{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Is it just me? I feel like I will never RE at this point. I bootstrapped my way through college and MBA with the help of Uncle Sam but didn’t actually start saving any $ til my early 30s. At 38 yo in a MCOL area and now making $200k a year (single mom), the $40k a year I am putting away doesn’t seem to be enough to RE. Currently at about $300k investment, one rental property. I feel like exiting the rat race entirely and building a small cabin on a cheap peace of land is the only way some days!", "post_id": "61e57e3b8df4560037c931e5", "reply_count": 45, "vote_count": 8, "bowl_id": "5b3f7377ab53db00136f7b4c", "bowl_name": "FIRE Financial Independence Retire Early", "feed_type": "bowl" }

Is it just me? I feel like I will never RE at this point. I bootstrapped my way through college and MBA with the help of Uncle Sam but didn’t actually start saving any $ til my early 30s. At 38 yo in a MCOL area and now making $200k a year (single mom), the $40k a year I am putting away doesn’t seem to be enough to RE. Currently at about $300k investment, one rental property. I feel like exiting the rat race entirely and building a small cabin on a cheap peace of land is the only way some days!

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Based on what I skimmed through here, it looks like you're actually putting away 60K (including retirement contributions) and you have college fully funded for your kid already? It seems like you're in a good spot to early retire by 50. What you need to figure out is the amount of expenses you'll actually NEED in retirement. If you're estimating 80K a year in retirement, it will be very difficult to retire by 45, even if you get a substantial raise from becoming a partner. Time is the biggest factor here - it's more important than return %. 80K expenses seems highish for MCOL for you and your kid. I'm in Chicago and I'm doing around 40K expenses which includes 2K of student loan payments. I'm also renting though that's probably giving me 9K/year of savings from what I would be paying if I bought.

$1300 for 1bd /1ba. I got a covid discount on this (two fee months of rent) - this would normally be $1500ish. This does not include utilities which are $100 - $120 for water, gas, and electric


First of all, congratulations on making it work as a single mom and prioritizing your kids experiences, not just money and time for yourself. There are a few variables you are likely not taking into account. Your employer match, your contributions to 401k etc are also savings and will add up. Some suggestions 1. Picture what lifestyle you want jn retirement and work backwards from there. Find out what is your target # 2. Once you have target #, some anxiety will go away 3. Lot of people assume their expenses during kids growing years, and project that forward. Don't forget it gets cheaper as kids move from daycare to public schools. 4. Put numbers into a compounding calculator. At your current rate, assuming you also get around 20k in 401k contribution and employer match, you can gave $2.2M at 50, with 10% annual growth. 5. 2.2M can give you $66k annual spend at a very conservative 3% safe withdrawal rate!!! 6. At this step, take a deep breath! See jts not that tough with discipline. 7. Now do the math whether you want to reduce expenses or work longer, to get to your 80k+ inflation... Again, I am over simplifying this, but this exercise will give you lots of hope and faith in your journey and help you make decisions for yourself. Keen to know what your exercise looks like


Of course! Just don't want you get bogged down by the flashy lifestyle of the joneses and every other glamorous thing on social media! You are on a good path and keep going !

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Ok, let's start with the info you've provided and some math. You currently have 300k. You invest 40k every year. If you keep on doing this, this and nothing more, for the next 12 years you'll end up with $1.4m, at a conservative 6.5% CAGR. You'll be 50. If you retire at that point - still earlier than most people do - you would be able to draw down 56k every year. See if this will work for you based on your projected expenses. Now, increase your contributions every year by 1/2k, a little better return, voila, you get to your finish line even sooner! It might seem impossible to leave the rat race but if you stay focused on your goal you'll be miles ahead than most people. You got this!


Super helpful! Was hoping by 45 but this is still light at the end of the tunnel. Partnership is still on the table for me also which I haven’t figured out if I take that route … seems I might not want to stay long term but earning potential is there.


Curious as to how you are only saving $40k a year on a $200k salary. Where’s the rest of the money going?


