Freedom 40 in 40 – Part I

In just over 40 months I will be turning 40 years old and while I started this blog with the idea of leaving my day job at 45, I’m revising that down to 40th birthday.  Hence the title Freedom 40 in 40.

Yet on this path to financial freedom I’ve come to realize something very important.  Yes having the money side of things planned out is very important, but often that gets all the focus on people’s planning and we ignore the other aspects of our lives that contribute to our happiness such as do you have close friends, what do you do with your time, do you contribute to something meaningful to you, and do you get to create something?

So over the next 40 months I’m going to execute a multiple prong plan to build myself a satisfying life.  I don’t want to come out the other side of things not ready, willing and able to enjoy my new found freedom to the utmost.  So over the next few posts I’m going to outline my plan to address many of these issues to help me bridge where I am now in my life and where I want to be in 40 months.

You might ask why a 40 month period of time?  Well partly, yes, it just sounds cool to say, but reality is that people grossly overestimate what they can get done in a year, but grossly underestimate what you can get done in a multiple year long plan.  It is entirely possible to build an new life in just a few short years if you have a well thought out plan on where you are and where you want to end up and the steps between those two.

To help everyone sort this out I’ve broken down my plans into the following areas that I want to focus on:

  • Family and friends – My social supports.
  • Giving back – How I want to support others around me.
  • Creative and Meaningful work – building a writing career.
  • Enjoying leisure time
  • Obtaining independence – Mainly financial, but also other skills.

I’ll address each of these areas in a post in the next few weeks.  I welcome comments and ideas on what else I should consider in my plans.

13 thoughts on “Freedom 40 in 40 – Part I”

  1. Hello Tim,

    It appears that I am a month older than you, so I have only 39 months,feel that pressure! I have been following the posts for a while now and it has been great inspiration. At home how are you tracking your progess, electronically with a spreadsheet, Gantt Chart, or other? I am using a spreadsheet, but doesn’t work as a visual reminder everyday of my goals and progress.

  2. I do tracking a few different ways. Spending is tracked using Mint Canada which works well as a feedback loop, then our spending cash my wife and I use a spending app called Toshl Finance. My monthly updates I track in a spreadsheet monthly which I post the summary on the blog. Then finally for this series of posts I realize I need to track some of my habits to help make sure I am making progress on them. So I’m looking at creating a simple weekly/monthly scorecard to help me track my progress on those things until they just become habits. Yes, I’m a bit obsessive with data tracking, but literally that is a good part of my job at work. 😉

  3. Looking forward to reading these posts. You’re a great inspiration to me and I’m hoping to something similar as you in the future. Only in my early 30s so still have a bit way to go.

  4. Tim,
    I have been reading alot of these blogs and the one subject that never seems to come up in them is divorce. What happens to all the lifelong planning and target years to retirement and so on if that should happen. Usually spouses will split assets in half and then there could be spousal and or child support. It kind of throws a wrench into the equation. Is there a provision for that in financial planning, or is it a curve ball we hopefully will avoid?

  5. I thought I was going to retire at 40, according to plan but I never thought I would go through a divorce and ended back at the starting line of having assets of 23 years old. Then I realized, 40’s energy levels aren’t the same but a bit wiser. I wondered how I was going to rebuild and retire early. With some extreme cut backs and with these blogs to encourage me, in 48 month I have enough to choose to retire if I want to. Now I go to work because I have a choice and because I want to, not for the salary but for the mental stimulation. Now I understand why some financially independent choose to go to work. They do because they want to for “funsies”. And with a different mentality, work is not at all stressful. 2015 is the year I am going to enjoy the fruits if my effort and do what retire people do: serious travel, build a 2nd career ( again, for fun and mental stimulation). And probably grow even my assets even more. (Has become a fun game for me)

  6. Congratulations by being able to lower the target to 40 years old. I’m late (I’m almost 42), but I hope I will be able to reach the FI at 50-55 🙂


  7. As someone who already retired at 45 (which is how I found your blog), I have only congrats and respect for you to be able to make that an even earlier retirement. 🙂

