Slowly Sipping Coffee

Time Changes Everything: 2 years blogging!

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…

Oh, California...

Oh, 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.

Crude oil price historical graph overlain with our life events -- So much change

Crude oil price historical graph overlain with our life events — So much change

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…

Less of these views

Less of these views

Maybe more of these mountain views!

Maybe more of these mountain views!

 

Summary

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!

43 thoughts on “Time Changes Everything: 2 years blogging!

  1. Ms. Montana

    I vote Kalispell/Whitefish! We can be neighbors! We have lived here the last 4 years and love it. When we moved from Germany, the Army would move us anywhere, and this place won, hands down. It has every outdoor sport you can think of, and I love the schools.

    1. Mr. SSC

      We’re going out there next year to check it out, but from afar, it’s looking good. 🙂 I’ll let you know more when we get closer to the time, but it will be around the 4th of July fyi.

  2. Fervent Finance

    It’s been a pleasure to follow your journey! For me a ton has changed in the last two years. On the financial front my income has increased dramatically while I’ve gotten my expenses in check. I’ve paid off my student loans early, even the ones with low interest rates. I’ve also moved from Manhattan to the Midwest. I think I’ve also come to terms with not defining myself by my career, even though it can be hard since in my profession this is what you have to do to advance up the ranks.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks! Isn’t it amazing how much can change in as seemingly as little time as 2 years? It’s been interesting seeing you make that transition to the Midwest and how far you’ve come in two years, too.

      Early on in my career, I didn’t have much interest in climbing the ranks other than staying technical, no mgmt. For me changing companies was the best thing I did career wise, pay wise, and sanity wise. Something to keep in mind if a good opportunity comes up. Your current gig sounds pretty sweet though, so that would be hard to beat.

  3. Mr. PIE

    Well thank you for being a big part of our mindset change.

    Like a fully funded mindset change! Same company, new job. Same life, new outlook.

    Really got to grips with what we want to do and how we are going to do it. The biggest thing is realizing we just enjoy the simple things the most – that is the great outdoors. And that aligns perfectly with where we plan to relocate and live the next phase of our lives.

    I hear you on the PF saturation. I feel at a plateau with information, knowledge. Yet there continues to be little nuggets, gems, pearls of wisdom that add to the knowledge base. Never cease to be amazed by those ah ha moments when reading blogs. Including those from your own fine blog. Keep writing. Keep sharing your stories. Mr and Mrs. PIE are fans! And not just of your coffee…..?

    1. Mr. SSC

      I’m glad to help adjust your mindest and coffee hobbies. 🙂

      I can’t wait to be somewhere where the great outdoors isn’t still 86 degrees in November. 🙂

      I should have used saturation, much better phrasing, because it’s not burnout, just a plateau. I still get the ah ha moments reading everyone else’s blogs, it’s jsut been difficult to connect and not feel like i’ve written about the same thing 4 times already, hahahaha

      I’m not throwing in the towel though, and I definitely won’t force writing just to have something to post each week, trust me noone wants to read that drivel. 🙂 I just need a reset – thank goodness for the holidays!

  4. Maggie @ Northern Expenditure

    You guys rock! I can’t wait to hang out at FinCon! You really have come so far and your lives have changed so much. I wouldn’t say our lives have changed all that much in the past two years except now we have a plan and that changes everything. The future is still so uncertain (retire in ten years for real? take a gap year with the family? move someone else entirely? start our own thing?) – sometimes I wish I could look into a crystal ball, but that would defeat all the experiences that would get me there!

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks, I can’t wait to meet you too, it’s gonna be awesome!

      A plan in itself is a huge change – it gives focus and direction to otherwise unbridled enrgy and passion. 🙂

      With the amount of things that have changed in just the last 2 years, I’d be a fool to say I can see what life’s going to be like in 2 more years. Maybe I’ll be a stay at home dad by then, or maybe still working for another 8 months, who knows. 🙂

      I think I too would avoid looking into the crystal ball if given the opportunity – that’s what living life is all about – the unknown.

  5. Elephant Eater

    Happy Birthday! Glad to have found you as your idea of FFLC has been really helpful and instrumental in our own ideas. Totally understand the burnout as I’ve experienced the same thing and I think it is inevitable with little ones (one little one is plenty tough for us!). Keep at it as you get inspired.

    As for where to live, hopefully we’ll have a decision for ourselves in about 12-18 months and you can just follow. We’ll need people to get outside with while everyone else is working;)

    1. Mr. SSC

      Same with finding your blog, it’s been great finding a blog with similar ideas and with kids, and you’ve been helpful shaping some of our outlook as well.

      Less but better…

      Find the right spot, and we’ll follow right along, lol. Not having people to hang out with during the week could be a real issue. 🙂

  6. Todd

    I found you guys a year ago and owe a tremendous amount of my FIRE clarity to the SSC’s – between the spreadsheet, college input, and having children and trying to do this crazy FIRE thing, you’ve been a great inspiration. Most importantly, the emails between Mr. SSC and Mrs. SSC are literally what finally got my wife “to see the light”.

