Coming up with a successful pre-retirement strategy involves detailed planning. For starters, you need to list down some goals. Not just one goal but many goals. For us, the ultimate financial goal is to retire comfortably, so we’re able to live our dreams before the age 60. But this goal is too broad to be useful. Breaking this down into many sub-goals at midpoint should help provide details that make it more tangible.
In a healthy relationship, the wife should always be involved. So in my case, I had to sit and talk to my wife before coming up with the following:
- We want to have the option to quit our jobs and start our own business by age 52.
- We want to have at least two million dollars in investible assets.
- We want our mortgage paid off by the time our eldest daughter, Maddie, goes to college.
All three, I believe, can be accomplished in 400 weeks!
Paying off our mortgage is key. However, I don’t want to get too crazy paying it off because the interest is a minuscule 3%. In comparison, the stock market has returned more than 10%, on the average, between 1970 to 2015 (here’s a calculator).
The only reason I’d like to have some additional money to cover the principal is to provide some diversification as we’re already heavily invested in stocks (I will cover the asset allocation of our portfolio in a future blog post).
Here’s a projection of when our 15-year mortgage will be paid off if I keep paying an additional $300 towards the principal:
On May 1, 2024, the outstanding balance will be zero. The year that Maddie goes to college, our mortgage will be paid off.
Her little brother goes to college four years later. So there should be no overlap of college expenses on our part:
Should they decide to attend private school (which I will strongly discourage them to do so), it wouldn’t be a problem. We’ve already saved up more than $90K in their 529 accounts, and we have no mortgage to worry about by then.
How we spend, save and invest our money within the next 400 weeks is crucial. It’s a huge step towards our lifelong dream to become truly financially independent.
But this is just half of the 800-week journey. We’ll both be 60 after the next 400 weeks (of the first 400 weeks). I’m confident that by then, we’ll be more than ready to retire completely from being self-employed. If the past 12 years can be used as an indicator, my guess is that our net worth would be somewhere between 10 to 15 million dollars.
That, folks, is an example of how you do your long-term planning!