Wow, 5 years of Full Time Finance. I cannot believe I am typing that as I look all the way back to 2016. And yet here we are.
Societal Changes in 5 Years
A lot has happened in the 5 years. Broadly we’ve cycled through 3 presidents. Of course we’ve had a pandemic. Tax laws have significantly changed. The world seems to have increased the pace of change, and as always we do our best to adapt to those changes.
Our Household Changes Over 5 years
And that’s just what has happened to everyone. My own personal world has also dramatically changed. My wife left her employer in 2016. Then in 2017 she started working part time as a self employed consultant. 3 years ago we started foster care, adding a 3rd child to our household. And finally, last but not least, my opinion of work slowly shift from enjoyment to burnout.
Financial Change Over 5 Years
With this backdrop of changes my financial position has changed dramatically. 2 years ago we paid off our Mortgage. Our Net Worth reached 40x expenses (excluding our home) in mid 2021, an increase of 3x from our blog starting point. We bought a travel trailer and sold a Corvette.
Meanwhile this blog has moved on significantly. Early on I posted 2x a week. Then I moved to 1x a week. Last year at our blog anniversary I noted I was moving to more variable posting. For much of this time that was an every 2-3 week posting schedule. Then this summer I basically stopped posting for 4 months to focus on other areas of life that became a bit chaotic. Now we seem to be back to 1 to 2 posts a month.
I can’t guarantee that I will continue at 1-2 posts a month or if another hiatus may be in the cards. Covid and foster care have really upended our lives, and thus I can’t predict what the future may bring. But rest assured I do have future posts planned, this site is funded at least through year 6, and I am not going anywhere.
Thanks, Readers, For 5 Years
As always thanks to our readers. I really enjoy interacting with every one of you, whether it be here or on Twitter. Without you I would have stopped long before year 5. As I’ve always noted, this site makes very little money, even less so when you take a 4 month break. But it is a self funded hobby of enjoyment, and that enjoyment is interacting with you. Thanks for 5 wonderful years.
For Those Interested, Below is More On Our Current Situation
A bunch of comments recently have asked me where we are headed personally. Particularly when I am open about having 40x expenses and being burned out. To several of these questions I have commented that I am weighing my options. This remains true.
I set a retire at 55 goal when we started this site. I am definitely contemplating revising this forward at now 40 with a decent size next egg. But I also realize I need to have a work purpose. Just that work has to be different. Couple this with four other issues.
- I originally set my net worth goal for pulling the plug higher then 40x expenses to account for children college costs. I am obviously not there yet but getting close.
- Covid has made my baseline expenses suspect. I continue to measure net worth by 2019 expenses because 2021 expenses are so artificially low they make me nervous. It would make me feel more comfortable for things to stabilize on the expense front before I make drastic changes as there is no guarantee 2019 expenses will lineup with 2024 expenses.
- Foster care requires me to have a job. I still have no end in sight for our current multi year placement. But as long as that continues big changes are to be avoided.
- My current job is high paying, still has income growth potential, and is probably the most secure job I will likely ever have. It would take a lot to cost me my position and future positions will likely never be this secure. So jumping fast would be unwise.
Punting On Future Choices
For all of the above reasons I have decided to punt. I have set a timeline, which I will not publicly reveal. At the end of that timeline I will start looking for a new position. That timeline is set far enough out to reduce risks of job security costing us foster care, but near enough to give me motivation through burn out. That change will be radical, but it still probably will not be retirement.
What About Retirement?
What about retirement you ask? Well there are four things going on here.
First, I don’t believe I will get to my number goal for a minimum of 3 more years. If the stars align it could be sooner, but honestly if that were to happen I’d begin to seriously question if stocks were too frothy. I won’t be retiring before that goal hits.
Second, I am now trying to decide what form retirement will take. I’d like to do something like my wife, where I work 10-15 hours a week. But doing what? These are the retirement questions I am working on answering.
Third, the time lag will allow me to adjust accounts and finances in a way to better manage the transition.
Fourth, its possible a change of scenery will return me to enjoying work. In which case I may just go back to 55. Who knows. For that reason there is no countdown to retirement here like you would see on other sites.
