Last week, we reached the halfway mark of Project 1000. The last 500 days flew by so fast and a lot of things have changed in our lives since the start of Project 1000. So this is a great time to review the plans we made back in May 2018 and make adjustments as needed so we can make the most of the next 500 days.

Bye-bye DINK lifestyle!

The biggest change in the last 500 days was without a doubt the arrival of Baby Flamingo earlier this year. We turned from a DINK (double income, no kids) couple into a little family. In the past, we spent our evenings and weekends doing whatever we felt like (like sipping beers while watching the sunset and planning our exit from the rat race). How things have changed! These days it’s all about nappies, bottles, teething gel, and play gyms. Becoming a parent really is a wonderful, exciting, exhausting and totally transformative experience!

A DINK couple at sunset

Needless to say that having a baby also has a massive impact on our FI plans and finances. While we have A LOT less time to think about every little detail of our financial plan, our overall goal has not changed: We want to reach Flamingo FI and retire from our full-time jobs asap! And our “hard exit” date of early 2021 still stands.

The world’s most expensive alarm clock?

I’m sure it is no surprise to anyone that adding a little person to the mix is not exactly cheap. The cost of one-off purchases (cot, pram, car seat, etc.), as well as things like nappies, wipes, baby food, and medical costs, are very manageable. A baby doesn’t actually cost that much. It is the loss of income that really hurts. My company does not offer any paid maternity leave, so apart from the 18 weeks of government Parental Leave Pay, we are now a one-income family. And once I go back to work, a substantial chunk of my salary will go to childcare. So finance-wise, things will never be the same again for us! 

Of course, I could have returned to work earlier, but being able to see Baby Flamingo grow into a little person these last few months is worth so much more than money! I sometimes think about the past and wish we had started getting serious about FI earlier, but it is what it is. Things would be a lot easier if we were at Flamingo FI already, but we can’t turn back time and will make the best of the situation.

Are we still on track?

When we started Project 1000 in May 2018, we were on track to reach Flamingo FI in early 2020. Our plan was to then spend the remaining months until our semi-retirement date to save cash in three additional buckets to make our life as easy as possible after we leave our full-time careers. How has having a baby impacted our plan?

Here is the good news: We are still on track to reach Flamingo FI within our 1000 day timeframe! And, as I mentioned above, early 2021 is still the date we will leave our full-time jobs. Our Flamingo FI nest egg currently sits at almost 70% of its target size:

And here is the not-so-good news: The way the numbers are currently looking, we will be almost 12 months behind our savings/investment goals by the time we reach the end of Project 1000 (compared to our projections from May 2018). While this does not impact our Flamingo FI goal, it means that we won’t be able to fill our additional “nice to have” cash buckets (with the exception of our Emergency Fund, which is already at 100%).

Our plan for the next 500 days

During the next 500 days, we will focus on reaching Flamingo FI. As I mentioned above, we are still on track to get there by the end of Project 1000. This is great because that means that we can still semi-retire in early 2021! 

As you can see our overall plan has not changed:

We would still like to fill our additional cash buckets, but we are not willing to continue working full-time in our corporate careers to do so. Instead, we have decided that we are happy to work a little more in the early phase of our semi-retirement to save up the extra cash (3 instead of 2 days per week for example). This should be an easy exercise, especially because our earnings potential will still be pretty high right after we semi-retire. And because we will still only work part-time or part of the year, this will still be a massive downshift for us.

Building some contingencies into our plan for Project 1000 has definitely paid off. I can see how unexpected events (like the arrival of a baby) can easily derail a plan like this.

We are glad we are still on track to reach Flamingo FI in the near future and can’t wait for semi-retirement (and all the extra time we’ll get to spend with Baby Flamingo)!

2021 here we come!