumulate either $1,500,000 in new capital or figure out a way to consistently generate $5,000 a month in additional gross retirement income.

As of now, according to data provided by the California Association of Realtors, my family has a ~$60,000 a year income shortfall to live a middle-class lifestyle in San Francisco.

Based on the median home price of $1,600,000, one real estate group estimates that a household needs to earn at least $310,000 a year to comfortably afford a median-priced home. The calculation is based on a 20% downpayment and spending no more than 28% of monthly gross income on a mortgage.

Is there any wonder why I've been aggressively investing in heartland real estate since early 2016? Affordability is an issue here. But given I'm unwilling to move to a lower cost area of the country, I best hedge by making sure I benefit from the obvious demographic shift.

The Early Retirement Consolation Prize

If we can accumulate an additional $1,500,000 in capital or consistently generate $60,000 a year in additional gross retirement income, then my family should have the means to stay in San Francisco after September 1, 2022.

If we fail at achieving either financial goal, then we will admit defeat and banish ourselves to Honolulu, Hawaii where the median home price is roughly 40% lower. Based on the lower cost of living in Honolulu, a family with two kids should be able to live a comfortable lifestyle off less than $200,000 a year. Further, I'll also be able to more consistently tan my cheeks.

If you want to retire early, feel free to emulate my early retirement master plan to get things going.

The Early Retirement Time Frame

September 1, 2022, is an important date because by then I will be 45 and my wife will be 42. 45 years old is still a respectable age to retire early as it's not too young and naive or too old and immobile.

Originally, I had thought I'd work until 40 or so and then retire. But when I was able to negotiate a severance package worth six years of living expenses, I decided to take a leap of faith at 34.

September 1, 2022, is also the time when our boy will be eligible for kindergarten. If we can get him into one of our target schools in Honolulu, we will likely move since tuition is $15,000 – $25,000 cheaper a year.

If he doesn't get in, then we'll likely stay in San Francisco with the extra capital we've accumulated and reapply every year to a Honolulu school until he does get in. Meanwhile, if he gets into a great public or private school in San Francisco, then we may be destined to remain here until he graduates high school. But for us, this is not the ideal scenario.

It may seem weird that where our boy gets into school will determine where we live for the next decade. However, we have the flexibility to move. We've already lived fulfilling lives. It's time to focus on our children. While we await our destiny, we plan to fortify our finances.

Early Retirement Financial Targets

Where there is a will, there is a way.

To accumulate $1,500,000 by September 1, 2022, requires us to somehow save on average $500,000 a year after tax. This is a daunting goal given neither my wife nor I have jobs at the moment.

To consistently generate $5,000 a month in additional retirement income by September 1, 2022, requires being on track to generate an additional $833 every six months. Let's just round up to $1,000 every six months to make calculations easier.

For us, generating an additional $5,000 a month in retirement income may be relatively easier because we have already spent over 10 years cultivating the Financial Samurai platform. If you haven't created your own platform to rule the world, I suggest you do so. 10 years from now, you'll be glad you did.

Every financial goal needs a purpose. To be able to retire comfortably by September 1, 2022, we need to be able to pay for the following with our investment income.

Important Early Retirement Expenses

Healthcare: An extra $440 a month for a second child for a total monthly healthcare premium of roughly $2,380/month for a family of four.

Childcare/Preschool: An extra $1,000 a month in childcare support and an extra $2,000/month in preschool tuition starting in 4Q2022.

Housing: An extra $2,000 a month in housing expenses to pay for a larger house for our larger family. We want a third bathroom and a fourth bedroom.

Food: An extra $500 a month as we will utilize more food delivery and food making services to save time.

Total near-term extra monthly expense: ~$4,000 after tax

Total extra monthly expense starting in Fall 2022: ~$5,000 after tax

Unfortunately, most of these costs will likely go up by 2% – 7% a year for the next three years. So even if I reach my goals, it may still not be enough.

Early Retirement Mindset

Here are the things I will tell myself during this difficult journey:

  • Everything is earned, nothing is given
  • Follow a process and believe in the process
  • Accept your failures, learn from them, and move on
  • Embrace criticism and ridicule for the good of your family
  • Prepare for as many variables as possible, but accept that you can't account for everything
  • Consistently take calculated risks
  • Instead of complain why life isn't fair, work harder
  • Make it count when it counts the most
  • Don't take a lack of appreciation personally
  • Adopt a positive money mindset
  • Your family is counting on you to keep going

I fully recognize that nothing good comes easy.

The first six months of a child's life is quite brutal for parents due to the frequency of feeding, crying, and diaper-changing. Being constantly exhausted and sleep-deprived makes life miserable. That said, difficult times don't last forever. The key is to survive long enough to experience the rewards!

Our main goal is to generate enough retirement income so that we can spend as much time with our children while they're still young and open to our company. Retiring after the kids leave the house is normal, but not ideal.

Early Retirement Master Plan

1) Stay At Home Hustle (First 6 months)

My initial course of action is to be a stay-at-home / work-from-home dad for the first six months of my daughter's life. This way, I'll be able to provide the most care when my wife and daughter need it the most. Further, my wife can't tell me years down the road when I'm bald and have a pot-belly that I was a deadbeat dad.

After six months, our daughter should be able to sleep for 5-hour stretches through the night. Further, my wife should be almost back to full physical and mental strength. Thank goodness our 2.8-year-old now sleeps through the night 80% of the time.

For six months, I will work on trying to better monetize Financial Samurai. I've been so lax at building business partnerships, it's embarrassing. I'd like to partner with new financial companies who have great products that will help every type of reader. I'd also like to do more business with existing financial partners.

My goal for each company I partner with is to help readers save more money, make more money, and/or gain more financial confidence.

Detailed Work Plans

Work hours: I will work on Financial Samurai for 2-3 hours starting at 5 am or earlier. I will allocate 10 hours a day towards taking care of my daughter. For two evenings a week, I will take care of my daughter from 9 pm – 10 am. During the 2-3 hour windows between feeding, I'll try to get at least one hour of work in on Financial Samurai. If I commit to at least 12 hours of work and childcare a day, things should work out fine.

Skills to develop: 1) typing with one hand as I hold my daughter in the other while sitting down, 2) writing in short spurts instead of 1+ hours at a time, 3) recording thoughts and ideas that may soon be forgotten in the middle of the night, 4) being OK with good enough, 5) learning to love pterodactyl cries even after a good feed, burp, and diaper change.

2) New Job (After 6 months)

If progress is poor after six months ((<$1,000 a month in incremental new online revenue) ), then I will aggressively look for a job in tech, finance, or media by June 1, 2020.

My preference is to work for an established company that pays a handsome salary. The company will ideally pay a total compensation of $250,000 or greater. It will offer a 401(k) match/profit sharing and provide at least 75% subsidized healthcare.

A startup would have to be extremely promising for me to want to join. Startups tend to pay below-market salaries, lack of benefits, and have much longer hours. For example, I know a handful of people who took 30%+ pay cuts to join Uber in 2015 and 2016 only to end up poorer than if they worked for a non-startup.

