Saturday, May 3, 2014

It’s one year later, maybe it’s time now for a “Hmm...” moment


Hmm… where am I going with this?  This post was originally titled “One year later: It’s not a ticker-tape parade yet, but I’m working on it”.  If you know me in real life, you probably know from my incessant chatter that it’s now been one year since I decided to take the bulk of my personal savings out of the bank & throw it into the stock market.

I’ll spare you all the gory details as 1) they’re boring  2) I’m a step away from investment-illiterate 3) I’m embarrassed by the number of mistakes I made (after making an initial 25,000 investment, I lost 831.00 the very next day and panicked and jumped right back out).  But a day or so later I got back in the pool, and suffice it to say it was a good year on Wall Street.  I lucked out.  

From May 2013 to May 2014, my ‘taxable portfolio’ earned around 3K in dividends and 23K in capital gains—and it could vanish tomorrow!

I learned a lot of hard lessons this past year (like not investing in gold or REIT funds in your taxable accounts or spreading your money out too thin in a dozen different ones—and don’t get me started on all the headaches come tax-time, omigod the paperwork!)  But it was still definitely a smart move.  If I had left those savings in the bank, I would’ve earned a thousand, 1200 bucks tops.

(FYI, there is NO WAY I expect to earn in the next 12 months what I did up above; in fact, just the other night on the news they reported the market has only had about 1% growth since December.  It’s now May and I’m remaining hopeful, but that’s how this stuff rolls.)

Anyway, I must admit that all of this has gotten me thinking a lot more about those possibilities of early retirement again.  I don’t want to do anything rash or emotional, but I’m beginning to wonder if I can maybe, just maybe, bow out of my rat race a little sooner than expected.

wcfIf you haven’t noticed him yet, I have this little Indian dude on the lower right of my homepage with a very hopeful ‘Early Retirement Date’.  The date is calculated (by Intuit) based on how much you estimate you’ll need yearly, how much you have invested, and how well (or poor) the market’s performing.  There’s also a couple other variables, which I always leave blank to play it safe.

But let’s just suppose that one night out of curiosity (and stress and fatigue over my job) I did a little bit of fine-tuning on that date calculator… let’s say I changed my “Investing style” from conservative to “moderately aggressive” (because it is) and changed my monthly contribution from blank to $700.00 (because I do).   Wow, that just pushed the date back a good year!  

Now let’s suppose I took it a step farther, and convinced myself that I don’t need quite as much as I thought I did… hmm.  I’ve lived on 21K a year for as far back as I can track my annual expenses, do I really need 75% of my salary?   What if I could get by on 60%?  55%?  

I don’t know, I’m probably pushing my luck.  But right now I am just supposing, and thinking how awesome it’d be, and “technically doable”.  Time (and that damn stock ticker tape) will tell if a parade’s coming my way.


  1. It can only be a good thing that you're revising the quality of life/stash of moolah considerations.

    What about semi-retirement? Is there any scenario in which you can scale back the hours, either at your present salt mine or some other - freelance/consultancy, etc?

  2. Thanks for your thoughts Andrew--agreed with everything you said & if I had the opportunity to scale back my hours, I would. There's much to consider. I'll be revisiting this soon enough :)

  3. Why can't you scale back your hours? With a different employer, perhaps?

  4. Thanks Iikka, for now I am just doing some "wishful thinking", nothing more... :)


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