We started to get really serious about reaching Financial Independence in early 2016. We soon realised that the “traditional” path to Financial Independence would take us more time than we were willing to sacrifice. On top of that, we are not planning to retire from work completely; we just wanted to retire from the rat race. Once we took this into consideration it became clear that we don’t have to wait until we reach our FIRE number. This is why we came up with the concept of Flamingo FI – it gets us out of the rat race in just a few years and we will still get to FI eventually.
We will retire from our full-time jobs in early 2021 – 1000 days from the start of this blog. You can follow our progress towards our goal in the “Project 1000” section of this website where I will post a monthly update.
Our plan is – obviously – to follow the four lifestyle phases of Flamingo FI:
Phase 1 – Accumulation:
This is the phase we are currently in. The goal of Project 1000 is to complete this phase by early 2021 – around 5 years from when we started getting serious about FI. In order to reach Flamingo FI we will save 12.5x our Future Annual Living Expenses:
Phase 2 – Semi-Retirement:
In this phase, we won’t be actively adding to our retirement nest egg. This means that we will able to downshift and work in a much lower capacity. The goal during semi-retirement will be to pay for our ongoing living expenses only, so a part-time job will do. Alternatively, we might work full-time for 2-3 months out of the year and then take the rest of the year off. Or we might also start our own business, who knows!
We are also planning to save up some additional cash buffers once we reach Flamingo FI. The purpose of these cash buffers is to make our semi-retirement extra stress-free. We already have a generous emergency fund in place, but we feel that some additional financial buffers will make things a lot more comfortable during semi-retirement. This means that we might work a little more in the early years of the semi-retirement phase (while our skills are still sharp) than in the later years. After many years in full-time corporate jobs, this will still feel like a massive downshift though! Note for long-term followers of the blog: These cash buffers are our former “nice-to-have” buckets.
We will stay in this phase until our nest egg we accumulated in phase 1 has doubled. At this point, we will have reached FIRE and could choose to stop working altogether, but we think that’s unlikely. In addition, we will sort out our housing situation during this phase. Our projected future living expenses that our calculations are based on do not include housing. We currently rent and are undecided whether we want to buy a cheap home or not. This decision depends on where we will end up moving after we leave the rat race.
Phase 3 – FIRE:
No explanation needed!
Phase 4 – Traditional Retirement:
If we feel like living it up a little more when we are old, we might decide to draw down our nest egg once we hit traditional retirement age (5-6% annually).
A quick note on our numbers
- We do not use dollar figures when we talk about our numbers. Instead, we measure our progress in time. It’s not about dollars. It’s about freedom. Allan Roth writes “In actuality, a much better way of measuring wealth would be the number of years of financial freedom that is accumulated.” I completely agree. What really counts is not how much someone has in the bank but how many years of freedom these savings can buy him or her. Using time instead of money as a measurement allows you to compare your progress to that of others – even if their living situation is completely different to yours.
- Our current living expenses have nothing to do with our future living expenses. We currently live and work in Sydney, where the cost of living is outrageous. Once we quit our full-time jobs we will move somewhere more relaxed and affordable (most likely abroad or to a cheaper area of Australia). Our calculations are based on our estimated Future Annual Cost Of Living (FACOL – isn’t this a great acronym?).
Head over to the Project 1000 section to see our starting point and follow our progress!