Here's a latest startup disaster story for employees. It's a case study about how the CEO of Baremetrics sold his company for millions and his employees got peanuts.

Online Income

If Financial Samurai is generating much more than $1,000 / month in incremental revenue after six months, I will still look for a job, but be much more selective in what I apply for. Being able to work from home 2-3 days a week would be nice.

To get the maximum capital accumulation engine running, it's good to have both a full-time job and a side hustle. An ideal situation would be if I could find an enjoyable job that has synergies with Financial Samurai. I had this synergy consulting part-time at Personal Capital between 2013 – 2015.

To be clear, income from a job does not count towards generating $6,000 a month in incremental retirement income. The purpose of the job is to earn income to build my capital account that will then produce passive retirement income.

Detailed Work Plan

Hours: Wake up by 5 am to work on Financial Samurai for two hours before going to work for 10 hours. Get home by 6:30 pm and take care of kids with my wife until 10 pm. Get one hour of FS work in before going to bed by midnight. Pray that our daughter sleeps at least 5 hours straight a night by six months. If she doesn't, care for our daughter from 9 pm – 10 am on Saturday night and hire more help throughout the week.

Skills to work on: 1) being productive during work commutes, 2) developing a patience for sitting in company meetings, 3) learning how to complement colleagues on a job well done, 4) not being too outspoken when I disagree, 5) showing appreciation for having a job.

Related: If You Plan To Work For A Startup, Sleep With One Eye Open

3) Save And Invest 100% Of Proceeds

Given our current passive income currently provides for ~140% of our living expenses, we plan to save and invest 100% of all incremental income generated over the next three years. The rough breakdown of where we'll invest our incremental revenue is as follows:

  • 30% allocated towards physical real estate
  • 10% allocated towards REITs
  • 10% allocated towards real estate crowdfunding
  • 20% allocated towards the S&P 500
  • 5% allocated towards individual stocks
  • 20% allocated towards bonds
  • 5% allocated towards venture capital

Based on my capital allocation, I'm most bullish on real estate because real estate lagged the S&P 500 in 2019. I believe real estate prices will catch up in 2020, especially as affordability has increased.

It's hard for me to allocate more than 20% of my income towards the S&P 500 given current valuations. But I will max out my 401(k), Solo-401(k), SEP-IRA, and both 529 plans. My capital allocation will adjust over the years.

If I can lock down a good deal on a new house, I have the potential to increase instantly our net worth by $100,000 – $200,000, which would count towards the $500,000 annual net worth increase goal.

Finally, we should be able to save and reinvest roughly $50,000 a year from our existing retirement income streams. Reinvested at a 4% rate of return would generate $2,000 a year in incremental gross retirement income. The $2,000 will count towards the $60,000 a year in incremental gross retirement income by September 1, 2022.

4) Create A New Online Product

I haven't created a new product like a book or a course since 2012 because it takes a tremendous amount of work, i.e, I'm lazy. It's hard to find the motivation to start given so much of my time is spent writing on Financial Samurai and more recently, taking care of kids.

That said, I should have continued to create new products every one or two years because they can be profitable. The fifth edition of How To Engineer Your Layoff has been generating between $4,000 – $5,000 a month for the past year. Below is a snapshot with names whited out from several days in December 2019.

Financial Samurai Book Sales

A product that consistently generates $50,000 a year in profits is like having $1,250,000 in capital generating a 4% return. Therefore, it would be wise of me to leverage my platform and create another premium product over the next three years. By itself, a new product could achieve our financial goals.

At the moment, I potentially have an opportunity to sign with a traditional publisher for my next book. However, I'm not sure whether it makes economic sense given my already built platform. It sure is nice to keep 100% of the spoils.

It may be easier to just start marketing the How To Engineer Your Layoff affiliate program for anybody that writes about entrepreneurship, early retirement, and career strategies. If you do, sign up as the book is a perfect fit.

Wrote A New Book

In the end, I decided to sign a six-figure book deal with Penguin Random House and write my instant Wall Street Journal bestseller, Buy This, Not That. It is the best personal finance book you can read today. Go check it out!

Royalties may start coming after about two years. Due to the success of BTNT, I've decided to sign a two-book deal with Portfolio Penguin. These new books will come out in 2024 and 2026.

5) X Factor – My Wife

So far, I've assumed my wife will continue to stay at home and take care of the household until September 1, 2022. Staying at home is her preference and I'm all for it. However, if she decides to go back to work at some point, it will make accumulating capital easier since she should be making at least 4X the cost of additional childcare expenses.

I see a 5% chance of my wife going back to work during the first year of our daughter's life. In 2021, I see a 35% chance. And in 2022, I give it a 50% chance. But I see a 100% chance my wife spending some time helping out with the backend and maybe even front end of Financial Samurai.

It's 2023, and my wife is not going back to work. Instead, she will continue to work on Financial Samurai and be my editor for my upcoming two books.

Related: How To Convince Your Spouse To Go Back To Work So You Can Retire Earlier

6) X Factor – The Economy

I do not want to count on our existing investments to help reach our goals. One of the reasons is because our investments could easily go down in value if World War III starts. Another reason is that my investments might make me lazy.

Having our existing investments is equivalent to living in America. Because living in America is so good, it's easy to take life for granted by eating too much, not exercising, not saving enough, not bothering to learn another language, not working hard and so forth.

I 100% want to have the immigrant mentality of coming to this country with nothing. Some of my fondest memories were opening up my local McDonald's at 6 am, getting berated by my manager for speaking Spanish with co-workers, and slaving away over a hot stove for $4/hour. All I wanted to do was make enough money to take a girl out to a movie and pay for ice cream after. And I did.

The bear market in 2022 was tough. However, 2023 is looking hopeful that things will recover.

Related: Spoiled Or Clueless? Try Working A Minimum Wage Job As An Adult

7) X Factor – Google Algorithm Change

Most of the traffic that comes to Financial Samurai comes from Google. So far, Google has been kind to Financial Samurai since 2009. However, Google could easily turn on Financial Samurai, thereby hurting traffic.

In other words, it's best not to count on Google for growth. For more defensible traffic, I need to more aggressively build my newsletter subscription, the Financial Samurai brand, and create other direct channels of traffic.

I'm hopeful that after 10+ years of writing about personal finance, Google will continue to reward a 21-year finance veteran who writes from firsthand experience. However, based on what I've observed about websites entirely focused on making money, it seems quite easy to manipulate Google without any expertise or authority. Therefore, I need to deploy new strategies to get ahead.

Now there's also the threat of Artificial Intelligence replacing many occupations. Sigh. I just gotta keep plugging away. I plan to use AI to help me edit and market my posts to save time. So take that AI!

8) X Factor – A Big Offer

In 2018, I turned down an offer to sell Financial Samurai. I'm glad I did because of strong growth and a rise in valuations in 2019. I turned down an offer to sell in 2019 as well because I was emotionally not ready. I wanted to at least focus for at least a year on entrepreneurship to see what I could do.

But if there is some really attractive offer between 2020 – 2022 to sell, I must consider the option. Selling Financial Samurai would achieve our capital accumulation goal. After the non-compete period is over, I can simply start another site or sail off into the sunset, forever.

