The Evolution of our Plan for 2017

Plans for 2017

We started planning for early retirement and financial independence in 2016, and published our plan to get there. In part, our plan included the following salient points:

  • Save $20,000 in the last quarter of 2016, October to December and
  • Save $120,000 in 2017

It is time to revise the Plan.

Why do we need a new plan for 2017?

In 2016, for the first time ever we took the time to truly understand our financial position, and also to understand finances and investment in general. Based on our nascent understanding of all things money we devised and published our plan to financial independence.

Since the time we started down this path, what has changed? What have we learned?

I want fewer things than I did before. This isn’t about being frugal. It isn’t about minimalism. It isn’t about boosting our savings rate. It is about satisfaction. I have a goal that I am marching towards. I have something that I want with all my heart. It turns out that that one want is big enough to fill me up. It is as if there is no more room in me for other wants. I no longer spend my free time browsing through Amazon, filled with the need to acquire something. The goal of financial independence for my family seems to have filled a void in my life that I wasn’t even aware existed.

It isn’t just about material wants either. I find that I binge watch a lot less TV. It took me months to get through a single season of the Netflix show I started in September 2016. I spent the time I used to spend on TV on my blog, or playing with our spreadsheets. My obsession with our spreadsheets is probably just as unhealthy as the rate I used to binge watch TV, but it feels a lot more satisfying. It feels like accomplishment. I am going places and those beloved sheets are my maps and my guides. This blog smells like accomplishment too. I make no money from this blog. I have a modest readership, but if one were to judge purely based on the satisfaction I get from writing and being read, one would be forced to conclude that this blog is my magnum opus.

Plans for 2017

Our frugality muscles are stronger than they were too. We have been able to spend less across the board. Having a goal makes the save-or-spend choice easier. Not trivial, you understand, just easier. Now we actively choose the harder path sometimes, not just to boost our finances, but also to feel like badasses, to prove that we can.

We did better financially than I had hoped when we first came up with the plan. Our stock is worth more, we have both been promoted in 2016, and our bonuses were larger than expected. We blew past our $20,000 savings goal for the last quarter of 2016. We have saved over $50,000 so far.

What is the new plan?

Given all of these factors, what are we going to change in 2017?

Instead of saving $120,000 next year, our new savings goal is $160,000.

There it is, in black and white. It is a little scary to put it out there like that. A teeny voice in my head insists that it would be easier to stick with the $120,000 and declare roaring, definitive success when we blow right past that. It would. It would also be craven. And a little dishonest. I know that we are going to be able to do more than $120,000. This blog has many purposes, and one of them is keeping me honest.

I find it faintly amusing (given that I consider myself to be a rational being) that having published our new

Evil Eye aka Buri Nazar
By Etan Doronne (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
goal for 2017, I am tempted to knock on wood. And cross my fingers. And adorn my blog with a black spot on its cheek. What was that last one you say? Some Indians believe that there are malevolent forces at work in this universe. If one is too happy, or too fortunate, it draws the attention of the ‘evil eye’. In Hindi this is referred to as ‘buri nazar’. It is common to see a newborn (typically a source of much happiness for the family) with a small black mark drawn on its face or somewhere on its person. Why? The black mark is a way of symbolically marring the perfect thing, thus fooling the evil eye and avoiding its ire.

What do these changes mean?

We evolve our plans unashamedly because this journey isn’t about the Plan. This journey is about us, and our happiness. We aren’t slaves to the Plan. The Plan is but a means to an end, and a very happy end at that. As Eisenhower said, “Plans are nothing. Planning is Everything”.

I don’t yet know what saving this larger amount in 2017 is going to mean in the long run. There are a few possibilities:

  • It could help pull in my retirement date, and subsequently Mr. BITA’s. My current date is Jan 2021, but that was based on saving $120,000 a year. Of course, if it gets pulled in by too much, I will no longer be 42 when I retire, and what would the name of my blog mean then?
  • We could stick to the current retirement date and build ourselves a bigger retirement cushion.
  • We could stick to the current retirement date and build a larger stash for our charitable giving.

All of these are good options to have. I don’t think we are going to decide amongst them in 2017. In 2017 we are going to focus on achieving our bigger, more aggressive goal. Eventually, hopefully, we will have to make some choices.

Go Big or Go Home, they say.

Well, we aren’t going home. Instead, in the words of the immortal Douglas Adams,

“Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”

So here we come 2017. We have a black spot on our face, big dreams in our hearts and a determination to eff it after all.

Happy New Year to you, my Readers! May the new year bring you and yours happiness and prosperity.



20 thoughts on “The Evolution of our Plan for 2017”

  1. Good luck on your savings goal! You know, except for this year, we didn’t have a savings target that I remember. Other than, “save more than last year”. This year, we set a number, and will not meet it, but I wouldn’t trade our new improved lifestyle just to hit that arbitrary number.

    I think it’s as much about having the goal to shoot for as making the goal. If you don’t make it you’re still saving a lot, and if you do make it or overshoot it, even bigger kudo’s for crushing it. 🙂

    I need to spend more time on the blog and other activities at nights, and am starting to implement that now. it’s tough though when that’s my only exercise time too, especially when I have an Olypmic Triathlon in 66 days, yipe! I need to step up training for that, lol. Go big or Go home, right? 🙂

    Happy New Year, and hope yours is also filled with happiness and prosperity.

    1. An Olympic Triathlon? Holy hell. That is impressive as all get out. I mean, it is so impressive that you don’t even actually have to do it. Just saying you are is impressive enough. Have you done these before?

