When I was in my early 20’s, I said that I would never work for anyone after the age of 30. I had such an ambitious can-do attitude. I didn’t like the constraints of my Corporate America job and didn’t want to have to call anyone else boss. I would sit at my cubicle crafting ways in which quitting at 30 was possible. I thought I could do it by my investments in real estate and starting my own business. By then, I already had one property in my portfolio, a studio apartment in a nice area of Brooklyn. I was also working on the online magazine that I had created with my best friend. My hope was that the magazine would take off and provide a full source of income in the near future. But somewhere along the way, as I approached my late 20’s, I realized my dream of quitting the mainstream workforce was not going to happen. By then, my zeal for thinking outside of the box had slowed. I no longer had the energy needed to put forth in the online magazine to make it a true success. My friend and I decided to call it quits on the venture.
At that time, I was making a good salary and was getting more serious with my boyfriend at the time (now husband). We got engaged at 27 and I was consumed with planning the wedding, our 3-week honeymoon in Europe and starting a family. By 29, we were married and by 31, we had our first child and purchased our primary home together. Now at 33, I am pregnant again with our 2nd child due in May.
It has been a whirlwind of a ride for the past 7 years. During that time, I had somewhat laid to rest my big fantasies of being my own boss. I started to get comfortable with the idea of working at a job forever in order to provide the best life for my growing family. I still had the entrepreneurial spark in me, which was evident in the vending machine venture I launched at 31 but something had changed. My lofty plans to not fall into the rat race had subsided and were replaced by what seemed the normal course for so many people, work a stable job until retirement. I had suddenly become one of those people I had vowed I’d never be. I was ok with running on the hamster wheel in the never-ending rat race. How the hell did this happen?
Now at 33, my internal fire has been lit again. I may have “missed” my no working for anyone after 30 goal but it’s not too late to turn it all around. In light of my current place and responsibilities in life, I have found a renewed sense of purpose and drive. I want to be a present mom and wife. I don’t want to spend 80% of my time doing something I don’t love. I want to teach my children that they can accomplish anything they want and that they don’t have to conform to society’s standards of what happy is. I want them to create and live life on their own terms. I feel like it’s my duty to live a life I can be proud of, to show them it can actually be done.
With all that said, I currently have a fantastic career. I make good money in a field I am actually interested in. I get up to 6 months off for maternity leave and work in a supportive environment that actually encourages a work/life balance. What I can do without is the office politics and mindless reports that are just part of what comes with the job. I also have a long driving commute, about 1 ½ hours each way, so I like to say that the most stressful part of my job is getting to and from work every day. I dare say that I have it good in these regards…but I want better. And that’s where my 7 years to launch plan comes into play.
By the age of 40 (10 years after my initial target date of 30, 7 years from today), I want to be able to retire from my current job. I don’t know if I will really want to stop working by then but I want the flexibility and F U money to make it happen. By then, my kids will be 9, 7 (and 5 if we have another). The perfect time in my head of when I would want to be really hands-on in their lives, attending games, dropping them to and from school, helping with homework, etc.
So what will the next 7 years be like for me?
Live Below Our Means (But Well)
That means trimming the fat in our budget and cutting down on bills and unnecessary expenses. This allows us to focus on what truly brings us happiness, not the frivolous and consumer pushed products that society deems as important. Cutting our expenses will also allow us to save and invest more money which will help us reach my 7-year launch date.
While we are both working, we want to maximize our income as much as possible. In my career, that actually means climbing the corporate ladder and actually being present at my job. The more I learn and apply myself there, the more chances I have to work on bigger and better projects which will hopefully translate into increased earnings. My husband’s job also gives him plenty of opportunity for extra income. He is a physical education teacher and coaches multiple sports activities after school, works morning school and summer school. We are going to continue to maximize our earnings in order to aggressively save.
Invest & Save
While we are increasing our income and trimming our expenses, we will continue to save/invest the rest. Our plan is to aggressively grow our investments portfolio across:
- My company retirement account (my company funds this, no contribution from me)
- My 401K account (maxing out at $18K plus my company matches 4%)
- My husband’s 457 account (maxing out at $18K)
- My husband’s 403B account (maxing out at $18K)
- Our Roth IRA’s (backdoor Roth’s maxing out at $11K)
- Index investing (as much as our budget allows possible)
- Paying down our mortgage (ideally our mortgage would be paid off by the time I launch)
- Contributing to the children’s 529Plans (as much as our budget allows)
We may have to adjust some of our saving strategies to make room in the budget if we decide to enroll our kids in a special preschool program (I will probably write a separate blog post just on this decision process).
My 7-year launch plan includes my husband still working until the age of 55. He currently enjoys his job as a teacher, only has about a 10-minute commute, gets summers off and has a flexible schedule in the school year. At 55, he will be able to retire with a pension. If he were to want to quit working before then, we would find a way to make that possible for him too. If we are able to save aggressively, in 7 years, we will have accumulated enough in our investments accounts to stop contributing to them and have them grow on autopilot through returns. This will allow us to live on my husband’s income and have a lower tax liability since we will be a family of 4 (maybe 5).
Enjoy the Journey
While on this journey to launch, I want to make sure that I live in the moment and enjoy every part of it. I don’t want to work towards this goal in misery. I am in the prime of my life. This stage of pregnancy and having young kids is such an important time. I want to enjoy every moment and live my life to the fullest. That also means enjoying my current career and taking as much of it as possible.
My 7-year launch plan includes my husband still working until the age of 55. We would live on his salary until he retires. He currently enjoys his job as a teacher and only has about a 10-minute commute. He gets summers off and has a flexible schedule in the school year. At 55, he will be able to retire with a pension. If he were to want to quit working before then, we would find a way to make that possible for him too.
Although I would like to retire from my corporate job, I would want to find other sources of income through my own business or enjoyable work I truly enjoy. I want whatever I bring in as extra money to be extra frosting to our already bountiful cake, something we can use for discretionary spending items, such as vacations or fun money.
I’ve run the numbers and created countless spreadsheets and my 7-year launch plan is very achievable. In fact, it almost seems like we will have “too” much money in our retirement accounts (guess that’s not a bad thing) which means I may be able to accomplish this goal even sooner.
So are you ready to join me on the journey to launch? What’s your launch plans? Share them below.
P.S. I changed my blog name from mrsbudgetfab to journeytolaunch because I feel like it more accurately captures what I want to share and write about. Budgeting will still be a huge part of how I accomplish my goals but it’s not the only thing I want to discuss. I want to share my journey and learn from others on their own launch journey. JourneytoLaunch will allow me to explore and delve into broader topics as it is not about just the end goal but the journey.