9) X Factor – Other People's Financial Forecasts

One of the surprising things I've noticed on my financial journey is how quickly pundits change their financial forecasts. It's as if economists, financial analysts, and housing professionals are just basing their estimates on numbers and not including various nuances of life e.g. tastes, levels of frugality, adaptability, etc.

We've been very comfortable living off less than $200,000 a year in retirement income for the past three years. But Compass Group said we needed $343,000 to stay middle-class in 2Q2019. Then in 3Q2019, Compass Group said we only need $309,000 to stay middle-class in 3Q2019. If this trend continues, we won't need any retirement income in 2.5 years!

It's almost as if you can't trust others to tell you how much you need to live your life. Instead, it might be better to trust yourself. That said, I will continue to use other people's higher financial estimates for what we need to keep challenging myself.

Related: The Average Net Worth For The Above Average Person

Let The New Early Retirement Journey Begin

I am so excited to get going! Finding a way to retire early from 2009-2011, and then actually doing so in 2012 was one of the most fun challenges of my life. I hope this new three-year journey will be equally as eventful.

There is no greater honor than being able to take care of the people you love the most. I am grateful for the opportunity to try and make a livable retirement income stream again.

Although the cost of healthcare, tuition, and housing are out of control, I say bring it on! I'm confident the rising cost of life will not defeat us.

Once you have your why, you'll do everything possible to make your goals a reality.

Early Retirement Master Plan Update 2021

Holy crap! 2020 was a terrible year for lifestyle. However, the S&P 500 ended up 16% and my public investment portfolio ended up 40%! I got lucky due to my holdings in big tech companies.

My new goal is to keep hustling until I get vaccinated or until federal income taxes go up, whichever is first. Therefore, my new tentative goal is to retire sometimes 2H2021 instead of September 1, 2022. I've already achieved my original capital accumulation objective and our passive income should be over $300,000 in 2021.

It is nuts how big luck and compound growth plays a part in building wealth. Let's hope that we don't return to a bear market again any time soon. Make sure you come up with your early retirement master plan!

Financial Samurai 2021 Passive Income Streams

Early Retirement Master Plan 1H Update 2023

The good thing about rising interest rates is that it's easier to build passive income! So long as you have active income keep coming in, you can reinvest the money into higher-yielding investments.

Due to higher passive income and complete exhaustion, I was back in early retirement mode in early 2023. I've taken things much easier and I'm playing much more pickleball, a sport I'm addicted to.

I've quit the pursuit of always trying to make more money online. Instead, I'm happier telling stories that generate no affiliate revenue. The best reason to retire early is greater happiness!

Early Retirement Master Plan 4Q 2023 Update

Funny enough, but the end of 2023, I'm now itching to go back to work. It's hard to stay retired once you retire early! There are just too many things to do. With the booming AI field, I want to try and go all-in for my family.

I've realized that after about three months of taking things easier, I just can't help but want to do something productive and creative.

Financial Samurai passive income investments 2023

Readers, what are some ways in which you plan to make more money this year? Are there some obvious money-making ideas I'm missing?

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121 thoughts on “An Early Retirement Master Plan: FIRE By 45”

  1. | It’s almost as if you can’t trust others to tell you how much you need to live your life.

    Not meaning to sound snarky, but that’s one of the cardinal rules of personal finance. Only you can decide how much you need. That’s in my Top 5 along with getting started early, eliminating debt, saving a decent chunk of earned income and diversifying income streams. You already have the others covered at a pretty early age.

    Many – perhaps most of your posts – are comparisons centered on extrinsic things and extrinsic values. What other people are doing, how much they’ve saved, how much they’re spending, where their kids are attending school. Too much time spent with investment bankers and VCs who work endlessly for decades accumulating money that will never be spent. The unfortunate guy with blood cancer is an outlier in terms of life expectancy, but perfectly typical in wealth accumulation. Commuting three hours and working sixty hour weeks for 45 years isn’t a life requirement for anyone.

    Back on the practical side, the easiest way of getting $5K+ in add’l cashflow is buying an existing cashflow property: website, brick & mortar business or a multi-unit apartment building. The last two add diversification and are far more reliable for long-term passive income (10+ years). Either way, the next step is likely figuring out how to reliably generate income with employees or contractors. See you in Hawaii in the future.

  2. I’m not sure if you’ve addressed this before, but are you open to display ads on your blog?

    You could easily earn thousands each month with the volume of traffic you get and it would basically be passive income.

    I know it doesn’t look the best, but ads are almost just expected these days when people visit a site!

    1. Curious, but do you not see display ads on Financial Samurai? If not, great! There have been ads up since 2009. But blogging is hardly considered passive income. So much goes into the thought process of creating, editing, and writing.

      But it’s fun! Which is why it doesn’t matter how well FS does or how much it makes, I keep on writing.

      * Hi Vanessa! Thanks for reading all the comments on FS and tweeting about me

      1. The computer I’m on has ad blockers so I checked from my phone before commenting and still didn’t see any!

        I just checked multiple pages again and see nothing lol.

        So you must have them then!?

        1. Very cool! Yes, there are ads on my site. And although they generate revenue passively, I have to spend time writing posts and responding to comments, which is an active activity.

          I guess I could just cheat and include the display ads to get to my goal. But it’s no fun winning if you gotta cheat! I want to find new revenue streams.

      2. Hi. You write what investors should do. That is perfect. I want to write because I am lonely. I own 5 stocks – no diversification. On margin – bullet to the head. I could write about what happens to me, when I violate the rules.
        You could write “ this is what happens without diversification and margin”
        The thing is I read 4 hours everyday. I work hard at this. I have 19 years of formal education. I am not stupid or lazy. Lastly, I make money. When it turns ugly it is ugly. I take steps to protect my money.
        Think about it. Why not show the other side of the coin?

  3. “Based on the median home price of $1,600,000, one real estate group estimates that a household needs to earn at least $310,000 a year to comfortably afford a median-priced home. The calculation is based on a 20% down-payment and spending no more than 28% of monthly gross income on a mortgage. ”
    Monthly mortgage payment on $1,280,000 loan (80% of $1.6 million) with current mortgage rate around 3.9% is $6,037.
    Is your current mortgage payment around that number ($6,037)? If not, then I think it’s not correct to use $310k as reference for yourself to achieve middle-class lifestyle in SF as suggested by that RE group.

    1. Andrew Martherus

      This is actually a great point I didn’t think about. If FS is trying to get to the median income, but his house is paid off then he may already be there.

  4. one real estate group estimates that a household needs to earn at least $310,000 a year to comfortably afford a median-priced home – if this number is continuously updated upward for the next few decades, is that even really $310,000? or this estimate factors in prop 13 and inflations (that are not covered by 4% withdrawal rule, like education)?

    1. It could continue going up, or it could go down. In 2Q2019, the estimate was $343,900. But mortgage rates dropped and home prices dipped a little.

      Goal is to get ahead of inflation.

  5. Anders Bodker

    Long time reader of your blog, first time commenter. Which REITs do you prefer to invest in? I’m from Denmark and have some challenges when it comes to selecting specific American REITs. What are your prefered REITs?

