I am now firmly in the ‘boring’ middle years on my way to FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)
2023 marks my sixth year of pursuing FIRE – time indeed waits for no man (or woman)! On some levels, the last 5 years have sped by in a blink of an eye. But it also feels like it’s dragged on. There are times when I’ve so wanted to be at the destination already. Patience has never been my virtue, haha!
My decade goals (2020 – 2029) have not changed but there are dates against 2 of them now
1. Retire on 31 Dec 2026
2. Visit Antarctica – January 2027
3. Run a marathon
I am on track to retire earlyish at 55. Staying the course is very much the vibe as far as finances are concerned. However, I’m not delaying happiness ie I don’t want to wait until I retire to be happy. I want to live a happy and full life now. So I’ll continue to work on the non financial aspects of my life while staying the course on the financial part.
Visiting Antarctica is a matter of saving up for it and being able to take annual leave. I’ve never been able to take leave in January in the last 30 years of my working life. Colleagues with children always take priority at this time. So January 2027, it is – it’ll be my big trip to start off my retirement.
Running a marathon is still a goal. I just haven’t worked very hard towards it in the last 2 years. But I will start running again this year.
I started having a one word theme in 2022 – I found it really helpful at times when I wasn’t very motivated through the year. So I’d like to do the same this year.
My word for 2023 is Adventure ie I want to try new activities or experiences. I rediscovered what I loved in 2022. So it’s time for new adventures in 2023.
What will I focus on in 2023?
Goal 1 - Invest a Minimum of $30k into my Shares Portfolio
Why ‘minimum’ and not a concrete number?
My shares portfolio consists of individual shares in addition to ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) and LICs (Listed Investment Companies).
I bought individual shares before I learned about ETFs and LICs. I haven’t added to them since I first bought them. But being a fan of Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRP) means that my holdings have slowly increased as dividends were automatically reinvested.
It’s come to a point where their combined value would sustain me for a year if I were to sell them. So I’ve stopped participating in their DRPs as I no longer want to increase my holdings. This means I’ll receive cash dividends.
I’ve recently changed how I receive these cash dividends.
They are now deposited into the same account used to purchase my main ETF (that tracks the top 300 companies in the ASX). When the balance in this account (at my broker, Pearler) reaches a predetermined amount, it automatically purchases shares in this main ETF.
I’m far too lazy to work out which portion of the purchase dollars comes from dividends and which is from my weekly contribution. Therefore, as long as I’ve invested more than $30k, I’ll be happy.
This will be the last year in which I expect to invest this much into my shares portfolio. I will have to start saving cash in my final 3 years before I retire.
Goal 2 - Replenish my Emergency Fund
I am trying VERY HARD not to see my Emergency Fund as a slush fund. I feel secure having 6 months of living expenses in the fund. But anytime I need extra cash, I raid it.
I tried not having as much in it but in the end, I felt insecure so I’m back to saving up 6 months of living expenses. It’s at 5 months at the end of 2022 so it’s nearly there!
Goal 3 - Save $5000 in my Home Maintenance Fund
Goal 4 - Engage a Fee Only Financial Adviser
Goal 5 - Declutter
Goal 6 - Go to bed at 11pm
Goal 7 - Go outside for 30 Minutes Every Day
I’m also being specific here because I wasn’t so good at taking care of my physical health in 2022.
But I’m not limiting what I do while I’m outside – it can be gardening, running, walking or having my coffee outside. I just have to be outside and not lie on the couch whenever I can.
Hopefully increasing my physical activity will stabilise my cholesterol and weight