      I think “save more than last year” is a pretty solid goal. Sweet and simple. I’m glad I’m not the only laid back one though. Every other blogger seems to be publishing multiple financial goals, blogging goals, personal goals. There are goals creeping out of the woodwork. I think I need to go have a bit of a lie down.

      1. Hahaha, yeah reading everyone else’s goals is like perusing facebook for life inspiration… It just leads to comaprisons and thoughts of “why aren’t my goals like theres?” 🙂

        As far as the triathlon, I did a sprint triathlon this past fall and it was fun. Really. 🙂
        However, it was a 500m swim, 14.5 mile bike and 5k run. But it was fun and felt like, just as it was getting difficult it was over, so I thought an Olympic would be a good challenge. 1500 m ocean swim (sharks and waves yipe!) 25 mile bike ride and 6 mile run. BUT, except for the bike I know I can already hit those distances, so I just need to up my bike training. In theory…

        I’m not planning on anything other than finishing. I have a stretch goal of under 3 hrs but if I don’t make it, meh. Who knows, I may be like, “Yeah…. That wasn’t fun. I’ll stick to the short ones” lol

  2. Ohhh – sounds lofty and I love a lofty goal!! I know you guys will achieve it. And if you don’t, you no doubt will hit your original goal. I, on the other hand, have yet to decide on a number. I know I should have one but I can’t force myself to figure it out. I may just keep the same old goal of maxing 401k, HSA, Roth, contributing to my ESPP, and dumping the rest in VTSAX….I suppose if I add that all up I could come up with a number!! Why? Why must you make me work so hard, 2017?! 😉

    1. You’ve got that right – adding them all up is definitely going to be an impressive number. If the hardest thing 2017 makes me do is figure out my savings goal, I’ll call that a win. Please 2017, oh please, be nothing like your elder brother 2016. He was a right royal asshole.

    1. That right there is one of the best things about this journey to FIRE – we get to share it with like minded people cheering us on. See you in 2017 Vicki! May we all live long and prosper.

    1. We’re aiming to be able to withdraw $100k a year once we are both retired. And yes, the plan is to meet this savings goal using our two incomes (paychecks, bonuses, stock grants) from our two jobs. We don’t have money making side hustles or rental properties. Thanks for stopping by FTF.

  3. I love that you are stretching yourself. I too have found that I have been watching a lot less TV to work on my blog to the point that my DVR is getting full and that’s NEVER happened before. I am actually thinking about cutting the cord because the only time the TV is on is when I’m watching football and even that’s usually background noise while I’m working on the blog. Anyway that’s an awesome savings goal and hope you all reach it!!!

    1. Thanks MSM!
      Yeah, we dont have cable TV. Neither one of us are sport enthusiasts, and we find ample content on Netflix and Amazon Prime to satisfy us.

  4. Congratulations on a stellar 2016 BITAs. I have a karmic voice at the back of my head telling me you guys are going to knock it out of the park in ’17 as well. Maybe another forgotten Easter egg like this year would be nice, eh?

    Also in case you don’t mind sharing what exactly is your goal? A portfolio that allows an SWR of $100K/yr? And that’s it? Or does that number include houses/mortgage/rental income etc? We might decide to up our savings goal for ’17 based on this post.

    1. Thank you! Let us hope that your karmic voice knows what it is talking about.

      “A portfolio that allows an SWR of $100K/yr?” Yes, that is pretty much it. We have no rental income. We have a significant amount of equity in our current house, but also a large mortgage owed. Our plan though is to sell this house and move somewhere else, location TBD. We will use the equity from this house to pad the portfolio beyond the $100k/year number if we decide to rent for a while after, or use it as a down payment if we decide to buy somewhere else.

      Up your savings goals! Join the party! Happy New Year to you and yours.

  5. Wow! $160k is an impressive goal. If you don’t mind sharing, what savings vehicles go into that? I’m assuming things like 401k, IRAs, Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP), after tax brokerage accounts, etc. Do you also count things like 529s or other college savings?

    On the Netflix front, I can only do an occasional binge. If we get snowed on for a weekend, that’s a good time to catch-up on a series. Otherwise, I’d rather be out exercising, learning something new, or reading through our favorite blogs. We will definitely be adding you to our list!

    1. Yes, everything you stated goes into that $160k. I document the breakdown of what we save in which account in my monthly numbers update. And no, we don’t count the 529 – we consider that money to be earmarked for a very specific expense and not contributing to our retirement.

      I am thrilled to be on your favourites list. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

  6. “We aren’t slaves to the Plan.”


    I used to get frustrated when we didn’t stick to our plan 100%. It really had a big negative effect on me. I thought I was a failure because we would make plans and stick to them about 60% of the time.

    Then I realized we weren’t sticking to the plan because our lives were changing around us so fast. We’ve got a 3 yo and a 3 month old now. My wife and I both work for ourselves now. Things change fast!! and when things change, it’s better to abandon your old plans and create new ones that better reflect your current situation.

    Good luck on saving the $160k. (I had to read that part twice to make sure I saw correctly because that is so much money!!)

    1. That is a lot of changes in your life Derek and I’m glad you created new plans that work for you. So many times the main thing holding us back is just the weird rules we make up for ourselves in our own heads.

      And thank you! Yes, $160k is a metric ass-tonne of money (and yes, that is the scientific measure of it). I am aware of how lucky we are to be in a position where we can shoot to save that amount.

        1. Thanks Derek. I sometimes have trouble believing that that number is real – that we are now actually in a position to have a shot at socking that much away.

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