Are We There Yet? A FIRE Calendar

The financial independence calendar

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Refresh Mint obsessively. Update Spreadsheet. Stalk Personal Capital.

Rinse and Repeat.

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

Sound familiar?

 

If you are journeying towards financial independence and early retirement (FIRE), there is a good chance that you know what I’m talking about.

 

 

I discovered the twin concepts of financial independence and early retirement (FIRE) in 2016. I plan to retire in January 2021. That is a journey of over four years. It might be the longest that I have ever strived towards a single goal. I am not good at waiting patiently and these four years sometimes feel like an eternity. Yet, by the standards of FIRE, my journey is relatively short. Some people work towards this goal for over a decade, others closer to a score of years. To put it scientifically, that is a metric ass-tonne of time.

 

Once you have your spending under control, your savings rate is as good as it is likely to get, and you have your investment strategy down pat, all that is left is the waiting.

 

Now, one could be sensible. One could exercise some self-control and avoid Mint-enabled numeric onanism. One could leave the stock market to work its magic quietly over the years, while one pursues one’s hobbies or hones one’s skills. One could do all these things, but instead one spends an inordinate amount of time watching one’s balance inch towards that magic F-U money at a rate that makes a snail look like Usain Bolt.

 

The Journey Should Be Fun

If you’re determined to watch the numbers, you might as well have some fun.

You could do the boring thing and track various milestones – your first $10,000, your first quarter million, your entry into the Double Comma Club. Or, as I suggested a while ago, you could learn how to have fun with your FIRE numbers.

One of the methods I describe in that post is to pretend that your entire multi-year journey to FIRE is condensed into a single calendar year. At the start of your journey it is the 1st of January, and your investable assets are worth $0 (unless you have debt, in which case it is still the previous year). At the end of your journey it is the 31st of December, the skies are filled with fireworks, the air is heavy with the hope of a new year and you will have accumulated your F-U money. Along the way you can celebrate whatever dates strike your fancy. You can celebrate reaching federal holidays, like the 4th of July or festivals that are meaningful to you, like Diwali or Festivus. You could celebrate when you reach your birthday or anniversary.

I received some feedback that indicated that folks thought this might be a fun thing to do, and wished that such a calendar existed.

I spent a little while with Google Sheets, and ta-da, now it does.

The financial independence calendar

 

Input to the Calendar

The calendar only needs two numbers from you:

  1. Your F-U number. This is the number at which you will flip off your boss and sail into the sunset. Or just politely resign.
  2. The current size of your Stash a.k.a your investments. This is the sum of your cash holdings, 401ks, IRAs and taxable brokerage accounts.

Inputs to the financial independence calendar

How do you know your current portfolio value? Personal Capital is the way to go, and if you haven’t yet, you should sign up now.

 

 

The Financial Independence Calendar

Based on your input the sheet will calculate which month of your FIRE year you are in and what day of that month you are at.

 

In this example, having accumulated $330,000 out of the required $1,000,000 puts you at April 29th.

The sheet makes some simplistic assumptions:

  • A year has 365 days; the FIRE year isn’t a leap year.
  • Every month is weighted equally in the journey to FIRE. This means that you will move slightly more slowly through February that only has 28 days when compared to March with 31 days.

When you have your F-U money, this is what you will see:

When you reach the end of the financial independence calendar

 

Rewards Along the Way

The sheet allows you to plan to reward yourself when you hit certain arbitrarily defined milestones. To set up your rewards you use the ‘Rewards’ sheet.

Defining rewards in the financial independence calendar

 

Pretty simple stuff – the month, the day of the month and a description of your hard earned reward. Currently the sheet allows for only a single reward per month.

When you enter a month that has a defined reward, it will show up in the calendar like this:

A month with a reward

 

Get the Calendar

I briefly (to be honest, not quite so briefly) considered making this an exchange – your email address for the spreadsheet. My better self prevailed, so here it is:

The Bayalis FIRE Calendar

 

Obviously, you won’t be able to edit my copy, so here is what you need to do to make your own:

Click on “File”, then “Make a Copy” to get a local copy of the spreadsheet in your own Google Drive. You will then be able to modify the sheet.

Note that you can easily use this as a debt countdown calendar too (where on the 1st of January you owe the size of your debt and on the 31st of December you are debt free). All you have to do is:

  • Rename ‘FIRE target number’ to ‘Debt amount’ and
  • Rename ‘Current portfolio value’ to ‘Debt paid off’

Lastly, where am I in my FIRE year? May 15th. How about you?

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26 thoughts on “Are We There Yet? A FIRE Calendar”

  1. Nice work!! Looking forward to Festivis and all the joys that it brings. 😉 Its funny that we started this journey around the same time and have a similar FI date. Looking forward to trying out this new spreadsheet!! You know I need more outlets to watch the growth. 🙂

      1. Well, my official retirement from work is based on age plus years of service being 65 so that won’t happen until 11/2022, however, my FI date is looking like sometime in 2021. I don’t have plans to quit work either (benefits are too good!) but slowing down would be awesome. If I keep at this savings rate (and the market holds) I have 3 more years. If anything other than that happens it will be 4 more. So many factors!

          1. The FIRE calculator works better down here in the southern hemisphere. It starts out all warm and exciting, cools down to the dull dead of winter that you swear will never in, the really FIREs up at the end of the year!

          2. You folks are weird. With all your strange seasons and toilet water swirling in the wrong direction.

    1. There is many a slip twixt the cup and the lip, as they say. But fingers, toes and other appendages crossed that everything does go according to plan. It is nice to have fellow pilgrims on the journey, some ahead of us and some behind.

  2. This is so cool! I love playing with numbers in weird ways!

    Except my work security blocks google docs, so I have to wait until I get home… That’s right I’m at work getting paid to write this comment #Responsibility

    1. I hope you enjoy it once you get home and away from the tyranny of actually being expected to work at work : )

      1. Urgh, it’s only March. Just another nine months of Tyranny to go…

        Wait, does that mean my FIRE baby has been conceived and is into the brewing stages? 😉

  3. Very clever! I like the idea of adding in rewards–I’d probably go for Macallan. Yes, the waiting! Sometimes it feels like we’re all sitting on our hands in the FIRE community, waiting for time to pass! However, I’m still optimizing spending. It has not been as easy a process as it seems to have gone for you. I’m a very slow learner on that front!! 🙂

    1. Oh we’ve had some bumps in the road too, mostly around spending on alcohol. We’re still learning.

  4. Fun with spreadsheets – I love it! I’m ruminating on setting a FIRE date but we can’t do that until we settle where we’re going to live for the rest of our lives. So I’ll work on that first and then play with this. Thanks for making it!

    1. The date is fun because it gives you something concrete to look forward to. I would advocate setting a date, just so you can have fun with it. It can always change as you and your plan evolve.

  5. Very neat! We’re on the path to be FIRE by summer of 2026, and we watch that date like a hawk. I like the idea of having a spreadsheet that shows you how long you’ve got to go until you’re ready. You should turn that into some kind of app!

    1. Summer of 2026 – that is probably going to be close to the time that Mr. BITA executes the his RE (unless he gets tempted to bail out earlier once he has the shining example of me, all retired and parading it before him 24/7).

  6. Currently it says that we are at June 11th 🙂 So we’re getting closer along our path. This is a really neat tool and I look forward to playing around with it. Thanks for sharing!!!

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