  6. Any thoughts on acquiring another site to boost income? For $200k you could purchase the $60k of income on a 3PE multiple, take a bit of risk and quickly build it beyond the capital outlay. Ive been doing some DD on these as an alternative to acquiring additional real estate and it looks like a good space to acquire/partner with others, especially considering your knowledge in the online space.

      1. I’m still new to online, but worked in private equity for 10 years so have acquired quite a few offline businesses over the years. I’m looking for guys to partner with as well as capital since online seems to be more personally operational than physical businesses.

        Drop me a PM if you think it would be interesting to potentially explore. I’m doing these investments for my own account as an entry point into the market so am just looking for like-minded individuals to chat to.

  7. We’re in the same boat on the other side of the country with regards to kids’ schooling. We both have jobs we like and are kids will be going K-12 to a good public school. That saves a lot of money.

    We have the ongoing opportunity to move to FL but jobs and the schools are less desirable in the area we were looking. We are able to FIRE… but that still didn’t solve the school issue. Plus, we want to maintain our jobs to build a sizable college fund (3 kids).

  8. Do you ever wish you had stayed in it to 40 or 45 and generated so much more than you thought you needed to retire that you didn’t have to rely so heavily on low risk returns?

    1. Yes, it’s one of my regrets of retiring early.

      If I stayed, for 5 – 10 more years, I probably would have made millions more as the bull market picked up steam. But, I may not have been able to write on FS and grow FS as much. And, since 2012, I’ve had a blast.

      Taking a 3-month sabbatical in 2012 might have been a better option. However, there’s only one way to go but forward!

  9. Sachin Maheshwari

    Hey Sam, I have been reading your articles for few months and I relate to you a lot. I was wondering if you would be keen to launch a version of FS in India in partnership with me. Let me know your thoughts on this.

    1. +1 on this.
      FS for Resident Indians would be a cool idea and almost a no brainer since there’s tremendous growth potential in Asia/India. And Indians love money!

      Generating organic online traffic wouldn’t be too difficult now given many Indians are coming online due to very cheap mobile data / internet rates as well.

  10. Ten Bucks a Week

    Hey Sam, I’m sure you will achieve your FIRE plans. I think you should go with the premium product. Also, happy to refer you to my company with great benefits if you end up going that way.

    I love how you optimize everything by taking calculated risks and reap the rewards. I was wondering if you could write an article on how you determined 5 hours is the optimal amount of sleep? You certainly get ahead now, but may have to pay in the form of Alzheimers years earlier than an 8 hour a night sleeper. How do you calculate tradeoffs between wealth and health?

    1. I’ve never heard of people getting Alzheimer’s years earlier if people sleep less than 8 hours a night.

      Can you answer the following:

      * What percentage of Americans get Alzheimer’s?
      * What is the percentage increase in Alzheimer’s for those who sleep less than 8 hours of sleep

      The best article/research I got was this, which is inconclusive:

      I’ve been naturally getting up after 5 to 6 hours for over 20 years now. I just naturally wake up and don’t feel sleep deprived. But I also take naps after lunch. Roughly 5% of the population naturally need six hours of sleep or less a day.

      If what you say is true, you might have a scientific breakthrough and you should definitely write about it, and probably a book as well. I know plenty of folks to sleep only three or four hours a night, but take naps. You could save their lives!

      If you have children, you know that getting a lot of sleep during the first 6-12 months of life is difficult. Your study could help boost the night doula business and also help change parental leave policies as well.

      And if it is too late for us, at least we can calculate how many extra hours a day we have been awake to enjoy life and add those days, weeks, or years to the end of our lives.

      I’m wondering if there is a possibility you are coming to an absolute conclusion, where none is available, to justify why you don’t want to work more or why you don’t want to wake up earlier? It’s totally fine if you want to sleep 8+ hours and not want to do XYZ. But just be careful using non-conclusive evidence to justify your decisions.

      Remember, everything is rational in the end. If you want something you’ll do it. If you don’t do it, it’s probably because you didn’t want it.

      Do you mind if I use your comment in a future post?

      1. Ten Bucks a Week

        You are right that there isn’t conclusive evidence, so we can only go off the best information we have. It certainly is likely that I am trading happiness for productivity as I have slept 8 hours even before I heard of this link between sleep and Alzheimer’s recently from a podcast with Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley neuroscientist and NYT bestselling author of Why We Sleep.

        Yes, you may use my comment in a future post, please refer to me as Ten Bucks a Week or a reader. Thank you for asking.

        1. Ok, But do you know what the percentage of people getting Alzheimer’s is vs people who sleep less than 8 hrs who get Alzheimer’s? I am very curious and should probably try and force myself to sleep more if there is statistical significance.

          1. SherryinChicago

            Read Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker before you commit yourself to less sleep and think it is productive. It is not just Alzheimers, which is still debatable but he presents a lot of very interesting information regarding sleep and learning, wealth and health. It is a fairly easy very interesting read. I found it via a Bill Gates recommendation.

            1. I’ve summarized it.

              What do you recommend I do if I naturally Get up after five or six hour?

              I don’t use an alarm clock And I take naps almost every day.

              Do you still think I should force myself to sleep more if I am functioning fine?

            2. You could also listen to the joe Rogan podcast episode #1109 with Matthew Walker. He dives into this and so much more and completely changed my perspective on sleep.

          2. There is a 2016 study of older women in which people that get self reported less than 6 or more than 8 hours a night for many years had a significantly higher risk of Alzheimers. The study is easily found if you google it.
            But forcing yourself to stay in bed awake does not make sense either. perhaps avoid the nap and you may end up sleeping longer at night.

          3. “The multicovariate-adjusted hazard for MCI/dementia was increased by 36% in short sleepers irrespective of CVD, and by 35% in long sleepers without CVD.”

            About even on both sides. 6% of 7 hours sleepers had dementia, 8-9% of 8 hrs had dementia.

      2. I’d recommend looking into sleep cycles. You go through multiple cycles per night and it’s best not wake up mid cycle.

        I do shift work so if I can’t get 7 hours straight the next best thing for me is to break it up into multiple chunks.

    2. Did someone in your family suffer from Alzheimer’s disease? Cuz it’s strange you’ve painted people who sleep less than 8 hours as getting Alzheimers, as if it is a forgone conclusion.

      How would you justify the trade off of living a shorter life living in the South versus a much healthier city with healthier food and a healthier culture? All the studies show that people living in the South suffer more heart disease, obesity, and shorter lifespans.

      1. That is a good point about the South that I did not consider, but certainly should. One consideration I did factor in when determining where to live is pollution, however, since heart disease is the number one killer of Americans it seems like that could be an important factor as well.

  11. Best of luck on your goal. Given your track record I am sure you will achieve it. Can you comment on your 5% venture capital allocation? How do make that investment?

  12. Sam, just one observation: if you do end up having to interview for a full time job, are you going to tell them that you plan to work there for only a year or two so that you can re-retire in 2022? I don’t think an employer will want to hire someone that plans to be there only 18-24 months.

