I think I made it...for now, at least.

Taxes: That last post got more long-winded than I expected, so I figured I'd start another post for taxes.

I really hadn't thought about it much, since I figure once I'm retired, I'm going to be living mostly off of long-term capital gains, and qualified dividends, so it shouldn't be too bad. Of course, those RMDs from my inherited IRAs will slowly grow over time, and when I start tapping into my uncle's IRA, that one will likely trigger some pretty good taxes. And, if I start doing Roth conversions, that will trigger some taxes as well.

For awhile now, my overall effective federal tax rate has been around 8-12%, according to the calculation my tax man does and puts into the summary of my income taxes each year.

I just pulled up my last paystub from 2023, and it shows $10,735 Federal and $7,080 State/local. That's an incomplete picture, since it just includes taxes paid from my job, and I'm going to have capital gains, dividends, interest, and so on, plus the mortgage writeoff and other deductions. But, I guess it's a start.

Long term capital gains are actually zero, up to around $45,000 I think (single filing status). And, if I end up selling any stocks or mutual funds, there's the cost basis to take into consideration. So overall, I don't think taxes are going to be too bad.
It's been a bit since I've check in here, so I figured I'd post a minor update. My 54th birthday came and went, and I was holding above the $3.1M mark. April as a whole got a bit bumpy, but I never dropped below $3.0M. And as of 5/14, another minor milestone hit. With all invested assets added up, I'm at $3,205,359.

That $3.0M is just a psychological threshold; I know it doesn't really mean anything in the real world, not like it's a pass/fail situation. But still, it feels nice to be above it.

It's kinda weird though, thinking that if I really do stick to my fantasy of retiring at 55, that's now less than 11 months away! I know I should probably feel euphoric, but at the moment, about all I can muster up is "contented."
That last line really sticks with me - "contented"

Have you spent any time planning your retirement/next phase?
Not the dollars/cents/sense of it about how long you'll stay above $3M in the account, but WHAT or HOW you want to spend your time?

If I imagine planning any fun/freedom related event in my (working or non-working) lifetime as conceived only through the lens of how much money I saved up for it/would spend on it... i can imagine not being very excited to take that trip, go on that date, experience that thing/place as well.

I think a year or so ago i commented here and suggested you take a "gap year" to go travel/explore and see what lit you up. Seems now i probably should have started smaller.
Maybe it's time for a vision board about the things you'd like to do, places you'd like to go, experiences you'd like to have etc?

Maybe then instead of thinking through this from a have vs have-not mindset you could start being elated/euphoric about the potential adventures to come. Im pretty sure Ive already reinvented myself and lived 3 different lifetimes since walking away from the job (and Im excited/thrilled for the next one). At this point, we make just about every decision in our live with "content" as our lowest possible bar/thing to steer away from.

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
- Mary Oliver
Congrats on your goal. Are you still working?

You should start planning on where you are going to pull your money when you are retired. Do you have CD’s or other fixed income? If not, it’s probably a good idea to sell 1 years worth of stock in your brokerage account and keep it in a money market account. Setup automatic monthly transfers from the MM to your checking account.
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