About Us: Early Retirement, Savings Plan, Expense Reduction Strategy, and More!

2016-dec-about-us-ron-jenHello 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.

 

Savings Plan

Max out:

  • 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

2016-dec-about-us-grumbycat

GrumbyCat says, “Pet ownership is relaxing!”

Meticulously track expenses and review for opportunities to reduce future spending

Get off the hedonic treadmill, and practice mindful consumption (stop buying sh*t we don’t need)

Downsize material belongings

Sell the one and only car

Evaluate pet ownership

Sell the house

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:

  • 2016-dec-about-us-jenbikeruralroad

    Bike touring in rural Hillsboro, OR.

    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:

2016-dec-about-us-happymrgrumby

Mr. Grumby’s happy road to financial freedom.

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?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  7 Replies to “About Us: Early Retirement, Savings Plan, Expense Reduction Strategy, and More!”

  1. December 18, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Thanks for the shout out and we love all of your ideas for full-time travel. A couple other ideas for consideration: house sitting (TrustedHousesitters.com) and work exchanges (HelpX.net). We also signed up for the frugal challenge, so thanks for mentioning it! Wishing you two the best of luck and look forward to following your journey. 🙂

    • Mrs. Grumby
      December 18, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Hi Tamara,
      Thanks for visiting! Love the house sitting and HelpX.net ideas. We’ll continue to follow your travels. If you’re ever in Portland, OR let us know. Would love to meet you 2. :o)
      Mrs. Grumby

      • December 19, 2016 at 3:47 pm

        Will do! We have several friends in Portland so we find ourselves there semi-regularly. 🙂 Would love to meet and chat.

  2. December 31, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    I am excited to see what the future holds for you two. You look like you are going to have the adventure of a lifetime in just a few short years. I definitely look forward to reading your blog. I hope 2017 is a great year for you!!!

  3. TJ
    February 12, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Do you guys plan staying abroad as an expat after the years 5-8, or do you anticipate coming back permanently eventually? Or is it a wait and see type of thing?

    You guys are getting closer to that elusive 1/19/19 date, it must be exciting!

    • February 12, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      I’m not sure what we’ll do, but I would imagine we will come back to the US. The good thing is we will have some time to decide. The date is rapidly approaching, and we will probably jump out sooner (May of 2018).
      Thanks for your comment!

    • Mrs. Grumby
      February 12, 2017 at 7:19 pm

      Hi TJ,
      Thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I think the early years of retirement will be an improvised adventure. So exciting that you’ll be starting your road trip in just a few weeks! Looking forward to checking in on your adventures and reading up on your expense tracking. Good luck with the final preparation.

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