The Plan to FIRE

To achieve financial independence, and possibly retire early, the goal is to have a stash that allows us to withdraw an inflation adjusted $100,000 ($ = USD) a year. The stash will reside in a mix of tax advantaged retirement accounts and a taxable brokerage account. Our asset allocation includes domestic and international stocks, bonds, REITs and cash.


Here is how we plan to fill our coffers.

2016: Add another $20,000 to the stash before the end of this year. Status: Done

2017 – 2020: Save at least $120,000 $160,000 a year.

2021: I am financially independent at the grand old age of 42. Celebrations ensue. Mad rejoicing in the streets as I sail away into the sunset.

2022: We sell our house, add a nice chunk of change to the stash and move to some yet to be determined place in the world that has the following properties:

  • The cost of living is lower than where we currently reside. This one is easy. Almost anywhere else in the world qualifies.
  • Our new location must have an excellent walk score.
  • Mr. BITA can continue to work there and make enough money to keep us from withdrawing from our stash. We don’t need to save any more, but we aren’t allowed to touch the stash just yet.
  • Our daughter needs access to good public schooling
  • Our family must have access to healthcare that does not require us to hand over a kidney and our first born child in order to have a wisdom tooth removed.

2026: Mr. BITA is 42 years old and our Stash has come of age. Jubilation in the streets. We start living off our Stash.

We will also both qualify for social security eventually but our calculations don’t rely on this. It will be a nice bonus if and when it materializes.
Our Stash does not include Toddler BITA’s 529 plan.


18 thoughts on “The Plan to FIRE”

  1. Hello Mrs Bita,
    welcome to the FIRE crowd! Impressive plan you have here. Seems like you have put a lot of though into this scheme. What wanders me most is why you need a whopping $100.000 a year? And why, if you are able to save a massive $120.000 a year, are you going to wait that long before you enjoy a life without (financial) worries (granted, if you like you job you can always do some consulting on the side, which will provide you with some extra cash for travel). Just curious, what am I missing in this picture?
    Anyways, lots of luck making your new goals!

    1. The only reason we’re shooting for $100,000 a year is because we are so new to this and we are not yet confident that we can get by on less. I hope that as we exercise our frugal muscles, we will realize that we don’t need that much. The other thing is that we haven’t yet decided exactly where we want to live once we reach FI and until we do, we don’t want to accidentally rule a place out because we didn’t budget enough. As you know from our recent interactions on your blog, the Netherlands is an option, and my early research (before we made the Plan) on the wealth tax scared me silly! It helps (or, if you look at it differently, hinders us) that neither Mr. BITA nor I hate our jobs. Mr. BITA is actually quite happy where he is, and I have a mix of good and bad days. So the “I hate my job and will do anything to leave as soon as possible” motivation is missing. About the $120,000 – we’ve never saved that much before. 2017 is going to be the first year that we actually try. Our plan isn’t set in stone. I full expect it to evolve as we do.

      1. Trust me, once you have caught up on what FIRE is all about, and you have been able to flex your frugality muscle, you will see that $100.000 is way more than you need. With your target you will have a very luxurious FI. Then again, if that is what you want, you should definitely go for it! It’s called personal finance for a reason 😉
        We wish you well!!

        1. We expect the $100000 to be more than we need on a regular basis. We want that extra cushion though so we can choose to do certain luxurious things like help pay for Toddler BITA’s wedding, maybe help her with the down payment to her house, be able to give financial aid to grandchildren – basically the things that are so far off in the future that it is hard for us to fully comprehend them now.

    1. Knowing that we’re going to be accountable to folks like you is part of what keeps us motivated to stick to the plan. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Welcome to the FIRE community. Bayalis means ’42’ right? So, you are only 32 now and talking about saving $120K/year! Wow! You must be in high-tech top paying jobs. But I can still relate to your aspirations and background. Wish you luck. OCI is a great benefit you have so you can always retire to India. I wrote an article about ‘working abroad before you retire’ that you may find useful. Best wishes in your FIRE journey.

    1. Ha! No. Mr. BITA is 32. I’m 38. And yes, we are both lucky in our jobs. And yes, bayalis means 42 – our ‘About’ page explains why this is the name of the blog.

      About the OCI – I have never been so glad as after these last elections that we have that option to fall back on.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. This is my new fav blog. Great to see a another articulate voice in the FI movement. Absolutely love your writing style. We are an Indian origin couple on the East Coast, having lived in the US for 10-15 years now (moved here for grad school, of course). DIDK. Plan to be FI by 2021 when I’ll be 40 and the Mrs. 36. Our stash will probably be 25% smaller than yours. Both of us work in healthcare now. Plan is for me to teach at a college after that (which I would be happy to do even if I didn’t get paid) and farm a bit. Wife wants to keep volunteering at hospitals. And travel meaningfully. Loved your post on ‘geographic arbitraging charities’. For our older one’s birthday a couple of years ago, we sent out a wish list with the Evite that had links to different charities (all ex – US) and we promised to match. Was a great hit.

    We Discovered MMM 3 years ago and been on the path consciously ever since. I’ve always thought if he could charge a small royalty from all the people he’s inspired, he could’ve quit the rat race 10 years earlier.

    Although I’ll never write a blog, you have inspired me enough to keep popping in and out of your comments section. And also I’ll use your blog now to keep myself honest to our FI plan. Good luck to you, kindred spirit.

    1. Thanks CITA (love the name btw), your comment made my day and I hope to run into you often here.
      Yay class of 2021! Mr. BITA talks about teaching too, but plants tend to die when we so much as look at them, so absolutely no farming for us.
      Thank you for sharing details about your family and your journey thus far, I enjoyed getting to know you a little.

      I promise to keep you honest if you do the same for me!

  4. Hi! Have you set an official “number”? It appears our annual savings goals are similar, and Mr. Free and I have one daughter, too. He will be 41 in four years when we hit our goal, and I will be 37. He doesn’t plan to quit then, but similarly to you guys, 2 won’t need to save anymore.

    I just started a blog, primarily to keep up with our journey, but really want to make some like-minded friends!

    Love reading blogs authored by women!!

    1. There is something magical about running into a fellow pilgrim with a similar story, isn’t there? I’m glad we bumped into each other. I hope to keep hearing from you.

      And yes, we do have an official number, just not one we are ready to share publicly just yet (though you can make an intelligent guess from the stuff I say on the blog). Right now I’m more comfortable sharing deltas than absolute numbers.

  5. Good luck with your goal of FIRE. You are very fortunate to be able to spend $100,000 and still save money. I am guessing when you get more experience with the frugal/minimalist lifestyle you will be able to retire sooner than 9 or 10 years.

    1. We are indeed very fortunate and I am grateful for that every day. And no, we don’t spend $100,000 now. That is how much we are budgeting for withdrawal once we reach FIRE. We spend more now. Keep in mind that in an area as HCOL as ours mortgage plus childcare adds up to close to $6k a month. That is $72k/year before any other expenses kick in. There is certainly room for us to improve, but our goal isn’t a super frugal or minimalist lifestyle. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment.

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