  8. Tim
    I like your posts and try to read and keep up as best as I can . They are inspiring and informative as I need to absorb as much info on ER a I can. The comments are usually full of praise and not much in terms of contrarian views or criticism so I hope to not be regarded as an ogre for my views. I thought that ER at 45 was very ambitious but when I see it lowered to 40 now I am wondering how in the world tou will pull it off based on what you have saved right now. You have spending pretty much regulated and consistent but with what you have saved it looks to me like you will be constantly living your ER on the financial edge. I will be 50 next month and with nearly 7x in investible assets do not feel comfortable quitting at 50.I have vowed to bow out at 55 or sooner when I know for certain that I will not be trading the stress of work with the stress of worrying about whether we will have enogh to last the rest of our lives.We put alot in savings and we definitely spend more but we do not live lavishly by any means. It looks to me like you could be one new roof of a new vehicle purchase away from having your yearly budget blown out of the water. Not to mention that kids are expensive especially as they they older. We have fully funded RESPs for two but I have not idea as to their post secondary aspirations yet.Another one of my worries is inflation as with the financial state of the developed world and the potential of the financial basketcase US dragging the rest of us down the toilet trying to keep our portfolios growing ahead of the rate of inflation is a constant worry.
    now don’t get me wrong Tim , I applaud what you are trying to achieve , it is just that when I look at your present numbers I don’t see it. There may be something I’m missing and I hope you can enlighten me . If anything hopefully I can learn something about my own situation as I think that if I had your way of thinking that I would be in ER right now.

  9. Diharv, I doubt Tim will be able to pull off a conventional ER when he hits 40. But unless I have misread his posts, I don’t think that is his intention. I agree with you in that I would not be comfortable in retiring that early with the assets he has, or will have when he hits 40. Not saying he couldn’t do it, but rather, I wouldn’t do it.

    But I confess that I am very risk averse, and waited until my savings/investments were 60x my yearly spending until I ER’ed, rather than the traditional 25x… and I don’t have to worry about one of the biggest wildcards in term of expenses… kids. 😉

  10. Not too many (good) engineers would build plans for a project without contingency. So I’ll assume that’s taken care of.

    Somewhere there’s a balance between the Lake Woebegon PF blogger outlook (the markets always go up, nobody has health problems or even a cavity, all the children get scholarships or are 6 year old entrepreneurial-gods-in-waiting, nobody ever wants to do a hostel free tour of Europe and certainly nobody ever gets divorced…) and a “there be dragons out there” outlook.

    At least when you’re younger, usually you haven’t experienced the dragons or they didn’t impact you (since you’d be in accumulation not decumulation stage so are all woohoo – prices are cheap! in a recession) so you don’t know they’re out there or what devastating impact they can have. My son was up somewhere between 25-30% in 2014 at one point but a good chunk of that gain was sacrificed to the market gods by end of year. I’d forgotten what that 20-something “everything goes up all the time” mentality was like since I expect to lose a bit about 50% of the time in my own accounts. My mistake that I told him what his gains were in an effort to subversively encourage him to save more.

    I don’t get the “do X by X age” thing but it must be meaningful to people since so many do seem to gauge themselves that way. How about “when I sell my second novel?” I’d think you’d know then that you could highly likely make it in that career if you did that. I would think that if you sold 2 books back to back in the next year, you’d ixnay on the career by 2016 – so why base a goal on an arbitrary age or level of savings? If you couldn’t sell or do fairly decently self-publishing books in the next 3.5 years, would you continue on that path?

    Pretty sure Joanna Penn was self-supporting in less than 3 years… so there’s a stretch goal:

    Oh, re. the habits – not sure how that will work when what changes dramatically is your environment. But looking forward to hearing your take.

  11. @Anonymous – I tend to follow the idea of just build and maintain a good relationship with your spouse to avoid a divorce in the first place. In the event it does occur, you are in a basicly screwed. All your plans are likely nil and void. Your expenses will tend to go up and you capacity to save will go down. When talking to friends I refer to a divorce as a nuclear bomb to your finances and I’m not really joking.

    @diharv – You nailed it. I can’t do a full retirement at 40…I never wanted a full retirement that much anyway after I discovered I really enjoy writing and don’t mind work as long as it isn’t full time. I’ll cover this is much more detail later, but you are thinking of the right idea.

    @Jacq – Mmm, that is an interesting idea. Planning it based on a milestone event rather than a specific timeline. Not entirely a bad idea and I might work it into future versions of this…I’ve already drafted all the way to post VII of this series so it is a bit late to redo it all now, but I will roll it around in my head and consider it an alternative way to identify the end. Ie: hit X dollar in Y time or event Z…what ever happens first.

    Good comments all. Sorry for the delay on the response I was chewing on the divorce one for a while.


  12. Thanks Duke and Tim,

    I will be 54 next month and have been working for as you say “funsies” and mental stimulation, while I consider myself FI with a looming divorce after 32 years I may have to work another 5 years to replenish. I have not had a mortgage since I was 27 so our investment assets are quite large, but after a split in half not quite as much. I am a saver by nature so being single I should be able to save even more and spend less. Going into my peak earning years will also help.

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