I also got the roof redone since that was aged as well and it was cheaper to do the entire exterior at one time with one company.

Is the 300k investment just in brokerage/IRA/401k? Do you own your own home in addition to the rental property? If so, I think you and I are pretty similarly situated (you may even be a bit ahead of me). I still plan to FIRE. (But I 💯 hear you about the rat race and a small cabin — that may in fact be where I wind up, though for me that’s not really a downside/compromise). What’s your number? That’s the real key here.


It sounds to me like you’re on track! Are calculators telling you differently?

@Op - you have my respect and admiration. Raising kids as a single parent is difficult. Looking at some of your RE goals may not be in alignment with your planned spending. There is nothing wrong with budgeting for family experiences but with your outflow this might not be aligned to FIRE by age 45. Maybe 55 is more realistic. Healthcare is expensive. You saw the estimate for age 50, that is not all bad. Perhaps your income will increase too. Best of luck. You seem to be an amazing parent. BTW - My FIRE goal is to retire with the same income I have working (>$225k) and paid for my kids college. I am retiring at age 60 (2 months from now) and this still has my wife nervous. My point is that one plan does not fit all. I used the principles for what worked for me. I could not be happier.


Agree. 45 and the models are sketchy at best. 55 is too late as far as I’m concerned. Agree the spend needs to be tightened up in order to get there much faster.

So based on the replies here it seems folks think $2M at 45 is good (at least for a household of two?) to FIRE on. I look at this and am aghast. I couldnt make the math work for a family at anything less than $10M at that age, accounting for sure-shot inflation and the hellishly expensive medical/old age care. $10M at 3% SWR and 25% income taxes is about $225k per year net, which I think would be a comfortable cash flow in most cities in the US.


Live action role playing at something you have no first hand knowledge of

On one hand you say you want to RE, on the other hand you are clearly enamored with "partnership and the earning potential". Cant eat your cake and have it too. Pick one. Time or money. You cannot have both, plain and simple. Anyone who says otherwise is delusional.


This one doesn’t pass the vibe check and “enamored” isn’t even close to what I said. Sometimes it’s not what you say, A1, it’s how you say it. Thanks to everyone else who has been helpful and realistic in their comments - good gut check for me.


👆Amen to this. Once the numbers get larger the magic of compounding interest starts to work.


A1 - I am all about a balanced portfolio. Dollar cost averaging helps when the market is down. You are buying at a discount. The average market return for the last 10-50 years has been between 10-14%. If you are within 5 years of retirement, you might be more conservative. Otherwise, what goes down will come up.

Some more context: I served in the military after two years of college, then got an MBA and worked at a nonprofit for a bit. I didn’t enter PA until I was 31 and never made more than $40k/year before that. I’ve moved up quickly at my job but man does it feel like a losing rat race some days. Even if I could figure out a way to be mortgage free and Coast FIRE, I’d feel way more comfortable.

How old is your child/children? Being a single mom might just necessarily delay RE if they all want to go to college unfortunately

College for him is paid for. He’s got a full GI Bill courtesy of his dad and we had saved a ton when he was born so about $100k for him sitting in a 529.


Does your military service give you a retirement benefit? Or a health insurance benefit when you stop working? I assume you've already considered these, but I didn't see them mentioned (aside from the GI Bill help for kid's college - which is huge!). Also, would lyou be able to significantly lower housing expenses (moving) once kid moves out? (though maybe hard to do after spending so much on repairs/renovations)

Unfortunately I do not get retirement since I didn’t do 20 years and I’m not medically disabled. There is health benefits when I drop below certain income thresholds, but it’s basically poverty level and not sure I will be below that even when I stop working. Good questions! Housing expense could change but with the way housing costs are going part of me just says to stay put at the fixed mortgage and work to pay it off. I don’t love early mortgage payoff but if I can meet my savings goals and not have a cost of housing when it’s time to retire, that is pretty attractive.

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