Semi-Retirement Update – Q4/2021 – Coasting to FIRE

Our quarterly updates chronicle our adventures in semi-retirement and our financial progress from Flamingo FI towards complete Financial Independence (and probably Fat FIRE as well). Since we reached Flamingo FI in late 2020, we have not added any funds to our investments. Instead, we are coasting to Financial Independence. You can read all about our overall plan here: Coasting to FIRE (Without Saving Another Cent!) – Our Semi-Retirement Plan.

Money Flamingo Semi-Retirement Update - Coasting to Financial Independence - Q4/2021

Happy New Year!

Welcome to our latest Early Semi-Retirement where we share the ups and downs of our Coast FIRE journey to Financial Independence and beyond.

I have to say that I really enjoy publishing these updates quarterly now. Our focus has definitely shifted from our financial goals to bigger priorities like family and health. So tracking our numbers monthly seems like overkill and the quarterly routine works well for us.

In October we celebrated our first Semi-Retirement anniversary (which coincided with Baby Flamingo #2’s first birthday). What a year it has been!

Like last time I’ve broken the update up into three parts – a financial update, a life update and a blog update.

FIRE and Net Worth Update

I am amazed at how well things have been going financially for us since we stopped saving and investing. When you look at our ‘Coasting to FI’ chart below it would be so easy to think that we have been adding money to our portfolio. But we haven’t. All the growth since we hit Flamingo FI has been from compound interest. This is what I call a snowball in action!

Of course, this is all thanks to the strong market performance across almost all asset classes we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic. At the same time, we would not have been able to take advantage of this strong growth if we hadn’t built a large diversified portfolio over several years.

I am fully aware that at some point there will be a crash or a prolonged period of no growth. One of the challenging parts of coasting to FI is that you are completely dependent on what the market does, so bad times will be pretty scary.

Coasting from Flamingo FI to FIRE

Over the last quarter, we went from 18.4x our annual living expenses in retirement to 19.6x.

Money Flamingo Coast FIRE Progress January 2022

The coasting chart also shows our projected FIRE date (based on average inflation-adjusted returns of 7%). Originally, our projected date was sometime in 2030 when we hit Flamingo FI. At this stage, it looks like we could get there by late 2025! This projected date will, of course, change depending on the performance of our portfolio.

If we get there before 2030 we likely won’t change anything. We are happy to continue our semi-retired lifestyle for as long as we enjoy it.

Total Net Worth

As I mentioned last time we treat our FIRE portfolio as separate from our non-FI savings. The chart below shows our overall net worth position displayed in years of living expenses in retirement instead of dollar amounts.

Our total net worth amounts to 23.3x our annual expenses in retirement. It’s nice to see that we would actually be very close to FIRE (25x expenses) if we combine the different pots that make up our net worth.

Money Flamingo total net worth January 2022 -  bar chart showing the increases in net worth from the start of 2021

Life Update

The response since I decided to share our personal updates with a smaller group of readers only has been amazing. It is so nice to get to know some of you and I really appreciate the emails some of you sent after the last update.

I also feel like I can share more freely and make the updates more personal this way.

If you received our Q3/2021 update you don’t need to do anything. You’ll receive our latest personal update in about two weeks from the time of publishing this update.

If you are not on our life update list yet and would like to join, please fill in the form below and tell us a little about yourself. I review every submitted form individually.

The signup option for our personal updates is now closed. There will be a new signup form when we publish our next quarterly update.

Blog Update

I have really enjoyed working on the blog over the last quarter. Writing helps me organise my thoughts and it’s probably one of my favourite pastimes at the moment. I have lots of half-finished articles sitting in my Money Flamingo folder that I am really excited about finishing and publishing in 2022.

As you’ve probably noticed the latest articles on the blog are less about cold hard numbers and more lifestyle-focused. I think this is a trend that will continue in 2022. I have always felt that the lifestyle and mental part of FI is more important and also more challenging to navigate than the numbers part. That’s why I find it interesting to explore the non-financial aspects of the journey.

I have also been working with some readers who approached me one-on-one and have to say that I’m really enjoying it. I like learning about someone’s goals and strategies and having in-depth conversations about life and money goals.

