January 2019 marks a significant turning point of a momentous timeframe that we had set out for ourselves – 600 days away from our countdown towards FI. We had never shared our “magic numbers” and there has generally been some speculations by readers and other fellow bloggers with regards to what those numbers might be. We choose not to share it for privacy and also, part of the bigger reason being that we did not think those numbers should be used as a gauge for achieving FI. Every household, family and individual is different and the number that might work for us might not for others.
However, the truth is that our “magic numbers” are a lot lower than what most would have thought, partially also because we are striving towards LeanFI more so than FatFI. In fact, it may appear significantly lower than many other local financial bloggers.
The market recently has been rather bearish and our portfolio has been significantly affected. To be honest, at this point in time, we are also skeptical whether we can achieve the numbers by June 20, 2020 (which was the date that we had initially set out for ourselves). The market might tank further this year or it might not. Nonetheless, we know that our financial health is better than ever. With the recent turmoil in the stock market, there might exist an opportunity in the pipeline. It might take longer for us to reach the point where we forsee ourselves to be but it could very well push us way above the magic numbers.
Having said that, we are still going to continue our 100 days countdown post, because collectively, both Dave and I have benefited much over the last 400 days by doing this countdown.
With Dave’s engineering background, he was always more of a numbers person and enjoys running monte carlo scenarios in our journey to achieve FI. We used to focus a lot on our numbers in terms of portfolio and expenses, but recently we shifted our focus on consuming less and being more efficient. We also focus more on living a good life by being present to ourselves, our children and family and friends. Enjoying each moment as it goes and worrying less about the future.
We have a small stash of FU money which should be able to last us for a few years should we lose both our jobs at the same time. However, this is also possible because we are aware of our expenses and what we require to continue running the household. The amount that we have might be insufficient or perhaps ample for some. Personally, I think it is important for each household to have this stash available in times of emergency or worse case scenarios.
For us, this is also quite reassuring knowing that we do not need a lot of money to live our version of “good life”. And with this, it provided me the option of going on a year long sabbatical and we would highly encourage everyone to take one yourself as it does wonders to you – mentally, spiritually and physically.
Work becomes less dreadful
In fact, knowing that we will be reaching FI eventually allows us to appreciate our work environment more. Knowing that we will no longer be slaves to our job frees up the mind quite a bit, and we are also not so buried by our jobs. Yes, we are still busy and all but in fact, it’s liberating in a way because we are able to handle our workload better, and also, not that intimidated to question our managers in relation to our work. We are passionate to finish up, be productive and get back home for some rest. And of course, spending time with the kiddos.
Work has become not as dreadful as it once was with this change of mindset. Obviously there are still “bad days” at work but you will be able to appreciate it at the end of the day, and giving yourself a pat on the back for shouldering through. You are also more appreciative towards your colleagues and others.
As for Dave and myself, we have been engaged in other areas of personal growth, and sometimes, the workplace is a fantastic environment for you to hone those passions and skills. For instance, both of us are pretty passionate about sustainability and environment consciousness as a whole as we have been making baby steps at the workplace to promote some initiatives which is actually a pretty fulfilling process. Even though that is not part of our job scope, we enjoyed it nevertheless and do not view this as transactional.
Collectively, we want to start making an impact now, compared to just awaiting FI as this poses a further question – Do we always need to await FI to embark on personal projects? Or is there something small that we can do in the now? Granted that we would have more leisure time to work on bespoke personal projects when we are not holding full time jobs but sometimes, it is better to start and live now, then wait until later.
Throughout our journey, and since the inception of this blog, we have received many helpful and positive comments from readers and other fellow bloggers. This has been highly encouraging and it was extremely reassuring to see that there are many other families, individuals and couples striving towards this common goal. It was also extremely heartening to hear that some of our readers draw inspiration from our lifestyle and blogposts, which is also one of the key reasons that motivated us to continue blogging.
Although at this time, some might have already started to point fingers at us and call us cheaters, since our FI journey seems to be delayed and curtailed and is inconsistent with the 1000 days journey that we panned out.
But for us, that is ok.
Because we realised that the journey is as important as the finishing point. And everyone is also entitled to their opinions.
It might be that we might take an extra few years to reach our magic numbers.
But at this point in time, we are enjoying the process, and at peace with ourselves.
Granted that there are busy days at work, and some elevated levels of stress at times, as well as the people managing issues to deal with, if we look at it objectively, that is part and parcel of life.
Even without work, they will manifest in some way or another. The key is handling them well, and having the mental fortitude to deal with it.
Both Dave and I are not experts at this. But collectively, we both agree that we view things more objectively, and are also more level-headed generally.
Could this be due to an extra year of wisdom? Or many years of accumulated experience?
Or perhaps this entire FI journey has made us stronger altogether.
It could be all.
But for now, we have every intention to continue our countdown posts, for this is a mark of where we are, and also an opportunity for us to evaluate at our status, our numbers, and our lives.
We hope that the journey does not get curtailed too much. Of course, the fact that I was away on sabbatical for almost an entire year did derail it a little. We are also exploring the idea of taking another sabbatical at the end of this countdown regardless of whether we have achieved FI. But ultimately, we have a choice and the option of having that choice is stronger than ever.
No regrets about it.
Until another 100 days later.
Let’s see where we are.