    1. Probably not. Because who knows the future? You’ve got to be smart about things.

      Not wise to court a girl and tell her on the first date that you plan to dump her in 2-3 years. The relationship might blossom!

      1. Wise decision. During interviews, I eliminated people that talked about changing jobs or moving in 2-3 years. Hiring is an investment with a expectation of a return.

        1. Depends on the job. We hire people in the 45-65k range for a chemistry oriented technician job knowing full well they may move on in a couple years. It’d be nice if we could pay more and hold on to these people. They’re generally competent employees early in their careers that are looking for better advancement.

  13. I comment a lot on blogs. But I’m always wary about commenting on yours. I love your posts, but I always come across as critical when in reality I’m such a big fan. The thing you have that is so unique, and so convincing is that you are so intentional.

    1. Ah, perhaps you are only wary if you are generally critical when commenting? It doesn’t seem to be the case though.So no problem!

      Surely other writers are as intentional no? Why do something without the greatest of intention!

  14. Sam – I want you to spend a little in time in the section “Why are you doing it?”

    I clearly see FIRE #3, FIRE #4 in your journey after this FIRE #2.

    You need to embrace and except who you are!

    The section “what is your FI target?” – is not for you, but for all your readers. This is my thought for the three years financial goal of an increase of $1,500,000 net worth to generate the additional $60K of passive income for the family.

    Due to the nature in complexity of the stocks market, your current net worth of $6,000K and your batting average of $250K of income – by Sept of 2022, your net worth can be on the either side of gain/loss $9500K/$5500K at just 10% of up or down in volatility.

    I always look at the worst case – what if you end up with $5500K in net worth, $4000K resulted in natural market down gyration and $1500K of your sweats equity. Are you going to declare the failing of FIRE again?

    Fundamentally, your net worth has reached a critical number that the Financial Master Plan you detailed here will work for your readers, but it is a flip of a coin for you.

    Lastly, I added the “what is your daily Body & Mind ritual?” section just to remind everyone that a FIRE walker required preparation.

    1. Pretty easy answer. My why is my family. I also really enjoy the process of generating retirement income. It makes me happy. Finally, I write to help readers get motivated and organized in their financial journey. I think shooting to generate $60,000 in retirement income is relatable.

      Regarding your net worth projections, what if my net worth was $20,000K. How would your advice change?

      1. Pretty easy answer – look at all the details you meticulously outlined in the master plan, which I admit will work for 90 to 95 percents of the population.

        But the plan is not scalable in size nor innovated.

        If your net worth is $20,000K, the next and final financial game plan must be scalable in size and/or visionary in scope – shoot for 1 billion and greater and 20 years in time frame with one big FIRE.

        Just in time of retirement for you at 65!

        1. Got it. It might be a good goal to have. But I encourage folks to focus on other things that will make them happy after about $11.58 million per person. It should be a good enough net worth given the estate tax will take away 40% for every dollar over.


          1. It’s hard for some people to reach that “good enough” state. Not that long ago I asked my hubby, “When will it ever be enough for you?” Even after over 40 years of marriage I was still flabbergasted by his answer: “Never” Never? I suppose there are those who will never be satisfied / content with their financial situation regardless of the passive income it may provide.

            FYI: My husband has been retired and “living the good life” since May 2005 just before turning 50. I had been trying to talk him into quitting due to health reasons – he had a heart attack in 2003 at age 48 – but he remained unconvinced until we did our 2004 taxes in February 2003 and discovered my 401k had earned more money than he had despite his working six nights a week at a physically demanding, high stress job for a company he had been with since he was 17 years old. It still took him three additional months of wage slave labor (and unpaid overtime) before he finally decided to tell his boss, “Take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more!” Even after that he still had it in is mind he would go back to work in a different industry despite my pleas that he should just stay retired. It took him about six months (and seeing that our financial life did NOT come crashing down) to realize, yes, the retired life is the life for him.

  15. I find it really hard to get enthused about heartland real estate.

    When I was in in college in the Midwest, a top business executive in the area built a mansion with some very nice acreage around it way out in the burbs, not far from where we were living (it took a big chunk of the woods I liked to hike in, actually).

    I looked it up recently on the web and it’s est. value is under two thirds of our much more modest place here in NY, although it is 4 times the size (6 bedroom, 5 baths), with pool and many acres of landscaped grounds, all of it still well maintained.

    But the local economy there has been depressed for decades and will likely continue to be for a long, long time.

    It would be like a dream to go back and buy it and live in it myself; sorta like an affirmation that I done good.

    But. aside from being far away from family (all of whom live on the East or West coast) there are no jobs and, even retired, not much to do without driving over an hour in one direction or another. I certainly don’t have any ties to the community anymore.

    Then we would need to maintain it. Utilities, repairs, housekeeping services, groundskeeping services, pool guy, etc. Not to mention needing a ton more furniture.

    Also, the winters can be rather cold and snowy.

    It’s not going to get broken up into condos or apartments either (for many reasons including location, the surrounding grounds, the cost, the low rents in the area, etc,).

    I also expect that some of the assumptions used for demographic projections are severely outdated and the US is only a couple of decades or so from peak population, meaning all those people that have left the Midwest aren’t likely to be going back.

    Even finding our dream retirement house out there, already built and at a bargain prize,would not be terribly attractive unless it were in a much milder area AND we really needed to reduce our cost of living in retirement, but weren’t quite ready to go be an expat somewhere even cheaper (and with a better climate).

    On the other hand, it’s been estimated that the automation market will double by 2024. A couple of years ago, upon researching that, I sold my rented house in Florida and reallocated the investment to individual stocks (I usually favor mutual funds and ETFs). So far, I am a very happy investor. Ask me again in 2024, I guess.

    By contrast, the place I see real estate values doing even half as well is Idaho, and I suspect (although I have not researched it) much of that is being driven by refugees from California trying to find places to live and driving up prices.

    1. It seems to me that a lot of your analysis is backwards looking. The fact that the big mansion in the Midwest hasn’t appreciated as much as the coastal cities doesn’t mean that house won’t outperform coastal real estate in the future. It seems fairly obvious that as technology improves and more and more business can be conducted remotely, more white collar workers with higher salaries will relocate to lower cost areas. To me the question is timing – will that happen in the next five years or the next 20?

      The weather may be a deterrent for you to relocate back to the Midwest, but would you do it if you could keep your current job and salary? Maybe. Also the world is unquestionably going through a warming cycle (you can debate whether that is due to natural or unnatural causes but warming evidence seems pretty undisputed). So again maybe in 20 years those winters will be warmer and those coastal properties will be extra marshy and less desirable.

      Demographically I’m less certain that population will decrease like it is in Japan. Even though you wouldn’t know it to read the news, culturally I think the US is much more open to immigration than Japan. Look to a country like Germany – which was experiencing population decline but has more recently seen growth due to waves of immigration. I suspect that is what will happen here. We have too large an economy and too much land to keep people out for good. Will we be as ethnically white then? I suspect not but more diversity will be good for this country in my opinion.

