Simone and I had talked about this topic before and with each time us talking about it things took a little more shape. Leaving the 9 to 5 jobs behind and potentially retire early (or at least travel and work remotely). I think we are mostly aligned about where to go from here and how to reach this lofty goal. Here is the detail:
Counting down for the long haul
Well, we are in it for the long haul, but I think this is a good step for. We decided to put a date down to count backwards from.
- Our son’s High School graduation: June 2023
- Our son’s (potential) graduation from college: May 2027
So, when it is our turn to call it quits, we want to travel for a while. Depending if you count based on Simone’s or my age, we are looking at ~15 years of no income from a normal 9 to 5 job. We are looking at reduced social security income at the same time because of not having a job. Kind of like a double-whammy in a very negative way financially.
Accordingly we need to think about building up secondary income to potentially live off when we leave the rat race. And I think that is good part with putting dates and actions on the table. It allows us to work towards secondary income. If this part would fail, we would put our plan at risk. SO, we are committed! Very committed!
One way of building up additional income is an online side business and while the main goal might be for it to be a side business, who knows – maybe it a) turns into a full-time income and b) might accelerate our timeline significantly for leaving the 9 to 5 jobs behind. Depending on how things go it might allow us to have his college education fully funded by the time High School graduation comes around. Or Not! I do not want to get a head of things here. But building something up with a bit more time on our hands is good.
In addition, we are continuing to make double-payments on our mortgage month after month. From a high-level perspective I am thinking about the following scenario. For the next 3 years pay off as much as possible. Then switch to normal monthly payments on the mortgage, but now funnel the extra money into a savings account so that we can by an RV of some sort. We’re not looking at a large RV, but more something in size like a large Mercedes Sprinter van type of RV. Large enough to live and travel in, but small enough to treat it like a (larger) car – including benefiting from better gas mileage and easier travel to places where larger RVs would need a secondary form of transportation. A Mercedes Sprinter type of van/RV (#vanlife) also allows for “stealth camping” – meaning, you can park almost anywhere and overnight even in cities without being noticed necessarily. Try that with a large RV. But again, I think I am getting ahead of myself here.
Anyway, so pay off the mortgage as much as possible for the next 3 years, then funnel the money into a savings account and build up more cash to buy a van and have enough money for a build-out or buy a ready to go RV. At the same time we would look for opportunities to potentially re-finance the house and reduce the monthly payment and then rent out the house when we go and hit the road.
Renting out the house should net us about $3K before taxes per month. Deduct the remaining mortgage payment and the rest is available to us to potentially cover a portion of our living expenses. We could travel while somebody else pays off the house during that time. The gap between what we need and what we get from renting out the house – that is the portion we need to work on. So, a lot of content on our website is going to be dedicated to building up a business and to create additional income.
Putting a date on such a lifestyle change helps in many other ways. We have to think about long-term storage for some of our belongings. We need to simplify our life if we want to travel for a couple years, but that does not mean we want to give up on some of our family belongings. We have a few pieces of really old furniture that we want to keep + a few other things. Nothing dramatic, but again some stuff we want to hang on to and potentially pass on to Logan down the road. So, simplifying our life with a bit more time on our hands is hopefully a bit easier.
Other things to plan for is evening entertainment. Right now digital entertainment is coming thanks to the joy of high-speed Internet. Watch Netflix or Amazon Prime – no worries. On the road – who knows if that will be possible. Currently bandwidth constraints on mobile devices would require a different approach. I read a lot, but what if I want to watch some Youtube for a bit? Or if we work online, can this be done via a wireless hotspot or do we need to use coffee shops and other forms of free public wifi. A few things to figure out. It’ll be fun.