    Something that always stood out to me was the insane sounding goal you set one year of investing $150,000. Well, two years ago we probably invested the normal 15% and thought we were doing great. Fast forward to today and we’ll hit our yearly goal this year a month early of $65,000 invested and next year are making that a $100,000!

    Thanks again for the inspiration!

    1. Mr. SSC

      That is amazing progress! I’m glad and humbled we helped out so much, especially with getting the wife on board. That can be a huge hurdle to overcome, look, it only took me about 6 years to get on board with Mrs. SSC. (Palm slap to forehead, and shaking head)

      Those savings goals are awesome, congrats on hitting them, and even hitting them early! Woohoo!! That’s not an easy step to make, but you guys are rocking it!

      Seriously though, another 6-7 years of savings like that and you will be in a pretty amazing position for yourself and your family.

    1. Mr. SSC

      The Springs isn’t outside of our realm of possibility. Easy access to mountains, lots of outdoors stuff, close access to skiing, it’s not as big as Denver (shudder) and more. 🙂

  7. Tawcan

    Congrats on 2 years. Time goes by fast when you’re having fun! I’m super excited and looking forward to FinCon and finally able to meet bloggers in person. 😀

  8. ChooseBetterLife

    I can sympathize with your kid’s need for a jacket–my limit is 80 degrees 🙂 Come join us in Phoenix!
    Congrats on your 2-year anniversary and on the self-knowledge that you’ve gained. The future sounds exciting!

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks, I’m excited tos ee how the future turns out and will keep everyone around ehre informed about changes with us. 🙂

      I know it’s a dry heat, but Phoenix is still pretty hot… 🙂 After living in or near Denver, Chicago, New Orleans, and Houston, over the last 2 decades, I think we’re ready to get to somewhere significantly smaller though.

  9. Harmony@CreatingMyKaleidoscope

    I’m so thankful to have you two as bloggy friends. It was always refreshing to read your unique plans for FIRE and I still love your term “fully funded lifestyle change.”

    You have a ton of options for the future, which is wonderful. I can’t wait to find out what you decide to do and where you end up moving.

    Happy Anniversary!

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks! I’m still amazed by how friendly this PF community is, and the amount of people we’ve gotten to know through the blog. 🙂

      We found the FFLC term fit what we wanted even if it wasn’t necessarily “no more work.” 🙂

      It’s nice having options and exciting not knowing how they’re going to pan out, especially with the moving aspect.

  10. TheMoneyMine

    Congrats on the 2 years! It’s amazing how time flies and how many things can happen in such a short period. In the last 2 years, I’ve started a blog, got married, bought a house, changed jobs, survived a downturn, had a daughter. Also got a helluva lot closer to FI than I ever thought possible.
    I’ve also had this PF burn-out / hang-over over the last few months, sometimes I just want time to go by faster so we can reach FI already. But then there’s something like Fincon that comes in Texas and I get motivation again another 12 months haha.
    Keep the stories coming, it’s exciting that you guys are getting so close to the goal!

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks, and Congrats to you on all your changes. Having a daughter is a HUGE change, everything else aside. 🙂 Looking back over 2 years, it is crazy how much things can change, and even crazier how little of it we “predicted” or expected to happen.

      I understand the PF burnout, especially adapting to a little one around the house. Fortunately, the blog was started after both of ours were born, because otherwise, it would have dried up due to lack of attention, lol. I’m impressed you’ve stayed on top of it as much as you have, good job man!

      It gets closer every day, and don’t worry, more stories will be coming out. 🙂

  11. Vicki@MakeSmarterDecisions

    Congratulations on 2 years of blogging! That’s an outstanding accomplishment. I love your FFLC mindset too! Your future plans sound so exciting – having so many options is incredible itself! I am just getting ready to write my first reader “case study” – a relocation decision! I coached some folks working on making a decision to leave California (you’re right – stupid California!) because they couldn’t build the life they wanted there! We’ll be in Dallas for our first FinCon too. Looking forward to hopefully meeting you there!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks and you’re right, just having so many options is incredible!

      Isn’t it amazing that for a family of 4, based off the rentals we looked at, and online COL calculators, we would be underwater every month. Maybe not under water, but paycheck to paycheck, and little to no margin for emergencies or error. It’s just ridiculous.

      However, if that job showed back up in 2 more years, I’d be tempted to take it and do a one more year or two funded out in CA. 🙂 Hahahaha It’s nice to have options indeed.

      I’m looking forward to the case study, and hopefully seeing you in FinCon!