Apologies to anyone who contacted me and is still waiting for a reply. I will get back to everyone (or answer your question in an upcoming FAQ post). It is taking me a while to get through my inbox. In the meantime, another good way to get insights from people on alternative paths to FI is our private Semi-Retirement and FIRE Facebook Group.

I have also started interacting a bit more on Instagram lately. I have to say I am pretty impressed by how supportive and helpful some of the accounts in the FIRE and personal finance community on Instagram are.

Some other highlights from the last three months:

Money Flamingo Bobblehead by All Star Money for our article on why we need different types of Financial Independence
The Mrs. Flamingo bobblehead
  • Back in October, we won an All-Star Money “Article of the Month” award for our post on why we need different types of Financial Independence. I was so excited about this! A couple of weeks ago I received my bobblehead (the prize). While it reminds me a little more of Karl Lagerfeld than myself it is so cool to have a little statue of Mrs. Flamingo on my desk! 🙂 Thanks, J.Money and team!
  • We were featured in The New Daily! I got a lot of messages about the stock photo they used. The answer to your question is a firm ‘no’ – Mr. Flamingo does not have a man bun! 😉
  • I published six articles in Q4, which I am pretty happy with.
  • I finally got around to updating and expanding the article I wrote on Coast FI back in 2019. It was important to me to add all the things I have learned since it was first published. When I went through some of the blog’s older posts I realised how much I’ve learned over the last few years. So updating some of these posts is on the list for 2022.
  • Matt from Aussie Firebug invited me to be a guest on his podcast again, this time for his Ask Firebug Fridays feature. It was great fun and I really enjoyed answering the reader questions.

And that’s a wrap!

Thanks for reading! See you back here for our next quarterly update!

 
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14 thoughts on “Semi-Retirement Update – Q4/2021 – Coasting to FIRE”

  1. Fantastic progress, I love reading your updates. My goal this year is to redesign our FI plan. I’m considering slowing down sooner than planned and going the Flamingo route. Happy New Year to the Flamingo family!

    Reply
  2. Congrats on your continued strong progress.

    Can you please share how you calculate the numbers for your net worth and living expenses graphs? I’ve had a play around with it in Google Sheets but can’t quite work out how to convert it from dollar amounts into multiples of living expenses.

    Reply
    • It’s simple – just divide your FIRE portfolio value by your annual living expenses. 25x living expenses = FIRE (if you use the 4% rule).

      So if you have $800,000 and your living expenses are $80,000 per year, you have 10x your annual living expenses. If your expenses are $40,000 per year you have 20x your annual expenses.

      I much prefer this way of expressing wealth – in time rather than money.

      Reply
  3. Good morning Flamingo FI, thanks for the content as always.

    I just wanted to put my hand up to say I’d like to work one-on-one with you as well, feel like it’ll be super beneficial and I resonate well with your content!

    Cheers, Scott (Bowral NSW)

    Reply
    • Hi Scott, good to hear you are enjoying the content on the blog. Sure, just send me a message via the contact form and tell me a little about yourself. I’m “fully booked” at the moment, but maybe we could work something out for in a few months.

      Reply
  4. Hi Flamingo,
    Congratulations on the ‘background’ growth, it must be very rewarding to see the compounding working for you, you guys are smashing it!

    I like the way you present X times your spending rather than a dollar value.

    I heard you on the Aussie fire bug podcast – you were great!

    Reply
    • Thanks for the kind words, Dave! 🙂

      Yes, it feels good to see our hard work pay off and to see the plan unfold.

      I find this way of measuring wealth more useful. People get so hung up on comparing portfolio values and FIRE numbers that they get distracted from what actually counts – how many years of freedom you have accumulated.

      Reply
  5. Thank you for the great content and congrats on the amazing progress! We are on a similar journey with a school age child. I wonder how you calculate retirement living expenses- I couldn’t figure out how much do I need in retirement, not sure whether that’s just our current expense minus school fees, or should I have more for travel or medical, etc. Ta

    Reply
  6. Hi! The coastFi has kind of opened my mind a bit to the whole FIRE idea and where I want to spend my time and financial freedoms.
    What im slightly confused about after using your calculator is the Coast FI – Target retirement (65 say) and the Coast FI – Traditional.

    Are we simply saying that, Target age =investments (including super) need to be this figure, to start coasting.
    and Traditional age = Investments (including super) need to be this if you plan to coast at the age of 65?

    Reply

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