Reflecting on the first year of my FIRE glide-path / Coast FIRE

CO-guy

Recycles dryer sheets
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Aug 2, 2021
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Whatever people reading this want to call it, I recently turned 53 and this year went flying by. Some highs and a few lows, but overall wonderful!

My former employer offered me a half-time remote role, which ended up being about 10/hr a week. The contract wrapped on a bit of a sour note that I posted about here, but it was a great opportunity to have this past year to transition into my glide path (coast?), sort out healthcare, etc. Plus, my consulting business has been doing so well that it was easy to "drop" my former employer as soon as they became a 'fussy client.'

It's been a full year for travel, starting with a big family trip to Italy last summer with the in-laws for 10 days, a family reunion in Rome with the extended family, and then another two weeks floating around Italy with just the better-half. I took several long-weekend trips before and after the holidays to see some old friends, and my family was in town visiting for three weeks over the holidays. They're from the Caribbean and I was able to get locally raised beef to make traditional holiday dishes like oxtail while they sat by the fire. This is the longest we've spent with both of our families in years, and it was incredible to have that time with them. We also took a few romantic getaways to other ritzy ski resorts and a hot spring resort in Colorado. I also managed to ski over 50 days this season, in spite of the variable conditions in early winter. My better-half was in Portugal and Germany last month, and she will be heading to France next month and Italy again later in the year with just her mom: All while holding down a full-time position. She's amazing. I just got back from two trips in the past few weeks (East Coast and West Coast) and we're both heading down to the Caribbean for a few weeks this summer to spend more time with my family and friends. I'm also starting to plan an extended trip to Japan, but that's not until Feb. 2025.

Our home equity keeps growing, along with the TIAAs, IRAs and liquid assets, while I continue playing the Roth catch-up game. The salary from my former employer will go from $23k/yr for part-time in 2023 to $0 in 2024. However, while my online business brought in $65k in 2023, I'm on track to break $100k this year, which more than covers the gap. My spouse continues to increase her salary from $58k/yr in 2023 to $64k/yr in 2024, and rental income has remained basically the same as we offered our long-term tenants another year at the same rate. Important for us is that rent still cover all our monthly housing expenses including, mortgage, property taxes, insurance, utilities and much of the maintenance. Similar to last year, we're expecting to earn around $200k in 2024 and our expenses continue to hold steady at around $4000/month. I know that's a lot of travel on a shoestring budget, but the trips to Europe have either been professional travel for the better-half or paid for by my (very insistent) MIL.

Long-term, my plan is to wind down my consulting business over the next 5 years. I'm hiking, biking and skiing whenever I can and picking up consulting projects that allow me the flexibility to set my own schedule. Last week I picked up a project simply because an old friend lost her dog of 15 years, and I used the money to pay someone to rescue a van full of puppies from a 100% kill shelter yesterday in honor of her dog. I'm involved with two local non-profit organization and serve as board president for one of them. It's a "working board" rather than a "charitable board" and so I'm in the office for meetings with the executive director and other staff a half-day each week. It's a highlight in my week. I've been on the board now for four years and we've managed to accomplish some huge feats for the organization including, expanding programming, growing the number of clients served and systematically reworking every income stream for the organization in order to pay all employees a living wage, at least according to the most recent county report.

I had previously decided to delay FIRE by a year, which worked out great, and I now have no regrets about leaving my former employer on my own terms and on my own time. Hopefully next year will be as travel filled.
 
Glad to hear it's all w*rking out for you. Do keep us posted on your new life.
 
Congratulations, sounds like your plan is working.
 
Interesting (as I'm also a 53-year-old). You are still doing a whole lot! If it's "work" that you like, then this is working great.
 
Thank you all!

I spent 7 years juggling the "9-5" with building my own consulting business. That meant putting in 70+ hr/wk for most of a decade. This past year it's been dreamy to spend only 10hr/wk remote part-time and 20-25 hr/wk consulting mostly remotely (35hr/wk total).

This coming year my goal is to consult no more than 25hr/wk (95% remote), which is an amount that I think is manageable. If not, then I'll keep trimming my portfolio of clients until it is manageable.
 
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