Hello and welcome to our blog! We are the Grumbys and we’re happy that you’re interested in our journey toward early retirement, and the many adventures that are sure to follow. During our pre-retirement phase, we’ll talk about our experiences in reducing expenses, downsizing belongings, and increasing happiness. Our mission is to share ideas, create conversations, entertain, and inspire. We greatly enjoy the collective inspiration generated by your feedback and we look forward to connecting with you all in this cozy corner of the blogosphere.
Our Early Retirement Story:
As of 2016 we are in our mid-40’s (Mrs.) and early 50’s (Mr.) and plan to exit the workforce no later than January 19, 2019*. We began our lives together as Mr. and Mrs. Grumby in 2008 with a retirement portfolio of $80,000 and home equity of about $200,000. After paying off our final non-mortgage debt of $40,000 (Mr.Grumby’s student loan) in 2009, we started looking into ways to save aggressively so that we could ditch the 9-5 before we’re 65. Though I’ve worked in finance and accounting support roles for a number of years, our educational backgrounds are in Spanish language (me) and healthcare (Mr. G). Consequently, we sought the assistance of a highly recommended financial advisor**, Dave Inman, to help us devise and manage our plan. Over the past 8 years we have been very fortunate to earn salaries that have allowed us to meet our aggressive savings goals. And because we focus on managing and prioritizing expenses, it is totally do-able to enjoy ourselves along the way.
*Why January 19, 2019? Because we can do this! And because 1/19/19 is an important-looking date. One one nine one nine: it even sounds cool.
**Update: in early 2017 we decided to manage our investments on our own. We would still recommend Dave to anyone who is just getting started or is uncomfortable with taking on the task themselves. But if you’re up for the challenge of managing your investments on your own, check out Mr. Grumby’s post about Taxes, Frugality, and Investments.
- Retirement accounts, including 50+ catch-up
- Roth IRAs, including 50+ catch-up
- HSA accounts (Mr. G beginning in 2015, Mrs. G. beginning in 2016)
Enjoy the free money that our generous employers provide with 3% and 5% company match benefits
Sell house and invest all proceeds
Continually reduce spending to create opportunities for additional savings
Expense Reduction Strategy
Downsize material belongings
Evaluate pet ownership
Maintain good health (diet, exercise, sleep, stress level, etc.)
Income Requirements During Retirement
This is something that we’ve been defining and re-defining as we go along, and each year we come to a better understanding of what we need to live a happy life. We’re confident that what we’ll need in retirement is some variation of our current spend, plus the added pre-Medicare healthcare expense. If our spending needs ever exceed our withdrawal plans, or if there is a downturn in the market, we’re not opposed to working for a paycheck from time to time.
Stay tuned for the scintillating details on our 2016 expenses, coming soon in my next post in the first week of January! (Update – here’s the link to the post about our 2016 expenses.)
And Mr. Grumby just now agreed to a near-future post about our planned healthcare expense. (Update – here’s a link to Mr. Grumby’s post about healthcare expense.)
Waitaminute! You don’t have a house or a car! Where will you live and how will you get around?
Here’s another stimulating topic of evolving conversations. For at least the first few years of retirement, not owning a home will allow us to live wherever/whenever. Here are some ideas that we’re kicking around:
Year 1: stash our downsized belongings in Sister Grumby’s basement (thanks Dee Ann!) and get on our bicycles to tour the US of A. Afterwards, continue our car-free life in an apartment near family, spend time with our kinfolk, and explore local opportunities to volunteer.
- Year 2: hike the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail), winter in Mexico, and more car-free living near family.
- Year 3-4: live in a van down by the river. Yes, we’re serious about this. Shortly after a discouraging trip to the Portland RV and Van Show, Mr. Grumby stumbled across the awesome Nomads With a Van blog. We could buy a nice used minivan for only $10,000 and outfit it as a fuel-efficient and very maneuverable home on wheels! We’re really excited about the affordability, flexibility, and adventurousness of this plan.
- Year 5-8: sell the van and explore international living opportunities. I speak Spanish and Mr. Grumby is learning, so we’ll start off spending time with some of our neighbors to the South. We’ve heard great things about San Miguel de Allende, so that’s one possibility. Cuenca, Ecuador is another beautiful city that we fell in love with during a vacation we took in 2006.
We’ll share details on potential plans as we move closer to our retirement horizon. In the meantime …
Join Us on the Road to Financial Freedom!
Regardless of your personal financial situation, we’re here to support you as you gain awareness of opportunities and challenges, set goals, and develop the discipline you need to achieve them. Some potential side effects of this process:
A shift in your relationship with money and how to use it most efficiently
Narrower gap between need and want
More clarity in defining priorities and values
Ability to be satisfied with less stuff
Gratefulness for what you already have
Increasing appreciation of time and freedom
Desire to contribute
And a sustainable boost in happiness
Do you want to save more money in 2017? Join us and a few thousand others in Mrs. Frugalwoods’ January Uber Frugal Month Challenge! Follow the link to find out more and to sign up – it’s free! (Update – you can sign up for this challenge at any time, so no worries if you’re reading this after January, 2017 – you can still follow the link and sign up!)
Please, share your ideas and let us know how we can help.
What is your primary financial goal in 2017?
Is your current spending aligned with your goals and values?
Any requests for future blog post topics?