I have set out an aim to be financial independent by the age of 45 and then retire; retire to a life where I don’t have to work for money to sustain my family. Read about my audacious goal here.
Currently I am 33 therefore have 12 long years to stick to the early retirement plan that I laid out for myself. It is a pretty long duration to stay motivated and without the right metrics, I am bound to go astray along the way. Therefore it is important that this long period is broken down into smaller time frames with individual metrics. In this post I am going to do just that. And in this journey of finding the right metrics to keep track of early retirement, this post on Reddit has helped me a lot.
(FIRE) Financial Independence Retire Early Progress Phases & Metrics
I have divided this 12 years long period into 3 smaller phases –
- Take Off Phase
- Cruise Control Phase
- Landing Phase
Let’s have a look at each one of them in detail now
Take Off Phase
This is just the beginning of early retirement journey and I would imagine it would last for a year’s time. During this phase enthusiasm would be pretty high as I would be seeing my net-worth growing pretty fast. Since the net-worth base is small, any addition would result in substantial growth rate. Also since I would be reading and learning a lot about financial independence and early retirement, this phase would be most exciting. I imagine I would also tend to check my net-worth far too frequently.
Hence according to me the metric which should be tracked during this phase is “Change in Net-Worth”. The reason for choosing this metric is high growth rate in net-worth. It happens due to small base. This is how my net-worth looks like in initial couple of months.
And here is the chart of rate of growth in Net-worth.
Rate of growth in Net-worth is fantastic in initial months as the base is too low and this keeps the motivation alive. We feel good that month over month, our net-worth is increasing by such a handsome rate and it keeps us enthusiastic. But as the base starts to build up, growth rate drops drastically. At the end of 12 months itself, it has come down to 10% for me.
Cruise Control Phase
Once the initial euphoria gets settled and financial discipline has found its way, comes the Cruise Control Phase. This phase would be the longest and perhaps the most boring one too. During this phase, savings and investments would be on autopilot. Mind would already be conditioned and I would be living just a routine life. I think I would also tend to check my net-worth less frequently as tracking it on daily basis wouldn’t make sense. I would realize that it is a long battle and not a short sojourn.
And in such a case, what metric would I choose? How would I keep the fire burning alive? I think this metric would help – “Number of Months I can go comfortably without a job“. I find this to be a very useful metric as the realisation that “I would have accumulated enough money to last XXX months without a job” is very exciting. It will fuel me; it will rejuvenate me to keep going, keep saving and investing; just keeping doing the stuff which I am doing and I will see these months (without a job) ballooning into years.
Landing phase is those last couple of years prior to the actual retirement. I would see my net-worth inching closer to the required retirement corpus. Here is retirement calculator Excel I used to find out “How much money I need to retire”
I imagine I would get restless as I would be itching to get past the finishing line. I would probably be dreaming about the post retirement life; the activities I will do; how I will keep myself occupied etc. I imagine it would be a good phase to be in where I would probably be thinking about saving some extra money and bringing the finish line nearer. I would just try to cut corners on big capital expenses.
In such a scenario, I would imagine I would worry about my Health and mental well being. Therefore metric for this phase would be “How Healthy I am?” I would want to make sure that when I hang up my boots on salaried life, I am in a good health; I am in a good health to enjoy my second life. 🙂
What do you think about these metrics? Do you have other metrics which can be used to track Financial Independence & Early Retirement Progress. Do you have any feedback or queries? In any case, don’t hesitate to post it in comments.