      1. Honestly I think it is happening now. I bought below my theoretical means a few years back, and while even the article points out it is useful to be in places like SF or LA (me), when Bay Area firms can’t find local people, and with the rise of professional services organizations for basically all of tech who don’t care where you live, I have been working 2 jobs for over a year now and was at 3 at one point though working 100+ hours / week was just too much for me to do more than a month or two at a time.

        Other than California labor law which is totally in my favor if the multiple employers find out about it and want to be angry about it, there isn’t much I am getting out of my state income tax and when 2 gigs means paying 30K+ a year… it really is time to go.

        The old knock was you couldn’t get Bay Area salaries living in the mid-West… that really doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Plenty of quality places to live where the state income tax is somewhere between half and zero, and 30k x 5 basically after taxes would pay off even the current mortgage and presumably out doing something else by 50.

        Know I keep sitting on the fence waiting for one of my employers to blink but that is likely a mistake I should fix too.

        I can’t be the only one doing this easy calculus. A flight to SF from LA is easy to be sure, but even from Houston it isn’t bad.

  16. I’m also extraordinarily bullish on real estate, although more on the short term rental market. I was able to buy a house for $185K, put in about $30K worth of repairs, and generate about $4K a month in Airbnb rental gross income (not including cleaning fees or mortgage). If this was a long term rental, it would be probably generating only $1-2k a month.

    It’s less passive than long term rental, but still relatively passive. Plus I’m building of course. Have you thought about Airbnb your vacation home?

  17. Like your parents, I also retired from the Department of State. I retired at age 53.
    I enjoy your posts and often find them useful. However, I do not consider you to be retired. You may have quit the corporate world but running a business is still work.
    Maybe I’m missing something with the FIRE movement. If the goal is simply to quit a corporate job and start an online business then today’s definition of retirement is very different than that of my generation.

    1. For sure today’s definition is different thanks to the internet and the ease in which to do work from your home or anywhere.

      I hope you don’t consider me to be retired. This post is clearly stating that I’m working towards new financial goals, 12+ hours a day.

  18. I was “lucky” my kids were born during the depths of the financial crisis. It was psychologically challenging bearing the extra child expenses while watching one’s finances go down in flames on paper. Things only got easier as they aged with the longest bull market in history. My decision to retire early with young kids has definitely been aided by the bull market. I also considered moving and cheaper options for my kids’ education, but the bull market allowed me to stay on our high cost of living area.

    I applaud your acknowledgment that you need to un-retire, but it does feel a little like losing a comrade in arms. I don’t have a lot of friends who are retired.

    Regarding your goal of accumulating another $1.5M, are you counting investment gains? If the bull market keeps up, that might get you a big chunk of the way by doing absolutely nothing. (I’m not counting on it).

    Also, do you include equity gain in your primary residence towards this goal? Do you include theoretical increases on the value of Financial Samurai as part of this goal?

    I struggle with what to include on my net worth, but I lean toward including everything.

    1. I include none of that. My goal is to accumulate 100% new capital. And I fully expect to lose Money on some of my investments over the next three years.

      I hope to join you again in 2022!

  19. Michael Lyle

    Just curious about the need for $500 per month for extra food prep and delivery. It seems that if one of you is home all day, a weekly trip to a local farmers market and grocery store could save 6K per year. Additionally, you’ll be eating much healthier food.

    Regarding real estate, I’m relatively new to your page, so I may be “behind the learning curve.” I live in L.A. and own out of state properties. There is a steep learning curve to doing this and one has to have a strong stomach, so buyer beware, start with one property and do a heck of a lot of research.

  20. Very interesting post! I’ve been a long time reader (5+ years) and i find most posts to challenge my thinking and help me save more for my future self and family. This one puzzles me a bit- why place so much emphasis on some data point about needing to live one 300k+ in passive income when you are comfortably living on 180k+ expenses annually without eating into principle? You have always challenged the norms and helped us all think in creative ways. Adhering to some statistics a about the “norms” does not really seem to suit you. I too am a recent father and am readjusting to the dynamics of wanting to provide for my family. We currently have zero passive income but rely heavily on our jobs and have been able to save 100k+ annually while still spending a comparable amount of 180k to live a very happy life (except missing the joy of spending more time with our son due to work).

    I’m happy for you but would find your post to be more compelling if I really thought you had to spend 300k a year to be happy…

    1. I’m always thinking 3 to 5 years ahead, always. Things today won’t be the same in the future. Especially costs such as housing, tuition, and healthcare.

      I know it might seem weird to some folks, but I’m happiest when I’m challenged and making progress.

      Just like you’re happy working and have no problem having zero passive income. We’re all different, and that’s great.

      To me, the more passive income I have, the more flexibility I have to do what I want. That freedom to me, is priceless.

  21. What an excellent and thorough master plan for a very thorough master planner! Putting plans together makes such a positive impact in achieving goals and overcoming obstacles. It’s clear you’ve put a lot of thought and time into this and based on your skills and experience I have no doubt you’ll reach your goals. Keep us posted on how things go!

    1. “Embrace criticism and ridicule for the good of your family”

      This is one of the hardest and most important aspects of financial independence. Thank you!

  22. This the leader in the clubhouse for 2020 understatement of the year. “It may seem weird that where our boy gets into school will determine where we live for the next decade.” You are so rational about most everything, I don’t understand at all why you think private preschool/kindergarten/elementary education is so important. Your wife and you are your kids most important teachers, private schooling isn’t inherently better than public, and subtle differences in either direction will wash out over the course of 18 years. Write the large checks if you want, but don’t expect your ROI to be very much.

    1. Sure, why not do both If you have the option? Try to have them attend the best schools possible between two of our favorite cities, and also try to be good parents. Relocating to Honolulu or staying in San Francisco aren’t the worst cities in the world.

      I love to go where destiny takes us. An adventure!

      How about your kids? Where do they go to school and have you ever thought about Going to an international school overseas etc I’m going on an adventure too?

      1. Lifelong educator. I taught in Los Angeles public high schools and at an international school in Ethiopia. Our daughters went to public elementary and high schools and choose a private middle school. The advantage the private middle school had was greater parental involvement, but that was offset by reduced economic and cultural diversity.

        1. Cool. In San Francisco, there’s no guarantee of getting into a good public school because we have a lottery system.

          I’m glad your bullish on the public school system. I find it just fine myself.

          How did your children turn out? What are they doing for a living?

  23. I have to admit that I find this post depressing. To think that someone with as much assets and inncome as you is having to consider going back to a full-time corporate job just makes me lose all hope of early retirement. Unlike you, I’m not a people person, so having to come into an office everyday and interact with people that I dislike is not a positive.

    1. Ah, don’t be depressed, unless you have two children and face my exact cost of living expenses.

      Further, I’m not depressed. I’m excited! It’s like coming off an 8-year vacation, fully charged up and ready to provide.

      You don’t need a full-time, people interacting job. You can always work freelance or remote.

    2. Take this with a grain of salt, but how about reframing your emotions?

      Instead of losing hope because someone who’s far better off financially is striving to make more money, why not try to get motivated? It’s impossible to go tit-for-tat with those that are so much further ahead, but as long as you’re ahead today compared to yourself from last year (or last month) that’s what truly matters.

