Browse Category: Our Path to FIRE

Our Path To Fire

ROMT’s 2019 Financial Resolutions

Financial Independence

Back on New Year’s Day, I reviewed our financial resolutions for 2018, and, more importantly, reported on how we did keeping them last year.

Overall, I think we earned a grade of a B on the nine financial resolutions we published a year ago, but the variation in our grades on each individual line item was pretty extreme. We earned three A+ grades (maxing out our 401(k) contribution, contributing enough to our children’s 529 plans to maximize state tax benefits, and choosing not to invest in Bitcoin last January), but I think I also earned a D on my goal to blog more consistently at Retiring On My Terms.

Hopefully a year from now our grades for these 2019 financial resolutions will be both higher, and more consistent, than what we achieved last year!

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Q4 2018 Financial Scorecard: Moving in the Wrong Direction

Early Retirement

The first six times we reported on our quarterly financial progress here at Retiring On My Terms, the news was always positive.

The three key metrics we’re tracking on our path towards early retirement and financial independence – net worth, 529 account funding, and passive income – all increased every single quarter.

Sometimes the growth was fast, and sometimes the growth was slow, but fairly consistent income, responsible spending, and a generally supportive stock market enabled us to make steady progress towards our goals ever since we started this blog.

Of course, that all changed during the fourth quarter of 2018, when the S&P 500 index plunged nearly 14%. As good as we try to be at saving and spending, a quarterly decline of that magnitude, the likes of which we hadn’t experienced in more than seven years, is bound to leave a mark on just about any investment portfolio.

And ours was no exception, even though, somewhat surprisingly, we still managed to make progress on one of our three key metrics despite the market rout over the past three months.

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So How Am I Doing? Reviewing Our 2018 Financial Resolutions

FIRE

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch famously asked his constituents, “How am I doing?” on a regular basis. 

A year ago, I posted nine financial resolutions for the new year, that I believed if followed could keep the ROMT family moving forward on our path towards early retirement and financial independence.

With 2018 now complete, it seems like a good time to ask myself the same question Ed Koch asked New Yorkers decades ago. Without further delay, let’s take a look at how we did on our financial resolutions in 2018!

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Our Passive Income Takes a Punch to the Mouth

Passive IncomeFormer heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was famously quoted as saying “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

While less than two months ago it seemed like we were in pretty good shape to hit our year-end passive income goal, recent events in the financial markets have negatively impacted our ability to generate passive income.

Fortunately, we’re doing our best to adapt to our changing circumstances. Turns out, it seems like we do have a plan for our passive income getting metaphorically punched in the face.

Even though he’s now in his fifties, I still don’t want any part of facing off against Iron Mike in the boxing ring, however!

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Q3 2018 Financial Scorecard: Another Milestone on the Path to Financial Independence

Financial ScorecardDuring the third quarter of 2018 we continued to make good progress in our pursuit of financial independence and early retirement!

Our efforts were helped by the strong stock market. The S&P 500 delivered its best quarterly returns in almost five years during Q3 18, climbing by more than 7% during July, August, and September! The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 9% during the quarter, while the Nasdaq 100 rose by over 8%.

Those great returns from the market gave our finances a boost, and we made progress on the Net Worth, 529 Account Funding, and Passive Income goals we are tracking to measure our progress. We even hit one of our short-term financial goals a quarter early!

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How A Short Hike Changed My Approach To FIRE

IMG_2842A month and a half ago, my family and I went for a short hike over Memorial Day weekend.

It was neither a major undertaking, nor anything out of the ordinary for us. The hike was about a mile and a half each way, to the top of a ridge with a nice view of a lake and mountains, and back. It was mostly uphill on the way in, and mostly downhill on the return trip.

Mrs. ROMT, the kids, the dog, and I had a nice walk to the top of the hill, where we spent a little time enjoying the view and letting the children and dog explore the area.

Then we decided to head back down to the trailhead.
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Confirmation We Might Be On The Right Track For Financial Independence!

Financial IndependenceEarlier this week, I posted our latest Quarterly Financial Scorecard, which indicated we could reach my definition of financial independence within three years.

Yesterday, I came across a retirement calculator recently posted by ESI Money that attempts to answer questions such as “When Can I Retire?” and “When Will I Be Financially Independent?”

While I think I have our financial situation fairly well mapped out, it’s always interesting to get another perspective, so I decided to plug our information and my thoughts about the future into the “When Can I Retire?” Calculator at ESI Money.
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Q2 2018 Financial Scorecard: Three Years to Financial Independence?

Retiring On My TermsIt has now been well over a year since I started Retiring On My Terms and began chronicling our quest for financial independence and early retirement.

This marks the fifth quarterly financial scorecard I’ve posted on these pages. I’m pleased to report we made good progress on each of our financial independence and early retirement goals during the second quarter, increasing our Net Worth, 529 Account Funding, and Passive Income.

The S&P 500 climbed by nearly 3% from the beginning of April through the end of June, which provided a nice tailwind for our finances. That said, we still have A LOT of hard work ahead of us if we expect to achieve our Target FIRE date of Friday, July 2, 2021!

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Celebrating ROMT’s One Year Bloggiversary!

Retiring On My TermsIt’s hard to believe it has already been a year since I started Retiring On My Terms!

There have been some victories, and some setbacks, during my first year of blogging, but I’m glad I took the plunge and started this site a year ago. I sincerely thank all the readers who have found their way to Retiring On My Terms over the past twelve months. Without an audience, this blog would have no purpose!

I knew writing could be difficult when I started up this website, but I honestly had no idea how challenging it would be to create interesting content and grow an online audience. I am still an absolute novice when it comes to topics like search engine optimization and social media. Someday I hope to have time to learn more about all of the varied aspects of running a successful blog, but in the meantime my primary goals are to continue improving my writing skills and providing content that is interesting to my readers. Continue Reading

Q1 2018 Financial Scorecard: Volatile Equity Market Takes Its Toll

Early RetirementWhen I think back on our finances for the first quarter of 2018, I have to quote Charles Dickens.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

The good times included getting paid my annual bonus for 2017, going on a great family trip to Walt Disney World, and, ultimately, making some modest progress on our Net Worth, 529 Account Funding, and Passive Income goals.

The bad times included paying for that vacation in Florida, missing on some of our short-term financial goals, and a volatile stock market that finally reminded us equity prices don’t always go up!

Although the S&P 500 Index was down only about 1% for the entire first quarter, the market had fallen nearly 10% from its January peak by the end of March.

Market volatility was at elevated levels during the first three months of the year. To put that volatility into perspective, consider this:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) has been calculated since the late 19th century.

Two of the five largest daily point gains in the DJIA’s history occurred over the past three months.

And three of the five largest daily point losses in the DJIA’s history occurred during the first quarter of this year.

Fears of an all-out trade war with China have continued to spook investors in April, and it seems like we are always just one tweet away from a 500 point move in the market!

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