  12. Jacq

    2 years ago… I was frustrated at the lack of opportunity for advancement at that job, doing something new because a coworker got stuck in India on visa issues, and feeling like my boss was on a hunt for a reason to get rid of me, living in an apartment.
    I have since wrapped my head around my own FFLC, where why aim for a job c-suite that will take the life blood from my remaining working years, when I can be my own CEO? I have a new job working with and for a better matched group of people, which got me motivated into home ownership (bonus since the new rental company in those 2 years couldn’t get my rent check deposited properly, resulting in inaccurate late charges and even an eviction notice on my door), to facilitate a shorter commute.
    I am teaching yoga, and evaluating my time to teach, and training opportunities vs other career boosters, vs gaining experience for future jobs. I can do ekapada galavasana!!! (Yoga pose).
    I am also putting away more than the match in my 401k at work, contributing to a HSA, have a taxable account and sold & bought stock to diversify my dividend stuff. 🙂
    Yesterday was my new job anniversary and the difference in my general emotion level is remarkable.
    Congratulations on 2 years! Here’s to many more good surprises in the years to come. 🙂

    1. Mr. SSC

      Wow, that’s an impressive 2 years for you too! And that yoga pose is no joke, holy cow!

      I had a similar situation with job burnout/bad boss/no motivation going on when I left my last company and just over 2 years at this one and it’s still pretty amazing. My mood is better, mind is better, and wallet is better off. Sometimes, it just takes hitting that limit to spur change, and then it’s like the floodgates open with goodwill coming our way.

      Congrats on your new job anniversary!

  13. The Green Swan

    What a journey over the last two years! It’s been great following your blog and I look forward to seeing where life takes you next.

    We currently live in Charlotte but that isn’t necessarily a long term thing. Eventually we’ll want to find our retirement location too so I’d be curious to know more as you weigh your decision.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks, and I’m glad to have come across your blog as well. Maybe you guys will be able to choose more easily than us, but it’s taken a while to hone in on an area.
      We started with findyourspot.com to get some ideas for cities that would suit our preferences. Then we use city-data.com to check out weather, snowfall, income stats, employment stats, anything you can think of to see if it would fit what we’re looking for as well.

      Essentially, we’ve narrowed it down to the Tri-State NC/TN/VA sort of area, or the ID/MT kind of area in the “warmer” microclimate part of those states. We actually found it easier to make a map of the US and start shading in places we wouldn’t live or wouldn’t want to live. 🙂

      Good luck with figuring that out for you guys too!

  14. Mrs. COD

    We love following your journey! As a public school counselor and teacher, respectively, we thought we’d never be able to retire! We came across Mr. Money Mustache, you guys, and many others, and in the past year we’ve gotten almost completely out of debt and I’ve quit to stay home with our kids for awhile. Once I return to work, we’ll hit savings hard and be able to retire by our early fifties if not before! Looking forward to reading as your plans evolve, too!

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks for the support! Congrats on being almost completely out of debt, that’s awesome! One thing we found was the first number we came up with, retiring at 45, got changed a lot the more we looked at our numbers, assumptions, risk tolerance and more. I wouldn’t be surprised if yours ends up earlier than you think the more you work with it and shape it.

      Good luck and I look forward to reading about your journey too!

  15. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    Happy blogiversary! I just heard a quote yesterday that went something like this: “Remember when thinking of retiring that you’re going towards something and not away from something.” In other words, think of it as a stepping stone to a new purpose. Living place? I’d vote for MT or the tri-state area of TN/NC/VA. Love those places!

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks! I definitely have something to “retire to” versus just hot-tailing it away from my job, lol. That’s a funny image anyway.

      As far as where to live, I know right?! Both of those places are beautiful. While we may do out West to start, ultimately, we’ll probably end up in the Tri-State area longer term. It just feels more inviting and like home to me, even though the West is breathtaking.

  16. Brian @ Debt Discipline

    Only two years? Seems like a lot longer and in a good way. 🙂 It is great to look back and see how far we have come. A lot has changes for us too. New job, no debt, college almost here for two of our three children. Congrats on the two years! Looking forward to the next couple.

    1. Mr. SSC

      It seems a lot longer AND a lot shorter, both in good ways. 🙂

      Yeah, you guys have made loads of progress in the past 2 years, that’s great!
      I’m looking forward to the next couple of years as well.

  17. Fruclassity (Ruth)

    Over the last two years, we’ve managed to get out of all non-mortgage debt, save an emergency fund, and see our 6-figure debt go to 5 figures. I started Fruclassity with Laurie, and I’m about to do my first real public speaking engagement. You’re right … lots of changes! Congrats on your two years : ) Always a pleasure to read your story.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Those are impressive steps for just 2 years, good job! I read Laurie’s blog and then when there were whisperings of starting Fruclassity, I thought, “Yep, I’d read that” and I do. 🙂

      Thanks for the support and the providing some good reading over at Fruclassity!

  18. Mustard Seed Money

    That’s great that you’ve been blogging for two years and still have so much to say. All those locations look amazing and while I’m only familiar with Roanoke, I’ve heard some amazing things about Durango 🙂

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Haha, in theory there is still so much to say. It’s just hard getting passionate about it sometimes. 🙂

      I can’t wait to see where we end up, it’s going to be beautiful regardless. I’m just crossing my fingers it’s not Hill Country in Texas.

  19. ZJ Thorne

    Two years ago I started my business, and this quarter I will finally pay myself a token amount! Hopefully 2017 is the year I stop working FT elsewhere.

    Congrats on all your progress!

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