    3. I am a little baffled and depressed, too, even though I have retired early and have roughly the same family and financial situation as Financial Samurai. However, the devil is the details and no two people are alike.

      Even if I were in the same exact situation as Sam, I would feel comfortable not upgrading the house, not paying for platinum insurance, lowering private school costs, moving to a lower cost location, etc. He wants a better life for himself and his family and is willing to work for it. I’m willing to stick with my standard of living and work less. I’m also willing to risk/assume that my long-term returns exceed 4%.

      Extroverts actually enjoy the human interaction at work so there are more than financial reasons for him to return to work. Same joys the challenge and the process. That is a disincentive for an introvert like myself and I’m willing to pay the price of lowered wealth/income. It’s all about finding the right balance for you. Of course it doesn’t hurt that since I retired, I’ve been able to generate wealth faster than when I was working through some shrewd real estate investments. I could always make more money by working, but I honestly believe at a certain point money will not buy more happiness or security.

      1. I wonder if folks are confusing money and happiness in my post and elsewhere? I never said I was unhappy with where we are today. I just enjoy facing reality, and skating where the puck may fly.

        Maybe my goals make people uncomfortable. But hopefully my goals help motivate other people to achieve their own goals. Everything is just a journey. Why not make the most of it.

        1. Money Ronin

          You’ve never come off as unhappy. I just think you are happier when undertaking a challenge whereas most people seek fewer challenges in retirement. You’re breaking the mold again.

          I had my own struggles with going back to work/boredom when I first retired. Eventually I settled into a routine caring for my young kids but may struggle with boredom in the future when they become more independent and attend high school in a few years.

          Like you, I think through the worst case scenarios but I feel I am more risk tolerant or willing to embrace a lower standard of living if need be. I secretly welcome that opportunity and sometimes actively create such scenarios to teach my kids grit. Like you, I’ve lived through worse and can hack it but my kids have yet to experience true scarcity and adversity.

          If I can’t afford private school for the kids, a bigger house, international vacations, or need to move to a lower cost city because the market plunges, so be it. For me, lowering my living standards or even going back to work isn’t a sign of early retirement failure. I’ve only failed if I am unhappy doing either of those things.

      2. Thanks for the response. Makes a lot of sense. Given that I have young child now, it’s hard to imagine being bored if i retired but, as you say, it could be a struggle in later years. It seems the phenomenon of actually making more money post retirement holds for many early retirees which is interesting. Kind of makes sense though casue you unshackle yourself from the narrow contraints of a daily routine/office job and literally “free your mind”.

  24. Completely non financial comment….but thought I’d pass along book name that helped my hubby and I greatly with both our kids when born. You’ve mentioned so often the sleeplessness suffered with baby/toddler. With number two on the way, it gets MUCH crazier and exhausting. Secrets of the Baby Whisperer – Tracy Hogg and another called Babywise ( I found this one a bit more harsh and it has religiosity so not for everyone). Enjoy all the chaos, love and adventure a family of four gives!

      1. I did Babywise with all three of mine and they were all sleeping 8 hours (between 10/11 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.) at between 6 and 9 weeks (oldest took the longest because I didn’t know what I was doing). You don’t need to go full on with the cry it out thing (I really didn’t), you just need to do the eat, play, sleep cycle during the day. I was a better mother with more sleep and the baby is happier too. Lots of luck!!

  25. Don’t the $300k+ numbers from compass assume (1) that you don’t have savings from which you could pay all cash for housing; and (2) that you need to also be saving money for eventual retirement one day? I wouldn’t think either of those key assumptions applies to you. I would expect that your required numbers are vastly lower than you think.

    1. The numbers assume a household needs to somehow, somewhere come up with a $320,000 down payment as well. Not easy!

      All I know is that the numbers are the numbers and I love myself a good challenge. If that’s what they say it takes, I’m game to give it a go.

      We’re not even talking about something fancy. We’re just talking about a median-sized home.

  26. Paper Tiger

    I love the bullets under “Early Retirement Mindset.” From my personal experience, the 3 that resonate the most are:

    “Accept your failures, learn from them and move on”
    “Prepare for as many variables as possible, but accept that you can’t account for everything”
    “Consistently take calculated risks”

    One thing I might add, “focus on the end goal but don’t worry about you get there, just get there.” What I mean by this is things will never go as planned and good and bad things happen that you don’t expect. I used to fret over the things that went wrong and would calculate how much I could have had if I batted 1000%. Reaching your goal is much more important than worrying about how you got there or fretting over the things that didn’t go right.

    Good luck on this new journey and with your growing family!

  27. Congrats on baby number 2! Ours our the same age I think- 2 years and 6 months. It’s very busy with two. Is big brother a good big bro with his little sister?

    We know someone trying to get into Punahou and they are volunteering with the school to try and get in (not just about having the money apparently these days). Their kid is 2.

    1. So far it’s still a “check her out” mode. But we’re doing our best to pay Max love and attention to our son as we know the transition can be hard.

      Hope your little ones are doing well!

  28. A product idea for you: a stand-alone book on purchasing and managing a property. Go through the steps of setting up a buying framework, how to identify your property of choice, and the exact steps and even some scripts to buy it. Then, a step-by-step guide to finding tenants, the paperwork involved, and tons of examples of how to handle different situations with tenants or your property.

    I think that a book like that with real detail and concrete info would do very well with people who are getting into purchasing a rental property. And, much like engineering your layoff, the cost/benefit ratio of a $100 book is potentially huge for a buyer, which means you’re creating a lot of value for the reader. Call it “Buy and Manage a Rental Property: A Financial Samurai Guide,” and charge $95. I could see that getting 10 buys/month for sure.

    1. I would buy that book, and since I already have a property management business (albeit currently having only one rental property under management), the cost would be a business expense. ;)

  29. Financial Freedom Countdown

    Thanks Sam for the inspirational post. Blogging with 2 kids is definitely going to be a challenge. I’m not so bullish on heartland RE though if the stock market slows down. I agree that valuations are high but I learnt a long time ago to. It fight the FED.
    Im planning to dive into RE directly without using any operators. Feasibility study in progress

  30. Hi Mr. Samurai: Happy New Year! There’s a guy named Graham Stephen who does a bunch of videos on You Tube. He has one where he shows how much he’s making per month. His You Tube videos alone produce a lot of income just from the ads. He also sells some kind of real estate marketing course, which might be similar conceptually to your book idea.

    I bet you could take your old posts and read them on You Tube and take care of your concerns. While there are people who like to read long posts, a lot of people like You Tube. Maybe you have privacy concerns, but you asked for a money making idea. My 16 year old watches the dumbest videos ever made and tells me some of those guys make millions per year just off their You Tube videos.

    Congratulations on the birth of your daughter. We’re an all boy band!


    1. Hi KB – Producing content about how to make money producing content is definitely one of the oldest money making strategies in the book.

      One of the motivating classics was a recent college graduate who was young and broke, but wrote a book called “I Will Teach You To Be Rich,” and subsequently became rich partly because of that book. That was when I knew that anything was possible!

      At the moment, I’m focused on other things. But maybe this route definitely is a good way going forward.

