I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since we started the blog! Okay, it’s actually 2 months late, but, close enough for me. Going back thru all of our earlier posts and reading them (yeah I read almost all of them – again) I realized, “Holy Cow some things have changed a LOT since we started writing. Here’s what I found has changed in our Financially Independent Retire Early (FIRE) mindset, our myriad of plans, my comfort level with leaving the workforce at my peak earning years (who does that?!) and even how our timing has changed over the years. Before we get to the changes, I just want to say THANK-YOU to everyone that’s followed the blog, makes comments on the posts, and retweets the scant few things I put out there! You guys are an awesome community and I’m glad to be a part of it!
First, I’m amazed that it’s been 2 years and I’m still writing, that’s been great! It’s added up to 127 posts, 2,325 comments and 130 subscribers. We’re even trending around 400 twitter followers and I rarely tweet things, just can’t get into that habit… I know we’re still small potatoes, but that’s way more than I expected when we started this. Thanks again guys!
We still want to work
The biggest thing that struck me was that even in our very first posts, we referred to the ER part of FIRE as “pre-tirement” because neither one of us wanted to necessarily stop working. We just wanted a change from this crazy busy lifestyle we built for ourselves and be able to have more time to spend with the kids. Ultimately, we settled on our phrase of “Fully Funded Lifestyle Change” (FFLC) which embraces more of the FI and less of the ER.
In the 2 years since we started the blog, we both got new jobs, which we would have never guessed 2 years ago. Although technically, I started my new job when the blog was still in idea mode, but I still count it! Mrs. SSC left her job to teach, which was a 6 figure pay cut, but resulted in a 6 figure increase in our overall happiness!
We have both avoided (so far) getting laid off through this oil and gas downturn. I even got offered a job in California, but we ultimately couldn’t take it because even with a 6 figure salary, it wouldn’t cover our cost of living. Stupid California…
Our FFLC Plans Changed – A LOT
Our first go around of the FFLC budget was pretty laughable compared to where it is today. Even the planning spreadsheet got a huge facelift. If you’re into spreadsheets, you can download a version and Mrs. SSC walks you through it so you too can use it. We even detailed how we added in college savings and whether we should cover all, some, or in between.
Budgeting for kids is tough. Making assumptions on how much they’ll cost, how much to increase the grocery budget when they get ravenous, how much clothing allowance should increase, and did we include enough of a buffer for their sports/music/extracurricular activities? That sounds like it could be a whole post in itself.
We adjusted our risk tolerance which changed our timeline by a year or so. In one of our first posts, we projected a 4-7 year timeline which would be ~2018-2021. However, we also projected our savings by then, and we’re already ahead of that number. It’s amazing how things snowball at a certain point. Over the 2 years, we’ve revised the date forward and backwards, but it still lands around a fairly solid 2018.
Where to Live
We want to move when we make our FFLC, but haven’t quite decided on a town yet. That’s not for lack of choices though, as we’ve thoroughly investigated: Coeur D’Alene, ID, Roanoke, VA, Tri-State area of TN, NC, VA, Whitefish/Kalispell, MT, Durango, CO, Loveland and Fort Collins, CO, and even shudder the thought… Hill Country of Texas (shudder again). Any votes to sway us in a direction, be sure to let me know in the comments! We haven’t settled on anywhere yet, but will probably rent out West to begin with. Then we can find a place while living there, or move and buy a place somewhere else. I still think going from the Gulf Coast to Southern Canada might be a rough transition. Especially because our youngest likes wearing a jacket when the temps drop below 70…
To wrap-up, it’s been a great journey so far. Getting to know all of you guys out there and read your thoughts, and get your support on this journey has been awesome. I can’t wait to get to meet some of you at FinCon next year too! While, I’ve kind of gotten some PF burn out recently (I didn’t think it was possible) I’m excited for what’s to come. In the last 2 years so much has changed, it’s hard to capture it all, but I’m more curious about how much everything will change in 2 more years. I could be a stay at home dad by then, or counting down to August 2019 for that change, or maybe we’ve moved to a teaching gig Mrs. SSC got that’s nowhere on our list of places. Who knows?
What’s changed for you in the last 2 years? Anything major, anything minor, reduced debt, gained debt (hopefully not)? Let me know I’d love to hear about it!