How FIRE prepared me for RIFE.
Last week my employer RIFED me. RIFE (Reduction in Fulltime Equivalent) is a fancy way to say my job was eliminated. Now for many people that would send them into a panic mode. As it very well should. Losing one’s job is a horrible thing, but for me grasping the FIRE movement has been a great help. Thank you Mr. 1500!
Why you ask am I not in complete panic? Let me list the reasons:
I had a feeling that my job was not secure, so I began to get organized. I took the initiative to understand my current situation, put together a list of needed changes and then implemented them. So what did I do?
Expenses: I got a thorough understanding of expenses. What are fixed, what are variable and what changes need to be made.All my fixed expenses were put on monthly billing to one credit card that is not used for anything else. My monthly fixed expenses total $681.
Debt: I paid down as much debt as I could as fast as I could and am now left with a mortgage, a HELOC and a car payment. The car payment will be paid off very quickly and that will leave a monthly debt service of $835 per month.
Cash Reserve: I built up $20K in cash on the sidelines for emergencies. This needs to get bigger but it is better than the beginning of the year. My ultimate goal is to have $240K in cash to cover the first two years of living.
Variable Expenses: I use a different credit card for all variable expenses to make it easy to identify where our money is going.
One time expenses: Property taxes and Homeowners Insurance will run $4800 and $2700 respectively.
Investments: I looked at all the different investments that we had and made a decision that a change needed to be made. The change was simple. Reduce the number of holdings, focus on stocks that have a good dividend that is sustainable as well as growing and finally put them all in one place. I chose TD Ameritrade for its platform, research and ease of use. My goal is to have a dividend stream of at least $48000 per year in 5 years. I am at $15000 now and all are in Roth IRA’s.
Future:By going through this process I have also been able to really focus in on what I will need to get to the next phase of my life. One with less work and more fun. So in 7 years I will still have my fixed expenses, debt will be gone and variable expenses will be at approximately $3000 per month. That being said my goal is to have an income of at least $84000 per year. So if I work backwards $84000 – $48000 (Roth dividends) -$12000 (Traditional IRA) I will need to fill in with $24000 from either work or Social Security. My Social Security is estimated at $24000 as is Mrs. Frees. We should be good to go up to $108K per year. I am just keep some in reserve.
My plan now is to find a dream job that I can keep until I decide to retire. But does that mean I will stop working. Not at all. But it will allow me to do what I want at my own pace and be totally free to walk away if I want to. Just a little later than most of you.