The Future is So Bright I have to Wear Shades
If all this sounds a bit unclear as to future direction, that is by design. The world of covid is currently unclear, and I know that adaption is absolutely critical. Also a lot can change in 3 years. At very minimum I see many positive opportunities ahead of us. Anyway,I will keep everyone posted on how this proceeds.
Keeping Sanity in an Insane Time
In the mean time, I am spending a lot more time camping in our trailer. We have been to western Maine and Southern North Carolina so far this year. Many more local trips have also occurred. We are up to 25 nights in our new trailer this year. Not bad for a family of 5 with very busy lives.
We haven’t been on a plane since before Covid and currently have no plans for trips without the trailer this year. So the trailer itself has been the way to continue our travel without dealing with the Covid travel issues. It’s also a big reason behind the collapse of our expenses mentioned earlier. You can park a camper at a lot of campsites before it equals an international flight for a family of 5. I do expect next year we will return to such trips. But for now, it works and I can say in good faith it was the right purchase at the right time for us.
Anyway, that’s all I have for today. I hope you had a great summer and thanks for your continued engagement. I would love to hear more about how you are doing in the comments.
Congrats on five years!
Congratulations on five years! Nice to hear an update from you. Best of luck on the foster care plans. That is such a great thing you guys are doing and I’d love to learn more about it as time goes on.
It sounds like you could downshift if you want to? 40 times annual expenses is a lot. How does that compare to a multiple of income? I’ve generally used 20 times annual income as they target to downshift myself.
But with investment returns so strong, maybe it doesn’t really matter anymore?
Thanks for the kind words Sam.
I don’t generally think of our net worth in terms of income. That being said, we’re not far off the numbers you mentioned, especially with my actual target. Assuming I ignore the value of our paid off home I am at 15x base income or 10x total compensation (including at risk). My target makes that base income number 20x although it was not set for that reason.
well done on 5 years. i’m with you on answering those retirement questions. right now i think i’ll quit in a couple of years in my 55th year but not if i don’t have something i want to do all day every day with all that time. it’s different without kids or extended family nearby. if you prefer something social you gotta make sure there are other like minded people with lots of free time too.
it’s a good dilemma to have. i look forward to seeing how you approach it.
Sounds like you also have a good plan ahead of you. We shall see how it all turns out.
What’s up FTF? I really enjoyed this one – for some reason my favorite posts tend to be the ones that give us a window into other people’s lives.
Congrats on 5 years. So far I’ve been following your exact path. Year 1 was two posts a week, but that was burning me out. Then year 2 was one post a week. I just started year 3 but have been seriously thinking of dropping the weekly schedule for the same reasons as you. Life is fucking hectic.
So cool you’re doing the trailer too. I’m very happy that worked out and sounds like tons of fun.
I don’t know why I’ve never asked this before, but are you just fostering, or fostering to adopt? If that’s too personal don’t answer here.
As for me, just had my first vacation in about two years. It was good but short. We’ve been having a tough time with the fostering approval. We were told we’d be fully approved upon our return from vacation, but our social worker just told us she hasn’t finished our home study yet and has said probably next month. I roll with it, but it really kills my wife, being so close and just having it drag on and on. But, you just gotta keep plugging away with the system. So hopefully we’ll finally be through this 1.5 year process and have our first child next month.
Besides that, I spend all of my time working on the house. Hahaha. It’s a fun/frustrating learning experience. Corporate life still blows and burns me out, but gotta make that scrilla… haha.
Great post again and looking forward to seeing more updates from you in year 6!
We are foster to adopt, although we shall see. I will tell you my one finding with foster care is it’s a whole lot of waiting followed by spurts of short term significant changes. Good luck with the house opening.
Congratulations! Enjoyed reading you for the last 5 years!
Awesome job to still be blogging after 5 years FullTimeFinance!
It sounds like things have come together nicely for you, the finances are largely in a place where you and yours will be taken care of, which affords you the luxury of choice regarding career changes, semi-retirement, and caravan adventures.
I look forward to seeing where your journey takes you in year 6 and beyond.
Thanks for the kinds words. You are right, everything builds on what came before. It definitely removes some stress from life.
Congrats on 5 years Full Time Finance! That is some dedication! Like you said, you never know what’s going to happen in the future. Keep at it!
Thanks for the words of encouragement.