Suddenly, FI

I had a blog post prepared back in February, in which I was explaining how I was getting really close to FI, and ready to move on to my next steps, which meant handling my resignation letter to my boss in March (and the whole schedule that came with it).

Then the virus hit the world, and with it the dramatic fall of stock markets worldwide, and it looked like my plans were postponed again, indefinitely.

Although I don’t get the impression that the pandemic’s under control, and in particular in the US, for some reason the US markets (and more generally the world’s markets, but let’s be honest, when you’re doing indexing, the US is the one that matters) have decided to go back up.

We’re not back to pre-pandemic levels on the S&P 500, but a combination of savings + luck (with some of my non-diversified investments that happen to be in tech companies) has bridged the gap.

And, for, I think the first time in my life, I can claim that I have reached my number (as of today 9-Jul 2020), and the goalpost isn’t moving (too much) anymore.*

To be certain, it’s not what I would consider my “FatFI, not a single worry in the world” number, and there’s always a risk that the market will fall again sometimes soon (or at least go sideways long enough for me to question my decision again), so, knocking on wood, but I’ve basically reached the point at which I consider it is ok for me to pull the plug on my comfortable yet stressful corporate position.

It’s never been the “FatFI” or ideal number, of course. But it’s the number that I’ve always described to myself as “if I’m really burned out, I can stop there and figure things out”. Turns out, I’ve been burned out from that corporate job for more than 5 years now, so it’s high time I reached for the exit.

What happens next might be RE, or it might turn into just a long vacation followed by employment again, I’m not sure I can tell at this point. Not only because I might be a bit short of my ideal financial target, but also because I might discover that Early Retirement isn’t for me after all. The confinement, and being forced to stay at home for months, has given me some appreciation for the office life, that I didn’t know was in me.

My plan as it stands, is the following:

  1. Wait until the end of the month of July to confirm I’m still reasonably close to “my number” (basically expecting we don’t get a huge crash in July).
  2. The above is somewhat a forced deadline as end of July will be roughly when I’m allowed to sell some of my company’s stock, to constitute a “cash fund” for the next 6 to 12 months. So basically I will sell once allowed and only if I’m not selling low by then.
  3. If 1 and 2 above worked properly, initiate a discussion with my manager early August to leave the company. This will not be a discussion of “if”, but of “when”, basically I don’t want to put my team in a bad position, and am open to stay longer than the minimum legal period, if there’s a need for it. For now I’m thinking of giving them 2 months based on #4 below:
  4. Wrap up and transition my responsibilities during August and Early September, take my remaining vacation days mid to end September, then come back a couple of days in October to say goodbye and give back my badge.

Knocking on wood that the market doesn’t go south during that process, as that would inevitably make me panic and abort 😛

* As it stands today, my “non Fat FI” number is 40% above what my original FI number was, when I did my calculations back in 2015. That’s a huge difference, and it’s weird to think how huge the target number looked back then, and how much more I own today despite still being at the “lower end” of my new expectations. What changed the most in those expectations was: 1 additional kid, kids costing more than expected, transportation, housing and food in Japan costing more than I remembered/calculated, and my side gig being only the shadow of what it used to be, meaning I can’t rely on it as part of my income in Early retirement.

  1. RetireJapan
  2. Eric B
  3. Financial Velociraptor