Welcome back to My Early Retirement Journey. In case you’re just joining us, here’s a little bit about me. I am a single 30-something, openly Christian, hesitantly immigrant-y, human woman. I love watching TV while eating takeout, and I want to retire early. I currently work as a consultant in a tele-health call center making around $40/hr. I started my professional life in 2015 at the ripe ole age of 31 after a few false starts. I spent 2016 paying off about $10,000 worth of credit card debt. I spent 2017 paying off about $20,000 in private student loans; I still have about $300,000 in federal student loans for which I am currently on an income-based repayment plan for the next 25 years, give or take. I started really getting into savings and investing late 2017 when I stumbled upon the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) community. In 2018, I made the decision to try to save for a sabbatical and maybe if all goes well continue the journey to early retirement. Along this journey, I give weekly updates just like this one. Come along with me, I urge you!
Monday – Yay! Another work week. Spent the bulk of the day between calls researching Croatia, Portugal, Lesotho, Dominica. Trying to plot my mini-retirement. Get me out of here! Based on flights from say Oct 11, 2018 to April 11, 2019, it was cheapest to leave out of Washington DC and fly to Porto, Portugal. After reading a few blogs, listicles, and articles, my day of searching was a bust. I have in my mind a 6 month sabbatical/ mini-retirement. To travel to Europe, I would need to get some sort of visa to stay past 90 days. Boo! I thought about just doing 3 months #easychoice. But 3 months is like a summer vacation. Which would’ve been nice in 2015 after finishing professional school and was just enough time during the K-12 years, but now I’m looking for more than enough time. I want to fully rest, reset, recuperate, restore… all the r words. Then I googled countries where you don’t need a visa to stay 6 months. On the list were: Barbados, Canada, Dominica, Lesotho, Mexico, Panama. Barbados, Dominica, and Mexico were quickly discounted. Island retreat is not of particular interest to me. I just picture running from weather regularly. Pass. I got stuck on Canada for the rest of the day because I want the convenience of my current life. I quickly realized it didn’t meet my other C: cost. Then the day was over. Defeated. What now?
Tuesday – Worked 8a-4p. Even got out on time. Went home and cleaned up the trail of debris left by sharing a space with another human. It’s been a trying 10 days. It wasn’t all bad. I think like any relationship, miscommunication and lack of communication was at the helm. Enough about that. After cleaning and sweating to death, went to Walmart to run errands and get my aunt her “things.” Spent about $58 (Budget: $50/wk) on our cart of stuff. Took my aunt to dinner (chicken and rice). That was about $24 (Avg: $9 for just me). By the time we got home it was around 9p. Showered. New Girl. Sleep. Repeat.
Wednesday – Working till 3p today because heading to Maryland after work. On the way to work I remember wishing I had a different life. I don’t even want to wake up really wealthy one day. I used to want that. Of course that would be nice, but as of this moment I just want to wake up with a whole new life. I want a reset button. I want to have the opportunity to take all the lessons I’ve learned and really win at life. I want to redo elementary school, middle school, high school, college, work life, friends, family. Everything! This sounds like a good idea for a post – design your life. Stay tuned. What would you do if you had a reset button?
Thursday – Went to my cousins’ college prep graduation from Good Counsel High School in Maryland (no affiliate). We left the house a bit after 7a to make sure we could find parking. Graduation didn’t start until 10a. That was fun, she said sarcastically. The drive to a lovely catholic church in downtown DC helped cement how much I don’t want to go back to living/driving in the city. As much as I hem and haw about NC, my life is very convenient here. I pay an emotional and somewhat financial price, but that’s what makes me stuck in a decision loop.
Knowing how much debt my aunt has accrued – pulling from her 401k and falling behind in her mortgage- to send my cousins here took the celebration out of it for me. And then knowing they are about to encounter another debt journey to go to college after I hemmed and hawed about which schools would lower their debt burden to have it fall on deaf ears just made it a bittersweet day. Plus I was tired.
There were a few people there to help celebrate my cousins’ commencement that I didn’t know and in small talks about college, debt, and personal finance in general, I affirmed a few realizations: meeting new people is really not that much fun for me anymore; I don’t like when people disagree with something I feel so strongly about; just as I haven’t been able to successfully evangelize about Christianity, talking about FIRE is met with similar incredulity. When to me I just wish someone would’ve mentioned (maybe more than once) a different path to college and personal finance when I started on my debt journey, it’s hard to swallow that people are about to walk into my mistakes. I am not of the popular opinion that you need to let people make their own mistakes. What the heck are parents and your elders for if not to guide you! What’s the point in making the same mistakes as those who came before you?
Friday– Yay, 4 day weekend! So glad I decided to drive back home last night even though the time I left added 2 hours of traffic to my journey. Woke up in my own bed with fresh sheets, the sun shining, and no work! It’s Memorial Day this coming Monday and I have 3 new post ideas I’m going to work on. I woke up fairly rested and excited to create some content. Onwards!
TV this week: New Girl, Family Feud (courtesy of my aunt)
Takeout this week: Peruvian chicken and rice
BlueBird (no affiliate) balance: (as of 5/23/18)
Note: I use the Amex BlueBird prepaid card in my current Working Budget for regular monthly expenses (groceries, eating out, phone, gas, etc..). My last budget update 03Mar2018 showed this line item as $540/mon (down from $600/mon), but in April 2018 I decided to challenge myself to $430/mon based on my idea that my bare bones budget, if needed and possibly in early retirement, is 500/500/500 housing/student loan/expenses. Since my loans are currently $566/mon I subtracted that $66 from the $500 for expenses and rounded down.
Next pay date: $215 is auto-deposited the 8th and 23rd of every month.