  31. TechEverywhere

    You mention heartland real estate, what markets do you think might be worth looking into in 2020?

  32. Dr. Remoulak

    Thanks Sam, another interesting article, and given your long track record of success, I’m sure you’ll have no issue in hitting your net worth and cash flow increase targets. While certainly not cheap, the $2,380 you’ll be spending per month for healthcare for four (congrats on the new arrival BTW!) was a bit less that I thought it may be costing you. As someone who is thinking about hanging it up every other day, healthcare is always the big mental block (I also am the sole provider of a family of four). If you’re willing to share any details about the health plan you’ve got it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    1. Sure! Such a detailed post is on my wife’s To Do List as she’s in charge of our healthcare.

      That’s great you think $2,380/month is less than expected. What were you expecting?

      We also have a “platinum” plan. I think it’s the second best/most expensive on a list of 50+ choices.

      1. Why do you choose the platinum plan when a bronze plan has maximum out of pocket costs of < $15k for the whole family? (which unlike many folks, you have the cushion to stomach)

        1. I’m trying to hedge against PITA health insurance reimbursements and bad service.

          I have zero desire to deal with health insurance companies and health providers who might treat me poorly or not get me in on time or get me in at all with a bronze plan.

          Incremental cost is $300 more a month for my plan, which might save money. But even if it doesn’t, I’m trying to pay for a more peace of mind.


      2. Dr. Remoulak

        Thanks very much Sam – look forward to reading the details in your wife’s future post! Based on some preliminary research I had done for a Platinum plan in NJ (also hate dealing with PITA insurance companies!), I was preparing myself for the ~$3,200 range, but now would think I can do better. Thanks again!

        1. Looking forward to this post as well. My wife works in the health insurance industry and even then we receive sub-standard service if we don’t make waves. Not sure if paying for a better plan gets you better service—only theoretically smaller out of pocket costs.

          If we didn’t have my wife’s job to cover insurance, I would probably look into a catastrophic coverage plan. I’ll pay for all the small expenses but hopefully will be covered for the larger issues.

          My son has a health issue right now where many treatments are not covered so we’ll likely pay a lot out of pocket despite being insured.

          1. I learned something very important, by experience, that everyone should keep in mind. I have a high deductible plan so most of our expenses this past year were out of pocket. Someone suggested to me that when we have a bill, call the billing department of the provider. Tell them that the expenses you owe will be coming out of your pocket. They have the flexibility and generally speaking, will readily lower your bill by 30-40% if they understand that an insurance company is not picking up a large part of the tab.

            I did this recently for my daughter’s trip to the ED at college. I made 2 calls to the billing department. The first person I spoke to gave me 20% off the bill right away, which was her limit, but she referred me to her Director and said I might be able to do better with her. I called the Director and she gave me 30% off the bill. Healthcare costs and billings are such a game and just like anything else, all subject to negotiation for those willing to put forth a little bit of effort.

            1. Thank you for the healthcare expenses tip. I, too, have a high deductible plan and pay almost everything out of pocket. It is quite a racket.

  33. Good luck! It’s going to be tough with a baby. I heard 2 kids are much harder than 1.
    Your plan looks great. Nice job with the book. Another successful book would get you most of the way to your goal. Keep at it!

    1. Thanks! So far, it hasn’t been too difficult. But we’re probably still in the honeymoon phase.

      The one benefit is that I literally have over 10,000 hours of parenting experience already. So I’m much more confident doing everything with our daughter.

  34. Looks like a great, well thought out plan, good luck! One question, why no international exposure? these markets have substantially under performed and could play catch up in 2020.

    1. Good point! Will consider. I have some existing exposure to the EuroStoxx index and several Asian country ETFs. But wasn’t thinking about them for new capital. Maybe I should do a deep dive.

  35. Just visited my Brother in law and his Doctor wife over the holiday’s. They have 4 kids from 7 to 16 months. They are in their late 30’s. It’s interesting to observe their real need to stay employed for now, as compared to our moving to one income with a potential for more changes in the near future in our early 50’s. In some ways I feel like “running out the clock”, but that just doesn’t match up with my previous history and efforts. I’m looking forward to drawing some inspiration from your journey.

    1. Wow, that is a busy young family!

      But if you’re a doctor in your 30s, I hope to goodness she works at least 15 more years given all the training required. We need more good doctors!

      Instead of running out the clock, I’d run through the finish line. You’ll feel great when you look back at that time period.


  36. Good luck with your plan to re-retire. Sounds exciting! What returns are you getting from Fundrise? Have you thought of investing in apartments with an experience syndicator as a passive investor? (with a good project, a 15-20% annual return is not unreasonable).

    1. My RE crowdfunding returns have been between 14% – 16% so far. I’m just now starting to get large slugs of returns and capital back in 2020 from investments made in 2016-2017.

      I’ll be doing a recap as more comes in and I get a written explanation from the various sponsors.


  37. Congrats. Seems like you are well on your way. But as a parent to 5 adult children and four grandchildren, let me remind you that your kids will need cars, college, and other assistance over the years. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your costs for the kids will disappear when they are 18. Unless of course, they will be self-sufficient at 18. If they are, God Bless but I can tell you there will be many surprises along the way before they get there. Stay positive, plan and expect the unexpected.

    1. For sure. What were some surprises you had as your children became adults?

      One of the things I will tell myself, “Prepare for as many variables as possible, but accept that you can’t account for everything.”

      1. Here’s what three of them went through: Job loss creating financial challenges, unwed daughter became pregnant at 20 years of age before she could finish school and start earning a decent living, poor selection of marital partner led to eventual divorce and financial challenges. Thank God all five are now well on their way to living wonderful, productive lives and learned how to navigate adulthood. But just as a new parent does whatever they can to protect their children, you will want to help your adult children when they need it because that’s what good parents do. Being a parent means always being their when your kids need you. It doesn’t mean you should become an enabler but it does mean you will want to be there to help when someone you love needs help. Love your articles. Keep up the good work.

        1. Got it. Do you think there was anything more you could have done to help your daughter who got pregnant at 20?

          I have a believe so far that 70% is genetics, 30% is nurture. So there’s only so much we can do.

          1 out of 5 having a tough time seems like pretty good results!

  38. The pterodactyl cries are tough to swallow especially when trying to burp them (takes forever sometimes).

    Why don’t you flip a fixer-upper since you have good experience in that anyway?

    Pardon my ignorance but would a rise in real-estate in 2020 mean a rise in REIT dividends as well?

    1. One thing I tell myself after each cry is, “It is great to know that she is alive and breathing!”

      It’s when she is silent when I start to worry.

      A rise in dividends depends on the payout ratio and share price. If the REIT increases in value and the payout ratio stays the same, the dividend yield falls.

  39. Strong plan Sam (although it still shocks me that you feel the need to go back to work given your previous passive income and capital reports).

    I have been deploying capital in real estate deals last year and hopefully the next to build my passive income just a little not more.

    I think real estate drive gives the most cash return for your buck and not subject to as much volatility.

    Amazed at your ability to generate that kind of money from your book sales. With that return I think the pain of creating a new book would be justified.

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