Reader Response – Aren’t you assuming fixed expenses?

Yesterday I talked about my goal of retiring by 35, and some projections for meeting that goal.  Today I got a question from a reader:

“I do like the premise, but isn’t it based on the assumption your expenses will remain more or less fixed?  What about a house, family, healthcare when you’re older?”

That’s a great question!  The short answer is yes; my projections are based on that assumption.  I can retire by 35 (about 10 years from now) if my savings rate (which is a function of my income and expenses) stays the same (67%).  Additional expenses like a down payment on a home or child-rearing costs would lower my savings rate, and without a proportionate increase in income (which I don’t expect and certainly shouldn’t count on) I would no longer be able to reach my goal.

Now you understand why I need to step up my game!  My special lady and I don’t plan on staying apartment-renting DINKs forever.  To fully enjoy our retirement we will require a home to spend it in, a family to spend it with, and security for all.  But I know that by planning effectively and exercising self-control I can live a financially independent lifestyle that includes these things too in 10 years or less.

The first step is to increase my savings rate even further, to 85% or above.  This will dramatically increase my wealth accumulation to a point where retirement (assuming fixed expenses) is possible in half the time.  Any earnings made after this point are icing on the financial independence cake, and boy will it taste good.  If I can maintain this rate until those major life events my reader mentions, I’ll be in great shape!  I’m not planning on buying a house or having children for at least another two years.  When I do, I can readjust my savings rate and still retire by 2023.

Even if I buy a house accidentally before then, my current savings would weather me through.  And I already have enough for a down payment on a baby.  I hope to write about each of these challenging topics more extensively in the future.  But for now, I can only refer you to articles by like-minded parents and homeowners.  Their words have inspired me to challenge myself to retire early without denying myself those distinct pleasures.

If you remain skeptical, I don’t blame you.  It almost sounds too good to be true.  But by detailing and discussing my journey in a public forum I hope to show that it CAN be done, and incite others to re-evaluate their life priorities and their strategies for achieving them.  I don’t have any get-rich-quick schemes or insider training tips.  All I have is advice to save your money for the things that REALLY matter to you, and an unfolding story about a pilgrim following that path.

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