I have been thinking a lot about the FI movement and how many people might be feeling now that their nest eggs are likely shrinking.
(Hopefully temporarily, but still!)
I have also been thinking about how much easier it has been to work with just one child at home. There was a point when I think I had the idea I might try to retire somewhat early, like mid-50s. Now I’m thinking – 65 seems early enough? It’s true, it is hard to know how my mind and body will feel at that juncture. But currently I can envision a future where Josh and I work until around that age, with part time work (potentially for both of us!) playing a role at various points along the way.
And finally, I have been thinking about mortality and the memories I want to create as a family. Or things I just want to be able to look forward to and enjoy while they are happening!
The things I WANT to spend on: travel + experiences + kids activities + childcare + education + camp. Also good quality food. Really, those are a lot of things and so of course they add up. Especially travel lately, which is probably good from an environmental perspective but there is an element of sticker shock — flights that used to be $200 are now $400 and so on. Multiply x 5 and . . . wow. It doesn’t mean we won’t do it, but it means thinking harder about which trips are priority and what tradeoffs need to be made. Keeping some trips closer to home helps — our Amelia Island week for example should be pretty reasonable (though we made it significantly less reasonable by adding on a day at Harry Potter/Universal). We did pay for our VRBO, but the beach is free! Using rewards programs and credit card points (ie Marriott Bonvoy, Chase Sapphire Preferred) helps a little bit. I need to be better about signing the kids up for frequent flier numbers — over time their flights will add up!
I know we also definitely don’t need to travel for every school break. I guess it helps that sometimes we have to work, but then again I feel like that might increase the pressure to make non-working holidays extra special.
Things I still have zero desire to spend on: home expenses (our mortgage is reasonable and I do not see us ever moving unless it’s out of state or to downsize once kids are grown), furniture/decor, fancy designer items, cars. Also crypto/NFTs/metals/individual stocks, lol.
I wrote about this a year ago, and since then our expenses have absolutely increased, and our savings have been less aggressive. We are still doing the autopilot pre-tax savings (403b + 457, which is about a ~15% savings rate) but kind of stopped going above and beyond that for right now; I feel like we are also still regrouping from our move and minor reno/repairs (floors, paint, fixing the #%(@&$ roof). I’m honestly kind of ‘meh’ about the savings piece, but also somewhat nervous about inflation continuing. I guess we will just have to see. And also work on where we can spend a little less OR earn more OR both.
Questions to ponder:
- Has anyone else re-evaluated retirement age plans?
- What is the spending category you are LEAST likely to want to cut down? Mine is probably travel, honestly . . .
- What are current areas of opportunity to cut back? We could definitely do better with food (need to try Aldi and make better use of TJ’s; could definitely get less delivery) and generally buying fewer things.
Necessary notes: I fully recognize the inherent privilege in this post. I know there are some who have had to eliminate almost all travel and extras. I also know many people IRL who can (or at least it appears) go wherever they want, whenever they want without making a dent. I know when I write about money it can be sensitive, yet as a reader I wish more people in every tax bracket would write about their spending and choices. So I hope it is okay with most!